Stock Up to Sell to Preppers

Preppers are willing to spend serious money on things they deem important, and their interests overlap yours. Here's what you can sell them.

Stock Up to Sell to Preppers

Remember when prepping was something you didn’t bring up in polite company for fear of snickers, eye rolls and oh-so-many tin foil hat jokes?

Yeah well, who’s laughing now? Not to be dramatic, but never in our lifetimes has the possibility of social or financial collapse been this imminent. Whether you believe we’re speeding toward an emergency or not, this is a selling opportunity for any retail outlet.

Preppers buy guns and lots of ammo, but you already know that. Keeping those products in stock has been an issue for a while and will likely not get any better for the foreseeable future. So how do you attract preppers as customers?

Preppers tend to be serious about what’s ahead and are not shy about spending money on quality products and supplies. Here are a few suggestions for products that will appeal to them.

Reloading Equipment

If you can’t sell them ammo, sell them reloading equipment. This is a growing market that you should be in anyway. When the customer balks at buying reloading equipment because there are no components on the shelf, point out that if they don’t buy equipment now, when there are components available later, they will not be able to find the tools. Setting up to reload became a marathon in the 2000s. Components and tools are both in short supply. Now, the key is for a customer to buy what they can find. Make a list and try to fill it as the products become available.

Handloading is tool-intensive, so there is always something that a handloader needs. The best way to start is to offer the kits that include a press, scale and other basic tools. From there, it is endless, and there is always another tool to buy. I have been handloading for 53 years and still don’t have everything I want or need. For example, the customer may start with a simple single-stage press, but if they catch the fever, they may well be back for an expensive progressive press.

Of course, customers will need components as well, including primers, powder, bullets, cases and ammo boxes. There is always one more thing with handloaders. When you introduce a customer to handloading, they are a customer for life.

You might consider putting together your own packages with the products that most end up buying. For example, while many handloaders start out with a balance beam scale, maybe from a kit, they often upgrade to an electronic scale. The same with a case trimmer. Turning the crank gets tedious. Sell them up to a power trimmer and electronic scale.

The smart prepper has both; the power tools for use now and the hand tools to have in reserve for TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it) when the power goes out.

A lot of new reloaders look for price point and buy cheap tools. This is a great opportunity to sell up. Preppers are in it for the long haul, and it should be easy to sell reloading gear with a reputation for durability. I have a RCBS Rock Chucker press that I have handloaded on since 1969. That includes several years of intensive competition shooting. It’s probably loaded into six figures of ammo, and I still use it now and then. No $100 press will ever last that long.

Don’t ignore bullet casting. Preppers recognize that there will be shortages of just about everything. The ability to make their own bullets is a very appealing thing. Again, this is a tool-intensive endeavor. It’s easy and inexpensive to get into, but they will always be looking for upgrades or another set of molds and sizing dies. The potential for sales is infinite.

It’s easy enough to start with a lead pot, a camp stove, a ladle and a mold. However, those prepping will understand that upgrading to higher-production tools makes a lot of sense. If not, sell them the lead pot, ladle and a single cavity mould. I promise that they will be back for the bigger-production tools. Multi-cavity molds and big electric melting pots make bullets much faster. Either way, you have an opportunity to also sell them a pot and ladle to use after the lights go out. Preppers embrace redundancy.

One thing that would help push bullet-casting tool sales is if you are able to stock some alloy for casting, even if you sell it as a loss leader. It’s become hard to find scrap lead or wheel weights. However, if you have bars of casting material on the shelf, it would encourage customers to buy casting equipment. There are companies who sell alloy for casting and can be found with a web search. One that I have had good dealings with is


Blades and Meat Prep

If you can’t talk a prepper into an impulse buy on a knife, ax, hatchet or saw, then you are in the wrong business. Knives for survival, butchering game or for tactical defense are three styles every prepper needs right now. Everybody needs a good ax and a good hatchet. A folding saw for a bug-out bag is a must have. Most preppers will need a Swiss Army knife for their pocket and a plier tool for their belt. The hard-core will also want a fighting/bushcraft knife on their belt and another in their bug-out bag.

Those who plan to butcher their own game and/or livestock will need different knives for that work. No prepper ever feels like they have enough knives or other cutting tools.

Don’t forget to have some knife-sharpening gear for sale. Stock good, high-quality sharpeners with an angle guide and stones. Examples are Lansky, Gatco or the new Work Sharp manual sharpener. Preppers want high-quality products that will last; the cheap, cross-angled sharpeners can damage a good knife. You might even consider stocking electric sharpeners like the Work Sharp or its competitors.

The prepper who is going to process their own meat is a potential customer for a meat grinder, sausage-making equipment or a smoker.

Canning is making a big comeback. It’s a way to preserve meat and vegetables without a freezer. Most serious preppers are buying the tools and materials needed. No reason they should buy them from anyplace other than your store.


Gunsmithing and Gun Accessories

Basic gunsmithing tools like screwdrivers, files, stones and scope-mounting kits will sell. Preppers see the need to do repairs, and they need the proper tools. Also consider having armorer’s kits of tools and/or spare parts. Kits for Glock and the AR platform are a must-have for a serious prepper.

For optics, think past the riflescope. The new thermal optics that are hitting the market are a great opportunity to reach out to the prepping market. These are serious folks who are not afraid to spend a little money if they think it will keep their families alive down the road. Thermal is going to be important, both for security and for hunting, if things hit the fan and society collapses. Preppers will need every edge, and thermal provides a big edge. Both gun-mounted and handheld thermal units should be big sellers.

Preppers also understand the need for good optics. This is an opportunity to sell or sell up to high-end binoculars and maybe a spotting scope. If they buy the spotting scope, they need a tripod. Then they need a case to carry everything in.


Food, Water and Storage

Speaking of that, every prepper will have a bug-out bag. They are willing to upgrade if the backpacks on your shelves are better. Bags and other storage gear are always useful to a prepper.

I personally cannot walk past a display of “survival food” without buying more. I am talking about the buckets of freeze-dried food, often designed for something like feeding two people for 72 hours, or even the single meal packages. There are several companies offering these, but as a hunter I have eaten a lot of Mountain House products while in remote areas. It’s always good, and like most people, I’ll buy what I know. If your shop has big-game-hunting customers, or anybody who frequents the wild country, then they will probably be familiar with Mountain House brand. Wise is another that is very good. I am sure there are many more, but I have personally tried these two and they are the brands I stocked up with.

Any freeze-dried, long-storage, survival food in single packages or in multi-day buckets or even military-style MREs is always an easy sale to a serious prepper. No prepper ever thinks they have enough food stored away, and it’s a great impulse buy product.

Just make sure to bring some home, no matter what the brand, and serve it for family meals to evaluate the taste. Some of this stuff is pretty good; some not so much. You want the good stuff for your customers, and you also want to be able to tell them how it tastes.

Safe drinking water is very important to any prepper. Most will want a backpacker’s-style filter in their bug-out bags and a larger filter for their home base. Any product for filtering, purifying or storing water should be a good seller.



Finally, why not buck the trend and open a book section? I know, it’s a generational thing, and nobody but Boomers reads books anymore. Except that any serious prepper understands that if there is a meltdown, the internet, including YouTube, will be gone. How will millennials and Gen Z learn survival skills then? Where will they learn to plant a garden, purify water, treat an infected leg, stitch a wound, deliver a baby, milk a cow or fix a broken gun?

An EMP won’t make books disappear, and the government can’t turn them off like the internet. The more reference and how-to books preppers have, the better their chances for survival.

I know a little about this topic because in addition to having a pretty extensive personal library, I have written a few books that will be of use to preppers, including one called Prepper Guns and two others on home gunsmithing.

A book section with how-to and survival books aimed at preppers can be a profit center for your store. Books are another thing I can’t walk buy without buying.

The prepper movement is only going to grow as this country struggles. Inflation is rearing its nasty head and supply line shortages are growing. These are all red flags for preppers. They believe that time is short and that now is the time to be buying the things they need to survive what they believe is coming. Is there any reason you should not be the one selling these essential items to them?


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