Guest Post: The Poor Man’s Guide To Survival Gear

Tyler Durden's picture

From Brandon Smith of Alt-Market

The Poor Man’s Guide To Survival Gear

Special Note:  Obviously, an entire book could be written on this subject, which is a task beyond the scope of this article.  The purpose of the following piece is to give those with financial difficulty a foothold on prepping without added pain.  It is meant to be a starting point, not a compendium.

A friend of mine took note recently that a large portion of activists involved in the Liberty Movement had hit extremely hard times, or had been struggling financially even before the general economic collapse began to take hold.  He asked me my theory on why it was that so many of us are always so broke.  I could only relate that it is almost always the working class poor in any society that first sees the effects of a corrupt government and a faulty economic system.  Those who legitimately hold to the principles of self sustainment, and fair play, are usually the first to be stabbed in the back by the establishment, and so, they are the first to become politically active against it.  That is to say, sometimes we have to lose almost everything before we are able to see the bigger picture. 

While I consider this fact a source of solace in these extraordinarily hard times, it still does little to put food on the table, or survival gear in the bug-out-bag. 

The overall consensus within the prepper community is that survival planning is expensive, and yes, it certainly can be.  Another consensus is that you “get what you pay for”; also a point.  My belief is that while no prepping model is free of expense or of quality concerns, perhaps there is a middle road that activists with thin wallets can take which will provide solid gear for less money, and that will serve most of the functions of high-end gear that is ten times as expensive.  Let’s examine a foundation list of those items that can help get you started now….

Backpack (Bug Out Bag)

You can literally spend hundreds of dollars on many top-of-the-line framed backpacks, and some may even be worth it, but it is not necessary to spend that kind of cash to purchase a decent bug-out-bag.  In fact, surplus ALICE packs with frames can be had online for as little as $30-$60, sometimes even less if they are a bit worn.  The ALICE system provides adequate back support for your needs, for a low price, and the quality of the design is military proven. 

Camouflage Clothing

Camouflage clothing and gear runs a wide spectrum in price, and it’s hard sometimes to find the colors you want at a discount.  One trick is to buy any camo you find on the cheap, and then lightly dye it to match the colors you want.  For instance, one could gauge the dye levels with small samples, find the right strength, and then dye light camo like Digital ACU a darker green.  Eventually, you may be able to make your own camo with any clothing you come across.  It sounds like a pain, but it’s actually quite easy, and could save you considerable amounts of money.   

Extreme Weather Protection

Gortex is outrageously expensive, unless you get lucky and find it used or discounted.  While it is difficult to beat the quality (or the warrantee) on most Gortex cold weather gear, there are cheaper alternatives that get the job done almost as well.  A great extreme cold weather coat is the N-2B Flight Jacket designed to mil spec and resistant to most wet weather conditions.  The jacket was meant specifically to deflect freezing temperatures and it can be had for around $120 or less.

Purchasing several packages of polypropylene thermal underwear could also save your life in extreme weather situations.  They are lightweight, can be easily layered, can be packed into a tiny corner of your B.O.B., and will retain much of your body heat.  Even if you don’t have a lot of winter gear with you, absolutely do not forget to bring the poly-wear!  $30-$50 for a shirt and pants together is well worth it.

Finally, buy wool socks.  Buy plenty.  Look for deals, but do not cut them out of your budget.  Any weather below 20 Degrees Fahrenheit and you’ll want to double up.  Cold feet, on a march, on patrol, on guard duty, sucks.  They can be damaged permanently if you are not careful. 

Combat Boots

Top quality combat boots traditionally run anywhere from $100 to $300 depending on the brand.  One rule that you cannot break regardless of the circumstances; always treat your feet right.  They hold up your entire body.  Surplus boots are a good place to start when looking to cut costs, but usually you won’t be saving much.   To be honest, there are plenty of knockoff combat boots found in sporting goods stores, usually in the hiking section, that are just as durable as the expensive models but for much less.  You can go far in a pair of $60 boots.  Be sure, though, to thoroughly check for poor sewing on the seams, crap laces, and light construction.  If they feel heavy, they are probably made well enough.

Camp Heater

Unless you have your own oil well, or a line on a hidden vein of coal (some preppers I have met actually do), then your best bet for efficient heat during the winter weather in a tent, a makeshift shelter, or a house, is a wood burning stove.  Timber fuel sources are everywhere.  A couple cords of wood are enough to heat most homes and shelters through the colder months. 

Gasoline and propane storage is possible, but the likelihood of shortage is high, and arranging a practical supply lasting a year or more is incredibly expensive.  Solar power systems and battery banks are recommended, but again, this is another option that requires moderate to substantial investment when it comes to heating a house.  A very affordable alternative for your heating needs would be the M-1941 Military Tent Stove.  The cylindrical stove is portable, burns quite hot, and can be had usually for $100 or less.     

Survival Knife

Some knives deserve the amount of attention and the high price tag they have garnered, but many are just….well….regular knives with a fancy name engraved in the blade.  You are buying a knife for its functionality, not its sex appeal.  Gerber, SOG, and Kershaw make plenty of knives which work just as well for $80 or less than any $400 cord wrapped Strider knife.  Again, pay for the tool, not the name or the artificial commercial mystic.           


Good HAM radios, base stations to handheld models, can be had for around $200-$300, but even this amount is sometimes too high for a limited prepper budget.  Unless you plan to coordinate operations over longer distances using repeaters, or set up a HAM alert system with multiple members of your community, regular two-way radios costing around $40 to $60 like those produced by Midland should suffice for communications.  Consumer models often advertize an effective range of 20 to 30 miles, but this is in totally flat terrain.  If you can get five miles out of them in rough terrain, you are doing well.  This range is adequate to handle most tasks required during a survival situation.      


Gas powered generators are unnecessary long term survival situations, primarily because the amount of fuel they use is impractical and the noise many of them produce could make having electricity a daily temptation of fate.  Solar is really the best way to go.  Unfortunately, many people assume solar power solutions to be too technical and overwhelming.  In fact, setting up a solar power system is so straight forward it makes all the prepper uneasiness a bit laughable. 

A simple and comparably affordable set-up would include one 180 Watt solar panel (which can quickly charge your battery bank during the day), one deep cycle battery, a charge controller, and an inverter.  This kit can be had for $600 to $1000, is compact enough to fit a medium Rubbermaid storage bin, and will power almost every appliance and charge every electronic device that would make life easier during a collapse.  Remember also that every Watt of power you produce by the sun reduces your on-grid electric bill, saving you even more money.   

At the very least, a portable solar powered battery charger is a must have item.  Doing without gear like radios and flashlights is simply not an option.  Going caveman is the most ill conceived method for living through the worst of all possible situations.    

Survival Tin

Pre-made mini survival kits are a rip off.  Most of the items they contain (matches, fishing line, compass, small knife, firestarter, wire saw, water purification tablets, etc.) can be easily purchased separately for half the cost.  Making your own mini-kit is also a good exercise in efficiency.  Being able to prioritize gear and understand what is truly useful versus what is a waste of space is as important a skill as being able to shoot or navigate a map.  It does not take a lot of money to build a solid base kit for emergencies….unless you buy one that somebody made for you.  

Emergency Medical Kit

Again, all items within most pre-made medical kits can be bought individually for much less.  Celox blood stopper, silk sutures, surgical tools, transfusion bags, and other goods should be added in with the staples, raising the cost slightly, but rounding out your kit and allowing for more critical injuries to be cared for.  Bulk over the counter medications, especially for stomach ailments, would be highly valuable post collapse, and can be bought wholesale.  Medicinal teas, at least the organic brands, work very well!  These can be bought for reasonable prices and will boost your immune system, preventing illness before it ever occurs.

Food Production

If you have enough land to keep them, a half dozen chickens, a half dozen breeding rabbits, and a goat, will produce milk, meat, and eggs daily, providing valuable sustenance, reducing the amount of stored foods you need to use in a day, and reducing the amount of time you have to spend hunting for food in a dangerous collapse environment.  Chickens and goats practically feed themselves with whatever is available on your land.  Rabbit feed is easy to store, and can also be made at home.  These animals are indeed worth their weight in gold.  

Seeds are, of course, a currency in and of themselves.  Non-GMO seed and strong gardening knowledge will save you and your family.  Gardening is not as easy as it seems, however.  Extensive practice, trial and error, and an understanding of regional climates will improve your crop yields dramatically.

If you are looking to survive on the cheap and avoid paying thousands of dollars for years worth of freeze dried goods, sustainable food production is the only way to go.  Foraging and scavenging is NOT a reliable alternative.

Security Systems

Trip wires and tin cans are certainly cheaper than thermal security cameras, and a few well trained guard dogs can put your mind at ease, but sometimes more silent or less obvious methods are in order.  I would recommend the MURS radio and infrared alert system for perimeter defense.  As far as force multipliers go, MURS is relatively inexpensive.  MURS motion detectors are wireless, weather proof, have a beam range of around 100 ft, and can be placed up to 4 miles away from your radio base station.  Intruders crossing the infrared beam will set off an alert on your base station and all MURS handheld radios.  Some MURS systems even have underground probes designed to detect the movement of vehicles.  Up to four motion censors can be linked to one base station and each can be designated for a sector, telling you exactly where on your property the intrusion is occurring.  A full MURS system with multiple motion detectors can be had for $300 or less.  Other comparable outdoor security systems often cost $500 or more.

Night Vision

The price range of night vision devices is truly staggering.  Some can run as little as a few hundred dollars, others climb into the thousands.  For the prepper with low cash flow who feels the need for night time security, a couple models offer good quality at a lower price.

For typical surveillance and overwatch, the Bushnell 2.5 by 42 night vision monocular creates a strong image with quality construction for around $200.

For combat, the Yukon Nvmt Night Vision Scope offers many of the advantages of high end systems for only $350 or less.

Night vision may seem like an unnecessary expense, even at these prices, but any edge one can get in survival is a good thing.  Being at a disadvantage monetarily does not mean you have to be at a disadvantage tactically.   

Self Defense

Yes.  Guns.  Big-scary-guns.  Guns and survival go hand in hand, especially during an economic or social collapse.  To bring up guns in a prepping article almost always draws criticism of militancy and extremism from suburban basted over-privileged adolescent hippies who have read “Into The Wild” way too many times and think survival is about “communing with nature”.  Sorry kids, but as much as I love nature, as soon as you turn your back on it, you end up a pre-digested meal spread like almond butter across 30 acres of grizzly valley.   On the other side of the coin, firearms analysis always draws endless opinions and puffy chested “expertise” from armchair generals and “invincible special-ops superheroes”. 

Frankly, after years of survival writing, you stop caring what other people think.  That said, for those of us with limited resources (of which I would include myself), firearms purchases are much less about technical proficiency and more about affordability.

I won’t be delving into sidearms here.  Instead we’ll focus on what you cannot conceivably live without.  Purchasing a primary battle rifle should always be the prepper’s first concern as far as firearms go, whether he is rich or poor.  Semi-automatic, accurate, reliable, hard to damage, fires a common military caliber (.223, 7.62 by 39, .308).  There’s your list.  Finding cheap rifles that meet that list is another matter, but here are a few that come pretty close:


The Saiga is a high capacity AK variant that comes in all common military calibers as well as a 12 gauge shotgun model (I’m amazed it’s still legal).  Works great, shoots straight, built tough, runs between $450 to $650.  For the price, you can’t go wrong.


A Spanish made .308 semi automatic rifle with a similar design to the HK G3.  Many in circulation have been pieced together with surplus parts, and it is wise to get yours checked out by a trusted gunsmith.  A little tuning may be required.  Otherwise, a pretty solid 300 yard gun running at $450 to $600.


The FAL is a Belgium made semi auto .308 rifle.  Accurate and well made.  Effective range of around 700 yards.  Can be found for $600 to $800.

AK 47

Will you look like a terrorist holding this gun?  Yes.  But beyond that, the AK is synonymous with dependability, and affordability.  Though gun prices the past few years have skyrocketed in ridiculous fashion, the AK 47, a 7.62 by 39 caliber rifle, can still be found for around $300 to $600 depending on the make, the age, and the honesty of your dealer.  This is not a very accurate gun beyond 100 yards.  Can you hit a man sized target beyond 100 yards with an AK?  Yes.  Can you do it accurately and consistently?  No.  You want pinpoint sniper accuracy from a Russian made weapon?  Get a Dragunov.  You want a close quarters weapon that you can clean with a dish rag and motor oil and still have it fire?  Get an AK.


The SKS used to be a good deal.  Four years ago you couldn’t spit without hitting one priced at around $200.  Nowadays, many gunshops are fishing for $400 to $500.  Do not pay this for any SKS.  It is not a $500 gun.  It is a $200 to $300 gun.  Period.  Deals can still be found if you are patient.  The 7.62 by 39 rifle is relatively accurate and solidly built.  The bayonet is a bit of a pain, but removing it is apparently an ATF no no.  Technically you are required to remove the bayonet mounting lug and the grenade launcher attachment along with the blade for the gun to be legal (I’m not going to go into the absurdity of ATF assault rifle guidelines).  Honestly, if you don’t like the bayonet, just take it off, and don’t let any of your ATF buddies shoot it at the range.


Another rifle that used to be a good deal, now ruined by overenthusiastic gun shop owners.  Private sale at a gun show is the only way lately to find this rifle at its traditionally suitable price of $350 to $450.  Gun shops today will ask $600 to $800.  The .223 rifle, designed after the M1 Garand, is light, easy to wield, and pretty accurate out to 300 yards.  Lighter ammo means more rounds can be carried at a time.

Long Range Sniper Systems

For long range at an affordable price, you just can’t go wrong with Savage Arms.  The company has maintained the great quality of its products, kept their prices low despite the Obama gun boom, and most of their rifles compete equally with guns twice as expensive. One issue to keep in mind, though, is optics, which can sometimes cost as much as the gun itself if you are not careful.  Long range shooting platforms are essential for a small force defending against a larger or better supplied enemy.  The more you can increase your standoff distance when at a disadvantage, the better chance you have of survival.  One or two long range experts can wreak havoc on a seemingly unstoppable foe, making the cost of operations so high the enemy begins to question the practicality of moving forward.  In collapse environments, snipers, amateur to professional, always come out of the woodwork to dominate the landscape.  Preppers have the ability to counter this threat, and with very inexpensive firearms.


This is a .308 sniper system commonly found with a precision stock and a heavy barrel.  Range of around 800 yards.  Can be found for $600 to $700.  Modified systems come more expensive, but the standard model is all you need.  


A highly accurate rifle utilizing the effective 300 Win Mag cartridge.  Range exceeding 1000 yards.  Can usually be found for around $700.


The “long range hunter” model of the Savage 111 in .338 Lapua costing less than $1000.  The .338 is an incredible cartridge with an effective range of about 1 mile.  The Savage has been found comparable to sniper systems three times as expensive.  The only problem with the .338 is the price of the ammo, which usually runs around $60 to $70 for a box of 20 rounds, almost twice as expensive as 300 Win Mag.  Man, does that sting!  This rifle should be considered a poor man’s substitute for the .50 Cal, a rifle that will always be undeniably expensive, considering one round usually sets you back $4 to $5.  If you want the capability of a .50 Cal but not a quite so outrageous ammo price, the Savage is your best bet.

Procrastination Is Something We Cannot Afford

Preparation is not limited to the realm of the rich.  Ultimately, survivalists with limited incomes must pursue their prepping MORE vigorously than those with expendable cash exactly because they are at a greater disadvantage.  Being poor is no excuse for procrastination.  Great gear can be had for little money, as long as purchases are approached intelligently.  Budgeting for survival is not an enterprise for some future date in which we imagine ourselves to be better off than we are now.  It should be a part of our daily life, even when times are tough. 

Self discipline gets things done.  Making a plan and then sticking to that plan despite our inner weaknesses and apprehensions gives greater returns in the long run.  This method not only earns the respect we hold for ourselves, but also the respect others hold for us.  The flaky and indecisive cannot be relied upon.  The gravity of the socio-political situation we face in the near term demands that we shake off our fears and our apathy, step out of our baby cradle comfort zone, and MAKE THINGS HAPPEN.  Backing out is not an option.  Otherwise, we simply defeat ourselves, and we let each other down.

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RacerX's picture

what? no gold and silver bars?

greased up deaf guy's picture

speaking of survival gear, any recommendations for a first gun (or two) purchase? there's a gun show here in socal this weekend and i do not plan to leave empty handed (ignoring the waiting period). my thinking is one handgun and one shotgun. i've researched handguns and am leaning towards a glock (19 or 21) or a springfield xdm (9mm or 0.45). i have minimal background knowledge of shotguns, however. any thoughts or recommendations

RacerX's picture

all depends on what you're looking to do. If you need to hunt small game, a .22 rifle is a good choice. For self defense.. there's discussion boards that argue this endlessly. To me, it comes down to your situation and what you prefer. Can be anything from a 20ga shotgun to 9mm/.40/..45 pistol. Def. no easy answer.

Imo when SHTF, it'll be the things you don't think of (like water) that will cause the most grief. That's where self-defense may be most appropriate--to protect against the zombie hoards.

Stares straight ahead's picture

"Junior" shotguns (ones designed for teaching young kids) are also a good defense choice.  They are shorter barrelled making it easier to swing to target and less intimidating for women to use.   Also, 20 gauge has less kickback and is not as "scarey" to shoot.  (I teach beginner women to hold the gun stock against their ribs under the arm, rather then against their shoulder (Granny style), until they are completely comfortable with the gun(s).)

Also, loud (less expensive) handguns (such as the Taurus 0.45) are good for startling a potential attacker.  I believe that a loud bang can compensate for a beginner's lack of skills.

A .22 is definitely a good tool to get early on.  Cheap gun, cheaper target practice, a good squirrel, rabbit, snake gun.  Generally quiet, espec with low velocity rounds.  Easily available ammo.

Andy_Jackson_Jihad's picture

Ruger 10/22 is a good .22 cal rifle for hunting and general shooting practice.  They can be had hella cheap.  I'm amazed at how accurate my bare-bones one is (standard barrel, cheap plastic stock, etc.) and I don't think I paid more than $150 for it.

For shot guns, look for a Mossberg 500 or Remington 870 variant.  They are very cheap and very common.  You can pimp one out with lots of stuff to make it fit for you if you so desire.  I've seen them for as little as $300 New.  For a zombie apocalypse, look for the variants that come in all black, as opposed to cammo or with wood stocks and grips.  The all black ones are generally cheaper, shorter and more for shooting "zombies"  than game birds.  Those one or two requirements are likely to get you a decent defense weapon without nerding out about barrel length, capacity, grip type blah blah blah. 

Fukushima Sam's picture

Don't forget antibiotics.  The best way to get good antibiotics with no prescription is "fish antibiotics" which are the same pills as the generics made for people.

Here are some on ebay.

whstlblwr's picture

Make friends.

Now if I were creative government official, instead of scaredy legislation to throw American citizens into jail, I'd put survival guys to work for country they love. How? Protect our borders. Pay those who already prepared with guns, train, provide good house and offer them work on border.

JW n FL's picture



if.. we were to be blessed with a fire..

then here are some simple rules everyone should understand.

fires burn slowly at first.. then spread and then burn hot.. until they burn themselves out of fuel.. and then smolder.. unless a good wind comes long and carries one of the hat ashes to new fuel.


how much fuel is there in America?

how many areas are there in which this fuel is condensed?

is there more fuel in south central LA than in Montana for instance?

how long before that fuel burns itself out?

I would offer.. if, I.. F.. spells IF!

there is a problem and fires start burning.. all anyone would have to do is keep their family safe until the fires burn themselves out or down to an easily controllable level..

then all you have is clean up.. some new construction and a better place than you started with.

think of all the new roads and building America has built all over the World after we burned them down with bombs!


the real question is.. if someone were to decide on a controled burn..

what would you like to see accomplished?

be rid of the top 1% of the top 1% becuase you are tired of thier drunk driving of the Country maybe?

that is my issue.. maybe your is being rid of the Jews!

maybe it is closing the boarders and sending the Mexicans home?

I dont know what is important to you..

but as long as you are not getting in my way? (clearing out Wall Street, Washington DC ("K" Street Plus the Lobby Whores) and then my personal State Houses) I dont care what YOU! do..

But like the Jews said there were in the White House..










either you believe in the Constitution of the Untied States?


you believe in the procedural law that has enslaved America.

it is that simple.. and in the end.. those will be the two sides. They are already the two sides.. people like to twist things to allow for thier egos and personal importance.


which side are you on?

maybe you want to figure that out now and start acting like it.. you wouldnt want your nieghbors believing that you are part of the problem with the fires start.

Every question and answer on a gun forum


Police are the Terrorists..


NOT! the working class Protesters!


NOT! the College Kids Protesting!


Wake Up!


Police ='s Terrorist!


Wall Street Owns the Lobby!


The Lobby Owns Washington DC!


The Duly Elected Lobby Whore in Washington DC Own the Police!


We the People! are screwed!


JW n FL's picture

Uploaded by on Dec 15, 2011

Original story:
Previous video on this story:

There are reports that President Obama has moved US troops to the Syrian border. James Corbett, host of The Corbett Report, helps us inspect what's going on around Syria.



JW n FL's picture



US Troops on Syrian Border! and then after Syria! IRAN!! is NEXT!! Sweet Lite Crude!! for ALL! at $150 a Barrel! Wall Street owns the Mercenaires! and the Big Oil Corporations! it is Double Winning for the Top 1% of 1%!

but if you are poor!

your childrens blood will be paying the real costs!


either you believe in the Constitution of the Untied States?


you believe in the procedural law that has enslaved America.

I have not seen Congress Vote on a War with Syria, have you?

JW n FL's picture

Uploaded by on Dec 15, 2011

This week Max Keiser and co-host Stacy Herbert discuss re-hypothecating Alec Baldwin's cake and eating it too. And, as Al Capone before him, JP Morgan's Jamie Dimon complains of the thankless task of being a "public benefactor". In the second half of the show, Max talks to Reggie Middleton about German debt and MF Global

KR on FB:

krispkritter's picture

Had two Savage 20/22Mag over-unders in my father's estate. Sold one, keeping one.  The 22 Mag blew the head off a 5 foot rattler in the front yard.  Only downside is you can't shoot 22LR out of it and 22Mag ain't cheap but the ballistics are way better than the LR.  Makes a good 2 and 4 legged varmint gun with proper ammo.

TheMerryPrankster's picture

A yard rake works pretty good on snakes including rattlers. A stick with a loop of rope on one end is what snake ranglers use.

A burlap sack in a pinch. I wouldn't waste ammo on a snake in your yard unless it was a 50ft Annaconda with a child in its jaws.

Jena's picture

Even better is to bribe the local road runner population to keep snakes away.  On a busy day, I have over a dozen around.  We've never had a snake on the acreage and have only seen one in the surrounding desert even though various rattlesnakes, King snakes and others are common in the area.  I'm not really a bird person but they're entertaining to have around.  An ounce of prevention and all that...

youngman's picture

we are talking survival go with a Glock 19 is a good choice for a pistol..3 mags..and 1000 rounds of cheap ammo..200 rounds of good defense ammo...corbon or black hills comes to mind...

Shotgun for home that holds 6-8 shells...12 guage..get OO shot with a few slugs mixed in...100 rounds

I would get a rifle for longer distances if you have that...228 caliber....a brand name...again 1000 rounds of ammo..6 magaizines...100 rounds of good defensive ammo..

This guys night vision is crap...

you are not going to bug out in a canyon like this guy has a picture are going to need to survive in your city town neighborhood house first...and friends who think the same way is the better defense...key word is think the same way you will have lots of friends if you have food and they  have none..lots...and when they get hungry they get angry and will kill you  for it..

So the most important survival item to prep is your brain..and that of your family...can you and will want to survive...can you kill..will you defend or will you just give it a good liberal...tons have been written on this...some good some just to sell what they sell...survival is in your brain first..

Stares straight ahead's picture

The key to survival has consistently been discovered (in real life instances) to be a shift in one's thinking.  It starts out as, "Who will rescue me?" but things improve the instant it becomes, "No one, I must rescue myself."

hedgeless_horseman's picture




Do you really want to prepare to survive a majority of unforseen and life-threatening perils? 

  1. Learn to not give up.  Train for, compete in, and finish a marathon.  $150
  2. Learn to not be a victim.  Take at least three levels (weekends) of professional tactical pistol classes (preferably before you buy a gun...borrow a Glock).  $1,500
  3. Learn to GTFO of trouble.  Pay attention, trust your instincts (it worked for your ancestors), and always be ready for fight or flight by practicing both.  Priceless.


krispkritter's picture

Try It's punishing but the cheapest full body training you can get in my opinion.

Socratic Dog's picture

That $1500 pistol training will buy you a lot of rifle, and ammo to practise with.  You end up with something that works at ranges greater than about 20 yards.  Which seems sorta useful to me.

That's the reason the author didnt talk about handguns.  Range.  I don't give a shit how much tactical pistol training you've had, I could kill you with my air rifle.  Seriously.  You may as well be throwing fucking rocks.

hedgeless_horseman's picture



  1. It is a fact that most gun fights occur within 7 yards.  
  2. One may carry a handgun almost all of the time.  It is simply not practical to carry a rifle all of the time. 
  3. Much of tactical pistol training transfers to rifle and shotgun.  

How often do you have your rifle on you?  Does your crystal ball really work?

PS:  Like many, I can get the hit at 200 yards with my sidearm, if necessary.  That is well beyond the range of your air rifle, little boy.

aerojet's picture

It is also a fact that all but a vanishly small number of concealed carry holders will ever use their gun in self-defense.  Most COPS go their entire careers without firing a single shot in anger.  The whole self-defense with a gun is complete and utter bullshit.  I say this as a permit holder and lifetime rifle and pistol shooter.  The grand majority of people are far more likely to accidently shoot themselves with the gun than to defend their life or the lives of their loved ones. 

200 yards with a handgun?  Are you talking a 6" or 8 3/8" .44 Magnum or what?  The drop of most hangun calibers and 200 yards can be measured in feet.

GeorgeHayduke's picture

Read the book Deep Survival. It covers this whole "mindset" topic in detail.

Also, I'm guessing there will be a difference between a wilderness survival situation and what will be happening in cities. If more people have a mindset of cooperation things could go smoothly. If the current mindset of  "I've got mine (or I'm gonna get mine), screw you" prevails then it could be quite nasty.

Another thing this article kind of presents is this idea that you can buy you survival with gadgets. Learning actual skills, not just of the survival sort, but of the how to be a decent human being sort might prove much handier than the "I'm a badass with a big gun" skills. Especially once all of the badasses with big guns have killed each other off and everyone else decides it's time to strive for a better life than feudal gang warfare. JMHO of course.

SilverRhino's picture

Survival boils down to once sentence:

The better your skills, the less equipment you need.  

The BEST survivalists I've ever seen are capable of living anywhere with the clothes on their back and a small possibles pouch. 

Uber Vandal's picture

Another thing to take into consideration is what type of ammunition one's firearm uses.

For example, the 12 gauge shotgun round is common, but can be found in 4 different lengths.

The 2 1/2 inch for very old/obsolete or target practice, 2 3/4 inch, 3 inch, and 3 1/2 inch magnum. And there are also rifled slugs, and a variety of shot sizes to choose from.

One would be wise to have a 12 gauge shotgun designed to fire any available length, such as a Mossberg 835.

For rifles, NATO rounds are 5.56 X 45 mm, which are roughly the same as a .223 caliber round. Of note, a .223 can be fired from a firearm designed for 5.56, but a 5.56 should not be fired from a firearm chambered for .223.

For pistols, the .357 magnum revolver, or Coonan semi automatic hand gun can fire either .357 magnum rounds or 38 special ammunition. For the semi auto pistol, a spring will need to be replaced. Of note, a .357 magnum round is not to be fired from a firearm chambered for 38 special.

Another pistol that utilizes a variety of ammunition is the Smith & Wesson Governor, which can fire the common .45 ACP, .45 long colt, and .410 gauge shotgun shell.

The most important factor in picking the firearm that will be "right" for oneself would be price, ease of use/operation/cleaning, availability and price of ammunition, familiarity, and the 3 P's. Practice, Practice, Practice.


pelican's picture

Yawn... A 9mm will be a serious threat to the spectre gunship or 155 artillery round.  


Lets face it.  If shit hits the fan, it will not be a zombie apocalypse.


aerojet's picture

This is an utter waste of time and money.  I don't get all this "prepper" bs--it's clever marketing, I guess.  YOU DON'T NEED A GUN UNLESS YOU ARE TAKING UP THE SHOOTING SPORTS AS A HOBBY.  Fuck's sake.

gojam's picture


Just imagine how quiet it will be once all the nutters have buggered off to the bush.  ;-)

SheepDog-One's picture

Yes, leaving you and the other 3 million city dwellers to make the avg Black Friday bedlam scenes look like a day at Wallyworld.

gojam's picture

Whereas camping out in the country with thousands of gun toting paranoids and surviving on squirrel will be a walk in the park ?

I swear there are some people who are just looking forward to armagedon (Arm-an'-get-'um). No Gubmint, you see ? 

Falcon15's picture

In a SHTF/Collapse/WROL scenario - (not inclusive of an EMP/Grid down or pandemic panic scenario), there will not be tens of thousands leaving the cities, at least not at first, and rarely all at once, unless a massively nasty occurrence like a firestorm or hurricane drives them out. No single person is going to want to leave the security and safety of their "home" until the food runs out, and even then not right away. they will literally not leave until there is no food, they will leave if there is no water and no way of getting it. Some will even stay until they are on the brink of starvation, thinking "The government will drop food, they will send FEMA, the Red Cross is coming" thoughts along those lines - normalcy bias, its a real bitch.

I am going to place some facts right here: there are, according to the FBI National Gang Threat Assessment of 2011 fully 1.4 million active gang members in 30,000 total gangs - a 40% increase since 2009. Active. As in currently following gang activities etc. The number of "inactive" is higher still. That recent FBI document listed a startling fact: these gangs are recruiting out of and joining every single branch of the armed forces.

However, I digress.

Deaths from a serious SHTF scenario will be upwards of 75-80% of any population, the elderly, the critically ill, the ones who must have daily dialysis, those reliant on medications. We have discussed this before on other threads. Let us say within 1 month, 70-80% of the populace, is dead, from what ails them or lack of life saving medical help.

Add in attrition - murders, falls, infected cuts, lack of potable water, disease going untreated or under treated, fires, people dying of heat stroke (summer) or freezing to death (winter), animal bites (unfed dogs going feral, and attacking in packs), take another 5-15% off of the total populace of any given major city. That is anywhere from 75%-95% of any major metropolitan area's populace dead within one solid month of a massive SHTF scenario. If the SHTF scenario is an EMP or Solar flare, and the city is one like Los Angeles that must have almost all of it's water pumped in from over the mountains, advance the timeline.

There will be, in my opinion and the opinion of others I know, 3 waves of exodus from the cities.

1st wave - lets call them the smart ones. The 1%. However, they are going to be leaving in dribs and drabs. Not all at once, and not all will take the same route. They will almost all, to a person, stick to major arteries of travel and not wander more than 1-2 miles off the highway. this exodus will last maybe a week before the slime balls get smart. The earliest ones out have the best chance. It will be small groups and families, say no more than 10 folks at a time. No real threat there.

2nd wave - Lets call these the awakening sheep - 1 week, perhaps 1 and a half weeks after the event(s). Food is not available, the water is shut off. They are sick and weak from lack of food, lack of potable water. Many will not make it out of the city because the smart animals, the real low lives, will be set up on major roadways killing and looting the fleeing folks indiscriminately. These animals will also be roving gangs of looters, snatching what they want by force, killing any who stand in their way. These are the hard core urban gangs, the organized criminal packs of animals that within hours of a SHTF will have "liberated" several warehouse/dock areas/food distribution centers. I know of 5 within a 5 minute drive of my wife's grandparent's house and they live in "the bad part of town" where shootings and arson are common, nightly news occurrences. The animals with military training or recruited folks out of the military...they know where the military keeps its supplies and armaments. They may also have military trained personnel in their ranks.

The ones that actually make it out in the second wave will be the lucky, frightened, near starving, most likely sick ones that crept out on not so commonly traveled routes. Lets be nice and say 1% make it out. Scattered across a wide area, not much threat there.

Wave 3 will be the worst. This will contain the real bad element that sees the handwriting on the wall. Corpses piling up in the streets, disease running rampant, supplies running low, intermittent block to block warfare between rival "gangs". Based on best case scenario calculations, 1 to 2 months after a SHTF scenario, the Golden Horde heads out. These are going to have their own problems (loose organization, fuel needs, water needs, food needs), they will very likely stay on the major arteries of travel (man is a curious animal, 99.9% of the time, they take the path of least resistance, even if going a different route will shave their travel time in HALF), and if they are smart send scouts out 2-3 miles off the highway to find fuel, food, supplies that the first couple of waves or other survivors may have missed. These are the ones small towns and rural settlements on major roadways, and perhaps secondary roadways, will fear and have the worst time with.

Just an opinion, YMMV. All postulation anyhow. Fictional, you know...

gojam's picture

Your scenario is predicated on a total and swift collapse of society.

Falcon15's picture

One significant solar event, one massive collapse of an economic structure, one massive war in the Middle East/North Africa region, one EMP, one nuclear warhead, it all plays out the same. I purposefully wrote this post thinking along the lines of mass economic collapse which seems to be where we are headed. Once the banks start holidays and the trading markets shut down, products and serices stop moving.

When the price of oil spikes and fuel becomes so expensive people cannot affort to fill their tanks, the collapse accelerates. Trucks stop moving because 99.9% of all truck drivers rely on credit cards to purchase the vast amounts of fuel that is required to move your food the average of 1500 miles from farm to store. No trucks moving, trains instead? They will be seized nd shut down for governmental use, and make no bones about it, when the economy collapses, the Goverment will make an immediate move to clamp down and try to maintain order.

This is not just predicated it is proven. The big difference in an economic collapse of the Western World? It has worldwide impact.

Allow me to expand on that point.

FerFal in his highly regarded blog is continuously haranguing on how these "dire" predictions of chaos based on economic collapse will likely not happen, because they did not happen in Argentina when it's economy collapsed on 2001.

He lived through and lives in a country that experienced one of the worst economic meltdowns in modern history.

However. He lives in Argentina. Argentina is not the issuer of the world's reserve currency. Food in Argentina doesn't have to travel an average of 1500 miles from farm to market. Argentina's entire infrastructure is far smaller than the United States, and therefore less vulnerable. In Argentina, you do not have to pipe water literally hundreds of miles to bring life to the desert. Argentina has one bank, with exposure in the Billions of USD. The smallest of the US "too big to fail" banks have literally trillions of USD in exposure. You cannot buy a single drop of oil with any amount of Argentine Pesos from an OPEC country. Petrodollar, baby.

You cannot compare Argentina's collapse to a collapse of the US Economy. It is comparing apples and jackasses. Not even in the same family.

When the US Economy finishes unwinding, the repercussions will be felt worldwide. Argentina collapsed and they barely noticed it in Europe. When the US Economy goes, China is going to experience the economic equivalent of a kick to the junk. Europe is going to have an economic coronary. Africa, the Middle East, and South America will have economic strokes. When the USD collapses, the effects on our country are going to be profound, to say the least. The effects on the world will be devastating.

Fuel costs alone will cripple our country. When trucks and trains stop moving, food, fuel, everything stops moving. Supermarkets run out of food. Power plants cannot get the fuel they need delivered (coal), cannot afford the fuel (oil), or have to shut down because the workers cannot afford to drive into work (gas prices in the $60.00 a gallon range).

You know I keep telling people that FerFal has a solid blog. It is just when he starts throwing out these statements, I have to correct him. He thinks '01 was bad? Wait until the Petrodollar gets destroyed. The US will turn into a third world country literally overnight. It could even be worse. It really depends on how the masses react. A person is smart. People are dumb and panicy animals, especially when you remove those things that make their life "liveable".

As always, pray for the best, prepare for the worst.

gojam's picture

I didn't happen during WW2.

And although it got pretty bad, it didn't happen during the Great Depression.

I should say, I'm in the UK. So it's a totally different situation to the USA. But I think you underestimate the resources and tenacity of your fellow countrymen.

During WW2 the UK was under imense pressure but reasonable, fair, representative government continued.


Falcon15's picture

WW2 Happened BECAUSE of the economic collapse of Germany after WWI. You are also comparing apples to grapes. We were on a Gold standard then, and had GOLD backing our currency. This only becomes not only possible now, but highly probable unless and until we have a solid currency again. After Nixon removed the US from the gold standard in 71, he signed the death warrant for the Republic.


Fiat currencies are mathematically certain to collapse, it is only a question of when and how fast. Besides, the UK got a vast amount of economic and material backing from the US even before we "officially" entered the war.

I do not underestimate my fellow Americans, by and far, I am being generous.

Lets discuss an even more thought provoking statistic:

In the years leading up to the Great Depression, fully 90% of Americans were self sufficient and could grow and harvest adequate food for sustaining themselves and their families. This number includes the 27% of the populace that were "farmers". Only 10% of the populace all of which lived in urban areas were not self sufficient.

Today, perhaps 1% is self sufficient - completely self reliant upon what they produce to feed themselves and their family. 99%+ of Americans are completely dependent upon others to feed them.

The die off is going to be massive.

Now lets talk about electricity. Less than 30 years prior to my birth, electricity was not even commonly available in all areas of the nation. My grandparents were raised and lived a good portion of their lives without electric power. My great grandparents lived without it for their entire existence. So did every other ancestor of mine back to Adam and Eve.

The skills we, the modern Americans, have sacrificed in the name of "labor savings", creature comforts, entertainment, and convenience, have enslaved us all to the grid.

If you are "off grid", unless you are living without power 100%, you have only substituted one supplier - municipal power - for another - yourself. You are truly not self sufficient unless and until you, me, and everyone else can live without electricity completely for any extended length of time.

Bendromeda Strain's picture

Someone below posted the Bosnian perspective. Civil war and no provision aside from occasional MRE drops. The death rate didn't appear to be nearly as high as quickly as you postulate, and that was with contant sniper fire from an enemy seige. I think everyone should read this real world experience.

JW n FL's picture



then again they didnt have people like me paying a silver (U.S.) dollar per scalp for idiots either!

we need a good flushing in America!

get rid of the shit and piss!

LFMayor's picture

This is possibly the best post of yours that I've read.

Falcon15's picture

They had occasional MRE - read food drops, and outside countries were unaffected. This will be well and truly a different ball game.

Fukushima Sam's picture

He strongly recommends Bic lighters as an invaluable trade item.  Get a 500 pack and sit on them.  If nothing happens you can light your bong for a lifetime!

Ahmeexnal's picture

once TSHTF you can kiss goodbye the culture of "disposable items"
Get REAL lighters. And lighter fuel.

AGuy's picture

Damn you're Stupid.

1. He said for trading/barter.  2. disposable lighters can be refueled. 3. He was quoting what the Bosnian guy suggested have lived through the crisis.




Socratic Dog's picture

Disposable lighters?  Funny, just this morning I pulled one out of my glovebox that 2 years ago, last time I loked at it, was half full.  It was empty.  Bone dry.  Nice spark, no flame.

They evaporate.  Or something.

See in the pink's picture

"The death rate didn't appear to be nearly as high as quickly as you postulate, and that was with contant sniper fire from an enemy seige."

Again, apples to oranges. You really think former Yugoslavia in the 90's (the "North Korea of Eastern Europe" if there ever was one) had infrastructure and a society even comparable to the U.S. today??

trav7777's picture

uh, yeah, I've been there.

What you think the truth is, is actually far from it.  The serbs are a good people.  The problem there was the seige and NATO annihilation campaign.