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KNIVES: Hardcore Hardware Australia

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LFT01 Tactical Tomahawk


Last week two boxes suddenly showed up on the doorsteps of DVM HQ USA and DVM HQ Bangkok simultaneously, as if they were delivered by an Australian SAS Regiment on a highly coordinated mission.

Always suspect of unexpected boxes here in Southeast Asia, I paid a massage gal from a parlor down the street 200 Baht to vigorously shake my box up and down just in case it was a bomb from one of my ex-wives.

Fortunately for Ms. Yum-Yum, no boom (well, not yet), so I tore open that box (get your mind out of the gutter pervert) to find some bad ass pieces of killing steel from our friends at Hardcore Hardware Australia.

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No need for crying here – just move on

How often do things ever go PERFECTLY in a venture? Rare, if ever, right? Do you know we can learn from f-ing up? We can learn A TON The chaos, friction, and the most assured probability of mistakes being made in the Red Zone is a tremendous learning opportunity if you survive it.

Your first order of business is to always fight through whatever gaffe takes place. This is not as easy as it sounds on paper. Seemingly simple matters tend to become wildly complex in the field. Too many contractors and adventurists tend to dwell on the mistake in front of them and lose the immediacy demanded in combat or crisis to recover in swift fashion.

They dwell on the ‘oh shit’ moment too long giving a decided advantage to their adversaries. This negative distraction and self talk invites disaster. Continue reading

broken ankle

MEDICAL: Ottowa Ankle Rules – Are you hurt or injured?

Dude, Just walk it off its not that bad

In a wilderness survival or tactical environment how can you tell if you’ve sprained or broken an ankle?  The distinction may seem minor, but the implications are dramatic.

In a wilderness environment it means the difference between wrapping the ankle and the patient can walk out, or immobilizing the limb and carrying the patient out.

Tactically, the distinction is the same, but instead of having another shooter, you have a casualty.

So here is a field expedient method to determine if an ankle is broken or sprained.  It called the Ottowa Ankle Rules.

(This isn’t completely fool-proof, so use some common sense.  If the patient’s foot/ankle is obviously deformed then it’s safe to assume it’s broken and don’t let the patient put any weight on the foot.)

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MILITARY: Comfortable or complacent?

c130 dvm

Working as a sailor in the Military aviation business you get comfortable in some pretty crazy places. Being 20 feet from a thousand pound propeller spinning at 13 thousand rpm. Or wedged in a microwave sized area three feet deep with electrical wires all around you. Hell, with the military in general you work in some less than favorable conditions. Problem is you get too comfortable. Eventually you get complacent and shit turns into a shitstorm. You work those lines near death, and you start to lose the fear. That fear can be double edged. Too much or too little and bad decisions get made.

Complacency is part of our everyday lives. You want proof? Look at your daily drive to work. How much goes into auto pilot? Are there moments where you cannot remember going from one stoplight to the next? You get so wrapped up in your head all else blurs by. My favorite example of complacency is cell phone zombies. I have witnessed the zombie horde bang, crash, and fall in the streets because of facebook. These are great examples of shit that kills people. The reports of the driver never saw the person in the street he ran over, but was answering a text. The person who swears their attacker came out of nowhere but was nose deep in snapchat.

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TACTICAL GEAR: Making Bacon in Full Kit

making bacon in full kit


One of the first things I had to figure out when a young James P. started contracting in Iraq was setting up my “kit” of armor carrier, rig, mag pouches, IFAC and a bunch of other crap I had never carried before. At that point in my career I was not in the tactical gear world and had pretty much never even owned anything ‘tactical’ except a black CamelBak. So when I had to buy a full load of kit I basically ordered a bunch of cool looking shit I saw online.

Two weeks later I got a big ass box that puked out the entire Blackhawk! catalog onto my hooch floor in the IZ. After putting every pouch I bought on my super cool SWAT vest I pretty much ended up looking like a Coyote Tan Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. My kit was also so poorly placed I could not even scratch my junk. I ended up fighting my kit on every mission for the next two weeks until I adjusted everything.

Like most people who have never been deployed to a war zone where they would have to wear full kit, I thought it would be all yelling “follow me lads” and burning villages when wearing all my ninja slick gear. I suppose I had fantasies of going from battle to battle pulling mag after mag while rescuing white women from the clutches of Ray Ban wearing dictators.

Nope, not even close – Even if you were on a mobile team running the most dangerous roads in the world like I was, in reality 99% of the time you are wearing full kit you are doing glamorous stuff like; frying eggs in oil for breakfast next to a Land Cruiser, buying 83 gorditas at Taco Bell on base because half your guys don’t have an MNFI badge or sitting in a truck trying not to fall asleep.

So if you are setting up your first all-out full kit I have the following suggestions:

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HEALTH and FITNESS: Survival of the Fittest


Welcome to the gym in Fuckanistan

Welcome to the gym in Fuckanistan

A large part of the audience here at DVM consists of individuals that are in positions requiring physical and mental preparedness for the rigors of dangerous situations. Often times in any aspect of life, fitness is dismissed from the daily regiment. Whether it be an issue of time or lack of equipment, fitness will often get tabled for the Xbox.

You may be located at various ports of call that may not have the traditional gym environment to work on a max bench press or a new personal record of treadmill. I am hear to tell you that your fitness does not require that type of pursuit.

I am a big believer that the best piece of fitness equipment is what nature gave all of us; our own bodies. That said, fitness pursuits do not require an equipment-laden, lycra-uniformed mega-gym (i.e. Bally’s and the like).

You only need a pair of sweats, a Tshirt, sneakers (preferably Nike [sorry, shameless product plug]), and you own imagination as far as the types of body weight exercises you can perform.

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TACTICAL TRAINING: Everyday Urban Vehicle Tactics

We break vehicle skill sets into two types, high threat driving, and vehicle tactics. High threat driving is everything you do with the vehicle while it is in motion. Vehicle tactics, the focus of this article is everything you do around a stationary vehicle.

The majority of us spend a great amount of time in and around vehicles, but for some reason don’t train enough around them. In the last year between military contracts, and during my own courses I have seen around 500-700 people do the same number of wrong things over, and over again. Let’s take a look at them.

First of all, vehicles, even when up armored, are poor fighting platforms. They are intended to be able to soak up rounds as you drive away from the threat. Which brings us to the first point: Your best option when it comes to vehicle is to use them for their intended purpose and put distance between you and the threat.

At all times, when you are by yourself, or with friends loved ones, you need to be aware of your surroundings, and always looks for holes to drive through if the need arises. Identify drivable terrain, which we define as anything you drive through or over without disabling your vehicle.

The next thing is to keep windows up and doors locked, during force on force scenarios we have to instruct the students to not do one or the other. Because with the windows up, and the doors locked, the chances of an occupant being attacked are slim. Couple this with movement and the chances of something happening in transit are very low.

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CIVILIAN CONTRACTORS: 5 Things to Say Goodbye to if you Become a Civilian Contractor


Ok, Contracting is better than punching TPS Reports, but…

About 30 to 190 (yes, 190 is the record so far) times a day I get messages and emails from guys who want to break into the Contracting Racket. Besides the usual unreadable English from some Italian dude to outright rude emails demanding that I tell someone how to break into the biz “right fucking now”, no one ever asks the smart question of: “Are there any reasons why I should not consider a career in contracting?”

The short answer is “fuck yes there are”

Most folks think the life of an international security contractor is 6-figure paychecks, blowing shit up while yelling “FIRE IN THE HOLE” with a cigar clenched between your chompers with 30 day leaves in Bangkok banging beautiful gals and drinking fine scotch every few months.

To be honest it is that cool, but that’s about it. Forget about having any resemblance of a normal life, you will be an outlaw in the true sense of the Old West definition. So if you are considering a life shooting and looting around the world read everything below, you may change your mind.

Or you may want in the life even more if you are a nut like I am…

The 5 Things to Say Goodbye to if you Become a Civilian Contractor (in no particular order):

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SURVIVAL MINDSET: Black Swan Moments

Are You Ready For a Black Swan Moment?

Wikipedia defines a Black Swan as an… ‘Unexpected event of large magnitude and consequence.’

Basically it’s an event that occurs outside the expectations most people hold and is low probability but high impact if it does occur.

I am a trained and experienced operator with years in the field dealing with asymmetric threats, the frictions and uncertainties that only a combat environment can offer, as well as the general malaise of interpersonal violence that spans the world just like many of you reading this article.

I would consider myself more aware, capable, and prepared than most. I have managed the stress and complications from fixing a flat tire to a firefight in the red zone and consider living conditions in blown out sections of Baghdad ‘normal.’

However, I am not prepared to handle everything, and sometimes all I’ve had working in my favor is a f**k-it drive on mentality.

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URBAN SURVIVAL: 5 Things People Say They Can or Would do in a Survival Situation – and Why They Won’t Based on Recent 3rd World Urban Survival Events

“If you jump really high the waves will just go under you bro”

After decades of studying, observing, experiencing and writing about everything Urban Survival, I have heard some serious fantasy about what people claim they would do during an Urban Survival situation. Not surprisingly most of this so-called ‘advice’ comes from people who have never been in a Urban Survival, ‘Fight or Die’ situation or have even stepped outside of the continental US with the exception of Bus Tours in their lives.

Most of the crazy shit I have heard comes from fake tough-guys, dudes who regurgitate stuff they have read on forums and keyboard commandos that make Bear Grills’s advice look reasonable. Having spent the past 10+ living, traveling and working in the 3rd world, I have seen people (including myself) survive the worst possible situations and do what they had to do to either survive or die.

From my experience, the current 3rd world is what the 1st world would be like after a prolonged ‘event’. That may be a natural disaster, civil war, overwhelming violent crime, financial meltdown or pandemics. In my opinion, the best place to study what people will or will not do when the SHTF in the 1st world, is to study what people in the 3rd world have and are currently doing to survive day by day.

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