Keeping What You Need, Protecting What You Love: A Weapons System for After the Disaster

Submitted by Quest-News-Serv... on Sat, 10/03/2009 - 01:11.



USCCA Laugh of the Week

by Chaim's Cartoons


September 25, 2009

Cherry Hill, New Jersey

From: NBC Philadelphia

(Okay so this one is a bit lighthearted. We figured you needed a break from the really bad stuff.)

Turkeys Terrorize Jersey Neighborhood

A revolt of the feathered kind is going on in Cherry Hill.

A gang of five wild turkeys are invading the area of Brookmead Drive every afternoon sending children and joggers running for the safety of their homes.

"They're really, really these things are vicious," said one young girl.

The birds are charging at children and pecking at joggers. We caught one of the unprovoked attacks on tape Thursday when the bad birds went after a little boy who was riding his tricycle down the sidewalk. The turkeys then lunged at the boy and his mother as they ran screaming across the street.

"I wanna just be able to go back to a normal life and go out of our house without worrying where a turkey might be," lamented Nancy Giordano.

Township officials know neighbors are fed up with the fowl encounters, but they don't plan to do anything about it, citing the rules of natural habitat.

"[They] do not belong," one angry homeowner said. "They need to find someplace to be with their own kind and enjoy life instead of trying to deal with urban life."

Keeping What You Need, Protecting What You Love: A Weapons System for After the Disaster

"...stay alive and the wherewithal to keep going until civilization in your area is rebuilt..."

by C.R. Williams

There are three possibilities in the aftermath of a disaster, man-made or otherwise:

1) You resolve to remain at home; you will stick it out there for as long as it takes.

2) You have decided or are otherwise forced to evacuate.

3) The event occurred while you were away from home and you want to get back there despite conditions or obstacles between you and the house.

In each case, I will assume that you have stockpiled some reasonable amount of food and water and that you have or can construct shelter; basically, that you have what you immediately need to stay alive and the wherewithal to keep going until civilization in your area is rebuilt. If you don't have these already, forget the guns until you get them.

After that, however, history has shown anyone that looks that it is unwise to depend on the mass onset of nobility to prevent others from taking what they need, or even just want, from what you have. So we're back to considering weapons--in this case, (big surprise here) firearms.

I'm going to suggest a weapon system built around at least two and preferably four weapons, that you have on hand at least 250 rounds of ammunition and 5 magazines (for magazine-fed weapons) for each gun, and that you keep cleaning and simple maintenance tools, materials and supplies in stock to keep those weapons functioning properly without help for an extended period of time. I do not suggest that you empty your bank account, take out a second mortgage, or eat nothing but Ramen noodles for months to get all of this.

I want this system to be easy to put together and inexpensive (as guns go) to get, while allowing flexibility and expansion if you wish to pay for it. I want this system to keep looters and criminals as far away from you as possible for as long as it takes normal law enforcement coverage to be restored to your area. I want this system to be easily packed and as portable as possible. The same system should be able to stay at the house, travel with you as part of a vehicle disaster kit, or go in the bug-out bag in the event you are forced to evacuate the area.

Within those broader parameters, each part of the core system--the two-gun minimum recommended--is intended to give you the best possible chance against my estimated biggest threat--multiple hostiles with weapons either inside vehicles or using light buildings, i.e. houses, for cover. The main difference between the individual weapons is the range of engagement they are intended for. (Note: There will be overlap! That's part of the plan.)

Get a street-by-street map of your neighborhood, or better yet get the free version of Google Earth or similar mapping program, get an overhead view of your address, and put a marker where your house is (Caution: Google Earth was off about a block on my address. Make sure you identify your house). Now draw scale circles around that mark at ten, 100, and 300 yards. That's what we're going to be planning for.

The "hard core" of the system is a sidearm--a pistol or revolver--and a shoulder arm--a carbine or rifle. (For purposes of this article I define a carbine as a rifle chambered for pistol-caliber ammunition. Though there are such things as rifle-caliber hunting pistols and pistols chambered for the .223 cartridge, they will not be included in my working definition.) The pistol can be "dual-use" as your carry gun as well as part of the disaster weapons system. If you are buying for the first time or buying specifically for a kit, I recommend a widely-used caliber to maximize your chances of getting inexpensive ammunition for storage and to give you the greatest chance of getting ammo by scrounging or bartering in an emergency. In the US currently, that appears to be .38, 9mm, .45, and possibly .357 calibers of ammunition. Because of widespread adoption by police, .40 might also be widely obtainable. The most common calibers in your area may vary from my estimate. (If you do choose an uncommon caliber for your sidearm, consider increasing the amount of stored ammunition and obtaining additional weapons in more common calibers in case of supply interruptions.) Whatever brand of ammunition you settle on should, of course, be tested in every gun it fits, and stocks should be rotated from time to time. Very old ammunition is still usable, but test some of those WWII vintage rounds just to make sure.

The pistol is the one that's always on you, the same as it is now. Whether you wear it openly after an event or continue to conceal it will be up to you and defined by the circumstances and environment. It is your "reactive" weapon, intended to cover the shortest ranges, contact to around thirty feet (the ten-yard circle). It may literally fulfill the purpose of being "what you use to fight your way to your rifle."

Having a shoulder arm of the same caliber will simplify ammunition purchase and storage choices. Some manufactures also produce carbines that can use the same magazines as their pistols (Hi-Point and Kel-Tec come to mind; the Kel-Tec carbine can be obtained in Glock, Beretta, and S&W variants, in fact). This could simplify logistics and get you more for your money. The carbine part of the weapons system is there to provide better precision (you can mount all manner of optics on a shoulder arm that would be awkward or impossible to fit on a pistol) at longer ranges. It could also be given to a partner while you use the rifle, and/or assigned to family members who would be less comfortable with a full-caliber rifle. The carbine will overlap the pistol in its use at the ten-yard line, but its main use is for precision fire out to 100 yards. Though there are very inexpensive rifles on the market (SKS for example), if cost is a factor consider a common-caliber carbine as the first shoulder arm.

If only one shoulder arm is chosen, and cost or recoil tolerance is not otherwise an issue, I recommend the purchase of a rifle. In fact, if you're only going to get one weapon solely for protection in the aftermath of a disaster, it should be a rifle or carbine. (For normal self-protection in normal times, it should be a pistol or revolver.) Again, choose a commonly-available caliber--most of what I see here is .223/5.56 or .308/7.62x51, but there are enough imports of Russian designs around that you may find one of those calibers easily available. In urban or most suburban areas, I would favor the .223/5.56 or the Russian 7.62x39. These calibers offers offer enough precision and power (more precision with the .223/5.56, more power with the 7.62x39) over the ranges I expect to face in a town or city. Also, the .223/5.56 will also be less likely to go through walls you may not want to be piercing. (With frangible ammunition the 5.56 has been shown to be less penetrative than even some 9mm rounds. Realize that, even in the aftermath of a large scale disaster and resulting extended loss of government control the rule of law will still apply; more importantly, it will be applied following restoration of control. You will still need to pay attention to laws governing use of force.)

In a rural area or some very spread-out towns and suburban areas I would give some thought to the .308 or similar heavier-caliber rifle. Though the .223 can, and does, do very well at the longer ranges of more open country, I would still feel better with the heavier punch at long range provided by the bigger gun. Also, in rural areas especially, I would expect that potential threats might well be armed with higher-caliber hunting weapons that overmatch the .223. If I must engage, then, I would want to do it on at least equal terms if I can't manage superior ones.

And speaking of superior terms: Whatever you get in whatever caliber, make it a magazine-fed semi-auto. There are some that can maintain a high volume of accurate fire with bolt-action rifles; I am not one of them, and I believe there are more people like me. With all the stress you will already be under from the post-disaster environment added to the extreme distress imposed on you in a firefight, the operationally-simpler semi-auto will make it easier to protect you and yours during the time of troubles.

A word about optics: On the carbine or rifle, I believe it better to have some kind of optical enhancement than not. The type you choose is up to you. But whatever optical enhancement you put on the shoulder arm, you must be able to switch to iron sights at any time. And you must be comfortable doing so. Do not use an optical system that blocks or replaces your iron sights. You don't have to expect the optics to fail at the worst time, but you do need to be read if they do.

Once the purely defensive weapons have been obtained, consider adding a .22 rifle and pistol to the mix. This will give you a cheap way to practice basic marksmanship and tactics, provide pest and varmint control in a post-disaster situation, is a common caliber which can be stockpiled inexpensively, and in a pinch can back up larger-caliber weapons in a defensive situation.

So: A pistol or revolver to begin. After that, a shoulder arm, a carbine of the same caliber as the handgun and/or a semi-auto rifle of commonly-available caliber. After that, rifle and pistol in .22 caliber. These are my recommendations; these are the things I believe you will probably need when (I wish I could say "if") the next Event occurs.

Some will question the need for this kind of collection. Perhaps they don't know about the gunfights between citizens and groups of looters after Katrina, or about those who were threatening or actually tried to take fuel and food from other Rita evacuees after their own vehicles ran out or broke down. Perhaps they did not hear of how those who turned themselves over to government control were stripped of everything except a plastic grocery bag's worth of possessions. Perhaps they still believe, after all evidence to the contrary, that the government really will be there to help them. You, though, at least have a hint of it now. So I will leave you not with more information and recommendations, but with two questions:

Do you have what you need to keep yourself and those you love alive?

And, finally:

Do you have what it will take to keep it?

Si vi pacem parabellum.

C.R. Williams is the moderator of the Knives, Lights, & Gear forum on U.S. Concealed Carry Association's website.

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