Anniversaries are often a time of reflection, and as my team stares down the barrel of our 50th issue, we certainly have plenty to contemplate. I don’t think there’s any argument at this point that, for many of us, the idea of what it means to “prepare” has changed significantly in the last 24 months. Historically, the American idea of “prepping” has often revolved a single, massive, long-term event. It’s why you’ll still hear some members of the community using terms like “Zombie Apocalypse” or “TEOTWAWKI” (The End Of The World As We Know It) to set the context for discussions about prepping and survival. Alternative rock band R.E.M. even coined a hit song by the same name in the late ’80s, further cementing the notion that a catastrophic societal collapse is the thing we all subconsciously brace for.
But current events tell a different story. Catastrophe has looked less like a mushroom cloud and more like a multicar traffic wreck unfolding in slow motion — a gradual, consistent stacking of individual events strangling our sense of security and certainty in the world, seeming to build toward a crescendo we’ve yet to accurately visualize. Hollywood has made millions capitalizing on our collective imaginations to paint a picture of what “the big one” (if there even is such a thing at this point) could look like.
It’s why we used a pop-culture treatment for our cover this issue, capturing one of the most iconic American movies about fighting for survival against a threat that, four decades later, seems to be bearing down hard on the Ukrainian people. It’s unlikely that we’ll end up with paratroopers raining down on American soil in broad daylight like they did in Red Dawn, but we have to admit that certain aspects of that film have felt uncomfortably relevant lately. There are real photos of tanks in Ukraine with “Wolverines!” spraypainted onto their armor, and others proudly flying Soviet flags as though the Cold War never ended.
RECOIL OFFGRID regular and full-time survival instructor Kevin Estela embraces the concept of art-imitates-life with his roundup of some of the best and worst survival movies in the context of real-life best practices. Patrick McCarthy gets a taste of partisan warfare tactics at Guerilla Mentor’s Hostile Encounters course. (For the full background on Guerilla Mentor’s founder and lead instructor, take a look at our Survivalist Spotlight from Issue 46.) Mark Linderman brings us more recommended reading by way of The Disaster Diaries by Sam Sheridan — a creatively written book about one man’s journey to preparedness, and all the fictional situations he envisions along the way. Elsewhere in this issue, Patrick Diedrich gives us a primer on the role of local plants in self-sustainment, and Mr. and Mrs. Alton run down the basics of off-the-grid disinfectant solutions.
Survival has always been a game of the right knowledge executed with the right tools. To that end, Mr. McCarthy closes our three-part series on building the ideal survival AR-15, and I take a look at the Crane TEC Tempest — a unique fixed-blade knife designed specifically for low-visibility self-defense. Michael Janich also gives us a rundown on perimeter and travel security alarm systems.
Regardless of how you view the current trajectory of human history, or how you envision its future disruption, we hope to be here for another 50 issues, helping to make you ready for whatever the world throws your way. Network news may be telling us that it’s the end of the world as we know it, but in the words of R.E.M. vocalist Michael Stipe … we feel fine.
Click here for a full list of articles from Recoil Offgrid Issue 50 that are currently available online.