Ammoland recently ran an article by a fake prepper group that claims you don’t need to stockpile ammo, since you can’t fight a national military invasion anyway. The group — which is obviously a front run by the anti-American intelligence community — claims to cite scientific evidence that “proves” you don’t need to stockpile ammo. Among this sketchy evidence is the claim that police officers in New York City “fire an average of only two point nine shots per [shooting] incident.”
So there. You don’t need any ammunition. Cops only fire fewer than 3 rounds per shooting incident, see?
Anyone who thinks they can survive an assault on their country home by firing merely three rounds of 9mm ammunition is not merely delusional; they’re dead.
By the same argument, maybe these preppers think you should only have a 3-round magazine, too. I’m sure Eric Swalwell, Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden would agree. Who needs more than three rounds, anyway?
Ammoland also ran a rebuttal article to this, which explains why you can never have too much ammo. The rebuttal article is a good start, but I didn’t see it covering the far more powerful arguments for why stockpiling ammo makes so much sense to any thinking person. (Dare I say “rational” person?)
So I decided to share these very compelling reasons here. What qualifies me to talk about any of this? In addition to being a published food scientist and patent holder, I’m an accomplished tactical shooter with thousands of hours of training and hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition expended on the range and during training scenarios. I’ve trained with former special forces, former Navy SEALs and former law enforcement. I’ve trained in executive protection, clearing structures, “tubular assaults” (in airplanes and buses, for example), long-range target shooting, NV-equipped night shooting and much more. And even though I’m more accurate in my shooting than perhaps 99% of gun owners, I also know that even the best shooters are useless if they run out of ammo.
If you don’t stockpile ammo, you’re a fool.
Everything in the world, it seems, needs a software upgrade to function. This includes your car, your DVD player and of course your silly mobile phone. Nothing works without constant software upgrades, and if you’ve seen the recent news about Boeing aircraft, in many cases nothing works even with the software upgrades.
Software will probably be the downfall of modern society, as nearly every modern system is so dependent on a long supply line of sketchy code that the complexity itself is a recipe for disaster. I’ve seen the United States Postal Service real-time postage calculation systems go offline twice in the last month, and the FBI background check system seems to crater with disturbing regularity. NASA crashed an orbiter into Mars a few years back after writing bad software code, and one of their Mars landers couldn’t transmit photos without a remote software upgrade transmitted from Earth (because the geniuses at NASA forgot to test the code here on Earth… oops).
Rest assured the U.S. military’s equipment is also heavily dependent on software updates and techno-crap that fails more often than it works. The average U.S. soldier has been turned into a walking battery transport burro, now carrying so much electronics gear that the original purpose of being a soldier in the first place seems to get lost in all the tech.
But there’s one thing that almost never fails a soldier: Their rifle. Ever wonder why? Because rifles don’t need software to function. That’s because ammunition works based on the laws of physics, not based on some hare-brained programmer who showed up to work stoned and suffering from a sleep deficit.
I don’t trust software to work. But I do trust ammo. It works almost without fail, and even the few “click” failures in pistols, for example, are usually slide cycling problems rather than primer failures. With modern ammo, primers have a failure rate of less than 1 in 100,000 if properly struck with a firing pin.
In a collapsing world, stuff that reliably works has tremendous value. What’s the value of an iPhone in a grid-down scenario? Zero. What’s the value of a GPS unit after a devastating solar flare? Zero. What’s the value of insulin that gets too hot because the pharmacy refrigerators went offline? Zero.
What’s the value of ammunition that goes bang every time? PRICELESS.
For reasons explained above, ammunition (and firearms) work even after an EMP attack or solar flare / Carrington event. Sure, your super high-tech red dot sight might stop functioning, but you did zero in your iron sights, right?
Unlike almost everything else in society that fails at the slightest disturbance, guns and ammo keep working during floods, volcanoes, superstorms, civil unrest, power outages, financial collapse events, nuclear war and even invasions of space aliens.
If you don’t think that’s priceless, you haven’t really thought much about survival and prepping.
Just wait until all those people who said prepping is a “waste of time” try to dial 911 on their dead Android phones to report that a gang of looters has entered their home. Dialing 911 doesn’t work when the power grid is down, you numbskull. But a handy dandy AR-15 doesn’t need public infrastructure to function.
Just try to remember which end goes bang.
If I were in a barter situation, I would want to have something to barter that virtually everyone wanted. That’s called “universal demand,” and ammunition is about as close as you can get to the perfect barter item.
That’s because ammunition has a multitude of uses, including gathering food (hunting) and defending yourself (or your family) against violent attackers.
Since law enforcement is likely to collapse in almost any SHTF scenario, self-defense becomes a personal affair. And that means ammunition has near-universal value to any person who wants to live.
Ammunition is even more valuable than gold in one sense because it is immediately practical. Gold is only a means of exchange in a SHTF scenario, since there’s not much real-world practical use for gold in a collapsed society other than a store of value. But ammunition that’s acquired can be immediately loaded into a magazine and used to bolster personal defend, mere seconds after the barter transaction. Ammo is practical and real.
If you don’t follow my reasoning here, ask yourself this question: If you’re sitting in a house during an EMP collapse, and three armed bad guys break down your front door, which would you rather have in your hand? 1) A gold bar. 2) A loaded AR-15. 3) A cell phone.
If you didn’t answer #2, then you may need to have your head examined.
I don’t know anyone in the realms of tactical shooting or hard core survival prepping who bases their strategies on the behavior of cops. With apologies to all the courageous men and women in blue, cops are almost universally considered the least proficient firearms operators around. It’s no fault of their own, as cops are given almost no training, no ammunition, no body armor, no range time and are usually handed crappy pistols with heavy triggers that are almost impossible to operate with finesse. This is especially true among East Coast cops where the guns are deliberately designed with super heavy triggers precisely to discourage cops from ever using them. And when those cops do deploy their pistols in crowded cities, they more often than not end up shooting civilians or each other. (See this story for more proof.)
It’s also worth noting that U.S. courts have repeatedly ruled that police officers have no legal duty whatsoever to protect citizens from violence committed by others. This truth was recently reiterated by yet another federal judge in this recent court case.
Cops, in other words, have no duty to protect you. That’s an irrefutable fact.
Even worse, most cops (with a few exceptions, noted below) are barely capable of protecting themselves from violence, as they have very poor gun skills. When I’m at a gun range and cops are nearby, they almost always come to me asking for advice. “How do you learn to shoot with your left hand alone?” they’ll ask me. One time a highway patrolman asked me to take a look at his AR-15 and tell him how to improve it. I opened the action and the thing was bone dry, having never been lubed… ever. (I told him to buy some axle grease, for starters. And put a red dot sight on it. My current recommendation is the Sig Romeo series.)
I rarely meet cops who demonstrate much in the way of shooting proficiency. The exception to this is former Marines, Navy SEALs, etc., who become cops. These individuals are very proficient. I’ve never met a U.S. Marine who wasn’t highly competent with a rifle and a pistol. The Marines will not “graduate” a soldier who can’t shoot straight, and that’s to their credit. If you are in a collapse scenario, hurry up and make friends with a U.S. Marine veteran…
One of the things the authors of the original “you don’t need ammo” story failed to point out is that nearly all ammunition fired by cops MISSES the intended targets. I don’t know what the actual number is, but it’s almost certainly greater than 80%. One reason cops fire so many shots in actual firefights is because they almost never hit what they are trying to hit.
If you study the numbers, you’ll see shooting incidents where cops fired 100+ rounds (in aggregate) and maybe hit their intended target with only 10 rounds. And a lot of those hits aren’t even center body mass or anything that stops bad guys. Shooting some doped-up lunatic in the arm with a 9mm round doesn’t stop them, by the way. To really bring them down, you have to aim for the pelvis and structurally halt their ability to ambulate. Good cops know this already, but poorly trained cops can’t even hit the pelvis anyway, so they just spray and pray.
Don’t believe me? Watch this video of a Las Vegas cop shooting through the windshield of his own cop car, flinging rounds down a busy street where any civilian could be walking around or sitting in their own car, all while driving with one hand. The shooting begins at around the 1:58 mark:
This cop is firing rounds all over the place, into buildings, other people’s cars, into the air, etc. At one point he’s driving with no hands on the steering wheel while firing his gun through his windshield. If you have an IQ above 50, you’ll notice that almost every shot misses the intended target, which is the driver of the vehicle.
At the 2:28 mark, this genius police officer tried to load a magazine into his pistol backwards. As this is happening, the suspect is still driving away and appears to be fully functional.
Eventually, after at least two full magazines emptied by this police officer, he apparently manages to nail the bad guy and shut him down. This is after dozens of other rounds were drilled into who knows how many other vehicles, buildings, pedestrians and tree squirrels along the way.
And this isn’t even the most telling video. This next video shows L.A. cops chasing a suspect who flees into a convenience store on a crowded street. To the surprise of no one, a whole group of cops opens fire at the convenience store, completely oblivious to the fact that there might be innocent civilians working there or shopping at the store.
See the 1:57 mark of this video:
Just as you might suppose would happen, one of the rounds kills the store manager. The manager’s name was Melyda Marciela Corado and the store was none other than Trader Joe’s.
What you’re seeing here is the genius L.A. cops opening fire on a retail store, completely oblivious to the other people inside. Why do cops engage in this behavior? Because they aren’t properly trained, that’s why.
But these are the same cops that are going to respond when you dial 911 and beg for help. And even if they do respond — which is unlikely during a SHTF collapse event — they will probably shoot your dog while approaching your house.
My point is that anyone trying to reach an informed conclusion about the usefulness of ammunition by examining the horribly bad shooting habits of most cops is just wasting time chasing irrelevant statistics. SHTF survival scenarios and modern-day cop scenarios are wildly different, too. Trying to equate them in some way is worse than comparing apples to oranges. Cops have tough jobs, by the way, and I honor their courage and duty. I’m just being honest: Most cops are not very proficient shooters. And they end up killing a lot of innocent people because they don’t practice fire discipline or shooting skills.
Interestingly, cops are held to a much higher legal standard than civilians when it comes to where their rounds go. You wouldn’t know it from the videos above, but cops are taught they they are legally responsible for every round that leaves their gun. (And technically, you are too.)
But civilians who are being assaulted by criminals, armed gangs or apocalypse zombies need not practice the same sort of fire discipline that would be reasonably expected in a peacetime cop scenario. When being assaulted in a SHTF scenario, you’re basically in a “fire at will” scenario, and it’s a bad day to be named “Will,” by the way.
In such a scenario, you will wish that you had more ammo, by the way. The good cops that I know carry four spare mags for their pistols. Some cities limit the ammo capacity of cops to just two mags, which is intended to encourage cops to shoot less. I think it’s a suicide rule, since cops should be allowed to carry all the ammunition they want, in my view. And you should have multiple mags and ammo cans available for your home defense, too.
Soldiers very often carry 10 mags, each with 30 rounds. That’s 300 rounds of ammo, or slightly less if they’re loading their mags to only 29 rounds each. Ever wonder why soldiers don’t carry just 3 rounds of ammo? Because that would be suicide.
Throwing rounds downrange with accuracy is the name of the game here. Even if you’re not hitting your target with precision, you’re probably causing a barrage of flying chunks of bricks, concrete, glass or whatever you’re hitting that’s near the intended target. Most likely, he’s not wearing eye pro, so he’s already half-blinded by the time you get to your second mag. And since most bad guys are morons who think car doors block bullets (since they saw that in a movie once), your second mag goes right into (and through) both sides of the car, taking out your target.
Better yet, carry a .308 ultralight rifle that fires 7.62 NATO rounds. You’ll only get 20 rounds per mag, but all 20 of those rounds do a whole lot more damage than the 5.56 most guys carry. 2A Arms sells the XLR-18 ultralight .308 rifle, which I recently acquired (but haven’t put through the paces yet).
In summary, I suppose you could conform to the anti-prepping advice circulating online and decide you don’t need guns or ammunition to survive. Or you can choose to be effective and alive. If you want to be effective, you’ll need a lot of ammo, a lot of training and some reliable gear. Your pistol is a joke compared to your rifle, remember, since force equals one-half mass times velocity squared. In other words, your puny 9mm that’s pushing 1050 fps is a spitwad compared to a 62 grain 5.56 round moving at 2700 fps. It’s the velocity squared that translates into kinetic energy. (Personally, I prefer the 168-grain 7.62 rounds traveling at closer to 3000 fps.) But of course that only counts if the bullet transfers the energy into your target, which is why you shouldn’t load your survival rifles with FMJ ammo.
Try the “Controlled Chaos” or “Maximum Expansion” bullets machined by Lehigh Defense. Underwood Ammo sells loads suitable for AR rifles. This is what I load into my ranch defense AR rifles for the simple reason that if you’re going to shoot someone in self-defense, don’t be polite about it. If you’re not using ammunition that deliberately causes maximum trauma, then why do you own a rifle for self-defense in the first place?
If you run suppressors on your rifles or pistols, a company called Discreet Ballistics makes subsonic, expanding rounds that are said to offer excellent expansion even at subsonic velocities. I’ve tried this ammo and found it to have a lot of trouble cycling in AR-style rifles due to the non-rounded shape of the bullet nose. Even after using a Dremel tool on the feed ramps of the barrel, I still couldn’t get the rounds to work very effectively, but you might have better luck. I’ve found a lot more success using rounds that have a polymer tip, such as the Barnes VOR-TX line, which is excellent. Their 300 blackout bullets are my current choice for subsonic 300 blackout rifles.
See, it’s not just about stockpiling ammo… it’s about stockpiling the correct ammo. Tactical ammo. Ammunition that expands. If you don’t have that ammo — and if you haven’t made sure it cycles in your firearms — then you’re really just carrying around “practice ammo” that isn’t really very effective in a survival scenario. FMJ rounds go right through people all the time and do minimal damage.
In fact, here’s an important article by a former U.S. Army combat medic who explains this in great detail. Take the time to read that article, because it will change your whole thinking about what sort of ammo you should be stockpiling for SHTF.
FMJ ammo in the 5.56 caliber merely “punches straight holes” through people’s limbs, accomplishing nothing. Remember, 5.56 ammo is only the diameter of a pencil eraser. Poking pencil eraser-sized holes in people who are trying to kill you is a tragic mistake. If they’re trying to harm you, and you’re invoking your right to self-defense, you need to be punching massive holes that rip their bones apart and cause them to completely stop their attack on you due to the laws of skeletal physics. If you merely punch tiny holes in people, you’re only encouraging them to rethink why they decided to be there at that moment, but you haven’t forced them to stop. Yes, you might motivate them to change their mind and go away, but you haven’t really solved the problem until they’re involuntarily forced to stop attacking you.
As the former combat medic explains in the above article — which you will find astonishing and perhaps unbelievable — shooting people with pistols almost never kills them. Here’s why:
On the civilian side, I saw only one single-shot kill from a pistol ever, and that was from a .357 magnum, within a living room, probably not more than five yards. The round entered the sternum and exited the spine. In fact, within the US, the vast majority of people that I saw shot lived after receiving medical treatment. That includes attempted suicides. I even had a patient live after a self inflicted shotgun wound to the face. He died of the cancer he was attempting to flee from, months later.
Beyond that, I do have recorded kills with a 9X19, but they all required multiple shots or they all took time to die. Time enough to return fire or flee far enough to have to search for them. I don’t mean seconds of life, either — I mean minutes or hours. I have seen people shot that had to traverse long distances that still got away.
I’ve seen a lot of pistol shootings, much more than US police would ever see, and much more than experienced by most medics deploying solely with US personnel. And yet, I have zero, not one single experience, where a single gunshot wound from a 9X19 NATO round killed someone prior to them being able to return fire or flee. This includes people shot in the chest, back, back of the head (one hit behind the left ear) the neck and the face. None.
He even explains that standard AR-15 rounds (5.56 NATO) aren’t very effective, either:
Unfortunately, the same goes for the 5.56 NATO round. I have yet to witness a single shot quick kill with this round. I even recorded a patient shot from less than three feet away, square in the back of the head, who lived. The round did not exit his body. Yes, he was immediately rendered unconscious and required (might I say exceptional) medical treatment. He was comatose for at least six months after that, but he lived.
But more importantly, in every experience, at ranges from zero (negligent discharges) to 35 yards (my closest, and worst-placed, shot on a person) to 400 yards (our average initial engagement distance in Afghanistan) individuals shot with a single 5.56 NATO round had time to fire, maneuver, or both. Did I see single shots that killed eventually? Yes. Does that matter in combat? Not one damn bit if you are the one they are still shooting at.
In my experience, the standard NATO combat round pokes 5.56mm holes in both bones and flesh, shattering nothing. It creates minimal bleeding. I know people say it tumbles and yaws, but that isn’t my experience at all. I saw it poke tiny holes in humans and rarely induced hemorrhaging sufficient to cause unconsciousness or uncompensated shock, which is the only result that matters.
On the flip side, having a patient who was shot by a 7.62X51 NATO or larger round was a rarity. Dead people aren’t patients, they are a supply issue.
… Take from that what you will. For me, what I learned is, when it comes to combat, shoot the heaviest rifle round I can, shoot at what I can hit, and then shoot it again if I can. I also learned that, in general, multiple organ damage shortens the time a patient is able to compensate for hemorrhagic shock far greater than the effect of a larger wound track in a single organ.
The bottom line? Yes, you need to stockpile ammo. But more importantly, you need to stockpile expanding ammo that will get the job done. This is especially for those of you who own AR-15s and you have nothing but standard 5.56 FMJ / NATO ammo, which flat-out doesn’t get the job done.
Whether you’re rolling a 9mm pistol or an AR with 5.56 ammo (or something bigger), it’s the ammo itself that determined the effectiveness of shots placed on target. Yes, you can practice with FMJ ammo, but you should carry something that’s far more effective.
Stay informed. I also publish Gear.news for up-to-date news on self-defense and tactical firearms. Ammoland.com is also a good website, and TheGunFeed.com is sort of like a Drudge Report for gun-related news.
Here are my current recommendations for those of you who wish to survive the coming chaos:
Best pistol: Sig P320 RX (compact) with ROMEO red dot sight and night sights. After running the Glock 19 for years, I switched to Sig P320 for a whole host of reasons. The link for the actual model I recommend (and carry myself) is: https://www.sigsauer.com/store/p320-rx-compact.html
Best rifle for first-time rifle buyers: Sig M400 Tread. Don’t even think about it. Just buy it. There is no debate about a starter rifle.
For long-range shooting, I may do a review later about the best rifles, ballistics systems, rangefinders, etc., for defending your country home or ranch against long-range threats (500 – 1500 yards).
Bottom line: Keep it legal. Follow all local gun laws. I personally do not own anything that is “fully automatic” (there’s no need), and don’t own any SBRs. Everything I buy is 100% legal, and I encourage you to keep it legal, too. If you live in a city that does not allow you to legally purchase and own rifles, pistols, standard-capacity magazines and thousands of rounds of ammunition, then you are living in the wrong city.
Maybe you should think about leaving before the zombie apocalypse arrives at your doorstep.