Inside the community of Preppers, Homesteaders and Survivalists opinions on the use of firearms are as diverse as the community itself. There are those who are strongly opposed to the use of firearms for any reason while there are those whose preparations are based almost completely on the use of firearms to survive. One individual recently told me that he could simply ‘take’ what he needs because he is ‘armed to the teeth,’ needless to say I oppose this attitude. No, my wife and I are somewhere in between these two. We are Lifestyle Preppers meaning just that, we prepare a little each day, saving for a rainy day as our parents and grand parents did. We stay informed, we are aware of the dangers of the world we live in and as such we take security precautions. Firearms are part of our preparations as much as any other tool. We store food and water of course, but we also store other ‘tools’ – gasoline, propane heaters, cooking equipment, first aide supplies, duct tape, gloves, wet weather gear and yes, guns and ammunition. Food, water, shelter and security – all basic elements of survival.
If you are just starting out, maybe looking to buy your first gun, you need to decide what its primary purpose will be. Is this going to be your primary home defense weapon, your daily carry (concealed or open), will others in the family be using it and how and where will you store it? Will you be purchasing more firearms to cover some of these needs or will it be one gun for everything? These are questions only you can answer, but I can share what we have done so far.
I purchased my first gun back in the early nineties after we suffered a string of break-ins. We were having trouble purchasing a gun due to the strict gun control laws in the area (Chicago suburbs) so my father-in-law gave us a little 22 auto till we could wade through the sea of red tape. When we finally were able to get ‘permission’ from the State to own one I went out and purchased what everyone said I should have – a 1911 Colt .45 auto. Yes, don’t get me wrong, I love this gun and still practice with it regularly, but it probably wasn’t the best choice for our situation. Beware – everyone has their own opinions on what you should buy, but it’s your life and that of your family –choose what’s best for you. The gun was clearly too big for my 5’1” 98 lb wife, so I then purchased a Ruger SP101 .357 revolver. The Ruger was much smaller and would be much easier for her to handle, so I thought, but of course I made the mistake of loading it with high grain .357 ammo. Fail.
So what now? Get a shotgun everyone told me, so I did, but this time I did what I should have done in the first place – ask an expert! So off I went to the local gun shop where the salesman actually took the time to find out what I really needed instead of just what he could sell me; he asked the right questions – who will be using it and what will they be using it for? This time we purchased a Remington 870 20 gauge shotgun. I know, I can hear the rumblings, 20 gauge? Yes, the 12 gauge was just going to be too big and powerful if I expected my wife to use it – so 20 gauge it was. Simple operation, with less need for accuracy made this a good all around gun for home defense – for us-your needs may differ.
Open or concealed carry? Now in the hills of Tennessee, a pretty gun friendly State, we have both acquired carry permits which ‘allow’ us to carry open or concealed – so which is best? No offense to those who choose to open carry, but I’ve always believed that it’s best not to advertise. Personally I think that in some situations a visible firearm might make you the first target, while concealed carry might also give you the element of surprise when you might need it most. Note: a gun in the glove box of your car does you no good unless you’re in your car.
If you came to my home you would not see a gun anywhere in sight, yet nearly every room of the house has one stashed in it somewhere. As stated before, a gun doesn’t do you any good if you can’t get to it, so access is critical. The only children we have are the 4 legged furry ones, so keeping kids from finding a gun isn’t an issue for us, but if you have children please, please take appropriate precautions and educate your children about firearms and their proper use. We all hear horror stories about children finding their parents gun or even taking it to school! Education is the key to firearm safety, for you and your kids.
Finally; practice, practice, practice – like any tool, a firearm is useless unless you learn to use it properly. Regular practice will increase your chances of survival in a crisis situation and you just might discover that you enjoy practicing! No, it’s not cheap; ammo and range fees can add up pretty quickly, but what price can you put on the security of your family? Ultimately owning a firearm is a personal choice, but as Lifestyle Preppers we feel it’s just plain common sense.Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.