Getting Started into Survival and Prepping
A lot of people are put off survivalism by the apprehension they have it is only for ex-military special forces. This is not the case and in the survival movement there are people from all walks of life. Another reason for the daunting feeling people have about survivalists is that they have to be bushcraft experts who can survive for months on end with just a knife and their wits. Another falsehood, people who can actually live off the land with just a knife are very few indeed.
However, it's not easy getting out of your comfort zone either. Here at Survivalist Info we advise you start with prepping. Prepping is the easy-entry option and ANYONE can prep. If you already are prepping then you should consider some camping experience, hiking and the use of a firearm. More on those elsewhere on S-Info. right now if you are a total newbie and only know what Doomsday Preppers has told you, you're better off prepping to start with.
Food and Provisions
If you've got the money then ordering-in a bulk shipment of dried food can be considered. If you're just on a basic wage then it's best to buy and set aside extra food each shopping trip. Keep doing this until you've built up at least a two week supply for your household. This is the minimum and I would advise to have a month in case of an extended shortfall of supplies. Unless you have sealed buckets of dried food like grains, flour many preppers rotate their foods so they maintain a freshness. This is just something to do occasionally. If you are growing a lot of your own food then canning the surplus can make a lot of sense too.
Make sure all your electronics that are battery-operated have a few spare packs too.
Unless you have a natural water-source like a well, stream or spring then storing water is essential. Cheap plastic bottles and jugs from the store are ok, but for long term storage the ideal is glass or high-grade plastic. Glass is expensive compared to plastic and difficult to source large containers. Treated plastic that doesn't degrade the water over time is good, there are companies selling large water water tanks for this very thing too. 55 gallon drums are ideal for storage of liquids. Metal and plastic drums both have advantages. Metal doesn't split but can rust over time. Plastic is vulnerable to being crushed and degrades in UV light over time. They seal well and best thing for that is a bulk storage drum.
Your location is a big factor in determining your survival and prepping needs. Urban areas tend to have easier access to certain things but are often crowded, restrictive and more expensive. Likewise the countryside tends to be more relaxed, fruitful for growing your own food yet with less jobs. In a disaster the urban areas are often considered more dangerous than the countryside.
Decide where your future lies and plan accordingly, not everyone wants to leave the area they grew up in, especially if family and friends are close-by. What some people do is they have a holiday home away from the city for breaks and rest. This could easily become or be converted into a Bug-Out Location. Making a real, viable and sustainable Bug-Out Location of bare land into an actual survival-retreat is quite a feat. Making one that is TEOTWAWKI proof is quite another.
Firearms and Defense
If you are a total beginner to firearms you should exercise care with guns. Firearms, especially pistols, are easy to make mistakes with, even the professionals slip up sometimes. Learn the basics at a gun club, a local range, a hunter safety course, the internet. Ask friends for tips and expand your knowledge base. To start with, depending on your state's gun laws you may have some hoops to jump through before even being allowed to buy a gun. So check the federal and state gun laws first before you do anything else. Convicted felons for example are automatically excluded from firearm ownership (with the exception of black powder weapons).
Once you have an understanding of firearms it's time to get started. A rifle, shotgun and pistol are what most consider to be a versatile choice in weaponry. These can come in a wide selection of flavors, types and variants. Also note that your location and circumstances may dictate otherwise due to availability and the law.
A rifle is excellent for long-range shooting laying down, but is clumsy and awkward to handle in tight spaces. While some semi-automatic rifles have excellent ammunition capacity, some states heavily restrict them as 'assault weapons'. Additionally hi-capacity magazines (usually over 15 rounds) are banned or heavily restricted in some areas.
A shotgun makes hitting something at close range a cinch thanks to the shot-spread, shotgun ammunition is versatile yet at ranges over 100 yards it lacks accuracy. Also a shotgun is normally slightly heavier compared to rifles and pistols. They also have a low ammunition capacity and an incredible noise volume on firing.
Pistols and revolvers are great to use in self-defence, tight areas and can fire quickly (less quickly with revolvers). However pistols and revolvers are usually difficult to aim at medium to long ranges and lacking stopping power compared to a shotgun. They are often more restricted than rifles and shotguns. Of all the firearms the pistols is the easiest to have an accident with, be careful!
If that seems complicated, then the specific firearm choices, practices and ammunition can make things very complicated. Overall firearms are a complex and elaborate subject, if mastered though you will reap the benefits. Some rifles are classed as SBRs or short-barreled rifles. With a telescoping or folding stock they can be not much longer than a long-barreled pistol. Also some shotguns are magazine fed, others have rifled barrels for accurate medium range fire with slug ammunition. You can learn more about firearms by clicking on the menu links and in the text above.
When choosing a firearm make sure you like the look of it, it feels natural in your hand and aims well. Buying brand new will mean you have a means to return or exchange it if for whatever reason you are unhappy. The gun shop will usually help or you may have to contact the manufacturer. Buying privately or second-hand is handy if you can't afford to buy brand new and you know what you are looking for.