You’re prepped to survive SHTF and bug out – but what if you’re captured?

Aside from preparing for various SHTF situations, preppers know the importance of learning how to evade possible capture or internment. (h/t to

If you do your research, you can come up with a list of study materials which will include several books written by prisoners-of-war (POWs.) If you’re wondering where to start, check out books by Jeremiah Denton or Col. James “Nick” Rowe, especially Rowe’s “Five Years to Freedom,” which recounts his captivity by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War.

A majority of Americans are complacent about these things, especially since they haven’t experienced this kind of difficult situation. However, you should always remember this saying from a First Sergeant from the 82nd Airborne Division: “How you train in peace is how you’ll fight in war.”

While you don’t want anything bad to happen, you need to be prepared for the possibility that you might be captured or interred. But even if you accept the possibility of such an event, you might still not be taking the time to prepare for it.

Will you keep thinking that you might never be captured? Or are you going to prepare for it so that when and if it happens, you’ll be ready?

In this article, we’ll cover two possibilities: A “foreign army of occupation,” and a “totalitarian dictatorship (domestic tyranny).”

Foreign army of invasion/occupation

For this scenario, remember the following:

  1. Upon capture, don’t give them a reason to kill you. While you’re a prisoner, you need to show them that you’re more useful alive. Tell them if you have a special skill or if you are well-versed in a trade that they can use in their camp. Think fast on your toes, and improvise if you don’t have any that apply. You can also try the “½ now, ½ later routine,” which means you’ll offer them valuables with the promise of more if they keep you alive and promise to release you. But make sure you do have something for them. This method requires some careful planning because you don’t want to give them so much that they think they don’t need you anymore.
  2. Make sure you don’t get stuck in first or last place when you’re lined up with the other prisoners. Be the “grey man,” or the guy who’s inconspicuous. Most of the time, people who’re taken in are from the front or the back of the line, and they rarely come back.
  3. Do not challenge them in any way. Avoid eye contact with the captors; don’t challenge anyone, avoid fights, and show them you’re a valuable American prisoner. Be useful to them and cooperate so you can make it past the “initial capture” or “screening” of prisoners.

Once you set foot in the camp, you must work twice as hard to find opportunities to escape, find weapons, and secure hiding spots. Get ready to hustle and stay sharp. Be quiet, but keep your eyes and ears open.

There are several areas to cover, so read “The Gulag Archipelago” I and II by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, and “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.” Solzhenitsyn spent a long time in the gulags of the USSR, and even though the latter is a work of fiction, the story is based on the author’s real-life experience.

While studying a foreign language sounds like overkill, this may prove vital to saving your life. Read up on some useful phrases, which can tip the odds in your favor. Language is more than a means of communicating – it “is a weapon to be used offensively or defensively.” Learning a foreign language can help you save several lives.

Domestic tyranny/dictatorship

In a domestic scenario, focus on winning them over while also planning an escape. But this can be difficult, especially if they are keeping your family as leverage. Consider a trade-off and its possible consequences. (Related: Is your city SURVIVABLE in a collapse, civil war or natural disaster?)

  • Weapons – Any weapon you borrow, steal, or improvise will net you some time “in the hole or worse.” However, decide on a secure hiding spot before you attempt to make a weapon. You can also weaponize anything that can make fire, such as matches, a lighter, or flints.
  • Supplies – Supplies will ensure that you survive once you escape from the camp. When possible, get extra blankets, food, clothing, and anything that can help you get by. Take some canned goods, a compass, and a flashlight, which you can acquire if you know who to talk to.
  • Allies – Escape is easier if you have allies. It’s difficult to pick out the reliable ones, but before you decide to trust someone with your escape plan, make sure that you can trust them with your life.

Try to keep some gold, silver, or other valuables on you at all times, so you have something to bargain with if you get captured.

But the best advice you need is: Don’t get captured. If you’re taken in, remember the tips above, so you have a better chance of escaping. If you’re captured along with other people, keep these four goals in mind:

  1. You need to stay alive.
  2. You must keep everyone in your group alive.
  3. Escape.
  4. Gather intel, starting from the time of your abduction until your rescue and use it against the group.

Any strategy, no matter how good it sounds on paper, will only prove its worth once you put it into action. Train yourself and your family for the possibility of capture, and stay sharp.

You can read more articles about how you can stay safe when SHTF and how to evade capture at

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