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Question: DHS Buys 450 Million Rounds of Ammo. What Do I Do?
2012-05-07 04:18:02 (229 weeks ago)
Posted By: JWSmythe
Asked by an anonymous reader:
What would be a good rifle that I can put a good night/day scope on in case the SHTF ever? I want to be prepped in case. DHS just bought 450 million rounds of hollow point ammo, and, well I just want to have something in case shit gets scary.

I am glad our readers are comfortable enough to ask us such questions. I have been asked the same thing from quite a few people. These aren't tin-foil hat paranoids. They are average people who are honestly concerned about hostile government actions against the citizens of the United States.

The information that has been making it's rounds is that there is a contract for up to 450 million rounds of ammunition over a 5 year period.

According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) 2009 budget, they employed 230,000 people. Wikipedia shows DHS employed 216,000 people in 2010. Under the DHS are the following child agencies. I am including their approximate number of employees.

58,401 - Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
58,000 - US Customs & Border Protection (CBP)
20,546 - US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
18,000 - US Citizenship & Immigration (USCIS)
7,474 - Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
6,500 - United States Secret Service (USSS)
(N/A) - National Protection and Programs Directorate

(story continues below)

If you get out your calculator, you'll see the child agencies outnumber the total DHS employees, so I'll assume the DHS number is only DHS direct employees.

Since we don't yet have a direct contact at the Department of Homeland Security (guys, really, call me.), we'll make some educated assumptions so we can do some quick math.

1) DHS does have 230,000 direct employees.
2) The ammunition will only be used by direct DHS employees, and not child agencies.
3) Only 10% of the employees are qualified with and train with 40 cal weapons. This does not mean that they actually carry one.
4) They are required to go to the range at least once per month.
5) The purchase would be made in full, and would be equally divided across the 5 years.

Now it's some simple math.

per agent per month = ((Total purchase / 5) / 12) / (employees *0.10)

326 = ((450,000,000 / 5) / 12) / (230,000 * 0.10))

That's 326 rounds, per qualified agent, per month.

For those who are proficient in firearms, you know that you don't go to the shooting range and just fire 8 shots. On a quick trip, I typically fire 200 rounds. Myself, I use whatever I can buy cheap. Many people strongly suggest practicing with the same ammunition that they carry. There is good logic in that, but I keep my pistols loaded with Winchester Black Talon, and that would get rather expensive.

Years ago, I went through my state's law enforcement school. With no disrespect intended towards any law enforcement officer, I found that I can do more to make the world a better place by sharing the news, than I ever would in uniform writing traffic tickets.

In that school, we were required to bring 3,000 rounds of ammunition. It was used over a few weeks. It was mandatory that we fire 2,500 rounds, which included training and qualification. The extra 500 rounds were for those who didn't qualify the first time. Of course, I did. That left me with enough ammunition to use on my own time for a couple trips to the range.

So giving qualified agents an average of 326 rounds a month to practice with really isn't a lot. I'd prefer that they practice more.

Those who personally know me, know that I am a strong believer in our constitutional rights. We exercise our 1st amendment rights here. I exercise my 2nd amendment rights at home. I own several firearms, "just in case" something happens. In about 30 years, I haven't needed to use one for protection. I've used words, and careful actions. I prefer to keep it that way, but I can not believe everyone else feels the same way.

I frequently joke about the Zombie Apocalypse. The CDC wrote up a nice piece about being prepared for that prepares you for real disasters. Where I live, we do have wildlife that will kill you. Sometimes that wildlife forgets to stay in the wild. You can end up with an alligator in your house, or a bear in your car. The turmoil after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans reminds us that not everyone wants to help during a natural disaster. We don't live in a utopian society, where we have nothing to fear. I doubt we ever will.

Being that I have plenty of training and experience with firearms, family, friends, and friends of friends ask me for advice. Everyone has their opinions of the "best" weapons.

I strongly recommend before anyone who has limited firearms training purchases a weapon, they should get some serious training. Ask at local firearms stores and shooting ranges. You should know how a firearm works inside and out, and be so comfortable with it that if the time comes that you have to use it, you won't have to think about "Will it go bang when I pull the trigger?" The worst stories I read are when a homeowner is shot with their own weapon, during a home invasion.

Most importantly, you will learn the laws regarding firearm use. It will also be driven into you that the use of a firearm is the absolutely last resort. Do anything you can to avoid it. In using one, someone involved in the incident will be dead.

Expect to spend many weekends at the shooting range, and go through thousands of rounds of ammunition. If you don't, you aren't proficient. If you aren't proficient, you aren't safe to have a firearm. Also expect to go to the range frequently for the rest of your life, to keep your proficiency. Just because you used one 10 years ago doesn't mean you're proficient today.

Training and education is as far as I'll ever suggest with "gun control".

I'd recommend owning two weapons. The first is a good semiautomatic pistol (Glock, Smith and Wesson, Colt, Ruger, etc), but not any of the "cheap" guns. They will fail you at the worst possible times. The second is a good rifle.

For close quarters (inside buildings) you'd use a pistol or short shotgun, such as a Mossberg 500 with pistol grip, held at your side. Otherwise, you telegraph your moves around every corner (the bad guy sees you and can disarm you before you ever make it to the corner). Outside or in long range situations, you want a rifle.

The AR-15 is a popular weapon. On SHTF day, you'll have a weapon that can use very common ammo. If you get one, make sure it can use 5.56 NATO. Basically, .223 Remington and 5.56 NATO are the same round, but the 5.56 has a little more kick to it. If the weapon isn't rated for 5.56, you'll damage the weapon and possibly hurt yourself.

You can buy .223 almost anywhere. 5.56 NATO is also common. I'd avoid rifles that use pistol ammunition, like the 9mm Uzi, or 9mm MP5 (converted for semi-auto, of course). They can shoot a lot of rounds quickly, but aren't very accurate for long range.

Because of the way the AR-15 is built, it has lots of options for mounting gear. The forward grip can have 4 rails to mount anything you want on it. Under the carry handle, there's a rail for the scope.

A few months back, I bought a Smith & Wesson M&P 15. It works very well, doesn't really kick, and is very accurate. The SKU I got came with the carry handle, which is the iron sights. There are two thumb screws to release the handle, so I can put on the scope. My thinking on that was, if the scope should break, I can put the iron sights back in pretty quickly.

You'd want to shop around. AR-15's are available under $1k, but you can get them with all kinds of addons for several thousand dollars. It's all in how much you want to spend on it. You should research the specific model online before you actually purchase. Just like buying cars, you shouldn't trust the dealer. Their job is to sell you something, regardless if it's in your best interest.

For accessories, you should be able to put most of them on yourself. They're really made so a soldier in the field can disassemble and clean them without tools.

My next favorite is the 30-06 rifle. They have a lot of kick, are loud, and have a larger bullet that travels farther. They're common as hunting rifles, and everyone makes one. You'll have a harder time mounting arbitrary accessories though, depending on the specific rifle.

My next purchase, if I find I have too much money, will be an AR-10. It's pretty much the same as the AR-15, except it fires a .308 rifle round. It's more of a sniper weapon in an assault rifle form.

A Mossberg 500 with pistol grip and short barrel firing slugs is very effective. It's not a long range weapon, but will stop just about anything. With slugs, it can penetrate body armor, bullet resistant glass, and engine blocks. site has a lot of tests. He's a retired guy who likes shooting at stuff. It makes for an interesting read of the effectiveness of various weapons.

Guns vs engine block

Guns vs bullet proof glass

Guns vs steel door

FPS Russia has many interesting YouTube videos. Most of what he demonstrates is beyond what most people are going to buy, or can legally buy without special licenses.

To summarize, DHS isn't going to shoot every civilian, despite what some places are implying. They are buying enough ammunition to train with.

For your own safety, get lots of training, and select your weapons carefully. I'm partial to .45 ACP pistols, and 5.56 NATO AR-15. You will spend some money, but they end up being fine, reliable weapons.

I hope this answers your questions.

Update: The Politifact story does mention that the ammunition will be used by all child agencies except for the US Coast Guard. DHS oversees more than 135,000 weapons-carrying officers, and that 11,000 students used over 11 million rounds of ammunition for training in the 12 months through September 2011. That still means I personally don't believe they practice enough. I'm sure plenty of officers practice on their own time.

Our math shows that their statement is probably accurate. I rarely trust the government, but this information seems accurate. Sorry guys, one particular agency under you feels me up every time I travel because you don't trust me. Likewise, I can't trust everything you say.
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