Prepper News Brief March 21, 2017

1. Today, I’d like to welcome our newest advertisers Mystery GearMinuteman Poncho, and Humless Solar Kits please go to their sites and take a look at what they have to offer… your survival could depend on it.

2. KIM JONG-BOOM Crazed North Korean despot Kim Jong-un’s troops blow up US aircraft carrier and shoot down bomber in propaganda video

Does this guy really believe that he can defeat the U.S. Military? Or does he know something that we don’t? Via The Sun.

Meanwhile… Kim Jong-Un vows to reduce the US ‘to ashes’ with nuke strikes if Donald Trump fires ‘even a single bullet’ at North Korea. Via The Sun.

3. Ann Coulter: ‘Fascism’ Coming Not From Trump, But From The Courts Blocking Him.

True words from Ann Coulter. I’m beginning to think that Trump will be a failed president, who tried but never really got anything done about illegal “immigration” and refugees from terrorist hot spots, or really anything else. She also said, “maybe it is simply time to impose one of candidate-Trump’s proposals for a complete pause on all immigration to the United States”. What do you think? Via The DC Caller.

4. $20 trillion debt deserves as much attention as Dow hitting 20,000

As of Monday afternoon, the US debt, according to, stood at $19.849 trillion — and was rising at the rate of $13,404,542 an hour. That’s $321,709,008 million a day. Via The New York Post.

5. The Trump Triumph Changes Economic Predictions for 2017

For a short time, we should see some improvements. However, numerous structural flaws in the US economy ultimately assure economic collapse because those flaws have not been dealt with for decades, are not being dealt with in any of the Donald’s plans, and are most likely too far gone now to ever deal with. Trump’s plan will even make some of those structural flaws much worse in the long run. Via Gold Seeker.

6. The U.S Economic Outlook 2017 Is Loaded with Risk

Trump’s Plans Could Make it Worse. Donald Trump’s proposed financial deregulation could make the influence of derivatives more pernicious. This is one of the main restraints against making any sensible prediction of the U.S. economy growth rate. Via The Lombardi Letter.

7. The Stock Market Bubble Could Burst in 2017 and It Will Be Worse Than 2008

Most investors are too distracted in financial La-La Land to notice we’re in a stock market bubble. It’s not even been 100 days in office, but Trump has shown he doesn’t take any prisoners when it comes to risk. That’s why a stock market crash 2017 is more than likely. Via The Lombardi Letter.

8. Study: 75% of Venezuelans lost 19 pounds in 2016, 82% live in poverty

Because of price controls, production quotas, hyperinflation and other miracles of socialism, the country lacks the most basic food ingredients. These circumstances have led numerous Venezuelans to turn to pigeons, cats, anteaters, donkeys and even dogs. In total, 82 percent of Venezuelan households live in poverty. Via Economic Collapse News.

9. Similar to Morphine: The Best Natural Painkiller that Grows in Your Backyard

I’ve never tried it but if it’s true then this plant could be a God sent for controlling pain post collapse. Lactuca Virosa is the scientific term for it, and many people have used it in place of addictive prescription pain medicine. It’s a leafy and tall plant, with small yellow buds, and could be grown right out your door. More commonly found in North America and England, it’s a cousin to the lettuce we typically see at the grocery store. It’s also referred to as bitter lettuce, or more appropriately for the purpose discussed here, opium lettuce. Via Ask A Prepper.

10. Terrifying insect-sized robots could render humanity EXTINCT ‘by the end of this century’, expert warns

Despite being just the size of an insect, tiny military weapons being developed by the military have the incredible power of hundreds of tons of TNT. In a new book, Louis del Monte, a physicist from Minnesora warns that these tiny weapons – dubbed ‘nanoweapons’ – could lead to the most destructive world war yet which could spell the end for humanity. And this isn’t just a long-term worry, as Mr del Monte has warned that the tiny weapons could render humans extinct by the end of the century. Via The Daily Mail.

The Top Seven Buzzwords That I’m Sick of Hearing in The Gun Control Debate…

This article was first published here in 2012 but is worth repeating.

1. “High capacity magazines” and “Extended Magazines” 

Folks, these are nothing but Anti-Second Amendment buzz words that are used by the media to gain support for their agenda… A 30 round magazine for the AR-15 rifle is standard capacity, as well as being the standard for many other rifles. Period.

2. “Hunting”

I’m so sick of hearing “no one needs an “assault rifle” or an AR-15 to go hunting. Where in the Second Amendment does it say anything about hunting…? Where? It doesn’t! The Second Amendment has nothing to do with hunting. It is about defending yourself and the country against anyone that would take away our freedoms and rights as guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

3. “Weapons of Mass Destruction”

This buzz word is so stupid and over the top – folks this is a weapon of mass destruction this is not. Any questions?

4. “High Powered Rounds”

This one has been popular with the media since the tragic events in Newtown, the rifle that they are now saying that the shooter used was a .223 caliber. The .223 round is a common caliber used for varmint hunting (coyote, for example) and is less “powerful” than most centerfire rifle rounds, such as the 30.30, .308 Win or 30.06.

5. “Spraying Bullets”

Folks to “spray bullets” you would need to have an actual assault rifle one that is capable of full auto fire. Semi-auto means that you have to pull the trigger for each shot, which would constitute a deliberate action with each shot from the shooter.

6. “Gun Violence”

There is no such thing – it’s just violence… period. By that “definition” aka a buzzword then if someone hit another person the head with a hammer, then I guess that would “hammer violence” or if someone kicked a man in his “plums” then would that then be classified as “shoe violence”… By listening to the media you would think that firearms have their own agenda and can take action on their own…

7. “High Capacity Clip” This one just enforces their complete ignorance of the topic – Modern rifles such as the AR-15 do not use “

This one just enforces their complete ignorance of the topic – Most semi-auto rifles do not use “clips” bug magazines with one exception coming to mind and that is the M1 Garand!

This one just enforces their complete ignorance of the topic – Modern rifles such as the AR-15 do not use “ammunition clips” or a “high-capacity clip” they use a magazine. This is a clip, so is this and folks this is a magazine. If you want to ban it at least know what it is first…

4 Things to Know Before Building Your AR10

bug out bag and gunThe AR10 is a powerhouse of a rifle. It is semi-automatic, magazine fed, and modular. Like an AR 15 you can build your own AR10. In fact, you can even build an AR10 from an 80 lower receiver. An AR10 is easy to build but there are a few critical things to know before you dive into it. Here are 4 things to know before building your own AR10.

1) What is an AR10?
The AR10 is the less popular, older, and bigger brother of the AR 15. Eugene Stoner initially designed the AR10 as a combat rifle, but when the demand came for a lighter rifle it shrunk to the AR 15. The AR10 is chambered in the full power .308 caliber round. The AR10 was never adopted by the United States military and never reached the same popularity as the AR 15.

The AR10 has more recoil due to its full powered round, but is much better suited for long range shooting. The AR10 is also a popular hunting rifle option, as it is suitable for both medium and heavy game. It is also extremely versatile for security and defense purposes as it a top performer at long range while boasting 30 round mags.

2) The AR10 Platform is NOT Standardized
The AR 15 is a standardized platform. Take any two AR 15s and there is a 99.99% chance their parts can interchange. AR10s are a bit different. They are not standardized for construction and different companies have different iterations of the AR10 design.

This leaves two main AR10 patterned rifles, the Armalite series and the DPMS series. When you choose your AR10 80 lower receiver you must make the decision to go DPMS patterned or Armalite patterned. Both patterns can result in a good rifle, but DPMS has a slight advantage when it comes to magazines and parts interchangeability with other manufacturers and even the AR 15 rifle.

For this reason, and more, we’ve chosen to go with DPMS patterned 80 lower receivers.

3) AR10 Internal Parts are not Always Compatible
Because of the different patterns you’ll see barrels designed for both Armalite and DPMS, or upper receivers designed for Armalite and DPMS. These parts are not interchangeable between rifles. Once you select which pattern lower to use, you’ll have to select parts that are compatible with it. This includes your barrel and BCG. If you go with a DPMS pattern rifle you must use a DPMS barrel and BCG, the same goes for choosing the Armalite platform.

DPMS pattern AR10 80 lower receivers do have more options in terms of parts choice once it comes to assembling the rifle. Going the 80 lower route also means you’ll a specific jig. The jig must be matched to the 80 lower. It’s not like AR 15s where there aren’t differences. When you choose an AR10 80 lower receiver make sure you purchase the compatible jig.

4) AR10 Lower Parts Kit
Because of small difference between lowers there are several parts that are only compatible with AR10 lower receivers. Small parts like the safety, trigger, and trigger springs can be swapped from AR10 to AR 15. Parts that will not swap are the following.

•             Bolt Catch
•             Takedown pins
•             Buffer
•             Magazine catch
•             Most Pistol Grips

The AR10 does bring the boom in terms of power and range. (And noise.) The AR10 is probably one of the most modern, and modular 308 rifles out there. Most 308 rifles are stuck in the Cold War period where the AR10 happily evolved out of it.   If you are looking for a versatile and reliable rifle for your kit, the AR10 should be towards the top of your list.

M-CARBO Trigger Springs and parts: Weekly product review

“When the enemy is close at hand and remains quiet, he is relying on the natural strength of his position. When he keeps aloof and tries to provoke a battle, he is anxious for the other side to advance. If his place of encampment is easy of access, he is tendering a bait.” Sun Tsu

Understanding the intent of Sun Tsu and the various authors of the Art of War is not like understanding the modern legal system. It is more a matter of reading it as it is and taking it the same way. For all of the metaphor’s what is written is actually quite literal. I use Sun Tsu and the Art of War for most of my reviews simply because it applies to almost every area of life in some form or another. AR-15 hammer springIn this case a solid set of springs or parts in a firearm allows it to be reliable as a firearm. This promotes the ability to remain quiet and better able to easily win in battle or hunting. I found M-Carbo as a result of looking for better trigger set-ups for my Mossberg 702’s. When the recoil and trigger springs arrived I installed them and immediately went shooting to test them out. After all, even though you can easily test springs by measuring their resistance with a scale, there is a better way.


This is the best part of testing new parts, is the shooting, Smelling the cordite, burned powder and feeling the recoil, it is truly therapeutic! With the new springs, I realized right away that the reset and initial squeeze was much smoother and easier. The reset was very crisp, which of course is very important to me. Now, the Mossberg 702 is an inexpensive yet reliable, accurate and extremely fun firearm to shoot. One of its major drawbacks is the gritty trigger, it’s not a nice trigger, I know this and freely admit it. Of course being a .22lr it is not the largest issue, however, it is definitely something that can stand improvement. The M-Carbo trigger most definitely improved the quality of the shots made. The recoil or main spring itself is similar in quality to the factory spring, however, it did make the action less sluggish as well.

Customer service with this company is spectacular. Honestly, there have been several recent companies that are made up of former soldiers that are failing quite spectacularly and doing so at a large cost to the overall integrity of other companies run by veterans. One of those is Inter Ordinance, customer service is great but product refinement and honestly overall quality control is really pretty bad. M-CARBO goes several steps further; packaging is amazing, shipping is fast – as in extremely fast, and instructions for installation, easy to follow with accompanying videos as well. As soon as I found out they carried enhanced AR15 trigger springs I had to get a couple, I mean, my newest addition has a CMMG trigger parts kit and let’s be honest, it is a rough kit even with a fluff and buff. After putting this spring in I found it was much closer in feel to a solid drop in setup. For just a couple of bucks I easily made a less than $500 carbine build into a much more enjoyable package to shoot.

Accuracy is a by-product of a solid grip, steady firm press and good mechanical parts working in synchronization. This trigger will allow you to be more accurate with a rifle without a huge amount of money being spent on a drop in trigger. So what other products does M-CARBO make? They are really shining in the trigger spring world. The various firearms that they have springs and other parts for are as follows,

  • Keltec Sub2000
  • Keltec SU-16
  • Keltec PLR-16
  • Marlin 60
  • Marlin 795
  • Remington 597
  • Remington 870
  • Mossberg 500
  • Mossberg 702
  • Mossberg 715t
  • Savage 64
  • AR-15’s all milspec brands

For between $9 and $29 you can add triggers, springs, recoil springs, barrel nuts and more to your firearm of choice from this list. The best part is that over the past few months since I first grabbed a spring for the Mossberg 702 they have added to the product lineup and likely will be adding more. I would not hesitate to recommend them for several reasons. So here are the pros and cons as with all the reviews, we have to look at the good and bad if there is any.


  1. Pricing, honestly these parts are very affordable and easily installed.
  2. Customer service, amazing, as in really amazing! They are responsive, within 24 hrs most times and overly helpful!
  3. This is a company that values the American work ethic that we were raised to appreciate and embrace as children. Something severely lacking in other companies these days! So GOOD JOB M-CARBO!
  4. Product line, they deal in areas that have largely been overlooked by some of the larger manufacturers. Having a place to get great triggers for your Savage, Remington or Marlin .22lr as well as springs and more is pretty awesome, they make great guns and its nice to get solid after market parts for them now!


  1. They are a smaller company, without a long track record. For some this may be a con, for myself it is an opportunity. I have seen dozens of smaller companies come and go, this is one I truly hope continues the excellent path they are on and profit as a result!
  2. They don’t have a new trigger for my Mossberg 702 yet…wait, that’s not really a con, but, I couldn’t resist!

Overall I highly recommend this company and their products and while I have not used every single product, I have used several and have been extremely impressed with the results. So thank you M-CARBO for actually keeping the motto you have as a company, “We take pride in the fact that all of our products are made here in America and we stand behind everything we make with at 100% Lifetime Guarantee. M*CARBO leads from the front as we have completely redefined customer service within the firearms industry by treating customers as Brothers. We’re constantly collaborating with the M*CARBO Brotherhood who is just as passionate as we are to completely revolutionize the firearms industry with affordable solutions to real factory equipment problems.”

Free the mind and the body will follow

Thinking of Reloading? Some reality on a fun hobby.

Reloading by JSW

There’ve been quite a few comments about doing bullet reloading as a form of employment when the crunch comes down. Here are some of my thoughts on the topic, given from a shooter-reloader perspective.

The Legal Issue.

Once the stinky hit’s the oscillator I think ’following the law’, or ’being law-abiding’, is going to take on a whole new meaning in all areas of our lives. What the fed now says we cannot do will be thrown by the wayside by people who’re cold, looking at being homeless, or with a family to feed. Since people will do nearly anything to feed their children, Laws and Decorum and Pride will fall by the wayside and ‘work’ such as moon shining and drug running, among other now ‘illegal‘ trades, will become a more normal method of acquiring food, clothing, shelter, and some money- though I see barter of garden excess, firewood, manual labor, etc, as being more common than money. ‘Law’ will be what the local populace says it is, not what the fed declares.

The Crux of the Matter.

Looking at this from the perspective of one who currently reloads a wide variety of rounds- ‘06, .308, 30-30, 8mm Mauser, .303 British, .243, .357/.38, .45, 9mm, .380, 12 and 20 gauge being the most common loadings along with some truly oddball 1800’s calibers- I’d like to point out what it takes to ’manufacture’ a bullet.

Tools required: at the very least, if one is considering reloading many rounds for something such as sales, a progressive production press will be minimal. Dies for the various calibers, or even one caliber. A powder scale and some method of dispensing consistently accurate charges of powder. Check Lee Precision for some ideas of requirements.

Components: brass (from whichever desired round); primers for same (simplified by sizes being small, large, magnum and Bench Rest, but complicated by ‘rifle’ or ‘pistol’); powder (no such thing as ‘one size fits all’); and bullets for the particular caliber.

Manuals: at least two, preferably from differing suppliers, such as Hornady, Speer, Lyman, Hodgdon, Lee, and others.

For the most part, reloading is a very simple operation. Replace the primer, add powder and lead and send down range. Simple, and very economical at this point in time compared to buying factory ammunition. It’s when one wants to manufacture an accurate round that the difficulties arise. There’s much more to making a bullet that goes where aimed, and this begins with the brass.

If one is reloading for a personal rifle, the process is fairly simple since the brass is ‘fire formed‘ within that particular chamber and will only require ‘neck sizing‘ to hold the new bullet in place. With a few exceptions, Full Length Resizing of most cases is not required if the bullet is being used in the same weapon it was originally shot from. It’s when reloading for multiple same-caliber weapons that Full Length Resizing is required. What this means is every bullet will need a coating of Case Sizing Lubricant and run through a full length sizing die to return it to factory dimensions so it will fit in the variety of chambers available. The only way around this is to have the rifle owner bring in their fired brass for reloading and expect to receive back only those returned.

Ideally, we will clean/polish our brass before sizing so as to prevent sand or any other gritty crud from getting into our dies. Once resized, which process also removes the fired primer, the brass will need another cleaning to remove any oils or other grit that could cause problems, such as oil degrading primer and/or powder, or harm our dies. Tumblers are the most common and favorite cleaning method for most people. Ground corn, walnut shells, and other kinds of polishing compounds are available, depending on what kind of cleaner one owns.

Primers. Not all primers are created equal. Some burn hotter than others, some are harder than others, some are large, some are small, some are specific to certain uses, such as Bench Rest. Popular brands are CCI, Federal, Winchester, Remington, and some European brands. My opinion (and opinion it is, not necessarily truth or fact, but an observation) is that for revolver-pistol ammunition, any primer is acceptable since I do not feel MOA accuracy is a requirement for handguns. Not that we don’t want an accurate round, because we do- the more accurate the better. But is MOA at 100 yards a requirement for common, every day pistol shooters? No, not in my opinion. Minute of Man (eight inches at 100 yards) rather than Minute of Angle (one inch at 100 yards) is ’close enough’ with a handgun. Point being: any primer will work as will any maker’s brass. I have no particular favorite ‘brand’ of pistol ammo: it all works as desired.

Rifles require a lot more accuracy than handguns. Brass will be sorted by brand- Federal, Winchester/WW, Remington, etc, and be kept together as groups because, as among other aspects, ‘not all brass is created equal’.

Primers will be selected on type of action the bullet is for, bolt, lever, pump, semi-auto: all will prefer a different brand of primer. For rifle loading, my opinion (that little word again) is that CCI makes the hardest primer, which works best in semi-auto loadings, and therefore is best all around. Insure the rifle being used has a good firing pin and spring or the primer may well not go bang. Not to denigrate other makes of primer here, because I use them all and in these days of ‘difficult to find components‘, I’m using what I can get.

Powders are even more varied than primers and brass for some very specific reasons: perceived use of the bullet, the bullet weight, velocity desired for barrel length, caliber of the bullet, and many other variables. A big, slow and cumbersome .50 caliber 1880 buffalo bore will require very different burning characteristics than will a flat shooting 6mm Bench Rest .243 rocket launcher. A short barreled rifle will prefer a different burn rate than will a long heavy barrel. Accuracy is much more final in a rifle than a handgun load.

In short, what works well in a 30-06 may not work so well in a .223, or vice-versa. What works in a pistol load will not work in a rifle, and vice-versa. (With some very notable exceptions we won’t discuss here due to space.) Too, different manufacturer barrels of the same caliber do not equally prefer the same powder brand. Just like people, they’re finicky in other words. (That’s one reason manufacturers have so many different ‘kinds’ of bullet box designs.)

At the risk of repeating myself, all powders are not created equal.

Bullets. Again, not to be redundant or sound like a stuck record (for those who remember records), not all bullets are created equal.

If someone is going to reload ammunition with the idea of marketing it, they’re going to need a supply of bullets. What size bullet will depend on variables such as perceived use, powder charge, barrel twist, caliber, and more. Mass produced commercial bullets today are built with extremely precise tolerances and most are copper jacketed, designed with particular use and extreme accuracy in mind. For example, the very popular .308 has a minimum of six different kinds and weights of bullets available for reloaders. (There are more varieties, but they’re variants of common designs.) My question to this is: How many varieties can one provide let alone stock to reload?

Casting bullets- we’ve been here before- is a way to provide oneself with bullets during a crunch (provided lead is available). Molds, lead, and lube are minimal requirements but not the only products required for accurate rifle bullets and will entail a long, but not difficult, learning process to produce. Then we get into gas checks for smokeless powder bullets and enter the realm of details-details-details.

The Nutshell of Reloading for Others (or: The Discouraging News).

To find which combination of case, primer, powder and bullet work well is a time consuming period of loading, trial and error field testing to come up with a load that works well in just one rifle. And as we’ve seen, since not all barrels, primers, powders and bullets are equal, the trial and error period for a moderately accurate loading for a variety of rifles will be a daunting task for someone who does not have unlimited resources, personnel and test facilities.

(A really depressing aspect of factory ammunition is that each producer guards their recipes from we common people, so we can’t ’just go out and make what they do’. Would that I could find Federal’s recipe for their Fusion rounds…)

If someone is considering reloading as a means of employment during tough times, it’s best to have those ‘little’ bugs out of the way well in advance of the foreseen times. Work on getting your presses, dies, primers, powders, bullets and your customer base now, while there is still time to learn, stock and define. If you wait until the Stinky Flies, you’ll never make it.

And then there is reloading Black Powder ammunition…

What Calibers and Brands of Ammunition are Best for Prepping: Weekly product review

“The skillful soldier does not raise a second levy, neither are his supply-wagons loaded more than twice.” Sun Tsu

Ammunition, something most of us have, the form of which depends entirely upon what is allowed where we live. For many of us, firearms are embraced and used. For others slingshots, archery equipment, and even blowguns. Many people have very different approaches to prepping, for myself it is a matter of balance, over the course of my lifetime I have learned to balance my approaches. As a child I was taught archery, firearms, trapping, tracking, stalking and even the use of slingshots. As I got older I continued to practice the use of all of these hunting tools.

Sun Tsu was clear in that he believed that soldiers were better for the ability to either use whatever they could get their hands on, or that they carry adequate supplies on their own person. Supply trains tend to slow an army down, and or any group really. It adds difficulty in that there are additional schedules to keep and routes to protect, maintain and be aware of. For preppers, relying on supplies coming is the last thing we really want. After all, shouldn’t we be prepared to the point where we do not have to rely on additional supplies, rather foraging as we go and having on our persons enough to get from one cache to the next?

For the purposes of this article, we will be concentrating on firearms ammunition. Specifically on what I have found to be the best ammunition for long-term storage and in accuracy, reliability and overall cost efficiency. In the past decade, ammunition has bounced around in both pricing and availability. At the moment it is both available and relatively inexpensive given current economic conditions. The following are several solid tests and sites available for good ballistics information. I have included one written result I published and recently updated.

  1. 9×19 Ammunition testing for self-defense by Jesse Mathewson
  2. Active Response Testing
  3. Lucky Gunner Ammunition testing
  4. International Ballistics Society
  5. Applied Ballistics
  6. Ballistics by the Inch

After ballistics, there are a couple other items that have to be addressed. How are you planning on storing the ammunition? Is it for practice, hunting or self-defense? What are your primary calibers? What are your pricing limits and abilities?

For instance, .45 acp is almost always two or three times the cost of 9×19 for practice and even self-defense ammunition. While it is proclaimed to be an amazing round and the only thing capable of stopping asteroids, the reality is that it is more difficult to shoot, more expensive (practice is essential for solid marksmanship) and in some cases actually less ballistically capable than solid jacketed hollow point (jhp) self-defense ammunition in 9×19. Numerous studies have shown that the bullet itself while important, is not by itself deadly, it must be compared with accurate placement, solid wound making capability and reliability of the firearm and round itself.

Death is caused by rapid exsanguination of the targeted subject, be it four-legged or two. This quite simply is loss of blood, unless you are fortunate enough to place a round severing the spinal cord from the brain, effectively destroying the brain stem, bleeding out is how everything dies when hit with a projectile weapon. Shock may occur, and there are other factors, however, death itself is almost always caused by bleeding out of the targeted subject. With this being said, any firearm is better than none, and a brick is better than a hand, etc,.

So how should we decide what is the best ammunition to store for the long-term and why? As an individual, I see ammunition as an insurance policy, as a result, I refuse to buy ammunition from Wal-Mart as over the past few years the sheer quantity they buy in and reduced pricing they buy at means that in many cases the ammunition sold will not be best quality. I have had several squibs, misfires and failure to fires, I no longer purchase ammunition from that location except for purely practice purposes and ONLY if I cannot get it anywhere else. I utilize on-line retailers to purchase ammunition that I know has a proven record and that has been tested by myself or others whom I have trust in.

For my 22 rimfire needs, the use of Aguila, Eley or if I must, CCI is more than enough. However, for stockpiling and storing I only use Aguila and Eley. Though the cost averages .08 cents through .14 cents for the rounds I prefer it is still half of what I spend on 9×19 and other rounds. I have never had a failure to fire from Aguila, Eley and very very rarely from CCI. Additionally, they are sealed with a thin coat of wax, or are crimped, meaning they will store better for longer even without solid cases surrounding them.

Rim-fire ammunition stores differently than center-fire ammunition due to composition. Most American made rim-fire ammunition utilizes the following per available patent data. “The priming mix of the invention contains dinol as the initiating explosive, manganese dioxide as the oxidizer, tetrazene as the sensitizer and glass as the co-sensitizer and is intended for use in rimfire cartridges such as .22 caliber cartridges.” (Patent number US 4689185) Eley and Eley primed ammunition uses a slightly more stable and more evenly spread mixture resulting in a peanut like odor when discharged. The differences are that Eley primers are lead based, though I would suggest washing your hands after shooting firearms and loading magazines regardless, this is simply another reason to do so. In Chemical Analysis of Firearms, Ammunition and Gunshot Residue authored by James Wallace, the name given the Eley priming mixture is called Eleyprime. It consists of lead monoxide and styphnic acid which alone are safer to handle and produce though before the end of processing a drop of water is added resulting in a chemical reaction that ends with lead styphnate. While chemically no different than most priming approaches, the process is different resulting in a more stable, even primed surface. And the resulting overall consistency from round to round.

Storing this ammunition away from water sources is absolutely essential, use good stable solid dry containers and silica packages during storage. Even though the popular Gator Country reality shows they flaunt their rusted rifles, I would go so far as to say, that not only is that unsafe it is quite clearly lazy behavior. Clean your firearms, and do your best to keep your ammunition (powder) dry and clean as well. I have friends that Barney Fife their ammunition, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend that if you have the time. (Barney Fife had one bullet, which he polished religiously every day, several times a day)

When buying 22lr ammunition, remember, there are the types you can rely on, and the types that work well for hunting, storage and survival. What is your life worth? This of course, applies to all ammunitions regardless caliber. I know many people who absolutely love stockpiling corrosive com bloc ammunition because…”its cheap”. Obviously, they plan on having the ability to clean their firearms regularly and thoroughly as well as replace parts corroded due to not getting them clean enough. For myself, I simply do not want to have that many things to consider. I would rather pay extra now to prevent future issues. So when it comes to centerfire ammunition I test and look for the ammunition that works the best in the firearms I have, then I test its ability to sit under water for extended lengths of time or out in the cold, heat and more and still function. Obviously, if you reload you know that temperature and humidity affects a loads power overall. My loads at 3500 ft above sea level will not function the same or have the same POA if they were fired at sea level or at 17000 ft above sea level.

However, minor ballistic changes aside, what ammunitions do I recommend for storage? It’s easy really, I choose milsurp ammunition. For my 5.56/.223 carbines, I use IMI, PPU, GGG or Remingtons PMC as they are all crimped rounds. The IMI is readily available in 55, 62, 69 and 77 grains at the moment and while the cost is between .02 and .06 more per round than most ammunitions. I have found it to be the most stable round to round in testing as well as exceedingly accurate regardless of the platform. So I stockpile IMI ammunition, and do so by preloading magazines and using ammo canisters to store these preloaded magazines. For my 7.62×39 AKs, I only use Golden Tiger rounds, non-corrosive, accurate and sealed. Easily stored, again preloaded and in ammo cannisters. For my 7.62×51 or in my case the 7.5×55 swiss as I do not plan on using it nearly as much as the handguns and carbines, I have purchased several cases of South African ball/ Swiss surplus and sealed it into separate ammunition cases.

For defensive purposes the IMI 55 grn works really nicely as it does what it is supposed too and breaks apart in targets, the 124 grn Golden Tiger also works well, as it tends to tumble after hitting a target due to the length and bullet shape. For distance shooting, I also stockpile a few crates of soft point and hunting type ammunition for distance needs. And for handguns I stock 1-10 boxes of SD ammunition, so for every ten boxes of target/ non-specific sd ammunition I stock a box of SD ammunition and because I prefer CCI Speer Gold Dot for SD ammunition, I purchase Speer Lawman in the same bullet weight, allowing for less expense practicing with virtually the same round. Using desiccant packs and solid storage containers it is easy to ensure ammunition longevity. Do what you can to avoid temperature extremes, this alone is enough to cause instability and a shortened life span in ammunition. For instance, if you bury caches in different places, make sure they are 3 feet below ground level, this will allow for a fairly even temperature regardless what occurs above.


So here are my choices for ammunition for stockpiling, as you have already seen the reasons why I make the decisions I do, with evidence to support them, the list will be rather short, however, it was put together with allot of thought, testing, and research.

  • Rimfire ammunition, get the best you can afford, preferably ELEY primed, or CCI ammunition. Remington also makes an ELEY primed round that is very good.
  • Centerfire handgun rounds, test these fully for whatever handgun caliber you use. Test for reliability, function, and expansion as well as penetration. 12+ inches with full expansion is essential. I prefer CCI Speer Gold Dot in 115 or 124 grn and Hornady Critical DUTY 135grn, 147+ grns tends to be stopped easier by barriers and I noticed many of the rounds tested failed completely to open up when faced with barriers.
  • Centerfire Carbine, Military surplus (NON-CORROSIVE) is essential, they are crimped, and sealed. My choices for 5.56 are IMI, GGG (Lithuania), Remington PMC, Federal milsurp in that order. For 7.62×39 Golden Tiger all the way. Never corrosive unless it is only used for NON long term storage plinking needs.
  • Centerfire Rifle, Military surplus South African, IMI or Swiss depending on round used. PPU makes a VERY nice 7.62x54r round that I use in my Mosins.
  • If you reload, CRIMP the cases, and you can purchase primer sealants as well. For long-term storage!
  • Lastly, amount, I store on average 1000 rounds per firearm, this does not include practice rounds and the like. However, for hard use, 1000 rounds of premier ammunition in premier magazines per weapon. If you do the math on it, it’s actually a very small amount of ammunition. However, it is relatively easy to transport and properly apportioned can get you to the next step, where you use what you take from those who fight against you.

Obviously, while this is my testing, assumptions, and experiences it does mean that alternatives are not only possible they may be better, if you have rounds that are better overall (every listed category) please let me know. I am always open to testing and trying new things. Hope you enjoyed this review and as always, keep your powder dry.

Free the mind and the body will follow

Budget Prepping: A list of 20 firearms under $1000 most under $500

According as circumstances are favorable, one should modify one’s plans.” Sun Tsu

(For the sake of continuity all facts pertaining to ballistics are listed as links at the end of the article, and not within the article. I have not submitted my own testing results, simply because from experience I have found people ignore my results if they go against what they believe. When it comes from someone else, eg., the FBI or some other organization, they believe it.)

Lists are always difficult, reasons are very simple. We all want what we have been told is best by people we trust or what we have grown up believing is best. My list is based entirely on firearms I have or currently own and use and have proven themselves to me entirely. My idea of having a firearm proven too me is simple, 1000 rounds with no hiccups. Minimum 200 rounds of my chosen SD ammunition, no hiccups. Accuracy, sandbagged must be within hunting needs, eg, two inches at 100 yards for ALL rifles, 4-inch max for handguns at 25 yards, sandbagged. Lastly, shotguns, I do not use shotguns for numerous reasons*. As a result, even though I can suggest** two names that most will agree with, I will not include them on the list.

Agree or disagree, however, here is the list and I can honestly say, it is based entirely on personal experience as well as the experience of a close group of individuals. We run firearms, and we run them well. Reloading, shooting, etc., the people I surround myself with all are at the very top of their profession whichever that is. The list will be in three parts, rimfire firearms, rifles (including carbines) and handguns. So here is the list, without further ado.

  1. Mossberg 702 Plinkster, like all rimfire guns, clean it well after shooting or every 200-300 rounds. Do so and you wont have problems with it, 4lbs of lightweight accuracy and more importantly, accurate, reliable and less than $150.
  2. Ruger SR22 handgun, reliable, accurate, and with all rimfire again, clean it well after shooting. I love my Walther P22s (threaded) however, they are not inexpensive. Ruger SR22s can be had for under $300 and many times used for under $200.
  3. FegPa63, P64, Makarov 9×18 virtually any Eastern European 9×18 handgun, the round works well, it will work in self defense, I use Hornady 9×18 critical duty, NOT other rounds, some are too hot, these are blowback handguns and surplus, not designed for the +p novelty rounds out there. Most can be had for right at $250, well worth every penny. I prefer the FEGPa63 and the P64.
  4. Glock 19 or 17, denigrate the 9×19 with a solid defensive round all you want, sure BALL ammunition sucks, it sucks in everything! Modern self defense ammunition makes the 9×19 round better than the .45 and virtually equal to the ,40 or .357 and does it at half the cost. Gold Dot 115 or 124 grn, NOT 147 grn, too slow doesnt penetrate well. Or the Hornady Critical DUTY 135 grn round. These rounds have been tested and approved for carry by the FBI which is switching too the Glock 19. Accuracy folks, is far more important than a near miss with a wide projectile. I can guarantee my Glock 19 will meet and equal or beat any other firearm out there in terms of reliability, accuracy and putting a target down. Plus being 9×19 (not plus P never plus P) means even my 7 year old daughter shoots it well! Pricing is $300 – $500 depending on used or not, and remember, unlike other firearms, used only means broken in on a Glock. I prefer buying used, after all, there are changes I make automatically too mine. Personal preferences and all.
  5. Springfields XD series in 9×19. I do not like this gun, however, I cannot in all good conscience not include it, it works, it is accurate, and absolutely reliable. There is nothing to dislike other than personal taste for myself. Thats all, and thats it. $400-$700
  6. Canik 55 TP9SF a new arrival to the scene, but at a price point of $350 brand new, you cannot miss this as a possibility. If you are prepping on a budget and new to firearms, THIS is the way to go. Reliability to date is amazing, accuracy very good and it comes new with spare mags, holster, etc., I mean whats not too like! Honestly, if I didnt already have too many Glock 19s, I may have switched to these.
  7. AR15 platforms, there are dozens of approaches, builders and several calibers. My suggestion, stick with what is most popular currently, 5.56 is what you want it chambered in, or .223 wylde. I would suggest 1/8 twist or 1/9 to start, these twist rates are good in between and allow you too shoot 55 through 77 grain accurately, the 1/9 is better with 55-62 grain, however, I continue to be able to out rounds on target easily at out too 500 yards with a nice 1/9 twist nitride barrel. If you go with 1/8 it truly is a solid twist rate, at 16” MINIMUM length it is amazing. Under 14” the 5.56 loses effective velocities. For personal defense I prefer 55 grn ball ammo, again, per FBI testing it penetrates less than 12 gauge 00 buckshot in drywall. (see links) So here are the brand names I suggest, Palmetto State Armory, Delton, DiamondBack and Olympic Arms are all solid AR15 builders, they may need minor work as they are not as highly polished as a $1200 plus rifle. However, they are absolutely reliable and more importantly, the bottom side of all of these rifles can be found for between $500 and $700 apiece. (Magazines are simple, get Hexmag or Magpul magazines.)
  8. AK47 platforms or AKMs, here is where things get fun. See the simple reality is I do not have as much trigger time behind one as others do. However, I do absolutely believe in the necessity of having multiple calibers available especially in popular calibers. As a result I do use them, just not as much as my AR’s. Caliber, honestly, I prefer the 7.62×39 caliber. It works as a deer round, and other medium game as well as self defense. And anyone that tells you an AKM is inaccurate, hasnt used one. Brand names suggested are as follows, take this with a grain of salt. Red Army standard, Serbian NPaP, Definitive Arms DAKM and lastly I own and currently enjoy an IO AKM, though these have serious issues on occasion and I cannot recommend one as a survival tool. Pricing ranges from $500- $1000 for the above listed names. There are other brands and I am sure they are wonderful. But under $1000 and what I or my core have personal experience with were the guidelines. Now for the caveat, the IO after the first 200 rounds had a failure to cycle, the gas tube was 1/16th too short. I called them, they sent another immediately and it has been rectified. It has been accurate and I have successfully put another 1200 rounds through it without a failure. Hence it passed the test. By accurate I do mean well within parameters set.
  9. This category has a different approach, it is something many people do not consider. Hunting and shooting over 500 yards. Though there are thousands of people on-line especially who make wonderful claims regarding their prowess as a shooter, distances past 500 yards are not easy, and when you hit the 800 mark, things start getting REALLY fun. Personally I have shot past 1000 yards only a few times, and while I am a very good shot from 0 through 500 yards with simple iron sights, past this is not easy. My observations and experiences are much more refined in this area, leaving the last two spaces for un-scoped milsurp and scoped non milsurp. Iron sights at distance there are only three rifles I can honestly suggest, that meet the criteria as stated. Enfields .303 (I prefer the MkIV or III), Mauser 8mm K98, Swiss K31 in 7.5×55 (my personal favorite, and a rifle I have taken to 1100 yards four times now, with iron sights, amazingly very very nicely. Each of these can be had for between $300 and $600 and should be looked at closely prior to purchase for signs of wear. (Side note my first rifle at 16 was a MkIV Enfield that I took jackrabbits at 400 to 600 yards regularly, quite fun when young, but the eyes go with age.)
  10. Long distance rifles, non milsurp. Remington 700, Mossberg 100 ATR, Weatherby Vanguard are all wonderful rifles, I have owned them all and shot them all, and loved them all very much. The Vanguard was a sub MOA model, (not normal) and shot under an inch off of a bipod at 100 yards. The Remington and Mossberg both shot very well also. Pricing ranges from $300 – $600 for these rifles. You can upgrade all of them as you go and get the money, however, an inexpensive Bushnell scope will get you on paper well for around $200 or less.

There you have my list, again, subjective, absolutely! But realistic, also ABSOLUTELY!

*Why dont I use a shotgun, this is an interesting question with a VERY simple answer. Here is my response. I have grade v spondylolisthesis (since I was 12- and yes I worked for over two decades full time with grade IV before it went to grade V), nerve damage down my left leg below the knee and in my right leg is permanent and severe. When I am tired or in pain (which is daily, pain can be a friend) I drag my feet and eventually my legs simply stop working. Literally I fall straight down several times a week. Weight is NOT an option, shotguns equal weight. 10 shotgun shells weigh the same as 200 rounds of .22lr or 50 rounds of 5.56. Eating birds shot with a shotgun is a process filled with fun times and occasionally cleaning lead or steel shot out of your teeth. I can build a live trap for birds easily, that works and the parts are found growing around us. As a self defense weapon it is NOT the “just aim at the general direction” that people like to say it is. Even from a 18” barrel the shot WILL not spread enough at defensive distances to allow that approach and honestly, if you have children or animals, why would you want stray shots anyhow. So there you go. An AR is MUCH easier to shoot far more accurately, as is a solid 9mm handgun.

**If a shotgun you must have, Mossberg 500/ 590/88 (Maverick), Remington 870 – there easy, yes ive owned them, no I wouldnt again simply because everything I have must have a use.

See the links below for statistical real information regarding ballistics.

When is Ammo Too Old? – Prepper Ammo Storage

What is the single most important firearm type for TEOTWAWKI: Reviewing four modern semi-automatic 22lr caliber rifles.


by Jesse Mathewson

In these United States, we have seen hundreds if not thousands of 22lr caliber rifles come and go over the years. Arguably the Ruger 10/22 is the most well known and oldest version of the semi-automatic 22lr rifles still in production today, originally coming onto the scene in 1964 with a rotary style magazine, as compared to the other rifles in today’s review, which all utilize stick style magazines. This rifle was ahead of its time and served to make Ruger a household name, along with the further innovations in the Mini (14, 30 etc.,) series rifles and a variety of handguns.

It is important to understand that my choice personally for 22lr caliber rifle; for the purposes of this article, is not based on anything other than testing, function, weight, price and overall effective efficiency in filling the role as meat provider for the table in a grid down situation, or even as a defensive tool. (And all arguments aside, 22lr is a deadly round, this has been proven time and again over the years, I will attach links to several factual stories of defense against BG’s with the lowly 22lr, not too mention its use as a premier fly swatter for individuals intent on fulfilling pest control of a two-legged variety of varmint.)** On a personal note I have used it quite actively over the years for varmint control, freezer filling and more, sadly the caliber .22 being banned for hunting in many states now, though this is not a serious issue in a grid down situation. After all, some laws are simply not moral or necessary.

The following four rifles include four of the top brand names and are modern, still in production, semi-automatic magazine fed 22lr caliber rifles. The specifics for each are listed below for your perusal. I am not including bolt action .22lr or tube fed, I am not including any 22lr caliber clones of AR, AK or other military variants. I am also not including conversion kits for AR styled rifles as these have their own set of issues and costs.

Marlin Model 795

  • .22 long rifle
  • 10 round stick magazine, 1 in chamber
  • 18” barrel
  • Sights, adjustable open rear, ramp front sight with grooves in receiver for scope mounting
  • 1: 16 rh twist
  • 4.5lbs unloaded
  • 37” overall length
  • Suggested retail is 239.99

Relatively new, not many aftermarket parts, somewhat based on the Marlin 60 which was a truly fine 22lr and shone in many areas. Very accurate rifle and for the cost is extremely nice. Only ammunition issues were Remington flat tips, otherwise, shoots everything.

I had one, and loved it, however, as the cost is more than the Mossberg 702 which follows, I haven’t invested more in additional copies. And as I am a KISS proponent and fan, it is essential that those within my core group are armed in a similar fashion so as to reduce the number of possible problems when arming, rearming etc.,

Mossberg 702 Plinkster

  • .22 long rifle
  • 10 round stick magazine/ 25 round factory extended magazines available
  • 18” barrel
  • Adjustable sights (replace with Tech Sights) grooved for scopes, not milspec, you will need to get a 3/8” scope mount or adapter, which is easily found on Amazon for milspec additions and rails.
  • This is not abnormal with non AR styled .22lr firearms, to be more pointed, many hunting rifles come with this mount approach. So it is in fact a standard mounting for hunters.
  • 1:16 twist rh
  • Synthetic Stock, Wood Stock and or additional colors available if needed. However, the standard black synthetic stock works effectively.
  • 4lb’s
  • 37” overall length
  • Suggested price 176.00

Based on an older model, several companies make aftermarket parts, however, magazines are still only available from the factory. It is not as popular as the 10/22 and as such suffers from a lack of aftermarket parts availability. Extremely reliable and accurate. Only ammunition issues were Remington flat tips, otherwise, shoots everything.

This is my top choice, they can be found for around $100 at most Wal-Marts, or used for even less depending on location, rarely have I seen them over $160. Pinned barrel, simple action blowback action. A bit of sandpaper and a philips head screwdriver will have the barrel free floated in under 15 minutes. I currently own several, with 10 magazines for each one. An inexpensive one-inch nylon sling, $79 on Tech Sights (Amazon), and you will have a rifle that will easily get you a rifleman badge at the local Appleseed shoot, keep it clean and you will never have an issue with it.

Ruger 10/22

  • .22 long rifle
  • 10 round cyclical magazine/ 25 round factory extended magazines available
  • gold bead front sight (replace with Tech Sights)
  • 1:16 twist rh
  • 18.5” barrel
  • 5.75lb’s
  • 37” overall length
  • Suggested price 379.00

Extremely popular there is no shortage of aftermarket kits, parts, and the bells and whistles you may require to make your survival gun both pretty and relatively functional. Have owned 4 from the mid 80’s through 2009, all were ammunition specific firearms, or finicky. Accuracy was decent, however, magazine issues (factory magazines) and some ammunition feed issues had me selling them all.

After spending two years helping out with local Appleseed shoots in Arizona, I witnessed two or three failures every shooting day of every Appleseed from the Ruger 10/22. Now, this does not mean you wont find solid shooting 10/22s, it just means that during that two year time, my Mossberg 702s never failed, not once, and the 10/22 in multiple configurations from factory basic through $2000 plus add on configured did.

Savage 64 F

  • 22 long rifle
  • 10 round stick magazine
  • open sights, drilled and tapped for scope mounting
  • 1:16 rh twist
  • 21” barrel length (slightly better accuracy and ballistics should result)
  • weight is 5lbs.
  • Suggested price $140.00

True free floated barrel, several variations available, generally considered to be most accurate out of the box and having shot one or two, I would tend to agree. It is an extremely accurate, ammunition picky, but VERY accurate. It has also been out since 1964, though the first model met with bad reception due to using plastic magazines. Its following is not nearly as large as the base for the Ruger 10/22. Less market share, less possibility for parts being made by companies other than Savage.

I really enjoy this gun, and you will as well. Make sure you can get magazines for it, and check ammunition reliability in it. Otherwise, it’s a great firearm.

22-riflesRemember, in a TEOTWAWKI situation, .22lr is going to be a very important caliber. Local harvesting laws will not matter with regards to game, they are relatively quiet, and with an accurate (sandbagged and properly sighted in) version of one of the above models you will do fine. Personally, I prefer Mossberg 702’s and will gladly submit to competition between any one of the several owned and any .22lr you choose. I do not like the AR styled, AK styled or kits that allow shooting of .22lr in regular firearms. Though I can understand the desire for some people to keep things as similar as possible, in most cases, practice is severely lacking in individuals preaching this approach.

If you need to practice with your AR then, practice with the AR. Recoil, noise and all the accompanying parts of shooting the .223 or 5.56 round is essential to solid practice. If you want to practice fundamentals of shooting and accuracy, the type of firearm will not matter nearly as much as the fundamentals themselves. If you are able to “run and gun” than do so, but make sure you practice and train with legitimate trainers in these areas. In my strict opinion as a lifetime shooter, who does okay for himself when shooting, rifleman basics are not stylistic or reliant on type of rifle, but rather on the approach used and fundamentals practiced.

This is why I do not have, recommend or use three point slings, single point slings or any number of special “tactical” attachments that so often take a 6lb AR and make it a 15lb monstrosity. KISS, always, for the sake of those reading, this is a very easy word to decipher. Keep It Simple Silly. A solid two point sling, understanding why laying down is more stable than seated and seated is more stable than standing and resting the rifle is more stable than standing without resting the rifle is essential to accuracy. Hollywood does a great job of making gun owners stupid, its up to us to ensure we don’t reinforce the ridiculous notions regarding gun owners in the media, politics and Hollywood.

So now you have four choices for a TEOTWAWKI rifle, remember, even in “gun free” nations, .22lr is used and owned in most cases by people interested in hunting, target practice and simply having for self-defense. A .22lr firearm must be cleaned every 300 rounds on average or after every practice session, I clean all my firearms every two weeks with a basic rubdown and lube, in depth twice a year, and after every range session. The sole exception being cached and or stored firearms- which are stored soaked in lubricants and in ZCORR storage bags, review to follow. These .22lr firearms also work very well to introduce non-shooters and or non-preppers to the world of prepping/ shooting without hurting their shoulders, ears and easily showing them the benefits and sheer pleasure of hitting a target where you want too.

Shoot on fellow Wolf Pack members, be safe, smart and above all, be free!

**Links follow, some are graphic in nature, please be aware. (statistics regarding various calibers used for defense of self) (self-defense with .22lr handgun) (92-year-old man shoots and kills home intruder with .22lr rifle) (89-year-old woman uses 22lr handgun to defend herself) (13 year old uses 10/22 to defend family)

There are many, many more verifiable stories, and I am sure if any of us has spent time in the woods, we all know someone who has harvested game with a .22lr, legal or not. (Though I do not openly recommend doing anything that will bring you in contact with authorities, eg., don’t do illegal things. Understand there is always consequences to every action, always.)

Free the mind and the body will follow.

Choose Your Weapons

by Lloyd P

Glock handguns

This is a Glock 23 with three calibers and a Glock 20 with two

In much simpler times when gentleman wanted to settle a dispute of honor they called for a duel. “Choose your weapons” was the traditional start of the events once they had assembled. Dueling pistols, swords, even Bowie knives were sometimes used as tools to settle the disputes. Although it sometimes played out with each party firing into the air and then walking away with honor in tact or regained as the case may be – with no harm done.

It did not always end without loss and there are some very famous duels in our US history. While I’m very glad we don’t settle disputes this way any longer, the fact is many of us feel we are involved in a different form of dueling today. We are dueling with much more complicated situations, events and scenarios more significant than simply defending one’s honor. In fact, many people feel that any number of possible events could occur that might justify or require the ability to protect ones, life, liberty, property or loved ones.

While the polls show that a majority of Americans believe our leaders are not leading the country in the right direction, there are some good things going on out there. One huge area of improvement is the increase in the numbers of people arming themselves and getting training on the safe and proper use of firearms. State governments across the nation are strengthening and even encouraging the use and personal carry of defensive weapons, both concealed and openly carried.

This has had the result of lowering violent crime to its lowest level since statistics have been recorded. This includes every place where private carry and use of firearms has been loosened or confirmed and the only places in the nation where violent crime has increased is those localities where the local governments have bucked the trend and have made it harder, or continue to restrict the personal carry and use of personal firearms. Things can change quickly and you do not want to be a victim of violent crime. If I may adapt an old adage here – you can only be a victim if you haven’t been warned, after that you are a volunteer.

With so many entering the firearms market it is understandable that people are asking questions about what weapons to consider and what choices should be made concerning ownership of firearms. While we have all heard the adage “experience is the best teacher”, I do not subscribe to this opinion. In fact I believe experience is not the best teacher, someone else’s experience is. Who wants to learn about a rattlesnake bite or a hand grenade by experience?

I bet most of us wished we had not learned about having a car accident by experience! And so it is with firearms and related issues, what we can learn from others can be indispensable in the long run. Even if you are in a position to have unlimited choices of firearms and ammunition it makes little difference as you cannot use all of them at once or have everything available to you when you are in a critical position of need. So choices must be made, and if the right choices are made from the beginning even as other items are added the expense and time involved will not increase exponentially.

Experience is not the best teacher, someone else’s experience is.

Choosing a general purpose hand gun is often the first consideration when a person decides to enter the world of firearms ownership or the world of firearms for preparedness. There are so many options, colors, calibers, sizes, materials and the list goes on and on. How about starting with the idea of keeping things simple, useful, effective, flexible and commonly available?

Before actually choosing which hand gun might be your best staring point it is quite advisable to look at what caliber you will want in a defensive handgun. One should, of course, choose a cartridge that is adequate for the purpose of self-defense. But it should also be available, affordable and shootable by the person who will use it. You could choose something like the .38 super and you would have a cartridge that is totally acceptable as a self-defensive round, but it is not readily available or particularly affordable, so why consider it except for specially purposes?

The handgun … an entire class of arms that Americans overwhelmingly choose for the lawful purpose of self-defense…it surely elevates above all other interests the right of law-abiding, responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home. U.S. Supreme Court, District of Columbia V. Heller June 26 2008

Let me keep things simple for the sake of discussion – the most commonly available, affordable shootable cartridges that are at least adequate for self-defense in a handgun would include the .380 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol), the 9mm (9mm parabellum / 9mm Luger), .38 S&W (Smith and Wesson), .357 S&W Magnum, .40 S&W and .45 ACP. There are other great cartridges such as the .357 Sig, 10mm, .41 Magnum, .45 Colt, and .44 magnum, but these each fall short of our criteria in at least one area or more.

The .9mm is the most popular center-fire handgun cartridge in the world. This is supported by the fact that it is the military handgun cartridge for more militaries in the world than any other, including the NATO nations which includes the USA. Having a firearm that can be fed by readily available ammunition is a wise choice so long as the cartridge also meets all of our other standards.

While the 9mm has been replaced by the .40 S&W as the choice of carry for most police departments in the USA, the civilian still has a greater choice of useful ammunition available than the militaries of the world who are limited to the less effective full metal jacketed bullets, also called ball ammunition, because of treaty obligations. Police departments actually use handguns as their primary weapon where as militaries do not. So when in comes to handgun use perhaps it is wise to consider what the vast majority of police departments choose to use. This would be the .40 S&W. So while the 9mm is the most widely used cartridge in use by militaries, the .40 S&M is the most widely used by police departments across the USA.

The 9mm is cheaper to purchase in most cases, and it is widely available. If you consider that shortages might be a possibility in the future (they have been in the past) – a lot of people choose the 9mm in part at least with the thought of future availability as a major factor, even though the .40 S&W has more “stopping power“. Unless you are able to purchase a lifetime supply of ammunition at the time you acquire your handgun, this is a consideration.

But why not start with a choice of firearm which allows the use of both – or even more? This gives the flexibility of not only stocking up with your primary choice of cartridge, but also gives you the option of using another widely available cartridge should that be the available one in the future. While the 9mm is generally more available, what if in the future your source for ammunition was more closely related to your local police department than your national military?

“The .40 S&W caliber is the overwhelming top choice of police departments today.” Massad Ayoob – Police officer & internationally renowned firearm and self-defense instructor.

Those who choose a .357 revolver know the flexibility of having the possibility of using .38 Special ammunition for cost savings and enjoyable practice shooting with less recoil, yet using the same gun for both types of ammunition. But is this possible with the semi-auto pistol? It is if you plan ahead properly.

I shoot a lot of 9mm ammunition for practice and fun, and I don’t do it in a 9mm hand gun. How is that possible you might wonder? It is possible by using a .40 S&W handgun with a barrel designed to fit that firearm, but chambered for the 9mm. It is not possible to use a .40 S&W barrel in a 9mm, so it is necessary to choose the .40 S&W from the start even if you will be shooting 9mm as your primary ammunition choice, but then you will have the option of shooting .40 S&W if and when you choose to.

I do this with Glock pistols. All that is required is using an aftermarket 9mm conversion barrel designed for the handgun in question from suppliers such as Lone Wolf Distributers and also using the factory magazines for the caliber in use. A 9mm magazine works perfectly in a .40 S&W Glock. There are also after market conversion barrels for the Springfield XD pistols from Bar-Sto.

If you live in Delaware, Dallas, Maine, Tennessee, Virginia or other places where the .357 Sig is used by law enforcement you might choose a handgun in this caliber and use the same drop in barrel to shoot the .9mm. In fact the .40 S&W and .357 Sig factory barrels can be exchanged readily and the same magazines are used for both cartridges, but most people do not have a reality available source for inexpensive .357 Sig ammo.

After your basic firearms – invest in ammunition! The more you have, the better off you will be for a number of reasons. The cost isn’t going down. Ammo is also a good barter item. Unless you reload your own ammo you are vulnerable to the market on both price and availability. You never know how long you will need to depend upon the ammo you currently have.

Kel-Tec-2000 and Glock handgun

This Glock and Kel-Tec-2000 use the same caliber & magazines

Let’s face it, once you have your basic firearms stocking up on ammunition would be a priority. Without ammunition the handgun is useful for a paperweight or an attempt to bluff an attacker, neither of these would be high on your list of reasons to purchase a firearm. After you acquire your basic battery invest more in ammunition than on additional firearms. You don’t want to have more firearms than you can feed.

If you run out of ammo you will need to locate some, if you have extra you are in a position to barter – or practice more. If you choose a system which is flexible from the start, you have more options. I know a lot of people who choose a 9mm as their primary cartridge simply because it is the most readily available adequate cartridge even though they would like the added security of a more powerful cartridge like the .40 S&W. Why limit your choice?

By choosing carefully you can have the option of using both. While I have read of some problems with aftermarket conversion barrels – after firing thousands of rounds of ammo through mine I have not experienced any failures. I have learned that the barrels work best with some slight lubrication on the outside where as the factory barrels work best with no lubrication.

The flexibility does not end here either. Once a hand gun is acquired with conversion barrel, you might like to add a carbine such as the Kel-Tec Sub-2000 in either of your cartridges and use the same magazines as you use in your semi-auto handgun. This gives the person a real broad flexibility with a minimal expense just by planning ahead when purchasing the primary defensive firearm & cartridge.

The 10mm is not a widely popular hand gun cartridge because it is more powerful than necessary for most self-defense situations. Because of this it is more expensive to shoot. So why is it so popular in local areas such as the Rocky Mountain west? Because there are four-legged varmints as well as two-legged ones there! Lions, and wolves and bears (oh my!). So what if you live in an area like this and would like the added power of the 10mm but you don’t want to give up the flexibility, affordability and availability of the other cartridges listed? Simple, use your 10mm barrel when in the wild, and drop in a .40 S&W barrel when you are near pavement or the shooting range.

The Glock 20 10mm even has a factory drop in barrel available which is designed specifically for handgun hunting, something not available for any of the lesser cartridges. There’s even a 10mm conversion carbine available from Mech Tech (Also many other caliber choices) for those who want to have the flexibility of a carbine for certain uses such as hunting or patrol. While I love the 10mm, I do not suggest it as a choice for the average person for reasons listed earlier, but it is totally possible to have a common cartridge such as the .40 S&W for common and general use and have a specialty cartridge like the 10mm available for the same firearm if proper planning is done before purchasing your weapon.

There are other options available also, while not quite as simple or as inexpensive as a conversion barrel for a .40 S&W to 9mm, a 10mm Glock can be converted to shoot .45 ACP by simply purchasing a new slide & barrel for the similar sized frame. Since only the frame is considered the “firearm” by the BTAFE, a new slide can be ordered through the mail thus avoiding additional paperwork and expense of purchasing an entire new firearm. This is also possible for those who have a .45 ACP but would like the 10mm, perhaps for hunting. The magazines from each caliber fit perfectly in the grip of the other. Glocks are not the only brand for which this is possible, but check before you purchase if you feel you might like this flexibility later. Along the same line, there are .22 conversion kits for various hand guns that convert your 9mm, 40 S&W, 10mm or .45ACP into a .22 rimfire for practice, plinking and flexibility to shoot and stock up on very cheap .22 caliber ammunition.

If you shop wisely you could start your battery with a pistol and conversion barrel that will shoot two or more common calibers of ammunition, a carbine that shares the same magazines as your handgun and as much as 1000 rounds of ammunition for the current average cost of one AR-15. However if you already have an AR-15 you also have a very flexible firearm. Most AR-15s shoot the useful and widely available 5.56×45 /.223 ammunition. If this is what you have you, have the option of adding a drop in .22 LR conversion to shoot .22 rimfire cartridges through the same barrel. Of course the AR family of rifles can be easily switched from one caliber to another by changing one upper for another.

This gives many options for other barrels, like longer for more velocity, heavier for heat displacement or other calibers. However, when it comes to our criteria of simple, useful, effective, flexible and commonly available we are primarily looking to the .223, .22 and the 7.62×39 which is currently widely available and quite reasonably priced. There are also uppers for pistol calibers which use special magazines.

For those who have a pistol in 9mm, .40 S&W or .45 ACP who also would like the simplicity and reliability of a revolver there are a number of revolvers which are chambered for these calibers. Charter Arms has a revolver chambered for the .40 S&W that is quite nice and does not require the use of moon clips to hold the rimless cartridges most used by pistols. For those who use the .45 ACP in their pistol the S&W Governor is a revolver that can expand your flexibility.

The Governor is a follow up of the very popular Taurus Judge which will chamber both .45 Long Colt and .410 shotgun shells. The Governor matches this and also accepts the .45 ACP. While I like the .45 Colt cartridge it does not meet our requirements of wide availability and reasonably priced, but with the right ammunition it is functional as a handgun hunting cartridge or for use against lager predators. While you might not purchase a dedicated .45 Colt revolver, if you have a .45 ACP and would like a revolver in this caliber having the .45 Colt adds flexibility. While the .410 shotgun shells are advertised as being great for self-defense personally find them very useful for small game, vermin, venomous snakes and game birds up close.

These ideas are meant as helpful suggestions with which you can increase your flexibility with your personal defense arm by careful planning and forethought. Flexibility, dependability, and adaptability are each keys to survivability. Choose your weapons – thoughtfully.