Former CIA Officer Jason Hanson Reveals...

Spy Secrets That Can

Save Your Life

Get Out Alive

Mailbag Monday

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Jason… What are your thoughts about Goldbacks?

-From Al N.

Answer: In 2011, Utah passed a law that made gold and silver legal tender in the state.

Goldback is a company started in Utah that has created Goldback currency that operates in four states. The Goldbacks currency contains a thin layer of gold within a polymer coating.

The currency is shaped like regular bills but contains 24K pure gold. The currency is issued in denominations of 1,5,10,25, and 50 and each one contains larger amounts of gold.

More than $20 million worth of Goldbacks have been circulated in Utah, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Wyoming. There are about 600 businesses that accept Goldbacks.

If you live in one of these states, I can see why Goldbacks might be tempting.

But, I wouldn’t invest in them right now. The thing is, Goldbacks are only in four states. During a disaster you might have to leave your home state.

I would much rather have gold and silver coins.


I enjoyed the RAT Fight book and I would like to expand on my training. Can you tell me how to find a local gym that teaches the RAT fight techniques or something similar?

-From Tom A.

Answer: The RAT fight training is based on Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do. It also uses techniques from Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.


What’s your opinion on the adequacy of a .380 automatic for EDC?

-From Michael L.

Answer: The majority of the time I carry a 9mm. The gun that I carry most often these days is a Sig Sauer P365 in my pocket.

But, I have multiple carry guns because I love guns.

In the past, I have carried a .380 and it is still good for protection.

Remember, bullet placement is what matters most and a .380 can certainly stop an attacker.

At the end of the day, you should carry the gun that you are most comfortable with, even if it’s a .380.

Check out the Sig Sauer P238, it’s a great .380 gun.


I would like to add a ballistic vest to my home defense plan. I live downtown in a big city and I’m constantly worried about rioting. What rating do you recommend for bulletproof vests?

-From Trace B.

Answer: I would buy level IIIA, which will stop up to a .44 Magnum. This is the soft body armor that police wear.

Before you buy body armor though, I will tell you that it is uncomfortable to wear.

So, unless you work in law enforcement, it’s not something I would ever want to wear on a daily basis.

However, I have one for emergency situations and I know others who have a vest near their bed for home defense.


What is your opinion of using the Mossberg Shockwave for home defense? Is the shockwave even legal in most states?

-From Morris T.

Answer: Shotguns are a great option when it comes to home defense.

The Shockwave is a so-called shotgun with a 14-inch barrel and a birdshead style grip in place of the shoulder stock. The thing is, shotguns, like most long guns, are easier to fire accurately than handguns.

But removing the shoulder stock like on the Shockwave negates that advantage.

Basically, the Shockwave is functionally a handgun with tougher ergonomics for accurate shooting.

Instead of the Shockwave, I would consider the Remington 870, which is a quality shotgun that you can upgrade with tactical accessories.

As for the legal aspect of the Shockwave, it’s not legally classified as a short-barreled shotgun by the ATF.

So, as far as federal firearms laws, you don’t have to pay any special taxes or fill out extra paperwork to own one, but they are restricted in some states.


I have owned firearms my entire adult life. One thing I don’t understand is bullet grain. Can you tell me what grain I should use for my 9mm self-defense ammo?

-From Lee H.

Answer: Bullet grain is the unit of measurement for the weight of the projectile (bullet.) The higher the grain number the heavier the bullet is.

The weight of the bullet affects how far the bullet travels, how hard it impacts, and accuracy.

Some folks mistakenly assume that grain weight is the amount of gunpowder. However, it’s the weight of the actual bullet.

When choosing a bullet grain keep in mind that a lighter bullet travels faster, and typically penetrates more. A heavier bullet travels slower and usually penetrates less.

I would recommend a bullet weight that is somewhere in the middle such as 124 grain to get the best of both worlds.

Some of the ammunition I personally use is Speer Gold Dot and Federal HST. Both of these brands are available in different calibers and grain weights.

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