Monday, January 5, 2009

So how much ammo?

I started researching today's post on how much ammunition you need for your weapons. I'm trying to figure out what's best for me, and figure out what's best for the prepper. But I quickly got embroiled in what the "combat load" would be for what the situation would be. There are theories all over the map on how much ammo to carry. And how much you carry determines how much you have stored. You see how much you carry is what you expect to almost use in a firefight, plus a bit more for extended engagements before resupplied.

Now for a bit of a tangent. I'm reading Rawles "Patriots! Surviving the coming collapse" and I have to say he is through and through Army. His group trained like one, has procedures like one. I know he did multiple stints, and if I was to bet, his father was career military and/or he went to a military academy. He has you carrying more shit than you need, and has you planning for a fight you cannot win. I have tremendous respect for what he's done, but I am of the mindset that a guerrilla fight is a better option for a prepper than a toe to toe slug match like US vs. CCCP Rawles has us planning for. Part of Rawles' opinions are based on his training for the mobile operations the Army has been using since WWII. Two-thirds the force pins down the enemy, with the other third swinging to flank. If you have a Company of troops it works really well. If it's you and one of your buddies then you need different tactics.

Ok, so as a prepper we are not planning on getting into a toe to toe fight. Hit and run. Overwhelming firepower for a brief time. I feel in order to win a fight as a prepper you need to fight like a Navy SEAL, A Green Beret, or the British SAS. If they come at you with a lot of guys, you HAUL ASS. Use terrain to act as a force multiplier. Bounding overwatch to retreat, etc. etc. More in another post.

Ok so back to the original topic. We are looking at a slow slide now, so as crime increases I would suggest carrying your pistol plus two other mags. You also should have a flashlight and a decent folding knife on you at all times. Also, plan to carry on you a couple of bandannas to use as emergency bandages/tourniquets. That should suffice for your day to day carry. Adding a handcuff key is a good idea. Adding a fighting knife isn't a bad idea either. Depends on what you can conceal about your person. Have a extra mag or two in your car in case you get into a running gunfight.

So you are off to walk around town after the total collapse of society, and you can carry long arms in the open. This is where the term "combat load" comes in to play. Now you are carrying three sets of gear on your walkabout. (I refuse to use the word patrol.) You have your combat gear, your assault pack, and then finally whatever your carrying, whether its your BOB, or the water your hauling back to the house.

So your combat gear is your weapon(s) plus ammunition, map and compass, trauma first aid kit, knife, body armor, canteen, a days worth of food, and a small survival kit. If you have a radio, that's part of this as well. You need to keep this as light as possible. There are a few hard and fast rules I found when reading up on Army researchers and what they found:
The distance marched in six hours decreases by one mile for every 10 pounds a soldier carries over 40 pounds.
The time of an assault course increases by 15 percent for every 10 pounds over 40 pounds.
The distances traveled are reduced by half when moving over average gradients of ten percent.
So your combat gear plus your assault pack needs to be lass than 40 pounds, if you are a male weighing about 200 pounds. So if you weigh 100 pounds soaking wet, then all these numbers get correspondingly smaller.

So in your assault pack is more gear, some extra ammo, a entrenching tool, towel, first aid kit, toiletry kit, poncho, poncho liner, a second canteen, and 2 more days of food. You drop your assault pack when you get in combat. It's just going to weigh you down.

I did some more digging, and the average infantryman is carrying 300 rounds of ammo on patrol in Iraq. That's 9 pounds just in ammo. But again, this is for extended firefights in an urban area. As a prepper I say fuck that! I'm not going to haul all that crap around. So if it's Mad Maxx vs. the mutant ninja zombies out there I would carry 5 or 6 extra mags for your battle rifle, and one for your sidearm. If you have a shotgun or bolt action rifle, I'd carry 100 rounds of rifle, or 50ish shotgun rounds. With the shotty I'd carry both slug and buckshot, you might need to punch through car doors and shoot quite a distance.

So now back from the tangent to the tangent. These numbers are for a economic collapse, so if your planning for nukes and such, go see what Rawles has to say. Looks to me like you want about 1000 rounds of .22 LR to collect for the stewpot and for some practice ammo. For your shotgun, I going to say 100 slugs, 200 rounds of 00 buckshot. For your pistol, I'd say 1000 rounds of JHP - Jacketed Hollow Points. For my rifle, I plan on having enough for 1000 rounds of ammo. If you have no battle rifle, then at least double the rife or shotgun numbers.

If you have been prepping properly, then you will be a better marksman than the bulk of possible opponents you will have to face. Therefore you need less ammo. Carrying less ammo makes you quicker on your feet, and able to get behind cover so you are better protected in a fight. Then your better marksmanship makes lots of dead mutant ninja zombies.

Now because I reload I just need the supplies for reloading, not the completed rounds. Makes it more compact for storage. These numbers are for combat, not for hunting. For hunting add #2 and maybe #6 shot shotgun shells for ducks and pheasant/grouse respectively. I apologize for the post being so screwy, I got interrupted a million times at work, so it was hard to get the train of thought going again.


hilljack33 said...

I'd agree on most ammo needs. I have 300 rounds for my 1911. So I think a 1000 rounds for a pistol is a bit much. Just my opinion. But then again, I don't spray and prey, so I don't need tons of ammo. My 1911 is more for back up and concealing then anything else. Have over a 1000 rounds for my battle rifle though...

Chris said...

Don't forget ammo for practice. Just because the end of the world is upon us doesn't mean you can quit practicing.

Other than that.. Good post. I agree with you that toe to toe fights aren't a good idea for a bunch of reasons you didn't mention, the least of which is that its not conducive to survival.

theotherryan said...

Let me see where to start. Almost all of the stuff the Special Operations guys do (they do some snatches and insertions which are different) is based directly on the same battle drills the Regular Army does. They tend to react a bit differently then a conventional force would simply because they operate in such smaller groups.

Depending on their mission (on a recon you wouldn't stay and fight, etc) the SpecOps guys react in exactly the same way normal Infantrymen would. They react to contact and either conduct a squad attack or break contact depending on whether they can gain overwhelming firepower against the enemy.

As for what to train for when it comes to group stuff there is no better way to train then like a light infantry squad, period. To say that Army doctrine can be fully explained with base of fire and flanking would be a great simplification. Google "US Army Battle Drills" or "FM 7-8" or "FM 3-21-9" and do some reading.

As for the whole hitting and running thing it makes sense to a certain degree, especially when facing larger forces (by doctrine the Army fights with 3 to 1 superiority). I would mention that fixing and destroying the enemy at a time and place where you will have a decisive advantage has some definite benefits.

As for amounts of ammo to carry that depends entirely on what you are doing based on the perceived or known risk. Going for a walk (I have a hard time using the term patrol in this context also) to the neighbors house to the have far lower risk then a 50 mile trip down Ambush Lane through Robber Alley to Bartertown to get some Cypro and save a friends life.

For a walk to the neighbors maybe your trusty knife (to take a tangent you don't necessarily need a 'fighting' knife. Someone who gets a knife through the neck is just as dead if it is a skinning/ camping knife as if it is the latest $400 urban tactical close combat fighting knife), the two extra pistol mags already on your belt and a mag in your rifle and one on the butt stock would be sufficient. For a longer trip maybe throw a third pistol mag onto your belt and some sort of a load bearing device to pack around 7-10 rifle mags, 2 quarts water, map and compass, a flashlight a bit of chow and a few little things would take care of your potential shooting needs.

For shotguns or bolt action rifles as with all things it would depend a lot on what amount or risk your walk is going to have. I once read a book about a SEAL in Nam who brought 50 rounds of 12 gauge ammo and ran out while clearing one house, he wasn't missing either. 100 rounds would probably be better for a higher risk trip.

As a final thought ammo is pretty darn heavy (I know this first hand) but it beats the heck out of throwing rocks.

Shy Wolf said...

It's interesting that we, as Preppers, must concern ourselves with battle tactics. But we must. Only it's highly unlikely we'll be larger than squad, so utilising tactics meant for a platoon or 3-1 ratios is going to be utterly beyond reason. In my case, I'd be lucky indeed to have one more than myself 'patrolling' or on a casual walk. Therefore, in some situations, I am going to be highly dependant upon my dogs to do some of the fighting. However, what 'fighting' I do against some 'superior force' is either going to be CQB with handguns, or at Ma Bell distance and one shot and run like hell, maybe set up for a second shot. I'm not playing soldier games against soldiers with superior numbers. That is beyond stupidity.
As to loads carried: number of rounds is going to be mission-specific, of course. Daily carry is a full mag in XD, two more on belt for a total of 48 rounds. If I have to, they are for fighting my way to the truck where there is more ammo available. (Not necessarily a rifle, just more ammo: I don't subscribe to 'a handgun is what I use to...blah blah...")
No one hits 100%. No one. But none should spray-n-pray, either. Pick the shots, do your best, but under combat pressure, there are going to be zillions more misses than hits. So carry what you feel comfy with using your most honest assesment of your capabilities.
Too, my gut feeling is very few will ever be carrying long-guns on the streets of our cities so the sidearm is going to be most (invisible) used.
Now, as to combat matter how much you reload, I wonder how many shell casings you'll be retrieving during a shoot-n-scoot on the street? My guess is maybe one. Maybe. Most likely, none. Point being, save the reloading for hunting and practice where you can safely and easily gather fired brass. Oh, if you're feeling ballsy, you can go to the scene after an altercation and pick up what brass the fuzz have left laying around.
How much ammo does one need? My personal needs are far greater than yours. I have a lot, but not as much as I'd like. I also consider having to 'ditch' a lot in case of having to bug out, so it's burried in a not-so-convenient place and I pray to God I won't have to try digging it up in twenty below weather. So what a person needs is what they think will get them thru 20 years of having to live by the gun. Then add ten more years. And this is above the reloading supplies.
Just my thinking on it, anyway.

western mass. man said...

I guess it would depend on where you plan on hunkering down. Unless I get a call from the lottery commission, I'm going to have to stay where I am. I'm in a small city, so I will have to worry about looters more than the military. I doubt I will need any rounds for hunting, so just mostly need ammo for defense. Reminds me, need more food for the 12 gauge. I was hoping for a sale on 00 and slugs after the season closed, but no luck there.

John said...

I am enjoying this thread. I wonder what a family man will do when society falls apart. It is easier to plan when you or a spouse are involved. When small children or even infants are added into the mix then ones chances for survival on the run drop. What advise do you have on this senerio?
I feel that I am on the right track but want to hear from others.

Michael T said...

I am of the mind set don't focus on a number of rounds but every month or every quarter buy as much ammo as you can afford and continue to grow the number until TEOTWAWKI.