View Full Version : Preparedness....

Dave McC
October 27, 2001, 08:27 AM
Well, it's not 9 AM yet, and I've already fielded one call from an acquaintance about guns for defense in these perilous times.BTW,my number's unlisted and this person found me anyway. Motivation can move mountains.

I answered some questions yesterday at the range about HD ammo from members of the Geezer League, and the kids tell me a neighbor stopped by and asked if I was selling any shotguns. It's been crazy since 9-11.

Personal note, wife was off sick on 9-11 from her job at the Pentagon. Her office was just to the right of the rubble, down from where the fireman hoisted the first flag. She's changing jobs.

Anyway, it's surprising how some of the same folks who regarded me as a trifle extreme and possibly dangerous pre 9-11 are regarding me as an "Authority" and maybe savior now. But, all this has brought up some points folks may need to know here.

And these are opinions, and TTBOMK,none are engraved on stone....

Presented in the form of FAQs....


For the same reasons we have smoke detectors, first aid stuff, fire extinguishers and both life and home insurance. Because having a Plan B means we're more likely to be around after it hits the fan.

Because any life worth living is worth defending.

Because some werewolves do not need a full moon. Because the world is full of dark corners, sharp edges and things that bite.


None. Having a gun without taking the time and effort to learn how to do this right means you're a part of the problem and not the solution.


Plenty of choices here, but it can boil down to a few things.

38/357 revolvers are excellent sidearms, limited only by their capacity.5-6 shots are often enough, and a reasonable level of expertise is not hard to attain for most folks. For HD, all responsible adults in the house need to be proficient.Decent used revolvers are around for much less than a used semi auto.

As to shotguns, there's a pair of approaches, for different levels of expense.

Cheap way. Buy a used 12, 16 or 20 ga single shot like the NEFs, the old Winchester 37 or the H&Rs. Shoot it some with light loads, and tape a few to the stock. Only one shot,but that's often enough.And at HD ranges, a 7/8 oz field load will be just as effective as a 10 ga 000 barnburner.

Not so cheap way. Get hold of a used police turnin or other used,US made (by major makers) pump gun.I'd avoid the old Nobles,High Standards, or S&Ws.Make sure the stock fits, and shoot it.

Keep these handy but secure, and practice often enough that you're dangerous ONLY to the right people.

As for ammo, 100 rounds of buckshot and 50 slugs will carry you through most any situation that's survivable anyway. Add some field loads for practice and small game, and you're set. For the revolvers, wadcutters are cheap and reliable for practice, and pick a high end HP load that groups well in your handgun. Placement is more crucial than sheer power or a trick bullet.

Also, a decent, semi auto 22 rifle is a good thing to have. Cheap practice, no kick, and a round inserted into the CNS of a perp is a good stopper. Get a 10-22, Marlin 60, Rem 597 or the old Nylon 66, and enjoy.


Because, it's nigh a given that there will be turmoil ahead, possibly riots, and this is a war with NO noncombatants, no safe zones, no quarter asked or given. As members of a community, we owe that community a committment of effort, a sharing of risk, and possibly "Our lives, our fortunes, and our Sacred Honor". That's a price other were willing to pay, and now it MAY be our turn.

Hope this helps....

October 27, 2001, 09:16 AM
Your personal experiences pre- and post-Sept 11 show just how smart Mr. Rudyard Kipling was when he wrote,

"For it's Tommy this and Tommy that .
And chuck 'im out, the brute.
But it's Thank You Mr. Thompkins
When the guns begin to shoot."

Your answers show a high degree of common sense. Unfortunately most anti-gun people regard common sense as paranoia, even as they will use the same dangers of the world as reasons for you NOT to have a gun. A curious dichotomy which they cannot defend other than to attack you.

One point that can never be overstressed is that merely having a firearm will not protect you. Having a firearm and knowing HOW and WHEN to use it can provide you with an effective means of protection against many dangers. Maybe not against a plane, but then, it that the ONLY danger we will facein the future?

Al Thompson
October 27, 2001, 09:21 AM
*Ahem* - Dave you are an authority.

I have had the "get a gun" question several times. The practice aspect dismays some (good!) folks. The best analogy I've found is the one Jeff Cooper uses - having a piano does not mean you know how to play it.


October 27, 2001, 11:02 AM
Nuther good one Dave. Spot on.


October 27, 2001, 01:27 PM
Pre. 9-11, I have a neighbor that is about 70yrs old and she saw me heading out with my range bag one day and she made a comment to my wife by saying, "You have a gun in your house" My wife said, "No we have Guns in our house" so my neighbor then says, "I don't like guns, I don't like the fact of knowing there is guns next door to me". My wife then simply made a comment that "Guns don't kill people, People kill people".. The end of that nothing else was ever said untill after 9-11, The neighbor says to my wife, "I sure am glad that your husband has guns in the house just knowing that he does makes me feel safer"

A change in heart all the sudden, We went from being extremists to saviors..


October 27, 2001, 02:53 PM
Someone once said:
"No one loves a soldier until the enemy is at the gate."

October 27, 2001, 08:28 PM
Not trying to steal any limelight...but have been thinking and watching and talking with folks since 9/11 and have seen some encouraging, and some puzzling, behavior. So I would start off with something like the following, which probably could be improved anyway... I hope I'm not coming on too strong here; I'm very RKBA but I also think we need to take what we do seriously (but hopefully not ourselves! ;)


A gun is not a magic token or talisman. It is only a tool, like many others. You must first look inside yourself and answer honestly the question whether you are willing to assume responsibility for your own well-being. (You should then ask whether you are willing to be responsible for your family's, and your neighbors', and your country's, well-being, but this begins inside.)

If you are willing to assume responsibility for your own well-being, then a gun might be a good tool as part of what should be a broader effort to take responsibility for the world around you, but please remember that even in highly trained hands, a gun can solve only a limited number of problems. There are many other areas that need your attention, as well.

If you choose to own a gun for defensive purposes, you should also take that responsibility seriously. Remember that a gun cannot defend you, but you can use a gun to defend yourself. And, while a gun can do great good when used with skill and responsibility, it can do great harm if used carelessly or if misused. This means you need to take training seriously. Seek and obtain qualified, professional training, and follow up with self-directed practice. Renew your training at least annually. Make sure that you receive qualified instruction also in the laws of self defense. If you are not willing to make these commitments (and to follow up on them), you should reconsider owning a firearm for defensive purposes.

We hope that you will take these steps, and join us. If you do, you will probably find that the biggest difference is a changed mindset. We welcome you.

Will Beararms
October 27, 2001, 11:25 PM
The older I get, the more I believe a good shotgun in 12 gauge is the staple for home defense. The older I get the less important I believe handguns really are though I love em'

After wasting thousands on handguns from Glocks to Berettas to Sigs to Rugers to Tanfoglios to kahrs and so on and so forth, I see the merits of at least one good 9mm made by one of the leading brands. I also see the wisdom in picking up three or four Makarovs with beau coup ammo, clips and spare parts. The Maks are $160.00 ap piece new. They are accurate and dog tough. Yes the larger bores are better stoppers but ammo costs for the .40 and .45 are way high. The .357 Magnum is a great choice and I believe in stress, they may be better for the novice.

But again the shotgun rules.

Dave McC
October 28, 2001, 08:04 AM
Thanks folks, and J, you put it very well.

Frosty, I've been part of that "Thin Red Line of Heroes". I'd bet Kipling knew plenty of them. Common men who have shown uncommon valor.

Did you ever hear the phrase that starts off the presentation of the Victoria Cross?

"For courage and gallantry beyond that expected of every British soldier and sailor".....

A couple words are now coming back into fashion, Duty, Honor, Country. For the first time since I returned from the South East Asian mess in 1970, I'm PC.

And to practical matters....

Will, there's other choices than the ones I wrote. The Maks are decent little pieces, and there's some lower priced 9s out there that aren't junk.But...

The manual of arms for a revolver is lots simpler than that of any auto.User friendly, IOW. A 38 revolver falls on the graph right where the lines for effectiveness and ease of use cross. That's why they were the standard sidearm for police for decades.And, in my experience, still a good choice for those who do not practice as much as they should. And being revolvers, they can use ammo from the lightest to the +P+ 38s or the mags without glitching.

Will Beararms
October 28, 2001, 09:38 AM
Exactly. If your'e in a stressfire situation and the handgun is empty, would you rather fumble with loading a clip or fill a cylinder by hand. That's what an old timer asked me once and it got me to thinking.

The thing I see now days is the outrageous price of .40 and .45 ammo. 9mm is $3.99 per 50--------9mm Mak is 8.00/50 and .38 special is around 8.00/50. Where as .40 and .45 are $11.00 to $14.00 per 50.

The beauty of the smoothbore is just about any load will work for HD and there's always a special going on somehwere.

Jody Hudson
October 28, 2001, 09:52 AM
Will Beararms,

I agree with you totally, except where can you find the 9mm that cheaply. I just got a couple of 9mms again, I have had ONLY Makarovs for years... And, I lust for 9mm ammo that is even cheaper than my Makarov ammo.

Please tell...

And, by my bed is the Makarov and the Mossburg... If I KNOW I've got a problem it's only the Mossy. If it's just a bump and not likely to be a problem but I need to check... it's the Makarov and a light.

But, the wise thing would be ONLY the Mossy. I just love my Makarov so very, very, very, much.

Will Beararms
October 28, 2001, 10:05 AM
Hey Jody:

Academy sports in Dallas, TX has Blazer 115 grain 9mm for $3.99 + tax. In a social chaos situation where we are up on the roofs of our homes defending our family, 9mm ball will do me just fine.


October 28, 2001, 11:07 AM
The 12 gauge is a great tool when you KNOW you have a problem coming and it involves close-range (e.g., household distances). Again, knowing HOW and WHEN to use it is key. The pistol is best when you don't know that trouble is coming.

Let me explain. Some anti-gun people have asked me (among others) (loosely paraphrased), "Why are you carrying a handgun? Are you expecting trouble?" My answer is, "No, I am not expecting trouble". They in turn ask, "Then why are you carrying a gun if you are not expecting trouble?" My reply is, "I am carrying a handgun because I am NOT expecting trouble. If I WAS expecting trouble, I would be carrying a rifle or shotgun in addition to my handgun." Many cannot get past this point and the discussion generally deteriorates from there into meaningless accusations.

In today's society, one cannot usually carry a full-sized shoulder arm everywhere you go. In fact, it may be much more trouble than it is worth. The handgun is best thought of as a constant companion which can be easily and discreetly carried, thereby insuring that you have a firearm handy in the fortunately rare circumstances where you might need a weapon. If you constantly and repeatedly go into locations where you might need a heavier firearm, you may want to re-evaluate your carrying habits OR your need to go into those places. But this is not the subject I want to discuss.

Each tool has it's place. The handgun is best for easy, discreet carry for those times you either do not expect trouble or when your finely tuned senses fail to detect trouble early enough for you to beat a safe retreat. The shotgun (or rifle) is the much better choice for those times when you know you have a problem to deal with.

But, from your previous responses, I think you already know this.

October 28, 2001, 11:21 AM
Very nicely put!

Will Beararms
October 28, 2001, 02:22 PM
Sage Wisdom Frosty:

For myself as a civie, I am gravitating towards smaller more concealable handguns. If I were an LEO then the bigger options would be the rule. I certainly see the value of surprise if you are faced with unexpected danger since I subscribe to the axiom of never pulling a pistol unless you intend to use it.

I am still a handgun nut but I like the snubbies, Sig 232's, Smith 3953's and Makarovs. Many like me who are novices at best don't have the funds to quickly acquire large sums of ammo. The 9mm, .380 or .38 Special can be had in 1000 round lots without too much of a dent in the wallet.

Nevertheless, frosty good points. And yes, the shotgun is defintely great for those times when we know trouble is a sure thing.

October 28, 2001, 11:09 PM
Getting back to the original topic of this tread, is there a checklist posted somewhere that runs down sensible items to have on hand at home if/when trouble starts? There are obvious items ie. food, water, medicines, etc., but what other not so obvious items would come in handy? Thanks.

Dave McC
October 29, 2001, 07:53 AM
Doug, on some of the survivalist forums there's good inout, but one has to wade through lots of bigotry, unsupported opinions and stuff from extremely paranoid people.

Personally, I regard the complete collapse scenarios so dear to the survivalists as quite unlikely. I do regard short term, local collapses as inevitable.So, here's some things that may help you.

First, get some knowledge. I'd start with a First Aid class, add CPR and some knowhow about any special needs your family may have. Also knowing something about food sources in your area other than stores is invaluable. How many edible varities of plants are in your lawn? Probably at least three. Mine has Dandelions,Clover and Plantains. Neighbor has Comfrey as a border plant in a extravagant flowerbed.Local animals that may serve as food include squirrels, rabbits, 'chucks, coons, possums, skunks, and birds from little tweeters to geese are in the area.

Second,to go with your knowledge, get an industrial sized First Aid kit, Cheap insurance, and you might want a fire extinguisher also. Get your doctor to write a prescription for a good painkiller, and try to stay one script ahead on any medication any of your family takes. A big 1K count jar of Aspirin and one of Acetomenaphin is a good idea also.

Third, stock up on some staples. Rice, oatmeal, etc, last a while on the shelf, and if you eat them regularly anyway, one can just eat one, add one, and not have to worry about long term storage.

Ramen, the Asian Cup O' Noodles, runs about 350-400 calories per pack and costs about a dime on sale. It makes a good soup base, too. With those staples, get a small one burner propane stove, or even a sterno setup. I'd want at least a two week supply of food and water on hand, and some water purification setup is mandatory. Even a Brita Pitcher and a big pot to boil water in will help. Know how to set up a solar still.Keep some laundry bleach on hand, a couple of drops in a gallon of questionable water will kill most any bug.

BTW, that gas grill on the deck will work , even with a power outage. An extra bottle of propane may be worth its weight in ammo. Do NOT use this inside, carbon monoxide will kill you faster than a jet piloted by wackos.

Fourth, buy lots of ammo. Keep a "Panic Box or Bag" with some ammo of every variety handy, in case you have to relocate or evacuate. I'd suggest 200 rounds for every long arm, 50 for every sidearm, in reserve, and practice ammo as needed.

Fifth, know your neighbors. One of mine is a cop with a fair amount of firepower, including a full auto 9mm sub gun. Another is a recent employee of the Secret Service, and has a few guns.

And some neighbors may be part of the problem and not the solution. Be wary of trusting folks in crises.Desperate folks do desperate things.

Sixth,unless you live in a warm clime all year round like Hawaii or LA(Lower Alabama), every family member should have at least one good set of thermal undies, and a set of low profile ,warm outer clothes. These do not have to be camo, a set of sweats in green, brown or grey will do. Add good shoes, heavy socks, and a warm hat each.

Hope this helps, PM me if you've concerns I've missed.

October 30, 2001, 09:42 AM
"Anyway, it's surprising how some of the same folks who regarded me as a trifle extreme and possibly dangerous pre 9-11 are regarding me as an "Authority" and maybe savior now.'

Ain't that the truth. Great post Dave.

Dave McC
October 30, 2001, 12:36 PM
Thanks,Atticus. This is continuing, a cousin I hear from only once a year or so wanted some info on ammo yesterday eve, and one of Wife's co- workers wants to learn to shoot.

Right now here at Casa McC, we've 20 gallons of water stored, at least 3 weeks of non perishable foods,a fairly well stocked 16 cubic foot freezer, and enough ammo to gladden even I. Could use some more 30-30 stuff, but it's scarce as hen's teeth.

Since Wife and Kids are not all that fond of shotguns, I've been considering getting a handgun caliber carbine for them, probably one of the lever actions in 357. Tons of 38 ammo here, including lots of my old duty load, 110 gr +P+.

Other than that, I think we're set.

October 30, 2001, 02:55 PM
Good post on preparedness. FWIW, there was a thread recently (can't find it offhand) asking if TFL members would like to see a Survivalist Forum on TFL. Many members replied in the positive, but quite a few suggested that it be named something like "Preparedness" to avoid some of the subjects you mentioned at the start of your post. My personal opinion is that "Preparedness" is a better title than "Survival" for several reasons, not in the least that it can cover many "routine" emergencies such as weather, natural disater, etc.

A few additional comments I would like to add to your post. I second the receommendation to get as much First Aid training as you can get. You never know when you will need it. Also, consider carrying a good First Aid kit in each of your cars. Several times I have been at kids sporting events and other gatherings where someone gets hurt and no one has a first aid kit. My wife and I have been quite the momentary heroes when we pull out our kit and take care of some kid who has a minor scrape or cut.

Don't hestitate to get a GOOD First Aid kit for your house, one that is better than your level of training (but shop wisely!). One of the best bits of advice I heard during the Y2K preparations was to invest in some good medical supplies (without going overboard). The basic reason was that in an emergency situation you are more likley to find someone who may be able to use that equipment than someone who has their own when you need it.

With (perishable) medical supplies and food, insure that you rotate your stocks. Use the oldest stuff in reserve up as you need it, and get fresh stuff to re-supply your cache.

As far a a pistol caliber carbine, Marlin makes a great .357 in their 1894 rifle. I have the .44 Mag version as a companion to my Ruger Vacquero and consider it a great short-range rifle. Just make sure that your ammo has a good FLAT point. Pointy bullets do not react well in tubular magazines.

But perhaps the best preparation is to develop the ability to remain calm and focused in an emergency situation. Don't allow yourself to get "stampeded" by scare tactics or emotion. I think that law enforcement, first responders, and military have the best training in this although this is not a pre-requisite.

I hope that the "Preparedness" forum does get going here since the TFL membership could probably make this an interesting and informative place to exchange ides.

October 30, 2001, 03:14 PM
Now you just need to load that freezer up with venison. :D

October 30, 2001, 05:34 PM
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and I'm glad your wife is okay.

Regards to all.

Jody Hudson
October 30, 2001, 06:07 PM

Have you considered a .410 pump shotgun? There are even some good used ones on the market, by Mossburg perhaps, that have 18.5" barrels and long magazine tubes, although I've not seen these in quite a while. There are some pistol grip ones in .410 as well. Then there are the derringers, the Thunder Five revolver and some small double barrel derringers all in .410 as well. The .410 slug is formidable and it gives you the shot shells as well of course.

I think there is an 870 Wingmaster in .410 as well. And of course there is that little quirk about being able to use .45 Long Colt in a .410 so you get your smooth bore version of a carbine.

Are there any rifled barrel, pump, .410 shotguns out there?

October 30, 2001, 07:04 PM
Everything has been mentioned at least a few times, except communications gear.

I have several of the FRS radios, not much on range, but if you have a neighborhood that is willing to band together, it would be nice to communicate with one another. You can get 4-5 for less than $100 now.

I also have some of the Motorola GMRS radios for extra range and the ability to communicate between two or more vehicles if we're buggin out.

I have even recently taken the extra step of getting my ham radio license - it is really easy to get. Buy the Gordon West book at Radio shack, study up for a few weeks, and the test is a breeze, even for non-technical types like me. I haven't yet learned all the intricacies and practicalities of using my handheld radio, but the ham field is full of folks who are like-minded and eager to help.

Did I mention lots of batteries? alkalines, rechargeables, electric and solar chargers for the rechargeables.

Spare cash on hand?

Finally, gas for the car. I never go below 1/2 a tank, with enough on hand to fill er up.

Water, cash, batteries, and gas are the first commodities usually in short supply.

Dave McC
October 30, 2001, 09:39 PM
Thanks for the feedback and input, folks. A coupla things....

First, no 410s. The idea here is to acquire a shoulder arm chambered for a cartridge we already have. As you may imagine, ammo logistics here is already as complicated as Sicilian politics. Ammo here now includes 45 ACP, 38SPL and 357 Mag, 30-30, 22 LR, 12 and 20 ga, and supplies for 45 and 50 caliber Muzzleloaders.

I've played with various lever actions from an original Winchester 73 in 44-40, to a Model 92 in 38-40 to a Marlin 44 Mag. Used within their range limits, excellent weapons, especially for those that do not handle kick well. 'nother possibility is something like Marlin's camp carbine in 45 ACP, but I'm not sure that one is of sufficient durability and reliability for the mission.

Frosty, after one war, three prison riots and a couple of Cub Scout camping trips,I can stay calm and focused through darn near anything. The family's a different matter, but training helps. So does example.

Communications is an area I should have mentioned. There's a CB Base station dismantled in the basement and a couple of car units. Cell phones for all adults. Lots of batteries, a couple of chargers.

Spare cash? Plastic will work short of Armageddon, and someone with all these guns can find cash if needed(G)...

October 30, 2001, 09:51 PM
Dave and friends:

Thanks for all the sage advice. It is much appreciated and will be put to good use.

Just ordered a Remmington 870 Express, 18" barrel & extended mag today. Making arrangements to practice at local range. Is a trigger lock sufficient for this or is a safe, locking cabinet, locking case the best way to go? I have 2 kids 10 & 11 and want to keep them safe.

Also, are tazers legal in Maryland? Wife is a nurse at an HMO. One of their larger clients is the US Postal Service whose employees are very nervous these days. One of her regular patients was one of the two that died of anthrax in DC. She was threatened by a patient a few days ago and she wants a means of self defense while on the job.

We are living in strange times which seem to bring out the best in some and the worst in others. While we aspire to the former, we have no intention of becoming victims of the latter.

Thanks again.

October 30, 2001, 09:57 PM
I am curious. Which was the most trying? The war, the prison riots, or the Cub Scout camping trips? Having some little experience with young scouts, I am guessing the last.

Dave McC
October 31, 2001, 06:40 AM
Frosty, cub scouts will get you hurt(G)...

Doug,my kids were used to handling guns from about the time they could cross the street by themselves, under close supervision, of course. Son may have been all of 9 when he shot my 1911 GM for the first time.

For smaller kids, a pump kept cruiser ready (action locked shut, safety on, mag full, chamber empty) and kept high, like inside a closet above the door is enough to ensure safety. Yours are more able to overcome those measures, so there's other options. I don't know about you, but the folks had nothing I didn't get into while they were away. This approach may help...

Take them shooting and let them watch as you put a round into a pumpkin, 2 liter soda bottle filled with water, or other target that will explode dramatically. Explain that the gun is a marvelous tool that MUST NOT be misused, and that the stuff on TV is myth and illusion. Let them pop off a few 22 rounds, SAFELY,and let them handle firearms enough(Under supervision of course) to take the mystery and glamour out of them. Mine knew they could examine any gun in the house if they asked permission, and permission was ALWAYS granted.

I believe this approach is safer and more effective than a cable lock or safe. BTW, the little handgun safes are cheap, and a good place to keep a loaded handgun. Access via the keypad is PDQ.

As for your query, I prefer the safe. Your needs may differ.

There may be some old threads on a lockable shotgun rack, or another contributor here may be able to fill you in.

As for Tazers, I've no personal experience with them. I do know they're considered Deadly Weapons in some jurisdictions. IMO, she'd be better off with a mouse gun concealed on her person. A nurse I knew long ago worked in a good hospital, bad 'hood. A PPK clone in an ankle holster was her approach, and it sounds good to me.

October 31, 2001, 08:05 AM

Here's a compilation of go-bag contents that I've been doing based on recommendations of fellow TFLers. I like Daves description of it as a "panic bag".

October 31, 2001, 03:00 PM
I'd add a battery operated short wave radio and antenna in case your local radio and tv stations aren't able to broadcast.

If evacuation was necessary exactly how would that happen? Its hard enough getting thru a regular rush our or a trip to the beach.

October 31, 2001, 07:07 PM
I have to admit that shotguns are my weakest firearm, but I am trying to correct that situation.

You talked about "cruiser ready", (action locked shut, safety on, mag full, chamber empty). How do you lock the action shut? By trigger lock? I assume that the action is closed also?

FWIW, I have been trying a new device called the Life Jacket. It is basically a plastic clamshell which encloses the action portion of the firearm. For handguns it seems to work fairly well for the few I have tried. However the shotgun model is a bit tight and seems to require that the action be open, which is not conducive to keeping the magazine loaded. It may be good for safe unloaded storage but I do not think it would work for a shotgun kept ready for self-defense.

October 31, 2001, 07:37 PM

Best to look where they already plan on doing it. Do an internet search for your own area of operational concern.

October 31, 2001, 07:47 PM
"How do you lock the action shut?'

Assuming your talking abut a pump gun - cycle the action with no shells in the gun. The action will then be "locked".

October 31, 2001, 08:06 PM
Exactly. To "Unlock", you use the action release button, located at the front left of the trigger guard, while pumping the slide.

Action also unlocks after the trigger is depressed, but shouldn't be "opened" this way unless you are firing the weapon.