8 Prepper Tips for Beginning Survivalists

by Kelly R. Smith

A prepper in a devastated landscape
A prepper in a devastated landscape
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From Dictionary.com, “A prepper is someone who actively prepares (preps) for worst-case scenarios, such as the end of the world, by practicing survivalist techniques, including hoarding food.”1 Some would say preppers are living on the fringe, but perhaps the idea isn’t so crazy. Witness the Anifa and BLB antics during the past year. Witness all the left-leaning municipalities de-funding police. But it gets even more mundane; remember when COVID-19 hit? Forget finding toilet paper on store shelves. I had a substantial stock in our walk-in pantry. And, plenty of Spam and tuna fish. Crazy like a fox.

So let’s look at 8 prepper tips for beginning survivalists. They don’t all have to be done right away or in any particular order. It really is a lifestyle shift and just like a fitness program, it’s practical to approach it incrementally.

  • Keep your physical fitness level up. When SHTF you’re going to have to be prepared to do everything yourself or with limited help. Many tasks will be strenuous. If you’ve got to bug out, your backpack may weigh up to 50lbs or more just stocked with the bare necessities.
  • Formulate a variety of plans. Plan for any of the major scenarios that are likely to occur: these include, but are not limited to natural disaster (hurricane, fire, earthquake), government collapse or martial law, and disease outbreak (think COVID-19). Each of these situations would require a slightly different plan of action, modified to reflect what will be lost/needed if that specific event comes to pass.
  • Involve your household. Don’t make the mistake of expecting that one family member can do the prep work of the entire family unit all by themselves. This would put a major strain on you, but it also leaves your family at a at a loss if something were to happen to you. Everyone in the household should be able to fend for themselves as well as playing their designated role as a team member. This means the burden of survival will be somewhat evenly distributed among everyone. A reasonable starting point is by making sure that everyone is familiar of the family plans in the case of an emergency.
  • Stay out of debt. OK, we live in the real world so some debt is unavoidable. Look how fast the federal government curtailed currency production when the pandemic started. Many would-be preppers jump in with both feet and try to stock up right from the get-go. Spread out your purchases on a prioritized basis. Avoid the temptation. Food? Throw a few long-shelf life items into your basket every time you grocery shop. Actively begin to get out of debt. Dave Ramsey has some good advice. For example, “Break up with your barista. If you don’t know where all your money’s going each month, we’re pretty sure your favorite coffee shop can find it for you. Brewing your own coffee at home is a simple way to save money fast.”2 I started doing this a long time ago. I picked up a coffee grinder and order my espresso coffee beans from Black Rifle Coffee. Head and shoulders above Starbucks in quality. Start putting back some physical cash somewhere in your home on a regular basis. Precious metals make good bartering mediums after a crisis.
  • Surround yourself with like-minded preppers and homesteaders. Cooperation will expand your group of resources, which can mean the difference between survival and failure if you’re all left to your own devices. Your own neighbors are your best bet for pooling resources and bartering. In fact, you can allocate responsibility for particular things to different people. One neighbor might be an avid vegetable gardener, another may be adept at ammo reloading. Which one has the MacGyver gene and a garage shop full of tools?
  • Arm yourself. This point is hard to over-state. When disaster strikes and local first-responders are overwhelmed, nobody cares about your 911 call. As a matter of fact, if you live in a place like Seattle, Minneapolis, or Austin, your elected officials are going to tell the police to stand down and green-light the radical mobs. The mobs will come for your stuff. The three most recommended items are a handgun, a rifle with a scope, and an assortment of knives. A stun gun or two never hurts. And ammo; plenty of ammo.
  • Keep things in perspective. Being prepared is important but don’t get overwhelmed. Start with the essentials and take it from there. Focus on defense, food, water, shelter, and medical supplies.
  • Get a dog if you don’t already have one. Rescue dogs are always a good choice. Shelters are always looking to unload them and chances are good that Fido will already be housebroken. If the bad guys have to choose between attacking a home with a big bark and one with no bark, it’s kind of a no-brainer which way they’ll go.


So, there it is. These 8 prepper tips for beginning survivalists are in no way an exhaustive list but they will certainly give you food for thought. Take your time, educate yourself, and be safe out there.


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References

  1. Dictionary.com, https://www.dictionary.com/e/slang/prepper/?itm_source=parsely-api
  2. Dave Ramsey, Ramsey, 25 Ways to Get Out of Debt in 2020, https://www.daveramsey.com/blog/ways-to-get-out-of-debt

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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

September is National Preparedness Month

Be Prepared for Natural Disasters Like Hurricanes, Fires, Floods, Tornados, and More

Photo of Kelly R. Smith   by Kelly R. Smith

Street flooding leads to disaster
Street flooding leads to disaster
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This article was updated on 07/16/21.

Ads we feature have been independently selected and reviewed. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn a commission, which helps support the site. Thank you for your support.

Ready.gov (owned by the Department of Homeland Security) says, “Disasters Don’t Wait. Make Your Plan Today.” Good point. We never thought our neighborhood would flood, but it did. While we had flood insurance, others did not and had to rely on FEMA. The city has been ignoring drainage issues for years, all the while issuing building permits willy-nilly. Concrete surfaces don’t absorb rain water. At some point, we will all experience fire, earthquake, or a hurricane. This is how Ready.gov suggests that we prepare.

Week 1: Make a Plan

Make your plan now. You and your family may not be together if a disaster happens, so it is key to understand which types of disasters could affect your area. You should all know how you’ll contact each other and reconnect if you become separated. Establish a family meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find. For example, a neighborhood park or a local school that might be serving as an emergency shelter.

Week 2: Build a Kit

Following an emergency, you might need to survive on your own for days. Being prepared means having your own stock of food, water and other supplies to last for several days. A disaster supplies kit is a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency. You don’t have to be an all-out prepper but having the essentials on hand is, well, essential.

Walk-in food survival pantry
Walk-in food survival pantry

In my own home, I built a pantry off the kitchen. We keep it stocked with food, water, prescription medicine, and a camp stove. Basically, the room is our kit. And we even keep a stock of toilet paper. We all remember the empty shelves when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out!

Week 3: Prepare for Disaster

Hurricanes are dangerous and can cause major damage because of storm surge, wind damage, and flooding. Don’t wait to do things like removing old dead tree limbs and securing things that have the potential to become projectiles. It’s a good idea to have a firearm or two and a stock of ammo. Just look at what Antifa and BLM are doing in our streets and society hasn’t broken down yet! No one is going to respond to your 911 call after a certain point.

Know what disasters and/or hazards might affect your area, how to get emergency alerts (an emergency crank-operated radio), and where you would go if you and your family need to evacuate.  Make sure your family has a plan and practices it often.

Don’t wait until the day before to try to find plywood, batteries, and other items.

Week 4: Teach Your Kids About Disasters

Talk to your children about being prepared for emergencies. They need to understand what to do in case you are separated. Make them feel at ease by providing information about how they can get involved. Work out scenarios and the proper responses.

National Preparedness Month is easy when it is broken down like this. The process of divide and conquer works well and gives you time to consider things you have not anticipated.

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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Who Needs a Flu Vaccine Shot and When

by Kelly R. Smith

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Getting a Seasonal Flu Shot
Getting a Seasonal Flu Shot

This article was updated on 09/25/20.


As of this writing, flu shots have become available for the expected flu season which we will experience roughly between October and May. Anyone can catch the flu (influenza) but at a higher risk are:

  • Infants and young children.
  • People 65 years of age and over.
  • Pregnant women.
  • People with pre-existing health conditions or a weakened immune system.

Why Get Your Flu Shot Early

This year is different. Everybody and their brother are more cognizant of health issues and transmittable illnesses. The COVID-19 pandemic, with it’s associated fashion statement of face masks, already has everybody woke to virus culture. In light of that, it’s not a stretch to assume that more immunization naysayers will be queuing up for an influenza shot.

I got mine today at my local Kroger, where I get my blood pressure medication prescription filled. It’s free with my health insurance. Out of curiosity I asked the needle-wielder if he expected a run on vaccine stores due to the public’s heightened health awareness. He said yes; that is the prevalent sentiment in his circle of comrade shot-givers. There are only so many doses made available seasonally, and when they’re gone, they’re gone. If you snooze, you lose.

So, avoid the lines and the shortages. Get your shot now. If you can remember the gasoline shortage lines when that bumbling fool Jimmy Carter was president, that is a good analogy of what we might be looking at with flu shots.

Double Trouble This Season

This flu season contains a double-whammy; the flu plus the Coronavirus pandemic. Getting them both at once will be a very bad scenario, especially for anyone over 65 or that has an underlying condition.

“No one knows for sure how most people will react to simultaneous infection with these two viruses,” says Michael B. Grosso, MD, medical director of Huntington Hospital in Huntington, New York. “However, we have extensive experience with children and adults experiencing co-infection with two or more respiratory viruses. As you might guess, people get sicker, take longer to recover and require hospitalization more often when co-infection happens. It’s unlikely to be different with COVID-19 and flu.”

How the Flu Vaccine Works

In the old days, when the flu happened, it just happened. The Spanish Flu was devastating. It lasted from 1918 until 1920 and claimed approximately 500 million souls. A previous flu pandemic during 1889-1890 killed ~1 million people worldwide.

Today we know a bit more about it. We know it will happen every year. We have a good idea of where it will start and from this knowledge we (the CDC) has a good guess of which strains to prepare immunizations for. It’s still a crap-shoot, but it’s better than nothing. The shot I got today is targeted for old codgers in my age group.

The one I received was Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent. It has four times the antigen, (the part of the vaccine that helps your body build up protection against flu viruses), than Fluzone Quadrivalent and other standard-dose inactivated flu vaccines. Both are quadrivalent vaccines. The higher dose of antigen in the vaccine is intended to give older people a better immune response, and therefore, better protection against flu. What’s not to love?

Vaccines are Good for You and Your Neighbors

I feel compelled to express my feelings on this subject. Over the past decade or so, there has arisen a segment of the population that is entirely anti-vaccination. OK, I get it. In rare circumstances vaccinations can cause issues. But face it, life is, at best, a crap-shoot, my friend. Play the odds.

You don’t want your kid to face the 1 in 1,000,000,000 chance of autism? So no shot for smallpox or polio? OK. Let’s make that happen. We thought those diseases were eradicated in North America but without Trump’s wall, they are being imported.

So get your flu vaccine shot and get it while the doses are still available. There is a predicted demand that will work against you if you hesitate. Go bold, get poked, and don’t look back.



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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

What is Covered by Standard Homeowners Insurance?

by Kelly R. Smith

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Home damage from Hurricane Harvey in Seabrook, Texas
Home damage from Hurricane Harvey in Seabrook, Texas

Homeowners insurance is essential for all homeowners. It doesn’t matter if you own outright or still hold a mortgage. Dictionary.com gives the origen of the word mortgage as, “Old French mortgage, equivalent to mort ‘dead’ (from Latin mortuus ) + gage ‘pledge.’” That’s about as morbid as it gets. It’s certainly not a witty phrase, is it? But I digress; what is covered by standard homeowners insurance?

Coverage for Your Personal Belongings

Your personal belongings include things such as sports equipment, clothing, furniture, appliances, ect. You get the idea. They are covered in the event that they are stolen or destroyed by insured disasters such as fire, hurricane, and others. Generally, the coverage is going to be 50% to 70% of the insurance you carry on the structure of your home, depending on the company that carries your policy.

The preferred way to determine if this is enough coverage is to conduct a home inventory. Take pictures, make entries in a database, etc. The more detailed, the better. Your belongings coverage includes items that you store away from your residence; this means that you have coverage anywhere in the world. There are some companies that limit the amount to 10% of the amount of insurance you have for your possessions. You may also have up coverage for unauthorized use of any credit cards.

Items on the higher end such as jewelry, furs, art, collectibles, and silverware are covered, but usually there is a monetary limit if they are stolen. There is a way to insure these items for their full value; buy a special personal property endorsement (or floater) and insure the items for their officially-appraised value.

Coverage for Your Home’s Structure

Your homeowners policy will pay to renovate or rebuild your home in the case that it is damaged or destroyed by incidences of fire, hurricane, hail, lightning, or other disasters that are enumerated in your policy. Most policies cover detached structures as well, such as your tool shed, garage, or a gazebo. In most cases, for about 10% of the amount of insurance you have on the structure of your home. A good rule of thumb is this–buy enough coverage to rebuild your home. Revise this yearly.

Liability protection

What does liability cover? It protects you from lawsuits citing bodily injury or property damage that you or family members cause to others. Additionally, it covers damage caused by your pets.

In many cases, limits begin at around $100,000. That being said, it’s prudent to palaver with your agent whether you should purchase a higher level of protection. You may have significant assets and therefore need more coverage than is available under your policy. If this is the case, consider purchasing an umbrella or excess liability policy, which provides broader coverage and higher liability limits.

Your policy also provides no-fault medical coverage. If one of your friends or a neighbor is injured in your home, he or she can submit the medical bills to your insurance company. So, expenses can be paid bypassing a liability claim being filed against you. Note that it doesn’t pay any of these bills for you or your family.

Additional living expenses (ALE)

This is for the the additional expenses of residing away from your home if you can’t live there because of the damage from a disaster that is insured. It covers restaurant meals, hotel tabs, and other miscellaneous costs that are over and above your normal living expenses. These are paid while your house is being restored. ALE is not open-ended; it has time and cost limits.

Other Circumstances

Your standard homeowners insurance policy will not pay for damage caused by an earthquake, flood, or routine wear and tear. These all require separate policies. Let me use myself as an example. During Hurricane Harvey, we flooded due to the city mismanaging drainage issues. We got about 2 feet of water inside the house.

Flood water rising in the street
Flood water rising in the street

Luckily, we have always carried flood insurance ever though the mortgage company did not require it since we are not in the flood plain (or zone if you will). But, as I tell my wife, “God doesn’t care about those maps.” So we ended up getting 100% on personal belongings and what the insurance adjuster estimated for structure. That only paid for material, not labor. That’s like getting 50 cents on the dollar. So, the majority of the reconstruction became a DIY project for me.

Neighbors without flood insurance just got the bare minimum from FEMA, and let me tell you, that ain’t much. Let that be a lesson–invest in appropriate insurance policies.

References:


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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Why Pandemics Like COVID-19, or Coronavirus Persist

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Spanish flu pandemic of 1918
Spanish flu pandemic of 1918

Pandemics and epidemics are nothing new; the only constant seems to be that we are never adequately prepared for them. The “expert doctors” can’t seem to agree on symptoms, courses of action, which vitamins help, and what to do about social interactions. That’s just one reason why pandemics like COVID-19 persist. It’s like eggs; we better enjoy them today because next week another panel of “experts” will say they’re killing us.

Reasons why Pandemics Persist

  1. The virus is easily transmissible in the air we breath and the surfaces we touch. We are highly-mobile lifeforms.
  2. It may take several waves to create a herd immunity.
  3. Vaccines, like any prescription medicine, take time to develop and will likely not create 100% immunity from the virus. While it’s being worked on, the virus is mutating; it is a moving target.
  4. The various government entities (federal, state, county, city) don’t coordinate or play well together.
  5. Citizens are advised to self-quarantine, but groups like Antifa and BLM use the situation to get up in everyone’s faces and cause chaos and confusion and push radical agendas.
  6. Many individuals and even entire communities don’t take it seriously. They may continue to spread it as others curtail it. Don’t be a jobbernowl; put on the damn mask already!
  7. People get tired of lockdowns and closed businesses. They get cabin fever and let their guard down. The case-count goes back up.

Do you see an end to the Coronavirus pandemic? Please participate in the poll on the right sidebar of this page.

Pandemics and Epidemics Throughout History

  1. Prehistoric epidemic: Circa 3000 B.C.: China.
  2. Plague of Athens: 430 B.C. (maybe typhoid or ebola).
  3. Antonine Plague: A.D. 165-180: Roman Empire (thought to be smallpox).
  4. Plague of Cyprian: A.D. 250-271 (cause unknown; Cyprian wrote, “The bowels, relaxed into a constant flux, discharge the bodily strength [and] a fire originated in the marrow ferments into wounds of the fauces (an area of the mouth).”
  5. Plague of Justinian: A.D. 541-542: (Byzantine Empire; bubonic plague).
  6. The Black Death: 1346-1353: (Asia to Europe; caused by a strain of the bacterium Yersinia pestis spread by fleas on infected rodents).
  7. Cocoliztli epidemic: 1545-1548: (Mexico and Central America; caused by subspecies of Salmonella known as S. paratyphi C, causes enteric fever, a category of fever that includes typhoid).
  8. American Plagues: 16th century: (caused by an assortment of of Eurasian diseases including smallpox. There goes those privileged white imperialists again)!
  9. Great Plague of London: 1665-1666: (the Black Death again; transmitted by plague-infected rodents).
  10. Great Plague of Marseille: 1720-1723: (a plague brought by a ship with fleas on plague-infected rodents).
  11. Russian plague: 1770-1772: (another plague).
  12. Philadelphia yellow fever epidemic: 1793: (transmitted by mosquitoes; the “experts” at the time wrongly believed that slaves were immune).
  13. Flu pandemic: 1889-1890: (worldwide; killed ~1 million people).
  14. American polio epidemic: 1916: (started in New York City; flared up intermittently until 1954 when the Salk vaccine was developed).
  15. Spanish Flu: 1918-1920: (worldwide; ~500 million people died).
  16. Asian Flu: 1957-1958: (worldwide, started in China, sound familiar? Killed over than 1.1 million).
  17. AIDS pandemic and epidemic: 1981-present day: (worldwide; 35 million deaths so far).
  18. H1N1 Swine Flu pandemic: 2009-2010: (worldwide; between 151,700 and 575,400 dead says the “experts” at the CDC; can you narrow that down a bit, fellas?).
  19. West African Ebola epidemic: 2014-2016: (primarily in West Africa with 28,600 reported cases and 11,325 deaths).
  20. Zika Virus epidemic: 2015-present day: (primarily in South America and Central America; spread through mosquitoes of the Aedes genus, but can also be sexually transmitted).
  21. COVID-19 pandemic: December 2019-present: (worldwide; originated in China).

To do your part to slow or stop COVID-19 from persisting, keep your guard up, self-quarantine, and wear a mask (we can discus the constitutionality of it later). In short, you don’t have to live off the grid, just use common sense.



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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Hurricane Preparedness Checklist

Residential hurricane devastation
Residential devastation in the aftermath of a hurricane

It’s that time of year once again. Hurricane season runs from May 15 to November 30. Hurricanes can happen along any U.S. coast or in any territory in the Atlantic or Pacific oceans. Although meteorologists make an impressive list of names and do their best to make predictions, it’s really just a crap shoot as to when and where one will hit.

The bottom line here is that if you live in an area that has even the slightest possibility of being hit by one of these God-awful monstrosities you owe it to yourself, your family, and your pets to follow this hurricane preparedness checklist.

Hurricane preparedness is something most homeowners don’t think about until the last minute. Does this sound like you? Do you have an emergency kit? Got the hurricane evacuation route plotted out? Let’s look at a few things you should do to get prepared now.

Shutter Your Windows

You don’t want glass blasting into your home. Do you remember the trip to Home Depot the last time a hurricane threatened to visit? Plywood, batteries, and generators – all gone. So why not buy your plywood to cover your windows now while you can make it easy on yourself?

It’s not so bad. Just measure all your windows to figure out how many sheets of half-inch plywood to buy. While you’re there, pick up some PLYLOX hurricane window clips. These make securing the plywood a snap.

Some storm shutters are designed specifically with hurricanes in mind. Some of them are even motorized which is a great benefit since hiring someone to help with a storm at hand can be problematic.

Call for Tree Trimming Services Now

How often do you hire a tree trimming company. If you reply “never,” you’re in good company! Truth be told though, one of the main reasons trees fall down in high winds is branch density; you need to open up the canopy. The price you pay for annual tree pruning is a bargain compared to the price of a new roof.

For example, I just had a tree service take out three Queen Palms in my front yard and one Maple tree in the back yard. The Palms just never recovered from the hard freeze last winter and the Maple was just old, big, and as brittle as an old woman with osteoporosis. High winds would probably have resulted in mad roof damage.

Put Together Disaster Kits

Hurricane emergency kits are easy to assemble. And mandatory. You’ll need to put back enough non-perishable food and bottled water to last your family and pets a week. This is like the plywood; do it now!

Every time you go to the grocery store, just pick up a can of Spam and a can of vegetables. Start putting them in a storage container in the garage or in the back of your pantry. There’s a lot of high quality emergency preparedness kits on the market.

You’ve seen them; they’re chock full of emergency medical supplies? Buy one. Or two. Or three; you might want to take care of neighbors.

Buy a NOAA Weather Alert Radio

Public notification of weather conditions is the key to knowing what’s coming. Get a weather alert radio to stay in the know. The best models not only work under battery power, but have a crank handle.

While you are at it, get ahold of a small solar charger for things like your cell phone

Arm Yourself

It really doesn’t matter which side of the 2nd amendment rights you fall on. The reality of a post-disaster situation is that there are bad guys wanting to take what you have and possibly even cause bodily harm. At that point the gun rights thing becomes a stupid argument. It doesn’t matter if you have to bug out or choose to hunker down and shelter in place.

Glock pistol and Savage shotgun for home defense
Glock pistol and Savage shotgun for home defense

You can’t go wrong with a tactical shotgun. Even a complete novice can nail a target. Besides, it looks badass.

My go-to sidearms are a .40 cal Glock and a Beretta U22 Neos. The Glock is almost impossible to jam and has incredible stopping power. The Beretta is also adequate for self-defense and small game if that ever became necessary.

The bottom line is this: don’t wait for the weather to be on top of you. Prepare now. You’ll thank me later. You’re welcome.


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