I get a lot of questions from people looking to get into preparedness, but they don’t know where to start. Their concerns are usually around the cost, and the current economic situation has only made that even more important. The biggest fear new people have getting into preparedness is the cost.
They’ve watched shows and listened to self-proclaimed internet “experts” who list out all of the highest-end, most expensive options that you “MUST HAVE”, and it discourages people from getting into prepping. The single biggest concern among new preppers is cost.
First, let’s give some quick Tactical Wisdom that applies to today’s RANT:
Therefore encourage one another with these words.
1 Thessalonians 4:18
So, how do they learn? They ask questions. When they ask me, I try to give them the best advice to get them to a low-cost STARTING POINT. The reason I do that is that having SOMETHING is better than having NOTHING.
What inevitably happens, whether it’s about backpacks, guns, or radios, someone else chimes in that the low-cost option is garbage and that the brand-new prepper MUST spend hundreds or thousands on their preferred item. The new person then gives up because they can’t afford it.
The goal should be to get as many new people at least to a modicum of preparedness as quickly as we can, and then those people can swap out to better gear later, if they have the money. Our default position should be to at least get people into a state where they CAN survive, even if it’s not ideal, which is better than where they are NOW.
For example, if a guy can only afford a DTI-15 at $700 and not an UberGucci-15 at $4,875, why discourage him by telling him the DTI is junk or a “Poverty Pony”? For the record, I went through Blackwater HRSO school with my trusty DTI and was the top shooter. Saint Kyle, the Defender of Kenosha used a $700 S&W MP-15 and I think we can all agree that he was combat-effective. The fact is that you need a rifle to hold off the hordes and the bad guys aren’t going to ask you what model you shot them with and what accessories you had.
Whoever derides their neighbor has no sense,
but the one who has understanding holds their tongue.
Accessories are the same. Every internet expert has a list of the 7 or 8 things you NEED on your rifle. I have 3 requirements. Most of that stuff you will never use in real life. You need an optic, a Magpul “Battery Assist Device”, and a bayonet lug for a basic fighting rifle. Anything else is extra. Maybe a weapon light. Having all that extra garbage just makes the rife heavier. Have a safe queen if you want one, but your fighting rifle just needs to be functional.
Glock folks are like this. Every time Glock changes the number of dots on the grip and calls it a new “Gen”, the Glock guys run out and buy a new one. Meanwhile, I’m outshooting them with my Gen 3 G23 and they barely shoot their Gen 5, because it will lower the resale value for them when the Gen 37 comes out.
The other big place where it happens is radios. Radios are intimidating to new people because of the technology. When people ask me, and state that they don’t have a lot of money, I recommend the old standby, the Baofeng. Mentioning the word “Baofeng” instantly attracts Ham Operators (watch the comments, one will be in there telling me I’m wrong), who then tell the new person that “NO, NO, you absolutely MUST spend $300-$400 on a handheld, and buy a $500 mobile, and another $375 in antennas”. That new person then gives up and BUYS NOTHING.
It’s a weird thing about Hams. I know a lot and they are incredible resources and great people, but it can get like a religion. If you don’t do everything the way they want, some of them lash out. One gave my first book a 1-Star review, because he didn’t like that my SINGLE CHAPTER on communications didn’t go into the detail he wanted it to. He admits he loved the rest of the book. Bro, if you wanted a ham radio book, buy a ham radio book.
Now, I’ll be honest. I put in Amazon Affiliate Links and sell books to make money because this has replaced most of my job, but this project started because I wanted to help get people into preparedness, and maybe get them to open the Bible occasionally. If I was in it for the money and not to help others, I would be tossing in Amazon links to the $218 Yaesu FT-70DR instead of the $70 Baofeng, wouldn’t I? I would rather people get something that works at low cost rather than not getting anything or just getting a Midland bubble-pack radio with a range of a couple hundred feet.
I know, the ham guys like to talk about all the email they’ll be sending via radio and all the cool radio networking stuff you can do, and it’s all true, but reality must intrude. I’ve studied real-world WROL situations, and the truth of the matter is that you will spend most of your time on local security operations with all your people mostly within one mile of each other, so the Baofeng is perfectly functional. I’ve always said that your group needs one dedicated radio professional, who will have the skills and equipment to do all the extra stuff, but each member needs ONE FUNCTIONAL HANDHELD, and the Baofeng does that, with more options and better range than bubble-pack radios.
Fitness and martial arts are the same, too. In my books, I say do LITERALLY ANYTHING, which is better than the nothing a new person is doing. Immediately, others reply that if you aren’t doing their preferred fitness program or studying their preferred martial art (looking at you, BJJ guys), you’re literally going to die. Don’t listen to them, just move your body more than you are now. Learn any martial art.
This phenomenon extends into gear like packs, too. If you read anything of mine, you’ll learn that I recommend military surplus for backpacks, because of the millions of dollars world militaries spend on research to create gear that will hold up to long term and heavy use in the field. That’s a fact. Then, some Gear Queen will say, “No you need to spend $459 (actual price, see below) on Eberlestock Terminator or your gear is absolute garbage”. The Eberlestock Terminator is essentially the civilian version of the USMC ILBE pack, available for one-fourth the cost. Another ultra-expensive outdoor bag is essentially a US ALICE pack from the 70s-90s, rebranded. Get what you can afford, and military surplus gets you good gear at a lower price.
The purpose of this rant is two-fold. First, to the experienced “preppers”, stop discouraging new people by telling them that the only option is to spend a lot of money they don’t have. Encourage them, instead, to at least get to a minimum standard, like my Baseline Training Manual teaches. Second, to the new people just getting into preparedness, don’t let these people discourage you. If all you can afford is basic gear, buy basic gear. You can upgrade later if your finances allow. Waiting until you save up the money for the highest options may mean you never get them because an event occurs before you are ready.
And let’s be BRUTALLY honest here: Most Gear Queens just BUY gear and collect it. When that day comes, they’ll be a loot drop and you can have your pick of their gear. Just kidding…..sort of.
Buy the gear you can afford, and then train with it. Train a lot with your gear. If you do, you’ll be ten times better off than that Gear Queen with all the cool stuff that’s been in storage forever. Imagine this…they bought that $459 pack, packed it, but never trained on moving in it carefully and quietly with a full load while carrying a gun. In less than a mile, they’ll be struggling and banging into things. After 3 hours on the move, they’ll be exhausted and have sores. Get what you can afford and start training with it.
Volume 3 – Defensive Operations is DONE and we’re just waiting on the cover before publishing. Watch for a new post when it’s ready.
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