How Ragnar Convinced Me to Buy a Gun

Ragnar Benson has authored many books including; Do-It-Yourself Medicine, Eating Cheap, Live Off the Land in City and Country, Mantrapping, Modern Weapons Caching, Ragnar’s Guide to Interviews, Investigations and Interrogations, Ragnars Guide to the Underground Economy, Aquiring a New ID, and many more, all publsihed through the wack-job-military-nut publishing company Paladin Press. In my search for urban survival tips I found, ordered and read his books Ragnar’s Urban Survival: a Hard-Times Guide to Staying Alive in the City and Survival Poaching.

I remember the first time I saw militia-style media; a friend of mine brought a Delta Press catalog to one of our boy scout camping trips. A few titles I can still recall; The Poor Mans James Bond and The Joy of Cold Revenge 2. I remember a t-shirt for sale that had a mushroom cloud on it, at the top of the could it said, “Made in America,” and at the bottom, “Tested in Japan.” I knew at twelve years old how fucked up most of the things in the catalog seemed.

I find it funny that years later I actually ordered not just one, but two books from this subculture. I think I ordered Ragnars books as more of a joke than anything, but I did hope to find some pieces of knowledge in them. If nothing else, I found his stories and anecdotes did indeed ingtrige me. His attitude and writing style matched perfectly the image I had of him and these survivalist types. This quote by Ragnar, describing a reporter from a magazine in New York who couldn’t imagine why one should own a gun, sums up his paradigm:

Obviously he was from one of those new touchy-feely type of men’s magazines that wouldn’t touch articles about guns, cockfighting, cigars or bear-hunting on a bet.

Reading Ragnars books really puts you inside his head. That’s the only explanation I have to justify my current desire to purchase a gun. Or maybe the section on “how to assemble a sniper rifle,” has really sunk in. Perhaps his talk of defending yourself from evil governments that will fuck you over in a pinch inspired me to take my second amendment right more seriously. Derrick Jensen owns an AK-47, why shouldn’t I get one? Maybe in Ragnars Survival Poaching book, when he suggests killing trained gaurd dogs by shooting them in the head, or using dynamite to poach wild game really struck a chord. Most likely though, it stems from the only part of the books that really made much sense to me;

Those who are and/or will allow themselves to be wards of the government don’t have the slightest prayer of making it in a truly grinchy city-survival situation.

In a crisis the government will attempt to control anything and everything it can, so we need to prepare ourselves for that. That seems like a no brainer. Yet with wild claims & conspiracies littered throughout the books from “numerous experts” or “my experts,” without a bibliography to back them up, it makes me wonder just where the hell one gets these ideas. I also wonder if Paladin Press didn’t just make up Ragnar Benson as a front for their books. The book has a similar style to The Panhandlers Handbook by Omar the Beggar, which did turn out a hoax (and still a great book).

In the end, I have surfed through the gun-toting-cock-fighting paranoia and found a lot of little facts, strange ideas I can’t wait to try out (no, not the dynamite) and funny anecdotes out of his books. Because of that, I feel that if I ran into Ragnar in a post-apocalyptic world, we’d probably get along just fine. Despite his interests in things I despise and total ignorance to indigenous peoples and lifestyles, we have the same needs and the same distaste for governmental control. And thanks to his books now we have another thing in common; guns.

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10 Comments on “How Ragnar Convinced Me to Buy a Gun”

  1. I’m purchasing an AR15 when I graduate. I’ll prolly buy a 45 too. I firmly believe in protecting myself against the government. I’d like to compare it to Hackers when Cereal and Lord Nykon are listening in on the phone conversations, know what I’m gettin at?

  2. I have a similar mindset. I never really saw the point in owning guns until I started to think about the survival aspect of owning one. I’ve been thinking about getting an AR15 and 45 too.

  3. Hey, that rocks! Welcome to the disturbingly 2nd Amendment motivated crowd. If you ever want a marksmanship instructor or tips on urban movement, let me know. I’d love to get behind some sights again.

    Still looking for my future 74M or 416 (wish me luck on both, but especially the latter!).

    – Chuck

  4. One quick note, at no point will owning any gun protect you from the government. Seriously. The government has training, they estimate it costs $100k to train 1 solider, and thats just the ordinary infantry man, costs bloom when you go into training for Rangers, Air Force Ground control units, Marines, SEAL, Delta, Special Forces and SWAT. Cops are trained differently, but in combat roles they are as well trained in small confrontations as a soldier is. Then add in gear, scopes, optics, optimized ammunition, support weaponry, and whole lot of other stuff, nothing you buy will prepare you for taking on the government with weapons. Even the training these groups do will not help someone.

    That being said, in a collapse situation, a gun would be handy to have. Since the government forces REAL advantage is communication and “controlled Chaos” and unruly public would wreck their one true advantage (they have Rambo though… hmmmmmm).

    When I get a AK-47 and a SKS we will go shooting (should be this summer)

  5. “…Despite [Benson’s] ….total ignorance to indigenous peoples and lifestyles…”

    In several of his books, Benson repeatedly asserts that many of his trapping and poaching techniques are of Native American origin, and that some of them he learned directly from his half-Ojibway uncle or other Native Americans. Furthermore in his book, “Live Off the Land in City and Country”, Ragnar explicitly tells survivalists to get to themselves to the local library, study up on the food sources and survival techniques utilized by the Native Americans of one’s home area, and then go out and try them out. (I’ve had some tasty adventures doing just that, by the way.) That doesn’t sound like “ignorance of indigneous peoples” to me, far from it.

  6. It doesn’t sound like knowledge of them, either. Knowing how to trap, hunt, and gather like them doesn’t equate to understanding how a people live their lives.

  7. I suggest EVERY household have these basic firearms: a .22 rifle, for hunting small – medium game in a rural setting; a ‘battle rifle,’ for defence and hunting larger game (stay away from the AR-15; 5.56mm ordinance will NOT stop a soldier in armour, 7.62x54mm(3.08) is best, and a cheap CETME only runs about $250); and a piston-pump air rifle that propels it’s pellet at least 950fps, for urban hunting. A 12g. shotgun will come in handy in a variety of situations, as well. And for a sidearm stick with something like the .40ACP or .45ACP, stay away from the 9x19mm parabellum, as it lacks significant stopping power and is prone to jamming.
    “From his weapons away no one should ever
    stir one step on the field;
    for no one knows when need might have
    on a sudden a man of his sword.”
    -Hávamál, verse 38

  8. While owning a gun will not guarantee your survival indefinately, it will give you a bit of an advantage when adapting to life without civilization. Stockpiled bullets will last a lot longer than food and could give you more time to learn how to craft, and hunt with, more traditional tools and weapons.