Surviving Argentina’s Economic Collapse Part 1-3
I thought I might post
this info for your reading enjoyment. It is a series of articles and Q/A
sessions from a poster named “FerFal”.
He was a student in
Argentina during their economic collapse. He has some very good insights
into what life is like during a catastrophe. Particularly an economic
It’s a long read, but VERY worth it in my opinion.
I will post the first segment, and if there is interest then I will post the others. There are 7 parts in total.
All credit goes to FerFal and the other posters who comprise this series.
THOUGHTS ON URBAN SURVIVAL
Life in Post-Collapse Argentina, Oct. 2005
My brother visited
Argentina a few weeks ago. He’s been living in Spain for a few years
now. Within the first week, he got sick, some kind of strong flu, even
though the climate isn’t that cold and he took care of himself. Without a
doubt he got sick because there are lots of new viruses in my country
that can’t be found in 1st world countries. The misery and famine lead
us to a situation where, even though you have food, shelter and health
care, most others don’t, and therefore they get sick and spread the
diseases all over the region.
What got me started on
this post is the fact that I actually saw this coming, and posted on the
subject here at Frugal’s, [frugalsquirrels.com] months before the new
viruses spread over the country and the news started talking about this
new health emergency, which proves that talking, thinking and sharing
ideas with like-minded people (you guys), does help me to see things
coming and prepare for them with enough time. So I started thinking
about several issues, what I learned (either the hard way or thanks to
this forum) after all these years of living in a collapsed country that
is trying to get out an economical disaster and everything that comes
along with it. Though my English is limited, I hope I’m able to transmit
the main ideas and concepts, giving you a better image of what you may
have to deal with some day, if the economy collapses in your country.
Here is what I have so far:
URBAN OR COUNTRY?
Someone once asked me how
did those that live in the country fare. If they were better off than
city dwellers. As always there are no simple answers. Wish I could say
country good, city bad, but I can’t, because if I have to be completely
honest, and I intend to be so, there are some issues that have to be
analyzed, especially security. Of course those that live in the country
and have some land and animals were better prepared food-wise. No need
to have several acres full of crops. A few fruit trees, some animals,
such as chickens, cows and rabbits, and a small orchard were enough to
be light years ahead of those in the cities. Chickens, eggs and rabbits
would provide the proteins, a cow or two for milk and cheese, some
vegetables and fruit plants covered the vegetable diet, some eggs or a
rabbit could be traded for flour to make bread and pasta or sugar and
Of course that there are
exceptions, for example, some provinces up north have a desert climate,
and it almost never rains. It is almost impossible to live off the land,
and animals require food and water you have to buy. Those guys had it
bad; no wonder the northern provinces suffer the most in my country.
Those that live in cities, well they have to manage as they can. Since
food prices went up about 200%-300%. People would cut expenses wherever
they could so they could buy food. Some ate whatever they could; they
hunted birds or ate street dogs and cats, others starved. When it comes
to food, cities suck in a crisis. It is usually the lack of food or the
impossibility to acquire it that starts the rioting and looting when
When it comes to security
things get even more complicated. Forget about shooting those that mean
you harm from 300 yards away with your MBR [main battle rifle]. Leave
that notion to armchair commandos and 12 year old kids that pretend to
be grown ups on the internet.
1) Those that want to harm you/steal from you don’t come with a pirate flag waving over their heads.
2) Neither do they start shooting at you 200 yards away.
3) They won’t come riding
loud bikes or dressed with their orange, convict just escaped from
prison jump suits, so that you can identify them the better. Nor do they
all wear chains around their necks and leather jackets. If I had a
dollar for each time a person that got robbed told me “They looked like
NORMAL people, dressed better than we are”, honestly, I would have
enough money for a nice gun. There are exceptions, but don’t expect them
to dress like in the movies.
4) A man with a wife and
two or three kids can’t set up a watch. I don’t care if you are SEAL,
SWAT or John Freaking Rambo, no 6th sense is going to tell you that
there is a guy pointing a gun at your back when you are trying to fix
the water pump that just broke, or carrying a big heavy bag of dried
beans you bought that morning.
The best alarm system
anyone can have on a farm are dogs. But dogs can get killed and
poisoned. A friend of mine had all four dogs poisoned on his farm one
night, they all died. After all these years I learned that even though
the person that lives out in the country is safer when it comes to small
time robberies, that same person is more exposed to extremely violent
home robberies. Criminals know that they are isolated and their feeling
of invulnerability is boosted. When they assault a country home or farm,
they will usually stay there for hours or days torturing the owners. I
heard it all: women and children getting raped, people tied to the beds
and tortured with electricity, beatings, burned with acetylene torches.
Big cities aren’t much safer for the survivalist that decides to stay in
the city. He will have to face express kidnappings, robberies, and
pretty much risking getting shot for what’s in his pockets or even his
So, where to go? The
concrete jungle is dangerous and so is living away from it all, on your
own. The solution is to stay away from the cities but in groups, either
by living in a small town-community or sub division, or if you have
friends or family that think as you do, form your own small community.
Some may think that having neighbors within “shouting” distance means
losing your privacy and freedom, but it’s a price that you have to pay
if you want to have someone to help you if you ever need it. To those
that believe that they will never need help from anyone because they
will always have their rifle at hand, checking the horizon with their
scope every five minutes and a first aid kit on their back packs at all
times…. Grow up.
What ever sort of
scenario you are dealing with, services are more than likely to either
suffer in quality or disappear all together. Think ahead of time;
analyze possible SHTF scenarios and which service should be affected by
it in your area. Think about the most likely scenario but also think
outside the box. What’s more likely? A tornado? But a terrorist attack
isn’t as crazy as you though it would be a few years ago, is it?
Also analyze the
consequences of those services going down. If there is no power then you
need to do something about all that meat you have in the fridge, you
can dry it or can it. Think about the supplies you would need for these
tasks before you actually need them. You have a complete guide on how to
prepare the meat on you computer… how will you get it out of there if
there is no power? Print everything that you consider important.
No one can last too long
without water. The urban survivalist may find that the water is of poor
quality, in which case he can make good use of a water filter, or that
there is no water available at all. When this happens, a large city were
millions live will run out of bottled water within minutes. In my case,
tap water isn’t very good. I can see black little particles and some
other stuff that looks like dead algae. Taste isn’t that bad. Not good
but I know that there are parts of the country where it is much worse.
To be honest, a high percentage of the country has no potable water at
If you can build a well, do so, set it as your top of the list priority as a survivalist.
Water comes before firearms, medicines and even food. Save as much water
as you can. Use plastic bottles, refill soda bottles and place them in a
cool place, preferably inside a black garbage bag to protect it from
sun light. The water will pick some plastic taste after a few months,
but water that tastes a little like plastic is far way better than no
water at all. What ever the kind of SHTF scenario you are dealing with,
water will suffer.
In my case the economical
crash created problems with the water company, that reduces the
maintenance and quality in order to reduce costs and keep their income
in spite of the high prices they have to pay for supplies and equipment,
most of which comes from abroad, and after the 2001 crash, costs 3
times more. As always, the little guy gets to pay for it. Same would go
for floods or chemical or biological attacks. Water requires delicate
care and it will suffer when TSHTF in one way or another. In this case,
when you still have tap water, a quality filter is in order, as well as a
pump if you can have one. A manual pump would be ideal as well if
possible. Estimate that you need a approximately a gallon per person per
day. Try to have at least two-four weeks worth of water. More would be
I spent WAY to much time
without power for my own taste. Power has always been a problem in my
country, even before the 2001 crisis. The real problem starts when you
spend more than just a few hours without light. Just after the SHTF in
2001 half the country went without power for 3 days. Buenos Aires was
one big dark grave. People got caught on elevators, food rots; hospitals
that only had a few hours worth of fuel for their generators ran out of
power. Without power, days get to be a lot shorter. Once the sun sets
there is not much you can do. I read under candle light and flashlight
light and your head starts to hurt after a while. You can work around
the house a little bit but only as long as you don’t need power tools.
Crime also increases once the lights go out, so whenever you have to go
somewhere in a black out, carry the flashlight on one hand and a handgun
on the other.
Summarizing, being in a
city without light turn to be depressing after a while. I spent my share
of nights, alone, listening to the radio, eating canned food and
cleaning my guns under the light of my LED head lamp. Then I got
married, had a son, and found out that when you have loved ones around
you black outs are not as bad. The point is that family helps morale on
A note on flashlights.
Have two or three head LED lights. They are not expensive and are worth
their weight in gold. A powerful flashlight is necessary, something like
a big Maglite or better yet a SureFire, especially when you have to
check your property for intruders. But for more mundane stuff like
preparing food, going to the toilet or doing stuff around the house, the
LED headlamp is priceless. Try washing the dishes on the dark while
holding a 60 lumen flashlight on one hand and you’ll know what I mean.
LEDs also have the advantage of lasting for almost an entire week of
continuous use and the light bulb lasts forever.
are a must or else you’ll end up broke if lights go out often. Have a
healthy amount of spare quality batteries and try to standardize as much
as you can. I have 12 Samsung NM 2500Mh AA and 8 AAA 800mh for the
headlamps. I use D cell plastic adaptors in order to use AA batteries on
my 3 D cell Maglite. This turned out to work quite well, better than I
expected. I also keep about 2 or 3 packs of regular, Duracell batteries
just in case. These are supposed to expire around 2012, so I can forget
about them until I need them. Rechargeable NM batteries have the
disadvantage of loosing power after a period of time, so keep regular
batteries as well and check the rechargeable ones every once in a while.
After all these years of problems with power, what two items I would love to have?
1) The obvious. A
generator. I carried my fridge food to my parent’s house way to many
times on the past. Too bad I can’t afford one right now.
2) A battery charger that
has both solar panel and a small crank. They are not available here. I
saw that they are relatively inexpensive in the USA. Do yourself a favor
and get one or two of these. Even if they don’t charge as well as
regular ones, I’m sure it will put out enough power to charge batteries
for LED lamps at least.
GAS (Propane and natural gas)
Gas has decreased in quality as well, there is little gas. Try to have
an electric oven in case you have to do without it. If both electricity
and gas go down, one of those camping stoves can work as well, if you
keep a good supply of gas cans. The ones that work with liquid fuel seem
to be better on the long run, since they can use different types of
fuel. You can only store a limited amount of compressed gas and once you
ran out of it, you are on your own if stores are closed of they sold
them out. Anyway, a city that goes without gas and light for more than
two weeks is a death trap, get out of there before it’s too late.
A DIFFERENT MENTALITY.
I was watching the People
& Art channel with my wife the other night. It was a show where
they film a couple for a given period of time and some people vote on
who is the one with the worst habits, the one they find more annoying.
We were in our bed, and this is when I usually fall asleep but since the
guy was a firearms police instructor I was interested and managed to
stay awake. At one point the guy’s wife said that she found annoying
that her husband spent 500 dollars a month on beauty products for
himself. 500 USD on facial cream, special shampoo and conditioner, as
well as having his nails polished! If you are that guy and happen to be
reading this, or if you know him, I’m sorry, but what an idiot!! “500
USD, that’s a small generator or a gun and a few boxes of ammo” I told
my wife. “That’s two months worth of food” she said. We were each
thinking of a practical use for that money, the money this guy was
practically throwing away. Once the SHTF, money is no longer measured in
money, but you start seeing it as the necessary goods it can buy. Stuff
like food, medicine, gas, or the private medical service bill. To me,
spending 500 dollars on beauty products, and to make it worse, on a guy?
That’s simply not acceptable. The way I see it, someone with that
mentality can’t survive a week without a credit card, no use in even
considering a SHTF scenario.
And this guy is a firearms instructor?… probably the kind of guy that
will say that a handgun is only used to fight his way to his rifle… and
his facial night cream…
Once you experience the
lack of stuff you took for granted, like food , medicines, your set of
priorities change all of a sudden. For example, I had two wisdom teeth
removed last year. On both occasions I was prescribed with antibiotics
and strong Ibuprofen for the pain. I took the antibiotics (though I did
buy two boxes with the same prescription just to keep one box just in
case) but I didn’t use the Ibuprofen, I added it to my pile of
medicines. Why? Because medicines are not always available and I’m not
sure if they will be available in the future. Sure, it hurt like hell,
but pain alone isn’t going to kill you, so I sucked it up. Good for
building up character if you ask me.
Make sacrifices so as to
ensure a better future, that’s the mentality you should have if you want
to be prepared. There’s stuff that is “nice to have” that has to be
sacrificed to get the indispensable stuff. There’s stuff that is not
“basic need stuff” but it’s also important in one way or another. My
wife goes to the hairdresser once every month or two. It’s not life or
death, but it does make her feel better and it boosts her morale.
I buy a game for the Xbox or a movie to watch with my wife every once in
awhile, just to relax. 7 or 10 dollars a month are not going to burn a
hole in my pocket. Addictions such as alcohol, drugs or even cigarettes
should be avoided by the survivalist. They are bad for your health; cost
a lot of money that could be much better spent, and create an addiction
to something that may not be available in the future. Who will have to
tolerate your grouchy mood when your brand of smokes is no longer
imported after TSHTF?
Urban Survival Part II and III
Once the SHTF the black/gray market will take no time to appear all around you.
In my country, gray markets were even accepted in the end. At first it
was all about trading skills or craft products for food. Districts and
towns would form their own barter markets, and created their own
tickets, similar to money, that was used to trade.
This didn’t last long. Those tickets were easy to make on your home
computer, there was no control and eventually people went back to paper
These markets were
usually placed on warehouses or empty land, and were managed by some
wise guy and a few thugs or hired security. Anyone can go rent a kiosk
inside these markets for about 50-100 pesos (about 20-30 dollars) a day
and sell his goods and services. Peace within these markets is usually
respected… lets just say that these managers don’t call the police if
someone tries anything funny, like stealing, fighting or taking
advantage of women. That’s not good for their business and anyone that
tries to mess with their business finds out how much pain the human body
can actually experience or gets a free ticket to meet the Lord.
Sometimes even uniformed cops manage security on these markets, for a
small fee of course. As always, you still have to be careful. They may
still try to pick your pockets or even attack you once you leave the
market. Once you leave the market, you are on your own, as always.
These markets evolved and
now a lot of different products are available. Today I visited my local
market, a warehouse that is fairly well set up and cleanly managed.
They had problems for selling stolen merchandise and fake brand name
clothes a few days ago.
What can be found at the local markets? Mostly food and clothing. Some
have more variety than others but cheese, canned food, spices, honey,
eggs, fruits, vegetables, beer, wine and cured meat are generally
available, same as bakery products and pasta. These are less expensive
than those found at supermarkets. Fresh fish is sometimes available but
not always, people don’t trust many products that need refrigeration,
and they get those at supermarkets instead.
Clothes are also popular
and you can find copies of brand name clothes, imitations, or even
original stolen new clothes, the same goes for shoes and sneakers.
Children clothes, underwear, socks, sheets and towels are all very
popular. Some sell toys, but they are always China made, mostly poor
quality though there are some few exceptions. Others sell tools, also
made in China can be found as well, but they are of poor quality. Some
offer their services and repair stuff or offer work as handyman.
You would be amazed of the junk that these guys manage to fix: TVs, CD
players, Power tools, etc. They even manage to solder the small
integrated circuits boards sometimes. Give one of these guys a screw
driver and a bar of chocolate and he will fix a nuclear submarine.
After food and clothes,
the 3rd most popular item has to be CDs and DVDs, movies, music, play
station 2 and Xbox games, programs, it all ends up there just one or two
days after the official release in USA. Seems that they have a guy
hidden under Bill Gate’s desk or something. Anyway, almost everything
can be found there, and if you want, you can ask around, talk to the
right guy and buy illegal stuff like drugs or black market guns and
ammo. The quality of the drugs is questionable, of course, and a lot of
addicts die from the mixtures these guys sell.
Guns are mostly FN High Powers, Surplus 1911s and Colt .45s, Sistemas,
and old Colt Detective revolvers in 38 special that found their way from
police and military armories into the black market. Condition isn’t
very good but if you have money you’ll be amazed of what you can end up
with. Everything that is used by the military and police, including SMGs
a, Browning 50 BMG Machine guns, and even frag grenades, is available
in the black market, if the customer has the amount of money and a
little patience, of course. The big guns may take a while, but the
handguns and grenades are readily available.
Someone hit me in the head please because I messed up about the gold issue.
Everyone wants to buy
gold! “I buy gold. Pay cash” signs are everywhere, even on TV! I can’t
believe I’m that silly! I just didn’t relate it to what I read here
because they deal with junk gold, like jewelry, either stolen or sold
because they needed the money, not the gold coins that you guys talk
about. No one pays for the true value of the stuff, so big WARNING! Sign
on people that are buying gold coins. Since it is impossible to
determine the true mineral percentage of gold, small shops and dealers
will pay for it as regular jewelry gold. What I would do if I were you:
Besides gold coins, buy a lot of small gold rings and other jewelry.
They should be less expensive than gold coins, and if the SHTF bad, you
won’t be losing money, selling premium quality gold coins for the price
of junk gold. If I could travel back in time, I’d buy a small bag of
gold rings. Small time thieves will snatch gold chains right out of your
neck and sell them at these small dealers found everywhere. This is
VERY common at train stations, subways and other crowded areas.
So, my advice, if you are
preparing for a small economical crisis, gold coins make sense. You
will keep the value of the stuff and be able to sell it for its actual
cost to gold dealers or maybe other survivalists that know the true
value of them. In my case, gold coins would have been an excellent
investment, saving me from losing money when the local economy crashed.
Even though things are bad, I can go to a bank down town and get paid
for what a gold coin is truly worth, same goes for pure silver. But
where I live, in my local area small time dealers will only pay you the
value of junk gold, no matter what kind of gold you have. So, I’d have
to say that if TSHTF bad, gold jewelry is a better trade item than gold
PART III: GUNS, AMMO AND OTHER GEAR
After TSHTF in 2001, only
the most narrow minded, brain washed, butterfly IQ level idiots
believed that the police would protect them from the crime wave that
followed the collapse of our economy. A lot of people that could have
been considered antigun before, ran to the gun shops, seeking advice on
how to defend themselves and their families. They would buy a 38
revolver, a box of ammo, and leave it in the closet, probably believing
that it would magically protect them from intruders.
Oh, maybe you don’t think
that firearms are really necessary or your beliefs do not allow you to
buy a tool designed to kill people. So you probably ask yourself, is a
gun really necessary when TSHTF? Will it truly make a difference? Having
gone through a SHTF scenario myself, total economical collapse in the
year 2001, and still dealing with the consequences, 5 years later, I
feel I can answer that question. YES, you need a gun, pepper spray, a
machete, a battle axe, club with a rusty nail sticking out of it, or
whatever weapon you can get hold of.
A LOT has been written on
survival weapons. Everyone that is into armed survival has his or her
own idea of the ideal gun battery. Some more oriented to a hunting point
of view, others only as self defense means and others consider a little
of both, and look for general purpose weapons. Talking about guns,
there is one special subject I want to rectify, and it’s the point on
what’s the primary weapon for the survivalist, specially a urban
survivalist that has to function in a society, yes, even after the SHTF.
The primary defensive weapon for the survivalist is his HANDGUN. It’s
the weapon that stays with him when he is doing his business around town
of working on the field. The survivalist IS NOT a soldier, even though
you are a soldier or you once were the meanest mother on the
battlefield, your home town is not a battlefield and it won’t be, even
if the SHTF. A LOT of water has to go under the bridge until the
situation gets to a point where you can calmly walk down the street with
a rifle on your shoulder. People, if you are interested in real world
SHTF situation and you want to prepare for the real deal, then
understand that this isn’t black or white. You wake up one day and
listen on the radio that the economy collapsed and that the stock market
closed indefinitely. What do you do? You still have to go to the
office/work/whatever. Kiss the wife good bye and walk to the office with
your AR across your back, or across your chest, Israeli style, ready to
shoot? You won’t get far. Someone will shoot you or throw you in jail,
or in a mental institution.
What I’m trying to
explain, is that it’s ok to prepare for China invading your country,
Germans and UN or Martians. That is the extreme, least likely worst case
There is an infinity
spectrum of gray between the black and white. White being your average
normal day and black being total TEOTWAWKI, lizard men invading the
Rifles do have a place in
the survivalist’s arsenal, and a very important one. But you have to
understand that 90% of the time, the handgun will be the weapon you have
available when you need one. You can’t compare to a trooper in Iraq
that has his weapon with him at all times. I ask you how many soldiers
do you know that keep wearing camouflage and toting their M4s around
town when they return home?
What works for war does not work for the survivalist, especially the urban survivalist.
Even if you live in a
retreat far from town, you have to work, don’t you? Or do you have
employees that take care of all your mundane tasks, leaving you all day
to keep watch with your rifle ready? A soldier is part of a huge
machine; HIS job is to carry that rifle, while others take care of other
needs. A survivalist, one that is not part of a large survivalist
group, has no one to cover for him.
When a new guy looks for advice on what to get for defense, some will recommend a rifle or shotgun as a first defensive weapon.
Let’s say race riots start in this guy’s city. He still has to go to
work every day. What is he supposed to do? Shove his pump shotgun in his
pocket? A handgun, even though less powerful, can be used for home
defense AND go with you wherever you need to go. If the place floods, he
can still hop into an evacuation boat without leaving his weapon
behind. I’m sure no rescue team will pick you if you are carrying a long
arm. They’ll ask you to leave it behind for sure. What if your
government, realizing that TSHTF and that they lost control of the
events, bans all firearms indefinitely? Don’t know about you, but if
things are that bad, I’d like to be armed. You can hide a handgun under a
jacket. You can’t hide a long arm under your clothes.
I think it was Clint
Smith who said that the handgun is only to be used to fight his way to
his rifle. Man! That sounds “macho”. I’d love to see him walking into
Walmart with his tactical M4, taking the subway, visiting the doctor or
going to the bank. “Over here Mr. Smith, you can hang you M4 right next
to my coat” I don’t think so. Guys, unless you have your own shooting
school, you do not get to carry your rifle to work.
OK, now that I got that out of my chest lets look at some options.
Handguns: Revolver or
Pistol? Pistol ALL THE WAY! Yes, I saw the video of the guy that
accurately emptied his S&W in ½ a second. I also saw the shooting
range and the crowd behind him, watching the event. Can he shoot and
reload that way if he is in his car, driving with one hand and shooting
with the other, while a bunch of scum bags in another car are shooting
at him? Hey, maybe he can. I know I can’t. Can you?
Generally speaking, the
revolver is more difficult to master than the pistol. The double action
is hard and it affects speed and accuracy. It can be done, but I found
that pistols are easier, as did many shooters. Also, even though they
seem to be more simple, revolvers are not as rugged as service pistols,
the mechanism that cycles the cylinder and cocks the hammer is both
complicated and fragile compared to auto pistols.
Before anyone starts
casting evil voodoo spells at me for insulting their prized S&W or
Ruger: I own revolvers and like shooting them, I just don’t think they
are the best option for self defense, and I see that everyone I talk to
in my country who is worried about security as I am also chooses
pistols. Quality pistols resist sand, mud and dirt in general better
than revolvers, where a small pebble locked in the mechanism may render
the revolver inoperable.
I personally had a
problem with a new stainless steel Taurus Tracker .357 magnum. After
shooting it a couple of times I reloaded it and shot all 7 rounds as
fast as I could and when I tried to empty it, I found that the empties
were stuck because they expanded because of the heat. I had to wait
until the gun cooled a little so I could empty the gun. Stuff like this
can get you killed, even more in a 7 round handgun.
I once saw a man walk
into a gun store wanting to trade his 357 magnum revolver for a 9mm high
capacity pistol. He said he was driving when thugs from another car
started shooting at him. He was chased for a few blocks. He said that he
pulled his revolver and started shooting at them, and ran out of ammo
real fast. He wanted more capacity and fast reloading. I could not agree
with him more. Some will consider this “Spray and pray”, thinking that
all rounds should hit the target and if some don’t then it means that
you need more time at the range. Those same people will tell you that
they intend to use bolt action rifles as defensive rifles, making each
shot count, without ever missing their target, one shot one kill. I
don’t agree with this. One shot one kill is ok for snipers, but the
survivalist should have other alternatives.
I don’t see anything
wrong with shooting four or five rounds at a chasing car. If those
rounds make them think twice about their intentions, they are rounds
well spent in my book, even if they don’t kill the attacker. Suppressive
fire is possible if you have a high capacity pistol. I wouldn’t doubt
on using such a tactic if it serves my purposes, or if it buys me time
to get out of there. Also keep in mind that criminals are cowards and
therefore attack in groups. The survivalist should be able to face more
than just one attacker. Getting into a gunfight with two or three armed
men while packing a 6 round revolver is rather hard to deal with. A high
capacity pistol can load about 15 or 19 rounds, and that can certainly
make a difference in a gunfight where you are outnumbered.
A forensic doctor that
used to live in my neighborhood got killed last year. He was ambushed
when he exited a restaurant by 5 or 6 men. Even though they did kill him
he managed to kill 4 of them and severely injure another. He shot
regularly and carried a Glock .40. I’m sure he was lucky but I also
think that his choice of weapon was also important in the outcome. If
anyone is wondering, people in my country that are serious about self
defense carry Glocks. Those that don’t have the money for a Glock carry
Bersas, FN 9mm High Powers or 1911 surplus .45s. At first I wasn’t sure
about the Bersa, but once I tried them I saw that they are very decent
The caliber choice calls
for endless debate and it is not my intention here. Lets just say that
9mm , 40S&W and 45ACP are the obvious choices. 40S&W seem to be
the most adequate, both in FMJ and HP, while 9mm lacks some stopping
power and hollow points should be used if possible. Though the 9mm lacks
power compared to the 40S&W, it is more popular world wide, a
factor to consider seriously when choosing a handgun for SHTF. Besides,
9mm can also be used in a number of carbines and SMG, another important
fact to be considered.
SMGs and carbines
chambered for 40S&W and .45 ACP are also available, but they at not
nearly as popular as those chambered for 9mm. Whatever you choose keep
500 or better yet 1000 rounds of quality ammo for your handgun at all
times. 100 rounds won’t last much if the crisis lasts long. Also
consider that once the balloon goes up, governments tend to restrict
guns and ammo.
I previously stated that
the urban survivalist will be using his handgun 90% of the time he needs
to defend himself and family from attackers. I didn’t pull this figure
out of thin air; it is quite accurate based on what happens here on
daily basis, even a little optimistic. Cold harsh reality has shown us
that most attacks occur when entering or exiting your home, when you are
Almost no one is stupid
enough to try to enter a barred house with armed occupants. Believe me
people; the gene pool will clean itself rather fast once the SHTF. So,
is a rifle necessary? Of course it is! There is still that 10%, and that
10% can still ruin your day. And this percentage sky rockets if you
intend to use that same rifle for putting meat on the table. If you have
to settle with just one rifle, go for a semi auto. Ideally you should
have a bolt action one and a semi auto rifle. A bolt action and a
semiautomatic 308 would make a nice combination.
Whatever you choose, try to keep it within military calibers and military weapons if possible.
It may seem that I have
something against bolt rifles but I don’t. I think they are fantastic
weapons, but I think that semi autos are much better fighting weapons.
The idea of “picking them out” 300 meters away with your bolt rifle, as
they come in a row blowing whistles and firing warning rounds is
laughable at best. Bolt rifles do have advantages over semi autos,
accuracy not being the most important one. Bolt rifles such as Mausers
last forever and are harder than rocks, and THAT’S important. They are
simple, easy to repair tools that will serve you (within their
limitations of course) longer than any other weapon. For example, the
coil spring on my Mauser 1891 safety broke into 3 separate parts, after
almost 100 years of faithful service. I dug into my tool box and found a
spring left over from a kitchen shelve door. I cut it approximately to
the length of the previous spring, replaced it and the rifle was fixed.
There are not many weapons that allow this. And it is a very valuable
attribute once the SHTF and spare parts are no longer available.
Stick to common calibers,
223, 7.62×39mm, or 7,62×51 (308). 223 vs. 308? I’m not going there. If
you prefer 223 because it has less recoil, it’s lighter, or you favor
the AR rifle go ahead. If you think that 223 is more powerful than 7,62
sign up to Physics I.
Just remember what I said before, a survivalist is not a soldier serving
in Iraq, and you don’t have the entire USMF to back you up. You are on
your own. You are not going to pin your attackers down with a
questionably effective round and wait until someone hits them with
About ARs… I wouldn’t
trust my life to a rifle that has more versions than Rocky sequels… the
way I see it, it means that the basic design was the problem and there
is no solution. On AK … all has been said. The most popular rifle on the
planet, and popular not because of politics, but because it works. It
also fires an intermediate power, effective round, available world wide.
SKS are also good, but I’d rather have removable magazines. Again,
don’t use voodoo on me because I say I wouldn’t trust my life to a AR.
If you keep your weapon clean, know its limitations and feel comfortable
with it, go for it please. A couple of rounds of 223 will kill anyone
just as well.
If you want a rifle that
can do a little bit of everything relatively well, do yourself a favor
and get either a M1A or a FAL in 7,62 (308) with a carbine length
barrel. Preferably with a red dot scope and some kind of light mount.
Leave full length barrels to hunters and bench rest shooters. Do your
homework on both guns and you’ll see what I mean.
Choose 308 not because of the added range you can get out of it, but
because of its power at all ranges, choose it because it turns cover
into concealment. Think about all the possible cover material you can
find in a city, like cars, trees, low walls and other structures. The
308 will go right through it, or destroy it after a few rounds. It’s a
proven cartridge through out the years.
Shotguns are good general
purpose guns. The main advantage I see is the devastating stopping
power and the ability to use special ammo, like slugs and less than
lethal ammo. I’m not so sure about the role as an “inside house” gun.
The muzzle blast is great and quick follow up are not easy, especially
when adrenalin is pumping through your system or, even worse, when
someone is shooting back at you.
Pistol caliber carbines and SMG.
If possible , I’d choose a
SMG reduced to semi auto (only if necessary, of course, full auto
selector is better if possible ) or other kind of short, small, pistol
caliber carbine. The combination of a 9mm handgun and a 9mm carbine or
SMG reduced to semi auto or full auto class III has lots of advantages
in my book and is a fine combination.
Some think that full auto is a waste of ammo. I don’t think so, not if
you know how to use your head, and use this feature wisely. If you can
get a short barrel and collapsible stock, you’ll also have a weapon that
can be hidden under a heavy coat. A red dot scope would enhance
accuracy a lot. The advantage of having the same ammo for long and small
arm is not to be taken lightly. From the logistical, survivalist point
of you, this is one big thumbs up! Think about cowboys and Americans
that lived in the west, they also knew the value of using the same ammo
for rifle and handgun. They had single action handguns and lever action
handguns chambered for the same ammo, the modern survivalist can have
the same ammo for his auto pistol and his sub-rifle as well.
Some think that a pistol
caliber long arm is just one big clumsy pistol or a rifle sized gun that
delivers pistol power and accuracy. This is BS. Anyone that ever fired a
pistol caliber rifle or SMG knows that they are much more accurate,
hitting torso targets at 100 yards is easy, and a little more if you
have a red dot scope. Also, SMGs can manage hot ammo specially made for
such guns, much more powerful than the one for handguns. Even if you use
regular handgun ammo, the added barrel length adds a few extra feet per
second making it more powerful. Just check the information on boy
armor. Body armor that is rated to stop 9mm, for example, is not rated
to stop the same 9mm ammo out of a SMG or carbine, because the added
speed will make that same round penetrate the vest. Anyway, +P ammo is
more than enough power out of a SMG or carbine, you don’t have to go
looking for special SMG ammunition.
If you can get full auto
that’s one nice feature to have, not worth it if you are on a tight
budget, but if you can get it, it may come in handy someday. Full auto
SMG are giving police in my country a lot of headaches. A criminal with
little or no training will put 3 or 4 cops armed with pistols and
shotguns on their toes, just because of the sheer volume of fire these
high capacity 9mm deliver. There was this case of a bad guy standing in
front of a patrol car full of cops on a red light stop, pulling a 9mm
SMG out of his coat and emptying it on full auto. The cops didn’t have a
chance, he killed them all. The car looked like Swiss cheese with 40
9mm holes all over the vehicle.
All I’m going to say on
this subject is: Have one if you can. That’s it. I’ll leave the rest of
it to your imagination, don’t make me say it. Today it may seem like a
“nice to have” feature… after the SHTF, it may be a “O God I’ve got to
get a suppressor!!” feature.
I’d buy a good suppressor instead of a ultra high dollar scope like the
SOG. Buy a good quality scope, but don’t spend a fortune on it, and use
the rest of the money on a suppressor. If you are serious about
preparing for SHTF, you’ll thank me one day, just trust me on this one.
9mm and 45 suppress quite well. Not as well as .22 , but there is much
more power on the big bore ammo. Combined with a full auto SMG, the
possibilities are much greater. Sometimes it’s just better to go
unnoticed, especially in a SHTF crisis.
Dear God! Buy body armor
PLEASE!! It’s dirt cheap in USA. Preferably, get the police concealable
kind (class II) Then continue to work on it and get class III A military
armor and some rifle plates, just as you do when you start buying guns.
You’ll end up with 2 or 3 sets of armor which are great to have for
family members and spares. Just so you know, I got so desperate about
body armor I ordered it from USA through internet (bulletproofme.com), I
ended up paying a total of nearly 600 USD for body armor that costs 200
USD in USA. Buy it while you still can. When the SHTF you’ll end up
wearing it, believe me. I don’t wear mine all day long but I do wear it
when I have to go some place dangerous, deal with people I don’t trust,
or when I have to go teach Architecture Representation late at night,
and must travel through a much dangerous road at 12 PM.
Part 2 and Part 3