Former CIA Officer Jason Hanson Reveals...

Spy Secrets That Can

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Get Out Alive

Amsterdam and the Red Light District

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This Week: The women of the Amsterdam… 5 simple safety measures… Getting solar lights for emergencies… All of the courses at Spy Ranch… And, the specs for my rifle barrel.


I recently spent some time in Amsterdam. It’s a beautiful city and since the majority of people speak English it’s very easy for Americans to get around. It’s also a safe city with a very low crime rate.


But just because it’s got a low crime rate doesn’t mean that I don’t always travel prepared with safety in mind. But before I share with you a few of my safety measures for my recent trip, let me quickly tell you about my (unintentional) visit to the Red Light District since this is one of the things Amsterdam is most famous for.


I imagine that every 21-year-old frat boy has grandiose dreams of traveling to Amsterdam and doing all sorts of unspeakable things in the Red Light District.


Well, maybe if one of them reads this, they’ll change their mind.


One evening, my wife and I were walking around the city and she wanted to go to China Town. On the way back from China Town we turned down a side street to walk a different way back to our hotel.


All of the sudden, standing in a store window, was a half-naked woman and as we kept walking many more that followed. (For the men reading this, don’t get too excited, trust me on this one.)


We quickly realized we had entered the Red Light District so we decided to take the next side street to get out of there and go back to the street we were just on in China Town.


As we walked down this side street, there was booth after booth on both sides of the street with scantily clad women who were trying to encourage people to visit them in their booth. (Again guys, don’t get too excited.)


Truthfully, it was both disgusting and sad at the same time. Any fantasies a man has would likely vanish once they saw the place in person. (Just imagine grandma in lingerie with STDs.)


But enough about my very short trip to the Red Light District, here are the simple safety measures I implemented while in Amsterdam:


Two Travel Wallets: Never put all of your eggs in one basket when traveling. I had some loose cash in my pockets. I had a small travel wallet clipped inside my pants in the appendix position with some more cash and credit cards. I had another larger travel wallet that clipped onto my belt and hung down inside my pants against my leg. (This larger travel wallet contained my passport, credit cards, and cash.)


I did not have any travel wallets that hung around my neck since that’s a dead giveaway to criminals and pick pockets regarding the location of your money.


Tactical Pen: This is the tool that goes wherever I do. And since I carry a pen anyways, it might as well be a pen that I can use for protection. Thankfully, the only thing I used my Tactical Pen for while in Amsterdam was to write down all of the specialty restaurants that my wife wanted to visit.


Escape & Evasion Gun Belt: Like the Tactical Pen, since I’m going to be wearing a belt anyways, it might as well be a belt that can carry some survival gear. In Amsterdam, my belt contained extra money, a lock pick set, a hair barrette and bobby pin, and a handcuff key.


-Never Leave Anything in the Room: In many foreign countries, the local intelligence service knows the hotel rooms that Americans are staying at and they often go through the room when you’re away. So, never, ever leave anything important in your room when you go site seeing each day. (If you happen to be traveling to France, assume that your room is bugged and all of your conversations are being recorded.)


-Keep Your Strong Hand Free: Try and always keep your strong hand free (my right hand) when traveling. Don’t carry shopping bags or even water bottles in your strong hand. You want to be able to fight off a pickpocket or attacker or anyone who wishes to do you harm. When both hands are full, you’ll find yourself even further behind the reactionary gap. (This is why you want shorts or pants with plenty of pockets.)


As you can see, the above measures aren’t difficult to implement and everyone can do them when traveling overseas. Also, if you’ve ever wanted to travel to Amsterdam I do recommend it, just think twice before intentionally going to visit the Red Light District.



The Mailbag


From Clint G: Something to think about doing is getting solar lights for a grid down scenario. I get the spotlight variety, which can be grabbed at Wal-Mart for under $10, and they last for several hours after full darkness. Just a suggestion. Thank you for all the info you share to us, the untrained public.


A: This is great advice. Solar lights are a great lighting addition to the various flashlights we should have on hand. Plus, as you mentioned, they’re very inexpensive.


From Forge M: You should make a youtube channel of each weeks lessons so people all around can watch. And you could use the youtube ad program and earn some extra cash, just a suggestion thanks for all the great lessons though, I enjoy reading them each week.


A: I have to admit, I’m terrible with social media stuff and don’t do enough with it. I do need to post regular videos and do a lot more with YouTube.


From Rachael H: I learned about your services from Shark Tank. Do you still have a spy camp? A place where my husband can come and learn these awesome spy skills in person?


A: If you go to our training page you can see all of the courses offered at Spy Ranch and elsewhere. You can sign up for all of them on the website or send an email to if you would like to sign up for an individual course.


From George S: Jason, I purchased your Urban Rifle Survival Set and Concealed Carry Platinum Package. I’m building an AR-15 and saw your email about your build. Do you have any information on the barrel?


A: I hope this doesn’t totally confuse you, but here are the barrel specs: 4150 Chrome Moly Vanadium Steel, Cold Hammer Forged, 1 in 7 twist, 16″ Government Profile, HP and MPI tested, with QPW Corrosion Resistant Finish inside and outside.


Stay safe,

Jason Hanson



One Comment

  • Schwartz George says:

    Thanks Jason. The specs are fine. Not chrome lined? From the specs you have listed, it would seem not. Others have claimed chrome lining may make the bore easier to clean, but can decrease accuracy. Others say not so.
    I think the hardness of the steel is more important than coating. Now I’m wondering if most match grade barrels are chrome lined. I’ll look into that. Many if not all, are hand lapped.

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