This is a guest post by Leland S
[This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest where you could win a number of prizes including an 84 serving storage bucket of Wise Food Storage, 500 rounds of 9mm ammo, a NukAlert a copy of my book The Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat and a copy of my CD It’s The End Of The World As We Know It – And I Feel Fine . For complete rules and list of prizes see this post.]
I see lists all the time of a dream list of arms “needed” for survival. Some times it sounds like spoiled air head teenagers going to the mall! Are they trying to survive, or are they trying to buy a life membership in the consumer society?
So, you need a $1500 rifle with a grand of accessories to shoot somebody? That $1200 1911 will kill somebody twice as dead as a $600 1911? Need 8 different guns, one for each possible contingency? How about a $300 combat knife to stab somebody who is quicker, faster, and meaner than you? And don’t forget 1000 rounds of handgun ammo just in case. Just in case what, you survive one handgun fight?
Reign in your fantasies and get some basic arms for the real world and spend your extra dough on training or maybe even simple body armor or hardening your house. Go for name brands, preferably made in America, and models that have been around a few years and that have sold a million or more so they have some sort of track record .(Suggestions below for specific arms are just a suggestion. See the “one size doesn’t fit all” comment below).
First, buy 2 identical riot shotguns with short barrels (keep it legal). The shotgun is the king of home defense because of one thing: stopping power. Close up and personal, nothing matters like stopping power, not to mention that with a small amount of training you’re probably at least twice as likely to hit your target with a long gun than with a handgun. A stock Mossberg 500 will work just fine. If all members of your family can handle 12 gauge, get two 12 gauges. If not , get two 20 gauges. The ammo has improved enough that you can now get a lot of bang out of 20 gauge buck and slugs. Buy a 50 or 100 rounds of buck and 50 of slug and 100 of birdshot for practice, hunting, and vermin control.
Next, pick up 2 good identical concealable handguns, with quality holsters to go with them. Latest research says that people with quality holsters are less likely to shoot themselves. You never know when you may need to go out with a concealed weapon, and in any case a good handgun with a big enough bullet is good backup for your shotgun or carbine. A pair of Ruger SP 101’s in .357 would do. Revolvers are less problem prone than autos, and you don’t have to go through the expense of buying and testing extra magazines. If you have two handguns, you have a New York reload if you would ever need it. Load them with .38 special +p and have the .357 capacity available if you go on a car trip and might need the extra penetration at the cost of more kick, flash, etc. Keep 50 rounds for each gun around, good upgraded personal defense ammo. Get some metal snap caps and get into an 80/20 training regime—80%dryfire/ 20% live ammo fire with your service ammo.
Next go for your rifle, two of any good semi-auto carbine that will take over just past shotgun range and take you out to 300 yards if necessary. I guess the ideal weapon would be an American made AK in .223 for around 600 bucks, but until that happens you are on your own. I still can’t figure why AKs were originally chosen in part for ease/low-cost of manufacture, and now the good ones half made abroad cost more than a domestically made Ruger Mini-14! In this we haven`t caught up with the 1950’s USSR! Pick what you like, AK, AR, SKS, Mini 14, buy two and learn how to use them.
I’d go for the 7.62 x 39 for the extra penetration, but don’t pooh-pooh the .223 if that’s what you like. They are both good. Both good means both good—get a life.Have several hundred rounds of good ammo around and 3 extra quality mags per gun. The rifle is the only weapon with which you are likely to get in a lot of shots and live to tell about it. Don’t pooh-pooh FMJ– you never know in advance if you are going to need the pentration or not. Having penetration and not needing it is better than yada-yada-yada. Get your guns, function test them and select good ammo for each. Get your family members trained in their use and keep them trained.
That’s the basic setup. Not cheap, but good value – keep it simple, get good basic guns and two of each. Obviously, if you have a larger family, buy more than two. Throw in a .22 rimfire rifle, but for urban/suburban survival keep in mind you are more likely to use it for feral dogs and rats than for hunting. If you hunt and if you live somewhere where there is something to hunt, you might also want a high-powered rifle appropriate for your area, but something more like an everyday hunting rifle than a Navy Seal sniper rifle for Xzillion dollars..
One size doesn’t fit all. If for example, you have recent, successful, significant experience with an AR, M590, 870, or some service pistol and you are happy with it,splurge the extra bucks and go for it. No need to put yourself through the extra training curve just to have a gun that is theoretically better according to “somebody”. Just make sure you can get your family up to speed with your chosen guns.
Keep your family arsenal as simple and idiot proof as possible and get in some good training. Buy extra quality ammo as money allows, and rotate it into your training.
Leave the fantasizing for the Rambos, Walter Mittys, and assorted gun magazine writers.