ammo box


Big thanks, to Vey the founder of for today’s Guest Post Article “How much ammo do I need to stock for SHTF?”


Every prepper knows that storing up ammo is key to getting prepared, but how much do you need? How much is enough?

Our analysis shows that the average prepper needs just 1,500 rounds for a battle rifle and 700 rounds for a pistol. Read the below analysis, and let us know if you agree.


At a minimum, every prepper should own at least two guns; a pistol and a battle rifle. It’s great to have a .22 for target practice and small game, and a shotgun is perfect for bird and deer hunting.

But when it comes to defending a retreat from a group of enemy combatants, everyone in your group should have a battle rifle and pistol on them.

Let’s not get caught up in the debate of which caliber or firearm is best. Our group standard is 9mm for pistol and .223 for the battle rifle, so that’s what I’ll be using for the analysis. Your group standard may be different. Just adjust the analysis to fit your firearm and magazine selection.


If you know that you’re going to head into a sustained battle, you’ll probably take an assault pack loaded with as ammo as you can carry, but the typical SHTF group is not going to be assaulting an enemy; they’re going to be repelling one.

You’ll probably be on watch, or sleeping when the alert comes through on the radio that an enemy has been sighted.

You’ll instinctively throw on your kit and head out the door as quickly as possible. That means the most ammo you’ll likely go through in a firefight will be no more than your typical loadout.

So we’ll use a daily, post-SHTF loadout as the basis for our calculation.


At a minimum, you’ll want 3 rifle mags on your chest, 1 on your battle belt and 1 in your gun; so 5 rifle mags.

You should also have at least 3 pistol mags on your belt and 1 in your gun. A lot of preppers like to “Double Stack” their mags so that they can carry more, but in my experience, double stacked mags slow down my reloads and make lying prone more challenging.

With this setup, you’re carrying a total of 5 rifle mags and 4 pistol mags.

A popular group standard is 30 round AR mags and 17 round pistol mags, plus 1 in the chamber of each. Add that up and you’re at 151 rounds of .223 and 69 rounds of 9mm available in a given firefight.


If you lose your first firefight or get mortally wounded, then you really don’t need more than 151 rounds of .223 and 69 rounds of 9mm, but I’m an optimist. I’d like to think that you can make it through several firefights without a scratch. But how many firefights do you actually expect to have?

If your retreat is hidden well and the perimeter is secure, you shouldn’t have to deal with that many conflicts.

Let’s say that you manage to get into and survive 10 firefights, and with each fight, you completely empty all battle rifle and pistol mags on your person. Given that scenario, you’ll need 151*10 and 69*10 or 1,510 rounds for the rifle and 690 for the pistol. That’s it. Far less than the 10,000 rounds some YouTube experts claim you need.


There are plenty of good reasons to buy more ammo than you’ll actually use in SHTF.

  1. Having extra ammo on hand in case others run low.
  2. Stocking up for children who may need to learn how to use a firearm.
  3. Setting aside additional ammo for refugees that your group might take in after the collapse.
  4. Using ammo as a barter item or post-SHTF currency.
  5. Politicians may try to restrict ammo sales, driving up the price.
  6. Frequently training before and after the event.
  7. Hunting and predator elimination.

I’m sure you can think of other reasons why buying more ammo is a good idea, but in a realistic SHTF scenario, 1,500 rounds of .223 and 700 rounds of 9mm should be plenty. If that feels a little short, go ahead and double it to 3,000 rounds of .233 and 1,500 rounds 9mm. At today’s prices that just over $1,000 to safely cover your long-term ammo needs.

If you’ve got the cash, by all means, get more. Just make sure you’ve got your beans and band-aids covered before buying that 10,000th round of ammo. You’d be amazed at how many calories you’ll need to store for SHTF, and ammo is particularly tough on the teeth.


Use the Calorie Calculator


Vey Prpeprlytics
The article above was kindly contributed by Vey from Prepperlytics, and the original title, “How much ammo do I need to stock for SHTF?” can be found on the blog.

Prepperlytics is an online website that helps preppers calculate the number of calories that would be needed in a SHTF scenario. Vey’s site also has a number of other really useful tools that help preppers prepare. You can check out our Prepperlytics Review Here


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12 thoughts on “How Much Ammo Do I Need To Stock For SHTF?”

  1. What a comprehensive list! I do agree that firearm should only be limited to two so as to avoid over packing that’s beyond what’s practical. Great article, and great site! Sure this helps your readers out. 🙂

  2. Depending on your environment, storage and usage requirements (i.e. what kind of engagements can you realistically expect to get in (open field, forest, fortified urban vs. rural home bases, etc)), it doesn’t hurt to have multiple weapon types that can utilize the same ammo calibers.
    i.e. a Marlin 1894 rifle & a pistol that can both fire the same .44Mag loads.
    .22LR is cheap and can be used in both semi-auto rifles and pistols, and you can carry a few hundred rounds at much lighter weight. (Yes, .22 is generally no match for 5.56, 9mm etc, but a tight grouping of 4-5 rounds can really ruin somebody’s day, and it’s more ideal for small game)
    If 9mm is your sidearm preference, there are also some good 9mm carbines out there for an accompanying rifle option as well.

  3. The selection of 10 firefights is a purely arbitrary number. If you happen to be on the winning side, and your victory was decisive, it might be the first and last battle you have to fight. On the other hand, a standard load out might not be nearly sufficient in a sustained engagement that lasts several hours (or even days). The key, then, is resupply.

  4. Just a note regarding the storage of your ammo: We’re pretty rural here and all our neighbors plan on pitching in together, we’re a very like minded “community”. Two days ago, our nearest neighbors house burnt to the ground. They had a good stock of ammo for their many different calibers, and yes, they all went off. It felt like “duck and cover” as it was burning, and we couldn’t get close enough to try to extinguish the fire. Their home is a complete loss, but they’re safe and will rebuild. This has caused us to seriously rethink the storage of our own ammo. Even with fire safes and ammo boxes, they’re stock still went off.

  5. “But how many firefights do you actually expect to have?”

    That seems like a key factor. Per Dean’s advice (to evade a fight), if a prepper really expects ten firefights at his location, does that suggests it’s a poor location?

  6. The age old question: “When is enough enough?” I can’t answer that, but when you stop counting the rounds individually or by the box and start looking at how many “pounds”
    you have available, you might be nearing enough! You will NOT BUG OUT with it!

  7. Standard load out is 210 rounds in 7 magazines for Military. You may not survive that many battles unless your well trained and have a squad of men with you. For most prepper may i suggest reading (Fry The Brain) an in depth study of gorilla sniping history and modern day rebellion including the Irish Republic Army and the Afghan wars. If you want to fight a supior force with little collateral damage this is it. I have the means and skill to fight a standard battle and will definitely not take that course of action. An intruder yes but a military style invasion, shoot one bullet and get out of there, never follow up, never be found. The physiological wound is worse than any round.

    Note: I am suggesting this book for its historical content and not because it explains how to become a gorilla fighter in modern times.

    Also remeber that the best victory is to evade a fight all together. There really is no glamor in taking a life even from your enemy.

    1. Experience and Training says, WHEN FACED WITH A LARGER FORCE THEN YOU CAN MUSTER IT IS TIME TO SHOOT AND SKOOT. In other words make them duck for cover and then you run like hell, classic Insurgency tactic. He who turns and runs away lives to fight another day. Gather your forces and slowly make any advance the superior force makes costly, ambushes where you and your force use just a few well placed rounds into the “enemy” force cause some causalities and withdraw, circle back around to the rear and hit them again. Incidentally I have 40 plus years in the US Army and am retired.

  8. i’m not prepping to get involved in a firefight and a battle rifle is hard to get a licence for in the UK, hard but not impossible.
    for small game an air rifle is quite adequate .

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