The following is an older post written by my buddy TX 2 Guns sharing his thoughts on a basic battery for survivalists and preppers. Originally appearing at his blog The Tactical Hermit, he speaks from experience on what you need and what you don’t. Whether you’re a well seasoned survivalist or just waking up to the totality of the circumstances, its important to stay grounded in realistic needs versus getting wrapped up in the cool-guy industry marketing.
There is a lot to be said about having the right tool for the job..for one, it makes your job easier and typically, faster to complete. You have to summarize the task at hand and deduce what tool would do the job the best. A surgeon for instance, needs a scalpel, not a machete, a lumberjack needs a chainsaw not a hedge trimmer. So the same goes for our personal armory. We need to be utilitarian in our approach to our Personal Defense Weapons (PDW), each one is a tool for a specific job. Now, I am not immune to collecting weapons for pure aesthetic or sentimental value, in fact I have several that would meet that criteria, but we are talking about our MODERN weapons that we use for Self-Defense, not the 1939 K-31 Schmidt and Rubin Carbine or your 7.62×25 Romanian Tokarev Pistol, both are very cool guns, but when something goes bump in the night, I do not grab these, I grab my Glock or my AK-47.
There is an old west adage that goes something like “Beware of the man who owns one gun, because he will know how to use it!” There is a lot of logic in that. Sometimes necessity dictated you either got proficient with what you had, or you died. As time marched on and the Industrial Revolution happened, we saw the gradual increase in the weapons a man owned. Typically, he had his pistol, his rifle and a shotgun. Fast forward to today and you have people who own 25 guns and are proficient with none of them because every time they go to shoot, they grab a different gun. The reason for this is these folks have not grasped the concept, guns are tools, not “play pretty’s”.
Enter the “5 Gun” Theory:
- Combat Handgun.
- Combat Semi-Automatic Assault Type Rifle
- Combat Shotgun
- Scoped .30 Caliber Semi-Automatic or Bolt Action Rifle
- .22 LR Rifle (Semi-Automatic preferred)
You will notice in most of these the word “Combat” is first, that is there to denote these are not hunting weapons, nor target weapons but weapons whose design is for defending yourself against 2 legged predators! However, Part of the 5 gun theory is utilitarian, so in a worst case disaster or survival scenario, you have a .30 Caliber or .22LR Rifle to hunt for meat.
Let’s break down the list:
1. Combat Handgun.
The minimum qualifications for this weapon are: Semi Automatic with High Capacity Magazine, Minimum 9mm Caliber, Modern Combat Sights. Firstly, let me say I have nothing against wheel guns, but for the purposes of self-defense, I think we should grab hold of all the modern technology we can afford and logic dictates if I can have a gun with 17 rounds in it versus 6 rounds and it be lighter and more concealable to boot, I am going to go with the pistol all day long. I am not one of those to argue “stopping power” with calibers, but I have come to the conclusion after my many experiences, if you are going to carry a pistol around with you, the minimum caliber for my “primary” weapon would be 9mm. Again, technology has grown by leaps and bounds in the development of self-defense ammunition, and there are some awesome rounds out there. Lastly, the gun should have sights that you can see, most of your modern weapons meet that standard. Go back 40 years and you will see what I mean, the sights were rudimentary and not easy on the eye.
2. Combat Semi-Automatic Civilian Defense Rifle
OK, now we are talking Assault “Type” Rifles. As a Civilian Operator, this is your mainstay. This is the weapon that is going to save your butt when the crap starts raining. The typical range for this weapon would be under 400 yards. Examples are: M4, Ak-47, FAL, G3, etc. Once again, the minimum qualifications:
- Semi-Automatic, magazine fed, 20-30 rounds is standard.
- Rifle or Intermediate Caliber (no pistol caliber) Examples are 5.56×45, 5.45×39, 7.62×39, .308.
- Folding Stock
I really do not think any of these need to be explained. The folding stock is simply for ease of transport. There are some stocks out there that offer you the same stability as a fixed stock but fold down easily.
3. Combat Shotgun
Ahh, the old scattergun. What more needs to be said? No arsenal is complete without one. The only caveat I would add on this subject is two things: One, A Shotgun is not a rifle, so don’t load it or outfit like one. Yeah, slugs have their place, but they are a very limited niche. Two, birdshot is for birds, not two legged predators. I load 00 and #4 Buck in all my Home shotty’s.
4. Scoped .30 Caliber Bolt Action or Semi-Automatic “DM” Rifle
The difference between this tool and the #2 rifle is this tool is designed to “Reach out and touch someone” out to say 600-700 yds. The DM is for “Designated Marksman”. There is a choice to be made to go either bolt-action or Semi Auto (an example of Semi-Auto is the FAL, G3, M1A, etc.) The reasoning most DM rifles you see are Semi-Auto is to have the ability to engage multiple targets and lay down a base of fire, it can be argued however, that you do give up some accuracy with a SA Platform over a finely tuned Bolt Action. My personal preference is to have a magazine fed Bolt Action for this type of work, this way you do not give up that much ammo capacity and your rate of fire can be good enough to engage multiple targets..it can be argued however in regards to tactics (depending on the mission and objective) of a Designated Marksman or Guerilla Sniper that it is not the smartest move to be sitting in one place for an extended period of time firing at multiple targets! So this is a tool that serves a big purpose in the Civilian Operator’s arsenal and demands practice to hone the skills of the rifleman.
5. Semi-Automatic .22LR Rifle
Call me nostalgic, (since this was one of the first serious guns I got when I was a kid) but out of all the weapons I have listed, this is my favorite becasue of the memories I have with it. Most people would never think of a .22LR for a defense weapon, but go ask the IDF and Mossad and they can tell you the perks of this caliber!!
The up side to having one of these guns is many, here are a few:
- Ammo is cheap, thus you will shoot more and practice your rifleman skills more. Plus, you can stockpile a ton of ammo for cheap.
- Report is minimum, especially if you use subsonic ammo, this can have it’s advantages in built up areas.
- If you choose a Semi-Auto Model, which I highly recommend, you can purchase high-capacity magazines (where they are legal) to give you a decent rate of fire.
This is one of those platforms that is a hybrid weapon..you can defend yourself and in a survival or disaster situation, where you may want to preserve your center fire ammo, you can hunt with it. Now let me address those who say the .22LR is an “inadequate” caliber for self-defense or hunting; I will admit, it would not be my first choice for self-defense, that is not to say however, I could not kill somebody or a medium-sized animal with it if I had too..Two Words: Shot Placement.
And with that, a weapon is no good without the training to use it. How are your supporting skills? Got training?