What does SHTF mean to you?
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Old 02-22-2010, 06:51 AM   #1
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Default What does SHTF mean to you?

I read thousands of posts of people looking for the famed "SHTF" gun, but in most cases I get the feeling these people use "SHTF" and self defense/home defense interchangeably. They say they want a SHTF gun, but then they describe their purpose and it looks to me like they actually want a home defense gun.

The following are my definitions that I have acquired over my years of shooting and being in LE.

To me-
SHTF
means total anarchy. Full blown Zombie alert and the "Y" virus has taken over. Martial law has been instated and the criminal element has over taken law enforcement. You now have to worry about being robbed anywhere you go and there is a good chance you are at war and must defend yourself/family around every corner. This is when you grab your SHTF weapon, the military carry an M4, cops carry AR's and me I'll probably grab my AR.

Home defense means just that. You are at home and some POS gets inside and you need to defend your family. This is not like SHTF where you can prepare to a certain point. You can't load extra mags, turn on a red dot sight, etc. This is grab and go, right now. Most people have a "night stand gun" for this. Me I have my 590 with a surefire forend loaded with 00.

Self defense is slightly different. This is when you go out in your everyday life and need to have something to protect yourself/family with if you are confronted with a threat. Most of the time this is a handgun concealed carry. This is a dark alley walking to your car and some dirtbag decides he wants your wallet and is going to hurt you to get it. Cops carry sidearms, me I carry an XD40 SC, a G22 or my new 1911 dependent on the situation.

What do these terms mean to you? Are they really interchangeable? To me you can own a multipurpose gun for all the situations above, but all the situations above are not the same. In the grand scheme of things does it really matter? No. Does someone who wants a SHTF but needs a home defense going to get any different advice? No, but I just want to know what you guys think.

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Old 02-22-2010, 11:47 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarinCraft View Post
I read thousands of posts of people looking for the famed "SHTF" gun, but in most cases I get the feeling these people use "SHTF" and self defense/home defense interchangeably. They say they want a SHTF gun, but then they describe their purpose and it looks to me like they actually want a home defense gun.

The following are my definitions that I have acquired over my years of shooting and being in LE.

To me-
SHTF
means total anarchy. Full blown Zombie alert and the "Y" virus has taken over. Martial law has been instated and the criminal element has over taken law enforcement. You now have to worry about being robbed anywhere you go and there is a good chance you are at war and must defend yourself/family around every corner. This is when you grab your SHTF weapon, the military carry an M4, cops carry AR's and me I'll probably grab my AR.
I would consider this a definite SHTF scenario and I think I'd probably grab my AR and my PSL. Both are scoped and, in the case of the PSL, I've got some distance in my "attack." For close in work, I would, most probably grab a shotgun. I'm currently unarmed in that area but I am looking at picking up a Saiga 12 ga. or a Mossberg 500 (or maybe both).

Home defense means just that. You are at home and some POS gets inside and you need to defend your family. This is not like SHTF where you can prepare to a certain point. You can't load extra mags, turn on a red dot sight, etc. This is grab and go, right now. Most people have a "night stand gun" for this. Me I have my 590 with a surefire forend loaded with 00.
My "night stand gun" is either my Beretta PS4 Storm 9mm or my Sig Sauer P226 .40 cal. Again, I think I'd rather have a shotgun as I live in an apartment and I wouldn't want any wild shots (they do happen when you're confronted by a POS home invader) to be going through several walls and injuring innocents.

Self defense is slightly different. This is when you go out in your everyday life and need to have something to protect yourself/family with if you are confronted with a threat. Most of the time this is a handgun concealed carry. This is a dark alley walking to your car and some dirtbag decides he wants your wallet and is going to hurt you to get it. Cops carry sidearms, me I carry an XD40 SC, a G22 or my new 1911 dependent on the situation.
Once I get my CCW, my usual carry weapon will probably be my Walther PPS .40 cal. It's light, compact and very easy to conceal, even on my fat-assed body.

What do these terms mean to you? Are they really interchangeable? To me you can own a multipurpose gun for all the situations above, but all the situations above are not the same. In the grand scheme of things does it really matter? No. Does someone who wants a SHTF but needs a home defense going to get any different advice? No, but I just want to know what you guys think.
As for interchangeable, I think several of the weapons could be considered that. A shotgun is a great, all around weapon and quite versatile when it comes to the ammunition you can use in one, whether it be birdshot, buckshot or slug. As for the noted SHTF scenario, that is going to vary depending upon where you are and what is around you. Distance can be a factor if you're "out in the country" so you can use the long rifles as a stand-off measure. In cities, there's less distance so the shotgun and handguns come into play. The same can be said for self/home defense. Shorter distances so the handgun/shotgun option is probably more realistic than grabbing your long rifle.
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Old 02-22-2010, 04:36 PM   #3
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As for interchangeable, I think several of the weapons could be considered that. A shotgun is a great, all around weapon and quite versatile when it comes to the ammunition you can use in one, whether it be birdshot, buckshot or slug. As for the noted SHTF scenario, that is going to vary depending upon where you are and what is around you. Distance can be a factor if you're "out in the country" so you can use the long rifles as a stand-off measure. In cities, there's less distance so the shotgun and handguns come into play. The same can be said for self/home defense. Shorter distances so the handgun/shotgun option is probably more realistic than grabbing your long rifle.
I own a Saiga and a Mossy 500 that I converted to 590 and love them both, but the S12 is more of a fun gun.

I live out in the country and I agree that in standoff conditions the rifle is a better choice, however if I am in my house I will always use a shotgun because I have three people in my house that I want to protect and not injure.
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Old 02-22-2010, 05:20 PM   #4
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SHTF, to me, means different things depending on the scale being considered.

Currently, I'm getting together a bug-out bag for a large-scale SHTF scenario, i.e. anything that causes widespread breakdown of communication, infrastructure, and law and order. A "SHTF gun" for this sort of thing would be very durable and chambered in a common and easily-stockpiled caliber.

A small-scale SHTF situation is the reason I will carry (As soon as I turn 21), a circumstance in which I find my life or someone else's immediately threatened. If I'm looking for a "SHTF gun" for this, I'm likely focused on reliability over comfort or ammo capacity, something that is guaranteed to end the threat ASAP.

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Old 02-22-2010, 05:32 PM   #5
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When the SHTF I'm getting out of Dodge and away from other human beings ASAP. I'm not interested in getting into gun battles, although, I will grab a firearm that's easily packs and not too heavy to carry. I'm now going into survival mode.

I know can survive on what I can carry in my fanny pack, compass, 4 forms of fire starting, water purification pills, knives, rope, first aid kit, etc, etc.

I know a lot of people look down on hunters because they kill poor helpless animals, but if your going to survive, you had better have the knowledge and the skills for finding wild game and edible plants. You should be able to put your face in a dead carcass and determine whether it is edible or not. You should practice the steps necessary to survive every chance you get, I do.

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Old 02-22-2010, 05:59 PM   #6
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I have absolutely no idea what may eventually happen. In reality, the biggest natural threat around here is a major flood. The Sacramento area is festooned with levees, most are old and many are in disrepair.

I am gravely concerned with continued government disregard of the Constitution and the demonizing of its adherents and defenders. How that will play out is a very frightening unknown.

Terrorism or civil violence? I will be the most politically incorrect and accurate shooter I can be. I'll deal with the consequences if and when they present themselves.

Perhaps there will be a return to an actual government by and for the People, perhaps not. There are so many unknowns that it is easy to slip into paranoia. In that regard, the Oath Keepers give me a bit of hope.

I'm sixty years old and my wife is ill. We also have pets that must be provided for. That makes contingency planning very hard. I have laid in a fair amount of food, water, means of water purification and made provisions for self defense.

We have a four wheel drive vehicle and supplies ready to go if it comes to that. Unfortunately, if we had to bug out, we would essentially head for the Sierra's. I'm sure that there are thousands with a similar plan.

That's why I'm hoping we can get to rural Oregon as fast as possible. I'd much prefer to be in place rather than another vehicle in a massive traffic jam.

I am neither suicidal not homicidal, so I pray things never comes to those choices. I have faith although sometimes it is pretty weak. I do my best in my own way.

Somehow, we will muddle through and if we can't, we will have done our best.

Molon Labe!

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Old 02-22-2010, 06:19 PM   #7
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SHTF –

I think the essential meaning of this term, on this board, is when society as we live it has broken down to taking care of yourself, your family and preparing to be able to do so for longer than a few hours during a power outage.

Let’s look at recent events:

Haiti? Definitely would qualify in my mind as a SHTF situation. Commerce has broken down, looting, lawlessness, panic, social and governmental services taxed beyond limits, food and water are precious. What else would you call that?

Katrina? Definitely would qualify. Civilians shooting at cops in some sort of retaliation for past offenses? Social services non-existent. Tens of thousands of people without a place to live, their belongings completely destroyed, food & drinkable water completely zero. Wholesale looting. Crime of epic magnitude. No sign of law and order being restored.

9/11 in New York? Not so much. There was chaos and anarchy, but it was more from people fleeing an unknown event. People weren’t killing each other trying to get a bottle of water or a sandwich. They wanted out and away from the chaos, in which case having a good BOB would be helpful, but I don’t think it was all against all in that situation. Granted I was in Korea at the time and only have news reports to go on, but I wasn’t involved with Katrina or Haiti either to be able to make those assessments.

Post Rodney King Trial Riots? Definitely would qualify in my mind. Being able to fend off the hordes of people going crazy, setting fire to their own neighborhoods, plundering stores at will, lawlessness, complete lack of social conscience, full scale riots in the streets? Yeah, a BOB wouldn’t even be the first thing on my list of things to get my hands on in THAT situation.

So, you ask what is the application of SHTF? I think it has to be different for every person in a given situation. If you are warm and dry and safe with food in front of you and water to drink, while 15 miles away people are tearing each other apart to get to the last loaf of bread and peanut butter on a convenience store shelf, I would say perspective could change drastically.
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Old 02-22-2010, 07:00 PM   #8
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When my mother in law shows up unannounced.

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Old 02-22-2010, 07:13 PM   #9
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I would have to agree with DC's definitions, more or less. As far as the firearms for the various situations, i would consider my mossy 500 as my "go to" and "nightstand gun" (well, beside the bed & loaded), but i don't really have a great CC piece, yet. The XD would do for CC, in cooler weather, but i don't have a permit yet making this a moot point for me at present.

One aspect of the SHTF definition that is perplexing is the time factor. If there is another Katrina-type situation, but it seems like a government relief effort is on its way, is that SHTF or just a prolonged self-defense situation? In my mind, if i am not concerned with how things could look in court due to the unlikelyhood of court's return, it is certainly a SHTF situation, otherwise maybe, maybe not.

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Old 02-22-2010, 07:50 PM   #10
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With all due respect JD I believe your list to be more of an inconvenience that a SHTF scenario. I think of something of a nuclear or astrological event that will ultimately make us show the world what we are worth. The total breakdown of society as we now know it.

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