#MAGA: American Made Gun Magnet

Those who’ve been here before know I’m a huge fan of gun magnets; I’ve been using them in the car as well as around the house. They are a great way to conceal a firearm under a desk, table, cabinet, or under the dash of your car. I have magnets in both cars as I find it much easier to draw from the magnet than from a holster while in a seated position. I’ve tried (and reviewed) several in the past see (Gear Review: Keeper Magnetic Gun Mount and Anti-Carjacking Device), but I think I have found my favorite: AZ Industries American Made Gun Magnet.

Yes, I do like that fact that it’s made in the US, and yes it is a little more expensive than some of the others, but the design is simply better and the quality seems better.


This magnet is quite a bit longer than any of the others I’ve tried and so it makes more contact with the slide of the gun. The unit actually consists of 3 internal magnets that are surprisingly strong and holds the gun in place even when driving over pothole filled streets. Continue reading “#MAGA: American Made Gun Magnet”


Anti-Carjacking Device

Carjacking is a serious threat these days perpetrated by some of the most violent thugs society has to offer. A carjacker doesn’t possess the skills necessary to steal a car in the ‘conventional’ way, so they simply take it by force. Desperate for drugs, money or to escape the area where they just committed another crime, these cretins will not hesitate to harm you or your family in order to steal your vehicle. The vast majority of carjackings take place in urban areas, but that’s not to say they don’t happen elsewhere because they do. Continue reading “Anti-Carjacking Device”

Gear Review: Keeper Magnetic Gun Mount

Recently I posted an article entitled ‘Can You Access Your Gun When You Need It?’ which asked the reader to run themselves through a series of scenarios to determine their ability to react to certain threats. The whole point to the article was to access when and where are you most vulnerable and what can you do to enhance your ability to react. As we ran through these ‘what ifs’ I couldn’t help but think of the Alfred Hitchcock movie Psycho where a young lady is slashed to death in the shower by motel manager Norman Bates. There is a reason this scene has scared people since 1960, naked in the shower is probably the most vulnerable part of your day. My wife kept joking about a ‘gun rack in the bathroom,’ and not that we would actually do that, but we wanted to do something. Our solution was the Keeper Magnetic Gun Mount. For just under $25 and 30 seconds to install this little guy was just what we needed.

Continue reading “Gear Review: Keeper Magnetic Gun Mount”

Gear Review: Comparing 4 Popular Solar Panels

When you’re starting out to either build or expand your off-grid solar system, how do you know what panels to buy? You read customer reviews and Amazon ratings till you’re blue in the face, but the fact is many  of those reviews are from 1st time buyers who have nothing else to really compare the product to. I have experienced this very same dilemma over the past 10 months and decided to share my results with you.

4 mono panels

I started my system by buying a prepackaged 200 Watt system from Renogy. (Read the review here.) The system came with two 100 watt monocrystalline panels which seemed Continue reading “Gear Review: Comparing 4 Popular Solar Panels”

Gear Review: Rolling Fox Tarp Shelter

The keys to survival remain fairly constant: food, water, shelter, security. If you carry a bug-out-bag or EDC bag you might want to consider adding this to your carry. This little shelter weights less than 2 lbs. and packs down into a very small package.

rolling fox

It’s called a tarp shelter because it’s basically a very light-weight tarp, yet unlike the traditional 8’x10’ tarp with 4 little O-rings on the corners this kit comes with a total of 16 tie down points, 4 metal stakes, and 4 9 foot pieces of paracord and a carry bag to keep it all together.  Continue reading “Gear Review: Rolling Fox Tarp Shelter”

Gear Review: Renogy 200 Watt Complete Solar Kit

It seems prepping and Solar Power often go hand in hand, so despite my long held opposition to alternative energy, I began to do some research (I will post some links at the bottom of the article.) There are a large number of players in arena, but thanks to some extensive reviews and recommendations over at the TinHatRanch.com we decided to take our chances with a Renogy kit. Aside from the positive reviews, Renogy had (at least on Amazon) the only ‘complete kit’ that was actually a complete kit. Yes, several claimed to be complete, yet require at minimum a battery to actually function. The Renogy kit cam with 2 100 watt monocrystalline panels, 30 watt PWM charge controller, 500 watt inverter, 12v 100ah sealed GEL battery and all the cables and hardware needed to hook it all up. Being skeptical I ordered a few extra cables ‘just in case,’ but wound up not needing them. Here is a link to the unit as we purchased it: Renogy 200 Watts 12 Volt Complete Solar Panel kit Monocrystalline with Charge Controller +Mounts+ 100AH Gel Battery+ 500W Pure Sine Inverter

Update: The ‘Complete System’ has been frequently out of stock on Amazon, but you can get basically the same system by getting the Starter Kit and adding the Gel Battery and your choice of inverter. We have recently upgraded to a 2000W Pure Sine Wave Power Inverter.


The panels seem well constructed and as I stated are of the monocrystalline variety vs. the polycrystalline as they are promoted as being more efficient particularly in low light. I guess I just have to take their word for it on this one.

charge controler

The charge control is a very basic 30 amp unit with only light indicators for battery type, battery status, and charging status. A upgraded version would be preferable, but the unit does it’s job as intended.


The inverter is a basic 500 watt unit, nothing fancy, but a larger unit than is contained in most solar kits in this price range. At 500 watts it will run most small electronics and can easily run more than the 2 panels can generate.


The battery is the biggest surprise here as none of the other kits actually came with a battery, none. This 12v 100ah sealed GEL battery is a little beast weighing in at nearly 70 pounds with a claimed 10 year lifespan. Oddly, the stats claim a maximum recommended charging of 20 amps in a system that is expandable up to 30 amps, but so far so good.

Set up

Surprisingly the kit actually came with all the cables, z-brackets, and fuses necessary to get the unit up and running in just a couple of hours. My only complaint is that the tray cables are not color coded for simplification nor are the cables on the back of the solar panels. Yes, this was easily overcome with some red electrical tape, but details can make a difference. The kit came with instruction manuals for each unit instead of one manual for the kit. However, their help line was extremely good.

Overall I am very pleased with the kit as an easy way to get started with solar. If you are well versed in solar, then you would be better off purchasing individual parts to better customize the system to your needs. However, this is a great way to get started without breaking the bank.

Update: we have added 2 more panels, another 100 watt battery and upgraded the fuses to meet those needs. Now 8 weeks into the project, I would still recommend this kit to anyone taking their first journey into solar energy.

Hope you found this helpful.

Here are 7 great videos on the subject from the TinHatRanch.

Solar Part 1

Solar Part 2

Solar Part 3

Solar Part 4

Solar Part 5

Solar Part 6

Solar Part 7

Product Review: Kill A Watt Energy Usage Monitor


Whether you are looking to go off the grid, create a back up power system or just save on electricity; the Kill A Watt monitor is a great tool. You have to know how much energy different gadgets and appliances burn in order to know what you can power with what or what is running up that electric bill.


You simply plug the unit into the outlet and plug the item you want to check into it – simple. You can set it to measure Volts, Current, Amps and more. You can even input your local rate per KWH and calculate your Hour, Day, Week, Month and Yearly cost of whatever you are testing. What we found most useful was being able to see real energy usage as opposed to what the owner’s manual says. A 300 watt appliance may not actually use 300 watts every hour; a 300 watt item used 5 minutes a day only uses 25 watts. For example: our new All-in-One Desktop” target=”_blank”>All-in-One PC is rated at about 65 watts (an hour), but actually uses 35 watts when in active use and 18 watts in sleep mode (I used to hate sleep mode). Add this to the 5 watts for the modem and 5 watts for the wireless router; we’re pulling 45 watts when in full use and 28 watts when idle. Watching Netflix on the PC turned out to be WAAAY more efficient than turning on the TV. We found that our rarely used TV/Entertainment center was burning nearly 50 Watts (per hour) while sitting idle – more than our all in one desktop PC when in use. Yes, most electronics use at least some power even when turned off. We found that adding power strips and keeping them turned off when the items are not in use eliminated this waste (or you can simply unplug them.)  


Knowledge is power, just the exercise of testing and learning what gadgets are burning how much energy, led to 14% or $35 reduction in our electric bill in just the 1st month. That may seem small to you, but that’s $420 a year that was previously wasted and could better be spent elsewhere.

Bottom line: if you’re looking to reduce (or replace) your energy usage, this is the place to start. I picked mine up at Home Depot for about $29, Amazon has it for about $27.00.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

Happy prepping!