A "emergency preparedness" professional who omits a candid and factual conversation on the topic of guns and self-defense amidst a disaster verges on malpractice in my book. Whether or not you can start a fire with a twig and a rock, make winter clothing out of foam, or make yeast from the wild is useless if you are dead. If you've been the subject of a violent rape and were not able to defend yourself, you're likely to be so messed up mentally during the rest of the disaster that you might as well BE dead. The whole purpose of getting prepared for an emergency with proper food, water, and other key items is so that you will be able to provide for yourself and your family during an emergency state AND so that you will make it through such an experience with as little discomfort and danger as possible. Bottom line, given the level of mindless violence that exists in our society And you will NOT be able to do so if you are not able to suitably defend yourself and your loved ones. If you are one of those who are foolish enough to say “I don’t want to have to survive. I hope I’m just killed in the earthquake (or whatever crisis),” then I’m sorry to be so blunt, but you're thinking is akin to that of a selfish coward, or at the very least, someone who has not thought about the ramifications of such a philosophy. PLEASE put a stop to such futile thoughts; get off your whiney hiney and figure out what you have to survive and thrive FOR; think outside of yourself; and then get to work. I thank God that our Founding Fathers never hoped for a short life just so that they would not have to endure a “bit” of discomfort.
OK, now that that’s out of the way, let’s go down a more diplomatic path. If you’ve been considering (wisely, I might add) to include a firearm or two for self-defense AND hunting purposes in your supplies for surviving an emergency, then this is definitely the article for you. Also, if you already believe you’re suitably “ready” to defend yourself in a crisis because you have the necessary firearms, this is ALSO the article for you to use to help you gauge to ensure you’ve considered all of the necessary information. In my opinion, there are seven absolute necessary basics any prepared home needs—and a firearm is one of them. The seven absolute basics are wheat (or alternative grain), powdered milk, honey, salt, water, oil/fat, and firearm defense. Just a quick reminder as to WHY your emergency preparedness supplies and living environment might need defending—imagine strung-out druggies who can’t get their hands on their “fix”, desperate souls who will do ANYTHING to compensate for their lack of preparedness, criminals suddenly loose from the fallen walls of a prison due to a large earthquake, or the most organized and violent gang in the U.S. roving your streets, believing that what’s yours is theirs—yup, that's otherwise known as the gang called MS-13, just to name ONE possibility. Remember, this isn’t about whether you will or won’t share your stores with others—although sharing should always be YOUR choice, not mandated by the threat of violence from another' this is about you protecting your life, your virtue, and your safety in the midst of chaos that will inevitably ensue after a economic collapse, major disaster, or an attack on our citizenry.
First of all, let's understand that having a firearm is only the beginning. A firearm is useless without two other very obvious components—at least 1,000 rounds to go with it, and every appropriate person in your home possessing the skill and knowledge of how to competently use it—even in a situation of climatic emotions and stress. But let’s start with the firearm. There are three vital firearms I would recommend that no home be without. First, a handgun. Second, a shotgun. And third, a rifle, in this order. In selecting a handgun, consider ALL of the adults in your home who will be using it. Side note: Ladies, PLEASE don’t utter the words, “My husband will be the only one who needs to use the guns.” That is a ridiculous notion coming from an otherwise smart, independent and uber-prepared sex. *grin* What IF your husband isn’t around? What IF your husband is severely ill? What IF the would-be criminal decides to automatically take him out because they see him as the “obvious” strong one in your home? Then what do you do when you need to defend yourself? It’s absolutely naïve to believe that the woman of the home does not also need to obtain this information and skill or even that she would not want to have it. I assure you that in the event that your children and other loved ones may be threatened, that inane motherly instinct will kick in and you will NEED such information and skill. Storing food and supplies and knowing how to use them is one thing. Knowing how to defend those who motivate you to having such items in the first place is JUST as important as knowing how to make yeast rise though. (For more information, click here.)
A handgun is portable and ensures the element of surprise and the element of surprise will be critical in defending yourself when a state of lawlessness, looting, and pillaging occurs. The ammo is less expensive than rifle rounds typically (for practice et al) and a handgun is typically your least expensive firearm to obtain. It is useful for defense inside and outside of your home without exposing yourself to being armed unnecessarily and above all, it provides you with the element of surprise should you ever need it. The element of surprise is one of the most critical components of self-defense, in my opinion. Your primary concerns in selecting a handgun should be
- Ease of loading
- Ease of use (such as mechanics, ability to clear stoppages, etc)
- Reliability (and safety)
- Cost of ammo
- Ease of assembly/disassembly
- and lastly, the ease and comfort of concealing it if/when necessary
Be sure to select a handgun that fits well in your hands, first and foremost. Don’t get caught up in what caliber it is. As long as it’s a .9 mm or higher caliber, it will work well enough for self-defense. Heck, even professional assassins use the lower .22 caliber. (Yes, I watch too much TV. *grin*) It’s not a bad idea to have one handgun for each anticipated and appropriate gun holder that would be in your home during a crisis. While that is a costly goal, it's still something to think about. (I know that I will be asked this question, so just so you know, I prefer my Glock as my handgun. I can’t get that thing to fail, even when it’s dirty, wet, or muddy. And in an emergency, I don’t have time for my preferred method of self-defense to fail.) The next firearm I recommend is a shotgun. Again, don’t get caught up in caliber or brand. Focus on QUALITY, ease of use, and one which uses a common type of ammo. Go back to the previous 6 criteria I’ve provided in making your choice (as #7 is not applicable to anything other than a handgun). A shotgun is ideal for in-home self-defense. There’s nothing that rattles the nerves and resolve of a criminal more than that famous sound of a shotgun being “racked” for defensive use. As shotgun rounds spread out into a 4 to 8 inch circumference when they are expelled, depending on your distance and the rounds you use; and they have a sure stopping power regardless of where they hit your opponent. Also, a shotgun round does not penetrate through walls of a home as a rifle or even a powerful handgun round can. (Though using hollow point self-defense handgun rounds for home self-defense will help mitigate this problem, as well as others.) I prefer the Mossberg and the Remington brands, though I'm becoming fond of the Saiga Shotgun too lately.
Rifles give you the power of self-defense at a greater distance from your opponent. While it's a bit tougher to hide a rifle when you're 7 feet away from your target, it's quite easy to "hide" when you're a block away. The element of surprise is definitely present when you’re shooting from 50 meters and you’re less likely to divulge your defensive position with a rifle--assuming that you don't just keep firing and firing. Repeated firing from a specific position will give away your position as a result of the gas expulsion from your gun. It looks just like they show it on TV--like a brief, small fire blast, that is sure to give away your position in the dark or low light. Because of the distance shooting that comes with a rifle, they are ideal for protecting a larger radius area from a safe distance instead of having to rely on up-close, face to face combat. When it comes to self-defense, distance is your FRIEND so take it whenever you can get it and when it's prudent strategically. A good rifle will typically be your most expensive self-defense investment but a worthwhile one as a properly placed look-out person can replace the coverage of as many as 4 to 6 close range defenders. The AR 15 is my preferred style of a rifle, though they are becoming more and more difficult to find and when you DO find one, be prepared to pay a pretty penny for them. The first one I bought my hubby was a Rock River AR and I paid $860 for it--NEW. The second one I got him a couple years later was a Bushmaster which ran me $1,200. This past Christmas, 2012, a bare bones basic AR-15 was going for $2,200 and that's before you get into the accessories such as a good scope! Ack! But I have to tell you, I LOVE my ARs. I can't miss with that gun and if there's ever a scenario in which I need to pull that baby out, then missing is the LAST thing that I can afford to do. The ammo rounds for a rifle are more expensive as well, however, I consider them a necessary component to not only protect my home and family, but my community as well should the need arise. I take practicing long-distance shots (also referred to sometimes as sniper training) as important to my self-reliance as anything and everything I learn to do with my first aid kits and food supplies. Be sure that you have at least 1,000 rounds of ammo for each caliber type in your home. To be honest, it's actually REALLY hard for me to give you a number that's THAT low, but I realize we've got to start somewhere. PLEASE START with the 1,000 rounds number; don't be beguiled into accepting a lesser amount as satisfactory. Ammo will indeed be a high-value trade item in an emergency, and this amount of ammo will ensure your readiness for most circumstances. In fact, it is for this reason that I encourage people to purchase ammo in lieu of gold and silver--even if one isn't comfortable around firearms or can't have them in their home for whatever reason. Ammo will ALWAYS be valuable...very valuable. Let me recap this a bit. First, you need a handgun so that it can always be with you and very mobile and easy to conceal. It's the tool you want when you're in a crowded area or in a close quarters scenario. The most common self-defense shooting distance is 7 feet. Next, you need a shotgun so that you can properly defend yourself in your home without running the risk of shooting through walls of your home and harming neighbors. The shotgun will easily shoot across a standard room size, but the impact zone will have a nice and wide span so that you're certain to hit your target. Lastly, you need a rifle so that you can defend a larger perimeter (assuming you're positioned properly), maximize the effect of each defender, and so that those who would throw a molotov cocktail at your home will never get CLOSE enough to do so. It keeps your distance if you practice often and master your shot placement. Lastly, be sure that you get appropriate skill and knowledge of the use of your firearm, not just in the mechanics, but the mentality that is required to use them as well. There are a number of classes, I’m sure, in your area which can improve your shooting skills and maximize your comfort with your firearm. My husband and I also teach a proprietary self-defensive firearm class regularly here in Utah, and we travel elsewhere for groups of 24-30. (Visit www.womenofcaliber.com for more information) So you don’t have an excuse not to learn, right?
Remember you don’t pull a firearm to scare someone. You use a firearm to stop someone, plain and simple. And THAT’S how you ensure your ability to use all of your preparedness supplies that you’ve so faithfully worked to accumulate. For any questions or comments on this article, please leave a comment on the blog site so that everyone can benefit! Copyright Protected 2009, Preparedness Pro and Kellene. All Rights Reserved. No portion of any content on this site may be duplicated, transferred, copied, or published without written permission from the author. However, you are welcome to provide a link to the content on your site or in your written works.
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Prepared Christian ran a couple of articles on this:
Part 1 handguns
Part 2 shotguns
Great article! I was down at the gun range on Friday night and can I just add that it's a GREAT place to pick up men. Target rich environment!
A shotgun prevents the element of surprise in most cases outside the home. Keep in mind that I teach my students to defend themselves in all places, and outside of the home a shotgun isn't as "purse friendly", unless of course you're Kimora Lee Simmons whose purses are as big as any luggage I've seen. :-)
With the correct handgun, you can perform the same amount of self-defense as you can with a shotgun without foresaking some of the other critical components such as portability, element of surprise, etc. But if I'm in the home, the shotgun would be my first weapon of choice not only as a firearm, but as a great weapon of restraint and striking when the bullets are gone.
As my husband would say, with a shotgun you lose the element of surprise. But with the right handgun, you can easily "take out" those who have shot guns, and then go and pick up their shotguns to use on others. *grin*
I wholeheartedly agree with you Hermit. Which is why I mention that skill and practice are critical in this component of preparedness. Dang that had to be a moment of stress for you too listening to the commotion and being so far away, unable to help how you'd want to. Hopefully that instance will spark your wife's commitment to be diligent in honing her skills as well. A gun that is unfamiliar is just as bad as a bucket of wheat that you dont' know how to prepare to live off of.
The "fog of war" affects us all, even during something so benign as practicing at the range at times. You may be interested in my other blog, http://womenofcaliber.wordpress.com I specifically address firearms usage, selection, safety, thought processes, and skills there on a regular basis, particularly for women. Thanks for your comment!
LOL now that's too funny lynn
LOL now that's too funny lynn! Kind of hard to strike up a conversation with hearing protection on and "bang", "bangs" going on.
Great stuff, though I usually recommend that people getting started get a shotgun first, for many of the reasons you mention. Get them past the shock with something generally usable.
Hmmm...now speed dating for gun owners wasn't something I had previously considered. Way to go, Girl!
By the way, can anyone really have "plenty of pistols?" :-)
In general I go along with your thoughts on firearms and preparedness. In my experience, it's easy to underestimate the amount of training necessary to enable a person to utilize the mechanics of operating weapons without conscious thought. Even something so simple as a pump shotgun requires training and refresher training. Years ago, while I was working nights, a bear came up on our porch and started to eat the dogs food. The dogs attacked the bear. We live in a log house but the doors were not reinforced then, as they are now. The weight of the bear pressing on the door appeared to be pushing it inward off the hinges. My wife was inside with my children, very small then, toddlers. She forgot how to load her shotgun, though we had practiced it, under the strain of all this. She called me on the phone and I could hear all the uproar although I was 45 miles away and unable to help. We got the gun loaded, the bear ran off with the dogs in pursuit, but I have never forgotten the lesson. Under extreme stress, the mechanics of using a weapon have to be ingrained.
I personally LOVE my ARs. I'm not too fond of the .38 or .357, but admire those who are! You've got one heck of a woman there!
First of all I love the site. Second of all agree it is essential to look at all adult members of the family; this is especially important if it is going to be the only weapon in a certain category (pistol, shotgun, rifle).
We have plenty of pistols but if we were only going to have one it would be a .38/.357 revolver because that is what my wife is comfortable with. For shotguns the difference between 12 and 20 gauge with defensive loads is negligible. Hate to nit pick but shotguns with defensive loads (bird shot is for stopping birds not people) will go through multiple walls, check box of truth.
For the rifle there are many choices. I like the AR platform but an AK or a nice lever action rifle could be equally useful. Those in the wide open spaces would be well advised to go with something that has some distance to it, probably with a scope.
I'm from England and its illegal here to even have a can of mace at home for self defence, (Its classed as a firearm) Since the government took all our rights to firearms we are pretty much defenseless in our own homes. What would you suggest to someone in my position who wants to defend their family and property?
I've toyed with the idea of getting a handgun anyway on the black market, and risking the consequences which is (5 years minimum prison sentence just for possession) If I ever have to use it, In a "better to be judged by 12 then carried by 6" style.
Our civil liberties are getting worse by the day, and all the criminals are armed, Move abroad from this Orwellian state would be my first choice but finances wouldn't allow a total family uproot :((
You are SO right Marcus. Thanks.
While I agree with your thoughts on emergency preparedness and guns as tools, I also like to make a suggestion that seems to be lacking in most preparedness plans. Most every plan I've seen makes references to guns, ammo, etc., but seems to omit what I would consider necessary supplies as well. Those would be supplies to both clean and maintain your weapon(s). Even the toughest most durable weapons will only function so long without being cleaned ot maintained. Just my .02 cents worth.
little late commenting, but
little late commenting, but for the poster from England,
If you cant have pepper spray or mace , a dry chem fire extinguisher
is the next best thing.
For Mark from England.
For Mark from England. Another suggestion is wasp or insect spray. Many shoot at a distance of 8 to 10 feet and are better than nothing. Plus a nice bat comes in handy.
Great article! I came here
Great article! I came here by accident searching for info about MS13 after seeing a movie about the violence they commit in Mexico and Central America.
I was glad to discover this article about firearms was written by a woman! Wish I could get my wife interested...she's nervious to try.
I on the other hand, love shooting.
One comment about the list of attributes to be considered when selecting a pistol. I think the most important one of all which is not on the list, is to select a pistol that you are comfortable shooting. This is ESSENTIAL because you MUST practice. It does no good buying a 45 acp pistol if the recoil is too much for the shooter and they won't use it to practice.
You'll find that line of
You'll find that line of thinking on our Women of Caliber website--comfort is KEY!