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Author of The Dark Secrets of SHTF Survival and the online course SHTF Survival Boot Camp

This is an excerpt from Selco’s book, The Dark Secrets of SHTF Survival

When SHTF, nobody told me how hard is gonna be and what things I would have to do to survive. There was no training or simulations.

Most of the stuff I was going through for the first time in my life. I was hoping it was only a temporary situation, that it not going to last for a whole year.

A few events opened my eyes and somehow made me a survivor right at the beginning. I had the luck to understand in the very early stages how hard it was and what it takes.

The first lesson

During one of the first bigger events of killing in the streets, I was out together with my friend who also was a 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 the 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 kneecap exploded. It looked like some bad movie special effect.

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

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

And only then he started to scream.

I used a belt to stop the bleeding. The ambulance still worked in that period. He went to the 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 a situation when someone is shooting at you with a high caliber machine gun. Just accept that people will die and you have to survive. To help others is a great thing, to survive is even better.

Also, I realized that a human being is so fragile and easy to destroy.

You must practice with your gear.

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

Owning a weapon is absolutely necessary when preparing for a survival scenario, even more so in urban survival. You 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, that pair of boots that you bought and store for bad days will not be used for walking only, it will be used for running, squatting, jumping, in mud, junk, blood, guts maybe or just running through a shallow river.

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

It is one thing to go out into the woods nearby and do a 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 a dangerous dude because of your accuracy rates. Some people gonna put that clip on YouTube and go home convinced that they are ready and prepared.

In reality, you do not know if you are prepared until it happens.

A lot of survival stores that sell things sell the idea of “buy this and you are safe.”

No, you are not. You can learn more about real urban survival scenarios in my survival course and in my book, The Dark Secrets of SHTF Survival. This helps you to mentally be better prepared but the real deal when SHTF always comes as a surprise.

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

Using a weapon in real life, in real survival situations, is something absolutely different from shooting beer bottles.

And if you could do some real training that is realistic that would be maybe going camping for 10 days using a trash bag like a tent, with 10 small cans of food, and 10 liters of water, and then walking every day for 10 km.

On the 11th day, run a 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 the city I was moving through the building behind a guy, we both had rifles. He was sweeping the rooms and shooting, it was the closest to urban combat as it can be. At the moment when he runs out of ammo, he used his rifle as something between spear and bat.

Now someone could say why he did not just switch to the 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 a guy to the cheek, ripping his face down and finishing him on the ground.

One of the biggest misconceptions that the people who do not have fighting experience is what they just need to practice.

[page_section template=’3′ position=’default’ shadow=’#dd9933′]

Have you taken Selco’s online courses yet?

Taking the online courses are the next best thing to getting over to Europe and studying with him personally.

  • SHTF Survival Boot Camp teaches you both urban and wilderness survival skills, primitive first aid, and lessons about the violence that you’ll never forget.
  • One Year in Hell is Selco’s original course that shares the dark truth about what it was like to live in a city under siege. He talks about the signs he missed, what happened when chaos erupted, the grim sanitation conditions, and how his life completely changed.

If you want the real deal from a legend who has lived through the SHTF, these are the online courses for you.[/page_section]

You need to learn these important things before the SHTF.

It is all about pressure. You need to learn:

  1. What your weapon can take and how to fix it

In terms of kicking, throwing, how often and when will it malfunction, what the most common malfunctions are, and how to fix them – and how to fix them in the middle of a fight. If you find yourself in the middle of fighting, and your weapon “jams“ do not be, as we call it “zblesavljen.” Or in English, do not stand there looking like an idiot.

I have seen that: a guy is shooting and in the middle of fighting his weapon jammed. He stopped, surprised, and looked 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 another magazine, etc.)

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

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

  1. 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 do it often, but it just does not cover everything.

Fighting and surviving combat means constant moving and outsmarting the guys on the other side. You are 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 weapons training and learn about the line of sight and how to get out of it.

In SHTF, a very great percentage of shooting is done without aiming. It is just spraying bullets.

It makes sense to do some airsoft or paintball in the woods to check how constant moving changes the whole game, and what kind of moving will help you to survive a gunfight.

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

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

A real gunfight is a dynamic thing. Adrenaline is a 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 a man who was pointing to something and he stood up from the cover and got shot.

  1. 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 the real stuff as possible. Go out with your friends and think about all possible scenarios.

Think about the worst-case scenarios. SHTF is not gonna wait for nice and sunny weather. You are gonna be maybe hungry, dirty. Maybe have to give up your shelter and food storage on the second day of SHTF.

Or you may be forced to use another 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 another way.

Want some funny-sounding advice?

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

  1. What weapon, caliber, stopping power, etc?

It is a very hard question (that I get asked a lot). But think about the fact that everything today is 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, the weapon is only a tool. I have seen the fight when a man with a knife killed the guy with a rifle. He had mastered fighting with a knife and had the will to kill. The other guy had a rifle but he ended up dead. I also saw more than once people shot with rifle bullets still fighting and running for a good amount of time. Some of them were not even aware that they were wounded before someone else pointed that out to them.

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

I said bullets for a reason. I have seen many things, but I did not see someone survive multiple shots in the correct place on the body. Have a weapon that is best for your case, and achieve perfection in using it. Do not expect that people will fall 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 much sense to me. Do not find yourself in a situation when you lose your weapon and pick someone else and then find out that you do not have a clue about it, because your own weapon was special and rare.

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

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

I knew a guy who did some scary stuff with rusty shortened M-48. He was an old and poor-looking dude. He played that part well until he would take out this old gun from under his coat and rob and kill people. Simple strategy but it worked for him.

Look around and think what works for you.

The reality of combat is that there’s no way to predict how it’s gonna go. Until you’re in it, you can’t predict how you will act. All you can do is practice a lot in an environment that is as close as possible and get used to being uncomfortable.

This is an excerpt from Selco’s book, The Dark Secrets of SHTF Survival. Get it in paperback or for Kindle here.

About Selco:

Selco survived the Balkan war of the 90s in a city under siege, without electricity, running water, or food distribution. He is currently accepting students for his next physical course here.

In his online works, he gives an inside view of the reality of survival under the harshest conditions. He reviews what works and what doesn’t, tells you the hard lessons he learned, and shares how he prepares today.

He never stopped learning about survival and preparedness since the war. Regardless of what happens, chances are you will never experience extreme situations as Selco did. But you have the chance to learn from him and how he faced death for months.

Real survival is not romantic or idealistic. It is brutal, hard and unfair. Let Selco take you into that world.

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3), an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

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  • Subjectivity, exhaustion, drama, and gut feelings aside, there are two takeaways from the bread factory story.

    Sniper(s) were posted at a bottleneck — namely, over the critical resource of bread.

    Secondly, the injured were used for bait.

  • Good stuff. Selco has many lessons to offer. He lived all of it. I got to leave to go home and live my blessed life. Our perspectives are different on a few things but he speaks the truth.
    It will change and shape you it you survive and don’t try to fight it.

    • Since it’s a re-post I’m going to add a few things.
      Consider getting outta your comfort zone and working in a non safe job. Even if it’s in reserve capacity. Law enforcement, fire fighter, bouncer, military etc.
      You can’t train hard enough. If you think your there get with me and I’ll add another stressor.
      I’m seeing a lot of comments about your kits. Your stuck at home and game day might be on us so try this. Tonight turn the tv off, turn out the lights and put your kit on in the dark, reload your weapon systems, access and out on a tourniquet on your partner or yourself, hand off mags to one another, change the batteries in your gear etc.
      Do it all in the dark. You will build confidence and not have to look even in the daytime.

      • I do exactly that. Once every two weeks or so I leave home in one morning, spend the entire day on the streets, scavenging, working out, reading people and places, doing stuff. Then I sleep in the streets or a park with the homeless. The next night I go to my city cache place, everything is shut off. No light, no power, no nothing, can only use my gear in the dark to cook, treat water, etc. Sleep on the floor, wake up the next day, walk 2:40 to the range, do some practice, walk back home and more of the same at home (everything in the dark). The next day I take a cold shower, shave and go to work. After that my bed feels like soft clouds in heaven. Been doing that for yrs now.

  • Want some funny-sounding advice?

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

    This really struck me. Our lives are SO cushy now days, and everything is available to us at the tap of a manicured finger on our $1000 iphone with next day delivery right to our door. Americans do not realize how great they really have it in this country, and we are not prepared for the future. We are becoming soft, just like the media and those in power want. I am especially troubled after reading the last article about time speeding by, our attention span, and the mind control that is going on. This is troubling times in our country.

    • @Katrina,
      You are so very right!
      We whine and cry about various injustices. Some are real and the grievance is legit. But many times it is just . . . whining.

    • Agree and to add…
      “getting soft” is wishful thinking for many of my friends and family – “ARE soft” would be a more apt description. There is a saying “If you have not experienced Evil, you cannot conceive of its existence”. Stated another way – if you have not experienced hardship, you have no concept of what it means.

      I sincerely hope that most of us do not experience either Evil or hardship. To be blunt, I believe too many of us will and those of us who have first hand experience with these two unpleasant things will be better prepared to survive reiterations of them in the upcoming times. Too many are in denial or have no concept of the mental impact these experiences can have upon a person. To state it simply, it is profound and long lasting – good from a standpoint of awareness; bad from a changed outlook on humanity.

      If you want to really be prepared, find a way to experience getting scared Sh*tless in a societal setting, then rethink how you may approach potential upcoming events. Consider what can happen to those you care deeply about if you fail to prepare to the best of your ability to protect them. For many people, that preparedness means thinking about monstrous acts that you previously considered only existing in the movies or in some other country.

      If you do not understand that it is real, you will be caught unprepared no matter the lethality of your armaments. Your prepared and agile mind is your best asset or your worst enemy (in my humble opinion).

      Great article – thanks.

  • Having seen combat at the Korean DMZ in the 1980s (yes they still shoot at each other there) and some other places, Selco hits the right buttons. “Sweat more in training, bleed less in combat” says it all. Choose a handgun (I’m caliber agnostic for you, but mine is a .45) and become proficient. Choose a rifle and become proficient. Pick a shotgun and become proficient. Got the idea? Fans of NCIS will know “Gibbs rule #1 (Always have a knife). My rule #1 is “make it several”. All the best!

    • Good advice!
      In the Marines we said, “Train as you fight, fight as you train.”
      And that usually meant doing it the hard way vs doing it the easy way.

      I dont watch NCIS, and I have no idea who Gibbs is, but I do carry a knife with me everyday, everywhere.
      I feel naked without it!

    • Speaking of Gibbs, I think a lot of people should be given a good hard Gibbs (slap upside the head) to wake them up. I live in Ontario, Canada and do not own any weapon, do not know how to use one and don’t really know whether I can afford one (on old age pension) and do not know where I could train if I actually went out and bought a gun! Yes, we are all used to flicking a switch to light up a room or cook a meal, pushing a button on a thermostat to have heat or pushing a button to use a fan or a AC unit. Also just turning on a tap for water, or being able to flush a toilet, have a bath or shower etc. We are definitely a soft society and a real SHTF is going to kill a lot of folks, either because they didn’t prepare with food, water, meds etc. or else they don’t know how to defend themselves or their families. Many will be screwed!!!

  • It’s like Mike Tyson said. Everyone has a plan until you get PUNCHED in the face. Get use to it because that will happen al the time.

    Learn to fight, survive, and run like you were half-arse because that is the way it will be.

    It’s never as easy as you think, it never goes as planned and get use to grunting all the time.

  • All sound advice for entering the Ninja combat zone but for Mr/Mrs average, (look around at the general population in your area) and it will be a little OTT for the vast majority. The type of preparation and training described above will sit well with individuals that possess the required mindset and physical capability. The rest will make do with mostly misguided self belief in their existing capabilities in surviving worst-case scenarios and just do the best they can should such a situation ever arise. Thank God for St. Jude! Regards

    • Do share the rest of your wisdom, Boris. And please tell us about your experiences as a civilian in a war zone. We await enlightenment.

    • Gonna go out on a limb and ask what your version of common sense is in a situation like SELCO was in.

    • There is no stupid advice in article only better one would be know it’s comming and get out before hand. This how ever means luck nor privaleged position.

      He could have made more detailed training, but that is known by all vets you train for environment you are lost likely to face…. Yeah sometimes bad Intel and you improvise.

      My place woods water mountain. I train in those with some urban training to clear property. Train as a group, train with members missing. Do it alone…

      Even run 1 mile and try and shoot, most shake so bad can’t hit a plywood sheet at 100 yards.

      • Most Americans to include many preppers cannot run 100yrds let alone a mile.

        I have seen many a tacti-cool Rambozwannabes claim they are great/ shots . . . shooting off a concrete bench, with a bi-pod and bags at a stationary target at 100yrds.
        Some even go as far as to think they are Marine Snipers, all because they own a custom Remington 700, with a high priced scope.
        Nothing could be further from the truth.

        You are right about training as a group.
        Group dynamics will have a say in how those survive.

      • Perhaps it is most useful to be well trained (body and mind) And be adaptable to whatever comes your way. It is the unexpected that has the greatest chance of tripping us up Or providing an excellent opportunity to gain advantage.

        My humble two cents.

    • This article is not stupid, it’s real life told by a man who lived it. If we aren’t prepared with food, water, meds, self defense etc. we will all die, simple as that!!

  • Practice blindfolded.

    Try this exercise. Find a safe large flat level unobstructed paved area with no people or traffic and pick a point in the distance to walk to in a straight line. Except blindfold yourself and then walk towards that point. About halfway take off the blindfold. You might be surprised to realize that you curved left or right off course. That is due to having a dominant leg, similar to having a dominant eye or being left or right-handed. This is one reason people lost in the wilderness tend to walk in circles.

    Being blindfolded also will help develop your other senses, smell, spatial sense, sound, etc.

    Next step would be to handicap yourself when practicing or just doing day to day activities. For example, keep one arm tucked inside your shirt.

    One Vietnam story was how a person when out on patrol could smell the VC/NVA since their diet differed from his. And vice-versa, they could smell shaving cologne, hear loose tags, half-filled water canteens, etc. a mile away. (Also, using an AK-47 rather than the old prototype M-16 didn’t attract as much attention in the other person’s backyard. Plus, it had less moving parts with looser tolerances to jam from carbon build-up. Interesting how a small blowback tube cap can save a life. Sorry I’m digressing but it’s sorta of amusing (?), the iconic photo of a twelve or fourteen year old kid carrying an AK with a plastic garbage bag as a sling. Selco has a good article that even an old-man can be someone to be respected during a war. My concern would be an avid video player who can’t tell the difference between a virtual image and a real person. David Grossman is another author to consider.)

    Another story which might seem off was told to me from a trustworthy person who developed the ability or sense during WWII to predict where a bomb would drop on a town neighbor’s house beforehand. People being people branded that person a witch, so that person quit mentioning what might happen. Go figure, people would rather shoot themselves in the foot. Note, I am not saying PSI or other abilities exist, only that you need to develop your other senses to support your dominant sense to avoid tunnel-vision.

    Kinda funny story about tunnel-vision, when asked by a police sketch artist to identify what the person who robbed them at gunpoint would describe a circle (the barrel end of a pistol).

    • When I was a Seasonal (Wild Land) Fire Fighter, we would make non monetary bets, on where a fire would start that day. Some people were quite good at it. Eerily good at it.

      • When the Florida North Central/Middle Coastal counties burned for months from ten years more of underbrush in the turpentine laden pine forests back in 200?, thousands upon thousands of volunteer firefighters came from as far as Alaska and Hawaii to help the people and put out the fires.

        Thanks to all firefighters
        Good … great people.

  • Have a plan and share it with your immediate family. If this or that happens, we’re meeting at here or there. Have your tools with you; not just a firearm, tools (plural). Be mindful, you’re not the baddest person in the valley of death, so don’t act like you are, avoid whenever possible. But if you have to act, don’t hesitate, not for a second.
    Best to everyone in here.

  • There’s a story from the war of 1812—the British wanted to punish Baltimore … badly. They first tried to sail their ships into the harbor, but were stopped by a little fort with a big flag. So the British disembarked their troops to attack from the land side. Baltimore set up three lines of defense: the first line filled with bad-ass people ready to fight, the British regulars swept them aside. The second line the second rate bad-ass people ready to fight, they too were swept away. The third line was filled with old codgers beyond military age, but they were veterans of the Revolutionary War, they drove the British regulars back with heavy losses among the British. The veterans knew what it’s like to be in battle. They had the battle attitude.

    Lesson to be learned: the most important tool in combat is one’s mental attitude. Selco is right to emphasize that.

    Knowing one’s weapons and putting bullets on target come out of that attitude. Putting up with physical hardship also comes out of that attitude. Training comes out of that attitude.

    If you can’t do the ten day challenge of marching 10 Km a day for 10 days, you’re in really bad shape. That comes to only a little more than six miles A DAY! A slow stroll. I regularly walk half that distance in 45 minutes, and I’m far from a spring chicken.

    Physical limitations kept me out of ’Nam, so I’m not a veteran. I just hope I never have to face combat, but geo-political reality says I may find myself in combat, even here in the States. So I need to be ready, even when I don’t want it.

    • That 10 Km can be utterly miserable at times, especially when injured, malnourished, dehydrated, exhausted, or all the above.
      I have a 35 mile commute, and have mapped out and hiked most of my shtf get home routes from suburbia where I work to farm country where we live. These are primarily utility right of ways since the utilities go to great expense to site these as far from expensive real estate as possible, and they avoid residential areas for the most part. Some of these routes may best be described as torturous with down trees everywhere, huge thickets of wild raspberry/blackberry canes, swampy sections, etc, etc.
      My speed of advance in some sections works out to be well under one mile per hour. And that is with a real risk of a ripped up ankle or knee as a bonus. One the other hand – the margins of a large planted field I can clock a decent 3-4 mph indefinitely.
      And note; these hikes are under pretty much ideal conditions with no security threats, and well fed, rested, and in good weather.
      So please don’t make assumption on speed of advance until you walk that route.

      • We recently had four days of rain. Fields are soaked. In parts the mud is ankle to half calf deep. Not easy to get through and that is without hauling a BOB.
        The more weight you have, be it just a BOB or additional armor, mag carriers, etc. the less mileage you can travel, the more water and calories you have to intake.
        Great advice about making assumptions. Many people automatically assume a bug out will be in ideal weather. Try after a pro-longed rainstorm, or even in winter.

    • I personally believe there is another lesson here: Don’t underestimate the “old folks”.
      There are reasons that they lived long enough to be “old”.

      The young tend to do stupid things or take risks. Those who survived those years, usually learned how to survive.
      As far as old warriors go, they also have less to lose.
      They have lived their lives and are closer to death. So they can fight harder and do more damage to the enemy because they are not as afraid of death, yet they are also not stupid or willing to take unnecessary risks.
      Which makes them a force you don’t want to have to fight!

      • Depends.
        How is their eyesight?
        Do their hands tremble?
        Have difficulty holding a firearm?
        Are they physically able to scoot and shoot aka. maneuver warfare (this is not the Revolutionary War, where each side gets on line and takes volley shots at each other)?
        What is their military experience? If they have no military experience, would they be ready and willing to take orders from someone younger with military experience? If not, then they are more of a liability than an asset.
        More than likely, they are not going to be front line fighters. More likely, they would fill support roles, logistics, communications, medical if they have the training.
        My neighbors are “old.” They have a lot of good knowledge, as they can remember being a child before in-door plumbing and electricity.
        He would never put himself over someone younger with military experience.
        Just fact of the matter.
        Age has nothing to do with it.
        Real world experience does.

  • The article acts as a good reminder and should be a stimulus to cause readers to seriously ponder upon the realities of a society gone mad and the resulting violence that can, and often will, result.

    To those who already have a suitable weapon and associated gear like plate carriers, battle belts, etc., its worth the effort to take it out of the closet (or wherever) and spend the day wearing it upon occasion if you can do it without panicking the neighbors to call a SWAT team on you. Don the gear and do your yard work or farm chores with it on. Carry your weapon(s). I think lugging your rifle around and familiarizing yourself with its ‘feel’ is as important as learning to properly operate and care for it. Keep it within arms reach all day. You will soon become very intimate with every nook and cranny of that rifle as well as the weight, limitations in movement, and feel of the other gear.

    • Good idea, but I can tell you this, carrying all that gear, without some kind of motor transport like in a SHTF event, really does become burdensome.
      I think a number of people will start ditching some of their gear in favor of a lighter load, and ability to move faster or manoever better.

    • I agree on actually using your gear.

      My SHTF plate carrier fully loaded is just over 39lbs. 24lbs of that is 1/4″ AR500 plates with a 1/4″ of bedliner on them. I’ll probably switch to ceramic plates in this one too but then it will get bulky. The other plate carrier has less stuff on it and ceramic plates and only weighs 28lbs.

      You start thinking hard about every gram. So you wonder if you really need to carry a door wedge and a mini wonder bar (I don’t anymore) or if you need an Israeli bandage plus quickclot plus an elastic tourniquet. You find titanium everything regardless of cost.

      Right now moving around with it is fine but it is exhausting especially if you have to stand in one position for a long period of time. Or if you are trying to carry around a LR308 and a full-size pistol and do work without setting them down Especially when you need to bend over to do something. And you can’t run fast. I’ve been thinking about getting a drop leg holster for my nondominant side so then the pistol offsets some of the weight of the rifle.

      After about four hours I release both the inner and outer cummerbunds to get some fresh air and when all that weight gets on my shoulders it just wears you down that much more.

      • You two are exactly correct. A lot of preppers are influenced to go out and buy gear that is impractical and that they really do not need in a scenario like what Selco endured. Speed often means life. Dragging that gear out and actually wearing it throughout your daily routine quickly shows what you can do without. Too many may also still think they can do the things they once did when younger even though they have spent the past 20 years sitting on the couch or at a desk. Father Time has his way of playing jokes on us and getting out with your gear will bring clarity to that fact. I can’t hump 40 pounds around all day any longer, and those injuries sustained in my youth that I had forgotten about have a way of knocking on your door later in life as well. Just carrying a lunch in a sack may be all some can now do. Like Clint Eastwood once said, “A man (or woman) must know their limitations”.

        Serco had a good article recently regarding the necessity of layering your gear. He didn’t invent that concept, but his article is a good reminder we should heed. Whether its the trappings of combat or that BOB sitting in the corner, waiting until a situation arrives where you may need to use it is not the time to discover you are unable to.

        • I know a number of preppers who really do believe they (guys) will be standing “overwatch” with all their gear on while the “womanfolk” do all the work.
          No, really, there are guys out there who really think this.
          That the fact they are wearing all that gear puts them into some kind of special category . . . and most have never been in the military. As if all that gear bestowes Rambo like skills into them.

          • I pity someone who thinks they’re just going to sit around standing guard. My partner isn’t terribly active to begin with and we are both overweight.

            We both have two Eagle maritime CIRAS plate carriers (one each black and ACU) ready to go. The maritime ones are nice because if you need to dump it in a hurry you pull one cable and it falls to the ground. One plate carrier is for getting home, one is for not coming back home. The difference between each for us is about 5lbs. My heavy one is around 39lbs depending on if I carry water and 33lbs with the light load. The other plate carriers are 26 and 21. That 5lbs is a huge difference in maneuvering.

            The difference in weight is that the heavy one is to keep me alive until I find something better and the light one is to keep me alive until I get home. The light one has medical and ammunition, the heavy one has less ammunition, same medical, but way more other gear.

            It is really difficult to play triage with gear. You find creative ways to lose grams. Like eliminating the core from a roll of tape. Finding anything titanium or aluminum you can to replace anything steel or plastic.

            None of the carriers have any layered attachments because I found out if you layer/shingle something as a light as 3 full-size loaded doublestack pistol magazines an extra 2″ from your body it feels like 5lbs. Balancing the carrier also is very difficult especially since you’re supposed to wear it higher than most people do (plate covers roughlycollarbone to diaphragm and nipple to nipple). So you don’t put anything on your dominant side plate molle (if you have side plates, but it is a good spot to put pistol magazines or a map) and you have no ammunition on your dominant side. It helps balance a 7-9lb rifle on your shoulder.

            It sucks to move fast with a drop leg holster but it gets the weight down low and off your torso. Haven’t found anything better but I’m not an expert.

            • Don’t forget the weight of water and food. 5 cliff bars and half a gallon of water is almost 5lbs. That is about half the calories you will burn and about half the water you normally drink.

              Try going all day without drinking any water or eating anything while hauling around (15,000+ steps) an extra 30-50lbs and staying any semblance of alert. I’ve tried it a few times on beautiful 70° days and have failed every time. I guess in a way I’m hoping if I have to I can do it instead of just trying for poops and giggles. Just having food and water makes things so much easier.

              All of this is difficult before you have any outside challenges or any other stressors.

              So if it comes to combat in a world with no support systems… I plan on staying home unless I can’t. And I’ll do everything I can to not to have to leave home base. Hopefully by then everyone would be in a worse condition than me.

              • The wife and I medically speaking will have to make our stand here at home… no matter what. No bugouts, defend our home. Wwe have plenty of weapons and ammo – enough training to defend. Lots of food in the pantry. A backup system for electricity… An old Jeep that will make it through an EMP.

                Let’s all hope for the best.

              • @Pinky,
                Please note, body armor is not an all encompassing Star Trek/Star Wars shield.
                I see someone wearing body armor, I am aiming for MOG (Minute Of Groin). Note, I will be using ammo I have on hand, may or may not be premimum hunting ammo.
                If you have ever gone hunting for deer or similar game, using BT, SSTs, Mega, bullets, you know what I mean.

            • Pinky if your going to use a drop leg holster use the Blackhawk platform. It has 2 drop downs for stabilization. If you don’t like the holster itself a good Kydex maker can easily attach one they make to it.
              Also don’t drop it too low. You want it about where you pocket is not all the way down by your knees. The grip of the gun should be at the beltline but not too much below it.

        • Agree on all 100%.
          Ref my comment re speed of advance earlier.
          Rough terrain and other stressors will degrade ALL you body systems. Humping unneeded mass just makes it worse.
          Take my GHB for example – I’ve done all I can to keep it under 20 lb with ammo and water. I figure weapons don’t count, but that load is still there.. And I plan on three days best case, ten plus worst, so packing 12,000 cal of food as a baseline, and 2 L. water. I’ve done a couple of my get home routes under essentially ideal conditions, but it still sucks, and I was absolutely beat at the end. Cuts, strained ankles and knees, falling onto your side arm, lack of sleep, crappy nutrition, BUGS, all w/o hazards inherent in SHTF, and in good weather. Doing the same under SHTF will be a nightmare.
          My plan in toto is to get home regardless and stay there. Put the steel hurricane shutters up, set the tripwires, and try to ride it out w our preps.
          I want

        • Love your description of the reality of carrying gear. As Y2K was bearing down upon us, I got the largest Milsurp internal frame backpack one of my clients carried–along with the daypack–and a Milsurp 4 season sleeping bag “system” with goretex stuff bag, and a Milsurp gorertex bivvy AND all of the “survival” backpacking gear he offered. Went home, packed everything into the two bags and discovered I couldn’t lift the bag high enough to get my arms through the shoulder straps…

  • … and that’s why ya’ gonna needs slaves in the SHTF to carry your stuff.

    just kidding

    On a more cerebral level,

    The View From Olympus: A Maneuver Warfare Revival?

    “One of the principal themes of the military reform movement of the 1980s was the need for America’s armed services to move from firepower/attrition warfare to maneuver warfare. Historically, these are, respectively, the French way of war and the German. The former reduces war to merely putting firepower on targets in a mutual attrition contest. The latter uses surprise, speed, and the indirect approach to shatter the enemy’s ability to respond cohesively, on both the physical and mental levels.

    When the two doctrines met on the battlefield in 1940, the French, who had more tanks and better tanks than the Germans, went down to defeat in six weeks.”

    “Free play training quickly creates a maneuver warfare mindset because the side that comes up with the most creative, imaginative tactics usually wins, … “
    Or, the side that adapts faster, wins.

    Or, more weight, less maneuverability.

  • Well, I’ll try this again.
    Serco, what rifle did you carry and what was your daily combat load, including ammo?

    • From what i have read via his previous postings, Selco did not have much in the way of a combat load.
      It all happened so fast, and they never thought it could happen to them.
      Some of his posts note this.
      He was not a prepper back then.

    • Hello Les.

      Over the time it changed, and it also changed based on particular situation.

      Mostly i used AK rifle (Yugoslavian and Romanian version),CZ 22 rifle, TT gun (Yugoslavian version).

      In some period of time i had only TT and knife as a “combat load”.

      For short period of time i used SKS (Yugoslavian version).

      Combat load (if i was lucky) was AK with one extra magazine, and TT with one magazine.

      I used lot of other weapons, but not as a part of my regular “carry kit”, and no, I was not prepper in the meaning of the word that we know today, if we lay our hands on weapon we usually needed to figure out how to use it on best way-on our own.

    • Les,

      I already posted a comment that appears not to have gone thru.

      The short reply was Selco already answered your question in point four of his article above.

      My take. He doesn’t recommend a ‘tool’ to people since that is your responsibility. There are too many variables, i.e. skill level, type of envirnoment, urban verus country, and so on.

      During the first year of the Seige there was an Arms Embargo and the Airport Tunnel was yet to be completed so basically all there was, I gather, was your hands, whatever could be found, and your mind, attitude and courage.

  • This was a great article. We need more of this type, less fluff and more grit.
    It really got into specifics and really gave a better portrayal of what SHTF might be like.
    To many Preppers take this stuff to lightly.
    If you don’t think it will be that bad, think again. I would say take what was written here and figure it would be 100 times worse and you might be close to a real SHTF scenario.

    I am not cheapening Selco’s experience, just qualifying it. He survived a terrible Civil war.
    They are always bad and ugly times.
    But there is hope at the other end. Wars end.
    SHTF could last for ever, it might even start out as a Civil war and get worse from there.
    They still had vehicles that ran, they still had electricity in places. the country itself received outside aid, medical supplies and such.
    Some sections of the country developed “safe” zones. That were relatively safe and normal.
    In a SHTF here in the USA, don’t expect to see any of that.

    Don’t expect any of that in a SHTF in the USA. NATO, much of it , US Forces, helped bring about an end to the conflict.
    Who do you think will come to our Aid? No One!
    If we survive it , it will be all be on us, to create an end to it, to rebuild, etc.

    • Can you say that with 100% accuracy?
      Will the Brits, the French, or anyone else stay out of a internal civil war here in America? Namely if one political party is asking for it?
      History says differently.

      Making predictions is hard, especially about the future.

  • Being ex military, I can firmly say, ” Never leave your brother behind”. You will receive a HARD and lightning fast REALITY CHECK when bullet heads are pinging by your head. When you get shot, you wil receive a reality check. When you are running with your gear on to another “location”, and in extreme defense mode, hoping you dont get sniped, is a reality check. Hearing close gun fire WILL shake your brain. There is alot of people that will not make it and yes its perfectly accurate to say our society has gone , ‘ SOFT”. iF you want to see how ” soft” our society has gotten, watch how people will freak out when ” facebook” is shut down temporarily. They lose their minds totally. Plus , when someone wrecks into a power pole, and causes a temporarty electrical outage, people are lightning fast to look online to see when the power is coming back on , just so they dont miss anything on Facebook.

    • @JW In The Thunder,
      Well said.
      I have mentioned before in the comments section on other articles about how people call 911 if they cannot get to their Fakebook page in an hour.

      Fact of the matter is a lot of people on either sides of the political spectrum, are not prepared for a prolonged, SHTF situation. Many will gladly roll over for which ever side claims THEY will be the ONES who brings back the internet, air conditioning, or heating, your favorite fast food chain, or 31 Flavors.

      It will come down to maneuver warfare, who has the gas, the logistical supply line, and can make do with less that will win in the end.

    • So true. “War is all hell”, said Gen. William T. Sherman during the Civil War. People looking forward to any conflict think it’s a game, something exciting and challenging. Like a movie. They’ve never seen up close gang war, drug cartel war, people killed in a 1000 ugly ways without remorse, families destroyed. It also seem to me they never read about war either, the stories of shattered lives and entire countries, how hard it is to rebuild everything and how deep the scars remain. It only takes the first sight of death up close to destroy this romance though.

  • For me, if possible I’d try just not to be there. I wouldn’t be going out in crowds to line for food. We have extra to avoid this. Might sound silly but we shop not at peak times .
    I don’t have a gun yet , but always have a knife or two . I totally agree most everything is a click away if you have the money for it or are willing to spend it on luxury. I think we if we learn to live on less now the better off we’ll be and more prepared. Looking for like minded people now before the shtf is important. We struggle with this in Australia . Because of course she’ll be right attitude. Selco has so much wisdom, feeling blessed to be able to read his articles. Thank you for sharing your tough experiences.

    • Howdy, Vi! I don’t know what restrictions on firearms, or ammo you have Downunder, but I’ll bet you can get a rifle chambered in.22 LR. This particular cartridge, small and “underpowered” as it is often depicted, has killed more human beings than any other in peace times. It can kill big game as well as small game–my dad once told me that during the Great Depression, they would poach Whitetail Deer with .22 rifles by shooting them in the neck. A professional hunter in Africa around the turn of the last century, won another hunter’s double rifle in a bet–he killed an African Elephant with a .22 rifle. A pistol chambered in the same cartridge could be valuable for personal defense, but due to the shorter barrel, will be less powerful than a rifle. Good luck, and God bless you!

    • It is my understanding that gun ownership in Australia is frowned upon if not outright illegal. Correct me if I’m wrong – I have unarmed friends in Australia who do not think they can purchase firearms. I am very worried about them given the situation in Victoria State which I expect to expand to the other three states.

      Best to you.

  • It wasn’t until i was 52yrs old when i first fired a gun. In 2008 I purchased a 12 gauge. Simple and deadly at close range. Good for home defense. So bought. Going to a range my first time was unsettling.
    1. I had never shot a gun.
    2. Everyone there had.
    3. Most had AR’s. I felt intimidated with only a 12 gauge.
    When asked what range i wanted I picked the 50 yard. Guy looks at me a tad funny. I load. Then put the gun down. Walk away to have a smoke. Next to me are a man and his son. Shooting an AR. Dad is explaining to son how to adjust scope for better aim. Son isn’t center. Dad shows he can using his own gun. Son tries again. Guys are high fiving and cheering and laughing for the “great shots”.
    I can’t pick up my gun and shoot. Why? Because it’s a weapon. It is for killing. I can throw stones at a piece of paper. But can I shoot a living creature. A human.
    Having a second cigarette I set my mind to accept that shooting my gun is to kill another person. Until that is set in my mind there was no point. I think family. I think, that target is someone intent on killing me. I can’t let that happen. I walk back to the stand and pick up my gun. Find the sight lines, aim and fire. Bullseye at 50 yards. Cock the barrel to reload. Aim and shoot. Just a couple of inches off. Fire off remaining 4 rounds, and put the gun down. In my mind I just killed a man. I take out a cigarette and as I turn the father of the son next to me is looking right into my eyes. He silently nods.
    I fired over 50 rounds within one hour. Switching from left to right arm shooting. My shoulders are killing me.
    I glanced out of curiosity to the man next to me. He simply is staring at me, and at the target. Which I didn’t bother to retrieve. He asked if I didn’t want it. I replied I didn’t need it thank you.
    What i needed I managed to achieve to enough extent. The mindset that shooting is all about killing. Not putting holes in paper. Yes its practice. But it is never a game.
    I pray I am spared ever to have to kill a human. MAYBE an animal for food. That first day, taught me that survival is a MINDSET. Thank you Selco for reinforcing that.

    • Here Here! to your last two lines. To reiterate… may we never have to kill another being with the exception of food. And, should we find ourselves in a situation of extreme self-defense, may we have the fortitude and mental agility to do what’s necessary.

    • When I was a younger man a young lady who was a member of the group I ran with showed up at my house on a Friday night with her new boyfriend, who’d just got out of jail. To set the scene you have to know she was sweet but rather unattractive, this guy was evil incarnate. Every vibe I felt was bad. I was concerned that he even knew where I lived. I knew immediately that I needed to take precautions and be prepared to defend myself and my home. Let someone like that walk in your door, your inhibitions will melt away when you realize that there’s a possibility that only one of you will walk out the door alive.

  • If you aren’t firing or at least aiming it at a potential target, you should not be exposed but behind cover or concealment. Exposure only gives the other guy someone to aim at.

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