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Author Topic: How Much Ammo Do I Need In Case SHTF?  (Read 5840 times)
wmenorr67
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« on: February 18, 2012, 12:18:37 PM »

http://gunholstersunlimited.com/blog/emergency-prepared/ammunition-question-how-much-ammo-do-i-need-in-case-shtf/

I know most of us on here have thought this over many times and we have argued/discussed it many times over also.  But still and interesting read and gives one something to think about.
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Hawkmoon
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« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2012, 12:53:03 PM »

His reasoning is quite valid, although a similar line of thinking led me to a slightly modified conclusion.

My carry sidearm is a 1911 in .45 automatic, which is certainly mainstream and, as he puts it, a "military caliber." But I don't think there is a police department in my state that issues .45 ACP, and I don't think my state has any black ops type National Guard units that would be carrying 1911s rather than 9mm Berettas. I reload, so I have a stock of .45 ACP on hand and components to build more, but I still got to thinking about alternatives in the event of a zombie apocalypse. Suppose things got to where I might need to gou out and scrounge (note the artful euphemism for "steal") ammunition. What other calibers are likely to be out there if I can't find .45 ACP?

With that in mind, I picked up a 9mm slide and barrel to turn my 1911 into a convertible. Then I saw a .40 S&W slide and barrel for a Para-Ordnance double stack. I have one of those in .45 ACP, along with the single stack ... so I grabbed the .40 slide and barrel and my Para is now also a convertible. I'm now covered for three calibers with just two handguns.

Then I had an opportunity to pick up a non-functioning .38 snubnose revolver for a song, so I jumped on it. It required a very slight amount of internal filing and smoothing to make it fully functional, so I now also have something that shoots .38 Special (not, however, .357 Magnum).

Basically, what I'm proposing is that, while resupply is a very real issue in an emergency, since we are NOT the military we can't be assured that we'll have access to resupply in a single caliber, regardless of how commonplace that caliber is when the world is not on fire. Preparedness to me also involves planning ahead for flexibility.
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lee n. field
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« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2012, 01:00:27 PM »

Quote
How Much Ammo Do I Need In Case SHTF?

My responses:

  • more
  • "that depends"

Now I'll read the article.
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Ben
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« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2012, 01:02:15 PM »

Good read. I agree with Hawkmoon that the author makes valid points, but also question the .45ACP. And this is from a guy who thinks .45ACP is THE caliber for a defensive pistol. In a SHTF resupply (as in scrounging stuff up) it seems much more likely that you would find 9MM and .40, which seem to be the preeminent police calibers today.

That said, scrounging for ammo might only really be relevant if you plan on being on the move. If you shelter in place, there's no reason you can't have 10K rounds of .45ACP at the ready, with the equipment to make thousands of rounds more. Still, in the author's scenario, but with recognition of the ubiquity of 9MM and .40, it's a reason for me not to sell my Glock 23. Smiley
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Quote from: mtnbkr
the ones I harvest tend to be huge (nearly 12" long and twice as thick as regular ones).  However, they're very creamy tasting.  Different, but better than the regular ones.
Quote from: BryanP
Too cool!  I'd love the chance to play with one of those for a little while.
RoadKingLarry
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« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2012, 01:04:50 PM »

Pretty decent piece with out a lot of over the top nonsense that seems common in discussions of that nature.
How much is enough might depend on your SHTF plans. Bug in or Bug out could make a difference.  You can only carry so much and trying to carry too much could be a liability.

As far as scrounging ammo for resupply, I just don't see strolling down to the local NG armory or PD asking for handouts of ammo as being a valid strategy.  Pretty much if you don't already have it you probably ain't gonna get it in a major SHTF episode.


« Last Edit: February 18, 2012, 01:12:17 PM by RoadKingLarry » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2012, 01:26:23 PM »

The only way I could see getting resupplied during a SHTF episode would be after a fight and you collect whatever the other party had left.
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« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2012, 01:28:49 PM »

As far as scrounging ammo for resupply, I just don't see strolling down to the local NG armory or PD asking for handouts of ammo as being a valid strategy.  Pretty much if you don't already have it you probably ain't gonna get it in a major SHTF episode.

I was looking at it more as a, "what's the most likely caliber you might find for barter?" scenario. That is if anyone would barter ammo vs hoarding it. Even if I could figure my way into the magazine of a PD or NG Armory, I'd be pretty leery of approaching a place like that during civil unrest. On the one hand you have people guarding the place that might be on edge and have itchy trigger fingers, and on the other hand, seems like a good place for nefarious people to set up an ambush.

Of course the ambush scenario, or just running into people that want to make trouble for you, would apply at the grocery store, hardware store, or just about anyplace that unprepared and desperate people might congregate to grab what they don't have. That's why I really like the "hunker down and lay low" plan. I'm all about avoiding the "Katrina crowds".
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Quote from: mtnbkr
the ones I harvest tend to be huge (nearly 12" long and twice as thick as regular ones).  However, they're very creamy tasting.  Different, but better than the regular ones.
Quote from: BryanP
Too cool!  I'd love the chance to play with one of those for a little while.
lee n. field
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« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2012, 03:28:03 PM »

Quote
That's why I really like the "hunker down and lay low" plan. I'm all about avoiding the "Katrina crowds".

That.

I read the article.  Agree with the wisdom of having common cartridges (not "calibers").  Disagree that they should necessarily to be what military or police use.   Are my revolvers a bad choice because police last used them in the '80s, and the military hardly ever this past century?  I think not.

My accumulation strategy is, common cartridges, high value per dollar hardware.  And if the S really does hit the F beyond a Katrina type disaster, we're probably all screwed.  


« Last Edit: February 19, 2012, 09:50:13 AM by lee n. field » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2012, 04:11:41 PM »

Dad and I consolidated our commen calibers awhile back for this reason. Two AR's, two AK's, and three main pistol calibers. We still have some oddballs and are about to get one more, but we will maintain the common stockpile.
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« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2012, 04:52:50 PM »

This is the reason I like. 22lr.....easy to stockpile a lot of it....and it can do most of what you need....

I try to keep a common caliber/bore size of 9mm/.38/.357....easier to keep reloading components. I may get a .223 rifle for intermediate use & keep my. 303 Brit as my "big rifle".

Michael Bane suggests getting a powerful air rifle as a alternative hunting tool. Easier to stock ammo, and quiet enough not to draw unwanted attention.
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« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2012, 05:18:59 PM »

I really don't expect to need much ammo.  I intend to stay hidden and not draw attention to myself.  I have all I will ever need though.  By summer, I will be living deep in the woods in the UP in summer and east Tx in the winter.  I will take whatever steps necessary during the twice annual commute as they come up.  I can live year round in either place....chris3
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AJ Dual
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« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2012, 05:46:46 PM »

The answer is another question: What kind of SHTF?

Deep economic SHTF, as in: Life goes on, but your ability to procure more, due to your finances is limited, or due to the market even if you're one of the few with money?

The answer, "As much as you can."

Political SHTF, as in: Your ability to buy more ammo has been legislated away? (IMO, time to use that ammo, but that's another thread... so I digress.) The answer, "As much as you can."

A localized/regional SHTF, such as an earthquake, a tornado, wildfire, or a Katrina where there's also a looting/social unrest? The answer to that is "A single combat load in your chosen handgun and long-gun caliber that you don't dip into during your normal range time." Because if you need more than that, unless you're part of a larger group, you and your family are likely toast.

Total Mad-Max TEOTAWAKI SHTF, with physical, economic, and .gov disaster, that is both pervasive and prolonged? I think it matters if you can "bug in" or if you must "bug out". Bug in, the answer is kind of unsatisfactory. "As much as you can", but my gut reaction is, if you need more than a single combat load, if you're not part of a group, you're probably done for. Bug out, it's what you can reasonably carry, and still carry all your other necessities. Which pretty much means "A combat load" again.

The common caliber advice, 7.62x39, .223/5.56, 12ga, .22LR, .30-06, 9mm, .45acp etc. is sound. But if you need more, post-SHTF, you're going to be bartering for it, and it means you've got stuff people really NEED. Food, medication, fuel, etc. Because ammo is a close second, because it's your ability to actually defend and hang onto those necessities. If you've got the stuff to barter for ammo, then it sounds like you're already a well set up individual or family to me already. So why didn't you have enough ammo in the first place?

Police stations? If it's "that bad" the police will have already distributed or actually used the ammo. If whatever it is happens so fast that the police don't get to their own supplies in the station, then odds are things are so dangerous, flood, fire, fallout, riots... that you probably have no business going after it yourself. And even if the ammo is loot-able, someone with fewer social scruples than you will have gotten to it first.

I hear NG armories actually rarely, if ever, have live ammo. But if they did, the case would hold as it does above for the police station.

So the real possibilities are "battlefield pickups" from what you find or from those you yourself kill. So in that regard, it comes back down to the fact that unless you're part of a superior group, is wherever there's that many dead, or that many you need to kill, is this a place you should be?

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« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2012, 06:27:32 PM »

Re: .45ACP
Personally, I don't view police as the number 1 pickup for scrounging ammo.  Cops seldom carry more than a couple magazines.  Even if the local departments use .45, they won't have that much.
However, the .45 is a widely common caliber among the population.  And it can be found in almost every gun and sporting goods store, plus walmarts (that still carry ammo).  My local walmart stocks just as much .45 as 9mm.  And to echo AJ....if its so bad that you need to scrounge ammo from the po-po....I doubt they'll have any left.  It'll all have been used up.

Re: .22lr
I think the idea of bartering .22lr isn't bad.  But I think it's discounted too much as a useful caliber.  I wouldn't sneeze at the thought of using my 10/22 in a defensive role.  Especially if I needed to arm my wife or one of my children.  High capacity magazine, JHP ammo, and a scope.  Minimal recoil puts follow up shots right into the same ragged hole as fast as you can pull the trigger.  "Junk" ammo will explode a milk jug nicely.  Nobody wants to get shot, even by the lowly .22.

Another caliber I think is highly overlooked is the .22WMR.  Just sayin.  Its not too expensive, and the ability of the round bridges the gap from the .22lr into more powerful calibers. 
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Hawkmoon
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« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2012, 07:06:18 PM »

My local walmart stocks just as much .45 as 9mm.

So does mine. I was there this evening, looking for a specific type of doggie treat my wife had bought a bag of, and can't remember where it came from. Turns out not to have been Wal-Mart, but while I was there I strolled past the ammo cabinet.

One (1) box of 115-gr 9mm, and one (1) box of .45 ACP.

But they had plenty of .45 Colt ...
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Lee
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« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2012, 07:50:41 PM »

He doesn't mention shotguns.  I keep at least 2 12g in my inventory, and buy shells when they are on sale- also a military and police item.  I do agree that .223, 9mm and fortay are a must have.  A few bazillion .22 as well.
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wmenorr67
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« Reply #15 on: February 18, 2012, 10:49:22 PM »

A NG or Reserve Armory may have some ammo but it won't have much.  It will only have enough on hand, if any at all, to supply maybe a platoon with a basic combat load.  And I doubt it would have that much.  And good luck getting to it, if you knew where it was.
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« Reply #16 on: February 18, 2012, 11:47:26 PM »

A NG or Reserve Armory may have some ammo but it won't have much.  It will only have enough on hand, if any at all, to supply maybe a platoon with a basic combat load.  And I doubt it would have that much.  And good luck getting to it, if you knew where it was.

And presumably the Guard would have gotten to it before you do, or other looters who are willing to do it while it's still more "stealing" than "recovering".

Common calibers... you might as well for the tiny statistical edge it gives you, but IMO, it's only realistic to plan on going into SHTF, and living through it, with the ammo you've got on hand, period.

I think you could just as easily make the argument that a huge gun collection in a wide array of calibers is just as handy, because it could make it possible to use whatever ammo you can find.  Or all the oddball calibers you've got could be just that more lucrative for someone whom that's the only gun they have and are desperate to trade for something you need. (shrug)
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« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2012, 04:50:38 AM »

When an article makes a basic mistake (it's 5.7x28 not 25). I immediately discount the authors opinion.
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« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2012, 07:16:33 AM »

I think you could just as easily make the argument that a huge gun collection in a wide array of calibers is just as handy, because it could make it possible to use whatever ammo you can find.  Or all the oddball calibers you've got could be just that more lucrative for someone whom that's the only gun they have and are desperate to trade for something you need. (shrug)

I suppose that would be a plus for my C&R collection for bartering for some item that I didn't plan for, or didn't have enough on hand for a particular disaster. A 98K and bandoleer of 8MM could be a valuable trade item that I wouldn't miss given my other small arms, and I've got a dozen of those rifles (or variants) and plenty of ammo laying around. Smiley
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Quote from: mtnbkr
the ones I harvest tend to be huge (nearly 12" long and twice as thick as regular ones).  However, they're very creamy tasting.  Different, but better than the regular ones.
Quote from: BryanP
Too cool!  I'd love the chance to play with one of those for a little while.
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« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2012, 07:43:57 AM »

I suppose that would be a plus for my C&R collection for bartering for some item that I didn't plan for, or didn't have enough on hand for a particular disaster. A 98K and bandoleer of 8MM could be a valuable trade item that I wouldn't miss given my other small arms, and I've got a dozen of those rifles (or variants) and plenty of ammo laying around. Smiley

Depending on how dire the circumstances, a bartered firearm could quickly become a liability. 
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-Jason D.
My hobby is widespread, love novel things I hope make friend for us replica bvlgari jewelry

 "Why'd you open your bonghole, you smelly hippie? You'd sacrifice a beautiful woman to save a moderately attractive monkey? You must have smoked some bad granola."

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« Reply #20 on: February 19, 2012, 08:03:22 AM »

Depending on how dire the circumstances, a bartered firearm could quickly become a liability. 


I wouldn't be bartering one to anyone with crazy eyes <tm> or pants hanging down to their knees. Given my "lay low" MO, it would likely be to a neighbor who didn't have a gun, but had extra of something I could use. Or heck, if they were a good neighbor and needed a gun, they might get it for free. Kind of a win-win if you can create an extra, trusted, and armed set of eyes for the neighborhood.
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Quote from: mtnbkr
the ones I harvest tend to be huge (nearly 12" long and twice as thick as regular ones).  However, they're very creamy tasting.  Different, but better than the regular ones.
Quote from: BryanP
Too cool!  I'd love the chance to play with one of those for a little while.
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« Reply #21 on: February 19, 2012, 08:18:09 AM »

In my current neighborhood, I'd be ok with arming and trusting several of my neighbors.  Well, training may be an issue. Idrather not create a liability either.
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-Jason D.
My hobby is widespread, love novel things I hope make friend for us replica bvlgari jewelry

 "Why'd you open your bonghole, you smelly hippie? You'd sacrifice a beautiful woman to save a moderately attractive monkey? You must have smoked some bad granola."

Wanna see a jetliner make a smokin' hole in the ground?
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« Reply #22 on: February 19, 2012, 10:19:26 AM »

Well, training may be an issue. Idrather not create a liability either.

Good point.
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Quote from: mtnbkr
the ones I harvest tend to be huge (nearly 12" long and twice as thick as regular ones).  However, they're very creamy tasting.  Different, but better than the regular ones.
Quote from: BryanP
Too cool!  I'd love the chance to play with one of those for a little while.
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« Reply #23 on: February 19, 2012, 12:54:57 PM »

In my current neighborhood, I'd be ok with arming and trusting several of my neighbors.  Well, training may be an issue. Idrather not create a liability either.
Training may be an issue, but scavengers are unlikely to mess with any neighborhood where people can at least put the rounds close enough they can hear them go by.  I think any SHTF situation, getting along with neighbors is a good plan even if you end up stocking extra water and food to help them out just for that reason.  You gotta sleep sometime. 
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« Reply #24 on: February 19, 2012, 04:17:21 PM »

Training may be an issue, but scavengers are unlikely to mess with any neighborhood where people can at least put the rounds close enough they can hear them go by.  I think any SHTF situation, getting along with neighbors is a good plan even if you end up stocking extra water and food to help them out just for that reason.  You gotta sleep sometime. 

My worry would be the neighbors banging off rounds at shadows, or getting shot in the back when I go investigate a bump in the night.  Obviously I can't control them just getting guns in the mean time....
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-Jason D.
My hobby is widespread, love novel things I hope make friend for us replica bvlgari jewelry

 "Why'd you open your bonghole, you smelly hippie? You'd sacrifice a beautiful woman to save a moderately attractive monkey? You must have smoked some bad granola."

Wanna see a jetliner make a smokin' hole in the ground?
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