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AM I PREPARED?

The quick answer is most of us are not, including me. My grandfather used to say, “Never tempt worse, worse is ALWAYS more creative”. So I know I am not prepared enough for everything, but I am prepared enough to make suggestions if you are just beginning.

NOTE: This post is a work in progress

STATE OF MIND

Before long lists of things to buy or do. Your state of mind is critical. Remember we ALL have natural blind spots, normalcy bias and have a tendency to ignore, overvalue or undervalue things. 

Also watch for cognitive dissonance, when you know things should be one way but your senses show you another.  

Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum — “if you would have peace, prepare for war”

Cognitive dissonance can identify lies BUT it can also apply to situations where you want to believe one thing (you feel like it should one way), but you KNOW LOGICALLY that things are actually different.  My senses tell me there is no risk, everything is normal, but logic tells me the radar indicates a huge storm is coming – the two don’t match.  Alternately the govt might say DDT is safe, but you see it causing problems – both can result in cognitive dissonance.

Think about what I can control first. What is within my sphere of control. Think about what are absolute necessities.  Focus on things you cant “make” or get easily (before its too late).  I could use rags as toilet paper but I MUST have food, water and shelter to survive. 

If it gets really bad, you wont be able to just run to the store if you need something.  If you need jeans and boots get them NOW.  

Fuel will run out, electricity will end.  Grocery stores will be empty.  Whatever you need you will have to trade for or have already.

Related Reading:

This is TOO MUCH TO DEAL WITH!

Starting out prepping can be overwhelming. Make a list (writing things down helps). Prioritize what you CAN DO over the things you can possibly do and skip the CANT DO to start.

Action helps getting through being overwhelmed. You might feel like you should have started long ago. There is no value in focusing on that. Now is the best time to start prepping.

Prepping Terms and Sayings

There are a lot of terms and sayings that are used in the prepper community. Here are a FEW of those that might help get you in the right frame of mind.

SHTF, FUBAR, TEOTWAWKI and other Prepper Terminology

Preppers have their own terminology. Much is lifted from military, police and first responders. This is by NO means a complete list

BOB – Bug Out Bag. A supplies kit normally a backpack filled with what you need to leave your current location and survive while getting to an alternate location

FUBAR – Fucked Up Beyond all Recognition. Normally an adjective describing a messed up situation (after affects of some SHTF event) a lot of times these are manmade

GHB – Get Home Bag. A supply kit you keep in your car and/or office that has all the stuff you would need to WALK HOME. Clothing, water, shelter, food, map, compass etc.

SHTF – “Shit Hit The Fan”. SHTF is used to refer to “events”. They tend to be shorter and recoverable. Tornados, Fires, big snowstorms etc.

TEOTWAWKI – “The End Of The World As We Know It”. These are major global events, such as asteroid impact, large coronal mass ejection, nuclear war etc.

50 other terms: https://urbansurvivalsite.com/prepper-terms-acronyms/

What is STKY?

This is an important acronym. STYK is “Stuff That Kills You”, also known by as “Sh$t That Kills You”. This applies to prepping because you want to effectively increase your survival for known risks – and using STKY as a starting point is a good plan.

Start with the most likely risks first. Car accident, normal injuries, falls, accidents, likely storms (snowstorm, tornado, hurricane – depending on where you live). Other likely events are power outages from a few hours to a few days.

One is NONE and two is ONE.  

This is a critical mentality.  If you have one flashlight and it goes out you are in the dark- if you break one you might be able to use those parts in the remaining unit.  Same for pistols, or medical gear. 

Repairs, spares, batteries, ammo, filters etc etc… are all easier if you standardize.  Having multiple of the same pistol allows you to interchange magazines.  Same flashlight uses same batteries, same LED, and the same seals.

Cheap is Expensive

This concept is fairly straightforward. If you buy cheap tools you end up paying more in the end.  As with any rule there are exceptions.

Example: I do not exclusively buy expensive flashlights. Cheap ones are all over the place but I do have multiple expensive ones in every car and around the house.

Preparing for 72 hours (3 days)

Most small events last up to 72 hour or about 3 days. These type of events probably require some or all of the following: first aid, medication, water, food, ability to cook, lighting, ability to make temporary repairs to shelter, clothing, heating/cooling, basic communications and minimal defense.

This is where to start. Could you stay in your house for 72 hours without power and water? If not get what you need to be prepared for 72 hours without water, fast food and electricity.

Plan for both good times and bad times
AT THE SAME TIME.  

This is the idea of “Hope for the best and prepare for the worst”. But take it more tangibly. For discussion let us assume your odds of bad things happing are roughly 30%. So plan for 70% good days and 30% bad days. Being prepared means being ready to succeed and improve things AND recover from natural disasters and setbacks.

Do BOTH at once wherever possible. Some preparations can prepare you for both the GOOD and BAD events.

If you can get extra clothing that you would wear anyway, and buy it on sale you have a “prep item” and something you will eventually use anyway. Those clothes might help out a friend or family member.

Focus on supplies, tools and other stuff of value during day to day life AND emergencies. Examples:

  • Big Berkey water filter, you can use it every day AND it helps a lot during an emergency (you can pretty much drink any crappy water using it).
  • Rainwater collection barrels. Water your garden, reduce water load AND have extra water if the faucet stops working.
  • Garden tools, seeds and a prepared garden can be a great passtime. Fresh veggies and fruit taste great. The tools and seeds (and skills) are also critical in an extended emergency.
  • Buy extra food when its on sale and store it. Save a few $ and have food you eat anyway in case you cant go to the store. It also protects you if there is a 3 day snowstorm. Stocking up on extra salt, sugar and other dry goods when they are on sale will actually save you money in good times AND protect you in bad times. Remember to eat the oldest food first.
  • Buy rechargeable batteries and a charger. Yes they are expensive up front. They save you in the long run. After only a few recharge cycles you are saving $. You also have a great emergency resource because you can recharge those AA / AAA using solar or crank.
  • If you hunt, having extra ammo, spare bolt carrier group, and extra ear and eye protection are all things that you use anyway AND they would serve you well in an extended emergency.

Wherever possible leverage the most obvious risks first.

Don’t forget Babies and Younger Children

Stock children’s and baby clothes, jackets, outerwear, shoes and underwear. Stock up at yard sales etc. Having them stored away gives you options. It is likely you will need to take care of a baby and then small children. Clothes, bottles, and all the stuff small kids need.

Worst case seal them up good in a suitcase and store in your attic. You need to make sure they are sealed, mice might move in.

Don’t forget Pets and Livestock

Remember that ALL your animals need clean drinking water and food. Again prepping for this can be as simple as extra bags of dog or cat food.

Are you BUGGING OUT? 

Many people in prepper websites talk about a “bug out bag”.  We don’t really consider those. We focus on the GET HOME BAG.  The idea that you need to get to your safe place, not some how magically survive Long term in the wild.  For us a “bug out bag” is more to evacuate due to a house fire, regional disaster, flooding etc.

For most people bugging in is far more realistic. The other name is “Shelter In Place”.

Skills

Learn now. Learn while its easy. Learn to Garden. Learn first aid, animal husbandry and hunting. Get books, watch videos and LEARN.

Skills are lightweight, travel with you and can be bartered in an emergency.

Are You Ready?

Critical STUFF You Need to be Prepared

The following is lists of things that you need. There are 100s if not 1000s of lists, many that are likely more comprehensive than this list. If you find that something is missing let me know in the comments. Remember this is a work in progress.

Note if you buy stuff through the links, we or our partners might get commissions (none will cost you more money).

WATER

Water is LIFE.  You really should have 5 gallons of water available for every adult (feds say 1 gallon).  https://commonsensehome.com/emergency-water-storage/ A water source is critical. 

http://commonsensehome.com/emergency-water-filtration/ 

Big Berkey Water Filter. Strongly recommended (must have). It is easy to use.  The Berkey’s remove 99.999% of viruses, 99.9999% of pathogenic bacteria, chlorine, volatile organic compounds including pesticides and herbicides, and 95% of most heavy metals.  Lifespan for Black Berkey filters is 3,000 gallons per filter (different specs for the older ceramic filters). It will filter out Nitrates but NOT nitrites.

The main thing is how much drinkable water you would need total – remember the freeze dried food will need water to rehydrate so assume 2x water per person.

Other Water Sources

Large 55 gallon water drum (includes hand pump and tablets) and we recommend you get the roller kit for it

Rainwater barrels add a screen filter and feed it from your downspouts.

Add a shallow or deep hand pump (some can work with existing wells)

**Remember you can drain water heater for drinkable water.

** when using contaminated water filter first with a TShirt or towel to strain out larger particulates  then put into Berkey to turn it into drinking water

FOOD

The average daily caloric intake for adult women is 1,600 to 2,400 calories per day and 2,000 to 3,000 calories per day for adult men.

Get 3 months of shelf stable food MINIMUM for each family member.  Better to have one year.

Food types: such as your favorite canned goods, freeze dried food, and coast guard “SOS” bars.  Mix it up the things you like.  Eating the same thing every day is annoying.  You can’t really get too much. 

Food Storage and Food Prepping Related Reading

What about Freeze Dried Food?

We recommend Mountain House and Auguson Farms.   Freeze dried foods last 25 years.  Consider a freeze dryer

For food preps, make sure you taste test any freeze dried foods, some are quite unpleasant.

Premade, prepackaged freeze dried food is pricey but a freeze dryer is $2400 to $3400 and requires you to cook and then freeze the foods and change the filters and then mylar seal the food. https://harvestright.com/common55-1-1-15.html 

If you are just want to BUY the food to avoid the work here are some options:

Consider a dehydrator

It is cheaper than a freeze dryer and easy to use.

Home Canning

If you dont know how learn how to CAN FOOD. Home canning has a LONG tradition.

Dry Goods and other Long Shelf Life Food

Buy beans, rice etc in bulk and seal them up with oxygen absorber.  They will last up to 25 years. Salt, Sugar and Honey will last forever when stored properly. Learn how to store it NOW.

Storing rice, beans, salt and sugar – put in 1gal mylar bags, add oxygen absorbers, seal, then put in bucket and seal bucket.

Source to buy beans/rice: https://www.webstaurantstore.com/17545/rice.html?filter=type:white-rice

Cooking

Practice camp cooking so you could cook without regular electricity.

Keep 2 to 10+ charcoal bags and/or propane tanks.  Keep extra gas cans in garage (at least two 5gal per vehicle – use annually at least and refill).  If you have a fireplace ensure you have a 1year stockpile of wood even if you don’t regularly use it (backup heating).

Other related cooking recommendations

  • *A couple of HAND CAN OPENERS*
  • A rocket stove, or grill are simple inexpensive options to ensure you can cook food.  
  • Pressure canner
  • Water bath canner
  • Lots of canning jars and lots of lids 
  • Multiple Crock pots
  • Large heavy duty pots/pans that can be used on OPEN FLAME
  • Copper still + distilling books
  • Grain mill
  • Apple press
  • Cast iron cookware 
  • Beer making gear/supplies
  • Wine making gear/supplies

If you have the funds and a camp or outbuilding, consider a wood fired Amish cooking stove.

Daily LIFE 

Think about life without modern conveniences.  Do you have a hand pump to pressurize a car tire. Do you have anything to cook with open flame?   Do you have a way to dispose of human waste?  A bucket and garbage bags is a poor mans off grid toilet.  Do you have an extra pair of glasses?

Books, Lots of Books

Physical paper books are your friend. You can read them even if there is no computer, or internet. Get books on every important thing you can. Books on practical chemistry, medical, industrial, historical, constitution, federalist papers – a BIG library and duplicate books for trading.

Rechargeable Batteries Battery & USB Charger

Get a couple of each of these that you actually use (I suggest double what you think you need):

https://commonsensehome.com/best-battery-chargers/

Solar USB Charger (lighting) It can charge your cellphone and charge rechargeable AA, AAA and 18650 batteries using the USB charger.  I have tested the combo with AA, 18650 and AAA rechargeable batteries and it actually works.

Flashlights

I suggest 3 per vehicle (of whatever type) and multiple around the house + a number stored with the battery not in them with the freeze dried foods & water.  I own all of these.

Around the house simple AA flashlight (kids etc)

http://commonsensehome.com/best-cheap-flashlight/  

Very small Lumintop EDC01 AAA flashlight. It is bright for its size and great for every day carry.

VERY bright pocket 18650 flashlight ThruNite TN12 different kind of battery noted above.  We have over a dozen of these.

Indoor “camp light” https://commonsensehome.com/thorfire-led-camping-lantern-review/ (crank and USB charging with Solar or A/C)

Communications

Tools

Remember you need all the tools repair everything you have.

Electricity

General Electricity Related References

Generator

A gasoline, diesel or propane generator will keep your freezer going in the short term. The long term problem is fuel, you can not store enough. So heating with wood is likely your TEOTWAWKI fuel source.

As an example a propane generator will use 2 to 3 gallons per hour. That means a 1000gallon propane (which is about 800 gallons) will last about 400 hours at best (or 16 days). We use a lot of energy in modern life.

A modern gas station has 10,000 to 24,000 gallons of gasoline. A gasoline generator only uses about .75 gallons per hour. But that still means the big 10,000 will last 555 days and the huge 24,000 gallon tank will last 1300 days. In a major event you will want to turn the generator OFF whenever it isn’t absolutely necessary. Plus remember gasoline breaks down in few months to at most 2years.

Solar Electricity

Solar is an option. Remember its limitation – you only get it when it is sunny. It will slowly degrade over 10 to 20 years. It is fairly expensive at $1k to $2k per KW of generation. If you add batteries the price can be 2x to 8x.

Wind Electricity

If you are mechanically inclined and don’t mind heights this can be a good supplement to solar.

Storing Fuel

Even though you cant store enough for long term you CAN store enough in the short term. Storing fuel can be done.

Gasoline can be stored. It will last for a few months to a year before it should NOT be used in an engine. Unleaded that has ethanol also needs an additive or it will break down in a few months. If you add stabilizer and mix the gas, you can roughly double the storage life. More info: https://theprepared.com/homestead/guides/how-store-gasoline/

Can I make my own fuel? Technically yes. You can make biodiesel and woodgas but neither are straightforward and require expertise, tools and ongoing access to raw materials to create the fuel.

Propane in a properly sealed container can be stored indefinitely. A 500 gallon propane tank actually stores about 400 gallons, and the 1000 actually stores about 800 gallons.

Propane is probably the best prepper fuel for running a generator. But propane tanks are expensive. The current cost is $3500 to $5000 per 1000 gallon tank WITHOUT FUEL, plus transport and labor to hook it up.

Which Generator? We recommend dual fuel generators or fully automated ones like those from Generac. We have a Champion dual fuel generator

Heating and Hot Water

you can get hot water in multiple ways, a gas or electric water hear, wood, gas or electric boiler, or geothermal. In a shorter term emergency you want to make you keep your electricity and fuel.

A longer term event is a challenge. A solar domestic hot water system or geothermal powered by solar, generator and/or wind is probably your best options. The sun will heat water even in the coldest of weather.

Related Articles

Prepper Storage

You can box frame a corner in a basement as a “wine cellar” (insulated from the house so it remains cool).  Add shelves all the way around.  Leave one corner for the water barrel to be on the floor so it can roll in and out of the room. The room can be used to store wine, and your freeze dried goods and other items like simple off the shelf canned goods your family likes.  Freeze dried goods and canned goods last much longer at cooler “ground” temperatures.  Also in a really bad situation ground temp is much warmer than -30F so it would be a spot to go to even without heat.   

Root Cellar or Safe Room?

If you remodel consider putting in a root cellar/wine cellar/panic/tornado room/area (poured concrete with air feeds).  Also consider putting sandbags in walls separating to exterior interior areas – it is a bit of a pain to do but gives you an area to retreat to in a home invasion.  Drywall provides little to no protection from gunfire.  If i remodel i will add it to master bedroom wall and other walls.  This MIGHT get partially funded by FEMA

https://commonsensehome.com/safe-rooms/

Alternately you can store under beds, on open shelves in a basement with old sheets over the items.

Barter & Misc items 

  • Alcohol (also useful for medical and social uses)
  • Vitamins
  • Aspirin Ibuprofen The DOD & FDA found that 90% of over 100 OTC and prescription drugs were perfectly fine 15 YEARS after the expiration date.
  • Toilet paper, toothpaste, soap. A family friend who served in WW2 said the first time they went in they took all the ammo they could carry. The 2nd time they went in, the took all the toilet paper they could carry.
  • Regional paper maps. These get critical if electronic devices lose power or are destroyed. ie GPS is down or cellphones don’t work
  • Lifestraw
  • Tactical pen (1 per car at least) https://www.amazon.com/Tactical-Defense-Weapon-Military-Survival/dp/B06X3QP4VY/ref=sr_1_3?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1504270215&sr=1-3&keywords=Tactical%2Bpen&refinements=p_72%3A1248957011&th=1 low threat visibility and its a pen
  • Backpacks- one per adult plus at least 1 spare.
  • Cloth diapers and wash cloths – they have LOTS of uses, if you end up caring for babies they matter, and they can be a good barter item
  • Utensils / knives 
  • Snow shoes, skis (depending on the area)
  • Compass (at least 1 per adult + a spare)
  • At least one per adult plus a spare
    • Sleeping bags and tents (one bag per person + spares)
    • Heavy duty inflatable mattress 
    • Winter gear
    • Wool blankets. 
    • Hats summer and winter tradable (have at least 2 of EVERY critical piece of clothing)
    • Work Boots
    • Walking Shoes
  • Sharpie pens

Other uncommon or miscellaneous items

  • Supplies to get rid of LICE
  • Summer mechanical fans (weight gear fans)
  • Windmill electric
  • Windmill water pump
  • Rain barrel 
  • Hand water pump
  • Hand gas pump
  • Hose
  • Binoculars
  • Telescope
  • Chalkboard and chalk
  • Lots of extra various size shoes boots and clothing in general
  • Musical instruments non electric 
  • Soap making gear and books
  • Thermometer 2+ 
  • Riding gear (horses)
  • Gold and silver are fine but ammo, matches, food water and meds will trade better

More Expensive Prepper Items

  • Amish stove
  • Heavy Bicycles x4 or more (buy exactly same bike in pairs or more)
  • Diesel vehicles x2 (same vehicle with extra full size spare tires – possibly winter tires)
  • Gas or Diesel A/C Generator
  • Gasifier system  http://www.thriveoffgrid.net/ 
  • Equipment to create biodiesel 
  • Solar panel and cable to charge 12v car battery
  • Solar panel and DC inverter to create 120v AC

Fist Aid

You probably already have this covered… but if you haven’t.  You want to get one or more of these.  Maybe 2 of of the big kits and N+2 number of the smaller kits (at least one per vehicle and one to train with in a group).

Larger Trauma Kits (team group)

Smaller Vehicle Kits (personal kits)

Note: for the vehicle kits I also suggest you purchase a backpack and have full change of clothes, a map and appropriate rain/snow gear to make it walking home in that kit, including a lifestraw (GET HOME BAG)

Also consider adding these to all First Aid Kits:

More info on Building a larger first aid kit. https://commonsensehome.com/emergency-medical-kit/

Vacuum Sealer

You might consider a vacuum sealer as it can increase the life of stored products like food, rubber gloves, band aids and other items that degrade when exposed to oxygen.  Another thing to consider are oxygen absorbers thrown in with a sealed item – whether in a vacuum storage bag or mylar bag.

Self Defense & Weapons

Think Zombie Apocalypse… ANY WEAPON REQUIRES THAT YOU TRAIN WITH IT. Don’t buy any weapon unless you are serious.  If it’s a “just in case” put them in a gun safe so they don’t get used against you.  If you do want a firearm, train, keep it near you all the time at home. And practice at least couple times a year.  Get extra magazines for every pistol/rifle type.

No single weapon meets every need.  

Some pistol are small and concealable some are so big and heavy you wouldn’t carry it all the time.  The AR gives lots of rounds but is large, long and weighs more than a pistol.  The shotgun is versatile, filling multiple roles because of the diversity of ammo but fails to handle a zombie horde situation. 

The 22 is lightweight and easy to train on, but has limited stopping power hunting deer with a 22 is not legal or recommended but it could still be a high capacity defense weapon.  Each tool has its purpose and range of use.  A hammer is not a wrench a wrench is not a screwdriver – the same goes for pistols, knives, shotguns, scoped bolt action rifles and AR/AK rifles.

Best Pistol: 

1 or 2 handguns for each person.  

Consider 9mm first (it is the most common).  In a perfect world every family member uses the same type of pistol to share parts and magazines (at least try to buy in sets of 2). 

Consider smaller (single stack) semi auto pistols, so they can be conceal carried EVERY DAY if needed.  You are more likely to carry a light small one than a huge heavy one.  If the zombies attack and you dont have it, its not doing you any good. 

Regardless get one you are likely to put in your pocket and one that you can accurate fire even if it’s only a 22LR.  If you can deal with a smaller double stack consider it as it gives you significantly more rounds – at the cost of weight.

Best Pistol

  1. Research First.  Then handle the pistols in a gun shop.  Then find a shooting range that does rentals.  Go to the rental range and fire each pistol before purchasing 
  2. Compact 9mm (all of these are great guns) pick the one you shoot best)
    1. 9mm most common – recommended (90% of military and police carry 9mm) 
    2. Which 9mm compact semi-auto pistol?
      1. Sig P365 9mm (10/12 round) CCW https://grabagun.com/sig-sauer-p365-9mm-nitron-blk-10-1-xray.html 
      2. Glock G43 9mm (6round) CCW https://grabagun.com/glock-ui4350201-g43-pistol-9mm-3-39-6rnd.html 
      3. Glock 19 (larger) 15 round https://grabagun.com/glock-19-gen5-9mm-4-02-barrel-15-rounds.html 
      4. S&W Shield 9mm 10 to 13 round https://grabagun.com/smith-and-wesson-m-p9-shield-plus-performance-center-9mm-4-barrel-13-rounds-manual-thumb-safety.html 
      5. Springfield Hellcat 9mm (very nice easier to shoot but much heavier and harder to conceal) https://grabagun.com/springfield-armory-hellcat-micro-compact-osp-9mm-3-barrel-13-rounds-optics-ready.html 
      6. Ruger LC9S 9mm 7 round https://grabagun.com/ruger-3235-lc9s-9mm-3-12-7rd-bl.html 
  1. Compact 380acp If you really need SMALL for conceal carry, a Ruger LCP II is a tiny option. http://grabagun.com/ruger-lcp-ii-black-380-acp-2-75-inch-6rd.html 
  1. Full Size Options.  If it is complete chaos and the zombies are loose, the full size 9mm is a good option for side arm, open carry (a larger pistol on your hip).  It has more rounds up to 19 and is generally easier to fire (and therefore more accurate for most people) due to the extra weight.  Alternately a full size 40 or 45 are also options.  I purchased a 45 and now wish i had purchased the 9mm full size and smaller single stack 9mm for ammo compatibility, accessibility, and simplicity. Larger magazines up to 30+ exist for pistols, but those are better in the AR/AK rifles.
    1. Glock, most popular with law enforcement, 17rnd (most popular, most likely to be carried) some people cant get over the angle of the grip http://grabagun.com/glock-17-9mm-fixed-sights-17rd.html 
    2. S&W M&P 9mm, 16rnd, 2nd most popular with law enforcement http://grabagun.com/sw-m-p-4-25-9-b-17r-wo-il-md-lgrip.html 
    3. Springfield XDM 9mm 19rnd, 3.8in gives you a bit of concealability but also full 19 rounds. https://grabagun.com/springfield-xdm-compct-9mm-blk-3-8-ep.html 
  1. The revolver as an alternative. It is much simpler.  Less to go wrong, just pull the trigger).  Less to learn, but slower to reload and lower ammo count.  A full size 9mm can have 12 to 19 rounds whereas many revolvers are 5 or 6 rounds.  Again depends if you think it will be one zombie or a whole horde. 

    The value of the revolver is the true simplicity – it is easer it operate, and works even in inexperienced hands – if you get a dud (fail to fire) you just pull the trigger again for the next round.  The revolver is a good weapon but slightly wider and harder to conceal plus is more weight for less ammo, which is why most people are opting for the single stack 6 to 8 round semiauto 9mm pistol.
    1. Ruger LCR9 5shot (9mm) https://grabagun.com/ruger-lcr-9mm-black-hogue-grip-5rd-dao.html 
    2. S&W 9mm 7shot (9mm) http://grabagun.com/smith-and-wesson-986pc-9mm-2-5-7rd-msts-wd-as.html 
    3. S&W 9mm 7shot http://grabagun.com/smith-and-wesson-mod-986-9mm-5-ss.html 
  2. NOTE: If you buy online – you need to find a local FFL (local dealer to do the purchase paperwork and it will cost you $20 to $100 for local handling) or just buy them locally. 
  3. Consider conceal carry (CCW) permit even if you don’t carry every day
  4. Stockpile at least 200 rounds per person and train at least 100 rounds per person per year.  I recommend that you have WAY more than that.
  5. Get spare magazines at least 7 for your primary weapon, preferably 7+ for all.
  6. Magazine reload is fairly fast but is intended as backup or enough to retreat only or for 1:1 events – groups of zombies require AR / AK or shotgun to finish them
  7. A pistol is reliable for home defense against 1 or 2 zombies not groups of zombies – if it is PURELY home defense consider the shotgun.

Two Shotguns 

Shotguns are normally for hunting and home defense, not normally considered for heavy zombie combat as there are only 5 to 10 rounds.  However with slap loading it can be fired fairly quickly. And there are now magazine fed auto-loading shotguns.  Regardless. ammo weight and size reduces this to primarily defense / hunting – not large skirmish situations or long range snipe/hunt

  1. Slower fire rate due to reload time but will drop a zombie cuz the shell is large or has multiple projectiles 
  2. Handle the Mossberg or Remington before you purchase it.  I recommend either the Mossberg 590 or 500 – both are GREAT.  Both have ghost ring sights which i prefer.
    1. Mossberg 500 https://www.impactguns.com/mossberg-model-500-special-purpose-persuader-with-tri-rail-12-gauge-3-inch-chamber-20-inch-barrel-ma.aspx (I have one like this 5round +1) – i like the loop grip on the front for holding the stock tight to the shoulder.
    2. Mossberg 590a1 https://grabagun.com/mossberg-590a1-12-20-ghst-ring-tri-rail.html (9+1)
    3. Nearly any Remington 12gauge – i prefer the adjustable stocks and am not into fiddling with taking the entire rifle apart and adding a new stock which is why I bought a mossberg 535 (which is almost the same as the 500 noted above) – i would seriously consider the 590 for the extra 4 rounds.
    4. AMMO: Get bird hunting and slugs mixed 500+ rounds – consider some beanbag and/or rubber ammo if you aren’t sure they are zombies.  Shoot at least 100 rounds for training
    5. Downsides Expensive ammo; Heavy recoil – moderate to short range, hard to carry a lot of ammo
  3. Upsides: stops zombies well, can mix slugs and shot for ammo flexibility; Good for bird / deer hunting; easy to use with limited training
  4. Accurate at short to moderate range 30ft to 150ft possibly as far as 300ft with a slug.
  5. The 12g Slug is good for large problems (through vehicle or armor) – there are a lot of different “custom” types of 12g ammo
  6. If the 12 gauge is too much, consider the 20gauge or small 410.  I dont recommend the 410 though, as it is not the multifunction weapon you get with the 12g or 20g.  The 410 is still powerful in short distance, has lower kick but fewer projectiles (balls/shots) per shot, and the power is lower also.  
  7. You can get automatic shotguns from Remington, Mossberg, Bernoulli, and many others – but that adds complexity.  There are even AR variants in 12 gauge.  We recommend sticking with the pump shotgun is very reliable and well kept will last probably more than a lifetime.
  8. Regardless – It is important to get a shotgun you can actually use accurately.

Long Rifles (Black Guns) Two AR15, AR10 or AK rifles

Out of these the “smart buy” is the AR556/223 (they are veru common) 

All below are combat (multiple zombies with sustained action and can also be used for hunting)

  1. Normally 20 to 40 rounds of ammo per magazine. Normally carry 2 to 6+ extra mags.
  2. Very fast fire rate (not fully automatic but still fast) – fast reload with magazines with practice – accurate – lots of ammo options
  3. Can carry rifle plus 2 to 4 magazines so 80 to 100 rounds is feasible for AR556/223 or 70 to 90 rounds for AK and 50 to 70 rounds for 308/7.62 – more mags = more rounds but more weight 
  4. The AR15, AR10 or AK format are incorrectly referred to as assault rifles (this is incorrect because none we can easily purchase are fully automatic)
  5. In most cases a standard 16 or 18 inch AR/AK is a good balance as it can be used for hunting and defense from zombie hordes.  Longer barrel lengths correlate to longer shots – generally the 308, 30-06, 6.5 and 50cal will come in 22 to 29+ inch barrels.
  6. AR15 Rifle – using 556/223 ammo
    1. Most common rifle (very frequently purchased) available in hundreds of configurations.
    2. Standard 556/223 ammo is readily available (556 is a US Military standard Ammo at least today). 
    3. 370 rounds of AR15 556/223 weighs about 10 pounds
    4. The AR tends to be a bit more finicky about being cleaned.  Unless you get a Bravo Company one which is very expensive but they are amazing.  One shot over 10,000 rounds without cleaning.
    5. Fairly long range less penetration – lightweight .  Most common ammo and rifle in USA. Can be modified, 
    6. Moderate recoil, Decent long range 
    7. Poor to adequate vehicle stopping 
    8. Can carry 30+ per mag (weight), 
    9. With decent aim and correct ammo, can kill deer at a range of 500f tor more
    10. Zombie MIGHT live through multiple hits
    11. These are all 556 (all are good)
  1. AK47 Rifle- variant Russian 762×39 
    • Referred to as an AK or AK47
    • 762×39 Ammo is inexpensive (but getting closer to 556 costs) and plentiful but generally a bit dirty to very dirty.
    • A good AK rifle can be fired even dirty/wet (no gas impingement system)
    • Most common rifle in the world. Most manufactured ammo. But not as common in USA
    • Can be modified, moderate recoil (less than 12G shotgun more than AR15), Shorter range 500ft to 1000ft
    • Ok vehicle stopping with aim, light to moderate weight (slightly heavier than the AR)
    • Each normal mag carries 25 to 30+ rounds per mag 
    • 270 rounds of AK 7.62×39 weighs 10 pounds
    • Will kill deer at moderate range 600ft+
    • Zombie less likely to live through multiple hits, but less long range accuracy unless US made and those get to be expensive.
    • Options:
      1. Palmeto American Made AK http://palmettostatearmory.com/psak-47-gb2-moe-rifle-7792941.html 
      2. Century American Made AK https://www.impactguns.com/gp-wasr-10-hi-cap-semi-auto-rifle-wmilitary-style-stockcal-762x39mm-1166-n.aspx 
    • All the AK magazines should be interchangeable so any AK 20, 30 or 40 round mag will work
    • Not as common as AR556/223
  1. AR10 Rifle- fires a 308 or Mil7.62×54 US Caliber

22LR Pistol and Rifle (get 2 of each)

22LR is a must have.  Very low cost ammo, can kill, but ammo is rimfire so is unreliable.  Far an away most likely ammo to be found in any home – easy to carry a 400+ rounds of ammo as its lightweight – a 25round mag will suppress bad guys the same as an AR but has much lower stopping power

  1. 1330 rounds = 10 pounds
  2. Fast fire rate – fast reload
  3. Two Ruger 10/22 rifles – most common rifle in USA
  4. Very versatile – young people could use to hunt small game or even for self defense in a pinch.  Poachers hunt deer with this 22LR rifle.  Great for rabbits and other SMALL game.  You need to be great shot for DEER so you don’t just wound it.
  5. Not as reliable for self defense – jams because its rimfire (shotgun, AR/AK, 9mm, 380acp and so on centerfire and therefore more reliable)
  6. Rifle is accurate to 200ft – much farther with practice
  7. Can be used for suppressive fire even by gun averse people for groups of zombie attackers, but requires AR-AK and/or Shotgun to finish the job
  8. Regular synthetic stock 
  9. Ruger 10/22 take down (2 piece) rifle https://grabagun.com/ruger-10-22-takedown-22-lr.html 
  10. Regular Ruger 10/22 http://grabagun.com/ruger-american-cmpct-22lr-bl-sy-18.html 
  11. Shorter ruger 10/22 rifle: http://grabagun.com/rug-10-22-22lr-semi-compact-b.html 
  12. 25 round magazine (get 3 to 5 or even more per rilfe) – gives significant flexibilty for small game and can even overlap to zombie situations https://grabagun.com/ruger-10-22-magazine-22lr-25rd-black.html 
  13. Two Ruger sr22 semi auto pistols 
  14. There are 22LR conversions kits for AR rifles and purpose built ARtype 22LR – these are generally for plinking (target shooting) or small game only – and still suffer from fail to fire or jamms because they are rimfire
  15. There are MANY LR22 ammo options.  I suggest 1000 rounds of cci stinger 22lr ammo and round nose high velocity from CCI or Federal.  Others like federal are also good.
  16. I personally like copper coated or copper wash 22LR, however, they provide no discernible effect on the ammo.  A lead round nose round is the same as a copper coated lead round nose, just slightly more expensive.  If you handle a lot you can get the lead on your hands, which is why i prefer the copper coating.
  17. Many consider the 22LR too small and too UN-reliable for zombies, but you can carry 100s of rounds easily, fire fast, clear the jams fairly fast and throw a lot of lead down range at a distance with a 10/22 rifle.  It is a great all round small caliber varmint rifle.
  18. Having an extra bolt action rifle that matches your largest center fire – gives you an option for long range deer hunting with a decent mechanical scope. 

Other Weapons related Items 

  1. Electronic ear muffs.  http://amzn.to/2wzasXI  They magnify sound (like hearing aids) and still protect you from the rifle/pistol/shotgun blast.  These can pick up audio better than straight hearing by 2x or more. (uses AA Batteries) I have 4 of these
  2. Eye protection
  3. One good pocket knife such as the
    1. Buck Knife 55 https://amzn.to/2FxGQgm (my fav) they have a smaller one too for keychain
    2. Benchmade Griptillian 556 http://amzn.to/2vz2k4I  or 
    3. Spyderco G10 http://amzn.to/2wyx7U4 (one knife per person plus one per vehicle)
  4. Gun Cleaning kit http://amzn.to/2vgJHHN
  5. Holsters appropriate for the people carrying “in waistband” IWB for concealed carry or holsters for open carry, or shoulder holster for traditional chest carry
    1. Holsters for LCP II or LC9S (select Ruger and then LCP or LC9S)
      1. http://www.desantisholster.com/POCKET-SHOT 
      2. http://www.desantisholster.com/THE-NEMESIS 
      3. http://amzn.to/2wIpIBV In Waist Band
  6. Get Training on how to clean and maintain the weapons
  7. Practice with all the weapons – especially clearing jams and reloading
  8. Consider shoulder pads, pistol laser, weapon mounted flashlights.  
  9. In general I suggest sticking with mechanical sights and non powered scopes.

You can buy ammo online at least so far. https://ammoseek.com/ 

Weight Matters

For anyone walking as a guard, or responding in defense.  WEIGHT of Ammo matters.  A lighter round allows you to carry more but also means it doesn’t hit as hard.  

The pistol calibers are lighter than the AR15/10 and AK rifles and the rifle are lighter than the Shotgun.  The really heavy ammo is 50cal etc which we are not reviewing.  

10 pounds of ammo. Rough estimates varies by grain and manufacture.

  • 1330 rounds of 22LR 
  • 470 rounds of 380acp 
  • 380 rounds of 9mm
  • 320 rounds of AR15 556/223 
  • 270 rounds of AK 7.62×39 
  • 190 rounds of 308/7.62×51
  • 100 to 115 buckshot 00 shotgun shells 
  • 90 to 105 slug shells for 12 gauge 

Bullet Proof Vest

Consider ceramic (flexible) armor, it reduces spalling (fragments flying around) and FRAS can protect even if a 2nd shot hits in roughly the same spot in most cases.

https://safelifedefense.com/product/concealable-flexible-rifle-armor-fras

Firing a weapon indoors

1st it’s VERY loud, so be prepared.  Plan to protect windows and doors.  Plywood with sandbags in-between and along window openings creates a secure shield – note the regular walls and plywood alone will not stop 308 or shotgun slug and might not stop 223/556 or even some 9mm.  

Other wall alternatives are brick and/or ICF (Insulated concrete form) where walls are entirely concrete.  When you are being “shot at” OR “shooting at” someone, remember in most cases, walls will slow but not stop rounds.

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