My wife and I have started watching a Netflix series about “preppers.” As it turns out, we did not fully realize the extent of the strategies and varieties of prepping before the first 44-minute episode.

A prepper believes that social collapse is possible in the U.S. — perhaps on a broader scale around the world — and is preparing to survive the cataclysm. A prepper’s specific concerns may vary — from the explosion of Yellowstone’s “supervolcano” to terrorism to climate change. But each believes that disaster is imminent.

Doomsday Preppers

In this series, Doomsday Preppers (sponsored by National Geographic), families are scored on five parameters: food, water, shelter, security and X-factor — any outstanding positives or negatives. The final evaluation estimates how long a family might hold out based on the state of their preparations.

We’re not preppers, my wife and me, but we do believe that “s*** could hit the fan” any day. Folks who lived through the Great Depression, witnessed the social disruption after the 9/11 attacks or remember the hysteria (promoted by the media) leading up to Y2K understand that we are vulnerable.

Nevertheless, while we feel that the possibility of wide-scale social or economic breakdown is remote, we do actively carry firearms for self-defense — for the possibility that some person with a grudge could hurt others.

We’re not digging a bomb shelter, buying a year’s supply of food or building a panic room. But we stay aware of local and world events. After all, the target in Russia’s 2018 video of a nuclear strike looked like our Florida house! But really, the event most likely to require us to bug out is a hurricane.

Ammunition Is an Important Part of Surviving a Catastrophe

But even this scenario brings up an interesting dilemma. Thanks to Doomsday Preppers, we became aware of the amount of ammo necessary to withstand a catastrophe. Our ammo supply is quite pitiful should we need to defend against a group. In fact, we realized just how pathetic our armament situation is in general with only three handguns: a .380, a .40 and a .38 Special.

Mish mash of survival gear including binoculars, a holstered .380 semi-automatc pistol, a box of Ruger .380 ammunition, Duracell batteries, pens, markers and a variety of small tactical flashlights spilled out on a wooden desk next to a sunny window

After watching a television series, the author and his wife decided they had become too casual in their approach to self-defense and needed to stock additional ammunition, as well as purchase a rifle and shotgun.
 (Photo by Rick Sapp)

Imagine sheltering in place following a disaster. You can make it a week, maybe, on your standard kitchen supplies. But if a group of people wanted to take what you had, you would need to defend yourself and your supplies. Setting aside other security and prepper issues, do you have enough ammo on hand on a daily basis? Do you have enough firepower?

Watching this television reality series has made my wife and me much more conscious of the need to get our self-defense plan in order. Other elements — food, water, shelter and that imponderable X-Factor — we can address later. But first, a case of ammo, a shotgun and a rifle will be added to our stash of concealed carry handguns.