1. THR Just moved.  See problems?  Make sure you're logged in and come to this thread and tell us about it!

    Dismiss Notice

Emergency Ammo - How much is REALISTICALLY needed?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by elano, Feb 2, 2016.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. rgwalt

    rgwalt Member

    May 9, 2009
    Emergency? If I bug out, I am going to take my CCW and a spare mag plus a full sized pistol and a spare mag, plus my 10/22 take down and maybe 200-500 rounds in sleeves. The reality is that, with a wife with type I diabetes, a small child, and two dogs, we aren't bugging out on foot. The 10/22 is more of an indulgence than a true need, but it is easy to pack/grab on the way out. If I bug in, then I have access to all my weapons and my ammo stash.

    As others have said, my ammo stash is insulation against the next run on guns & ammo. I thought I had a good stash by having 500 rounds of each caliber prior to the last panic. Now I make it a rule to buy twice as much as I shoot. It doesn't take up much room, and prices tend to only go up as long as you are buying right. In a true emergency, like a hurricane hitting Houston, if I'm going to bug out with my family, I can leave the ammo home in dry boxes on a high surface and it will probably be fine. If it floods, then ruined ammo is the least of my worries.
  2. Jeff H

    Jeff H Member

    Sep 14, 2009

    My SHTF scenario is more real than all of yours. How many rounds do I realistically need to have on hand for my target shooting if Hillary gets elected. :D
  3. jrdolall

    jrdolall Member

    Feb 3, 2012
    I keep a lot of ammo on hand as well as plenty of reloading supplies.
    A few years ago I decided that 9mm was my "go to" caliber basically because it is cheaper to shoot factory ammo. I keep several thousand rounds on hand as well as enough reloading supplies to load several thousand more. I have many pistols in 9mm as well as a couple of carbines in the caliber.
    I have more 22 LR ammo than any other caliber and the firearms to shoot it.

    None of this is for any SHTF scenario other than a tin foil "next Sandy Hook scenario". I didn't get caught with my pants down but I was surprised with how difficult it became to find 22 LR ammo.

    As far as SHTF I can never convince myself that lots of guns and ammo will play a big part in any scenario. I watched Red Dawn last week and I am a fan of The Walking Dead but neither is a scenario that I spend time or money worrying about. I can see me leaving with 5,000 rounds of 9mm ammo and the slowest zombie (legless maybe) would be able to catch me carrying 200 pounds of ammo. I don't have a Bug Out plan because I don't really think they are workable in most scenarios.

    I am prepared to survive off the land for about two weeks with bottled water and water tablets that can be used with the water in the well on my property. Canned and dry food are always in abundance around here as well as plenty of protein on the hoof if things got bad for a while. I am talking extreme flooding or massive hurricane where I live. We got a HUGE amount of rain in December and many roads were completely washed out. Some are still not usable.

    Needing massive quantities of ammo for civil unrest situations is not practical. I know of no situation in the USA where people have needed lots of ammo to survive any situation. If somebody wants what you have then they are going to take it.
  4. JFtheGR8

    JFtheGR8 Member

    Nov 22, 2006
    Central Illinois
    I've selected a handgun and long gun for each family member. Then three mags for each of those. Good carry rigs for each pistol and good slings for each rifle or shotgun. These are various calibers and gauges in order to increase the odds of being able to obtain ammo if we run out. I've not gotten into reloading yet but that's in my plan. I don't think that prepping is a SHTF discussion at all. It's a very real possibility that a catastrophe could take place to disrupt society and personal defense should be integral to anyone's plan. Even stocking up on ammo in case Hillary gets elected is prepping.
  5. elano

    elano Member

    Mar 7, 2011
    ^^^ Thank you JftheGr8

    The snide comments are so rude. I'm not going to even bother replying. If you don't know what I meant, you probably aren't going to understand a further explanation either.

    Seems a couple mags is the consensus which is what I was thinking. If someone required more than a couple boxes of ammo they would probably be dead pretty quick.
  6. Tirod

    Tirod Member

    May 24, 2008
    SW MO
    Instead of speculating based on fantasy, which is the point of having the rule, do your due diligence and study the historic record.

    For a natural disaster: Combat load at most. If anything, having your home burn to the ground or disappear in an EF5 means what you hoarded back as your supply better be 1) in a concrete shelter, and 2) underground. I'm being realistic - the only things left standing in the center of the impact zone in Joplin were a concrete bank vault or basement. Everything else was vacuumed up, ground to a pulp and deposited - in a spread up to 50 miles away. Of course the ammo didn't go far but much of it was scattered in specific examples down range up to 100 yards away scattered in the remains of other buildings.

    Burnt, it would be even less usable. If you want it, you have to store it against the two most likely problems, fire and wind. Masonry and under the grade of your lot are the two specific requirements - nothing less seems to survive.

    That's not speculation, that's reality.

    How much? How many rounds did the average homeowner shoot in Katrina? Almost none. Riots are a different matter. Again, the historical record - most did fine with the few boxes they had saved up from hunting. Once on your roof and you pull the trigger, the "target rich environment" quickly dissipates. I'm a retired vet and viewing the issue from that perspective - I doubt anyone is going to hang around long to be in your sights. Easier pickings elsewhere, as demonstrated in the LA riots. Once the shopkeepers got on the roofs, the crowds of looters disappeared and moved on. You probably only need about 300 rounds.

    Long term economic difficulty? How much ammo did the average person need during the Depression? It was still available - don't forget 25% of the labor force was without work, yet life went on, albeit without the disposable cash some were used to having.

    As for the worst case scenario - then that is exactly the point. You will not have enough. What you will have is a lot of people noting you have a much larger store of ammo than normal, which makes you a target. If it's the worst case scenario, then those who have significant resources to take it and who think it's worth the cost will. There's no fantasy speculation about that - people rob banks, grocery stores, even each other out in the street in broad daylight. You have something they want, they come and take it.

    Now we are back to how is it stored? If they can't break in, they can't have it, and worst case scenario, that might be all you can accomplish. Again, concrete storage below grade is going to be required.

    So, in practical, real terms, you will likely spend more money for storing a large quantity of ammo than paying for it. Go too far and it becomes a burden which actually increases your risk.

    Keep to the subject and you can discuss it; facts, not fantasy. Go off on speculative tangents and you might as well start predicting who is the next President based on the campaign promises. We all should understand that is just wasted effort and an exercise in monkey dancing, ie chest thumping egotism.

    What is very sad and completely human is to waste the thought process on what ammo you might need when you have a much higher priority for clean water and a supply of food. Where do you get that when all that is left of your home are the broken utility stubs at the back of the vacant lot that used to be your home? Natural disasters are the #1 threat on the face of this earth. They happen to the worst regimes and best first world countries regardless.
  7. Trunk Monkey

    Trunk Monkey Member

    Dec 25, 2011
    It's been covered but the most realistic "emergency" I can think of is another ammo panic.

    I remember the empty shelves at Walmart and I remember the guy right behind me in line who looked like he wanted to kill me when I asked for .40 S&W and they only had 2 boxes left. I actually turned around and told him I only want one box and he could have the other.

    That went on for a couple of years and was one of the primary reasons I cut down to 2 calibers and decided to stock ammunition every chance I get.

    I have no idea what "enough" is but I do know it's likely ammunition will never be as cheap as it is today again and it doesn't go bad so it makes sense to get it now.
  8. huntsman

    huntsman Member

    Apr 11, 2003
    ohio's northcoast
    To answer the OP; for my carry guns I want enough to practice monthly as long as I can go to WW and buy ammo to replace what's shot it's good.

    I started CC in 09 when local ammo availability got crazy so I vowed to build a cushion (.380acp) regardless of cost. I've got a stockpile now (mostly bought 1 box at a time) so I only buy when I find a good deal.

    FWIW I'm about to start the process over again with .40S&W because I've added a new carry gun but I think this time I'm just going to buy a case of FMJ and add some cheap JHP for CC.

    Hunting ammo is stockpiled but on a smaller basis and I usually add to the pile only during fall hunting sales.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2016
  9. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

    Aug 11, 2005
    Elbert County, CO

    In almost any of your other conceivable "emergency" scenarios, many, MANY things will take precedence over ammunition beyond what is already in the weapon and maybe a couple spare mags. When natural disasters or massive civil unrest strikes, it is food, water, shelter and medical care that are in short supply, not bullets. In a real situation, the extreme majority of casualties are not going to be people who couldn't shoot back, but people who didn't have necessary medication or who made poor choices (taking unnecessary risks, like bugging out).

    So, where ammunition is concerned, being pragmatic about an "emergency stash" really only applies to having enough to ride out the next banic, which we know from experience can last in excess of a year. For some, that is maybe 2,000 or 3,000 rounds of this and that. For others, it's many cases. Only you can decide.
  10. GAF

    GAF Member

    Feb 20, 2012
    It will not be your stash of ammo that will get you through the next big natural disaster . It will be your friends , neighbors and the stash of water and food you have. Guns and ammo will probably be secondary to your survival, but they will not hurt to have them in any quantities you see fit .
  11. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    Oct 22, 2007
    Central PA
    As others have said, look at the historical record to find your answers. That's realism, and realism is our stock in trade here at THR.

    After enough time has passed to sort out the hype and "FUD" from Katrina, we can realistically say that, of the people who stayed put and chose to fortify against looting, pretty much none (nearly zero, just to account for the rumors that still float around) fired their weapons. Certainly their ammo supplies ... whatever they were, once the storms swept away or destroyed some quantity of their goods ... were more than sufficient.

    And seeing as you can't lawfully kill someone for stealing your "stuff", even after a natural disaster, you're basically making a show of force and would fire a shot only if someone decided -- then, of all times -- that they wanted to commit murder, not just thefts of opportunity.

    So the historic record of natural disasters in recent history would say you really don't need ammo. Certainly not MORE ammo than you'd normally have on hand.

    Civil unrest is a boogeyman that we say to each other that really doesn't convey a realistic threat for most of us. If you live in a city, generally in certain parts of a city, you may actually someday see some "civil unrest." For the most part that's a spectator event, watching protesters toss rocks at the police and burn down some local business. The rioters don't seem to spend much time doing home invasions or burning down residences. So IF you live where that kind of stuff can get the momentum up to happen, sheltering in place and keeping your home defense weapons ready ... as usual ... appears to be the right way through to morning.

    Getting on the roof and shooting people...not so much.

    And if you live in suburbia or rural areas? Nobody's rioting along that far out of downtown to come bother you. Heck, even trick-or-treaters won't bother to wander the few hundred yards between houses where I live. I doubt that's where the rioters are going to swarm. :)

    Look... pay attention to world events. Who would have the ability to invade us? We have as many aircraft carriers as the ten "runner up" navies, combined. And ours launch combat strike aircraft. Theirs launch helicopters. We have the largest Air Force, by far. And we have the SECOND largest Air Force, by far, in the US Navy! The fall from grace that it would take to go from that point to a spot anywhere close to us being vulnerable to land invasion is ... well, you'll get some advance warning. Decades of it.

    Ok, understandable. But not worth going out and buying ammo up to be ready for battle.

    If you want to buy some so you can shoot and keep in practice, though, that's fantastic!
  12. DeepSouth

    DeepSouth Member

    Jan 14, 2009
    Heart of Dixie
    I'd say, realistically, there will be people with zero guns and zero ammo that will fair just fine.
    Guns and ammo are luxuries, generally speaking they're not a need.
  13. AlexanderA
    • Contributing Member

    AlexanderA Member

    Feb 27, 2011
    Let's not forget ammo as a store of value and a medium of exchange, in uncertain economic times. That's a better reason for a large cache of "emergency" ammo, rather than the actual need to use the ammo.

    Under certain conditions where the economy breaks down, ammo might be more precious than gold. After all, you can't use gold to hunt for food, or defend yourself against predators.

    Ammo might be a good investment even in not-so-uncertain economic times. Just remember the recent shortages and panic buying incidents. Also, ammo has a very long shelf life, compared to things such as food supplies.

    Engaging in shootouts with your neighbors is probably a fantasy. Trading with them is not.
  14. MistWolf

    MistWolf Member

    Aug 17, 2005
    ...and that's why we carry single shot pistols to defend ourselves with
  15. Reloadron
    • Contributing Member

    Reloadron Contributing Member

    Jul 6, 2012
    Cleveland, Ohio USA
    One magazine in the gun (7+1) and two magazines on my belt. (7 + 7 + 7 + 1 = 22 Rounds). Works for me.

  16. MechAg94

    MechAg94 Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    Yes, they are luxuries and even a nightmare scenario will likely require less ammo than most people think.

    It is also important to consider that for the price of a 1000 rounds of ammo, you can get food to last months. Then there are all sorts of other stuff. Then when you get all that, there will be other things you realized you missed. Then you think about what you might give the neighbors when they come asking. It can be endless, but guns and ammo are only part of it.
  17. danez71

    danez71 Member

    Aug 17, 2009

    When you strip things down to basics, you need 1 hand free otherwise things quickly become a burden. Unless youre carrying a backpack, that means whatever fits in your pockets.

    If there was some sort of natural disaster that lead to sketchy times for a while.... history has shown little to no prolonged shootouts. A single box of 50 could last a few shootouts/car jackings/late night looter.

    Mobs? If they're going to be around a while them maybe it's time to relocate.

    I've had to move as a kid very quickly once. There was 3 of us plus 3 dogs and a couple cats. We were able to take 2 loads in a 1978 Honda Civic wagon of which the dogs and cats took up a lot of room on the 1st load.

    A handgun and 1 box of ammo was part of the move. Any firearm related items more than fit into about the size of a shoe box was left behind in favor of daily necessities.

    So I'll guess 200-300 rounds.

    Having said that, I do have quite a bit more than that but not because of potential civil unrest. If I was guaranteed supply, I'd have less than I do now.
  18. sarge83

    sarge83 Member

    Jan 2, 2003
    I keep enough for practice and for a life altering event. Can I hunt, can I maintain reasonable protection of my house and neighbors and family for a reasonable length of time, a few months. Will I have to rely on neighbors, yes, if you don't you won't survive.
  19. elano

    elano Member

    Mar 7, 2011
    Great replies for the most part, thanks!
  20. yugorpk

    yugorpk member

    Jul 9, 2008
    I keep enough on hand so that after major catastrophes like elections when the Homo Sapiens are running wild buying all the ammo and gun parts off the shelves I will have enough to continue on as normal shooting cans for at least 3 years. Right now that about 15,000 rounds of centerfire and maybe 5K of rimfire. Ten years ago if you'd told me I'd have 20,000 rounds of ammo laying around I'd told you you were crazy but after the last few scares I feel I need to.
  21. mrdemal

    mrdemal Member

    Dec 4, 2012
    It is for the most part all theory until something happens.
  22. adcoch1

    adcoch1 Member

    Oct 2, 2015
    Centralia Washington
    As a minimum for any situation, I prefer at least 2 complete reloads for each gun. But a single action revolver is not the gun I will likely use in a civil unrest situation, so probably about 3-400 per semi auto rifle. But much more important is storage of that ammo and mags. If you have to move it with you, or heaven forbid, leave it home when you leave, having secure, and maybe even waterproof storage is a good idea.
  23. BP Hunter

    BP Hunter Member

    Jan 9, 2006
    I have a comabt belt that holds 2 AR magazines and 3 GLock 17 magazines. Honestly, I think that's all one needs.
  24. M1key

    M1key Member

    Oct 18, 2007
    AR-15: one mag in gun, three loaded spares in carry pouch

    AK: same

    Shotgun: fully loaded with spare cartridge belt (~25 rounds)

    Pistol: 100 rds in several loaded mags

    Any combination of the above.

    Good luck

  25. tarosean

    tarosean Member

    Oct 22, 2010
    Not sure about that.. there is a heck of a lot more small game animals out there than large ones esp. in a metropolitan area.

    Are you new to the area???
    Ive lived in and around Houston for several decades. made it through many hurricanes.. Guns were never a thought on my mind.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice