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Everything You’ve Heard About Stockpiling Ammo Is Wrong

Everything You’ve Heard About Stockpiling Ammo Is Wrong

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Amongst all the critical supplies that survivalists stockpile, there is nothing more controversial than ammunition.

When it comes to food and water, you never hear someone saying, “That’s too much.” But you can hear that with ammo. You can also hear a lot of people spouting off about how you need 10,000 rounds, without a whole lot of justification for it.

Part of the problem, as with everything else in preparing for an uncertain future, is that none of us really know what we need. We’re trying to define how much inventory to invest in, without really thinking it through and determining how we’ll use it. In order to fully understand how much ammo we need, we also need to develop a plan for how we will use our firearms.

Of course, there are many preppers who have made a life out of collecting firearms, too. While I can fully understand the fascination with guns and the desire to have lots of them, I can’t really say that buying the largest gun safe you can find and filling it up with guns is really a necessity.

How Much Is Enough?

So, let’s start out by talking about how many guns is enough. We need to determine that in order to know how much ammo we’ll need for those guns. There are two basic purposes for which you’ll need guns in any disaster situation. They are:

  • Defense
  • Hunting

You need to decide what sorts of guns you’re going to have on-hand for each of those purposes. In some cases, you may decide that you can use a gun for both purposes. A great example of this would be an AR-15. You could use that for both defense and hunting. If you have it chambered for .223 and buy a .22 long rifle adapter kit for it (new bolt and magazine), you could even use it for hunting.

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Likewise, a shotgun can be used for both purposes, although you are limited in range with a shotgun. Nevertheless, the actual gun that each member of your party is going to use in a survival situation should be decided. Those are the guns they should practice with and those are the guns you need to concern yourself about stockpiling ammo for.

Each member of your party needs a long gun (rifle or shotgun) and a pistol. As one firearm instructor so aptly put it, “A pistol is what you use to fight with, while you’re making your way to your rifle.” The idea here is that the pistol is always on your person, while you might be forced to put the rifle down, in order to accomplish some tasks.

If each family member is a shooter (and they should be), then you need one long gun and one pistol for each.

Now, on to Ammo

dhs ammo stockpiling

Image source: investors.com

If you have more guns than those mentioned above, then the amount of ammo that you have for the “extra” guns doesn’t really matter. You’ve already decided which guns you’re going to use, so those guns will only be used if a straggler joins your party or you break or lose one of your primary firearms.

We’re going to look at the two uses of those guns separately, specifically in the sense of determining how much ammo we need and then add them together. Keep in mind that you don’t need hunting ammo for a gun that’s not going to be used for hunting. That would just be extra ammo and an extra expense.

Defensive Ammo

Home defense is where people really go crazy on ammunition purchases. But is that realistic? When infantry soldiers go off to battle, they carry what is known as a “basic combat load.” That’s the amount of ammo that they are expected to use in one day’s fighting. Do you really think you’re going to use more ammo than an infantry soldier?

The basic load of rifle ammunition for an infantry soldier is 210 rounds. That’s seven, 30-round magazines. One is in their rifle and the others are in ammo pouches on their chest rig. For those who carry a pistol (usually rear area troops and upper level officers), they carry three magazines’ worth. You should have ammo for both, as you should be carrying both.

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Okay, so if we use that as a basis, then how many basic loads of ammo do you need? This is subject to argument, but I seriously doubt that any of us are going to use more than two. If you survive through that much fighting, you’re amazing. Most of us will probably die long before we reach that point.

The other issue here is portability. Ammo is heavy. If you’re “bugging out,” you probably won’t be able to take more than two basic loads with you — one on your person and another in your vehicle. Once again, if you survive through that much fighting, you’re simply amazing.

Hunting Ammo

We could actually end up using more ammo for hunting than we will for defense, in some situations. A lot will depend on your specific survival plans. If you are planning on staying in your home during a crisis, you’re probably not going to use a lot of ammo hunting. But if you are planning on living off the land, in some cabin in the woods, then you may actually go through a lot of ammo. But there are few who fall into that category.

The only way that hunting will be a realistic possibility for most of us is if we live someplace where we have woods within walking distance of our home. Otherwise, without gasoline, we probably won’t be able to go hunting at all.

nationwide ammo shortage fights

Image source: thegazette.com

Now, the next question is how much ammo do you use hunting? When I go, that’s limited to two or three rounds, maybe only one. Unless I’m bird hunting, when I might actually use as many as six. So, you really don’t need a lot of rounds of ammo for each hunting trip.

Start by figuring out your worst-case scenario for how long you’re expecting to be in survival mode. Based on that, how often will you go hunting? Let’s say two or three times per week. So, if you’re using three rounds of ammo per hunt and hunting three times per week, you’re going to need an absolute maximum of 365 rounds of ammo to survive a year. I bet it will actually be much less than that.

Putting it Together

Okay, so let’s put this all together. As an example, let’s say you’ve got an AR-15, which is your primary defense and hunting weapon, and you’re carrying a 9mm Glock as your sidearm. Two basic loads of ammo for your AR-15 is 420 rounds. Plus a year’s worth of hunting at a maximum of 365 rounds. That makes a total of 785 rounds. Then you need 102 rounds of 9mm for the two basic loads to fill the three magazines for your Glock.

For people in your family who are not going to be hunting, you can forget about the ammo for them to hunt. They’ll only need the two basic loads. That’s a whole lot less ammo than you need. For that matter, if you have others who do hunt, then you won’t have to hunt as much, so you’re still looking at only 365 rounds to take care of the year.

This means that for a family of four, all of whom are shooters, you need 2,453 total rounds of ammunition for rifles and pistols, in order to be ready to survive for a year. That’s a far cry from the 10,000 rounds that a lot of people are saying.

Of course, if having that 10,000 rounds gives you a warm fuzzy feeling, then buy them, assuming you have enough money for that much. But don’t feel like you have to, just because someone set up an arbitrary number and a lot of others have repeated it.

Keep in mind that these figures are only for surviving. They do not include anything for training. That’s another issue entirely. You can go through a lot of ammo learning to shoot. But then, those aren’t rounds that you need to stockpile for survival; those are rounds that you’d better expend before it becomes time to survive, or you’re going to be in a world of hurt.

Do you agree or disagree? How much ammo should you stockpile? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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61 comments

  1. you cannot have TOO much ammo so buy as much as you can afford, you can always use it later or barter with it if you have too !!!

  2. A very precise number for the first year. Where do you buy ammo for year two, three, etc.? You then talk about ammo for training which will increase the amount by a significant factor. Also you neglected BALLISTIC WAMPUM for barter in the future. The generic 10,000 rounds then seems quite low.

    • I’ll agree with extra rounds for training, and even trade isn’t a bad idea (I wouldn’t want to be known as the “bullet guy” though). You lose me at “year two, three, etc.”.

      What are the realistic odds the scenario lasts that long, or you’re alive for it? Be honest, the odds are slim. If you do, I’m sure there would be plenty of dead people with rounds you could use, complete with the guns that fire those rounds.

      Hunting is a touchy subject. There will be no shortage of people that try he hunting angle. The last place I want to be is in a remote location where there are probably other hungry, desperate people with guns looking for food. I’d rather have a stash at home which is as close to a guaranteed meal as you can possibly get.

      I’ll agree, it NEVER hurts to have extra ammo…..assuming you’ll use it. The point of the article is to not get carried away with obsessing over a certain number, especially if you’re stretching your budget to get it. Bullets are expensive are there’s not a surplus of cash out there in our current economy that couldn’t be used more productively. If you have the funds, by all means indulge yourself (I do). However, if money was tight I’d spend it on food, water, and putting into a backup emergency fund. There’s a better chance you’ll lose your job tomorrow than there is you’ll be in a massive shoot-out during your lifetime. The threat of job loss, which brings with it home loss, unreliable sustenance, and every other myriad problem should be a greater concern, as it happens to people EVERY day and can very well happen to any of us here.

      Prep for the most likely scenarios, not survival masturbation fantasies.

      • Many experts agree that an EMP or CME hit (or serious GRID hacking) could (hypothetical) end up destroying making so much electronic infrastructure useless. If that is remotely accurate, it make take a lot more than a year to return civilization to any kind of normality. While 10,000 sounds a little high, it may not be for a multi-year outage – especially if one is using some to trade.

        • Experts agree that plenty of things COULD happen. “Could” and “probably will” are two very different things. You can’t prepare for everything that could happen, but you can sure as hell prepare for things likely to happen.

          I don’t think 10k is high at all, quite the contrary, it’s easy to burn through that many rounds. I’m arguing that unless you have all your ducks in a row it’s foolish to spend money that could be better used on other things on ammo. I buy ammo all time solely for the reason it’s cheaper today than if likely will be tomorrow. At the same time, I have no car payments, my house is 2 years away from being paid off (if I slack a bit at that), and no other bills save insurance and cell phone. How many people talking about bartering bullets after society totally collapses can say the same? Judging by what happened after the last economic downturn I doubt many.

          So what we have are guys spending money on bullets in case they have to fight off a Chinese invasion (insert your survival fantasy here) who depend on a job to keep the more valuable assets they have….a job that may not exist tomorrow. Misplaced priorities. Unless of course you want to be the next ignorant redneck on an episode of doomsday preppers.

        • I have an uncle that used to work on guidance systems for ballistic missiles. His latest job is working at a particle accelerator. They specifically collide particles in order to simulate an EMP. It is true and EMP will mess up electronics, but the things he designs are impervious to EMPs. Your cell phone may die, your computer may die, your watch, TV, Xbox (see a theme here), etc.The power grid may experience surges or blown transformers, but the computer systems supporting it wont. Certain components in airplanes may tank, but the traffic control system, and anything necessary to keep them in the air wont. Most satellites won’t go down, the government may have hiccups (lots of hiccups), but you can expect for the most part, it all to be back up and running in a year or less.

          I will plan for 2 or 3 years, but the only way that becomes the scenario, is if in the ensuing chaos, the government splinters into state or county controlled governments essentially eliminating the society and safety nets we presume to have

      • “You lose me at “year two, three, etc.” What are the realistic odds the scenario lasts that long, or you’re alive for it?”

        If you PLAN on dying, you might as well not buy any and let the rest of us have your share.

        • I don’t plan on dying, but I know it’s a very realistic option. Expecting anyone from a first-world country to know dick about real survival is like expecting an Eskimo to understand living in a desert. I just plan for the things that actually kill people in these types of scenarios. You know, malnutrition, unsanitary conditions, dirty water, an entire host of diseases, the real types of things that have been bigger killers throughout the history of man than war or violence could ever aspire to.

          You’re more likely to die of diarrhea than invaders. Good luck stopping bacteria with bullets.

          Or how about random injuries you sustain? Easy to sprain an ankle, break a bone, or get a nasty cut in the course of surviving, as many of the things you’d need to do in order to survive are risky and carry a high chance of injury. If it happens, chances are you die, 10k bullets won’t stop that either.

          I’ll stick with my presumption that the real scenarios the average person will face during an emergency situation have little to nothing to do with bullets. Argue it all you want but thousands of years of recorded history are on my side. Hell, you don’t have to look any farther than a Google search of recent emergency situations in other countries (countries MUCH more crime/violence ridden than America) to see I’m right.

      • “What are the realistic odds the scenario lasts that long, or you’re alive for it?”

        If my experience in Vietnam is an indicator, chances of my survival are darn good. One can never have “too much ammo”, however you can have too little ammo!

        • I agree, there no such thing as too many bullets….with the caveat that you have other essentials covered. I’d prefer an extra 6month supply of canned goods to an extra 1000 rounds 7.62×39.

          Every time these types discussions are brought up you get the hot-air arguments that we’lol be fighting Stalingrad-level battles in the streets, and it’s ridiculous. Could it happen, sure but it isn’t anywhere near as likely as a bunch of people like to pretend it will be. Likewise, the chances you’ll fight off hordes of invaders in your front yard is equally silly, the argument that you may have to do it multiple times even more so. Have all the bullets you want, it won’t stop a lucky shot fired by some ill-trained person from killing you, the odds of which become more likely the more fights you get into.

          Again, I’m basing my opinion on the thousands of years of recorded history we have of what actually happens during wide-spread disaster situations. Plenty of people die of violence sure, but magnitudes more die of everything else.

  3. It’s also a good idea to have a common caliber amongst your weapons, that way all ammo fits all guns.

    • caliber commonality is the best option to have, which I follow so no matter which gun messes up, the same stock of ammo will always be of use. Most people (gun collectors especially) have the problem where they have 30 different calibers among their arsenal which makes stockpiling of any amount a serious burden. If one chooses to have many different calibers, then they can follow the same guidelines like the author of this article states, stockpile for your survival holdouts, and the rest are just for fun where you buy ammo when needed.

      • I’ve decided on 22LR, 9mm, .223/5.56, 12GA, and .308. All common and, for the most part, reasonably priced. I’m also shooting for magazine commonality. My bolt-action takes AR-15 magazines. At some point I’ll buy a PCC that shares common magazines with my handgun, etc.

  4. ammo is practice, hunting,defense, and just plain fun! planning future ammo supply’s should be practiced like food supply’s. never have enough. I favor at least 5K per firearm (basic ammo). ball ammo surplus is as basic and least expensive as you can get and projectiles can be pulled and switched for intended use.

  5. One thing the author fails to consider is the use of ammo as currency. Ammo can be used to barter for goods. Are you going to give up your Krugerrands for a loaf of bread or a gallon of gas? A few 45 acp rounds is a lot more liquid asset.

    • Hi there, this is the author. The reason that I don’t consider ammo for trading is that the last thing I’d want to put into someone else’s hands is ammo, especially someone I don’t know. In my own planning, I’m not putting much priority on barter anyway, simply because I don’t think there will be a lot of people out there with stuff to trade. But, even so, I personally don’t want to trade ammo; better other stuff.

    • Yep just walk your barter goods right down the road for trading….. say: I got me gold starvin people out of me way…..

      Yep alot of barterers are gonna die easy for the other guy deaths…

      Millions of guns hundreds of millions of mags billions of rounds
      But little food and water and your gonna walk around looking for someone to trade with…. you should of bought the trade you need before the trade you have extra of….. your mistake…..

  6. Before this ‘crisis’ the family was shooting about 500 rounds of .22lr each week. That is 26,000 rounds of .22 lr. each year. In addition we would also train with individual side arms and long arms, totally over 30,000 rounds a year for training alone. Granted, we are not a family of four but I still think your numbers are way too low.
    I would suggest a minimum of 1,500 for each side arm that is an EDC, 500 for ‘extra’ handguns.
    A minimum of 2K rounds for any semi-auto defensive rifle. (per person)
    Bolt action, long range rifles 750-1,000 rounds.
    Having the ability to reload for all essential calibers is a smart bet. YMMV
    BTW these are a one year number. I would recommend a three year supply for the next time it dries up.

  7. The comments on this article are all valid reasons uses for more ammo that someone might need for defense or hunting however, the article totally ignores the primary purpose of owning and remaining proficient with firearms. That is to maintain a ready militia to protect and ensure our freedom from tyranny and oppression. How much ammo would be necessary to assume an “offensive” position? Let me assure you that maintaining freedom would require a lot more than 2500 rounds. Don’t count on WalMart when your 2500 rounds are gone. At that point, you own some fine clubs for protection. The only correct answer to the question, is that each person should keep as much ammo as they could afford to purchase and properly store. All other solutions can leave you one round short.

    • The most common-sense response I’ve seen.

      “….as much ammo as they can afford to purchase and properly store”. +1

      Most can’t afford as much as they think unless they can personally say they owe no debt on anything in their possession. I’d rather keep my house than have an extra 2000 rounds of ammo.

      Money is more of a liquid asset than bullets will EVER be. Anyone that thinks paper money will become useless overnight is massively fooling themselves.

      • Hey Blake, are you not paying atention to our current economic issues? You almost sound like you work for Obama. Our paper money is heading the direction of becoming worthless, or at least becoming worth far less than what it’s worth right now. Go grocery shopping. Can you not see that what your dollar bought ONE year ago, does not buy as much of today?

        Paying off your house, great idea. However, in a socio-economic collapse, tell me, who exactly is going to show up at your doorstep to evict you if you haven’t? I would like to see that. Most evictions involve some sort of law enforcement, and being former law enforcement, I can tell you from experience, that will be the least of their concerns. And I doubt little Mr. Banker man is going to show up by himself to kick you out.

        In a grid down scenario, if that happens, if it gets that bad, paper money WILL become useless. You can’t eat it.

        In a survival situation you need very few things; food, clean water, shelter of some sort, and the ability to protect yourself. Last time I checked, bullets enable you to take care of 2 of those things. I don’t know how you can purify water with bullets.

        And as far as keeping your house rather than an extra 2000 rounds of ammo. All I can say to that, is that maybe that extra 2000 rounds will help you keep you house from someone who thinks your digs look pretty comfy. Am I the only one who is familiar with the current trend of home invasions? Thats on the rise NOW. What do you think it will look like with no law?

        Just saying……………

    • You’re right, I don’t consider ammo for militia in this article. The article was written from a survival viewpoint, not taking on the government in civil war. If it comes to civil war, I want all the ammo I can get.

  8. I think Rich is being realistic for someone with military experience in an ideal situation. But I’m not sure you will find an ideal situation in a SHTF environment. I can say for a fact that in a force on force firefight you will burn through a double basic load of ammo in no time. I can’t say what it’s going to look like if it comes to pass nor can I even begin to guess how long it will last, but it’s unrealistic to expect everyone to play nice and leave you alone to survive.

    Within a few days the worst of society will band together and start foraging. They aren’t going to knock on the door and ask pretty please can you share some food with me. They will kill indiscriminately and then look to see if you have anything worth taking. It will look more like Sherman’s walkabout in the south. Slash, burn and kill everything in their path.

    I would think it might be better to plan fallback caches with weapons and ammo. Step back and lead them into ambush after ambush with your own resupply so you don’t have to carry it with you. You are going to have to make your own rules that you can live with. After leading them away you may be able to track down any stragglers and kill them off so you can do a reset. Just my thoughts…

    • Paul,

      First of all, I don’t agree that you’ll go through that much ammo in a firefight, unless you are doing a lot of suppresssive fire. I don’t believe in srppresssive fire in a civilian environment. That’s a good way to kill a lot of innocent people. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to go to jail for killing a lot of innocent people; and yes, that will happen. If there’s a general breakdown of society and people are getting killed, you can be sure that as soon as things get back under control, the police will be arresting anyone who went hog wild with their guns. Careful aimed fire is what is needed.

      Secondly, if things are that bad, what makes you think that you’re such a great warrior that you’ll be able to survive more than two firefights? I’m trying to be realistic here. If my home gets attacked by that big a mob more than twice, there’s a good chance I wont’ survive.

      Just a little food for thought.

  9. The one thing the author of the article forgot, was laziness. I have been reloading for over 50 years, and once you have settled on a particular load and bullet weight, the resultant duplication is boring and repetative. Once I start reloading for stock, (having overcome my lazy genes), I go all out and load like crazy, and do not need to reload for many a year. My final solution is to buy components in bulk, to get a better price, and can load what I need at any given time.

  10. Good call Paul,

    Finally a view, with-out blinders or tha zoom set on max. Back in tha 90’s I was getting my Son into .22’s, so back then a brick of Federals was 8.95, so a trip to Walmart would net me ten bricks at a time, (5000) rounds. An average afternoon would deplete a brick between two adults and one five year old, we would walk a two mile long main ditch, up and back, blast everything in site, reed tops to turtle heads to chasing Dragon flys, once my Son learned to load his own mag., it got worse…….

    So fast-forward to this month, I have secured 5000 rounds of .22 between three locations at four times the old price ( five-eight cents per rd). We don’t shoot like we did back then, but I don’t want to ration my play time either.

    So my logic is buy what “you” feel you need and can afford ., it doesn’t go bad. 5000 rounds per caliber is a mere start, 20-30 thousand rounds of .22’s really isn’t that much and keeps tha muscle memory at par……

    And in a SHTF world, you are now the new “king of all that you survey”, your shed just became yer Walmart, and when the shelves become bare, there will be no truck on Tuesday to replenish….

  11. “Everything You’ve Heard About Stockpiling Ammo Is Wrong”___Including this article. All of the above comments bring out very valid challenges to the article.

    1st – there is never an ideal situation.

    2nd – if TSHTF, there will likely not be any rules, only “Survival of the Fittest” (translate the most prepared in all respects. i.e…Training, shelter, & supplies).

    3rd – unprepared people (friends, family, and everyone else) will likely be, hungry, thirsty, & desperate, and will resort to doing things that would shock even the most seasoned of us.

    Buy what you can afford, when you can afford it, and put as much away as you can in the event that TYRANNY becomes the reason that we need to rise up to the occasion. I fear that scenario more than any other calamity we might suffer.

  12. I’ve heard the government has plans to pass a bill possibly for ammo that has a shelf life of only six months. It has a lithium strip or something in it that neutralizes the ammo supposedly. I think ammo first for hunting and defense is wise, secondly – it will be a source of barter or currency when crisis hits and no one else stockpiled enough, third – when if the government does come out with this planned obsolescence type ammo, the prepared will still have the real thing. Lastly – everyone should know how to reload their bullets as a final safeguard. Just like a woman can’t have enough shoes…no one can have enough ammo.

  13. LOL What a bunch of hooey. After teotwawki bad guys will rape and pillage at will. Don’t think so? Remember Katrina? We found cannibals after a week. We were told NOT to arrest them. Get it? As far as paper money always being worth something. ROTFFLMFAOTIC. I have over 250k of ammo with the ability to reload the same and still not happy. REMEMBER NO RESUPPLY.

    • Thats about right! never to much! No resupply, but from the one that come for you! They will not need it anymore! By this article, my family would last more than 25 years and as a group more like 150 years, SO my grand kids will have some!

  14. Not sure what the magic number is or should be, but it was nice to have a stock of .22 ammo during the “shortage”. I probably don’t have 10,000 rounds pf any one caliber, but I do practice a lot, so my stockpile is not just a static number waiting for the apocalypse. I am using it regularly and replacing it as I can. It is very easy to go through a couple hundred rounds in an afternoon at the range. I say keep as much ammunition as you like, enjoy the shooting sports for now, and be always ready. There will come a day that you’ll be glad you’ve been practicing.

  15. Who says you will only have to survive for a year? If things get so bad you are expending a couple thousand rounds, things aren’t going back to normal for a long, long time.

  16. Think of ammo in the same way you would everything else, such as firewood. We cut and split for the winter ahead. What isn’t consumed this year will start the following year. I keep cutting wood whether it gets used or not….it will. Same with tools or a means to generate power….Paul mentioned Sherman, after four years of war, there wasn’t much to return to down South…..that won’t happen a second time…

  17. You are making poor assumptions. As a retired Marine/Soldier, survival expert and self-sufficient homesteader… I can tell you in a firefight I never thought I had too much ammo. You talk about two basic loads as enough… we always go out with a basic load and can call for or have access to resupply/logpac. Since my plans are based on (I have an MA in security/risk management) real-world threats and threats in my area… I believe it prudent to buy and store ammo like you do other essentials. A box or so a month, every month. I buy TP for the wife and ammo for the a$$holes. Lastly, the quantity of ammo should be based on the the threat scenarios you are preparing for. For anyone to say they “know” a number that works for everyone is ludicrous. I have a redoubt in the south-west and my needs are different than someone living in/near a metro that has to bug out to their homestead.

  18. VERY disappointed. Ammunition will be a finite resource. When you run out where will you get more? I totally disagree with this article. Again, very disappointed.

  19. 1 good firefight and youd burn thru all that ammo. Thats why 10,000 is a good number to shoot for. Not to mention it will be a great barter item.

  20. Hi.
    Just a couple of thoughts on this ammo thing.
    1. No one has studied killing, what it takes to kill, how to train people to kill, etc than Col Dave Grossman. His research revealed many interesting findings. One that I remember is the early psychologists studied this from Civil war veterans. The truth was that many admitted to shooting high or low to avoid taking a life.
    2. Next the military’s figures for the ratio for killing in Vietnam was: 50,000 bullets fired for EVERY enemy soldier KILLED !!!
    3. Col Grossman research demonstrates that 80% of humans CANNOT take a life under ANY circumstances !
    4. Sure a combat load is limited. But, back in the BOO, (base of operations) there are pallets of ammo for re-supply. We hear what happens when units can’t get re-supplied. Good troops die.
    5. In Iraq or Afghan, total enemy combatants in either country was what? 25,000 more or less. I live less than a 3 day walk from Columbus, Oh, (1,200,000 people), Dayton (200,000 people), Cincinnati (1,000,000 people). How many hungry, disparate people are going to show up in my AO ?? I don’t know, but I need to prepare.

    These are researched and documented FACTS. Those of us that has served and have been in the “shit” will agree. These are factors that need to be added to determine how much ammo is enough.

    s

  21. When the SHTF, magazines will be emptied fast, like others have said. In combat you don’t think about how many rounds you’ve fired until you here that empty click, click, click. Carrying 2 basic loads is great if you plan on bugging out. Having a plan of where you are bugging out to, and having extra ammo cached there is even better.

    I live full time at my groups bug out location, my homestead. When the SHTF I fight in place, and the rest of the group fights their way here. So I keep way more ammo here, as well as extra firearms. We plan on surviving for an extended period of time in this location. Not only do I keep more ammo than this, but I also have the capability of reloading each round at least five times. Sure brass may get lost or damaged beyond being reloadable, but I’ve got the supplies to do it.

    At our secondary location, and along the route there, we also have ammo and other supplies, no firearms though, hidden in several caches. If your going to prep, you might as well prep for TEOTWAWKI. If society is never rebuilt, we will still survive for several generations. I can see only carrying the ammo prescribed, but even 10,000 rounds at your final location seems a little light.

    And for whatever its worth on my 2nd deployment I carried an M4 (rifle), an M9 (pistol), and usually had a shotgun strapped to my back. I was not a high ranking officer, nor a rear area Soldier. That was everyday outside the wire. Now-a-days I usually just carry my DD 214 with me for protection. 😉

  22. Estimates show that the aftermath of any major catastrophe (nuclear, EMP, super volcano, economic collapse, etc.) will likely last at least 2 years. Even longer if civil war breaks out.

    I agree with many of the posts above… It is ridiculous to think that an average person would be so accurate with each round… And what happens if you require more, lay down and die?

    Aside from gold and silver, bullets will quickly become a valuable commodity. Almost a form of currency. When your family hasn’t eaten anything substantial in a week, how many bullets would you trade for a loaf of bread and a few apples?

    • What makes you think ANYONE will be interested in trading food if things get that bad? This is seriously the most jacked-up topic that comes up every time people talk survival situations.

      It’s a pretty universal idea in prepping circles that the average person isn’t prepared, agree? That means the bulk of the population WILL NOT have extra food. Despite how handy bullets can be they’re certainly not trading what precious little food they would have for bullets. The people with plenty of food (preppers) have probably got the ammo angle covered as well, so….no reason for them to trade. Barter in these situations, especially with bullets, is stupid plain and simple. There’s a reason currencies replaced barter thousands of years ago, barter isn’t flexible enough. It works great if each party has something the other needs in quantity to justify the trade but it rarely works that way. Why would you want to help arm someone else, someone who quite literally is your direction competition?

  23. As one person already stated: Remember Katrina. The government sent some of our military guys down there to assist the police. But the police avoided the high crime areas & left the criminals alone. Instead, they went into the residential areas and confiscated all the firearms from the law-abiding citizens. And that hurricane was a single event in a small area of our country. Just think about what it will be like in a major catastrophe that covers a major portion of the country, if not the entire country. Wanna guess what the government is going to send our police and military out to do? Wanna take bets on whether the “blue helmet” guys are called in? What will you do when they show up at your door? Now is not the time for a bunch ‘brag-it-up-BS” — now is the time to actually consider what you will do. In other words, have a plan in advance. Because when we do end up in a SHTF event, it will most likely lead to a TEOTWAWKI scenario — and it is NOT going to be a short period of time. It will be absolute chaos & intense, violent criminal activity for the first year, followed by another 2 or 3 years of basic survival and trying to get the country back on its feet again. We have people in our country that have been on welfare for their entire lives. Many of them are 3rd & 4th generation welfare families. They have always been “takers” and that’s all they know. What do you think these folks are going to do when their welfare stops? They will be out in hoards that will make the zombies look like a circus show. We’re talking about people who wouldn’t hesitate to kill you and your family over a can of tuna. The whole issue really depends on where you are and what you’re capable of doing to defend yourself, your family, your home, and possibly your neighbors. Those who have never seen combat will find it difficult to cope with. Those who have seen combat are praying that it doesn’t come here in their lifetime. But I do think it is coming, and in the not-too-distant future. If you live anywhere near a high population area and have nowhere to go, 10,000 rounds may not be anywhere near enough. If you are fortunate enough to have a homestead or something like it, you will probably never see the “hoards”, but you may very well have to prepare to face the “blue helmet” boys when they come to confiscate your cattle, chickens, rabbits, and the produce from your gardens and orchards. How much ammunition will you need for that? Are you even willing/able to take that step? Something to think about, not to brag about.

    • Totally agree with the “no bragging bs” as there’s WAY too much false bravado in these discussions.

      With that said, if things fall apart it will be horrible for all involved no matter their preparedness level. The little things each of us takes for granted, in their sum, will make life harder than any of us could imagine. Plans are great, but plans often fall apart….no human way to account for all possibilities. The last thing I would want was to be the guy who looked like he had his ducks in a row. Urban areas will suck, rural areas may suck worse. Isolation is great until you realize you’re all alone and there’s no possibility of help.

      Taking a stand and going toe to toe with a military force however? Suicide. Have all the bullets and guns you want, troop numbers, superior equipment, and infrastructure will win the day every time. Holding your ground is a glorious concept but it falls apart when the force you’re holding it again can quite literally blow it out from under your feet.

    • Amen brother!!!

      That is probably the most common sence, realistic overhead view I’ve read on this post, I agree completely.

      @Blake, I disagree, the rural areas will not suck worse. You abviously have never lived in a rural area. I do and can tell you that everyone around me can grow/provide food for their families. That takes care of, or at least will help with the starving for weeks and going to kill you for a can of tuna issue. Here, people are GROWN with the idea and action of helping their neighbors without the expectation of receiving something in return. Here we know that things come around. It might be a couple of years down the road, but I know that if I need help with something, all I have to do is ask one of my neighbors.

      Now I know in a desparate situation not everyone is going to follow that model, but I think enough will. And yes there will be people who are desparate for food. That is where you give some of the extra that you have, to help out. I have an Amish family in front of me with 8 kids still at home. I would happily donate a pig/sheep/cow if there wasn’t enough food and their kids were hungry. I’m sorry, but who amongst us can watch a kid go hungry and not try to help? Raise your hand,……….now go look in the mirror and be disgusted with yourself that you would put yourself before the welfare of a child.

      All alone and no possibility of help??? First, my neighbors would help. Second, my husband and I have had conversations with the current law enforcement about response times and such. Want to know what they said? Get a gun. They are fully aware that right NOW it’s going to take at least 15+ mins to get to our house. I can tell you from experience that A LOT CAN HAPPEN IN 15 MINUTES. If you are waiting for someone to rescue you,…………………you can be killed, beaten, raped or worse several times over in 15 minutes.

      No help on the way. No problem. We make preparations for that.

      Do you REALLY think help will be coming to you just because you live in an urban area? Or worse, a city??? I can all but guarantee you that there will be more incidents than there are bodies to handle them, all but guarantee………..

      • I think you bring up an excellent point, Shannon: planning should involve what you can do for yourself, and what you can do to (potentially) help others. Those who are concerned about desperate people willing to kill over “a can of tuna,” should ponder the other side of that equation as well–those who are willing to kill in order to hold onto that can of tuna. It is not a simple issue.

  24. The thought of an extended situation has lead me to have plenty of black powder and I have gathered lead to smelt into the required ball for the muzzle loader. I also have cross bow. This is a great weapon for hunting and fishing. Plus the cross bow is for the future family, clan group to use when I get old and die and there is no ammo left.

  25. While no one can anticipate every scenario, the fact remains that desperate people will gravitate towards anywhere they think might hold food , water etc. to take by force if necessary. If your place is lit up like Christmas while all else is dark, well you get the picture. The same with sounds, movement times and such will come into play when hunting ,foraging, cooking and other activities.
    My preference for hunting small game is my pellet rifle..ammo is light, easy to carry and QUIET. The current pellets sold today are devastatingly accurate. And cheap. I’m NOT saying other types of weapons are not needed, but will have to be used sparingly until the need arises. I plan to make my homestead look as useless as possible and a pain to even get to… And then trust GOD!

  26. if i were in a survival situation i would use primitive trapping methods and save my ammo as much as possible instead of hunting with my gun.

  27. The reference to a basic combat load for a soldier is interesting but largely irrelevant to what most people see as a survival situation. A soldier is part of a platoon, and the entire platoon is working together every day. Furthermore, the entire platoon should be resupplied daily by the army. In a survival situation, most people have to assume that they’ll be working alone or in a small family group. They aren’t going to have resupply from a base, and their confrontations aren’t going to be planned around typical military combat scenarios. They may need much more or much less ammo.

    For people who live in large urban/suburban areas, being able to waste huge amounts of ammunition will be a benefit. In a SHTF scenario, many of the people who will be roaming the streets doing harm will be thugs who don’t shoot well and are often carrying handguns but nothing more. They are dangerous because they will form mobs, and the best strategy will be firing into the mob to scare them away. A person fighting this mob from concealment may be hit by a lucky shot, but if that person is shooting a .223 or 7.62×39, just keeping the mob at bay with long shots may be enough to survive. However, if the mob is persistent, then the defender will need a great deal of ammunition. In that situation, a person could fire a few thousand rounds in a week or so.

    People who live in rural areas and plan to escape to the wilderness to survive may be able to reach their havens without firing a shot. For them, a large store of defensive ammunition may not be valuable.

    The handgun strategy mentioned here leaves out an important point. The best handgun to deal with people in an urban/suburban area may not be the best to have for wilderness survival. To fight to get out of a populated area, the best handgun would be a 9mm, 40 S&W, or .45 ACP. Once one reaches wilderness, other sidearms are more likely to be best. If bears or other big predators live in the area, a .44 magnum would be the best choice. This kind of defense scenario wouldn’t happen more than a few times in years of survival, but a big caliber revolver would be best. Supposedly, the 10mm pistol is great for both thugs in the city and bears in the country, but neither the guns nor the ammo are popular.

    For hunting, the most versatile gun would be a .22 caliber rifle. In many cases, a person is going to be hunting squirrel, and that kind of hunting will use some ammunition. Rimfire ammo is no longer cheap, but 10,000 rounds would not be that hard to transport and would eventually be used.

    • Thanx Bill,….. the numbers of civilians vastly out number those with military background. So these people are untrained which makes them unpredictable. Rules do not apply here….the term “They’re not playing fair” does. Most of the arguments I have are with folks that think their box is the only one and can’t or refuse to think outside of there box, which in most cases will be a coffin. Playing Baseball by yourself is tuff, you can’t cover all tha bases…….Learn to play Chess, think several moves ahead….no place in a SHTF world for Checker players….

  28. Blake said: “The people with plenty of food (preppers) have probably got the ammo angle covered as well, so….no reason for them to trade. Barter in these situations, especially with bullets, is stupid plain and simple.”

    Well, NOT if they do what you say in this article!

  29. You folks need to read your history, or just read about current events in other countries where these types of things have happened. There will be LOTS of ammo in the hands of just a few people, and they WILL kill you and take what you have. A simple scenario is that someone tries to break into your house, so you shoot him. If he lives, he’ll come back and kill you. So why wait, just kill him on the first offense. Now you neighbor sees you do the guy in and nothing happens (no govt- right?) so now you neighbor isn’t just going to ask nicely when his children are STARVING! Most guys I know have a plan to do in most of their neighbors as soon as they are certain that all govt is gone. Remember, for every survivor, there will need to be 50 others who don’t make it (do the math). So, if you live in a crowded city, expect supplies to end really quick- and expect bubba at your door really soon. By the way, it doesn’t really matter anyhow, because in the event that the US government fails, China will be at our doorsteps before you can even open a can of beans. They won’t even fire a shot or drop a single bomb. They will just irradiate you from the air. You won’t even feel it. Just a sleepy feeling, then you feel like you have the flu, start shaking, vision blurs, then…

  30. Do you have a car, truck, motorcycle or boat – but feel you do not need fuel for them? Of course not.
    The issue with petrol-fuel is that most of us cannot store 5,000 gallons safely on our property – in many cases it would be illegal if we did… so we have to buy it as we need it from the service stations. If you have the safe place to keep it – like on a homestead – you might have two 55 gallon drums of gasoline on hand to keep all of your equipment running. For we urban dwellers, most have a little one gallon can of gas on hand for the lawn mower! Pathetic!
    If you own GUNS you’re going to need fuel for them – called Ammo. Each and every time you want to use your gun – you could go to the sporting goods store and buy a box of ammo for that day – weeks worth of hunting and maybe a bit of target practice. Rural Stop Signs and posted NO HUNTING signs as targets optional!
    Buying ammo only as you need it is like dining Ala Cart! You eat once – but there’s no left overs! Most of us like going to the pantry or Frig’ and helping ourselves to our stored bounty. IF you own guns- and want to shoot them – a lot – on demand when and where you want to – you need a gun pantry full of Ammo. Grabbing your 22 rifle and a box of LONGS – then heading off on the ATV down the gravel back roads where you encounter a “55 Acres for Sale by Owner sign”- pull over, slip the rifle out of the carry cover – and unleash 25 rounds into the centers of the A’s, E’s and O’s! Yup, you’ve still got it! Then you head back down the road where you know some Wild Turkey might be is, Gun-Up 101. Well to some it might be! Drive down any back country road and there is enough evidence around to indicate – it is!
    Poking fun and joking aside – It makes absolutely NO Sense to own firearms and not have a cache of ammo on hand for each weapon you possess. The more you know you’re going to rely on a particular gun – the more ammo on hand you’re going to need for it. We already know – every time there is a hick-up out of Obama on guns and ammo – the supplies of ammo immediately dry up and the retailers price gouge. That is WHY you must buy and store properly as much ammo as you think you’ll need for a five years using your primary weaponry. Don’t have just a half a gallon of fuel on hand for your guns when all the sporting goods stores have bare shelves after the NEXT Executive Anus anti-gun rant. Clinton is already eschewing her ” I’ll Ban the 2nd Amendment when I’m elected President!” venom, so you know as soon as she gets the Democrat Party’s full approval as their Nominee – expect gun and ammo sales to go nuts!
    Clinton is George Soros funded and his puppet – and he wants the USA disarmed! Both are Fascist Socialists. The next 12 months for gun owners is going to be a nightmare of new anti-gun bills, campaign rhetoric, rumors, propaganda, panic buying, and you can count on – no actually you can Bank on – there will be more mass shootings and an assignation attempt on a candidate. Those will set off the war between gun owners and the the S.O.B.in the White House over the 2nd Amendment. Buckle your seat belts, cause it’s going to be one hell of a rough ride!

  31. A lot of opinions. Some good, some obviously just plain stupid. As for the article, tackling the subject is mighty tough as it is a very subjective topic. Too many think they’re an expert too. There is lot more to consider than meets the eye. Example: for each purpose (defense vs hunting) consider real calibers. Using a 223 for hunting might apply if you live in the South where your not harvesting moose & elk. Think about the ranges you will need to shoot at for either purpose. Do you live back East where 100yrds is long? Or do you live in Nevada where 800 yrds isn’t out of the question. When the caliber’s become specific, think about storage space, ammo weight, the availability to replace the ammo if need be, cost, bullet design & construction for choice of caliber etc. Now you can start planning what firearm you believe you’ll need. Be wise. A oddball chambered firearm will do no good after your 500 rounds are spent. As for numbers of rounds, how long are you planning to live? Personally, I’m certainly not planning on dying after a yr or two. How many are in need of the smmo? What about the ability to reload? Do you want to hand down a firearm to posterity? Better hand down enough ammo to do some good. I’ll state no “magic” number. Just be smart & put some real thought into it. Be realistic & not believing all the other dreamt up garbage out there.

  32. A lot of opinions. Some good, some obviously just plain stupid. As for the article, tackling the subject is mighty tough as it is a very subjective topic. Too many think they’re an expert too. There is lot more to consider than meets the eye. Example: for each purpose (defense vs hunting) consider real calibers. Using a 223 for hunting might apply if you live in the South where you’re not harvesting moose & elk. Think about the ranges you will need to shoot at for either purpose. Do you live back East where 100 yrds is long? Or do you live in Nevada where 800 yrds isn’t out of the question. When the caliber’s become specific, think about storage space, ammo weight, the availability to replace the ammo if need be, cost, bullet design & construction for the job & choice of caliber etc. Now you can start planning what firearm you believe you’ll need. Be wise. An oddball chambered firearm will do no good after your 500 rounds are expended. As for numbers of rounds, how long are you planning to live? Personally, I’m certainly not planning on dying after a yr or two. How many are in need of the ammo? What about the ability to reload? Do you want to hand down a firearm to posterity? Better hand down enough ammo to do some good. I’ll state no “magic” number. Just be smart & put some real thought into it. Be realistic & not believing all the other dreamt up garbage out there.

  33. I disagree. You said you would need 365 rounds of ammo for one year. So you are basically saying you are only going to shoot one animal a day and you better not miss. I can see a big family eating 2 or 3 critters a day in a shtf setting. Also every artical I have ever read has said if the grid goes down, it would be a min of 5 years for it to come back up. 5 years with zero power is a long time. I would hate to run out of ammo in the first year.

  34. Does the ammo have a shelf life? I know people made reasonable arguments pertaining to the value of ammo when the power is out. How can you figure out if the rounds are aging correctly? Is there a better way to store ammo in a sealed PVC pipe or some polystyrene?

  35. I can tell you for sure as a combat vet from O.I.F that you’re combat load is outdated and ineffective. It was 270 for a total of nine 30 round mag’s when I went and during my first fire fight myself and others went black on ammo within ten minuets. After that I never carried less then 12 mag’s on my person and one in the weapon that’s a total of 390 and when had pre-loaded mags in the mraps. When you have to fight for your life and bullets are flying you will find out quickly you are no Carlos Hathcock.

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