SELCO: What Combat Is Really Like (WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT) by Selco for The Organic Prepper
This is an excerpt from Selco’s book, The Dark Secrets of SHTF Survival.
When SHTF, nobody told me how hard is gonna be and what things I would have to do to survive. There was no training or simulations.
Most of the stuff I was going through for the first time in my life. I was hoping it was only a temporary situation, that it not going to last for a whole year.
A few events opened my eyes and somehow made me a survivor right at the beginning. I had the luck to understand in the very early stages how hard it was and what it takes.
The first lesson
During one of the first bigger events of killing in the streets, I was out together with my friend who also was a medical professional.
Fire from machine guns was on people who were standing in front of the main city bread factory, and people started to scream and run over each other.
My first impulse was to run to the nearest cover but my friend got down to help some lady, so I stayed one meter next to him.
I was confused about my decision and not sure to stay with him or run. Bullets from machine gun hit him over his legs, and I saw how his kneecap exploded. It looked like some bad movie special effect.
He just looked at his legs, then at me, in silence. Even though it was just seconds, moments like this feel very long.
I took him by the hands and dragged him some 20 or 30 meters to safety. Only there I saw that he was missing his leg under the knee. It stayed with the dead lady on the street.
And only then he started to scream.
I used a belt to stop the bleeding. The ambulance still worked in that period. He went to the hospital and then evacuated from the city. He survived but never came back.
In moments of chaos always listen to your instincts and do not hesitate.
Especially if you are involved in a situation when someone is shooting at you with a high caliber machine gun. Just accept that people will die and you have to survive. To help others is a great thing, to survive is even better.
Also, I realized that a human being is so fragile and easy to destroy.
You must practice with your gear.
Later I learned some things about weapons and how to use them, so I realize that more firepower does not necessarily mean more dangerous and better chance to kill.
Owning a weapon is absolutely necessary when preparing for a survival scenario, even more so in urban survival. You need to go and get as close as you can to the real stuff while you are doing the preparing and training for the SHTF, so it makes sense to go out and check your preps, to check your gear, and yourself.
For example, that pair of boots that you bought and store for bad days will not be used for walking only, it will be used for running, squatting, jumping, in mud, junk, blood, guts maybe or just running through a shallow river.
Everything that you have prepared and stored for SHTF will be pushed to the limits.
It is one thing to go out into the woods nearby and do a recording of your weapon testing on some beer bottles with your friends, and after that concluding that particular gun or rifle is best for SHTF and that you are a dangerous dude because of your accuracy rates. Some people gonna put that clip on YouTube and go home convinced that they are ready and prepared.
In reality, you do not know if you are prepared until it happens.
A lot of survival stores that sell things sell the idea of “buy this and you are safe.”
No, you are not. You can learn more about real urban survival scenarios in my survival course and in my book, The Dark Secrets of SHTF Survival. This helps you to mentally be better prepared but the real deal when SHTF always comes as a surprise.
When the time comes again it gonna hit everyone like a hammer. The good news is that when you know you will get hit like that you can recover faster and use your skills, knowledge, and preps to make the best out of the situation.
Using a weapon in real life, in real survival situations, is something absolutely different from shooting beer bottles.
And if you could do some real training that is realistic that would be maybe going camping for 10 days using a trash bag like a tent, with 10 small cans of food, and 10 liters of water, and then walking every day for 10 km.
On the 11th day, run a few kilometers and then shoot and see how accurate you are when your body is wasting away.
And still, the most important thing is missing. While you are shooting at the beer bottles they do not shoot back at you in order to kill you.
During some of the first battles in the city I was moving through the building behind a guy, we both had rifles. He was sweeping the rooms and shooting, it was the closest to urban combat as it can be. At the moment when he runs out of ammo, he used his rifle as something between spear and bat.
Now someone could say why he did not just switch to the pistol? He did not have one, also he did not have time to look for ammo. But there I learned how it is useful to have folded stock of rifle when shooting and moving in very confined spaces.
Also, I learned that rifle with pretty sharp parts at the barrel can be very handy. He stabbed a guy to the cheek, ripping his face down and finishing him on the ground.
One of the biggest misconceptions that the people who do not have fighting experience is what they just need to practice.
You need to learn these important things before the SHTF.
It is all about pressure. You need to learn:
- What your weapon can take and how to fix it
In terms of kicking, throwing, how often and when will it malfunction, what the most common malfunctions are, and how to fix them – and how to fix them in the middle of a fight. If you find yourself in the middle of fighting, and your weapon “jams“ do not be, as we call it “zblesavljen.” Or in English, do not stand there looking like an idiot.
I have seen that: a guy is shooting and in the middle of fighting his weapon jammed. He stopped, surprised, and looked at the weapon in a “what the f*ck?“ state. And of course, in two seconds he ends up dead.
You absolutely need to know how to manage small weapon jams without looking at the weapon. You need to look at the target while you are “repairing“ weapon (clearing the bullet, switching to another magazine, etc.)
Other option would be to MOVE immediately when your weapon jams, move to cover in the same second or to drop to the ground, or on your back and switch to your other weapon. But you need to learn to do all of the above without thinking. You need to train so that this becomes automatic.
Small things like how quickly you can put your rifle on your back and a switch to pistol can be the difference between life and death. If you somehow “trip“ yourself while you are trying to put the rifle on your back in order to take the pistol, you can end up dead.
- What you can take
Remember this: while you are shooting at the bad guys, those bad guys will be SHOOTING AT YOU TOO.
So shooting at the beer bottles in the woods with your buddies will not really do all the training you need. I do it often, but it just does not cover everything.
Fighting and surviving combat means constant moving and outsmarting the guys on the other side. You are gonna need to run, squat, throw yourself in the ditch, lay down in all kinds of sh*t, and shoot at the same time, and probably fix your rifle from jams, or switch to another weapon.
Do some basic weapons training and learn about the line of sight and how to get out of it.
In SHTF, a very great percentage of shooting is done without aiming. It is just spraying bullets.
It makes sense to do some airsoft or paintball in the woods to check how constant moving changes the whole game, and what kind of moving will help you to survive a gunfight.
For example, how often do you shoot your weapon with both hands, dominant and not dominant? In urban fighting, you will need to switch weapon around very often (moving through the apartments, rooms, around the corners, etc.). When you are shooting behind the corner, and you are having a rifle in your right hand and corner is on your left side it makes sense to transfer the weapon to the left hand. otherwise, it is dangerous to stick your left part of the body out in order to shoot from your right hand.
For all of you who have some military experience, this is basic stuff, but I have seen many guys who were killed in stupid ways.
A real gunfight is a dynamic thing. Adrenaline is a weird thing too, so people can do tremendous things while adrenaline is pumping, but also with lack of training and common sense guy can do tremendously stupid things. I have seen a man who was pointing to something and he stood up from the cover and got shot.
- How to train yourself
Training is the key. You can not do anything else today except to train very hard.
You can not experience real stuff today, of course, but you can take it as close to the real stuff as possible. Go out with your friends and think about all possible scenarios.
Think about the worst-case scenarios. SHTF is not gonna wait for nice and sunny weather. You are gonna be maybe hungry, dirty. Maybe have to give up your shelter and food storage on the second day of SHTF.
Or you may be forced to use another weapon that you are not used to. Maybe you gonna be forced to hide for hours hidden under a pile of rubble and then you are gonna be forced to jump out and “kill“ ten beer bottles. Sounds like fun? This is why resilience and mental strength is so important.
Maybe you are gonna be cold and thirsty and in the middle of the battle. One thing is sure – very rarely it goes the way that you planned. So just be ready for many options and do not panic when things go another way.
Want some funny-sounding advice?
Get good at suffering while still being able to work towards a goal.
- What weapon, caliber, stopping power, etc?
It is a very hard question (that I get asked a lot). But think about the fact that everything today is mainstream and commercial. And somehow it is more about what other people say is good and not necessarily about what you need and what is good for YOU.
You and your hand kill, the weapon is only a tool. I have seen the fight when a man with a knife killed the guy with a rifle. He had mastered fighting with a knife and had the will to kill. The other guy had a rifle but he ended up dead. I also saw more than once people shot with rifle bullets still fighting and running for a good amount of time. Some of them were not even aware that they were wounded before someone else pointed that out to them.
What I am trying to say is, do not expect miracles if your own a weapon that is at the moment the most popular, having great stopping power and cool reviews. It is about practicing, weapon mastery, and correct placement of bullets
I said bullets for a reason. I have seen many things, but I did not see someone survive multiple shots in the correct place on the body. Have a weapon that is best for your case, and achieve perfection in using it. Do not expect that people will fall back if you shoot them with one bullet from some widely popular weapon and caliber (not talking about shotguns).
So I am not gonna tell you what is the best weapon because what works for me maybe does not work for you or others.
Having a weapon that is too rare, too good, or too bad does not make much sense to me. Do not find yourself in a situation when you lose your weapon and pick someone else and then find out that you do not have a clue about it, because your own weapon was special and rare.
Just have what everyone else around you has, because of gun parts, ammo, and looking like everyone else.
Your weapon is only a tool to survive. Be ready to lose it if you need to lose it, and pick some other weapon from the ground in the middle of a fight.
I knew a guy who did some scary stuff with rusty shortened M-48. He was an old and poor-looking dude. He played that part well until he would take out this old gun from under his coat and rob and kill people. Simple strategy but it worked for him.
Look around and think what works for you.
The reality of combat is that there’s no way to predict how it’s gonna go. Until you’re in it, you can’t predict how you will act. All you can do is practice a lot in an environment that is as close as possible and get used to being uncomfortable.
Selco survived the Balkan war of the 90s in a city under siege, without electricity, running water, or food distribution.
In his online works, he gives an inside view of the reality of survival under the harshest conditions. He reviews what works and what doesn’t, tells you the hard lessons he learned, and shares how he prepares today.
He never stopped learning about survival and preparedness since the war. Regardless of what happens, chances are you will never experience extreme situations as Selco did. But you have the chance to learn from him and how he faced death for months.