Firearms for Preppers Part 1 – EDC/Self Defense
I received an email from a visitor, asking me my thoughts on firearms/weapons for preppers. I had already thought of doing some articles on this subject. It has to be one of the most popular topics amongst “the prepared”.
It is fun to talk about, and it’s a subject I thoroughly enjoying reading and discussing. (Here is a link to a previous firearms article I wrote for people new to firearms.)
I have several firearms, and the majority of them have a role they play both at work and in my preparedness. I also have a few are “fun guns” because I enjoy the shooting sports.
When it comes to “prepper” firearms, I break it down into two categories:
- Firearms for home/self defense and EDC (Every day carry)
- Firearms for a long term survival scenarios. – Part II
Yes, they overlap. But there are some differences.
Self Defense – EDC
- Comfortable with/ease of use
- Pose the least significant risk to others around you (unintended victims or collateral damage)
- Ability to keep concealed – in public
Gun control is the ability to put rounds on target accurately and quickly. (In that order.) To do that you need a firearm you can easily handle. One that feels right for you. To quote myself from a previous article,
When it comes to firearms, what is most important is what YOU feel comfortable with. A 44 magnum (think Dirty Harry Callahan) won’t do you much good if the gun is unwieldy, the recoil is too much for you, or you simply do not feel comfortable with it.
The more at ease with your firearm, the easier it will be for you to shoot accurately. For example, I currently have a Sig Sauer P238 as a backup and off duty weapon. It is a smaller framed, 1911 styled pistol. I am proficient with it, I like the way it feels in my hands, I like the trigger pull, and it comes with night sights. Some of the best night sights for a “pocket pistol”.
When I am off duty, this is my EDC concealed gun as opposed to my Glock 23 (see top picture). Why? Because the Sig is light weight, is easy to shoot, and is fairly easy to carry concealed. Read my review on the Sig by clicking here.
Now don’t be fooled by folks saying this caliber or that does not have enough stopping power. Bigger isn’t better if you are missing your target!! In the hands of a trained shooter, even a .22 can be deadly.
For my mother, who does not have the strength or training to shoot many firearms, I know she can comfortably shoot my .22 pistol more so than any other gun I own. So for her, I’d rather her use that. Better she hit her target 2 or 3 times with a .22 than miss with my father’s Smith and Wesson Governor! (I left my .22 with her for that very reason.)
You want a firearm that poses the least amount of risk to those around you. I already mentioned guns that are too unwieldy for you could be a problem. But you also need to consider collateral damage.
According to wikipedia, collateral damage is
…damage to things that are incidental to the intended target. It is frequently used as a military term where non-combatants are accidentally or unintentionally killed or wounded and/or non-combatant property damaged as result of the attack on legitimate enemy targets
I have seen huge amounts of discussion on penetration of various calibers, and all kinds of stats and statistics thrown out there. Shooters LOVE to discuss ballistics and stopping power. I don’t want to get into a huge debate on the merits of one caliber over another. Instead, I’ll just state that even rounds like the 9mm have the ability to go through multiple interior walls. And rifle rounds like the 5.56 or .308 can shred brick and mortar, car doors, etc. In a house full of family, this is something you need to think about.
I live in a large apartment complex with my teen age son. If I have to use a firearm in my home in self defense, I don’t want to worry about my AR-15 rounds going through my TV, out my wall, across the breezeway, through the neighbor’s wall and into her cat! Dammit, I love my TV!!
So for my home defense system, I have a Remington 870 Police Magnum short barrel shotgun with Federal 12 gauge power shok #4 Buck. The other part of my home defense system includes my loyal companion.
In my opinion, the power shok #4 buck has enough stopping power to ruin the bad guy’s day, without me worrying too much about the neighbor’s cat.
If you live out in the country, where your closest neighbor is “over the river and through the woods”, it might be a different situation. At that point maybe you would prefer a good rifle round, especially if you are outside on your property and distance could become more of an issue than collateral damage.
My father has a Remington 700 bolt action in a .308. But he doesn’t have to worry about neighbor’s cats as he and my mother have many acres.
Ability to conceal
For EDC, if your state allows you to, I encourage you to get your carry conceal license. You should carry your firearm wherever it is legally allowed. And I would encourage you to keep it concealed. Click here to read the 7 rules for carrying concealed!
Some states have adopted open carry laws, my state being one of them. I have debated the merits of open carry versus concealed carry many times. You know, the whole “Dissuading an attacker/being the first to be targeted”argument. Both have merit. But I will always recommend concealed.
Easy….OpSec. The less attention you draw to yourself, the better.
Many people may not remember seeing ‘Ol Joe hanging around. But I guarantee they would remember ‘Ol Joe with a “Hog Leg” strapped to his hip.
Firearms get noticed almost immediately. Time and again when I arrive on a call, peoples’ eyes inevitably move to my Glock on my hip. And many times, their gaze stays locked on it. They may not remember my name, but that damn sure remember what my gun looked like!
Again, I want to stress one of the most important things to remember about your self defense/EDC firearm is that you are responsible for EVERY SINGLE ROUND that comes out of your barrel. While your life might have truly been in danger when you were aiming for “Dastardly Dan”, you are going to have problems if you accidentally hit “Dudley Do-right”.
Police officers in Oklahoma remember all to well an incident where a local police officer accidently killed a 5 year old boy while shooting at a snake. Yes…it can and does happen! Don’t let it happen to you!
Practice, practice, practice! And remember that the only SURE way to NOT lose a potential gun fight is to not be there when it happens!! If you can avoid a gunfight, do so.
Something else I think is very important to remember is this; firearms and self-defense in general should NOT be your number one priority when it comes to preparedness.
Too many times I’ve seen preppers with a safe full of guns and ammo, but next to nothing when it comes to extra food and water. That’s what I term “FAIL”!
In all the emergency disasters I have been a part of, never once did firearms come into play. Food did. Water did. Clothing and shelter did. Medical supplies did. But not guns.
Now that is not to say that some day they wouldn’t be needed, or that you should not be prepared to protect yourself and your loved ones in any scenario. Absolutely you should, and firearms can play a vital role in that. My point is to be sure that your time, money, and effort are distributed equally among multiple prepper facets. (Like food/water storage, medical supplies, etc.)
That being said, I believe that self-defense is everyone’s responsibility. You have most likely heard the phrase, “When seconds count, the police are minutes away!” This is, unfortunately a reality. The police cannot be everywhere at once, so your safety and security ultimately begin with you! Having a firearm that you train with regularly is a tremendous first step.
In Part 2 of Firearms for Preppers, I look at firearms you should have just in case it all goes to hell in a handbasket!
I want to end this article by saying a few things about firearms for preppers.
The first is that firearms are for self-defense, and self-defense starts with having the right mindset and having confidence in yourself. My friend Graywolf wrote a great article on Survival Mindset, and I’d encourage you to read it.
Confidence comes from not just having gear/equipment/weapons, but from having the training to use those items efficiently and correctly. To do that, you need to practice. If you own firearms, you need to spend time at the range shooting. The link is to an article on firearms training tips. Use them!
Unfortunately, these skills are not like riding a bike. You can become “rusty” without training and practice.
The second thing you need to do is become familiar with the laws in your area regarding weapons and self-defense. If there are severe restrictions on owning firearms in your area, I am NOT going to encourage you to break the law. (Instead I would encourage you to MOVE to an area where firearms are not restricted!)
I would advocate complying with your state laws and local ordinances. If you find them overly restrictive and you cannot move, then I would encourage you to work at getting those laws changed.
Call and visit your local politicians with your concerns. (Regular mail is much more effective than an email!) Vote and campaign for pro second amendment candidates; vote the “gun grabbers” out of office. Let them know why they did or did not get your vote. Organize with other like-minded individuals. Grass roots movements can have a lot of success.
If you find yourself in a gun restrictive area, there are other ways and means of defending yourself. Here is a great article on 5 discreet weapons you can carry almost anywhere.
Next, I want to add that while I’m a member of the NRA and a HUGE pro second amendment supporter, I will always advocate that in any disaster or emergency situation, avoiding conflict should be a primary goal. Your weapons are the backup plan!
When it comes to self defense, I cannot stress just how important situational awareness is! Learn it! Practice it! Do it! Every day!
And finally, keep in mind is that firearms are tools. You need different tools for different jobs. This applies to firearms. Finding the right firearm for what you need shouldn’t be tricky, and I am always happy to answer questions about this.
Be sure to check out Part 2 of Firearms for Preppers, where I look at firearms you should have just in case it all goes to hell in a handbasket!
Also, be sure to check out these 7 rules for carrying your EDC firearm.
Stay safe out there!
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