With regard to the coming Troubles (some are already calling it “the Greatest Depression”), it is more important than ever to develop a simple working battery of firearms. I know that many “Right-Wing extremists” already have more firearms than they can comfortably carry and use, and tend to collect them like Hot Wheels. On every firearms-related message board, there are threads with “show your collection”-type threads (I find them a violation of personal security, but that is another essay, for another time). These pictures tend to reflect the collectors’ tastes and personalities, typically with many hunting and C&R (curio and relic) rifles. There is not anything wrong with collecting. However, with the Troubles looming on the horizon, and, if sales statistics are any indication, and more new firearms owners than any other time in the Republic’s history, I think it appropriate to discuss the civilian gun owner’s self-defense battery. There are many brand-new firearms-owners out there. Some of you may feel overwhelmed at the variety of firearms (if not the availability, considering the mad scramble to acquire firearms despite- or because of- an uncertain future). Further, the butt-crack militia and chairborne rangers that frequent many gun stores tend to complicate the choices. Research and trying as many firearms before making any purchases is always prudent.
This battery of firearms, four in number, and of three or four calibers, has little to do with hunting, or survivalism, in the traditional, Carter-era sense. This battery is about defending life and limb, liberty and property, in times of emergency and lawlessness, and not specifically for taking game. Regardless of the scenario, from a Saturday night out with the wife and kids, to chaos due to epidemic or civil disturbance, these weapons cover all realistic self-defense possibilities. To that end, I recommend every able-bodied individual, male and female, immediately acquire (or work to purchase) one military-pattern semiautomatic rifle, one pump-action or semiautomatic shotgun, one duty-sized handgun, and one deeply concealable handgun. These weapons all represent a compromise between power, ammunition capacity, and size (or effectiveness of concealment).
The order in which I recommend acquiring these weapons may spark some controversy; and it causes much deep thought. One can always carry a handgun, but the rifle is the ultimate symbol of personal liberty. To that end, I usually name the rifle as first in order of importance, despite its increased cost over the handgun. This is not about hardware, specifically; there is no need for an “AK vs. AR” or “M1A vs. FAL vs. HK91” debate. Read Boston’s Gun Bible for the details on selecting a rifle. Consider your needs; and plan accordingly. Definitely get a military-pattern semiautomatic rifle. They are more robust and reliable than hunting rifles. Lever-action rifles tend to bind when fired rapidly, increased heat and the expansion of metal parts due to increased tolerances reduces their reliability. Hunting bolt-actions also have tolerances that are too tight for our application. Military-pattern rifles, and especially ones with many real-deal military contract parts, run hot and dirty without malfunction, and are less prone to parts failure than strictly civilian rifles. Bulk ammunition is generally not available in civilian calibers, so get a rifle in 5.45x39mm, 7.62x39mm, 5.56x45mm, or 7.62x51mm. That is also generally the order in terms of availability and price. The 7.62x51mm has the most punch; but it comes at cost and weight. The 5.45x39mm Soviet round is still available in the form of inexpensive surplus, for now. Forewarned is forearmed. The government can cut off supplies of foreign ammunition at customs with the stroke of a pen. If you do opt for a rifle in a foreign chambering, consider purchasing a lifetime supply of ammunition and parts.
Despite Left-wing threats and increasing demand, these rifles are still readily available in most jurisdictions and localities. Acquire ammunition and spare parts in quantity, because the Left has placed them on the chopping block, demonizing them as “assault weapons” (a political term with no military or industrial meaning). Get as much training with said rifle as is fiscally prudent. Such training is politically incorrect in many circles. It is noisy, expensive, and fun; so get it while you can. Get two cases of ammunition (2000 rounds). Use the first case to learn your rifle. Store the other for that Rainy Decade, and for further training. Replace what you use, to keep those thousand rounds on hand for when the ammunition really gets scarce (and you think thing are bad now…)
This battery includes two handguns. Why do you need two sidearms? One should be a duty-sized weapon (of the size police and military typically carry), the other something much smaller, for secondary carry or non-permissive environments. Larger sized handguns make for a more pleasant training session, as the recoil is more manageable. They have a greater capacity, which means more shots between reloads. Their longer sight radius (the distance between the front and rear sights) and barrel makes them easier to achieve accurate shots. Larger weapons are more reliable and sturdy than smaller weapons, and therefore fail less, as a rule. They are somewhat more difficult to conceal than smaller sidearms; but continued practice carrying the weapon in a proper holster will mitigate the likelihood of others discovering your concealed handgun. Again, also purchase an adequate supply of spare parts, magazines, and ammunition. Any of the major brands will suffice in any caliber 9mm or larger (9x19mm, .40 S&W, .45 acp being the most popular and available). Ensure that everyone in your party can handle the recoil of the weapon, and fire it effectively. It does little good to acquire a he-man GLOCK 20, chambered in 10mm auto, if the woman of the house cannot fire it effectively. It makes better sense to get a 9mm that everyone can use, if the need arises.
Some may argue the revolver over the pistol here. For the primary sidearms, a pistol requires less maintenance (especially at the gunsmith/armorer level), has a greater capacity, and is easier to “keep in the fight” than a revolver. Save the revolver for hunting or for your secondary weapon (where it makes some sense).
Your second handgun should be small and quite concealable. This is your secondary or backup gun, and for deep-concealment carry in non-permissive environments. That is, it is what you carry when you cannot carry. You may choose a second caliber here; or you may use the same caliber as your primary carry. Some pistols on the larger side of the backup range even use the same size magazines as their duty-sized equivalents. Choose carefully, because this weapon should be as powerful as you can shoot comfortably but much smaller than your primary. If another caliber is within your budget, a small revolver in .38 Special or .357 Magnum will easily fit in an ankle or pocket holster. Generally, owners carry these weapons often, but fire them very little, usually due to their greater recoil.
A quality defensive shotgun rounds out the practical firearms battery. Again, ensure that everyone in your party can effectively manipulate and fire it. A Remington 870 or Mossberg 500 in twelve or twenty gauge will likely meet your defensive needs. An eighteen-inch barrel is a wise consideration. Three-inch magnum shells are generally no more effective than two-and-three-quarter inch shells, in buckshot loads. Shotguns are niche weapons; but they fill that role very well. At typical inside-the-house ranges, they are devastating. Do not use the myth of spreading buckshot as a talisman, and an excuse to not train. A good rule of thumb is that shot will spread one inch per yard of range. That means that shooting across a typical room, the spread will still be smaller than a man’s fist, leaving plenty of opportunity to miss. If you are your party have difficulty manipulating a pump-action shotgun, consider a semiautomatic. Although more expensive, they offer an advantage in that the user cannot generally “short-stroke” them as a pump (causing a malfunction). They are also faster on the follow-up shot. The downside is increased maintenance, especially with gas-operated guns. Additionally, they can be ammunition sensitive, particularly the recoil-operated models. If you do choose a semiautomatic, pay close attention to the preventative maintenance schedule, and thoroughly test any ammunition on which you intend to use for self-defense.
This working firearms battery meets the general requirements of the individual defensively minded gun owner. These are not hobbyists’ weapons, but tools to defend life, liberty, and property. As time and money permit, one can work on duplicating this battery, for backup or arming other members of his family or party. Many gun owners already have much more weapons than this, but usually a great diversity. This approach, in contrast, is to pare down diversity, and to concentrate on what works, what meets the individual’s needs, and what he can easily duplicate.
We are on the precipice of what the Chinese used to call “interesting times”. How “interesting” the times will be is conjecture. Preparedness is key regardless. It is better to have what one needs, now, than to wish later that he had. Carefully consider these options. Choose your rifle, handguns, and shotgun based on need, physical ability, and finances. Train as often as possible; and ensure that everyone in your family or party does the same. Training and preparation will help you and your family be ready for the uncertain times in which we live; and if life continues as normal, you will still have the skills an tools to meet threats to your families life, and to survive violent encounters.
Filed under: Preparedness |