Survivalist Forum banner

1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I just purchased an emergency signaling mirror...

After some reading, I decided to spend a few dollars extra and buy the actual glass USGI version, instead of the Coghlans or other brands:
MARK 3 (the version with the sighting hole in the center--not the older cross-slit),
TYPE II (i.e. 3x5").

I'll just be carrying it for insurance, but has anyone actually had to use one? Or heard of some survival stories where this was actually used to effect a rescue?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,318 Posts
I use the mirror on my compass I figure its there thats what I would use in a pinch but with the hole it makes it alot easyer


and I used it to find my house on the other hill 27km away.. and it worked flawlessly called ok flash me now ya I see it..
 

·
Looks like rain to me.
Joined
·
41,429 Posts
A CD can do about the same thing.

A buddy of mine is a Sr. Chief in the Coast Guard. C130 Flight Engineer. He claims a signal mirror has been tested, in clear weather to 100 miles,as long as the aircraft is at high enough altitude.

Sounds good to me, I have one in my Bag and one in my flight vest.
 

·
Time to hit reset
Joined
·
25,656 Posts
Yep, used one ages ago calling in a Blackhawk (long story). Personally I would opt for the smaller one 2"x3", fits easier in your pocket and still use it for shaving, camo, etc..
 

·
Deus exsisto laus
Joined
·
3,963 Posts
I have one and it is a very handy item to have in ones possession. I have never had to use it for it's intended purpose , however I have used it in camp to help me extract some little something that was blown into my eye. I have even once used it as a shaving mirror! TP
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,092 Posts
I had to use one once when hunting a friend got lost so to the top of a hill in a clearing starte flashing after about a half hour I heard him yelling. Howard
 

·
Critical Thinker
Joined
·
105 Posts
If you have a knife you wont need to bring a mirror or a cd. Get the blade wet and cover it with sand, salt, or even crushed rocks. This will create a highly reflective surface in the sunlight and can be used for signaling.
 

·
Critical Thinker
Joined
·
105 Posts
Yeah...good luck with that...
Sure lots of luck, when compared to a mirror or cd. Read the full statement first.

I always carry my knife with me. Do you always carry a cd and a mirror in your pocket? These are survival tips and techniques.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,090 Posts
What full statement?
I don't carry a mirror in my pocket,but have one in the ditch bag.
Have you actually tried what you stated? Had someone stand a mile away and try to flash signal them with a knife blade? A CD doesn't even work that great.
How long did it take to grind and polish the finish off your knife blade,to the point of being reflective?
 

·
See you in my Scope
Joined
·
2,622 Posts
My friend was on the ill fated Special forces Mission in Iraq where they had to use a signaling mirror to call in fire from F-16s. They used the mirror to show the pilots where they were.
 

·
Critical Thinker
Joined
·
105 Posts
What full statement?
I don't carry a mirror in my pocket,but have one in the ditch bag.
Have you actually tried what you stated? Had someone stand a mile away and try to flash signal them with a knife blade? A CD doesn't even work that great.
How long did it take to grind and polish the finish off your knife blade,to the point of being reflective?
A mirror is definately a MUCH better option. Just tossing in an idea in a bare bones situation.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,447 Posts
The mirrors work but you have to know how to use them. There's a reason there is a hole in the center. Line up the hole with your target (like an airplane) and move the mirror slightly to reflect sunlight towards the target.
 

·
Happiness is 2 at low 8
Joined
·
1,403 Posts
The mirrors work but you have to know how to use them. There's a reason there is a hole in the center. Line up the hole with your target (like an airplane) and move the mirror slightly to reflect sunlight towards the target.
Have you ever actually used one?

Your explanation is simplistic at best...

First there are mirrors with simple holes in them and then there are the "signal" mirrors that have a grid built in them that shows a spot of light you can see in the hole. By putting the spot of light you see thru the hole on the target you know the sun's reflection is also shining on the target... It's really pretty cool... I don't know the mechanics of how it works, but it does...

For the type without the special grid backing the hole is pretty much a gimmick as you have to locate the sun's reflection on your finger and then align the mirror, your finger (with the sun's reflection showing on it) and the target all together. You can more easily look over the top of the mirror as try to locate your target thru that little hole.

In my EDC I have a 2"x3" "signal" mirror and in my BOB I have one of the Air Force 4"x6" "signal" mirrors. They're a bit heavier/costlier than the Coleman gimmick mirrors, but well worth the difference...

Allan
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,090 Posts
In a pinch,flat plate glass will also reflect,not as good as mirror,but still decent. Quite often during the summer,while on the lakes,we see a flash far out on the horizon,and looking thru binocs,we can see the boat.The side window or front glass caught the sun just right while bobbing in the waves.
 

·
Wanderer
Joined
·
3,270 Posts
I've used a signal mirror to attract a search plane looking for me in the mountains. I was trying to talk to them by radio but they weren't understanding what I was telling them. My patrol vehicle had broken down and they were trying to talk another unit in to tow me out, but they were circling below me. Finally, they saw my mirror flash and problem was solved.
Get one of the good ones, as describe by Birdman, a genuine GI issue 2x3 is fine for EDC or BOB either. Read and follow instructions for using the "flash hole" to signal with the mirror. In a pinch take the mirror, either inside or outside one, off your vehicle and use it. Just point a finger on one hand to what you're trying to signal, and hold the mirror in the other hand. When the mirror flash shines on your pointed finger, you know it's shining on the receiver of your signal.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
..it's beautiful (sniff)

I just received the mirror in the mail. It's a very clear glass, that is heavier and better than I imagined. I'm sure it's superior in durability and contruction than the commercial models. The online research I did definitely paid off.

Most of the emergency and aviation websites which discuss mirror signaling tell you that using a CD does not work very well--because the tiny ridges diffuse the light. Yes, using CD is better than nothing at all, but really cut down on range. A youtube video demonstrated the military version was visible at 41 miles.

I would suggest that anyone considering adding this to their BOB or camp gear, just spend the extra $10 and buy a milsurp item. You won't regret the quality, glass clarity, and ruggedness.

FYI: the box has the followign information:
NSN 6350-00-251-9772
MIRROR, EMERGENCY SIGNALING, TYPE II CLASS I
1 EA.
CONTRACT NO. DLA400-85-5097
C 8-85

The mirror has the additional information:
MIRROR, EMERGENCY, SIGNALING, MARK 3
MIL-M-18371E MANUFACTURER S.I. HOWARD GLASS
TYPE II CONTRACT NO. DLA 400-85-C-5097
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
So many Mirrors so little space

I have never had the chance to use a signal mirror in a real survival situation, luckily. I have been able to find plenty of other opportunities to test and try different mirrors and other objects over the years. I have worked with the Forest Service for a number of years doing different jobs:Trail Maintenance, fighting fires, and the best one...Wilderness Ranger(what fun job), I could always find opportunities to pull out a signal mirror and give it a test.

Glass Mirrors - USGI models are great, they are probably the brightest mirror that you can purchase, which in a survival situation that might be what you want. However they are breakable, the other day before a survival class I opened up my Survival Kit to discover that my mirror was shattered, could it still have worked in a pinch...ehhh maybe, but that is something to consider.

Lexan Mirrors - Star Flash or Rescue Flash Model (put out by Adventure Medical Kits) - These are my signal mirrors of choice, lightweight (great for me I am a backpacker), unbreakable and they float. The reviews I have read indicate that these models won't reach as far as a glass model, unfortunately I don't have any stats on this so I don't know what the difference is. Every time I have used my mirror, weather to signal in a plane on a fire, or just signaling a fellow ranger a couple mtns over I have never been let down.

BCB Model - I own a few of these, they are by far the lightest signal mirror I have found. They work great because of their weight and size, but these advantages also lead to a major shortcoming. The packaging states that the flash can be seen up to 10 miles, a far cry from the 100 miles the Glass can supposedly achieve. But as with all gear, it works with specific groups and is tailored to their needs, 10 miles might be all you need. If you want something super lightweight and small this is a good mirror.

Misc - I have tried many other objects as mirrors with varying degrees of success, car rear view mirrors, make up compacts, CDs (I agree with the other posts, CD's work, but are sub par at best), Metal Camp Mirrors (I love these, they can be cut down to any size to fit anywhere. I have one in my small Trail Running Survival Kit which is a 1in x 3in).

The most important thing to remember is analyze your style of play. What is it you like to do? How do you like to do it? And then from there pick the mirror that fits you best. It shouldn't matter what matter what mirror you choose, but not having one may matter some day.
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top