Prepper Guns: Firearms, Ammo, Tools, and Techniques You Will Need to Survive the Coming Collapse (2016)


Gun Guys Have a Tactical Advantage

Why a prepper should learn to love all guns.


Shooters who learn multiple firearms have a better chance of survival.

The food is awful, but it feels good to sit down. A day of shopping at the local mall is not your idea of fun, but it keeps the peace with the family. Just as you are making that slurpy sound with the straw to annoy your wife (most men never really grow up) you hear full-auto gunfire and see a man spraying the food court with bullets as he screams “Allahu Akbar” over and over. The mall’s rent-a-cop falls before he can get his pistol out of his triple retention holster, and the gunman is working his way through the crowd toward you and your wife.

You grab your 1911 from its concealment holster and double-tap him. You believe in the old saying of “beware of the guy with one gun,” and it feels like an old friend in your hand. It should; you carry it every day and shoot it most days. You even use it to compete in IDPA matches on some weekends. You believe that by sticking with this one gun, you will shoot it well and always have the muscle memory to operate it no matter what happens.

That theory clearly works; the dead terrorist is proof enough for you. But as that guy falls, two more guys with rifles run through the doorway. You shoot, a little too fast, and miss the closest guy with the first shot. But you settle on the front sight and hit him with the second. You swing to the second guy and dump two to the chest and one in the head. The first guy is staggering around, so you double-tap him again. The magazine is empty so you reload with your one spare magazine just as you notice more guys coming from the opposite end of the mall.


Putting all your trust and all your training into a single firearm platform like this 1911 is a mistake.

Suddenly all that bragging at the range about, “if I can’t handle a problem with two magazines and a 1911, then I deserve to die” rings a little hollow. There are a lot of bad guys coming your way and you start shooting at them. One falls and another staggers. You keep shooting and the others run for cover, giving you a window to de-ass the place. You tell your wife to run as you notice your handgun is at slidelock. When you run past the first guy you shot, you stop to pick up his rifle and a spare magazine. You notice a pistol in a shoulder holster, which you also grab and stuff in your belt.

You and your wife run down the main corridor, but you hear them coming behind you, so you duck into a store. Two guys follow just behind you, yelling and waving their guns. The AK-47 you picked up is empty and you try frantically to slam the spare magazine into the gun, but it will not stay. Dropping the rifle, you yank the Tokarev pistol from your belt, but it also will not shoot. You try to rack the slide, but it won’t move.

It doesn’t matter; it’s too late and you watch as one of them grabs your wife’s hair, yanks her head back, and pulls a knife.

Still think this “one man–one gun” thing is a good idea? If you knew that the magazine on an AK-47 had to be rocked in or that the pistol you picked up uses a half-cock on the hammer instead of a safety and that it locks the slide, you might have had a fighting chance. But you only know the 1911, because you thought it was more “tactical” to stick with one gun.


Jessica Stevens from Barnes Bullets shooting an MP5 submachine gun at the IC match. The more platforms you learn, the better your chances of survival.

If you are serious about survival, you need to learn to run any and all of the most common guns you may encounter.

Dan Smith at International Cartridge used to put on a unique shooting match. He supplied all the guns and ammo and you never knew what would be waiting for you at any given stage. It might be a bolt-action rifle, pump shotgun, or a full-auto MP5. Or it could be an AR-15, AK-47, or a single-action revolver. We shot Glocks, S&W revolvers, Berettas, Rugers—you name it and usually there was one on a table somewhere. Dan’s thoughts were simple: “I can run a standard match and some hotshot with a race gun will come in and win it, just like he expects to do every time. That’s because he shoots that gun all the time and knows it well. But guys like that don’t like my match. This is a match for gun guys, and if you are a true gun guy, you should be able to shoot anything they hand you well enough to compete.”

It’s not just competitors who shoot one gun exclusively. Time and again at self-defense courses I encounter people who believe that they should pick one “platform” (gun-speak for a particular gun design, like a Glock or a 1911 in handguns, or an AR-15 in rifles) and stick with that exclusively. Their reasoning is that in the fog of war and during a fight when you are full of adrenalin, you will run on muscle memory and still function with that gun. They believe that shooting other types of guns will confuse the subconscious and cause them to forget how to run their firearm.

I believe that is foolish thinking and the person promoting it has not thought the issue out far enough and considered all the possible scenarios. What happens if you no longer have access to your platform? How are you going to survive with a gun you have no idea how to operate and are in the middle of a fast-breaking situation with bad guys trying to kill you? The simple answer is: You aren’t. You will die.

A true gun guy understands that the more you know, the better your chances are for survival. I know some of the most elite of the Special Forces in our military. These are the guys who have been in a lot of gunfights and in a lot of bad situations, and I can tell you that they can run any gun they pick up.

When I shot Dan Smith’s match, I was one of two writers there as guests of Barnes bullets. The other was a retired Special Forces operator. I watched him, and every gun he picked up he either could run already, or figured out very quickly.

Todd Rassa, an instructor for the Sig Sauer Academy, addressed this issue during a class called “Civilian Response to a Terrorist Attack.” In fact, the idea for the mall scenario above came from one of the drills we did in that class. Todd picked those two Soviet Bloc guns because they are popular with terrorists. I was a bit shocked to watch guys who were very serious about training and who had attended a lot of self-defense training classes struggle to operate these firearms.

Some of these guys were so convinced that they should only train with one gun that they would not even pick up and look at another handgun. One got mad because I even mentioned a 1911. He was a Glock guy and didn’t want me talking about other guns because it might distract him.

I think what Todd was trying to do with this class was to show them how stuck on stupid they were. I am not sure if he succeeded, but I sure got the point.

When it comes to prepping, I would take it way past that. Instead of Islamic terrorists, it might be the next little snot shooting up a Colorado high school or movie theater, or it could be the guy down the street trying to get food for his kids. Or, in a survival situation, you may encounter any of a multitude of different guns.

This is not Hollywood and the bad guys won’t all have a MAC-10 or a Desert Eagle like the bad guys in the movies always seem to carry. They will probably have guns they bought on the street or stole from somebody, and that means they could be anything.

Who knows what a bad guy might bring to his mayhem party? Can you run a Benelli M4, Ruger P85, SIG P229, FN FAL, S&W4013, UTS-15, Steyr AUG, Beretta CX4 Storm carbine or 92 series handgun, SKS, Marlin Camp Carbine, Winchester Model 94, Remington Model 750, or any and all other guns instinctively and without thinking about it?

Probably not; I doubt I could either. Not many people have the opportunity to become familiar with all the firearms on Earth. But I do know all of those listed, plus a lot more, and I probably can figure out the rest pretty quickly because I am familiar with so many different firearm platforms. That’s because I work hard to put myself into locations where there are opportunities to try different firearms, and I always take advantage of those opportunities. It is always a shock when I see somebody at the range turn down a chance to shoot a new or unfamiliar firearm. It’s foolish not to widen your horizons. It may even save your life someday.

I make it a point to try every gun I have an opportunity to shoot. Not just to pull the trigger, but to load the guns and make them ready to fire. That at least expands my experience and gives me a better foundation to figure out the gun I don’t know a lot faster.

I shoot in a lot of matches, which teaches you to think and act under pressure, and to do it quickly. They also can expose you to many different guns. I have fired everything from an AK-74 to a grenade launcher while competing in shooting matches. I have shot Tommy Guns, MP5 machine guns, the Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW), M249 Light Machine Gun, a German MG42 machine gun, FN SCAR machine gun, M4 full auto carbine, and a lot more, including many different handguns. All of these were “stage” guns that were provided for us to shoot. It’s a short and fleeting opportunity, but it’s better than nothing.

You meet a lot of other gun people at the matches, and there are often opportunities to try guns you have not experienced. During downtime I have shot the Bren Ten (made famous by Sonny Crockett on Miami Vice), lots of suppressed rifles and handguns, precision long-range custom rifles, a bunch of machine guns, and dozens more.

I remember one small, local match in Massachusetts, of all places, where, once we were done shooting, a guy brought out a couple of machine guns. One was a Tommy Gun and the other was a Ruger AC-556. He said that if we had ammo, we were free to shoot them all we wanted. My buddies usually give me a hard time about all the extra stuff, including ammo, that I bring to a match, but that day I was the last man standing with those machine guns. I blasted hundreds of rounds that I just happened to have in my truck. I knew the Ruger pretty well already, but that was my first real experience with a Tommy Gun, and I left feeling like I understood the gun much better than when the day started. The point is, you just never know when opportunity will present itself.

It’s not just competition. There are a lot of gun gatherings around the country—from machine gun blast fests to zombie shoots—and any of them will provide opportunities to shoot new and unfamiliar guns. Even something as simple as a visit to a public shooting range can provide opportunity. Be friendly and talk to people. They may have a gun you want to shoot and quite possibly they want to shoot a gun that you brought.

The smart, tactical approach is to be proficient with as many firearms as possible. That at least builds the foundation of knowledge that will help you deal with ones you are not familiar with.

You never know how a shooting is going to play out, and if you can pick up a gun and stay in the fight, you have a chance. If you run your gun dry and don’t have a clue how to use the one the other guy was shooting at you with, or the gun the dead cop had in his hand, you will not have time to figure it out in the middle of a firefight.

The one true thing that is inarguable is this: If you cannot shoot back in a gunfight, you will lose.

Become a gun guy. Learn all you can about as many guns as possible. It’s the tactical thing to do and it may save your life.


Become a gun guy who loves to shoot.

Yes, I said “gun guy.” That means anybody and everybody who likes guns and likes to shoot. I do not discount, disparage, or discriminate against any shooter. If you like guns and like to shoot, we are friends. We have to call ourselves something and “gun guys” has a ring to it. “Guys” has a generic connotation in many contexts anyway, like “you guys,” for example.

“Gun gals” is going to make somebody mad, “gun people” sounds stupid, and if I try to insert every single social, economic, and gender identification I can think of into each reference in the book, I risk causing otherwise rational people to sit down, hold hands, and sing “Kumbaya.”

I just ain’t doing it; it’s embarrassing.

If you are offended by such a benign term, then you are probably not the target audience. I suspect that you are not quite there yet, and your mindset is not ready for the serious and sometimes uncomfortable topics we are exploring. Let’s face it, when the topics are survival, shooting other people, and even the end of the world as we know it, political correctness starts to shed the shroud that has masked its foolishness all these years.

So, if like all my female shooting buddies (most of whom can kick my butt in competition) you embrace the term and make it yours, welcome home.

The rest of you, please stick with the book; we have a lot of good information that can save your life and help you get through the bad times ahead. Be mad at me if you want, be offended, be horrified, be whatever; but read the book and be safe.

If we all survive and emerge from this intact, you can sue me then.


Any one of these women can outshoot all of us, and they proudly call themselves “gun guys.”