Some time back Salty wrote a post about the minimum amount of ammunition to have on hand. This has also been a perennial favorite topic on various prepper forums. There are also YouTube videos on the subject. The figures tossed around are generally set numbers, without much thought to the individual prepper’s circumstances. I’d like to suggest a method of determining an appropriate ammunition inventory that takes those circumstances into account, allowing each of us to figure out how much ammunition makes sense, given our individual circumstances.
Factors to Consider
Ammunition needs to be available for each of our firearms, which raises the question of what the firearms are used for. Basically, as preppers, we are going to need ammunition for three activities:
- Self Defense
We also need to consider how long the ammunition is expected to last. If someone is prepared overall for a weeklong event, such as a hurricane or other natural disaster, not much ammunition is required. On the other hand, if a prepper has stashed food for a year, or prepared for an EMP, firearms and ammunition should be on hand in significant quantities. Most of us are somewhere in between. We are adequately prepared for short term disasters, and working toward being prepared for longer term disasters. Since ammunition can be acquired gradually, it makes sense that we build the inventory gradually, in balance with our other preps.
Finally, we need to consider the size of our group. An individual will not need as much ammunition as a 50 person MAG.
Reducing these factors to an equation
Since the amount of ammunition required is going to be variable from prepper to prepper, we need a formula to determine how much each prepper needs.
If the training ammo required for a month is T, the Self Defense Ammo for a month is S and the Hunting ammo is H, then one month’s ammo for one person is:
I = T + S + H
We can extend this to include the number of months N, and the number of people P.
I = (T + S + H) * N * P
If you want to consider caliber, simply use this equation for each caliber.
Applying the formula
Let’s try this for a hypothetical MAG with 10 armed individuals, that is currently at a point of being prepped for 3 months. The target may be longer, but 3 months is where they are at the present time. How much ammo should this group have?
We will use 22LR for training and a bit of small game, but not for self-defense. If we use 100 rounds for training, and 25 rounds for hunting, we get:
N = 3
P = 10
T = 100
S = 0
H = 25
I(22LR) = (100 + 0 + 25) * 3 * 10, or 3750 rounds of 22LR.
You can vary any of the variables for your circumstances. For instance, do you think you may be shooting lots of squirrels and 25 is too low for your group? Just change H to a higher number. Is your group really prepared not for just 3 months, but for 6 months? Then change N to 6.
Want to try center fire rifle? Let’s say we still have N = 3 and P= 10, but we aren’t going to train with this, we will use our center fire rifle ammo, hypothetically 5.56 for self-defense, so S = 30 and hunting larger game, so H = 5. What is our result?
I(5.56) = (0 + 30 + 5) * 3 * 10, or 1050 rounds of 5.56
Once you have worked out your formulas for each caliber your group needs, you may find you have more than you need in one caliber and not enough in another. This can guide your purchases as you continue to stock.
If you want a sense of the cost of this inventory, just add a factor for cost C, or cents per round to translate rounds into a monetary amount:
I (in dollars and cents) = (T + S + H) * N * P * C/100
Let’s say instead of determining a desired inventory, you have an inventory and want to determine how many months it should last. In this case we need to do a little algebra to determine:
N = I / ((T + S + H) * P)
Given the volatile nature of ammo prices, you may want to get ahead of your other categories of preps when prices are low. However, if you are behind on your ammo inventory vs. other preps, you really aren’t as prepared as you might think. For instance, if you have 2 months of food, and 3 months of ammo, you are prepared for 2 months. However, if you have 3 months of food, and 2 months of ammo, you are still only prepared for 2 months.
If you like this method, try putting the formula into a spreadsheet for each caliber. Want to see how much you need to be prepared for another month? Increase N by 1. Want to see what happens if you add 2 people to your group? Add 2 to P.
I hope this helps you with your prepping.