After reading the review on the prepper info manual disguised as a novel by Gojira, I noticed the comments touched on a wide range of topics. I’d like to go into a more practical insight on several of these, but not so much an ideology, as was done in the novel. This will be a series of articles on various subjects regarding survival preparation, though mostly pertaining to natural disasters and weather events as this is the most common situation hopefully that any of us will see. This is not intended to do anything but give ideas and spark discussion. Weapons, accessories, gear, all are what I have determined to be best for me, in my situation

This intro article will, by necessity, touch on a little bit of ideology because that is what sparked both a practical interest in the mechanics and gear/skills for self-reliance, as well as my decision to join the Army when I was 20.

First, definitions. The plain text of the Second Amendment states that:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

The history and clear intent are widely available since all of this was discussed during the ratification process in personal correspondence and the Federalist/Anti-Federalist Papers. The important part is in the terms well-regulated and militia. Regulated in this context clearly meant equipped and trained. A modern equivalent would be an armed neighborhood watch, as well as local and state militias. Militia is simply anyone able to fight, being prepared to do so if called upon – The Minuteman. The phrase “a free State” meant literally a state of freedom. As a citizen of the USA, I have always known that it is my responsibility to defend the ideals set forth in the Declaration, and the mechanism by which government was created to protect them, the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution.

I thank my grandparents who were educators before the infusion of Marxist and non-Marxist Progressive-tainted indoctrination. My upbringing was infused with learning practical skills such as farming, hunting, weapons training, computer programming, and use of tools to either fix broken equipment or make a tool specific to the task at hand.

My level of deep study into the founding documents intensified as my 18th birthday approached and I prepared to vote in a Presidential election later that year, Ronald Reagan’s bid for a second 4 years in office. Reagan was the first and last time I have voted for a candidate from either major party.  I was a libertarian and just didn’t know the term yet. I did know that neither political party had any interest in adhering to the Constitutional functions, structure, and limitations that Federal government exists under.

Two years later I swore an oath, supreme in which I was to uphold and defend the Constitution, against enemies for foreign and domestic. I made damned sure I was aware of what I was willing to put my life on the line for, and agreed with it. I served in the 82nd Airborne as an infantryman, and then, after 9/11, as a Parachute Rigger (which is ironically when I was used in a combat zone in an infantry capacity). I got out in 2005; they wouldn’t let me keep going due to too many TBIs and structural damage to knees, back, neck, and lumbar spine. Plus, there was no way I was going to a promotion board in the Rigger field.

So, my choices regarding arms and equipment are based on compatibility with current issued equipment for several reasons. By definition, I am part of the militia, even though I am not part of any local or state group. All of my neighbors and I live on plots of land ranging from 10 acres up to 120 acres; all are former active military, and reverting into an organized cohesive unit in times of severe societal disruption is second nature. Ft. Bragg’s southwestern corner is our boundary, and has several thousand acres of forest land crossed by dirt road fire breaks – lots of deer, coyotes, black bears, rabbits, and squirrels. My choices are based on these environmental conditions, and I would do some things differently in Austin, Texas than I would here. From an equipment standpoint, my personal gear is set up for me to go and meet a threat before it makes it home; whereas, the family’s is geared toward defense in place. Most of all, the most important weapon you have is you. The rest are just tools.

Whew, enough of that! Today, I want to talk about basic arms and ammunition.

I chose the AR-15 as my primary weapon. It is a SIG M400 direct impingement rifle with a 16” barrel, 1 in 7” twist on the rifling to handle heavier bullets up to 77 grains (Sierra Match King and the Nosler version). It isn’t that expensive in basic form. The trigger group needs some light touches with a fine stone to make it glass smooth. Parts are interchangeable with standard .mil issue. It uses the same ammo, 5.56×45 NATO M855 62 grain penetrator FMJ, as the .mil issue, and it loves this stuff to the point of being sub-MOA (one minute of angle is approximately 1” at 100 yards).

I have upgraded parts to include a Troy M-LOK 15” free-float handguard with a MAGPUL vertical foregrip, Troy backup iron sights, a 2-point padded sling from Tactical Tailor, and an EOTech XPS-2 holographic sight. I am getting the M33 3x magnifier to go with it for more precise shooting and target ID at middle ranges (100-400 meters). The rifle has the MAGPUL MOE-SL stock. I have the Streamlight TLR-1 Game Spotter green LED light for taking out predatory species such as coyotes at night, and a Streamlight TLR-1HL as my primary weapon light with a tape remote activation switch.

This rifle needs to be capable of CQC as well as SPR uses at close range and mid-range respectively. I try to keep at least 1,000 rounds of the .mil ammo in reserve, and I usually put that many through the rifle every week. I carry 3 30-round PMAGs and one 20-round PMAG on my plate carrier, with a knife, a 2-liter hydration bladder, an MBITR pouch, and an individual first aid kit. I carry and additional 8 30-round PMAGs, another IFAK, 2 spare pistol mags, and the pistol on my belt system (currently an HSGI padded battle belt with slimline suspenders from Warrior Assault Systems, though I want to try out a couple of other options).

Secondary weapon currently is a Springfield Armory XD45 (.45 ACP). I’m a 1911 guy, so Glock ergonomics didn’t do it for me. I can easily do headshots at 25 meters with this pistol, all day long. Same ammo routine as with the primary, 1,000 rounds in reserve and about 1,000 a week through the pipe. However, I will be transitioning to the SIG P320 for the same reasons as I chose the AR-15 as my primary. With the 9mm version, I can have interchangeability with current .mil weapon. With the barrel and magazine kit, I can go to .40 S&W caliber and therefore be compatible with LEO ammo used by most departments here. I also will get a second P320 in .45 ACP because I like the caliber, have reloading dies for it, and have tons of brass to reload for it.

Lastly, I have the Mossberg 500 in 12 GA since I am left-handed; my sister has the Remington 870 Express Magnum. The difference is in the safety – The Mossberg’s is on the tang and is ambidextrous; the Remington’s is on the trigger guard and is only practical for right-handed persons.

The above shows why the next article will cover reloading and why I am getting into doing it. I can make match ammo for the pistol and rifle for less than ½ the cost of surplus or commercial ammo, using all-new brass. Closer to 1/3 if I reload the brass.

Okay, GO!

Don Carter/11H1P, Professional Beach Bum