This is a guest post by Mike S
[This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest where you could win a number of prizes including an 84 serving storage bucket of Wise Food Storage, 500 rounds of 9mm ammo, a NukAlert a copy of my book The Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat and a copy of my CD It’s The End Of The World As We Know It – And I Feel Fine . For complete rules and list of prizes see this post.]
I thought I would take a moment to go over some basics about weapons for my entry. I know the subject of weapons choice/ selection has been done to death so we will only address it briefly here in the beginning and then move into the good stuff (the stuff most people pay for or get from professional training (military/law enforcement). Let me start with the credits so you know where I am coming from, then you can take my info for what it is knowing it’s source. I am a retired Army veteran with one combat tour under my belt in OIF (I have many brothers who were able to serve more and I thank them, unfortunately an injury ended my service a bit early). My job was MP (military police) and have been through basic rifle training and Mount (Military operations on urban terrain)school twice, (once in basic, once before deployment). Additionally, I have law enforcement (patrol) experience in Los Angeles County for six years. During that time I completed what most would consider to be both advanced pistol and rifle courses. Additionally I have been through several variations of active shooter training and anti terrorism training. Like I said, not trying to impress, just letting you know where it’scoming from.
Lets start with the first section, weapons selection. Forme, I believe the prepper should have at least on of each, a pistol, a shotgun,and a rifle. Personally, I believe in redundant back ups. Real life tells us that shit breaks and we need backups, every cop does it, every soldier does it.Have more than one weapon system. When selecting a weapon get something that feels good in your hand (fits) and goes bang every time (then maintain it to make sure it keeps going bang every time. For pistols, I have personally run thousands of rounds through glocks, H&k Usp’s, Beretta 92’s and SpringfieldXd’s. They have all gone bang every time for me and I would classify them in the reliable enough to bet my life on category (and have done so). As far as rifle’s go, savage makes a good rifle at a good price (bolt-action). In my opinion most ar-15’s are created equal. For most people you will never engage past 200 yards so the wazzu bull barrel only adds weight.
Having said that, if you plan to bug in and not out, the weight may not be a concern. As far as ar-15’s go, maintenance means more than brand. Shotguns: I love over-unders for bird hunting but think a better option for the prepper would be a Remington 870. Just about every law enforcement agency in the country uses them for one reason. They are tough and reliable. The birds. Dear wont know the difference between your daddy’s side by side and an 870. The big difference is gonna be mag capacity.
Having said that, the topic of gun selection is hugely subjective and not the main purpose of this entry so well leave it at that.
So. Now we will get to basic safety. Rules, take them as commandments as far as firearms are concerned. Treat every gun like it’s loaded. Never point your gun at anything you don’t want to destroy. Keep young finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire. Oh and treat every gun likeit’s loaded and don’t point it at anything you don’t want to kill. I know I already said it but I can’t emphasize it enough. I have seen professionals shoot each other on accident because they were complacent and negligent, don’t do it.
Now let’s get into the basics of firearm tactics which is what I intended for the bulk of the article.
Lets start with cover since you can’t shoot if your dead.Forget just about everything you see in the movies. The rule is for objects that are NOT solid, you need at LEAST 18 inches of cover. Items that would fall into this category are dirt, debris drywall (18 inches of solid drywall not hallow walls, a 9mm ball round can go through several houses worth of drywall). Decent cover includes trees over 18 inches in diameter (also known as big-trees, which also make good concealment for those living in wooded areas and want to bug out instead of in), fire-hydrants if you get stuck out in the open and happen to be near one, tire rims or an engine block are about they only thing I would get behind on a car and count as cover. Even a little .22 cal bullet will penetrate through and through both car doors on a vehicle., car doors are good for neither cover or concealment (M.D. Adds: it depends on what that .22 bullet hits inside the door if it penetrates through or not).
Lets get into the more prepper relevant cover now though. Around the House, most things you have are only good for concealment, at least that is the case in my urban situation where most of the houses are wood and not block. Filled block should be considered cover against MOST small arms fire although when the calibers/loads begin to exceed .308, even filled block will not sustain repeated assault from these weapons.Remember if defending your place against armed looters and shooting breaks out,there are not many household surfaces that stop bullets, which brings us to concealment
Unlike cover which provides us with a physical barrier,concealment provides a visual barrier, or hiding place. Cover can be concealment(remember big as trees and engine blocks), but concealment is not cover.Concealment can be bushes, walls, fences, dark shadows, or even standing still in the woods so as not to attract the searching eye with movement.
Now that we have covered cover and concealment lets move into tactics. Some basic rules. Don’t flag your weapon on barriers/corners or anywhere someone might be waiting for you. This means basically that your line of fire should be the first thing to enter a kill zone. This means your eyeball along with as little head as possible looking down the sight of your gun.The first thing any bad guy should see of you coming around a corner or out from cover is the barrel of your gun pointing at him (no doing a wide long swing around the corner with your gun so he has time to aim), followed by a muzzle flash and the gates of hell. This also prevents an attacker from taking your firearm if they are waiting close to a corner.
One thing to remember that is good for you if you are the home team is that depending on who you ask (different trainers give two different stats) it takes either 4 to 1 or 10 to 1 to overcome a trained person in a fortified position. As a prepper, it wouldn’t hurt to have some sand bags around to fortify with or concrete filled tires (get creative, but remember 18 inches for “soft cover” Probably at lease 6-8 inches for solid cover like concrete or metal) . The military has been doing it for almost every war since the birth of the country (not the revolutionary war to my knowledge).
There are a lot of differing opinions on how to hold your weapon when shooting. I like the FBI stance personally (it is basically both feet shoulder with, both arms form an iscosolese (Spelling) triangle and your legs slightly bent. It is a good shooting platform and adapts well to shooting on the move (which you should be doing if not behind cover. When shooting, you should either be shooting while moving to cover, of shooting while gaining a better position on your attacker. Or if you have both position and cover, you should be presenting as little target as possible and delivering well aimed shots as quickly as you can accurately shoot until the threat stops (or stops moving if you prefer). Remember folks, anything shooting once is worth shooting twice, the double tap is your friend and when in doubt shoot ‘em all out (but be ready and able to reload if you do run your mag dry unless you have no other alternative).
In closing, the best things you can do for yourself in a gunfight are to shoot first, shoot accurately, and shoot when possible from cover/concealment. This is by no means intended to be a complete guide on the subject but if you are new to the subject it should get you started. If you are already a shooter and well-practiced, begin to think more about the tactical side of the house.
But for all, there is no substitute for rounds down range to increase skill. If you go to the range and are new and have no one to show you,pay they 30 bucks for someone to show you the basics of stance grip, sight alignment and trigger control. It will be money well spent. Remember that all the preps in the world wont save you if you don’t know how to use them. In a gun fight, the bottom line is the guy that puts the most accurate rounds on target before the other guy is going to be the guy who wins. It only takes one round to drop someone in fact more people are killed with .22’s than any other round in the world statistically. So if you have been keeping track, get gun,practice with gun safely, look for cover and concealment in and around your abode, and train train. BE safe and Happy prepping.