As we’ve seen over and over again the last few years, when a crisis hits crime follows close behind it.
Whether it was looting in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, or the widespread theft and arson that now seems to follow protest marches, on top of whatever disaster you’re having to deal with you need to be ready to protect yourself from criminals too.
That isn’t a comfortable thought – who needs another problem to deal with? – but it’s the reality, and you have to prepare for it. More than that, you have to prepare for it now.
When a crisis looks imminent a lot of people panic and rush out to buy what they need to defend themselves. The result is predictable – shortages. If you wait until the last minute to buy self-defense items, there’s a real danger you’ll get to the store and find nothing left.
As a prepper you have a greater need for protection than most people, because your home is stuffed with all the things people will be looking for after a disaster. You need to be able to defend your stockpile, and the tools to do that must already be in the stockpile.
Here are some items you need to have now, because if you leave it until you need them you’ll find a lot of other people had the same idea.
Look at a typical gun store and it’s likely to be pretty well stocked; it’s hard to imagine going there and finding bare shelves – but it can happen.
Right now about 45% of US households own at least one gun, and we can assume the percentage of individuals that own one is a lot lower.
Although the number of guns in circulation has risen significantly over the last 50 years the percentage of households that own them has actually stayed in about the same range. At times it’s risen as high as 47%; at other times it’s fallen as low as 37%. Today’s 45% figure is pretty typical, though.
What’s noticeable, though, is that it doesn’t take much to trigger a sudden spike. If a gun control advocate wins an election, or a new law restricting ownership gets passed, people rush out to buy guns while they can.
Often they sell them again when the perceived threat fades, so overall ownership doesn’t rise over time, but buying spikes do happen. The thing is, manufacturers make enough guns to meet normal demand. When demand spikes, guns are selling faster than new deliveries reach stores.
Now imagine a major crisis is obviously approaching. A lot of the 55% of households that don’t have a gun are suddenly going to decide they’ve made a mistake, and they’ll rush out to fix it while they can. Demand for guns will rise sharply, and deliveries won’t keep up.
That means the most popular guns, starting with AR15-style sporting rifles, 12-gauge shotguns and 9mm handguns, will sell out. Then people will turn to other sporting rifles, other handgun calibers.
Before long all that will be left are the most expensive high-end guns and weapons in oddball calibers. A gun you struggle to find ammunition for isn’t a lot of use in an emergency.
Of course you might struggle to find ammunition anyway, whatever caliber you need.
I’ve always been a fan of sticking with NATO-standard calibers.
There are vast quantities of them in military, law enforcement and civilian stocks.
If you look for weapons in 5.56mm, 7.62mm NATO, 9mm Luger and 12-gauge you can be pretty certain of finding ammunition for decades to come. The problem is you might not find it in gun stores when a crisis hits.
Over the last decade the US has suffered from a series of highly publicized ammunition shortages.
After President Obama was elected in 2008 gun owners, worried he would bring in new gun control laws, rushed out to stock up on ammunition. That led to a shortage of most popular calibers that lasted for almost four years.
Then in December 2012, just as shooters were getting used to being able to get ammunition easily again, maniac Adam Lanza murdered 26 people at Sandy Hook.
Fears of gun bans returned, panic buying resumed, and it was 2016 before prices stopped rising and shortages faded out. Another spike in gun and ammo sales after the 2020 George Floyd riots triggered yet another shortage, which lasted over two years.
If you try to stock up on ammunition when a crisis is on us, it’s going to cost you a lot more and you might not be able to find popular calibers at all. The time to build up your ammo stockpile is now, not in an emergency.
It’s possible to stop an attacker without shooting them.
Tasers, stun guns, pepper spray and other non-lethal tools can be very useful for self-defense.
They’re also a lot cheaper than guns and there are fewer restrictions on buying and carrying them.
Even if you already have guns and ammunition, having some non-lethal alternatives can be a smart move. After all, why use lethal force when you don’t have to?
A pepper spray, collapsible baton or stun gun is going to persuade a lot of opportunistic thieves or desperate refugees to move on and look for an easier target.
The problem is that because these items are cheap and easy to buy, a lot of people are going to be buying them – and when affordable guns start running out, pepper spray is going to fly off the shelves even faster.
Modern security systems are great. For not very much money you can set up motion-detecting, night vision cameras all round your home, and access the feed from them on your phone. Alternatively, you build your own off grid security system against looters and intruders.
As people start to fear an approaching crisis, sales of security systems will jump dramatically – and the products will soon be out of stock. If you want a security system get it now, so you have time to set it up properly and get used to how it works.
The truth is, in the early stages of a crisis anything that can help you protect yourself is likely to sell out quickly.
Guns and ammunition are the most obvious, and we’ve all seen those become hard to find over and over again in recent years.
Don’t risk you and your family’s security by leaving self-defense to the last moment; if you don’t already have the tools you need to protect yourself when a crisis becomes imminent, there’s a good chance you’ll never get them at all.
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