Jan 202015
This 7.62mm rifle will 'automatically' sight and shoot accurately out to 900 yards.  No skill required.

This 7.62mm rifle will ‘automatically’ sight and shoot accurately out to 900 yards. No skill required.

We have written before about the problems we have protecting our retreats – see for example ‘How Many Acres Do You Need for Your Retreat – Defense Considerations‘ and our broader category of Retreat Defense in general.

A new development, announced at the Consumer Electronic Show in January this year, adds a new factor and concern to the mix.

Until now, it has been realistic to assume that in most cases, a ‘reasonable distance’ kept clear between your retreat and where attackers could shelter was sufficient as to give you reasonable protection.  We’ve always been a bit vague about how much that distance should be, because in truth, there’s no single magic answer and instead, it is more a case of having to make a compromise between what is practical and possible in the real world and what would be desirable in a perfect world.

We sort of suggested that you should try to achieve a 200 yard clear zone between where your retreat and farmed land would be and where attackers could shelter and attack you from.  That type of range would give you a little warning – note the emphasis on little – if attackers attempted to overrun your retreat, and you could buy yourself a bit more time by having some disruptive landscaping to prevent attackers from coming directly to you on a good surface well suited for vehicles, horses, or even just plain sprinting on foot.

But the really big problem is long-range sniping.  In skilled hands, even a .22LR rifle might remain reasonably accurate and definitely dangerous at 200 yards, and in a Level 2/3 situation, what should be simple survivable wounds become much more life-threatening than they do today when the local Emergency Room and state of the art medicine and antibiotics and painkillers is probably no more than 15 – 30 minutes drive away.

Being able to accurately get rounds on man-sized targets at ranges of 200+ yards starts to become a fairly demanding skill.  Hitting – well, let’s be polite and talk about, perhaps, 8″ or 12″ plates, at 100 yards is something that most adult shooters can readily master, particularly when firing from a supported/prone position.  But once ranges start to go the high side of 200 yards, you’re more into ‘precision shooting’ than regular shooting, and from our perspective as potential targets, our chances of suffering a first round hit/kill start to measurably decline.

Unfortunately, a new device looks to replace skill with technology, and promises (threatens!) to give even unskilled shooters an almost super-human ability to get rounds on target at long-range.

A weapons technology company, TrackingPoint, demonstrated two new sniper-type rifles at the Consumer Electronic Show.  It is very rare to see weapons technology at the CES – not only because of the slightly off-topic concept, but also because just a couple of weeks after CES is the annual SHOT Show which is the typical venue for new weapons technology.  But perhaps because the TrackingPoint product was more a technological solution than a weapon solution per se, they decided to release their products at CES.

They offer two new weapon systems with computerized targeting and fire control.  One is on a 5.56mm rifle platform, and claims to give accurate shots out to 0.3 miles (528 yards) and with the target moving at speeds of up to 10 mph.  The other is on a .338 Lapua Magnum rifle platform, and claims to give accurate shots out to 1.0 miles (1760 yards) and with the target moving at speeds of up to 20 mph.

To be fair, TrackingPoint define ‘effective’ differently for the two products.  For the 5.56 rifle, they say it means being able to consistently hit a 5″ target, and for the .338, they refer to an 18″ target.

So, their one mile range claim can be considered optimistic rather than realistic, and also the moving target concept requires the target’s movement to be consistent.  If you’re semi-randomly zigging and zagging, the computer fire-control would not be able to predict that, and with it taking two or more seconds for a round to travel from rifle to target, if you’re not staying still during that time period, you’re probably in fairly good shape.  (But, remember, it isn’t a case of hearing the shot and then ducking – the round, traveling at supersonic speed, will arrive on target before the sound of the shot does.)

The good news is that you’re not very likely to find yourself staring down one of their .338 caliber systems.  Why?  The price is $50,000 (and each round costs $8).  On the other hand, the 5.56 system is a more reasonable $7,500, and for sure, this price is likely to drop as other companies start to adapt similar technology to their rifles, too.

Here’s a rather terrifying review of how easy it is for a non-shooter to land rounds on target with the 5.56mm system, and here’s a review of the .338 system.

If we were looking at deploying the technology as a defensive measure for our retreat, we’d probably choose their $15,000 system, based on a 7.62mm rifle.  At longer ranges, we much prefer the extra stopping power of the 7.62 round compared to the light 5.56 round.  Oh yes – their claim that it is good for out to half a mile (with an 8″ target as the objective) is another point in its favor, too!

To come back to the actual point of this article, the ugly bottom line is that the long-range accuracy and capabilities of attackers is likely to improve over time.  We’d guess that within a decade, the cost of these super-sniper-rifles will reduce almost ten-fold.  Well, the $7500 5.56 system might drop to $1500 – $2500, the $15,000 7.62 system might go down to $2500 – $3500, and the .338 system might reduce to $7500 or so.  Or, to put it another way, ‘intelligent’ fire-control systems will replace ‘unintelligent’ telescopic sights and cost no more than today’s best telescopic sights.

There was a time when any type of telescopic sight was rare and exotic and expensive, and most people did most shooting with open iron sights.  Nowadays, telescopic sights are abundant and on just about every rifle that its owner plans to use at any sort of range at all; our prediction is that the expensive rarity of these fire control systems will evolve and we’ll see them as common on rifles in ten years time as telescopic sights are today.

What to do about this?  We suggest two things, because in selecting and developing your retreat, you need to have an eye to the future as well as the present.

It further reinforces the value/need to cluster together with other retreat owners, having a central core where you all live and farm, and then an extended safe zone outside your core – perhaps for cattle grazing, or perhaps not.

And, secondly, the topography around your retreat and its perimeter becomes more relevant.  If there are natural features that obscure/block your retreat or limit the longer range threats, whereas previously they might have also acted as cover for shorter range attacks, now they might be considered more desirable, particularly if you incorporate responses to such features into your defensive plan.  Remote monitoring of such locations and the ability to surreptitiously and/or safely move people around your retreat become helpful considerations.

Jul 192014
This fortunate retreat owner has a walk in safe full of rifles, supplies, and much more.

This fortunate retreat owner has a walk-in safe full of rifles, supplies, and much more.

Rifles are perhaps the least glamorous of the three major categories of firearms (the other two categories being handguns and shotguns).

Many people over-inflate the value of both pistols (in terms of range, accuracy and lethality) and shotguns (again in the same three categories) and many people overlook rifles, or consider them too specialized.

But, in reality, if you were to have only one firearm at your retreat, it should be a rifle, which is probably the best multi/general purpose firearm of all.  Another rifle might be your second weapon, and perhaps then a pistol would be your third.  There are very few uses for a shotgun, which is why you don’t often see shotguns in any normal military organization.

Rifles are essential for two purposes.  They are of course ideal for hunting anything except birds and fish, and they are excellent self-defense weapons.  The only main limitation on a rifle’s value as a self-defense weapon is your ability to carry it everywhere and deploy it quickly.

This is why those people in the know refer to their pistol as the weapon they only use to fight their way to their rifle.

We suggest you should have at least two rifles in your retreat.  One for big game and longer range defense, and the other for smaller game and shorter range defense.

1.  A Long Range Precision Large Caliber Rifle

The longer range rifle should probably be chambered for either the .308 or the .30-06 cartridge (these being the two most common calibers of larger sized rounds).  There are a dozen or more other excellent calibers for long-range precision shooting and big game hunting, too, but we suggest you limit your choice to either the .308 or .30-06 because these two calibers are the most common, and if there is a negative situation in the future, will probably remain the easiest calibers to find and get additional supplies of.

Furthermore, because these two calibers are so common, there are lots of rifles chambered for them, too.  Some of the other calibers, which might have better ballistics on paper, have only one or two or three rifles chambered for them, and all of them are extremely expensive.  Rifles for .308 and .30-06 can also be very esoteric, high-end and expensive too, but they can also be found for under $500.

We’d suggest the rifle you choose for this purpose does not need to be semi-automatic and it does not need a high-capacity magazine.  It does, however, need to be of the highest possible accuracy (ie being able to group less than 1″ at 100 yards and less than 2.5″ at 250 yards) and to have the necessary optics on it to help you get close to the theoretical accuracy offered by the rifle and the ammunition you’re feeding through it.

Oh – one related point.  When you’re looking at long-range ultra-accuracy, your choice of ammunition becomes almost as important as your choice of rifle.  Once you’ve become comfortable with the rifle, you should then research (ie online and in reviews) and experiment with different types of ammunition until you find the one that works best for you and your rifle.

This rifle is not intended for squirting off dozens of shots in rapid succession.  It is intended for long-range precision, hopefully on the basis of ‘one shot one kill’.  Oh yes, the ‘one kill’ part of that concept is a function not just of its accuracy and being able to deliver rounds where you wish them to go, but also of having a highly effective round that has single shot stopping power.

The last thing you want is a wounded animal running off, or possibly a hostile intruder who is not taken out of the fight with the first round you send his way.

Because this rifle is all about precise aimed fire, we see no need for a 20 round magazine or anything like that, and neither do we feel the need for a semi-auto action.  If anything, quite the opposite.  A semi-auto is always more complex than a bolt-action type rifle, with more to potentially go wrong, and more to clean and maintain.

In terms of an ideal rifle for this purpose, maybe you couldn’t do better than a Remington 700, the civilian version of the popular Army and Marine (and Police) sniper rifle.

The Remington 700 was first released in 1962 – over 50 years ago – and has become the best-selling bolt-action rifle of all time.  More than 5 million have been sold, in an astonishing variety of 40 different calibers.  They typically have a four round capacity in their magazine plus potentially one extra round chambered.  If five rounds isn’t enough to bag a deer or improve a tactical situation, then probably your problem isn’t so much the rifle as it is the shooter.

We’d choose the best bolt-action rifle we could afford, and with at least a 22″ barrel, 24″ being better, and possibly 26″ being better still (if not now becoming too heavy to carry reasonable distances).

You’ll note we’re carefully not talking in detail about the ideal caliber for this rifle.  We like .308 due to its ubiquity (and that’s our primary caliber we use ourselves for this type of purpose), but we also accept that beyond about 250 – 300 yards, it is not as good a choice as some other calibers – see for example, this webpage.  On the other hand, as this webpage points out, while there might be better calibers for longer range work, the .308 can still ‘get the job done’ out to maybe even 800 yards, in good conditions.

If circumstances allow, maybe you might add a third rifle to your collection as well for ultra-long range and ‘specialty’ work.  See our suggested third rifle choice, below.  Maybe it is acceptable to have the .308 for ranges from about 100 – 400 yards, and a different rifle for ranges further out than that.

If your target is within 100 yards, you might want to consider a rifle that can deliver rounds more rapidly – especially if it is the type of target that can shoot back.  A person can sprint 100 yards in 10 seconds – you’re at the point where ‘quantity of fire’ starts to become as important to you than ‘quality of fire’.

You’ll have an idea for the maximum ranges you are likely to need based on the topography of your area.  Thick bush and uneven ground of course mean you won’t have the visibility and unobstructed opportunities for longer range work; open prairies mean that longer range considerations become more relevant.

2.  A Shorter Range Tactical Rifle

If you’re seeking smaller game, or if you’re anticipating a closer range problem with attacking marauders, your requirements change and the first rifle is possibly no longer your best choice.

You no longer need perfect accuracy, and you probably want a rifle that is lighter, easier to carry and deploy (this also implies a shorter barrel) and the ability to sustain a higher rate of fire.

On the other hand, it is easy to get carried away with these considerations.  Maybe you’re imagining yourself having to single-handedly fight off a zombie horde of hundreds of attackers – if this is the scenario you are planning for, then you just need a pistol and one round.  You’re going to lose, and you may as well save everyone a bunch of trouble and simply shoot yourself!

Look for example at the main battle rifles that the US has deployed up to the Vietnam War (and consider also how disliked the M-16 and its derivatives have been ever since their introduction).  Until the Vietnam war, most troops were equipped with bolt-action heavy caliber rifles or relatively low capacity semi-auto and equally heavy caliber rifles.

The solution to whatever your need is under this category is not only to increase your ability to shoot more rounds downrange in less time.  Aimed and effective fire still remains a high priority.

However, having said that, we recommend you should have a semi-auto AR-15 type rifle chambered in 5.56mm, and with 20 or 30 round magazines, and a bayonet if at all possible too.

There are other potential calibers and rifle designs too – most notably the AK47/SKS family of weapons chambered in 7.62×39.  These are fine weapons, and can perform reliably in adverse conditions.  We don’t dislike them, but we opted for the AR-15 family due primarily to what we anticipate may potentially be a more readily available ongoing supply of ammunition for the AR-15.

You will also find ‘carbines’ – a concept which we’ll define as relating to fairly short-barreled rifles that fire pistol rounds.  The good news is you only need to carry one caliber of ammo, and you can feed both your rifle and your pistol with the same ammo.  The bad news is that you’ve almost certainly ended up with a massively underpowered cartridge for your rifle, and we feel that’s too much sacrifice for the small improvement in reliability.

One possible exception to this would be the 5.7x28mm cartridge, but this is an ‘exotic’ and rare cartridge and there’s really only one manufacturer of pistols and rifles for this cartridge.  We like the FN firearms chambered for this amazing cartridge, but we’d never base our retreat on this rare cartridge, and (based on personal experience) we’re unconvinced how robust the firearms are that feed it.

In terms of barrel length, then our first choice is around 18″ of barrel.  Below that and the muzzle blast starts to increase perceptibly, above that and the weapon starts to become less portable and more unwieldy.  But we know people who prefer longer barrels, and others who prefer shorter ones.  This isn’t an essential parameter.

This is a weapon you’d typically use for ranges from zero to perhaps 200 yards.  Sure, it remains accurate further out, but it starts to lose appreciable energy and ‘one shot stop’ effectiveness, and when you are considering targets more than 200 yards away, many times you can enjoy the luxury of careful slow aimed fire rather than needing the ability of a semi-auto AR-15 type rifle to shoot many rounds quickly.

The main benefits of an AR-15 style rifle are that it is light, the ammunition is also small and light, and you can shoot many rounds quickly.  It is a great ‘take anywhere/everywhere’ rifle.

That is not to say that they are not also potentially very accurate, particularly at relatively short ranges (ie under 200 yards).   Good sights for such rifles would have low rather than high magnification, and a wide-angle of view making it easy for quick target identification and acquisition.

Many different companies make AR-15 clones, and most of them are good.  There are two basic design styles – those that use gas blowback to cycle the action, and those that use a piston to cycle the action.  The piston operated rifles tend to be ‘cleaner’ and slightly more reliable, but are also slightly more expensive.

Barrels are available either with a chrome lining or not.  Chrome lined barrels are probably not quite as accurate, but are more resistant to heat.  Regular steel barrels are more accurate, but will wear out more quickly, particularly when they get hot.  We’ve seen some incredible claims for barrel life, but realistically we suggest you try and limit yourself to under 20 rounds a minute if firing for an extended period of time.

And maybe keep an extra barrel or two in your spares.

3.  A High Powered Specialty Rifle

If you anticipate confronting threats at long ranges, or threats that are well protected, then for sure your AR-15 becomes useless, and the value of your .308 starts to diminish as well.

For the rare occasions when you need to ‘reach out and touch someone’ who is half a mile away and wearing body armor, or when you need to disable an armored vehicle charging towards you, it is time to turn to a very specialized type of rifle – probably something chambered for either .50 BMG or .338 Lapua rounds.

No reasonably common and modern rifle legal for civilian ownership can deliver more energy a longer distance than a .50 cal.  There are some esoteric cartridges out there, and larger diameter cartridges (such as a 0.700 cartridge that costs $100 a round, but which delivers less power than the 0.50 cartridge!) but none of them are as useful or effective or appropriate as the 0.50 BMG.

Note that a rifle chambered for 0.50 cal rounds is not a portable rifle to take with you hunting.  It is a huge and heavy rifle (perhaps weighing 30 lbs) that is not really ‘man portable’ – it is okay if you are traveling in a vehicle, and perfectly fine to deploy in/around your retreat, but it is not a field weapon that you’d carry with you ‘on maneuvers’.

A rifle in either .50 or .338 will give you a solution capable of accurate fire out to almost a mile.  Our preference is slightly weighted in favor of the .50 BMG chambering – the ammunition is slightly more common, and while the extra range is not significant, the extra power (in terms of ft lbs of force) is enormous.  There is also a .416 Barrett caliber, and that is good too, but .50 remains the most common and usually least expensive.  It is also by far the most powerful.

This is a weapon you’d only deploy against armored targets and ordinary targets outside the effective range of your .308; ie, perhaps from about 300 yards and further out.

A Barrett is the classic .50 cal rifle, but there are others that are nearly as good.  All are, of course, very expensive.  But they are worth it.  In 2001, a Barrett M99 set a world record when it shot a 4.09″ group at 1,000 yards.

Additional Rifles

If you feel the need for additional rifles to fill up your gun safe, what else should you get?

Perhaps the most notable omission from our two or three rifle list, above, is a .22 cal rifle.  But we’re not sure what you’d ever use it for, apart from fun/plinking.  It might have some use as a training rifle to introduce youngsters to the principles of proper techniques and marksmanship, but that would be all.

We like .22 rifles.  They’re a great deal of fun, can be very straight shooters, and are great for small game.  In skilled hands, a well placed .22 round can be surprising effective, even on bigger game and for self defense.  But, please note the two things we emphasized in the previous sentence.  While a .22 is easy to shoot, it needs to be shot very well in order to get the critical placement of rounds on target that is necessary to ensure effective results.

A .22 delivers about 120 ft lbf of energy when leaving the muzzle.  That is not very much.  Compare this to even a 9mm pistol round, with over three times the energy, or a .223 round with more than ten times the energy or a .308 with twenty times the energy.

Our point is simple.  Unless you’re a great shot, and with easy targets, a .22 might not be a good choice.

Getting more rifles beyond the three listed above (and maybe a .22) should be done while keeping two things in mind.  Unfortunately, the two concepts are opposites, but you need to balance them out.

The first concept is keeping as much the same as possible.  You don’t want to end up with a terrible mess of different rifles and different calibers.

Each different rifle has a slightly different ‘manual of arms’, with slightly different quirks and techniques and requirements for mastery and maintenance.  It is much better to have two rifles the same, so you only need to learn one set of skills, and only need to keep one set of spares, than it is to have two different rifles.

You also don’t want to have too many different calibers of ammo.  It is much easier to keep an adequate supply of only one or two calibers than it is to have enough rounds for each and every different caliber.

So, if it were us, and using these concepts, each extra rifle we buy would be identical to the first two rifles we already have – more AR-15 clones (ideally from the same manufacturer because not all parts are totally interchangeable between manufacturers) and more .308 bolt-action rifles.  We might eventually buy a second .50 Barrett, but that would mainly be as a spare; we can’t think of any likely scenarios where we’d ever need more than two.

The second concept is, as we said, the opposite of the first.  If you are getting some more rifles, why not get them chambered in other common calibers that you don’t already have?  The ‘logic’ of this is to anticipate that possibly in the future you might come across an opportunity to acquire some ammo in a caliber for which you have no firearms.

It is reasonable to assume, in an extended Level 2 or 3 situation, that ammunition will become extremely scarce, and you’ll want to get any you can obtain, so maybe it makes sense then to keep some inexpensive additional rifles in some ‘just in case’ additional calibers.  We’d probably choose to add an inexpensive AK-47/SKS rifle so we had something that could shoot 7.62x39mm cartridges, and some sort of bolt or lever action .30-06 in case we came across some of that ammunition too.  These are two other very common rifle calibers.

So now we have perhaps two .308 rifles, two AR-15s, a .50 Barrett, and an AK and a .30-06.  Possibly a .22 as well.  Seven or eight rifles!  This begs the next question :

How Many Rifles Do You Need?

Well, we opened this article suggesting you have one or two rifles at your retreat, and somehow we’ve talked ourselves (and possibly you too) now up to six, seven, eight or more.  Many people will be rolling their eyes at the thought of any one person owning seven or eight rifles.  But there’s a logic trap in that thought – your retreat is probably not just for one person.

Your retreat – and therefore your rifles – will be for you, your family, and maybe some additional friends and relations, too.  Beyond that, it is conceivable that you might even accept in some additional people WTSHTF, growing the total community even more.

You should plan on having at least one rifle per adult member of your retreat community.  It is true that in an all-out defensive situation, you probably would not have every adult ‘manning the ramparts’ and actively defending your retreat, because you’d have some people doing duty coordinating and controlling, bringing ammo, tending for wounded, and so on, but as a rule of thumb, it makes great sense to have at least one rifle per adult.

We’d suggest one AR-15 per adult, plus another one AR-15 for every ten or part thereof AR-15s you have (for spares/emergency replacement), because these are most likely the rifles you’d use for close-in self-defense.

In addition to that, you should have at least one .50 cal rifle, and a certain number of .308 rifles too.  Maybe one .308 for every two or three people in your community, with a minimum of two, and always at least one more than this formula suggests.

Then add two or more each of some type of .30-06 and AK/SKS rifle for ‘just in case’ purposes, and possibly a .22 trainer.

Legal Issues

There are no federal restrictions on how many rifles you can own, and apart from completing a form when you buy a rifle from a dealer so they can do a background check on you, no federal licenses or registration is required.

There are some federal regulations relating to fully automatic rifles and very short-barreled rifles, but assuming you buy ‘normal’ and ordinary rifles from dealers, you’ll not run afoul of such requirements.

Each state may also have state level legislation about rifles, and, to make things even more complicated, there could possibly be city or county issues too.  Your gun dealer can tell you about these.

Some states have limitations on rifle magazine capacities, some states have limits on what calibers can be used for various types of game hunting (and plenty of other rules and regulations on hunting wildlife too!), and others have restrictions on ‘assault rifles’ – that is, rifles that look nasty and scary.

Most states have few or no restrictions on ammo purchases, and there are no federal restrictions on ‘normal’ ammo purchases (explosive rounds, armor-piercing rounds, and other specialty rounds and some shot-shell ammo can be the exception).  It is possible that there might be local fire code or other restrictions on how much ammunition you can store.

Something to be careful about is if you are sharing your retreat with someone who is not allowed access to firearms.  Simply being in the same house as firearms can constitute an offense, with either or both of you possibly being liable to charges if such a thing occurs, and possibly also resulting in the impounding of the weapons.

Spare Parts

Rifles are somewhat stressed mechanical devices.  They have moving parts, and are subjected to great pressures and temperatures.  This means – and please don’t be surprised – they wear out and sometimes have failures.

You need to have a supply of spare parts so you can maintain your rifles.  Even the most expensive of rifles can be made totally useless by the failure of a 50c spring.  Make sure you have plenty of all conceivable spares – a non-scientific approach is to simply buy one extra rifle per every so many working rifles and cannibalize the extra rifles for spare parts as needed.

The problem with this approach is that some parts will probably never fail, whereas other parts will fail more than once.  So buying a spare second rifle, while guaranteeing you have a complete set of spare parts for your main rifle, is an easy way of getting a complete set, is not the best way to get maximum life out of your rifle.

Get friendly with a local gunsmith, read up on the various firearms forums, and do as much research as you can to work out which parts you need to have two or three of, and which parts you don’t need spares for at all.  The good news is that many of the parts you might foreseeably need to replace are inexpensive.

Now for a related thought.  Have you ever been in a car that experiences a flat tire, only to find that the tire wrench is missing?  How frustrating is that!  The chances are you’ll need some special tools to do more than quickly ‘field strip’ your rifle.  Make sure you have a complete set of gunsmithing tools so you can work on each and every one of your firearms.

Now for another flat tire analogy.  Have you ever driven by a car with a flat tire, and seen the driver (dare we say, possibly a woman) sitting helplessly in the car waiting for someone to come change the tire for her?  Our point here is that it isn’t enough to just have the spare parts and the tools.  You also need to have some knowledge and training.

To be realistic, of course you can’t be expected to become a fully qualified and skilled armorer, able to do anything to any firearm.  But what you can do is get manuals and guides for how to maintain your firearms, and possibly videos as well.  The good news is that firearms are basically quite simple and very logical in how they operate, and the better the firearm, the simpler it is.  But even the best simplicity still has some tricks and traps wrapped up in it, particularly when it comes to things like what order you disassemble and reassemble parts, and how to align pieces together so they fit back together readily, and so on.

So – spare parts, tools, and gunsmithing/maintenance manuals.  Get it all.


How much ammunition do you need?  How long is a piece of string?

There’s no such thing as ‘too much’ ammo (unless you’re a gun-hating journalist writing a story for a left-wing pro-gun-control media outlet, in which even a couple of boxes of ammo gets described as a ‘hoard’ or ‘massive stockpile’ or ‘arsenal’).  Ammunition has a very long storage life (think in terms of decades) and is likely to hold its value or even appreciate.  Particularly in a Level 2 or 3 future, we think that ammunition will become an extremely valuable currency.

But be careful who you trade it with – you don’t want it coming back to you, lead first!

We’d suggest you invest in some thousands of rounds of ammunition for each caliber you have firearms for.  We know people with tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition, and none of them have yet regretted it.  If they ever did, they could sell their ammo for more than they paid for it.


We suggest you don’t give any thought to acquiring silencers for your rifles.  While they will slightly reduce the sound level of each shot you fire, they won’t make your rifle totally silent by any means and it will probably still be clearly heard for some hundreds of yards.  You’ll still scare off game if you don’t make the first shot, and you’ll still draw attention to yourself from other people in the vicinity.

If you do buy a silencer, you definitely get your name red-flagged on any federal lists of firearm holders (you know, the things we’re told they don’t keep!).

Silencers (and the federal taxes on them) are very expensive, they add to the bulk/length of the rifle, and don’t do what their name implies they might.  Leave them well alone.


Whether you plan only to use rifles for hunting, or whether you are concerned about repelling hordes of zombie invaders, you need to have some rifles in your retreat.

Go look in your kitchen.  How many cutting knives do you have?  Probably half a dozen, maybe more.  So why shouldn’t you have multiple rifles, too – each one optimized for some specific purposes, just the same as your kitchen knives.

Jul 092012

There’s a bewildering variety of choice of rifles out there. Which one(s) is/are best for preppers?

One of the more polarizing aspects of prepping is that of firearms and their use, not just for hunting game but potentially for self-defense as well.

Some avid preppers prefer to have no involvement with firearms at all, and concentrate more on eco-sensitive sustainable living.  Others seem to devote most of their attentions to weapons and little to anything else.  We suspect, and gently suggest, that the best approach lies somewhere in the middle between these two extremes.

Like it or not, one of the preconditions for a Level 2/3 scenario is the failure of the rule of law, and if there is no-one else we can rely on to protect ourselves, our retreats, our stores and our families, we must be willing and able to do so ourselves.  While there are plenty of pejorative terms that are used to describe the gun-enthusiasts, there’s also a term that can accurately be used to describe the people who prefer to have no contact with firearms at all – they can also be known as, alas, victims.

In the lawlessness that will accompany a collapse of society, you must be prepared to protect and defend yourself, your loved ones, and your property, or else you’ll surely lose everything, having it taken from you by force.

We wrote before on why preppers usually own multiple firearms, and a reader subsequently wrote in to list the firearms he owned himself and why.

The reader referred to, more in passing than as a main part of his interesting commentary, owning some guns mainly due to the relative ease of finding ammunition for them as much as for any other reason.  This is a key point which we felt deserved its own article, so – some months later – here it is.

Choose Your Gun Calibers Based on Ammo Supply

In an extended period of social disruption, it probably goes without saying that people will run out of ammunition.  At the start of any period of social disruption, or just an increase in social anxiety and tension, you can expect to see ammo very quickly sell out in retail stores.

Indeed, even now, ammunition is in somewhat short supply – there have been ammunition shortages for much of the last four years; sometimes extreme in nature and sometimes patchy – both due to greater levels of buying domestically and also due to all the ammo being consumed in our various foreign wars which have been making it hard for the manufacturers to keep up with demand.  At present, ammo is getting in shorter supply again as people buy up prior to the November 2012 election – not due to any concerns about there being battles in the streets, but more due to concerns that if the present President is re-elected, he may act to restrict ammo sales.

Need we spell out that ammunition is definitely something you should stockpile?  It lasts a very long time (if stored in a cool dry environment, you’re probably looking at 50 years or more), and doesn’t take a lot of space.

Ammunition will skyrocket in value as soon as social disorder strikes.  It will become a valuable currency, although be careful who you sell bullets to, for fear of them being subsequently used against you!

The chances are that sooner or later, no matter how much ammo you start off with, you’ll end up running low yourself; or alternatively, you might come across some good value way of acquiring more ammo.  Other than to trade and resell on at a profit, ammo in a caliber that you don’t have any firearms chambered for is not very useful.  So for that reason, it makes sense to have firearms chambered for the most popular types of ammo.  That way, if you should come across a chance to pick up some more ammo on favorable terms, you can respond to the opportunity.

Similarly, if you run out of ammo, then if your guns use a common sort of ammo, you’re more likely to be able to buy some more than if they use a really strange uncommon type of ammo.

So, whether you want to have guns in common calibers to be able to use extra ammo if you have a chance to acquire some, or whether you want to have guns in common calibers to be able to get extra ammo if you need some, either which way, it makes sense to have a mix of different calibers among your firearms.

Here’s what we recommend.  And note that while we are talking about multiple rifles/pistols, we are not suggesting that you – as an individual – necessarily need to build up a huge arsenal yourself.  Instead, we use the term ‘you’ to refer, in the plural, to yourself and the other members of your group/community.


You should stock up on tens of thousands of rounds of .22 LR ammo, and have a range of rifles and pistols to shoot it.  The stuff is extremely cheap, as are the guns that use it, and .22 LR ammo takes up close to no space at all.  You can have ten times as many .22 rounds in the same space as you would ‘normal’ pistol/rifle ammo.

You’ll use your rimfire guns and ammo for training, possibly for ‘warning shot’ type self-defense, and for controlling small varmints.  You’ll not use these underpowered guns and ammo for ‘real’ self-defense however.


There is only one caliber of type of revolver to have – ones chambered for .357 Magnum ammo.  These will work perfectly well with both .357 MAG and .38 SPL ammo, which between them are far and away the most common/popular revolver ammo choice.

The .357 chambered revolver gives you ‘two for one’ because it works with both types of ammo.  We’re not suggesting you should stock .357 ammo in preference to .38 (most of the time we shoot .38 ourselves – it is cheaper and easier – less recoil – to shoot); we’re just saying to make sure you have revolvers that can accept either type of ammo.

Sure, a .44 Magnum or larger handgun comes with a higher dose of testosterone, but the ammo is scarce and expensive to start with, and will only get worse in a situation where ammo is hard to find at the best of times, and the gun isn’t very comfortable to shoot.  Furthermore, the .44 round isn’t really all that more lethal than a .357, and you can probably fire a .357 more accurately, definitely more comfortably, and more quickly than you can a .44 – in other words, you’ll get better results with the .357 than the .44.

And while there are also many other calibers – both bigger and smaller than .38/.357, none of them are worth considering due to their relative rarities and lack of special benefits.

Semi-auto Pistols

Here you have more choices to consider than with revolvers.  There are three main calibers in terms of popularity, which we’ll assess, more or less from most popular to least popular, as being 9mm, .45 ACP and .40 S&W.

Our suggestion – concentrate on the 9mm pistols and ammo for them, but also keep a small supply of .45 ACP and .40 S&W ammo, and pistols to use them too.  If you never need to use the .45 and .40 ammo, you can also use it as trade goods.

We don’t want to get into a debate about which is the ‘best’ caliber and cartridge.  You might believe that .40 or .45 cal pistols have more ‘stopping power’ and you might or might not be correct about that, although the most recent FBI studies are downplaying the importance of caliber entirely.  They have found that the most important factor in stopping power is not bullet caliber but the rapid placement of multiple accurate shots.  This is because all pistol calibers are ballistically ‘inadequate’, unlike most rifle rounds, they will stop an attacker only with a ‘lucky’ or a very well-placed shot.

We’re simply saying that in terms of a pistol caliber when prepping for a troubled future, 9mm is the best choice, not only because of its ubiquity but also because it is smaller and cheaper than the .40 and .45 calibers, and has less recoil, making it more easily controlled and handled by all shooters.

One more thing about these three calibers.  By all means, get reloaded 9mm or .45 ammo, but be careful with .40 reloads.  There is very little spare space inside the casing between the top of the powder and the base of the bullet, and if the bullet should be seated slightly too far, the pressures when the round is fired will be dangerously well in excess of what your pistol is rated to handle.

The other large size caliber of note is 10 mm, but it has never become very common or popular.  Ignore it.  There are many other uncommon calibers too – ignore them all.

Smaller sized calibers also exist, but most are too small/weak to be of practical use.  The one debatable exception is .380 ACP, and over the last five years or so there has been a huge increase in the number of pistols being made in this caliber, due to people wanting smaller sized concealable carry pistols.

You might want a smaller sized concealable carry pistol, in which case perhaps stock up with some .380 ammo as well as a pistol or two to use with it.  But this isn’t a caliber that is ever likely to be a major caliber that you’ll use in great quantities – if you ever have to use your .380 it will be only to fight your way to safety or to a larger caliber gun.


You’ll probably need more rifle caliber ammo than any other type of ammo (except perhaps .22 plinking ammo).  This is because you’ll use your rifles for hunting and as your primary self-defense weapon.

The number of rounds of ammo you’ll use for hunting won’t ever be too huge because hopefully you’ll typically be felling game at a rate of one animal per each well-aimed shot.  But if you find yourself having to fight off repeated attacks from gangs of well-armed marauders, you could quickly go through hundreds or even thousands of rounds of rifle ammo in a single session – not because you’re being attacked by that many opponents, but because your shooting is now a mix of ‘suppressive’ fire (keeping the other guys away) as well as more careful aimed fire to actually score hits on the bad guys.

There are three major military calibers – .223, also known as 5.56, .308 also known as 7.62×51, and 7.62×39.  There actually is a slight difference between .223 and 5.56, and between .308 and 7.62×51, but for our purposes and with modern weapons, they can be considered more or less interchangeably.

The 7.62×39 is the caliber that is used by the AK-47 and many other ‘communist’ bloc weapons (we use the quotes because most of these countries are no longer communist).  It is hard to find US manufactured 7.62×39 ammo – all the stuff we’ve knowingly encountered ourselves has been imported, so our guess is that in a major breakdown of society, there’ll be little more 7.62×39 ammo coming in.

For this reason alone we consider it the least favored of the three calibers; but having said that, there’s a huge inventory of this caliber ammo ‘out there’ at present.  People buy it in quantities of thousands of rounds at a time, and many people have AK (and the earlier SKS) type rifles to use it with, so as a trading good, it would be sensible to have some ammo, and it would also make sense to have some rifles that can shoot it too.  It seems that AK rifles are more tolerant of wear, damage, and dirt than are rifles chambered for .223 or .308.

One other consideration with 7.62×39 ammo.  Sometimes this ammo uses corrosive rather than non-corrosive primers, and we’ve heard, anecdotally rather than in our direct personal experience, that sometimes some of the ammo that is labeled as non-corrosive actually is corrosive.  Just about all other modern ammo out there, these days, uses non-corrosive primers, and it is easy to get ‘spoiled’ and not be as diligent with cleaning as is essential when using corrosive ammo.  If you are using 7.62×39 ammo, you will need to check to see if it is corrosive or not, and be more obsessive at cleaning your rifles.

The .308 round is a great dual purpose hunting/self-defense round, and we recommend this become your prime hunting caliber, and that you get some ultra-reliable very accurate bolt-action hunting rifles that are chambered for .308 accordingly.  The Remington 700 seems to be a well regarded rifle and is not unreasonably expensive.

The .308 round is larger, heavier, and more expensive than the other two of these three calibers.  It is also generally more lethal, and possibly superior in self-defense situations.  So if you have a semi-auto magazine fed rifle or two in this caliber, that would be a good thing too.

However, the same issues that saw the US Army and most other armed forces switch from a large-caliber round to a smaller caliber round apply with equal impact to you in your own self-defense requirements.  Smaller lighter rounds are easier to carry and store (and less expensive to buy), and rifles chambered for this round are easier to shoot (lighter and less recoil).  In most cases, the .223/5.56 is more than adequate for self-defense, although it is a less suitable round for hunting game.

We recommend that the major part of your rifle ammo be .223/5.56 accordingly, and that you have a number of AR-15 type semi-auto rifles to use with this ammo.

Now for a fourth caliber.  Until 1957 the main rifle used by the US Army was the M1 Garand, and chambered for the .30-06 cartridge, a cartridge first released back in 1906 for the Springfield M1903 rifle, and in use pretty much continually ever since.

Of all the ‘other’ hunting rounds (ie other than the .308) the .30-06 is far and away the next most common, due to its former military role.  While the ammunition isn’t quite as common as the other three types, it is the next most common, and it would be wise to consider adding some type of bolt-action sporting/hunting rifle to your collection in this caliber, and keeping some .30-06 ammunition in your inventory as well.

There are dozens of other hunting round calibers, but none of them are very common, and the same is true for the rifles in these other calibers.  Sure, they are often excellent calibers/cartridges/rifles for hunting and self-defense, but you’ll find the calibers/cartridges/rifles you have in these ‘big four’ calibers are more than sufficient for all needs, with one possible exception – see the next section.

Heavy Rifle

There is one important caliber and rifle family that you might wish to consider if you feel you may need to protect yourself against para-military groups deploying lightly armored vehicles against you.  That is the .50 BMG caliber, and some sort of rifle in that caliber to shoot it.

A .50 BMG Barrett or other rifle is very expensive, and the ammunition is very expensive too – both will cost you about ten times the cost of an AR-15 clone and ammo to go with it.  But having even a single rifle in this caliber and a few hundred rounds of ammo would give you a long-range stand-off weapon of stunning power and accuracy that could be used to keep bad people a long way away from you, and to punch through many types of cover to reach the bad guys sheltered behind.

Barrett and the other specialty heavy-caliber rifle manufacturers also make rifles in other calibers too, but these calibers are very unusual and hard to come by.  The .50 BMG is the most common of the heavy caliber cartridges out there, due to it being a military caliber cartridge used in various full auto military weapons.


Everyone is familiar with the classic 12 gauge shotgun.  There are other gauges available – usually smaller caliber gauges such as 16 gauge and 20 gauge and .410, and there are also larger calibers too – 10 gauge and 8 gauge.

But we suggest you don’t get distracted, and stick to 12 gauge only.  The smaller gauges (with the bigger numbers) are of little practical use, and the larger gauges (with the smaller numbers!) while being undoubtedly more powerful don’t really add much practical extra benefit in most normal situations.  The 12 gauge is close to universal in application and ammunition for a 12 gauge is the very most common type of shotshells you’ll find.

You’ll want to get some 00 buck shells and maybe some solid slugs for self-defense purposes, and birdshot shells in several different sizes for hunting birds (the smaller the bird, the smaller the size of shot needed, with – confusingly – the bigger the number of the shot type, the smaller the size of the pellets).

Shotshells come in different lengths – longer shotshells have more space in them both for more shot and for more explosive charge.  The 2 3/4″ length shell is the most common, but you should get shotguns that are chambered to accept 3″ shells too, so as to have more universal compatibility.  If you really wanted to, it would be appropriate to get shotguns chambered to accept the rare 3.5″ shotshells – they will still work perfectly well with the shorter shotshells too, and gives you even greater compatibility with all types of loads you might come across.

Most of the time, your self-defense weapon of choice will be your 5.56mm/.223 AR-15 style rifle, so you don’t need a lot of buckshot ammo for your shotguns.  Get more birdshot for bird hunting than buckshot for self-defense.


Your most important firearm in any Level 2/3 situation will be your rifle(s) – this is the best weapon for hunting with, and also for self-defense.  Shotguns can be useful for shooting birds, and in very limited situations, for self-defense too.

Pistols are of little or no value when hunting either game or birds, and are of minimal value as a self-defense weapon also, but they do have the benefit of being conveniently portable, so you’ll probably always have one with you, using it merely as a way to enable you to safely fight your way back into your retreat or to your rifle.

In addition to the guns you know you’ll need and use, if money allows, it would be prudent to buy some spare guns in other calibers, just in case you should subsequently have a chance to buy ammunition in a caliber that you wouldn’t otherwise have any use for.

If you were to buy only one gun, we’d recommend it to be a semi-auto .308 caliber rifle.  But hopefully, just like you don’t only have one knife in your kitchen or one screwdriver in your toolbox, you’ll choose to get a broader mix of firearms to serve a broader mix of purposes.

Because ammunition keeps a very long time, we recommend you keep a plentiful supply.

Apr 292012

How much ammunition - and how many guns - are enough?

We received an interesting response from a reader on the subject of how many guns a prepper should own, and when does it become excessive.

Here it is, slightly edited for form.

Thanks for your article on why preppers usually include firearms in their preparations.

I guess I’m a prepper of sorts myself (is there any definition of who/what a prepper is?) and wanted to share with you why I have more guns than you suggested.  Here’s a general sort of list of what I have and why :


1.  A .22 cal for plinking, training my children, practicing, and for small varmint shooting

2 & 3.  Two .223 cal for self-defense

4.  A 7.62×39 also for self-defense (in case I come across some 7.62×39 ammo and am low on .223 ammo)

5.  A .308 semi-auto for hunting or self-defense

6.  A bolt action .308 for hunting (commonality of ammo with #5 above)

7.  A .30-06 bolt action for hunting (due to the ubiquity of the .30-06 round)


1.  A long barreled multi-choke pump action 12 ga for shooting birds

2 & 3.  Short barreled 12 ga pump actions for self-defense


1 & 2.  Full size 9mm semi-autos

3.  Full size .45 cal semi-auto (as a spare, in case of running low on 9mm ammo and finding some .45 cal)

4.  Medium barreled .357 revolver (can take .38 too of course, another spare for ammo reasons)

5.  Sub-compact .380 semi-auto for concealed carry

6.  .22 cal for plinking and training and fun

Add all that up, and you’re looking at a total of not four or eight, but 16 firearms (and I’m not saying that is all I have, either).  But does that make me a ‘gun nut’?  I’m not even sure what or who a gun nut is, but I do know that some people would consider having this many guns to be seriously threatening.  It isn’t seriously threatening, it is just prudently preparing for a wide range of possible futures, especially to do with ammunition shortages.

I also read your comment about duplicate guns in case of failures.  That’s a good point – maybe I need to double up?  And as for how much ammo to store, that’s a good question too!

Anyway, thanks for the article.  I hope my comments add further to the discussion.

Apr 202012

The media love using pictures of seized 'gun caches' (which, by the way, are usually completely legal to own) such as this to vilify preppers and 'survivalists'. Note also how the shotgun on the right has been broken down to look like three different guns to the uninitiated.

Being a prepper often attracts unfair negative media attention.

Perhaps one of the reasons that the concept of preparing for disasters attracts so much automatic negativity is because non-preppers feel a semi-conscious mix of guilt and envy at seeing other people prudently preparing for emergencies.

But rather than admit this truth, non-preppers seek ways to sneer at and denigrate their more prudent fellow citizens, and one thing which they love to attack is the fact that the preparations many people undertake involve – along with hundreds/thousands of other things – purchasing a number of firearms and a quantity of ammunition.

Why do preppers usually own guns (and sometimes what seems like a ridiculous number of them)?  Are they all gun freaks?  Or is there a more logical reason?

We suggest there are two reasons why preppers have guns.  The first is to secure food by hunting, and the second is self-defense.

If one is in some sort of circumstance where there is no food coming in to the supermarkets, what does one do?  One does one of three things.

The first option is the least appealing – one simply starves.  And – yes, it is true one doesn’t need any firearms in such a case.  To be blunt, this is the option that, like it or not, non-preppers risk if there is a major disruption to our food supply (although see the third option below for their other alternative).

The second option is the most positive – one goes out hunting and fishing.  For sure, fishing doesn’t require a gun, and again, for sure, growing fruit and vegetables doesn’t require a gun either, but raising fruit and vegetables is not something that you can instantly start any time you wish, and start harvesting food the very next day.  Most crops are seasonal, and some trees take years to mature.  Getting fruit and vegetables might take a year or more to come on-stream.

Although fishing and growing crops does not require any firearms, hunting does.  So, people who are anticipating the possibility of running out of food, or who wish to augment and extend the supplies they have stored, need firearms – and ammunition for their guns – to go hunting.

Which brings us to the third option people have when they find themselves without food.  This is one that, alas, many people will have no choice but to adopt.  If they don’t have food, and if they have no way to hunt or otherwise gather food, and if they don’t want to just sit down and die, what will they have to do?

Yes, they’ll attempt to take food from other people.  And, in fairness, there’s no time for morality when a person’s life is on the line, is there, so one can understand why they would do this.  Not only can one understand why people would do this, prudent people will also anticipate such occurrences and plan and prepare for them.

Which puts the people who prudently prepared for food shortages in a difficult position.  They probably barely have enough food for themselves – why should they have to share their food with the same people who formerly would jeer and sneer at them, and who refused to similarly stock up and prepare for future problems?  This question is even more relevant and hard to answer if, by sharing their food, they then risk their own ability to survive in the process.

Even in cases where people aren’t risking death by starvation and attempting to beg or take food by force, other ugly encounters are likely to arise.  In any type of social disruption, looters quickly appear and seek to pillage and destroy property.

Preppers become prime targets for looters as well as for starving people seeking food wherever they can find it.

And – guess what.  Most preppers probably don’t want to be victimized and to passively allow all their time, effort, energy and money invested in their preparations be destroyed or stolen from them.

So – why do preppers have guns?  Simple.  For survival – both in the form of hunting for food, and in the form of self-defense.

How Many Guns Are Enough

If you are preparing for such challenges yourself, you will quickly determine that you need to have more than one gun.  You need two rifles for hunting – a small-caliber rifle for small game and varmints, and a larger caliber one for full size animals such as deer.  You also might want a shotgun for ducks and other birds, and a pistol for convenient ever-present self-defense.  Your shotgun and your larger caliber rifle would also be used for self-defense purposes too.

So that is four guns for one person, as a minimum – and if you’re preparing for an extended period of emergency, you might want to double up in case a gun fails and needs to be replaced.  So now we are looking at eight firearms for one person, and remember this is still a  minimum quantity (even though it sounds like a huge number to some people).

That sure sounds like a lot, until you understand the reasoning behind it.  Guns are tools, with different guns being better for some tasks than others.  For a comparison, how many knives do you have in your kitchen?  All knives cut, just like all guns shoot.  But different knives are better or not so good for different tasks, so a professional cook typically has a ‘set’ of many different knives, from tiny boning knives up to huge meat cleavers.  Plus he has a few old knives that still stay in the drawer, even though they are no longer used, and he probably has a couple of other knives he bought but never uses because they weren’t as good as he thought they might be.

It is the same with guns – indeed, it is safer to have multiple guns, because then you can best select the most appropriate gun for each task and use it most appropriately.

So, if one person has eight guns (four main guns and four spares), how many for two people?  Two people would want to have eight guns plus maybe just one (rather than two) sets of four spares – 12 guns for two people.  Three people might call for 16 guns, and so on.  Happily there is no law against owning multiple firearms and no restriction on how many guns anyone can own, so why not get as many as are prudently needed for a range of different future tasks.

Next of course is the question of ammunition.  Ammunition is small and compact so doesn’t take up much storage space, and lasts a long time (definitely in excess of ten years, usually in excess of twenty years if stored reasonably well) and is reasonably inexpensive.

Ammunition is also an excellent trading good.  If two people meet during an emergency, they might decide to swap things that they each respectively either have spares of and need some of in return, and ammunition in common calibers is definitely something that has huge value as a trading item in troubled times.  So how much to store?

That is one of the big questions preppers have to confront with everything they choose to stock up on, of course.  In the case of ammunition, one single bullet might represent the ability to fell a deer, providing enough food for everyone present for a week, or to save a life in a confrontation, and by the same token, the lack of a bullet might mean starving or being overrun and subjugated by lawless marauding hordes of looters.

Each of the four guns will require a different caliber of ammunition, and within that caliber, there will be a range of different bullet shapes, weights, and styles.

It seems prudent to lay in a stock of some thousands of rounds of ammunition accordingly, in a mix of the four different calibers, and with a range of different bullet types (and shot shell types).  Ammunition isn’t a large cost item, doesn’t take up too much space, won’t need to be thrown away unused due to short storage life, and is a key component of assuring the ongoing safety and survival of the group of people owning it.

Are Too Many Guns Dangerous or Threatening?

The media love to talk about ‘survivalists’ having huge caches of weapons and hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition as if this implies some degree of crazed intent on the part of the person owning the guns and ammo.

There is an unspoken implication that a person with two guns is twice as dangerous as a person with one, and that a person with ten guns is ten times as dangerous.  The same strange math is applied to ammunition – a person with 1000 rounds of ammo is ‘obviously’ more dangerous than a person with 500 rounds, and a person with 5,000 rounds is even more dangerous again.

This is nonsense.  The reality is simple :

A person can only shoot one gun at a time, and the gun they are using can only shoot one bullet at a time.

Having two or ten guns doesn’t make a person any more dangerous than having only one gun.  If it did, our professional soldiers would be equipped with dozens of guns.  Professional soldiers only have one or sometimes two guns (ie rifle and pistol); the same is true of most police officers too.  If owning more guns did truly make a person more dangerous, maybe there would be laws against it.

It is the same as cars and petrol, perhaps.  A person can only drive one car at a time, and the one car he is driving only goes at a certain speed with a certain amount of power, no matter if the tank is full of gas or nearly empty.


While guns hopefully and happily play a small part of our ordinary day to day lives, if there should be a disruption to our lives and the society in which we live, we may need to return to the ways of our forefathers and rely on guns more than we need to at present.

Prudent people, preparing for possible problems in the future, will include guns in their preparations both for the ability to hunt food and for prudent self-protection.

If you’re not a prepper, you have nothing to fear from preppers with guns.  They won’t need to use them against you, because you, as a non-prepper, by definition, will have nothing they want or need.  You should instead be concerned about other non-preppers with weapons, who might believe you have something they want or need, whether it be something essential for survival such as food and shelter, or something as irrelevant as a big screen television.