Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Basic Armory

Firearms are one of the most important preps that you can have ready. Nothing says "you're messing with the wrong guy" better than a gun in your hand. There are dozens of differant actions, calibers, shapes and sizes to choose from. It's easy to get overwhelmed if your knowledge is limited and it's easy to get carried away when you start collecting them. I'm going to try and go over what I consider to be the bare minimum that everyone should have. If you don't own a gun then this is a very good list to get you started. If you do own guns then maybe you can look at this list and think about what you can do to add to or simplify your own armory.

No American household should be without a 12 gauge shotgun. It's one of the most common calibers in the world. They're capable of taking just about any game in North America from small game up to large game. They're extremely effective in close quarters and, with the right ammunition, can be deadly out to 100 yards or more. They're simple to use. You don't have to be a crack shot to hit your target. They're among the least expensive firearms on the market. They'll be among the last firearms to be banned. Because they're so common finding ammunition should always be fairly easy. If you have extra ammo then finding someone that can use it will be easy making it an extremely valuable trade commodity. The recoil is a major downside. It may be too much to handle for some smaller framed shooters. The ammunition is also extremely heavy and bulky. I wouldn't consider my shotgun to be my "go to" gun but it's certainly coming with me if I have to leave in a hurry. If my main gun breaks or I run out of ammunition for it then I won't feel terribly undergunned when I switch to my shotgun.

Firearms that use the .22lr cartridge are at least as common as the 12 ga shotgun. Ammo is very lightweight and cheap. The weapons themselves tend to be small and lightweight as well. For $200 you could have a brand new, high quality .22 rifle and several thousand rounds of ammo. They're very effective training tools to introduce people to shooting and they're a cheap way for experienced shooters to maintain their skills. They're very effective small game getters. A well placed shot could even take down a deer although I consider that somewhat irresponsible unless you're either extremely desperate or extremely confident in your shooting abilities. While using the .22lr round in self defense isn't recommended it's certainly better than a sharp stick if you're left with no other options. It may be an underpowered round but it's extremely versatile and the price just can't be beat. Ammo should be relatively easy to find and finding people that need it and are willing to trade dearly for your surplus will probably be easy.

A trusty rifle should be the "center" of your armory. If the world as we know it ends and the possibility of getting into a real firefight becomes reality then you will want a high powered weapon that's capable of delivering massive amounts of firepower in the direction of your enemy. You don't think that the US could ever get to that point? There are several countries in the world where it's a reality today. Rest assured that if it happens to the US then there won't be many safe places anywhere else in the world. If we go down so does everyone else so moving to England to get away from it might not be a viable option. There are a few things to think about when picking out a rifle. You want it to shoot a common, inexpensive caliber (so that you can stock plenty of it). You want it to be relatively lightweight and easy to carry. You want it to be durable and reliable. You want it to be reasonably accurate. 5.56 (.223 Rem) should be the absolute smallest caliber that you go with. I'd recommend going with something that has some punch in .30 or larger. No matter what rifle you choose assume that the day that you really need it is the day that you'll never be able to replace it, get more ammo for it or buy things like spare parts and magazines for it.

Being able to defend yourself in a situation where the police may have more important matters to attend to (or where they're virtually nonexistant) is going to be important. Unfortunately you're not always going to be able to carry around your rifle everywhere you go. There are several situations where you might not be living in a war zone but the increase in crime due to other factors may be serious enough that you need to have a gun with you at all times. Even if it is TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it) and you're carrying your rifle with you everywhere you go having a sidearm will always be a good idea. A small, reliable, concealable handgun is a must have. Make sure that it's a large, centerfire caliber. Revolvers are nice because you don't need to carry spare magazines and a lot of them fire two or more calibers. They're also extremely reliable. Autoloaders usually have a much higher capacity. They also tend to be flatter which makes them easier to conceal. Some of the higher quality autoloaders are just as reliable as any revolver. .380 is the smallest defensive caliber that I'd trust my life to. 9mm is my first choice due to magazine capacity, cost of ammunition and balistics. Anything bigger will work just as well.

That's it. For a basic armory you really only need four guns to cover all of your bases. The first two are to make sure that you'll always be able to make use of the two most common and versatile calibers in the world. While not my first choice in a defensive situation 12 gauge and .22lr are certainly better than nothing and due to cost there's no reason not to own both. The rifle is to make sure that you're never undergunned. The handgun is to make sure that you're always armed. Soon enough I'll be going into detail about your choices within each category.


Jerry in SoIL said...

This is a great look on the needed weapons a user should have. Great post!


theotherryan said...

This post is very good! Few could argue with its general points.

I think for a pistol having a 4 inch barrel and a minimum chambering of 9mm or .38 special is wise for a defensive handgun. I think that barrel length is the best compromise between concealment and functionality.

If one wants to go beyond that for a city dweller I would suggest a smaller subcompact handgun that is far easier to conceal. I love the taurus .38 ultralite. Glock and keltec also make great subcompact pistols. That hangun could also be compatible with the ammo/mags for your primary pistol.

For a country dweller a scoped bolt action (ideally in the same caliber as your primary but maybe not, either way stick to common calibers) rifle would be the logical next gun.

Those 2 could be useful additions but anybody who is properly trained and has this basic armory and plenty of ammo should be able to take care of themself in the firearms area.

Anonymous said...

You can pick up a Mosin Nagant rifle for around $80 ea. The ammo is 7.62x54r, plenty powerful enough for large game. The rifle and ammo is cheap enough to keep well stocked. These are Russian military surplus bolt action rifles. They have a built in magazine that holds five rounds. Not the ideal weapon, but for $250 you can get the rifle and a sealed tin of 440 rounds.