I don’t like being called a prepper. I didn’t like being called a survivalist before preppers were cool.

This is a guest post by Mike S and entry for our non-fiction writing contest.

I don’t like being called a prepper. I didn’t like being called a survivalist before preppers were cool. And even though the my family has gone from your crazy, to you know one of these days we may have to apologize to you, to is it too late to start, I still don’t like the labels. It sets me apart, and makes other people thing we are different, and different is scary. Personally I think of myself as someone who likes comfort….and we all like comfort. Chances are you have car insurance, home insurance, health insurance, life insurance, 401K, savings account, and a spare credit card or three. Why do you have these? To provide comfort in the off chance something goes wrong.

Insurance ranges so much from state to state, and person to person I know it is almost impossible to come up with an average, but after viewing several sights and averaging them I came up with $9000 a year or $750 a month. Let’s just say the average person in America already spends a good amount of money preparing for something to go wrong and having a way to come through it with as little pain and trauma to themselves and their family as possible. Now I won’t get into all the things that could go wrong, but no matter who you are you will need to eat, drink, see, sleep, be protected from the elements, and you will want to be physically safe.

Without going into any specific scenario lets just take one thing that we are use to out of our daily lives, money. With the many different insurances out there, money is the only thing you are actually insured for. You don’t actually get a new house, car, health, or life back, you get money. If we remove money from the equation, we remove all your insurances and savings. Many people try to safeguard against this by buying a more stable form of currency, but in reality those, like our current money, only have the value they are perceived to have. So what am I suggesting?

The majority of my friends claim they don’t prep because it is too expensive. Shout out to MD, I got Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat and loved it. Went out and got copies for all those friends that said prepping was too expensive. But they read the whole book and still added up the cost and never started. Why? Because if you don’t incorporate into your lifestyle, it’s just another expense.

First reduce your insurances to the minimums. Insurance companies make money after paying employees, paying bills, and paying out insurance claims. Keep track of the difference and save it. Start eating healthier, and working out. I work in a hospital and realistically 90% of our patients would never need to come here if they controlled their diet and exercised. I recommend a garden for both. One hour a day in a garden is enough to grow all your food. I grew up on a farm and all of us owed an hour each day to the garden and we not only ate, froze and canned enough for the whole year but gave a lot away. Keep track of the savings from buying at the store and eating out.

Wait for sales and buy in bulk. In college I spent $60 a month on food, and ate enough that while I played rugby, walked to class, and rode a bicycle everywhere still managed to gain weight. Keep track of the savings. Turn off the lights, turn down the heat, and use fans in the summer if you don’t really need the AC. Go for walks instead of watching TV and playing Video Games.

My last apartment I spent $35 a month in electric year round and it was all electric. Sure I wore a sweater and sweat pants all winter and slept with two comforters but it’s kind of cozy and not always a bad idea to know how to dress in a cold situation. Keep track of the savings. Go camping on the weekends. After the initial cost, camping can be a very cheap alternative to what most people end up paying for family weekend trips.

It can also be great in learning what you actually need to survive and what looks good but will never really be used. If you can’t get the gear right away, try primitive camping. A lot of people work their way up to it after finding car camping boring. Keep track of the savings.

By now you may have noticed that we are keeping track of a lot of savings. I am going to break down my brothers and my monthly expenses for you.

  • House payment/rent. $2000-425= $1575
  • Car payments. $375-0 = $375
  • Gas $400-125 = $275
  • Insurance $1200-200= $1000
  • Utilities $425- 35 = $390
  • Food $600-300 = $300
  • Phone/internet. $250-150=$100
  • Credit Cards $600-0 =$600

Now I know he is buying a house and I rent an apartment. He also has a wife and three kids and I am single, so even if he wanted to he could not live quite the same lifestyle I do. But we are talking about a difference of $4615 a month or almost $70,000 a year and that doesn’t factor in a lot of other expenses that could be cut out, and he claims even thought he would like to, he doesn’t have the money to prep.

So what is the cost of this great thing called prepping? Well like I said I grew up on a farm. We grew, shot, and bartered for almost everything we had. So I am going to go with the things I know. Remember this is a starters list, for people who say it’s too hard, I am not saying this is the end all be all of prepping or even suggesting you should follow this if you are already on a different track.

First, I think you need a gun. If you are not willing to kill, I believe you will have a much harder time of it. Growing up the most frequently used gun was a .22 rifle. Although there seems to be a great debate as to the usefulness of this on anything weighing more then 20 lbs. I can say with a great deal of confidence it will kill critters 1500 lbs. with a single shot, I’ve killed everything on a farm with one including full-grown bulls. It is also very possible to reduce the noise level to such that it will not be discovered form 30 yards away. While my favorite is a Ruger 10/22, marlin semi-automatic can be had for under $100. Note: for noise reduction a bolt action is best.

I can get Chunky Soup for $1 a can on sale at Krogers, 2 ½ gallons of water for $2, canned vegetables and beans 2 for a $1, mushroom and chicken soup or fruit for under a dollar, 25 lbs. of rice for $25, etc. or prep food for less then $100 a month. A stove that uses wood to cook on can be had anywhere from $30 on up. If wood is not readily available you can get a alcohol stove for similar pricing and I can heat up a can of food or boil a small pot of water for about an ounce.

The rest is out there in the form of yard sales, flee markets, and auctions. I still find pants for a dollar, shirts for a quarter, old tools that are better then what I can get in a hardware store for a small percentage of what I can find them for new. If you really want to get into it, buy them, fix them up, sharpen or clean them, and sell them for more. Just make sure you are shopping from the people who really want to get rid of stuff not the ones who are there to make a quick buck.

Which brings me to the most important part of Prepping, skills. Most people do not know how to sharpen let alone fix a tool, many will pay you to do it or sell the dull ones for very cheap. Bartering is invaluable, if you don’t even need anything and just go to flee markets to learn this skill you will be far ahead. I have started out with something worth less then a 25 cents and traded up different times to a compound bow, a canoe, a gas grill and a nice set of speakers each in less then 2 hours of trading. On a side note, a little kindness goes a long way. When I was finished no one felt cheated or pressured. If they do you will rarely be able to make a favorable deal with them again. Being confident, respectful, and friendly usually makes the trade for you, and even if it doesn’t work out they are much more likely to want to help you out in the future.

The more skills you have the more people will respect and want you to be around. This in itself is a form of currency. While you and Farmer Fred may both be able to sharpen a scythe, if you fixed a rifle or bandaged a wound, they are much more likely to ask you to do it, and be willing to pay you more. And unlike most currencies, the harder times get the more they are worth.

I hope this is useful to some of you still on the fence. Get out there and try it, it’s really a lot more affordable and less crazy then a lot of other hobbies….and one day just may save your life.

* M.D. Creekmore recommends : “Why Aren’t You Using Coupons To Save Money When Stockpiling For Survival?

Prizes for this round in our non fiction writing contest include…

  1. First place winner will receive – A $150 gift certificate for Hornady Ammo  courtesy of LuckyGunner, a Wonder Junior Deluxe grain mill courtesy of Kitchen Neads, a one year subscription to the Personal VPN service courtesy of unspyable and 1 Case of Survival Cave Food Chicken with 12 14.5 oz. Cans courtesy of LPC Survival.
  2. Second place winner will receive – $100 off of your next order of Fish Antibiotics courtesy of Campingsurvival.com, a Survival Puck  courtesy of SurvivalPuck.com and a SurvivalistBlog.net Coffee Mug courtesy of Horton Design.
  3. Third place winner will receive – a copy of my book ”31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness“ and “Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat” courtesy of TheSurvivalistBlog.net and a copy of “The Survival Medicine Handbook” courtesy ofwww.doomandbloom.net.

Be sure to read the rules before entering… This contest will end on March 17 2014


  1. Great article Mike! I refer to myself as a “oractitioner of self sufficiency” becasue prepper has now taken on such a negative tin foil hat kind of inference. (thanks nat geo). My suggestion to those that do the shopping for all their significant others,is to demand they be a part of that process and look and compare prices with you. I was shocked and somke what ashamed at my stubborness to try any other brands but the ones i liked. Then my wife became ill and i ended up doing the shopping. I became intensely interested in doing what my wife had attempted to do all those years,SAVE MONEY. I now use coupons,shop at stores i didnt before,just because it was convenient. I choose brands that offer the same quality,nutrients,best byh dates,but cost far less. Im now on the lists i used to try to get off. mailers,circulars,coupons, special email deals.Insurance is another. I suggest people axamine their coverage once a year and see if they can knock the premiums down. I saved a little on my pickup and a bunch on my homeowners once my house was payyed off.

    • Thanks BC,

      I have seen several of your video’s and believe we have a similar outlook on many things.

  2. JP in MT says:

    As I go about my lifestyle now, I find that except for the vacations my life goes pretty much along with other people we know and associate with. They all seem to be busier, involved in many things, but are very preparing very little. We talk about the high cost of insurance, food, gas, etc, and yet they are doing very little about it. They complain about the cost of living going up and when I said I found a way that decreases my food budget by 35% per month, they were not even interested. One complained that people were giving less at church (attendance is also down) yet as “first alternate” for counting (I’m there, and can get it done quickly) I don’t recall seeing them giving.

    We don’t feel that our “prepping” is anything more than insurance against hard times we see coming. We look for things that don’t need infrastructure to operate, savings on the things we already buy, and we have fun doing it.

    I’ve been labeled as something all my life. That doesn’t bother me. What does is listening to those who do nothing talk down about those who do, and indicate they are willing to laugh at them now, but when things get tough are expecting those to put things up now to share with them. When you have nothing, Socialism sounds great.

  3. Yes, JP, it’s amazing how so many folks are just ramming full steam ahead without a care in the world. They don’t even think more than once about food costs going up. Not a care in the world (not that they know about the world). Once they’re out of debt, they jump right back in as soon as they think they’re financially okay. Almost amusing how the grasshoppers are making fun of the crickets.

    Even those with a few months of preps have more than 98% of everybody else. All the insurance policies in the world don’t put food in the belly. Grasshoppers can call me anything thing they want except late for dinner. Unlike the famous cricket, I don’t share well with grasshoppers.

    • Mari,
      The story I heard was ants and grasshoppers; but, in any case the grasshoppers do present a dilema. Especially the young grasshoppers. Only a heartless ant would let them go hungry, right? My biggest concern is that the government could step in and force the ants to feed the grasshoppers, since as unprepared and ignorant as they may be, they still vote, and the politicians still pander.

  4. Sorry, M.D., somehow or other I occasionally get in as .com instead of .net.

  5. I am not sure why such a huhu. Farmers have historically saved up a year or two of foid and supllies to carry them to the next harvest.

    • hiplains says:

      I agree. Having a serious “pantry” used to be a lifestyle. But then many families lived the farm lifestyle as opposed to urban life we see presently. Funny, it didn’t take all that long after the depression era for the vast majority to began taking food availability for granted. I just see it as good stewardship and a wise way to live.

    • Such a good point! I was wondering the other day about how so-called prepper/survivalists and those into organic farming/living are basically doing the same thing, right? Curious why one is considered trendy and the other crazy.

      • axelsteve says:

        I would rather be called a prepper or survivalist then be called a sheeple or a nwo drone.Like brother Savage says,political correctness is political cowardnes.

      • k. fields says:

        I think TexGal, it’s more to do with attitude than anything else.
        I see many of the current wave of “preppers” purchase of food, weapons, etc. akin to a child wanting a security blanket to provide peace of mind and protection against some undefined shadow. For the most part, it seems a fear-based reaction, the goal more materialistic than holistic. Stock up and hide years’ worth of food and supplies and be sure you have plenty of firearms and ammunition to protect it. Any day now hordes of those “other folks,” the ones too stupid to think and act like you, will be coming to steal it all from you. I always wonder where these preppers were in 1972 when I started, would they class themselves or their parents as “sheeple” because they didn’t see the threats I saw back then?

        It’s sad in many ways because the stress many preppers are creating for themselves and their families can’t be sustained for long. They’re like junkies, always needing to find another fix, some new threats to keep going. And thanks to the Internet, there are plenty of pundits more than willing to provide those threats. Would many even be preppers if there were no Internet? I doubt it. Eventually though, the stress will win out and they will crash like so many before them have.

        The back-to-landers on the other hand are searching for what they feel is a better way of life, and are not trying to simply purchase a year or two’s extension of what they currently have. While many preppers are grasping, the back-to-landers are simply living. You can respect someone working for a better life easier than you can someone who is simply complaining about his or her current one.

        Some preppers will make the transition, I for one started my current homestead out of fear over 40 years ago, but most won’t. Ex retreaters, survivalists, and Y2K junkies litter the landscape and in a few years many preppers may be joining them if a collapse of society doesn’t actually happen. But for those who do make the transition, there’s a rich, rewarding life waiting – you simply have to stop “prepping” and start living.

        • It’s a tough life when you are older, but I agree 100%.

        • Enzo Pamronan says:

          Remember Kurt saxon and Mel Tappan, the “survivalist” gurus of the 70’s. “Survivalism” got started in the day of the newsletter, communication by the good ol’ written word. There was even a semi-mainstream four-color magazine as we entered the 80’s. “Prepping” started in the late 50’s/early 60’s with H-bomb drills and evacuation planning. There was plenty of information getting people prepped to prep.

  6. Donna in MN says:

    Your brother can prep but sounds like he doesn’t want to ruffle the feathers with his family. You are right, he can afford to prep. A free course with Dave Ramsey can give him the breakdowns so he can save.

    My daughter is hard headed, a big spender and makes 5 x more than me and recently filed bankrupsy. No matter what I tell her, she won’t give up her luxuries and lifestyle. All I can say is good luck with that, and when she realizes I was right, she is welcome home to survive any pending catastrophie under my way of doing things.

    • worrisome says:

      Two of my daughters are like that, however their husbands are very very good at both earning a living AND making every $$$ count. For the most part the girls are on board with prepping, but their sense of financial responsibility is not good. Neither of these are keeping track of what is going on in the world, BUT, they are very reliant on their husbands, and their husbands are keeping track. When we have our twice a year family meetings, we make lists and these girls do stick to what we have on the lists as far maintaining the preps. Additionally, while not as conscious of what is going on, they are learning some good skills along the way that will be helpful and right now perhaps that is enough. When I go to their houses, we go through the bug out bags because the children get into them, we take the lists and go to the storage sheds to make sure things are in place should they need to load up and get out of their homes and meet us up at the bol. The hubbies take care of the fuel rotations, keep the cars tip top and the financial books under control. In our case, we are still fine. I don’t know what I would do if they were out on their own and left to their own choices on some things……….

  7. Big Bear says:

    I take the opposite approach Mike: I’m a Prepper and a Survivalist and damn proud of it! I used to shy away from openly advocating for the positive aspects of these two labels but sometime in the last few years I just got tired of being unconsciously denigrated by uninformed folks. Those same uninformed folks will be amongst the first ones to be culled from the herd! I’m the same when it comes to politics! I’m a Christian Conservative and will quickly defend my beliefs. Seemed like most conservatives tended to stay silent while “other folks” had no hesitation in bad mouthing anyone that didn’t agree with their view. Being true to yourself is way more important than trying to be socially or politically correct.

    • Big Bear,
      I am neither a Prepper nor a Survivalist to most of the outside world. I’m simply someone who is self reliant and has skills. Since I teach firearm and hunter education classes, I’m often asked about such definitions, or why I do it. Being the instructor often buys you credibility with people in a class. Also, living in the country and telling people that it’s a minimum 12 mile round trip for expensive TP if you run out, or a 20+ mile round trip for cheaper TP or if you run out when the local stores are closed, usually makes people think and shake their heads in agreement. Agreeing with you however, does’ not mean that they will be following your actions.

      • Big Bear,

        I’m not so much ashamed of it, as I know once people label me they tend to stop listening and lump me in with the crazies. I guess I don’t like it because if I could get more people to at least consider, maybe the SHTF would be more like a FHTF (fart hits the fan). But I think the labels makes too many people shy away from anything that resembles Prepping and will compound the Poop when it dose arrive.


        If more people handled it like you, I think we there would be a huge shift in the situation.

  8. Great parallel to insurance, saving, investing, etc…..I fix everything I am able to, but my skillset doesnot include sharpening, but I do take the ez way out in order to have a sharp ‘whatever’.

  9. Western_Reservist says:


    Call me anything, except late for supper!

    …stix and stones will break my momentum to PREPARE!

    never paid much mind to what others think of me–they aren’t living in my boots or paying my bills!


  10. Tactical G-Ma says:

    Mike S.,
    Good article. I practice disaster preparedness and shop deals, bulk, and sales so that the larder is stocked. I’ve even had my kids grocery shop at my house when money is tight! I pick wild fruits, berries, nuts, and vegies and ask neighbors who don’t use their fruits and nuts if I can have them. I can, dehydrate, and freeze all sorts of foods. I am busy with my homemaking tasks and love being so self-sufficient. It gives me pride and comfort to know that I don’t have to rely on anyone else for most of my needs. For a few years now my parents have been involved in pioneer days in Barberville, Fl. They teach kids and adults old skills. Reminds me of Renaissance fairs. Maybe that’s what we need – more pioneer fairs that teach the old ways.

    • nick flandrey says:

      ” Reminds me of Renaissance fairs. Maybe that’s what we need – more pioneer fairs that teach the old ways.”

      That’s funny! There is a series of Sci Fi books by John Ringo where the future high tech society collapses, and the only ones who have any “real” skills are the RenFair, SCA, re-enactor types. They’re fun books if you have any exposure to the RenFair crowd, and they have an interesting take on what a catastrophic failure of society could be like. Alot of his books deal with the SHTF in a very engaging way. Most of them are pretty realistic in that a large chunk of the population dies pretty quickly, whether from zombies, or aliens. I’d recommend any of his books, except the Ghost/Kildar/Paladin of Shadows series.


      • Nancy V. says:

        The book series titled Council Wars by John Ringo? If so, awesome series! Sci-fi with a message, doesn’t get much better than that.

    • Thanks Tactical G-Ma,

      I actually hang out with Primitive Campers a lot and there is a old Fort in Salem WV that is kept running just like it was in the 1800’s. Both are a great way of learning new skill as if you are willing to sit with them they will take you right through spinning, cooking, bucket making, you name it. I also used to belong to a Medieval Society that did much the same thing, in fact you were not allowed to buy anything off anyone, if you wanted something you had to barter your trade-skill for it and if they didn’t need yours, you would have to find one they did and do a three way, or more. It was a great deal of fun, but useful, I believe, if our country ever comes to that.

  11. mom of three says:

    But it can be hard with a morgage, bills, the only thing we don’t have anymore is car payments. I keep the heat off during the day and use wood, if it’s going to get down into the teens. I shop bulk, coupons, in store specials. But some bills you can’t chop down, water/ sewer is the only one we can’t control. We got rid of phone, cable, keep natural gas off during the day, and at night. Garbage, is once a month, electric again shutting off lights, I wash and dry two loads a day. Life Insurance, is around $42.00 a month for both of us
    Hubbys mother was an Insurance agent. Car insurance is cheap, got put on my dad’s when I was a teen, he was a teacher so they got cheaper insurance. House payment, is killing me 1400.00 a month
    and we make $2500.00 a month.. I still find the money to prep, if I can do it anyone can it’s just a willing attitude to do it. I don’t want to discuss credit cards, hubby has been in the dog house for a looooong time do to careless purchases. ( 2013 Susiki, motorcycle)
    Is just one thing!!! But now I will be working some of my money, I will put away and start paying one credit card off.

  12. Kinda prefer the term survivalist cause whenever I hear the word prepped my mind automatically flashes back to that old “be a pepper” Dr. Pepper commercial! Try getting that tune outta your head!

  13. Well….I see nothing wrong with being a prepper or a survivalist. Fact is, almost everyone is one. If one looks at one’s dwelling, food, necessities…..we all “prep”. The real difference is how and why. What really gets my dander up are those folks that refuse to see just what the hell is going on around them…be it because of fear or laziness. As far as trying to educate those that have their head in the sand…. Nope…no way will I spend my time trying to do that. Let ’em die. Why? Well…and yes this may be selfish, but I figure after the “event” whatever it may be things are going to be tough enough to get by….so why would I want competition? Now….don’t get me wrong…if someone has been trying to set things aside and is not totally prepared (seriously, I doubt anyone will have “enough”) I would be willing to help them get further along. But, for those that think or want “the government” to rescue them….nope….no way would I lift a finger.Even worse are those that may feel since I have enough I “must share” with them…..sorry!

  14. Great advice. With a family of 10 we can cover breakfast and lunch for about $1000 a year. We purchase organic wheat, corn meal and oats (as well as other grains) from a local farm once a year; right around the time the tax refund comes in!

  15. Chuck Findlay says:

    You can call me anything you want to, it’s not going to stop me from doing what I know to be the smart thing. And prepping is just common sense.

    I also long ago learned to not share my prepping ideas with others, it never works out well. You are looked at as weird, stupid and as a fool. And I got tired of hearing the “I know where I’m coming if anything ever happens” response. And that leads to sour looks when you inject a bit of reality in to that idea. So I keep my mouth shut. People here know more about my preps then most of the people around me.

  16. My DH asked me the other day if I knew how fortunate we are to not have a mortgage, and vehicles paid off. Then turned around and asked me why there are two bottles of catsup (Whataburger brand for you expatriate Texans) in the pantry. What he doesn’t know is they were free… And the bottles of hot sauce, mustard, wing sauce, barbque sauce were all either clearance for no other reason than overstock, or had on the shelf coupons that made it less than a dollar each. Same with the soup cans and tomato products. Now, if he found out that the home canned jalapeños and serrano peppers were gone, I would be seriously in the dog house. And considering its March 3rd and we are already under a winter storm warning for tonight, and HE’S in Florida for the week, he is heading for the dog house…. I am what you can call a ready for just about anything person. I also HATE running out of stuff I need. Hate even more having to make a 10 mile trip to the store if I do. Can’t sleep if there is less than 2 full bags of coffee in the freezer, or less than a full package of TP. He orders dog food by the pallet and gives me grief about the bales of TP and paper towels. When he gets the glare from DD and we ask him why he buys so much dog food at one time, response is….”because it’s…cheaper…” and then he shuts up.
    Saving costs on everyday things can be fun! Especially if you have someone to do it with! He goes and buys 3 pairs of jeans and spends over a $100. I watch for sales and dig for coupons, check the clearance racks and get 3 pairs of jeans for $25. I dunno…
    Anyway, he’s gotten on the supplement and getting healthier bandwagon, so as long as I can keep food in the pantry and keep the medical backups for the critters and us… I’m good. And as long as I can, I intend on making sure there is a garden, and both freezers are full of vacuum sealed wild meats and fish. I’ve been lobbying for a beef, maybe now that the prices are going up even further, an angus-longhorn cross calf might be what I ask for for my birthday! Being READY is not crazy. Living in ignorant bliss that no storms, no shortages, no anything that would make my life easier in the event of sickness… Now THAT’S crazy. Like my neighbors who think keeping the dead brush up by their houses protects their privacy….they’re also the same ones who complain their homes keep getting broken into.. “did you see anything on such and such day at such and such time?” Nope. Can’t see your house from here. Too much cedar in the way. What? Your well went dry? Get rid of the cedar, it really takes too much water out of the ground, not to mention nothing else can grow around it..like grass to feed your horses. Yes, we have access to tap into the water system in the subdivision next door, in exchange for the easement thru our property for the power lines for that water system. Did you know if we did, they would “require” us, at our own expense, to fill our well in….no? Sorry, no cable or high speed internet for us, even tho same subdivision has it..not enough population density for them. Considering the telephone lines are more than 30 years old, there’s no upgrading that either. I LIKE it that way. And with a great deal of the open ranch land in the area being bought up by watershed and wildlife conservation orgs and municipalities, I’m not worried about the cities jurisdictions coming out to take over.
    Ah, ranting again…. Sorry…. Time to go take a nap I think…. Storm coming in tonight… I’m ready.

  17. DB Prepper says:

    Very good article Mike. I must say I like being called a prepper because despite some negative stigmas (and believe me living in Los Angeles I get a LOT of negative feedback ” oh my god, so you like, think the world might end or something?”) I LIKE the title because I am working to be prepared for anything.

    I loved the bit about cost savings, and budget reduction. As a financial advisor I can say with certainty anyone in any situation can find a way to save money, even if you have to get crafty.

    I am doing much the same thing myself, the garden is coming along nicely despite several attempts at playful sabotage by my 7 month old puppy. Stockpiles of soup and canned goods are getting up there and we are now proud owners of 50 lbs of brown rice!

    I just have to ask though, you really took down bulls with .22 rifle? A buddy of mine (not quite a friend, more of an acquaintance as he is kind of stupid) was shot 3 times by a 10/22 Ruger, once in the lower thigh above the back of the knee – bullet is still there and it’s gross.. you can move it with your finger, once in the stomach which needed surgery, and once in the shoulder which also needed to be removed. Supposedly these shots were all fired from around 75 yards away, but I cannot confirm that. I have a really hard time believing a .22 rifle would be adequate in most situations…especially self/home defense. Any thoughts?

    • SheepDog says:

      Not unusual in many parts of this country to put beef into the freezer with a .22 LR of some sort or another. Many times a bit of feed and then a contact or near contact shot in the head and they are down for the count.

      I have thought many times that those who did not grow up in the country have no idea how useful to day to day life a .22 is to those who truly live in the country.

      Pest removal has always been high on my .22 list, but that is only one small piece of what a .22 can do when needed.

      My neighbors kept themselves fed when money was tight by shooting deer with a .22. Yes you many times have to be fast on your feet and have a knife handy, but you can keep food on the table for very little cost and very little sound at times or in places hunting would normally be frowned on.

      People go on endlessly about what firearms are best/needed for survival without ever looking to see what has worked for the past century or more by those who have actually survived in the country for generations.


      • SheepDog says:

        Oh I forgot self defense!

        Not ideal, but I have more than once had nothing more when I was checking on things that go bump in the night.

        .22 is cheap and I would apply liberally at a level of accuracy where I would be using the eye or ear as an aim point not center of mass like most schools teach you, but then I have used a .22 a lot over the years and am comfortable with what it will do.


      • While I agree on the usefulness of a .22,in Texas I am pretty sure its illegal to hunt deer with one. Not that I wouldnt,especially after SHTF,just saying….

        • SheepDog says:

          It is illegal every where to hunt deer with a .22!

          That in no way impacts what happens where folks need to eat.


    • Thank you DP,

      Yes, a .22 was the main gun we used for putting down livestock. It’s kind of funny when I hear people tell me a .22 wouldn’t be able to kill a man. Some tell me a 9mm doesn’t have any stopping power, I even have a friend who in Afghanistan tell me about emptying a full Beretta into a man’s chest and the guy never flinched. So he grabbed his M4 and put him down with one shot to the head. Then there are those who tell me .223 was made to wound not kill and if you want to put someone down the first shot you need a 30 cal or larger.

      Now I can only go on what I have done and seen myself. We grew up in one of those places where if you were a land owner the Game Warden was your friend and would write a permit for just about any reason. As we lived off our garden and ate every deer we killed he gave us a lot of permits. We shot 63 one year, more then half of them with .22 and never shot a single one more then once. The slaughter house I knew in our area used a .22 rifle for all there animals including cows and pigs. I have friends who bear hunt with a .22 pistol (with dogs), Israeli special forces uses a .22 for a lot of their covert work and a silenced Ruger Mark series is said to be the #1 gun used in assassinations.

      Now I have never killed or even seen a man killed with a .22, so can I say for a fact it is a good defensive weapon? Nope, and given the option I would choose a .308, but having killed many man sized and larger animals with a .22 I am fully confident that were the need to arise, I would be able to effectively defend myself with one.

    • Hi DB Prepper,

      ” I have a really hard time believing a .22 rifle would be adequate in most situations…especially self/home defense. ”

      I have never been in the military, police, nor have I ever shot anyone, so you can take my thoughts as you wish.

      I think shooting a bad guy with a .22 is a lot more effective than poking them with a mop.

      The key to effective self defense with any gun is hitting your target, and the only way to ensure that is plenty of practice. .22s are the cheapest ammo out there, so .22s have a big edge by that criterion.

      Aside from scaring away the bad guy, you cannot miss him often enough or fast enough with a .38/.357, 9mm, 10mm, .45ACP or whatever to put him down. You have to hit him, so you have to practice.

      Ignoring for the moment the drug crazed, no one laughs at the idea of being shot with a .22. If you have a .22 pointed at a bad guy, and it is clear that you will fire it if need be, the bad guy will almost certainly go away. The druggie may need to be shot multiple times, so hitting the target is still key, and that gets back to practice.

      All the reports I have seen say that when a gun is used to stop a crime, the gun is not fired in about 90% of cases. That means that 90% of the time, caliber doesn’t matter. It was the presence of the gun which stopped the encounter, not the caliber.

      In those cases where the gun was fired defensively, about half the time all the bullets missed the target, so again, caliber didn’t matter. It was the presence of a gun and the victim’s willingness to fire it which stopped the encounter.

      Now, if I was involved in a serious assault situation, would I want to be armed with a .22? Of course not. I’d want a 12 gauge shotgun loaded with 00 buckshot. But I know how to shoot a 12 gauge.

      I grew up shooting skeet every weekend, and from the beginning my Dad had me call for the clay pigeons while the gun was at the low position, not already shouldered. Then I shouldered the gun after the bird/s appeared. That means I learned how to shoot fast, and using a shotgun taught pointing at close targets, not wasting time with sights. That takes lots of practice.

      My ideal would be to have a defense gun in a more effective caliber than a .22, and an identical gun for most of my practice in .22. That way I can have lots of cheap practice which transfers directly to the defensive gun.

      You can accomplish that by getting a .22 conversion unit, or by getting two guns. I’ve done both, and they both work. The second gun costs more than a conversion unit, but you have two guns, and two are better than one.

      Anyway, my opinion is that one is better armed with a .22 with which one is thoroughly familiar (Read: practiced with a lot) than with a theoretically much better gun which you cannot remember where the safety is or which way is Off since you haven’t fired it in 5 years because the ammo is so expensive and kicks so much.

      A .22 is not ideal by any stretch of the imagination, but a .22 sure beats poking the bad guy with a mop.

      And they are a lot of fun to shoot, and that encourages more practice, too.

  18. rjarena says:

    about 10 years ago while visiting my brother on the east coast for the Christmas holidays, he kind of apologized that he was obligated via his wife’s business contacts to attend a Christmas party in NYC, and he did not want to be alone so I went with him. What an eyeopener!
    This tiny little 2 bedroom apartment on the 8th floor, was crowded with the stuffiest so full of themselves people you could ever meet. The comments mostly were about how these folks got this apartment for a steal, at only $4000 a month and only another grand a month to park their car! I have been in small RV’s that had bigger kitchens, other comments were about where you could get the best hair cut for under $500, and how much commuting one had to do to live outside of the “city”. These people would shop for food every day IF they cooked, most ate out 3 times a day, if you did cook you could only buy small amounts of food, otherwise it had to be delivered, and the parking that cost $1000 a month was around the corner in another building, forget making multiple trips. After we had left my brother apologized for dragging me there, since I had not made much more than the smallest small talk, after all what could we talk about, the new rifle that I was getting for Christmas?

    • Chuck Findlay says:

      Only been to New York once, and it was the last time I will go there. Unfriendly people that are self-centered on their life at the expense of even being nice to others. Living there would drive a normal person mad.

    • Hi rjarena, I can identify with that. I lived there for a couple years in the mid-1980s and prices were crazy. I had a run down 325 square foot apartment in Spanish Harlem for $1000/month, back of the building overlooking two alleys. I most certainly did not have a car. I did have a short series of room mates to help with the rent.

      My experience, though, was that people were mostly quite friendly. It was during the crack wars, tho…so my building manager, who was from Costa Rica, took the lid off a trash can on his very first day on the job, and found himself looking straight in the eyes of a drug dealer’s head.

      Welcome to the Big Apple, Enrique!

  19. I understand , I just do what I do , discretely , and keep my mouth shut .

  20. tommy2rs says:

    I’d prefer people not call me period…oh wait, not that kind of call.

  21. I do what I do and don’t talk about it. I don’t call my self anything and don’t discuss my preps with out siders.
    I don’t want to be caught unaware, and I want to be ready for anything. In one week we has flip-flop weather, snow boot weather and an earthquake!!
    And I want to be ready for any of it.

  22. Chuck Findlay says:

    As far as the 22 rifle being able to kill I think you have to understand shot placement. The above example of the person being shot 3 times with a 10-22 is an example of not placing the bullets in the right spot. I have an Anschutz bolt action 22 rifle and a Ruger 10/22, the Ruger can be deadly, but the Anschutz is deadly as I can shoot a quarter all day at 100-yards with it when I have the bipod on it. I would not place too much importance on rate of fire (AR-15 or 10/22) as most times the bullets are hitting nothing but air. But a guy with a bolt action almost always hits what he aims at.

    Don’t think so? do a bit of research on WWII snipers, it was common foe one guy (or woman) to tie down a whole company of men, This was not the case with a guy with a machine gun.

    The examples above about killing animals with a 22 are likely being done with bolt action or at close range where shot placement is more sure.

    It would be unwise to face a guy with a bolt action rifle as it’s a good guess he will hit what he aims at much more then the guy with 25 or 30 round mags.

    And in a survival situation why use 20 bullets when 1 will do the job? Ammo could be hard to come by and expensive.


    • You are correct Mr Findlay (Mojito’s are on me). Brain shots are important, a deers brain is not much bigger then a black walnut, so if you can’t consistently shoot them out of a tree you probably should not be hunting Deer with a .22. However I only slightly disagree with you on 10/22 vs. Bolt gun in self defense. While all the shots mentioned above were taken with bolt guns and I believe one should learn on one, I believe a well trained, selective fire, person has a slight advantage with a 10/22 as they are as accurate as most bolt guns I have. That being said, I completely agree that taking your time and using a single shot is better then spray and pray every time.

      • Chuck Findlay says:

        I like my 10/22 and use it a good bit, for home defense I have several handguns and a lever 357 Mag. But if I had to pick the bolt or 10/22 for home defense I would take the 10/22 because the range is short and the fast shots. But for any kind of range I would want the bolt gun.

        Honestly almost any gun works for home defense as no person likes to get shot. And if we do get TEOTWAWKI hospital emergency rooms may be in short supply and people will soon learn that even a 22 bullet in almost any center mass body hit can kill you if you don’t get good medical help. And 5 or 10 of them from a 10/22 can kill even better.


  23. Chuck Findlay says:

    Spelling correction

    it was common for one guy,


    it was common foe one guy

    It’s hard to type right on the tablet, unlike the laptop.

  24. Curley Bull says:

    Howdy Fellas,

    BTW, fellas is generic gender.

    I’m about to throw my two cents in. The OSS in WWII used a High Standard 22 with a silencer. Later the CIA used it (along with some Special Forces) in Vietnam and it was not small game they were using it on.

    As a couple of other folks have stated, the 22LR was the most used firearm on the farm. If you are capable of making a headshot, you can take down almost anything with it. There is a documented case where a woman killed a full grown grizzly with one shot from a 22. She hit him in the eye and that little high speed round bounced back and forth inside the skull until his brains were like scrambled eggs.

    NO! The 22 would not be my first choice for stopping an aggressor or hunting large game, but if it were all I had (and I have a tendency to hit what I shoot at), I would stand my ground with it.

    BTW Mike, very good article. I personally am not fond of the term “Survivalist” because of the bad publicity those boys up North with their bunkers and machine guns and anti-gubment talk created about 25 years ago. I don’t mind the term Prepper as I guess I have to be called something.

    Oh well, that’s my two cents. Be Blessed Pack,

    • Thanks Bull,

      I think the biggest problem is a lot of people parrot what they have heard. After a while so many people are saying it that it is accepted as fact by the uninformed. Then instead of looking at the past as a whole most people look for isolated stories to back up their claim, which really isn’t their claim at all, but something someone else told them. And instead of living a preppers lifestyle, most have never even tested a preppers lifestyle.

  25. RE: .22 long rifle, my father once told me that during The Depression, they routinely poached Whitetail Deer with .22 rifles, aiming always for the neck. A fascinating book about a professional hunter in Africa named Selous reports of a bet he won in which he proved he could kill an adult African Elephant with single shot from a .22 rifle. He aimed for the axillary region (armpit) of a passing elephant, as the animal’s left front leg went forward, exposing this thin-skinned spot, he fired. The elephant, unaware of what happened continued on for another 100 yards or so, then fell dead…

  26. I really don’t advertise that I am a prepper so what folks think about me is not an issue. I don’t want people knowing that I stock extra stuff because I don’t want them showing up at my door.

  27. Amazing that those of us who are self reliant are vilified for trying to take care of ourselves and loved ones. When I am asked are you a prepper, I say yes and no. That gets some strange looks from the person(s) that asked the question. My explanation is I am a child from parents who were children raised during the depression, until you have experienced shortages do not judge my lifestyle. I leave it at that, they have the choice to change their lifestyle or not.
    Besides I hate to shop, so I do it in a really big way when there is a sale on, and driving over 20+ miles to reach town, it had better be a bargain for me and our pocket book.

  28. Chuck Findlay says:

    What extra stuff?

    • Stuff? What stuff? I don’t see any extra stuff? Any extras stuff we had was lost in that nasty boat accident in the Gulf along with our guns….

  29. grandma bear says:

    Good Job! All I have to add is since I was in town last week the price of food has jumped! If we did not have stores we would be in our own world of hurt. I saw an older couple look at meat prices and put it back on the shelf. As I see it things as far as food prices are going to get much worse before things get better. I am in the camp of thing going down hill one week at a time not a big SHTF moment just a little each week. For those that live at the grocery store they may not even notice the price increases.

    I can, dehydrate, and never turn down an opportunity to glean. I must admit I like our simple life style and quality of life. You cannot bye time it is a gift from above and I intend to enjoy every second of it. Take Care and remember we are all in this together!

  30. I agree the more knowledge you have the better. Myself and SO have discussed why the younger folks would keep us around – knowledge is the key – that and a few extra rounds! We will need the youngers strength, they will need our knowledge and experience.

  31. Chuck Findlay says:

    Hopefully the younger folks see it that way and keep you around.

    It may be a good idea to try to share that info now?

  32. I don’t classify myself as either a Prepper or a Survivalist, I am a Survivor. Period, end of story. In 1968, when I was out of work for 3 weeks due to a work stoppage, we didn’t even go to the grocery, even though we lived only 3 blocks from one. We survived on what we had on hand. It was kind of uncomfortable, sometimes. One night we had macaroni and cheese, without the cheese, just macaroni and milk with a little bit of salt and pepper. My Wife loves bean and onion sandwitches. Took a little bit of gettting used to but it was filling. We can or dehydrate as much as we are able and also have a little garden. It’s not much good right now,what with the foot of snow we have but the tomatoes we have growing in coffee cans in the kitchen window are doing good.
    My kids and Grandkids have all come over to our house to go grocery shopping when things got a little tight for them, however, they don’t think Red Beans and Rice is anything they like. Too bad.
    It’s not that we only eat that way because we have no money, it’s how we were raised and what tastes good to us. When SHTF we will still be eating the way we always do as we have plenty of beans, rice, and spices to make what we eat taste good to us
    Ron S.

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