Alternative Tools For TBI and PTSD

At SHOT show, I ended up in several conversations about PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) and how military medicine, including the VA, kind of has their hands tied as far as doing much besides treating symptoms. Part of the conversations stemmed from the success of “American Sniper” and the fact that Chris Kyle spent the majority of his time after returning home helping people dealing with these exact issues, and it was one of the topics that we connected the most on.

I’m going to share some things with you today to look into on your own and with your healthcare provider that could not only help yourself or a loved one with TBI and/or PTSD, but may help you sleep better when you’re facing high stress periods of your life, like financial issues, relationship issues, parenting challenges.

I’ve got to start this by saying that I’m not a doctor or medical professional. I’m not giving advice on what you should do…at most, I’m suggesting a few topics to talk about with your healthcare provider. These are all things that have worked for me and for friends of mine dealing with TBI and/or PTSD, but that doesn’t mean you should assume that they will work for you or a loved one.

For the rest of the article, I’m going to talk about TBI and PTSD. You’ll notice that most of what I talk about is also worth talking with your healthcare provider about the next time you’re going through an extremely stressful time. In other words, I’m talking about TBI and PTSD, but it applies to everyone.

Here’s the gist:

  1. We’re going to look at TBI and PTSD as primary issues. These primary issues cause secondary issues…namely sleep loss and brain/body chemical and biological imbalances. These secondary issues cause symptoms that both mimic PTSD and sometimes TBI symptoms and prevent the primary issues from healing.
  2. 100% is a relative term. Some injuries/damage won’t heal for some people.
  3. Holistic solutions that address the body as a complex, interrelated system tend to work better than short term fixes that simply address symptoms.
  4. False hope is cruel. I’m not going to blow smoke and tell you it’s all going to be better. I’m not a doc. I don’t know you. What I’m going to share with you has worked for a LOT of people, but it may not work for you or your loved one.

That being said, I know of people who have gone from being completely non-functional (mentally and physically–close to vegetative) from a TBI and written off by the VA as not having any chance of getting better to walking, talking, and using their hands again in a few short months of non-VA care that focused on their gut and brain/body chemistry.

Please understand that I’m not bashing the frontline people who work at the VA. No matter how good individual people may be, they are hobbled, hindered, and held back by overwhelming bureaucracy and red tape. Oftentimes, they’re reduced to only being able to placate symptoms without having the tools to try to fix underlying problems.

I want to start by describing a little of what goes on for some guys returning from high intensity combat deployments.

For most, it was either the best or worst time of their life. In either case, the rush of combat takes a toll.

Aspects of combat are simple and allow the mind to focus on a single goal with fierce intensity. “Now” is all that matters. Living in this mode, in and of itself, can make returning home to relationship issues, money issues, household chores, simple traffic, lines, and other stuff infuriating and cause them to yearn for the simplicity of combat, regardless of whether they actually want to return to combat.

I know guys who used to need to take sleeping pills almost every night between deployments, but slept like a baby when they were deployed. Go figure.

Next, some people feel “dead” or “numb” inside when they return and just want to feel SOMETHING…anything again. With one close friend and climbing partner of mine, it was because he’d over-taxed his adrenal system and was running on hormonal and brain chemistry vapor…he had no gas in the tank. He did progressively more and more risky things in an attempt to feel SOMETHING. He’d rush packing his chute, hoping he’d have a failure and have to pull his spare and other similarly stupid stuff just to feel something close to how alive combat made him feel. I even had to save his life once when a stupid stunt went wrong. He got stuff straightened out, had a couple more good deployments, and is good to go almost 8 years from that time.

Others aren’t so lucky. They get motorcycles and ride fast enough to feel like they’re on the edge of life and death again…and go over. They do the same in cars. Or they find drugs that give them one or two good trips before getting addicted and auguring in.

So, here’s the thing with stress, TBI, and PTSD. You’ve got the problem, and then you’ve got the 2nd and 3rd degree problems.

A typical scenario is for someone who’s having trouble sleeping to self-medicate with alcohol to get to sleep.

Normally, it helps someone get a few hours of “sleep”, but not the recuperative REM sleep or the slow delta brainwaves associated with deep sleep and rejuvenation. In addition, it sets off a blood sugar roller coaster that usually includes a shot of adrenaline a few hours after going to bed due to blood sugar dropping off and a fitful rest of the night.

Using alcohol as a sleep aid causes another problem…magnesium deficiency. What happens when you don’t have enough magnesium? Fatigue, confusion, irritability, muscle twitches, memory problems, delirium, hallucinations, and more.

Keep in mind that REM sleep is important. You can die in as soon as 5 weeks if you’re sleeping but not getting ANY REM sleep. Lack of sufficient REM and deep sleep also can cause many of the same irritability and short fuse symptoms that PTSD causes…in effect, amplifying the PTSD. The lack of sleep oftentimes leads people to excessive use of stimulants during the day which also increases irritability and short fuse symptoms as well as overtaxing the endocrine system in general and adrenals in particular.

See why this whole 2nd and 3rd degree thing is important? Someone gets TBI from an IED, comes home, can’t turn off the demons to go to sleep, so they zone out watching TV and have several drinks to get to sleep. They’re not getting good sleep and some of the side effects mimic PTSD. They take too many stimulants during the day and some of the side effects mimic PTSD. They fatigue their adrenals and some of the side effects mimic PTSD. They run low on Magnesium and some of the side effects mimic PTSD AND TBI. These 2nd and 3rd degree problems become problems in and of themselves and make it very hard for the body to heal & recuperate.

So they go to a counselor who gets them to talk through their problems but the 2nd and 3rd degree issues make it seem like the problem never goes away and they may not have the raw materials they need for their body to heal. The counseling doesn’t work because it’s only one part of the issue and one source of the symptoms, so they stop counseling and figure “that’s just the way things are going to be.”

Even worse, if they start taking anti-anxiety medication to address the symptoms without addressing the 2nd and 3rd degree issues, then they may or may not improve and you’ve got the side effects of the anti-anxiety medication to boot.

Depending on the cocktail of prescription drugs, in addition to the “regular” side effects, in many cases some of them bind with minerals that the body needs for various processes, interfere with digestion, or out-and-out ravage the digestive system.

So I’ll tell you what I’ve done and what friends of mine have done. This is not medical advice. Keep in mind that anything that actually does something in the body has a possibility of interacting with other medication you’re taking in a bad way and you need to work with a professional.

So what I and my friends have done is broken up into a few categories:

Sleep

Nutrition, supplements, and chemistry

Mental

Spiritual

Let’s start with sleep:

Everyone knows that they suffer if they don’t get enough sleep. A handful of nights with only 3-4 hours of sleep per night causes the same mental processing problems as being legally drunk. You may get used to it and be a “functional drunk” but a lack of sleep has cascading issues…from immediate mental acuity to long term healing, recuperation, and immune function.

But how do you shut off the demons long enough to get sleep?

For sleep:

Ask your doc, but here’s what I have taken:

Melatonin
5HTP
Phosphatidyl Serine
and used Adrenacalm cream

to help with sleep, but never all at the same time. Too much melatonin or taking 5HTP without enough hours to sleep normally causes me to have a “sleep hangover” the next morning where it takes a few hours to get going. I don’t have that problem with phosphatidyl serine or adrenacalm, but if I use too much adrenacalm, I have sore joints the next morning…presumably from not having enough cortisol. It’s fairly easy to take too much melatonin and it can seriously screw up your endocrine system. Work with a doc on dosing but keep in mind that MIT researchers found that .3mg was the ideal dose and that taking melatonin only works if your pineal gland isn’t releasing enough.

The next two are a crossover between sleep and mental.

EFT: EFT looks crazy and my mind tells me it shouldn’t work, but it’s worked every time I’ve used it over the last 10-15 years and it has worked for millions more. Essentially, it is the process of tapping meridians on the head torso, and hands in a specific sequence.

In practical terms, it will take something in the mind that has an intensity of an 8-10 (memory, fear, anxiety, etc.) and bring it down to a 2-3 in 5-10 minutes without drugs, equipment, rehashing the experience, or anything else. Oftentimes, this, in and of itself, can calm the mind enough to go to sleep without chemical aids.

In my opinion, EFT has been hijacked by people who aren’t firmly grounded in reality. It’s not a series of magical buttons, it won’t give you unlimited potential, and it won’t attract riches to you. Just because it’s been hijacked, doesn’t mean that the technique doesn’t work or is as wacky as some of the people who are using it.

For more information on EFT, I suggest going to www.eft.mercola.com.

A GREAT and also time tested technique to use with EFT is deep breathing. Stomach breathe (make your stomach go out instead of your chest when you inhale) in deeply for a 6-10 count, hold it for a 5 count, and exhale fully for a 6-10 count. The simple act of fully oxygenating the body can help many people can go from having a frantic mind to sleeping in less than 20 reps of this.

Alpha and Delta brainwave states: Alpha and Delta brainwave states are slower brainwaves than what people primarily have when they’re awake. These brainwave states are associated with healing and recuperation—both mentally and physically. You can get to these states with intense focus, self-hypnosis, “meditation”, and other tools. Natural birthing & pain control techniques use these states and sometimes just visualizing your “happy place” with enough focus, detail, and intensity, will let you slow down your brainwaves.

In short, if you can still your mind, it’s much easier to get to sleep.

Many Christians won’t touch these techniques because of how their use has been abused by bad people in the past, and religions built around the alpha and delta state experience. I’m a Christian—in fact, I’m the wacky kind who actually studies my Bible every day. Fact is, this is not supernatural to focus or relax unless you ADD a religious component to it. It’s how God made us. Deep relaxation and focus, in and of themselves, are inert, but can be used for good purposes or bad.

In many ways, deep relaxation and focus are similar to sex for Christians—stay with me on this. God made us in certain ways. We have predictable responses to certain stimuli. In and of themselves, deep relaxation, focus, and sex are not good or bad. All of them have been used in evil ways. Religions have been built around the experience you get from each. And all of them can detract from God. But all of them can be a part of a healthy Christian life when used in the proper context.

We go in and out of these states to various degrees all day long. If you’ve ever been “in the zone” in sports or work (and tried to get back to that state) you’re familiar with alpha state and the quest for it. If you’re comfortable with deep relaxation and focus, go for it. If you’re not comfortable, don’t. If you’re on the fence, dig into it and come to a conclusion.

Nutrition:

One of the things that I tell my boys is that every cell in their body is made up of what they put into their mouth. I know it’s a little more complicated than that, but the truth in the message holds. As Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” The better fuel you put into your engine, the better it will run. In the case of the body, the better it will heal.

Sometimes, even with good nutrition, months or years of stress add up and it takes more than just food.

I work with Dr. Tom Incledon at Human Performance Specialists on the nutritional aspects of mental and nervous system performance for shooting. (HumanPerformanceSpecialists.com 480-883-7240) Tom’s not an MD…but he’s got more advanced degrees than anyone else I know and has a staff of MDs who work for him.

Tom’s approach…on professional athletes, executives, and guys with TBI/PTSD is to test the body. If there’s stuff in there that shouldn’t be, get rid of it. If there’s stuff missing that should be in there, figure out how far up the line the problem is and get the levels corrected.

Take an example of a guy who was in one of the Stans and gets a TBI from an IED and gets shipped home. There’s a decent chance that he has one or more novel bacteria/parasites in his system from the tour. There’s a decent chance that the good bacteria in his gut (which is relatively weak) got wiped out from antibiotics he received and from ongoing medication. There’s a good chance that his adrenals are stressed and his brain chemistry is off. There’s also a good chance that some of the prescription medication that he’s taking will deplete the body of minerals and other nutrients that it needs faster than he can replace them and there will eventually be 2nd and 3rd degree problems as a result.

So, Tom starts by doing testing to make sure that the gut has enough good bacteria, and that there are no parasites, fungi, yeasts, or bad bacteria living in the body. If anything is missing, he fixes it. If anything is there that shouldn’t be, he fixes it.

Why?

80% of the body’s immune function comes from how effectively the gut is working. If the body is wasting too much energy on immune function because of an inefficient gut, it’s not going to heal as effectively as it could.

Also, if your gut isn’t breaking down food properly and can’t extract the nutrients that your body needs, those nutrients are going to end up in the toilet and your body isn’t going to have the tools that it needs to function, heal, and rebuild.

Next, Tom does an extensive blood panel to see where vitamin, mineral, amino acid, fats, and other nutrient levels are. There’s no one magic supplement that helps everyone…If you’ve got plenty of vitamin C, taking more won’t help and could give you digestive issues. If you’ve got scurvy, taking more vitamin C could save your life.

Some nutrients will lower cholesterol and increase testosterone levels…if you’re low on those nutrients, you could have high cholesterol and low testosterone. If you take drugs to lower your cholesterol and supplements to increase your testosterone, there are oftentimes 2nd and 3rd degree problems that result. This is the case with several systems in the body and why it’s so important to test and address problems at the source and take a holistic approach rather than simply trying to address symptoms.

When you get rid of stuff that’s parasitic to the body and give the body the raw materials that it needs and combine it with ongoing nutrition and adequate sleep, you create an environment where any healing that MIGHT occur has a much better chance of happening. It’s not a magic bullet. It’s not overnight. And your idea of where full recovery should be may not mesh with reality—it may fall short of where you want it to, or it might go way beyond that. But helping people with TBI and PTSD is one area where I pull out the stops and try to stack the deck as far in their favor as possible…to the point where, if it were a game, it would be cheating.

If you want to go this route, you can work with Tom or someone local. I know Tom, trust Tom, and recommend him to friends, but work with whoever works best for you.

A high-tech, Star Trek tool to consider…

One thing that you want to look into is pEMF (pulsed electromagnetic field therapy). This is a tool that is used by the US and Russian space programs, Lance Armstrong used it between training sessions, and there are more than 400 studies on pEMF that the NIH references on PubMed. Even so, it’s still considered “pseudo-science” by some.

When I’ve used it, they stick EKG type pads on my body and ran low (non-painful) voltage pulsed currents through my body. Some combinations of frequencies reset the thyroid, others speed post-workout recovery, one of our babysitters used pEMF to knock out her Lyme disease after trying other treatments without success for years.

The idea behind it is that if you get the head right (electrically) and the head talking to the body right, a lot of problems go away.

Will it work for you? Ask your doc or a medical professional locally who uses pEMF and see if it’s a possibility.

Spiritual

I’m not going to go into depth on this, but it’s an important part of life in general and trials in particular. God can give you peace when nothing else will. He’s not a jack-in-the-box and I don’t pretend to understand Him 100%, but he can give peace that passes all understanding. Ask him. Talk with him. He’s awake when no one else is around to listen.

Conclusion

To summarize all of this, if you give the body what it needs to heal, it can do incredible things with horrible mental and physical trauma.

As an example of what “non-traditional” treatments can do after military and VA medicine have hit the wall, look at what Carrick Brain Centers have done for Marcus Luttrell. He was admittedly in a REALLY bad place mentally and physically after a TBI and has been able to have an amazing recovery after working with Carrick.

 

 

Thoughts? Questions? Let me know by commenting below.

 

Own The Night–Night Vision, Thermal, and the eye

Ox here…Today, I am going to give you a quick review of a couple of night vision devices, a basic tip for seeing better in the dark, and some high-speed tips for seeing better in the dark.

I learned to love the dark many years ago.  I went through a phase where I attacked my fears and phobias, as well as other common fears and phobias.  To knock out my fear of heights, I worked red iron construction and took up rock climbing.  To knock out my fear of drowning, I got comfortable swimming 50 meters underwater, wrestling underwater, and breathing out when my lungs burned instead of popping to the surface.  When I was doing mixed martial arts, we got over our fear of being choked out…by choking each other out and reviving each other more times than I can remember (I may have had some hypoxia induced memory loss.)  And, to knock out my fear of the dark, I started spending time navigating and operating in the dark.

I still love the dark and we are blessed to live in the woods where we’ve got very little light pollution and where I get to spend as much time as I want in the dark.

As comfortable as I am with the dark, I have grown to love my thermal and night vision gear.

We’re fortunate to have mountain lions, bears, bobcats, coyotes, raccoons, and porcupines very close to our house,  and all of them are threats to our chickens and citified dogs.  Now we don’t live in a zoo, and we don’t see each of those animals all the time, but they all make random appearances throughout the year.

Whether it’s simply nature watching, hunting, finding a lost kid/pet, navigating to a pre-dawn hunting spot in sketchy conditions, or checking things out when the dogs or chickens start making a racket at night, I end up using thermal and night vision almost every night.

The three main devices that I use are the PS24 FLIR thermal imager (monocular), the PVS14 Night Vision Monocular, and the ATN THOR (gun mounted thermal monocular).  I’ll go over them briefly, answer any questions you might have below, and do a more in-depth review if needed.

FLIR PS24 Thermal, PVS 14 NVG, ATN THOR Thermal

FLIR PS24 Thermal, PVS 14 NVG, ATN THOR Thermal

Let’s start with some basics.  First off, consumer grade products are different than LE/MIL products.  I’ve run some non-civilian gear that is absolutely sick.  The gear that you can easily buy and MIGHT be able to afford is impressive, but slightly less high speed.

Thermal

Thermal vision allows you to see differences in temperature.  As an example, if you are 98.6 degrees and you’re in a 98.6 degree environment, you will be invisible to thermal devices.  Or, if it’s night time and 70 degrees outside, but the rocks, pavement, etc. are still at 98 degrees from the heat of the sun, they’ll show up the same as a person and you’ll have to differentiate rocks from people by memory and shape.

In general, the more expensive the device, the more subtle differences in heat that you’ll be able to pick up.  My $7,000 THOR will pick up the warmth of fresh footprints on cool dirt or snow for several yards, but my $2,000 FLIR will only show footprints for a few seconds after the animal/person has moved.

Along those same lines, when I look at my metal roof with my THOR most nights of the year, I can see crisp lines where the rafters are underneath because they transfer more heat to the roof than the insulation between the rafters.  The FLIR will only start showing the studs when it’s below 20 outside and above 70 inside.

I say this because thermal devices are very handy for diagnosing where you’re REALLY losing heat.  If your house is like most houses I’ve looked at, the thermal will only verify the usual suspects and won’t give you any earth shattering news…air gaps on exterior doors are the #1 offender.  This little bit of information caused me to use painters tape on the sliding doors in our bedroom this winter and we saw an IMMEDIATE 5 degree jump in the temperature of our bedroom.

Thermal devices can be used 24 hours a day, regardless of ambient light, but they won’t work as well in daylight simply because the sun is heating everything and the temperature differentials are less during the day.

Night Vision

Night vision works by amplifying the light in your environment.  Because of that, you only want to use them in dark conditions.  The more you expose your night vision to light, the shorter the life expectancy will be, so this is important.

You also need SOME light for your night vision device to amplify, so if it’s incredibly dark or pitch black, you’ll need to supplement with either visible light (not recommended) or with an IR flashlight.  As a neat sidenote, if you’ve got night vision security cameras facing outwards from your house, the light will be invisible to your naked eye, but your night vision device will pick it up like a flood light.

I’ve run several night vision systems…from Russian surplus up to $30k headsets with 2-way video communication, and I recommend the PVS14 without hesitation to anyone who asks.

The effectiveness of night vision devices degrades over time.  The brighter light you expose them to while they’re turned on, the quicker they’ll degrade.  No night vision is perfect, and they all come with some dead/dying pixels.  New night vision devices are rated based on the number of dead pixels that they have, which partially explains why you can find PVS14s ranging from $2,500-$3,500.  Personally, I’d never buy a $2,500 PVS14 OR a $3,500 PVS14.  Why?  Because you can get the top of the line PVS14s for about $3k from jrhenterprises.com/Night-Vision_c3.htm  (Tell Robert that Ox sent you when you order.)

If you’re a tinkerer, you can do some pretty neat projects with camcorders that have night vision mode as well as wireless baby monitors with night vision.  They won’t match a PVS14, but they are a lot cheaper and a HUGE jump over being blind in the dark.

You CAN run the PVS14 as a weapon mounted sight in line with an Aimpoint, EoTech, or other red-dot sight, but I don’t recommend it…I’ll tell you why in a minute.

Thermal

Thermal devices work by showing you temperature differentials.  In other words, if it’s a 98 degree day and the ground, buildings, trees, and bushes are all roughly 98 degrees, you’re not going to see any people through a thermal device.  But for the rest of the time, thermal’s great.

At night, as things start to cool off, animals and people pop out on a thermal device.  You can set them so that hotter objects appear as white, hotter objects appear as black, or on many devices, so that hotter objects appear red.  Some even outline shapes that the device believes to be human/animal so that you can pick them out faster.

Thermal is also great for checking your house if you live somewhere where you spend a lot on cooling or heating your house.  Air leaks and conductive leaks show up VERY quickly with thermal.  As an example, a scan of our bedroom on a 20 degree day told me that our sliding door leaked air.  We taped it and noticed an immediate difference.  I scanned it again and saw that we were also losing a lot through the glass and the aluminum frame.  We essentially put a layer of saran wrap on it and, again, noticed an immediate difference.  How much?  The temperature 6″ inside of the door is almost 30 degrees warmer now (it was below freezing) than it was before we used the tape and “saran wrap.”  (No, it wasn’t really saran wrap…it was a big plastic sheet from Home Depot)

As far as specific thermal devices, I use the FLIR PVS14 almost daily.  It’s stupid-simple, light, small, and works great.  You can get them on Amazon >HERE< or from Robert >HERE<.  It is not made to be mounted on a weapon and take recoil.

The ATN Thor was cutting edge(ish) and really cool when I bought it, but a lot has changed in the last few years.  As military contracts dropped off and ATN proved that there was a rabid civilian market, several high quality players have entered the market.  My two favorites today (I don’t own either…yet) are the FLIR Thermosight and the IR Hunter.  You can find them on Amazon >HERE< from Robert >HERE< or from Tactical Night Vision Company >HERE<.  Both of these are made to be mounted on rifles, up to .308.  My preference is definitely the IR Hunter because of the clarity and the increased ability to identify people.

Night Vision vs. Thermal

Night vision and thermal are different animals, and it’s important to understand a few of the differences before you buy:

Frame rate:  With the PVS14, movement is perfectly fluid.  If you shake your head, the image will look the same as if you were in a lit room with nothing over your eyes.  With thermal, there is a frame rate and what you see is delayed a fraction of a second behind reality.  Personally, this means that I can spend a long time operating/moving/navigating with night vision on, but I get disoriented and a headache looking through thermal for an extended period while moving.

The next thing is that it’s easier to pick out a stationary person/animal with thermal than with night vision.  With night vision, you see the world in different shades of green and black.  If you’re doing a 90-180 degree scan of a textured environment (trees, grass, rocks, etc.) it almost takes movement to spot people or animals outside of 50 yards.  With thermal…especially with the FLIR PS24, I just set it to “red hot” and can scan 180 degrees of wilderness/forest/hill/mountain in 1-3 seconds.  If I see any red in my initial scan, I go back and look a 2nd time.  If I still can’t tell what it is, I switch to night vision and, now that I know SOMETHING is there, it’s pretty straight forward to identify it.

Depending on the state that you live in, both night vision and thermal may be legal for non-game animals like coyote, wild hog, etc.

Hand, Head, or Weapon mounted

A lot of people get all wrapped around the axle about mounting their night vision on their weapon.  From experience, I can tell you that this has it’s place, but limits your options significantly.  As an example, if you’re around other people and have your night vision mounted on your weapon, you’re going to have to point your weapon at anything and anyone you want to see–not good.  If you’re in a fixed position, with no friendlies in the area, and hunting coyote at night, or something similar, then it’s not bad to have your NVG mounted…but I STILL don’t do it that way.

What I’ve found to be a much better option (and about 2 million members of our military used this method overseas in OIF/OEF before I figured it out) is to mount the night vision on a helmet or skull crusher (a strap system that comes with PVS14s to allow you to wear it on your head) and to have a laser on my weapon.  (I use a visible green laser, but you could go IR if you wanted)  When I’m hunting coyote, it allows me to walk & navigate in the dark with my rifle hanging and look around when I’m in a fixed position without having to hold my rifle out in front of me for the entire night.

My right eye is my dominant eye, and I put the night vision over my left eye and mount my rifle like normal when I want to shoot.  My right eye serves no purpose and is just along for the ride, but what I found was that if I wore the night vision over my right eye, I’d forget that it was there and hit my rifle optics with my night vision when I went to mount the gun.

One hybrid method that I’ve seen is to hold the night vision or thermal in one hand or use a head mount for scanning.  When you spot something, use a LaRue or similar mount to quickly mount it onto your rifle in line with your existing optics, take care of business, and then take it off and hold it in your hand for scanning again.

How to see better in the dark:

This is all great if you’ve got a few grand to spend on optics, but if you don’t, here’s one tip that almost anyone who’s served in the military will tell you helped them out at one time or another:  The way your eye is built, the middle of the eye (and the middle of your vision) is most finely tuned for colors.  Outside of that, your eye gets better and better at seeing contrast…like black and white.  In a very dim situation, you’ll have a blind fuzzy spot in the middle of your vision, but if you shift your gaze as little as 5-15 degrees to either side, you’ll be able to see what’s right in front of you without additional light.  For more details on this, go >HERE<

Next, there are specific vision exercises that you can do to help you see better in the dark.  You can learn more about them >HERE<

I know a lot of you have considerable time on NVG and/or thermal and would love your input on TTPs and recommendations.  Please share by commenting below:

 

 

 

 

Extremely small cold weather survival

With the "epic" blizzard hitting the East Coast I wanted to give you a couple of extremely small and compact winter survival tools that will help you maintain core temperature in the most extreme conditions.  As a note, if you live in a more temperate climate, keep in mind the fact that most cases of hypothermia happen when the temperature is in the 50s.  Why?  It's the perfect temperature that encourages activity, sweat, lighter than necessary clothing, and big temperature shifts due to the … Continue reading...

Chris Kyle/Larry Yatch American Sniper Benefit

If you haven't seen American Sniper yet, it's an awesome movie and I strongly encourage you to see it. Here's a quick TV interview that my friend, Retired Navy SEAL, Larry Yatch recently did about his tour on Team 3 with Chris and about the movie: I got to spend some time with Larry in Vegas at SHOT this week and we had a chance to swap stories about Chris.  To be clear, we had very different relationships with Chris.  Larry went to war with Chris and they were close friends/brothers.  … Continue reading...

4 Ways To Fight To Your Gun

Ox here, with this week's newsletter, brought to you by the "Fight To Your Gun" combatives program from Target Focus Training.  Designed and proven by and for special operations personnel, it's the ideal self-defense program for people who want to be able to effectively handle a younger, bigger, stronger, faster attacker...even without a gun, knife, or other external self-defense tool.  To learn more, go >HERE< I touched on this briefly yesterday, but I want to go into it in more depth … Continue reading...

What’s Ahead In 2015

Welcome to this week's newsletter, brought to you by the SURVIVE IN PLACE Urban Survival Course.  The first, and still best, guide to get you prepared to survive short and medium term disasters in your current home, whether it’s because of a terrorist attack, natural disaster, or pandemic.  To learn more, go >HERE< now. It's a new year, and for that we can be thankful, but that doesn't mean that last year's backlash won't be a concern in 2015. Today's article touches upon why we should be … Continue reading...

The Holidays: A Time To Remember What Really Counts

Welcome to this week's newsletter, brought to you by the Dry Fire Training Cards iPhone & iPad app!  This is the digital version of Dry Fire Training Cards that you can have with you 24/7 for dry fire practice, mental imagery practice, and live fire practice.  Download and start using it immediately on your Apple device by going >HERE<. I hope that this holiday brought special blessings to you and your loved ones. This year, I hosted Christmas, and in between the presents and visiting … Continue reading...

Winter’s Here: 20 Popular Survival-Related Novels To Relax With

Welcome to this week's newsletter, brought to you by...Amazon.com of all things :)  They can still deliver stuff by Christmas, so if you haven't gotten Dry Fire Training Cards, 30-10 Pistol, Concealed Carry Masters Course, Urban Survival Cards, or "Election"--the thriller/novel, head on over to Amazon now and get 'em. Winter is a great time to catch up on reading, and what better way to do that than with a survival-related novel that both entertains and reminds us of why we're preppers in the … Continue reading...

Are Your Communications Disaster-Ready?

Welcome to this week's newsletter, brought to you by the "Fastest Way To Prepare" book & course, that will walk you through how to pick up "junk" cell phones for a few bucks apiece that have the same secure (non cellular) communication technology that people regularly pay $300-$600 for.  These are smaller, cheaper, tougher, and more secure than 99% of the handheld radios that you'll find in stores.  They don't require a license or a repeater, are SIMPLE to use, and have great range.  To … Continue reading...

A Safe Room: Is One In Your Plans?

Welcome to this week's newsletter, brought to you by Jeff Anderson's "Home Defense Tactics", which is the best home invasion defense course I've seen to date.  For the next 2 days, when you order, you'll get a free DVD with highlights from to a leading home invasion survival live training course - one that works with police, military, and tough & gritty civilians - to capture the ultra-critical secrets you need to fine-tune your protection plan now!  To learn more, go >HERE< … Continue reading...