Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Prepper's Armory: Muzzle Devices

Last year I wrote about the history, use, and acquisition of suppressors, which are a small subset of the larger umbrella of muzzle devices. There are several categories within this general classification that serve a variety of different purposes, with some overlap, but along with the previously mentioned suppressors, the main categories are flash hiders, compensators (also known as muzzle brakes), thread protectors, and muzzle adapters.

Flash Hiders/Suppressors
I'll begin with the flash hider or flash suppressor. Contrary to popular myth, this barrel attachment does not generally reduce muzzle flash signature from the target side of the gun. Instead, its primary purpose is to disrupt the globe of burning gasses that would otherwise form at the muzzle and interfere with the shooter's ability to use the sights. This is especially important on shorter barreled rifles; I'm sure most of our readers have heard jokes about AR pistols or Mosin Nagant carbines stating "If you miss your target, you'll still set it on fire," or have seen the Rico Special from Forgotten Weapons.

The classic A1 or A2 M16 flash hider has regularly-spaced slots around the circumference, and the end is completely open. As the superheated gases exit the barrel, and attempt to form a sphere, they are instead diverted into those cutouts.

Brownells A2 Flash Hider

It's important to clock this type of muzzle device correctly when attaching it. This means making sure none of the slots point straight up, as this would send some of the muzzle flash directly into the shooters line of sight.

The big difference between the A1 and A2 flash hiders is that the latter version has a solid section without slots that's meant to point straight down, which helps prevent a dust cloud when shooting prone.

There are all sorts of flash hider designs on the market. Some, like the A1 and A2, are quite simple, while others are considerably more complex.

Compensators/Muzzle Brakes
Compensators, also called muzzle brakes, are similar in concept to a flash hider in that they also redirect some of the escaping combustion gasses. However, instead of primarily working to break up the flash, these devices act as a sort of maneuvering jet, pushing the firearm to help counteract recoil.

Compensators are generally identifiable by their closed front, with a small opening just larger than bullet diameter, and frequently with large side apertures. Some designs have additional small openings on top as well. But for the most part, they resemble miniature cannon muzzle attachments.

As with flash hiders, the orientation of a compensator is important to proper function, perhaps even more so due to the pushing force imparted on the barrel.

Compensators need to be selected based on a variety of factors, including barrel length and cartridge size, as these will affect the amount of gas pushed out the muzzle and through the device. While ideal compensator performance is neutral vertical movement, overpowered muzzle breaks have been known to cause the muzzle to dip when firing.

Thread Protectors and Adapters
Thread protectors are simply threaded collars (similar to a standard nut) that attaches to the muzzle and are usually knurled on the outside to make tightening or loosening by hand easier. They cover the threads, but don't provide any additional benefit to the function of the firearm.

Adapters also cover the threads, but in addition offer the ability to attach different muzzle devices. Some adapters are thread converters, where one end has an internal thread for attaching to the barrel and the other end has an external thread in a more readily available pattern. There are even muzzle adapters with bayonet lugs for use on firearms that don't come with them. Adapters can often be found with some sort of flash hider or compensator, but there are still plenty that don't.

I hope that this post, while not exhaustive, has helped to clear up the often confusing and sometimes overlapping world of muzzle devices.

Have fun, and safe shooting.

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Any Time Prepping Gifts

The dust has settled and the First 72 Hours have passed. Follow along as I build a long term plan via Prudent Prepping.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, my second post with suggestions for Christmas presents wasn't able to be written in time. This is what I wanted to post, with several more suggestions to come for either building a bag (of any type) or adding to your gear.

This is just one of the styles and colors available from Rite In The Rain that I have purchased. Since I'm redoing several bags, I'm buying 3 packs to save a little money and to have uniform colors for the same objects in each location.  

I can't recommend these notebooks enough for everyone to place in your bags, purse, car door pocket or even pants back pocket. You can choose a top spiral, side spiral, hard cover, in 3" x 5", 5" x 7", 2" x 3 3/4", in yellow, orange, black, blue and tan. 


From the Amazon ad:
  • WEATHERPROOF PAPER: 100 pages / 50 sheets per pocket notepad. All-weather paper won’t turn to mush when wet and will repel water, sweat, grease, mud, and even survive the accidental laundry mishap. Make sure your pocket notebook stays RIGHT in the Rain.
  • WIRE-O BINDING: Tough impact-resistant Wire-O binding won't lose its shape in your back pocket or backpack. Unlike a standard spiral notebook, Wire-O keeps your open pages aligned and intact.
  • WRITE IN THE RAIN: When wet, use a standard #2 pencil or an all-weather pen. Standard ballpoints and permanent markers will work when paper is dry. Water-based inks will bead or wash off Rite in the Rain Paper.
  • WATERPROOF NOTEBOOK COVER: Polydura material creates a tough but flexible outer shell. Whether you're needing a hiking journal, outfitting your police gear, starting a golf journal, or just keeping a shower notebook, the Polydura Cover material will defend your field notes from scratches and stains.

Did you know that they also make tactical range cards? Paired with a Rite In The Rain pen or pencil (with optional red lead refill), you are set for taking notes and kicking something in any weather.  

This is another triple purchase item for me. I take one with me to work, there's one sitting beside me right now, and the Purple Pack Lady is supposed to have one either in her car or in her purse. (No comment as to the actual location.)

I no longer need a backup this big for my job, but the size is handy for topping off everyone's phones or giving my laptop an almost 50% charge.


From the Amazon ad:

  • Ultra-High Cell Capacity: The massive 20,000mAh cell capacity provides more than 5 charges for iPhone XS, almost 5 full charges for Samsung Galaxy S10, more than 4 charges for iPhone 11, and over 2 and a half charges for iPad mini 5.
  • Advanced Charging Technology: Anker's exclusive PowerIQ and VoltageBoost technology combine to deliver an optimized charge to your devices, while the trickle-charging mode is the best way to charge low-power accessories.
  • Simultaneous Charging: Twin USB ports allow you to charge two devices at the same time. The USB-C port cannot charge other devices.
  • Versatile Recharging: With both a USB-C and Micro USB input port, you have more options over how you recharge. Recharging PowerCore with a 10W charger will take approximately 10.5 hours, while recharging with a 5W charger will take approximately 20 hours.
  • What You Get: Anker 325 Power Bank (PowerCore 20K), Micro USB cable (to charge the power bank), welcome guide, our worry-free 18-month warranty, and friendly customer service. (USB-C cable, Lightning cable, and wall charger not included)

Finally, a note regarding the Streamlight Pocket Mate I mentioned in my previous post: I now need to order another light (or possibly 3-4) as my wonderful sister now has the red version on her keychain. This, after I purchased a pink model to give to the Purple Pack Lady to reclaim the red one. I'm a really easy push-over.

(Editrix's note: One of our readers wrote in to say the following --
Since I couldn't quickly find an email link for David Blackard on the BCP site, please tell him that the "Streamlight Pocket Mate" has been the Christmas hit of my friend circle. I'm consistently seeing the guys fiddling with them during our gaming sessions, those whose wives haven't already stolen theirs from them. The damn things are crazy bright and pocket friendly.
Furthermore, our own Lokidude has confessed that he bought his wife a different model of Streamlight (a USB MicroStream) to prevent her from taking his. 

Moral of the story: cute Streamlights are irresistible to women.)

* * *

Just a reminder: if you plan on buying anything through Amazon, please consider using our referral link. When you do, a portion of the sale comes back here to help keep this site running!
If you have comments, suggestions or corrections, please post them so we all can learn. And remember, Some Is Always Better Than None!

NOTE: All items tested were purchased by me. No products have been loaned in exchange for a favorable review. Any items sent to me for T&E will be listed as such. Suck it Feds.

Thursday, January 4, 2024

Prepper's Pantry: Twice-Baked Bread

In the past I've done posts on various types of baking, such as yeast breads and quick breads, and one thing all these recipes have in common is a relatively short shelf life. This is due primarily to the inclusion of fats such as butter and oil. While these serve to help retain moisture and keep baked goods soft for longer, they (along with sugar) are also more likely to result in mold if not eaten quickly enough, especially in a humid environment.

Back in the age of sail, various methods were devised for preserving food. One of the more difficult items to make last for long was bread, which was referred to as "soft tack" to differentiate it from "hard tack", a tooth-breakingly tough addition to issued rations.

Hard Tack
A simple combination of flour, water, and salt, hard tack got its long shelf life from being baked twice to drive as much of the water as possible out of the dough.

Hard Tack


  • 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 3/4 Cup Water
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Salt


  1. Preheat oven to 375 ° F.
  2. Combine the flour, water and salt and mix well.
  3. After mixing, the dough should be slightly dry and not sticky. If it is too sticky, add small amounts of flour until the dough holds together, but is still dryer than traditional dough.
  4. On a floured work surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of approximately 1/2 inch.
  5. Cut the dough into 3" squares.
  6. Poke holes in the dough with a fork. Make sure the holes go all the way through. This helps prevents the biscuits from puffing up while baking.
  7. Place the hardtack biscuits on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes.
  9. Remove the biscuits from the oven, allow to cool for a few minutes, then flip and bake for another 30 minutes.
  10. When done, place the hardtack biscuits on a cooling rack.
  11. Once they are completely cooled, store in an airtight container.

Another twice-baked item that is much more palatable, biscotti is less likely to go bad than other baked desserts. This is partially due to the two trips through the oven, and partially due to this delicious treat being eaten quickly.



  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Anise extract
  • 3 Eggs
  • 2 ¼ cups flour
  • 1 egg plus 1 tsp water for egg wash


  1. Combine sugar, baking powder, butter, and eggs.
  2. Blend in the extract.
  3. Mix in the flour one cup at a time.
  4. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  5. Form dough into two logs on a greased or parchment paper lined cookie sheet. 1" high by 1 ½" wide. For a better finish, wet your hands and pat the top and sides of the dough.
  6. Brush the logs with egg wash and bake for 20-22 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and let the logs cool for two minutes.
  8. Cut the logs diagonally into slices 1" thick.
  9. Lay the slices on their sides, and re-bake at the same temperature for 15 minutes.

This is a basic biscotti recipe; there are many optional ingredients, such as dried fruits, nuts, and spices, like cinnamon or ginger. Biscotti are also frequently dipped or coated in chocolate.

Share and enjoy.

The Fine Print

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial- No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Creative Commons License

Erin Palette is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.