Last month I had the honor of having Scipio as a student in the Team Leader Class. He is very motivating, patriotic individual, with prior experience in small unit operations, and I look forward to publishing more of his work in the future. He also wrote a course review of the TL Class.
Why do I ask this question? Well, if you read “John Shift Bullet Resistance of Typical Suburban Homes in America” in a recent American Partisan article, you know US external wall construction offers virtually no cover from small arms fire, only concealment. This is crucial in your preps if you decide to hunker down at home defense during a SHTF scenario.
In other words according to the article, your house offers virtually no defense against most small alarms fire. Knowing this, what do you do? Up armor your house? Imagine riveting Kevlar vest to your outer walls. Silly, but seriously, what do you do? Answer; sandbags.
Sandbags have been around since, well sand pretty much. They are universally common and used around the world. They are timeless in one shape or form historically. They are versatile, being able to be taken with you while empty or repositioned when used in a static position. Also numerous types of fill material such as sand, dirt, and rocks etc. can be used and are found plentiful in various locations. Fill material is usually very inexpensive as well. For example, at sandbagstore.com one hundred 2,000 hour UV rated bags are $62. One hundred 4,000 UV rated bags are $98. One hundred 10,000 UV rated bags are $265. These bags are polypropylene bags and they are rated as to how much UV sun they can absorb before they begin to deteriorate. If you are using them inside your house, my recommendation, then the least expensive sandbags would be your first choice. Putting them inside your house doesn’t tip off bad guys; you might have something valuable inside. If used outside, the choice of bags would depend on how long you anticipate needing them. Amazon carries 100 of the more durable burlap bags for $129. Anyone who has done military sandbag detail knows how the military issued sandbags rub your knuckles raw after long hours of bag filling. My experience has been that Lowes and Home Depot have sandbags sporadically and in small quantities which are generally more expensive per bag. Large quantities are sometimes hard to find locally, however, so I would get them online while you have the time. Sportsman’s guide for example is currently sold out. Sandbags come in various sizes based on weight, typically 20, 25, 35, and 50 pound bags are common sizes. As you can see they are relatively inexpensive based on these prices, and they’re still available in large quantities.
Sand, the easiest fill material, is readily available and inexpensive. In the south where I live, and depending on the type of sand you get ranging from concrete mix sand to sandbox sand, prices range from $40-$58 per ton plus whatever delivery charge will be. You will need a minimum of 1 ton of sand for a basic project I believe. Keep in mind sand is generally not sold by the ton but by the yard. One yard of sand weighs approximately 2,619 pounds. Keep in mind 2,000 pounds is one ton. Also, cover your sand with a tarp because the neighborhood cats want to do their business in your sand!
If you plan only on needing just a few sandbags go to Lowe’s or Home Depot or some other big box store or some construction warehouse and get pre-filled sandbags. Home Depot‘s play sandbags are currently $5.38 each. It saves a lot of the fuss and keeps you from explaining to your neighbors why you have three tons of sand in your yard. If your neighbors ask you why you have that mountain of sand, tell them you’re working on a building project or some other fake excuse.
If you plan on using fill dirt you can also purchase it and have it delivered. Prices vary widely from free if you go pick it up yourself at a site construction project or arranged from a yard maintenance company. Prices are all over the map but basically, it’s inexpensive. If you want to use the dirt at your house or your land, remember dirt is compacted and hard to dig with a shovel. At least have a pick. One off the wall possibility is to have someone with the backhoe dig a hole in your yard to loosen the dirt and then refill the hole so you will have loose soil. I have a raised “flower bed” that is really fill dirt with ground cover over it. I use Pansies because their roots don’t grow strong or deep. Again, if your nosy neighbors want to know what it’s all about you can say you were going to build something and ran into unknown rock or pipes or cables that were hidden underground.
Once you get your sandbags, pile of sand, pre-filled sandbags, don’t just let them sit there without planning on how you are going to use them. Waiting until the SHTF is not the time to plan on where and how you’re going to position them. You at least need to know where you are going to establish a firing position or positions, what entrances are to be blocked, and will you create a “green zone” for a safe area within your house where your friends/ and or family can relax and sleep safely.
I have planned a 6‘ wide x 6‘ long x 2‘ high “green zone” square area in the center of my living room. It will require 120, thirty-five-pound sandbags, 30 each on all four sides stacked six high. By the way, a thirty-five-pound sandbag is 4 inches high, and 5 thirty-five-pound sandbags horizontally are six linear feet long. These 120 thirty-five-pound sandbags will weigh 4,200 pounds. Don’t worry about your floor collapsing. Your fridge puts more pressure per square inch on your floor in a more compact area then the sandbags will be because they will be extended over a larger area dispensing their weight.
I plan on barricading my back door using 9 thirty-five-pound sandbags that can be easily removed for hasty egress if I have to break contact. 9 thirty five pound sandbags weigh 315 pounds.
I have a large window in the “green zone” room where I plan to establish my firing position. I also have black sheets to cover the back wall that will keep me from being silhouetted from the street when I am at my firing position. My firing position will be 4 feet high in the front and 40 inches high on two sides two feet deep. It will be 6 feet long in the front and will require 86 thirty-five-pound sandbags for a total of 3,100 pounds. The total weight for the sandbags for the “green zone” , the firing position, and the rear barricaded door is 7,625 pounds or approximately 3 ½ tons or approximately 3 yards of sand. It will require approximately a total of 215 thirty-five-pound bags. I currently have 250 thirty-five-pound empty sandbags and 1 ton of sand in my yard.
Although heavy and bulky sandbags offer additional flexibility in that if the direction of your perceived threat changes, or your assailants attack from another direction, the sandbags can be repositioned because they are not static like a permanent wall would be. Additionally, if you had to flee your house make sure you have seven empty sandbags to take with you. Seven sandbags filled will make firing positions for two in an open field. Von Steuben‘s Leadership Training class includes an excellent demonstration on how to make a two or a one man firing position with five to seven sandbags.
Keep in mind no static defensive position can hold out against a determined foe who has adequate resources, the willingness to use and sacrifice those resources, and time to overrun you. You simply want to make yourself a target that will cost your foe so much that they will go somewhere else.
Well, you say, I probably won’t need them. Really? In a SHTF scenario you don’t think you’ll need them? What about right now? According to the Columbus Ohio 2020 Annual Police Report regarding violence in the city, there were 486 shots fired into Columbus residences. It was an 85% increase over 2019. In Lufkin, Texas on November 8, 2021, two men fired 20 rounds from two guns, one from a 9 mm and another from an AR 15 pistol into an apartment. Fortunately, the intended victim escaped out the back door. My point, you may need them before a full blown SHTF scenario.
Plan, prepare, and fortify your home using very versatile sandbags that are available in various shapes sizes and durability and affordability.
If you’re interested in learning how to coordinate a team of shooters for neighborhood defense, come to a class! The December 11-12 Team Leader Class in Ohio is still wide open.