Following the firearms safety rules is a universal best practice for all gun owners. However, there are additional safety concerns for preppers. We’re planning on using guns in a very different environment that we use guns in right now.
One of the misconceptions about SHTF situations is that they’ll be similar to war. Surviving without infrastructure support, law enforcement, and other daily essentials is much different than wartime operations.
Preppers often crib their gun safety procedures and protocols from the military. But, in reality, not all the military safety standards work in a survival context.
So, gun safety for preppers is more of a holistic approach. Handling your weapon safely is important. But, being safe with your guns as a prepper requires more environmental consideration and planning.
We’re not going to cover the traditional safety rule stuff right now. Here’s what you should think about in regard to keeping yourself and your family safe with your guns in a survival situation.
Storage and Staging
In a survival situation, the environment where you store and stage your guns will be much less stable and controlled than it is now. You need to protect your guns to keep them serviceable for when you need them.
Some quick definitions before we move on:
- When you put your guns away for use at some later time, without concern for quick access, that’s storage.
- When you put your gun in a place where you can access it quickly, and you plan on retrieving that gun if you need to defend yourself, that’s staging.
Now, obviously, you want to protect your guns from unauthorized access. Keeping your guns away from children is a priority. But, you also want to take special precautions to protect your guns from burglars or raiders, and possibly even government intrusions.
However, you also want to protect your guns from the elements. If you’re in a survival situation, something really bad has probably happened. So, your storage location may need to keep your guns safe and functional until you can retrieve them.
That means your storage location needs to be pretty sturdy. It might need to withstand some pretty serious trauma.
Clearly, a solid gun safe is almost a slam dunk in this regard. However, it’s not the only option. If you’ve got the resources for an underground gun vault, awesome.
But, no matter how you store your guns, a big part of prepper gun safety is protecting your guns from whatever might happen.
In regards to staging: it’s best if you keep your weapon on you as much as possible, and we’ll talk about carriage in a moment. However, even if you have a gun or two that you keep on your body, staging some guns is still a good idea.
This gives your family options for getting a firearm if you’re not around. Or, you can use a staged gun if your carry weapon is unavailable for some reason.
Wherever your bug-in location is, your staged guns should be inaccessible to anyone who you don’t want to get them. If you might be stuck in a more populated area, it’s especially important to protect your staged guns from snoopers or looters.
There are quick access gun safes and options for securing staged guns. However, hiding the thing that secures your staged gun becomes much more important when you’re living in an unsecured environment. Building something like a tactical wall is also a good idea.
In short, the need for keeping your guns handy and the need for keeping them away from bad people goes way up in a survival scenario. So, you need to take this into account when selecting your storage and staging locations.
As we mentioned earlier, carrying a gun is your best bet for ensuring that you’ve got one handy if you need it.
Carrying a rifle is a totally viable option in a survival scenario. It’s not like you’re going to alarm anybody at Starbucks. But, you don’t want to just carry your rifle around all willy nilly.
First, one of the things you should consider doing right now: pursuing some weapon retention training. One of the biggest concerns with carrying a weapon in the open is that people know you have it and can try to take it from you.
So, knowing how to retain a weapon in a hand-to-hand fight is some of the most valuable knowledge you can have.
Also, carry your rifle on a two-point sling. One-point and three-point slings are excellent for fast, tactical operations. But, a two-point sling is perfectly serviceable for shooting and running your gun. And, it provides a lot of utility for keeping your rifle on your body while you’re doing stuff.
With a two-point sling, you won’t need to unsling your rifle so often as you go about your daily tasks. That minimizes the opportunities for being caught without your rifle or being permanently separated from it.
Your rifle can be an insanely powerful defensive tool. But, carrying a sidearm is also a good idea. Even if you’re using a two point sling and keeping your rifle slung as much as possible, sometimes you just need to unsling your rifle.
Now, keeping your sidearm concealed is best, even in a survival scenario. A concealed gun provides a tactical advantage, because it gives you control over when you deploy that firearm. And, it keeps people from going after your gun right out of the gate.
Yes, concealing your firearm makes it more difficult to transition from your rifle to your pistol, if you need. But, you’re not going to be in a ton of tactical situations where switching weapons quickly is the priority.
Most of the time, you’re going to be gathering food, cleaning water, and doing daily survival things. An ambush or intruder scenario is much more likely than a pitched gunfight.
So, the most secure setup for weapons carriage is a slung rifle with a concealed sidearm. That way you have a primary defensive tool readily accessible, and you have an element of surprise for regaining control if you’re caught flat-footed.
Securing the Compound
Obviously, the fundamental rules of safe firearm handling apply to all firearms use.
But, prepper firearm security requires a bit more consideration. In a survival scenario, you’re most concerned with:
- Keeping your guns safe from whatever caused the SHTF situation.
- Keeping your firearms away from other people who may become more aggressive without ordinary societal restraints.
- Ensuring that you’re still able to protect yourself with your guns whenever the need arises.
So, check your storage locations and consider how you plan to carry your weapons in the event that you’re forced to strike out on your own. And, make sure that you’ll actually have your guns when the time comes.