Guns & Ammo Network

Collapse bottom bar
Personal Defense Survival

What Doomsday Preppers Can Teach You About Home Defense

by Richard Nance   |  April 23rd, 2013 17


The topic of doomsday prepping is quite divisive. To many, the idea of stockpiling food, fuel, generators, medical supplies, firearms and ammunition to prepare for a natural disaster and/or large scale civil unrest seems more than a little extreme. On the other hand, preppers are typically surprised at how many of their neighbors fail to take basic precautions for themselves and their families in the event of a catastrophe.

You need look no further than Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath to comprehend the importance of disaster planning. Americans were able to see firsthand the chaos that ensued in the days and weeks following the hurricane. The importance of self-reliance became crystal clear, as government assistance was not readily available. In fact, many credit Katrina as being the catalyst for the recent wave of interest in prepping.

To put it simply, “If it’s predictable, it’s preventable.”

Sure, being prepared is great. But some tend to take prepping to the extreme. For instance, most would agree having a first aid kit in your vehicle is a reasonable step to help ensure you can provide medical treatment, if necessary.

Although converting your personal vehicle into an ambulance would enable you to better treat someone who was injured, your significant other might not appreciate rolling around in your “meat wagon.” It’s important to strike a balance between preparation and practicality.

Regardless of your stance on prepping, there is a definite correlation between preparing for a hurricane, wildfire, tornado—even a zombie apocalypse—and preparing to defend your home from a criminal intruder. When it comes to home defense, you can learn a lot from preppers.

Preppers tend to be, well, prepared. This is in stark contrast to many homeowners, who seem to believe that their hunting rifle or shotgun will virtually appear in their hands fully loaded, should someone break into their residence.

Assuming you will readily access and load a firearm you’re not used to shooting—particularly one that’s not intended for defensive shooting—is far more absurd that someone who goes a little overboard planning for worst-case scenario. Far too many homeowners confuse mere ownership of a firearm with having a practicable home defense plan.

At the very heart of prepping is the acknowledgment that bad things happen even to good people and that we are vulnerable. Therefore, preppers by nature take the notion of protecting and providing for their family very seriously. Storing supplies is one thing, but preppers understand that without weapons and training, they will likely be unable to safeguard their cache from desperate neighbors who were less prepared but better armed.

A diligent prepper understands the pros and cons of various types of firearms and has ample personal defense ammunition on hand. With an understanding that skill-at-arms may be all that separates their life-sustaining rations from hungry, desperate outsiders, the true prepper has considered likely home invasion scenarios and developed a solid plan to safeguard their family and supplies. And you can bet that the hard-core prepper is not only mentally prepared to take a life if necessary, but also proficient in the tactical storage and deployment of firearms because he understands that in an emergency, seconds count.

While some preppers take the concept of having a safe room to the extreme—i.e., spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on an underground bunker—the concept of having a designated room in your home where family members would converge in the event of a break-in is certainly viable.

A safe room is intended to be a rally point, where you can account for all family members and share information relevant to thwarting the home invasion. This is also the place where you or a designated family member can call 911 to initiate the police response.

Integral to the safe room concept is the notion that it’s much easier to defend a single room than to search the entire residence for bad guys, who could be waiting to ambush you. You should consider keeping a safe in the room in order to store a rifle or shotgun. While it may be more practical to be armed with a handgun while moving to the safe room, there are several advantages to having a long gun once you’re there.

Because of the longer sight radius and multiple points of contact to your body, a long gun is inherently easier to shoot than handgun. A long gun will also provide you better ballistic capabilities than a handgun and, in the case of an AR-15 with a 30 round magazine, a much higher ammunition capacity.

When you’re armed with a long gun and monitor the door to the safe room from a position of cover, you’re at a tremendous advantage because you can narrow your focus to a single point. Of course, a prepper would have his most essential supplies in this room, but from a home defense standpoint, this is unnecessary.

A safe room doesn’t have to be elaborate, but at a minimum it should have a solid core door that is capable of being locked with a deadbolt from the inside. Ideally, there should be large, heavy furniture items within the room that can provide a degree of cover.

You may be tempted to dismiss preppers as paranoid or out of touch with reality. Just remember, the same is often said of individuals who carry a concealed handgun or own an AR-15 for home defense. There’s a fine line between paranoid and prepared. If the unthinkable were to occur, the paranoid prepper just might look pretty darn smart.

  • Cletus OBannon

    The 7 P’s of life. I learned them from my dad and was reintroduced to them in the military:


    7 Words to live by.

    • Family First

      Great tips.
      yeah. strategy should come first.

  • BJC

    Some of the listed 8 must haves are a little over the top and too expensive. And seriously do you really need a 50BMG to protect your home.

  • DetroitMan

    If the show “Doomsday Preppers” is any indication, a lot of preppers are liviing in fantasy land and don’t understand weapons or tactics. I agree that it is better to be prepared and have a defense plan. As far as developing that plan, I would look to a professional rather than a prepper.

    • Mike Tokerov

      them quail they’re out there and there waiting

      • Tom Wittlief

        A little late on the conversation I know, but, I just had to make the observation that they may be Zombie quail !

    • George Kelley

      I remember a hurricane in the early 1990s when gangs of looters were going out in trucks and vans. One could use a .50 to knock out their engines to keep them at a distance.

      • George Kelley

        That was Hurricane Andrew in 1992

  • Ryan

    Perhaps something a little more reliable then a Bushy C-15?! I wouldn’t trust one of those for anything other then plinking at the range (that’s pushing it), much less my life!

    • Mike Tokerov

      he did list one an AK

  • Bargis Tryhol

    Being a ‘prepper’ also means common sense in the choice of weapons. Ease of operation-familiarity with the weapon-and of course the availability of ammunition should be considered in the individual’s choice.
    A .50 might be nice and a great show ‘n tell amongst friends, but really at $5K + for the weapon you can buy a whole lot of other great choices. You’re not going to scrounge .50 cal ammo anywhere very easily. Now, an English double bore? Huh? If the chips are down a Mossberg, or Winchester, Barretta, or Benelli will get you both game and firepower over a unweidly and long double bore.
    My personal choices would be:
    Any 9mm….Any 45ACP….Any 38/.357 revolver….Any .22 pistol or revolver….A 10/22 rifle (suppressed if you can afford it)…An M4 rifle, or an H-K 91 rifle, or similar semi-auto military style weapon…A 12 ga shotgun pump or semi-auto…And last but not least a 1,000 rounds minimum per caliber and/or reliable reloading equipment….Remember, ammo will get you through times of no cash, better than cash getting you through times of no ammo!

    • BillinDetroit

      And be prepared to pare down to what you can carry … leaving most of the firearms and ammo behind if you’ve got to leave on foot.

  • Mike Tokerov

    a .50 seriously? Ok, I see the use of a .357 you can use 2 kinds of ammo. I notice that list lacks a .22 also I can hunt with an AK 7.62X39 hits just like 30-30 I have taken many texas white tails with an SKS. That holland and holland is a redundancy to the remington. 12ga is 12 ga if you feel weird or have a choke and range need i.e. live in pheasant or duck country (I don’t white wing dove ain’t worth the lead) you can buy 2 BBLs for your 870. a 28″ and an 18″ . .308’s again like the .50 what the hell is going to attack you a yeti? if 30 5.56X45 and 30 7.62X39 can’t solve it god has made his decision. Also this list lacks auto pistols you need a glock 22 and a spare G17 bbl. or any pair of pistols in 9mm and .40 this way you can take the most common calibers this makes trading and buying ammo on a grey /black/ in formal market easier. Getting a box of your fav weight in .40 cor-bon mag or .475 wildly is gonna be harder when cabelas closes.

  • George Kelley

    That Holland and Holland two barrel shotgun will be a fine weapon for getting meat into the pot. How can you not recommend it for hunting?

  • George Kelley

    I see the author mentioned long term survival. One should consider flintlock firearms or archery as they are self-sustainable. One can produce everything they need to keep those weapons in use long after cartridge ammunition is gone.

  • Joe Johnson

    Great article Richard. I think it is important to find the best gun for home defense in order to adequately prepare for home intrusions or home emergencies. My preference is a handgun, but that is a debate for another day!

  • BillinDetroit

    Actually, any style of firearm with a large magazine (or three) is better than a revolver, or even most pistols … not just the AR-15.

    There problems here that most preppers have noticed and try to wrestle to the ground. One — a prepping / SD gun is the result of compromises based on likely scenarios and assets at hand (including others who might be expected to continue shooting if I am injured or dead). TWO — no fortress is impregnable. Prepare to flee at the first lull … over the long haul, you can’t win because there will be NO reinforcements for you, only for the attackers. THREE — lists suck. There is no perfect list except for something so general as to be nearly useless. They are guidance, at best.

    For instance, you’ll want a first-aid kit. I’m pretty sure of that. But it’s up to you to decide what to put in it. I have a small one in my car, a bigger one in my bug-out-backpack and a LOT more stuff at the house. But, in each case, they hold the supplies I anticipate a need for and know how to use.

    Yeah, take a cue from preppers. Don’t try to mimic an armory because you aren’t going to stay in the fight at any single location for long before getting swarmed. Retreat with what you can carry as soon as you possibly can. And then run like h*ll.

    If you’ve prepped properly, you’ll have someplace to run to, not just someplace to run from.

back to top