Former CIA Officer Jason Hanson Reveals...

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How Duct Tape Saved This Man’s Life

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This week: How a California hiker was saved by duct tape… The AR-15 Build Class for California residents… A creative improvised weapon that costs $1… And, the type of holster I use for pocket carry.

Scenic Mountain View

For those who’ve attended my Spy course, you know that I teach multiple ways to escape duct tape, including if you’re duct taped to a chair during a home invasion.

So while duct tape is easy to escape from and shouldn’t be used as a restraint (if you’re a good guy trying to restrain a bad guy) it can be used to save your life.

Here’s an interesting story of a California man who did just that:

Cody Michael was hiking in the Sierra Nevada Mountains when he became lost. After three days, a helicopter pilot who was part of the search effort finally found Michael.

“It’s nothing short of a miracle. We just don’t get that many great days in law enforcement,” said Dena Erwin, a spokeswoman for the Placer County Sheriff’s Office. “To see him reunited with his family, they were so delighted.”

Officials were still collecting details Thursday, but their initial understanding was that Michael, an athletic and experienced outdoorsman, became disoriented and walked miles in the wrong direction.

“He got lost,” Erwin said.

Michael was found about three miles from the Loch Leven trailhead, a popular jumping-off point for hikers along Interstate 80. The U.S. Forest Service warns that, although the trail gets heavy use and crosses a busy rail line, it can be difficult to follow across exposed granite or in winter conditions.

Realizing he was hopelessly lost, Michael pitched camp in a grassy area below the snowline. He used duct tape to write “HELP” in large letters on a rocky outcropping.

Michael waved his rain tarp to signal the helicopter after seeing it overhead, Erwin said.

The National Guard used two Black Hawk helicopters and a Pave Hawk helicopter in the search. It was the Black Hawk helicopter from the California National Guard’s Mather flight facility that spotted Michael, authorities said.

Capt. Will Martin said crew members noticed an unusual pattern on the ground. Once they knew it was Michael’s camp, they used the chopper’s hoist to pluck the lost hiker and his dog from the ground.

Both appeared to be in good shape, officials said.

A video released by the state Office of Emergency Services showed the emotional reunion between Michael and his family.

“Cody. Cody. Cody. You’re OK,” his mother said, her arms around him.

In the snippet, Michael, wearing a T-shirt and shorts, thanked his rescuers and shook their hands.

“These guys saved my life. Everyone here is a hero,” he said. “God is good.”

Clearly, duct tape has many different uses. I carry a roll of duct tape in my vehicle and always have it in my house because you never know when you will need it for non-kidnapping purposes.

Role Duct Tape

This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times by the Associated Press.

The Mailbag

From Chris C: The story from Mark about his .44 dropping his pants was hilarious. While talking about guns around dinner one night one friend pointed out that “nobody wants to get shot with a .22 either”. Sure, a .22 doesn’t have the same stopping power as a .45 but the important thing is what you do with the time your first move buys you.

A: You make a great point. A .22 has killed tens of thousands of people and bullet placement is the most important factor, which is why you want to be an accurate shooter.

From: Michael J: I’m interested in the Underground AR-15 Workshop in October. However, I’m a California resident and I don’t know if the workshop will allow for the building of a California compliant AR-15. Please help.

A: Yes, we work with our customers to make sure their AR-15 is compliant with their state laws. In our last AR-15 Workshop we had three people from California. Click here for details about the last Underground AR-15 Workshop of 2016. (Below is a picture of the group from our July workshop.)

Men at shooting range

From: Michael M: What’s the pipe wrench have to do with the survival hammer? I don’t see it mentioned in the assembly instructions, maybe I missed it.

A: The pipe wrench is so you can secure all of the pieces of the hammer tightly together so nothing falls off.

From: Carol B: Found what could be a useful weapon at Wal-Mart today. Bike hooks (used to screw into a wall and hang your bike). It’s covered in red plastic and has a sharp threaded end. It is in a large squarish shape, which allows me to grip it firmly with my hand. It can also be used to hang my purse or jacket on it when I’m in a bathroom without hooks. Best thing, it cost only $1.00 with tax. I love multipurpose things that are cheap…

A: Great idea, I love this. I’m a big believer in improvised weapons so you can always protect yourself.

From: Willie Y: How old do you have to be to attend the spy course?

A: I’ve had kids as young as 9 years old attend the Spy Class with their parents. It’s up to the parents to ensure their child is mature enough. Click here for more information on our next open Spy course.

From Bill P: I carry the Sig P238 in my front pocket, too. Which holster do you use?

A: I carry my P238 in a Kydex pocket holster. If you Google P238 Kydex Pocket Holster you will see lots of different options.


Stay safe,

Jason Hanson


  • James Peyton says:

    Dear Jason,

    You said you pocket-carry the Sig P238. I carry the Sig P938. Other than the caliber is there a significant difference?

    Many thanks!

    Jim Peyton

    • Jason Hanson says:

      They are very similar and share many of the same features. The P938 is slightly bigger and heavier but it’s not very noticeable. Both are excellent guns.

      Stay safe!

  • Mark Willis says:

    I have one major problem with using the jiggler keys. I know absolutely nothing about cars. How do I determine if a car is old enough to use the keys on?

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