Our post today is from a firearms expert addressing the age-old question of what is “the best gun” to have. Read on to learn the keys to answering this question.
I have been a firearms enthusiast all of my life. As an FFL (Federal Firearms License) dealer, I have gained knowledge and experience to go along with that enthusiasm. This article is strictly my opinion, however, I hope to offer some tidbits of information that I have gathered throughout my life to help you make the right decision on a gun for survival situations. Guns are a diverse subject, from black powder to full auto, the possibilities are endless. I am going to focus on three main “types” of firearms, handguns, rifles, and shotguns.
The first thing to consider is what purpose you have for a firearm. Is it going to be for defense, hunting, or both? For defense, the best guns are those that have a high rate of fire and large ammunition capacities. Distance to target also has to be considered, if defending inside your home, a shotgun or handgun would be ideal. For distance, battle rifles such as the AR-15 and AK-47 pattern rifles are ideal. Handguns are basically useless past 50 yards so they are out for an all-purpose gun. Shotguns can be effective for close quarters defense, as well as hunting up to 100 or so yards. The AR-15 reigns supreme in this area however because it can double as a hunting rifle and a battle rifle. Deer can be taken effectively with the 5.56mm cartridge out to 150 yards with proper shot placement, and for close quarter and long-range defense, it is effective as well. The AK-47 is not as good due to poor accuracy.
Ammo availability is another factor that must be considered. In a SHTF situation, how are you going to get ammo? You will not be able to head down to your local Academy or Wal-Mart to pick up a box of shells. Now, you must decide for yourself what you think is going to happen here. If we are in a situation that we must defend ourselves against the military or a foreign power, the choice of ammo is simple. Most of the world’s militaries use either the 5.56mm x 45 or 7.62mm x 39 cartridges; you would be able to collect them from the battlefield. I would choose the 5.56mm cartridge myself. If you think the economy is going to collapse, perhaps a cheap cartridge that can be stocked up on in plentiful amounts such as .22LR or 5.56mm would be preferred. [JR Comment – the 22LR is an excellent, low cost choice for training new shooters]
Another option in an economic collapse could be reloading. However, you would need a large cache of reloading supplies. I would not recommend choosing an exotic cartridge for a survival gun, such as .300 AAC Blackout, 6.8 SPC, or any other cartridge that is not readily available. You probably won’t be able to find .257 Weatherby, or other wildcat type cartridges. Cartridges like the 30-06, 30-30, .308 Winchester would all be good choices performance wise, but more expense, and availability might be a limiting factor. Shotgun cartridges are another ballgame altogether. They are bulky and not cheap, but are versatile.
Another factor to consider is comfort. Who is going to be using your firearms? Will only men be shooting them, or will the women and children be expected to use this gun as well? It would be hard for a young child to handle a large caliber rifle or 12-gauge shotgun. Consider this when choosing your firearm. What you enjoy shooting will also be a big factor. If you get a gun that you don’t like to shoot, odds are you won’t train on it, and if you don’t train, you may as well not have it. Training is essential, but I digress…
In a large-scale extended SHTF situation, parts availability may also become a factor. Are you going to be able to get a trigger spring for a Bennelli 20 gauge shotgun? Probably not. Will you be able to scrounge together AR-15 parts? Probably, parts for the AR are plentiful and readily available, especially if we face a military power. Will you be able to fix a shotgun or simple bolt action? With some training, maybe so. Simplicity is another factor, AK-47 pattern rifles, bolt-action rifles, and single and double barrel shotguns are simple to operate, work, and train on. There is a reason why the AK has been around so long. A drunken monkey could operate the thing.
There are so many factors involved in choosing a firearm; I have just begun to scratch the surface. Your purpose, ammo availability, and comfort are three of the most important factors. If you can’t decide on just one, buy multiple! Personal preference will be the deciding factor in most cases. If you could have just one survival gun I would choose a 12-gauge shotgun. With slugs, you have a mid-range hunting rifle, with buckshot, an excellent close quarter defense gun, with birdshot, an excellent mid-range hunting gun.
Be sure to weigh the pros and cons and make the right choice for you and what ever your selection, have plenty of ammo.
For additional information see the following links:
The Rule of 3 (set priorities by this)
Why we are ALL Preppers (for skeptics)
Food and water:
Getting Started (Water)
Edible Wild Plants:
Natural Disaster Preparations
Firearms and security:
Investing for Preppers (Financial Security)
Survival Pack (Security Patrol or Bug Out pack)
Wilderness Survival Pack (Video)