Guns, Preppers and Survivalists – Is an Arsenal Necessary When TSHTF?

Early post!  I’m putting this up Sunday evening for those of you who like to check in early.


Today’s post is playing off Ranger Man’s Changing State of the Gun Industry and Gun Buyers article from a couple of days ago.  One aspect of the post that caught my attention is that gun owners are going out and buying more guns, which got me wondering how many of these people are Preppers or Survivalists vs regular old gun owners afraid of new regulations that might limit firearms and ammo somewhere down the road?

Now, if you’re a gun owner who owns guns because you enjoy shooting that’s one thing; however, if you’re a prepper stocking up for the zombie hordes it’s another.

Allow me to play Devil’s Advocate here for a moment.  I’m not going to discuss government regulations, but rather the actual need to own an arsenal for if/when the TS hits TF.

Common wisdom on most of the blogs is that you’ll need an arsenal when TSHTF, but is it really necessary to own a whole pile of guns and ammo if things go south?


Zombie insurance

“Hey Jarhead – have you lost your freakin’ mind??”

Let’s lay a few cards on the table right now.  First of all, I live in the country where a fair number of households have a smattering of hunting rifles, a pistol or two, and enough ammo to hunt for a few seasons, which sums up my arsenal pretty well.  I don’t have an AR-15 or an AK, although I’d love to own one someday because I like guns.

Let’s put it this way:  if I really  thought an assault rifle was absolutely necessary for my family’s survival I’d own one right now.  Kind of like people who live in the city – if they really  thought that their survival depended on them living in the country that’s where they’d live.

The point to keep in mind as we go forward is that I’m not entirely sure that you – as a prepper – need a full arsenal of heavy hitting iron if and when things go to hell.  I am NOT saying you don’t need a gun, but I am questioning the argument that you need an arsenal of machine guns to stay safe after TEOTWAWKI.


Let’s pretend for a minute that the world as we know it has ended.  Emergency services are breaking down or gone, communication is spotty, and people are resorting to lawlessness to get what they need because they’re not prepared.

Let’s also assume that you’re a target because maybe you haven’t practiced the best OPSEC in the world and people know you’ve got a nice stash of food and other goodies in your house.

What I’ve found in the past is that a superior force intent on gaining an objective will eventually succeed if they’re persistent enough.  If a mob approaches your house and you open up with automatic fire it might drive them off for awhile, but they’ll be back with more friends and guns of their own.  With enough resources they will eventually breach your defenses no matter how many guns you have.  Oh, you’ll make it tough for them, but if they’re determined they’ll get through.

Better not to be a target at all.  Practice OPSEC and stay out of sight before and after TSHTF.

Precision Shooting

If a larger group of people is trying to overcome your position, single well-aimed shots are more likely to actually hit something rather than blowing away all your ammo on suppressing fire.  Mrs. Jarhead is an excellent shot – probably better than me with a hunting rifle – and if I had my way in such a situation we’d be in different locations with our hunting rifles – with our pistols as backup – making anybody who stuck their head around a tree pay for their carelessness.

Controlled shooting, conserving ammo, and keeping a cool head is much better than blazing away with a light machine gun.

Falling Back

Back in the Corps they’d say, “Retreat!” and we’d yell, “Stand fast and die, Sir!”

Well, that might be ok for a bunch of 18 to 24 year olds making a last stand; however, I don’t have that luxury.  With two small children in the house I’ve got a fall back plan, which is to hit the woods behind the house running and not stop until I’m sure we’re not being followed.

I have the advantage of knowing those woods like the back of my hand.  The open trails, the hidden trails, how to bushwhack straight through the pines to get to the swamp, etc.  Once I’m in the woods I find it highly unlikely that anybody would follow me, especially at night.  Why would they when they’ve got what they came for?

Do I lose some food and stuff?  Yeah, but I live to fight another day.  And if it ever gets to that point where society has gone to hell I’ll probably have stashed a few goodies in the woods to keep us going for awhile – just in case.

Have a good fallback plan, folks.  It could save your life.

Team Up With Your Neighbors

“No man is an island.”

You’ve all heard this before, but the romantic notion of heading for the hills after some kind of societal shutdown just isn’t feasible.   No matter where you are the best thing you can do is get to know your neighbors.  They may not be into the prepping scene right now, but if something big happens they’re much more likely to listen to what you have to say if they already know you.

Why should you get to know the folks who live around you?  Aside from the fact that it’s nice just because it’s a neighborly thing to do, if the TSHTF you now have more people ready to stand guard with you than if you’re trying to do it all by yourself.  Not to mention the division of labor and shared skill sets available within the community.

Within the framework of this little exercise there is safety in numbers.  Chances are good that few of you reading this have the skills to become a one-man/woman kill squad capable of making your way to the zombie heartland to kill the zombie king .  (Or whatever.)

The exception would be a trained infantry platoon.    Most people are no match for the training and weapons of a combat platoon and if you come across something like this be respectful or go the other way.  (Which would be my advice for most fire fights.)

You may have to make a stand against bad guys at some point, but try and do it on your terms.


As usual when I get on a topic like this the post starts to take on a life of it’s own.  Time to end it even though I’ve got more to say.

So what exactly is my message here today?  First, for you preppers out there without a vast array of fire power at your disposal, I wouldn’t worry about it too much.  Sure, get a gun if you can, but take the time to learn how to use it!  You don’t want to shoot yourself or someone else accidentally when you actually have to use it during a stressful situation.

For those of you with a vast array of firearms:  carry on.  Nothing wrong with that at all.

I can’t wait to hear what you have to say.

Sound off below!

-Jarhead Survivor