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Doug Clark: Spokane’s own End Times prepper turns inventions into profit

John Adrain models his Level 3A bulletproof t-shirt and tactical jacket, that can each stop a .45-caliber bullet. Colin Mulvany/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
John Adrain models his Level 3A bulletproof t-shirt and tactical jacket, that can each stop a .45-caliber bullet. Colin Mulvany/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

In these perilous days of malice and mayhem, does it really ever pay to leave the house without first pulling on a polo shirt that will stop a .44 Magnum bullet at point-blank range?

And, hey, as long as we’re being careful, why not add to your End Times ensemble by storing your cellphone in a tough custom case with built-in switchblade?

But don’t stop there.

Say you actually make it into your car without having to lacerate anyone’s spleen.

You can now drive off with the peaceful easy feeling that comes from knowing that your favorite handgun is ensconced safely inside the sun visor that hangs just above your head.

With quick-release button – just in case!

Welcome to the gadget-happy world of Spokane’s own Survival Man, John Adrain.

Honestly, every time I hang around this guy, I feel like I’ve wandered into a James Bond movie.

Adrain’s ride, for example.

He equipped the sleek black 2013 Caprice with night-vision cameras front and rear. Just the ticket for those times when a driver needs to speed down a dark highway, sans-headlights.

“My friend says I’m pleasantly insane, and I recognize that,” Adrain tells me during a lunch last week.

He laughs. “I get up every morning and recognize that I have a screw loose.”

Ah, but there’s a method to this man’s madness, as they say.

Adrain, a 57-year-old invention-minded holder of numerous patents, is first and foremost a capitalist.

Makes sense. I mean, why come up with so much cool stuff if you can’t sell your gizmos to others?

As long as we’re on the subject, some other Adrain offerings include …

Bullet-stopping blinds and couch cushions. A burglar alarm that sprays tear gas after a recorded warning to get out.

A “BedBunker” storage vault to replace the box springs under a mattress. A similar “TrunkBunker” for the car …

Adrain should publish his own catalogue. “The Prepper Image,” he could call it.

Until that happens, however, you can check out his intriguing wares at

I met Adrain in 2012, just before he was featured in an episode of the National Geographic Channel’s popular “Doomsday Preppers.”

The television exposure turned Adrain into bit of a commodity.

A TV crew from Belgium showed up in Spokane recently to film a similar prepper-oriented piece at Adrain’s cliffside manor.

Along with stunning views, the compound features geothermal heating and cooling and spy cameras that identify visitors through sophisticated face-recognition software.

Just days ago, Adrain signed a contract with MGM “to develop a series about some of the things I do.”

He can’t get more specific because of a confidentiality agreement, he adds.

Just speculating, but a reality-type show involving the applications of Adrain’s Bond-like products and how they came about could be great fun.

That bulletproof polo shirt, example.

Lightweight at under 4 pounds, Adrain said it offers even more protection than the bulky vests that cops currently wear.

The one Adrain wore resembled a normal olive green pullover with trademark Heraclese Research logo on a sleeve. Heraclese, in Greek mythology, was a son of Zeus and one rough dude.

This trademark differs from my own logo, which is a cowering coward, hollering, “Please, don’t shoot me!!!”

And getting back to that cellphone blade case …

Adrain said he discussed his idea for it over dinner one night with Jeff Weiler, president of AW Design in Airway Heights.

“Everyone has a cellphone,” reasons Adrain. “Why not build a case with a knife that pops out?”

I can’t wait for this baby to hit the market.

I see Verizon customers squaring off with Sprint users over who has better coverage. You know, the way those switchblade-wielding Sharks and Jets rumbled over turf in “West Side Story.”

Once made, Adrain figures his cell blades will sell for maybe $495 to $695.

“Everybody’s gonna want one,” he said.

Well, maybe everybody in a state where switchblades are legal. My internet sleuthing tells me that, unlike over in Idaho, knives with spring-activated blades are illegal in Washington except for those in law enforcement and the military.

But I’m sure it’ll all get worked out.

“I’ll meet you in a parking lot at the state line and you can buy one,” said Adrain, laughing again.

Not to worry, all you lovers of the flag.

Adrain is a patriot. Everything he sells must be American made, he adds, “and of the finest quality. I’m not going to sell junk.”

So where will the Adrain train end? Will bulletproof underwear be the next rage in prepper infrastructure protection?

Guess it all depends on just how happy life is in the ol’ bunker.