I have done two posts on guns, both were a practical intro to firearms on the cheap, I hope. This will be about some of my guns, and what I think is a much better package then a combat rifle or shotgun and a pistol( though those will do the job)
I will start off with pistols. FBI research shows 9mm, .40 & .45 in a statistical tie for most effective pistol calibers. I believe .40 edges out the other two, but does so with in the margin of error. I haven’t looked at that report in a long while and don’t plan on it either. The results are close enough that any of those three rounds are good choices. On top of that .38 and .357’s have been getting the job done for a long, long time. Something like 1902 for the .38 and 1934(I think) for the .357. Each round fell out of favor based on the limits of revolvers round capacity vs a lack of performance. You literally cannot go wrong with any of these 5 calibers. All the big name brands make great guns. A Colt, Smith and Wesson or Ruger revolver will last you a life time. I beat a Charter Arm’s .44 to death when I was a kid, but it was a damn fine gun fun the money and didn’t deserve the abuse. For semi autos again you cannot go wrong with the big names; Glock, S&W M&P, XD, H&K, Sig if you have the money… They are all great fire arms.
I carry an XDM, Kel Tech or a Ruger LCP all in 9mm. The XDM’s and Ruger’s have CrimsonTrace lasers on them. The smaller pocket guns make it easy to conceal. Recently I had to play dress up for some formal events. The Ruger in an ankle holster ended up being the best carry choice. Slimmer then the Kel Tech and carrying the XDM would have required leaving the jacket on all night. I sweat like a pig in August when I have a suit/ tux on. It’s nice to have options. In the past I have carried…. Well lots of things. Colt 1911’s, Ruger SPS101’s in .357, Colt detective in .38…. Never once felt out gunned. A while back I cut my pistol collection to the bone because it things were becoming difficult to manage. Keeping track of the guns and calibers and ammo was taking up to much time. The kicker was finding a box of .32 ammo in my undershorts drawer and not remembering owning a .32, sending me on a 2 hour quest to find the .32. It was a nice Berretta .32. . I consolidated on shotguns and rifles as well for the same reasons and around the same time.
I settled on 9mm as my basic carry round because #1 the already mentioned FBI research; #2 ammo cost, making it cheaper to train and store ammo and #3 faster times on the pistol qual course. Less recoil means quicker shots and speed kills; #4 more rounds is always better then less. I sold most of my older pistols and the ammo but kept a few that have sentimental value to me. I have a 1858 Remington, with the family rumor being it belonged to an ancestor who rode with Col Mosby; a pair of Colt 1911’s, one belonging to my grandfather, the other my father; a Colt Python with an 8 inch barrel; Ruger Vaquero in .357 (want to do cowboy action shooting one day and again I got a great price on it);a Thompson Contender( Encore actually but folks know the Contender name better) with a couple different barrels because it is fun to shoot rifle rounds out of a pistol and to have a pistol you need a scope for and lastly….. .22 pistols. I have Browning and Ruger competition .22’s and a Ruger threaded for a suppressor, with a mini red dot on it. I also have a custom built 9mm that is threaded for a suppressor with a mini red dot. Not sure what to say about any of these. I love them all. I have only shot the Remington once, with an expert in antique firearms but it is prominently displayed in my house. The9mm’s are carry guns, but XDM’s are the only semi auto pistols I have ever picked up and wanted to shoot. I rarely shoot the 1911’s. Grew up shooting them and they are iconic but not a joy to shoot like the XDM. The Colt Python is the best shooting of all my pistols but at $1800 it fucking ought to be. I think they run about $2200 now. I also have a .44 magnum (Ruger SuperRedhawk) I only own those three revolvers these days. Mostly I shoot the .22’s. They are fun, cheap and don’t bug the neighbors.
I use to have shotguns by the tons but I consolidated here as well. I own a coach gun (short double barrel shotgun), and a lever action shot gun, because I like the guns vs any tactical advantages etc.. I use a Remington 11-87 for my shotgun hunting needs. It is easy to change out the barrels on the 11-87 so there is no need to have more than one shotgun for my various hunting needs (yet I own 2). One shot gun with a rifled barrel for deer (took a deer at 176 yards with this set up), a longer bird barrel and a turkey barrel covers all my hunting needs for less cash then three different shotguns. Tactically I use 870 Remington’s or theor 11-87’s with extended tube mag, ghost rings, and shell carrier. Simple and effective. I have 5, and just recently sold my last Mossberg.
Riffles…. Where to begin? ….. Barrett model 82a1 in .50. “Thanks” to someone else’s divorce I got a great price on it. Some UH60 pilot out @ Simmons Army Airfield. I reckon he rarely fired it. I get ammo from an Army friend who takes it off the range. I rarely shoot it and think it’s of limited tactical use in my AO but it makes a semi frequent appearance at work and I feel it’s important to have the tools I use down range here at the house to keep my skill set up. I will probably sell this rifle if I don’t go back down range in the next three years. I have a Remington 700 in .338 Lupua …. But this one is tuned the fuck up. It is one of two rifles I have where I buy ammo custom built to the rifle. Might also sell it if I don’t go back down range. Less sure about this rifle then the Barrett. Next is a Remington 700 in .308. Tuned up of course and this is the other rifle I buy custom built ammo for. This is the most expensive rifle I have. I hunt with another Remington 700 in .308; as well as one in .270. Notice that trend with Remington 700’s? If you ever want to ask what type of rifle I suggest….. Course there are a lot of other brands out there. My father has a shit ton of Ruger rifles and they are fine weapons. When I was a kid and broke I used a Savage and have no complaints but Remington 700’s are the most common sniper rifle in the USA, military and LEO(or was last time I checked). They aren’t all that costly to get into and are easily tuned, but you can get into a Ruger or Savage for less money. 700’s are super common and gunsmiths will be familiar with the rifle. I have three lever action rifles a . 22, a 30/30 and a .45-70. All three are Marlins. I love the power of the big bore .45-70. Rumor has it the round was developed to kill grizzly bears. I have had the .22 since I was 8. There is something satisfying about working the action of a lever action rifle. I have taken a few deer with the 30/30 and a couple of pigs with the .45-70. That round takes the starch right out of a pissed off 400 pound hog. Reality is I could do the same job with a shotgun and deer slug. I also have a pair of Ruger 10/22’s. Those are .22 rifles. I have them set up fairly well, adjustable M4 style stocks so my nieces and nephews can shoot them. I shoot them pretty damn often myself. I have AK 47’s out the you know what. I only have one with any money invested in it. I picked up a couple AK 74’s over the last few years. Not a bad rifle but I am not into the Soviet Surplus stuff to much myself. Great weapons for what they are, not my bag or 1st choice. Same with the Mosin Nagants I have. Mostly I keep them around because they cost me nothing and who knows when I’ll have to arm a couple of platoons’ worth of folks? AR15’s, I have them. One with a short barrel, select fire and a suppressor. A friend of mine built this for me at cost. Otherwise I think it would be cost prohibitive to me. Most of my AR’s are Colts, though I have a pre ban Bush Master that is still going strong. My favorite is the Ruger SSR 556. It is the most accurate out box weapon I have ever purchased. Which is why it’s my favorite. I am pretty spun up about accuracy, way more than required to be an effective hunter or to defend yourself effectively. Main battle rifles in .308 are next. The 1st one I picked up was an old CETME for like $500, including some gun smithing to clean up the action. Once that was done, it has been a great weapon. At the time mags for it were a dollar and I could walk off the range with all the .308 ammo I could carry. I have two FN FAL’s built from kits; an AR 10, by Armalite which I might sell and use the money to buy a Ruger SSR 762; a Springfield Arms SOCOM “Scout” with an Eotech; traditional M1A1 (civilian models of the M14) My M1A1 is pretty well tuned up and has a suppressor. The 700 and M1A1 are big deals to me as they are the primary work tools. I have an M1 Garand as well.
Here’s where things get to be over the top in most folks minds; ammo and magazines. A few years back I ordered a pallet of AK 47 ammo, and one of military surplus 7.62×51. “They” changed the laws/ regulations on shipping and you can no longer do this, or so I am told. I set aside 10% of my pay for ammo purchases. I already mentioned how I made a sofa( more like a love seat) out of boxes of .308 ammo. I no longer have the sofa, but I don’t have an “assault rifle” or a main battle rifle and don’t have 100 full magazines for it. I have over three hundred, 30 round mags for my AR 15’s. Basically when I show up to a shooting school, I don’t have to reload any mags. I have a closet dedicated to shot gun slugs. It’s a hallway closet so it’s not particularly large. Most of the ammo I store is cheap bulk ammo. I don’t keep much match grade or hunting ammo on hand. I have maybe 5k in 9mm ammo. Otherwise I’d keep about 1k of 9mm on hand. I have about that in match grade .38 and .357 ammo for the Python.
Military ammo creates more pressure and velocity then the same caliber civilian ammo. For the typical shooter, this is a non issue, but I don’t risk it since I shoot often. I do 100rounds a week out of my Remington 700. Mostly simple .308 rounds but I do break out the high dollar stuff every so often. I run maybe 3 mags every two weeks or so out of an AR and maybe 50 rounds every two weeks out of my XD and 20 or so rounds of birdshot every two weeks. That’s my ideal at least. Otherwise its .22 shooting for fun and whichever rifle I plan on using to hunt. I’ll be back to instructing next month and will get all my tactical rifle/ pistol training in there on someone else’s dime.
A number of firearms I own would be pointless for the typical shooter. In fact any of my tuned riles would be over kill. Optics are costly too. I figure a man would do just fine with two pistols, a large frame “combat” pistol and a small pocket pistol in the same caliber. I will always recommend the 9mm for reasons already listed, but any of the main 5 will work and have their advantages. Always use the best self defense ammo you can get your hands on and that your pistol feeds well. Use ballistic tips or good ol ball ammo during the winter if you live up north. The extra layer of clothes can fill the hollow point and keep it from expanding. Penetration counts for more than expansion…. That sounds vaguely naughty doesn’t it? A Remington 700 in .308 or .270 would cover most men’s hunting/ long distance shooting needs @ their skill level. If you want to shoot out past 300 yards or so, the .308 is a better option. I hate the recoil in the .270, much more like a punch then a push, so that is a factor as well. The .270 weighs less and is a smaller weapon, which is nice in the scrubby brushy swampy areas I hunt. Everything is a trade off. A Savage Arms in either of those calibers will be good to go as well. As always I don’t want men thinking they have to gun up like I am to see themselves and their beloveds through the zombie apocalypse or fill the freezer. Personally I think ammo storage is more important than gun selection. In a “battle rifle” I will always recommend the AR in 5.56 1st. Mostly because of training cost and recoil management. The AR uses a 30 round mag and it will take 5-7 rounds to kill a guy in close quarters combat (typically) allowing you to engage 4-6 tangos on a mag( don’t do this). My SOCOM has a 20 round mag and will take 3-5 rounds to drop a tango in CQB allowing you to engage….. 4-6 tangos per mag. Same same on that and you will reacquire the target much quicker with the 5.56. I am a controlled pair kind of man meaning, acquire the target, pull the trigger, reacquire, pull the trigger. Recoil with a 5.56 with barely take your barrel off target, given the size of the average mans torso; you’ll stay on target the whole time. The SOCOM has the advantage in longer distance shooting, but again that takes a particular skill set and practice. Most men won’t have the cash or time to develop that skill set. Which isn’t going to be a lethal liability when the EBT card stops working; you will do well enough if you always take into account your own liabilities in skills, tactics, technology etc. when you do your reckonings. In shotguns I would suggest getting a semi automatic Remington or Mossberg. I prefer Remington’s because I find tactical reloads easier but both are fine shotguns. I suggest semi auto over pump because rookies short stroke the pump action when the heat is on. Won’t be an issue if you buy the semi auto…. Or practice a lot with the pump action. In the long run, the semi auto will be cheaper because of lower training cost, and time is always a factor. Do you really have the free time to learn how to run a tactical shotgun? Train with bird shot, use hollow point deer slugs or sabots when it counts (slugs for smooth barrels, sabots for rifled shotgun barrels)
When it comes to reducing training cost and plan good ol Southern fried fun, I cannot recommend .22’s enough. You can eassyily buy a used Browning Buck Mark or Ruger mark2 or 3 for under 300 bucks and the same for a Ruger 10/22 rifle. The fundamentals of shoot are the same regardless of caliber and distances and I think the last batch of .22 I bought cost me $380 for 5k rounds.
Also I will recommend paying for quality training and fewer firearms over a shit ton of guns. There are some good tactical training schools out there. The training cost is high, mostly because of the ammo and needing a hotel room etc, but worth it. I would, if money allows take a class in tactical/ defensive driving, a tactical rifle/ pistol class combo class( or separate depending on your ready cash) and a tactical shotgun class. If funds are limited, do the driving class and the tactical pistol class 1st. Way more likely to come in handy.
Sooooo….. zombie apocalypse weapon selection: the gold standard in survivalist advise is pistol, combat rifle, hunting rifle and shotgun, or pistol, .22 rifle, hunting rifle and shotgun. Most advice in this area is…. Not based on professional assessments of tactical needs. If your budget allows, have 7 rifles. I would suggest two pistols in the same caliber. A large full frame semi auto and a smaller semi auto pocket pistol for easy concealment. Again I recommend 9mm. I would keep about 1k rounds on hand plus another 200 or so of quality self defense rounds. The up side to .45 is I would not feel the need to have hollow points in her. I suggest one shotgun. I do not recommend hunting with a shotgun if the EBT card stops working. I don’t recommend hunting small game at all. Trap them critters so I would suggest you get a quality tactical shotgun. Remington and Mossberg rule this market. Remington’s are cheaper on the initial entry and cheaper to tune up. I also feel they are easier to run in tactical situations because they are easier to reload on the move. Remington’s have been the shotgun of choice for every outfit I have worked with. Once again I suggest the 11-87 over the 870 because of the whole short stroke issues, but training will overcome that. Keep 400 or so slugs on hand, train with birdshot, and ignore buckshot. Rifles. I would suggest a Savage, Ruger or Remington in .308. With a decent scope and moderate training consistent 600 yard shots are extremely possible. I would suggest the AR over the AK 47, mostly due to improved accuracy, lighter weapon, and lighter ammo, easier to operate. I use to tell people I have never fired more than 15 mags in a firefight but that is no longer true. Twice over. I suggest 30 full 30 rounds mags, at the low end, plus as much ammo as you can afford to stack up. I would also think about getting a second AR or having an AK 47/ 74 with 30 full mags and maybe 1500 rounds in storage as a backup. I would suggest having 2 AR’s or an AR and an AK before having a tactical shotgun. Shotguns are not particularly tactically flexible weapons. I would delay the hunting rifle as well ( unless you are already a hunter then you are pretty much good to go and know weapons). Pistols are also not very tactically flexible but pistols are a must and should be #1 purchase item on your list because you can conceal one and carrying one leaves you hands free to do other shit (which is why cops carry pistols btw) I would suggest a .22 rifle, the options are endless but the Ruger 10/22 is the best selling .22 on the market for a reason. Last I checked Ruger was the biggest selling brand of fire arms. That’s a lot of satisfied customers. And of course a .22 pistol. I would keep a couple thousand .22 rounds on hand for training and fun. If you need to hunt for small game, the .22 will do the job.
Someone is going to get pissy about the timing but remember Christ tells us to sell our second cloak and by a sword. Every man, especially every God fearing man should be armed, the question is to what extent? That is driven by budget and need and the fun factor. Shooting is fun.