ammo ammunition supply
Casey Bisson via Flickr

How Much Ammo Do You Need in the Event of a Social Collapse?

Do you have enough ammunition to protect your property and family in the event of a social collapse?

One of the most frequently asked questions when people begin their journey down the road of preparedness is how much ammo is enough? Do we really need a weapons cache with enough ammunition for the next few lifetimes in our basements, or is a few extra boxes for each gun all you need?

Before I get into details, I want everyone to throw out the ideas of small disruptions that can be fixed within short periods of months to a year. I am talking about an all-out collapse where everything as we know it is gone and isn't coming back. Zombies are walking the streets, cities are burning, and the raiders from Mad Max are patrolling the highways kind of scenario.

Now that we are all on the same page as to what we are dealing with, we need to be realistic.

If you live in a secluded area, like on a homestead, where you can grow food, get water from a well, and have the comfort of low population around you, then you are in a situation that allows mass storage of ammunition. That is something you are going to probably stay at for long time and defend to the death.

Unfortunately for about 80 percent of us, that is not the case. We live in the suburbs next to largely populated areas and will only be able to stay put for so long. At some point, we are going to have to set out on for new places to avoid conflicts, scavenge new resources, and more.

When that time comes, weight and space are going to become serious issues. You could load your vehicle down with firearms and ammo, but you are going to be giving up space that could go towards extra food and water. After all, bullets aren't very nutritional and dehydration or starvation are far worse enemies than your fellow man.

Let's say you have to go on foot. Unless you plan on dragging around a wagon as you stroll through the wastelands, having thousands of rounds of ammo with you already sounds absurd. It will all be left behind. You decide instead to just fill all your magazines and head out.

Your main weapon is an AR-15, which weighs about 8 pounds with accessories. One 30 round magazine fully loaded weighs about 1 pound, giving you a total of 9 pounds you are carrying with just the gun. You throw another 10 fully-loaded magazines on your person, that's another 10 pounds. You also have your sidearm, and with that fully loaded, you're looking at another 2 pounds. Once again, you have a few loaded magazines in your pack for it, another pound.

Just in firearms and extra ammo you are carrying about 23 pounds. Your pack with food, water, and supplies is probably coming in at around 40 pounds minimum. In total, you will be carrying 63 pounds or more. Unless you are military and used to carrying all that extra weight around, you aren't going very far very fast.

In all honesty, you will probably never need to carry all that extra ammo unless you go looking for a fire fight. A infantry soldier who is actually prepared for that type of fight only carries seven magazines for their rifle and three for their sidearms. If that is enough for them, do you really think you need more than that?

So what is the magic number for ammunition storage when preparing for a SHTF scenario? There really isn't one, it is whatever you are comfortable with.

I would look at which of your firearms you use the most at the range and how much ammunition you use during a session. I would keep that amount around at all times for training, plus an extra 200-500 rounds per gun to store away. That will leave you plenty to hunt, defend yourself, trade, or pass along to your others if you decide to team up.

The only real reason to have thousands of rounds on hand is if you are worried their could be an ammo shortage like we experienced recently with some ammunition types. Other than that you will have a whole lot of money tied up that could have been put to use in more important preps.