A piece of common advice for preppers of any sort is to choose firearms with ammunition availability in mind. Some suggest the choice of prolific calibers, some suggest oddball calibers that will be in low demand. I often hear criticism of the idea that one might find ammo resupply in an INCH scenario at all; these are valid enough that one probably shouldn’t count on resupply, yet opportunities may present themselves on occasion. In idle contemplation, I envision a few scenarios:
- Barter Towns. Just because you’re never going back home, this doesn’t necessarily mean civilization has collapsed. You might just be able to walk into the general store and buy some.
- Encounters with Governments and Militias. Either joining them (if they’re upstanding), defeating them (if they attack you, in the unlikely case that you’re Rambo and win), or trading with them may provide a source of resupply. They are likely to standardize on military calibers: 9mm, .223, and 7.62×39, though may utilize other calibers for special purposes or pet-preferences. They may store .22LR for training, but are unlikely to carry it into a fight. Depending on the circumstances, they may not be willing to trade, or it may not be wise to let them know you are interested in anything firearm-related.
- Barter with civilians. Others may have been driven from home as well, while some might still be in theirs. You will likely find a different type of ammo on everyone you meet. However, medium-to-low power pistol calibers will likely be most common, as that’s what police and civilians often buy (or inherit) for personal protection: 9mm, 45ACP, 380ACP, .40S&W, and .38 Special.
- Encounters with predatory opportunists. These types, when not part of an organized militia, will use whatever they can get their paws on – often from a prior victim – and may not put much thought into it beyond how scary a gun looks, bigger-is-better, etc. They are as likely to rob you as trade with you, depending on whether they think they can safely take you out. If they try and lose, you may not find on them the particular ammo you need, or much of it at that, but they’ll at least have the gun goes with it.
- Fortified survivalist retreats. By and large, these will be extended or combined families of religious people who will be suspicious of outsiders until they can be assured of your intentions. They may be militant, but (usually) not homicidal or predatory. Once they’re satisfied you’re not there to rob or kill them, they may be open to trade, or even offer work or charity. They will have large stores due to no weight limitations and years of preparation. If they are willing to trade ammo, you may find every kind of common caliber here for every situation (except possibly .380ACP) and a number of uncommon calibers. They will, however, likely be reluctant to trade away ammo to people they don’t trust absolutely.
- Happening upon caches. Whether or not taking from these could be considered theft, I will leave to the reader’s assessment of the situation and sense of morality. Most such caches are stocked by people who are, themselves, survivalists, and most understand the importance of commonly-used calibers. Among these are both tactical-type survivalists who will stock lower-power modern rounds in quantity such as .223 and 9mm, and old-school survivalists who will tend towards the heavier, but more powerful rounds that reflect the mentality of the day when they started prepping: .308, 45ACP, .357 Magnum. Both types value and may stock 12 gauge shotgun shells, 7.62×39, and .22LR.
- New production. When contemplating resupply, one should also consider that the world won’t end forever, if at all. Eventually, it will begin all over again, and technology won’t start from scratch. Ammo will be manufactured, and the first calibers that will be produced in quantity are those that will return the most profit, because the largest number of people need and can use them; .223, 9mm, .308, and .38. (22LR excluded from this list because, though the most common, it has unusual production requirements, is less useful for hunting/defense, and less profitable per round. I don’t know that new manufacturers will want to tool for it before centerfires.)
Thanks for reading. I hope these points have introduced, for your consideration, a few new possible options for ammo resupply in an INCH scenario.