National Geographic Society

  • Connect:

Get Prepped: Security

A High-Level Overview of Defensive Strategies

Doomsday Preppers Security Overview

The best offense is a good defense, and in this case, surveillance is key. (View larger version)

By Patrick J. Kiger

Published

As a U.S. Army veteran of urban combat in Baghdad and Fallujah, Practical Preppers consultant David Kobler got to observe what happens in a society when a government collapses, basic necessities of life become scarce, and law and order quickly disintegrate. But such chaos could occur in the U.S., Kobler warns, in the event of a catastrophe such as an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack, a type of nuclear  strike targeted at destroying electronics and communications networks over a wide area. “In a worst case scenario such as an EMP that crippled the power grid and the government, we’d have an economic collapse,” he envisions. “Communities, and even neighborhoods, would be on their own. I’ve seen that before overseas—it would look a lot like Iraq.”

In such a situation, it wouldn’t be enough for preppers merely to have alternative sources of power and backup supplies of water and food in place, Kobler explains. It also would be crucial for them to possess the means to defend themselves from those who would come to steal their resources, or from predators who simply see the pandemonium as a license to be violent and cruel.

 That’s why preppers work to develop a well-thought-out security program. But as Kobler explains, good security requires a lot more than just having a shotgun and a box of shells in the closet, or building a concrete-and-steel bunker in the backyard. Here are some of Scott and David’s recommendations:

Training/ Experience:  Nobody wants to hurt other people, but you must be able to defend your community against an attack. Having the training and skills to use firearms is essential, according to Kobler. Instead of just going to a conventional shooting range, the former paratrooper recommends taking take acombat shooting class to learn how to fire on the move and to keep from being hit. At least one practice session each month is needed to maintain proficiency. Martial arts training of some sort also is a good idea, particularly grappling and ground-fighting techniques. (Knowing submission holds may enable a prepper to control an aggressive beggar, without harming the person. At least one member of the group should have paramedic training, so that he or she can treat injuries from gun battles. Since combat requires both physical strength but also endurance, preppers need to stay in shape. A fitness regimen such as CrossFit, which mixes pull-ups and other strength exercises with cardio work, fits the bill.

Firearms: While soldiers in Iraq were equipped with combat rifles, Kobler also believes that preppers should be equipped with rifles and a good quality handgun. Semi-automatic pistols can lay down a barrage of bullets, but a basic old-fashioned revolver, with its ease of use, may be a better choice for those with less experience with guns. It’s also crucial to have as much ammunition on hand as a prepper can afford, as well as cleaning kits to maintain the weapons. Shooters also should carry a combat application tourniquet (CAT) to stop bleeding from wounds. For chasing away individuals who don’t present a lethal threat, non-lethal ammunition, such as beanbag rounds that can be fired from a shotgun, are a way to stay safe and protect your resources without unnecessary harm.

Security EnhancementGood body armor is another essential. Helmets and vests provide effective protection, but arm and leg plating often limits mobility too much to be practical. Another valuable piece of equipment is a set of night vision goggles, which can enable a defender to protect his family and property. Surveillance posts continually manned by lookouts on the edge of a property can detect an impending attack and relay warning back to the rest of the community. Fortifications are another crucial element of any security plan. Preppers should surround the main house, barn and critical storage areas for supplies with a cordon of foxholes or barriers that give them cover as they shoot at intruders. Routes to the center of the compound should be blocked with barriers that slow vehicles, and thorny bushes and other obstacles can be used to hinder intruders on foot. Because a sophisticated attacker may be able to detect and even intercept wireless communications, it’s a good idea to set up a land-line phone system with buried cables that connect back to the main dwelling. But during a confrontation or a medical emergency, when quick communication is crucial, two-way radios can help defenders to coordinate their efforts. Having an adequate stock of medical supplies to deal with injuries and health emergencies is also a must.

Survival Network:  All members of a community need to train so that they can work together cohesively in the event of an attack, and are familiar with the strategy and tactics to be used. A good defense strategy involves spotting intruders on the perimeter and silently sounding a warning to other community members, who then take their places along the perimeter and lie in wait for the attack. A combination of physical obstacles and a good defensive plan can be used to lure the attackers into an engagement area. In the event that defense fails, it’s critical to have an escape strategy, in which community members fall back and regroup at a distant rally point, where a cache of additional ammunition, food, water and medical supplies is waiting. It’s also valuable to have an extended network of other preppers who can depend on one another for assistance in a crisis and can barter with one another for resources when needed.



The Doomsday Preppers articles, videos, links, images, and instructions (“Content”) are for entertainment purposes only. The National Geographic Channel makes no express or implied representations regarding whether the Content is up-to-date, complete, or accurate, and shall not be liable for any consequential damages, claims, losses, or demands of any kind based upon reliance of the Content. Do not rely on this Content for disaster, medical, health or safety advice.

7 comments
A. Camp
A. Camp

what are some good security measures for those who live in the city that must bug in?

Matthew Falcon
Matthew Falcon

What the heck is going on with 22. ammo!!! I can't find it anywhere!!!! D:

trevor oehler
trevor oehler

Ihave lots of guns but is it best to look into more ammo.

Kaa Madden
Kaa Madden

@A. Camp Do everything in your power to make it look like no one lives there. The higher the density of population, the more raiders who want your stuff you'll have to defend against. I would personally never try to defend an urban site with anything less than a platoon strength group of well trained and supplied soldiers, and I'm an ex-Army Infantryman. The liabilities of trying to do so seriously out-weigh any benefits in my honest opinion. If I were you, I'd focus less on defending such a position, and try to work out an off site, out of city relocation rally point. Trying to stock-pile enough stuff to survive an extended period in city makes you immobile and a very ripe target for marauders, and will eventually run out, even if you don't get pillaged. Trying to hunt and grow your own food in city is laughable at best.

Kaa Madden
Kaa Madden

@Matthew Falcon I wouldn't worry about something as wimpy as .22 ammo. Like Mr. Fillmon said, .22 isn't very useful when it comes to defense. You need a higher caliber if you want to kill larger game or defend yourself and/or family from marauders. Want something to hunt small game with? Forget the .22, go to K-mart and buy yourself a slingshot for $10. MANY preppers overlook the value of a simple slingshot. Just about as useful as a .22 when it comes to small game hunting, except you will never EVER run out of ammo. You can use used bullets, ball bearings, nuts, bolts, rocks, anything. I have a gravel driveway that has several thousands of rounds in it. I even know a guy in Ohio who hunts larger game shooting arrows with a double banded slingshot. Not to mention the slingshot has been used in both hunting and warfare for thousands of years.

Alexander C. Fillmon
Alexander C. Fillmon

@Matthew Falcon It's been happening in every state with most every type of Ammo. It's due to recent proposed gun control laws. I'll not post any of my political views as national geographic is a place of facts not opinions, but .22 ammo is hardly a good choice of caliber for self defense. It's cheap and will hurt but in most cases won't prove to be fatal. I'd suggest raising the caliber you shoot if you can afford it. I'd personally recommend .223 for a riffle round and .45 for a pistol round. Everyone's tastes are different, so experiment a little and see what you prefer.