In the last few days I have been fielding constant phone calls from clients, asking if they should be doing anything to prepare for uncertain times. Many are worried about the upcoming election and are surprised when I say that they should be prepared no matter who wins. Beyond the fact that general preparedness is good practice – if Hillary wins, I expect to see a massive run on gun and ammo sales that we will most likely not recover from due to impending executive orders. On the other hand, if Trump wins – it is not unlikely that we might see civil unrest from organizations that have already been involved in such activities. To add to the political and civil unrest, we need to look no further than our eastern seaboard in the last week. We are always one disaster away from our power grid failing, our water system being compromised, or our emergency services being overwhelmed.
Duty, Responsibility, or Good Practice?
I have strong views on whether people should be self-reliant. Let me pose something to you: Imagine a natural disaster like the recent hurricane that hit FL and the East Coast. Now take 2 families. One family has the means and ability to be prepared, yet chooses not to because they live a comfortable life and aren’t concerned. Another family does not have the means or ability and is not prepared. A disaster happens and the family without means dies or is injured waiting for emergency services to respond to them; while the family with means is being helped. What is liability and responsibility to the family with means and ability? I’m not speaking in a legal sense, more a moral sense. I’m merely pointing out that by prioritizing purchasing the newest iPhone over having supplies – you place yourself in the situation of being an unnecessary burden on the system.
What do I need?
So, I want to break this down simply into two categories: natural disasters and civil unrest. While both situations can share some of the same requirements and, quite arguably, have the need for firearms – I want to tailor this article to be a bit more inclusive to people who may not be a fan of firearms. So, please spare the “needing firearms for everything” comments – I agree with you. But, we need non-firearm families to be part of the solution as well. Also, I want to state that this is not an all-inclusive guide to prepping. There are many sites, articles, and books for that. This is about basic and common practices for average people who aren’t necessarily preparedness minded.
For me, I would prioritize this as the first thing to prepare for. The reasons are that the incidence of occurrence is much higher (unless you live in a really bad neighborhood) and the steps you take will apply to almost all situations. You will notice that with basic preparedness, I always lean towards initially outfitting with the goal of maintaining the ability to move away from the house or place of storage. Measures that are heavier or bulkier, in my opinion, should come later.
ONE CASE OF BOTTLED WATER PER HOUSEHOLD MEMBER: This is an emergency source of water should your utility system be compromised. This isn’t an outlying chance – this happened in North Carolina just recently. The reason for the bottled water is that it is very easy to separate and distribute, which gives you more flexibility should you need to go somewhere. There are other measures you can take of course.
30 DAY SUPPLY OF FOOD PER HOUSEHOLD MEMBER: I recommend getting the assorted buckets of Mountain House camp meals or similar. Of course canned goods, MRE’s, and hydrated food are great – however, try to throw a few days of canned or hydrated food into a bag and walk a distance with it. The dehydrated meals, again, give you a lot of flexibility should you need to move. Something like this: https://www.amazon.com/Mountain-House-Just-Classic-Bucket/dp/B00955DUHQ/ref=pd_bxgy_468_img_2?ie=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=TD9SR7S9BGASSNH24ZWJ
ABILITY TO FILTER AND SANITIZE WATER: Again – I prefer to maintain the capability of mobility here. You will want something to filter out sediments and particles. Many of these devices have microbial filters, but I still tend to not rely on them for complete sanitization. There are some very nice ones like this: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0007U00YE/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0007U00YE&linkCode=as2&tag=realsurvi-20&linkId=TTRYW6MAJC7T7YDK
However, the price for these is high – and the ability to purify water definitely falls into the, “Two is one and One is none” category for redundancy needs. So, if you can do one per family member – great. If not, look at something like this:
Next you need the ability to sanitize water. Of course you can boil it – but whatever fuel you have may be a finite resource. Also, extra fuel for boiling is heavier compared to the following options. A SteriPen is a great device:
It is very simple and self-explanatory to use. It isn’t too expensive, so if you can’t get one per family member – just get one and then back it up with chemical treatment tabs like these:
There are, of course, many different chemical treatment options out there, not just these. Just make sure you know how to properly use them.
Remember – water is important. You can go a while without food – without water, you won’t last long. These items give you the ability to either continue to use utility water that may be contaminated or obtain it safely from natural sources.
500 MILES OF FUEL: In the case of natural disasters, fuel supplies can run short. Pick up some good Gas Cans that don’t leak, fill them up and add a fuel stabilizer and safely store them in a shaded area. The amount you need is dependent on your vehicle’s mileage and how many vehicles you might need. This amount of gas should be adequate should you need to leave in case of an emergency and get yourself away from the affected area. Most fuel stabilizers claim they are good for 1-2 years of storage, but I generally recommend only storing for 6 months, and switching out stores when the fuel blends change for the season. At that point, just use the gas in your vehicle and re-fill the cans with the new season’s blends. Another important note is that you should get into the habit of topping off your vehicle. Don’t return home with your tank below ¾; top it off – things can develop very quickly overnight.
I’m going to stop the recommendations there to keep this focused. There are numerous other things to think about, like flashlights/candles, backpacks, clothing, footwear, weather gear, safety gear, etc. This is just a starting point for you to get a bit more prepared to be independent in the case of an emergency.
Offensive/ Defensive Capability
Before starting this part – I want to state that you should only get what you can use. Unlike food, water, etc. – the use of a firearm is significantly less if you have no idea how to operate it. You can grab a camp meal off a shelf, read the instructions, and be fine – not so much with a gun. Get armed, but get training. I also want to state here that the following recommendations are starting points. This is for the average person who might need to protect their home or make it to and from the gas station during a disturbance. If you are bugging out and taking a 700 mile overland route to Montana, then this probably isn’t the article for you.
CONCEALED CARRY PISTOL FOR ALL LEGAL FAMILY MEMBERS (and license where required): I have been getting this question a lot with the upcoming election and worries about gun control. Most people telling me they want to get another AR-15 and wanting some recommendations. They are usually taken off guard when I ask them first, “Does every member of your family that can legally carry, have a concealed carry pistol?” We need to establish priorities based on the probable incidence of occurrence. Of course more AR-15’s will be beneficial to stacking zombies in the front yard and they are one of the best home defense platforms. However – it is most likely that society will not devolve to the point to where you will be able to stroll into your local Walmart in all your MultiCam glory with your AR-15 at the ready, without attracting significant law enforcement attention. A good concealed gun gives you much more flexibility as to what places you can access. You should also have 3 magazines PER pistol at a bare minimum. The more loaded magazines you have, the less you will have to load when you may be pressed for time.
2,500 ROUNDS PER PISTOL: This may sound like a lot, but it isn’t. This amount is to protect you from ammunition shortages (which can last extended periods) and severe price fluctuations. Remember – If ammo is scarce, it will have a high value – giving you the ability to trade or sell for other things you may need. I’ll readily take a pound of rounds over a pound of gold if things get really bad. Generally what I recommend to do is to buy in bulk. Use a browser like www.Gunbot.net to find decent, cheap ammo. Then do some math. Take your estimated 6 month ammo usage (because you are training regularly AREN’T YOU?!?!?!?), add it to 2,500, then multiply it by how many primary pistols you have per household. You only need 9mm rounds, so you shouldn’t have to break out special calibers. Buy it and it can be shipped right to your house. When you burn through your training allotment, reorder. Make sure you are rotating stock as well. You may ask, “What about self-defense rounds vs. training rounds?” I’m just keeping the math simple for folks here. Of course, good expanding pistol rounds are better than Full Metal Jacket cheap training ammunition. I’ll always prefer people to carry rounds that reduce over penetration, but you have to make decisions based off of what your budget is. I’d rather you carry with FMJ than not carry at all.
ONE AR-15 RIFLE: This may ruffle some, but keep in mind this is a starting point. One per legal family member is definitely a good thing – but it may not be in the budget. Get a DECENT AR-15 from a reputable manufacturer. Check legitimate reviews that aren’t from paid endorsers. Get it set up right. We all have opinions on how to set one up so I’ll keep this generic. Have iron (backup) sights and an optic (red dot or scope). Have a sling like a VTAC. Have a mounted white light. Have an extra set of batteries for ALL accessories stored ON the rifle (like in a buttstock compartment). Have 5 (minimum) magazines from a reputable manufacturer. Know how to use it. Keep it clean and lubed. Have it zeroed. Also, SBR’s may be a bad idea. You lose significant velocity and performance at range. Make sure you take into account the size/weight vs. capability before going SBR.
5,000 ROUNDS PER RIFLE: Same advice and math as the pistol ammo – buy in bulk and rotate. Regular XM193, XM855, or 55gr Hornandy Lake City reloads will work – not everyone can afford to buy Black Hills TSX in bulk. Just make sure it is that ammunition you are zeroed for.
WAIT, YOU FORGOT TONS OF THINGS!!!!!
I didn’t forget anything; I intentionally tried to keep this as focused as possible. This list could be a book if I included everything. The considerations expand rapidly when you start to consider things. But, that’s good – I’m glad you’re thinking about them. Once you get the minimum items prepared – you SHOULD be thinking about more contingencies and adding/refining your gear as appropriate. There is one glaring omission here:
After some deep thought, this wasn’t left out as a mistake. When it comes to medical gear – carrying equipment you don’t know how to use can be dangerous. Again – this article is not for the hardcore, “My whole street block trains together”, #prepperteamforlife audience. This is for the average person or family that DOESN’T have ANY of these items. If you’re mad about the medical omission, that probably doesn’t include you. You should also know that you can carry all the combat gauze you want, but stuffing it into a tension pneumothorax won’t help the patient. You can also field improvise tourniquets, chest seals, etc. However, my rule of thumb for med gear is: ONLY CARRY WHAT YOU KNOW HOW TO USE.