What Gun, What Ammo, and What to Do Now

by Tommy Grant

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[ED: We originally ran this post in March of 2020. You’ll probably remember what things were like then. COVID is no longer the issue it was and ammo is far more plentiful, but we have other problems and lots of people seem to be anticipating interesting times in the next 12 months. My next door neighbor just asked me for help in getting a good carry gun as she no longer feels safe venturing out in many areas where that was never a consideration before. So read on and think about JWT’s advice. It just might come in handy.]

We are all getting a lot of advice these days. Some of it is even good advice.

If you are reading someone telling you what to carry, how much ammunition you should be comfortable with, or how you will behave in a gunfight, and they have not actually been in a gunfight themselves, much less prolonged combat with multiple aggressors, by all means, keep reading those articles. Keep reading them, but please understand that you’re reading it for entertainment purposes only, because there’s no real valuable information there at all.

Here’s what you can do in times like these — and just about any other — from someone who’s been there.

Folks who read TTAG will know I have some experience in this subject. There is some value in the fact that I’ve had multiple combat deployments, and have been in direct fire at ranges from 15 yards to way-on-out-there. I’ve been attacked by known opponents and “friendlies” alike, and with all sorts of weapons.

But what’s actually valuable is my work as an Army medic, EMT, firefighter, and in search and rescue, as well as swift-water rescue. I’ve worked disasters in this country and others, and I’ve worked in first world and third world countries. I’ve been a shelter manager.

I’ve seen societies pull together and I’ve seen them tear themselves apart. I’ve lived through hurricanes and floods and survived just fine. What I say here comes from that actual experience. There are some things that make a big difference when times are…challenging.

You should always carry a gun and know how to use it well. What gun? Any gun that you know how to use well.

How much ammo should you carry? As much as you can carry on your person. That’s it. It’s really that simple.

What should you do if you already have thousands of rounds? You should shoot some of them. That’s what they’re for. You should practice and keep in reserve at least what you can carry on your person. At least.

Just as important, get to know your neighbors and know your environment. It’s never too late to do that. You might have to do it by phone, email, or just waving and talking over the fence, but get to know the people within a short walk from your home. They are the people who are most likely to help you…and the people most likely to be a threat. Either way, it’s a really good idee to know them.

Stay in regular contact with your friends and family. They may need help. You may need help. Help each other. A simple daily email, text, or phone call has been the difference between life or death many, many times.

Serve your community. If you are available to deliver food, do that. Call your church and ask them how you can help. If you don’t go to church, call any church and ask them how you can help out.

Food pantries need a lot of help. Call the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, anyone you can think of to get involved. If you are in a small rural community, call the local fire department and ask them how you can help.

Beyond just being a decent human being, there are sound strategic reasons for the above. The people around you are either assets or they’re threats. If you engage with them and you pay attention, they are also sources of intelligence. They may also be sources of assistance if you’re in need.

You may not want to think this way, but every one of those people is also a possible threat. They’re much more likely to be threats if they are desperate. Desperate people do desperate things. The more you know about them, the better off you are.

In general, people who are fat and happy are far less likely to rob you. They’re also much more likely to help the person who helped them than the stranger they don’t know and are wary of.

Finally, always be ready and able to leave. The best advice I ever heard was from Charlie Brown’s Linus, when he said “Nothing is so big and so scary it can’t be run away from.” In any environment, you should have a way to leave where you are if it’s no longer safe.

Plan on how to leave, where to go that will be safer, and how to get there. When you decide you aren’t safe where you are, the time to go is now.

If you have 2,000 rounds on hand for each gun you own, great. If not, the time to remedy that is now, not when things are starting to look iffy. If you’re well fixed you can use your money to fill your gas tank (and keep it that way) and help other people…options that are far more likely to actually make a difference to your own safety.

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