There are two types of preppers in the world, those that are gun owners and those that are not. Granted most of us own guns, but from comments posted on the blog and emails I’ve receive some don’t, so obviously, all of us preppers aren’t into guns – yet.
Most of the comments and emails have asked about choosing the right gun, they want to know what to look for and how to avoid getting ripped off. The best way to avoid getting ripped off is to buy smart. Here’s how.
Do your research
A few days spent doing research will help you avoid making mistakes. Know what guns to avoid and shotgun, handgun, rifle action types before you shopping. Learn about the different calibers and types of cartridges that are available.
Get a copy of “The Shooter’s Bible“, “Boston’s Gun Bible” and Guns 101. Avoid most of the “this is the best survival gun” type stuff posted on forums and the web, most of the information is dated, wrong and of little use.
Know what you want before you go shopping
Never walk into a gun shop without an idea of what you want, if you don’t have any idea as to what you want, you need to do more research untill you do. Some sales people can be pushy and you don’t want to be crusaded into buying something you don’t want or need because some over zealous sales clerk needed a commission from your purchase.
What do you want it for
Before you can be sure of what you want, you have to know what you want it for. If your intention is concealed carry then your needs would be different than if you wanted a firearm for hunting or foraging. For example one of the best and most devastating close range weapons is the 12 gauge shotgun when properly loaded, but you would be at a distinct disadvantage if hunting on flat open terrain or needed concealment.
You can’t do it all
There is no one do everything firearm, so stop looking. If you want to cover all the bases, you’ll need a minimum of three different guns. A handgun, shotgun and center fire rifle, and even with that three gun battery there are some gaping holes about what you can do. Of course if you know you could not shoot someone in self-defense then guns for foraging may be all you will need.
Price doesn’t always mean quality
With firearms price doesn’t always mean quality. Granted, some of the best firearms available are costly, but that doesn’t mean that they are the only quality choices available. For example, I would feel just as protected and well armed with a Smith and Wesson model 10 or Makarov as I would if armed with a custom 1911 or HK45. The key is diligent research before you buy (and skill with what you have).
Fit, feel, recoil and other considerations
Whatever firearm you buy, it should fit your body and grip. A gun that fits your body will be easier for you to use and more accurate than if you have to force your body to conform to the size and shape of the weapon. The gun should be an extension of your body and it should feel natural when held in a shooting position.
This can not be determined by anyone but you – you have to hold the weapon, point it and aim it to determine how well it fits your body. Guns and Ammo posted a great article that can be read here titled “The Right Fit” that everyone should read. The article is about handguns but many of the principles can be applied to long guns as well.
Take a class
Get training. Most areas offer hunter safety courses that are free to anyone wanting to take part. If you live in a state that issues handgun carry permits, sign up to take the required classes, most are great for learning basic care and safety rules. The NRA offers a number of low-cost training opportunities that you should look into.
Have advice that would help others avoid getting ripped off when buying their first firearm or questions feel free to speak-up in the comments below…
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Henry Repeating Arms AR-7 Survival Rifle Review
A few weeks ago when a representative from Henry Repeating Arms contacted me about reviewing their latest version of the AR-7 Survival Rifle, I have to admit to being just a little excited. I’d owned one of the early Charters Arms Explorer Pistols back in the 1980’s and it was inaccurate and unreliable, and I was eager to see if Henry Repeating Arms had once and for all fixed the issues that have plagued the AR-7 in the past.
Because of the inaccuracy and unreliability of the Charters Arms Explorer Pistol that I had experienced, I never owned another AR-7 type rifle or handgun, that is until Henry Repeating Arms agreed to send me one for review. After all what did I have to lose…
But first a couple of facts that you might not know – The AR-7 type rifle is an off-shoot of the AR-5 bolt-action survival rifle that was adopted by the U.S. Air Force as a survival rifle for downed pilots. Both the AR-5 and AR-7 were designed by Eugene Stoner for ArmaLite with the AR-7 being released to the public in 1959.
Eugene Stoner also designed the first AR-15 type rifles, and a host of other firearms. He was a great designer whose influence will be seen in firearm design for decades to come, perhaps even forever. However all designs can be improved and both the AR-7 and AR-15 have both have been greatly improved upon over the years by other designers working for other companies to where they are so much better than the original designs.
The AR-7 was designed so that everything fits compactly in the stock and the Henry AR-7 stock is filled with foam so that it floats, making it an excellent choice for boaters or pilots.
Another interesting fact is that the magazine are interchangeable across all manufactures to date. So if you owned an AR-7 20 years ago and still have a couple of magazines around, then you can use those in the new Henry AR-7. There are also 15 round aftermarket magazines available if you’re lucky enough to find them in-stock, but these extra capacity magazines will not fit correctly in the rifles stock because of the extra length of the magazines.
Henry sent me the camouflage version but it’s also available in black – the camouflage pattern is very well done and appears that it would be very durable and long-lasting. The pattern and colors would work well in most wooded areas, and is a perfect match for the deciduous forests that cover the area where I live.
Okay, I know what you’re thinking… but is it reliable… is it accurate… I know this because at this point I was thinking the same thing, so off to the range I went to do so shooting.
The first thing you’ll notice when shooting the AR-7 is that the stock is larger than a traditional rifle stock and takes getting used to as does the fact that there is no traditional forearm out front to hold onto. But after shooting a hundred or so rounds through it those features become less noticeable, to the point where you don’t pay any attention to it when shooting because it starts to feel “natural” when holding it.
As I said before the old Charters Arms Explorer Pistol that I owned was unreliable and inaccurate, well Henry has fixed the reliability issue and the new AR-7 is accurate enough to carry out it’s intended purpose, and that is to take small game at 50 yards or less.
After putting several hundred rounds through it, I has experienced one stoppage and that was due to an ammo issue with the round failing to fire when struck by the firing pin. The trigger pull was heavy and gritty, but it fired reliably.
Accuracy was not match grade and I never expected it to be because, well it was never intended to be a match grade shooter. My best 50 yard group was just under one and a half inches with match grade ammo, with an average of around two, to two and a half inches, which is good enough to put a rabbit in the stew pot.
The AR-7 isn’t the “perfect” choice for every task but it works great for what it was designed for and that is a low-cost stow-away survival rifle, for backpackers, boaters, pilots or preppers to stash behind the truck seat or in the car truck just in case.
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Today we present another article for our non-fiction writing contest – by PrepperDoc
Some people choose a small number of very expensive, fine firearms for their protection planning. While I have my share of expensive firearms, I also prefer to have a significant number of “additional” firearms. There are many reasons, including the fact that if I’m ever involved in a self-defense issue, it is likely that whatever firearm was involved will be impounded; also there is a significant advantage in really scary times to be able to arm trainable friends/neighbors…
So I choose to purchase several lesser-expensive models, especially if crucial replaceable parts are available at low prices without hassle. Sometimes a bit of work is required to make these inexpensive firearms become thoroughly reliable. I happen to have developed some familiarity with the Keltec line (manufactured in America) and while there may be better options, here I present some helpful hints for these firearms.
Two firearms that meet that my criteria are the Keltec PF9 and P11. I have several, and I also have the .380 P3AT.
DISCLAIMER: I’m not an FFL, and I’m certainly not YOUR FFL. My opinions and modifications are presented here for you to review only – always seek the help and advice of a certified gunsmith before performing any firearm modifications. Presented here for informational purposes only.
First let’s investigate parts, because you want spares if you are a prepper. Parts for both these firearms are readily and cheaply available from their Cocoa, FL USA maker via their website (keltecweapons.com). For example, an “extractor kit” for the PF9 is only $6.00.
The extractor itself for that model is $4.00; the spring that holds the extractor is only $1.00; the ejector is $1.50. A P11 extractor is $4.50; firing pin $2.50, ejector $1.50. (I’ve even purchased the entire plastic lower (minus frame) and switched out colors on one firearm inexpensively.) Where some vendors will use handling charges to gouge the purchaser, Keltec charges only about $7 for fedex delivery (USA) for even a miniscule purchase, a huge help to the home buyer who wants to have a few key components on hand.
These are not fancy firearms. If you want fancy, buy the Ruger versions that look very similar! On Keltecs, you may find edges that need sanding/filing, little plastic sprues from the mold etc, easy stuff for you to smooth and make the gun nicer. So do it yourself.
Both of these firearms under discussion are 9mm, and capable of occasional usage of +P. With lightweight 9mm’s, I don’t like +P, so not an issue for me. Both are locked breech (like most 9mm’s) with a takedown pin securing the slide on the frame. Keltecs have a really nice touch that the takedown pin can be levered out easily with a 9mm case edge, rather than needing a pin tool.
Firearms manufacturers (especially the ones who build their products with CNC mills) are always improving their product. They may well have fixed the issues that I’m going to tell you how I fixed. At least some people who have current PF9’s and P11’s have problems with “failure to extract” – and also know how to voice their problems on forums, and as a result these guns can be bought secondhand VERY inexpensively. Both models can be fixed with a little effort. Let’s take the PF9 first, because it’s fix is SO easy, and it is a really nice-feeling pistol in my hands, also!
The PF9 is one of the extremely thin single-stack 9mm’s (0.88” ) that could easily be concealable by many people, even in a pocket holster. I usually see them in the mid to high $200’s. Even new, they are not much more. Like many other smaller pistols, this one is “semi-double-action” in the sense that the slide MUST have cycled in order for the trigger to fire the next shot. If a round doesn’t fire, you do the “tap, rack, bang” drill. No safety needed; the trigger pull is considerable and this is a safe gun to pocket carry (in a holster). (I don’t like safeties on my defensive weapons.)
If your PF9 has failures to extract, you merely need to add a 2nd curved flat extractor spring ($1) on top of the existing one so that it grips the 9mm case more strongly. The spring (see photo) is held in place by a 6-32 screw, and you’ll need to replace that screw with a slightly longer one that has just about exactly one more thread to make up for the additional thickness of the 2nd spring, because the screw (as in other designs) does double duty to keep the firing pin from leaving the gun! Simply buy a couple pan-head 6-32 screws (ten cents each), accurately cut & file/grind the length correctly, and lock-tite when you have tested it. Fixed! I include a photo where if you look very closely you can see both springs stacked, and the new screw holding them.
On to the P-11. These go VERY CHEAP used, likely because of two issues: This slightly chunkier (1” wide) double-stack pistol (10 or 12 rounds) has what many consider a great self-defense trigger: it is FULLY double-action. The trigger both cocks and fires; as a result, if your primer doesn’t go off, you can simply pull the trigger again immediately and it works! But it is a real trigger pull (no safety needed here either!) and many people don’t realize its advantages – including the fellow who made it possible for me to buy his turned-in specimen for $176 from my favorite retailer. I LIKE it that way in a defensive gun.
The second issue, in my opinion, is the design of the extractor tip (that grabs the 9mm case and pulls it back from the chamber after firing) which is built with a perfectly vertical straight edge sitting just at and below the midline of the case. Because it is a straight edge trying to grasp a round groove, it grabs the circular case rim at only ONE point. Two out of three of my P11’s had extraction problems.
If yours does also, three bits of file work may make it perfect: (a) give a that extractor a “slant” (or even a radius) to the business end somewhat matching the case curve better, (b) take a bit off of the extractor “flat” that butts up against the slide, so that the extractor can go even further into the case groove, and (c) round the front (leading) edge just slightly so it will nicely bump over a case rim should it need to.
This idea is not original with me; I found here here: Ref . In a photo below I show the extractor (silver sharpie dot) both on and off the firearm, and I tried to mark the places you could trim a bit to get more grasp of the case. The part is CHEAP ($4.50) so buy a couple in case you err. It comes out easily by removing a roll pin with a tiny nail as a tool. The description of how to file in Ref  is much better than my photo, so read this carefully through; it only takes a few moments once you see what you need to do. If you know this trick, you can take firearms that others practically GIVE away and turn them into very cheap and very reliable equipment!
The youtube video Ref  nicely demonstrates how to field strip and reassemble these Keltecs, and also shows a “gotcha” that some of mine also had– barrel doesn’t always slide easily fully forward on its own accord during reassembly (unless you “fluff & buff” the gun quite a bit) and as a result the takedown pin won’t find the proper slot in the barrel. Clerks at gun shops may not even be aware of this, and it is another reason (once you demonstrate it) to argue for a lower price! Knowing this trick will save you considerable embarrassment when reviewing a Keltec for possible purchase.
Precisely because these firearms have a few rough edges, a few oddities and areas of possible improvements, they are available used for HALF or less what fancy new 9mm’s cost. Two for the price of one! I prefer to have a small number of my very favorite carry/range pistols and I paid dearly for some of them – and then I prefer to have several “just for bad times” extra firearms that can be stored in locked boxes in each vehicle of our family. The Keltec’s have filled that niche very nicely.
Prizes For This Round (Ends October 11 2015 ) In Our Non Fiction Writing Contest Include…
- First place winner will receive – Two Just In Case… Essential Assortment Buckets courtesy of LPC Survival a $147 value, a Wonder Junior Deluxe Hand Grain Mill courtesy of FoodPrepper.com a $219 value, and a gift certificate for $150 off of Rifle Ammunition courtesy of LuckyGunner Ammo… Total first place prize value over $516 dollars.
- Second Place Winner will receive – A case of Sopakco Sure-Pak MRE – 12 Meals and a Lifestraw Family Unit courtesy ofCamping Survival.com, and a One Month Food Packcourtesy of Augason Farms.com
- Third place winner will receive – $50 cash.
By Ethan Robinson
These days, self-defense is something many people hold as important, especially firearms training. However, the acquired skills may be compromised if discrepancies are made during training. Here, we’ve got the top mistakes people commonly make when it comes to firearms training for self-defense.
Not training in the proper field
In different fields of firearms training, different techniques and strategies are used. Whether it’s for hunting, for civilians, for law enforcement, or others, it’s important to have the proper training in the right field. Tactics used for training in one field will not always be applicable to another, leading to possible lawsuits.
Not having effective student-instructor ratio for training
When you’re training for self-defense shooting, you need a focused instruction to learn quickly and effectively. This will most likely not be achieved in a classroom setting that has more than 20 students and only one instructor. Of course, having one-or-one instruction or near to it will be best for beginners.
Listening to inexpert instruction
Bad habits are acquired when people learn from inexperienced gun owners. Having the license to carry a gun does not make anyone a real expert on firearms. For proficient training, find an experienced instructor. Talk to people who take self-defense classes and ask about their experiences to find the right fit for you.
Repeating one skill too much
Practicing your skills is good, but focusing on just one technique is not. You might end up being unable to adapt to the various scenarios which may call for self-defense. Always try to keep your skills varied and efficient by mixing up your practice. Focus on mastering different skills, not just one or two.
Not having a realistic mindset for self-defense
Self-defense training helps you protect yourself from hostile forces. In a real setting, shots will not be clean hits on paper targets. As much as possible, inject realism into your training by using targets that are clothed or in 3D. Practice different angles and positions for shooting and try practicing on moving targets.
Not having more instruction or guidance
Professional instruction on basic self-defense shooting skills is important. After the needed preliminary knowledge, keep learning by having guidance from someone else. Self-defense skills are not developed with just one dimension. Continue learning so you’ll know different skills for different scenarios.
Not doing drills with dry firing
Ammo is expensive, especially when you’re just beginning to learn. To save money and time, practice dry firing at home. Make sure the guns are not loaded and keep all ammunition away. With this, you can improve your trigger control and practice drawing from your holster for improved muscle memory.
Having the wrong type of gun for you
Not all types of guns would fit well with everybody. The right gun is determined by several factors that differ from one person to another, so try out different types before settling to one. The factors to consider include experience, body type, the size of one’s hands, and to what purpose you will use the gun.
Self-defense is an important skill to have against the unpredictable dangers of today’s world, so make sure to have proper training by avoiding these mistakes. No aspect of your training must be sacrificed for substandard skills, as these are what will safeguard you against real-life threats.
Bio: Ethan Robinson is a gun and self-defense enthusiast, hunter, blogger, and online marketing strategist based in Australia. He is currently partnering with IDF Holsters, a top supplier of high-quality holsters, tactical equipment and weapon accessories.