Looter Defense Tactics

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For many; the not too distant events in Ferguson are the first thoughts that come to mind when you mention the word looting. Looting in some circles is what you do apparently when there is an opportunity to steal and occasionally destroy with relative impunity. For some people, looting is appropriate after your team loses a sports event like the 2011 Vancouver riots or wins one as in the case of the San Francisco riots of 2014. The most likely place to see unabashed looting appears to be after a natural disaster like the looting reported immediately following hurricanes Katrina and more recently Sandy. Even before the Sandy storm had subsided, wannabe criminals were taking to Twitter to announce their looting plans. To be fair, our country isn’t the only one engaging in behavior like this during a crisis, as the recent hurricane in Cabo San Lucas showed.

Whatever the motivation, looting is wrong in my opinion and if it were happening to you, I am sure you would agree. There are some professionals (lawyers naturally)who have tried to justify looting in the context of a natural disaster by obliquely saying property rights are suspended and as such the looters aren’t technically stealing from anyone. Property without an owner needs to be redistributed. The example is when you leave your home because an impending hurricane, the property is no longer in your possession so it is fair game.

Isn’t that special?

But consider for a moment, a real collapse, not your garden variety incident that provokes the theft of TV’s, shoes, jewelry and clothes or the overturning of a cop car. In a real collapse scenario where you didn’t have FEMA coming with tent cities to take care of you, the power wasn’t coming back on, and nobody had jobs outside of survival; looting would take on a different meaning. In a real collapse, I think looters would quickly forget about electronic game consoles and would quickly move on to food and supplies. In this article I want to discuss some looter defense tactics to consider if the SHTF and the looters are coming down your street.

Home defense mistakes

When it comes to a collapse, we are talking about living a life that is almost entirely devoted to survival. Even if you have plenty of food stored up, you will need to take steps to find and cultivate new sources of food and possibly collect water on a daily basis for your family. You will eventually need to go outside and even if you barricaded yourself in your suburban home, that would not guarantee your safety from determined looters.

Fight your own normalcy bias – Before a crisis hits you would ideally have a plan in place to deal with the potential outcomes. It is important to understand as quickly as possible the severity of the events surrounding you and take proactive steps to head off any further problems. It is too simple and dangerous to hope that given time, the authorities will be around, the power and water will come back on and life will go on as it did before the crisis. You have to start thinking of taking care of yourself without the dependence on emergency services from the start.

A father with starving children will not play by the rules in a collapse.

A father with starving children will not play by the rules in a collapse.

Of course I am talking about cataclysmic events, not smaller regional events like hurricanes which we should all accept are recoverable as a societal whole, in most cases. If there is a football game that goes crazy and riots are in the downtown area, I don’t think we have to worry in the same way as if a terror attack that takes out the grid. People who are even half-way paying attention will know when it is time to jump into action and you should be well ahead of the chaos game before that point.

Facing Violence: Preparing mentally now is important to increasing your odds of survival.

Be prepared to defend your life – In a true collapse, the regular rules are out the window. There will likely be no law enforcement for some period of time, possibly ever. At best, they will be much slower to respond because they will already be busy with other issues. You have to seriously consider what will be required of you in a worst case scenario and to that end, what you are capable of in the realm of defending your family and home. We talk about all kinds of forms of self-protection on the Prepper Journal, but each person has their preference. No matter what that is, are you prepared to use it? Are you prepared to take the life of someone who has plans to kill you if you are standing in the way of something they want? If you are not prepared to defend your home and the life of your family, are you prepared to live with the consequences?

Not being there to defend the home – This last one might sound overly simplistic but if the crisis comes and you have already bugged out to the woods, I wouldn’t expect to be able to return to an untouched house. If you don’t have the money for your own private security firm, who do you think will protect what is left inside? In a real collapse, it may make sense to always have someone stationed in your home to prevent looting and theft; possibly worse. It isn’t like you will be driving to the in-laws or the mall across town and will be gone all day, but even short trips away from your home could give the bad guys an opportunity to smash a window in and quickly take off with supplies your family needs. During a collapse, you really need to start thinking of your dwelling as a castle. It may not have the nice tapestries hanging from the walls, but it will be worth defending.

The ability to provide round the clock security will force you to rely on a larger group. This is when your neighborhood watch plans would make the most sense. Here are some looter defense ideas that may prevent you from being a victim.

Deter – How to make your home less of a target

  • Don’t give them anything to come after – This one is harder to visualize in a collapse. When everything is fine, we would talk about moving valuables out of sight of people looking in your windows should they be casing your home. Grid down – they may be more desperate and not looking for jewelry or TV’s or care if your yard is nicely manicured. Hiding food and supplies will be more common for everyone so you have to seriously work on making sure nobody knows you have things they want. Concepts of the grey neighbor apply and it may be necessary to pretend you are worse off than you actually are. You could also make your home look like it has already been looted.
  • Signs and fences –Armed response – Make them think there is a chance they will get hurt, possibly dead looting from your home. At least they should think it won’t be as simple as walking up to the door and kicking it in. Fences are an obstacle they have to negotiate, but I think unless you have a ridiculous fence that might not stop looters in a grid down scenario. A good roll of razor wire could come in handy after a collapse to string along the tops of your fences, but this requires a fair amount of extra planning. Knowing they are dealing with an armed person (looters will be shot) might not prevent them from trying, but they will have to think twice before they do. This will deter anyone who isn’t really serious about getting into your home.
  • Dogs – No thief likes dogs – although in a serious collapse, if all rules are out the door, they may simply shoot Fido and keep going.

Detect – How can I have advance warning of looting?

Simple air cartridge can be used as an early warning perimeter alert.

  • Change your perspective – Foreknowledge is all about intelligence. You have to know what is going on outside your home and the further out you can gain intelligence, the more time you will have to prepare for looters. In a collapse scenario, I think it will be necessary to have someone outside monitoring the situation on your street, in your neighborhood so they can provide advanced warning. This is best done with a group for coverage and capacity of bodies. Neighborhood security plans would be best for this scenario.
  • Motion Detectors/Trip flares – Lights Perimeter Alarm – Barring an outside sentry team or system, motion detectors are a great way to have a security system that alerts you when movement is happening on your property. Driveway alarm systems can be purchased for simple notification, but requires someone to come up your driveway. In a collapse, something like a simple air-soft “grenade” could be turned into a trip wire noise device system or even cans on a string could alert you to movement in your yard. Motion activated lights could give you advance warning assuming power is on and you aren’t trying to keep a low profile. Of course, these could go off like any other motion activated device when the wind blows. Too many false alarms will lead to the Boy who cried wolf syndrome and will be ignored eventually.
  • Security CamerasSecurity cameras are a good option if you have power and somebody to monitor the cameras at all times.
  • Dog – Yes, a dog will probably detect people coming toward your house better than almost any other means.

Delay – How can I make my home harder to loot or buy me time?

Traditional doors are very easily broken.

Traditional wood frame doors are very easily broken.

    • Reinforce your doors – Most home break-ins occur from doors and first floor windows. Doors are pretty easily kicked in unless they are reinforced. One simple and cost effective way of making this harder is to reinforce the jams and door-frame with something like the EZ Armor Door security kit. Any door’s weakest point is the hinges, the wood around the locking bolt and their attachment to the wooden frame. A security kit takes the weakness of that wood frame and converts it to a steel shroud that increases the amount of effort required to kick in your door. An added benefit is that this device can be installed in a few minutes by almost anyone. Another option that requires no installation is a Security bar from Master Lock that simply attaches on the inside of the door under the door knob.

Build your own security system the old-fashioned way. Install brackets, slide in 2X4 board. Voila!

  • Charley Bar for sliding glass doors – Yes, in a grid down scenario sliding glass doors are a stones-throw away from obliteration, but if the looters are trying to be sneaky, a device like the Charley bar will slow them down. I like a lot of others have the simple sawed off broom handle as my security feature, but the Charley bar is a nicer option that attaches to the door and puts the reinforcement at the middle of the sliding glass door as opposed to the bottom. Additionally, you can slide the bar up out-of-the-way when not in use and you don’t have to worry about the bar walking away, or in my case being used for a toy by someone. Kids!
  • Security Window Film – It won’t make your windows bulletproof, but adding security window film could slow down someone trying to break in. The concept is similar to safety glass, where you have a thin sheet of transparent plastic film over the glass. Instead of shattering completely on impact, the film holds the glass together making entry a much slower process. You can see a video of how this works here but this is another do it yourself home security project that is pretty simple and could give you precious seconds of time to defend yourself.

Defend – When all else fails, what is my defense plan?

In the Ferguson riots, two shops were ignored by the looters. Can you guess why?

In the Ferguson riots, two shops were ignored by the looters. Can you guess why?

    • Layers of security – This is when I believe everything will come down to life or death. In a collapse situation, if someone has gone through all your security options above and is not deterred, you will most likely be fighting for your life and the lives of everyone in your home. The ideal defense is to not even be in your home, but to repel the attackers from as far away from your home as possible. If they get in, you do have the advantages of knowing your home, confined spaces and possibly the element of surprise. When they enter your home, it is not the time to negotiate though, that time has passed. Retreat to a secure area or at least a space that provides cover that will shield you from bullets. If the looters are coming in from two directions, find a place where they will funnel, possibly a hallway where you can attack them from one direction – your protected front. Make sure you have someone watching behind you also.

Force Multiplier – With noise cancelling earmuffs, you can hear after gunshots while the looters will be deaf temporarily.

  • Hearing protection – Gunshots, contrary to what you see on TV and the movies, are very loud. At the range we have ear protection, but in a panic situation that might not be the first thing on your mind. If you have to shoot inside your home it will be even louder (140-190db) and will render you effectively deaf for some period of time after that happens. Noise cancelling sport earmuffs use the same technology that the Bose headsets use to block loud jet engine noises, but let regular sounds come in. Any gunshot sounds will be blocked because they are higher than 80db but you will still be able to hear regular conversations when you are done. Instead of ringing ears, you will be able to hear people move or talk to each other and this can give you a huge advantage if you are prepared.
  • Plan and Communication – Having a plan will be important so that everyone in your home knows what to do. If you are shot, what do they do? If the front door is breached, what is our plan? If they throw a Molotov cocktail through the window, what do we do? Don’t wait until the looters are in your home to react, have a plan and practice it. I don’t know if this is absolutely necessary now, but would be one of the first things to consider in a collapse. A well-trained team will perform better than a group of scared people who are frozen in a panic.

What are your thoughts on looter defense tactics for your home? Have you given this any thought?


  1. usmarinestanker

    January 29, 2015 at 11:19 am

    For a determined marauder gang, I think fire is their best option and your worst enemy. Your molotov cocktail example is just what I would want to do if assaulting a stronghold. Forget risking my life on a frontal assault or breaching a door/window. Smoke ’em out or burn ’em out like WWII Marines used to do to the Japanese with flamethrowers.

    Keeping the enemy outside is the first best option because if they can make it in they can loot and burn your house down simultaneously. If they’re forced to set fire to your house from the outside you are at least denying them use of anything they would otherwise have stolen.

    For these reasons I believe fire extinguishers, or at least a pre-filled 5 gallon bucket of water or sand, is a must-have. Additionally, if you live in a multiple story house you should look at fire escape ladders that hang from a window even for your everyday safety needs. http://www.amazon.com/Kidde-Two-Story-Escape-Anti-Slip-13-Foot/dp/B00005OU7B It should be needless to say, but practicing using this ahead of time is an obvious necessity.

    • Pat Henry

      January 30, 2015 at 9:42 am

      I think if they want to kill you more than they want your stuff you are right. Why even bother trying to get in?

      • usmarinestanker

        January 30, 2015 at 10:59 am

        You’re right that the use of fire is limited in scope but it might be more of a vengeance thing or a terror thing besides simply being out to kill you. In the military we were taught to assess both the enemy’s most likely way to attack as well as his most lethal way to attack. Often these methods are one and the same, particularly when the enemy does not have versatility in tactics or equipment.

        In Iraq the Sunni terror groups would ‘make examples’ out of folks who resisted with pretty horrific methods like this or publicly murdering children. These things kept the populace in line. They would also practice scorched earth quite frequently to deny resources and strong points to us.

        So if the marauders were organized and attempting to carve out territory and were trying to send a message against your neighborhood watch or you were a particularly troublesome thorn in their side I see this as a likely attack against you. There is also the wanton violence aspect we have to be wary of as well. Plenty of pyros will be out getting their kicks burning stuff without much reason than seeing stuff burn. Their target may be your house, particularly if it already appears abandoned.

  2. S. Cullen

    January 29, 2015 at 11:52 am

    Totally agree with Pat that one needs to prepare.
    I also know that no one plan or idea covers all bases.
    Defending oneself is a very fluid “action” and many different scenarios can take place that will require different actions.
    However, #1 thought here is this….
    I can not emphasis that about question greater than I have just put it forth….
    For me, I have absolutely, no hesitation, thought or question about using deadly force…
    I have done so several times previously and done so w/o even a second thought of doing so, but I was trained for over 26 years in law enforcement to deal with these situations, so for me it’s second nature.
    I also am a firm believer in 2 other principals….
    #1, is….
    Never take a knife to a gun fight…..
    #2 is ….
    Never allow oneself to be out gunned and out shot….
    If someone has 12 rounds of ammo to shoot, I want to have 15 rounds….if he has 15 rounds I want 17 rounds….more is critical…less can be fatal and not for the other guy….
    I also do not want to use a 9MM semi automatic going up against a 12 gauge shotgun….
    Nor would I want to use a shotgun going up against a AR15….
    Doing so, probably would be suicidal…..
    There is a whole paradine of thoughts, ideas and actions that one can take place to protect one self….and in all honesty books could be written on the subject.
    My plan that I’ve come up with is this…
    2 12 gauge tactical shotguns, one loaded with 00 buck and the other loaded with slugs…
    1 Kel Tec KSG with one barrel loaded with 00 buck and the other tube loaded with slug….
    2 AR15, with Vortex Sparc II Red Dot scopes and MBUS sights….10 mags loaded 6 with 30 rounds and 4 with 40 rounds….
    9MM S&W M&P 16 rounds with JHP with 5 mags loaded….
    40Cal S&W M&P also loaded with JHP and 5 mags….
    1 Sig Sauer P320 9MM with 5 mags JHP….
    2 380 with 3 clips 6 rounds….loaded….
    This allows me to address my two previously stated thoughts about going to a gun fight and not being outgunned….
    In addition, I’ve got plans, ideas and thoughts about defending my home ranging from stacking 18″ of firewood all around my front porch and back porch not so much as to have a ready supply of firewood but as a protective barrier against an armed attack….not much will go through 18″ of wood…
    I’ve also set up 8 “sniper ports” in the firewood using floor vents from Lowe’s….
    I also have 4 1100 to 2200 lumen spot lights available and charged to illuminate my property with BTW is more than 4″ acres and run from the street to the back property some 1,100 feet and for the most part is wide open area….
    In addition, I’ve got 3,000 ft of barbwire and about 80 3 FT metal poles to attach the barb wire to ….will it stop them? No but it will slow them down….
    I’ve also got other ideas as well, but then that’s for further discussions more than likely resulting in a lengthy book long writing…..
    But you all get the idea….
    Do I sound a bit crazy or over the top here??? Maybe….
    However, I was on duty the morning of the infamous “FBI Miami Shootout” in April 1986 in which Jerry Dove and Ben Groogran were killed and heard it go down in real time on my police radio….and I went to Dove’s funeral….
    I also was a state certified instructor and taught Crime Prevention Though Environmental Design courses or called CPTED….
    I’ve put on talks, to community organizations as well as a number of home group associations in crime prevention topics….
    In addition, there have been many other experiences I’ve dealt with in my career that have had a major influence on how I respond to things….I am a product of my life experiences and situations…..
    I also believe in the theory that an ounce of prevent is worth a pound of cure…..
    Anyway, I could go on, but I’ll shut up at this point….
    Hopefully I’ve been able to share a few thoughts with you all…
    S. Cullen

    • EgbertThrockmorton1

      January 29, 2015 at 4:37 pm

      CPTED is excellent at slowing down the determined violent invader. The “only” difference I have with Mr. Cullen above, is that for logistical purposes, we purposefully keep our ammunition/caliber components as common as possible. Makes it easier to resupply and to store. I am also, in favor of having high-intensity lighting available to you. A curtain of light, can mask a great deal of activity behind that curtain, (and yes, it can be shot out), however, we are speaking to the issue of “buying time” to respond to the violent attack/invasion on your primary dwelling. if someone is attempting to John Wayne our front door, I am not going to assume he/they, merely want in to join us in a “party”. Sorry, we are not into those kinds of party and will respond to that violent, predatory attack with appropriate response. There are many rather creative ways we can harden our structures for defense and to buy us all TIME. TIME, is our best friend, and we need ALL the TIME, we can afford to ourselves. Get creative, find out what works for your specific situation, then implement those responses and hardening protocols. Now, after doing that, KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT about what you have done. You may only “share”(or you should only share) with your loved ones who are living with you in that specific domicile. As proud of our “creativity” as we may desire to be, as tempting as it may be to “share”, two people can only keep a “secret” if one of them is dead. That’s Blackbeard-the-Pirate’s infamous saying. OPSEC is an absolute must. Let the Gomer Pyle Theory of Invasion and Attack Response, be ingrained in your soul. “Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!” , we need not let a single person know of how we’ve decided to respond or, what we have specifically done. It is NOT their business at all.

      • S. Cullen

        January 29, 2015 at 4:58 pm

        We carried several different calibers of rounds both for our primary duty weapon as well as our back up weapons…

        Also a lighter cal weapon is for the wife to handle.

        Having multiple types of rounds for me is no problem.

        As far as disclosure to others??? Having worked in law enforcement on all levels I kind of know the routine of non disclosure.

        • EgbertThrockmorton1

          January 29, 2015 at 6:59 pm

          Was never suggesting nor intimating you “thought” otherwise on what I posted. Only posted what I did as an adjunct to your already good points. Apologies if you chose to take issue. Wasn’t meant that way at all. Never crossed my mind, I assumed that the vast majority of readers do not have the experience you or I have had professionally.(and personally)

          When we can provide ALL readers with excellent information, (and most will not and do not practice any form of OPSEC) the better off we all are.
          As far as ammo on hand, I don’t “know” if I can ever have “enough”….but that’s just me. 🙂

          • S. Cullen

            January 29, 2015 at 8:57 pm

            Oh not a problem…
            I think strictly from a tactical operation because that’s the way I’ve been trained.
            Defending my home or my environment is the same process for me.
            As far as having a variety of caliber of weapons partly it is to allow my wife to use multiple platforms which I problem wouldn’t use (9MM/380) which is more suitable to her ability.
            I used 357, 40 cal and 12 gauge (00 & slugs) and the AR came along after I retired, but it’s standard now for police work.
            My purpose also because of the size and layout of my property is to have close, (shotgun/handgun) intermediate (shotgun/handgun & AR15) and long range (AR15) because I have clear lines of sights up to over 700 feet of open space.
            So no one weapon is and end all to home defense purposes.
            My purpose also is to have multiple weapons in all of the same calibers in the event the SHTF and no store/gun shops etc are open incase a weapon breaks down and must be fixed. This way I have a back up weapon just in case.
            Now as far as disclosure….
            Some people know what I’m doing….obviously the people at the place where I’m buying my weapons from or others who know me well but live hundred if not thousands of miles from me.
            Neighbors NOT…and with them, I even profess a disdain at having any weapons because there is no way that I want anyone to know what my plans are.
            I also expect that neighbors (who are few and far near by) will be more of an issue than any terrorist…
            If the SHTF they’ll be at my door looking for me to take care of them, because they have no idea what or how to prepare for a SHTF event. They’ll be looking for me to bail their asses out, and that simply won’t happen.
            Anyone else including relatives who don’t live with us don’t event know.
            Now I agree “you never have enough ammo” nor will you ever have enough gasoline, food or other items, but still there is only so much one can collect/store and have…..
            10,000 rounds for me is my feel good level for both during an event crisis as well as post event crisis when no ammo will be available.
            Now if I can, I’ll go beyond 10,000 rounds if time allows me to accumulate more, but the “wildcard” in all of this is “TIME”…the unknown factor, because when and if something happens and every day it appears we’re moving closer to it in my assessment and opinion and rapidly from what I see, preparing stops and “game on” and no going to Walmart the next day to go and stock up…because it will be to late.
            Now snow storms, hurricanes etc, you have some idea as to when those events will take place…a SHTF situation you won’t because all it can be caused by is someone pressing a computer key on some laptop in a remote area of the middle east and then all hell will break loose.
            I tend to analysis things WAY over the top down to crossing my “t’s” and dotting the “i’s”…but that’s they way I’ve been trained….
            So all of this is in my DNA….it’s second nature for me to look at things, plan and come up with whatever methods I need to work with.
            Hell I’ve got 300lbs of charcoal just to use for alternative cooking….
            Plus I’ve got all kinds of hand tools incase I can’t use electric tools….or run out of gas…
            I have back up for the back up….and I calculate everything out as best as I can.
            I have 3 propane cooking grills and 150lbs of propane stored and plan on adding more soon as well….
            So I’ll be able to cook via electric, charcoal and propane and firewood.
            Now can I prepare 100%? NO,
            can I get to 90% or 95% prepared??? Hope to….an if I do, that will put me well in place to be standing after most have faded away….
            There’s other things I’m planning on doing or am doing, but again, I’m trying to post something that isn’t the great American novel here as well.
            But I pretty much have most things planned out….and about 80% in place.

            • Herman Nelson

              January 30, 2015 at 9:21 am

              Smart move on the charcoal. I have mine stacked 10 high, 2 across with the lodges hibachi sitting on top. Next to it is the flats of coleman 1 lb cylinders stacked 10 high with a couple one burner stoves and lanterns. I’ve been stocking up on the 15 lb cylinders just by shopping around craigs list. Those I fill and chain up.

              As to the ammo- best practice is 10,000 rounds per caliber and double or triple on the 22LR. You can never have enough 22LR..

              Something to consider- pick up a couple pellet rifles. Pellets are cheap and store indefinitely. They’re good for small game hunting and reasonably quiet.

              • S. Cullen

                January 30, 2015 at 10:13 am

                I’m not trying to come across as a “know it all” here…
                But having been a cop for 26 years and worked a variety of assignments including Hurricane Andrew and seeing how that played out, I tend to look at things and plan for the worse case events….
                That said, I have 200 lbs. of charcoal….
                But that’s only the start…
                This is what I’ve done as well…
                Have one propane Bar B Que grill….
                One Camp Chef double burner and Oven (to cook/bake breads rolls or small roasts etc…)
                I am also storing 20lb, 30 and 40 lb. propane tanks to the point I have 150 lbs. so far and possibly will get another 50lbs and that will give me about 200 lbs….
                Calculate that out and it comes out to about 3,000 hours of cooking time….
                Then I have 2 bales of straw broken down and in a 55 gallon plastic barrel….
                2 large bales of wood chips….the type used for bedding in a rabbit cage also stored….
                15 containers of charcoal lighter fluid I bought on sale for $2 a can at Dollar store….
                Used the above to start small camp fires which I’ll build on 4 12″ X 12″ concrete patio squares and then use cinder blocks around them and you can get 18″ and 24″ round steel grates at Lowe’s or Wally World and make your own charcoal grills.
                I’m also storing up small pieces of wood which I am seasoning inside my shed and drying out….
                My plan is to take some straw or bedding place on the patio pavers…add a few charcoal briquettes and some pieces of wood and add charcoal fluid and start small fires to cook over….
                Then either cook on the racks or put a skillet, or other cooking utensil over fire to cook food with….
                Use aluminum foil when I can to keep stuff clean …
                I can also then take a large pot of water and boil it and then let it cool down and put in 2 liter or 1 gallon bottles or jugs…
                I’ve also gotten 4 cheap (under $30) charcoal grills to cook on as well for small amounts of cooking like chicken, hot dogs burgers, etc….
                I have a table top 1000 watt microwave to use to heat up soaps, stews, water, and other can food off the generators if needed.
                This can be done maybe in 2-3 minutes then I can unplug the microwave …and take it off the generator load…
                Also going to get a couple of small frig and freezers to use rather than large freezers if I can….less wattage use…as back ups….
                I’ve accumulated through others who are saving these for me over the past 6 months…I’m up to my eyeballs with plastic bottles….
                I’ve filled some so far up to 100 gallons of water and about 20 cases of bottle water from Walmart as well…
                The plastic bottles (the small individual drinks like 20 oz bottles) I’ve collected so far, those I don’t use can be cut at the bottom and holes punched in the bottom and I can make them seedling start pots for veggie plants in a greenhouse I am building….
                Also some of the plastic bottles I fill and then freeze….these bottles will be my “ice bottles” to put in a 60 quart 5 day ice chest to keep drinks cold and other items I need.
                I can then rotate these in and out of the freeze to replace…
                Also I am collecting about 30 ice trays which I can fill with water and either put in a freezer (Think small unit that holds like 300lbs of stuff) and make ice cubes….takes about 3 or 4 hours to freeze….
                Then pop those out for drinks or for ice chest….
                Or if the temps get low enough outside put on my front porch rail and let nature freeze them overnight….
                Rain water collection….
                put tarps on roof and clean out gutters and let rain come off roof and down the gutters into 3 55 gallon plastic barrels lined with black plastic contractors bags….
                Collect the rain water and transfer it to 5-7 32 gallon covered barrels stored in shed (under lock and key) for future use….
                Used 5 gal buckets to transfer the water.
                Shed is about 20 ft. from house….
                Good exercise BTW…..
                Use water collected for washing, cooking, bathing etc….
                Also boil water for drinking….and place in marked bottles as drinking water….other water will be placed in gallon jugs or 2 liter bottles for other purposes….
                Here locally we get about 54″ of rain annually and a 1″ rain fail dropping rain on a 20 ft. X 30ft. tarp will produce about 300 gals of water….
                Also use water for plantings as needed…..
                We average about 7″ per month….
                So we should have sufficient amount of water…
                Continue to buy ammo on a weekly basis….
                Some ammo I’ll buy in bulk at 250 rounds or 500 rounds and have shipped in….
                Other ammo I’ll buy locally 100 to 200 rounds at a time….
                Continue to do so until I can’t buy anymore….
                When will that be is anybody’s guess…..
                I’m also working through and planning other actions and activities as I go along….
                I’ve got 3,000 feet of barb wire from Tractor Supply on 1,000 ft. rolls with about 50 small green stakes to clip barb wire on..
                Some of these I’ll use to set a perimeter around my property and in the event of a SHTF scenario, some of the grass I’ll let grow up because my property use to be a hay field and the grass will get to be about 3 feet tall….
                I’ll run multiple lines of barb wire strung between poles which I’ll bend over at 45 degree angles so anyone coming up towards the property about 100 feet out will encounter concealed rows of barb wire….
                Won’t stop them, but slow them down and then I can pick them off with AR15’s, 12 gauge shotgun slugs and 2200 lumens/watt spot lights if it’s a night time invasion….and if they are deemed to be a “TREAT”…..
                I live at a dead end street surrounded by about 65 acres of woods so it’s not like a lot of people will be coming by to visit….
                Otherwise I ain’t doing anything……but twiddling around here….
                That’s my “game plan” more or less….
                AND!!!!! I REPEAT>>>>>>
                Only my wife is aware of my “ideas”…..
                She’s allowed me to be Planner-in-Chief here…..
                She says I’m good at it….LOL….

              • Herman Nelson

                January 30, 2015 at 11:52 am

                Naaa… I never implied you were a “know it all”. I used to work for “Mr. know it all” and you are not him.. 😉

                Every piece of information or experience shared is for the good of the discussion.

              • S. Cullen

                January 30, 2015 at 12:03 pm

                I’ve just been around the block a few times….actually more times than I care…..and “blessed” to have lived such a “diverse life”….and how I’ve made it this far is way beyond my reasoning….
                That said, I’m happy to share some of my experiences, views thoughts etc so people might be able to get some insight about certain situations w/o actually having to deal with the difficulties that come with it all….
                As diverse as my life has been, there is a very high emotional price that comes with it and that I really wouldn’t want to put on anyone including my worse enemy…..
                So if I can share it and someone can gain by it I’m all good with that…..

              • Pat Henry

                January 30, 2015 at 4:57 pm

                Sounds like you have lived an interesting life S. Cullen. If you ever want to share your thoughts with a wider audience, please let me know. I am always looking for great articles for the Prepper Journal.


              • S. Cullen

                January 30, 2015 at 5:57 pm

                Ah, hmmm let’s see….
                What I’ve shared here is only the tip of the iceberg shall well say…
                I’ll be happy to share some further details with you via email
                you can reach me via
                I can send you some links on some additional stories….
                Steve Cullen

              • usmarinestanker

                January 30, 2015 at 11:02 am

                I second the pellet rifle for small game. 6,000 BBs for $5 at Walmart and you can kill all the birds, rabbits, and squirrels you see. A lot more reliable than deadfall traps.

              • Herman Nelson

                January 30, 2015 at 1:59 pm

                I’m more apt to shoot squirrels off the side of the house with a pellet gun than a .22.. I don’t need any holes through the roof nor do I need to have a 22 bullet continue after it’s taken down what I shot.

      • BobW

        January 29, 2015 at 8:16 pm

        Mixed calibers can be a touchy subject. If you have a real chance of remaining in one place (the castle) throughout, then common calibered firearms makes sense.

        Unfortunately, I don’t see sheltering in place as a realistic option for urban and suburban folks. Every course of action I can come up with winds up with us bugging out, with no viable nearby options for holing up. With bug out as the most likely scenario, I’d choose varied common calibers that will increase the likelihood that I can scavenge or barter my way to additional ammo for at least one carried weapon.

        I haven’t figured everything out yet, but many modern autoloaders can swap barrels and mags to turn a .40 into a 9mm/.357 SIG etc. My personal take is that despite whatever weapon choice a person makes, they need to very seriously consider a .357 wheel gun of some kind as a backup. With the bent toward casting off revolvers for 9mm, .40, and .45 autoloaders, the chances of finding .38 and/or .357 outside of a preppers shack seems higher than finding a box of modern autoloader ammo. JMHO.

        • EgbertThrockmorton1

          January 31, 2015 at 11:23 pm

          I think based upon our own experience in SoCal, (well before we retired and moved out of my native state), that sheltering-in-place, bugging in, staying put, or whatever someone chooses to call it, depends entirely upon the area where you are located. In SoCal, I was in law enforcement, and saw and participated in the Rodney King 1992 Spring Festival, and witnessed the very real “panic” among many many people, of all ethnic, economic and religious backgrounds.

          I also see nothing wrong at all with the revolver as THE solid choice for most folks. I have several in .357 and never have felt “undergunned” when so armed. even when I was in law enforcement. Yes, THAT long ago. The .357 works to resolve most violent predation most of the time. I am also of the very solid belief, that each of us, has to “work out our own salvation”, that being we, (and we alone) make the decisions based upon OUR circumstances and not artificially proscribed, one-size-fits-all, logistically attractive, set of criteria. In my personal and professional experience, that is a recipe for disaster. While I am not personally a “fan” of the .40 S&W cartridge myself, I wouldn’t hesitate to use that caliber, IF, I had no other choices available to me. Each of us, will have our personal preferences, and we should stick to what will work for us. In the major metro areas, just getting from point A, to point B, on a day with “good traffic”, can be Hell-on-Earth. During a cataclysmic event, or societal upheaval, I certainly wouldn’t be trying to “flee” or “relocate”, but that is just my personal opinion. So, choose what works best for YOU, and don’t worry about everybody else’s two cents of opinion. In the long run, those “opinions” don’t matter to a hill of shriveled beans. Apologies, for the long-winded response, but, you are correct in my experience of not ruling out revolvers of excellent quality. I’ve never seen a thug or felon, want to get shot with one, simply because of what he/she thought the caliber might or might not be! Hope this helps, and don’t burn yourself out, trying to prep for every contingency,(because it is indeed, impossible) I tried that once. Learned my lesson quickly.

    • Pat Henry

      January 30, 2015 at 9:31 am

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and preps! I wouldn’t want to be walking up to your house uninvited if the SHTF.


      • S. Cullen

        January 30, 2015 at 12:00 pm

        WHY???? HUH????(smile)….
        I’m really a nice guy….honestly, I’d give you the shirt of my back….
        But you might also think I’m some kind of a “whack job” as well….
        However, as Paul Harvey would say…….Now for the rest of the story….
        I was a cop for 26 years….(good or bad, but definitely not boring)…..
        My first arrest (3 days on the job) went on to make the FBI’s 10 most wanted for blowing up government buildings….
        Then I as a rookie cop walked in on two cops doing a burglary one night with a Sergeant who didn’t want to do anything about it, and one who later did an $18-$25 million dollar bank burglary in Massachusetts….
        When I walked out I had a bull’s eye on my back….
        Then I missed a mob hit ordered by Whitey Bulger by about 60 to 90 second one day in April 1973….
        Eventually I made my way to Miami and in time conducted 1st degree life felony cases involving child sexual predators…which in some cases I put people away for up to 50 years in prison.
        I also worked a special multi-gang unit and made a number of arrests related to street gang members down in Miami….
        I at one time was involved in arresting 2 brothers….
        One for Attempted Murder and the other for burglary….
        The father tried to get a “contract on me for that”….and he got arrested as well….
        Had to have 24 hour police protection at my home for 2 weeks until the investigation and arrest was made….
        But I couldn’t seem to stay out of trouble….
        I got involved in a traffic stop one night with my rookie officers as their supervisor….
        The vehicle had 400 lbs. of cocaine belonging to Pablo Escobar…
        It was estimated to be worth $5-$6 million dollars…..but it was seized.
        Street value of the coke was Oh about a mere $50 to $60 million dollars….
        The follow up investigation resulted in a seizure of a 190 ft. ship worth $50 million dollars…..also belonging to Pablo….
        Needless to say, Pablo wasn’t a happy camper….
        There were a few other “incidents” along the way that I’ve been involved in…..but “minor” in comparison….
        But all in all, during my life, I’ve seemed to have this “black cloud” over my head….or in other words, I could attract “s**t” better than most people….
        But I’d have to say, m life hasn’t been boring……
        As a result, I’ve developed this talent of having eyes in the back of my head and my head on a swivel stick more or less for obvious reasons…..
        Now I’d like to say, what I’ve disclosed is all “fiction”, but the truth is they are all factual and truthful…..
        Now over the years, I’ve developed this “talent” of looking at things, analyzing things and planning “my action plan” for obvious reasons….self preservation…..
        Over the years, I’ve become a certified news junkie….far more than most….
        As a result, with the events going on in the world today both domestically as well as internationally, I simply see on the horizon, some very dark clouds…..
        So, I started “prepping” about 8 months ago….”Just in case”…..
        But recently, I’ve changed my estimation, from “dark clouds” to the “perfect storm” coming…..
        For some reason, (according to my wife) I’ll make predictions of things I see going on, and make “predictions of what will happen” going forth….been doing this for a few years now….
        My wife says I’m about 90% accurate with my predictions coming true….
        So for now, I am now accelerating my prepping and trying to get “all my ducks in order and things in place”….before all hell breaks loose…..
        My local gun shop is very pleased with seeing me, since usually it results in them getting some “Benjamin’s” from me…
        Otherwise, however, I lead a very mundane and boring life……
        But honestly, I am a very easy going, laid back guy, who believes in let live and enjoy……until you pose a threat to me and then I’ll light you up and smoke your ass and send you to your Maker in a heartbeat…..and not give one thought about it afterwards…..
        I am a product of my environment….
        What can I say….?????
        later all!!!!!

  3. Bobcat-Prepper

    January 29, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    For tornados and SHTF, I have pre-cut plywood sheets for each first-floor window, with holes pre-drilled for easy installation, and a bag of hardware attached.

    I have an expanded metal section cut and ready to install on the narrow window next to the front door (I hate those things, such a security problem). I also have a 5″ latch installed at the top of the door with long screws, so someone could not break the glass and just let themselves in.

    I have a Door Devil package installed on each exterior door, well worth the price.

    And finally, I have a 200-degree viewers/peephole ready to install, so that the blind spot next to my front door can be observed from safety. A security camera would be nice, too, but an obvious target of attack, and would probably not work in a grid-down situation.

    • usmarinestanker

      January 30, 2015 at 11:04 am

      The window preps are genius and multipurpose. See what happens living in areas without certain threats like I do? You get soft!

  4. BobW

    January 29, 2015 at 8:27 pm

    It seems to me that the single biggest thing a person can do to prepare for the defense of their castle is to practice. These are basically the same thing we did in the Army. Contact front/back/left/right, and everyone moving to their designated positions. Drills seem corny, neurotic, etc.. but they only take a few minutes to do a few times. Getting everyone on the team conditioned to move quickly to their designated positions won’t take all that much, and if/when things go bad, it’ll be ingrained into their heads to do their assigned task.

    Far more importantly, doing an honest evaluation of the facility, looking at its shortcomings/strengths, and finding realistic, survivable positions into which you are willing to put your favorite people is of the utmost importance.

    While upstairs windows provide improved visibility, potentially plunging fires and the like, the only thing between your 13yo and death is some vinyl siding, two pieces of 3/8″ plywood, and some aging insulation. Look critically, and seek ways to improve survivability for every position.

  5. Illini Warrior

    January 29, 2015 at 8:53 pm

    Just a FYI …. those “brackets” for sliding in a 2 X 4 across a door – called “bar holders” in the hardware trade …. two different versions – closed version as pictured in the article and an open top version for just dropping in a 2 X 4 …. .

    • Pat Henry

      January 30, 2015 at 9:39 am

      I have been searching online for these for a while, but kept neglecting to remember to search when I went to the hardware store and didn’t get the name right apparently till I stumbled on these in the post. These seem like a really simple (but ugly) option that will further reinforce the doors. The open style you mention will go in narrow places where I can’t get the 2 x 4 to slide in due to space restraints.

      A few of these, some 3″ screws and a fully charged cordless will be a nice compliment to pre-cut sheets of plywood I think.


  6. Herman Nelson

    January 30, 2015 at 9:08 am

    EZ Armor is a great idea. I watched the Youtube videos and was quite impressed that it rebuffed a police “door knocker”. When I replaced the front door sometime ago, I also added the EZ armor in as well. When it came time to replace the roof, I went with steel. It doesn’t burn very well when cocktails are thrown on it.

    My plan for the ground floor windows is having pre-cut pre-drilled 1-1/8″ plywood ready to go and 2-1/2″ torx deck screws to keep it in place. The idea is have a 1X2 lip to hold the sheet in place on the window trim to facilitate easy securing.

    Tanker- to keep rocks and cocktails from coming through the windows, use chicken wire in front of the windows. It’s soft enough to keep the bottle from breaking (it’ll break when it hits the ground, but not inside), yet strong enough to keep it from coming through. You’re right on the fire extinguishers- take a page from the Charlie Heston’s “Omega Man”. You’ll notice that they’re all over his house.

    • Pat Henry

      January 30, 2015 at 9:40 am

      Omega Man is going in the Netflix queue. Wasn’t that another version of the book, I am legend?

      • Herman Nelson

        January 30, 2015 at 12:35 pm

        I am Legend came out in the 60’s. Vincent Price played the doctor in that one, then there was Omega Man with Charleston Heston. Omega did not follow the same story line. I am Legend was re-made with Will Smith playing the doctor, it did not follow the story line completely either. Of the three, I like Omega best.

        • Pat Henry

          January 30, 2015 at 1:28 pm

          Yeah, I saw the Will Smith movie and read the book, which was almost nothing at all like the movie. I think I have heard Omega Man was another treatment at some point, but I never saw it.

          Now, I have something else to watch after I am done checking out “Survivors” on Netflix.

  7. David

    January 30, 2015 at 8:27 pm

    Great article. Reaffirms all my beliefs and opened some new prospectives.

    • Pat Henry

      January 30, 2015 at 9:33 pm

      Thank you very much David!

  8. Jim Collins

    February 1, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    how will you defend your home against an rpg or hand grenade? don’t think people don’t have them because that is just what they want ,I know of many ex military and others who have stock piled these weapons for later use, my granddaddy was one of those marines who killed “Nips” with flame throwers while storming hidden bunkers and underground tunnels ,he never spoke of it but my grandmother told me the stories about men screaming as they were being cremated by “pop” as well as others nasty job but somebody had to do it ,my uncle was a ball turret gunner who somehow survived and made it home but that’s another story

    • Pat Henry

      February 2, 2015 at 9:31 am

      That’s true Jim, but I guess I didn’t put enough disclaimers in the front of my article. I do think that any structure will be overrun with enough time, superior firepower or numbers. There are some situations where you will simply not be able to defend yourself, but I was trying to think of some that were less drastic that could be liveable.

  9. Dan Moore

    February 2, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    Molotov cocktails can go both ways. I have the makings just in case I have to throw one into a group of marauders.

  10. Ron Burke

    May 25, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    There is no better protection for the majority of people than a WELL TRAINED protection dog. The operative words being “well trained”. A lot of people offer them these days but many are not actual protection trained dogs but “protection sport” trained dogs. Big difference. http://goo.gl/KHfC3x

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