How Much Ammo Do I Need Just In Case SHTF?

Lots of Ammunition - Photo Credit ZimbioEVERY TIME A NOVICE BUYS A GUN it seems like the next thing they do is by a single box of ammo to go with it.

They must literally be thinking that 50 rounds is plenty “ hell, it’s enough to kill 50 people!

How much ammunition do you really need? It depends, and there is no correct answer. There are correct practices, however.

Handgun CalibersA Discussion About Calibers

Before we launch into how much ammunition you need, let’s talk about the wisdom of common calibers and normal bullets that can be bought anywhere.

If you’re looking into a good arsenal of home defense weapons and you take a look in the old gun safe and find you have weapons chambered in .45 GAP, .357 SIG, .375H&H Magnum, 5.7x 25, and .338 Lapua, you may need to standardize your ammo.

All of those weapons are in calibers that gun enthusiasts purchase “ which is great to shoot at the range but not so great in an emergency situation, especially an extended one.

Specialized ammo, or ammo that is not of the most popular calibers, can be difficult to find anywhere except for mail order.

If it’s difficult to find now, possibly having to call and/or drive to several different places to get it, think how difficult that ammo will be to find in an emergency, when SHTF.

And without ammo, your gun is not much more than an expensive paperweight.

Military AmmoLearn from the Military

There is wisdom in common calibers and having multiple weapons in the same caliber.

It’s the military way “ civilians seldom think about resupply considerations when looking at a new weapon. Is that fancy .500 S&W Magnum you’re looking at easy to feed?

As unlikely as you think it may be that a long-term emergency may occur, you should prepare for it as if it will happen tomorrow nonetheless. That’s the funny thing about emergencies—most of them happen very unexpectedly with no advance notice.

What if society breaks down (even temporarily) and you need to use it for self defense? Where are you planning on getting more ammo if you run out? I doubt you’ll want to rely on ammo mail delivery of it if SHTF.

So here’s what you should do to circumvent this potential problem “ your arsenal (of home defense weapons) should be based on military calibers.

Rifle CalibersIn case you are wondering, those are 9mm, .45 ACP, 7.62×51 (.308), 5.56 NATO (.223) and possibly 7.62 x 39.

Don’t go looking for 8mm Mauser and 7.62 x 54 Russian and saying “ those are military calibers  “ obviously “ we’re talking about common American military calibers.

Why? Because if the excrement hits the ventilator you’ll be able to find them in wide circulation “ that’s why.

Every police force and military unit will have ammo in that caliber. Most every sporting goods store, not to mention gun stores, sells and should also have a good supply of ammo in that caliber.

Once you’ve honed in on some good, common calibers, then double up on weapons that use them. A .45 pistol and a .45 carbine go hand in hand, as do a .223 AR rifle and a .223 AR

The more weapons you have that shoot the same round, the better off you’ll be from an interchangeability standpoint, which is important to think about with home defense weapons.

So How Much Ammo Do I Really Need

There are two areas in which you will need to determine this. How much you need on the move, and how much you need at your home.

The ammo you need on the move is basically what you’d call your combat load in the military. What determines this are two things “ what the threat is expected to be and how far away resupply is.

What this means to you as a civilian is that if you’re carrying concealed and you walk down the block to the local supermarket, you’re probably good with the pistol and a single mag inside it.

Sure, a herd of banditos can come in and start shooting up the place, but carrying concealed doesn’t mean you strip off your overcoat to reveal a chest rig loaded with magazines.

Conversely, if you’re planning a road trip, or going hunting in a remote area, the pistol plus two magazines (three in total) is really the bare minimum. If you think that’s overkill, next time you go to the range fire off three magazines rapidly.

I doubt it will take any more than 15 seconds. Some people will crow about shot placement, but when you’re away from resupply, trust me, you need to carry lots of ammo.

The next scenario is how much ammo do you need at your home. Honestly? 1000-1500 rounds per weapon is not overkill if you’re anticipating a breakdown in society or live in an area
where natural disasters (cough ¦Katrina ¦cough) can blow in and create lawlessness that lasts for weeks.

It’s not that you’re necessarily going to shoot all that ammo “ some of it can be used for barter as well since lead is always more precious than gold when no one has any of it.

.22 lr AmmoThe one caliber you should absolutely have thousands of rounds of, as well as owning a rifle or three in is .22 long rifle.

Perhaps the most versatile caliber on the planet, .22LR is the king of small game hunting and will put food on the table without mangling it. It’s also one of the least expensive calibers of ammunition you can buy.

Picture of Law GavelA Word on Ammo Laws

Federal laws regarding ammunition are not the same as laws that regulate firearms in general.

Basically, regardless of the myths and false rumors out there, there’s no limit on how much ammo you’re allowed to buy.

If you want 20,000 rounds heck, even 100,000 rounds, as a law abiding citizen you’re entitled to buy as much as you want. The only restriction is with age—you must be at least 18 to buy rifle ammunition and 21 years of age to buy handgun ammunition.

Now, some stores do have ridiculous store policies in place that you can only buy a certain amount of ammo at one time in their stores.

You can circumvent this, and the inconvenience of loading and unloading several boxes of ammo, by buying ammo over the internet.

Usually, it’s the same price, if not more, than it would be to buy at the gun store, and you can have as much ammo as you need shipped right to your doorstep.

Some retailers, like www.gunholstersunlimited.com, have a flat-rate shipping program too.
That means that even if you order hundreds of boxes of ammo in one order, and they arrive in 8 separate boxes, the rate to ship is the same.

Other Accessories To Think About

We’re not going to get into everything you need in an emergency survival situation in this post, but just relating to ammo and preparing for when SHTF in general, there are several questions you should ask yourself:

  • How Much Ammo Should I Store At Home?
  • How Much Ammo Should I Store in My Bug-Out
    Kit (Kit or Backpack You Take With You In Case You Have to Leave In An Emergency)?
  • How Will I Carry That Ammo Efficiently?
  • Do I have Enough Magazines for Each of My
  • Do I Have BothCloseRangeAndLongRangeWeapons?
  • Do I Have Enough Ammo (and guns, for that
    matter) for Multiple People (i.e. Family Members?

Long story short is you probably don’t need 50,000 rounds for a survival, emergency, or SHTF

But, you should at least be thinking about how much you need and gradually buy a couple boxes each time you visit the sporting goods or gun store to get your stockpile in decent

After all, wouldn’t you rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it? You can always go to the range and get rid of some pretty quickly if, after a while, you decide you bought too much.

Keep enough ammo on hand to avoid any lapses in store stock, mitigate price increases, and ensure you always have some in case some politician decides to ban it ¦and oh “ keep the
powder dry!


Arthur Rouse, Jr. is the founder of GunHolstersUnlimited.com and its blog. He researches and writes about guns, gun holsters, and gun accessories, and a variety of related topics
within the Hunting and Shooting Sports industries.

Copywright 2010-2012 Gun Holsters Unlimited. All RightsReserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without prior written authority.

Please Visit Us At:





About admin

Art R. has written 160 post in this blog.

Share This!
Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Tweet about this on Twitter0Pin on Pinterest0Share on Reddit0Share on TumblrShare on LinkedIn0Share on StumbleUpon0Email this to someone

Leave a Reply