1Recently a writer I have read for years, but never met, contacted me through mutual friends.  He is doing a piece for a national magazine on preppers and asked for an interview.

While I write about prepping for magazines and prepping was an undercurrent in The 14th Reinstated, I have never really considered myself to be a prepper. But, I guess in looking at the issue I am one of sorts. I don’t have a bunker or a small army, but then I don’t think that’s the best place to put your resources. Prepping comes in many forms and it’s more of a mindset than anything else.

The protagonist in the novel The 14th Reinstated was not exactly a prepper. He prepared for what he saw coming, but not enough and he paid a high price for his mistakes. But he also learned from them and continued to change and grow to meet the challenges. But more than anything else, he was just one of those jack-of-all-trades kind of guys and he was self-reliant. I guess my approach is a bit like his.

I have done lots of interviews over the years and usually take a casual approach to preparing for them. I always figured if I didn’t have the answers to the questions asked already in my head, then they were probably interviewing the wrong guy anyway. I simply roll it all around in my head in the time I have before the interview, just to keep it fresh. In doing that, I have thought a little about what I will say in this interview and decided that “prepping” can be broken down into two simple concepts.


First is to be self-sufficient. That means that you must be able to provide food, clothing and shelter for yourself and your family. Of course that will have a lot of sub-topics, but bottom line is you need food, water, heat, shelter and perhaps some medical knowledge to remain healthy.

2How you get all that is a wide ranging topic. But, the more self-reliant you are now, the easier it will be later. If you already know how to grow a garden it will be easier to grow food. If you already have livestock it will be easier to produce meat and milk. If you know how to make jerky, can vegetables or butcher a deer, you are going to find it easier to survive. If you can build a house, repair a generator or fix a flat tire, it will be easier later rather than trying to figure it all out on the fly. Can you cut and split firewood? Do you even know which trees make the best firewood?

3When the first neighbors moved in to my west they were from Florida. The new house they bought was designed to be heated with wood, something they knew nothing about. The guy who built the house offered to sell them several cords of wood. He thought it was a big joke to sell them wood from poplar trees. This is a poor wood for heating a house. It burns hot, but very fast, requiring at least twice as much wood for any given season than the traditional hardwoods. Any native of the north knows that, but that cheating bastard thought it was funny to take advantage of some smart people who were “not from around here.”  They ran out of wood half-way through the winter.

That was a bad winter and after being snowed in for a few days and getting their trendy but useless vehicle hopelessly stuck, they sold out that spring and moved back south. The point is; something as basic as buying the wrong wood could mean the difference in survival and not making the winter in tough times.

We can’t do everything by ourselves, so some of it will have to be bartered. That might mean your wood supply. There will be no internet to research, so you must know things like this in advance.

The best prepping is education. The best education is hands on.

Defending What is Yours

4The second issue is how to keep what is yours. If this all goes south, there will be millions of people who did not prepare. They will be hungry, scared, desperate and willing to do things they never thought they would just to survive.

Couple them with those who were bad to start, the criminal element that is part of any society, and you will have a lot of people trying to take what you have away from you.

The first thing you need to deal with is the mindset. To survive you will probably have to do some terrible things. You will need to get that straight in your head now because there will be no time to work out the morality when some guy is trying to cut your head off with a machete. You may decide that you can’t deal with it and that’s fine, but you probably will not survive. I understand that death is preferable for some, rather than bend on their moral principles.

But if you decide that it is moral to survive, you must have that clear and clean in your mind before trouble finds you.

The next thing is you need to be able to defend what you have. It’s here that education becomes a bit tricky.

Firearms are the only choice, and then only the right firearms.  Hollywood may love the crossbow or the sword, but pick those and you will lose every time to a man with a gun.

I have been a professional gun writer for most of my adult life and I can tell you that currently there is a lot of bad information out there about guns and defense. The internet has made thousands of morons into instant “experts.” If you trust what some cellar-dwelling, pimple-infested, fat kid in sweat pants coated with Cheeto debris is putting on his blog, it can get you into big trouble.

Find the real experts and listen to them. You will need guns, lots of ammo and the training to use them. The best training is from a true professional. You can find them at places like Gunsite or the Sig Sauer Academy. Don’t think you can’t learn from them, anybody can. I am as hard core a gun guy as you will ever meet and I learn something every time I attend one of these classes.

So, my advice is to pick the guns you will need for defending yourself, your family and your home. Spend some time and get it right. Read, watch and talk to the true experts. Each person is unique as is each situation, so find the best firearms for you and yours. Then find some classes that teach you how to use these firearms for defense.

If you can’t spare the time or the money for the professional classes there are a lot of good books and videos on the market. You might also look at taking up competition shooting. The military and a lot of law enforcement use 3-Gun shooting as a training platform because they know it’s the next best thing to actual combat (except perhaps force on force training.) There are matches springing up all over the country, so you can likely find a few close to where you live. Shoot with your defensive guns and think of it as training. You will not win, but compete against yourself with a goal to do better than the last match.

5Most clubs welcome new shooters and will be very helpful in getting you though that intimidating first match.

The point is, start now, don’t wait until something happens. A survival situation is not the time to get “on the job” training.

Besides, learning all this stuff is a lot of fun..