Prepper Primer for Your Non-prepper Loved Ones, by T.S. – Part 4


If traveling by foot, plan on only taking the AM/FM crank radio. It will last for weeks on a couple of AA batteries and for much longer with its crank power. All the HAM radio equipment and walkie talkies are not worth the weight and have much higher power consumptions. If you can, always listen to any radio using headphones in one ear so you do not attract people to your location with the radio noise. Radio stations may only be operational for short bursts throughout the day, so try all the AM and FM frequencies at different times each day.

If you are traveling by car, pack all the HAM radio stuff and other electronic stuff you can find. Of course, also pack all of the batteries. Operating these devices would take a lot of room to explain; stick to the car’s AM/FM frequencies. If time allows, you should be reading the first aid book and the wilderness/urban survival books, not the radio manuals (which are with the radios) though you should of course bring them. If you are rushed for time, make sure to at least bring the small walkie talkie-looking radio. Out of all the HAM radios, you may be able to make local contact with someone in a time of need using this radio.


Conservative estimates for the number of women raped in the 1992-5 Bosnian War climb as high as 50,000. Sadly, for many women, their rapes were not a one-time ordeal. Many women were kept in rape detention centers where members of the police and military could have easier access to them[1]. Why should we think a lawless United States would be any different. People will no doubt join together in the days after lawlessness begins; some banded for good and some for bad. In addition, those men or women who would never dream of committing a sexual crime, when driven mad by hunger or fear, will try to rob you for your food and/or weapons. One more note: Today in America many people take mind-altering drugs (because some would be in insane asylums without them), and others are addicted to alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs. When these addicts are forced to quite, they will all be going through some kind of withdrawal symptoms. As people begin to realize the value of having a gun and feel the pain of hunger some may do anything to steal from you!

While Traveling By Foot

Be very cautious after passing by or meeting any other travelers. Hopefully, your camp will be located somewhere that you will not meet other people. If you do meet anyone and exchange any words, do not give out any more information than you have to. Be on your guard within your camp and move your camp after anyone makes contact with you while you are in your camp! Assume they are coming back to rob/attack you during the night.

  1. Avoid having a fire at night, it will be a beacon that can be seen for miles.
  2. Always try to use fire away from the place you plan on sleeping.
  3. Practice “leave no trace” camping– no fires, no garbage, et cetera. (Some call this having a “cold camp”.)

While Driving

Once people begin to fear the worst and see all 110 lbs of you loading up months worth of food and supplies, lock the car between EACH trip down. Assemble everything in the house and then ferry it all down to the car as quickly as possible. Carry a concealed handgun at all times. Keep super attentive while walking; scan around for people watching you. If they ask what you are doing, say something like “going to visit the grandparents.” Carry items in black garbage bags so know one knows what you are carrying.

Assume all road blocks are ambushes with an evil intent. Road blocks may look like cars parked across the road, downed power lines, or felled trees. As soon as you see any type of road block slow down, scan the road to the sides of the car, and (if you see no one around you) stop before approaching the road block. Take out the binoculars and scan the road block. Look for any sign of people guarding it. If you see people being let through but having to give up gas or food or any type of supplies, turn around and find another way. If you are traveling alone and have a car full of supplies, you will be a great catch to simply keep. If they are simply asking questions and letting people pass, use your judgment. Beware of traps, as well. Cars along the sides of the road can easily be pushed or driven across the road once you have passed, sealing you inside a trap. The best way to proceed when you see cars parked along side the road is to slow down and stop (after checking the road sides for safety) and then inspect the cars or potential road blocks for signs of movement from afar, using the binoculars.

If someone starts firing on you while you are moving, do not speed up to an unsafe speed. If a bullet hits your tires while traveling very fast you will lose control. Do not bother returning fire, you will miss (unless they are literally a few feet outside of your window). It would also be wise to have a gun in hand to let anyone hiding know you are armed while passing through/approaching any suspicious areas.

If you need to rest, cook, or use the restroom, use your judgment. Pull off somewhere you do not expect any traffic. People, however, may be more likely to mess with you if there are not a lot of people around to object to their behavior, so use your best judgment. Obviously, keep the car locked when you are away from it, and take a long gun and a handgun with you. Keep the handgun concealed. For sleeping in a rural area, conceal the car as much as possible and if at all possible do not sleep in the car. Sleeping in the car will ensure you will not hear anyone approaching your position. Sleep in a tarp near to the car; near enough to keep an eye on it. If sometime during the night someone does come knocking on the car, you will be in a much better tactical situation than if you were basically trapped inside the car caught asleep.

  1. Take your BOB with you when you leave the car!
  2. If someone approaches you while you are outside of the car, put the front of the car (where the engine is) between you and the direction they are approaching from. This is the best place on the car to stop bullets.

If you are forced to sleep in a non-rural area where people will definitely be around you, do not sleep in the front seat. Sleep in the back near the gas cap. Hang some sheets up in the car so people cannot see in. The sheet makes it hard for anyone to know how many people are inside. Sleeping near the gas cap lets you hear when someone tries to steal your gas. Leaving a window cracked will help you hear outside.

Operating the Guns

Tips on shooting:

  1. You are almost always better off avoiding/fleeing from any confrontations than you are standing your ground and fighting.
  2. Take your shots slowly. With the long guns, one shot per second is more than fast enough. Slow controlled fire is the idea. Use the scope!
  3. Never jerk the trigger. Always take slow controlled squeezes for every shot.
  4. Whenever possible, rest your gun or body against the ground or a tree to steady yourself. (This will also provide cover and minimize your cross section in the sights of your foes.)
  5. For the handguns, keep one arm relatively straight out in front of you and the other arm bent. Locking both arms out in front will cause you to have an uncontrolled recoil.
  6. Focus on the FRONT gun site, not the rear site. This will keep your aim much more controlled.
  7. Treat every gun as if it is loaded at all times. (Make sure it is empty before cleaning!)
  8. Know your target and beyond. (Do not fire at a squirrel climbing up the neighbor’s house.)
  9. The safety can and WILL fail. (Dropping your gun may get you shot.)

Taking Care of and Using the Guns

In the BOB. you should have packed the gun oil and some cleaning swabs. Since you probably will not be firing the guns much at all, your main concern is keeping them rust- and dirt-free. There are two types of cleaning methods you will need to master: (1) cleaning the barrel and (2) cleaning the action and gun innards. The instructions below are limited. The owner’s manuals for all of the guns are with our stored supplies; read them and actually practice taking the weapons apart, if you have time.

Cleaning the barrel is pretty easy. No gun take down is required. You will need to have packed the: (1) gun cleaning rods, which are gold-colored; there are three of them that screw together, or you can use the smaller wire cleaning kit that is in the BOB, (2) small and large patch holders– one is for the 22 and the other for the larger calibers, (3) gun cleaning solvent, (4) gun oil, which comes as both a spray and a regular oil, found in a can in the “liquids” Tupperware and another oil bottle in the BOB, (5) patches, which are little squares of fabric that can also be made out of other non-synthetic fabrics in a pinch; don’t use synthetic fabrics as the oils may break them down inside the barrel, and (6) wire brushes for each caliber of gun. To clean the barrel, assemble the cleaning roads (all three for long guns, only one section for pistols) and first attach the proper size patch. Add only a few drops of gun oil to the patch. Do not use a full size pad for the 22 as it could get stuck inside the barrel, rip off 1/3 of the small patch. For the other calibers you may also need to rip the patches smaller. You just want enough patch for slight resistance as you run it through the barrel. You may only need to run it through a few times to get any bits of sticks or dust that entered the barrel out. Change patches when they get fouled. Repeat until when you look down the barrel it seems clean and slightly shiny. You should not see any beads of oil inside the barrel; this can actually be dangerous, as it can cause your barrel to explode if you fire it. So, if you think you used too much oil, simply run a dry patch through.

If you have to fire the guns a bunch, you may look down the barrel after cleaning and see there is still dirt in there (or your patches still come out dirty). To get this more stubborn dirt out, put some cleaning solvent on a patch and run that through. Follow this patch with the wire brush a few times. Then run through some dry patches until they come out clean. If you cannot see anymore sticky deposits, send through an oil patch and you are done. If there is still a lot of dirty specks, repeat the process with solvent and the wire brush until the barrel is clean.

If you stick the barrel into the dirt, clean it as soon as possible (ASAP) because shooting it while plugged with dirt could cause it to explode. You can flush the barrel with water to save on cleaning patches and gun oil. Do not worry, it will not rust so long as you follow up with some oil when you clean it after the water flushing.

Cleaning the innards of the gun: The aim here is to clean the action/magazines/trigger assemblies/bolts of each gun. For all guns, you should never try to take apart the trigger mechanism! Limited take down instructions for each gun are listed below, but none of them have you taking apart the trigger assembly. To clean the innards, your aim should be to remove any dirt you can see using a water flush or cleaning patches, followed by a light oil coating. (Folding a cleaning patch over a stick is helpful to get into small places.) You should only need to flush with water if you drop the gun in the mud. Again, if you see beads of gun oil, you put too much on. Too much oil is bad inside the gun because it can seep into your bullets and cause them to malfunction. Therefore, be especially light when oiling around the magazine. For the magazine itself, you want to be sure you clean those as well. You should not feel or hear any scratching as you slide bullets into and out of the magazines. Dirt in your magazine can cause the gun to jam up or not feed correctly.

22 Long Rifle

The 22 has a “push button” safety. The safety is “on” when you push the cylinder located adjacent to the trigger from the left side. When you push this cylinder from the right, you will see a small red band on it sticking out from the left side. This means the safety is “off”.

The magazine release is located directly above where the magazine is fed. Simply push it along the long axis of the gun to remove a magazine.

After a fresh magazine is placed into the gun, you must pull back on the “charging” lever and let it slam forward. Now the gun is ready to fire. After you have emptied a magazine, the action will stay open. You need to put in a new magazine and then pull back on the “charging” lever and let it slam forward.

Sometimes you will pull the trigger and nothing will happen; this is because the bullet was a dud, which is not uncommon with the 22 LR ammo. Simply pull back on the “charging” lever and the bad bullet will get ejected and a new one inserted into the chamber.

The gun can jam. The most common way is a failed feeding/ejecting attempt, meaning a bullet may or may not have been successfully ejected, and the new bullet failed do go into the chamber. When this happens, you must “jimmy” the “charging” lever back until the lever is free to slide forward and a fresh round is chambered.

To get into the “innards” of this gun, you must remove two screws that connect the receiver to the stock. After the stock is off, you need to push out a pin that is located on the side near the back of the receiver. Now you have access to pretty much everything you need to clean the gun for the amount of training you can glean from a few sentences. Refer to the full manual for more complete take down instructions.

12 Gauge Shot Gun

The 12 gauge has a “thumb slide“ safety. It is located on the back top of the gun, where your thumb can easily move it. When it is pushed forward, you will see a red dot and this means the safety is “off”.

To load the gun (from being totally empty): (1) slide the pump towards the trigger (2) insert a round into the action (3) slide the pump forward and the round should be fed into the chamber/barrel (4) now you can push rounds into the feeding tube located under the barrel.

To simply add more rounds while there is a round already chambered, simply push rounds into the feeding tube located under the barrel.

Unlike the 22, I have never had this gun jam nor had a misfire.

To get to the “innards”, unscrew the bolt that is located on the end of the feed tube (where the pump slides on). Then you will be able to “wiggle” the barrel free from the receiver by rotating it back and forth and pulling on it (in the direction away from the butt of the stock). You can wipe away any dirt and spray oil into the gun from this state pretty easily. This really does not get you into the “innards”, so refer to the owner’s manual with photos; it is with the supplies and has pictures!

9 mm Pistol

The 9 mm is a little confusing. On the left side of the gun there are three knobs of metal. This first (from the barrel end to the grip end) is a take down knob, the second is a slide release, and the third is the safety. The safety is engaged when it is pushed “up”. When it is down you will see some red paint.

To take the gun apart, you need to push down on the first knob. You kind of have to wiggle it back and forth until you get it into a sweet spot. The idea here is that this knob holds in a pin that you need to remove, so we need to push this knob down and out of the way. Try with your finger; if you cannot do it with your finger, use a screw driver to force it down. Once you get this knob pushed down, you need to go to the other side of the gun and push on the small pin that is located directly over the trigger. In order to see the pin, you need to push back on the slide until the pin comes into view. So you need to apply pressure to the slide and be pushing the pin out while simultaneously pushing on the pin from the right side of the gun. Once the pin pops out, the top of the gun will slide off. You can now clean the outside of the barrel, the big springs by the barrel, and every other exposed part of the inside of the gun. Make sure to clean the tracks where the top part of the gun slides.

To operate the 9 mm, you simply insert a loaded magazine and pull back on the slide. The gun will automatically load a round into the chamber and be ready to fire. You have done this before! The gun will fire until it jams or runs out of ammunition. After the last shot, the slide will stay in the back position. This lets you know you need to reload. You simply put a new magazine in and pull back on the slide and release; it will fly forward.

If this gun jams, you need to get the jammed bullet out of the way. I have never had this happen (unlike with the 22), so I assume you just “jimmy” the slide until the bullet pops out. The important thing is to somehow get the jammed bullet out of the way. Causes for jamming can be dirt in the gun itself, or on the bullets (dirty magazine). Clean it often!

45-caliber Pistol

The safety on the 45 is on the left side of the gun. It is a little lever that moves up and down. In the down position the gun’s safety is not engaged and you will see some red paint.

To disassemble the 45, you need to push back the slide until the two small indents on the slide and the bottom part of the gun match up. Then, and only then will you be able to push out the pin that holds the slide onto the bottom part of the gun. Essentially, you are doing the same thing you did for the 9 mm, but there is not a knob you need to push down first. The pin in this case is attached to something named a “slide step”. It is a lever connected to a pin. You simply pull on the lever while simultaneously pushing back on the slide.

To operate the 45, you simply insert a loaded magazine and pull back on the slide. The gun will automatically load a round into the chamber and be ready to fire. You have done this before! The gun will fire until it jams or runs out of ammunition. After the last shot, the slide will stay in the back position. This lets you know you need to reload. You simply put a new magazine in and pull back on the slide and release; it will fly forward.

If this gun jams, you need to get the jammed bullet out of the way. I have never had this happen (unlike with the 22), so I assume you just “jimmy” the slide until the bullet pops out. The important thing is to somehow get the jammed bullet out of the way. Causes for jamming can be dirt in the gun itself, or on the bullets (dirty magazine). Clean it often!

General Defensive Attitude

  1. When in doubt, do not “borrow” anything from anyone. Some communities/individuals will most likely be killing looters on site or worse.
  2. Even for trained individuals fire fights are very, very dangerous. With no operating emergency services, even getting “nicked” by a bullet could kill you. Try to avoid as much human contact as possible.
  3. Put more trust in people you find that still have their family unit intact. A group of four men is much more likely to have the Lord of the Flies mentality than a man and his wife with their kids. That still does not mean they will not take what they need from you if they can.
  4. Rely on your own EXCELLENT judgment when it comes to joining forces with anyone you meet.

Staying Put

If you deem it is impossible to travel by foot or car for whatever reason, you need to radically change life at our home. Basically, you need to adapt each of the sections in this article to life at home. Below I will give some recommendations on doing so.

Supply Cache

First off, you do not want all of your supplies located (1) within plain sight within the house, or (2) within the house. You should both hide/camouflage your supplies and split them up between a cache located outside the house (preferably buried in the yard) and a cache hidden somewhere in the house. The idea here is to treat your caches like grocery store visits. Visit them rarely, and only keep a small amount of supples out of the cache at any given moment. This limits the chance anything will be stolen or burned in the event of a fire. For the outside cache, you need to make it water- and animal-proof. I recommend digging a hole large enough for the galvanized trash can in the back yard. This will keep out rodents and should be pretty water tight. Place all supplies in plastic within the cache and camouflage the top to look like a garden. For the inside cache, we already have one built, and you know where it is. If you leave by foot, you cannot carry both long guns. Leave the 12 gauge behind in the buried cache with extra ammo as well.

Water at Home

For water, obviously you do not want to be leaving the property to go down to the retention ponds by the highway. This leaves the house unguarded and you exposed. Instead, you must try to collect and store water.

  1. While the city water is still running, fill every container you can find with water! Do not forget about all of the wine making equipment and the kegs in the shed!
  2. Pull the trash bins around to the back of the house (within the fence line) and place them under the gutter down spouts. You will have to “rip” the down spouts free from the house to get them to feed directly into the trash cans. Those cans will hold hundreds of gallons of water. Treat this water as described in the section on water.
  3. Remember there will be water in the hot water tank and in the tank on top of the toilet.
  4. You can make little “ponds” by digging holes in the yard where you know we already have run off issues and lining them with plastic sheeting (tarps, garbage bags, etc.).

Home Heating and Cooking

For heating the house, we do not have a wood stove nor propane. As we have a very limited supply of wood in our neighborhood, I do not think a heating stove is worth the effort to construct. As we lack stove piping, it would be quite unsafe, too. Instead, focus on making small cooking fires OUTSIDE of the house. Most “preppers” seem to agree that the majority of well-populated city areas will burn. I also agree, but perhaps not so much due to looting as to people trying to make fires for warmth or cooking.

Home Fortifying

The doors on our home will not withstand a few kicks. In addition, the doors have glass panels near the locks which make breaking into our house child’s play. You should begin fortifying our home by nailing boards across the glass portions of the doors. Then, nail a piece of wood across the short axis of the door about half way up. Next, nail another board into the floor parallel to the door. Next, measure and cut two or three boards to get jammed under the board you nailed to the door and resting on the board you nailed onto the floor. Draw this out on a scrap of paper and it will become obvious what I am having you build. Since this will now keep our doors from being easily kicked in, you will have more time to escape or defend yourself if someone is breaking down the door.

In addition to blockading the doors, I would also cover the windows in plywood. There are plywood sheets in the shed. (They actually are being used currently as a shelf in the shed). You can use interior doors to cover windows as well!

For home defense, I would pick two places on our property to “fortify”. We have sandbags in the attic and a shovel in the shed. The goal would be to have one place within the house you sleep in that also has a good view of the front door/front of the house. You must knock small holes in our walls to get a better view (use the stud finder in the garage). Similarity, I would construct a bunker at the highest point in the backyard near the fence. Dig deep enough that you can sit comfortably and only the top of you head is above the ground. I do not recommend actually using these bunkers to defend the house. You have no tactical training. Your best bet to avoid getting injured is to stay alert and avoid threats. If you have properly cached your supplies, no one should find the bulk of your supplies, if they enter our home. This means, however, you need somewhere to go when they are in our house. That is why the outside bunker was dug. You should try to camouflage this bunker as you did the outside cache. consider putting the wheel barrow over it. Even better would be to construct it such that it looks like a pile of leaves with only an opening for you to see and potentially shoot out of. Inside the bunker, you will have the advantage. Your bullets will rip right through our house. Any bad guy taking cover below the windows or around the side of our house will get hit, if you simply aim where you see them hiding.

Home Modus Operandi

At night and during the day, you want to keep as low a profile as possible.

  1. Pull the van into the garage.
  2. Keep cooking fires as small as possible. Put them out with water, if you can spare it, so you save wood and reduce smoke.
  3. Try not to use ANY light at night. It will ruin your night vision and make our house a beacon for people outside, although, after the windows have been boarded, it will be hard to see any light.
  4. Try to minimize both the amount of time you spend outside and contact with our neighbors. I would consider getting into the back yard through a window rather then the gate in order to reduce the amount of time you spend outside of our fence and therefore in the “open”.
  5. DRILL! DRILL! DRILL! Practice moving from inside to your outside “bunker”. Practice reloading the guns as fast as you can. Basically always be asking yourself “what if” types of questions and then coming up with a solution. Then, practice that solution!

For gardening at home, read Carla Emery’s “Encyclopedia of Country Living,” especially the section of the book on growing vegetables. Then read, “The Seed to Seed” book by Ashworth. We have more seeds saved than space on our lot. Keep our seeds cool and dry; store them in the outdoor cache underground in an airtight container. I will say no more here regarding gardening other than use the 22 to get the rabbits, squirrels, and raccoons ASAP!

Purchase Plan

In the event stores are still open, please consult the book by Rawles called “How to Survive the End of the World As We Know It”. He has chapters on what to buy and how to buy it. Focus on buying (1) salt (get 50-lb blocks from the farm supply store), (2) rice, (3) wheat berries (or flour, but we have a flour mill!), (4) corn (preferably whole corn; try the animal supply company near our home first, and buy as much as you can get into the van), (5) oats (try the animal supply company near our home first, and buy as much as you can get into the van), (6) fat and oils (peanut butter, cooking oils, and such), (7) powdered milk (gets lots of baby formula, if possible, for the kids), (8) canned meat, (9) sugar, and (10) canned fruit and vegetables.

Discussion and Conclusion

This article is meant to give you a sense of preparedness. However, there is a reason astronauts have PhD’s and must be great problem-solvers; you can never be prepared for everything! Inevitably, you will need to improvise when some of your gear breaks or gets lost or stolen. This is the fun part; how can you manipulate the objects around you to improve your chance at survival. Keep a good open imagination and a positive attitude, and with luck you will be fine!

[1] United Nations entity for gender equality, the empowerment of women: Fast facts: statistics on violence against women and girls. URL