Clay’s Guide to Urban Defense: Ep. 3 The Amount of Ammo You’ll Actually Need

Clay’s Guide to Urban Defense: Ep. 3 The Amount of Ammo You’ll Actually Need

President Donald J. Trump. (Photo: Twitter)

Before we continue with our regularly scheduled programming, a quick message from our commander-in-chief:

“They will overturn everything that we’ve done and they’ll do it quickly and violently, and violently. There’s violence. When you look at Antifa and you look at some of these groups — these are violent people.”

President Donald Trump, August 2018, on what could happen if the GOP loses in the upcoming midterms.

Clay’s Guide to Urban Defense

Now that we have talked until we are blue in the face about guns, we have to talk about what to feed them. What I am about to say will no doubt ruffle feathers.  But let’s try to be civil.  This is only one man’s opinion. And if you don’t agree with me, you can always tune back in next week, after you let me know in the comments section that I am an idiot and my mother worked in the less savory districts of Bangkok.

Seriously, on the ammo issue, this is probably going to be controversial. I have a different experience than most people and a different skill set. My personal needs are obviously tailored to me, as yours should be tailored o you. This time, it probably doesn’t mean I think your ammo pile is too small. It means I think it is ridiculously over-sized for the task at hand.  Mine is too, so hear me out…

Clay’s Guide to Urban Defense: Ep. 3 The Amount of Ammo You’ll Actually Need

The kind of ammo stash that makes fire departments nervous.

Less is More?

If we are talking about someone starting to prep, and in this case preparing for a Mongolian horde event, the easy answer is to tell them to snag one million rounds! Preferably in a Dr. Evil voice. But the reality is that is too much, especially when we are talking solely about the amount one will need.

I have a massive stockpile, as I am sure most of you do too. But that is more a hedge against inflation than an insurance policy for Antifa. I have the storage space, so no harm no foul. If you could go back 10 years and buy Facebook stock or .22 LR, that you had to keep until today, which one would you prefer? Me too.

The one thing I see over and over again in prepping circles is a belief that a mountain of ammo is all you need. Absolutely not true! In fact, I believe that most people would be better off with 300 rounds and the skills of having shot 20,000 as opposed to 20,000 stockpiled and the skills of having shot 300.

For my personal TEOTWAWKI (Total End Of The World As We Know It) stash, I only count 500 rounds of 77-grain 5.56 and an additional 300 rounds of 6.5 Creedmoor. My pistol isn’t even coming with me unless I am taking my truck and half of that Creedmoor is to cache in short order. Everything else, including all the extra boomsticks, is for barter, to bury, or expendable. Because in my experience, mobility is a lot more important than firepower. If my skills won’t get a resupply as needed with that loadout, I’m not going to make it anyway.

If I was planning an Urban Defense, like we are right now, I would actually upscale those numbers a bit. You still have to keep it sane because apartments are small and bullets are heavy. Not to mention expensive when you buy them in quantity. It changes a little bit both being in a defensive position and being in the concrete jungle.

Centerfire Rifle

Clay’s Guide to Urban Defense: Ep. 3 The Amount of Ammo You’ll Actually Need

For your centerfire rifle, I feel like 1,000 rounds is enough. Have I used more than that in a day of Urban Combat? Absolutely. By a factor of three on some really nasty occasions. But that was mostly in a street fight, where cover was sometimes scarce and the enemy had mountains of ammo to throw back. If someone starts chucking basketball-sized “Dishka” (DShK 1938) rounds past you, you do whatever is needed to shut that thing down.

On normal types of combat operations, 2-3 magazines was more likely, so 60-90 rounds. It turns out, experience and hitting what you are aiming at are important things. If you ask most guys from assault-type units what they took with them by the end of the war, 4 magazines is the most common answer. If you splay out 300 bad guys in front of your building, I’m betting your problems will stop. And if you think my suggestion is light, the cost and space aren’t that high to double it.


Clay’s Guide to Urban Defense: Ep. 3 The Amount of Ammo You’ll Actually Need

For your pistol or pistols, 200 rounds per gun is a good starting point. Or 500 rounds if you only have one. At close range, or against an area target, your pistol is going to work good enough. Two hundred is a big enough figure that your barista pressed into service can’t spend it all at once. It is a strange idea to have half as many pistol rounds as rifle rounds but in this context it makes sense. If you are only arming yourself (because you don’t trust anyone else or you’re on your own), I would reduce this down to 100 max, and add 500 to the rifle.


Clay’s Guide to Urban Defense: Ep. 3 The Amount of Ammo You’ll Actually Need

For the shotgun, ammo is super heavy. It isn’t going to be fun to move around, and if it comes time to escape, this would be my last choice. But you are going to be using it if the human wave closes in, so have enough to feed it. I would use 150 Buckshot and 50 slugs as a solid count.


Clay’s Guide to Urban Defense: Ep. 3 The Amount of Ammo You’ll Actually Need

For rimfire, go a little heavier. Given your defensive position, rimfire punches well above its weight class. At nearly one-third of the weight of rifle or pistol, you can get a little froggy here. Not my choice for fighting in a phone booth, but it beats a knife any day. I like a nice round figure of 5,000 here, which happens to be a full case.


So there we are. Your total urban defense ammo loadout by my calculation costs you just over $1,200 dollars. If you happen to have more on hand, awesome. But between now and when you need it, I strongly recommend you use some of that extra ammo to hone your skills.

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  • Scotty Gunn March 25, 2022, 5:37 pm

    Bug out? To where? Better plan on leaving at the first whiff of trouble, as in three hours you won’t get anywhere.
    No handgun? Sorry, a decent handgun will be by my side, as it is every day, all day long now.

  • Stan d. Upnow March 25, 2022, 2:01 pm

    Well, I’d say you should categorize your supply. For instance: some for practice/sporting, some for home defense, some for longer range(stand-off), and possibly a smaller amount for hunting. Each category would likely necessitate different loads and possibly different calibers across categories(limited as much as possible).
    Your supply should dictate your estimated need for each category plus an extra reserve amount.

    If the SHTF, cash will take a backseat to food, medicine, clothes, shoes, fuel, Guns, Ammo. Oh yeah, forgot beer.

  • scrooster March 25, 2022, 10:51 am

    So we’re bugging-out now? I am going-to grab my wife, three daughters, two Sons, two SiLs and six grandchildren ages 2-12 … and run? Not counting my dogs, their dogs, the suicidal cat, a fishbowl full of goldfish and a gay hamster couple. Then there are the cattle on the back forty, the pigs in out in pigtown and about 300k chickens in the chicken houses at any given 8-9 week cycle. Nahhhh, I think I’ll stay here and deal with what comes our way and … I’m ready for that. I started this prepping thing for TEOTHAWKI (THE End of the World as we know it) as a kid in the 50s and 60s because that’s the way we were raised back then on the farm. I dove deeply (as-in dived head first) into prepping in the 90s after retiring from the Army and after realizing that we were headed this way on a path toward inevitable internal destruction at the hands of our corrupt political system and the deep state swamp rat bureaucracy they have created. So here’s my hard fast rule. Minimum 2000 rounds for every semiauto rifle, 500 per for the bolties, a few hundred shotshells for birds, squirrels, rabbits, bad guys, etc. Slugg’em if you got’em. Endless 22LR accumulated over the decades. Have good platforms to feed all that ammo-to amd use the 22LR as much as you can for training those who need it. Those centerfire numbers are the minimum stash, you do not touch it … in case of fire break glass kinda stuff. Training ammo … that’s another story. You play like you practice, those are words to the wise. Pistols are for fighting your way back to your long guns, plain and simple. For holding off thr hordes until the reinforcements arrive. Having a pistol on your side at all times will be common practice post shtf. Bottom line is thwt you can honestly never have enough ammo. My grandfather passed his 30-06 and WWII 45 ACP surplus stash down to me … I still have it. My father, in his late 80s, still has his stash. And I’ve got mine. Without ammo a forearm doesn’t even make a good club. You can never have too much unless, I guess, you live in an upstairs apartment. Then it’s up to you but you’re probably screwed no ,atter what. Ask those people living in apartments in Ukraine right now … screwed, as in scrooster, take my word for it. I’m hearing from my boys over there. #AATW and then some. Thanks for the column Clay … you’re a leg no doubt but at least you got us talking about it. BTW, 7 high cap 30 rounders per AR. Three per M9 or M17 or whatever flavor one might carry because, as you know, a semi auto is not much good without their dinner plates.

  • Oaf October 30, 2020, 11:15 pm

    All this talk about “bugging out”. Bugging out to where? So you grab your BOB, head out and manage to reach the “safety” of a rural area. Now what? Unless you have a specific location you’re heading to, where you have shelter and supplies stashed, you’re just bringing whatever meager supplies you happen to have in your BOB to the rural folks to split up after taking them from your dead body.

  • marc foster October 18, 2020, 9:17 pm

    Great advice Clay and I agree mostly. I also keep one box of 380,38SPL, 40S&W, 45ACP, 7.62X39 ALL In Hollow Points. Doesn’t take up space and it’s a great insurance policy for either trade or if my guns fail and one of these calibers present themselves then I’m in business. Just an idea! Thank you for your service and contributions to the community!

  • Terry Quinn October 17, 2020, 11:01 pm

    Besides having guns and ammo, we should get organized. Most of the comments speak as though each will act in an individual capacity. You should find out now who your friends are; get acquainted and have a plan. Not just to defend, but to take the offensive and gain control.
    Another thing to do is refresh on small unit tactics. It may look silly to some, but going through exercises now will enable you to be more effective when the time comes.
    In all this, remember there are snitches.

  • Zupglick October 16, 2020, 6:41 pm

    Shelter in place; as much ammo as I can afford.
    Bug out; as much ammo as I can comfortably carry.

  • Easy Eddie October 16, 2020, 12:45 pm

    Great article. Thank you.

    And ‘Mongolian horde event’….Best. Line. Ever.

  • Joel Turner October 16, 2020, 12:01 pm

    Thanks Clay, great article very insightful. To all my brothers and sisters in arms God Bless you and yours and God Bless the United States of America! “Aim small, miss small.”

  • Nanook October 16, 2020, 11:43 am

    I did not become a serious prepper until Obama’s election. Although I had many years in the Army and retired by then, all I had was the basic hunting/survival equipment. Having children & grand children to be concerned about in a SHTF situation, I used my military background as a base to work from. I started with SIG P220’s & SIG 556’s as I trust them & couldn’t afford FN’ As the 9mm rounds have been so greatly improved on. I’ve expanded the arsenal to include SIG 938’s. Note, none of these guns can be chewed up by my puppy, & they’re all in the same calibers as the US Military at the time I started. I chose Ruger 10-22’s & Browning .22 Woodsman’s for hunting & training. On the ammo side, I bought enough to outfit an invasion of Cuba (LOL), & it was a lot cheaper in 08/09, a lot cheaper. I went with Mossberg 500/590,s in 12 ga. I live in a semi rural area, too close to the highway, but I ain’t gonna run, never learned how. As for stocking up on food, I only bought up what we normally eat except for a few cases of MRE’s. I hate MRE’s, but C Rat’s can’t be had. I much prefer Lrrps, Chile Con Carne was my favorite. Any way, I was bitching one day about sack lunches that were prepared for a in-flight meal on a long flight, and a one star overheard my comment. His answer was for me to quit bitching, it’ll build a turd. That phrase stuck with me all these years (35) later. If you don’t have your priorities set properly, you’re fucked anyway. DOL

  • JSK October 16, 2020, 11:08 am

    I see reading and comprehension of an article are in as short of supply as ammo is in the comment section.

  • Abuck49 November 7, 2018, 9:41 pm

    I commend all of you with BOL’s and 40 acres but for me and mine , right now we live in a big city. i’m older now peacetime Marine so I know some things , haven’t forgotten much.

    I have plenty ammo and 4 guns I shoot VERY well , Marlin 336 , CZ75 , Buckmark Camper and SP101. Yeah yeah 3 handguns and a intermediate rifle , I figure I can protect me and mine for however long it takes. 🙂

    Pretty sure I can meet up with some other vets around my way eventually and in my situation I won’t be having battles if I can help it. You can have all the ammo in the world and the greatest place to defend but if your dumb none of it will matter.

  • David September 14, 2018, 1:34 pm

    Ammo. What are the most common types used by police, National Guard and outside country “here to help”. Those are the ammo types that I have weapons for. Take it from the dead they have no need for it.

  • archangel September 7, 2018, 4:03 pm

    If you live long enough to empty your loaded magazines, you will want a reload.
    If you are lucky enough to make it long enough that the population will have been thinned out, you will need enough ammo to fight off the tough as nails predators who survived this long.

    I will not die for a lack of being able to shoot back, but compared to some I know, (think Demo-ranch but with a civil engineers budget) only winning the lottery will allow me to catch up!

    • Al September 10, 2018, 11:10 pm

      This where having a nice Ak 47 or 74, a 10/22 and a Mossy 590A1 for SHTF comes in handy and economical. Also, youd want as many magazines as possible, as reloading magazines under stress sucks bad. Drum mags and belt feds would be ideal too, but are expensive for reliable ones.

      • Tyler October 16, 2020, 5:22 am

        I can get behind ya on the individual loadout, but I (c’mon, you knew this was coming) respectfully disagree on the overall round count.
        I’m an old school fuddy duddy. My rifle of choice for the scenario you present is an M1a. For quite a few reasons, 308 makes sense for my AO. Pistol is a good old Jamteen11. 12 gauge for shotgun, and I have multiples of all of the above.
        If (God forbid) I ever need to carry a long gun in public, my loadout would be 3 spare rifle mags, 2 spare pistol mags, and 6 extra shotgun shells. (Probably wouldn’t tote 2 long guns, but that’s how my carrier is set up)
        If that won’t do it then I probably bit off more than I can chew and should seriously rethink my life choices if I survive.

        As for the overall stash, I’ll just say that your proposed round count and my prefereed round count are about as far apart as my net worth vs Donald Trump’s. My rimfire stash is 60% of my overall round count, because reasons. We’re in the early stages of famine after 4 seasons of plenty. I planned for a drought. ‘Nuff said.

  • Mo September 7, 2018, 8:50 am

    Clay, you are right on less is more if you are oscar mike, but in urban terrain arent we talking digging in and holding a position? What space does a spam can or 420rd box take in the bottom of a closet? In your last episode you said we might also need to arm our neighbors…so that multiple per weapon should be included???

    I personally keep 10 loaded mags per rifle and 4 per pistol.

    As backup i keep several 420rd cans of 5.56mm in safe keeping for resupply. I have massive bricks of .22lr just because, and because i love subguns with happy switches, I tend to buy 10k 9mm at a time, though i seem to blow it just as quickly but usually have 5k on hand though any given cycle.

    All im saying is that if your digging in, a few extra cases of ammo can usually be stashed somewhere in the house without issue.

  • Terry September 4, 2018, 9:27 am

    The hedge against inflation and resupply are big considerations…

  • Scott September 2, 2018, 10:13 am


  • Roger Bullard September 1, 2018, 4:21 pm

    Love your insight. Agree with most everything. Save room for food and water.

  • Jake September 1, 2018, 12:54 am

    My comment is to stockpile a lot of 00 Buck and .22’s for your unprepared “draftees.” When the time comes and if you find you are the only one who is going to say “follow me”and organize a neighborhood defense, you will likely find a bunch of folks who maybe have a 12 gauge and or a .22 of some kind. Most of them will cooperate if they have the secure feeling 100 rounds of .22 will give them in their pocket. The old dusty 12 gauge many non-gunners have from Dad or Grampa in the closet makes a damn fine weapon for an untrained guy when it is loaded with Buckshot. those 9 .33 caliber balls whizzing down the street in the bad guys direction will make them think long and hard before proceeding. If they do proceed they won’t survive catching a pattern anywhere important. 00 Buck turns a bird gun into a militia weapon.

    • Bobs your uncle September 1, 2018, 2:42 pm

      Most sporting, pump action and semi auto shotguns have a magazine block that limits capacity to three rounds, removing it you could load six.

      • Jay Smith October 16, 2020, 7:54 am

        Extension tube gets you 8 . With shorty shells and a cheap addapter , dbl that..

    • Ghost October 16, 2020, 9:35 am

      Were seeing this today. The unprepared are now buying ammo at rediculous rates.
      I bought mine during Obozo
      term and enough for the rest of my family who couldn’t afford it at the time. So, how much is enough?

  • KN August 31, 2018, 7:47 pm

    I think the article has some excellent points in it. However, I think he left out an important thing, and that is what your mission should be in the collapse situation that he refers to. Your mission, as soon as it is evident that times are not going to get better, should be to get the heck out of the city. That doesn’t mean out to the suburbs. That means you B-line it to the least populated, yet somewhat livable location before you hear gun shots becoming common. What this means is you need to be able to carry as much as you can on your person and still be able to cover decent ground. Ideally you’ll have the sense to leave while driving away is still possible. Obviously EMP or sudden events will create immediate chaos, but you have the presence of mind to know that as soon as something happens the clock is ticking and you need to get out while it’s relatively easy. Sticking around an urban area in a SHTF scenario is like using your garden hose to try to fight a fire from inside your own home. Eventually you will be consumed by the chaos of the city (same for surrounding suburban areas) and all your prepping did was buy you just enough time to realize you made a bad choice by staying.

    • Jay Smith October 16, 2020, 8:01 am

      Agree with you. Know someone in the “sticks” , that you ask ahead of time, ” If the SHTF, can i load me , my family, guns & ammo , then come to your place ? ” ( include some extra clothes , sturdy shoes, coats, sleeping bags, tools if you can ) Fuel up on the way & maybe an extra large gas can. What am i missing ,…..? Oh yeah , a Towel . You should know why , “42” …

      • Daniel Grant Braatz October 20, 2020, 12:59 pm

        And: Dont panic!

  • Guido August 31, 2018, 6:08 pm

    Hello, Clay

    I look forward to your articles here just like I do your second novel.
    Two things: I stock a lot of weapons and ammo because I envision a time in the not too distant future where our access to arms and ammo may be severely restricted or completely shut down. I therefore stock ammo and handloading supplies for my contemporaries, my sons, and their children. I don’t want to think about them ever being unable to defend themselves.
    Also, since our various gubmint agencies have just recently purchased some 2.6 billion rounds of HP .40 cal ammo, I suspect in a SHTF situation some of that huge stockpile will find its way down to the man on the street level. In my mind, that’s a good reason to be prepared with some platforms to use that .40 cal ammo that after all, is ours.

  • mark haney August 31, 2018, 4:06 pm

    I know I’m not leaving my home, I can’t carry enough and have no place to retreat to yet I keep go bags in the basement and my truck. I’m considered a conspiracy theorist for even thinking about the maybe conflicts, economic collapse, or even the 35 Islamic training camps that go along with the rumors of Iranian sleeper cells. I have food storage, ammo, and water to keep me 4 kids, 8 grand kids, and 2 great grand kids going till we win or loose. They are the main reason I can’t leave because none have the mind set to pull the trigger and will have to be shown. Its difficult to add more to what I have without starting a little war with the wife so my main prep now is prayer.

  • kb31416 August 31, 2018, 3:19 pm

    Please add me to the chorus requesting a rural defense article. I live in the country, but close enough to Chicago that when it empties, and the hoards come rampaging looking for free stuff, I’m just 2-3 days walk away. My house is a brick fortress, and I have all of the areas ranged for 360 degrees, so my plan (as I posted previously) is to defend in place. Too old to flee.
    By the way, my ammo stash uses the same warehouse racks that you show in the photo.

    • Clay Martin September 1, 2018, 11:10 am

      I think that after all the requests, we are going to run one on rural as well. Thanks for tuning in!!

    • srsquidizen October 16, 2020, 8:51 am

      Only devout Jihadis would be willing to attack a well-defended brick house sitting out in the country. The body count involved could not be stomached by a bunch of left wing spoiled brats who will go running home to mommy’s basement soon as the fertilizer really hits the oscillator.

      • Texas Twostep October 16, 2020, 10:21 am

        Keep in mind that in a survival situation it won’t be political ideologies fighting one another. It will be individual groups fighting for resources and survival. Former Marines will be fighting former Marines. Former plitical affiliations won’t matter, it will be about survival pure and simple.

        • srsquidizen October 16, 2020, 11:20 am

          You are right if it comes to that. Out in the country you’ve at least got a chance to see ’em coming.

  • Stephen Graham August 31, 2018, 3:18 pm

    I am not certain why I am writing this to you, Clay. I have been reading your articles (pretty much all of them on GunsAmerica) for a couple of years. Not only do I enjoy them and find them more informative and practical than those from any other author, but your sense of humor and manner of presentation are right in line with my own. I also appreciate the depth of your practical experience which exceeds that of most other authors. Do you plan on having your own website? I would love to watch it, if you ever develop one. Please keep on pumping out your reviews, helping us with your experience, and keep telling it like it is!

  • Winston August 31, 2018, 1:11 pm

    Evidently, the author of this article was the unwanted and violent Antifa force in someone else’s country, since the citizens of that country were shooting at him defending thier residences form him.

    • Clay Martin September 1, 2018, 11:11 am

      one man’s terrorist is anothers freedom fighter.

      • Justin Case October 16, 2020, 9:11 am

        That’s a very good point, and no doubt the Antifa terrorists here all have the delusion that they are freedom fighters, not terrorists. Apparently Winston is confused as to which one is which…

      • Bob Loblaw October 16, 2020, 2:26 pm

        Winston should take his happy ass to one of those places that are more in line with his feelings.

    • Billybob September 9, 2018, 11:50 am

      So Winston you’d compare honorable men and women of the US military to animals who cover their faces, shut down free speech, and vandalize public and private property? That is special.

    • Jay Smith October 16, 2020, 8:10 am

      Bless yur heart , Winston. … Love your name . Very manly, handicapable-even.

      • Justin Case October 16, 2020, 9:00 am

        Wasn’t Winston the main character in George Orwell’s 1984?

  • Tenbones August 31, 2018, 12:11 pm

    I live in the country and agree with Clay’s perspective, but there is one area that tends to get overlooked and that is the dwelling in which you live. The majority of us live in wood framed, wood covered structures and most small arms fire with go through them like shit through a goose. If we are going to stay put and wait it out then we should make every effort to insure that we have a fortified area inside our home that will protect us from outside assault and yet allows us to return fire when needed.

    We all, myself included, get sucked into a this false sense of security that our homes tend to give us. People in the old days had forts to go to for good reason.

    • kb31416 August 31, 2018, 2:20 pm

      My house is made of brick for precisely the reason you described.

    • John L August 31, 2018, 6:46 pm

      Clay mentioned that early on in this series. But no harm in repeating it. Yeah, that’s my Achilles heal here in the suburbs.

    • TJ August 31, 2018, 6:54 pm

      I figure my best bet is the daylight basement, at least you have concrete and earthen walls about 6′ high for most of it with narrow windows. Main concern remaining there is fire, if someone could get close enough to light the house on fire, you’re still pretty much SOL.

    • DPP September 1, 2018, 11:47 pm

      No matter what your home or castle is made of, you always need to be mindful of one of the terrorists’ favorite weapons…FIRE!
      Read the account of why the Ambassador to Libya died in Benghazi: 13 HOURS. The bad guys broke into the compound and used the US supplied diesel fuel for the generators to set the contents of the buildings on fire. The oily smoke caused the Ambassador and his guard to flee their ‘safe room’ for fresh air. In the smoke, they got separated and only the guard got out.
      If you are going to shelter in place, PLEASE have a hidden/secure and well-filtered air vent that won’t be affected by smoke from the bad guys. Pray and hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

  • Bad Penguin August 31, 2018, 12:06 pm

    Old saying – You only have to much ammo if you are on fire or drowning.

    Everyone has to figure out your own needs based on your location, terrain and training. Most people, including most military people are terrible shots as they are taught suppressive fire, so a few more mags stored somewhere would be good. I’d store them loaded just in case. Your choice of steel, aluminum or polymer. I’d stay away from aluminum though as they wear out fast and are noisy. A few extra springs would be nice.

    Whether you stay in place or move also dictates how much ammo you need. If a large group of people are hunting you, then you need to travel light and stay on the move. Just don’t waste shots. In this situation people who stayed on the move have a better chance of survival that people who stay in place. If you are going to stay in place just realize that that if you bug out everything you have will be left to the people you are running from.

    Train your kids and spouse how to shoot. Then they can carry part of the ammo load too.

    • weiss217 May 10, 2019, 12:42 pm

      I follow a bit of wisdom from my son. His load out was 22 mags, until one day he was in an eighteen hour fire fire before the cavalry arrived and was down to his last mag. Most everybody else had expended their ammo and he was sharing out some rounds. After that, his load out was 26 mags. He said that after that he took a couple extra mags for, “…the dumb asses that burned up their ammo.” He did two tours then worked at MARSOC. My gun room looks like Clay’s photo. You can’t have too much ammo and a hand-out gun or two is a good idea for the “help” that arrives or takes shelter. 300 Blackout or AR pistol is a nice touch for close work. Just my two cents.

  • Randy August 31, 2018, 11:49 am

    Clay, I can’t find any fault in your line of thinking. But I think most people that comment only look at their own issue at hand.
    I am older and can’t easily leave my home and family to bug out. To many medical conditions to mention. I will have to make a last stand at my place of residence. I have food for 2 years ammo for longer to barter with. Extra firearms for neighbors and friends to organize a small defensive group for those left behind. I know it sounds like a lost cause but I would rather fight and die on my home turf than run to an almost certain death. Here I know the lay of the land and can use empty buildings as OP/LP. I can also set up deep cover sniper hides with quick retreat capabilities. I have been reloading and prepping for almost 40 years and have confidence in my scrounging abilities. So while I know the young and strong have the ability to bug out. Many of us must stay behind to do the best me can to survive however long that may be. Thanks for the good article.



    • kb31416 August 31, 2018, 2:23 pm

      Same issues here. Too old, worn out and out of shape to run, so defend the Alamo, and make the cost of my inevitable defeat expensive.

  • justjim August 31, 2018, 11:41 am

    Having a huge stock pile is not a bad idea for a number of reasons:
    -as stated, a hedge against inflation
    -practice, practice, practice.
    -I read an account of an economic crisis in the Balkans. Crucial strategy which led to the author’s survival was the availability of ammo over the long term. One of the points made that was by making yourself “heard” with random and daily weapons fire signaled that yours was a more “hardened” target.
    -having a large volume of ammo means that when it comes to being mobile you still have enough to comprise a small load-out

    • Jay Smith October 16, 2020, 8:16 am

      Not sure if i’d want to draw attention with unneeded gunfire. But IF needed, Volume volley to suppress. Then see if they wait to reapproach after dark ( they will). Gonna be a long , sleepless night night.

  • Randy Lantz August 31, 2018, 11:40 am

    In combat with the 82nd I carried 27 20 rd. mags, 60 rds. of pistol ammo, 8 frag grenades and a LAWs rocket plus some, claymores.
    You do not know what you will need.

    • Jim Cargill August 31, 2018, 12:53 pm

      I was with the 25th Inf., and I had about the same. Jungle military needs are very different, as re-supply only comes by air, and that might be impossible for a lot of reasons. I carried an M60, so weight was a factor. Kept about a 30-round starter belt in the gun, 200 rounds wrapped and draped around the body. My AG carried two cans, total 400 rounds, plus 100 on his body. He also had his M16, and bandolier of mags. A couple guys in the squad would carry another 100 or so, as we wanted to go out with 1000 rounds of 60 ammo. Never expended it all before resupply,fortunately.

      The author is correct, as the odds are about 99 to 1 that, in worst case scenarios, you will never have a fight amounting to anything more than a brief skirmish…maybe expend 20-30 rounds, at the most.

    • Clay Martin September 1, 2018, 11:16 am

      For both Randy and Jim-

      Absolutely get that, for certain things I’ve had a crazy load out too. Also missing from the above, when in Urban Combat for Uncle Sugar, I had 5-9 breeching charges, hand grenades, and most days both an M-4 and an SR-25. But much like your jungle days, I was a lot younger and stronger then. I’m pretty sure my normal 25yo Clay load out would cripple me now, and I certainly wouldn’t be fast.

  • Louis Costanzo August 31, 2018, 11:30 am

    Some great and helpful information, I was also wondering if you were going to explore a rural defense series

  • Mike S August 31, 2018, 10:57 am

    Well, I live way out in the boonies, far from the madding crowd, in one of the reddest counties in a red state, and besides, I’m too damned old to run. So I’ll “shelter in place” (hate that phrase as it’s normally used) and defend in place. And I’ll keep my stockpile as is or grow it. Not only for personal defensive use, but for bartering and helping resupply my neighbors, whose defensive lines the hordes will have to penetrate before they get anywhere near mine.

  • TJ Reeder August 31, 2018, 10:52 am

    Many years ago old man LL Bean (yea that guy) told the story of life after an event where a man walked into a farmers yard and said see this $600.00 Gold Krugerrand ? The farmer said yep, see that $600.00 chicken? I took that to heart back when it was Obama and Clinton running against each other for President. I bought 25,000 rounds of 22lr… Later by a few years, I could have doubled my money but I didn\’t, I added to the stock as prices fell and availability returned. IMHO stockpiling gold and silver is fine just not for me. I\’m too old to run so carrying a lighter load don\’t apply to me. Other than that I agree with Clay. Also, I don\’t think you can have too many magazines. After Klinton signed the ban back in the last century I actually saw people paying $150.00 for used glock mags. Of course, as a 1911 single stack shooter, I laughed. So, I see my \”hoard\” of ammo as trade goods and as a savings account for my family and friends after I\’m gone.

    • Clay Martin September 1, 2018, 11:18 am

      Lol. As soon as Obama announced, I started a policy of buying a brick anytime I stepped foot in a walmart, which was about once a week. I ended up with near 25,000 by the end of the election cycle too. Nice to see I was in good company.

      • John L October 16, 2020, 3:35 pm

        Same here. Walmart 40 years ago for 1 cent per round. I’m down to about 15,000 rounds now.

    • Nemo May 12, 2019, 4:47 pm

      In a conversation I had with my oldest son a year or two ago, he said something to the effect that I had way more ammo than I would use in the remainder of my life. My reply was “I didn’t buy that for me I bought for you and your brother ’cause you’re going to need it.”

    • Jay Smith October 16, 2020, 8:20 am

      Bullets, beans & water. Wth do i need coinage for ? Lol.

  • TJ Reeder August 31, 2018, 10:51 am

    Many years ago old man LL Bean (yea that guy) told the story of life after an event where a man walked into a farmers yard and said see this $600.00 Gold Krugerrand ? The farmer said yep, see that $600.00 chicken? I took that to heart back when it was Obama and Clinton running against each other for President. I bought 25,000 rounds of 22lr… Later by a few years, I could have doubled my money but I didn’t, I added to the stock as prices fell and availability returned. IMHO stockpiling gold and silver is fine just not for me. I’m too old to run so carrying a lighter load don’t apply to me. Other than that I agree with Clay. Also, I don’t think you can have too many magazines. After Klinton signed the ban back in the last century I actually saw people paying $150.00 for used glock mags. Of course, as a 1911 single stack shooter, I laughed. So, I see my “hoard” of ammo as trade goods and as a savings account for my family and friends after I’m gone.

  • December August 31, 2018, 10:38 am

    Out in the country myself. 40 acres with clear field of fire.
    It was mentioned rounds become currency.
    Plenty of reloading supplies but also have the equipment, molds, sizers etc. to cast bullets.
    Also equipment, and supplies to make black powder. I am a chemist so yes I know how to make smokeless but in very problematic times not the easiest materials to get a hold of.
    Primers are easy to store in large amounts and before internet polcing one could find how to even remake a primer.
    Easiest is to use matetials from strike anywhere matches.
    Not my first go to but I do keep a double barrel flint lock. Shot or ball is good for hunting.

    I have a private well with solar and manual backup. Water is going to be very important. Also keep water filtration units handy.

    Small still but could go larger. Alcohol for trade or power.

    While there will be chaos in cities, most likely it will be gangs that will be the most problematic at first.

    To me if you bug out you are a hunting party, but so are a lot of others.

  • Joe August 31, 2018, 10:13 am

    Totally agree except id bring my mkiv lite too. you know, for zombie rabbits and squirrels

  • KC August 31, 2018, 9:21 am

    One of the most cogent points that I\’ve seen made about this (and I don\’t remember where) points out that, if you expend a few hundred rounds, which means a large number of bad guy encounters, and you have survived all of that, you are some kind of bullet proof god, so more ammo isn\’t necessary.

  • Marcelino August 31, 2018, 9:16 am

    Thanks Clay for the input on what might be.

  • Mort Leith August 31, 2018, 9:02 am

    First of all, to assume urban defense in the event of a power grid outage, that is not reality.
    When all the food rots in the restaurants and grocery stores due to no power for months on end, the liberals will be flowing out of the cities like ants and roaches.
    They will be searching for rural and outlying areas (like the Blue Ridge Mtns of north Georgia for instance), where REAL people (Conservatives) that know how to hunt and prepare wild game/food and NOT depend on the government for their food needs.
    The city liberals hate guns and wouldn’t know how to use them for defense OR hunting to feed themselves. So their logical agenda would be to go STEAL it like they do with welfare, etc.
    THAT is why I have more than your low suggested quantities…

    • DaveW September 1, 2018, 3:56 am

      It’s not going to be just common people spreading out from the cities. In fact, most of them will be dead from armed gangs who will eliminate them in order to take what they have and not have to worry about them finding their courage to fight back.
      Take a look at films of the Watts riots and similar events. Rioters didn’t just take food. They took televisions, furniture, clothing, and anything else not locked in a vault. They burned their own homes and businesses. In some cases, a lone armed shop owner was able to protect his property. This is what it looks like when the social structure breaks down. Fortunately, I live in a rural region with mountains only 20 minutes away and plenty of water sources including hot springs, etc.

      I fall back on my Vietnam experience. First, instead of buying gold or silver, I bought steel, lead and brass with which I have the means to take the gold and silver (or food) from those who have them. Second, I am not going to weigh myself down with a ton of ammo and a gun for every possibility. Indeed, I would rather take my crossbow. It will take about anything available in North America, and ammo is reusable. Most of all, it is quiet and less apt to give away my position and bring inquisitive people.

      In base defense, where we had resupply readily available, we stood the perimeter with 60 rounds of 5.56 in 3 20 round mags, 18 rounds of handgun (6 loaded and 12 in 2 dump pouches), and one box of 12 gauge, two assault packs for the M-60. Patrol was a little different. Ammo was more important than most other gear, so we dumped the excess and loaded up on ammo. If the patrol was uneventful, we had to carry all that ammo back with us and it sure got heavy. But, that was combat.

      Today, I’m a lot older and my goal is survival and my AR-7 with 3 full mags of rim fire is fine enough. Of course, this is an excellent fishing region and I would rather fish than give myself away. I am going to do my damnedest to avoid any confrontations. I will have my .357 Ruger Blackhawk and one of my compact 1911s. It would be nice to have a rifle and handgun chambered in the same caliber, but I’m not there yet. Most of my stuff will be cached in places I am already familiar with (which includes an abandoned mining town, old mines, caves, etc.)

      A lot of “preppers” are going to be disappointed when they realize how heavy all that ammo gets when they are trying to get to a high hide. Reminds me of the old Gunny in “We were soldiers….”, when the CO told him he should get an M-16 in place of the 1911 he carried, and his reply was, ‘when the time comes there will be plenty of rifles lying on the ground’.

  • Missouri Frontier August 31, 2018, 8:22 am

    SHORTSIGHTED…. It is possible (if not probable) that the TEOTWAWK scenario will be protracted. What if the conflict last weeks, months, or years? Your 1,000 rounds might be woefully inadequate. I would rather have a stockpile with more than I need than be left holding an empty AR. What will you do when/if ammo becomes unavailable for a long period? Your approach is not common sense, it is shortsighted

    • KC August 31, 2018, 9:17 am

      I think Clay\’s point is that, having expended all of those rounds, you will have killed a lot of vermin, and you will have procured their weapons and ammo along the way.

    • ERIK CANTU August 31, 2018, 10:04 am

      I agree. I think a few factors are left out at this articel. As you mention, duration of this TEOTWAWK time. You may have to defend and hunt for weeks to month, easily and maybe years.
      Also, you may be prepared, but the smart survival bet isn’t to be alone. Regardless of family or friends in your survival group, you need more shooters, and they may not be as prepared as you. Finding like minded people to align with you and supplying them with ammo may be you and your family’s best survival practice.
      Also in such a chaotic time, bullets will be a high value currency. Gold, cigarettes, toilet paper, jerky; all great for bartering at the end of the world but they won’t value at a box of 5.56 of 9MM for trading.

      • N7 September 2, 2018, 3:40 pm

        In the first part of this series clay mentioned it is a localized breakdown. Just in your local area or city. Order will be restored but you still have to survive until then. So it isn’t the end of all civilization but a temporary breakdown like Katrina or LA riots type situation.

  • steve hammill August 31, 2018, 8:19 am

    Lately I’ve tried to stick to just a few calibers: 9mm, .223, 7mm08, 12 guage, and 22 LR. Unfortunately, guns are just so cool I can’t resist keeping a couple 22 mags, 380s, 41mags, 10mm, 45 ACPs, 45 LC, 480/475, and a couple of other oddballs.

    Focusing on just a few calibers means that I have sets of guns in multiple locations to arm my crew if need be. While the chance of big trouble may be greater than ever, I’d bet that I’ll never need all of those weapons. Still, I hedge my bets 😉

  • Dave August 31, 2018, 8:11 am

    Have plenty of ammo for staying in place, but, if you have to bug out, be prepared. 90 rounds in 3 mags of 556 is about 9#. 1000 rounds of 22 mag is about 9#. 22 mag has just enough power for many tasks. Pmr 30, maybe a sturdy revolver. Some sort of modified rifle, folding stock, 16″ barrel.

  • Tim August 31, 2018, 8:08 am

    What part of Bangkok?

    • Tom September 7, 2018, 12:34 pm

      Found yer long lost scion?

  • Infidel762X51 August 31, 2018, 8:02 am

    I worked with a 2 Vietnam tour marine sgt. for many years. He said each man carried 2 of the 3 mag pouches (20 round mags), a rucksack full of as many mags as they could stuff in it, and each man carried two belts for the M-60. His attitude was you can’t send someone out in the middle of a firefight for more ammo. I guess that’s why he carried 4 speedloaders in the revolver days and 4 mags when we went to semi-autos.

  • mike August 31, 2018, 5:14 am

    GREAT advise!!! Here’s a little more. “DON’T let yourself get attached to ANYTHING you are NOT WILLING to walk out on in 30 seconds FLAT IF you feel the Heat around the corner!” GREAT advise. Even though it comes from a movie and one starring the PILE of DOGSHIT DeNiro, NEVERTHELESS, it works. IF your bug out plans include actual bugging out instead of shelter in place you’ve got to keep it real as far as your mobility is concerned. You need more ammo, pick it up along the way. Thousands of rounds are ONLY gonna slow you down. ALSO, there’s ALOT to be said for having a “Budget Priced” AR because MANY are gonna perish due to the FACT they ABSOLUTELY REFUSED to drop their SUPER ZIPITTY DO DAD HOOKED UP $3500.00 by the time they’re done AR, and grab the first available weapon IF THE NEED PRESENTS! Practice your “FORAGING” skills and the MINDSET to go along with them.

    • Missouri Frontier August 31, 2018, 8:26 am

      Bugging out might not be the best approach. Being ready to run away on 30 seconds notice might make you nothing more than a refugee. Perhaps standing and fighting is the best approach. I’ll store my extra ammo and stand my ground. You can run with enough to fight for a day.

  • Zackary W August 31, 2018, 4:58 am

    You mentioned 6.5CM, are you confident enough in it’s popularity to be able to resupply down the road? Or would you think about a hand-press type kit(especially if thinking about an even less common cartridge, like many do) to reload down the road?

    • KenW August 31, 2018, 9:09 am

      “to reload down the road?”

      Are you crazy or have you found a secret way to store and transport Primers – Powder – Bullets without the weight and bulk they take up on the reloading bench ?

      • Zackary W September 2, 2018, 9:46 pm

        Consider how they did it on the frontier 100 years ago, brass is the most valuable part of the load, everything else is simpler to source on the road. I’m not talking about reload 1000 rounds here, think about the situation a bit first, with no easy resupply, reloading has to happen eventually. If you’re carrying 300 rounds, and the powder, primers(which store flat in original package or in any static proof container with buffer), and projectiles for 600 reloads, you have less weight than 900 assembled loads(brass weight is only the original 300) and the reload components can store easier packed than loaded ammo. Think long term on the road, with appropriate hand loading tools. I’m not talking about reloading for 1000’s of rounds and an automated progressive press.

    • Sgt. Pop August 31, 2018, 10:38 am

      down the road probably meaning time/later….

  • DAN III August 31, 2018, 4:44 am


    Darn good, sensible essay.

    I have questioned myself on the sense in having more than X # of rounds stored. On the other hand my numbers of 5.45×39 far exceed your recommendations. I really like the 5.45. Enjoy shooting it. My stockpile is there because of the limited availability of this cartridge. So, there are exceptions to every argument.

    Keep up the good writing. Look forward to the next installment.

  • Harry August 30, 2018, 3:21 pm

    You are not an idiot… Enjoyed your comments!!!

  • Chris August 30, 2018, 2:57 pm

    Hi Clay,

    Thank you for the article and the other ones as well. I wanted to ask you if you have ever thought of writing about things you should or shouldn’t do when hiking home on foot with a get home bag and what items you would really need or not. I have a pretty good angle on what I think I would need in my bag but am unable to find something on things you should or shouldn’t do when on foot trying to get home with probably thousands of other people as well. I would be interested on what you would have to say. Thanks.


  • Will G August 30, 2018, 11:56 am

    Keep em coming, Clay. These are great! Are you planning on doing a rural defense series as well? It’s good to see a real world experienced perspective.

    Thank you.

    • Don August 31, 2018, 9:52 am

      Will, thanks for posting your comment. Clay, if you’re reading these comments, I second Will’s thoughts. A series in Rural Defense would be very helpful and much appreciated. This current series is well thought out and very informative. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience.

  • Bobs your uncle August 30, 2018, 11:50 am

    Sounds like solid advice to me, although I have no experience to base it on. It might be useful to have a Jack Bauer bag and test what its like to carry that amount of ammo/supplys around. A sturdy lap top bag with some extras water,food, torch, hand gun, flare pistol, etc. something that can be grabbed at a moments notice. you will soon discover its not as light as Jack Bauers bag on TV and doesn’t contain an endless supply. Like a lot of things its better to have it and never need it. Thanks Clay for the well thought out piece.

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