The Role of Firearms in Survival

Firearms and survival go together like peanut butter and jelly.  Firearms are, in a sense, the ultimate self defense tool, and whether we are talking about a global TEOTWAWKI disaster or a small regional event, you may well need to defend your self and protect your gear during or after an emergency.  Any time you are facing a larger, stronger or more numerous foe, firearms are the great equalizer because they can stop an aggressor at a distance, before they can close with you where their strength or numbers could overwhelm a survivalist family.

Your goal as a survivalist is to survive.  If threatened by a thug, criminal or even a desperate neighbor, you are unlikely to come away unscathed if you march out and meet them in hand-to-hand combat.  Brandishing a weapon may resolve the situation.  If not, shooting them may be the safest and quickest path to resolution.  Remember, if some person or persons are threatening to kill you and take your supplies, and they appear to have the ability to do so, then you are well within your rights to use lethal force to stop them from killing you.

When faced by a gang, instead of an individual, your firearms – especially a good assault rifle or battle rifle – will increase your odds of survival in a way that appeasement never will.  Remember, when the veneer of civilization is peeled away, it will be a dog-eat-dog world in which only the strong survive.  Guns give you strength that mere muscles cannot.  If you do not fight back, the best you can hope for is enslavement, the worst is to watch yourself and your family members be tortured, raped, beaten and left dead or dying.

Captain Dave realizes that not everyone likes guns, but any serious survivalist should strongly consider adding firearms and ammunition to their survival stash.  Let’s face it, political correctness ends when you are beaten and your food is stolen, just as vegetarianism diminishes in the face of starvation.  In a survival situation, you may have to take extreme measures so that you and your family can live.  If you would prefer to die, that is your choice, but it kind of defeats the purpose of preparing and lets your family down.  If you prefer to live, you need to learn how to effectively learn how to use firearms for hunting and personal protection.

Remember, those who beat their swords into plowshares will plow for those who don’t.

Guns for Self Defense

If luck or planning lets your live through the immediate disaster — the hurricane passes, the earthquake dies down or the riots are quelled — you are faced with the longer task of living through the aftermath, or what we referred to above as Condition Black. All the topics we’ve dealt with earlier — food, water, shelter and emergency medicine — are critical. But you have to hang on to all four to survive, and many of those who are less-prepared may envy your stash and wish to make it their own. See the scenario we put together for an example. In a TEOTWAWKI situation, you may face bands of outlaws whose idea of survival is to steal from those who have food and supplies.

You need to protect yourself both from those who see the situation as an opportunity to cash in and those who are so desperate they have no way to survive except by taking your stuff. You will run into the first (criminals) early in a long-term survival situation. The second will be a later phenomenon, after their meager supplies have petered out and the hand of government is nowhere to be found.

There are several steps you can take to protect yourself from these and others who threaten your survival:

  • Always keep a low profile, before, during, and after the disaster. The fewer people who know you have a huge stash of food and water, the less who will turn to you seeking aid. Your three month supply of food will seem much smaller if friends, neighbors and co-workers show up unannounced and expect you to feed and care for them.  This also means don’t flaunt it and create resentment. Don’t be boiling beef stew in the afternoon over a backyard fire when others are starving and not expect trouble. Instead, use a camp stove in your fireplace after dark.
  • Do not seek to profiteer from your advanced planning. This will result in resentment and possible retribution. If you have a surplus and wish to part with some goods, you will earn friends by giving it away, or trading it for labor. If you sell it at ridiculously high prices, you’ll earn nothing but hate and resentment. (Frankly, Captain Dave feels your better off keeping or using surplus items for trade, unless the people you are feeding have useful skills you need.)
  • After disaster strikes, post signs saying looters will be shot. Like an alarm sign, this won’t deter someone who seriously wants what you have, but it may send potential thieves and looters to easier targets. During “normal” times, there is an unfortunate liability associated with displaying “Protected by Smith & Wesson” bumper stickers and wearing T-shirts that boldly proclaim “I don’t dial 911, I reach for .357.” In the potentially lawless aftermath of a disaster, Captain Dave believes the benefit of such a sign will outweigh the liability.  Avoidance is better than engagement when it comes to a fight.  But if avoidance is impossible, don’t hold back.
  • If you are threatened by looters or other criminals, you probably only have two choices: Turn tail and run or display a firearm and possibly use it. This latter technique served Korean merchants well in the L.A. Riots. If you choose to include weapons as part of your survival stash (a move Captain Dave obviously encourages) you must have the will and the skill to use them successfully. Otherwise, you’d probably have been better off taking option one and hightailing it out of there, giving up your stash but hopefully saving your life, at least in the short term.

Keep in mind that self defense and protection of property goes beyond using guns against human predators.  Picture, for example, a pack of wild, hungry dogs.  Sounds like a good reason to carry a shotgun, doesn’t it?  If you raise any meat animals, you may need a gun to protect your flocks.  A single weasel can decimate your hen house.   If you have a garden, you may need shoot varmints before they consume your crop.  A groundhog in the garden today is an inconvenience.  A groundhog in the survival garden in a post TEOTWAWKI situation is a disaster. The lack of a .22 caliber rifle and someone with the patience and skill to use it could result in the loss of an entire season’s harvest and reduce your chances for survival.

Guns for Hunting

In the city, hunting may be limited to pigeons, squirrels, raccoons, rats and perhaps stray dogs, many of which will be easier to catch with traps than to shoot.  But in a rural location, hunting is an acceptable method to provide food.  Even with the overabundance of deer we have in this country, intensive survival hunting may cause many areas to be “hunted out” in a long term survival situation, but it will at least be an early alternative.

Today, most people think “deer” when you mention hunting, or maybe turkey and waterfowl, but there is no reason why you cannot shoot and eat just about any wild animal large enough to provide a decent meal.  Those cute little rabbits nibbling on grass make a nice stew, and eating squirrels has been a tradition since the pilgrims landed.  You may not think that mangy woodchuck looks like good eating, but I bet you’ll have a change of heart after you’ve been tightening your belt a few months and the pantry is looking mighty bare.   While trapping may be the best way to harvest much of this small game, you can also use a .22 rifle or a .410 shotgun.  That led us to the oft-debated topic of what guns you should have.  In general, it is better to have too many guns than too few, but it also makes a lot of sense to settle on a few specific calibers

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