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By Kellene Bishop

In my opinion, any person who claims to be an expert on emergency preparedness but does NOT address the issue of firearms as a necessary component to  preparedness, is either a coward for not wanting to discuss such “delicate” yet vital issue, or still has a long way to go in their quest for knowledge.  I have read and studied literally hundreds of books and “expert websites” on the topic of emergency preparedness and I have NEVER seen firearms addressed for any other purpose other than for “hunting” or the need to kill a roving pack of wild dogs.  This verges on malpractice in my book.  Whether or not you can start a fire with a twig and a rock, or make winter clothing out of foam, or make yeast from the wild is useless if you are dead.  The whole purpose of getting prepared with proper food, water, and other key items is so that you will be able to provide for yourself and your family during an emergency state.  And you will NOT be able to do so if you are not able to suitably defend yourself as well. 

If you are one of those who are foolish enough to say “I don’t want to have to survive.  I hope I’m just killed in the earthquake (or whatever crisis),” then I’m sorry to be so blunt, but you think like a selfish coward, or at the very least, someone who has not thought about the ramifications of such a philosophy.  Get off your whiney butt and figure out what you have to survive and thrive FOR, think outside of yourself, and then get to work.  I thank God that our Founding Fathers never hoped for a short life just so that they would not have to endure a “bit” of discomfort.  

pp-small-wheatOK, now that that’s out of the way, let’s go down a more diplomatic path.  If you’ve been considering (wisely, I might add) including a firearm or two for self-defense AND hunting purposes in your supplies for surviving an emergency, this is definitely the article for you.  Also, if you already believe you’re suitably “ready” to defend yourself in a crisis because you have the necessary firearms, this is ALSO the article for you to use as a gauge to ensure you’ve considered all of the necessary information.  In my opinion, there are six absolute necessary basics any prepared home needs—and a firearm is one of them.  The six absolute basics are wheat (or alternative grain), powdered milk, honey, salt, water, and firearm defense.

Just a quick reminder as to WHY your emergency preparedness supplies need defending—think strung-out druggies who can’t get their hands on their “fix”, desperate souls who will do ANYTHING to compensate for their lack of preparedness, criminals suddenly loose from the fallen walls of a prison due to a large earthquake, or the most organized and violent gang in the U.S. roving your streets believing that what’s yours is theirs—MS-13.  Remember, this isn’t about whether you will or won’t share your stores with others—although sharing should always be YOUR choice, not mandated by the threat of violence from another.  This is about you protecting your life, your virtue, and your safety in the midst of chaos that will inevitably ensue after a economic collapse, major disaster, or an attack on our citizenry.

A firearm is only the beginning.  A firearm is useless without two other very obvious components—at least 1,000 rounds to go with it, and every adult in your home possessing the skill and knowledge of how to competently use it—even in a situation of climatic emotions and stress.  Let’s start with the firearm.

There are three vital firearms I would recommend that no home be without.  First, a handgun.  Second, a shotgun.  And third, a rifle, in this order. 

In selecting a handgun, consider ALL of the adults in your home who will be using it.

Side note: Ladies, PLEASE don’t let me hear you utter the words, “My husband will be the only one who needs to use the guns.”  That is a ridiculous notion coming from an otherwise smart, independent and uber-prepared sex.  What IF your husband isn’t around?  What IF your husband is severely ill?  What IF the would-be criminal decides to automatically take him out because they see him as the “obvious” strong one in your home?  Then what do you do when you need to defend yourself?  It’s absolutely naïve to believe that the woman of the home does not also need to obtain this information and skill or that she would not want to have it.  I assure you that in the event that your children and other loved ones may be threatened, that inane motherly instinct will kick in and you will NEED such information and skill.  Storing food and supplies and knowing how to use them is one thing.  Knowing how to defend it is JUST as important as knowing how to make yeast rise though.  (See also

A handgun is portable and ensures the element of surprise.  And the element of surprise will be critical in defending yourself when a state of lawlessness, looting, and pillaging occurs.  The ammo is less expensive (for practice et al) and it is typically your least expensive firearm to obtain.  It is useful for defense inside and outside of your home without exposing yourself to being armed unnecessarily. 

Your primary concerns in selecting a handgun should be

  1. Grip
  2. Ease of loading
  3. Ease of use (such as mechanics, ability to clear stoppages, etc)
  4. Reliability (and safety)
  5. Cost of ammo
  6. Ease of assembly/disassembly

Be sure to select a handgun that fits well in your hands, first and foremost.  Don’t get caught up in what caliber it is.  As long as it’s a .9 mm or higher caliber, it will work well enough for self-defense.  It’s not a bad idea to have one handgun for each anticipated adult in your home.  While that is more costly, it is a worthy goal.  (I know that I will be asked this question, so just so you know, I prefer my Glock as my handgun.  I can’t get that thing to fail, even when it’s dirty, wet, or muddy.  And in an emergency, I don’t have time for my form of self-defense to fail.)

The next firearm I recommend is a shotgun.  Again, don’t get caught up in caliber or brand.  Go back to the previous 6 criteria I’ve provided in making your choice.  A shotgun is ideal for in-home self-defense.  There’s nothing that rattles the nerve and resolve of a criminal more than that famous sound of a shotgun being “racked” for defensive use.  As shotgun rounds spread out into a 4 to 8 inch circumference when they are expelled, they have a sure stopping power regardless of where they hit your opponent.  Also, a shotgun round does not penetrate through walls of a home as a rifle or even a handgun round can.  (I recommend using the hollow point self-defense handgun rounds for home self-defense for this reason, among others.)

Rifles give you the power of self-defense at a greater distance from your opponent.  The element of surprise is definitely present when you’re shooting from 50 meters and you’re less likely to manifest your defensive position this way.  As such, they are ideal for protecting a larger radius area as opposed to using in face to face combat.  A good rifle will typically be your most expensive self-defense investment.  The ammo rounds are more expensive as well.  However, I consider them a necessary component to not only protect my home and family, but my community as well should the need arise.

Be sure that you have at least 1,000 rounds of ammo for each caliber type in your home.  Ammo will indeed be a high-value trade item in an emergency, and this amount of ammo will ensure your readiness for most circumstances.

Lastly, be sure that you get appropriate skill and knowledge of the use of your firearm, not just in the mechanics, but the mentality that is required to use them as well.  There are a number of classes, I’m sure, in your area which can improve your shooting skills and maximize your comfort with your firearm.  My husband and I also teach a proprietary self-defensive firearm class regularly here in Utah, and we travel elsewhere for groups of 24-30.  (Visit for more information)  So you don’t have an excuse not to learn, right? 

woman defending herself

Remember you don’t pull a firearm to scare someone.  You use a firearm to stop someone, plain and simple.  And THAT’S how you ensure your ability to use all of your preparedness supplies that you’ve so faithfully worked to accumulate.

If you would like Kellene Bishop to present an Emergency Preparedness message for your community or church group, please contact us at 801-788-4133.  Ms. Bishop is an experienced speaker and demonstrator on Emergency Preparedness topics and has created a great “Preparedness Party” platform which makes the learning of such a topic more enjoyable for all.

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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