SHTFPreparedness may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page.

If you are bugging in, or for some reason couldn’t bug out, these tips may save you and your family’s lives and your stockpile. It’s no secret that when SHTF, there will be people that want to take advantage of the situation, either by looting, killing and even raping.

You might spend most of your time concerned about these types of threats in an SHTF scenario. However, what about the desperate people who don’t look to do harm but are unprepared. What about the people who show up at your door and need help? 

If you only have the preparedness supplies to serve your family, taking someone else on is going to be a detriment. Let’s look at 5 ways to deter people from coming to your door. 

Ask First 

One of the most effective means of dealing with people asking for help is to ask first. Don’t wait for people to come to your door. Go to theirs. That will set a tone that you don’t have anything. 

If people ask for help you need only lie to them. Tell them you have nothing. They are not going to come into your house and inspect it. If they try you have another problem on your hands.

Act from a Position of Power

At the onset of the disaster explain to your community what is going on and what you will and will not tolerate. You have all the resources already. You have the plans. Make the rules, regarding your home, before people start to assume they can come over. 

Put them to Work

Explain to people that they can earn resources if you have extra. There will be plenty to be done. 

Bonus: Root Cellar That Can Be Used as a Bunker

If you can’t afford the box culvert option you can look into is building a backyard root cellar that can be used as a bunker.

If you want to learn how to build a backyard bunker like your grandparents had, without breaking the bank, then check out Easy Cellar.

Easy Cellar will show you:

Easy Cellar will also show you how a veteran, with only $421, built a small nuclear bunker in his backyard.

This content was originally published here.

Roadblocks and checkpoints are a way to control territory, and they could become very common after the SHTF. In this video from the Youtube channel, Reality Survival & Prepping, JJ talks about many considerations for negotiating roadblocks during a nationwide SHTF scenario.

The main goal is to avoid them, but these tips can help you manage along the way. Here’s his list…

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1. They are dangerous. This is how people control territory in emergency situations from legitimate authorities, and illegitimate people trying to rob you.

2. Roadblocks are established in limited visibility. You may come upon them quickly. Keep a heightened sense of awareness around curves and hills.

3. Competent Roadblocks will have multiple people stationed. Assume that there may be back-up.

4. Primary and secondary roads will be the first to establish roadblocks. Try to use back roads and logging trails where possible to avoid encounters.

5. Areas of heavy tree covers, rocks, terrain make good roadblock stations. They are looking to surprise you, travel on flat roads.

6. Have multiple vehicles. From a tactical standpoint, one car is a high risk. If you’re walking, stick to two groups and slightly separate.

7. Avoid cities and towns. Go the long way to avoid cities, by 5+ miles.

8. Have primary, alternate, and emergency routes established. Have a plan, know the plan and have rally spots in case of separation.

9. The first car in the group should travel ahead to notify everyone else of roadblocks. The second car can be signaled.

10. Expect overwatch. Overwatch stations will pay attention to cars traveling together.

11. The first car should arrive slowly. If possible, relay information back to the second car.

12. The second car covers the first. The second car should provide cover and be ready in case the first car needs back-up.

13. When the first car has passed, they provide cover for following cars. Having a designated shooter or sniper per vehicle is helpful.

14. Be ready for food, money, ammunition demands. Have some items you’re willing to hand over, but make them work for it so they don’t feel entitled to more.

15. Have a plausible cover story for your entire group. Make sure these details are believable and shared with the full group.

16. Assuming you have 4 vehicles, the back 2 should have weapons at low ready and be ready to engage. If something happens, the back two cars should be ready to throw down fire to protect the front vehicles. The first two cars should be polite and ready to put the checkpoint attendants at ease.

17. Passengers should ride in the back seat. They are the primary shooter and ready to engage.

18. Wear body armor. You can wear this discretely.

19. Have go bags next to you. If you must abandon your vehicle, have survival gear and ammunition ready to grab.

20. Ramming When needed as an out, ram one vehicle as you escape. A midsized sedan or larger won’t sustain enough damage to affect the car.

21. When approaching a checkpoint, try to determine if it’s law enforcement or bandits. Check for uniforms, vehicles, and weapons to match and look legitimate.

22. If you believe it’s legitimate, it’s likely ok to provide your ID. If you think they are illegitimate, you may not want to provide your ID to protect assets or people at your address.

Watch the video below for a more detailed discussion of these considerations.

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This content was originally published here.

Guest article by ” RWT “

Personally, I view this episode of our history as a great dry run that we could control. If “10” is a true blackout across the globe then this is a “1”.  My reasons are outlined below, and my lessons learned along the way. What about yours?

Now, that being said, I slept better knowing I’ve been following this blog for a few years and I knew what to expect after reading “One Second After” (view book on amzn).   I consider myself between Kens’ level 3 and 4 on the preparedness scale. 

I have accumulated doubles of most items that I need to maintain a comfortable existence. Food for at least 6 months for the entire family, if not longer, without buying anything. Meds for 3+ months. More tools than a big Orange Store. A BOL with 7000lbs of beef on the hoof. A ½ acre tank stocked with fish.  Water treatment and containment for the entire family as long as we have average rain. Fuel for a month and solar as a back-up for smaller needs. An expandable garden, general knowledge of trying and failing with it and a solid seed bank with library.   

(All my personal defense items suffered a tragic boating accident years ago so I am relegated to pitch forks and torches.)

The Lessons I Learned

The lessons I learned from this event are numerous. 

I’ll outline a few and I am curious to hear those of the group. 

My family will adapt slowly.  The DW was happy I had prepared, however, still slow to conserve as she is a stickler for expiration dates.   She relented a little on the milk and bread; still she would not budge on meat or canned items. 

I still need many items in quantity. I have enough for this short event and can complete the majority of the tasks I want to.   Many tasks revolve around expanding the garden and solidifying the food supply longer term.

More lumber for building longer term projects such as a chicken coop or rabbit hutch. I can also go scrounge and scavenge the constriction sites if it was that bad. 

More wire for the garden, fruit trees, coops and hutches.   Fighting nature is a full-time job and every critter in the area wants what I have in my garden.   The 4×4 covered garden produced enough for our small family to augment our needs.  Now a 12×12 is required IMO.  

More tarps.  I never expected a hail storm so I had to cover the garden with what I had.  Plenty of tarps to complete the task, but they wont last more than 1 or 2 storms at best. 

More bug/ant poison.  Just keeping the ants down with all the spring rains is a chore.

More medical supplies. The non-digital thermometer I had as a back-up did not work and I had to break into the last bottle of Benadryl.   

Fresh produce will be the most difficult to come by.  I failed to plant the fall garden due to changing the entire program for the spring and we just started the spring garden when COVID hit.

I never realized how many paper towels we went through.  Luckily TP is not an issue as I listened to NRP.   Grey hair and experience are invaluable as I have lost the tops of many a hunting sock over the years so I stocked up. 

You can never have enough batteries; goodness knows why I ordered 144 more.  I told myself it was to keep the 7 game cameras operational.

Bread is a huge need.   The DW baked a loaf when we were short and couldn’t find any in the store.   Luckily, she had enough yeast.  I now see this as the Achilles heel of our bread situation.  How to store yeast or bake bread without it.   I need to find Kens article on it, print it and try it.

[ Read: How To Store Yeast ]

Keeping a better library of articles on “how to” for items I am not familiar with. Baking bread without yeast is an example.  I can camp cook and make meals decent enough for me.  Try convincing a 10 yr. old when “food” doesn’t look like what they are used to.   I know the growling stomach will turn that around, but as a father I want to do everything in my power to not be in that situation.  Luckily, my 10 yr. old has as much of a brain as they can at this age.  They ate what was in front of them. 

Family and friends turned to me for advice. Some were more adaptable than others.  I also learned who not to trust during our conversations as they are running around town without a mask or being just clueless. I know who is not allowed at my home or the BOL and I already had the HARD conversation with them about how their selfishness has changed our relationship, regardless even if they are your own parent. 

This is just a short list of thoughts.  I’ll tighten up my preps and adjust my needs based on this event. 

Now let’s hear from you. Are there areas you have gained a new perspective on?

This content was originally published here.

(Natural News)
During and after disasters, it’s a mistake to rely heavily on your local grocery stores and supermarkets as people will be buying out all of the food quickly. What you need is a proper survival garden, where you can grow high-calorie vegetables that can sustain you all year round. Here are the top 10 vegetables that can give you the most calories and keep you strong and healthy when SHTF.

Kidney beans

One pound of kidney beans can net you 1,520 calories. Kidney beans will need well-drained soil that’s filled with microorganisms that can nourish them with nitrogen. A family of four will need around 30 bean plants. Plant them during the last frost in spring in a location where they can get lots of sunlight.

A pound of carrots will give you 186 calories. Carrots thrive in loose and well-drained soil that has been given compost and manure. They will take seven to 21 days to germinate and will take a total of 70 to 80 days to mature. Around 80 to 100 carrots can sustain a family of four.

One pound of regular peas will give you 368 calories. Furthermore, 100 grams alone can give you 51 percent of your recommended daily allowance (RDA) of protein. Peas require rich, well-drained soil that’s been enriched with compost. Make sure you have a lot of space in your garden for them. You can feed one person in your household with around 25 pea plants, and each plant can give you between 50 to 80 individual peas.

Cherry tomatoes

A pound of cherry tomatoes gives you 454 calories. They will need eight hours of sun per day as well as well-drained and composted loam. To further increase your yield, provide them with some natural fertilizer every week. Plant around four bushes per person in your household. Each plant will yield around 100 or more cherry tomatoes.

A cousin of the onion, shallots are filled with calories. One pound of shallots provides 327 calories.  They prefer slightly acidic, loose, well-drained and composted loam. Shallots prefer cool weather, but they will only start germinating when the temperature of the soil is around 35 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. One plant produces between four to 12 usable shallots that are ready to harvest after  60 to 120 days. 24 shallot plants can feed a family of four.

One pound of this staple can provide a whopping 1,657 calories. Corn grows well in well-drained and loamy soil with a neutral pH. For maximum yield, plant your corn one and a half to two inches deep, four to six inches apart and in rows that are between 30 to 36 inches from each other. To feed a family of four and to give you an emergency supply of corn for winter, grow around 80 plants.

Sweet potatoes

One pound of sweet potatoes gives you around 390 calories. They need well-drained sandy loam. This will allow the tubers to expand underground. Plant them when all danger of frost is gone in a location with lots of sunshine. Sweet potatoes need a long growing period of between 90 to 170 days.

Chickpeas are filled with a lot of calories. One pound can give you 1,651 calories. As with all legumes, chickpeas thrive in moist, well-drained soil that has plenty of microorganisms. They need to be planted after the last frost in spring, but you can get a head start by growing seedlings in pots and then replanting them outside once the weather starts to change. You will need around 12 plants for a family of four. Harvest chickpeas while they’re still green so you can get half a pound to one and a half pounds of chickpeas per plant.

The average person needs between 2,000 and 2,500 calories per day. By planting any one of these ten high-calorie survival plants, you increase your chances of surviving during a disaster.

This content was originally published here.

SHTFPreparedness may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page.

We take water for granted every day. It’s impossible not to. Whenever you need it’s there. It’s available in any quantity you need for any use and water is inexpensive.

Because of that relationship that we have with water its hard to understand the fact that it can be taken away.

We are going to look at some answer to the question of water storage. You see, we are not able to store all the water might need to survive every kind of disaster.

Its as much about progress as it is about a variety of methods. There are many complications that come along with water.  Things like weight, bacteria, and space are all big ones!

Let’s look at some tips on water storage.

Emergency water has a lot to do with sourcing. There are real limits to how much water the average person can store.

The key to successful water storage is sourcing from every aspect that you can. Your water source should not just be a well or a bottle of water. It should be from the sky, the streams, the storage and whatever else you can muster.

Once you have identified a wide variety of water sources, you should focus on how to make that water potable.

The most effective method, without question, is boiling. Of course, it’s not always the best method at the time. Boiling takes time and sometimes using an Aquatab or other means is quicker.

Your home should have some sort of potable water stored on site. It’s very important to have something you can access when you need it.

Water storage at home can be purchased or caught water. Rainwater is a great means of water storage that can stay outside and not take up space in the home. 

A variety of storage methods is where you win the day.

Bonus: Root Cellar That Can Be Used as a Bunker

If you can’t afford the box culvert option you can look into is building a backyard root cellar that can be used as a bunker.

If you want to learn how to build a backyard bunker like your grandparents had, without breaking the bank, then check out Easy Cellar.

Easy Cellar will show you:

Easy Cellar will also show you how a veteran, with only $421, built a small nuclear bunker in his backyard.

This content was originally published here.

Navigational abilities are a must-have during a disaster. If the internet isn’t functioning or you don’t have proper cell signal, you won’t be able to rely on GPS or maps. When SHTF, you will recognize the true value of knowing your surroundings.

Effective disaster navigation skills means being familiar with your area not because your GPS directed you there, but because you’re aware of where this place leads. This isn’t limited to utilizing roads and highways, however: this also means taking advantage of possible shortcuts like alleyways, train tracks, subways, underground tunnels and monuments like buildings, shops and parks. Your navigation skills can be further supplemented by having a physical map of your immediate surroundings in your bug-out bag.

Escape and evasion

During disasters, you may be forced into a scenario where your only choice is to escape. Similarly, if you have to face a group of armed criminals on your own, you may be totally outmatched and have no choice but to run.

Escape and evasion are both about keeping out of sight and out of mind. It means you can run away from danger and avoid being followed while you’re escaping. This skill becomes even more crucial if you’re living in a dense, urban jungle, where danger can be lurking around every street corner. One of the most important things you need to learn about escaping is that staying mobile can keep you alive. Think and act fast, but it’s imperative that you don’t stop running from the danger.

Emergency radio communication

If the internet goes down and your cell signal becomes unreliable, alternative forms of long-distance communication, such as emergency radios, will be crucial. Knowing how to operate emergency radios can help you communicate not just with your family and other distant friends and relatives, but also with law enforcement and other authorities. Look online for local ham radio operator clubs that can provide you with helpful training. Alternatively, you and your neighborhood can invest in walkie-talkies, which you can use to coordinate community needs during disaster situations.

Situational awareness

Situational awareness is having a heightened perception of what’s going on around you. In a survival situation, situational awareness is exceptionally important because it can open your eyes to different possibilities in front of you. If there’s a fire, situational awareness can help you know where all of the exits are located, and which one is the closest; if there’s an earthquake, situational awareness can help you know where the safest place to take cover is. (Related: Prepping 101: What is situational awareness and why is it crucial for your personal safety?)

You can practice situational awareness by watching people while you’re on your daily commute or by looking at how people behave from your balcony. It can help you understand what people do during certain scenarios, such as if there’s an obstacle in front of them, or if they’re trying to avoid a dog they’re fearful of.

Self defense

Perhaps one of the most important skills you need to learn is self defense. Knowing how to fight back against armed attackers using your firearm or your other non-lethal or less-lethal weapons is important to staying alive. Self defense skills are needed not just for SHTF scenarios but also on an everyday basis. If you’re comfortable using firearms, try and spend more time on the gun range to practice your fundamentals. If you’d like to learn other self- defense skills, sign up for one of the possibly many self defense classes in your area.

Everyone can be a leader. You can be a leader in your job, in your household and in your survival group. When it comes to survival, someone like you can and should step up to take quick, decisive action that could potentially save lives. Being a good leader during a disaster situation means being able to effectively influence people to follow you.

There are many other skills that people can often overlook, such as conflict resolution and strong reading comprehension. Learning more outside the box skills can help you get through disasters and other SHTF scenarios better than many other people.

Sources include:

This content was originally published here.

It is a surreal state of affairs we all live in today. Although we do all face some similar very challenging circumstances, I think we need to break our planning down to what is optimal for the job at hand. As for my SHTF weapon I needed a weapon that was concealable and easily carried. I live in an urban environment without the option of bugging out. Grocery stores are still open and at some point, I will probably have to go there. My place of employment remains open and I am expected to show up.

My threat assessment has two parts. First, while at home and second, when outside of the home. Inside the home, I am relatively secured with a number of weapons. Outside my home was what I considered my greatest danger. I have a number of elderly neighbors. I know I will be keeping an eye on them, as well as going to work, and inevitably going for sustenance. Today I will focus on the latter: leaving my castle.


I live in Albuquerque. A favorite for filming the television show “COPS”. Favored because of the constant criminal antics going on. We always rate high in aggravated assault, homicide, home invasions, theft, etc. We have no shortage of “wolves” out on the prowl here.

Besides my sidearm, I wanted something I could hide, but keep enough firearm to egress to home. Something I could hide on my lap while my wife goes into the grocery store. I watch the entrance and parking lot while keeping comms with her.

Two programmable transceivers would be better, but one is enough

My FM-9 was the obvious choice for an SHTF weapon. It has a light/laser already mounted and takes the same magazines as my sidearm. I find the 10.5″ inch barrel allows my 9mm to accurately engage anything I need to in the city environment. With my goal to break off any engagement and return home, it is perfect.

SHTF Guns: Foxtrot Mike FM-9 and Shadow Systems MR918

The lower is built on a Moriarti stripped lower with LRBHO. My trigger is a CMC flat-faced 3.5 lbs drop in. I went with an ambidextrous Strike Industries safety and an SB Tactical PDW Adjustable Brace.

My weapon light is a Crimson Trace LiNQ. I like the wireless connection between the pistol grip and the light. Although the 300 lumens are not optimal outside, inside it does its job just fine. The green laser is a plus. Admittedly, I am not a big fan of lasers, but on this weapon, I have grown to appreciate it.

SHTF Guns: Foxtrot Mike FM-9 and Shadow Systems MR918

It should also be said that everything on my FM-9 was bought out of pocket; nothing was sent to me through TFB.

My secondary is my Shadow Systems MR918. You can see my review on it here. It is my standard EDC. I still feel it is one of the best out-of-the-box pistols on the market in the sub-one thousand dollar range. I fire it weekly and have never had a problem with it. With the tighter tolerances, it is very accurate. With a front night sight and a good trigger, I am very comfortable carrying it. I see no reason to change my EDC.

Two weapons, one cup,…uhh.. I mean mag.

Ammunition was the first issue I found when addressing my “plan”. During normal times, 150 rounds of hollow points seemed more than enough. Plenty for a couple fifteen round magazines. But when I started loading ALL my magazines, including my 30 round mags, I ran out quickly. Although I wish I had more, I do have enough. I prefer Hornady Critical Duty but loaded a couple of boxes of other brands I had stored away out of necessity.

SHTF Guns: Foxtrot Mike FM-9 and Shadow Systems MR918

Out of all of my weapons, this is my best option for my SHTF weapons when leaving the castle. A firearm is merely a tool, so find the right tool for the specific task at hand. My “in-castle” choices are different. I guess I still think like a first responder where the first goal is to get home safely. It is a good rule to have when leaving home, just a little more poignant in current times. Do not look for a fight, but make sure you are protected and can get home safely if one finds you.

I hope all our readers are safe out there. Do any of you have an SHTF weapon for leaving the castle?

This content was originally published here.

I. Introduction:

> Setting: My livingroom, watching locally cached episodes of True Blood

> Voice comes booming over megaphone from a dune buggy in the cul-de-sac outside

There has been too much violence, too much pain. None here are without sin, but I have an honorable compromise.

Just walk away.

Leave the iPad, the SSD full of ‘Friends’ reruns, the shake-charge flashlight, and the whole compound, and I spare your lives.

Just walk away.

I will give you safe passage in the subdivision. Just walk away and there will be an end to the horror. I await your answer.

You have one full episode of “The One Where Ross Gets High”* to decide.

> Guy with a mohawk wearing red long johns plays a fire-spewing guitar in the background

II. Your Landscape/AOR Overview:

OK so not quite Mad Max, but my AOR is what I would consider to be semi-realistic:

1. Urban or suburban United States;

2. 0-120 days post-disaster/state of emergency. An example would be the immediate aftermath of the 2005 levee breaches subsequent to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans (where I live now), and/or;

3. Civil unrest. This also applies in post-K New Orleans or, to a greater extent, the 1992 Los Angeles riots.

Essentially, a confluence of frustration, desperation, and opportunism, caused by a significant incident and then exacerbated by;

• Lack of supplies, medical care, or other forms of aid;
• Insufficient government resources to adequately or promptly address the situation;
• Inadequate or incompetent law enforcement, a good example being the Danziger Bridge Shootings;
• Law enforcement depriving law-abiding citizens of their civil rights under color of law, or worse, committing crimes in uniform.

People forget that these things have happened in recent history.

III. Specifications – Base Firearm:

It would have to be an AR-15. While I like Pete’s suggestion that an 11.5” AR-15 is the way to go, I’m going to make the argument for a 16” model and base it on my recent Thunder Ranch collaboration video, “The Ultimate Urban Rifle.”

Before we address 11.5” versus 16” AR-15, let’s discuss why the AR-15 and not a more sophisticated platform like the short-stroke piston SIG MCX or a reputedly, but disputedly, more rugged system such as long-stroke piston AK variants, e.g., the Galil ACE or Zastava M70.

We all know that the AR-15 is lightweight, reliable, light-recoiling, accurate, and easy to maintain and use. Adding modifications is uncomplicated, and perhaps the most important force multiplier, an optic, is a simple, functional, no-fuss addition. So Stoner’s golden child already makes logical sense.

However, when you factor in a crisis in the United States, you can anticipate that the AR-15 is going to be the most prevalent private- and government-owned rifle. Ammo is going to be more plentiful than other potential options, as are parts and magazines. Moreover, there’s going to be a greater chance of parts/ammo/magazine compatibility if you are cruising around the wasteland in a gyrocopter with your closest leather-clad friends.

And if you need to ditch the assless chaps and blend in with the National Guard for some reason (e.g., moving under a quarantine, curfew, or other order to remain confined), then some M81 BDUs and a black 16” AR won’t attract the suspicion that a Steyr AUG, Tavor, or even a short-barreled AR would. (Ignore the FDE build featured in the pics – I say go black for this reason specifically.)

A 16″ AR-15 is handy enough to fire from tight spaces like a telephone booth. If you can find a telephone booth in 2020, that is.

Finally, 5.56mm/.223 has a good weight-to-effectiveness ratio built on speed, meaning that your .223 ammo will weigh less than half of, say, .308 (while being significantly weaker – the compromise).  Moreover, the common aluminum and polymer AR STANAG magazines are typically lighter than magazines for common .30+ caliber carbines and rifles.

We’ve established the AR as the best possible choice for the coronapocalypse/flugaloo/TEOTWAWKI etc., so let’s talk about 11.5” versus 16”:

As mentioned in the Ultimate Urban Rifle video above, the guys from Thunder Ranch, Aero, and Ballistic Advantage agreed beforehand that 14.5” to 16” barrels would be the ideal compromise for an urban, sub-urban, or even rural setting as contemplated by the Urban Rifle course. They are light and handy enough to use in tight quarters (of course not as much as Pete’s 11.5” barreled model) but they shine over their little brothers in the range and lethality department.

A 55 grain .223 round needs to be moving at least 2500 fps in order to guarantee fragmentation on target.

A 16” barrel means fragmentation inside 200y and less drop:

Blue line: Approximate M193 55gr trajectory from a 16″ barrel. Green line: Approximate M193 55gr trajectory from an 11.5″ barrel.

With 55gr Federal M193, we are looking at approximately 3150fps at the muzzle with the 16” and 2850fps with the 11.5”. This means that you are just barely under 2500fps (fragmentation velocity) at 200 yards with the 16”, while the 11.5” is (respectably) short, falling out of 2500 fps range at just past 100 yards.

Blue columns: Data for M193 from a 16″ barrel.
Green Columns: Data for M193 from a 11.5″ barrel.

Furthermore, the 11.5” starts to rapidly separate in range from the 16” version after 200 yards. At 200, there’s only a one-inch difference in drop. At 300, that opens up to 3.5 inches, 8 inches at 400, and finally the 16” is shooting 15 inches higher at 500 yards.

I have to say, I was very impressed with the Goldilocks-like ballistic specs of Pete’s 11.5” build, and none could be faulted for going that route. But that extra almost-100 yards of bullet fragmentation and flatter trajectory make a good case for the 16” barrel.

IIIa. Backup Zombie Gat:

The IWI TS-12 and 00 Buck

IV. Specifications – Modifications and Accessories:

I have AR uppers and lowers from 11.5” to 18” from Aero, Bravo Company, LMT, SIG, Troy, and some vintage pre-Freedom Group Bushmaster uppers and lowers. There are lots of other great options out there, but these are all good choices.

And I agree on the spendy BCM Complete Lower that Pete recommended (Brownells).

More on this later, but I prefer 1:8 twist for my barrels. If it’s 16”, optimum dwell time is going to be achieved with a midlength gas system. Good arguments can be made for heavy, medium, and pencil profile barrels. In the spirit of compromise, I’ll go with the medcon or a Hanson profile for a blend of rigidity and weight savings.

16″ 1:8 twist .223 Wylde Hanson Profile stainless steel barrel from Ballistic Advantage. An excellent choice.

As far as the build itself, an absolute must-have is a free floated handguard. While Daniel Defense makes some good ones, my favorite has to be the Aero Atlas S-One (click here to get from Brownells). Tough as nails but light, slim, easy install, and out of this world ergos. If you insist on a full-length top rail, I’d suggest the R-One instead. (Here’s the R-One at Brownells.)

Good profile view of my favorite handguard, the Aero Atlas S-One.

In order of priority for accessories, I really only feel the need for an optic and a light.

For optic, I like an LPVO (low-power variable optic) with a true 1x setting. I used an EOTech Vudu 1-6x for a course at Thunder Range and was sold on its ability to switch quickly from short to long range.

Switching from 1-6x on the fly via throw lever on the EOTech Vudu.

I’ve also used the Trijicon Accupower optics with some success, and they are affordable as far as premium glass goes – half the price of the Vudu, but this one is only 1-4x, which is just enough. As a kicker, the Accupower linked below has a reticle with a BDC for M193 55gr ammo out to 800 yards, so if you are using M193 – and as long as you can range your shot – you just tilt and squeeze without the math.

If one were to go with the 11.5” build, perhaps an Aimpoint Micro with a 3x swing-out magnifier would be the way to go. I have the same setup on my lightweight build and it’s excellent.

For lights, I like the Surefire Mini-Scout Series. Take your pick from Brownells here. They are the standard for weapon lights as far as I am concerned. I did, however, just procure an X300 Ultra 1,000-lumen LED from SF and I have to say it’s impressive for being as small and light (pun intended) as it is.

Speaking of Surefire – a silencer would be a nice add. I think I’d look to the Surefire SOCOM556-MINI2.

Compact at only 5” long, and a little heavy at 14.5 ounces, but bulletproof durability. This would be not so much to mask the sound (hint: it won’t), but to make it so the shooter doesn’t go friggin’ deaf every time he/she has to shoot without ear pro.

A good budget option is the YHM Resonator for the same purpose at half the price:

YHM Resonator on a Mini-14 Tactical.

V. Ammo Choice Narrative

Ammo choice for the AR is more complex than rocket surgery with fragmenting versus barrier blind loads (i.e., rounds that will perform better against soft targets and rounds that will still perform after contact with some form of a barrier) and common weights from 45-77gr to choose from. I’d suggest that you independently research this issue as there are ballisticians that have covered this ad nauseam.

That said, I’ll repeat Pete’s picks:

Matching grain weight to your BDC reticle is a consideration, perhaps. And I think you get more bang for your buck in my scenario with 55gr light-fast-and-long fragmenting rounds like M193, but again, this is its own complex subject.

VI. Fielding/Range time

If you check my video, I could not have been more pleased with this exact setup after a 1,000 round long weekend course at Thunder Ranch. The gun I’ve described will be light, accurate, and easy to use anywhere from 10 to 500 yards with minimal adjustment for offset or ballistic drop.

I’ve fielded 16” models in carbine courses in the past, but the main difference between my prior setups and this class was the use of an LPVO. This was the first time that I had equipped an LPVO for a hard-use class, and to me, it’s the key that unlocks the full potential of the jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none 16” build.

LPVOs like the EOTech Vudu have been an AR-15 game changer for me.

VII. Conclusions

In conclusion, you’ve noticed that I’ve used the phrases ‘jack of all trades,’ ‘Goldilocks,’ and ‘compromise.’ This is a Swiss Army Knife of builds, which should handle any realistic SHTF scenario with aplomb. It might not be as light or handle as Pete’s slick short-barrel-build, but it’s hardly much larger or heavier while delivering an edge in the ballistic performance department. I’d say either is an equally good choice, but experts with far more experience in battle-ready-rifles pushed this build to me, so here I am, pushing it to you.

*Also, for the record, I absolutely despise Friends as an eminently unfunny show which is only relatable to people who have no actual friends and, therefore, the series has appeal to them because it meets the expectations of the friendless as to what having friends might be like. Seinfeld ftw.

This content was originally published here.

SELCO: These Are the Signs the SHTF Is Happening for Real

(Psst: The FTC wants me to remind you that this website contains affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase from a link you click on, I might receive a small commission. This does not increase the price you’ll pay for that item nor does it decrease the awesomeness of the item. ~ Daisy)

by Selco

Note from Daisy: This article was originally published in July of 2018 but seems incredibly applicable today. Selco is in a dire situation in the Balkans right now, under martial law and mandated to work. If you would like to help Selco you can do so by purchasing one of his products or sending a direct donation. I’m sending the money to him for online product sales on a daily basis. Supplies there in Bosnia are becoming limited quickly.

He has given our community so much. I hope we can give something back to him. ~ Daisy

How do you know if the SHTF is actually here? One of the cornerstones of survival is how to recognize that a situation has gone so bad that the S is truly going to hit the fan.

Basically, we are talking about how to recognize that it is time to bug out or hunker down because it is going to be bad.

I call it “survival mode” (no, it is not invented by me), and it means that you at some point based on your own observations, feelings, the situation around you, events, etc. going to are going to jump into that mode where you gonna implement actions based on different priorities than everyday life.

It is personal but it may include:

In short, you are putting into action decisions that you prepared for a long time because S did hit the fan.

How do you know when the real SHTF has arrived?

A common question is, “How am I going to recognize that it is time to leave my job because the whole situation is going to s**t?”

The easiest (and pretty lame and lazy) answer is that you need to leave your job as soon as you see something bad is happening around you, and go home, bug in, bug out or whatever your plan is.

But it is lame because something bad is happening all the time around us – people being robbed or killed, folks losing jobs, cars being stolen, food poisoning, protests, political scandals – not to mention terrorist attacks happening more often and the migration crisis..

But you still need your job to pay bills. Your kids need to go to school. Violence and bad things are always around us, but that does not mean you’ll have to quit your job and bug out. If you do that, you are achiving nothing.

So we are actually talking here how to recognize the “big event”, a real SHTF event, when you need to jump into that survival mode and stop worrying too much about your regular day-to-day life.

The real fun here is that there is no universal answer. There is no specific point at which you will recognize it, but definitely, there are some things to pay attention to.

Remember the two frogs.

A well-known story is about the two frogs. One is thrown directly into a pot of boiling water, and of course, the frog immediately jumps out of the bowl and runs away.

The other frog is being thrown into a pot of cold water and then water is gradually heated to point of boiling ,and at the end, this frog died.

When the water is gradually heated to the boiling point, the frog does not realize it is gonna die.

Most of us are frogs in a big bowl of water that is gradually heated to the boiling point and let me tell you, that water is getting pretty warm.

You really need to be the well-prepared and smart frog to realize that the warm (and maybe pleasant) water is going to be deadly boiling in a very short time.

Get out while the “water is still pleasant”

I believe the term is “strategic relocation”, or in other words, it is moving to an area where the situation going to be better if SHTF.

It is not bugging out when SHTF. It takes very careful planning. You are looking for a new place to live, a job, a good environment for kids, natural resources, and a good home, etc., today while times are still (more or less) normal.

It is quite specific for each person based on the region where you live, job opportunities, family circumstances and a lot of other things, but in essence, a few things that I would look for are:

Keep in mind that again it is not bugging out, it is living in circumstances where you gonna have a much better starting point when SHTF.

You still have to work for a living, and the kids need school etc.

Signs that the SHTF has actually arrived

Since most of can not afford “strategic relocations” we are forced to stay and hope to see on time that S gonna hit the fan, and hopefully jump on time into that survival mode and act accordingly.

I am in the same position.

I am not talking here about obvious signs that something bad has happened, because if you hear a huge explosion and there is no signal on TV suddenly, no internet or electricity, you do not have to be a prepper to realize something bad has happened, and you are already in the middle of it.

Here are some of the signs that the SHTF has actually arrived.

Freedoms and rights are disappearing.

You usually feel like your rights and freedoms are something written in stone, and you may be right.

But in terms of signs of a coming huge SHTF, keep in mind that when your freedoms and rights that are really important are taken away from you, the S is going to hit the fan soon.

And again probably it is going to happen gradually enough that the majority of folks will not go out on the street to fight for those rights, and also, it may happen in a way that the majority of people will welcome it, under some new laws that “save lives” or “keep them safe” or similar.

But the result is going to be same. Your rights and freedoms are gonna be taken because you are gonna be easier to manipulate then.

Polarization, hate, and violence are on the rise.

I have mentioned all of that before, more than once, but prior to SHTF, it is going to be worse when it comes to hate because again, a lot of stuff you cannot see clearly when you are in a state of hate or fear.

A lot of things can be moving in the background while you are coping with disorder, hate, and violence.

Your access to information will be limited.

Your free access to independent information will be “shrunk”.

Independent media will be harder and harder to find, or you will be fooled and you will think that actually, you have access to free information while in reality, it is junk, propaganda.

The shutting down of free media and people who hold information will disappear. These are some of the last signs, and again, most people will welcome it. Independent media will be almost “demonized”.

Watch the behavior of people in the know.

I will give you some examples.

I had a friend who worked for the secret police before the war. He ended up in the sieged city together with me.

He did not have a clue that things were gonna get so bad, even with his position and his access to the information.  He simply was fed bulls**t by people that he trusted.

On the other hand, I had a friend who, prior to the war was a smuggler of different kind of things from Italy, such as marijuana, electronics, and whatever was popular at that time.

He knew something bad was gonna happen, and he bugged out in time to Italy.

In his “job” he had connections with people who “pushed” things for other people who were pretty powerful criminals.  Based on moving on those “goods” and information, he simply concluded something bad was going to happen.

The point here is to keep your ear to the ground and see how things and events are moving around you.

Most probably you are not going to see things coming on TV on mainstream media, but if you have a buddy in the police force who will let you know that a lot of equipment is being delivered to them or a friend in some not “legit” places who  can give you good information, you can conclude a lot.

There is no specific advice here, but a network of friends with information from the right places is worth much more than a TV network.

You may miss the signs. I did.

I have seen all the signs above, and I failed to run. I ended up right in the middle of SHTF.

It is not only important to see and recognize signs. It is important to believe that it can actually happen. Because after I saw all the signs, I just said to myself, “Oh, it cannot happen here. Somebody somehow is gonna solve everything.”

It is very hard to trust in something that you did not experience before. Only now do I believe that a lot of horrible things are possible.

About Selco:

Selco survived the Balkan war of the 90s in a city under siege, without electricity, running water, or food distribution. He is currently accepting students for his next physical course here.

In his online works, he gives an inside view of the reality of survival under the harshest conditions. He reviews what works and what doesn’t, tells you the hard lessons he learned, and shares how he prepares today.

He never stopped learning about survival and preparedness since the war. Regardless of what happens, chances are you will never experience extreme situations as Selco did. But you have the chance to learn from him and how he faced death for months.

Real survival is not romantic or idealistic. It is brutal, hard and unfair. Let Selco take you into that world.

This content was originally published here.

I have never been a prepper. My modest amount of guns and gear have mostly centered around my passion for suppressors, personal defense weapons, concealed carry pistols and useful accessories. Like many of you I have bins full of gun related items that looked great on paper, but in practice fell short of actually being useful. To top it off, I’ve chuckled at the Boogaloo memes that have worked their way through social media, believing that it was mostly fantasy, stemming from basement dwellers reading books like and . But here we are, the entire world changing before us, with a great deal of uncertainty in the weeks and months ahead, and I thought that it might be important to lay out some SHTF guns and gear. Not to fan the flames of panic, but in a calming, therapeutic, prepping sort of way.

Note: Sh*t Hit The fan (SHTF) is a reference to your whole world being upended in a short period of time.

SHTF Guns: KAC/Colt AR-15 – Short Barrel – 5.56mm – Suppressed

TFB Podcast – Behind The Gun

I guess this is as good of a place as any to announce that we are launching a new podcast in a few weeks. TFB’s Behind The Gun podcast will be published once or twice a week here on the blog and on all the major platforms. Like the blog and TFBTV, the podcast will be a fact-based format featuring conversations with industry leaders about their successes and failures over the years. We recorded about 20 VIP interviews and interviews with most of the TFB/TFBTV staff at SHOT Show 2020. I think it went well and it should be informative and fun, but ultimately you guys will be the judge.

I bring up the podcast now because, almost like a premonition, I started off each episode by asking each guest a warmup question:

“The world is ending tomorrow and you can only take one gun with you. Which one and why?”

Irony, foreshadowing, dumb luck – whatever it was, we now have some insight into what the leaders of our industry would carry into the apocalypse. Stay tuned for their responses.

But, as Snoop would say, “back to the lecture at hand” ( 1992)

SHTF Guns: KAC/Colt AR-15 – Short Barrel – 5.56mm – Suppressed

SHTF Guns: KAC/Colt AR-15 – Short Barrel – 5.56mm – Suppressed

I. Introduction

My choice for an end-of-the-world firearm is an AR-15 carbine chambered in 5.56 mm with an 11.5” barrel. I chose the AR-15 platform because of my familiarity with the operation, cleaning and maintenance, the ability to source parts and the ease of making repairs, modularity and accessory options as well as general ergonomics. AR-15 Magazines are disposable, plentiful and inexpensive.

The 11.5” barrel length is important because I feel that it is the best balance between bullet velocity and overall compactness. There will be those who swear by 10.3/10.5” barrels and those who swear by 12.5” barrels. The truth is, everyone is right. If you are comfortable shaving off an inch or two in the name of portability and usefulness, a MK18 is a solid choice. Keep in mind, that velocity is extremely important, especially for smaller diameter bullets.

If bullet velocity is more important to you than length and weight, go with a longer barrel. As a quick reminder, anything with a barrel shorter than 16” and a shoulder stock requires an approved ATF NFA application and tax stamp. I know we are discussing end of the world scenarios, but even in the apocalypse you still need to fill out government forms and pay your taxes (snort). If you believe that we’ll all be alive in 30ish days, and would like to make a proper (and legal) short barreled rifle (SBR), use our step by step ATF EForm guide here. Otherwise, a solid pistol stabilizing brace might be an alternative.

It should come as no surprise to you guys that my SHTF gun includes a suppressor. Suppressing a 5.56mm SBR will never result in a hearing safe gun. However if you’ve had the chance to compare the blast from a flash hider only AR-15 versus a suppressed AR-15, you’ll know that a few shots with unprotected ears will be disabling. And the shorter the barrel, the worse the blast will be – people don’t think that unburned powder be like it is, but it do. Shooting suppressed will also help conceal your location from your adversaries – the USMC knows.

II. Your Landscape/AOR Overview

SHTF Guns: KAC/Colt AR-15 – Short Barrel – 5.56mm – Suppressed

Your environment can and should have an impact on your SHTF firearm choices. A Brooklyn hipster will have different requirements than a Idaho outdoorsman. Concealment, threat ranges, cartridge loadings and more will vary wildly based on your Area Of Responsibility (AOR). My AOR is fairly rural, with major population centers being about an hour and a half away by vehicle.

You should do an honest personal risk assessment for yourself and your family to figure out strengths and weaknesses and base your SHTF gun choices on those needs – maybe the Barrett .50 isn’t the best load out after all. Or maybe it is.

You should also consider whether you will ever need to “bug out” (leave your castle for safer ground). Lugging around heavy guns and ammo gets tiresome, even if you are just unloading it from a minivan.

After my risk assessment, I settled on two main guns as go-tos in a time of crisis:

III. Specifications – Base Firearm

This build is an “everything you need, nothing you don’t” premise that focuses on utility and durability. To me, having a pinned front sight base/gas block was more important than a free-floated MLOK rail. Since low light needs are a very important consideration in adverse situations, a quality weapon light is a must in my opinion.

IR/ Night Vision is important if you have the resources. Be sure to check out TFB’s Friday Night Lights series’s hosted by Nick Chen for all your illumination needs.

Note: Everything listed here in this article was purchased by me at retail prices at the vendors noted below. I waited for sales/deals and pieced everything together over about year and a half period.

SHTF Guns: KAC/Colt AR-15 – Short Barrel – 5.56mm – Suppressed

Since the sunset of the Assault Weapons Ban in 2004, the options for both factory built and piecemeal AR-15 builds has increased in both quantity and quality. I could list out a host of reputable manufacturers, but it will be hard togo wrong with any. Here’s my build:

SHTF Guns: KAC/Colt AR-15 – Short Barrel – 5.56mm – Suppressed

As alternative, complete lower and groups can be purchased if you’d rather buy complete:

IV. Specifications – Modifications and Accessories

Once again, keeping with the usability mantra with this carbine, I only added accessories that have a specific purpose, with additional criteria of durability, reliability and weight savings.

SHTF Guns: KAC/Colt AR-15 – Short Barrel – 5.56mm – Suppressed

V. SHTF Guns – Ammo and Magazine Choices

Ammunition choices are seemingly personal choices, but really are heavily dependent on science and testing. For me, a proven barrier blind round is a bit more important than MOA accuracy. Barrier blind is a term that refers to a bullet that can maintain much of its shape, velocity and expansion abilities even after passing through a barrier like glass or wood. The soft point of the Fusion round isn’t a sub-MOA dream, but at realistic defensive distances it is plenty accurate to get the job done.

I also stock both M193 and M855 ammunition – for SHTF loads, stick with factory firsts and not the factory second versions of these loads, often labeled as XM193 and XM855


For a Compact carbine, I prefer 20 round magazines. I own over 100 Surefeed Magazines and have yet to have a malfunction. They are light, inexpensive and well made.

Note: I have a new rule: black magazines for .223/5.56, FDE magazines for 300BLK and grey magazines for special loads (MK12 77gr Berger, etc).

VI. Fielding/Range Time

Fully outfitted and loaded with a 20 round magazine, this SHTF gun weighs in at about six pounds. Which for a suppressed, light/laser/optic equipped carbine is pretty svelte. Carrying, shouldering, shooting and manipulating a light carbine is a dream compared to some of the behemoths floating around out there.

I chose a standard 50 yard zero for my SHTF setup. As a basic reminder, point of aim and point of impact will change on either side of your zero; distances under the 50 yard zero will have a slight hold-over under offset – meaning you hold the dot over your intended target. The amount will vary up until point blank range where the offset equals your optic height above the bore. Doing drills on the range is actually easier than writing that process down, so I hope I got that right.

I only mention these basics because the overwhelming majority of defensive shots will be taken at distances less than 50 yards. And, of course, different ammunition loadings will have different zeros.

The short barrel and ultra light weight of the Delta P Brevis II Ultra make this carbine easy to maneuver and fast swinging. Suppression levels are modest – if you are forced to take a shot without hearing protection you probably won’t have severe hearing damage. This is on par with most 5.56mm suppressors, especially on short barrel hosts. Besides being air-weight, the Brevis is a direct thread silencer, meaning there are no tolerance stacking concerns or mounts to come loose. For a full-size suppressor, there are downsides to a direct thread setup – mainly length. Micro or “K” cans will benefit from a direct mount. For SHTF guns, that would be my preferred method of attachment.

Cycling is smooth and recoil is slight with this 11.5″ AR-15. It is important that you run all your intended ammunition through your rifle/carbine to ensure proper cycling. Weak ammunition may cause failures. Over gassed systems may cause failures. My preference has always been to use adjustable gas blocks over changing buffers or spring weights. But in keeping with simplicity with this build and preserving a solid pinned FSB, I opted for the SureFire OBC. Luckily it runs 100% with ejected cases landing between the two and three o’clock position (muzzle is 12 o’clock obviously).

VII. SHTF Guns – Conclusions

This is my carbine. There are many like it, but this one is mine. A lightweight 11.5″ AR-15, suppressed with white and IR weapon light capability is nearly perfect for my needs. The nine inch SIG MCX you’ll see next week would probably surpass this build if it were lighter and 300BLK ammo was a little easier to find.

Make an honest assessment of your skills, requirement and surroundings and decide which SHTF firearm works best for you. Thanks for reading TFB.

This content was originally published here.