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When it gets right down to it, both personal and home defense are high on the list of priorities for most preppers. Yet, for the vast majority of us, this is an area where we lack sufficient knowledge, skill, and practical experience to be effective.
That said, when I was first approached about featuring another book on firearms, I rolled my eyes and thought “Here we go again”. My reasoning was simple: most books on firearms are pretty darn dry and boring. Imagine my surprise when the book arrived and I found myself reading it word for word, chapter by chapter.
I was hooked.
With that introduction, I am pleased to share the latest Book Festival entry, Prepper Guns by Bryce M. Towsley. What I like about this book, among other things, is Bryce is a prepper, and at the beginning of the book he details his views on defending what is yours and why. He also describes how his inspiration for the book was the classic, Survival Guns by Mel Tappan. Mostly, though, he shares our view that a major tipping point may be inevitable and when it occurs, the SHTF will, indeed, happen.
Aside from all of that, Prepper Guns is a big beautiful book. Almost every page includes a color photo and, the pages are well-laid out on glossy paper. But honestly, it is the content and the writing style that shines. This is a book that you just might want to read cover to cover.
Today I share an interview with Bryce plus I have three copies of the book up for grabs in a giveaway. Enjoy the interview then be sure to check in below to learn about the giveaway.
An Interview with Bryce Towsley, Author of Prepper Guns
Tell me about your book. What is it about?
My book is for the law abiding citizen who is serious about prepping. It deals with the firearms needed for prepping and survival. I believe this is the by far the most important aspect of prepping, because without the means to protect yourself, your family and your supplies, survival is all but impossible.
The idea started a few years back when I wrote a survival themed action/adventure novel, The 14th Reinstated. The protagonist in the book is an aging gun writer in what used to be Vermont. (Like they say, write what you know right?)
It is set some years after a total economic and social collapse when he gets word his brother has been killed and his niece kidnapped. He heads out to find her and stumbles on to a plot to enslave the remains of the world. Not a new theme, I know, but I had a bit different approach. Part of that is because I was writing from a gun-guy perspective. Not a hard-core blast ‘em up, but from a reality based perspective. Guns didn’t dominate the story, but they helped keep everybody alive to continue the story.
A few years later, Skyhorse Publishing contacted me about a new book idea they had. They had picked up my book Gunsmithing Made Easy after the first publisher closed and it was doing extremely well. I turned down the idea my editor, Jay Cassell, proposed so we started tossing around new ideas instead.
I told him that the amount of bad information about guns used for survival and prepping is staggering. Throughout the web, magazines or other books, a lot of the information is wrong and often dangerous. I talked about Mel Tappen’s “Survival Guns,” a book every hard-core gun-guy probably has read. Mel did a great job, but the material is extremely dated. A lot has changed in the firearms world in 40 years. I proposed a new, updated book that covers all aspects of firearms available to civilians for prepping and survival. Prepper Guns is the result.
I would note that through the efforts of a mutual friend I was lucky enough to have Mel Tappan’s widow, Nancy, provide the foreword for Prepper Guns.
What type of research did you have to do while writing your book?
I have been a shooter and gun-guy all my life. I have been writing about guns for almost thirty-five years, the last twenty-five full time. I have hunted all over the world and have been involved in competition shooting at an international level. I have trained at the most elite shooting schools and have been deeply involved in all aspects of civilian owned firearms for years.
At the risk of bragging, I suppose I am considered to be one of the top firearms experts in the world today. I write for the best magazines in the field, including The American Hunter, The American Rifleman, Shooting Illustrated, Outdoor Life and others. There are very few shooting or hunting magazines that have not run my work at one time or another over the years. I have also written several other books on guns, shooting and hunting.
I work with many of the major companies in the shooting industry including optics, ammo, bullets and firearms makers and have consulted on design and development with many of them.
I spend every day of my life with firearms; writing about them, working on them, shooting, hunting, or photographing them. I am continuing to learn and build my skills and knowledge base.
My research goes back decades and is as comprehensive as is possible on this topic. Still, as I was writing this book I researched even deeper into the “prepper” aspect of firearms. I tested the “conventional wisdom” and my own theories to see if they held up, from both a technical and a strategic standpoint. I also spent time on the range with most of the guns I wrote about to ensure they were reliable and that their level of performance was acceptable for survival use. (Those I did not shoot were noted as such in the book.)
Beyond firearms, I have traveled the world including many third world countries. I have visited Russia, the Middle East, Mexico, Europe (including several former Communist countries), South America and have made multiple trips to Africa. I have spent a lot of time in Zimbabwe where the economy collapsed, so I have seen first-hand what can happen. I have followed American and world politics very closely which helps with the foundation of this book as well as the perspective.
I grew up poor, but with a thirst for life. That meant I had to find a way.
I learned to build what I needed, or repair what is broken. I have a varied work background which I think contributes to my knowledge base. I have worked in a Tampax factory, worked construction, built telephone systems, sold carpet and even trapped beaver and muskrats for a living. I have always had deep, nagging obsession about learning to do new things. That’s led me down some interesting paths, many of which apply to this book and survival in general.
How long did it take to write?
Isn’t the answer, “all my life?”
Joking aside, I guess about a year from concept to holding a book in my hand. I work as a writer for magazines and web sites, so I have to work my book projects in around paying the bills. I suppose if I just looked at it from hours spent and then broke them down to my usual 60 hour work week; about six months seems right.
Every book, fiction and non-fiction, includes a message. What message do you hope my readers will take with them after reading your book?
Survival is not about how much food you store or even the guns you buy, survival is about self-reliance and a survival mindset. If you depend on anybody but yourself, you will not survive.
Beyond that, my message is that surviving is not going be the great, romantic adventure that so many expect. It’s going to be brutal, heartbreaking and it will dramatically suck. If you want to survive you must accept that the rules will be different. You must be prepared to do what is needed to survive without stopping to think about it, because if you have to think about it, you are too late and you are dead. Once you have your mind wrapped around that, make sure that you have the best possible tools to survive and that you have planned for all possible scenarios.
Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?
As I mentioned earlier I am a writer and photographer. I love to hunt and have been lucky enough to travel the world, mostly hunting in wild places. I am a competition shooter in multiple disciplines.
I am 61 years old, been married to the same woman for 35 years. We have two kids; our daughter is married and is currently serving in the military. Her husband, our “3rd kid”, is a Border Patrol agent in Arizona. Our son is an engineer living in Minnesota. We have three dogs and live in a house filled with clutter, books and good memories. My favorite place is the shop out back where I have a full machine shop for working on guns and am currently working on my second gunsmithing book.
I read constantly and I love books, everything from trash novels to the classics. This week I am struggling with Faulkner again. I enjoy reading TEOTWAWKI novels. Most are poorly written and full of foolishness, but some are very well done. I just finished “The Survivalists” series by Dr. Arthur T. Bradley and found them to be a welcome breath of good writing.
For mental health, I enjoy riding my Harley much too fast on Vermont’s twisted mountain roads.
As an author in the survival, prepping, self-sufficiency or homesteading niche, what are you personally preparing for?
Who can know? We can’t know the future, so I prepare for anything. Mostly that means I stay self-sufficient and fluid. I try to be ready for what comes. I think prepping is as much about education as it is storing “products” like food, water or guns.
If we have shelter, food, water and security, it’s just a start. It’s a plan, but like Mike Tyson said, “Everybody has a plan, until they get punched in the mouth.” A true survivalist can react when his plan goes belly up.
To survive you must have a long term plan too; that includes sustainable food supplies and security. What I don’t have, I can barter for and part of prepping is having a network of other people with things I need who will need things I have.
We can’t stop enjoying the life we have and devote it all to prepping. We are lucky enough to live in the best times in history and in the best country in the world. Sure we have our problems and those problems may escalate and for now I enjoy the comforts and benefits of modern American life, but as a prepper I am aware that we can lose them in a heartbeat and I always have a backup plan.
What would be your first prep-step if you were just getting started?
Learn all you can about prepping and learn how to dig the good advice out of the preponderance of rubbish being promoted as “truth.”
Then educate yourself on how to do things with your hands. Learn to fix broken things, how to find, gather or grow food, shoot guns and build things. Learn to fight, hunt, fish, trap, weld or how to drive anything with a motor. Simply put, build your skills in all things that mean something.
I was recently being interviewed by a young reporter for a New York newspaper and we talked about survival and how she and the rest of the Millennials were not all that well prepared. She started talking about guns and I stopped her.
“Forget about guns for a minute,” I said. “The single best tool you can have to survive is the ability to react fast to changing situations and to solve problems.
“A gun is useless if you have no other skills to survive. If you have nothing, there is nothing to steal from you and so most, not all, other people will leave you alone as you slowly die.”
I asked, “Do you have any idea how to get safe drinking water after it stops pouring out of the faucets? Do you have a clue how you will find food once the restaurants are closed and the grocery store shelves are empty? Do you know any first aid to deal with wounds or injuries? Can you drive a standard transmission? Can you fix anything that is broken?”
We talked about the Millennials and how they lack most of these skills.
“In defense of my generation, we do have great skills in other areas,” she said.
I agreed, then I asked how useful any of those skills would be if the electricity stopped flowing.
I got crickets.
Without some life skills and the ability to think under pressure and react quickly to solve problems, you won’t survive a collapse. But just thinking fast is not enough; you need a foundation of knowledge. If you don’t understand how to purify water, you won’t think about alternative sources.
Sure, defense is important. Particularly if you have the other skills. If you have food, water, medical supplies, shelter or transportation, somebody will try to take it away from you. If you have nothing, you have nothing to defend.
It’s a package deal.
What movie do you think gives the best portrayal of what could happen?
I suppose, The Road gives us a worst case scenario.
Do you have plans for another book?
I am a writer, there is always another book.
I am working on one about gunsmithing right now. It will be aimed at the hobbyist who wants to advance his skills to the next level. It would be of interested to the prepper who wants to know how to repair guns.
I am also working on a sequel to my novel, The 14th Reinstated. That book was set after a total worldwide social and economic collapse and it had a huge amount of information about prepping and survival. It’s what led to my writing Prepper Guns. The sequel is set later, during the rebuilding phase and it too deals with a lot of survival situations.
But, I suppose your question is about if I am planning another book on survival guns. The answer is yes. I had to leave out a lot of information on things like reloading, bullet making, optics, shooting, gun repairs and skills building. At one point while writing Prepper Guns I was closing in on 200,000 words and I had to cut a lot of material.
This is a business, it’s how I pay the bills, if Prepper Guns continues to sell well and it looks like a good economic gamble to write another, I’ll do it!
Is there anything else you would like to share with my readers?
Buy my books! Your life will be better for having read them!
Kidding aside, I want to thank all those who have bought my books. I also want to thank you for this opportunity.
Bryce has reserved three copies of his book in this newest Book Festival Giveaway.
The deadline is 6:00 PM Pacific Tuesday with the winners notified by email and announced on the Rafflecopter in the article. Please note that the winners must claim their book within 48 hours or an alternate will be selected.
Note: Due to customs requirements, this giveaway is only open to individuals with a mailing address in the United States.
The Final Word
It is easy to say that when push comes to shove, we will do what it takes to defend ourselves, our families, and our homes. Speaking for myself, however, in my heart of hearts I know I am not prepared to face roaming mobs of hungry and ruthless thugs who will want my preps.
One way or another, throughout the rest of this year and in 2017, I plan to become better prepared by being proficient in the safe use of firearms. Prepper Guns in providing the motivation. Now I just need to do it. How about you?
For more information about the books in this latest book festival, visit Prepper Book Festival #13: Books to Help You Prepare.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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Spotlight: Prepper Guns
Food, water, and shelter are very important to survival. But you must also be ready to protect what is yours, because if somebody stronger, better prepared, and better equipped takes it all away, you will die. Your family will die. The only way to protect them is with firearms.
Prepper Guns takes a careful look at each category of firearms, ammo, sights, and accessories. Other topics include gun care and maintenance, as well as some simple gunsmithing and reloading to keep firearms repaired and ammo on hand. Finally, Prepper Guns has training suggestions and drills, plus a look at the psychology of survival, using the expertise of some of the top people in the world in these fields.
If you are worried that bad things are coming and are trying to prepare, this book is the most important piece of gear you can buy. Because if you can’t protect your family, your food and your home, nothing else really matters.
A frequent question I get on Backdoor Survival has to do with healthcare matters when there is no doctor around. This is the definite source of survival medical information for all Prepper’s and is my go-to bible for survival medicine.