Wednesday, June 1, 2011

TEOTWAWKI -- Guns and Ammo Edition

I am hoping to do occasional articles on TEOTWAWKI (and guns & ammo).  I am not going to deal with the legalities of firearms here, you either know what the legalities are where you live, or you can find out easily enough.  Today is "Firearms for TEOTWAWKI 101".


Modern Survival Theory (MST, actually I just made-up both the term and acronym, but maybe there IS MST already out there) tells us that being armed will help you survive and live better through a TEOTWAWKI ("The End Of The World As We Know It"), you know, what happens after the SHTF...

Preparing for a TEOTWAWKI was my first real article (look in the May archives) here at my blog.  Preparing for that is a long, hard and expensive process.  And everyone will around you will think that you are completely crazy.  References are also given to books and blogs that are about MST at my other article.

But, how will you defend your gold and your family when the Golden Horde / MZBs (Mutant Zombie Bikers) come to your home?  You will have to be armed.

I have read in various places the below guidelines re firearms for the prepared:

-- a semi-auto "assault rifle" (AK-47, AR-15)
-- a handgun, preferably a high caliber one
-- a Mossberg 12 gauge shotgun
-- a .22 LR rifle for hunting squirrels, rabbits, etc.
-- a 30-06 ("thirty odd six")  deer rifle

With 2000 rounds for EACH of the first two.  I have not seen guidelines for the other three, but would imagine that they would be around 500 - 1000 rounds each.

I myself own an AK-47 clone and a 9mm Beretta.  I have about 700 rounds for each.  So I would get a failing grade in "MST 101".  I have read sneers about the 9mm pistol, a women's gun...  But, you have to be comfortable with your gun.  You want to practice, and if the gun is too big, you might just skip doing that...

You also must be proficient in their use.  I have read, and can confirm that just going to the range or to the country to fire them once every four to six months just is not good enough.  Marksmanship is perishable as they say.

And maintenance, you have to know how to clean your weapons typically by "field stripping" them and have and use cleaning supplies.

Let us explore the above five weapons:

(1)  The semi-auto carbine / "assault rifle" will fire one bullet each as fast as you can keep pulling the trigger.  You might need the firepower if a crowd is coming at you.  My thinking is that both the AK-47 clones and the AR-15 are roughly equal over all.  I bought the AK because it can be seriously abused, hardly ever cleaned and still fire (not get jammed).  If I am in the rain, or behind a ridge-line or a sand dune, I want a bullet to come out when I pull the trigger.  A friend of mine as an AR-15.  He chose it because it is American, it also has less recoil ("kick") than the AK and is less noisy.  But when we went out to shoot our weapons a few weeks ago, his jammed up...  Effective range for the AK is claimed to be up to 300 meters, but unless you practice a lot, don't expect to hit much over, say, even 150 meters unless you are just hosing down whatever you are shooting at.  This is the gun even the police are scared of, the gun they keep trying to ban.  Better "git while the gittin's good".

(2)  "The pistol is what you use to get to your rifle."  A genuine quotation, but I do not know who said that.  A pistol is handy if "they" are close.  Once again, point and shoot.  Gun fans argue endlessly about what pistol calibers and brands are "best".  It all depends.  I chose the 9mm because it does not kick too much and the round will drop 'em fairly well, depending...  9mm is about the minimum caliber called for by most MST.  Lots of people say to just go with the old 1912 .45 caliber.  In Iraq, I read, US Army officers are discarding their government issue 9mm Berettas and instead go out with a .45.  Imagine that, a 99 year-old design is what the officers themselves want...  The .45 was designed to drop a man for SURE (when we fought in the Philippines against insurgents after the Spanish-American War).

(3)  A shotgun can be real handy for home defense.  The "hall cleaner", in which all you have to do is shoot the thing down the hallway and whatever is there will get hit by the buckshot most often used in shotguns.  ((And buckshot does not go through walls, endangering other people in another room or outside your place.  R Mix edit: this is WRONG.  Some of my readers pointed this out to me, buckshot and birdshot CAN go through walls and kill people.))  Mr. Mossberg seems to be the brand I hear and read about the most.  ZH's own Chumbawamba has mentioned his Mossberg 12 gauge, I of course would not know if he actually has, but it SOUNDS like he has one!

(4)  A .22 LR is the rifle most boys who wind up with guns usually fire for the first time.  I fired one when I was 10 years old!  It almost doesn't have ANY recoil and so is suitable for having your children join in when MZBs come-a-calling.  You can also hunt small animals like squirrels ("Tree Rats" as they call them in parts of Texas and the South) and rabbits.  If you shoot at a squirrel with a bigger rifle, you are just going to have all the meat splattered all over the tree...

(5)  A deer rifle with a good scope is also recommended in MST.  Someone (like a deer hunter) who is GOOD can hit a person at 400 meters, about a quarter of a mile.  That's a long way.  Drop a few of the of the apparent leadership of that band of MZBs coming your way from that far away will likely encourage them to find a softer target.  Again, among the aficionados of high powered rifles there is much debate about the "best" way to go.  I myself shared thoughts with two ZH-ers who seemed to know what they were talking about when I was considering buying a .338 Lapua, kind of a beast of a gun.  A gun like that (in well trained hands) can drop someone a MILE away!  After I thought it over, I realized that I would never go shoot the thing!  And it is expensive...  (check the cool .338 Lapua out at  A 30-06 ("thirty odd ((R Mix edit: "thirty aught six")) is more than enough however for almost anybody.  There are many smaller and less powerful cartridges out there.  Again personal preference is the way to go.  I myself have shot a 30-06, and it is a pretty serious rifle, LOUD and with a BIG recoil.


I hope that the readers of this article have enjoyed and learned something about firearms from this article.

If this, or other TEOTWAWKI articles, get(s) good reviews, there will be more.

Perhaps even a Guest Post!  As I do not know much more than the above...


  1. It's a pleasure to read your musings, and I am indeed learning. Thanks for continuing to post.

    Have you ever tried transporting any of the above out of the US via commercial air? Any difficulty/recommendations/procedures that have to be followed (aside from unloaded, in checked bag and declared)?

  2. Hi Robert,
    I enjoyed your gunsy post as well. and second CD's question regarding out of US air travel with bang bangs.

  3. Good article. I have a mossberg 12ga and its a good inexpensive gun for home defense. As far as traveling outside of the US with guns, it totally depends on the laws where you're going. The airlines will allow you to check your guns but you better have the proper paperwork ready when you get to wherever you're going.

  4. Your knowledge of firearms is obviously lacking. If people want to learn about guns they should look elsewhere for information.

    " A shotgun can be real handy for home defense. The "hall cleaner", in which all you have to do is shoot the thing down the hallway and whatever is there will get hit by the buckshot most often used in shotguns."

    Shotguns must be aimed like any firearm; at close ranges the pattern of shot is very small so sticking it in the hall and firing is foolish and dangerous.

    "And buckshot does not go through walls, endangering other people in another room or outside your place."

    The statement above is horribly flawed and dangerous. Even birdshot at close range will easily pass through drywall and cause severe injury or death to a person in it's path. Buckshot is much heavier and will be even more damaging. Maybe you were talking about concrete wall?

    Thirty "odd" six? Are you serious?

    Of course you're free to publish what you want, but please reconsider giving advice about something you know so little about.

  5. The comment on buck shot is important. Do not fire when family are down range in another room. There are options to make the spread wider with chokes and the penetrating power lower by the type of shot you buy.
    Also, I believe by 1912 you mean the browning 1911.
    I generally agree with what you say and think that this is mostly common sense but it helps to have confirmation.
    Thirty odd six or thirty aught six is not that big of a deal IMHO.

  6. "Thirty odd six or thirty aught six is not that big of a deal IMHO"

    It's not a big deal compared to telling someone that buckshot won't go through a wall or that you don't need to aim a shotgun, but I don't like the idea of someone who doesn't know the difference giving advice about important and dangerous tools. Do you really think someone who refers to a "1912" has any business giving firearms advice?

  7. blacksoldierfly- In my opinion you're mostly correct. I disagree that you must aim a 12 ga riot barrel shotgun the same as a handgun or rifle though. Pointing it out of a door and down a hallway and pulling the trigger will clear the hallway as long as you point it down the hallway and not at the floor, ceiling or a wall.

  8. blacksoldierfly,

    Do you disagree with the recommendation of having a kit similar to this with an AR, shotgun, high caliber pistol, varmint rifle, & game rifle?

  9. "Do you disagree with the recommendation of having a kit similar to this with an AR, shotgun, high caliber pistol, varmint rifle, & game rifle?"

    No, I agree assuming the gun owner carefully studies firearm use and practices enough to wield them with confidence.

    "I disagree that you must aim a 12 ga riot barrel shotgun the same as a handgun or rifle though. Pointing it out of a door and down a hallway and pulling the trigger will clear the hallway as long as you point it down the hallway and not at the floor, ceiling or a wall."

    If by "clear the hallway" you mean scare the bad guy enough that he runs away; maybe. If you mean that you will have a high probability of hitting your target sufficiently to incapacitate them then I strongly disagree. To be effective with a shotgun at short distances you must accurately aim it. Shooting as you describe is too likely to result in a slightly wounded and now very pissed off assailant. In that case an intended robbery could escalate to murder.

    I don't want to write a long post about shotgun tactics but below is a link to a discussion that covers a range of opinions that I think express what I mean.

  10. The important information is in the comment section of the link I posted.

  11. blacksoldierfly, thank you for noting my mistakes. You are right, with firearms, it has to be "Safety First".

    Guns are dangerous.

    I will try to be more careful in my future writing.

    At some point, perhaps you would consider a Guest Post here? I am always looking for experts to help educate the rest of on subjects that I bring up.

  12. Kudos to you Robert Mix for owning a mistake and also for your desire to make people aware of the importance of protecting themselves.

    The truth is that I'm not an expert, I'm a student with a lot to learn. I've been studying the theory and practice of using firearms for self defense for about a year. There is a wide range of classes available anywhere in the country and of course the internet has endless information if you have the patience to sort through it.

    NRA classes are a good start and below are a few forums that will give many perspectives on any aspect of firearms. I don't belong to any of the forums listed but I've read threads on each in the course of my research.

  13. Also see: Thunder Ranch/Clint Smith and Massad Ayoob.

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. Above deleted Comment was written poorly! Not even your Congenial Host can go in and edit comments. Here is a better written Comment:

    blacksoldierfly, thanks again for your comments and links. One of my email correspondents rolled the term past me today, "Mall Ninja Wannabe", yah, yah, that's me!

    With my .338 Lapua, pickin' off the MZB's leadership from a mile away. Or would that be Fascist Thugs from a mile away?

    There was a tiny bit of humor in my article.

  16. Humor is good. :)

    The thing about long range shooting is that you can't easily claim self defense....

    A few more interesting links:

  17. Hi DoChenRB

    I have too many hand guns and rifles - some I've bought and some inherited. But now my gun/rifle strategy is this - any new guns purchased or traded have to be within the AMMO that I have. Thus, I have concentrated on .22 LR, and 9mm, both handgun and rifle. The others that are non-conforming in my ammo inventory are 12 gauge for the Mossberg 500, 44 mag, 30/30 rifle.

    Each is very valuable in different situations. A small .22 handgun hides easily. A .22 rifle is cheap hunting for small game. A 44 (dirty Harry) magnum will blow a hole in an approaching vessel, a 30/30 is a good deer gun and will also keep Somali pirates at bay. A Mossburg 12 gauge is good in a hallway gun but there are interesting loads that will also serve other purposes.

    Sorry to be so long. The point is, there is no perfect gun or rifle. But after some collecting, I'm now trying to minimize the ammo types so ammo can be used for several hand guns & rifles and reduce my type of ammo inventory.

    The Navigator

  18. One more idea.

    It's an X v Y graph re how fast WE are versus how fast THEY are; like a race to the bottom. We keep building up inventory (PMs and ammo) and They keep building up their ability to intercept our communications and build up their "anti-terrorist" equipment/methods.

    One day, maybe soon, blogs may not be the way to communicate - maybe we need to hook up with ham radio friends or find CB radios at garage sales.

    I hope to be long over the horizon before this becomes reality - but the race to the bottom seems fast and furious and my 2 year timeline may be too optimistic. I'd greatly appreciate fellow DCRB followers input on timeline ideas -you guys and ZHers are far ahead of the curve and its that 24 hour spread that will get us out of the camp before the bears appear.

    Best regards,
    The Navigator

  19. Sorry, don't mean to blather

    But a great start for gun & rifle discussion may be - they go over all types of guns/ammo, the pro v. cons.

    You could also try to find a relative living in the country with everyday experiences that can teach safety etc.

    The Navigator

    PS - Great Job DCRB - Look forward to your next post.

  20. I agree with the idea of minimizing the variety of calibers in your arsenal. For example; I have a 9mm Glock pistol, and also a rifle that accepts the same magazines that the pistol uses. I have a .357 revolver and also a rifle that shoots .357 rounds. 357's are nice because you can shoot .38 rounds in the same gun. When my girlfriend gets a handgun it will be either a .38 or 9mm so we can share ammo. If she gets a 9mm it will be a Glock so she can use my magazines.

    I don't know where the idea that a home defense shotgun needs to be a Mossberg. There are other, often better made brands that can be configured the same as a Mossberg. The most common choice for defensive shotguns is the Remington 870. There have been millions made and they are the default shotgun choice of police departments. The main advantage of Mossberg is that they're cheaper.

    There are a plethora of gun forums and you may be surprised at how patient and helpful the members will be to someone who is just learning. I only recommend searching topics before posting questions because some topics (9mm vs .45 ACP for example) have been debated endlessly and no gun forum needs a new thread about that.

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