Author Topic: Prehistoric Preppers: A Look Back at Pre-Y2K Survival Gear and Conventional Wisdom  (Read 834 times)

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Online txradioguy

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As a child in the 1980s who came of age in the 1990s. I lived through an odd era of the gun culture. With the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War, a lot of survivalists and those preparing for WWIII suddenly had less to worry about…until President Clinton was elected and the threat that Y2K posed became a thing.

Thinking back on such a time, I now laugh at a lot of the ideas and beliefs that ran rampant in certain segments of the population. But exist they did.

Survivalism in the late 1980s and 1990s was different than it is today. Everything was oriented on the belief that either the a reborn Soviet Union or Communist China was going to invade or the US Government in cooperation with UN goons riding in black helicopters, were going to turn the United States into a Red Dawn-like quasi-gulag with FEMA camps everywhere after Y2K destroyed our infrastructure.

Some people were selling everything off, moving out to the boonies to build compounds, and planning to live off the land. Others were buying 4x4s, guns, toilet paper, and MREs like they were going out of style. Those urban dwellers apparently planned to load up their four wheelers and drive off into the hills and hunt and farm on public lands to ride out the collapse.

It didn’t help that President Clinton and Attorney General Janet Reno were moving ahead full bore on gun control. Y2K and the assault weapons ban fueled the fire. The first real panic buy of my lifetime occurred in 1999. I recall folks going nuts stocking up on guns and ammunition.

Prior to the end of the Clinton AWB, and really not until the 2006-2007 timeframe, ARs were not the major go-to gun in America. During the AWB, their popularity and the general popularity of AWB-restricted rifles (AKs, etc) rose. But there still wasn’t the market domination that we see today with the AR.

The AR-15 was, for the most part, a relatively rare bird. It wasn’t popular for a variety of reasons. The cartridge was considered weak, the stigma from its horrible introduction in Vietnam still lingered, and the options to really modify the rifle didn’t exist yet. The carry handle was even seen as a negative because it limited the option for scopes.

ARs were called “poodle shooters” and “jam-o-matics” that would get you killed. The reliability of the platform that we take for granted today was there. Just unheard of due to all the gun shop gossip from the guy behind the counter that claimed to serve in Vietnam as a Green Beret when in fact he was in the Ohio National Guard and the closet he ever got to combat was handling a Remington 870 during a prison riot.

<snip>
The word at the time was that unless you had a real deal battle rifle in 7.62x51mm NATO like a G3, CETME, FAL, or M1A, death was at your door step. The 7.62x51mm NATO was the end-all be-all cartridge that would do the job. It was the round that would rule the world after the collapse of civilization due to Y2K and the impending UN takeover.

The idea was that it let you hold territory out to 1000 yards and engage the baddies. The M1A was the standard that all others looked to as the SHTF gun for long distance shooting. The HK G3 and CETME pattern guns were the tough-as-nails, eat everything, survive everything rifles. The FN FAL was gaining ground, too since parts kits were cheap and building them was fairly easy.

<snip>

If you were poor, then a M1 Garand or SKS Carbine for a semi-auto or mil-surp bolt action would suffice. You could use your Mauser or Enfield to engage your baddie out at 500 yards, then pick up his gun and ammo. The M1 Garand was the best bet because a mix master was affordable. It used Nazi-killing .30-06 Springfield, by God, and was better than a commie SKS. But if money was tight, the SKS was the best choice since you could find them for about $100 at the time and 7.62x39mm ammo was $80 a case.

<snip>

Pistols were 1911 or bust. You had to have a .45 ACP or if you were a real man, .460 Rowland. You needed that punch since the ban restricted you. If you had a 9mm, it better had been SIG SAUER. Berettas were regarded as death traps and GLOCK were time bombs waiting to go off in your hand.

The Navy Seals were using SIGs and that is all that mattered. Since 9mm almost bounced off the bad guys, you needed a gun that wouldn’t go tits up on you when you did a full mag dump. So the Sig P226 was the gun in 9mm. If you had .45 ACP, though, one round would kill the baddie. And his friend. The 1911 was king.

<snip>

Equipment was 72-hour loadout. Everything was 72 hours. You better have had that ruck packed with MREs and Iodine tablets to keep you alive from the Y2K nuke strike, too.

MOLLE was unheard of. Everything was ALICE or Combloc surplus. Wearing armor was for girls since you had 7.62x51mm and were gonna reach out to those government goons with your 4 MOA CETME at 600 yards before their 100-yard ARs got near you.

If you did wear armor is was soft armor and you wore it ALL DAY EVERY DAY to stay alive because the feds might get you with their puny 9mm Berettas. Plates and carriers didn’t exist. The ideal piece of kit was an ALICE belt with ‘Nam-era H-suspenders, an upside-down KA-BAR taped to the left shoulder strap, and a butt pack.

Everything you wore better have been matching. Woodland was king and if your stuff wasn’t Woodland you’d die for not blending into your neighbor’s hedge. Camel Packs were the king. Canteens virtually were useless. Why carry water on your hip in a easy-to-refill hard sided container versus a squishy bladder that leaked and ruptured.

More:

https://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2019/01/luis-valdes/sometimes-we-need-a-laugh-a-look-back-at-the-mindset-leading-up-to-y2k/
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Offline Smokin Joe

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Fun article, thanks!
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Offline roamer_1

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Some people were selling everything off, moving out to the boonies to build compounds, and planning to live off the land. Others were buying 4x4s, guns, toilet paper, and MREs like they were going out of style. Those urban dwellers apparently planned to load up their four wheelers and drive off into the hills and hunt and farm on public lands to ride'out the collapse.


That's all still relatively the same... And a bad joke btw... Most folks couldn't last three days without air conditioning, and couldn't find their ass with either hand without a Garmin.

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Equipment was 72-hour loadout. Everything was 72 hours. You better have had that ruck packed with MREs and Iodine tablets to keep you alive from the Y2K nuke strike, too.

That's still about the same too - Other than the nuke thing... Everybody doing a go-bag or bug-out bag is still a three day scenario.

The new thing is an INCH bag - 'I'm Never Coming Home' - Wandering through some of those YewToobs will give you fits of laughter..

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MOLLE was unheard of. Everything was ALICE or Combloc surplus.

That's right. I still have a lot of ALICE gear laying around. I still prefer an ALICE pack frame.. but with better suspension.

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The ideal piece of kit was an ALICE belt with ‘Nam-era H-suspenders, an upside-down KA-BAR taped to the left shoulder strap, and a butt pack.

Sheesh! Somebody must have took my picture - Still have a Kabar or two... but I don't us them much... They don't hold up too good with that narrow tang and leather handle.  Made for forward strike without a lot of consideration to the butt, which is worthy of consideration in normal woods use... And it wasn't taped to the suspenders - Custom made straps with snaps did that.

Never did the AR thing... Actual mountain life goes more toward brush, and while I do have some long range capacity, mostly it's gonna be open sites and under 100 yards in brush... That's 30/30 lever, or something like it. Same for a saddle gun.

Never did drink bladders and such either... Everything went from tin and aluminum to stainless, but the need to put containers in the fire pretty well nixes any sort of carry otherwise... Trying to boil water and build supply pretty much means anything you have better be able to go in the fire.

Heck I just recently went to 1911 .45 ACP ... Still don't like em, and wish I'd have stayed in Colt 45 - And I still think that long term acquisition of ammo around here will still be Colt 45 being more available. At least around here, hillbillies are still using wheel guns and lever action rifles.


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