When the SHTF – what do I do? Part 4

What is my first priority?

Your first priority is your safety and I’m not talking about hiding in a hole somewhere living undetected, eating dry dog food and skulking around at night doing recon spying on your neighbors.

Safety – What really is safety? When you’re in the middle of the turmoil and the power grids has collapsed from sabotage, marshal law is the rule of the land and the grocery store has been stripped leaving even the cockroaches starving and all you have is a bottle of warm beer and mustard in the frig, is not the time you should begin to make a plan.

When should you? Right now.

I’m not going to talk to you like a military strategist because I am not, I’m just a normal average citizen and the things I’m going to break down for you here about surviving are meant to be common sense.

Too frequently we react foolishly out of fear and when we do we often make irreversible mistakes.

What’s first? I’m going to get to the point most people think of when it comes to their personal safety and no matter who you are the subject always comes around to firearms.

Even the most liberal of you and even some tree huggers own a gun. Do you know how to use it?

I mean that besides making sure there are bullets in it and pointing it and shooting at something?

Ok I’m not trying to be a wise ass but a little knowledge is important here. We can begin with the basics.

Choosing the right firearm for you, what is that exactly?

The first thing you really should think about is what can you afford? Guns are not cheap; nor are the ammunition to shoot them.

My advice is an affordable used firearm if you can find one. The best place to look is at a local gun show.


Strum Ruger Police Model - $399A handgun is a lightweight weapon that comes in two forms:

Pistol – A pistol which is has a rotary cylinder usually holding 6 bullets, doesn’t jamb when you pull the trigger and comes in dozens of calibers.

Everyone who has ever watched television has seen the western cowboys with a pistol, it’s the simplest of the firearms to load, operate and shoot accurately by even the most novice shooter.

You don’t need a Dirty Harry 44 Magnum that when you fire it will literally jump right out of your hands you need something with a moderate recoil that gets the job done that any member of the family can hold and pull the trigger.

First of all you have to consider the types of attackers you may face before the excrement hits the oscillating blades.

You are going to be living in the society you do right at this moment complete with its normal dangers.

The smallest caliber handgun I’d recommend is a thirty-eight special (.38 Special). It has moderate recoil, can be found new for under $300 and available in non-name brands for about $200 and a box of 50 bullets is less than $20.

It can be loaded with .38 hollow point bullets that expand on impact causing a very nasty wound channel and when you do have to shoot at a human or an animal you want to be able to stop their forward motion quickly and effectively.

Semi-automatic – this is usually a magazine fed handgun that you place the magazine in the grip. It holds between 7 and 15 bullets. It firearms each time you pull the trigger automatically feeding the next bullet into the chamber and ejecting the spent cartridge.

These are also available in numerous calibers and can run into the $1,000 price range. Be aware that no matter your choice get one every person in the family can handle and can practice at the range with. You can find reasonable priced 9mm semi-auto weapons for around $350.

When practice makes perfect sense…

Its one thing to be aiming at a paper target at a gun range 25 feet away with clear concise focus than at a flesh and blood human being intent on robbing in a mall parking lot or harming you after breaking into your home.

You will not be calm, cool and collected aiming carefully to place a beautiful grouping you will be surprised, rattled and your blood pressure will spike and the adrenaline shooting through your body prompting you to run away and if you can do that run like hell.

If you are caught with an intruder in your home you must realize long before you buy that gun they have already calculated the risks of when they break in that they may face the homeowner and be injured or killed and likely have a weapon themselves so shoot to kill.

Shoot at the main torso, stomach and chest areas. These soft tissue areas have the least resistance to stop a bullet and will go deep not like through a bone covered area like the sternum.

So now go out buy the handgun of your choice that you can afford and WILL practice with.


This is my personal first weapon of choice because it can service double duty both for home/personal protection and for hunting.

I fired my first 12 gauge shotgun when I was about 10-years old. My uncle Lucky had a farm in Pennsylvania and had the belief that everybody girls and boys should know how to shoot. When my time came he carefully explained every step of the shotgun to me.

My first shotgun was to be a single shot break breech (which means it opens just in from of the hammer and provides access to the loading chamber where you place your shell).

I opened the breech and placed the shell into the chamber and closed it as shown. I put it to my shoulder and carefully aimed at the huge oak tree that would be my target and pulled the trigger and BOOOM!!!!

It knocked me back rattling my molars and scaring the holy crap out of me.

My uncle chuckled in his usual way and commented;”That was good boy, now that you know what’s going to happen, let’s do it again, you’ll be more prepared”, and I did.

That being prepared for the next time helped. Yes it was a huge weapon for an 85 pound child to fire but I was never afraid to fire anything else my entire life.

A shotgun comes in three (3) basic calibers – a 410, 20 and 12 gauges.

410 gauges – A 410 was what the first shotgun I owned and I hunted birds and small game with it and at 50-75 feet away it did exactly what it was supposed to do. It’s a thin shell about the thickness of a man’s little finger and it does have a recoil or kick but not significant. It will definitely allow you to kill small game without blowing it to kingdom come and will down any intruder in your home.

20 gauges – A 20 gauge is not significantly different than a 410 but is more powerful.

My Uncle Lucky didn’t think much of them and preferred the lighter 410 or the big brother the 12 gauge. He always said, one is for small game and one is for large game. He always figured one would end a person life at 5 feet or a hundred feet and since I wasn’t engaged in a conflict requiring me to shoot at a person I should concentrate on use for hunting and that is what I’m sharing with you too.

He was absolutely correct concentrate on its use for hunting because you will need to eat when your food supplies run low or out completely and hunting game may be your choice and you may not have a choice in what that game is from squirrels to a feral FIDO running in a pack that could surround you with intent to tear you into chewable bite sized morsels.

If I had to make a choice and had the money I’d own both but I don’t so I chose a 12 gauge pump action shotgun that holds 5 shells. Yeah it wasn’t some high tech and high priced Bennelli for $1,000 but a general off brand from Wal-Mart for $200 and I bought 100 12 gauge shells in a 7-1/2 shot for $23.

I’d recommend you have 500 shells on hand and get a few mixed rounds such as buck shot in 00 gauge and solid lead slugs for deer. The latter two rounds are not meant for use in your home because they can penetrate a wall and kill a person in the next room.

I know there are you Rambo types out there going “what about an assault rifle”?

semi-autoWe will get to that but not right away.

We will first discuss rifles in general.

There are two types of rifles we will discuss:

Bolt action – A bolt action requires the shooter to manually open and close the mechanism that ejects the old round feeding the next bullet into the chamber either one at a time or from a tube fed, clips fed, or push down magazine.

Semi-auto – The next is a blow the barrel tube fed or bottom of the rifle magazine fed semi automatic which fires each time you pull the trigger.

Yes Rambo there is also the magazine fed fully automatic that sprays 30 bullets down range at phenomenal rates of fire in less than 2 seconds leaving you exposed holding an empty weapon giving your enemy adequate time to put a hole in your stupid ass.

It’s all about rates of fire and one target, one shot is the name of the game here. Even in a combat situation where it’s all about conserving ammo because you may not be able to replace it and when it’s all used up you end up with an 8-pound club.

You hear about the .223 for the AR15 or the 7.62 x 39 for the AK47 both excellent rounds and weapons used in combat zones for over half a century.

But let’s get back to the basics here – what do you need and what can you afford?

Battle Field Rifles – You can go to a gun show and find these sturdy battle field rifles from WWII and Korea for about $200 and plenty of affordable ammunition ($20 for 20 rounds) for them too. They may be 70 years old but are completely functional and they are capable of hitting a target at 1,000 yards but are you – hardly.

These battle field weapons are usually found in 7mm Mauser, 303 and 30-06. These are not for the faint of heart and kick like a mule but for hunting are perfect, affordable and will bring down a 1,000-pound grizzly bear at 200 yards (which is too close).

Sporting or Hunting Rifles – Here is the next step in our rifle evolution and which a practical choice is too.

Here you’ll find a huge choice of calibers in the single shot and multiple shot variety but we will go from small to higher caliber ranges.

The newest boy on the block is an excellent weapon I was introduced to by my friend Stanley in Tennessee a couple years back – the .17 HMR.

This was a tube fed bolt action rifle that shot a bullet similar to a .22 round but smaller and it was magnificent at just over 75 yards which was the distance I shot dead on the 1-inch branch that I hit. No kick, not too loud a round and accuracy was beautiful. The Marlin rifle sells for about $239 at numerous sporting goods stores and the ammo ($16 for 50 rounds) is decently found online which I cannot say for the next caliber the .22 LR.

.22 calibers – this is known by just about every person who has ever drawn a breath. I was first introduced to it as a Boy Scout for target shooting.

This is a light weight, high speed bullet that although small can effectively kill at 500 yards away easily penetrating a ½ inch plywood sheet which is much harder than the abdominal cavity of an animal.

The .22 rifle is available in bolt action, tube fed and magazine fed models. I would recommend any of these and they can be found at Wal-Mart from $110 – $250 and ammo at about $8 a box of 50 bullets. The ammo is a problem for some reason and you’ll pay $75 for a brick (500 rounds) if you can find it and if you do buy it immediately because it will be gone in a heartbeat.

243 and 270 calibers – Now this is a varmint round, extremely fast and at 500 yards deadly accurate and effective. A rifle is about $300 and ammo $30 for 20 rounds.

30-30 caliber – Probably my favorite rifle and round ever. I was introduced to this weapon in a lever action Winchester in the 1960’s and immediately fell in love and owned several over the years. It was introduced in 1873 as a tube fed, lever action rifle that is still popular today.

I have owned many of these beautiful weapons in Winchester and Marlin models in 22, 30-30, 44 and 444 magnum and they each fired without a hitch and were effective hunting and protection rifles – I recommend it highly. The rifles are plentiful and finding one new is easy for about $300. The ammo is plentiful too.

30-06 and 30 caliber – Now here folks, is the beast of all calibers. They have effective range of 1,500 yards which you’ll never need because a animal at over 500 yards is barely a discernable target and without proper optic you’ll never hit it.

I have brought down a deer at 200-yards with one shot it dropped dead shot clean through from one side to the other.

These 30-caliber rifles are found in sporting and military models and you’ll spend $200 and up depending on your pocket book.

These are no nonsense weapons that at 200-yards you will see daylight through the hole you make in man or beast.

Bigger calibers – forget about these unless you’re into big game or have deep pockets. These are many available like the 40-70, 500 and 600 nitro express, and the granddad .50 calibers which has been known to bring down an enemy from over 2400 yards (1.3 miles).

I’ve basically covered the gambit as effectively as I think you need to know and can afford. Yes that ‘can afford’ may sound condescending but there are much more important things you need to buy so only buy the weapons and ammo you need and concentrate on food, shelter and transportation first.

I’ll cover these items in detail in the next few series on Survival.

  1. Reply
    JonellSRomanini July 15, 2015 at 10:38 am

    It’s difficult to find educated people for this topic, but you seem like you know what you’re
    talking about! Thanks

  2. Reply
    VanILiebeck July 18, 2015 at 11:04 am

    This info is invaluable. When can I find out more?

  3. Reply
    Marina July 19, 2015 at 4:25 am

    I’ve been thinking of doing dalolr cost averaging (i.e. whatever I can get for $50 each payday) on my ammo purchases to stock up, but I probably should have started a year ago. About the only thing I feel like I have “enough” of is 7.62x54R and .40 S&W reloads. I need to focus on .22LR, 9x19mm, .380, and .223. I’ve got enough .45-70 components for a while, I just need the time to assemble them.

  4. Reply
    CarollGReisling July 27, 2015 at 10:12 am

    Thanks , I’ve just been looking for information about this topic for a while
    and yours is the best I’ve found out so far.
    But, what in regards to the conclusion? Are you
    sure in regards to the source?

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