The firearm primer: answers to the questions you are afraid to ask

Guest post by Lloyd P

In unexpected crisis and emergency situations it is up to us to be able to care for ourselves and our loved ones. The old statement holds true that “when you need help instantly the police are only minutes away.” The scenes after Hurricane Katrina, the Rodney King Riots and other disasters may be etched in our memories and this should be enough to cause us to prepare ahead.

There are times when the police cannot even help themselves. We don’t need to be part of a wide-spread disaster to have a personal emergency and it would be better to be ready for an emergency years in advance rather than one minute late. The times are such that if you were ready today it might not be too soon.

“But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” 1 Tim 5:8

In a prolonged emergency situation, after immediate security, water is of utmost importance. Next on the list are food, clothing, medicines. In addition immediate protection for life and limb should not be neglected because none of these other items will matter unless you are prepared for self preservation when it is needed. The time to plan is before the need arises – once there is a need it may be too late.

Choosing the right firearms

“The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference – they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good.” – George Washington

There are three really great reasons to have a firearm available – 1) to protect yourself and your dear ones; 2) to hunt dangerous, destructive or delicious animals; 3) to keep despots respectful. We are fortunate that our forefathers planned ahead on our behalf and protected our God-given rights to be able to do these things as needed.

“The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed – where government refuses to stand for reelection and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees. However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once.” Chief Justice Alex Kosinski – Ninth Circuit court 2003.

Before choosing a firearm, you must first identify the purposes for which the firearm is needed, then you can best chose which cartridge and firearm for your purpose.

The Rifle or Carbine

The rifle or carbine is the primary defensive weapon of every military in the world. It is able to stop a man-sized target with one well placed shot at both close and long distances. Most hunting and sporting cartridges in use today had their origins in military cartridges, and military rifles. Most militaries today – including our own military – use the carbine which is a shorter rifle – for its handiness, weight savings and maneuverability. These are also the primary armament used for hunting in virtually all areas of the world where they are legal.

While there are many different types of rifles and carbines available, for the purpose of this discussion we will only address three – the lever-action, the bolt-action and the semi-auto.

The lever-action is the rifle John Wayne used and had its beginning in the American Civil War. During most of the twentieth century more deer were brought to the pantry by a lever-action rifle with a 30-30 cartridge.

This combination works well out to 175 yards and this can be extended much further with the use of Hornady’s excellent LEVERevolution ammunition which is specifically designed to extend the reach and usefulness of traditional lever-action cartridges.

Marlin and Winchester are the most common names for lever-action rifles with Browning producing a contemporary version of the lever-action that handles modern cartridges. The Savage Model 99 is no longer in production, but there are many used ones which can be found and it is a very useful rifle.

The lever-action is still very functional as a home defense arm as well as a hunting arm. The lever-action does not “look military” and for some this is a consideration. But it is even more effective today than it was when it was winning the west because of upgrades in materials and better ammunition.

“Get the best [rifle] you can, of course; but do not worship it. Bear in mind that, whatever its trajectory and smashing quality, it is only a gun, and can kill nothing that you miss with it.” Horace Kephart Camping and Woodcraft 1917

The bolt-action is the most common hunting rifle today and has been on the scene since the last part of the 19th century. Most bolt-action rifles are accurate to distances beyond what the unpracticed rifleman can hold accurately.

Even today the bolt-action rifle is the choice for most military long-range sniper teams and most big game hunting world-wide including large dangerous game. Most bolt actions are rugged and simple to maintain and will provide several lifetimes of useful service.

The bolt-action also readily accepts a scope for quick and accurate target acquisition. Scopes not only make accurate shooting simpler for most people they also make shooting in low light possible. Very good brands for the bolt-action include Remington, Ruger, Winchester and Savage, which perhaps has the best dollar per accuracy ratio, also Stevens, made by the same company. In addition, Browning and recently Marlin is making a very nice for the price hunting rifle.

The semi-auto rifle or carbine has become the rifle of choice for militaries around the world. The American AR-15 is often one of the most accurate out of the box firearms of any kind you can hope to find. AR stands for ArmaLite the originator of these fine firearms.

It is the basis of the current and longest-serving family of small arms used by the United States military and is currently the most popular rifle type on the American civilian market. With that type of heritage semi-autos are turning up more and more in the hunting fields of America. The AR-15 is the shorter length action of the family handling the .223 / 5.56 NATO length cartridge.

The AR-10 was actually designed and produced first and it handles the mid-length .308 / 7.62 NATO length family of cartridges. The AR family of rifles and carbines are generally very accurate, reliable and very flexible – although not as handy to carry through forest and field as the lever-action and bolt actions.

Each AR can be readily taken down by simply removing two pins and the “upper” portion of the rifle replaced with another upper designed to shoot a totally different cartridge thereby making the selection of more than one cartridge for the same rifle a possibility.

“…arms…discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property. …Horrid mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived the use of them. ” – Thomas Paine 1775.

There are most likely more AK-47 auto type rifles in the world than any other rifle or carbine. This is because the Soviet Union allowed other communist bloc nations to produce these in huge numbers and supply them to revolutionaries around the world. These are not accurate rifles, but are reliable and designed so a peasant could be taught how to use one in a short amount of time. They are not as common in the USA as other semi-auto rifles.

Another rifle with origins in the former USSR is the SKS which was the precursor to the AK-47. This may be the best semi-auto defensive rifle or carbine available for someone with limited funds to spend as they are still widely available and comparatively inexpensive.

They are adequately accurate and imported ammunition is also widely available and comparatively inexpensive and the 7.62 x 39 ammunition it shoots has enough power to be used for hunting purposes up to deer sized game – although I would recommend American ammunition designed specifically for hunting for this purpose. The Ruger Mini 14 and Mini 30 is another popular semi-auto available in popular and useful cartridges – .223 Rem., 6.8 Rem. SPC and the 7.62 x 39.

I understand the Mini 30 (7.62 x 39) is very popular in Hawaii for hunting pigs, some of which reach weights of over 700 lbs. And who can forget the Asian-American store owners with their Mini 14’s protecting their businesses from the roof tops against the roving bands during the Rodney King Riots? The AR-15 can also be purchased with the 7.62 x 39, the 6.8 Rem. SPC and other cartridges effective for deer sized game as well as self-defense; it is the only rifle commonly available which may be easily switched from one cartridge to another.

“I’ll let you know they never bothered him, All day and all night long, he had a gun on each shoulder and he marched from where our store was … to our home, and that was back and forth all evening.” Edith Carpenter retelling how her father patrolled with guns visible & other black residents armed themselves – Springfield Il riots Aug 14th 1908

Everybody needs a .22lr (Long Rifle) rimfire. There are more .22 cartridges manufactured and shot each year around the world than any other sporting cartridge. They are fun and inexpensive to shoot, and have many uses including practice, removing vermin and varmints, and self-defense.

Often it is said that the .22lr is not powerful enough to be used for self-defense, but when asked no one with this opinion has ever volunteered to be a target for one. I spoke to a young man from Mexico once who told of traveling with his mother as a child when they were stopped by banditos.

His mother produced an ancient .22 handgun and pointed it at one of the banditos and instructed them to leave them alone. One of the bandits said “that’s only a “veinti dos” – she responded “se’, solamente calibre veinti dos” (yes this is only a twenty-two). The two thugs looked at one another, shrugged and left.

The most popular .22lr rifle is the Ruger 10/22. It is reliable and fun to shoot, and easy to learn to shoot well. I also like the Marlin “Papoose” .22 also which is a “take-down” version allowing the barrel to be screwed off for easy storage or transportation or even back-packing. Marlin and Savage both make good, reliable, inexpensive .22lr rifles.

” … the right to defend one’s home and one’s person when attacked has been guaranteed through the ages by common law.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community

By making wise choices one can be prepared for any situation which might require a rifle or carbine. With a .22lr, a .223 Rem. and a good .308 one would be well suited for nearly any foreseeable purpose for which a rifle would be required (while many elephants and Alaska brown bears have been taken with .308’s that is asking a bit much from the cartridge.) These three are also generally among the most abundantly available rifle cartridges.

Cartridge Choices for Rifle / Carbine

Following is a list of suggested cartridges with availability, functionality, and usefulness in mind. Many of these are current, former or experimental US and NATO military cartridges. A number of others are European or former communist bloc military cartridges.

This helps with both ammunition and rifle availability and generally lowers costs as well. It also insures that the cartridges and the firearms that chamber them have been thoroughly tried and tested. Bear in mind that any cartridge which is useful for hunting will also have some application for self-defense.

I have included some common magnum cartridges. Be mindful that any with the Magnum designation will be more costly to shoot and stock ammunition for. And, the rifles which shoot these cartridges are generally heavier than other rifles suitable for the other cartridges and the recoil produced by these cartridges is often considered excessive for the average person.

Personal weapons are what raised mankind out of the mud, and the rifle is the queen of personal weapons. The possession of a good rifle, as well as the skill to use it well, truly makes a man the monarch of all he surveys.” Col. Jeff Cooper, The Art of the Rifle, founder Gunsight Academy

The Handgun

A handgun is for fighting your way to your rifle which you shouldn’t have put down in the first place” Clint Smith, Thunder Ranch Training Academy

Years ago I determined I would not go unarmed in the forest any longer. The incidence of people – even armed hunters – being attacked & consumed has increased over the years in the mountains where I live. Bears, especially Grizzly, lions and wolves have all endangered humans, even in town (I have a friend who had to shoot a 400+ lb bear through the Plexiglas door of her porch to save herself). It was pointed out to me that the book of Revelation foretells of an increase of beasts coming to attack humans.

Once when I was bringing out the meat from an elk I had hunted I saw an increasing number of wolf tracks. I was on my final trip with sled and a back-pack full of meat when the sun went down and things got a bit interesting.

While I was aware of the wolf pack shadowing me before darkness fell, after that they became bolder and howled and snarled and debated with me over the ownership of the elk. I must admit had I not been armed I may have felt intimidated.

I had left my rifle back at the truck for convenience after my first trip but I was comforted by my Glock 29 which is a 10mm. With 12 rounds in the gun and 12 more already loaded in a magazine in my pocket I found the situation more interesting than intimidating. Since wolves can weigh as much as a human, I don’t think a band of human ruffians would have had any more success in robbing me than those wolves had. That’s the purpose of a hand gun – to be available any time.

“To him in whom the primitive virtues of courage, energy and love of adventure have not been slapped, there is scarce a joy comparable to that of roaming at will through wild region, viewing the glories of the unspoiled earth and feeling the inexpressible thrill of manliness sore tested by privation and hazard but armed and undismayed”. Horace Kephart Camping and Woodcraft 1917

There are two main types of handguns: the pistol and the revolver. Most pistols are semi-automatic, meaning the firearm will re-load its chamber after each shot and be ready to shoot with each press of the trigger. This is also true with the double action revolver in the sense that for each shot, the cylinder turns, aligning the next round for firing when the trigger is pressed.

There is a second type of revolver generally recognized as the “cowboy gun” which is the single action revolver. The single action revolver requires that the hammer be cocked after each shot before the next shot can be taken. A well made revolver is generally very rugged, trouble-free and simple to use.

The semi-auto uses a removable magazine which actually holds the ammunition. More ammunition can be prepared in extra magazines available for quickly reloading of a semi-automatic pistol if desired or required.

The magazine is sometimes incorrectly called a clip, but a clip does not remain in the firearm (generally a rifle) after the last shot, but flies out preparing the firearm for another clip full of loaded cartridges. The magazine on the other hand can be quickly removed and replaced with a fresh magazine. Pistols may be had with magazine capacity varying from as few as 5 to as many as 19 and there are magazines available which hold many more.

The revolver may be able to chamber from 5 to as many as 10 cartridges, and while not as quick to reload as a pistol there are speed loaders available for revolvers which make it almost as fast. Generally, revolvers are available in more powerful cartridges than pistols which is useful in certain applications; especially hunting and defense against large predators. The revolver is generally less finicky about hand loaded ammunition than an auto loading pistol, a factor which should be taken into consideration.

Some good brands of revolver are Smith & Wesson, Ruger, Taurus, Colt and Charter Arms. Some highly regarded pistols are made by Glock, Springfield Armory, Smith & Wesson, Kahr, and Kel-Tec. There are many other brands – some much more expensive and many less reliable or available than these brands, but these are tried, tested and available.

For a pistol cartridge I generally recommend the .40 S&W which is the most widely used police cartridge in America. If this proves to be too much recoil then a 9mm would be the next choice. The Glock is the pistol of choice and the one by which all other self-defense pistols are generally judged.

In a revolver the .357 is the place to begin looking. With the ability to shoot less expensive .38 Special rounds through the same handgun it is a very flexible cartridge and has the most impressive history of one-shot stops against criminals in the hands of police and armed citizens when the proper bullets are chosen.

Specifically for the .22lr I like the Walther P22 auto-loader and a Taurus 94 9-shot revolver. In the .380 auto the Kel-Tec P 3-AT is highly regarded and the Ruger LCP is a popular copy.

“I had my bible and I had my gun. And I knew I was safe. And I tell you what, I’m a regular Annie Oakley if you come fool with me or my family – I’m gonna let you have it buddy.” Rev. Marie Gilatus – Baptist minister New Orleans, after Hurricane Katrina

.357 Magnum may shoot .38 Special cartridges

This is not reversible; as an example a .357 Magnum may shoot .38 Special cartridges – but not the other way around. Most of these hand gun cartridges may also be found in certain carbines and rifles.

“The mission of the defensive pistol is to provide immediate protection against unexpected, life-threatening criminal violence. Unexpected is the point. Forewarned, one would go out of his way to avoid the situation, while calling in the gendarmes; or if that were impossible, he would fetch a rifle or shotgun, which are decidedly more effective tools for repelling boarders than any pistol…” Finn Aagaard, Concealed Carry, Finn Aagaard Selected Works 2007


“You can say ‘stop’ or ‘alto’ or use any other word you think will work but I’ve found that a large-bore muzzle pointed at someone’s head is pretty much the universal language” Clint Smith Thunder Ranch Training Academy

I knew a man who was a burglar before he was converted and convinced otherwise. He told me that he was cured of his crimes – not by his time in prison, but by his short time staring down the barrel of a 12 gauge shotgun. The shotgun is probably the most flexible long gun you can own.

It is widely available, and legal to own in many areas – even nations – which limit the ownership of other long arms and hand guns. For the urban dweller this is probably the long arm you should look at first for self-defense. One of the primary safety rules for using firearms is knowing your target and what is beyond it.

With bird shot someone in an apartment or condo is less likely to have a shot continue through a wall into an unseen individual in another room – or building.

The primary choices for a Shotgun are:

  • 12 Gauge
  • 20 Gauge

Shotgun shells proved to be much more readily available in past ammunition shortages caused by various political and economic influences. This is something to be considered by anyone who has not planned ahead for unforeseen eventualities.

“If you use a handgun, the jury may understand, but if you use a shotgun, you are a gentleman.” A judge who wishes to remain anonymous.

Shotguns are very flexible and useful long arms. The most flexible and useful is the 12 gauge, but the 20 gauge is nearly so. Part of the flexibility of a shotgun is in the wide variety of ammunition which any shotgun may use.

The shotgun shell may be chosen with smaller pellets which are good for small game and various game birds. In a defensive context, shells with smaller and more numerous pellets provide a devastating effect with less chance of over-penetrating through walls and endangering people beyond the intended target. A shotgun may also use larger pellets and buck shot for penetration and stopping power.

These were originally designed for hunting big game and larger game birds and waterfowl, but have been useful in defensive scenarios by military, police and civilians. A shotgun may also shoot slugs which are designed for hunting big game and serve the same purpose as a bullet through a rifle.

The most useful and readily available shotgun for defensive, hunting and preparedness is a pump-action shotgun, although there are some very adequate semi-auto shotguns. However, a pump-action shotgun is much less likely to jam or reject ammunition which might jam in an auto-loader which is a consideration when choosing a reliable shotgun.

A shotgun may be fitted with a number of various barrels designed for different purposes. It may be fitted with a shorter barrel that is easier to maneuver for defensive purposes as well as certain hunting applications.

It can also be fitted with a longer barrel extending the usefulness for a number of specific hunting applications. And, it can be fitted with a rifled barrel or rifled choke useful in extending the accuracy range of shotgun slugs for hunting and certain defensive applications. The Mossberg 500 also has the unique attribute of a black powder rifle barrel which expands its usefulness in areas where muzzle-loader hunting is allowed or required.

The two shotguns generally chosen for the preparedness scenario are the Remington 870 and the Mossberg 500. These two shotguns are chosen by the military, police and hunters more than any other shotguns because of their usefulness and dependability. I have also heard good things about the Savage 350 and the Winchester 1300, although I have less personal experience with these.

“Among the natural rights of the colonists are these, First, a right to life, Secondly to Liberty. Thirdly, to property, together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can. These are evident branches of, rather than deductions from, the duty of self-preservation, commonly called the first law of nature.” – Samuel Adams

Choose your weapons

The time to prepare is before you need your weapons. Any working gun is better than your clinched fist and a telephone. The first rule for winning a gun fight is having a gun. The more you train with a firearm, the less likely you will need to use it. At the minimum you ought to have a handgun, a long arm, and a .22 in either persuasion, and then get some ammunition and some training and learn to be proficient with what you have.

The more proficient your are – the more confident you will be, and confidence is often what separates the successful from the vanquished. The late Col. Jeff Cooper used to say “you can’t make an appointment for an emergency”. If you knew the emergency was coming you would avoid it. Therefore do all you can to be prepared to get through any emergency and be in a position to help others if necessary.


Ammo is cheap… Life is expensive. Without ammunition your firearm is an expensive club. In the current climate you should consider stocking up on more ammunition than you think you can shoot. Just in the past few years there have been a number of ammunition shortages and none of them were directly related to legislation.

That situation could change any time, and any number of other factors could cause another shortage. In fact while there haven’t been any runs on the banks lately (that also could change instantly) there have been a number of runs on ammunition nationally.

If you choose from one of the common or very common cartridges in the list for ammunition you will most likely be able to find ammunition widely available. You will also find that this ammunition will be easily resalable in the future or during times of shortages. Common calibers and gauges of ammunition are also good bets for barter in uncertain times.

There are many brands of ammunition which can be considered adequate for practice and other uses other than self-defense. For self-defense and for hunting purposes it is important to get the best ammunition possible. Search the one-shot-stop ratio and don’t skimp on ammunition for these purposes, your life may depend upon it.

A handgun is a marginal stopper compared with almost any long arm so it is imperative to get the best ammunition possible to increase your odds of one shot stopping success. My first choice for a hand gun cartridge for self-defense begins with Cor-Bon, with the Barnes DPX bullet when possible.

There are many other very good defensive loads including Federal Hydra-Shok, Remington Golden Saber, Speer Gold Dot, Winchester’s Supreme Elite, and Hornady Critical Defense, among others. For hunting with a handgun and protection against large predators and other rogue beasts, penetration and power are of utmost importance.

For these purposes I look to Cor-Bon hunting loads, Buffalo Bore hunting loads, Federal hunting loads, and any of the various brands that use Nosler Partition bullets, all of which are designed with big game in mind.

“God created men and women, Col. Colt made them equal”

For rifle ammo once again you may stock up on military ammunition which has full metal jacketed (FMJ) bullets. For hunting you will need to acquire any of the many good types of hunting ammunition on the market which usually have a bullet meant to expand for quicker kills on animals.

There are many premium brands of ammunition which in most cases are worth their extra cost for their superior successful stopping ratios. I recommend Federal Fusion, Hornady Superformance and any of the various brands that use Barnes or Nosler Partition bullets. Hornady also makes the TAP brand of rifle ammunition designed specifically for civilian self-defense.

If you are using a traditional lever-action with a tubular magazine – like most 30-30’s and 45-70’s – I highly recommend the LEVERevolution ammunition by Hornady it will be well worth having over any other lever-action ammunition currently on the market today.

“Any gun will do – if you will do.” Dr. Ignatius Piazza, Front Sight Firearms Training Institute


Lastly get some training. If you don’t know how to use your firearm safely you will not be as prepared as you could be. Americans tend to feel prepared once they have the right equipment. Having a gun you haven’t trained with is like having a hammer and nails and thinking you have already completed your home project.

There are numerous excellent firearms training facilities around the nation; at least sign up for your local Concealed Weapons Course and learn as much as you can. You do not need to apply for a Concealed Weapons Permit just because you took the course, but it may be something you’ll want to do. Once you learn the basics you can become more proficient by dry practice.

Perfect practice makes one perfectly proficient – but poor practice only improves your imperfections. Learn to use your firearms and enjoy them when you can. The proper use of firearms is truly an enjoyable pastime and one of the more useful talents to have at certain times in life. If you were trained today, it might not be too soon. Today we are not preparing for a future time of peril, we are living in perilous times.

“A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be your constant companion of your walks.” Thomas Jefferson

This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest where you could win:

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About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. Lloyd P,
    Excellent post and well presented.

    For those of us with limited budget (ok, most of us) here is a possible option to expand a shotgun’s hunting potential.

    They make inserts for shotguns that take pistol and some rifle ammo. The price is very reasonable. Most are intended for a breakopen type of shotgun but there is a 2 3/4 in. length insert for pumps and such.

  2. What a great article. Well thought and written. I plan to become a NRA certified firearms instructor in 2012 through my gun club and will reference this article to my students. Plus it will give them a chance to learn about the Wolf Pack.

  3. Old Hillbilly says:

    I guess the fact that John Browning’s venerable old 1911 turns 100 years old this year needs to at least be mentioned here as well as the primary cartirdge it was desiged for, the .45 acp . The longivity of this warhorse speaks for itself as to how effective it was, is, and will continue to be in any situation requiring the use of force. It is reliable and parts are readily available. As far as stopping power, when discussions about the .45 acp come up in relation to smaller calibers, a friend of mine is fond of saying “having to shoot something twice to stop it is just silly”.

    • Actually the handgun known as the 1911 is more than 120 years old. John Browning developed the basic firearm in 1889 and the current designation was applied by the US Military as they are often want to do with certain types of equipment, designating it the Model 1911 for the year it was first placed into service.
      Perhaps more interestinly, despite the improvements in materials, the basic gun we use today would still be recognized by John Browning if we could bring him into the future.

      • Old Hillbilly says:

        Yes, no doubt Browning was developing it long before it’s U.S. Patent Date of 2/14/11 and it’s adoption by the U.S. Military in March, 1911 which is what my 100 year anniversary was in reference to. I agree totally that Mr. Bowning would still recognize it and I imagine he would be quite proud of the advancements that have been made in it’s function and accuracy over the years. Quality and durability rarely go out of style.

    • not when you miss it

  4. Really nice post. I bet that took some time. It almost doesn’t matter what you get, just get something and practice with it. It doesn’t matter how much ammo you have if you can’t hit your target.

  5. Nicely written information for the many who are waking up to the realities we are facing in today’s world.

    • axelsteve says:

      Good point Notsomuch. I am hoping that more and more people are waking up.The more who realize it are less people that we need to worry about.

  6. This is an extremely well done report. The only thing I would add is know how to clean them too.

  7. Chilly Beaver says:

    Well balanced post, it was nice to read a well thought out post on guns and ammunition without going over the deep end into technobabble. I think this would appeal to a wide audience of people with limited experience without sending them away scratching their heads. Thanks Lloyd P.

  8. Great post! Well thought out and presented. A must read for all young and/or new preppers. Good for us old timers too.

  9. Lloyd,
    Good introduction and discussion of basics of firearms. I have a few additions and comments.

    Revolver vs. Semi-Automatic.
    • The revolver is generally easier to learn and requires a bit less training in a tactical situation. If it goes click (assuming it isn’t empty) you simply pull the trigger again. The downside is that it has a limited capacity, but can be reloaded rather quickly with a speed loader and practice.
    • The semi-auto has the advantage of a large capacity without reloading, but when it goes click, especially in a stressful tactical situation, you had better have practiced malfunction drills until you can do them in your sleep.

    Also, when you mention a one shot stop, you are talking about a myth. In most force on force engagements the first shot goes high something like 98% of the time. When you practice tactical, you should always practice double or triple taps to center mass. An extra shot in most cases won’t be a problem if the first shot was lethal; however, if the first shot is not effective and you haven’t practiced, then subsequent shots may take more time than you have available.

    It seems that everyone has heard the old adage, “Practice makes perfect” and your mention of perfect practice making perfect is something we try to stress in all of our classes. Practice can make perfectly bad habits.

    You also mentioned training for concealed carry even if there is no intention of getting a license, and I absolutely agree. People who come through our classes sometimes re-think getting the license because we given them the straight facts about rules, rights, and responsibility of owning and especially carrying a firearm that sometimes spooks them. I try to stress that once you qualify and assuming you can afford the license/permit that you should get one even if you’re not sure you want to carry as it gives you that option. Additionally, when a large number of people have licenses in your state it sends a message to both criminals and politicians (assuming there’s a difference). If you could reach a level of say 10% it would mean that a criminal walking into an establishment with intent to do bad things would realize that on average 1 in 10 folks could shoot him dead. For the politicians and the gun grabber, when 10% of the population own guns and the crime rate goes down and there are no shootouts in the street, their scare tactics and rhetoric lose credibility.

    • Tammie Faulk says:

      I took two classes, but never applied for concealed carry. I don’t presently feel proficient enough to risk shooting in public. And my .357 is too big for me to conceal easily, in my opinion. But the main reason was that I fear being on a list that the government can use against me to confiscate weapons someday, or the local paper can publish for all to see. The Commercial Appeal has done it before. Then criminals know whose house to rob to get a gun. What do you think about my fears?

      • Tammie: your fears are common enough, and at present not really substantiated by reality, other than the dotgov may have a list of houses to visit. Criminals going to the wrong house to steal may find themselves recipient to some of the training a CCW carrier has.
        Your lack of proficiency can be remedied as well: shoot more under good supervision- someone who really knows what they’re doing. Visit a local gun club and ask about team coaches who may be able to help. Check the NRA website for clubs near you that offer instruction.
        As to carrying the .357, perhaps carrying it in a waist pack or get a concealment purse.
        The best advice to give you, however, is this: Visit for the best women’s advice you’ll ever get.

      • Tammie Faulk,
        First of all when you state, “I don’t presently feel proficient enough to risk shooting in public”, I have to thank you for being both honest and responsible. Admitting to yourself that you have weaknesses is first of all the responsible action in this case, but also should be the inspiration to get more training and become proficient enough to feel safe carrying in public.

        As for being concerned about being on a list, if these were NRA classes then the NRA already has a list, and if not, the instructors or the sponsoring group probably does. I don’t expect them to just hand it over to anyone, but if we ever let it get to the point of confiscation there may not be an option when the SWAT team raids NRA HQ; however, I think we’re a long way from that happening if ever. As for being on another list, unless you bought the gun for cash from a private individual who is a stranger and no one (even those who were in your classes) knows you have it, then you are either already on a list, or could be added if the aforementioned scenario occurs. I still think the best option is for every law abiding citizen to have the license and obey the law. The more of us that have a license (even if you don’t carry) and the less problems that are seen with firearms violence in society, the less powerful the anti-gun forces will become over time, and the more we will be able to act as a group to remind our politicians that firearms ownership is a right, not a privilege.

        As to your .357 being too large to carry, I’m assuming that is a large frame firearm and is too bulky to carry, since you didn’t mention the model. If you are serious about eventually carrying, I would recommend two things for you to do. Find another smaller firearm with which you are comfortable and purchase it or at least start saving money for it; and, take some additional training &/or get in some more range time to practice and become proficient.

        BTW, since you’re reading and posting here you are probably already on yet another list, or could be, LOL. I for one plan to live my life as I see fit and not cower because someone might not like what I do. This of course does not mean blatantly disobeying any laws.

  10. How did the lady get a gun in Mexico? I am a foreigner living here and if one crosses the border with a store bought gun from the U.S. it is an automatic 5 year prison sentence. Even if you have ONE bullet. Not even a gun. I am not risking that. Also foreigners cannot own guns here in Mexico. Until the laws are changed I am a sitting duck.

    • How did the lady get a gun in Mexico?
      Haven’t you heard? The current Socialist regime is gun running to Mexico to discredit legal private gun ownership. (operation fast& furious).
      Change you can believe in baby – the end of democracy

      Great job on the post Lloyd – well written and thorough. Especially liked the quote inserts.

    • Say hello to alternatives –
      -Pepper Spray
      -Thrown knives (not my first choice)
      -Improvised weapons (cans of Raid, hair spray, etc..)

      Remember there is always hiring someone that can own a weapon. And if they are also a great chef of driver – its a 2 for 1.

      just sayin….

    • What? There are no guns in Mexico, Bane? Hmmm… veddy intristink, considering all the killing that’s going on there these days. Is it possible we’re being fed falshoods by the federales and our dotgov?
      You’re only a sitting duck if you want to be, laws or no laws.

  11. great article and great advice

  12. templar knight says:

    Great article, Lloyd. This is one of the most well thought-out articles I’ve ever seen on this subject. Were I a newbie to firearms I could find much of the info I need here, and as a somewhat practiced gun owner I find much here as well.

    I do love my big bore handguns, and I would have liked to see you singing the praising of the .44 magnum/.44 special revolver/carbine and the .45 auto pistol. But I have the .357 magnum/.38 special combo as well, so I have no cause to complain.

    The elegance of the bolt-action rifle is a factor in its favor, but the tactics of today give the edge to the AR and AK platforms. I can’t argue with your scattergun logic either, so I’ll just say I wish I had written this article. It says just about everything I would want said on the subject. Congratulations.

  13. Thanks for your informative post. It came just at the right time for me. I will probably be purchasing my first firearm in a month or two. I will probably not feel finished with my responsibility in this area until I have four. For those of you who have so much more experience with this, I have a few questions.

    First, just so you know a bit about me I do appreciate durability, but I almost never pay top dollar. For tools I know I will use regularly the rest of my life I will buy pretty good (eg. craftsman lifetime). For something I have never used, not sure I will ever actually use – fence puller, angle grinder, bolt cutter – I just don’t have the money to spare (I am on a very tight budget!!!). Its garage sale stuff and harbor freight or northern tools. If it does its job for the day/week without breaking I’m ok, If it works through two different jobs I’m pleased. If I find I actually might use it regularly than I know I’ll probably have to upgrade. Ok, so I’m a tightwad…

    So knowing that, what does a rational person like LloydP think of this list in this order:

    Ruger 10/22 – want to have a 22lr and will use this riffle to learn and practice
    Remington 770
    Nice 12 gage pump shotgun – my father wants to pass this down to me, but wont be able to mail it for about 5 months.
    Handgun? – do I need this If it is going to be locked and out of sight of my two boys 2 yo and 3 mo for the next 13 years? If there is chaos I will have the long guns out and handy.

    Also I would prefer to purchase a shotgun first before any of the others, but I’m not sure I should spend the money when I know I will be getting a very nice (collector quality) firearm from my father in 5 months. Should I go ahead and buy a cheap break barrel shot gun? how much of a hit should I expect if I were to buy a cheap used shotgun from a local dealer and then sell it back to them in less than a year?

    Thanks in advance for any advice. But don’t try to convince me to spend $1000s on firearms it just won’t happen. I expect to get this done for about $800 or $900 with a good amount (1000 or so) of ammo for each. (remember I’m inheriting the shotgun)

    • MikeM – my 2 cents on this is to buy the ruger 10/.22 – they keep their value, next the renington 870 12ga (also retains value)

      just sayin……

    • leland in AZ says:

      Buy a mossberg or maverick in 12 mor 20 gauge. You can catch them on sale or at Walmart for under 250 out the door. learn how to use it. Birdshot is for birds and practice or birds.

    • The 10-22 is practical, as is any .22 really. However, don’t buy with the intention of selling ‘as soon as’ something else comes up. hang onto them. Your boys won’t be small forever and will need to learn weapon skills, too.
      The 870 is probably the most recommended shotty, but there are others that fill the niche. As mentioned, the Mossberg is the second most suggested. The Maverick is a Mossberg and as well made, but cheaper. Think JC Higgins and Marlin or Winchester. As a matter of preference, I’d suggest a 20 gauge rather than 12: it’s easy to hand down to a smaller shooter.
      As to heirloom weapons: do you plan on using it? Be sure to get it checked by a competant gunsmith. Nothing wrong with heirlooms, to be sure, except you can’t be sure of their reliability.
      As to the cost of a weapon, one question: How much value do you place on the lives of your children, your wife, yourself? Don’t sell yourself cheap. But especially don’t sell your family cheap.
      Raise your boys around the weapons, teach them the rules and that they’re not toys, and instill in them the reasons for having weapons.

    • MikeM
      I understand waiting to be frugal and making the right choices for the long term. If you are getting a nice shotgun in a few months which will fill you needs, than work on the other items until then. I think the 770 Rem is a good firearm, but you might look at the Savage 110. The Savage is in the same price range – a bit lower if you shop – parts are more readily available (for repairs down the road if needed) and it is a more accurate rifle in my estimation. If you get one of the newer ones with the Accu-trigger you are even better off because factory triggers are usually not that great, but the Accu-trigger can be adjusted.

      A hand gun does not have to be locked up at all times. You can take it out when needed and wear it – even if you are carry a long gun, the side arm is a good back up in many situations. Since you are getting a Ruger 10-22 (which is a great choice) why not consider a .22 LR hand gun. You can have fun with it and your kids when they are a little older – and will have fun shooting it with you (get them eye protection & ear protection of their own). This is a great way to introduce them to safety and also the enjoyment of firearms ownership and use, as well as the responsibility that comes with it.

  14. Well done , I have a decent inventory , one thing I try to do is limit the number of different calibers . I stick to what works for me , all my handguns are the same cal. the rifles ( that I actually use and not the antiques ) are only 3 different cal. The shotguns are the same as well . This makes it easier to stock up on ammunition . Ignore arguments about what is ” best ” and stick with what your comfortable with and can afford . Most important thing is to have SOMETHING , if you can only afford an old pawn shop pistol , then get it ………… just be one of the armed populace vs. being caught without . Everyones situation is different and what you are most likely to need will also be different . I think it was Jefferson that said ” the beauty of the 2nd amendment is that it will never be needed until they try to take it away “

  15. j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

    Very good article – thank you for taking the time to write it, well worth printing out for study. I would also recommend adding an air rifle – good for practice in the backyard, great for small vermin removal – all with very low sound signature. If times get tough, silence will be golden.

    Again – great article.

    • Aye that , a good air rifle is better than a 22 in my book . If you get a pump action , that saves you from having to prep for CO2 cartridges .

  16. What is a good alternative to a pistol?

    In Canada it is much harder to get a license for a pistol than a rifle license (a pistol is a restricted weapon as is an AR). I’d like something for close defense without the hassle of going to get a restricted weapons license.

    Any suggestions?

    • Exile1981,

      Don’t know the restrictions in Canada but look into a Taser

      • Thank but no can do a Taser is a prohibited weapon and falls in the same category as fully automatic weapons, sawed off shotguns c. Here is the prohibited list that you can’t get a license for.


        Prohibited firearms, devices, and weapons are: ■ full-automatic firearms
        ■ sawed-off rifles or shotguns with barrel length less than 457mm (18 inches); this does not apply to firearms manufactured with short barrels
        ■ sawed-off rifles or shotguns with overall length less than 660mm (26 inches); this does not apply to firearms manufactured with short stocks or short barrels
        ■ handguns with a barrel less than 105mm (4.14 inches), except certain specifically listed competition handguns which are restricted
        ■ handguns in caliber .25 or .32, except certain specifically listed competition handguns which are restricted
        ■ silencers
        ■ large capacity magazines for a semi-automatic center-fire firearm. What constitutes “large capacity” varies; as a general rule, the maximum capacity is 5 rounds for long guns, 10 rounds for handguns “commonly found in Canada”, and 5 rounds for handguns “not commonly found in Canada.” Magazines for rimfire cartridges, the 8-round clips used in the M1 Garand, and 10 round Lee Enfield rifle magazines are exempted by name from this prohibition.
        ■ any of a long list of firearms specifically listed as prohibited. With few exceptions, if it has a remotely military appearance, it is prohibited.
        ■ replicas of firearms
        ■ any type of Taser or other firearm that discharges a dart or other object carrying an electrical current.
        ■ tear gas, Mace or other gas, or any liquid spray, power or other substance that is capable of injuring, immobilizing or otherwise incapacitating any person
        ■ any type of stun gun or other electrical charge device of length less than 480mm

        Restricted weapons include any handguns and any semi automatic weapons except rimfire ones (so a semi auto 22 is legal a semi auto 308 is not… unless you have a restricted license.)

        The following are weapons that they passed special orders from gov’t to make prohibited even if they didn’t meet the requirements for prohinited. Basicly a committee sat down and looked at pictures and decided what to ban based on look and if it had been in an Arnold movie. They used to be called Prohibited weapons orders No X, now they rolled them into the firearms act and they are called former prohibited weapons order # x; they are still prohibited but the orders are part of a different act now.

        Former Prohibited Weapons Order No. 3

        Any firearm capable of discharging a dart or other object carrying an electrical current or substance, including the firearm of the design commonly known as the Taser Public Defender and any variant or modified version of it.

        Former Prohibited Weapons Order No. 8

        The firearm known as the SSS-1 Stinger and any similar firearm designed or of a size to fit in the palm of the hand.

        Former Prohibited Weapons Order No. 11
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the Franchi SPAS-12 shotgun, and any variant or modified version of it, including the Franchi LAW 12 shotgun.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the Striker shotgun, and any variant or modified version of it, including the Striker 12 shotgun and the Streetsweeper shotgun.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the USAS-12 Auto Shotgun, and any variant or modified version of it.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the Franchi SPAS-15 shotgun, and any variant or modified version of it.
        • The firearms of the designs commonly known as the Benelli M1 Super 90 shotgun and the Benelli M3 Super 90 shotgun, and any variants or modified versions of them, with the exception of the: ◦M1 Super 90 Field;
        ◦M1 Super 90 Sporting Special;
        ◦ Montefeltro Super 90;
        ◦Montefeltro Super 90 Standard Hunter;
        ◦ Montefeltro Super 90 Left Hand;
        ◦Montefeltro Super 90 Turkey;
        ◦ Montefeltro Super 90 Uplander;
        ◦ Montefeltro Super 90 Slug;
        ◦ Montefeltro Super 90 20 Gauge;
        ◦ Black Eagle;
        ◦ Black Eagle Limited Edition;
        ◦ Black Eagle Competition;
        ◦ Black Eagle Slug Gun;
        ◦ Super Black Eagle; and
        ◦Super Black Eagle Custom Slug.

        •The firearms of the designs commonly known as the Bernardelli B4 shotgun and the Bernardelli B4/B shotgun, and any variants or modified versions of them.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the American 180 Auto Carbine, and any variant or modified version of it, including the AM-180 Auto Carbine and the Illinois Arms Company Model 180 Auto Carbine.
        • The firearms of the designs commonly known as the Barrett “Light Fifty” Model 82A1 rifle and the Barrett Model 90 rifle, and any variants or modified versions of them.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the Calico M-900 rifle, and any variant or modified version of it, including the M-951 carbine, M-100 carbine and M-105 carbine.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the Iver Johnson AMAC long-range rifle, and any variant or modified version of it.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the McMillan M87 rifle, and any variant or modified version of it, including the McMillan M87R rifle and the McMillan M88 carbine.
        • The firearms of the designs commonly known as the Pauza Specialties P50 rifle and P50 carbine, and any variants or modified versions of them.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the Encom MK-IV carbine, and any variant or modified version of it.
        • The firearms of the designs commonly known as the Encom MP-9 and MP-45 carbines, and any variants or modified versions of them.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the FAMAS rifle, and any variant or modified version of it, including the MAS 223, FAMAS Export, FAMAS Civil and Mitchell MAS/22.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the Feather AT-9 Semi-Auto Carbine, and any variant or modified version of it, including the Feather AT-22 Auto Carbine.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the Federal XC-450 Auto Rifle, and any variant or modified version of it, including the Federal XC-900 rifle and Federal XC-220 rifle.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the Gepard long-range sniper rifle, and any variant or modified version of it.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the Heckler and Koch (HK) Model G11 rifle, and any variant or modified version of it.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the Research Armament Industries (RAI) Model 500 rifle, and any variant or modified version of it.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the Spectre Auto Carbine, and any variant or modified version of it.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the US Arms PMAI “Assault” 22 rifle, and any variant or modified version of it.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the Weaver Arms Nighthawk Carbine, and any variant or modified version of it.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the A.A. Arms AR9 Semi-Automatic Rifle, and any variant or modified version of it.
        • The firearms of the designs commonly known as the Claridge HI-TEC C, LEC-9 and ZLEC-9 carbines, and any variants or modified versions of them.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the Kimel Industries AR-9 rifle or carbine, and any variant or modified version of it.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the Grendel R-31 Auto Carbine, and any variant or modified version of it.
        • The firearms of the designs commonly known as the Maadi Griffin Rifle and the Maadi Griffin Carbine, and any variants or modified versions of them.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the AA Arms Model AR-9 carbine, and any variant or modified version of it.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the Bushmaster Auto Pistol, and any variant or modified version of it.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the Calico M-950 Auto Pistol, and any variant or modified version of it, including the M-110 pistol.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the Encom MK-IV assault pistol, and any variant or modified version of it.
        • The firearms of the designs commonly known as the Encom MP-9 and MP-45 assault pistols, and any variants or modified versions of them, including the Encom MP-9 and MP-45 mini pistols.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the Federal XP-450 Auto Pistol, and any variant or modified version of it, including the XP-900 Auto Pistol.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the Heckler and Koch (HK) SP89 Auto Pistol, and any variant or modified version of it.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the Intratec Tec-9 Auto Pistol, and any variant or modified version of it, including the Tec-9S, Tec-9M, Tec-9MS, and any semi-automatic variants of them, including the Tec-DC9, Tec-DC9M, Tec-9A, Tec-Scorpion, Tec-22T and Tec-22TN.
        • The firearms of the designs commonly known as the Iver Johnson Enforcer Model 3000 Auto Pistol and the Iver Johnson Plainfield Super Enforcer Carbine, and any variants or modified versions of them.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the Skorpion Auto Pistol, and any variant or modified version of it.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the Spectre Auto Pistol, and any variant or modified version of it.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the Sterling Mk 7 pistol, and any variant or modified version of it, including the Sterling Mk 7 C4 and Sterling Mk 7 C8.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the Universal Enforcer Model 3000 Auto Carbine, and any variant or modified version of it, including the Universal Enforcer Model 3010N, Model 3015G, Model 3020TRB and Model 3025TCO Carbines.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the US Arms PMAIP “Assault” 22 pistol, and any variant or modified version of it.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the Goncz High-Tech Long Pistol, and any variant or modified version of it, including the Claridge Hi-Tec models S, L, T, ZL-9 and ZT-9 pistols.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the Leader Mark 5 Auto Pistol, and any variant or modified version of it.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the OA-93 assault pistol, and any variant or modified version of it.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the A.A. Arms AP9 Auto Pistol, and any variant or modified version of it.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the Patriot pistol, and any variant or modified version of it.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the XM 231S pistol, and any variant or modified version of it, including the A1, A2 and A3 Flattop pistols.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the AA Arms Model AP-9 pistol, and any variant or modified version of it, including the Target AP-9 and the Mini AP-9 pistols.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the Kimel Industries AP-9 pistol, and any variant or modified version of it.
        • The firearms of the designs commonly known as the Grendel P-30, P-30 M, P-30 L and P-31 pistols, and any variants or modified versions of them.
        • The firearms of the designs commonly known as the Claridge HI-TEC ZL-9, HI-TEC S, HI-TEC L, HI-TEC T, HI-TEC ZT-9 and HI-TEC ZL-9 pistols, and any variants or modified versions of them.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the Steyr SPP Assault Pistol, and any variant or modified version of it.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the Maadi Griffin Pistol, and any variant or modified version of it.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the Interdynamics KG-99 Assault Pistol, and any variant or modified version of it.

        Former Prohibited Weapons Order No. 12 (in effect since October 1, 1992)
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the Sterling Mk 6 Carbine, and any variant or modified version of it.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the Steyr AUG rifle, and any variant or modified version of it.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the UZI carbine, and any variant or modified version of it, including the UZI Model A carbine and the Mini-UZI carbine.
        • The firearms of the designs commonly known as the Ingram M10 and M11 pistols, and any variants or modified versions of them, including the Cobray M10 and M11 pistols, the RPB M10, M11, SM10 and SM11 pistols and the SWD M10, M11, SM10 and SM11 pistols.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the Partisan Avenger Auto Pistol, and any variant or modified version of it.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the UZI pistol, and any variant or modified version of it, including the Micro-UZI pistol.

        Top of Page

        Former Prohibited Weapons Order No. 13 (in effect since January 1, 1995)
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the AK-47 rifle, and any variant or modified version of it except for the Valmet Hunter, the Valmet Hunter Auto and the Valmet M78 rifles, but including the: ◦(a) AK-74;
        ◦(b) AK Hunter;
        ◦ (c) AKM;
        ◦ (d) AKM-63;
        ◦ (e) AKS-56S;
        ◦ (f) AKS-56S-1;
        ◦ (g) AKS-56S-2;
        ◦ (h) AKS-74;
        ◦ (i) AKS-84S-1;
        ◦ (j) AMD-65;
        ◦ (k) AR Model .223;
        ◦ (l) Dragunov;
        ◦ (m) Galil;
        ◦ (n) KKMPi69;
        ◦ (o) M60;
        ◦ (p) M62;
        ◦ (q) M70B1;
        ◦ (r) M70AB2;
        ◦ (s) M76;
        ◦ (t) M77B1;
        ◦ (u) M78;
        ◦ (v) M80;
        ◦ (w) M80A;
        ◦ (x) MAK90;
        ◦ (y) MPiK;
        ◦ (z) MPiKM;
        ◦ (z.1) MPiKMS-72;
        ◦ (z.2) MPiKS;
        ◦ (z.3) PKM;
        ◦ (z.4) PKM-DGN-60;
        ◦ (z.5) PMKM;
        ◦ (z.6) RPK;
        ◦ (z.7) RPK-74;
        ◦ (z.8) RPK-87S;
        ◦ (z.9) Type 56;
        ◦ (z.10) Type 56-1;
        ◦ (z.11) Type 56-2;
        ◦ (z.12) Type 56-3;
        ◦ (z.13) Type 56-4;
        ◦ (z.14) Type 68;
        ◦ (z.15) Type 79;
        ◦ (z.16) American Arms AKY39;
        ◦ (z.17) American Arms AKF39;
        ◦ (z.18) American Arms AKC47;
        ◦ (z.19) American Arms AKF47;
        ◦ (z.20) MAM70WS762;
        ◦ (z.21) MAM70FS762;
        ◦ (z.22) Mitchell AK-22;
        ◦ (z.23) Mitchell AK-47;
        ◦ (z.24) Mitchell Heavy Barrel AK-47;
        ◦ (z.25) Norinco 84S;
        ◦ (z.26) Norinco 84S AK;
        ◦ (z.27) Norinco 56;
        ◦ (z.28) Norinco 56-1;
        ◦ (z.29) Norinco 56-2;
        ◦ (z.30) Norinco 56-3;
        ◦ (z.31) Norinco 56-4;
        ◦ (z.32) Poly Technologies Inc. AK-47/S;
        ◦ (z.33) Poly Technologies Inc. AKS-47/S;
        ◦ (z.34) Poly Technologies Inc. AKS-762;
        ◦ (z.35) Valmet M76;
        ◦ (z.36) Valmet M76 carbine;
        ◦ (z.37) Valmet M78/A2;
        ◦ (z.38) Valmet M78 (NATO) LMG;
        ◦ (z.39) Valmet M82; and
        ◦ (z.40) Valmet M82 Bullpup.

        •The firearm of the design commonly known as the Armalite AR-180 Sporter carbine, and any variant or modified version of it.
        •The firearm of the design commonly known as the Beretta AR70 assault rifle, and any variant or modified version of it.
        •The firearm of the design commonly known as the BM 59 rifle, and any variant or modified version of it, including: ◦the Beretta ■BM 59,
        ■ BM 59R,
        ■ BM 59GL,
        ■ BM 59D,
        ■ BM 59 Mk E,
        ■ BM 59 Mk I,
        ■BM 59 Mk Ital,
        ■BM 59 Mk II,
        ■ BM 59 Mk III,
        ■ BM 59 Mk Ital TA,
        ■BM 59 Mk Ital Para,
        ■ BM 59 Mk Ital TP, and
        ■ BM 60CB; and

        ◦the Springfield Armory: ■BM 59 Alpine,
        ■ BM 59 Alpine Paratrooper, and
        ■ BM 59 Nigerian Mk IV.

        •The firearm of the design commonly known as the Bushmaster Auto Rifle, and any variant or modified version of it.
        •The firearm of the design commonly known as the Cetme Sport Auto Rifle, and any variant or modified version of it.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the Daewoo K1 rifle, and any variant or modified version of it, including the Daewoo K1A1, K2, Max 1, Max 2, AR-100, AR 110C, MAXI-II and KC-20.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the Demro TAC-1M carbine, and any variant or modified version of it, including the Demro XF-7 Wasp Carbine.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the Eagle Apache Carbine, and any variant or modified version of it.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the FN-FNC rifle, and any variant or modified version of it, including the FNC Auto Rifle, FNC Auto Paratrooper, FNC-11, FNC-22 and FNC-33.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the FN-FAL (FN-LAR) rifle, and any variant or modified version of it, including the FN 308 Model 44, FN-FAL (FN-LAR) Competition Auto, FN-FAL (FN-LAR) Heavy Barrel 308 Match, FN-FAL (FN-LAR) Paratrooper 308 Match 50-64 and FN 308 Model 50-63.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the G3 rifle, and any variant or modified version of it, including the Heckler and Koch: ◦ HK 91;
        ◦ HK 91A2;
        ◦ HK 91A3;
        ◦ HK G3 A3;
        ◦ HK G3 A3 ZF;
        ◦ HK G3 A4;
        ◦ HK G3 SG/1; and
        ◦ HK PSG1.

        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the Galil assault rifle, and any variant or modified version of it, including the AP-84, Galil ARM, Galil AR, Galil SAR, Galil 332 and Mitchell Galil/22 Auto Rifle.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the Goncz High-Tech Carbine, and any variant or modified version of it.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the Heckler and Koch HK 33 rifle, and any variant or modified version of it, including the: ◦ HK 33A2;
        ◦ HK 33A3;
        ◦ HK 33KA1;
        ◦ HK 93;
        ◦HK 93A2; and
        ◦ HK 93A3.

        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the J & R Eng M-68 carbine, and any variant or modified version of it, including the PJK M-68 and the Wilkinson Terry carbine.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the Leader Mark Series Auto Rifle, and any variant or modified version of it.
        • The firearms of the designs commonly known as the MP5 submachine gun and MP5 carbine, and any variants or modified versions of them, including the Heckler and Koch: ◦ HK MP5;
        ◦HK MP5A2;
        ◦ HK MP5A3;
        ◦ HK MP5K;
        ◦HK MP5SD;
        ◦HK MP5SD1;
        ◦ HK MP5SD2;
        ◦ HK MP5SD3;
        ◦ HK 94;
        ◦ HK 94A2; and,
        ◦ HK 94A3.

        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the PE57 rifle, and any variant or modified version of it.
        • The firearms of the designs commonly known as the SG-550 rifle and SG-551 carbine, and any variants or modified versions of them.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the SIG AMT rifle, and any variant or modified version of it.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the Springfield Armory SAR-48 rifle, and any variant or modified version of it, including the SAR-48 Bush, SAR-48 Heavy Barrel, SAR-48 Para and SAR-48 Model 22.
        • The firearm of the design commonly known as the Thompson submachine gun, and any variant or modified version of it, including the: ◦ Thompson Model 1921;
        ◦ Thompson Model 1927;
        ◦Thompson Model 1928;
        ◦ Thompson Model M1;
        ◦Auto-Ordnance M27A-1;
        ◦ Auto-Ordnance M27A-1 Deluxe;
        ◦ Auto-Ordnance M1927A-3;
        ◦Auto-Ordnance M1927A-5;
        ◦ Auto-Ordnance Thompson M1;
        ◦ Commando Arms Mk I;
        ◦ Commando Arms Mk II;
        ◦ Commando Arms Mk III;
        ◦ Commando Arms Mk 9; and,
        ◦Commando Arms Mk 45.

        • Exile1981

          Sorry. Can you leave Canada?

        • Take a good hard look at this people!
          This is what Commie-‘Bama and his socialist regime will do to America if they retain power.
          TIME TO Take Down The Dark Lord and his cronies.
          What is a good alternative to a pistol?

          Any firearm you can get is better than none – how about black-powder pistols?
          If the answer is still none, here is a good close-in weapon choice:

          I have this for “doorway defence” in my “small” trailer. this is one wicked tool, it will punch through a phonebook. This weapon was used in the last battle that a modern army was routed by ” primitive weapons”.

          ps- MD’s right Get the hell out of there – bring some beer aye.

          • leland in AZ says:

            Best edged weapon for close quarters is a short spear–a piece of steel tubing cut off at an angle and left sharp has more reach and more impact than a knife. Small hatchets are good too, but not in a narrow hallway as you describe.

          • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

            HOLY CRAP! Yeah, leave Canada before they ban the machete (as they have in Britain).

          • I have something like that.

            On the issue of leaving, while the guns laws stink the fact is the sparser population will make for less crazies when shtf. I can legally leave as i have multiple citizenships but the wife and kids don’t.

            • templar knight says:

              10-4 on the sparse population. And you are also less likely to face anything that the weapons you have available to you couldn’t handle. Unless you live close to the US border, especially in the Windsor area, or perhaps north of Buffalo and Seattle. I would expect to see a lot of Americans seeking shelter and safety in Canada when or if the SHTF. And they will be armed accordingly, or so I would guess. But the timing will be critical, as winter would be a mitigating factor on what one would face in the north country.

            • Exile1981 says:

              Templar Knight,

              I kind of figure if a shtf situation happened in the US then yes a lot of Americans may try and rush for the Canadian border but of course time of year will play a huge part in that decision as will the type of shtf scenario. If it’s a super volcano than a lot of southern Canada is screwed, if it’s Japanese radiation then BC is not the place to go. If it’s civil unrest or a police state cropping up in the US then likely lots of people will run for the border.

              Luckily for me I live rural and more than a tank of gas from the border.

        • Hey Exile, I didn’t see Potato Gun on the list…..just sayin’.

        • Exile1981 Yikes ! I agree we need to fight hard so we don’t go down this road here. Here is a suggestion – bear spray. I know Mace is restricted in Canada, but bear spray isn’t. I have friends in restrictive countries who use this as an alterative, to a hand gun. It is a second choice, however it is a choice. A friend in an African nation had to use it once on three thugs who were trying to grab her. They were laid out immediately. Of course this caused a crowed to gather because of the ruckus and the police came. As would be expected they arrested her, because they were hoping for a bribe – but eventually they let her go because she had not broken any laws . She had no scratch on her however, and was not violated by the thugs, so I would say it worked out. I have another friend in one of these countries who carries bear spray for protection and called the larger cans “crowd control”. In some areas of Africa bear spray would be nice for use on large predators, and this is also the case in much of Canada. In your situation you need to use your imagination and this is one suggestion. Ball bats were the big seller in England during their recent riots and I have found the large Mag Lights work about as well for certain scenarios. Also in some situations the shortest legal shotgun with a pistol grip can be carried / worn in a concealed fashion (if legal).

    • “…I’d like something for close defense…”
      A good clip knife carried in your pocket or behind your belt is a good idea (I carry three). Or a pen-knife in your shirt pocket. How about a spray can of bug repellant?
      Your choices are being limited by an unfriendly government, for sure. Without going against Canada’s ‘unfriendly’ laws, you’re stuck with extreme close-up weapons so imagination will be your limiting factor.

      • Wholly crap ! Like MD said , can you leave Canada ? Had no idea Canada was so much like Russia in that respect ( maybe not that bad )………………… Although Russia beats Canada for pretty women . Had to throw that in for my sweety 😉

        • The one shining point in our gun laws is the fact that a lee enfield can have a 10 round magazine and every small town store still stocks 303 ammo. When you guys had your ammo shortage in 08 it hit us too and even 22lr got weird to find in the 500 round boxes sometimes but you could still find the 303, so I guess in Canada it’s still a common round.

          I like the idea of a spear and I broke down and order the other week a pair of machetes.

    • axelsteve says:

      Potato cannon.

  17. I enjoyed the article and the quotes from historical people. I am glad that there was not allot of dwelling on the 9mm and 5.56.I do not buy into the nato caliber hoopla.My grandfather survived ww1 with a 45 and a o3 springfield and my uncle survived ww2 with a 45 and a o3a3 springfield ,why mess with sucess with inferior calibers. It was a good wellwritten article and thank you.

    • And then the bolt action met the semi-auto and autos of WW II and found itself at a severe disadvantage. Thus the M1 Garand and eventually the M1A entered the fray. Earlier generations thought that the crossbow was a good weapon also, until they met the firearm. Life and technology marches on my friend.

      • garands are great rifles. Unfortunatly they were not as common as the o3 in ww2.

        • axelsteve…..

          Don’t want to be argumentative but….03s more common than Garands in WWII?? Maybe in the very early stages of the war; before the real buildup began and particularly in the Pacific where almost all Marines had them. Infact, before the Garand became widely available, the Marines even dabbled with the Johnson rifle. By mid-1943, the Garand was standard issue and the 03 was largely reduced to being a sniper rifle. Now, had you said that the M1 Carbine was more plentiful, during WWII, than the Garand-you would have been absolutely correct.

          • axelsteve says:

            Hawkeye. I don`t mean to be argumentave iether I was just going by my uncle who was in the 101 airborn who never got to use a Garand.The M1 is still a great rifle in my book.

            • axelsteve….

              “The M1 is still a great rifle in my book”…….

              So is the “03” axel…I have one. One of the best looking rifles of the 20th century and certainly accurate, as we all know. But I guess what I was getting at is that there are a lot of myths surrounding it as well. It first came out in “03” with a longer .30-03 cal. round nose cartridge. But around that time, the Germans developed their “Spitzer”, aerodynamic round and the US .30-03 was soon converted to a “Spitzer” type in 1906. That’s why the “03” fires a 30-06 round. The “03” wasn’t the most common rifle of WWI either, as most believe. Remington was building the Pattern 14 Enfield Rifle for England so all the tooling was in place to build it as we entered the war in 1917. Tooling wasn’t in place, however, for large scale production of the Springfield. So it was a simple matter for Remington to convert the Pattern 14 to .30 Cal. US which they did. The rifle was then adopted as the US Rifle Model 1917 and it became the most widely issued US rifle in WWI.
              I can’t explain your Uncle’s experience of having an “03” throughout the war. Was he maybe the WWII equivalent of “Squad Designated Marksmen” by chance. Either way, he was well armed and in a great division! Love the history on some of these weapons.

          • What I was getting at here was that at least in the European theater of operations, the Axis deployed a lot of automatic weapons and those with the ’03 bolt action were often outgunned. That was one of the main reasons for bringing semi-autos into the war. One of the main reasons we won that war was that the “Arsenal of Democracy” was isolated from the direct impact of the war and had massive resources that were brought to bear against the axis whose resources dwindled.

            • Yep , even if the Krauts were able to build all the things they had on the drawing board , the east coast was the maximum range for any of their secret weapons . We were geographically out of reach for either Germany or Japan as far of making any difference , any bombs that did fall would not have even made a scratch in war production . Russians did the same thing by moving all their plants back out of aircraft range . Towards the end of the war they were making tanks that even the 88 couldn’t counter .

            • axelsteve says:

              My grandpa was a lefty so he was kinda screwed if he had a springfield or the 1917 enfield.But my main point was the 30.06 caliber.

      • Actually , in WW1 , troops were given bolt actions not because there wasn’t anything better , but because the governments of the time didnt want troops ” wasting ” ammunition . Wide spread use of the heavy machine gun put an end to that way of thinking . I have a garand , and have to agree with axelsteve on the 30.06 being an all american ass kicker . Its my heavy rifle caliber of choice .

        • axelsteve says:

          Yep that is why the springfield and allot of military rifles came with a magazine cutoff on them.My first gun was a o3a3. it had a sporter stock when I got it so I put a recoile pad and a k4 scope and a timney trigger on it.Also swivels and a sling. God I wish that I still had it.

  18. Lloyd P – Great article -getting my lady and daughters to read it. Excellent information – the ammo section was the best I’ve seen blogged. Good work.

    just sayin…

  19. Found this on prepper1776 You Tube video. Wow these prices are great. I’m not associated but did place an order.

    As far as rifles go I still suggest the Mosin. There are plenty left at under $150. Check out Classic Firearms of North Carolina. I also like the 870 which is in our trunks in case we need something extra. For a sidearm I like the Taurus Judge or Springfield XD in 9 or .40, but if you’re not used to carrying the weight of a full size you may want a small auto or even a .45 derringer. Try to avoid printing when carrying concealed. The percussion of a firearm being discharged in ones direction can be just as big a deterrent as the sudden realization that what you are hunting is armed too. Thugs know this and usually will run to find a victim that is less of a threat.

  20. Excellent article, well-written with great content. This article flowed beautifully. Great piece!

  21. doktor don says:

    When prepping and firearms are a new area of study for a newbie, information doesn’t get much better than this.

    Thanks much.

    doktor don

  22. Good starting point for being physically prepared. Anyone care to tackle the idea of being mentally prepared to take another persons life?

    • rich

      Good question. How do you prepare?

      An enemy soldier in another country is one thing. I was able to do it because I wanted to go home. Nothing to brag about. Hard to talk about.

      Shooting another American is something I think about all the time. Could I do it? As a concealed carry permit holder, I think I could defend myself without thinking about it. Living with the aftermath could prove difficult.

      I can say from experience that when bullets are wizzing by, shooting back is pretty instinctive. Personaly I prefer the idea of booby traps to keep the bad guys away. I studied under the tutelage of the V.C. I have since invented many of my own, which if TSHTF I am ready to deploy.

      I am mulling over the idea of placing SIGNS a hundred yards or so from my retreat which would read:


      In the absence of any emergency medical care being available, I might scare off a lot of grocery grabbers.

      • Waste not , want not …….. the carcass can be recycled for compost , pet food , or to feed other prisoners .;)

        • LurkerBob says:

          Thanks T.R.

          Another application in the prepper art or repurposing unused resources.

          • LOL , I remembered a guy I used to work with , funny guy . We had a conversation about eating people if it came down to the only way to survive ………… his answer was ” Cows , dogs , or people , it all makes a turd “

      • thomas,
        I like your sign. If in addition you place some highly visible range markers with the ranges marked on them, it might also make the deterrent factors a little better. You can’t hide when I’ve already ranged you.
        Another sign I like is the basic telescopic cross hair with the words, “You’re not lost, Your trespassing”. No overt threat; however, anyone with half a brain will get the message.

  23. leland in AZ says:

    Good general article, with some exceptions.
    1. Birdshot is for birds, although it will easily penetrate drywall. Buckshot, preferably 00 or 1 buck, is the defensive standard.
    2. SKSs can be a great gun, but some have problems with commercial ammo because the primers are too soft. They were made for the funky Soviet ammo.
    3. Having a rifle that converts to different calibers is an expensive gimmick. Get a good carbine for most defensive uses up to 300 meters. Then get a rifle for longer distances is you think you have the need. There is not much you can need to do that a .308 won’t do, but if you have a 30.06 or a 243 that will work fine, too.
    4. Box of Truth website has good info on ammo.

  24. Uncle Charlie says:

    Nice well rounded article. Usually discussions of this type bring forth vehement arguments regarding various personal references but I will restrain myself on this occasion. Lighten up on the politics Lurkerbob. I didn’t vote for the man, but the Obama administration has done more for gun sales than any other in the history of our nation with a little help from gun sellers to feed on our paranoia. The ammo shortages were caused by supply and demand for the same reasons. Survival preparation doesn’t have to get bogged down in politics. Between the Supremes,the blue dog Democrats, Repubicans and the NRA, our gun rights are pretty much guaranteed. Only a repeal of the 2nd Amendment would end this, and that’s just not going to happen despite what my NRA news letters proclaim. I am not complacent, just realistic. Exile1981, you have my sympathy. Consider moving south or it you like it cold, Alaska.

    • Uncle Charlie

      I like your answer and your attitude. “Survival preparation doesn’t have to get bogged down in politics. ”

      If every “crisis” the NRA needs my money for were real, I would not have any money and we would not have any guns.

      • Thomas,

        If you have noticed I try to avoid politics and most political topics on the blog and I think we are all better off for it. Hint, hint…

        • MD

          Yes sir. I get the hint. I will try to avoid them too.

          I enjoy the blog. I am not out to offend anyone, I have,however, been a bad boy.

          I would like to give old doc don my email address and take our ” personal ” discussion elsewhere. Any way to do that without giving it out publicly? Your assistance is appreciated.


    • “…our gun rights are pretty much guaranteed. Only a repeal of the 2nd Amendment would end this…”
      To throw a slightly political wrench into that thinking… if you can’t get ammunition for those 2nd A weapons, all you have is spendy clubs. Don’t be fooled into believing we’ll always have the 2A, either- the political kabuki theater is constantly narrowing our rights, especially for those who follow the ‘law’.

    • Uncle Charlie, There are other ways. What would happen if primers were Federally regulated?

  25. Kinda off topic:
    Just read this news about China.

  26. LloydP….

    Nice, succinct dissertaton….especially for someone “getting into it” or looking for a good place to start. Needed to be said in such a manner.

  27. reading the authors remarks on the efficacy of a .22 as a self defense gun brought a smile to my face, as I recalled a scene from an old movie, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum”. Zeno Mostel and Phil Silvers were in it. At one point while Sudelus (Mostel) is proclaiming “I am impervious to physical pain” Phil Silvers pulls a hairpin from the head of the lady of the house and jabs him in the backside with it.
    “I thought you were impervious to physical pain”
    “NOT MY OWN!”
    Enough said.

  28. Uncle Charlie says:

    JSW: I’ve been following the law for many years and I see our rights getting stronger and stronger. The NRA and other watchdog groups are always alert. Limiting ammunition is a clear violation of the 2nd Amendment, although anti-gun people see this as part of their solution. They miss the point. As the Court stated in Heller: “The inherent right of self-defense has been central to the Second Amendment right.” You can’t defend yourself without ammunition and the courts will rule in our favor. But if you are concerned, take advantage of all the sales going on and load up. I already have more ammunition than I can ever shoot. As I said earlier, I am not complacent but realistic. I will continue to load up, however, because you can never have too much ammo:)

    • When a box of .22 costs $10 and a box of .308 is $100 and a box of 9mm is $150, you’ll be surprised how quickly people run out of ammo because they don’t replace it.
      Too, if you’re relying on the NRA to keep your weapons safe, you’re trusting the wrong people. Same for the SCOTUS: the way they’ve been legislating from the bench, there’s no reason to trust them with keeping your 2A rights, either. And they get worse every day with the numbers of liberal judges being put in place.
      You may not be able to have too much ammo, but you can sure have too much faith in other people or groups of people.

  29. SrvivlSally says:

    Wonderful article and amen on the beasts eating us.

  30. Sgt. Psycho says:

    Along the same lines as those who don’t want to face down what they consider to be the “ineffective” .22…..

    I keep inviting folks who claim that an AK is inaccurate to let me have 1 shot at them at 500 yds. No takers yet.

    Some Century builds/WASRs are not much for accuracy, but if you don’t go bottom-barrel cheap, you can get a good AK, replace or modify the stock to get a proper cheek weld and length of pull, feed it quality ammo, and you will start seeing consistent accuracy well beyond 300 yds..

    • Sgt. Psycho,
      I’ve had the same issue with folks badmouthing the 9mm vs. the .40 or .45 they carry. I always challenge them for us to double tap each other from say 20 feet, and I go first. I have yet to have anyone accept the challenge. Put up or Shut Up always seems to work LOL.

      • axelsteve says:

        I once challenged a Jarhead with a simaliar challenge ohio prepper . I told him at 700 yards (not meters ) I do not use metric when american will work.I would have 5 rounds in my o3a3 and he could have 5 rounds in his mattell poodle shooter. He also declined.He was a delayed entry gut I knew in hischool who was badmouthing my antiquated obsolete o6.

  31. Uncle Charlie says:

    I said I wouldn’t get into to this but shooting a 7.62×39 at 500 yards! Exactly what load are you using? For example, the Remington factory load of a 125 grain PSP will drop 10.4 inches at 300 yards. If you’re good at ballistics, I suppose it is possible to hit a human or deer size target at 500 yards, although it will have limited energy left. Don’t get me wrong, I love this round of which I have many to support my collection of SKS rifles, but the 7.62×39 is best at what it’s designed for, up close and personal. That’s why AK’s are assault rifles and not sniper rifles. I’m not sure I would try to shoot anything but a target at 500 yards, but if I did, there are much better rounds and rifles with which to do so, not taking anything away from the AK. It didn’t get to be where it is today for nothing, but it is not the be-all and end-all of rifles, survival or otherwise. Massad Ayoob, no less, stated in his article on a poor man’s survival arsenal, that the SKS is twice the rifle the AK-47 is, but I’m sure he was talking about old surplus and not the newer built ones; but neither is well known for their accuracy beyond 125 yards.

  32. I agree with most everything you have said except for the AK47. The AK47’s limiting factor in the accuracy department is more to do with its ammo than the actual firearm. Black Hills makes quality 7.62×39 with hard military primers to eliminate slam fire. This ammo will produce good groups within the limits of the cartridge. I’ll just say it will perform much better than the typical Russian stuff. Then you have the AK74 which shoots the 5.45×39 round. This cartridge seems to be much more accurate. It was developed to compete with the 5.56 M193 cartridge, which it does very well. Even the current lowly Romanian AK74’s slapped together by CIA will shoot 2″-3″, 100 yard groups with proper optics. The Arsenal AK74 I have in 5.56 will produce similar results if not better. I have a SAIGA .308/7.62×51 version that will shoot 1.5″ – 2″ groups at 100 yards. The reason I bought the one I have is because I read a test done by American Rifleman magazine a few years ago that produced similar groups at the same distance.
    The AK is stone reliable and just plain works. I would say that if you must shoot at much over 125 yards you might want something a bit more accurate, but I doubt you find a better balance of accuracy and reliability.
    I do have a PTR32 that I haven’t had a chance to ring out thoroughly,
    but compared to its big brother in .308 it is a real dream to shoot, meaning almost no recoil. I have high hopes that it will provide better accuracy from the 7.62×39 with similar reliability. It may just be my perfect homestead defense weapon.
    I did enjoy your article and give you much credit for the effort and your obvious knowledge of firearms. Thank you.

  33. It is not correct to say that AKs are not accurate rifles. A quality AK of new manufacture (like a Saiga or an Arsenal) with a good optic is plenty accurate, and more reliable than an AR.

    People have formed their opinions about the accuracy of AKs from parts kits rifles; that is, rifles built on worn-out surplus parts. Get a new AK of Russian or Bulgarian manufacture, and you have a rugged, reliable and accurate weapon that is simple to maintain.

    • Jason and others……

      Years ago, I had a beautiful Polytech “Legend Series” AK-47. They go for about $1,400 today, if you can find one.

      Reliable….No doubt whatsoever.
      Iron Sights….Not very sophisticated when compared with the AR.
      Ergonomics….Not very.
      The 7.62X39 round….Much like a 30-30. Out to about 150 yards, your’e “OK”. After that, lay down the AK and get out your long bow.
      Just an opinion. Love em or hate em!!

  34. SurvivorDan says:

    All in all, very well done and shows a lot of depth in your knowledge of a wide range of calibers amongst long and short guns and good advice for the novice. Also kept it all sort of non-judgemental as you just offered up for consideration the choices of various weapons easily available. As to the flak about the 7.62 x 39, you did recommend something else being around like a .308. As to the 10+ inches of drop mentioned – I have quite a lot more holdover with my 45-70 guide gun (no scope) at 300 yds but can make the shot if a little lucky. Given a choice I might switch to the .308 if I could, but the 45-70 or even the 7.62 x 39 can make a longer shot in a pinch. Nice article, well rounded, good advice, good quotes,……….saved it to give to anyone who asks my advice on the subject. S.D.

  35. SurvivorDan says:

    Will give proper attribution Lloyd.

  36. Uncle Charlie says:

    Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa! I was not talking about generic AK-47 rifles but the old original Soviet ones which are somewhat long in tooth now and shot Soviet ammo. I have read reviews of bolt action 7.62×39 rifles which were quite good at the APPROPRIATE range. The whole point of my getting into the discussion was the statement re: 500 yards. I was not trying to bash the rifle or the round, of which I have plenty. One of the reasons I have SKS rifles instead of AK-47 rifles was the price, at least at the time I purchased them. I won’t be shooting at anything out as far as 500 yards because, even with optics, I’m not sure I could tell friend from foe or cow from deer at that distance. In a survival situation you want to use the appropriate weapon for the appropriate task, just like when you’re hunting. I love my 45-70 Winchester but I won’t be shooting out 300 yards with it. It will take down a elk or moose but it is not ethical to use it at 300 yards. I don’t want to rely on luck in a pinch, I want to use something that I can count on. For targets at 300 yards, I would probably use my 6.5 mag which has less recoil that my .280 or 7mm mag which are also appropriate for the task. I apologize if I ruffled the feathers of the AK crowd. That was not my intention. If I had the money,I’d probably have a few, but it’s not like buying Mosin-Nagants (-9.9 inches at 300 yards). I’m a very conservative shooter and don’t like reaching must past point blank range although better shots than I can take them out further. For me it’s better safe (and ethical) than sorry.
    PS: To PHS, I checked out the price of a PTR32 and all I can say is that your walking in higher cotton than I am. Good luck with that one. It should be good at that price.

  37. FormerFlyer says:

    The Mini-30 and the .30 Russian Short (7.62X39) are somewhat popular for hunting here in Hawaii, but we don’t get pigs in the 700lb class. A HUGE pig here is anything much over 100lbs. I have only seen 1 that would have legitimately tipped the scales close to 200lb.

    The .30 Russian Short is similar in ballistics to the .30-30 when the lever gun cartridge is loaded with light-for-caliber bullets. It’s great stuff for small hogs, deer, goats, etc. Please don’t think of it as a good cartridge for Elk, Black Bear or large hogs like we hunt in Texas. I REALLY don’t want to face down a P.O.’d 400 or 500 lb boar with a Mini-30 or an AK. That’s what .308’s are for.


    • I hear ya about bigger game , but also consider ammunition for 7.62×39 , they are not all equal . Off the shelf Remington is just ok , but companies like Cor-Bon make high energy JSP hunting hot loads for that , and if you really want a nasty round , there is an outfit in Florida that guarantees its high tech rounds to get the job done . You will pay accordingly but its importance is up to you . Not the hardest hitting or longest range caliber but I wouldn’t want to get hit by one either . I also have a Mini 30 , I love it ! I did put an acustrut on it which helps a lot . As a backpacking shorty , I have no complaints . its easy light , easy to use , reliable ,and looks good . The Garand style mechanism is tried and true . I dont like a lot of crap poking out all over the place on my guns , streamline and clean .

      • T.R…..
        I’m with you on the Ruger Mini series; not just the Mini-30 but the Mini-14 as well. My Mini-30 has a 3-9X Scope. One of my Mini-14s has a Colt type 6X and the other-a Vortex Red Dot. Reliable and VERY handy. Only problem (if one considers it a problem) is the magazines. Some after market ones can be troublesome and Factory mags can be very expensive.

        Prep on…..

  38. Uncle Charlie says:

    Thanks PHS, but when I go black, I plan to go .243/6mm with multiple barrels. I’ve already got my varmint gun in .223 and am happy with my 3 SKS rifles, although I might have one of my Enfields converted to 7.62×39 with a 10 round mag just for grins. It will be my version of a close up scout rifle to go along with my lever action scout rifles in .30-30 and .308. But I appreciate the thought.

    • Uncle Charlie…..

      An “Enfield” in 7.62X39?

      Hadn’t heard of such a thing. What flavor of Enfield-US M1917 or one of the British Enfields? Where do you find a barrel for such a conversion?


  39. LurkerBob says:

    Bowing to pressure from my Rambo-zo buddies, I am researching a semi-auto rifle.

    I am ONLY interested in 308 / 7.62×59 NATO. Price must be 1299 or less – or there abouts.

    First choice M1A scout squad – exceeds my price range.

    Second choice was PTR 91 H&K 91 clone (American made) – they appear to be unavailable.

    Third choice is AR-10 Armalite Eagle Model E10 Semi-Auto Rifle – reliable?

    Will have to sell my marlin if I go this route – can get more than I paid for it, but tough to do.

    Thoughts and opinions please.

  40. Uncle Charlie says:

    Lurker Bob, whatever you do, don’t sell your Marlin. You will regret it the rest of your life. Hold on to it and cut back on frills to save up for your fancy smancy rifle. You won’t regret it. I don’t know how many times I heard about the great rifles people used to have and sold to get something new and regretted it the rest of their lives. Just hang in there, you will get it in time. If you’re OK with a 7.62×39 think about getting a Yugo SKS 59/66. In the used market the Yugo is generally considered the best. There’s a bunch on etc. Here’s one I found:,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&biw=1680&bih=827&q=yugo+sks&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=2267040799039302959&sa=X&ei=Z2zZTqa2F4PY0QHXgoiMDg&ved=0CD4Q8wIwAQ#ps-sellers. These cost a little more than I paid for mine, but then good rifles hold their value.
    Good luck, but please don’t sell your Marlin!

    • LurkerBob says:

      Hi Uncle Charlie;

      Yeah, thats kinda the conclusion that I have come to. This was just research, after beers with my buddies last night I told them “nothing doing”. Most agree that the Marlin is too nice to get rid of. I have to shoot left handed so shooting a semi-auto rifle gets me hot brass-gas and powder bits in the face sometimes. The new project now is they are going to “build” me something — (oh-boy). Will trade out some fire wood for that. Also got the Remington 870 tactical coming and thats good enough for barracade duty if needed.

      A few beers in them and they admit shooting a few rounds of 45-70 really gets the blood flowing and feels good to – except for the next day.

  41. Great post. But I have to put this out there… Just because some one doesn’t want to get shot with a 22lr doesn’t mean its a good self defense round. I’ve been shot 3 times with the round. Its uncomfortable and decently painful but bearable. You guys are gonna end up killing some poor guy taking that advice to heart. A.22lr IS NOT a self defense round. I have seen people take more then 7 rounds with 5.56 ammo and still keep running. You guys really need to stop preaching that crap.

    • Grandpappy (aka Gazing into the sarchasm) says:

      Most of the talk of .22lr is for a last resort. There is an account out there of a state trooper putting 5 rounds of .357 into a bad guy and he kept firing a .22 pistol, a ricochet off the edge of the trooper’s vest cut an artery and he bled out. The bad guy survived the 5 rounds, supposedly was not drug crazed, just soaked ’em up and kept firing until he made that one fatal shot {:< I don't think this was an urban legend.

      That being said, Luke is basically right, don't take a .22 to do the zombie apocalypso unless you can make all head shots at close range.

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