CategoriesDisaster Response

What You Need To Know To Build a Hurricane Shelter

Before delving into the specifics of a hurricane shelter, it is crucial to note that some situations and areas are not suited to such structures, for example, any site with known flood risk. If you call your local emergency management office and find that flooding poses no threat, it is time to get your plans together for your hurricane shelter, which can be either stand-alone or in-residence.

Stand-Alone Structure Costs and Essentials

When constructing a hurricane structure, you want to build something strong, stable, and secure — heft works too. In most cases, the frame is made with welded together steel panels secured to a concrete foundation. Essentially, you are designing a large steel box to sit near your home. According to some experts, a hurricane shelter built to FEMA specifications can cost upwards of $5,000.

Steel is not the only option when designing a hurricane shelter. If you would prefer, a shelter can be built of fortified concrete, insulated concrete forms, or fortified masonry blocks. Additionally, you can order a prefab shelter or request a site-built structure. Regardless of the materials and type of external shelter, you should hire a professional to design and build it.

Size Requirements for a Hurricane Shelter

The cost of your hurricane shelter will depend significantly on the size of the structure, and the size of the structure will depend on the number of people you expect to protect inside. According to FEMA, a hurricane shelter should have a minimum space per person of 10 square feet. However, if you shelter bedridden or sick people, you will need to increase that number to 30 square feet. Therefore, a family of five might need a shelter between 50 and 150 square feet in size. A sick individual does not have to be physically ill; they might suffer from a psychological condition. In any case, you will need a shelter that provides between 10 and 30 square feet per person.

In-Residence Hurricane Safe Rooms

Unlike exterior shelters, a hurricane safe room is within the house. The room is windowless and protects from external projectiles and other dangers with fortified walls. These types of rooms do not have to be original to the structure. You can add a safe room by fortifying existing walls with steel, concrete, or even plywood for an economical choice. The primary requirement is that each structure element — walls, ceiling, and foundation — are adequately fastened together, creating a united and fortified structure within the home.

There are two distinct advantages to building an in-residence shelter instead of an external stand-alone one: access and cost. When an emergency occurs, would you rather go down a flight of stairs to your shelter or run across your yard, bracing against high winds? An interior shelter is easier and often safer to access than external rooms. Additionally, a simple lean-to structure in your home’s basement is only going to cost about $2,000. If you want something more involved, you can plan a full-scale room into the house design for $3,000 to $6,000.

Preparing Your Safe Room for Disaster

Depending on how long you need to be in your safe room, you should stock up on essentials. While an empty safe room or shelter is fine for quick passing severe weather, like tornadoes, a hurricane can berate a cost for days. Stocking your room is up to you, but it is wise to have a supply of fresh water, non-perishable food, and medications, just in case.

What kind of safe room will you build? Leave a comment.

CategoriesDisaster Response

Subway Flooding: Keeping Yourself Safe and Dry

The climate crisis is causing shifts in typical or traditional weather patterns. Many metropolitan areas are seeing significant rainfall resulting in unprecedented flooding. Recently, in New York and other major cities worldwide, subway stations are becoming increasingly susceptible to flash floods. While the U.S. has been lucky to avoid any deaths from these strange incidents, other countries have experienced casualties.

Now that the world is seeing such disasters occur with limited frequency, it is time to prepare for the potential threat, to identify ways to stay safe and out of harm’s way. Thankfully, the flood safety protocols do not change too much just because the location is unique.

Stay Dry To Stay Alive

When in a location with flooding risks, it is vital to stay away from the most dangerous areas during inclement weather; for example, get to high ground during downpours or heavy rains. The lower you are, the more danger you put yourself in. Obviously, it is not always possible to stay above ground, especially in busy cities, but avoiding these lower levels during risky weather patterns is best.

Additionally, turn around if you are making your way into the subway and there is a buildup of water on the platforms. The federal safety adage “turn around, don’t drown” is true even in subways. During times of flash flood warnings, the goal of every individual should be to avoid rising water levels at all costs.

The Dangers of Low-Level Flash Floods

Flash floods do not always account for outrageous depths, but they do make up some of the scariest and most dangerous floods. A water depth of six inches is enough to knock a full-grown adult off their feet and into the current.

If you are unlucky enough to get swept into a flood current, do not try to swim against the current because that is a sure-fire way to exhaust yourself. Instead, point your feet into the current, float on your back, and try to steer around or over obstacles with your legs. Essentially, you treat a flood current precisely like a rapid that you’ve fallen into — don’t fight it, go with it.

Trapped in the Subway

If you find that waters are rising too quickly and pouring in from the stairwells, it is best to find something secure to hold on to — a post, rail, toll booth, etc. The goal is to avoid being swept away. Obviously, making your way to higher ground is ideal, but with water sweeping past you, it is best to stand firm where you are holding tight to something foundational.

In the U.S., cities are better equipped to handle the onslaught of flash floods, and many stations have hired specialists to help plan for emergencies like flash floods. With the resources and established protocols, it is — so far — unlikely that the U.S. will experience the type of subway tragedies experienced by China and other parts of the world.

When it comes to subway flooding, avoidance is the best way to stay safe. Before traveling on underground railways, check weather reports and emergency alert broadcasts. Know what the weather will be like and prepare accordingly. If thunderstorms and heavy rains are predicted, schedule above-ground travel using cabs, bicycles, or a good pair of walking shoes. Survival isn’t always convenient or easy; it’s about making smart and safe decisions for the day ahead.

How would you escape a subway flood? Leave a comment with your best advice. 

CategoriesDisaster Response Prepping Survivalism

The Best Portable Water Purification Gadgets for Your Go Bag

Every living thing needs water to survive. Unfortunately, some disasters might lead to contaminated water supplies, making fresh, clean water a limited resource. In such situations, a prepper or survivalist knows the importance of water purification. While many preppers might have a freshwater stockpile, it is hard to take that on the move. For emergencies that require travel, it is best to have water purification options in your go-bag.

The Importance of Water Purification

If you are in a dire situation without access to a freshwater supply, you can boil water to kill off bacteria and eliminate some contaminants. Sometimes, survival situations require the consumption of whatever water source you have access to. You have to weigh the pros and cons, acknowledging the health risks with the survival options. 

Not all water sources provide clean drinking water. The bacteria and contaminants in these areas can make you violently ill, and in some cases, leave you battling infections without access to antibiotics or treatment.

Because of the risk of drinking from many natural sources, it is best to have a water purification option with you at all times. There are many options available that provide you with enough filtration for hundreds or thousands of gallons.

Top Portable Water Purification Options

While you can set up a water purification system at your homestead, that system will not do you much good if you need to evacuate. For evacuations, you will need a purification method that fits into your go-bag. There are at least three portable purification methods for the savvy prepper.

1. Straws

One of the most popular products on the market is LifeStraw, and it is considered a personal water filter. The original straw version is a decent filtration system, it removes 99.9999% of bacteria and 99.9% of protozoa, and it lasts for 1,000 liters, filtering down to 0.2 microns. Unfortunately, it will not remove all viruses, minerals, and chemicals. 

There are other options that make drinking easier, and some even filter down to 0.1 microns. The main takeaway is that a filtration straw — or bottle for that matter — is an easy filtration option that can fit easily into any go-bag.

2. Tablets

Tablets are another option for water purification on the go. The tablets are fairly straightforward: you gather one to two liters of water, filter it through a cloth, and drop the tablet in. After approximately 30 minutes, you can safely drink the water without worrying about dangerous microbes.

According to some research, purification tablets, such as Aquatabs, provide a similar result to many municipal water treatment centers.  These tablets can eliminate 99% or more of the biological content in water if you follow the directions.

3. Chemicals

While you can use chemicals like chlorine or chlorine dioxide to clean drinking water, you will need to use caution. Unless you have significant experience treating water with such chemicals, it is best to stick to either tablets or filtration bottles and straws.

Water purification is essential to survival in the wild or when other water sources are contaminated. Without adequate filtration, water can contain thousands of potentially hazardous microbes in every drop. What are your favorite filtration methods? Leave a comment below.

CategoriesDisaster Response Finance Prepping Survivalism

SHTF Money: Creating a Plan for When the Unexpected Happens

The general rule for an emergency fund is six to nine months’ worth of expenses — although some experts believe it should be six to nine months’ worth of net income — but only 25% of Americans, according to a recent Bankrate.com study, have the minimum requirement. Additionally, only 39% have enough savings to pay for a $1,000 emergency before acquiring a loan or using credit. That is not good enough.  In an actual SHTF economic situation, how long would you last? Do you have enough money to survive and wait out the crisis or prepare for your next move?

The SHTF Money Plan

Creating a money plan is a straightforward process, but it takes discipline and commitment. Before you can start planning for savings, you need to take a hard look at your finances. How much money do you have coming in, and where does it go? 

To keep track of your money, you need to create a spending log — don’t worry too much about making cuts at first. Record every dollar you spend, even for that $1.50 candy bar at the local gas station. A thorough spending log will help you understand how you spend money. For many people, logging their money is enough to curtail some bad habits.

Continue to log your spending habits for a month. After you have a month’s worth of information, go through your logbook and divide your spending into two categories: needs and wants. Needs would consist of mortgage payments, rent, insurance, gas, food, etc. Wants would include spending on entertainment, clothing accessories, eating out, etc. 

With the final calculations, you want to look at your wants and needs lists to determine if there are any areas you can cut spending. For example, if you are eating out a lot, consider limiting such occasions to once or twice per week.

The idea is to make necessary cuts to create a surplus of available cash. The excess should be put back into a savings account. Every month you will contribute to this savings until you build your emergency or SHTF reserve. Saving takes time, and it can and likely will require patience. Obviously, the more you sacrifice, the quicker you can save, but remember that you need to live, too.

Why You Need an Emergency Fund

Emergency funds are paramount to survival and preparation. No one knows when financial troubles will arise, whether personal, national, or global. You can experience job loss, or the economy can collapse, war can lead to shortages, etc. An emergency fund means you can better survive the temporary or more permanent threats.

The Right Amount of Savings for Your Situation

The right amount of savings varies from individual to individual. Your SHTF account might only require a few thousand dollars to get through six months, especially if you have a live-off-the-land mindset and a stable inexpensive homestead. 

For most people, however, a minimum of six months’ worth of expenses is a good starting point. It is crucial to understand this is a bare-bones strategy; you will not have any extra money for entertainment or unexpected expenses. Therefore, while a decent strategy, it is better to plan for six months’ worth of your net income — better still, nine months. 

There is no quick path to building an SHTF money stash; it requires patience and discipline. Take a hard look at your spending habits and make cuts you can live with. Commit to putting back a specific percentage of your income toward your emergency fund. You can do this.

Got any pointers? Leave a comment below.

CategoriesDisaster Response Prepping Survivalism

Will the Next Pandemic Be Fungal?

What happened in India’s hospitals with black fungus has investigators worried. Could the next pandemic come from a fungus?

What Are Fungi?

Fungi are a type of microorganism that includes molds, mildews and yeasts. The mold that grows in damp areas of the home is a fungus, and so are the infections responsible for “athlete’s foot” and yellowing toenails.

It’s normal for the body to have balanced levels of certain fungi, and they can even be beneficial for the skin or for digestion. If unhealthy microbes enter the bloodstream, however, they can trigger dangerous infections.

What Fungi May Trigger a Pandemic?

We don’t necessarily have to wait to see the next potential cause of a global pandemic. It may already be here:

  • Candida auris: A type of yeast,  auris is a major threat. It can hide in tubes and treatment equipment that hasn’t been properly sterilized. Any outbreak leads to immediate lockdown procedures in hospitals because it’s so dangerous.
  • Aspergillus: This kind of fungus grows practically everywhere. It’s involved in breaking down vegetation, so it’s abundant in nature. It can appear inside or outside homes in the United States. It’s not normally dangerous, but it can trigger serious lung infections in people with compromised immune systems.

Some infections are caused by fungi that live in soil, such as the fungus responsible for Valley Fever in the Southwestern United States and Taloromyces in Asia. Sporothrix brasiliensis is a type of fungus that can be transmitted to humans via bites and scratches from animals

What Makes Fungal Infections Dangerous?

The risk of C. auris is showing that fungi are a ticking time bomb. Here’s why they’re so dangerous:

  • Treatment resistant: C. auris is resistant to common drugs. In other words, if someone gets infected, especially with immune system problems, the risk of dying is high.
  • Hard to eradicate: Unlike viruses and bacteria, eliminating fungi is difficult. They can resist common cleaning methods. C. auris is resistant to many ammonium-based disinfectants, for example.

Fast growing: C. auris can live and spread rapidly on plastic, metal, paper, and fabric. It can infiltrate ventilation systems, breathing tubes, nursing home areas and hospital equipment.

Why Now?

What is causing these “new” and scary fungal outbreaks in different parts of the world? In a way, we are.

Modern technological advances have indirectly caused problems with serious fungal infections. For example, many crops are doused in fungicides to enhance production. This can lead to organisms that are heavily resistant to elimination.

Also, global warming may allow fungi to spread to areas where they couldn’t live before. Tropical fungi can now travel further north. Also, transportation means goods carrying fungi can enter the U.S. from Asia, South America, Africa and practically anywhere else.

How To Prep?

HEPA air filtration is one of the only ways to keep mold spores and fungi out of sealed spaces. A sealed, airtight suit may be necessary in the case of a truly mortal global outbreak of mold spores or fungi. As far as current threats are concerned, be careful with anything that weakens your immune system. In the case of surgery at a hospital, you can demand new tubes for any equipment connected to your body.

CategoriesDisaster Response

Aging Infrastructure and the Rising Digital Threat

As a prepper and survivalist, there is only so much you can do to protect your homestead and your family. You can ensure you have adequate water, food, and shelter for prolonged disaster crises and responses, but you cannot control the infrastructure of your country. 

There is a significant difference between personal vulnerability and national security. Unfortunately, recent works have revealed the potential weaknesses in the latter. For example, in early May, the Colonial Pipeline hack demonstrated the necessity for an overhaul in U.S. infrastructure.

The Colonial Pipeline is a major gas supplier for the east coast, and the hack presented the threat of gas shortages throughout. While the panic was the primary cause of recent shortages in the southeast, the hack was a dire warning of things to come, and the pipelines are not the only thing at risk. The current electrical grid also runs on outdated machinery, systems, and software.

The Rising Threat

Hacks on corporations are nothing new, and many terrorists and criminal organizations have created effective businesses built on ransomware. However, until recently, it seemed most of these attacks were on independent operators. Still, recently — within the last decade — hackers have been turning their sights on government infrastructure, health, transportation, energy, etc. 

The criminals see these heists or data-naps as good business. Companies cannot afford to leave systems offline, so they are quick to pay. For example, Colonial Pipeline was hacked on a Monday and decided to pay the ransom on the same day.

Unfortunately, while there is no denying Colonial Pipeline made the right decision for the company, the move is only motivation for further and more aggressive attacks on infrastructure. At the same time, independent hacker groups and criminal organizations are currently the aggressors, who are to say when digital warfare will become the newest military tactic.

Government Response

The government is currently debating President Biden’s infrastructure plan, the American Jobs Plan. Initially starting negotiations at $2 trillion, the administration just released the newest offer of $1 trillion. 

The plan is a decisive more forward, but many are concerned it does not do enough to improve digital security. For example, the plan calls for improvements in energy, education, and transportation, but it waivers its stance on enhanced digital security. In addition, the original proposal included a budget for making improvements to cybersecurity, but many experts argued it was not enough to support the implied changes to existing infrastructure.

Without a rigorous and financial commitment to the improvements of tech and security around basic infrastructure, the vulnerabilities will still be present, regardless of the progress. This administration and those that follow need to realize the imminent threat of cyber terrorism and digital warfare. In addition, Congress needs to enact policies to ensure change is financially viable.

Individual Concern

As a citizen, there is little you can do on a national scale other than vote. However, to ensure you are not a victim of the next national crisis, you can do whatever it takes to get off the grid and relieve your dependence on government infrastructure. For example, you can invest in solar power, install water filtration systems, stockpile food, clean water, and ensure you have a supply of gasoline should a shortage occur.

As a prepper and survivalist, you know you cannot 100% rely on the government to protect its citizens, especially when it fails to see the writing on the proverbial wall. Currently, infrastructure is at risk, and it will remain at risk until the Administration and Congress act.

CategoriesCamping Disaster Response Prepping Survivalism

A Brief Guide to Our Favorite Backup Generators

Loss of power is one of the most common scenarios in disaster situations. Whether you’re dealing with a severe storm, cyber-attack on the power grid or other foreign or domestic attack, you can almost guarantee the power will go out at some point. When that time comes, what will you do? How will you keep your refrigerated or frozen foods from spoiling within a few hours? How will you keep the lights on in your home? A good generator can help alleviate many of the discomforts and dangers associated with a prolonged power outage. Here’s a brief guide to some of our top picks.

Gas-Powered Generators

Gas-powered generators are only good if you have gas on hand to power them. But they’re very good at providing sufficient power to keep large appliances (such as critical medical gear and refrigerators) functioning when the power goes out. Portable gasoline or propane-powered generators are fairly inexpensive and some can crank out serious wattage. Some great options include:

  • Honda EU2200i Gasoline Powered Inverter Generator: This generator has 2200 Watts, which is enough to keep the essentials (such as a refrigerator and a few other devices) running in the average-sized home. It’s also pretty quiet and has a run time between 4-9 hours.
  • Westinghouse WGen9500DF Dual Fuel Portable Generator: If you’re looking for a little more power, this 9500-Watt generator will meet your needs. It has a 12-hour run time and can be powered by either gasoline or propane.
  • DuroMax XP12000EH Generator: For even more wattage, the DuroMax XP12000EH generator is a good choice. It is not the most affordable option, but you may find that the extra sticker price is worth the increased power of the 457cc OHV engine. This generator also takes gas or propane.

When it comes to storing fuel, propane tanks are generally safer to store than gasoline. Always store with the valve closed in approved containers. Keep in mind that a full propane tank is safer than an empty one, since empty propane tanks are more likely to contain explosive vapors.

Solar-Powered Generators

Solar-powered generators can be great life-saving devices in emergencies. They don’t require you to store fuel, and they operate cleanly and quietly. But they do have their drawbacks. Notably, you need to have sunlight to get power from a solar-powered generator.

They also have slow recharging times and higher up-front costs. They do make great backup power supplies though, in case you run out of fuel for your gas-powered generators. Here are some of our top solar-powered generator picks.

  • Goal Zero Yeti Lithium Portable Power Station: This generator comes in various models, including the 3024Wh model and the 428Wh model. The 3024Wh model is more expensive but it also has more power capacity than the 428Wh model. It provides more than 3000Wh of battery capacity. All models have two AC outlets, two 12V output ports, and three 2.4A USB ports.
  • Humless GO Mini Portable Solar Generator and Panel Kit: This kit comes with two 130-Watt solar panels (foldable), a plug-and-play connecting cable, and the Go Mini generator with 640 Watts of power. This silent system is great for powering small items but won’t power your refrigerator or other large appliances.
  • Suaoki 400Wh/120,000mAh Portable Solar Generator: This high-power unit can be charged from various sources, including AC outlets, solar panels and 12V/24V vehicle-based power sockets. It’s a great choice if you need a solar-powered generator to serve you on the road or at home.

These are some of our top picks, but we want to know which options are your favorite. Have you used a generator in an emergency? If so, what type was it and how did it perform? Let us know in the comments section below!

CategoriesDisaster Response

Avoid the Threat of a Gas Shortage With a Few Simple Strategies

The Colonial Pipeline cyberattack left many U.S. citizens scrambling for the pumps, despite the announcements that there was no need for concern. The cyberattack happened Monday, May 6, 2021, and by Tuesday, the company paid the ransom. Once the ransom was paid, Colonial Pipeline could begin checking systems and reestablishing production levels, which took several days to return to normal. Unfortunately, the statements from the company and the government were not enough to stop the rush on local stations, resulting in many running dry.

It is essential to reiterate there was never any real threat to gasoline production levels. The panic buying that occurred drove the shortages in the southeast. The country saw similar occurrences during the pandemic, when panic led to a lack of paper supplies, despite there being no threat to the supply chain.

As all preppers know, panic is the enemy. Therefore, while any gas shortages are currently temporary, if still ongoing, it is better to learn how to cope in such situations should they happen in the future.

limit driving

If possible, don’t drive. You want to save the remainder of your tank for emergencies or necessary trips. Unfortunately, a gasoline shortage does not end the need for commuting, especially to work. If possible, ask your boss if you can work from home to save gas. Many employers might be understanding. 

If you cannot work from home, it is crucial to make the most of your trip. Plan your route, allowing you to use your commute to run essential errands. You also want to try and avoid traffic to limit idling.

maximize your current tank

You want to maximize every tank during a gas shortage, meaning you find ways to ensure you get the most miles from your current fillup. There are a couple of ways to do this: limit excess weight and shut off the A/C. 

According to the AAA, while weight reduction won’t affect the fuel economy too much for larger vehicles, small cars experience significant advantages. To remove excess weight, you’ll want to take out any bags or belongings from the trunk and inside the cabin. You can also remove roof racks or special carriers. Getting your vehicle as close to its original weight is best to preserve fuel economy.

The A/C and other systems force the car to use more energy, requiring more gasoline. If you want to improve fuel economy, open the windows and park in the shade. While it might not be comfortable in the hot summer months, it can help get you a few extra miles.

use public transportation

If you live in the city, use public transportation instead of your vehicle. Transportation authorities often have a supply and reserve of fuel, meaning they are not as susceptible to fuel shortages. 

Trains and buses are usually available in most metropolitan areas, making stops at most major intersections. If you cannot find fuel, you can likely find a bus or train to get you close to where you need to be.

carpool

If you cannot stay home and public transportation is not an option, you can choose to carpool. By sharing a ride, both drivers essentially double their current fuel. The best part of carpooling is if you can travel with someone who has a more fuel-efficient vehicle, meaning fewer required trips to the pump, especially when they might be few and far between.

Are you worried about a gas shortage or the repercussions of the Colonial Pipeline attack? Leave a comment and keep the conversation going.

CategoriesCamping Disaster Response Hunting Prepping Survivalism

What To Consider When Picking a “Bug Out” Property To Buy

Times are changing, and it’s important to prepare for additional changes yet to come. Just as you probably never imagined you’d experience a toilet paper shortage in your lifetime, you may not have imagined you’d need to start looking for a “bug-out” property this year. But here we are. Wise preppers understand that when things get really bad, they may have to leave their homes and head out to the wilderness (at least for a while). The more prepared you are to handle such a situation, the more likely you will be to survive.

The good news is that your bug-out property can also double as a recreational property where you go to camp and practice your survival skills. But you don’t want to buy any remote property you see for sale. Here are a few things you should consider when deciding which bug-out property to buy.

water

This may seem obvious, but many people forget to even consider the availability of water when looking for a property where they can lay low for a while. However, if you’re serious about survival, you need to make sure the property has some sort of access to fresh water year-round. This may be in the form of a lake, river, well or natural spring. Stock up on water purifiers as well and keep them in your bug-out bag so you can make any available water safe for drinking purposes. If there is no water to be found within miles of a property, it’s probably not worth buying.

distance

You may be able to find the perfect survival property for sale, but if it’s going to take you days to get there in an emergency, it’s just not a practical solution. When it comes to location, here are a few things the ideal property should offer:

  • It should be close enough to where you live that you can get to it on a single tank of gas
  • It should be far enough from the city that you aren’t in danger of being overrun by others who are trying to escape the dangers of the city
  • It should be no more than 60 miles from your home so you can reach it on foot if necessary

It may not be possible to find a good survival property that meets all of these recommendations, but do your best. If you can’t find a good bug-out property close by and you know you’re going to have to travel many miles in a SHTF situation, make sure you pack extra fuel and supplies to bring with you.

self-suffiency

When looking for the right property for an emergency, consider how it will help you be self-sufficient. Ideally, you should look for a place that’s located near:

  • Game and/or fish
  • Firewood
  • Sufficient space and sunlight for gardening
  • A source of electricity (such as water, solar and/or wind)

Don’t count on the electrical grid to power your needs when SHTF. Alternative sources of power are essential for any bug-out location.

security

When buying a property for survival purposes, take some time to consider how secure it is. Is it concealed by trees, fences, gates, etc. or is it located in a wide-open space? How many paths and roads lead to your property? Is your property located right next to a main road?

Generally, the more secluded your property is, the easier it will be to defend it from anyone with ill intent. You may also want to invest in Sentry Alarm Mines when situations become dire. They’ll alert you if someone trips the wire and trespasses on your property so you have time to react.

These are a few of the top things to consider when looking for a property you can purchase for your bug-out needs. Do you have additional suggestions we haven’t mentioned? Let us know in the comments section!

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!

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