Ever since my mom saw the footage of Hurricane Katrina, and more recently the earthquake in Japan, she has begun to worship at the Church of Survival.

No, that’s not a real church, but identifying oneself as a “survivalist” is becoming increasingly popular and acceptable. Gone are the days when a “survivalist” was a crazy, backwoods, redneck with a large gun supply. These days, it’s the white picket fence families being featured on “Doomsday Preppers.”

There are dozens of television shows dedicated to surviving a natural disaster, surviving in the wild, and preparing for the end of the world. There are hundreds of books and websites dedicated to survival and disaster preparedness. My mom just eats that stuff up. Now, while she hasn’t started digging a bomb shelter in the backyard (as far as I know), she has definitely gone above and beyond in her quest to ensure our family will be ready for everything from A to Z…..in this case, Apocalypse to Zombies.

Oh, yeah. In case you haven’t heard, the end of the world has been scheduled for December 21st, 2012. Thanks for the heads up, Mayans.

My dad and I tease her a lot about her obsession with survival, but we indulge her when we can. Recently, I found out about a new store in Sacramento dedicated to survival and disaster readiness. I thought it would be fun to take my mom on a little field trip to see what this place was all about. I figured she would have fun browsing and touching all the stuff. Kind of the way I feel when I go into a Sephora. Or Evangeline’s.

The store is called “Last Stand Readiness and Tactical” and is located at 2821 Florin Road (right next to Little Caesar’s Pizza). It’s a relatively small store, but damn if it isn’t amazingly organized to fit so much stuff. I figured it would be a dusty place with shelves crammed with stuff, like an Army-Navy Surplus Store. It’s the exact opposite. They have areas dedicated to medical supplies, outdoor/camping equipment, storable food, tools, water filtration, personal protection equipment, radio communications, military surplus gear, weapons and more.

A quote from their website reads: “Not just another gun and gear store. We are the retail outlet of an extensive, motivated, and organized community of individuals who cherish freedom, liberty and the ability to protect ourselves and our loved ones in times of need.”

We spent about an hour browsing and I chatted with the staff. They told me they are in the process of getting their permit to sell firearms in the store and directed me to their website where they have thousands of products they don’t currently feature in the store. They encouraged me to touch and try out the equipment, ask questions, and asked if there was anything in particular I was looking that they didn’t already have.

I grew up in South Sacramento, and I know it has a long standing reputation among “outsiders” for high crime rates, violence and gang activity. I was curious about why they opened a store that features tactical weapons on that particular stretch of Florin Road. I asked them about their thinking behind choosing that location, more specifically, weren’t they afraid of being robbed? The staff members kind of laughed and pointed to their belts. They were all armed.

“No one robs gun stores” he explained.  “They know the staff has access to weapons of their own – better weapons usually. We are all expertly trained. It’s very rare that licensed firearm dealers are ever even involved in attempted robberies. It’s the least of our worries.” Whoa. Good answer.

While we browsed, several other people came in to shop. Some people purchased pepper spray, one guy bought a backpack, and a young couple picked up a bunch of fire starters and some awesome looking cookware. We didn’t buy anything, but my mom took notes on their products and prices so she could compare them to other suppliers.

She admitted as we were leaving that their prices were some of the lowest she had seen. She also liked that she could physically see the size, shape, and test the weight and material of each item. Too often you order things online and they are not what you expected when you receive them.

I had fun exploring the store and running through all those “what if” end-of-the-world scenarios in my head. A ton of their products are practical for outdoorsy types, so you don’t have to be a die-hard survivalist to enjoy what they have to offer. I recommend stopping by to anyone who is curious – you won’t be disappointed!

You can visit their physical store location at 2821 Florin Road, Sacramento, CA 95822 or call 1-855-LASTSTAND (1-855-527-8782). They are closed on Mondays but are open Tuesday-Saturday from 11:00am to 7:00pm and Sundays from 12:00pm to 6:00pm. Visit their website at http://www.laststandtactical.com/ for more information or to see the thousands of awesome products they have available.

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