Monday, October 5, 2009

Preparing for the economic collapse: Getting started.

Preparedness or survival, whatever you want to call it. Preparedness seem to be more politically correct, but its still about taking measures and planning for likely or not so likely problems and emergencies before they actually occur.
A lifestyle, a certain mindset makes for a true survivalist, and even though it starts with a little spark, the survival bug biting you, whether its going to change your life for the better or be just another thing you eventually loose interest on, only time will tell.
I get that question asked a lot and yesterday it was asked yet again. “OK, I get it but where do I start? What do I do?”


Understanding the logic behind preparedness is the first step.
An economic crisis is about economics, but much more too. You need to ensure a source of steady income, maybe become self employed if the job market doesn’t offer anything for you, but its also about much worse crime, failing institutions that can’t keep running because of costs, just to mention a couple.
What does education has to do with an economic collapse? There’s no money to pay teachers, so they go on strikes, hours get reduced, and the quality of education drops like a rock.
What does power shortages got to do with an economic collapse?
No money, no maintenance, inflation makes prices go up, people can’t pay the bills, therefore maintenances suffers, soon power transformers start blowing up in summer, and the entire grid just gets patched here and there.
I’m no Nostredamus, just saying what happened here and at some levels is already happening in USA.
When you prepare for a real economic collapse, you have to prepare for pretty much all aspects of modern survival.


Gun: Important, can’t emphasize enough the importance of self defense when economic hardships translate into much higher local crime rater. Its already happening and trust me on this, its going to get worse. Not the end of the world or anything, but for sure, much higher crime than you are used to. Don’t get caught with your guard down in this regard.
Which gun? For a total newbie that wont be shooting much: A 38 special snubby (revolver with a 2” or 3” barrel) for last resort close range self defense.
Newbie that will be taking this a bit more serious: Glock 19, 9mm.
Best gun in my opinion for self defense, for someone that will take it serious and is willing to put some more time and money into it: Glock 31.
Glock 22 in 40S&W is good as well and you can fire both caliber in either gun, just buying a spare barrel.

Glock Pistol: BEst defensive hadngun money can buy

While gear and supplies aren’t as important as mindset, you do need a certain amount.
Right away let me tell you this, there’s an entire industry of survival toys, gear and gadgets, most of which you don’t need, so don’t spend a fortune, buy what you need and SAVE as much money as you can.
Why do I mention guns before anything else? Because if you don’t own one it should be a top priority for you, buying it AND learning to shoot it in self defense.

Water: People that prepare usually have enough food, yet I’d say that 9 out of 10 underestimate the water issue. It’s not just drinking, its washing the dishes, flushing the toilets, washing your hands, taking a bucket bath and I’m not even talking about washing clothes. At least a gallon a day per person, better make that 2 gallons per person per day.
Try going without water for a day or two. Just a few HOURS without water is much worse than a couple hours without power, its just that people rarely ever suffered that and just don’t know it.
Water people, its free and only takes a bit of dedication to store large amounts of it in soda bottles or better containers, all over the house.
Water filters and water treatments pills, bleach and granulated chlorine, its all nice and dandy, but you can’t drink them, can you?. Get those, but get lots of water too.

Food: Freeze dried, Mountain House brand, but also good old grocery stuff works as well. Canned meats, fruits and vegetables. Better if it requires no cooking. Learn to read the nutritional facts in the container and packages. Its not just about calories, you need a balanced diet as well. Powdered milk, dried smashed potato flakes, rice, lentils, canned tuna or tuna pouches, tomato sauce, dried pasta, granulated chocolate, sugar, lots of salt (preserving food), just to mentioned some. Spend some time looking at what’s available to you and check the expiration dates. Sometimes you can easily go for months after the expiration date, specially when it comes to canned goods or some dehydrated ones, but it shouldn’t be hard at all to buy products that provide you a 6 to 12 month margin.

Basic food stash

How much food? If you have the money get 6 months worth right away, you’ll be eating it up anyway unless you know something I don’t. (and if you know how to live without eating, please do share :-) )

First aid kit. (Antibiotics should be a priority here, when planning for worst case scenarios )

Blackout supplies: Batteries, LED flashlights, don’t forget at least a cuple head lamps. Try stnadarizing your batteries. AA and AAA

“Oh hell, looters just picked clean the neighborhood’s Walmart ” supplies: What this? Soap, toothpaste, toilet paper, bleach and the rest of the supplies needed on daily basis. Just look at what you buy each month, and pretend tomorrow the supermarket near by wont be opening. What would you do? Most likely the situation will be resolved in a few days, but what until then? What if it takes a couple weeks or a couple months?


Information is priceless. Just reading this blog will save you a great deal of money. Learn as much as you can, participate in survival and preparedness forums, read as much as you can, and try learning from other’s mistakes. Specially when it comes to buying stuff, read lots of reviews before spending your hard earned money. (except when it comes to handguns. When it comes to handguns just buy any gun you want as long as its a Glock... no, I’m serious :- ) )
This will apply to every single purchaser you make, you have to become a savvy shopper so as to save as much money as you can, and hopefully build up a nice cash stash and some gold as well.

Buying food and groceries as well as other supplies, you have to take advantage of every discount and sale you come across, you’ll end up saving money by buying bulk, so its a double treat right there, you have months worth of supplies AND you save money.

When it comes to actual skills, there are at least two I’d consider top priority.
1)Pistol self defense shooting
2)First aid (check for a red cross class near you by entering your zip code HERE)
After those, I’d take a defensive driving class. These are a bit harder to find but it sure is worth it since carjacking and such is something that can come in handy if crime gets 3rd worldly.

Pretty basic, but hopefully it will help some new guys and girls that are just getting started. There are a couple similar posts here in the blog, and others that go a bit more into each point mentioned(use the Topics on the left or the search function )
Take care



DaveP said...

Ferfal - your tip on the headlamps is golden! I always considered them to be waaay too geeky, but after reading how you can get chores done in the dark I got one from ebay...and wound up mowing my lawn with one @ dusk! (had to go out and get gas which put me behind schedule)

Thanks so much for your insight into life without dependable services!


FerFAL said...

Hey Dave, thanks, nice pic there!


Anonymous said...

Canned food is good and buy what you already eat and on sale, yet for longer term storage, bulk rice, beans, and wheat etc. are the least expensive and store for years and under conditions that would ruin canned food. Powered eggs and milk are affordable protein.

Glocks are good, but they are generally too big for my hands. For the 19 round capacity, the Springfield xd9 was the choice, yet there are others. I dislike the xd9's trigger and weight. An older S&W would have been a better choice. Glock is likely THE most reliable. I would have chosen the .45, but for other considerations, did not. As someone who has studied ballistics, the .45 is the winner, over the 9mm and is still common ammunition.

Take your time and learn which would be best for you.

Adventures in Self Reliance said...

Dude You are reading my mind or I am reading yours. US of A is working hard to be a 2nd rate power. Dollar is tanking, some folks think it may not such a good reserve currency. Like Saudi's China, Japan and a few others. Our Politicians have a big disconnect from reality.They don't how bad survival can be, they live in gated communities and they are very out of touch with the conman folks in their own country. Well it's coming for the USA, I'm as prepared as I can be. Sorry I'm afraid you have been preaching to the choir. Of course most that listen to you are not in positions of power. I do appreciate your warnings. I am just afraid that it has fallen on deaf ears. But as long as the internet stays up I'll keep listening.

Anonymous said...

Too many people get caught up in what type of gun or caliber when first preparing - their focus should be on food and water while getting a basic battery. Also IMHO the whole 9mm/40/45 is very overblown especially with the bonded JHP that are out there in particular. FMJ - 45 vs 9mm the 45 wins hands down ONLY in that catagory. A good self defense JHP in 9/40/357Sig/45 will do the same job people.

Also, GF thought the LED headlamps were for dorks/geeks, now she carries one in her purse and one by the bedside to read at night. I laugh every time she puts it on now, she's a good woman - totally 100% into preparedness these days!

Bones said...

I don't want to start a debate over what's the best gun or caliber but given the deterrent effect alone any caliber or gun might do. (The NRA says that 9 of 10 encounters don't involve firing a shot) Most authors seem to agree that .380 or above is adequate for SD. But remember that "a .22 in your hand is better than a .45 in the safe". You have to be comfortable with a gun or you won't carry it.

I do think that recommending glocks to everyone is a really bad idea. Certainly they are durable and reliable. However their lack of a manual safety and relatively light trigger, as well as a design that requires pulling the trigger to field strip means glocks are more likely to discharge unintentionally in the opinion of many. They're also relatively bulky with a wide slide making them somewhat more difficult to conceal.

Prospective gun owners need to think seriously about the features and functioning of a firearm to decide what's right for them. The glock grip issue has already need raised on thread - the gun should feel good and point naturally in YOUR hand. You also need to decide how you want to carry - empty pipe, one in the chamber cocked and locked or uncocked and locked, etc.. No one gun can give you all these options.

I chose a Bersa 9mm Ultra Compact for the following reasons: adequate caliber, comfortable grip, natural pointing, easily manageable recoil, accurate at SD ranges (3.5" barrel) good magazine capacity (13+1), SA/DA trigger, manual safety/decocker and an integral lock to help guarantee safety with kids in the house. At $350 it was almost half the price of a glock or similar "name brand" and it has a lifetime warrantee with excellent service. It has been dead cold reliable with zero failures right out of the box to over 1000 rounds fired.

I think it's a great gun and it's perfect for ME although someone else may not think so. They would have to handle one first in order to decide.

The point here is that glocks are not the one gun that fits all. People need to educate themselves, rent and shoot as many brands as possible and think hard about their needs before they buy.

Anonymous said...

One thing I never see mentioned on sites, when it comes to either personal hygiene or first aid, is head lice. I have two kids, one in elementary school. So far we've dodged having lice. However, for $12 we have a box on the shelf ready to be used. It has about a two year shelf life. It would really suck not being able to get to a store and being infested.

FerFAL said...

To Anon October 6, 2009 8:39 AM,

It is a problem even among upper middle class here. This is the kind of poverty problems that are so spread that affects you even if you’re not in that situation yourself.
We’ve had our share of problems with head lice with my son, I’ll post later about some of the solutions we found. ( one was simply cutting the hair real short!!)


ReDuX said...

Bones makes a good point, but I don't think FerFal is wrong at all in suggesting Glocks.

All the points Bones made were very practical for a "hobby" pistol. When it comes to preparedness, durability and reliability are the only things that matter. No matter how comfortable the grip is, or how many safeties the pistol has, it is worthless if it isn't reliable. I'm glad that Bones found a pistol that fits the bill. Not everyone will take the time they should in finding the right firearm, and it's best that they get reliability over anything else. Durability and Reliability can be found in Glocks.

Safety is ultimately up to the user. Lack of a "manual" safety shouldn't be a deciding factor. Accidents can happen, but are very rare when the proper precautions are taken. Take a safety class, read the paperwork you get when you buy and register, and heed every warning. Your life and the lives of others will depend on it.

As far as price goes, it may have been FerFal that said this, but the first time a firearm saves your life it has paid for itself, no matter what the cost was.

I will confess that I am not an authority on firearms, but I am a VERY thorough researcher. I bought a Glock because I have seen numerous torture tests proving their quality, and the majority of law enforcement in the US carries them. Why would american police carry a costly GERMAN pistol if it weren't worth its salt?

Anonymous said...


I've got a Bersa Thunder .380. Great gun. I chose it for the safety features, feel, and very compact size. So far I've run probably 500 rounds through without a problem. It's really easy to clean, too.

Don Williams said...

1) I like the 45 ACP and would prefer it over 9mm,etc if I could be sure that I would only be facing enemies without body armor.

2) But body armor changes things -- Class II stops 9mm and 45 ACP and some Class II is thin enough to not be obvious. My understanding is that Class IIIA is required for 357 Sig --although bullet construction (vice bullet mass, velocity and frontal area) also plays a role.

3) If you have to go for head shots, those 15 rounds of 9 mm or 357 Sig can come in handy versus only 7 rounds of 45.

4) However, the 1911 Colt has a sweet, rapid reset trigger that may make head shots easier --even with 45 amno --than the double actions triggers of some 9mm and 357s. Best to go to range and try a selection.

5) I don't like hollowpoints -- I think FMJs are best. Lots of failures to stop have resulted from shallow penetration.

Don Williams said...

The thing that is sweet about Ferfal's 357 is that he had the amno capacity to throw slugs at an enemy's head if the enemy is bulked up with Class IIIA body armor.

If not, then he can throw 2 slugs at the center of mass (i.e., chest) and one at the head and be reasonably sure he's taken care of the guy regardless of whether the enemy is wearing class II or not. Plus 357 turns ad hoc cover (doors etc) into mere concealment.

If you have multiple assailants, you don't have time to stop, look over your barrel and make sure enemy no 1 is taken care of before proceeding to enemies 2 and 3.

And the Glock trigger ain't bad --not as good as the 1911 but okay if you practice with it some.

And it is nice to not have to fumble with a thumb safety -- Glocks have that point and shoot ease of use.

PS Some may argue whether 357 will penetrate Class II -- but a 5 inch spike (from stretched Kevlar) into the sternum is almost as good as a full penetration. Blunt trauma will be non trival.

Others may note that it takes three 9mm or 357s to get the same size wound channel as a 45 double tap. But a 15 round mag gives you 5 such combos, whereas a 45 7 rd mag only gives you three double taps.

If you are restricted to 10 round mags by law -- or if you have small to medium hands -- then the 45 may be worth reconsidering. It does have a nice slim grip due to the single column mag.

One final note: The 5 inch barrel of the 1911 can hang up on a speed rock draw from a high ride holster if you don't lift the gun high enough before flipping the barrel forward.

The 357 Sig gets most of its Ommp within a 4 inch barrel (Fast burning powder) and shorter guns like the Sig 239 may be more reliable on fast draws for short people whose high ride holster reachs almost to their armpit. Try it and see.

Bones said...

ReDux: Obviously I personally do not like glocks, however if they are the right pistol for you, then by all means buy them. My point was that everyone is different and no pistol is "one size fits all".

From my perspective, there's also an awful lot of "kool aid drinkers" espousing the wonders of glocks for all. Sure, they're simple and built to loose tolerances which are factors contributing to their "legendary" reliability, but their relatively light DA trigger action and lack of a manual safety means they aren't an ideal solution for everyone. Why is it necessary to pull the trigger to field strip? IMO it's just and accident waiting to happen. My Bersa is solid, goes bang every time I pull the trigger and has never failed to fire. Am I missing something?

Incidentally, if you want to learn something about the reasons glocks were adopted by so many police departments, I suggest you read the following article. Suffice it to say that there was NOT some inherent superiority of glock psitols that persuaded many PD's to buy them.



FerFAL said...

Bones, I like Bersas, currently own 4 of them, but still, the Glock is, within its limitations, the best handgun money can buy today.


Bones said...

Voltaire: 'I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,'

What's the internet without a good debate?

DaveP said...

RE: Glocks - I'm not a huge fan...my experience with a friend's was that it jammed every other shot. Now, I will say that he *never cleaned it*, which obviously is a Bad Thing.

Still, I didn't like how the first trigger pull was long and the others short...leads to increased trigger flinch IMO.

For accuracy, the Ruger Blackhawk pistol is the only one I've ever shot that I said "Dang - that round went exactly where I aimed it...and so did that one and that one..." although if you have to reload it in a firefight good luck - it takes like 3 minutes to reload.

I like my S&W .38 snubby OK...I got one with a low-profile hammer (hate concealed hammers - you never know when it's going to fire - again increasing trigger flinch) and when you cock it back it's a *hair trigger* (so much so that an experienced buddy of mine shot the ground 10 feet in front of him because he touched the trigger while bringing the weapon to bear) which helps accuracy a lot.

Plus, cocking the gun is an added warning of "yes, I really am going to shoot you, leave now"

Just my $.02.

Anonymous said...

I found this analysis very helpful:


HD firearms are just one aspect, the bigger picture is dealing with failure of one or more critical infrastructure services.

Anonymous said...

As a LEO who carries a Glock 22, .40 cal, I consider it the best in the business. Off duty I have my Model 27 which can use the mags from my Model 22.
Though, I will say, the one time in 10,000 rounds that I have had a malfunction with a Glock, was when I was using the extended 22 mag in my model 27, this caused me to pull the bottom of the mag, and I was using crap training ammo, which lead to a mis-feed upon firing.
The one down side is that the trigger does need to be pulled to field strip, and a Glock will fire a chambered round with the magazine out. Our cleaning tabel has 2 holes in it, showing it can happen to experienced LEO's.
But also being a certified Glock Armorer, I still say there is no finer semi auto than a Glock, and I reccommend the .40 cal or .357 Sig round. And for the zombie ammo, a bonded round like Speer Gold Dot or Remington Bonded Golden Saber is the way to go. Our dept found that out first hand. A non-bonded round will fragment going through auto doors and windshield glass causing minor wound and lacking the mass to stop the bad guys action......If you're not accustomed to a semi auto, I tell folks to stick with a good S&W 6 shooter like the Model 66 or 686 in .357 so you can scale down to a lighter .38+P if you don't want the buck of a magnum round....and stick with the bonded ammo.....just my $.02......