Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Alone Season 5 Pack List


This Season, the 10 contestants were selected from previous 4 show participants, so they have Alone experience and should make better choices in what gear to carry.  In addition to some common necessities (like clothes and tarps), they get to pick 10 personal items to carry with them.



All ten participants chose a sleeping bag and ferrous rod. Nine selected the fishing kit with 25 hooks and fishing string and a cooking pot, although the tenth participant chose a frying pan.  Nine also chose a saw. .

If we compare this to the list of things the past winners packed, we see a few differences. 
Para cord was used by about 80% in the past, but only 40% this time.

In the past, the bow and arrow was selected by only about 10% - 20% of the participants, but this time 70% are taking a Bow and Arrows as this area has more large animals than the previous season locations.  The ability to get a large animal through bow hunting or trapping will be a game changer and determine whom the winner is.

Only 2 chose a gill net, which has been one of the most productive food sources in past shows/locations.

Who do you think will win this Season 5 event? Is the participants past performance an indicator of how they might do this time?



86 days - Carleigh lasted the longest on the Season 4 show of any participants this Season 5 at 86 days, which would have likely won the previous seasons, making her the odds on favorite to win this one, but she may be suffering from PTSD from her first episode on Alone, as she is breaking down crying a lot. Note she did not quite but was forced out due to health risk/concerns. So she is tough, and my second pick to win this season.

73 days - Dave was forced out of Season 3 at 73 days due to health risk/concerns, despite having 33 dried fish halves preserved for food. This could have carried him for another 33 days or more, making him the clear winner. Dave is my first pick to win this season because he has the skills and mental attitude to be successful.

64 days - Larry Roberts quit after 64 days on the season 2 show due to hunger.

57 days - Nichole quit after 57 days on Season 2, despite catching more fish than anyone else, but didn't dry and preserve them for future needs. But how much of her abundant fish supply was luck of the draw, getting a hot location? She also had an excellent knowledge of edible plants.

55 days - Sam Larson lasted 55 days, until his food supply of mice ran out. He went with a minimal shelter and conserving calories strategy. This approach is unlikely to work this time.

49 days - Brook Whipple and her husband lasted 49 days, but she will be "Alone" this time and survival will be much tougher.

Anyone who couldn't last longer than these has little if any chance of winning.

Brad Richardson was out after 1 day on Season 4 when his brother hurt his ankle, and Jesse Bosdell was out after 5 days when his brother injured his back. Either of these two are the unknown wild cards that could be the surprise winner. Jesse would be my pick between these two.

For more information visit our related links below:

     Alone Season 5 Pack List  

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Practice Garden

You know fresh grown food will be healthy but in today's modern life style, you don't have time for a Garden 

Most home owners spend many hours (or $) each year on yard care.  Mowing grass, trimming hedges, watering flowers, hedges, potted plants, and when they are done, they have nothing of true value to show for it. Okay, it looks nice, but it will improve your chances of survival by 0%.

Suppose you could have some small level of preparation with minimal cost and effort?  Not a low budget garden but just a few potted plants that grow food instead of flowers or ivy.  Instead of hedge bushes, what about blue berries, fig trees, or asparagus? Perhaps grape vines growing on your fence.  Minimal extra cost or effort, if any, but the fruit of your labor is now delicious.  Having a timer to automatically drip irrigate them will make the process even easier.


Seeds are one of the lowest cost investments you can make, are excellent for Barter, and a good addition to any Prepper Plan. But you need to know how to use them as growing plants from seed can be challenging without experience.



 In doing this, there are a few key objectives you want to accomplish.
  1. Grow fresh healthy food at a fraction of the cost
  2. Gain valuable experience 
  3. Learn what varieties of foods grow well for you in your area
  4. Save Heirloom Seeds each year to maintain your seed stock to meet future needs
1) In gardening, you will find that fresh grown foods taste much better than most store bought varieties.  This is because your crops were not picked green, weeks/months earlier nor coated with chemicals & pesticides. 

2) The gardening experience is a connection with Mother Nature that brings a peace of mind while developing a valuable skill.

3) Gardening is easy, but you would not want your life to depend on your ability to learn it overnight.  Knowing what crops will grow from seed in your area without pesticides and commercial fertilizers will provide a level of survival security that nothing else will.

4) Save seeds from your heirloom garden to plant again the next year.  This way you develop your own personalized sustainable store of seeds.  

For $5 and a package of seeds, you are in business.

Your seeds should organically grow foods in your area that you like to eat. My recommended foods that grow well without pesticides include:  Okra, Squash, Tomatoes, Asparagus, Figs, Pomegranates,  Bantam or field corn, Turnips, pinto beans, green beans, purple hull, black eye peas and sorghum, oats and wheat for bread or animal feed.  

These seeds should be dried for a few days at room temperature and then stored in freezer bags in the refrigerator for 1 year of storage.  Figs trees are grown by cutting a small branch off of an existing tree and planting it in moist soil until roots sprout and take hold.

OK, here is how you get started.  
  1. Buy one or two packages of heirloom seeds. I would start with corn and pinto beans or peas, but you pick your favorite.  Under $2 per package, seeds are one of the lowest cost Prepper purchases you can make, and will be excellent for Barter in a SHTF situation. 
    Plant a few of them and save the rest in a freezer bag in the freezer for long term storage.  After several years, I take them out and plant them in fields, the woods, or throw them in the creek to wash down and hopefully grow; sort of a hidden garden you might say. This may greatly improve your Wilderness Survival chances some day. Freezing or drying and preserving foods is good practice too.
  2. Harvest your food and save the best looking seeds for planting next year.
  3. Plant your home grown seeds and repeat the process each year.


You can plant them in the flower beds of your Apartment or Condo, although it is good to share the benefits with your neighbors.  Above we have tomatoes & peppers; okra, onions and tomatoes below.  Dead hedge bushes have been replaced with figs.

 
If second, third, etc. generation seeds don't grow for you, get another variety of heirloom seeds and start over.  Hybrid seeds will usually not grow second generation crops well.  Also don't grow two variety of plants as they will cross pollinate and make a third variety of potentially unreliable seeds. 

Goal:  Save your own home grown seeds, fresh each year, of foods you like to eat. 

For additional information see the following links: Blog Table of Contents

Top 10 List of Prepper info
Top Rated Prepper Handbook Posts of all time
Top Rated Prepper Website


Monday, June 4, 2018

22 LR for Defense


Is the .22 LR Suitable for Defense?


CCI .22 LR Velocitor ammunition box with bolt action rifle
The results in actual cases with a rifle are far superior to the handgun.
I try to impress situational awareness and thinking on these students. If you do not do drugs, frequent rough bars, associate with prostitutes or gangs, or run off at the mouth at the worst possible time, then you might be pretty safe in America. There is always the predator wanting you to be his victim, but if you have situational awareness and a positive demeanor, the perpetrator may often choose another victim, and you will not even know it. Many of us dodge the bullet due to training and awareness.
Most victims meet the perpetrator half way through some action of their own. Some students want to qualify with the .22. That’s ok for beginners as the .22 is the most excellent training cartridge we have. But using the .22 Long Rifle cartridge for defense requires quite a stretch.
While any firearm is useful as a threat and will dissuade many, motivated attackers or assailants bent on harm, rape, or murder may not be so easily turned. We need a firearm with sufficient wound potential to stop the threat. The .22 is good for small game about the size of a squirrel to that of a possum or raccoon. It isn’t suitable for use against men that may be about the same size as a deer. The 9mm and .38 Special are a realistic minimum for personal defense.

40-grain .22 after recovery from water jugs compared to a 155-grain .40 JHP
This is a 40-grain .22 after recovery from water jugs compared to a 155-grain .40 JHP

That being said, there are many incidents in which the .22 caliber rimfire has been used in personal defense. When there is nothing else available, good folks have prevailed. Others have failed. I am going to concentrate on the pistol in this report. I have, on file, several incidents with the .22 rifle in which a total of four dangerous felons were stopped with a single shot. Two died on the spot.
In each incident, including one that involved a frightened young teen and a home invasion, good shot placement and penetration carried the day. In another, a home invader took 15 peripheral hits—none to the vitals. He was taken to the hospital and while being wheeled to the examination room in a wheelchair, rose up, grabbed the chair, and threw it at the doctors.
With the pistol we do not have the advantage of the easy handling or the practical accuracy of the rifle. As an example, a relative was murdered along with a friend in an unfortunate domestic incident in which the attacker was armed with a shotgun. The defender fired six .22s into the chest of the attacker with no effect. The murderer survived without complications.
In another case, a homeowner fought back against a home invasion with her Ruger Standard Model target-grade pistol. She fired nine times and hit every time, causing three armed felons to flee. She was brave and lucky—one felon expired the rest recovered, and all were captured. Results with the pistol are poor compared to the rifle.

40-grain .22 LR bullet left,  upset .40 caliber JHP right
The 40 grain .22 compared to a .40 caliber JHP

The argument is often made that the .22 is all that some shooters can afford or that it is all the recoil some can handle. The existence of specialized modern handguns such as the Smith and Wesson Shield .380 EZ and Springfield 911 which are easy to rack and offer low recoil, are a counter argument.
Recoil is subjective, but I believe that anyone who may handle a .22 can probably handle a full-size .380 ACP pistol. Not that the .380 ACP is a powerful handgun, but it is superior to the .22. Then there is the option of a .38 Special revolver loaded with 148-grain wadcutters. This is a classic ‘widow’s load’ that offers much greater wound potential than the .22 or .32. But that is common knowledge; let us let the .22 stand on its own merits.
As a deterrent, the .22 is as good as any firearm and sometimes the presence of a handgun is enough to stop a fight before it begins. However, there are times when a felon needs to be shot to defend your person. Not long ago, a pastor in a nearby town was stabbed during a home invasion and shot the assailant four times with his .22. The assailant turned, collapsed, and expired.

1 gallon water just filled with water
Standard water jugs were used for testing.

However, some felons take a lot of shooting. Some are shot once and stop the attack, others must be shot until they have lost enough blood to drop. Even with the 9mm and .38, multiple shots are needed at times.
The felon may change his mind and realize he has made a bad choice in victim selection. The felon may faint upon being shot. He may not. A shot to the nervous system is chancy as even heavier calibers sometimes fail to penetrate the skull. A 9mm or .38 with a round-nose bullet may skip around on the edge of the skull.
While eye socket shots sound like they would do the trick, this is a very difficult shot to perform under stress and goes against the rule of firing for center mass. Center mass is the center of the target that you see. The .22 has another advantage in this regard, given it is an accurate handgun that you have practiced with. You will be able to fire eight or nine accurate shots in the time it takes to fire three or four directed 9mm rounds. The .22 makes up for a lack of practice just as the 9mm is easier to achieve good results with quickly than the .40 or .45. That’s physics.

.22 lr cartridge that failed to fire
Even the best quality ammunition in rimfires sometimes fails to fire. This one took a good hit from the firing pin.

We are not shooting to kill but shooting to stop. Shooting to kill isn’t morally acceptable, we are only firing because of adversary’s actions are so terrible that he must be stopped. It cannot matter morally or legally if he dies as a result of being stopped. Even if hit with a heavy caliber, the dying part may take quite a few minutes. The problem of stopping a felon is a severe problem for a tiny bullet. Let’s consider this, does the .22 have the necessary penetration to reach vital organs? The answer is yes and no.

Range Test

I used my standard test material, water jugs, and fired a number of loads into the water jugs, with 12 inches pegged as the minimum acceptable level of penetration. The Fiocchi 40-grain HV load and the CCI Velocitor were dead on the money for acceptable penetration. Bullets lighter than 40 grains, bullets designed to break up into pieces, and the quite and suppressor loads fell far short, with some penetrating only five inches. That’s fine because they were designed to kill pests and small game. They are not designed to wound humans.
As for the myth of the .22 bouncing in the body, I can find no evidence of the .22 bouncing or tumbling in any media I have used. As a young officer I went to the hospital more than once to take reports on folks shot with a .22. I saw several through and through wounds. In one case, the entrance and exit wound were perfectly lined up on this skinny guy that seemed nonplussed in my interest. He was taped up and given antibiotics.

.22 hits and .40 hits on a standing target
.22 hits and .40 hits on a standing target.

The .22 may bounce off bone but any RNL bullet may. I will mention the head shot or the face shot again. Many years ago the famous New York City detective, Frank Serpico, was shot in the face with a .22. While the wound was severe, he survived and despite his wound, returned fire, and wounded his assailant.
We now come to the crux of the argument and a stern warning against using the .22 for personal defense. First, revolvers are more reliable than selfloaders some say but the .22 rimfire demands a hard blow to the priming compound to properly ignite the primer. As a result most .22 revolvers have a stout hammer spring. This means that the action is actually heavier than a .38, so hand strength is taxed.

The Ballistics Argument

Here is the problem with the .22 that renders the ballistic arguments mute. The .22 isn’t reliable enough for personal defense. How often have you fired a brick of 500 rounds of .22s? No matter how reputable the maker, chances are you will have a misfire along the way. This is why there are no surviving .32, .38 and .44 rimfire cartridges. They are not reliable as center fire cartridges. The priming compound will not ignite from time to time.

.22 LR pistol with a stovepiped round
The author feels that the .22 rimfire will never be reliable enough for home defense use. Even the best devices malfunction more than centerfire firearms.

Second, the bullet isn’t crimped in the case. The heel of the bullet juts into the cartridge case. Occasionally, on feeding, this bullet will be turned and cause a misfeed. Even the famously reliable Ruger Standard Model will misfeed more often then a Ruger American 9mm, as an example—a lot more. The combination of ancient priming technology, and a tendency of the bullet to be loose in the case, make the .22 LR unsuited for serious use.
As an example the greatest single amount of .22 Long Rifle high velocity I have fired without malfunction spread among three handguns was 1,600 rounds. That is a lot of ammunition to some—but not the 30,000 rounds fired by Glock during the FBI test program or the 700,000 rounds fired by SIG pistols in the French police testing program. .22 Long Rifle handguns are well made of good material in some cases. But the ammunition itself is fractionally as reliable as centerfire ammunition. The Army decided this in 1873 with regard to rimfire ammunition.
If the .22 is all you have, practice often. Load a high velocity 40-grain bullet. Clean the pistol thoroughly, and keep it well lubricated. Shoot straight, and pray the day never comes when this will be your first, or last, line of defense.

What is your opinion of the .22 LR for self-defense? What is the minimum caliber you would recommend? Why? Share your answers in the comment section.

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JR Note:  A 22 is better than no gun at all, but not a good choice for Self Defense.  It is the best gun for teaching new shooters, second perhaps only to a BB Gun.

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Sunday, June 3, 2018

Texas Silver Coins

Texas initiated their own Bullion Depository for storing precious metals, much like Fort Knox does for the US.  Now they have their own Texas Silver Coin.  Do they know something that others don't?

Investing in Silver is a popular form of financial security for many Preppers.  They believe that Silver vs Paper Dollars is a no brainer. Check it out and form your own opinion.

For additional information see the following links:

The united States 
 

Texas Bullion Depository

The Creation of the First Ever State Authorized Bullion Depository

The Texas Bullion Depository Bill was signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott on June 12, 2015, officially establishing the first ever state-administered precious metals bullion depository (HB 483; originally filed and submitted by Rep. Giovanni Capriglione (R - Southlake)). The establishment of the Texas Bullion Depository creates an official depository operation by the State of Texas, with depository services provided by Lone Star Tangible Assets of Austin, Texas.

This is an opportunity to store precious metals in a secure location.  You can even put part of your 401K or IRA in this investment.

In the event of a SHTF scenario, having about 10% of your savings in Silver or Gold could be a lifesaver.  Note:  I am NOT a Financial Advisor. 

A Utah law promotes the use of Gold and Silver for daily purchases, by making them tax free.  

Should you be investing in precious metals? Do your own investigation and make your own decision, but the State of Texas and Utah have certainly made some investments.

For more information, visit this link: https://texasbulliondepository.gov

For additional information see the following links:

The united States 
 

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Infiltration

Infiltration - the action of entering or gaining access to an organization or place surreptitiously, especially in order to acquire secret information or cause damage.

The value of having spies inside your enemy camp can be priceless. At the same time, the risk of having spies inside your camp must be considered as it could prove fatal.  So before we talk about our plan, lets review infiltration.

 Infiltrating and spying on an enemy is one of the most reliable forms of acquiring Actionable Intelligence and disrupting your enemy.  This is demonstrated in the movie London has Fallen where foreign terrorist have infiltrated their military, police, city services and the highest levels of their government and their citizens are disarmed and unable to protect themselves.  Had their focus been on occupying London, or even taking over the weak UK, it would have been easy during the chaos and confusion.



Clandestine, espionage or false flag operations involve infiltration based on deception, but there are also battlefield maneuvers and combat tactics that penetrate the enemy during active combat. 

A clandestine operation is an intelligence or military operation carried out in such a way that the operation goes unnoticed by the general population or specific enemy forces.

False flag refers to covert operations designed to deceive; the deception creates the appearance of a particular party (group or nation) being responsible for some activity, disguising the actual source of responsibility.

The term "false flag" originally referred to pirate ships that flew flags of countries as a disguise to prevent their victims from fleeing or preparing for battle. Sometimes the flag would remain and the blame for the attack laid incorrectly on another country.

Espionage (spying) is obtaining secret or confidential information.

In warfare, infiltration tactics involve small special forces advancing into enemy rear areas, bypassing enemy strong points, possibly isolating them for attack by follow-up troops with heavier weapons. Soldiers take the initiative to identify enemy weak points and choose their routes, targets, moments and methods of attack; this requires a high degree of skill and training, and can be supplemented by special equipment and weaponry to give them more combat options.

Forms of these tactics were used dating back to classical antiquity, but only as a defensive or secondary tactic.  Decisive battlefield victories were achieved by charging en masse against the primary force of the opponent. Modern defensive firepower made this tactic increasing costly especially when trench warfare developed and most such attacks were complete failures. Raiding by small groups of experienced soldiers, using stealth and cover was commonly employed and often successful, but these could not achieve decisive victory.

What did prove effective was centrally-controlled firing plans for intense bombardments with minimal delays. The first phase might be bombardment against enemy communications, telegraph lines, and headquarters, roads and bridges, to isolate and confuse the defenders and delay their reinforcements. The second phase might be against the defenders' artillery batteries and the third against their front-line trenches to drive them back just before the infantry assault on those positions. The last phase was typically a creeping barrage that moved forward of the advancing infantry to quickly bombard positions just before they are attacked. The phases were usually much more complicated, quickly switching between targets to catch defenders off guard; each bombardment plan was carefully tailored to local conditions. The type of shells were depended on the target, such as shrapnel, high explosive, smoke, illumination, short-term or lingering gas shells. The total bombardment time was usually from a couple hours down to just minutes.

Lets get back to how to have spies inside our enemy camp while keeping them out of yours.

To infiltrate, you need someone:
  1. Attractive
  2. Personable
  3. Tough, fearless
  4. Trustworthy, loyal
  5. No family or kids, or if they do, they are grown and members of your camp
  6. Outsider with no local loyalties
  7. Has valuable skills
  8. They must get inside, get along and fit in, yet be enough of a loner to get way to report any threats. 
It should also be considered that your enemy may be aware of your "Spy" and feed them bogus information to set a trap for you. 
To avoid infiltration:
  1. Allow no outsiders in your camp, under any conditions.  Only those members selected before the SHTF are allowed in the inner circle which is covered in detail in the Prepper Handbook. This means you need to be establishing your group now.
  2. Be suspicious of any members who have relatives "leave" as they could be hostages. 
  3.  Have members always in pairs.  The parings are changed periodically. 
  4. Be suspicious of any members who unexpectedly leave the group compound alone.
  5. Have Random Security as outlined on this blog and in greater detail in the Prepper Handbook.
  6. Have a small group of (3 or 5) trusted elected decision makers that play their cards close to their chest and don't reveal group plans to everyone.  
  7. Be extremely suspicious of people who "wander in to your area" as they are probably probing your defenses as explained in our report on Random Security.
If you do suspect there are possible Spies in your group, share a different piece of bogus information with each suspect in confidence.  Reiterate that they are to tell no one about this. Write down exactly what you shared with each suspect, so that when you hear something that has been shared come back through other channels, you will know exactly who the Leaker is.

Espionage is complex, and could be critical to the survival of you and your family. Groups that are easy to infiltrate will be easy to conquer. Good preparations will only make you a high value target with out secrecy and good security.
For more information, see the following links:

Blog Table of Contents

Top 10 List of Prepper info
Top Rated Prepper Handbook Posts of all time
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Home Defense Preparation

SIG Sauer handgun and several rounds of ammunition 
The most dangerous places are outside the home. Inside the home, we have barriers including outer doors, glass, and hard interior doors. Hopefully, the family has your back, and you have a plan. If not, you have more problems than I can address. Illegal narcotics, and the pharmaceutical industry’s greed-fed opioid epidemic, turn many against their fellows, and the family is the first victim—just so you will not be surprised. My home is modest, and I have genuine affection for my neighbors. I am lucky. My first line of defense is an early warning system named Lucy. She is a rescue dog, an American Dingo sometimes called a Carolina Dog or Pariah dog. She is 55-pounds of love, loyalty, and fine-tuned senses that serve to alert us of movements around the neighborhood.
Above is a SIG Sauer handgun and several rounds of ammunition.
A good quality handgun and ammunition is important, but just one level of home defense.

Many liberal doctrines have given every advantage to the burglar. However, the courts have held that the need for self-defense is more apparent in the home. The Castle Doctrine, defining the right of citizens, outlines that there is no need to retreat from an attack in the home. This is a return to the doctrine of the King’s Peace that is fair and just.

All prepared Americans should have a good grasp of the law. We should also be prepared. My experience as a trainer indicates that more Americans keep a firearm at the ready in the home than carry a handgun concealed.

The concealed carry permit holder may own but a single handgun. The concealed carry handgun is a compromise of power, weight, size, and control. While pistols such as the Glock 19 9mm are fine home defenders, the snub nose .38 and compact slim line 9mm pistols may be less than ideal by comparison.

Any reliable handgun is better than a broom handle, but there are good choices that should be examined. A full-size revolver and proper loads make for a formidable home-defense handgun. The revolver may be braced against a door jamb for greater control and will deliver its load into a single ragged hole at 7 yards. If you carry a Commander .45 or SIG P227 as I do, then the carry gun simply becomes the home defense gun.

A good program many shooters are following is to carry the handgun at all times when at home. A study of time and motion indicates that this is a good course. A home invasion, despite your best preparation, will be a surprise. A shotgun in the closet or a handgun under the mattress is worthless when you are in the kitchen.

A firearm in every room—which some of my cop friends find suits them well—simply serves to arm the burglar that invades the home when you are absent.

The guns not actually being deployed should be in the safe. A counter argument by my friend Sid is that if you have a safe in the house, the burglar will return, place a gun to your head, and you will open the safe.

While I respect Sid’s opinion, I think it is mostly millionaires who have the worry of being concerned about such sophisticated thieves. The Hornady RAPiD safe is the ideal storage place for handguns, rifles, and shotguns that may be needed at a moment’s notice. As for myself, I have adopted a rather reserved program that works for me.

The carry gun, usually a Les Baer or Kimber .45 these days, is kept at home to be ready when I return from my daily chores. For moving about the home, mowing the lawn, and other chores, the snub nose .38 is kept in the pocket. This solves a lot of problems. It is my choice, and it works for me.

The .45 is still the dedicated home defense gun; I simply have something extra. It seems odd that the weight of the 1911 never bothers out of the home, but when typing and working at home it does. Each has to determine their personal preferences. In practically every waking moment, I am armed. The pistol under the coat, in an IWB holster, or shoulder holster may be a .357 or .44 revolver, or a 10mm or .45 caliber self-loader.

When I am asleep, the carry gun is near my hand. In my youth, and as a peace officer, I observed a common ready mode that was nearly always taken by widows and other ladies. A .32 or .38 revolver was kept under the pillow at night. I am not recommending this, but it seemed comforting for my grandmother after my grandfather passed. Considering the number of women that have been awakened by a burglar or rapist at the foot of the bed or even in bed with them, this ready mode made good sense. Thus, a rifle in the corner isn’t the best answer for such attacks.

For those with a more defined concern, such as a takeover robbery, a rifle might be the answer. Those living in the back forty, who sometimes get into fights with feral dogs or wish to dust off predators, may wish to keep a versatile rifle handy.

The 5.56mm carbine—with proper loads—is one choice. As of today, I am seeing second- and third-quality AR-type rifles selling for less than $500. Good quality rifles, such as the Ruger AR-15 is selling for less than $700. ($622.15 on cheaperthandirt.com at the time of this writing) This price makes it easier to recommend the AR-15 rifle for home defense.

Another good home-defense long gun, the M1 carbine, is becoming increasingly difficult to find (in good examples). If you have one, confirm its reliability, and load it with the Hornady Critical Defense .30 carbine load. I cannot imagine a better home defender.

These rifles will give you an advantage against a takeover gang or marauding dog packs. There are some valid concerns with over penetration, but the primary means of avoiding over penetration is to hit the target. The Hornady .223 55-grain V Max, as an example, will exhibit less penetration than the typical 9mm or .45 caliber handgun, and it has greater predicted wound potential. The SIG Sauer Elite .300 Blackout hollow point was recently adopted by a good friend. Thus far, the reports from his testing shows this is a good home defense loading.

Sporting guns may be pressed into service for home defense. A .22 Long Rifle self-loader is a common home defense load. There are many files on this rifle, and it has generally been successful. The primary concern is reliability with the heel-based bullet and inside priming of the rimfire cartridge. While it is not the preferred cartridge for most, the .22 LR may be all that is available, and it will serve if properly delivered in double and triple taps to the arterial region.

Whatever the firearm chosen, the piece should be proofed for reliability. While the long gun is a formidable firearm, be certain of its handling under stress. Carrying a child in one arm, moving with the firearm, or using the cellphone to call 911 makes for complicated gun handling that should be practiced.

A weapon-mounted light is an aid in home defense provided the user is skilled in its use. I like the advantage of a light that isn’t attached to the firearm as well. You will search more often than you will engage an adversary. Aiming the light slightly to one side of an object (such as a door jamb) makes for greater visual clarity and less glare. Properly illuminating an object in a modest-sized room may be accomplished by aiming the light toward the ceiling.

While I do not like gadgets for their own sake, my worst-case scenario rifle is well equipped for every problem. The Colt SOCOM is fitted with a Redfield Battlezone scope. This rifle is my test bed for ammunition performance. In the home, it is often loaded with the Hornady V Max. The rifle is fitted with a LaserMax Uni Laser in order to give the rifle utility in home defense. I have practiced looking over the top turret of the scope and results are good to 15 yards—far beyond a home defense problem.

The shotgun is a superior home defense firearm provided the user takes the time to learn to handle the recoil and power of the shotgun. The Remington 870 is among the fastest handling and most reliable shotguns of all time. A modern AR-15-type stock with a forend that will accept a combat light seems a good modification for those who practice.

I prefer the easy handling of the standard riot gun. However, when the shotgun is used with slugs and accuracy becomes more important, a rifle-sighted shotgun with improvements is a viable option. As an observation, I have never seen a riot-type shotgun used for home defense. I have over a dozen files in which homeowners successfully defended themselves and their family with a standard-length sporting shotgun. If that is what you own, then you may have the perfect home defender in a shotgun you are already familiar with.

The often-touted frangible bullet handgun loads are something I never choose for personal defense. Cycle reliability in self-loaders may not be ideal, and the reduced mass and penetration of these loads leaves the user with a serious deficit in penetration. After many years of testing ammunition and studying wound potential, I find that frangible loads lack the necessary penetration to prove effective.

The best choices for home defense are usually middle-of-the-range bullet weights with good quality control. The Hornady Critical Defense load is among these. The balance of penetration and expansion is ideal for most uses. Be certain to proof the firearm with the load of choice. Stick with proven firearms that have demonstrated good reliability, get training, and avoid odd ideas that cannot survive a climb up the logic ladder.

What is your go-to home defense gun? Have you adopted 24/7 carry, including while at home? Share your answers to these questions or home defense tips in the comment section.

Bob Campbell is a former peace officer and published author with over 40 years combined shooting and police and security experience. Bob holds a degree in Criminal Justice. Bob is the author of the books, The Handgun in Personal Defense, Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry, The 1911 Automatic Pistol, The Gun Digest Book of Personal Protection and Home Defense, The Shooter’s Guide to the 1911, The Hunter and the Hunted, and The Complete Illustrated Manual of Handgun Skills. His latest book is Dealing with the Great Ammo Shortage. He is also a regular contributor to Gun Tests, American Gunsmith, Small Arms Review, Gun Digest, Concealed Carry Magazine, Knife World, Women and Guns, Handloader and other publications. Bob is well-known for his firearm testing.

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