Essential Clothing – SmartWool Socks

Part of my Essentials Collection that I use functionally every day is SmartWool socks, in particular the Light Hiker variant or what SmartWool now calls the Hike Light model. I started using SmartWool in the late ’90s with a couple pairs of Light Hiker socks and have used a variety of their products including the Hike Medium Crew, PhD Outdoor Medium Crew, PhD Outdoor Light Micro, Mountaineering Extra Heavy Crew, and the Hike Liner Crew along with an assortment of non-sock items.

SmartWool has always made an excellent product and while I use a variety of different sock models the Light Hikers/ Hike Lights are my go to for daily wear. They wick moisture away, help keep your feet warm when it is cold and cool even in the scorching desert heat of Iraq. They are super soft out of the dryer and stay fairly soft even when worn day after day without the opportunity to do laundry and they hold up to the rigors and abuses of duty and adventure.


Here is a couple pairs with a few hundred miles on them and hundreds of miles to go. So, if you need a reliable set of socks for your day to day, a deployment, or go bag choose SmartWool and you will be good to go.

Until next time, stay sharp.

-Mike G

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Black Hills Ammo Details

I have had a Black Hills account for a few years and never made much use of it. That is about to change. With the lack of ammo at any price I contacted them to get details on delivery times. At SHOT they quoted me September to October for orders placed that week. I am going to be placing regular orders with them for a variety of ammo to help satisfy training and practice needs as well as defensive loads.

Below is what the current pricing looks like and are subject to change. This price does not include shipping and if you live within driving range of Richmond, VA a meet up can be arranged.

New Production (NOT Remanufactured) RED BOX
55gr FMJ — $600/1000rds
62gr Barnes TSX — $1320/1000rds
77gr Sierra MatchKing HP — $925/1000rds

62gr TSX — $675/500rds
77gr OTM — $470/500rds

168gr Match HP — $650/500rds
175gr Match HP — $720/500rds

Remanufactured BLUE BOX
55gr FMJ — $505/1000rds
77gr Sierra MatchKing HP — $700/1000rds

Due to the volume of ammo being ordered and the potential of Black Hills to deliver ahead of schedule payment must be up front and once ammo arrives actual freight will be assessed and charged prior to being shipped. Cancellation of order will incur a 5% processing charge. Shipping will be via UPS or FedEx at the discretion of Austere Provisions Company.

I will be ordering approximately 10-20,000 rounds in each order and selling ‘spots in line’ and filling them as the ammo arrives. Once I sell out of an orders worth of ammo I will place another. If you do not see the particular round you are interested in listed please contact me for pricing and I can add the item to the next order.

If you have any questions please contact me at mike AT

Need more than 5,000 rounds of the same type? Get in touch with me and I will price it for you. The discount isn’t going to be heavy as there isn’t much margin but every penny helps.

Orders can be placed via email or product pages will be put up on the website once first order is placed.

Thanks and stay sharp,
Mike G

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Carbine Field Cleaning Kit

For the last few months I have been looking into putting together a Carbine Field Cleaning Kit for sale through the website.  The basis of this kit is from what I have used for the last few years and had pretty good success with.  I have traveled the full spectrum of cleaning kits and processes from the standard issue kit with rod segments that thread together with various tips and brushes, patches, CLP, and a little bag to  OTIS cable kits, to a tool box packed up for classes with a host of aerosols, greases, oils, and liquids and a whole host of tools to a $200 assortment of patches, rods, links, adapters, guides, etc that I was sold on when working in Iraq as the best way to keep my fighting gun clean.

While I do maintain a fairly comprehensive setup in my shop the components that I use the most stay in a zip baggy in my training gear and consists of a high quality oil/CLP (Slip 2000 EWL), an armorers brush, a disposable rag, a handful of oversized patches, and a boresnake.  The purpose of the kit is keeping the gun at a functional level of cleanliness while in the field.  I won’t be subjecting the gun to a white glove inspection or seasoning any barrels, I will be keeping it running while training for a fight and it is the same kit I would stuff in my pocket or my ruck if I was walking out to a fight.  The kit includes just enough gear to recover from a hard day’s exposure to the elements or the rigors of dumping a basic loads worth of ammo or more and resetting my gear.


Here is the package all wrapped up ready to stash away.


Here is the kit ready to be used.

Now some of you may be asking, what is up with the oversized patches? A few years ago I ended up with a bunch of these and started using them when cleaning guns as small disposable rags. This keeps me from trashing my main rag each time I go over the gun and they are a little more abrasive than the main rag for getting stubborn gunk off the bolt and bolt carrier and the other internals of the common carbine.

When I am done I toss the three patches and stow the rag and remaining gear to get back to business.

Look for a very similar kit to be available shortly from Austere Provisions Company.

Until next time, stay sharp,

-Mike G


Posted in Defense, Field Gear, Firearms, Guns, planning, preparation, preparedness, prepps | 1 Comment

Essential Clothing – The Watch Cap

I have some essentials that I generally always take with me when out and about. These are not my EDC pocket items but sort of core items of clothing that I keep around and always have when traveling. The first and one of the ones I always keep stashed in my pack or pocket is a good watch cap. A good quality watch cap can be a vey useful item, acting as a glove for picking up hot items, a rag, an eye covering for grabbing some quick Zs, or just a simple watch cap to warm up. I particularly like all wool caps but they are not always the most fashionable. Sown in the photo below you will see a standard fleece watch cap, an older GI style all wool watch cap, and an Arc’teryx watch cap. The fleece one is comfortable for lounging around the house or heading to the gym but is not my first choice for off path travel due to lack of heat resistance when using to pick up hot items such as a mug of boiling water off the fire. It excels in being lightweight, breathes fairly well while being wind resistant. The Arc’teryx one satisfies the same requirements as the black one but doesn’t stand out during a trip into town, and of corse it is the dirty bird so it gets extra points up front for style. The old school GI model wins for function, they are warm, keeps the wind out moderately well, fire/flame resistant from natural fibers, warm even when wet but wins no style points and stands out in certain environments.

So, choose wisely and create a small collection for yourself. Watch caps do wonders at keeping you warm, weigh nearly nothing, and have a variety of other uses. A definite essential.
Essential clothing

Until next time, stay sharp,

Mike G

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Be Heard

It should be no guess what the stance of APC is on firearms ownership, we support it. It is more than just a matter of our business, firearms ownership and the Second Amendment is something I am passionate about and that is the reason I am in this business. I believe in the right of a free people to be able to defend themselves.

Statistics show that when you take away guns at the local, state, or national level criminals flourish and in particular violent crime rates. Beyond that, history shows us that governments eager to disarm their citizens create an environment where abuses of power can go unchecked.

Let your elected officials know how you feel directly by contacting them and voicing your position. Go to to find your representatives at the federal level.

After you contact your reps directly be sure to support organizations that stand for the Second Amendment by making donations and purchasing memberships:
National Rifle Association
Gun Owners of America
Second Amendment Foundation

I am cutting this one short, get to it and BE HEARD!

Until next time, stay sharp,

Mike G

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Educate yourself

I have been absent from the blog for the last few weeks and wanted to take a quick moment to hit a few talking points.

The first is the title of this post:  Educate Yourself.
-Educate yourself on current events and politics. Do not accept what is spoon fed to you and look at things with a suspicious eye.
-Educate yourself on self-reliance. Learn the basics of repair around your home, your vehicle, and your gear room, and of course your body.
-Educate yourself on defense. Defense at all levels, how to make yourself, your home, and your family into a hard target.
-Educate yourself on concepts. The opposite of the concept is a cookbook, a cookbook is finite whereas a short list of concepts offer infinite possibilities.
-Knowledge, once owned can not be taken by another but only neglected by the owner.

The next is Be Prepared, the Boy Scout Motto. I grew up in Scouting and use what I learned there as a guidebook for life.
-Being prepared is being able to feed yourself and your family.
-Being prepared is being able to defend yourself and your family.
-Being prepared is knowing the difference between wants and needs.
-Being prepared is knowing the values you believe in and why they are important to stand for them.

As of the posting of this blog there is four days left in the calendar year. In five days the US will either have a budget or we will tumble off of a fiscal cliff while our elected officials bicker about who gets what and who pays for it. I have heard many people say January 1 will be the beginning of the end if we go over the cliff and many others say it won’t matter. I can tell you for certain that the image of our representatives not being able to agree on something will not paint us in a positive light with any of our international allies or enemies.

There is no better day than today to educate yourself and work towards being prepared.

Until next time, stay sharp.

Mike G


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Essential Medications-Acetaminophen

This Essential Medications entry is Acetaminophen more commonly known in the US by the trade name Tylenol.  Acetaminophen is one of the most commonly prescribed and recommended medications and is in all likelihood the most common drug for overdose both intentional and accidental.  Many have said that if Acetaminophen was introduced to the market today it would be a prescription medication due to the risks.  With that said it is one of the most important medications to keep stashed for a home kit or travel kit.  It acts as a very good analgesic or pain reliever and also an antipyretic or fever reducer.  When taken in excess however you can cause liver damage so be mindful of dosing guidelines.

Dosing:  Standard dosing for adults is generally 500-1000mg every 4-6 hours NOT TO EXCEED 4000mg in a 24 hour period.  Consult packaging for pediatric dosing.

Precautions:  Because Acetaminophen is primarily metabolized by the liver you should not take it with alcohol.  Check active ingredients of all medications when taking multiples.  Many medications contain Acetaminophen and can lead to consuming a harmful dose inadvertently.

Packaging, storage, etc:  Acetaminophen is one of the most common medications worldwide.  Because of this it is very affordable, commonly costing between 1-5 cents per tablet and commonly supplied in a very simple uncoated tablet although coated tablets do exist.  For travel individual dosage packaging can be convenient or a small bottle if extended travel is expected.  For home a 500-1000 tablet bottle will cover a family for a year or more generally.  Limit exposure to light, heat, and vibration when possible.

Until next time, stay sharp,

-Mike G

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