Several months ago, I wrote an article on building your own AR on a budget. (Click the link if you missed it.) It has become this site’s most popular article as more and more people take an interest in owning and building an AR rifle.
In that article, I wanted to give readers the information they would need to build their own AR 15. I tried to stick to the basics and not overwhelm the reader. I also listed AR parts that would not “break the bank”. The response was very positive.
I received a lot of email about it, asking all sorts of different questions. The one question that kept popping up was: “I want to build a quality AR and I am willing to spend more $$. Which parts would you recommend?”
Now before I answer this, I want to give a little clarification. While I have always advocated getting quality firearms (because some day your life might depend upon them), that does not mean that I believe that you always have to spend huge amounts of money to get quality. Yes, I believe that you get what you pay for. But sometimes, you can find quality on a budget.
If you are like me, you love watching exciting “Action” movies. Who doesn’t love a good movie scene with an exciting car chase and lots of explosions? Unfortunately, many times what we see in the movies is NOT what happens in real life. Firearms are no exception. In fact, many times Hollywood (and the public in general) gets firearms and how they really function completely WRONG.
So I thought I would take a look at 5 myths or beliefs on firearms that are either erroneous, or at the least very misleading.
#1 – Silencers are whisper quiet
If you are a James Bond fan, you have seen our hero sneak into some fortified castle, and use his Walter PPK with a silencer to quietly take out the bad guys. Sadly, this Hollywood depiction of a silencer is not accurate.
Silencers reduce a portion of the noise, this being the pressure wave from the expanding propellant gases. It does NOT reduce the noise of the sonic crack a supersonic round creates when fired.
To put this into layman’s terms, a typical supersonic round fired from a commercially available firearm is between 140-190 decibels. Variables such as caliber, barrel length, etc can change this some. But typically, this is the most common range for the sound made from firing a gun.
I receive emails quite often from people who are new to prepping. A few says they have thought about it for a while, but haven’t really got started. I’m sure it can feel like a daunting and overwhelming process to the beginner. But it does not have to be.
Being prepared is really not hard if you approach it the right way. If you are brand new to prepping, or just aren’t sure where to begin, here are 5 easy steps to help get you started.
There are plenty of links throughout this article dealing with many various prepper topics. These are a great source of information, so please be sure to check them out.
#1 Begin with a Plan
Start off by sitting down and figuring out your plans would be if you have an emergency or disaster. Making plans now will help you to not feel lost or overwhelmed should a catastrophe strike. Failing to plan is planning to fail. And hope is not a plan!
In the beginning, I would not plan for worst case scenario. Instead, start off with the more realistic and probable scenarios. (The more extreme the event, the less likely it is to occur.) These scenarios should be based upon your location, situation, and the conditions you are in or could realistically be in.
For example, if you live along the Gulf Coast, hurricanes are a realistic possibility. So having hurricane plans makes sense. I know states like Montana and Idaho are subject to winter storms. I live in “tornado alley”, and have planned accordingly. Many large metropolitan cities are seeing an increase of violence, and riots are now something (click the link for more details) that urban city dwellers might consider planning for.
Most emergencies don’t have to be regional or even local. Job loss, medical emergencies, house fire, car wrecks, etc are all things you should be prepared for that are specific to you and your family.
Previously, I discussed how to protect your ammo storage long-term. If you missed it, be sure to check it out by clicking here.
Now, I want to discuss building your stockpile of ammo. Maybe I should have written this first, but regardless, here it is. 🙂
I’ll look at the reasons why you should stockpile, I’ll dispel some myths about stockpiling ammo, and I’ll give you some hints and tips on how to do it. So let’s jump right in!
Why should I stockpile ammo?
Let me say this right off the bat. If you stockpile thousands of rounds of ammunition because you anticipate a WROL (Without Rule Of Law) event where you will be engaging in dozens of gun battles, you might want to reconsider your plans.
First, the chances of a TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It) event are slim. I’m not saying that it can’t or won’t happen someday. But keep in mind that the more extreme an event, the less likely it is to occur. The complete collapse of society as we know it is at the FAR end of the “possibility spectrum”.
Second, even if there is a WROL event, you must remember that the more often you engage in armed conflict, the greater your chances of being hit/killed by return fire. As I have stated before:
“an over eagerness to engage in conflict runs the risks of unintended collateral damage, injury and/or death to you and loved ones. It also leads to the potential destruction of vital gear and equipment.
Your primary goal is to avoid conflict. Guns are the back-up plan!”
Rambo is Hollywood fiction, and bullets do not discriminate. The more often you get into gun battles, the greater your risk of being injured or killed. And the greater the risk you put those close to you.
Over the past few years, I have noticed a few changes in myself since I began prepping. I would like to think that most of them are positive, and have contributed to making me a better person. At least I hope so.
I noticed that I do not buy items based solely upon price anymore. In the past I would typically try to find the cheapest item and go with that. (Toilet paper being an exception. NEVER go cheap on toilet paper!) To me, saving a buck was the most important aspect when it came to shopping.
But not now. Sure, some items I still buy the generic, like over the counter medicines. (FDA requires the store brand have same types and amounts of ingredients as name brands.) But now I have started looking at the quality of the items I buy. And more importantly, I look at the item’s durability.
Our society has become a “Dollar Store disposable” one. We buy the cheap items that only last a few uses, knowing we can get more later on. But what happens if we lose the grid tomorrow? What happens if we have a financial crash? Suddenly those items may no longer be available. Or we might find their cost prohibitive.
I see A LOT of prepper videos and articles out there talking about bartering in a post TEOTWAWKI scenario. They encourage you to get gold, silver, cigarettes, ammo, etc. so that you can trade it after everything goes to hell. But I wonder if that is really a good idea? Is it a good use of your current resources to buy items solely for barter after SHTF?
I tend to think the belief and use of barter gets over-played in people’s’ SHTF scenarios in their minds. That’s not to say that barter might not happen on occasion. Barter has been around since the dawn of man. The zombie apocalypse won’t stop that. But I think in a true grid down situation, folks will be more worried about security and survival than they are trading things like gold and silver coins.
God forbid that if the grid goes down for good, there will be a time when the focus will be on merely surviving. Food, water, shelter, etc will be what is important. Having the tools and abilities to survive will be king. Those times will be the most taxing, the most trying.
Not until society has had time to “reset itself” and stabilize will barter actually come into play. Without a decent social environment and a somewhat stable economy, barter is not going to be likely. And in the rare chance it happens, it will not be without tremendous risks and peril.
Even when things may eventually begin to normalize, barter will not be as frequent or as common as many people want to believe. I think there are way too many variables that would make barter a rather rare occurrence.
With no more “Grid” there is no more Craigslist or Ebay. So finding other groups of people in your area that might actually want to trade with you may not be all that easy. I mean, I guess you could go wandering the country side looking for those groups, but that obviously comes with risks. And even if you find another group, chances are very high that they may not trust you or even want to trade with you.