Most preppers follow the "rule of three" which states that for every prep and every plan there is a backup, and for all of those backups there is another backup. Confused yet? Yeah, most people are confused. Part of the confusion stems from people not understanding when you need a backup versus when you need a redundancy, and the difference between the two. So, for this article I will fill you in on how I view them and how I use each of them in prepping.
Backups are very important in prepping. A good example of a backup is in your planning processes. When planning to Bug Out you will absolutely need to map a route from your location to your bug out location. Knowing full well that this route could become compromised for any number of reasons you would need to create a backup plan, which is a new route with the same start and destination.
When dealing with items (knives, guns, flashlights, etc) most people will use the term "backup" to describe a secondary device kept in case of a failure or loss of the primary device. I agree with this usage as most people do not ensure that their backup devices are the same same as their primary devices. They will perform the same functions, but the make, model or style is most likely going to be different.
A redundancy is not just a backup, it is a backup of the exact same make, model or type. The advantage of utilizing redundancies is that it allows you to service your items if they malfunction with parts from other malfunctioned devices of that line. A good example would be a flashlight. If you have five flashlights of varying brands, sizes and lumens, then as they break they are useless in a SHTF situation. However, if you have five flashlights that are redundant to each other and one breaks due to a lens malfunction and another breaks due to a battery connection issue you can possibly use the parts to come up with one working flashlight. Instead of having three left you still have four, and so on down the line. You have in effect extended the life of the tool.
The most appropriate need for redundancy in prepping (and least utilized) is in firearms. Many preppers will collect a wide array of weapons of varying caliber, make, model and type thinking that the sheer number of weapons will suffice. This is a false sense of security however as firearms will wear down and break over time. A smart prepper with multiple redundant firearms systems (all pistols, rifles, shotsguns of similar makes, models and types) can easily extend the life of its firearms using pieces and parts from weapons that have malfunctioned or broken over time. Instead of having seven different pistols of differenting specs, sometimes have seven pistols of the same make, model and type.
This goes beyond the common practice of making sure your weapons have interchangeable ammunition and into the idea of ??having weapons with interchangeable parts. In a true SHTF event it may be rather difficult to find the parts and pieces you need to fix your weapons. Having the ability to fix them yourself by scavenging from your own stock would certainly be a bonus.
Lastly, if the federal government does manage to incorporate a new assault weapons ban the parts needed to fix your existing weapons may not be available. It would certainly be advisable to have additional weapons or parts available during such a ban to keep your weapons operating properly.