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 you’re reading for entertainment only, because there’s no real valuable information there at all.
Here’s what you can do in this time of crisis — 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 well as others, and I’ve worked in 1st World and 3rd World countries. I’ve been a shelter manager.
I’ve seen societies pull together and I’ve seen them tear 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.
You should always carry a gun and know how to use it well. But what gun? Any gun you know how to use well.
How much ammo? As much as you can carry on your person. That’s it. It’s that simple.
What should you do if you already have thousands of rounds? You should shoot some of them. That’s what they are for. Practice. Keep in reserve what you can carry on your person.
Just as important, get to know your neighbors and know your environment. There is still time for that. You might have to do it by phone, email, or just waving and talking from a (social) distance, 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, you need 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 call has been the difference between life or death many, many times.
Serve your community. If you are available to deliver food, deliver food. Call your church and ask them how you can help. If you don’t go to a church, call any church and ask them how you can help out.
Food pantries need a lot of help right now. Call the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, anyone you can think of and get involved. If you are in a small rural community, call the 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 are threats. If you engage with them and you pay attention, they are certainly sources of intelligence.
They may also be sources of assistance if you are in need. Every one of those people is also a possible threat. They are much more likely to be threats if they are desperate. Desperate people do desperate things.
In general, people who are fat and happy are less likely to rob you. They are 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.” Even in this environment, you should have a way to leave where you are if it is no longer safe.
Plan on how to leave, where to go that’s safer, and how to get there. When you decide you aren’t safe where you are, go right then to that safer place.
If you don’t have 2,000 rounds on hand for each gun you own and you’re not scrambling for more in empty stores, consider yourself lucky. You now have an opportunity to spend that money filling your gas tank and helping other people, options that are far more likely to actually make a difference in your own safety.