When I see these yahoos on “Doomsday Preppers”, I have to resist the the urge to put a .357 round through the TV screen. By now I hope that my readers understand that the majority of guests on that show are a bunch of narcissists with more money than common sense. The reality is that most of us real survivalist-types live in less than ideal locales and consider ourselves lucky if we have two Nickels to rub together for our survivalist fund after we pay the bills, and we're not interested in showing all of TV land our stuff. When you meet a fellow survivalist, you can tell a lot about them if you keep quiet and listen to what they say (or don't say). I have found that there are three categories of survivalist types.
What I call the Category One survivalist is actually more of a conspiracy theorist. They don't have much in the way of preps, bounce around with the fanciest excuses, and are usually more interested in talking about the conspiracy theory of the month whether it's FEMA, New World Order, GMOs, or raw milk. These people are useless, and you should avoid them.
The Category Two survivalist is what many people call the Yuppie Survivalist. They usually have more money than common sense or skill set, and think they can buy their way to preparedness. Many of the guests on “Doomsday Preppers” fit this category. This is the guy who shows up to survivalist meetups with a high-end military-style semi-auto rifle, Glock pistol in a tactical holster, and a sparkling new commercial MOLLE rig that has never seen any field use. Now I'm not faulting anyone for being able to afford the good stuff, but unless they've get skills to back up the gear, they too will be useless once the shit hits the fan except for maybe resupply.
Then you have a Category Three survivalist. If you do not know this person closely, they will come across as either boring, totally batshit crazy, or one of the scariest people you've ever met. Most of the time they keep to themselves, and if you do come across an actual CAT3 survivalist, they will be either be a “friend of a friend,” or someone you meet in a slightly related venue. These people are “Grey Man” Survivalists, and they are the people you want to emulate.
Since the release of “Going Galt In the Berkshires,” we have heard from similar Grey Man survivalists who have similar experiences and arrangements. Not surprisingly, many are living in the Northeast United States, or areas other than the well-publicized “America Redoubts.”
Establishing a food reserve has been one of the easiest tasks, according to our grey readers. All who have written in use a rotating first-in-first-out system with common minimal preparation foods they already eat. They also use local sources, pay cash, and take advantage of odd-lot and dollar stores.
Guns are a popular topic, and our more established readers are going with the usual rural working guns they already hunt with. Among the newer gun owners, inexpensive milsurp weapons such as the Mosin-Nagants and Makarovs are the selections of choice. Readers who have been at it a while use older common sporting arms of American manufacture. Marlin or Winchester .30-30 Carbines and Ruger Mini-14s are very popular with .30-06 and .308 bolt guns coming in a close second. The Mosin-Nagant rifles are a popular back-up rifle among many readers, although the prices continue to go up.
When the subject of precious metals was discussed, we found that some readers have put aside a few dollars in face value of pre-1964 silver quarters, dimes, half-dollars, and dollar coins. Overall however, readers said that whatever extra money they had past their emergency cash fund went into tangibles such as food, tools, ammo, spare parts, etc.
All of our readers maintained a well-stocked workshop, and tried to fix and maintain things as best as they can on their own. To help this, they put together reference libraries and attempted to assist like-minded tradesmen when possible to get a grounding in a particular subject.
The point of all this was that the letters and emails we received were from real people who are probably no better or worse off then you are, and yet are still doing pretty well in the self-reliance and preparedness department. In short, they were accomplished real-world survivalists.
Many novice survivalists read stuff like Rawles' book Patriots, watch Doomsday Preppers, and get overwhelmed when they see these super-duper survivalist types with six-seven figures worth of preps and expensive whacked-out ideas. All of that shit is fake, people! You don't require a lot of money to get yourself together. Just work on stuff one thing at a time, pick up a few survivalist-related hobbies, keep a discreet profile, and you'll be OK.
"The Best Way to approach self-reliance in everyday life seems to be slightly less serious, more easygoing: the hobbyist's approach. You can indulge it longer without tiring of it, so you tend to learn more. You also don't worry your friends so much; I mean of course, those improvident right-hearted, wrong-headed friends who think your personal pilot-light has gone out because you intend to affect your own destiny. When you approach self-reliance as a hobby, somehow it worries the dimwits less-while teaching you more." - Dean Ing, The Chernobyl Syndrome