Keeping It Clean

Welcome to this week’s newsletter, brought to you by former Force Recon Marine, Chris Graham’s 30-10 At-Home Pistol Training Program–Guaranteed to put you in the top 10% of all shooters in the next 30 days.  Learn more now by going >HERE<

It’s rare when a movie gets it right when trying to portray the reality of grid-down.  In most post-apocalyptic movies, the actors looked like they just stepped out of the shower, blew their hair dry, and their pearly whites are. . . well, pearly white.  Rarely is dirt embedded under an actor’s fingernails and if the men have beards, it’s a rugged (but never scruffy) one-day stubble. The women, no matter how bad things get, find the time to put on makeup, their hair is always perfect, and their manicures and long nails are as realistic as the perfect hair.

To complete the overall picture, I might as well move on to the clothing.  The protagonists clothing, after having fought off the bad guys, or having been forced to sleep under the stars for nights on end may have a strategic smudge here and there, but they don’t have funk on them to the point they could stand up on their own without having to be hung up.  Yet, we never see anyone showering, brushing their teeth or hand washing laundry.

In the real world after a few days of grid-down, showers and bathtubs aren’t going to be delivering water. Sinks will be dry and toilets aren’t going to flush unless you’re set up on a septic system and have the extra water to use the bucket method to get them to flush.

For this reason, investing in a free-standing washtub for bathing is a good idea.  My favorite is a Tuff Stuff tub because they can handle being exposed to the elements (both freezing and hot temperatures) and don’t crack–I should know, I’ve had a couple stored under my cabin for years now and they’re no worse for wear.  I looked online, and a 50 gallon size is $76.32 on Amazon.  A solar shower would  be another item to have on hand. Looking around, I found REI’s Sea to Summit Pocket Shower that received good reviews and sells for $29.95.

(David’s note:  If you’re cheap or unprepared, you can make a pretty good solar shower out of a black plastic construction grade garbage bag.  Don’t overfill, poke holes near a corner with nails, and clip it shut with a chip clip when you want to turn it off.)

Unless you’re on a septic system, you really need a camp toilet or two.  Years ago, when I moved to the wilderness, I purchased several Luggable Loo’s at Cabela’s.  They have a seat that sits on a 5-gallon bucket and a lid–no frills, but at $20.99 each, they came in handy when the pipes froze under the exposed portion of the cabin.  That’s been rectified, and there’s now an outhouse for when it will be needed for our large group, but I would still recommend them.

If you have the property to build an outhouse, even if it’s against building code now, it’s likely they’ll be allowed in a long-term crisis and they’re well worth the small investment.  Putting the lumber, plywood, and roofing material aside now, when it’s available, is worth considering.   You’ll find How To Make an Outhouse at wikiHow that gives step-by-step plans to build an outhouse, along with several excellent tips on maintaining an outhouse.

Laundry will require laundry soap, water, and a stand-alone tub, and unless you plan ahead for a manual agitator to get laundry clean, it’s going to take a whole lot of elbow grease to get the job done.  If you’re on a budget and like a Do-It-Yourself approach, check out the article published in Off-Grid 101, titled DIY washing machine and homemade laundry soap.  To make one only requires a bucket, a lid, and a new toilet plunger with holes cut out to agitate the clothes.  Amazon carries the Wonder Wash that operates manually with a hand crank which has a 5 pound clothes capacity for $39.90.

If you’ve never tried it wring out sopping clothes by hand, I can tell you from experience that it’s best done with two people, and even then, it’s a thankless job. Better add a wringer mop bucket or an antique wringer/washer to the list. If you prefer a stand-alone clothes wringer, they’re available at Amazon for $159.39.

Once the laundry is clean and wrung out, you’re going to need clothes line and clothespins.  If you have the room, a wood clothes drying rack will come in handy for rainy days when hanging them outside would be counterproductive.  They cost anywhere from $19.00 to $80.00 (yep, Amazon again), depending on the size and maker.

Dishes will need to be washed, even if you’ve bought Costco out of paper plates if we find ourselves in a protracted crisis.  Besides, there is bound to be silverware, cooking utensils, drinking glasses and pots and pans to wash, and once your supply of paper plates runs out, it’ll be back to regular plates.  A couple of smaller tubs are a must, as is plenty of dish soap–check the dollar stores for both.

Note:  Knowing how to plug your sewer line will save you grief should a grid-down outlast the the emergency power backup of municipalities.  Go here for instructions; How to Plug Your Sewer Line. 

I’ve put together a few lists, separated by category, that you can check against what you already have in place.

Bathing & Hygiene Products

Body Soap



Dental Floss


Cream Rinse

Body Lotion



Shaving Cream

Washtub for Laundry & Bathing (Tough Stuff sells a 50 gallon size for $76.32)

Camp Toilet/Materials to Build an Outhouse


Laundry Soap*

Clothes Line


Washboard or Manual Agitator (Check Lehmans & Amazon)

Washtub (see above)

Wringer-Style Mop Pail/Antique Wringer-Washing Machine/Manual Clothes Wringer

*Years ago, I discovered the Duggar Family (19 Kids & Counting)  recipe for laundry soap, which was a huge relief.  It doesn’t take up the space that store-bought laundry soap does, it can be made as you go in a 5-gallon bucket, and it’s cheap to make! I’ve found all of the ingredients called for in the recipe at Wal-Mart which can be ordered online.

The Duggar’s Favorite Recipes: Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap- Front or top load machine- best value

4 Cups – hot tap water

Fels-Naptha soap bar

1 Cup – Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda

1/2 Cup- Borax

  • Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water.  Stir continually over medium-high heat until soap dissolves and is melted.
  • Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water.  Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax.  Stir well until all powder is dissolved.  Fill bucket to top with more hot water.  Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.
  • Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of the way with water.  Shake well before each use. (will gel!)
  • Optional: You can add 10 – 15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons.  Add once soap has cooled.  Ideas: Lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.
  • Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.

Dishes & General Clean-Up

Dish Washing Tubs

Dish Soap

Scrubbing Pads

Dish Drain

So, do you have any favorite movies that you feel realistically portrays life after the grid goes down?  Any favorite multi-use items like baking soda or vinegar?  And if you have any favorite tips for bathing, or doing laundry or dishes during grid-down please share them by commenting below.  

And, if you didn’t see Ox’s speed shooting videos with a subcompact Glock or his training tips for integrating dry fire and live fire training, as well as smoothing out and speeding up your drawstroke, transitions, and learning how to train your eyes to focus on the front sight faster, check out his articles >HERE< and >HERE<

God bless and stay safe,

David Morris and Survival Diva








3 more metronome drills for dry fire and live fire

Yesterday, we talked about using a metronome in your dry fire practice to work on smoothing out your trigger control.  Today, we’re going to cover 3 more metronome drills that will smooth out and speed up your drawstroke, transitions, and ability to focus on the front sight to a level that you may not have thought was possible.

2.  Use the metronome for your drawstroke.  This is an incredibly high octane drill that will do more to speed up your drawstroke in less time than any other drill I know of.

Set the metronome to 120 (one beep every half second) and progress through each of the following steps each time you hear a beep:

  • hands to your side
  • grab the grip of your gun
  • Clear the holster
  • Rock the gun towards the target
  • Grab your gun with your support hand
  • Raise your gun so it’s 8-12″ from your face with the sights lined up on your target and your finger on the trigger
  • Extend the gun to full extension, keeping the sights aligned and press and release the trigger
  • Bring your gun back to 8-12″ in front of your face with your trigger finger straight, stiff, and rigid along the frame and your sights still aligned on the target
  • Hold in this position for a 5-10 count to scan and assess
  • Drop your gun down to belly level, still pointed at the target and put your support hand flat against your belly
  • Rock your gun back down over the holster
  • Reholster
  • Hands to your side

If you’ve gone through the Deadly Accuracy course, you’ll recognize the “straight, stiff, and rigid” verbiage and if you’re a Concealed Carry Masters Course student, you’ll also want to add in your outside 90 flinch response, multiple shots, clearing your cover garment, and your 360 degree scan.

Using the metronome for these drills will break them up into discrete parts so that your mind will be able to work on small discrete chunks of the drawstroke instead of the entire drawstroke at one time.

At first, it will make you choppy but it will be developing incredibly precise neural pathways.  Once you can do it perfectly at a given cadence EFFORTLESSLY 20 times in a row, speed it up.

As you speed up, you’ll be forced/encouraged to eliminate wasted movement.  When you use a metronome, efficiency is rewarded and waste is punished.

As you speed up a little more, the choppiness will go away and the entire drawstroke will become as smooth as silk.

As famed instructor, John Farnam says, “Round off the edges, and eliminate the seams.”

3.  Use the metronome to engage multiple targets.

This is a basic transition drill that I’ve seen help even more “advanced” shooters smooth out and speed up their transitions.

Set your metronome to 60 cycles per minute

If you’re doing dry fire, stand 10 feet away from a wall with 2 targets, 10 feet apart.  You can be between the targets, lined up on the left one, or lined up on the right one.  If your room is smaller than that, stand 8 feet away from a wall with the targets 8 feet apart.

With each cycle of the metronome go through the following steps

  • Look at the left target
  • Aim at the left target
  • press the trigger
  • “throw” your head to the right target, leaving your gun pointed at the left target
  • aim your gun at the right target
  • press the trigger
  • repeat

Again, this starts out mechanical and choppy, but as you develop neural pathways, you’ll eliminate wasted movement, smooth out the process, and your speed will increase.

What you’ll notice is that as you speed up, your head will begin the transition a mere instant before your gun starts the transition, but that instant head-start will translate into less overtravel and a significantly faster transition.

4.  Use the metronome to speed up your ability to diverge & converge your focus.

It takes the average shooter .25-1 seconds to converge their focus from their target to their front sight, depending on the person and the distance to the target.

If you have older eyes or if you stare at computer screens all day, this time is probably on the longer side.  Fortunately, it is something that you have control over, and this exercise can drop the length of time that it takes to transition from a hard focus on your target to a hard focus on your front sight by a significant amount.

Start by standing 5-20 (but no more than 20) feet from a poster, sign, cereal box, or something else that you can read clearly.

Hold a business card or book with small print at arms length that is as small as you can see clearly.

With a stopwatch at the ready, focus at arm’s length.

Hit the start button on the stopwatch and switch your focus to the distant object and back to the arm’s length object 10x.  Don’t cheat.  Make sure that you have crystal clear focus on both the near and far objects, regardless of whether or not you are wearing bi-focals or tri-focals.

Divide that time by 10…so if it took you 18 seconds, you’d have 1.8 seconds.

Divide that time by 2.  1.8 divided by 2 is .9 seconds.

Divide 60 (seconds) by that number (.9) = 66 cycles/beats per minute, subtract 10 from it, and set your metronome to that rate.  (in this case, 56 cycles/beats per minute)

Now, with the metronome and whatever platform you’re using for dry fire practice, practice diverging (focusing on your target) and converging (focusing on your front sight) your focus in time to the metronome in sets of 10.

Your focus (pun intended) with this drill shouldn’t be on speed.  Your focus should be on being honest with yourself and going at whatever pace/cadence you need to in order to achieve clear visual focus every time you shift where you’re looking.  Don’t be afraid to slow down.

PLEASE trust me here…it’s why I told you to subtract “10″ from your initial cadence.  If your eyes are sore after 10 reps, STOP.  Wait until the next day, slow your pace down 10 cycles per minute, and try again.

This exercises the (small) muscles of the eyes and as you get smoother and more consistent, you will develop neural pathways for shifting focus to arm’s length (your front sight).  As you get smoother, more consistent, and develop these neural pathways, your ability to quickly transition your focus from your target to your front sight and release your first round will increase to a shocking degree.

If you own a set of Dry Fire Training Cards, you’ve been doing these drills for up to a year or more–just without the metronome.  Don’t have a set of Dry Fire Training Cards yet?  If you’re a serious shooter, that’s just silly.

National Tactical Officers Association Tested and Recommended

National Tactical Officers Association Tested and Recommended


They’ve been tested and recommended by the National Tactical Officers’ Association.

Tier I and Tier II units from multiple countries use them in their training…even with nearly unlimited budgets.  In fact, one senior 18B special forces instructor has made Dry Fire Training Cards almost mandatory for the guys on the teams he works with to use Dry Fire Training Cards on their own before he’ll work with them!

Law Enforcement agencies across the US are buying them in bulk to maintain and improve their officers’ and deputies’ shooting skills in a time of shrinking budgets.

And competitive and concealed carry shooters are buying them in mass because they know they need every training edge they can possibly get.

To get yours now, head on over to

Questions?  Comments?  Any experience with training with a metronome?  Please share by commenting below:

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