Former CIA Officer Jason Hanson Reveals...

Spy Secrets That Can

Save Your Life

Get Out Alive

Mailbag Monday

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My wife and I purchased semi-auto handguns. But her hands are weak. Is there any exercise she could do to strengthen her hands for pulling back the slide?

-From Jerry W.

Answer: There are a few different things you can do to try and regain strength in your hands.

First, take a heavy-duty rubber band or a rubber wristband and put it around your fingers and try to push your fingers apart. This will help with your grip strength while shooting.

Another thing you could try is the hand gripper exerciser, which sells for about $10 on Amazon. This is the spring device with two handles that you can use to improve your hand strength.

Lastly, if manipulating a semi-auto were just too painful, I would consider getting a revolver.


Since the pandemic never seemed to end I purchased some Israeli gas masks. The mask filters have expiration dates. Why do these have expiration dates and can I use them if they have expired?

-From Justin R.

Answer: The older a face mask filter is, the less likely it is to perform at its full potential.

Over time, components in the filter may degrade, which can affect how well the filter does its job.

In addition, expired filters usually no longer meet certification guidelines.

To play it safe, I would update your survival gear and remember to check expiration dates so you always have filters that aren’t expired.

However, during an emergency, if the expired filters were the only thing you had, I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to use them.

The reality is, there are many variables to take into account such as how the filters are stored, which will affect their shelf life.


Since you worked for the CIA what are your thoughts on the origination of the Covid-19 virus? Was it produced in a lab?

-From Cary R.

Answer: After working for the CIA, nothing surprises me. If someone told me that it didn’t come from a bat, but that the Chinese did this to hurt us, that would be par for the course because the Chinese are our #1 adversary.

But according to intelligence reports, the U.S. government says it’s highly unlikely the virus was produced in a lab.

The problem is the Chinese government hasn’t cooperated with any legitimate investigation into the source of the virus. This means it will be hard to determine exactly where it came from.

I would never rule out that it wasn’t a lab mistake by the Chinese government.


I live in the southwestern U.S. This time of year I like to sleep with my windows open. Any ideas for window security when I want to leave it open?

-From Gail B.

Answer: I don’t recommend sleeping with a window open. It makes it too easy for someone to get inside.

First floor windows can provide criminals easy access into your home.

Window screens can be popped out in seconds, or silently cut, so they’re all but worthless as a deterrent.

However, I realize some people depend on open windows for airflow during the warmer months.

So, if you must sleep with your window open, think about installing a security grille on the window. These are similar to the bars on windows but they look a little better.

You could also install security screens, which are incredibly strong yet still allow airflow. These security screens are more expensive than the security grilles, but are options you should consider if you’re going to leave your windows open at night.


What constitutes a firearm? Let’s say a court orders me to turn over all my firearms. Can I just give them the part of the gun with the serial number? (Asking for a friend.)

-From Wesley P.

Answer: Serial numbers are usually affixed to the part of the firearm that per the U.S. government is legally considered to be a firearm. For example, on AR-platform firearms, that part is the lower receiver.

Now, the specific part with a serial number is usually a critical part for the gun to function. So, in theory, you are right because once that part is removed the weapon can no longer fire, therefore it’s not a gun.

So, while I love your thinking, I don’t think the court system cares about the serial number only. They’re going to want the whole gun, but I would certainly have your friend talk to a lawyer about this.


I’m new to gun ownership. How do I care for the springs in my magazine? Do they need to be replaced every so often? Do I need to take the ammo out regularly?

-From Lacy T.

Answer: There are a lot of opinions regarding this issue, but the fact is, when using quality magazines with quality ammunition, you can leave them loaded for a long time.

Modern magazine springs are manufactured to maintain their function under stress.

In other words, they’re meant to be fully compressed when the magazine is fully loaded.

If you were to load a brand-new magazine to its capacity and let it sit in that condition for years, it would be fine. I know from experience.

When buying extra magazines for your gun, I always recommend buying them from the same manufacturer who produced your gun or buy them from top-of-the-line companies such as Magpul.

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