Like any other field of study, self-reliance and preparedness have languages of their own. As an aid to understanding some of the lingo we sling around here at APB, I offer this glossary of acronyms, slang, and phrases. Some you’ll find on many prepping web sites, and others are peculiar to APB. Enjoy!


  • AAR – “After-action report.” A summary of some notable event, including a discussion of how it was handled, what went right, what went wrong, and how to improve next time.
  • ADS – “Area denial system.” Anything that can exclude people or vehicles from some defined area. A fence is the simplest example, but it could be a berm, a moat, a wall, etc.
  • AO – “Area of operations,” a term borrowed from the military to describe where a military unit is working. In prep-speak, it refers to your home and the surrounding area.
  • APB – “Applied Paranoia Blog.” The blog you are currently reading. It was started in March of 2013, and aims to provide information on modern survivalism, self-reliance, and personal freedom.


  • Bug-out – The act of leaving your current location due to some emergency situation. Generally refers to getting out of your house as quickly as possible, perhaps due to natural disaster or civil disturbance.
  • BOB, Bug-out Bag – A backpack or other contrivance filled with supplies intended to sustain a person for a short period of time, enabling the act of bugging out quickly.
  • BOK – “Blow-out Kit,” a specialized first aid kit that provides the supplies needed to rapidly treat a major wound, such as a gunshot wound. At minimum, contains a combat tourniquet, trauma dressing, hemostatic agent and gauze for packing wounds.
  • BOL – “Bug-out Location,” or where you go when it’s time to bug out
  • BOV – “Bug-out Vehicle.” A vehicle in which one bugs out. Generally selected based on lack of electronics, so as to survive an EMP attack or CME, and for all-around robustness, for clearing out swarms of zombies.
  • BZK – Benzalkonium chloride, a topical antiseptic found in wet wipes and hand sanitizers.


  • CCW – “Carrying concealed weapons.” The legal ability to carry a handgun or handguns without them being visible to the casual observer. Generally used as shorthand for the permit needed to do so in many states; e.g., “I got my CCW yesterday, and now I’m shopping for a gun.”
  • CME – “Coronal mass ejection.” An event where a solar prominence collapses suddenly, resulting in a huge stream of charged particles that head out into space at high speeds. If the area of the sun that collapses is pointed right at Earth, and the event is energetic enough, the particle stream can cause problems with orbiting satellites, and possibly even ground-based electronic and electrical systems. Similar to EMP, but potentially more energetic. There’s historical examples of CMEs interacting with Earth-based systems – see the Carrington Event of 1859 for details.



  • EDC – “Every Day Carry.” The gear that you keep on your person every day. Usually refers to one or more handguns, but can also include knives, phones, flashlights, or anything else you don’t want to be without in a pinch.
  • EMP – “Electromagnetic pulse,” a momentary spike in radio-frequency energy produced by a number of means, but typically and most destructively by the detonation of a powerful thermonuclear device in the atmosphere. EMP is said to be able to permanently destroy all unshielded modern electronics at the chip level, and is somewhat fancifully thought to be a weapon that can revert a modern society to the 1800s in a heartbeat. Possible, but not likely, and probably not worth prepping against, IMHO.
  • EWS – “Early warning system.” Anything designed to give you a heads up about intruders. It could be as simple as a string of tin cans on a fence line, or  as complex as motion sensors and wireless video cameras.


  • FOB – “Forward Operating Base,” any secured forward position that is used to support tactical operations.
  • FRN – “Federal Reserve Notes,” or the soon-to-be-worthless paper money issued by the goobermint.


  • GHB, GBB – “Get-home Bag” or “Get-back Bag.” A kit of supplies you keep in your vehicle so you can get home if your vehicle becomes disabled and no help is coming.
  • Goobermint, gub-mint, etc. – The government, particularly the federal government.



  • IFAK – “Individual first aid kit.” A military acronym for the minimal first aid kit issued to soldiers and Marines. Basically a tourniquet, compression dressings, burn treatment, and hemostatic gauze. These supplies are to be used by the warrior to self-treat major injuries, or to be used by squadmates to treat him or her.
  • IWB – “Inside the waist-band,” a method of concealed carry where the holster is tucked inside the beltline, leaving only the handgun’s grip exposed.


  • JBT – “Jack-booted Thugs,” or those that would use force to deny you your sovereign freedoms.
  • JWR – James Wesley, Rawles, uber-prepper, author of the Patriots series of novels, and editor of The Survival Blog. I’m not sure what the deal is with the comma between the middle and last names, but that’s how he spells it.



  • LEO – “Law Enforcement Officer”


  • Mr. Paranoid – Owner, admin and chief contributor of this blog.
  • Mrs. Paranoid – Mr. Paranoid’s long-suffering spouse.


  • NBC – “Nuclear, Biological or Chemical.” As in weapons. Nasty stuff.


  • Officer Friendly – APB’s facetious nickname for any police officer. Not to be taken as an insult to the profession (my dad was a cop), just as an acknowledgement that you have to be careful when having any encounter with law enforcement, since they are there to enforce the law, and “anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.”


  • PMs – “Precious metals.” Mainly refers to gold and silver, which preppers often accumulate, or “stack”. Can also refer to copper



  • Redoubt – The “American Redoubt,” an area purported to be a safe haven for Christians and Jews when the SHTF, as described by James Wesley, Rawles. Consists of the states of Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, eastern Washington, and eastern Oregon.


  • Sheeple, Sheople – Portmanteau of the words “sheep” and “people,” with the implication that most people are sheep that will blindly follow the flock and do what they’re told. Not preppers.
  • SHTF – “Shit Hits the Fan.” Some event that qualifies as a disaster, either global (CME), national (war, pandemic), regional (hurricane), local (tornado), or even personal (cable going out).
  • Stack – To accumulate one or more types of precious metals. Refers to the actual physical metal, not paper assets based on them. Can also refer to accumulation of any physical asset – canned food, firewood, toilet paper, etc.


  • TAO – Triple-antibiotic ointment.
  • TEOTWAWKI – “The end of the world as we know it.” Not referring to the REM song.
  • TPTB – “The Powers That Be.” The goobermint.
  • TSP – “The Survival Podcast,” a podcast by Jack Spirko. Jack’s message is one of sustainability and self-reliance in the pursuit of personal freedom, from a libertarian standpoint. Highly recommended listening.
  • “Two Is One and One Is None” – One of the core principles of preparedness, recognizing the fact that if you only have one of some critical supply or piece of gear, and it breaks, fails or is lost, you’re up shit creek.




  • WROL – “Without Rule of Law.” Refers to a societal collapse so complete that there are no legal consequences for one’s actions. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this will never happen – someone will always make sure you pay for your misdeeds, if they’re significant enough.




  • ZMB – “Zombie mutant bikers,” an imaginary enemy of a post-apocalyptic “Mad Max” style world. Used as an generic term for gangs of thugs who prey on sheeple in a WROL ZPAW. OK?
  • ZPAW – “Zombie post-apocalyptic world,” a tongue-in-cheek name for a major SHTF scenario, in which zombies will roam the Earth and feed on everyone but the preppers. Not to be taken literally, except by those living in Detroit.


  • 2A – The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, which reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

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