To panic, or not to panic, that is the question-

At the outset let me tell you that I am as in the dark as the rest of you about the Ebola situation. However, I do have the ability the ability to take the information at hand and come to a rational conclusion on my own. So what information do we have?

According to the World Health Organization 9000 people have been infected with Ebola and 4500, including 236 health care workers, have died. While these numbers are small compared to the number of people who die annually with influenza they are cause for some concern.

What is a little more disconcerting is that the CDC had indicated that the number of people infected could pass 1.4 million by January. What no one seems to be talking about is that Ebola does not expire in January. If you extend the CDC projections out for the entire year, doubling the number of people infected every four weeks (the actual doubling is every two weeks in Guinea, every 3 weeks in Liberia, and every four weeks in Sierra Leon). then 2015 sounds absolutely apocalyptic. OK, the 1.4 million projection by January is a worst case scenario. Still, with the CDC mishandling Ebola at every step here in the US it is not that much of stretch to think that the worst case scenario might just come to pass in Africa.

On the other hand there have only been a handful of cases here in the US.

I am certainly not saying that you should panic. However, it is time to think about some basic preparations. Putting back a little extra food and water might be in order. Think about it, you don’t even need for there to be an outbreak in the US to cause shortages. All that is needed is for a portion of the US population to think that there might be an outbreak here and the shelves will be empty. Just think back to every winter storm warning you have ever experienced.  Don’t spend the kids college fund or quit your job and head to the mountains. Just make sure that you actually have all of the common sense preparations in place that you should already have anyway.

Stay safe and say a little prayer for those in West Africa.

The Ebola Apocalypse?

Personally I was hoping for the Zombie Apocalypse. I mean come on, if you have to go out wouldn’t you rather go out blasting lifeless zombies and looking for Twinkies? Instead what do we get, perhaps the Ebola apocalypse. Crap. I can’t think of worse way to go out than with a hemorrhagic fever.

The fact that Ebola has made it here to the good old USA does have me reassessing my own readiness. I sincerely hope that our government can stop this in its tracks, however, their performance so far would indicate that our Federal Government is being run by morons. In light of that, perhaps another box of nitrile gloves (what, no one told you the virus could live on surfaces for days under the right circumstances?) and a few more N95 masks might be in order (although this virus is not believed to be airborne it can be aerosolized if someone sneezes; that’s right my friend when they say “close personal contact” they mean within three feet).

I may pick up some more Lysol for disinfection as well. If you decide to pick some up make sure that it says Brand III under Lysol, as this is the only formulation of Lysol that will kill the Ebola virus. Lysol wipes will not. You can however, purchase the hospital grade Clorox wipes (not the ones you can get at the local store) on Amazon. You can of course spray diluted bleach on any hard surface to disinfect it, but if you do that in any enclosed area be prepared to leave the area for several hours while the stench clears out.

I have already picked up some additional long term food storage items (I have some extended family that just does not have enough food stored and I have no intention of letting them, or more importantly their children, starve). If there is an actual outbreak in the US, it is entirely possible that our entire transportation system could be slowed or even come to a screeching halt. Thanks to our new system of just in time delivery (which means that stores no longer have local warehouses or any type of local storage) our grocery stores and gas stations may be supplied sporadically at best in the event that Ebola becomes widespread here. (Note: If there is any interest, I may take pictures of and provide directions for packing food for long term storage as I plan on storing some rice and beans this weekend. Just leave a comment if you would like me to blog on this).

If you don’t have a years worth of food stored, what are you waiting for? I know money is tight but a 50# bag of rice only costs about $18.00 and you can find a 50# bag of pinto beans for $25.00 to $30.00 of you look hard enough. You can probably buy food grade buckets and lids at a local bakery (they buy icing in food grade 3 and 5 gallon buckets) for about $1.00 (sometimes they will give them to you). Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers are fairly inexpensive if you shop around. Sure you may not like surviving on rice and beans but it beats starving to death and it certainly beats watching your loved ones starve to death.

If you don’t like rice and beans, find an alternative. There are plenty of foods with a long term storage life. Maybe you like lentils, then store those. Just chose something that will last at least five years and start storing it. Just be sure that it is something that you will eat because you need to rotate your storage.

Also, don’t forget about water storage. Remember the rule of threes that we discussed earlier. You will only last about three days without water. If you don’t have access to a good back up supply of water such as a clean and tested spring or well you will need to store water for an emergency. While a cistern would be ideal, you probably don’t have one. However, you might have a garage where you can store a few barrels of water. Even if you live in a cramped apartment you can clean a few old two liter bottles and fill them up with water (it beats doing nothing at all).

The Rule of Three

When the zombie apocalypse occurs you can be sure that you will have to worry about more than just zombies. This is problematic because roving hordes of zombies tend to be difficult to deal with in and of themselves. The good news is that  through prior planning you can prevent your own poor performance. This is often referred to as the 5 Ps. In the military this was known as the 7 Ps, i.e., “prior planning prevents piss poor performance” and of course the corollary is that “piss poor planning promotes piss poor performance”. Fortunately, there is another principle which can help you determine how to plan. This is often referred to as the rule of three, the survival rule of three, or the “Rule of Threes”. This is a very basic guideline as to how long you can survive. In an emergency you cannot survive for more than:

3 minutes without air

3 hours without shelter in a harsh environment

3 days without water

3 weeks without food.

These are of course just basic guidelines. You may be able to hold your breath longer. Some people have survived for much longer without water and others have succumbed in less than a day. It varies. What does not vary is the order of importance.

As humans we must have air to survive.  If you are going scuba diving then dive with a trustworthy partner (who knows how to buddy breath) and bring along a pony bottle in case your buddy is not around when you unexpectedly have a problem. If you are rafting down the river, bring a life jacket. If you have an underground shelter make sure that you have more than one air source. If you are going anywhere that lack of air can become an issue, it must be your primary concern.

No matter what your environment is, shelter is a major concern. If you become to cold hypothermia can kill you in a matter of hours. If you are wet and cold, it can happen much, much quicker. If you even think that hypothermia is an issue, stop what you are doing and get a fire started (if you wait too long you won’t be able to use your hands to even get a fire started). After your fire is going and you get warmed up, get to work on your shelter. Due to the fact that staying warm is so important you will want to bring a good shelter with you (and know how to construct one just in case) as well as several means to start a fire (some dry tinder wouldn’t hurt either). In a desert environment you may need shelter at midday to keep you out of the sun and shelter at night to keep you from freezing. If you don’t think that it gets cold in the desert, think again.

Stay hydrated. You won’t last more than a few days without water. And by water I mean clean potable water. You can have an entire river full of water but if it is full of giardia, and you have no means to purify it, you are out of luck. If you have a container and a fire you can boil the water to purify it. A good filter is fine but you have to keep track of how many gallons you have filtered and change out the filter at the recommended intervals. Water purifications tablets work well but they leave a funky aftertaste. I always pack these with me but save them for times when I don’t have time to boil water and/or my filter isn’t working. UV purifiers can be a handy solution as well. These use ultraviolet light to purify water (just make sure you have enough batteries).

In a survival situation most people think about food first, but it is the least important of the issues we have discussed. You can go quite a long time without food. However, you will have a lot more energy and a lot better attitude if you have enough food. MRE’s, dehydrated food, or even a few extra protein bars can help keep you going until you can get out of whatever situation you find yourself in, or until you can begin trapping game and finding some wild edibles.

The rule of three is an important consideration when planning for an emergency as well as a good guideline to help through any emergency. Stay safe!

Books for the Zombie Apocalypse-Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants 2nd Edition

In this week’s book review we will be discussing the Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants, Second Edition, by Bradford Angier. In our first book review we indicated that part of the answer to staying fed in the wilderness involved looking up at the trees. In this week’s edition we will be looking down at the ground for edible wild plants (the book also covers most of the edible fruits and nuts that we discussed last week). Remember, you have to eat in order to have enough energy to keep yourself from being eaten!

The Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants, provides information on over 130 wild plants. This book provides information on how to identify the plants and how to process them for food. In addition to the illustration provided for each plant, information is given on the plant’s other common names, the plant’s description, distribution, and edibility (some parts a plant may be edible while other parts are poisonous).

This book is generally very well illustrated. While the staff here at Zombie Apocalypse Prep Headquarters do not recommend that you rely on a single guide in order to identify wild plants, these illustrations will help you to identify the plants covered by the book. However, before you go eating any of them you need to confirm your identification, preferably by consulting a local expert. Remember it is easier for the zombies to catch if you are doubled over and moaning from stomach cramps or perhaps that will just make you look like another zombie.

This book also provides a good description of each plant, which (along with the illustrations) will help you identify them and help you to avoid intestinal discomfort or death. The distribution information is also helpful in making accurate identifications.

While the information on preparing some of these wild plants is a bit sparse at points it does provide the reader with a good reference for comparison. Whether we are discussing identification or wild plant preparation we always recommend having at least two sources for confirmation. Again, if you don’t have any experience with a particular plant, try to consult a local expert before eating it to confirm both your identification and your method of preparation. Only you know what your level of experience with any particular wild plant is.

On the downside, this book does not contain what I consider to be absolutely essential information on poisonous look alike plants. Without this information you could conceivably misidentify a poisonous plant as being one of the edible wild plants discussed in the book(hence the prior warnings). While this book is otherwise top notch (and we do recommend it for reference) this one omission means that we can only give Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants three out of five brains.



Bad News From the Vet

Sorry for the lack of posts for the past two days. We took one of our dogs to the vet and found out that she has at most another year left (probably less). We are spending this weekend doing a few special things with her. We will be back up and running Monday.

Books for the Zombie Apocalypse

Today we are starting what I hope will be both a recurring and useful set of book reviews. Basically, I will be reviewing books that you may need for the zombie apocalypse. So which book has earned the right to be reviewed in our first book review post? You might be expecting Max Brook’s The Zombie Survival Guide or perhaps Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. Well, no. Today’s review is of What Tree is That?

OK. I know that you are probably thinking that I have lost it (that is a widely held opinion). But just stay with me for a moment. Let’s assume that the zombie apocalypse has set in. Your home is overrun and you can’t make it to your bug out spot. So you head out towards the nearest National Park or Forest to ride it out. We will assume that you made it out with your bug out bag and maybe even an SUV loaded down with supplies. So you have a few weeks worth of food to tide you over while you get a defensible shelter built. You even have a few traps with you so that can trap what small game will be left (everything larger than a rabbit was shot the first week by people with no means to preserve the meat and the majority of it went to waste). But what else can you do for food?

The answer (or at least a small part of the answer) is look up my friend. There’s a lot of food hanging in those trees if you know which ones to look in. When the Lewis and Clark Expedition ran out of food on their return trip and couldn’t find any game to hunt, they survived for a short while on pawpaws and nuts that they found. How many of you even know what a pawpaw is, let alone what the tree looks like. If you don’t you are going to miss out on one of America’s best, but least know fruits. (We will be talking about specific trees and their uses in future posts). That is where What Tree is That? comes in. This book is put out by the Arbor Day Foundation. It is  a guide to the more common trees of North America. While it is certainly not the most comprehensive book on the subject it has three important qualities.

The first is that the book is easy to use. By answering a simple series of question the book will lead you to the correct tree. Alternatively, if you have some idea what the name of the tree is you can look it up in the index and compare it to the illustrations.

This brings us to the second important quality of this book, it is well illustrated. By comparing the illustrations to the tree in question you should be able to make a positive identification (at least when the leaves are on the trees).

Finally, the book is small enough that you actually will stick it in you back pocket and take it out into the woods with you. You know, so you can actually start to learn something from it.

On the downside the illustrations only show the branches, leaves, nuts, and fruits. While this is fine when the leaves are on (which is when you will be looking for fruit and nuts) it is not very useful when the leaves are off. Why would I need to be able to identify the trees when the leaves are off you ask? So that if you run into a stand of walnuts or perhaps a bunch of pawpaw trees you will know what you looking at and remember that location. Or if you find a maple tree you can tap it so that you can make syrup. Again there are more comprehensive guides but you can worry about those after you have mastered the information this book.

All in all What Tree is That? is probably one of, if not the, best book for you to start identifying trees with. I give it five out of five brains.

Zombies in Ferguson Part 5-The Bug Out Bag

Just to recap. Bugging out should be your last resort. When you bug out you leave behind your best shelter, most of your possessions, and perhaps your peace of mind. You are also more vulnerable when you bug out, whether it is by foot or vehicle. Nevertheless, it is sometimes necessary. If your neighborhood has gone from being on the edge of peaceful demonstrations to being in the middle of a riot it is time to move on.

In our scenario we are bugging out in our SUV. Alright, then why do you need a bug out bag? Because if you don’t you will forget the one thing that would have kept you alive. What is that you ask? Well, I have no idea, but if you had time to think about it, i.e., putting your bug out bag together ahead of time you would have packed it. Remember the five P’s-Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.

Your bug out bag also serves the secondary function of allowing you to proceed on foot if something happens to your vehicle. Thus, the first two items that you need are a good pair of shoes and of course, the bag itself. Any good pair of hiking shoes will do. Just make sure that you break them in before your life depends on them. As for your pack the best advise that I can give you is make sure that your pack fits and that you can integrate a hydration system into it. You will appreciate being able to get a drink of water on the move.

The next two items that you need to include in your bug out bag are a sleeping bag and good tent. You need to be able to stay dry and warm. Hypothermia sucks. Oddly enough, if you look on YouTube more than half of the bug out bag videos you will see do not include these items. I find it odd that otherwise well prepared people would leave out these items. Maybe they are all planning on sleeping in debris huts. Which would lead me to believe that they have never actually used one. Building a debris hut is a great skill to have, its just not one you want to have to use.

While you should have some water in your hydration system in your pack, it will not be enough to keep you going for long. Thus, a good water filter would go a long ways towards keeping you alive. Even a survival straw is better than nothing. I would also advise keeping some water purification tablets on hand. If your  life depends on something it doesn’t hurt to have a backup. One is none, two is one. I also carry a metal cup for boiling water in an emergency.

You also need to be able to start a fire. Being able to use a bow drill is a great skill to have. However, like sleeping in a debris hut, it is a skill I would prefer not to have to use. That is why I carry a lighter, some waterproof matches (in a waterproof container) and a fire steel. For tinder I carry dryer lint in a waterproof match box.

Knives. I love a good knife. In my bug out bag I have a Leatherman Wave, a Swiss Army Knife, and a Cold Steel Recon Tanto. Between these I can handle most cutting tasks.  A Laplander saw is also a good thing to have. What knives you carry is up to you. Some prefer just to carry one big knife, others prefer a smaller knife and a hatchet. It really just depends on you own personal preference. If you haven’t been out in the woods enough to develop a preference then you need to camp more often.

In the food department I usually carry a few protein bars and MRE’s.  I also carry two 110 traps for trapping small game. They don’t take up a lot of room and are the most versatile traps available. I also carry Para cord which can be used to make snares, for fishing line, and for about a thousand other uses (make sure you get actual Para cord with the five smaller inner strands). Some heavy fishing line with a good variety of hooks and sinkers should keep you fed. If you can, I would also include a .22 pistol such as a Ruger 22/45 or Browning Buckmark for small game. Avoid pistols like the Walther P22, Ruger SR22, and other  “plinkers”. These guns are fun to shoot but not good choices for taking headshots at squirrels.

What else do you need? Raingear, extra socks, something to cook in, a flashlight (or three), hand sanitizer, baby wipes, medications, a few bandanas, and a good first aid kit for sure. How about a solar charger for your cellphone. There are dozens of other items I could suggest but what you can carry is limited both by your physical stamina and the size of your pack.

Do you think we missed something? Leave a comment and let us know.

Zombies in Ferguson Part 4

We have already discussed bugging in. It should be your first line of defense in a Ferguson type event or in the Zombie Apocalypse. You are safest inside your own home. There you at least have a reinforced door between you and anyone that wants to do you harm. If you have prepared properly you should also have food, water, firearms for protection, and other necessary items. Even if you live in a small apartment you should be able to store up enough supplies to last for months. You also avoid becoming a refugee.

However, sometimes bugging in is not an option. Your home could be damaged by fire, your neighborhood could become too dangerous due to looting, etc.. Whatever the cause, it will be up to you establish what will be your threshold for bugging out will be. It could be whenever riots come with two blocks of your home, when the first home is attacked in your neighborhood, when your neighbors begin to leave, whatever. You know your own comfort zone and your own situation. If you live alone you may feel safe staying longer than you would if you have children to protect. Everyone has to decide for themselves.

Before we discuss how you should bug out we need to establish exactly what we mean by “bugging out”. In a Ferguson type event we can expect that law and order will eventually be restored and that your neighborhood will eventually be habitable again. So we are not talking about putting on your INCH (I’m Never Coming Home) bag and heading out into the woods never to be seen again. Rather what we are talking about is heading out of town until it is safe to return (an extended stay at Grandma’s house).  Although this is not as Herculean a task as preparing to leave home never to return, it does require some planning.

The first thing that you will want to plan is where you are going. If I were living in Ferguson when the riots broke out I would plan on visiting relatives out of town for a week or two. If you don’t have any friends or relatives outside the area to stay with perhaps you could head to the nearest National Park and spend a week or two camping (and brush up on your primitive living skills). The point is that you need to have a destination in mind before the SHTF (Stuff Hits the Fan).

Now that you know where you are going you need to have a rout, or two, or three picked out to get there. A road map can be invaluable in this regard. While it is important to know the major highways between your home and your bug out destination, you should also plan several alternate routes to get there. These routes should all be along lightly travelled back roads. This gives you the best chance of avoiding everyone else who is trying to avoid the situtation. It may also help you to avoid roadblocks in case the Government tries to restrict travel in and out of your area.

Now that we know where we are going and the route that we are going to take to get there we need to decide upon our mode of transportation. In my younger days my plan was always to hop on my dual sport motorcycle and ride out. On the dual sport I would ride either on road or off and had the capability of just driving around or through traffic jams without having to stop.  I still believe that this is one of the better modes of transportation. However, now that I have a family it is just no longer an option. My bug out vehicle of choice is now a 1998 Toyota 4Runner.  Yes a 1998. Why, it still runs flawlessly, it is big enough for my family (including Rover), and that was one of the last years when you could get a locking rear differential (sometime 4-wheel drive alone is not enough). What is a locking differential you ask? Well the short version is that it sends power to both wheels on the axle equally. You see, with a four wheel drive if you get one tire that is slipping on an axle the differential will send all the power to that wheel. So if you have one wheel slipping on both axles you will be stuck, unless you have a locking differential. Even better would be 1997 Toyota Land Cruiser with front and rear locking differentials. The newer Jeep Rubicon editions are also available with front and rear lockers. You can also install aftermarket lockers, but it is usually a lot cheaper to find a model that had them installed at the factory. (Yes grasshopper, I am the master of all the dark redneck arts). Why would you ever need this when escaping a Ferguson type event? You might not. But if you had to turn around on the side of wet highway or drive through the median in a snowstorm, you just might. Remember when it rains, it pours.

In our next installment we will discuss BOBs (Bug Out Bags) including why you need one and what you need to pack in it. Have a safe weekend and I will see you on Monday. The woods are calling.

Zombies in Ferguson Part 3

At this point I think that it is time to recap some of the lessons that we have already learned before we move on. Keep in mind that almost all of these lessons, including my patented R.A.S (Run Away Screaming) maneuver can apply to equally to the zombie apocalypse or a Ferguson type event.

First, we have learned that it is best to avoid trouble when possible. In a Ferguson type event or the zombie apocalypse the easiest way to do this is to stay at home until the initial trouble passes. That means that you have to have enough food, water, and supplies to avoid having to run out to the store (assuming that there is a store that’s still open). It also means preparing for any special needs that you or your family may have such as medications, diapers for the baby, diapers for yourself if the stuff really hits the fan, etc.

Second, we need to make sure that our home is as physically secure as possible. Reinforce your strike plates with longer screws, get an alarm, cut out plywood to cover the windows, get a yappy dog that will wake you up if someone breaks in, etc. You should also have fire extinguishers on hand in case a fire starts or someone starts one for you. The looters (or zombies depending upon your situation) will find it much easier to get at you if you are running screaming from your home while engulfed in flames.

Third, you need a long gun and a handgun. Get some descent training and learn how to use them. Thunder Ranch, Gunsite, and any number of other reputable firearms training facilities will provide you with better training than most police officers get in the academy. Also make sure that you have a safe to securely store them in. If you have a particular aversion to firearms you need to get over it. Some good training will help you to realize that they are only tools and that you are more than capable of handling them safely. If you still have an aversion to shooting someone, even if they break into your home, use the mother-in-law test. To do this you first shove your mother-in-law at the burglars. If the burglars attack your mother-in-law you know that they would also be willing to attack your wife and children and that you are indeed justified in defending your home and family. If you need further confirmation shove your wife at them. This also works for zombies.

Zombies in Ferguson Part 2

When we last left off we were discussing bugging in. This strategy is appropriate for Ferguson or the zombie apocalypse. One of the most important aspects of bugging in is home security. This term means a lot of different things to different people. For our purposes we will take a global view of home security. This means that we are concerned with everything from better locks to the best firearm for home protection.

To start off with, whether you are preparing for dealing with burglars, civil unrest/riots, or a full scale zombie apocalypse you will want to make sure that your home is physically secure, i.e. hard for the bad guys to get into. Unfortunately, most homes can be broken into in a matter of seconds simply by kicking in the front door. Your doors offer the easiest access to the bad guys and this is how they typically gain entry. So to start with you want to make sure that you have a solid core door and a good deadbolt. However, these items alone will not necessarily make your front door any harder to kick in. This is because your door frame is usually fairly flimsy and easily kicked in. So even though you have a good door and a high speed lock, the wood around your door frame will still break. The easiest solution to this is to simply use longer screws to secure your strike plate (the metal plate attached to your door jamb). You want to make sure that the screws are long enough to penetrate all the way through the door frame and to go at least and inch and half into the wall studs. This will greatly increase the amount of time it will take to kick in your door which gives you more time to react, which you will need, especially if you were sound asleep in the middle of the night. A handful of 3 inch screws could save your life.

There are a number of other security measures that you can take ranging from alarm systems to protective window coatings. However, we will be discussing these in a future post on home improvement projects. However, there is on measure in particular that bears mentioning and that is precutting plywood to place over your windows. The idea here is to have the set ready to go in case of the zombie apocalypse but to be able to store it somewhere where it won’t necessarily be seen by you neighbors (who will then think that you are a nut). I mention this here because I think that it would have been appropriate to install these during Ferguson. They would help prevent break ins and keep rioters from lobbing Molotov cocktails into your windows.

And now for the funs stuff! What firearms should you have to protect yourself in a Ferguson type situation.  First lets deal with types of weapons. You will need a both a long gun and a hand gun. The long gun is to protect you, your family, and your home. The handgun is to protect you when can’t carry a rifle. (Like when you have to run to the store because all you stockpiled was peanut butter and your wife has a nut allergy).

While I love a good 12 gauge shotguns and would normally recommend it for home defense I do not think that it is appropriate for dealing with mobs. Yes, the mob may move on after you shoot a few of them but they may not. Shotguns simply have too low of a capacity and are to slow to load. You do not want to be caught reloading when you should have been shooting. And yes I am aware of the various magazine fed shotguns. I just have never seen one that functions reliably enough for me to bet my life on it.

I also love revolvers. Unfortunately revolvers suffer from the same failings as the shotgun, their capacity is insufficient and they are too slow to reload (unless you are Jerry Miculek or Matt Griffin).  Speed loaders help and an expert with a moon clip can reload a revolver faster than most people can reload a pistol. However, we aren’t talking about experts here we are talking about me, you, and our families.

Rifles. Save that double rifle for your next Safari.  Likewise, you can forget about your bolt action until deer season. In a riot you will want one of the dreaded “assault rifles” (I am aware that this term properly applies only to select fire weapons and not the semi-automatic versions we are discussing here, however, that is not how the general public understands the term) i.e., an AR-15 or an AK. Why you may ask? Magazine capacity. Remember that in a gunfight if you are caught reloading when you should be shooting that is considered to be a violation of the rules punishable by you being shot. If you are facing down a mob intent on killing you, you will appreciate having a 30 round magazine and be glad that you have half a dozen more on your person. Both of these systems also have the virtue of being easy to operate and easy to train your family on.

Pistols. I have owned more than a few pistols in my day. If you asked me what one pistol I would recommend for a Ferguson type situation I would recommend a Glock 19. The Glock 19 is large enough to use as a duty pistol but still small enough to conceal if you are creative (so you can carry it to the grocery store). Its 15 round standard capacity magazine helps you keep reloading to a minimum. 9mm ammo is cheap(yes, even in todays marketplace you can find it cheap if you look around), so you can practice until your heart is content. No the 9mm is not the most powerful round in the world but it will get the job done if you do your part.

We will save the 9mm vs., 40 vs. 45 debate for another day.

Before we sign off I would like to address the concerns of those who live in states where owning an AR or an AK  (or even a 15 round magazine for your Glock) is no longer possible. First off, vote with your feet and move if you can. If not I would recommend a good lever action rifle or carbine. A good lever action rifle is still a formidable tool even today. It may not have a 30 round magazine but you can continue to top off the magazine without taking yourself out of the fight. You will however have to much more proficient with your rifle. You might also want to reconsider  the shotgun we discounted above. If I were limited to a ten or even worse a seven round magazine my handgun of choice would be a 1911 in .45 ACP. (Yes grandpa they come in other calibers now). The design is battle tested, as is the round. Nuf said