Post Disaster Violence

 

disaster

Today I travel back in my mind. I write a lot about my preparations and assessments since the time I got trapped in my city and views on the future, but I will just now, write some about ‘How It Was’ back in that time. Remember we were all thrown into that situation with no preparation, and found often our allies were our enemies from one day to the next…

Violence is something that people like to talk about, give theories and opinions, but at the same time few of us experience the real ‘deep’ face of violence, being trapped in a prolonged a deteriorating situation.

You may have experienced bar fights, or home invasions maybe, shooting somewhere and similar, and those events can be life changing situations for sure (or life taking) but I am talking here about violence so large scale and long lasting that it brings something like a ‘new way of living’, overwhelming violence that demands a complete change of mindset.

I often hear, and I often agree, that violence cannot solve anything, and that violence only brings more violence, but when you are faced with a man who wants to kill you, you are going to have to probably kill him in order to survive.

I hope that, in this moment, you will not care for philosophy, humanity or ethics, and that you just going do what you have to do, and survive. Later you will cope with other things, it is how things work.

As I get older I realize more and more that violence is wrong thing, but in the same time I also realize that I have to be more and more ready and capable to do violence when the time comes.

It is paradox maybe, but again it is how things works, I do not like that, but it is what it is.

 

 Violence and You

 

It is way too big topic even to try to explain it in one article, but some things I must try to show you here.

There is a man, let’s say we are talking about you here. An average citizen, a law abiding person, and suddenly you are going to be thrown into a (prolonged) situation where you are going be forced to watch and use exceptional levels of violence.

Do you think that you are going to be able to „operate“ in those conditions with the mindset you had from the time where you were average law abiding citizen?

No of course not, you will have to jump into the another mindset in order to survive.

Let’s call it survival mode.

In survival mode you’ll have to not to forget what it was like for you in ‘normal’ times, but you will have to push those memories aside, in order to operate in different mode – survival mode.

In real life situation that means for example that you ll maybe have to ignore panic, fear, smell, noises in the middle of an attack and do your steps in order to survive.

Maybe you’ll have to ignore the screaming dying kid next to you, maybe you’ll have to ignore your pride and run, or simply maybe you’ll have to ignore your „normal“ mindset and you going to have to kill the attacker from behind.

There is list of priorities in normal life, and there is list of priorities in survival mode.

Let just say that you using your different faces and „small“ mindset during your normal life and everyday business with different people around you.

Just like that, when faced with violence you’ll have to use different mindset, different face. Or another you.

 

Violence and Experience

 

There is a strange way of thinking here for me, but since I have live through the time when huge number of people did not die from old age, rather from violence, I have experience in this subject. So here are few thoughts.

Experiencing violence over a prolonged period of time does not make you superman, actually in some way make you crippled man, man with many problems, psychological and physical.

But if I put myself in way of thinking that I am in better position now then people who died next to me, or in front of me. You may call me a winner or survivor but many days that ‘title’ sounds very hollow.

Am I lucky man-yes, am I happy man – no.

But we are not talking in terms of quality of life, we are talking in terms of surviving or not.

Ethics, psychology and everything else here are matter for couple of books to be written, and even then you are not going say anything new, it is like that from beginning of the mankind.

What is more important about having experience in violence is that you simply KNOW how things are working there.

In lot of things you simply know what you can expect.

You know what chaos is, best way of dealing with it, you know what it takes to do things.

 

Preparing for Violence

 

Again nothing like real life experience, when you experience something like real violence you keep that in yourself for the rest of your life. What is best next to that? – other people’s real life experience.

So is it make sense to read about other folks real life experience? Of course, read a lot about that.

Training (physical) yourself is great thing. You’ll train to get yourself into the state that you are (physically) ready for hard tasks. So of course it makes sense to do that.

But training yourself mentally can be a hard thing.

You actually can only guess how it is going to be, how it is going to affect you.

I can tell you that it is hard, chaotic, I can describe you a situation, but can I bring you the feeling of terror in your gut when you feel that you are going to shit yourself? Can I give you smell of fear, smell of decaying body? Can I give you feeling when you realize that „they“ are coming for you?

No of course I cannot. You can read stories and real life experiences and based on that you are going to „build“ your possible mindset for violence situation.

You are going to build your „survival mindset“.

But there is a catch there. If you build it too firm, too strong, and then there is SHTF and everything that you imagined doesn’t fit the given situation or scenario and you are still pursuing and acting in the way that you imagine dealing with it you are going to have serious problems.

The situation will not adapt to your mindset; the situation will kill you if you are sticking too firm to your plan when it is not working.

You simply have to adapt.

It goes for many situation, if your plan and mindset says you are defending your home until you die, you are going to die probably.

Whenever I heard people saying „I’ll do that when SHTF „ or „I’ll do this when SHTF“ I feel sorry for them.

When SHTF you will adapt, and change your given plan accordingly to situation.

It is same with violence.

Violence is a tool that you going to use according to the situation. It is a tool, not a toy.

Now to finish with a final thought. It can sound, from what I have written, that a SHTF situation is like a Mad Max movie. Everyone running around killing, hurting, doing things with no consequences. In fact, this fantasy of a world ‘Without Rule of Law’ (WROL) is a big discussion in some circles.

For sure regular ‘law’ has gone. There are no ‘authorities’ or courts as we know them to deter or punish, BUT, during a SHTF situation you will find:

It is (especially in the beginning) like everything is possible, law is gone, you could go outside and see people looting stores, groups organizing (by street, or other facts like same job in company for example) trying to either defend part of the town, or bring more chaos just for fun, sometimes you could not say what, both could bring violence and death to you. Over time the ‘violence’ becomes more organized and ‘structured’ to start to achieve certain specific goals (although there is always ‘chaos’ as well).

After some time you look at violence you encounter in two ways. Violence happening outside your group, or inside your group (It is quite certain you will need to be in some sort of ‘group’ to stand any chance of surviving).

Outside your Group, you just wish to be very ‘small’, invisible after some time, not pay attention to anyone doing violence to others, because, quite simply you are still alive, and want to stay that way. In terms of “I am still alive, I do not care what they doing to that person, and how bad it is (your will and judging of good and bad is broken, you just care for your own life) it is like you care only for yourself while you are watching how others get killed, no matter that you feel that it is going to come to you in the end (violence) you just care for yourself.

Leaders of the “bad” group (gang) have best chances to stay leader if members fear him, so in fact he is most dangerous, vicious, sick bastard, nothing like a “reasonable” man. (Competition is huge in SHTF) Instilling discipline (through fear) and enforcing ‘your’ rules are paramount to holding your position as leader.

Various groups were interacting with the outside world and each other through fighting, exchange information, trading goods etc, but every group were more or less closed world, with trust only for those inside the group.

Forming of a group was quick mostly, because nobody expected this situation was going to happen, and so were not prepared, but very quickly were literally ‘fighting for survival’. Any problems were solved “on the way” (bad members, not skilled, not obeying etc.) Sometimes through discussion and agreement, but always with the threat of violence as an option.

To finish, and to educate, as opposed to shock you. Many folks cannot think to clear about the level of violence I am describing being involved in. Maybe you think SHTF is just like ‘Black Friday Shopping’ but every day. So let me just give examples of the how far the world I lived in descended from ‘normal’. Remember this was a regular city, in a nice country, in Europe, less than 25 years ago…

-People who never used violence before, doing some ‘hard’ violence: normal people, dads and mums, killing folks in order to save their families.

-Certain groups of people who looks like they are just waited for the SHTF so they can go out (“crawl out from beneath some rock”) so they can fulfill their own fantasies about being kings of the town, imprisoning people, raping women, torturing folks in the weirdest ways…

-Strange groups organizing in whatever the cause they choose name it, again only to gain power in order to have more resources (sometimes simply “gangs” of 50 people, sometimes whole militias of thousands people) through terror over other people or group of people.

-Irrational hate towards “other” (whoever “other” could (or might) be (other religion, group, street, town, nation) because it is very easy to manipulate groups of people through hate and fear (from and towards “others”), if someone manipulate you that your kid is hungry because “others”, he can do a lot with you.

Real life examples I saw:

-People being burned alive inside their homes (And people ‘enjoying’ watching this)

-Private prisons were made where you could go and torture other folks for fun, or simple rape women as a “reward”

-Kids over 13 or 14 years of age were simply “counted” as grown up people, and killed as enemy

-Humiliation of people on all different ways in order to break their will, for example forcing prisoners to have sex between same family (like father and daughter and similar)

-Violence was everyday thing, you could go outside and get shot not because you were ‘enemy’, but only because sniper on other side want to test his rifle.

It is a needed, but depressing realisation, that people, even regular folks can become so cruel, so fast, BUT it is an very important thing to be aware of for anyone truly involved in ‘preparedness’.

As always, its great to hear your comments and experiences on situations where you have had to deal with violence and what lessons you learned from this…

 

On Terror

terror

I general there has always been common sense in being a prepper, but we are clearly seeing recent events will urge many to move their plans and preparations to the ‘next level’ or those who have previously failed to prepare will begin to now do so. By my assessment things in the world are now simply heating up more and more and at a greater speed.

I always advocated common sense and thinking in „small circles“ because you (just like me too) probably are not multimillionaire, or head of the state, or financial mogul who silently form world politics.

You are probably average man with average worries and job. You are the person who can not do too much about changing the big events unfolding around us, but you can do much about being ready when SHTF.

I often mention something like a joke or popular myth about soldier who was taught and assured for days and weeks about reasons and logic about war that he is going to fight in, but all the time he did not get the picture so clearly, he could not understand logic, world politics and similar for that war.

Suddenly when he came to his first fight and when bullets start to fly around his head he realized logic of everything and shouted „oh my God they are trying to KILL ME“

This may seem like an oversimplification, but at the end it is like that- bare survival and safety, you can not manipulate the situation with too many other things.

Are the terrorist winning?

Definition of word terrorism:

  • 1. the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.
  • 2. the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization.
  • 3. a terroristic method of governing or of resisting a government.

I am not sure about you, and place where you are living, but for me here, I can take all three definition here and say right now „that’s it, I am living there“. And still there is something like peace, I am not in middle of war, people working their jobs, kids going to school, people get drunk in the pub.

But everything actually changed. Fear moved in, and everybody is afraid from everybody.

Fear, Terror. Terrorism.

Horrible killings in Paris, Africa, and US showing (again and again) real face of terrorism. It is about killing people who are civilians, killing kids and women.

But also it is about killing normal way of life. Concerts, cinema, cafes, resteraunts. If you install fear in people that they may be killed or hurt while they enjoying their way of life, how they want to enjoy it, you are actually changing the world.

And that is one of the goals of terrorists, to change the way we choose to live.
Freedom is one of the things that is so important, but also so fragile.

Freedom can be taken by the terrorist, but also it can be taken by the government in the name of fighting against those same terrorists.

If you are living in western modern society ask yourself, do you still have the same freedoms like 20-30 years ago?
Is it actually getting worst?

Are you as a survivalist actually getting profiled or out and out labelled as a possible terrorist?

Two frogs

There is a story of two frogs, one that jumped out from the bowl of hot water (because it got thrown in suddenly) and other that gets put in bowl of normal temperature water, and dies because the water gradually gets heated to the point it dies because the water becomes too hot.
We are all right now inside the bowl of pretty hot water, the situation (water) around us has been heated gradually, for years, and we are getting „used“ to a new reality and somehow accept it as a normal, while there is nothing normal about it.

Terrorism and Hate

My experience into the topic of hate is very big and deep. It is like everything that I wrote here, real and often not what you expected, or wanted to hear.

Hate is very powerful emotion, and I have been there, hating people, groups of people, or whole countries.
There were period of the time when that hate simply drove me, was the only thing pushing me forward.

And all that I can say about generalized hate is that is completely wrong for many reasons.
As a survivalist you are probably used to look for the information in some other ways than regular media and everything else, so whenever somebody „push“ you or motivate you to hate generalized group of people (or nation) ask yourself, why do they want you to hate them?

There is no logic in generalized hate, and there is always some kind of sinister story behind it, deeper story and motives.

I understand logic and need for „terminating“ the people who are threat for our way of living, for our civilization and everything else, and I actually agree with that.

But I also understand need and logic behind the will of powerful people (fractions, parties etc) to use „motivated“ hate to take my freedoms away from me, by saying they are doing that in order to protect me. And I do not want that either. I’ve been there AND seen the consequences.

Do not allow someone to cloud your judgment by fear and hate, so they can rule you and take your freedoms.
Terror works in many ways and from many positions.

Sometimes it is lunatic who blows himself in the name of a false god, killing a lot of innocent people. Sometimes it is by watching your country slowly descend into something, that not so long ago looked like a scene from a weird Science Fiction novel.

If I am forced again to hate someone, I will hate him because I decide so, not because bunch of folks who wants to get (even more) reach and power told me to do so.

Fear and hate are a very contageous disease, watch for yourself and your family, use your brain and common sense.
If you are living in fear and hate they have already won.

Remember that wars have and can be won by simple breaking the will of enemy, by sheer terror and fear, less by brute force.

Future?

Sadly, I am not optimistic at all. Things are moving faster and heating up more and more.

I do not know what are the reasons for all this that seems to be happening almost everywhere now, but I simply cannot believe that a bunch of folks who have the desire of a life from the stone age, and want to bring that ‘ideal’ to everybody else, can not be bombed back to that stone age, or at least that should be dealt with when they were just small in numbers.

As I said, we are all frogs in warm water, just not noticing it. Did you somehow notice, that over some time we are now living in the world where it can be more dangerous to go to bigger events because some idiot may blow himself and kill you? Or that we are living in a time that in week or two owning a weapon might be illegal everywhere?

Suddenly we are living in times when we are calculating how far we are from possible nuclear explosions?

And still people call it normal?

I think we are so close to the SHTF that you do not need to have your vision „blurred“ by fear, terror, and hate.
Not now, just stay alert, and use common sense.

Survivalist is not a weirdo, like some folks trying to picture us. He is smart guy who watches for the coming events with clear mind and with kind of a cool heart.

Have any recent events changed or affected your preparedness plans? Do you feel, or observe in those around you more ‘fear’ in everyday society? Comment below and share your thoughts and observations with us.

Finding the Perfect Location

selco1

Before the new article starts we want to thank everyone who came to our first physical survival course in Croatia. The week was fantastic and we couldn’t have wished for better people who were eager to learn and get through the situations we set up.

Toby is also going to join us here on SHTF School and will contribute more articles and collaborate with Selco on articles like the one we post today.

Much more about the course, along with some video updates for our Survival Boot Camp Members in the coming weeks.

The ‘Perfect’ Location

I have been reading more and more lately, articles with the theme of having a ‘Perfect Bug In Location’, along with details on how to defend it, options and examples on booby traps, philosophy of defence and similar. It’s a facinating discussion with lot of interesting points, and it gave me the idea to share some thoughts of mine.

Shelter, Home, Your Place

Survival is a lot, if not all, about being (staying) safe, so one of the first thoughts that come to my mind is having a good shelter.
When people think about that, you could easily come to the conclusion that as good a shelter you have, then more chances you have to survive (or be comfortable etc).

Now, too an extent, there is nothing wrong this idea, BUT only to a point. Problems start when you get yourself stuck in the mode of thinking (and acting!) with the conclusion that your best option is to have big strong well secured and fortified shelter, and you decide that this equals ‘complete’ safety, or this is a solution that will get you through every problem.

So your focus becomes on buying a big stronghold somewhere with big walls, alarms, weapons and everything else. To the extent, all your time, effort and energy is spent in this regard.

There is nothing wrong with this as a concept, but, if you do not consider some other things you may find yourself very unpleasantly surprised sooner or later.

Being and staying safe is actually having more then one option. Let me reiterate that. Greater safety comes from having options.

So for example, if you have your perfectly organised and defended home in a town, it is good, very good. Even better, is having some temporary shelter close to your home in case you need to leave or evacuate your home at short notice.

Being and staying safe is about having more options for the same problems, and survival is not about dying while defending your shelter, it is about finding another and surviving.
Whenever someone shows me good home plans in terms of defending and survival I feel happy for them, but my next question (or thought) is always, where are your exits? Where are you planning to go to for cover (or shelter) in a case when you have to leave, either temporarily or forever?

As always, the real problem, in my opinion, is that there is gonna be whole bunch of survivalists that are going to die just because they did not consider options that they are gonna be forced to leave there ‘perfect’ home, and so will (needlessly) die, staying and defending it.

It is scary thought. That you may be forced to leave your perfect survival location, that you spent so long, for years maybe, building, equiping and preparing.

When I hear words ‘perfect’ shelter, or ‘perfect’ hiding location, my first thought is of a temporary shelter inside ruin, or in woods, because this is the most likely and most suitable for a large variety of circumstances. I’m not saying this is always the case, but things happen this way more often than people realise, and if you research any number of disaster and catastrophies you will see this evidenced time and time again…

Of course, you all know, I have my location where I plan to be when SHTF, but it is MY plan. Circumstances very often do not allow plans to be conducted, so maybe only after three days I’ll have only trash bag as my BOL or bug in place, but I’ll be alive. Again to reiterate, have a plan, but have options and alternatives to your plan.

Defending Your Shelter

In the same articles that I have read, there is various advice on how to kill someone while you’re defending your shelter, which is good, because you will need this type of mindset and methodology.

But again, the problem is that you may conclude that by killing others you will solve all your problems. In reality, you may find yourself surprised because sometimes you will get yourself killed to, in that same way.
And that is not survival.

When it comes to having safe shelter, and for this example we are talking about one night temporary urban shelter, but it applies longer term as well , you have to think in layers.

There will be times and situations where you will have to deal with a threat in the most immeadiate, definitive and drastic way, but more often than not you need to think about defence in some kind of layers and these layers are designed to ‘buy time’.

Safe shelter means it is safe for you. In urban settings, that usually equals that you are hidden and sheltered from other people first, so solution to the problem is not to kill them in the first place. It is about staying hidden and therefore safe.

So first layer should be that YOU alone are choosing that shelter, no one else will take that same shelter, so you will not have need to „terminate“ anyone.

So choose a place that no one else will choose it (while you are using it).

Use your knowledge and skills (and some imagination too). It maybe simply selecting a place that everybody else see as very dangerous. We have mention before using signs saying ‘mines’ or ‘sniper’ to scare people, or an area with a bad stench and similar things.

Remember that in SHTF situation people usually go for easy places, for places that need less effort. If you make it look not interesting and very hard for other folks you already did half of the job.

Second layer could be that you need an alarm or warning signal if someone is approaching, so you have time to react, the time is spent making the decision that you will decide is it worth to use deadly force, create a distraction or you will simply run away to the other side (yeah it make sense to know all exits from your temporary shelter)

Your last layer could be booby traps. And think here, why you want to use these? You want to kill, maim or scare someone? You want to take their stuff? Or you simply love to build booby traps? Now booby traps is a BIG issue on it’s own, so I will write more about this later, but while they may be simple in design, we need to think a lot about why and how we are using them.

Understand, each definitive action during SHTF could draw high risk to you too, so choose your actions very carefully.

Of course that there will be times when you will have to make high risk decisions, actually very often, but it is matter of judgment based on the situation. However the more options you give yourself the more decisions you will have available.

Remember, the adage ‘live too fight another day’ should be far more prominent in your mind as a strategy than the ‘over my dead body’ or you’ll get my stuff when you pry it ‘from my cold, dead fingers’ which is often touted as a ‘solution’ by folks with little experience in the realities of violence.

AVOIDING conflict is one of the best survival strategies we can have. Having options if we get to a conflict is the next stage. Building defensive layers to ‘buy time’ and help make decisions is a far more ‘greater’ solution than just trying to build and stockpile a fortress.

If you plan to ‘shelter in place’, have you given yourself alternate options and escape strategies? Let me know in the comments below, how you plan to deal with someone trying to gain access to your location?

Urban Survival in Apartment

urban survival

As my plans include bugging out in case of SHTF to my BOL (bug out location), most of the time and effort is spent on preparing that part, but being prepper in apartment is an interesting topic too.

Some of us do not have other options, so they are planning to be where they are when SHTF-in apartment, and survive.

Other good reason to talk about apartment prepping is simply because all of our plans may vanish (plans to bug out to our BOL) so we could be simply forced to stay where we are when the system collapses.

So do not put everything in planning that you will leave when SHTF, maybe you will not be able to do so, or you are forced to spent some time where you are.

Manage Information

So here are few thoughts:

Know a lot about others, let others know only what you want to share about you.

Living in an apartment building usually means that you are going to meet your neighbors and you can’t avoid that. So be kind of curious about folks who live around you. It is very good thing to know what kind of people they are, what they do, their views and hobbies, their worries.

Of course that does not mean that you become something like the spy or stalker of your neighbourhood, just use your time and find out whatever you can about them when you talk to them or you see them doing stuff.

For example, I know exactly who will leave my neighbourhood if SHTF, who has some weekend house close to our building, or who does not have place to go to. I know what cars they are driving, time of the day when they are at home or at job (or picking their kids from school), some of their medical conditions, or political views, who likes to hunt during hunting season (and have hunting rifle at home most probably) etc.

As I said this is not about spying, it is about enough time and observing, paying attention and small chats.

It is true, in terms of security you need to keep your mouth shut, especially about your preparations.

But it does not mean you have to be the grumpy guy from the neighbourhood who hates people.

Be an ordinary guy, that also helps you to collect information in an easy way. Another good point is that you need to be ordinary guy because you do not want to attract attention. Being different is always a bad thing.

There is no point in looking completely different because you are prepper. Just keep that difference to yourself.

Resources

Of course you need to have food and water stored in your apartment too, no matter if you are planning to bug out as soon as first signs of collapse show up or not.

There are great suggestions everywhere how you can store goods in small spaces, like to put them inside beds, or even doors, containers for water inside tubs etc.

Of course you need to keep it secret too, so there is no sense if some of the neighbours come to your door to ask you something and they can see behind your back that your apartment looks like storage for doomsday.

When it comes to energy there are lot of suggestions about solar panels for apartment prepping and similar, I also like solar energy, but keep in mind that having 4-5 solar panels at your BOL and in your apartment is not the same, not only in terms of easy settings.

For example in my neighbourhood, there are maybe 5-6 apartments with visible solar panels, out of total maybe 300 apartments.

Point is that they just attract attention, when SHTF those solar panels will look very interesting for whole bunch of people who want to recharge their stuff.

If you planning to have solar panels try to have small ones, portable, for charging batteries, and check how you can use them without being so visible from everywhere, I rely heavily on a lot of rechargeable batteries and small solar charger.

Heating

Depending on the climate that you live in, you absolutely need to have alternative source of heating. When SHTF everything is much worse if you are forced to go through everything while you are freezing.

My apartment building has old central system for heating with wood, probably never used, or at least not used for 20 years now. Folks use modern heaters these days. But the old system still works, I checked it and it is a way to get rid of smoke.

If you have something similar, then it makes sense to have some kind of small wood stove stored somewhere so you can use it if you need it.

Store some wood too, or in worst case you can use furniture, doors, frames, books floor etc. In best case scenario use parks for collecting fuel.

Think outside box, if your apartment building does not have chimney system (i guess most modern buildings do not have it) have some metal pieces and lead smoke through your balcony, window or hole in the wall that you made.

Sounds dirty and stupid maybe but people used it a lot during the war in apartments, and do not forget that a longer metal exhaust that leads the smoke out means you can keep the stove closer and stay warm.

There are two problems here, poisoning which you can avoid by building a proper system, and of course investing some money in CO detector.

Other problem is smoke coming out from your apartment, people mentioning it a lot, as a possible invitation for trouble.

Actually in real SHTF there will be lot of smoke (and smell) in cities anyway, but if you see that it could be problem try to use fire by night, or „hide“ the exhaust little bit, so it does not look obvious from where the smoke is coming, try to disperse it a little bit so it does not look too „controlled“ and more like regular burning apartment.

These are just some thoughts on this that I think matter. How do you plan to prepare if you can not get out of your apartment or house and you live in urban environment? Share in comments below or community forum.

Aftermath of Terror Attack. Time to Think Clearly

Terrorist attack in Paris is all over the news, and it should be, because it is something important, and we all should learn something from it, but do not let yourself be fooled and learn from it.

Freedom of speech is something that we all need to fight for, and this yesterday was grim reminder.

Over there in Paris people got simply attacked for something that should be normal for every man, to express his opinion about every subject. Freely!

The strategy of extremists is clear, divide society, so their idea of holy war can happen. When more people treat muslims bad, more muslims become radical. This strategy works and is why groups like ISIS grow.

Many people try to take advantage of situations like this. Some want you to be more suspicious of muslims, the government can approve new laws to control and monitor what we do more “to protect us”. Companies try to sell some services that they say keep all of us safer.

This is the big picture but some other things are more worrying. In my course and here I try to make people think a lot on local level.

People are killed in the middle of modern city. Those terrorist came out in the middle of the day, in combat gear, moved like professional soldiers (because at least one of them did spend time and probably trained in Iraq), and killed unarmed people without mercy.

They did not look like young amateurs, they looked like trained men, with objectives. They even got away with it in Paris. We do not talk about small village in mountain region somewhere in Turkey. We talk about Paris.

So first thing people should understand to not take anything for granted. You should not be more suspicious of muslims, you should be more suspicious of everyone and not just from today on but also before yesterday.

Stay aware, have a plan. No need to walk down street and look for places that provide cover constantly but know how to get out of situations and think through situations.

Terrorist acts like this bring chaos and uncertainty. All this also happened in country with strict gun control, but this is just something to take note of.

It is not strange at all, people simply feel less safe now, kids could not be safe at school, maybe you question if your workplace is safe, are we still safe to write and draw what we want?

People are afraid.

And when whole bunch of people are afraid they are looking for someone who leads them, who tells them that everything is going to be fine. They look for promises and swift actions.

And of course they are starting to generalize things.

So situations like this are easy to take advantage of for someone to come up with promises about swift actions and better world and to lead masses.

Politicians will do this now and once SHTF and survival is becoming hard local leaders automatically take advantage of smaller “shocking” events too.

In situations like that when many are afraid it is easy to get swallowed by waves of emotions. Now is time to be either sheep or shepherd or even wolf.

Control your emotions. Put them aside and and monitor what all parties now do. The right wing, the moderate people, the fundamentalists. For survival you need to see clearly. Like in military operation put emotions aside and understand situation and interests of everyone involved or you become playball of those who pull strings.

It is not about hating one whole group of people, or one whole religion, because it is simply gonna be manipulation if you allow yourself that. It can make you blind to more “real threats”.

This might sound cruel now but a lot of “big” terror acts are only big because we just hear more about it than suicide bomber who killed 37 people in Yemen yesterday as well.

Things look dark of course.

Real question is who and how do we „allow“ some group of people in the middle of nowhere to start launching attacks on our society where in the name of God and religion it is allowed to behead folks because they have different beliefs and different opinions, or women to be stoned because they said something wrong or got raped.

I simply can not beilive that some kind of organisation could not be bombed back in the stone age at the moment when world realizes they are dangerous for everyone. I hope terrorist attack in Paris is wake up call for many people in power to make things happen at the root of the problem.

I am not strategic genius, but I simply can not believe that it was impossible to defeat them right at the beginning of their growth. It shows what idiots with short term thinking run our countries.

Events like this have huge potential to bring something new, to bring someone who could look like saviour, who could lead angry people who lost their ability to think for themselves, to bring someone who can feed hungry people, give them safety.

People and organisation like those who did killings in Paris should be dealt with much earlier, and in much more „brutal“ way, instead of that, I can not escape feeling that they are being allowed somehow to bring slowly fear and chaos in our lives. They are like actors in the movie those in power direct. They are the bad guys and reason to justify a lot of the corrupt things governments do these days.

Just be careful, do not let your freedom of speech and thought get controlled by anyone. I repeat again, now it is time to see clearly and not ride waves of emotions.

It is responsibility of each and everyone of us, to think for ourself here. Do not let yourself to become one of the guys who are allow to be led by the wrong people, or ideas. No matter what are the names of ideas. They do not have to look like dictator. It could be popular talkshow host or media channel.

We all need to train to form our own opinions. When the time for real survival has come you need to make decisions fast and right decisions. If you never trained that you become victim of circumstances. Helpless and controlled by environment.

Since yesterday world has become more radical because everyone takes a stand now. What are your conclusions about this? Share in our forum or comments below.

Taking Care of Small Children and Babies in Survival Situation

small children survival

Popular picture of „true survivalist“ can often fool you down if you are easily get under the influence of stereotypes.

So for example you gonna see true survivalist with his favorite rifle standing while world is going to hell behind him, and he is tough. He has rifle and lots of ammo.

It is good picture, but rarely you are gonna see picture of that true survivalist with rifle in one hand, and 1 year old baby with bad case of diarrhea and vomiting in other hand.

It is not nice picture, but it is realistic. Personally I did not have kids during my SHTF time, but I saw how relatives had problems with kids and babies. And more important is that I have kids now, so I want to be prepared for some stuff.

I get question what to do about kids on regular basis and I speak in detail about this in my course and also wrote about how to help children with traumatic experiences.

When SHTF all you people who have small kids can count on multiplying all of your problems with kids so it is good to be prepared to some of those. Having kids during SHTF can be burden but at same time it is not, because if you have kids it becomes your reason for everything. Some people might fight harder or see more sense in staying alive to protect family than just for themselves. In my opinion there is no “right way” here and we still have to live in present moment and not in future that looks dark but we do not know what and when things will turn really ugly.

All this is also if you have very old people or people with handicap in group of course. You can replace babies and small children simply with “people who need help”.

1. Health problems

Be ready for “usual” emergencies that can strike your kid, remember that most probably you are not gonna be able to take your kid to the pediatrician, so you gonna be forced to solve emergencies like:

  • Fever
  • Typical first aid „cases“ (cuts, scrapes, fractures etc.)
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Ear or throat infections and similar

Talk to other mothers and fathers what works with their kids with typical child illnesses.

Research what kind of illness you can expect, usual symptoms, therapy, care etc. Lot of that knowledge can be found online, but also be ready to invest in some literature.

If your kid lives with some health problems already, learn about it and also learn alternative treatments so you can help your kids when modern medicine is not there anymore.

2. Store things

One very valuable thing during SHTF was baby food. Very valuable. It may sound too “heartless”, but it is simply mathematics – kids are precious to the parents, and because of that baby food became very valuable. People have been ready to do a lot to get some of that.

So do not become some of those desperate folks when SHTF. If you have baby be ready to store A LOT of baby food, especially if your kid is allergic to some ingredients and you need to have some unusual baby food.

You can imagine how rare and expensive it will be to get that stuff.

3. Be there for them

When SHTF we had many other things on our minds so for kids it was only about how to keep them safe, and that was it. I mean somehow most of the folks thought that if they put kids in some safe room inside house, provide them food it will be somehow all OK when everything ends.

But in lots of cases it was not OK at all. Great number of those “safe” kids grow up and become very troubled people. Lots of them adopted philosophy that violence is key for everything, or others simply grow up without influence of their parents. No surprise, everyone struggled to pick up and rebuild life from nothing after war was over.

They have been safe, but not paid attention to.

So keep in mind that part of survival is also raising your kid into a normal person. If you failed to do that, somebody could say that there was no sense in surviving. Do not let part of your children die when you can avoid it. It is maybe crazy if you hear me talk about this now but maybe one day you remember this and use the last bit of energy after long and hard day getting things in order to survive you spend some time with kids instead of just relaxing. This can make huge difference.

Include your kids in everything and be there for them on bad days. They see everything, and if they do not have someone who is explaining to them what is going on, they could come to their own conclusions, wrong ones and that can mark them for rest of their lives.

As a part of preparing, be ready to teach your kids at home (homeschooling) and to spend time with them with games and teaching. It is survival too. Just the family side of it.

Never forget that even during collapse time still goes by. It is not like you are in frozen space and everything is different. It looks like that but we all keep learning and experience shapes what we become later. A “master” survivalist also manages to be good father or mother even in times of hardship. Many generations before us did and so can we.

What do you do prepare for, for your kids or those who need help? Join our discussion in our forum or in comments below.

Loyalty in your survival group

When I write about SHTF world and interactions between people in that time, I always emphasize that you cannot trust in people any more. There are many examples why in my course.

Your neighbour that had been always nice to you in normal times is simply not same guy when SHTF, because now he may have hard time to keep his family fed, and comparing to his family you are nothing.

So simply trust no one outside your group.

Your group matters, you need people who you can trust, people that you can put your life in their hands. It is your group of people that you are preparing with for the time when SHTF.

Loyalty is one thing that you need to “grow”, and it needs time to grow, that is why it makes sense to have prepared your group before SHTF, it may be slow process, and you need to be sure what kind of people you have there.

My SHTF experience was very bad from the perspective of what I saw when it comes to loyalty.

When you have big number of unprepared folks thrown in really hard situation like war, you can see all kind of examples, mostly bad one.

Yes, I saw people betraying their friends, or even families. Sometimes for the few more hours of life.
Sometimes even for food.

But I have seen also people getting killed trying to save their families, sometimes they were almost sure that they going to get killed.

My old school friend get killed at the beginning of the war simply because he did not wanted to leave his wife under the ruins of collapsed house, he was trying to save her until the moment when rest of the building collapsed and kill them both.

And I already mention people trying to help friends or family members who get shot and wounded from sniper fire, only to get themselves killed from the same sniper.

Once I was pass out from the explosion (detonation) and my relative drag me to safety, while shells were still exploding.
You need to know what kind of people you have with you when it comes to loyalty.

Before you expect loyalty, ask yourself, are you loyal?

What kind of man you are? Do you have feeling of belonging to the group and what that group mean to you?
Of course there is your family or your friends inside the group, but what kind of the things you are ready to do for them? Do not expect more from them if you are not ready to do similar for them.

What keeps your group together?

There s few answers to that, fear can keep group together, or temporary circumstances too can keep it together when SHTF, but both of those examples will keep it together on very short run, and be sure that group not going to function good.

If members of the group are loyal to each other group will function much better, loyalty will be thing that keeps it together when things get tough. Creating a shared goal, idea and identity everyone feels part of, is another way to create more loyalty. You want as much things to be loyal to as possible. Patriots are examples of people loyal to something bigger.

Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it.

Mark Twain

I would slightly modify the quote for survival groups and add “loyalty to the group and cause” and not the government. Some of us also do not feel loyal to country anymore because most important ideas and values that country was build upon have been lost long time ago. Just look in your group who is loyal to something. These people can be loyal to your cause or group as well if they want to.

Be realistic

Just try to be realistic when it comes to the loyalty of the people in your group. They are people, not machines. Do not ask from them impossible things.

Everybody has a breaking point. It is important to know EXACTLY where (or when) that breaking point is in every man. Observe people and see where their limits are in low risk situations.

Expect some weird things when people get to that breaking point. You may be surprised when you find out that some “tough” guys have much lower breaking point than you expected. When people break they often forget to put group interest first and just think about themselves. So a loyal weaker person can be much more worth than tough guy who is very selfish.

Point is to understand loyalty ends somewhere for most people. Try to find out that breaking point today BEFORE the SHTF so you can know what to expect.

Vision, goal and causes in your survival group

I saw some groups turn to gangs simply because it was easiest thing to do and took not much effort besides lack of compassion for others. There was no shared cause, vision or goal. Just selfish people who want to survive. Same groups often fell apart because of internal fighting.

In other words what makes group of survivalists different from the simple group of scavengers and thieves? Vision, goals or a cause.

While one group is simply going to use the opportunity of lack of law to do nasty things, other group will try to survive in order to make some sense in all of that chaos. In short you MUST have goal or cause however strange that can sound. Our simple shared cause was to keep our family save. Very simple. I went out and risked my life every day for people back at our place. Think now about shared cause or goal when you are with other families or friends in survival group.

For someone it may be trying to survive in order to build better society afterwards, for other trying to teach folks good things. Do not ever let your group get lost without cause or vision of better tomorrow. A cause or vision can carry group like picture of a loved one you look at when you are held hostage.

A cause can be simply to survive to tell others how it was back then. In this sense I found another cause years after, writing here today.

Share your thoughts and plans on your survival group in our forum and get feedback from other survivalists and preppers.

True Nature of Survival

If you are not eating right now take moment and watch this video of monkey eating gazelle.

It feels very wrong for most people to look at this. This shows how much we are out of touch with nature. Most people want to eat meat but not kill it themselves for example. What happens to gazelle is not good and not bad, its nature. It simply is.

When you find yourself in survival situation you get quickly in touch with nature again, and nature is cruel and concept of fairness does not exist.

It is hard to be prepared for that before you experience it. But understanding how nature really is and that we only live in soft bubble protected from true face of nature, is a first step.

I talk a lot in interview in my course about events that lead to total collapse. Here is one more experience I want to share.

When SHTF started, in the time when great majority of us thought that what was going on around us is something like temporary rioting that got a bit out of control, city services still worked in some parts of the city, everybody was waiting for madness to stop.

In that short period before s. hit the fan with full force, people usually lost their lives because they did not recognize situation.

People were out rioting, stealing, fighting. But all that was still like “moderate”.

At that moment people still were “inside” the system, so we all were trying to hide more or less when looting was going on in neighborhood. Police were still arresting people and trying to control things. People were shooting each other yes, but it was not yet like full scale shooting and violence, mostly people were scaring each other with shootings.

One of my friends was involved in shootings in those days, after looting some stores, he got wounded. Wound was not too dangerous, he was shot in foot.

As I said, most of the city services were still working and trying to bring order to that chaos. City ambulances came and picked him up and they rushed to hospital with him.

About one kilometer from place where he got picked up, the group of people that actually shot him stopped the ambulance on some improvised barricade, first shot the driver and then killed my friend in the back of the ambulance. They killed him little bit slower than driver, and more painfully, they used knives. We got there a bit later, too late.

Now this story may sound confusing to you, you may say “it happens in war” but for 95% of folks at that time it was not war, it was something like violent rioting, and those 95% of folks still trusted the system, had trust in police and government that they are going to restore law and order. People still trusted that ambulances are like “protected” and nobody will stop them, not to mention shoot at one.

In this story here that wounded guy and ambulance driver simply did not recognize situation. He was a nice guy, why would this happen to him? Back then I probably would go with ambulance as well if I was shot. It felt very wrong that this happened but was one of first wakeup calls that fair and unfair are concepts of the past.

My friend in the first place should not have been there in that time of chaos. Ambulance driver should have said ”screw it” take valuable medicines and go home at first signs of real violence and total collapse. He did not. It is easy to call him hero and maybe day before or hours before he helped save life of someone else but it was still too high risk to be out at this point in time.

It is easy to say that now, in those time we all still called things by old names, police, trust, government, law, system, penalty…
If that happened maybe day or two later my friend would have crawled and treated his wounds alone, or driver would have refused to drive, or…

Few days after that event s. hit the fan with real force, and nobody had illusions anymore that something temporary is going on or that things get back to normal.

But point is that lots of people died in that short period before realizing that things aren’t the same. You can not still believe in good of people around you, but most people did. This ambulance event was one of many that ended with similar deaths.

So next time, when some rioting erupts in your city, some violence after football game, or some protests because high unemployment or similar and you hear gunshots and screams, and words about people being killed on the streets, stores being looted, you need to hope that it is temporary disturbance but you can not trust in that.

Be suspicious, trust in your bug out bag, trust in your storage, trust in your weapon. Do not go out just “because everyone goes out”. Avoid being greedy and go looting to have a bit more, even if it sounds easy, you prepare to not have to go out.

When you realize how random and brutal nature and violence is, then you realize you do not prepare to be hero, you prepare to survive. That ambulance guy could have helped many more people in later months when we were fighting for survival if he would not have died. But back then, we did not understand situation.

If you experienced situation that reminded you that fairness and unfairness are just concepts in our “civilized” world, please share in comments.

Self Defense in Survival Situations

Lots of people wrote about George Zimmerman case that followed the shooting of Trayvon Martin.

To sum up story, Zimmerman was local neighborhood watch volunteer and followed Trayvon Martin who he considered suspicious. Then they got into fight and Martin was shot by Zimmerman.

There is much more to this of course but reading about this gave me idea for article today. About what my understanding of self defense is and how it changed throughout my year in war.

If Martin was beating Zimmerman and smashing head into ground then what should he do? Wait until his head opens up?

I think world is going to hell very soon, and most of people are kinda idiots, brainless media blinded puppets.

I cannot see any sense in following big headlines and news about what some „famous reality star“ said about shooting and who is right and who is wrong.

When exactly we started to wait for statements from empty celebrity heads like some kinds of messages from Messiah?

Am I supposed to form my opinion based on her or his opinion just because she has public videotape of having sex with someone, or he can rap about throwing money in the air?

We have some wrong idols, and s. gonna hit the fan very bad, and if you look at humankind mostly we are deserving it.

Every lost life is tragedy, especially young life. Being in war I have seen many many people killed, young and old, innocent and guilty.

Some things never gonna change, there is always gonna be violence and stupid people.

Self defense for me was when I did not have any other option left and when only option was to shoot and kill. For example if I could not run away, or hide very good not to be seen. I would use any other option first, last option was to shoot.

Attacking them meant when I shoot first, even if I had other options to use first. In reality if I wanted to confront them I would attack them, if I did not want I would use any other option (go away, hide, or sometimes negotiate) then use force as a last option (self defense)

Real life example was two (drunk and high) guys going from house to house and killing and setting houses on fire, clearly self defense (as I understand it) because there is no sense of talking with them and leaving house was no option too. If you hear or see them murdering others, you are not going to be first person to talk sense into them.

When you shoot and kill the man, later you always think „Did i have to do it? Was there any other option?“. But yeah, in the beginning period, I mean when you are driven mostly by fear and adrenalin you tend to shoot too much. Like „shoot first and then ask“ stuff.

But man in my neigbourhood put like 20 bullets in his own brother just because his brother wanted to scare him (as a joke) while he was guarding their house. That is joke gone very wrong.

When you are new to survival situation most people do not understand all options they have. After some weeks and months you get familiar with your options and shooting is just one of the options.

Self defense changed troughout my year fighting for survival in two ways. First when people realized that SHTF for real, and there is no law it was like if you are smart and practice „self defense“ you would stay home, hidden and shoot at anyone who comes to you. That was self defense.

People on street were practicing something like „fun“ with weapon, like shooting and having fun, so nothing like real reasons for attack or self defense. Later when folks realized that it is becoming easy to get killed, and hard to survive, more people tried to stay „put“ and move out of way of other folks.

Self defense & carrying a weapon

Carrying weapon is not only about caring that gun, it is much more. It is about understanding the fact that you are ready to take someone else life, kill him, destroy his family.

There are not too many people who can live same life after killing someone, usually their life is destroyed too. They suffer slowly for the rest of their lives.

In short it is about understanding that and all consequences. People who can not understand it, should not carry weapons.

If you are right man then you are gonna be much more careful where to go and what to do after you start to carry weapons. You are not gonna look for trouble.

In terms of SHTF weapon have strange power not to transform man, but rather to remove mask from him. So you could see how weapon „turn“ someone to monster, or other guy to good and „righteous“ dude.

Actually weapon just „pushed“ them a little to show their real face.

When people seen that rules are gone, weapons were kinda used like firecrackers, so you could see people just having fun shooting at others with assault weapons, or killing each other because of minor fight.

But as I said those were specific kind of folks.

Smart self defense was that we just avoided all the time situations where we had to use weapon. And when we found ourselves in events when we had to use it, it was used with deadly force, not to demonstrate something, rather to kill.

If you miss it sends message too but when you shoot you shoot to kill.

How action movies kill people in survival situations

Lack of knowledge in the beginning days made people do stupid things, so people were killed in great numbers simply because they did not have clue about weapon and combat, so they use it a lot, and act like they had super powers.

Also lack of knowledge can be used to your advantage. I knew guy who used to shoot from his rifle using the old exhaust from his woodstove as a something like sound amplifier, so when someone attack his house it was like „what kind of weapon is that?”

Smart. More stuff like this in my course.

Pretty soon people realized that it is very easy to get killed so they become „smarter“ with weapon use.

When S hits the fan next time, on some global level, i believe it is gonna be very bad (or if you have very dark sense of humor funny), one of the reasons is because generations are raised and „thaught“ about weapons and shooting from action movies and music.

So it is almost like it is romantic and fun to use weapon. People will die in stupid ways again.

Weapons are not for everyone, and understanding of self defense can be different from man to man. I am using term „survival mode“.

In reality, today, fact that I carry weapon does not give me excuse to go in the middle of the night to the part of the town where I can expect trouble if I do not really need to go there.

I ll do lot of things in order to avoid the need to use weapon, some of those things you may call stupid, or cowardly, but I know how it is to use weapon to shoot to kill.

On the other hand when I judge that I really need to use weapon, I will go into „survival mode“ I will use it without mercy and hesitation, and I will use it with deadly force. And I will live with it.

If you can not swallow your pride sometimes in order to avoid the fight do not carry weapon, also if you are not ready to pull it and kill in moment do not carry it as well.

So these are my thoughts on self defense and I do not need false idols to teach me when to use weapons and when not.

I appreciate readers here, because somehow it seems what I write attracts more “true survivalists” and less rambo movie survivalists who live in dreamworld. So what are your thoughts on this case and self defense?

The reality of combat

When SHTF nobody told me how hard is gonna be and what things I will have to do to survive, there was no training or simulations, through most of the stuff I was going for the first time in my life, and I was hoping it is only temporary situation, it is not going to last for whole year.

Few events opened my eyes, and somehow make me survivor right at the beginning, and I can say I have luck to understand in very early stage how hard it is, and what it takes.

During one of the first bigger events of killing in the streets, I was out together with my friend who also was medical professional.

Fire from machine guns was on people who were standing in front of the main city bread factory, and people started to scream and run over each other.

My first impulse was to run to nearest cover but my friend got down to help some lady, so I stayed one meter next to him.

I was confused about my decision and not sure to stay with him or run. Bullets from machine gun hit him over his legs, and I saw how his knee cap exploded, it looked like some bad movie special effect.

He just looked at his legs, then at me, in silence. Even that was just seconds moments like this feel very long.

I took him by the hands and drag him some 20 or 30 meters to safety. Only there I saw that he was missing his leg under the knee. It stayed with dead lady on the street.

And only then he started to scream.

I used belt to stop bleeding, ambulance still worked in that period. He went to hospital and then evacuated from the city. He survived but never came back.

Lessons learned?

In moments of chaos always listen to your instincts and do not hesitate. Especially if you are involved in situation when someone is shooting at you with high caliber machine gun. Just accept that people will die, and you have to survive. To help others is great thing, to survive is even better, also I realized that human being is so fragile and easy to destroy.

Later I learned some things about weapons and how to use them, so I realize that more firepower does not necessary mean more dangerous and better chance to kill.

Owning a weapon is just absolutely necessary in preparing for a survival scenario, even more in urban survival. You just need to go and get as close as you can to the real stuff while you are doing the preparing and training for the SHTF, so it makes sense to go out and check your preps, to check your gear and yourself.

For example pair of boots that you bought and store for bad days will not be used for walking only, it will be use for running, squatting, jumping, in mud, junk, blood, guts maybe or just running trough a shallow river.

Everything that you have prepared and stored for SHTF will be pushed to the limits.

One thing is to go out into woods nearby and do recording of your weapon testing on some beer bottles with your friends, and after that concluding that particular gun or rifle is best for SHTF, and that you are dangerous dude because your accuracy rules. Some people gonna put that clip on you tube and go home convinced that they are ready and prepared.

In reality you do not know if you are prepared.

A lot of survival stores that sell things sell idea of buy this and you are safe. No you are not. Also you learn more about real urban survival scenario in my survival course and this helps you to mentally be better prepared but real deal when SHTF always comes as surprise.

When time comes again it gonna hit everyone like a hammer. Good news is that when you know you will get hit like that you can recover fast and use your skills, knowledge and preps to make best out of situation.

Using weapon in real life, in real survival situation is something absolutely different from shooting bear bottles, and if you could do some real training that is realistic that would be maybe going to camping with trash bag as a tent, being on camping for 10 days with 10 small cans of food, and 10 liters of water, walking every day for 10 km.

And then on 11th day run few kilometers and then shoot and see how accurate you are when your body is wasting away.

And still the most important thing is missing. While you are shooting at the beer bottles they do not shoot back at you in order to kill you.

During some of the first battles in city I was moving trough the building behind a guy, we both had rifles. He was sweeping the rooms and shooting, it was the closest urban combat as it can be. In the moment when he run out of ammo he used his rifle as something between spear and bat.

Now someone could say why he did not just switch to pistol? He did not have one, also he did not have time to look for ammo. But there I learned how it is useful to have folded stock of rifle when shooting and moving in very confined spaces.

Also I learned that rifle with pretty sharp parts at the barrel can be very handy. He stabbed guy to the cheek, ripping his face down and finishing him on ground.

One of the biggest misconception at the people who do not have fighting experience is what they need to practice.

It is all about pressure. You need to learn:

1. What your weapon can take

In terms of kicking, throwing, how often and when will it malfunction, and what the most common malfunctions are, and how to fix it, of course how to fix it in middle of fight. If you find yourself in the middle of fighting, and your weapon „jams“ do not be as we called “zblesavljen” or in English is probably looking like idiot.

I have seen that: guy is shooting and in the middle of fighting his weapon jammed, and he surprisingly look at the weapon in a „what the f#ck?“ state. And of course in two seconds he ends up dead.

You absolutely need to know how to manage small weapon jams without looking at the weapon, you need to look at the target while you are „repairing“ weapon (clearing the bullet, switching to other magazine etc.)

Other option would be to MOVE immediately when your weapon jams, move to cover in same second, or to dropping it on ground, or on your back, and switching to your other weapon. But you need to learn to do all of above without thinking. You need to train that this becomes automatic.

Small things like how quickly you can put your rifle on your back and a switch to pistol can be difference between life and death, if you somehow „trip“ yourself while you are trying to put rifle on your back in order to take pistol you can end up dead.

2. What you can take

Remember this: while you are shooting at the bad guys, those bad guys will be SHOOTING AT YOU TOO.

So shooting at the beer bottles in the woods with your buddies will not really do all the training you need. I am doing it often, but it just not covering everything.

Fighting and surviving combat means constant moving and outsmarting the guys on the other side, you gonna need to run, squat, throw yourself in the ditch, lay down in all kinds of sh!t and shoot at the same time, and probably fix your rifle from jams, or switch to another weapon.

Do some basic weapon training and learn about line of sight and how to get out off it.

Very great percentage of shooting is done without aiming, just spraying bullets.

It makes sense to do some airsoft or paintball in the woods to check how constant moving change whole game, and what kind of moving makes sense in order to survive gunfight.

For example how often you shoot from your weapon with both hands, dominant and not dominant? In urban fighting you will need switch weapon around very often (moving through the apartments, rooms, around the corners etc.). When you are shooting behind corner, and you are having rifle in your right hand and corner is on your left side it make sense to transfer weapon to left hand. otherwise it is dangerous to stick your left part of body out in order to shoot form right hand.

For all you who have some military experience this all is basic stuff, but I have seen many guys who were killed in stupid ways.

Real gunfight is dynamic thing. Adrenaline is weird thing too, so people can do tremendous things while adrenaline is pumping, but also with lack of training and common sense guy can do tremendously stupid things. I have seen man who was pointing to something and he stood up from the cover, and got shot.

3. How to train yourself

Training is the key. You can not do anything else today except to train very hard.

You can not experience real stuff today of course, but you can take it as close to real stuff as you can. Go out with your friends and think about all possible scenarios. But think about worst case scenarios. SHTF is not gonna wait for nice and sunny weather, you gonna be maybe hungry, dirty. Maybe have to give up your shelter and food storage on second day of SHTF.

Or you gonna be forced to use other weapon that you are not used to. Maybe you gonna be forced to hide for hours hidden under a pile of rubble and then you are gonna be forced to jump out and „kill“ ten beer bottles. Sounds like fun? This is why resilience and mental strength is so important.

Maybe you are gonna be cold and thirsty and in the middle of the battle. One thing is sure – very rarely it goes the way that you planned. So just be ready for many options and do not panic when things go other way. Want to get some funny sounding advice?

Get good at suffering while still being able to work towards a goal.

4. What weapon, caliber, stopping power etc?

It is very hard question (that I get asked a lot). But think about fact that everything today is about mainstream and commercial. And somehow it is more about what other people say is good and not necessarily about what you need and what is good for YOU.

You and your hand kill, weapon is only tool. I have seen fight when man with knife is killing the guy with rifle. He had mastered fighting with knife and had will to kill. Other guy had a rifle only, and he ends up dead. I also seen more than once people shot with rifle bullets still fighting, running for good amount of time. Some of them were not even aware that they are wounded before someone else pointed that out to them.

What I am trying to say, do not expect miracles if you own weapon that is at the moment most popular, having great stopping power, cool reviews. It is about practicing , weapon mastering and correct bullets placement.

I said bullets for a reason, I have seen many things, but I did not see someone survive multiple shots in correct place at the body. Have weapon that is best for your case, and achieve perfection in using it. Do not expect that people will fly back if you shoot them with one bullet from some widely popular weapon and caliber (not talking about shotguns).

So I am not gonna tell you what is the best weapon because what works for me maybe does not work for you or others.

Having a weapon that is too rare, too good or too bad does not make too much sense for me. Do not find yourself in situation when you lose your weapon and pick someone else and then find out that you do not have clue about it, because your weapon was special and rare.

Just have what everyone else around you has, because of gun parts, ammo and you look like everyone else.

Your weapon is only tool to survive, be ready to lose it if you need to lose it, and pick some other from ground in the middle of fight.

I knew a guy who did some scary stuff with rusty shortened M48. He was old and poor looking dude, he played that part good, until he would take out this old gun from under his coat and rob and kill people. Simple strategy but it worked for him. So look around and think what works for you.

If you have experienced combat or heard what matters from veterans please share in comments.