Former CIA Officer Jason Hanson Reveals...

Spy Secrets That Can

Save Your Life

Get Out Alive

Mailbag Monday

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I’m looking for a new survival knife. Are you familiar with knives that are made of carbon? Is this durable enough for an emergency?

-From Jay W.

Answer: All my knives are made out of some type of steel. Carbon is great for knife handles, but as a blade, it will wear down very quickly when used for cutting or slicing.

Plus, carbon can’t be sharpened as well as steel. Even if you have a professional sharpen the knife it’s still not as effective as steel. Also, the blade will degrade faster compared to steel.

I would be very cautious when buying a carbon blade as this is not something you would want to depend on in a survival situation. I’d stick with steel, something like AUS 8 steel.


I’m thinking about getting a satellite phone for emergencies. But how would a satellite phone benefit you if others do not have sat phones?

-From Keri M.

Answer: If you’ve purchased a satellite phone for emergencies you should talk to your family or friends. Ask them if they have a sat phone or if they have ever considered buying one.

If the cell towers went down you should still be able to talk to others who have a sat phone. Also, if you have a sat phone you should still be able to call 911.

But, you are correct, if none of your family have sat phones, it won’t do much good to reach them if cell towers are down.


The VPN I’ve been using was hacked. Cybercriminals supposedly accessed personal data. How do I know if a VPN is storing my personal information or internet habits?

-From Glen P.

Answer: The best thing to do is to contact the specific VPN you want to use and ask them for their customer privacy policy.

For example, I use Proton as my VPN and they store a minimal amount of personal information. (This is the same company that makes Proton Mail.)


I want to build my own AR-15 for home defense. If I buy the 80% lower receiver online, will it be tracked by the government?

-From Hank A.

Answer: Due to the new law that just passed in August, they now have to be serialized, so it’s basically like buying a gun from a gun store.


I live in a remote part of Colorado in a mountain cabin. I would like to buy oxygen canisters and stash them around the mountain in case I need to hike out. Do you know where I can buy quality oxygen tanks?

-From Terry I.

Answer: Unfortunately, a physician’s prescription is mandatory to buy hospital grade oxygen. It’s federally illegal for anyone to buy medical grade oxygen without a prescription.

You will see some websites that claim they are selling oxygen but this isn’t pure, medical grade oxygen, so I wouldn’t waste your money on it.

I’m not aware of any place that will sell oxygen without a prescription. And the cheap stuff online might not do much good.

I would spend as much time as possible hiking and acclimating to the altitude so your body becomes accustomed to it.


I would like to install a Wi-Fi door lock so my kids can get into the house if they get home from school before I do. Would you trust a Wi-Fi door lock such as one from Schlage?

-From Mandy R.

Answer: When it comes to door locks, Schlage is one of the most secure brands you can purchase. In fact, I’ve personally installed them on some of my doors and I’ve been pleased with their security.

Now, I don’t use any door locks with a touch screen or Wi-Fi access because I’m somewhat leery of the electronic security aspects. I prefer a standard lock with a key and nothing fancy such as a keypad or Wi-Fi connection.

With that being said, if you do want a quality lock that does have Wi-Fi the Schlage is a good choice. Yet, keep in mind there are always security risks when connecting to the internet.

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