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[personal profile] dmilewski
What do I think are the most important weapons for survival? What would I prep?

1. Friends

Survival is a team sport. Although there have always been men who've survived on their own, most humans have lived in extended families, clans, tribes, and countries. Survival meant having enough territory to support your own particular band, and territory means everybody. There is no better weapon available than your neighbors. No only do they bring greater force, they bring greater knowledge. Nobody knows everything, so the bigger your practical knowledge and skill base, the better your chances of survival.

Even better, working to make a safer, more cooperative, more just, more fair nation, one where everyone gets a fair shake, is the surest way to create a more stable town, city, state, and country. Not having a total social collapse beats having a total social collapse. So if you fear for the state of the world, get involved in making the world better. 

Talking to friends is good, too. A CB radio will allow you to talk locally with ease. Make sure that you have everything in place so that you can coordinate better than the bad guys.

On the other hand, if you have resentful neighbors, they might stop defending you. They may even send trouble your way, if they don't target you themselves. Sure, you can defend your house, but they're the ones who get to roam free. And if you go hunting, they can safely harass you by scaring off game or attacking your home while you're not there. Even a token use of force will make you go on the defensive while they get the advantage of roaming free.

And groups makes friends with other groups. Your mutual trade networks mean mutual interest. Allying with others makes you stronger and less vulnerable to hostility. 

2. Skills

You don't learn skills overnight, and in a survival situation, you're going to need skills right now. If you think that you can pick up gardening in a week, you'd be wrong. Those skills of pre-industrial rural life take significant investments in time, equipment, and practice. They aren't macho or showy, but they work.

Think about old time farmers. How many of them were shown holding guns, and how many of them were shown holding tools? Guiding horses? Working? Those old pictures showed you the real tools of survival because those people valued those tools more than guns or weapons. (Yes, hunting counts a skill. I figure that you've got that one covered.)

And for those skills you don't have, your friends might have them, greatly expanding your skill base.

3. Knowledge

Not everyone gets to know everything. This is what a library of knowledge provides. You may think that you know everything, but you and I know, once you're into something, you hit new questions. In a world without the internet, there has to be a way to find answers. That's where books come in. The more useful your library, the more likely it is that you'll find the answer that you need. And if you have friends, you have access to their knowledge and their libraries. Friends are awesome.

4. Trade

Humans trade. That's what we do. That's what communities allow. Using your skills to create new items, ones that are worth trading for, creates a sustainable situation for yourself. While stockpiling some rare goods is wise, its wiser to produce new goods that others need.Trade gets you what you need, so being able to trade indefinitely can get you what you need indefinitely. While gold is theoretically useful, like a hundred dollar bill, getting change might prove problematic. In a survival situation, if nobody needs your gold, then nobody will take it. Gold is only useful once everyone's needs are met. This is why rural societies valued livestock so much, because not only did they produce food and materials, they were walking wealth.

5. Compromise

In a true survival situation, you won't get everything that you want. You will need to compromise. You may need to accept someone else as a local leader, a trade situation that is unfavorable, or even extortion. Keep your goals in mind rather than your ego. As a lone survivalist, you can do whatever you want, but if you have a family, you'll be making decisions for everyone, so your risk calculations will be different. What works in the movies isn't what works in real life. If you aren't willing to compromise, you'll soon find yourself without allies.

Learn to negotiate. Learn to negotiate anything. 

6. Weapons

Weapons come fare down the list because they aren't as important as they seem, but when they're important, they're terribly important.

Guns are useful tools. So are crossbows, bows, spears, slings, and big sticks. Although guns may seem like the best tools in a long term survival situation, they are rather limited in their flexibility and become increasingly irreplaceable. Thus, you need to understand your guns as tools, and decide which tools are the best for the job ahead of you. And often, guns won't be the best solution. You want to find sustainable solutions, ones that don't require the use of irreplaceable bullets, be it raising chickens, trapping squirrels, or herding sheep.

Guns should be used as tools of last resort.

Your best bet is a gun is one that fires the most common ammunition with the widest options, such as .308 or .30-.30. A gun that can be fired by anyone, includes women, will make itself welcome. Using a common caliber will also make trading with ammo far easier. Your guns should be the simplest, most rugged design possible, because gunsmiths and machining will be hard to come by. You should think about how fancy you want to get. A high end gun may seem like the best bet, but if you have a tempting gun, others may be tempted by it. Having a rifle that fits into the crowd might be more advantageous. On the other hand, an all weather gun that will work for years counts just as much. 

Having neighbors with guns is even better than the best gun. You might have an awesome weapon set, but you can easily be outfoxed by just a few people with mediocre weapons. Remember, survival is a team sport. The better your team, the better you odds of survival. A mediocre team with enough people will outperform you. 

With the collapse of civilization will come the disbursement of military weapons. Those who want to take over will grab those. You may have an awesome weapon set, but how good is your house against a mortar? An artillery gun? An APC? A tank? If there's no government left, you want you and your own friends to have the best toys, not them. And if the outsiders have the best toys, do you plan to fight until the end? Or will you compromise for the benefit of your loved ones? There's no easy answer here. The only thing guaranteed is that somebody will try to take over, and sooner or later, you'll be their next target. Odds are, the confrontation won't end with a firefight, it'll end with a negotiation.

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