Survival situation game: availability of .45 pistol is dangerous


Creeping Incrementalism
April 24, 2007, 11:08 PM
Have any of you ever participated in one of those group dynamic "survival situation" games, where a group divides into small teams, everyone is given a paper listing available materials for a plane crash in the wilderness, and then decide together what the most important items are? Its a kind of team building exercise.

Anyway, I participated in one of these the other day, supposedly created by a "Mark Wanvig", former U.S. Army survival instructor for the 101st Airborne. One of the items of this arctic plane crash situation was a loaded .45 pistol. Another item was a small axe, and other items included a 20'x20' piece of canvas, choclate bars, etc. What surprised me in the official listing of which items were the most important, under pistol, after listing a possible use as a signalling device, it said, "The pistol also has some serious disadvantages. Anger, frustration, impatience, irritability, and lapses of rationality may increase as the group awaits rescue. The availability of a lethal weapon is a danger to the group under these conditions." The description of the axe included no such warning.

Has anyone else ever been forced to play one of these stupid survival games before? Having read the U.S. Army's survival field manual cover to cover (just as something to read on the commuter train), and gone over much of the U.S. Air Force's manual as well, I don't think any of them were written by a survival instructor. I found the idea of a pistol as being dangerous to a group in a survival situation particularly curious considering that this was supposedly written by a former soldier.

Anyway, here's the game. While this is pulled from a web site catering to Girl Scouts, it's available on the web in other places, all with identical text. I wonder if Snopes or anyone else would be able to tell if this "Mark Wanvig" ever existed.

A Simulation Game

You and your companions have just survived the crash of a small plane. Both the pilot and co-pilot were killed in the crash. It is mid-January , and you are in Northern Canada. The daily temperature is 25 below zero, and the night time temperature is 40 below zero. There is snow on the ground,
and the countryside is wooded with with several creeks criss-crossing the area. The nearest town is 20 miles away. You are all dressed in city clothes appropriate for a business meeting. Your group of survivors managed to salvage the following items:

A ball of steel wool
A small ax
A loaded .45-caliber pistol
Can of Crisco shortening
Newspapers (one per person)
Cigarette lighter (without fluid)
Extra shirt and pants for each survivor
20 x 20 ft. piece of heavy-duty canvas
A sectional air map made of plastic
One quart of 100-proof whiskey
A compass
Family-size chocolate bars (one per person)

Your task as a group is to list the above 12 items in order of importance for your survival. List the uses for each. You MUST come to agreement as a group.


Mid-January is the coldest time of year in Northern Canada. The first problem the survivors face is the preservation of body heat and the protection against its loss. This problem can be solved by building a fire, minimizing movement and exertion, using as much insulation as possible, and
constructing a shelter.

The participants have just crash-landed. Many individuals tend to overlook the enormous shock reaction this has on the human body, and the deaths of the pilot and co-pilot increases the shock. Decision-making under such circumstances is extremely difficult. Such a situation requires a strong
emphasis on the use of reasoning for making decisions and for reducing fear and panic. Shock would be shown in the survivors by feelings of helplessness, loneliness, hopelessness, and fear. These feelings have brought about more fatalities than perhaps any other cause in survival situations. Certainly the state of shock means the movement of the survivors should be at a minimum, and that an attempt to calm them should be made.

Before taking off, a pilot has to file a flight plan which contains vital information such as the course, speed, estimated time of arrival, type of aircraft, and number of passengers. Search-and-rescue operations begin shortly after the failure of a plane to appear at its destination at the estimated time of arrival.

The 20 miles to the nearest town is a long walk under even ideal conditions, particularly if one is not used to walking such distances. In this situation, the walk is even more difficult due to shock, snow, dress, and water barriers. It would mean almost certain death from freezing and exhaustion. At temperatures of minus 25 to minus 40, the loss of body heat through exertion is a very serious matter.

Once the survivors have found ways to keep warm, their next task is to attract the attention of search planes. Thus, all the items the group has salvaged must be assessed for their value in signaling the groupís whereabouts.

The ranking of the survivors items was made by Mark Wanvig, a former instructor in survival training for the Reconnaissance School of the 101st Division of the U.S. Army. Mr. Wanvig currently conducts wilderness survival training programs in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area. This
survival simulation game is used in military training classrooms.


1. Cigarette lighter (without fluid)
The gravest danger facing the group is exposure to cold. The greatest need is for a source of warmth and the second greatest need is for signaling devices. This makes building a fire the first order of business. Without matches, something is needed to produce sparks, and even without fluid, a
cigarette lighter can do that.

2. Ball of steel wool
To make a fire, the survivors need a means of catching he sparks made by the cigarette lighter. This is the best substance for catching a spark and supporting a flame, even if the steel wool is a little wet.

3. Extra shirt and pants for each survivor
Besides adding warmth to the body, clothes can also be used for shelter, signaling, bedding, bandages, string (when unraveled), and fuel for the fire.

4. Can of Crisco shortening
This has many uses. A mirror-like signaling device can be made from the lid. After shining the lid with steel wool, it will reflect sunlight and generate 5 to 7 million candlepower. This is bright enough to be seen beyond the horizon. While this could be limited somewhat by the trees, a member of the
group could climb a tree and use the mirrored lid to signal search planes. If they had no other means of signaling than this, they would have a better than 80% chance of being rescued within the first day.
There are other uses for this item. It can be rubbed on exposed skin for protection against the cold. When melted into an oil, the shortening is helpful as fuel. When soaked into a piece of cloth, melted shortening will act like a candle. The empty can is useful in melting snow for drinking water. It is much safer to drink warmed water than to eat snow, since warm water will help retain body heat. Water is important because dehydration will affect decision-making. The can is also useful as a cup.

5. 20 x 20 foot piece of canvas
The cold makes shelter necessary, and canvas would protect against wind and snow (canvas is used in making tents). Spread on a frame made of trees, it could be used as a tent or a wind screen. It might also be used as a ground cover to keep the survivors dry. Itís shape, when contrasted with the surrounding terrain, makes it a signaling device.

6. Small ax
Survivors need a constant supply of wood in order to maintain the fire. The ax could be used for this as well as for clearing a sheltered campsite, cutting tree branches for ground insulation, and constructing a frame for the canvas tent.

7. Family size chocolate bars (one per person)
Chocolate will provide some food energy. Since it contains mostly carbohydrates, it supplies the energy without making digestive demands on the body.

8. Newspapers (one per person)
These are useful in starting a fire. They can also be used as insulation under clothing when rolled up and placed around a personís arms and legs. A newspaper can also be used as a verbal signaling device when rolled up in a megaphone-shape. It could also provide reading material for recreation.

9. Loaded .45-caliber pistol
The pistol provides a sound-signaling device. (The international distress signal is 3 shots fired in rapid succession). There have been numerous cases of survivors going undetected because they were too weak to make a loud enough noise to attract attention. The butt of the pistol could be used as a
hammer, and the powder from the shells will assist in fire building. By placing a small bit of cloth in a cartridge emptied of its bullet, one can start a fire by firing the gun at dry wood on the ground. The pistol also has some serious disadvantages. Anger, frustration, impatience, irritability, and lapses of rationality may increase as the group awaits rescue. The availability of a lethal weapon is a danger to the group under these conditions. Although a pistol could be used in hunting, it would take an expert marksman to kill an animal with it. Then the animal would have to be transported to the crash site, which could prove difficult to impossible depending on its size.

10. Quart of 100 proof whiskey
The only uses of whiskey are as an aid in fire building and as a fuel for a torch (made by soaking a piece of clothing in the whiskey and attaching it to a tree branch). The empty bottle could be used for storing water. The danger of whiskey is that someone might drink it, thinking it would bring
warmth. Alcohol takes on the temperature it is exposed to, and a drink of minus 30 degrees ahrenheit whiskey would freeze a personís esophagus and stomach. Alcohol also dilates the blood vessels in the skin, resulting in chilled blood belong carried back to the heart, resulting in a rapid loss of
body heat. Thus, a drunk person is more likely to get hypothermia than a sober person is.

11. Compass
Because a compass might encourage someone to try to walk to the nearest town, it is a dangerous item. Itís only redeeming feature is that it could be used as a reflector of sunlight (due to its glass top).

12. Sectional air map made of plastic
This is also among the least desirable of the items because it will encourage individuals to try to walk to the nearest town. Itís only useful feature is as a ground cover to keep someone dry.

How to score
Each team should list its top 5 choices in order prior to seeing the answer sheet. To award points, look at the ranking numbers on this answer sheet. Award points to each teamís top choices according to the numbers here. For example, the map would earn 12 points, while the steel wool would earn 2
points. Lowest score wins (and survives).

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April 24, 2007, 11:15 PM
There's a NASA "stranded on the moon" variation as well. I wouldn't take either too seriously.

April 24, 2007, 11:19 PM
I pulled that exact game off the web for a team building exercise for my employees a couple years ago. Several of us got a good laugh over their explanation of the uslessness of the .45. I'm a hunter and routinely hunt with a handgun. A couple of my employees were aware of this fact and got a good laugh when I had to read the part about it requiring an expert marksman to hunt with one. One said something to the effect of "If we all crash we're giving you the gun and letting you bring us all dinner".

I've got no idea whether it was genuinely written by a former Army survival expert, but I'd not be surprised if it wasn't.

April 24, 2007, 11:19 PM
I found the idea of a pistol as being dangerous to a group in a survival situation particularly curious considering that this was supposedly written by a former soldier.
People who've never been in a situation like that might go nuts after a few days away from text messaging. Short of food, you wake up sore. Gets worse as days go on. You get really irritable. So do the others.

It's possible, with the right set of jerks, to have one jerk decide to shoot the other for not obeying his orders.

April 24, 2007, 11:21 PM
I never do well at those games anyway. They all seem to recommend that you hole up and wait for rescue while I tend to be a bit more proactive.

April 24, 2007, 11:29 PM
The way I see it, the guy or gal with the pistol also guards the food stores. Everyone else is a forager.

April 25, 2007, 12:29 AM
most of this list is probably what got the donner party killed back in the day. They dont even mention EATING THE CRISCO for the calories, and just how do they expect you to liquify it enough for use in a lighter?

And if i remember correctly, dont we teach everyone not to use a firearm as a hammer? And how are girlscouts going to pull bullets from a cartridge?

April 25, 2007, 12:48 AM
We had to play this same game during a team building excercise at a shop I used to work at. Why the owner thought it was a good idea to include this training for mechanics still confounds and confuses me, but what a couple of us came up with made them never offer it to us again.

basically we thought you could eat the crisco and the steel wool was about useless
1. 100proof whiskey, you have just gone through hell and are going to be stuck in the woods for a couple days, this bottle will become your closest friend, afterall 1/2 way through the bottle and its cinco de mayo.
2. 45 pistol, not only to protect your whiskey from those no good coworkers, but also with it you can keep everything else too, that oughta make life a little more comfortable, and if they don't like it they're dinner.
3. AX, now by this point someone either tried to take your whiskey or just wont shut up, you need to cut wood to make a fire, maybe hide some evidence.
4. lighter, you have a plane, you have an ax, and you can pop a hole in that gas tank to fill up that lighter, and promptly set that POS plane on fire, not only to warm yourself up, signal the search party, but also because it'll be fun.
5. clothes, while you would quickly freeze with only 2 sets of clothing per person, you now have several sets of clothing and should be quite toasty.
6. Map, now where was that little town again?
7. compass, away we go
8. Candy bars, you have a little bit of a hike ahead of you and are a little tired of eating those whining crybaby coworkers, some desert might be nice
9. Tarp, roll that thing up and take it with you for shelter if you have to stop for the night, for the search party to see (the tarps not white is it?) if its 57 degrees below freezing during the day those little streams and ponds along the way are going to be frozen solid and walking across them is no big deal, but just incase a couple branches and you have a raft.
10. Newspaper, almost home free, can see the town in the distance and already thinking of the book deal (nothing wrong with cashing in on tragedy) and just then you realize you just might have ate 1 too many candy bars and have to go, and BAD!!!, you pull out the paper, start flipping through while youre doing your buisness, and there on the front page is Rosie O'Donnel and a story on her latest insane babbling on The View, well youre about done and Im sure I don't have to tell you how that full page picture can make itself useful:evil:

Just to be sure noone gets the wrong idea, I don't condone or advocate cannibalism, killing of whining crybaby coworkers, drinking in huge excess, and I certainly under no circumstance would advocate anyone using Rosie O'donnel's picture as toilet paper:rolleyes:

April 25, 2007, 01:20 AM
Damn, in juniour high we camped in the forest in January in -25 weather for outdoor class. (also shot guns:)!)

April 25, 2007, 02:01 AM
That is the first group assignment at University of Phoenix Gen 300 class.

April 25, 2007, 02:04 AM
I'd make sure I had the pistol.

April 25, 2007, 02:05 AM
steel wool is great for starting a fire if you know how ;)

April 25, 2007, 06:13 AM
A friend of mine had to take part in an exercise like this, except the plane crashed in a desert. Every useful item was discarded by the group over her objections and the group planned to abandon the crash site and walk out, also over her objections. Naturally at the end of the exercise the group was all dead. :)

At any rate, I think that one use for the whiskey was overlooked: as improv lighter fluid. Edit: They did cover that, just not as explicitly.

And basting yourself with Crisco to keep warm means you need something good for dealing with hungry bears and/or lecherous coworkers. :evil:

April 25, 2007, 08:35 AM
I too agree most of these test are contrived bunk. The test makers try to come up with counterintuitive reasons for which items are the most important, I believe because they are trying to show they are smarted than you.

But for this exact situationÖIt is mid-January , and you are in Northern Canada. The daily temperature is 25 below zero, and the night time temperature is 40 below zero. There is snow on the ground,
and the countryside is wooded with with several creeks criss-crossing the area. The nearest town is 20 miles away. You are all dressed in city clothes appropriate for a business meeting.ÖI agree a firearm for hunting/protection is not the first priority. In Northern Canada the 3 main things you would need protection from are bears, wolfs and criminal people. In mid Januarys the bears are hibernating, so they are not a threat. And If Iím remembering correctly Northern Canada wolves following Caribou herds in the winter; if there are no Caribou tracks near you, there are no wolves. Criminal people are a wild card; no ways of knowing if you would meet them before you meet good people, but Iím guessing the odds are with the good people.

I agree with the explanation above that lack of warmth and water is going to kill you a lot sooner than lack of food. Most healthy people can walk a couple or three days without food, and can last a week or 3 if they keep still. And the food you will need first is calories, second vitamins, third protein. So even if you are out long enough to need food, meat is not you best choice.

I disagree with the blanket statement of staying put and waiting for rescue. Lots of plane are off their filed flight plan when they crash, leading to searchers combing the wrong area. If the nearest town really is 20 miles away, and you know which direction, I donít think it is impossible for a couple of messengers from the stranded party to get to the town in 3 days. Sending messengers will hedge your bets; if they reach the town before the search party finds the plane you get rescued faster. If the search party finds the plane first, they can follow the messengers, as well as alert the town to look for them. If the messengers donít make it, well, you only lost 2 of the party. As stated above, lots of people go out camping in -25 degree F weather. (Although the -40 at night is tougher, it is pretty simple it the pine forests of northern Canada to make a night time snow shelter, either by digging in a drift or piling snow around and on the low branches of a pine tree.)

April 25, 2007, 08:54 AM
In those conditions, let's hope that the ELT on the plane is functioning, that the pilot filed an adequate flight plan, and that the search and rescue assets are competent.

Medical Care for any life threatening injuries first, shelter & fire concurrent in order to preserve life, and a plan to signal and communicate with searchers next. Water is important, but you don't need to worry about food.

Truthfully, in that scenario the pistol falls far down the list.

April 25, 2007, 09:49 AM
steel wool is great for starting a fire if you know how

And you can use the high alcohol content of other uses.

I have had to do this sort of thing before but it was a “your ship is sinking, you can only fit X number of things in the life raft, what do you take” scenario.

It turns out that I am too creative, and got lectured for “not playing along”. You see, among the items were a 5 gallon sealed plastic container of gasoline. I said to tether the container to the life raft with some of the rope that we had, and then lash more stuff to the gas container, because it would float, and thus we could carry more items than the other teams. Well, it turns out that no one else *really* wanted to survive, they just wanted to play their stupid game.

April 25, 2007, 09:51 AM
Starboard that was just wrong :D

April 25, 2007, 10:51 AM
it would take an expert marksman to kill an animal with it.

That line gets me . The guys that I know that hunt with pistols(deer) are by no means "expert marksmen" . They are decent shots , yet they tend to bag deer just about every year .

April 25, 2007, 11:01 AM
it would take an expert marksman to kill an animal with it.

So which is it? Someone who's ranked as an expert, or someone who's ranked as a marksman?


April 25, 2007, 11:32 AM
Couldn't you use the whiskey as an antiseptic?

April 25, 2007, 11:40 AM
Kind of an unrealistic list of supplies too. Everyone has exactly one change of clothes? Nobody has a jacket or coat in the middle of the winter? Chocolate and whiskey for everyone, but no water, juice or soda? Just happen to have a handgun and ax, but no pocket knife? Who travels with Crisco?

I've done quite a bit of small plane traveling for business and pleasure. Neither I nor my fellow travelers ever carried anything similar to that list. I'm assuming the ax, steel wool and compass were stored on the plane for emergencies.

April 25, 2007, 11:47 AM
The butt of the pistol could be used as a

No rocks around I suppose.

I've done quite a few of these over the years...there's a lot of room for any teacher to manipulate the students into perceiving a certain possible outcome as most likely, tinged by the color of political preferences or personal ideas that are not based on reality. For example, someone who is not a Christian (or another religion for that matter) could not perceive or account for the power of faith and the roles of various members who share such a faith would more gladly accept. Someone without character has a hard time understanding or predicting the behavior and leadership ability of people with chiseled character and strong people skills. Your average bean head outdoor ed teacher, or even the average military survival teacher is at a disadvantage in my opinion. But hey, we all do the best we can, right?

Interesting post.


ps edit: Rather than assigning a preordained negative or positive value to the weapon, I WOULD say that the .45 would have perhaps the most weight in determining the depth of positive or negative that the group could experience. In the right hands it would be lifesaving, powerful, effective, perhaps. In the wrong hands it could be used for anything from rape within the group to power mongering, stealing, suicide, killing, whatever. If it were me in the group, I would make damned sure that the person with that weapon had my trust. Now there's where it gets tricky:evil:

April 25, 2007, 11:48 AM
Sounds like someone watched too many eposodes of "Lost"

April 25, 2007, 11:58 AM
After shining the lid with steel wool, it will reflect sunlight and generate 5 to 7 million candlepower.

????? Not quite sure I believe that one...

the powder from the shells will assist in fire building. By placing a small bit of cloth in a cartridge emptied of its bullet, one can start a fire by firing the gun at dry wood on the ground.

That one's been thoroughly debunked by Mythbusters. Modern smokeless powder burns much too quickly to get a flame started. It worked great with black powder out of a muzzle loader, though, so score one for the Mountain Men!

I went through Arctic survival training at Ft. Greeley in the winter of '83 and then directly into Brim Frost, the lovely JCS exercise they used to hold every couple of years up there. Your most immediate and pressing needs are for fire and shelter, so those items belong at the top of the list. At the very top of the list is a survival attitude. We walked off the tail ramp of a C-130 into 75 below zero weather, and even though we had been training in the mountains of Wyoming prior to being deployed, there were guys in a palpable state of shock at the degree of cold. Young, fit, well equipped troops had to be yelled at by their NCO's to get them moving and started doing the things they needed to do to survive, much less accomplish a mission. I'd hate to try to do that with only street clothes on.

Sage of Seattle
April 25, 2007, 12:13 PM
I think one year while I was in junior high school (yes, that was just last year -- those seventh grade placement tests are sure a b*tch) I took the "astronauts stranded on the moon" scenario. That one was much more fun, I thought.

The thing about this test is a) the not-so-subtle moralizing on the author's part and b) his insistence that there is only one right or correct way to survive (in essence). "Because a compass might encourage someone to try to walk to the nearest town, it is a dangerous item"?? Uh, excuse me? As was pointed out by another in this thread, can't the author possibly see how traveling might be the only way to survive? Of course, then the author's perfect list would be drastically altered.

I guess I think the emphasis is way wrong on tests like these ultimately. The "correct answer" must be reached by consensus. I guess that happens in real life all the time, especially in corporations. :scrutiny:

I think a much more realistic scenario would be like the following:

"You and six of your co-workers are just coming back from a business lunch when suddenly the elevator gets stuck between floors. You only have the following items available to you: a Swingline stapler (with no staples), several pads of Post-It notes (various colors), four No. 2 pencils (sharpened), one fountain pen, eight cell phones (yes, I said eight) which have no signal in this part of the building, and several quarts of perfume and Axe body spray liberally slathered on everyone.

The mail room closes in ten minutes and if no one gets there in time, all of the company's bonus checks won't go out until Monday.

What do you do?"

April 25, 2007, 12:16 PM
I agree with what was stated above, 100 proof whiskey would be a great boon to treating wounds.

April 25, 2007, 01:16 PM
steel wool is great for starting a fire if you know howI know the trick of fluffing a bit of steel wool and holding it across the terminals of a high voltage (>6 volts) battery. Works best if you fluff a cotton ball from your first aid kit (or some other tinder) in with the steel wool. Best to use an insulator to hold the steel wool.

Is there another way?

The mail room closes in ten minutes and if no one gets there in time, all of the company's bonus checks won't go out until Monday.ARRRGGG! If this happened at my company, there would be a lot of bonced checks due to dealid bonus checks.

April 25, 2007, 01:17 PM
I'd make sure I had the pistol.

If I were on the plane the pistol probably belongs to me anyway.

April 25, 2007, 01:47 PM
The compass+map issue seems pretty silly to me.
The nearest town is 20 miles, okay. But is the nearest habitation necessarily 20 miles away? Lots of folk build houses on the edges of town, or outside town. Therefore, your 20 miles is probably a worst-case-scenario.

The premise behind this test seems to be that all the people involved are complete and utter idiots. They can't follow a map. They can walk ten miles. They can't be around a pistol for very long before they kill each other.

Even with out of shape folks, I imagine you could get them moved ten miles a day or so. Give folks a bit of hope, too, instead of sitting tight and waiting. Being passive may not save your life.

April 25, 2007, 02:42 PM
Sorry, I want the .45! Oh, and I'll take the whiskey too. Those items and the tarp, lighter, and extra clothes will keep you fed, warm, and happy!!!

I've killed and eaten a lot of snoeshoe bunnies and blue grouse (yes, it was legal) with a .45.

April 25, 2007, 02:48 PM
Who travels with Crisco?

You don't?!!

April 25, 2007, 02:57 PM
HOPPY 590 - " ... steel wool is great for starting a fire if you know how..."

That really depends on how coarse is the steel wool. If you have #000, or #0000, yes, you can use the striker of the cigarette lighter to "get a coal," but if the steel wool is coarser than that, you've got yourself a REAL chore. :eek:


April 25, 2007, 03:01 PM
I always find plane-crash movies/scenarios entertaining in a way. No one, I mean no one, ever thinks about repairing the radio. I'd think that in a party of five or six, on a plane, someone has to have a Swiss-army knife. The pilots typicaly have a few useful tools, for just such an adventure. Pulling the plane's battery, a few feet of wire, getting to the antennea, and rigging the radio (com, or transponder is better), is not a huge task. Even a few seconds of emergency code from the transponder would bring every plane, train, and automobile in hearing range running. Even if it's a 1 in 1000 chance of working, it's something to pass the time.

April 25, 2007, 03:19 PM
If I were on the plane the pistol probably belongs to me anyway.

Would that mean you were killed on impact?


April 25, 2007, 06:23 PM
Sounds like more of a head trip then what would ya do? Kind of like
the trip years back of an officer for his school theises of " Would
you overthrow ..." Physco test or ? Marine cold weather training
at Pickeral Meadows in the high Sierras is pretty much real life. The
other is possible here is what we will do with your head today or
an ink blot test where there may be no wrong answers.:confused: :confused:

April 25, 2007, 07:55 PM
I couldn't resist responding. Sent an email:

As an Eagle Scout, I have to comment that your web page is badly misleading.

Putting map & compass at the bottom of the list as "dangerous items" is irresponsible. While one should certainly discourage young children from trying to walk out of a wilderness, they are hardly "dangerous" and should instead be taught as being near the forefront of staying safe in otherwise unknown areas.

100 proof whiskey is half water. This is not useful for building fires.

The uses and criticisms of the gun are profoundly absurd.
A typical .45 caliber pistol only holds 8-9 rounds, which may be useful to attract obviously very close help but quickly runs out of 3-round signaling sets.
Using the butt of a pistol as a hammer requires the magazine be inserted, which implies the gun will be loaded - certainly a dangerous activity, and suggesting this use to children is profoundly irresponsible.
The idea of replacing a bullet with cloth and firing it at wood is just dumb. The flames won't last long enough, and the blast will blow everything apart that's close enough to theoretically light; remember, you extinguish a candle by _blowing_it_out_.
The suggestion that someone will freak out with it and harm someone is vastly overrated, a notion born of holoplophobia.
Hunting with it does _not_ require "expert marksmanship", just patience and close proximity (if it were so difficult as indicated, the prior point wouldn't be much of an issue at all).
Transporting an animal is no big deal as most animals really aren't that big, and a pistol would likely be inadequate against something big enough to not be movable. If one were to kill a large animal with it, the small axe listed earlier will do a fine job of reducing it to manageable pieces.

Overall I'm surprised at how readily the author is willing to burn just about everything flammable - including clothing. Certainly get that fire started, but once started there is plenty around to burn.

Also surprising is the complete absence of eating the Crisco! That's a tremendous amount sustaining food-type energy in that can. I'm gonna go to the grocery store now and check the caloric content of a can of Crisco.

Here's hoping the page gets updated accordingly!

- ctdonath
Eagle Scout
Troop 100
A couple decades ago

April 25, 2007, 10:04 PM

April 25, 2007, 10:59 PM
This kinda reminds me of the professor from Gilligans Island with the "answers". I remember the guy could build a radio out of a cocunut, but couldnt fix the hole in the boat, seems a little backwards to me.

April 25, 2007, 11:11 PM
Who travels with Crisco?

I do...its for the bears.:neener:

April 25, 2007, 11:44 PM
After you get your shelter and fire going, think for a minute, you are in the SNOW, so, with a fire, no shortage of water.

And, reducing the number of items you can recover from the "plane crash" tio 12 is decidedly unrealistic. Of course, the game isn't about what you have to do to survive, it is about making decisions, and is designed to force you into a group consensus in order to get anything done.

I once had to play this kind of game at a company seminar. They gave us the "stranded on the moon" scenario, which of course avoids the temp. problems (your space suit keeps you from freezing), but introduces the "running out of oxygen" problem. Along with the rest of the crap, there were a pair of .45 cal pistols. I guess nobody puts any other caliber in a survival pack. Well, the game was intended for us to put all our supplies on a tarp, and drag it with us as we went for base. And the .45s were supposed to be used for propulsion! As a complicating factor, there wasn't enough oxgen for all of us to get home (we were supposed to make oxygen out of some of the supplies).

I (union member) happend to be stuck in a group of management types, who, of course had all the (wrong) answers. The didn't like my solution too much, which was, I would take the pistols, shoot the rest of them, and use their oxygen to get back on. They said I wan't a team player.

hey, I'm stranded on the moon with a bunch of people I don't care about, and like less. Screw team player.:D Upon further reflection, I decided not to shoot them (evidence), just to crack their faceplates, after all, they "died" in the crash!

It's a mind game, and any outcome other than the one they want is disallowed. Allit really proves is how poorly some people are prepared to think outside the box.

April 26, 2007, 10:54 AM
Heat? empty lighter + steel wool + axe (shaving dry wood into kindling) = fire.
The primary issue indeed is starting a fire - and using it wisely. I don't get the author's obsession with trying to burn dang near everything listed (even clothing); in the wild, there is no shortage of stuff to burn, but the stuff listed is severely limited.
Gathering fuel for the fire is probably the best way to keep warm; don't stand around the fire, keep moving and generate your own heat.
Put on the clothes. Given the scenario, it's freaking cold out there.

Signalling? Get 3 well-spaced fires started, and just keep adding foliage. Make sure they keep burning, and producing lots of smoke. This is the most visible signal available. A signaling mirror is great - IF that linear-effect signal is intercepted.

Water? As 44AMP notes, there's piles of it as far as the eye can see (given the scenario). The Crisco bucket would be useful, but it's full of Crisco. There's plenty of plane wreckage nearby, so use some metal sheets to form a bowl to melt snow in.

Food? I don't know why there's a bucket of Crisco in the plane, but there it is. That's a HUGE amount of edible energy. Kinda icky, but certainly enough to sustain you and several others until found.
Your need for food isn't great enough to require hunting (but if something ambles by, have at it).

It's a plane crash, so you'll be expected somewhere, your planned trip will be noted, and variations taken into account enough to activate searchers and see your signal smoke ... sit tight, fuel that fire, keep 3 columns of smoke going, eat Crisco, pocket the gun, melt snow, use the tarp for shelter, and keep that whiskey warm in your pocket for treating wounds and minds. Sounds like a nice vacation to me!

The worst thing about these exercises, as others have noted, is that they resist out-of-the-box thinking (you can only work with what is listed, not with what one can intelligently deduce about plane wreckage or environmental options or etc.), and are usually geared toward rule by a consensus of people who typically know little of the subject instead of identifying & respecting the objectively best solutions ... a good reason to make sure YOU are the one with the .45!

April 26, 2007, 03:36 PM
A few of my thoughts on the game.

Depending on the gun, using it as a hammer would not be a good idea. Is it a Glock? A Glock does not make a very good hammer since it is too light.

Is it a 1911? If so, does it have a light rail and surefire attached?

How many mags? Is is a single stack or double stack gun? Does it have a beavertail safety to prevent hammer bite?

What if it is an AMT Harballer that has an out of spec extractor hole in the slide and was being sent back to the purchaser because it was a POS?

What if it is a 1911 and it is a group of Glocktalk guys in the stranded group? None of them would shoot it since they all think it will malfunction anyway.

What if it is an old non-throated 1911a1 and the ammo is a hollowpoint design that will not feed right?

What if it is the other lost .45 Luger from the military trials that was found and was in the process of being FedExed to the auction house that will start the bidding at 1.2 Million dollars for it. If it is, and I found it, I am not only not going to use it for a hammer but wrap it up in something after covering it is crisco to protect the finish from any damage.

What if the loaded pistol is an semi-auto Thompson pistol with a 50 round drum? Not only would it provide a reasonable amount of signal ammo, but the barrel would get warm and it could be used to keep warm. Once the ammo is expended, it would be a better hammer than a 1911 or Glock.

What if it is a contender pistol in 45-70 with extra rounds on the sling and a scope? I am sure it would be able to down any animal you may encounter.

What if it is an STI gun all tricked out for IPSC and because it is so tight it will shoot Ĺ inch groups at 50 yards, it won't even fire because the entire gun is frozen?

What kind of idiot tries to use a gun as a hammer when they have an ax? I have not seen an ax yet that could not be used as a hammer.
Other thoughts.
If you do eat the crisco, you will need the newspaper to wipe your rear when it kicks in.

What kind of guy is going to stop and help a buch of weirdos in the middle of the snow covered in crisco trying to start a fire with a bottle of whiskey?

You must have crashed in a privately owned plane since no airline would let you bring a loaded gun or ax onboard.

If everyone is in clothes appropriate for a business meeting, You will have at least one laser pointer to use for signalling. You can use the screens from the cellphones as a light source.

If help is close enough to hear you yelling through a rolled up newspaper, then you should put the extra clothes on and get over to them. The whiskey can then be given to the rescuer then as thanks.

It is funny that the compass is so useless yet so many survival teachers, and survival kits include one of these dangerous items and teach people how to use them.

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