Ragnar Benson is the pen name of a prolific survivalist author who specializes in preparedness topics, particularly survival retreats, hunting, trapping, austere medicine, false identification, explosives, firearms, and improvised weapons. Many of his 46 books were published by Loompanics Unlimited (which went out of business in 2004) and by Paladin Press. Both Benson and Paladin Press are controversial, because actually formulating or constructing many of the explosives and weapons that he describes would be illegal in most jurisdictions. Some of his books have been banned ("challenged") from importation into Canada, by the Customs Canada censors at the Connaught Building. His book Ragnar's Guide to Home and Recreational Use of High Explosives was reportedly pulled from distribution in 1999.
Secretive personal life
Benson has revealed very few details of his background and personal life. His real name has not been revealed publicly. He was reportedly born in Indiana and was raised on a farm where dynamite was used for utilitarian purposes. As of 1999, he lived "...on nine acres in southern Idaho with his pet skunks and his wife and 100-plus guns of varying caliber." He was apparently the son of a German immigrant. (In his book Urban Survival he recounts some of his father's experiences growing up in Germany after World War I.)
Benson has travelled extensively and has had no settled career. In the narrative of his book Bull's Eye: Crossbow, Benson mentions that he at one time worked as a firearms dealer in Rhodesia. In a rare interview with Salon magazine, he mentioned that he "...learned about man traps while serving as an agricultural specialist in rural Southeast Asia " In the narrative of another book Homemade C4 - A Recipe for Survival Benson mentions that he had fired a M72 LAW rocket while at Fort Benning, Georgia, home of the US Army Infantry. In the same book, Benson continues to state that he participated in the Army's Tank Commander school, something reserved for a senior enlisted soldier (E-6, SSG). Benson has also intermittently worked as a private investigator for more than 25 years. As of 2010, he was 72 years old. His writing pace has slowed in recent years. In 2007, he authored the Foreword to James Ballou's book Long-Term Survival in the Coming Dark Age: Preparing to Live After Society Crumbles.
On Dec 3, 2010 Ragnar Benson was interviewed on the Omega Man Radio Show with Shannon Ray Davis for over two hours. In the interview, he mentioned that he has travelled to more than 90 countries.
- Acquiring New ID : How To Easily Use The Latest Technology To Drop Out, Start Over, and Get On with Your Life ISBN 0-87364-894-3
- Action Careers: Employment in the High-Risk Job Market
- Breath Of The Dragon: Homebuilt Flamethrowers
- Bull's Eye: Crossbow
- David's Tool Kit: A Citizen's Guide to Taking Out Big Brother's Heavy Weapons
- Do-It-Yourself Medicine: How to Find and Use the Most Effective Antibiotics, Painkillers, Anesthetics and Other Miracle Drugs... Without Costly Doctors' Prescriptions or Hospitals
- Eating Cheap
- The Greatest Explosions in History: Fire, Flash and Fury
- Guerrilla Gunsmithing: Quick And Dirty Methods For Fixing Firearms In Desperate Times
- Hardcore Poaching
- Home-Built Claymore Mines: A Blueprint For Survival
- Homemade C-4: A Recipe For Survival
- Homemade Grenade Launchers: Constructing The Ultimate Hobby Weapon
- How to Survive the Coming Plagues
- Long-Term Survival in the Coming Dark Age: Preparing to Live After Society Crumbles" (Foreword only—book authored by James Ballou)
- The Modern Survival Retreat
- Modern Weapons Caching: A Down-To-Earth Approach To Beating The Government Gun Grab
- The Most Dangerous Game: Advanced Mantrapping Techniques
- New And Improved C-4: Better-Than-Ever Recipes For Half The Money And Double the Fun
- Ragnar's Action Encyclopedia of Practical Knowledge and Proven Techniques (A compilation from some of his other books)
- Ragnar's Big Book Of Homemade Weapons: Building And Keeping Your Arsenal Secure
- Ragnar's Guide To Home And Recreational Use Of High Explosives
- Ragnar's Guide To Interviews, Investigations, And Interrogations: How To Conduct Them, How to Survive Them
- Ragnar's Guide to the Underground Economy
- Ragnar's Homemade Detonators
- Ragnar's Tall Tales
- Ragnar's Ten Best Traps: And A Few Others That Are Damn Good Too
- Ragnar's Urban Survival: A Hard-Times Guide to Staying Alive in the City
- Starting a New Life in Rural America: 21 Things You Need to Know Before You Make Your Move
- Survivalist's Medicine Chest
- SURVIVAL! Live Off The Land In The City And Country
- Survival Nurse: Running an Emergency Nursing Station Under Adverse Conditions
- Survival Poaching
- The Survival Retreat: A Total Plan For Retreat Defense
- Switchblade: The Ace Of Blades
- Switchblade: The Ace Of Blades (Revised Edition)
- Tough Times Survival Guide (contributor)
- "Style Live: Showcase". washingtonpost.com. 1998-07-26. Retrieved 2014-02-06.
- "Salon Column | The survivalist's guide to do-it-yourself medicine". Salon.com. 1999-12-17. Retrieved 2014-02-06.
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- "The survivalist's guide to do-it-yourself medicine". Salon.com. 1999-12-17. Retrieved 2014-02-06.
- "personbk". Militiaofmontana.com. Retrieved 2014-02-06.
- "OMEGA MAN RADIO 1 Online Radio by Omega Man". BlogTalkRadio. Retrieved 2014-02-06.