SHTF defensive preparations involve much more than having sufficient firepower. The best defensive strategy is avoidance. ‘Invisibility’ is the desired condition. If the ‘zombies’ don’t know you exist, they can’t bother you.
The ideal defense is to never have to defend yourself in the first place. Much toward that end can be done with some simple forethought.
Ideally, your retreat is in a rural area, away from cities in an area seldom traveled through. If at all possible, avoid locating near major travel corridors. The retreat should not be visible from the nearest road. Telephone and electrical service lines are a dead give away to occupation. A concealed, off-grid set-up is thus, a defensive necessity.
The greater the degree of self-sufficiency, the greater the prospects for successful avoidance of threats. So along with sufficient firepower, come other preparations;
A year round water supply, greater than your projected needs is NOT an ‘option’ but a necessity. A plentiful supply of heirloom seeds is essential. In a major SHTF event, grocery distribution WILL end. A good garden also lessens exposure by reducing the need to travel outside the retreat. Gardens also provide earthworms, the ultimate ‘bait’ when fishing for the larder, rather than for sport.
Raising domestic livestock just makes sense. Rabbits provide meat and nature’s perfect fertilizer. Chickens yield meat and eggs. Goats can provide soap, shampoo, milk and meat. Irish Decker cattle are the ideal breed for the homesteader/prepper. They need half the feed of larger cattle, are sweet tempered, remarkably trouble free while providing meat and milk.
Fishing and hunting can greatly supplement the larder, while avoiding potentially hostile interaction with either the desperate or criminally minded. Hunting quietly avoids alerting other people to your presence. Snares (not just for small game), a good crossbow and a modern, .22 cal air rifle with the right ammo… are all ways to hunt quietly and will greatly lessen the chance of detection.
An oversize septic tank has much to recommend it. In a major SHTF event, city water and city waste disposal systems could potentially be a fatal dependency. Domestic water supplies failing and being cut off to the retreat is a direct threat both to immediate survival and would force the risk of exposure.
A ham radio set-up may well be invaluable, giving you a better chance of stay up to date on current events. Satellite TV / Internet while operational is undetectable. And, is an important information and communication technology. Forewarned is forearmed.
Camouflage netting suspended from trees above the cabin to prevent location of the retreat by aerial and satellite surveillance may be worthy of consideration.
In any SHTF event, ‘situational awareness’ is critical, the sooner threats are identified, the greater the defensive options available. To be effective, situational awareness needs to be developed prior to a SHTF event. It must have become habitual…
A good emergency radio is the minimum that a retreat should have ion hand.
Perimeter alert systems epitomize being forewarned and thus forearmed. A good dog(s) is one of the very best perimeter alert ‘systems’. Dogs however must IMO, be trained. FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radios, Shortwave receivers and Ham Radio transceivers have potential as an early alert system. At night, night vision equipment is arguably, essential to a perimeter alert system.
Rather than try to place perimeter alarms around the entire property, plant an impenetrable firethorn brush fence around the retreat, so that approaches to your property are funneled into narrow avenues of approach. A 12 Gauge Perimeter Alarm System is meant to send an unmistakable message to an intruder while also alerting you to intrusion.
Concealing the driveway entrance to your property increases the odds that travelers will simply pass by, ideally never realizing that someone is living nearby.
Understand the difference between cover and concealment. “The difference between cover and concealment is a simple one. If it doesn’t stop a bullet, then it is considered to be concealment because that is all it is really doing – concealing your location. Cover is something that will not only conceal your location but stop a bullet as well.”
The old truism that a good offense is better than a good defense… still holds true.
Identifying spots where an attacking force is likely to conduct an assault from can allow you to plan for counter responses and even lessen cover for an attacking force. Plant firethorn bushes where cover would otherwise be available but allow areas of concealment. If attacked, you want an attacker to only have concealment with no cover.
Identifying alternate routes of egress will allow you to pre-plan to attack by surprise at the rear or flank of an attacking force. Surprise is an invaluable advantage. Aggressive attackers do not expect ‘prey’ to turn on them and make of them… prey. Some form of night vision may be critical to surprising an attacker. In the dark, aided by night vision, a modern crossbow is a deadly weapon.
If finances permit, body armor makes sense, as only in the movies do the bad guys never shoot straight.
‘Peace through firepower’ is my recommended mantra, an update of Teddy Roosevelt’s “walk softly but carry a big stick”. A well armed retreat will have a variety of firearms for defense; long range and semi-automatic rifles, shotguns and pistols with plenty of ammo. Crossbows and knives also have their place. But homemade grenades and I.E.D.s are for experts. There is plenty of advice on the internet for the various options available in personal ordnance. As a non-fatal defensive option, I like pepper gel with a stun baton.
There’s safety in numbers and gaining nearby, like minded allies prior to a SHTF event may make the difference between surviving and being a well prepared… victim. In the aftermath of a major SHTF event, lawlessness is absolutely certain. Someone WILL try to take from you what you have…
It’s obvious that a prepper group compound can potentially offer a greater defensive advantage than a lone individual or family retreat. But… is also much less ‘stealthy’. Personally, I favor combining avoidance with the backup of a group alliance.