Former CIA Officer Jason Hanson Reveals...

Spy Secrets That Can

Save Your Life

Get Out Alive

Mailbag Monday

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My entire life I’ve owned revolvers. Last week I purchased my first semi-automatic. My question is, when storing my gun does it damage the magazine spring if I leave the gun loaded for a long period of time?

-From Jay G.

Answer: I always recommend keeping your magazines loaded because as long as you purchased quality factory magazines you shouldn’t worry about the spring failing.

I’ve had guns loaded for years and know many people who do too. It’s a myth that you need to “relieve” your magazines every few months.

The truth is if you purchase a quality gun, the magazines are designed to remain loaded.


I’ve been reading a lot about password security. I know you’ve recommended using four words instead of a regular password. How does this work if the website requires numbers, letters, and special characters?

-From Tim N.

Answer: While each website can be different you will still be required to follow the guidelines of the specific website you are creating a password for.

So, as you mentioned, if a website requires you to use letters, numbers, and special characters then you will still need to do so.

With that in mind, I would imagine as more companies update their website security, they will begin to allow more options when creating passwords, especially since we know that the old standards aren’t the most secure ways to create passwords.

In the meantime, you can still create a password like BlueDogsRunFast90%!!.


Whether it is Russia or North Korea I believe it is only a matter before nuclear war occurs. If this happened, I know there would be fallout in the atmosphere. If I hunker down in my home and put Visqueen plastic sheeting up would this protect my family?

-From Lori K.

Answer: The key to surviving a nuclear attack is to limit your exposure, shield yourself, and to wait for the fallout to decay.

Now, the reality is that fallout can be carried hundreds of miles, so even if you aren’t near the direct hit you are still in danger. Ideally, you would want to take shelter in a basement below ground.

Plus, you should have this basement room stocked with at least 2 week’s worth of supplies.

As for the visqueen, this is a good idea to use to protect the room as long as you make it as airtight as possible. In short, the more barriers between you and the outside air the better your chances of survival will be.


Jason, I have heard someone say that you should wrap your cell phone in tin foil to prevent RF signal transmission or it being destroyed during an EMP. Is there any truth to this?

-From Julie S.

Answer: Aluminum foil can disrupt RF signals but there is no guarantee that it will completely block transmissions.

You may want to build a Faraday cage, which can shield an enclosure that surrounds your electronic devices and protects them during an EMP blast.

Ideally, you want to use a metal enclosure and then you want to line the enclosure with aluminum foil. For example, maybe you want to use a metal ammo can and line it with foil.

There is no guarantee this will work but it gives your electronics the best chance for surviving an EMP.


I travel to New York City once a month for work. Obviously, carrying a concealed gun for self-defense is not an option. Do you know anything about knife laws in New York? Can I carry a knife for self-defense?

-From Austin M.

Answer: I’m not a lawyer but I can tell you that New York City has some of the strictest knife laws in the country.

One thing I can tell you is that it’s illegal to possess a knife with a blade length greater than 4 inches.

In addition, many of the NYC knife laws don’t specifically address the type of knife but simply make it illegal to expose a knife in public.

For example, it would be illegal to carry a knife clipped to your pants pocket because it would be in open view.

Again, I’m not a lawyer but if I were going to carry a knife it would be small and never out of my pocket unless I was using it to stop an attack.


After reading your book I’ve been putting together my everyday carry gear. Honestly, I feel like it is a lot of stuff to carry. But I know it’s important. How do you carry everything and not look suspicious?

-From Gene E.

Answer: I have a knife clipped to my pants pocket. I have a tactical pen clipped to my other pocket.

I have either a gun in my front pocket or a gun on my hip. I wear a gun belt that has hidden compartments inside where I can carry lock pick sets, cash, a handcuff key etc.

I keep my wallet in my left front pocket. While it might sound like a lot of stuff, it really doesn’t take up that much space or draw attention. (You’ll find me wearing jeans or cargo pants to carry these items.)

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