CategoriesDisaster Response Home Defense Hunting Prepping Survivalism Weapons

How To Pick Your Very First Gun

You know you want a gun, but you have no idea what type of gun will best suit your purposes, right?  With so many different varieties out there, how can you possibly decide which gun should have the honor of being your “first”? While there is no single “right” gun for everyone, there are some things you can do to determine which gun is right for you. Here are some helpful tips to make the first-time gun selection process much easier.

Figure Out the Purpose for Your Gun

Before you purchase your first gun, you need to think about what its primary purpose will be. Are you buying a gun primarily for home defense or for target practicing at the gun range? Do you want a gun you can carry with you (concealed or open), or are you searching for a home-defense gun that will do the most damage to an intruder with murderous intent?

The intended purpose for your gun may not fall into a single category, and that’s OK. You may want to use it for both home defense and target shooting. But as long as you at least have an idea for how you’ll use it, you’ll be able to avoid purchasing a firearm that doesn’t meet your most important needs or expectations.

Try a Few Types

Remember how your mom always encouraged you to date a lot of girls so you get an idea of what’s out there? The same holds true when you’re gun shopping. You don’t want to make a commitment to the very first gun you hold in your hands, because you don’t know if there’s something better out there for you. Try a variety of guns. If possible, go to a gun range and test shoot multiple guns so you can see how they feel in your hands, how much recoil they have, etc. When it comes to choosing your first firearm, “playing the field” is a good thing. It will help you make a wise investment when you’re ready to commit to your first gun.

Consider Ammo Availability

As a first-time gun buyer, you may not be aware of how difficult it’s been to find ammo lately. Hopefully, everything gets back to normal soon, but it is wise to at least consider ammo availability before purchasing a gun. Though every type of ammo is more difficult to find right now than usual, there are some types of ammo that are more popular and are generally easier to find when there isn’t a general ammunition shortage. They include: .22, 9mm, .223, 12 gauge and .308. In normal conditions, if you have a gun that takes any of these ammunition types, you should be able to find the ammo you need pretty easily.

Figure Out Your Budget

Firearms can be expensive, but you can also get decent models for a reasonable price. When you’re shopping for your first gun, set a realistic budget, then look for a gun that fits within that budget.

In addition to these tips, you’ll also need to consider gun weight and size when purchasing your first firearm. If you’re still not sure what type of gun is right for you, don’t be shy about talking to a salesperson at your local gun store. He or she knows a lot about different gun models and will be able to help you select the firearm you need.

Are you an experienced gun owner who has a favorite gun you consider ideal for first-time gun buyers? Or maybe you have a few models you’d advise inexperienced gun owners to stay away from. Either way, let us know in the comments section!

CategoriesDisaster Response Home Defense Hunting Prepping Survivalism Weapons

22 vs. Shotgun for Survival

The world has gone a little bit crazy lately, and it’s time to start thinking about how you’ll protect yourself and your family if it ever comes to that. One of the most effective survival tools available is the one government is constantly trying to take away: the firearm. Though some people seem to think they’re all equally dangerous, the truth is that some firearms are more lethal than others. And no, it generally has nothing to do with how “scary” the firearm looks.

Those who have real-world experience with guns know that the .22 and the shotgun are both highly desirable for home-defense purposes. But what about survival in general? Which one is the better choice for your overall survival needs, including staving off predators (both the human and animal varieties) and obtaining food? It turns out the answer isn’t obvious at first glance, so let’s break down the pros and cons of each gun in detail.

Range

When it comes to your survival, the shooting range of your gun is very important. In this category, the .22 is the clear winner. The average .22 long rifle is effective at 150 yards. A shotgun, on the other hand, is meant for close-range targets. The estimated effective range of the average shotgun is just 25-40 yards with birdshot, approximately 50-75 yards with smoothbore slug, and closer to 100-125 yards with a rifled slug. So, in the category of range, the .22 wins if you’re planning to shoot targets far away from you. Of course, accuracy also depends on the skills of the person doing the shooting, as well.

Weight

It’s not unusual for shotguns to weigh as much as 12 pounds, though there are lighter-weight options available. The average .22, on the other hand, weighs just 5-7 pounds fully loaded and scoped. When it comes to survival purposes, even a few pounds makes a big difference. The lighter the gun, the less energy you’ll expend lugging it around. So in terms of weight, the .22 comes out on top.

Versatility

The more versatile a gun is, the better it generally is for survival purposes. A .22 can only use one type of ammunition, while a shotgun can take a variety of ammunition options. This can make it easier for you to choose the right variety for the type of food you’re trying to take down. In terms of versatility alone, the shotgun has the upper hand.

Damage

In a real-life survival situation, you’ll probably care more about the damage your gun can inflict than how much it weighs. You’ve probably already guessed which gun is the winner when it comes to mortal damage, and it’s the shotgun. For up-close encounters, such as if a robber is trying to kill you or make off with your supplies, a shotgun is more desirable than a .22. It also requires less accuracy, which is important when your adrenaline is pumping and your arms are shaking.

You’ll also want a shotgun at your side if you encounter large predators in the wild. A shotgun will probably take down an attacking bear quicker than a .22.

The bottom line is that both of these guns are great to have for survival purposes. However, out of the four categories listed above, the .22 wins two and the shotgun wins two. We hate to decide the outcome of a tie-breaker (though we’re leaning toward the shotgun), so we want you to let us know which one you’d rather have by your side in a survival situation. Have you had to use either of these guns for self-defense? If so, how did it turn out? Let us know in the comments section below!

CategoriesHunting

Top 4 Reasons Boar Hunting Is so Important

Wild pigs, hogs, or boars are not often animals that jump to the forefront of peoples’ minds when they think about hunting. For many parts of the country, boars are not a significant burden on local economies or farming communities, but that is not the case in all parts of the US. 

While boars can be a dangerous species in close proximity, that is not reason enough to hunt them because any animal can show signs of aggression, even house pets. When it comes to boars, wild, undomesticated pigs, there are several reasons for hunting the species.

1. Reproduction Rate is Uncontrollable

One of the primary reasons for the licensed hunting of any species is population control. Whether some people like to admit it, most hunters are strong allies of conservation efforts. Pigs are among the fastest breeding animals on earth. They reach sexual maturity at 12 months old and can produce up to two litters of up to 13 piglets twice per year. An average boar will live five years, meaning they have the potential of producing 130 pigs in their lifetime. 

With the current population of feral hogs estimated at nine million in the US alone, hunting is necessary. Additionally, the population is expected to balloon, resulting in significant damage and expense. Some states are more likely to take the brunt of those costs than others; for example, Texas has a wild boar population of over two and a half million, nearly a third of the entire US population. Hunting is the only way to control the rising numbers and potential costs.

2. Cause of Significant Destruction and Expense

While Texas has one of the largest wild boar populations in the country, they do not share the majority of the costs for damage. That is not to say the expense is minimal. In one year, the Texas Department of Agriculture spent nearly $52 million to repair wild hog damage across the state. However, the multimillion-dollar number seems small compared to the estimated two and a half-billion dollars in damage estimated across the US by the Department of Agriculture.

People have a sentimental connection to pigs, believing them all to be Wilbur, but the truth is boars are destructive animals that reproduce at a rapid rate, making any other method of control unfeasible when compared to hunting. However, if population control and expense are not enough to get you on board with boar hunting, consider health and safety.

3. Carriers of Disease and Pests

Wild hogs are not friendly and often have pests and illnesses that are transmissible to people. Most boars can have issues with lice, fleas, and ticks. Along with these infestations, they can be carriers of tuberculosis, anthrax, cholera, and other transferable diseases. 

For individuals looking to take up wild boar hunting, it is necessary to take precautions to protect yourself against infection. Keeping your distance and ensuring your kill is amongst the most important, preventing any aggression or attacks in close quarters.

4. Delicious

If you aren’t sold yet with the above public safety measures, consider boar meat is delicious. A boar is a pig, and it is an excellent source of bacon.

While you do not have to be pro-boar hunting, it is good to understand the necessity of the practice. Most hunters care about the environment and the animals they help control. Hunting is not some bad word, and when done for the right reasons, it is beneficial to the population and animals. Do you have anything to add to the conversation? Leave a comment below.

CategoriesWeapons

5 Tips for Cleaning Your Rifle or Firearm

There are few tools in a prepper’s or survivalist’s toolbox than their weapon, and most prefer a firearm. While guns are fun and can belong to sport, the primary use of the weapon is for self-defense and hunting. In any situation, however, accuracy and dependability matter, but if your weapon is not maintained and cleaned properly, there is no telling what will happen when you pull the trigger.

The way to ensure the continued functionality of your rifle is through proper and routine maintenance, including cleaning. The following five tips can help make the process a little more manageable.

1. Safety and Preparation

Before you determine the right supplies or begin breaking down the gun, you need to perform essential safety checks, ensuring no mishaps or accidents occur during cleaning. You’ll want to remove any ammo and clear the chamber before making sure the barrel is empty.

With the firearm safe, you can select your cleaning supplies. Most manufacturers also sell cleaning kits, which include a cleaner and rod. While BoreSnakes are useful in cleaning handguns, they are not as effective in cleaning rifles.

2. Disassembly and Organization

Before disassembling your firearm, layout your cleaning supplies. A mat can make cleaning and organization easier with less risk of damage to your weapon. You want to organize your breakdown into main categories, keeping track of all pieces.

For a bolt action rifle, you will extract the bolt and remove the magazine. A semiauto AR rifle will require a bit more work, removing the magazine, rear pin, separating the upper and lower receivers, removing the bolt and carrier, charging handle, and buffer group.

3. Spray and Wipe Down

Spray down all parts with the cleaning fluid from the kit, and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes. The time might vary based on the kit or fluid you use. Once the cleaner has had time to loosen the debris and grime, wipe down all the parts with a rag. You can use cotton swabs or other small narrow items to help clean the nooks and crannies of the gun. For a rifle, bolt action or other, use a skewer or plastic scraper to remove gun powder residue.

4. Barrel and Crown

Since most of your focus up to this point has been on the other components of the firearm, the barrel should be adequately soaked by now. Using a barrel cleaning rod for a rifle or other tool for a handgun, you want to insert the tool and rag into the barrel, pushing it slowly through to the muzzle or crown. Switch the rag and repeat the process until your rags come out clean. You want to protect the crown during the cleaning process. If the crown gets damaged, it can result in inaccuracy when firing.

5. Grease and Wear

While gun manufacturers do their best to create handheld tools that will last, there are inevitably pieces within the weapon that receive metal-on-metal action, resulting in wear. The more you use your firearm, the more wear you can expect. To help prevent too much damage from routine use, leave a bit of grease or lubricant on those high-wear parts, reducing the level of friction while firing. 

Gun care comes down to a routine. If you want your weapon to last, you need to get in the habit of cleaning it. Unfortunately, making something a habit is not always easy, especially when labor is involved. How do you make gun cleaning a normal part of your life? Do you have any tips to make the job easier? Leave a comment below.

CategoriesHunting

Understanding Hunting Zones and Seasons in the US

Hunting is a conservation tool, despite animal rights activists that want to argue otherwise. The sales made from licenses for various game seasons go toward conservation practices to ensure the continued population and preservation of specific species. For example, since its inception in 1934, the Duck Stamp has contributed more than $950 million, helping to restore nearly 6 million acres of habitat for migratory birds. 

After the near eradication of bison and the extinction of the passenger pigeon in the early 1900s, people and the government realized the need to protect wildlife, to prevent overhunting and the potential extinction of other species due to human interference. Through legislation, like the Wildlife Restoration Act, and other regulatory agencies and principles, hunting is more of a wildlife management tool. The basis of that tool is the development of hunting seasons and zones, which are often regulated by state with federal cooperation and instruction.

Understanding Hunting Zones Throughout the US

A hunting zone establishes an area for hunting an animal of a specific size and weight during a set timeframe, and it typically stipulates the type of weaponry and ammunition you can use. The zones can encompass some private lands but typically rely on public or government-owned lands. 

Hunting zones will vary by state because of climate, wildlife population, and migration. The differences mean that licensing is necessary for every state, meaning purchasing a hunting license in one state might not transfer to another. Every state is responsible for tracking the population of wildlife, making licensing a critical component of conservation. 

Understanding Hunting Seasons in the US

A hunting season is a time when a specific game animal can be hunted. Each hunting zone will typically have its own season that correlates to a specific species. If you chose to hunt a species outside of its season, you can face legal consequences, such as fines or jail time. 

There are times when a state might designate an open season on a specific species. An open season means that restrictions are lifted temporarily to limit a rampant population. However, while an open season allows hunters to hunt animals off-season, it does not permit a free-for-all approach. There will still be rules as to the weight, size, age, and gender of the species. You will also still need a license so wildlife officials can maintain accurate estimates of populations.

The Importance of Zones and Seasons

Conservation is critical to wildlife protection. When people were left to their own worst intentions, they nearly eradicated several species. Animals do not only play an entertainment role in the environment, they contribute to it. Nourishing other species and plants and ensuring a sustained food cycle for humans. 

Some people are uncomfortable with the idea of hunting because they look at it in terms of killing, equating it to murder. While hunting for pure sport, with no intent on using the flesh and meat of the animal is wasteful, and not beneficial to the environment. Hunting with purpose is vital to sustained natural landscapes and populations. 

Hunters are leading the charge in conservation efforts, and while some might not agree with the tactics, the objective is the same as other wildlife activists, to preserve and protect the environment. However, it is only the hunters who abide by the laws of the US, adhering to hunting seasons and sticking to zone limits, who are true friends to the environment.

As survivalists, having a healthy and balanced relationship with wildlife and the environment is crucial. Leave a comment below clearing up any regulations or hunting issues that confused you when you started.

CategoriesSurvivalism

3 Powerful Things You Can Do To Protect Yourself

Too many people know the value of self-defense without having any practical knowledge. While awareness is vital, practical application is how knowledge becomes useful. It is a natural and flawed expectation that bad things will not happen to you. Everyone has an invisible safety bubble around them to some extent, but having too much confidence in the protection that bubble legitimately offers is a mistake. If you want to give yourself the best chance of survival against an attacker, you need to not only have a basic understanding of self-defense principles; you need to have experience with its implementation as well.

1. Your Voice Is a Powerful Weapon and Deterrent

People often underestimate one of the most powerful tools at their disposal: the voice. If someone is pursuing you or they already initiated an attack, scream as loud as you can. Say things like “back off” or “get away.” Your goal is to create a scene. Yell, shout, and make a fuss. The more attention you can draw to your situation, the less likely it is to become a violent altercation. If possible, lead the spectacle into a public and well-lit setting. While people might be reluctant to intervene personally, the level of attention and commotion can increase the odds of someone calling for help, especially if you ask for it.

You can also use your voice to make the suspect uncomfortable or to inflict injury. If the perpetrator gets too close or pulls you within ear range, scream as loud as you can for as long as you can. You can even vary the tone and rhythm of your scream to make it unpredictable. While long-term ear damage is unlikely, screaming can cause discomfort and anxiety. If loud enough, it can lead to clouded thoughts, meaning you might throw your attacker off balance psychologically, allowing you time to counter-attack or to flee.

2. Keys Are for More Than Opening Doors and Starting Engines

In the correct position, a key is a dangerous weapon. If you are often scared of walking to your car alone, consider keeping your car or house keys in hand. You can hold house keys or car keys with the jagged, pointed portion sticking out from the pinky-side of your palm. Grasp the keyring and top of the key or keys tightly, clenching your first. Holding your keys in this position sets you up nicely for a hammer strike.

3. Don’t Underestimate the Power of Your Hands, Elbows, and Legs

While it is not advisable to use your fingernails as weapons because of the increased risk of injury to yourself, you can and should use your palm. Using a heel palm strike to the nose or throat can momentarily incapacitate your attack, allowing you time to get away.

Some of the hardest points in your body include your elbows. If your attacker surprises you and gets too close, you can use an elbow strike to their chin to inflict real pain. An elbow strike can be used as a forward and backward blow.

If your attacker comes at you from the front, use a swift, hard kick to the groin. When performed correctly, the kick should knock the perpetrator to the ground, allowing you time to escape.

Self-defense is nothing without practical experience. When you can, take a course and take basic knowledge to the next level. What is your favorite self-defense strategy or tool? Leave a comment below and join the dialogue.

CategoriesWeapons

The Rise of DIY Gun Kits Pose New Threat To Law Enforcement Agencies

As with the manufactured drug trade, gun manufacturers are beginning to take advantage of legal loopholes. Commonly referred to as “ghost guns,” DIY gun kits are being sold over the internet to any interested party. These firearms are untraceable, with no serial numbers, paperwork, or registered gun card, and worst of all, ownership is technically not illegal. The federal government and many state legislatures have yet to put any new law in the books to prevent ownership or sale of these kits, providing easy access to those otherwise incapable of gun ownership.

A Gun Control Issue Most Can Get Behind Is Stalled in Congress

While lawmakers are continuously stuck on the standard non-starters of the gun control debate, they continue to ignore the growing and actionable problem of DIY kits. The ATF has noted a significant rise in the number of weapons and “arsenals” they are coming across during raids and routine operations. While the agency refers to these firearms as self-made unserialized firearms, they are the same “ghost guns” and DIY weapons President Biden recently made a stand against, urging congress to move forward with legislation to control the mounting problem.

Availability Without Accountability

While building a kit gun is not illegal, it is still illegal for a prohibited person from owning a firearm to possess one. However, because there are few, if any, restrictions on the sale of these firearms, it is easier for a criminal or someone prohibited to get ahold of this type of weapon. 

Law enforcement agencies are beginning to feel like their hands are tied. While a convicted criminal is not technically permitted to own a gun in most territories, the sale of these weapons is untraceable. When an individual is spotted with a weapon they are not supposed to have, like Darryl Collins of Chicago, it is hard to file charges. During Collins’ arrest, he ran and threw the DIY gun aside. When in custody, prosecutors decided only to charge him as a felon in possession of ammunition.

DIY Gun Kits and the Potential for Carnage

Since the beginning of 2021, there have been at least 104 mass shootings occurring in 29 states and Washington D.C. While DIY gun kits are not responsible for these shootings, there is no telling how the increased ease-of-access, especially to those prohibited through normal channels, will increase gun violence and death risks. 

Regardless of your views on the gun control debate, laws currently exist on the books that protect all citizens against people more prone to violence or determined mentally unfit for gun ownership. “Ghost guns” negate those laws, taking advantage of loopholes to ensure gross profit. As a prepper, your goal is survival, and while fair gun ownership is a part of that process, DIY kits present a clear risk to your safety and the safety of others.

For the responsible gun owner, accountability and liability are crucial. Every hunter and survivalist plays their role and takes part in the legal system of gun ownership, which includes licensing and paperwork. While the idea of a DIY kit might sound intriguing, it opens up a dangerous production channel for weapons development on the domestic front. While some people might not agree with every gun law in the books, are “ghost guns” even a part of the solution, or are they purely a problem? Leave a comment below, respectfully expressing your opinion, and keep the conversation going.

CategoriesHome Defense Hunting Survivalism Weapons

Our Thoughts on Carbon Fiber Firearms

Carbon fiber is a polymer that is very strong and rigid, but also impressively lightweight. Though the versatile material was invented in 1958, it has recently experienced a sharp uptick in popularity as its many potential uses and benefits are explored. Recently, the availability of carbon fiber firearms has increased. You may even know someone who’s purchased a few carbon fiber firearms for hunting and/or home defense. There are a lot of things to like about carbon fiber firearms, but do the benefits outweigh the drawbacks? Here are our thoughts on this latest firearms trend.

Benefits of Carbon Fiber Firearms

As anyone with a carbon firearm will be quick to tell you, they’re popular for a reason (for several reasons, actually). Let’s go over some of the benefits they can offer over traditional firearms.

First, a carbon fiber barrel is extremely durable when compared to its steel counterparts. While a typical steel barrel will be good for approximately 10,000 rounds (unless it’s been enhanced in some way), a carbon fiber barrel is even more effective at standing up to high heat and high pressure. That means you can likely fire more rounds through it than you could through a standard barrel. Most carbon fiber barrels are constructed with stainless steel cores with rifling. This dual-layer construction helps to maximize the strength and durability of the barrels.

Another benefit of carbon fiber barrels is that they are resistant to most chemical damage. They’re also extremely resistant to changes in temperature. These features help make carbon fiber guns immensely reliable, no matter how or where you plan to use them.

If you’re not a fan of recoil (and who is?) you’ll appreciate the fact that the rigidity of carbon fiber guns helps minimize recoil. It also dampens rifle vibration so you have an easier time controlling your weapon when firing.

Last but not least, carbon fiber barrels are exceptionally lightweight. That means you’ll have an easier time carrying your gun around and firing it. Some experienced gun owners claim that their accuracy is even better when using a carbon fiber firearm.

Drawbacks of Carbon Fiber Firearms

Now that we’ve gone over the many benefits carbon fiber firearms can offer, let’s talk about some of the potential drawbacks. Knowing the pros and cons will help you make the most educated decision when purchasing a new firearm.

Surprisingly, there is just one major drawback to purchasing a carbon fiber firearm, and that is the price. Carbon fiber is an expensive material to manufacture, and that increased price is passed on to the consumer. That means you’ll need to be prepared to pay a pretty penny to purchase a gun barrel made from carbon fiber.

However, it’s important to understand that your carbon fiber barrel will probably last longer than its steel counterparts. So even though you’ll pay more up front, you may actually save money in the long run. There is also the possibility that carbon fiber firearms may become cheaper in the future (once they are not so “new”). You may also consider saving money by simply upgrading one of your current firearm barrels to a carbon fiber barrel.

Though they consistently get great reviews by gun enthusiasts, carbon fiber guns may not be preferred by everyone. Before purchasing one, it’s wise to give one a try if you can. That way you can decide if the many benefits outweigh the initial cost for you and can avoid making a purchase decision that you’ll later regret.

How do you feel about carbon fiber firearms? Do you like them or do you prefer a standard steel barrel? Let us know in the comments section below!

CategoriesPrepping

Starting Your Prepping and Survival Planning on a Shoestring Budget

Getting started with prepping or survivalism is always a little challenging. You never know how much money you need to spend or what to spend it on. Many people believe that $1,000 is a decent budget for getting started, but a grand will not get you very far in reality. However, if you only have a small budget to work with, there are several things you can do to get started in your prepper journey, some of which will cost a lot and others that will cost a little.

Water and Food Supply

Anytime you start preparing for a disaster, you need to consider the essentials: food and water. You will need to figure on at least three gallons of water per person per day when it comes to a water supply. You want drinkable water. Therefore, you should purchase bottled water or a filtration system for rain collection or another source. For food, you will want to pick up dried goods and canned goods. Also, you will need to purchase a variety of non-perishable and shelf-stable products. 

Bug-Out Bags

A bug-out bag is an emergency kit for every person in your household. While it is wise to have multiple bug-out bags for each person stored in various locations, you should focus on creating at least one per person. These bags should be catered to the individual they are meant for, meaning you have their medications and food supply tailored to their particular needs. Depending on the bag’s size, it can be expensive to have multiple units, especially when you consider you will need to rotate inventory frequently.

Gardening Tools and Seeds

An inexpensive hobby that works well for developing survival skills is gardening. You do not need much to start a garden, some basic hand tools and some seeds. However, gardening does require continuous maintenance. You can plant produce that is easier to maintain, like cucumbers and beans, but they will not have the most nutritional value.

Before rushing into planting, consider researcher garden methods specific to your area. You can likely find resources for free online or at a public library. Getting educated before planting a harvest is a good idea, especially before your family will depend on it.

Protection and Security

While it comes to preparation, security and protection are vital to your strategy. If you do not own a gun or weapon, you should use part of your limited budget to purchase a firearm and training. While you do not need to purchase the most expensive gun, you will want one suited to your skill level. People with little to no firing experience might have better luck with a shotgun over a handgun because they are easier to control and the ammunition spreads, meaning accuracy isn’t critical. If you do not feel comfortable with a gun, you might want to look into alternatives, like bows and arrows or knives. All of these options are beneficial to hunting, not only as personal protection.

If you had a limited budget and wanted to start prepping, where would you invest your money first? Leave a comment below and share your opinions; help educate your fellow preppers and newcomers.

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