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Top 5 Firearms You Need To Get Your Hands On NOW!

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To the individual who is either interested in Prepping or already knee deep into preparing for any number of potential emergencies or disasters, security has to be one of your primary concerns. This is not any truer if you have a family than if you are all alone. The simple fact of life is that when people are scared, hurting or in some other way seriously under duress, the niceness of society disappears quickly. Someone who used to be your best friend will kill you if you are standing between food and their baby is starving.

It should be clear from any number of recent disasters where looting happened within days that you and your family need to plan for security wherever you are. Firearms are most commonly (and for good reason) associated with security. Are there other options? Sure, but I would rather have my trusty shotgun as opposed to a baseball bat and harsh language if there were a bunch of people trying to knock down my door any day. So, with that in mind, below are my list of the top 5 firearms you need to get your hands on now. This of course assumes you don’t have any firearms for personal protection and you aren’t philosophically opposed to defending your family’s life with deadly force if it comes to that.

#1 Shotgun

As I explained in my earlier post, if you only have the time or means to purchase one firearm to defend yourself and your family it should be a shotgun. Shotguns are everywhere and they are relatively inexpensive to purchase. Where is the best place to purchase a shotgun? You can walk into just about any Wal-Mart and pick up a reasonably priced shotgun without too many people even blinking. Shotguns are pretty simple to use, hold on average 5-6 shots and come with a variety of ammunition options. For home defense or close quarters, a shotgun is very forgiving with respect to nervous aiming. By that I mean you don’t have to be very accurate with a shotgun to do some damage. Even the sound of racking the slide up and down can be an effective deterrent. The two most common calibers are .12 and .20 gauge. The .20 gauge is usually recommended for women and smaller kids because the recoil is less.

In addition to home defense, a shotgun is perfectly suited for hunting both small game and larger animals with the right type of ammunition. Another plus is that shotguns are plentiful and the ammunition isn’t 4 times as high now with the recent talk of gun confiscation by the federal government. You can still pick up plenty of ammo and a nice new shotgun fairly easily. For the tactical minded prepper, you can even augment your shotgun with lots of accessories similar to your pistol or AR-15.

#2 AR-15

Speaking of AR-15’s… This would be my second choice if you have a shotgun already. There are several reasons for making an AR-15 next on your purchase list. The first is that this is the weapon you want to use in a variety of other solutions and its strengths lie outside of the shotgun’s sweet spot. The AR-15 chambered in .223 gives you a highly flexible weapon platform. The AR-15 holds a higher capacity of ammunition so you will need to reload less often. When would you possibly need 30 rounds of ammunition? What if your home was being overrun by 50 people who had wandered off the highway from the town 20 miles away and they were deadly intent on taking your home and your possessions away from you? Or on the other end of the spectrum, what if a whole bus load of zombies was walking across the parking lot towards you. Wouldn’t you rather be able to take out 30 of the closest ones before you had to reload? The AR-15, unlike a shotgun is a medium distance hero. Where the shotgun is good for close quarters, you wouldn’t expect to hit anything with any real power above 30-40 yards. The AR-15, in a competent shooter’s hand is excellent up to 300 meters on any day. I would rather take care of the bad guys when they are very far away from me and my family.

On top of its usefulness at taking out bad guys, it uses the same ammunition that your local police department, National Guard, military and now Homeland security use and are buying more of every day. The chance that you will be able to acquire some ammunition that is compatible with your AR-15 is very high in certain conditions. Now, the rub is that because of the recent antics by some in our Congress, AR-15’s and the ammunition that go in them is harder to come by. It isn’t impossible though and you can still get an AR-15 for your very own personal use in most locations if you are willing to look around and wait a while. Where can you purchase an AR-15? You can still find quite a few at gun shows everywhere and even at places like Gander Mountain and Cabella’s. Dicks Sporting goods is not stocking them anymore I believe. Pawn shops and gun stores also have them in stock, but you will be paying a premium now unfortunately. I don’t believe this will change any time soon. If you are waiting for the price to go back to what it was last summer I think you will be out of luck. There are also places online you can purchase them and have them shipped to your local FFL dealer. The dealer will usually charge you a small fee ($25 is normal) for the transaction and long wait times are still going to be a factor. Ammunition is tougher to get and more expensive but it is still out there. Shop around online and go to your gun shows. My research shows that the prices are just about the same, once you add in shipping. Know what the price of 500 and 1000 rounds are before you go to the gun show so you can be a savvy shopper.

#3 Full-size Semi-automatic Pistol – .45 or .40

Pistols are usually the first firearm people choose for a few reasons. They are easier to handle, easier to hide and less wieldy in general. They are the weapon most of the good guys use in the movies so the natural inclination is to get a pistol and you will be all set like Bruce Willis in Die Hard. Pistols definitely have their place, but they would come after an AR-15 and a shotgun in my opinion. Why is that? A wise man once said that “a pistol is what you use to get back to your rifle”. Pistols are for close quarters and you want that to be a last resort. You don’t want to be that close to any bad guys. However, it happens and pistols are an important aspect of your survival battery of arms. Run out of ammunition in your shotgun or AR-15 and then you grab the pistol. Bad guy kicks in the door while you are asleep then you reach for the pistol close to the bed.

Why am I recommending .45 or .40 and not a .9mm? It comes down to stopping power really and I know I may get some blow-back on this topic. I have all three calibers, but if I could only buy one and I was buying this for home defense it would be a .40 caliber. Why not a .45? Well, for the simple fact that you can hold more rounds in the magazine of most .40 calibers because the rounds are a little smaller. That is also why I recommend a full-size and not a sub-compact if you only have one. My 1911 .45 holds 8 rounds and my .40 holds 14. It’s just that I like options and having a few more rounds gives you more options. What about the .9mm you ask? It can hold up to 17 rounds. Yes, and like I said, I have .9mm also, but if you put a big freaked out psychopath in front of me with a machete and told me to pick one gun to use to take him down I would pick up the .45 or .40 before the .9mm.

Where is the best place to purchase a pistol for home defense? Pistols are not as in demand as AR-15’s yet. I was just at Gander Mountain last week and they still had full cases of pistols in all calibers and models. The prices still looked consistent with what I would expect at that store and the only shortage I saw was of Glock. They only had one G27 on display. I personally like purchasing handguns from a gun show but you have to know what you are looking for and the price range you are willing to pay. At a gun show you have a lot more people competing for your business. I recommend finding the gun you are after at every booth, talking to the seller and getting a price. I found $200 worth of difference the last time I went for the same make and caliber of handgun so you should shop around.

Ammunition for handguns is ridiculous now and it’s running about 4 times as expensive as what it used to last year this time. My advice is to get two 50 rounds boxes of hollow-points at a minimum and put those away. After that, go to places like ammunition.com and order in bulk to build up your supply. Make sure you have 4 magazines for each gun also.

#4 Long-Range Rife

When it comes to a long-range rifle, I am talking about between 300 and 600 yards now and this is primarily for hunting. They can also be used to take over where your AR-15 begins to fall short. If you start going too far past 300 yards, your AR-15 will need a little help. Can you still hit targets at that range? Sure but I would rather have a caliber that isn’t slowing down already. My personal recommendation for a long-range rifle is a .30-06.

For one reason, the .30-06 is capable of taking down any big game in North America. You won’t run into an animal that can’t be hunted successfully with a .30-06. Are there other calibers that can do the job? Of course, but in addition to being a great all around hunting weapon, the .30-06 is also a common sniper caliber for police forces.

Where can you purchase a good hunting rifle? They are everywhere from Wal-Mart, Dicks, Cabella’s, Gander Mountain and the local neighborhood pawn shop. You don’t generally need a license to purchase a long rifle and they have lots of use. The ammunition is going to be more expensive, but if you are hunting with this rifle, you will need less; unless you are a horrible shot.

#5 .22 (Pistol and Rifle)

The .22 is great for two things in my mind. In a rifle, the .22 is perfect for small game or varmints. A pistol is great for practice or for use by smaller children. A .22 is a great addition because you can use this to practice your accuracy and not spend a fortune on ammunition. While it is still way more expensive than it used to be you can buy hundreds of .22 ammunition for a fraction of the more common calibers. Additionally, if they ever do try to take away guns, they might leave you with a .22 and something is better than nothing.

Honorable Mentions – Also known as if you have money left over… try these on for size.

Mosin Nagant

The Mosin is a Russian rifle used primarily during WWII and routinely runs around $100 each. For the life of me, I could never find too many of them but if you have no other option, a Mosin is a great rifle to have and could pull dual duty as a hunting rifle or a backup battle rifle. Of course, there are many limitations with the latter approach.

Concealed Carry (.380)

Yes, I do believe every legal firearm owner should carry concealed. In my recent post on the subject I explained all of the reasons I think this is wise and good for society, but it would be one of the last firearms I chose. The reason is that for most people, carrying concealed isn’t really an option unless you have a much smaller weapon. The .380 is perfect and can easily fit in a pocket or purse, but the capacity and stopping power are much lower.

To those of you, who actually finished this post, thank you for reading! I am eager to hear any comments from you on my opinions and what ideas you have for your own personal top 5.


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  • http://twitter.com/LarryBlack10 Larry Black

    Hey, I get to be first!
    I’ve been waiting for this post since your reply to my comment on the best weapon for home defense (thanks for the mention of the .20 cal for shotguns).

    Over all, I agree with your top 5. The only one I really don’t have a need for is the “long range rifle”. Here in Vermont, we are densely wooded enough than any shot over 200yds is a rare occasion when hunting–if it is done, it’s usually by a group of guys showing off. What I’m thinking of doing is combining a couple of your picks. I like the idea of an AR-15 for mid-range shooting up to 300yds but for stopping power, I’m considering having it chambered in the .308cal. Particularly since .223 ammo is scarce and increasingly expensive.

    For immediate home use I’ll continue to rely on my old, but still serviceable, Win Model 94 .32Special and the Glock17 Gen 4.

    Concealed carry isn’t an option for me, unfortunately. As a professional truck driver (interstate travel), I’m not allowed to carry any type of firearm in my truck. In fact, even if I have a pistol in a locked case–with ammunition in a separate locked case–and I happen to get checked or searched in either Mass or NY, I’m looking at serious penalties. If I get nabbed in Virginia, it’s a 5yr minimum for possession. Still, what good is a BOB without some means of personal defense? It’s highly likely that I’ll be hundreds of miles away from home when SHTF.

    Great article all around. I hadn’t thought of buying a .22 for target practice. (Muttering) One more thing to add to my shopping list………..

    • prepperjournal

      Larry,

      Thanks and welcome back! Yes, the .308 would make a great choice also. The reason I went with a separate rifle is that where I live they frown on hunting with a “black rifle” and I wanted to have a different set up on my .30-06 as opposed to my AR-15. Not to mention options. For starters, I would definitely want a nice scope on my .30-06, but the AR gets a red-dot site.

      Just a question on your profession. Couldn’t you carry this in a cargo container (locked of course) outside of the cab and be legal? Is that even with a CCL?

      Pat

      • http://twitter.com/LarryBlack10 Larry Black

        I would have to try to get a Concealed Carry permit for each state. And that still doesn’t take care of the Federal issue. You can be a civilian traveler and carry a loaded & accessible handgun in your car for personal protection, but not us truck drivers.
        DOT regs state that we are not allowed weapons of any kind in the cab or on our persons. This includes (don’t ask me why) bow & arrows & crossbows! The one potential weapon we are allowed is the old fashioned tire thumper.

        This is not to say that none of us drivers carry, stubborn, independent cusses that we are. But the decision is loaded with consequences that I haven’t (yet) decided that I need to take on. But with the news out of Cyprus, and the news from the Fed than Batshit Benny is ramping up the monetization of our debt to the tune of $85B per month, it’s beginning to look like the speed limit on the highway to hell has been eliminated. So, who knows? I do go into some hairy places in NYC, Long Island and north NJ.

        • prepperjournal

          Larry,

          I’ll admit that I am not familiar with the rules for professional drivers. For the rest of us, there are a ton of states with concealed carry reciprocity, but NY and NJ don’t play that’s true. I’d hate for anyone to end up like that poor guy after the Rodney King riots.

          Stay safe,
          Pat

          • NetRanger

            All, in the situations we’re talking about here, law, color of law (what we call “law”) will mean NOTHING. You’re not buying this stuff to use now except maybe for practice and skill building. Larry, don’t get stuck in the now. Normalcy bias will kill you in the future world where we’ll have to use these guns.

            • http://twitter.com/LarryBlack10 Larry Black

              Not stuck at all, Ranger. Just reporting the facts on the ground as of right now. It’s a fact that, as a driver, I am vulnerable to search and seizure at any time, for any reason. It’s just part of the job. Next time you drive down the interstate and pass an active weigh station, look to see if any trucks are parked “out back of the coop”. The DOT has the legal right to inspect our rigs, our log books, and the inside of our cabs without a warrant at any time.
              A couple of times each year, we go through a “DOT weekend”. A 72hr stretch wherein most every state ramps up their enforcement efforts. If they happen to pick me out of line for a spot check (it’s happened 3 times so far, once this year) and an illegal weapon is found, it’s a big deal. Federal time. And as I said about Virginia, it’s a 5 year minimum. It doesn’t matter whether I intend to “use this stuff now”. It’s enough that I have it.
              I’m not saying that I’ll never decide to conceal my weapon somewhere in the cab, I’m just saying that I’m not yet sufficiently nervous about the immediacy of the threat to take the risk of federal confinement. If I were to get busted, there go ALL of the guns I have, not just the one I got caught with, and I’m left defenseless to the mob.

              • politiciansallsuck

                we need to apparel these laws for truckers. With a hungry mob around any corner, your just asking to get shot.

          • politiciansallsuck

            No, the feds are really strict with this. And actually, it’s the truckers who need a firearm more than anyone. When things go south, do you not think that they a hungry mob won’t go for a truck with over a million dollars worth of food on board? Easy pickings, and the driver will get pulled out and killed for his load. Truckers today are marked for death(at some point). Maybe even by DHS.

    • Michael

      You need install a secret compartment to hold a gun. I installed two magnets under my dash. They are screwed into a metal brace, and have a couple of rubber gaskets to protect the finish of the gun. I can get to it immediately, but it would be a very determined cop indeed that would find it. A friend had a stereo installer friend put in a compartment that can hold a handgun, that is opened by an electronic keycard. It is in the door, and you can not see the lines in the uhpolstry unless you put your face right up to it.

    • MIKE

      I agree with most of your choices on guns with the exceptions of pistol. I like both 40 and 45 cal pistols but capicity is usually limited to 8 to 10 rounds. My choice for both regular handgun and concealed carry would be the GLOCK model 17 in 9mm. You can buy both 17 and 33 round magazines and 9 mm ammunition is less for 50 rounds. Two 33 round clips or 17 round clips would be a lot of firepower.Also you can buy some small 9mm pistols for concealed carry if the Glock is too big for you.
      The 30.06 is a great choice but the 308, 270, 7mm08 would be great choices too. And if I could not afford an AR15 or deer rifle in any of these calibers, I would use the old 30-30 Marlin or Winchester.
      Your choices are fine but some people can improvise if other guns are available. I would also add the compound bow, recurve bow, long bow and crossbow for survival as they would be quite but effective at close range. Best regards, Deadeye

  • jay

    I would change 5 to either a pellet rifle or a compound bow. Preferably bow. Either way one should have a silent ranged weapon.

    • prepperjournal

      Jay,

      Thanks for commenting!

      I do agree with you that those two are great additions. Actually, they are probably going to be the subject of another post. In this one, I was focusing only on firearms. I think a BB gun definitely has utility. The Crossbow would be ahead of that by a long shot (no pun intended) but I can’t get over the cost/benefit. For the price of one good crossbow I could almost buy two hunting rifles.

      Regardless, I agree these are two really solid recommendations and I will be discussing those types of weapons in the future.

      Pat

      • jay

        Eh, the cost of a good bow runs ruffly in the $500 range. Another $50 in arrows/bolts and one has a healthy and renewable ammo source. Bullets are expensive these days. Furthermore, i know not of a good hunting rifle sans the 10/22 ruger, that costs under $450. Most are over $600. Tack on a few hundred rounds,scopes, etc. And one has a hefty investment. Downside is of course even at a skilled level one can only get 10-15 shots off per minute. And the distance factor of course. But i see the articles point of focus and look forward to an assessment of the bow and pellet options

        • prepperjournal

          Jay,

          That isn’t so, at least where I am. At Gander Mountain and I would assume most other places you can get a perfectly respectable .30-06 with a scope for less than $400. In fact, you can right now, just check out this link: http://bit.ly/YzzWsh .

          Yes, ammo is more and it isn’t renewable, but a scope and hundreds of yards of distance would give a long range rifle (in my opinion) a better advantage.

          All of that is to say, that I agree with you that a crossbow would be a great and valuable addition. I would only get that after the long rifle and a few dozen boxes of ammo though.

          Thanks,
          Pat

          • jay

            No argument here. Guns first for sure. However for us unfortunatesouls that live in gun restrictive states like CA, NY, etc one cannottakethe bow option for granted. Its a solid artcle and i think the top weapons to have would be a good subject. But stricklyas a cost benifit pov i would get the “3 gun” weapons first but then consider a bow. Online shopping for guns includes ffl and usualy shipping fees. Add the age restrictionsfor pistols( in CA at least) and all the restrictionsthe government is trying to apply and its becoming a headache for us gun owners. My AR alone has a price tag of $1600 with the common add ons included. My 7mil rifle is $700 scoped. My bow was Was $480, its a bear brand. 12 arrows ran $60, been using same arrows for well into a year now sans 1 got broken from hitting it with another arrow. Its easily effective at 80yrds andi can practice at home with it. No dear kills yet but chucker and rabbits have scenetheir end. The noise factor is a big plus as a prepper and many a scenario factor that in as such. So from the cost benefit perspectivei would go with a bow over say a 22 or a second rifle anyday of the week. But thats just a cali man speaking. Its ridiculous the restrictionswe have out here. Plus its like a taboo to take my 7 yr old son to shoot a gun. But no fuss about bows. Just saying, society is getting picky. But yall keep up writting the good

    • Guest

      one of each jay…i like it!!

    • Jeremy Armour

      A good pellet rifle, the single-shot variety that operates with either a spring piston or gas piston that is charged when the barrel is broken open (NOT a rifle powered by a CO2 cartridge!), should be in every prepper’s kit. For one it’s cheap practice that can be done inside your home if necessary, but it’s also a nearly silent hunting weapon for small game and an excellent way to deal with the inevitable vermin that will show up after the trash isn’t picked up for a while. The Gamo Whisper models even come with a built-in sound suppressor to make them even quieter than they already are.

      The high end hunting models could even be used for defense if that’s all you had (if it’ll kill a coyote it’ll kill a person), though I would certainly never recommend one for that use, ever.

      • http://www.theprepperjournal.com/ Pat Henry

        Great suggestion Jeremy! Yes, I have a pump Crossman myself that was purchased in the hopes of scaring dear out of our yard that were eating from the garden. Even pumped up 10 times (max recommended) and using pellets, the deer only flinched. That was the year we put in a fence.

        The pellet gun did work great on a raccoon though. One hit at close range and that coon was spinning and cussing me. Also, it sure is fun to shoot cans with the family on a Thanksgiving afternoon. Lots of great uses as you say.

        Pat

        • Jeremy Armour

          The pumps are a lot of fun and can be great for practicing your rifle marksmanship. I used to have one designed like an AR15 that was pretty awesome for a 12y/o & accounted for a boatload of crows too, but they’re not really what I was talking about. Like you found out with the deer, they’re just not powerful enough to do much. I was talking about the kind that you cock & load by breaking open the barrel, similar to a break action shotgun. Some of those can spit out a pellet at up to 1,500fps and are real hunting rifles. You wouldn’t want to use them on anything as big as a deer, but I seen close range coyote taken with them first hand and a video of a wild hog being taken down with one. Some models even have interchangeable barrels to shoot both .177 & .22 caliber pellets.

  • highdesertlivin

    I think hand gun before AR, you cant always be walking around w/ a slung weapon.You might want to be doing some work in the garden or something, its attached to you .Then theres the be armed but not stick out like a sore thumb factor.With firearms theres always a time for discretion.Of course my AR/AK/G3 will be inside the door. thanks for the read.

    • prepperjournal

      Thank you for the comment!

      I agree a handgun is preferable in situations like you mention above. I rated the AR higher in terms of importance though for several reasons. Probably the most pressing is the scarcity of them now and the threat of confiscation soon. You don’t have that (right now) with handguns so the sense of urgency would be with the weapon that may be harder or impossible to find soon.

      Thanks,
      Pat

      • yezzir

        I know quite a bit of folks scare buying weapons and asking advice rhe best I can give is just to keep it fairly simple for me and my wife all pistols are chambered in the same caliber. Easier to stock ammunitionAnd also we can shoot each others and the recoil is fairly similar no surprises 2 shotguns same brandand model and 2 others same make and model. Keep it simple.

        • prepperjournal

          Thanks for your comments yezzir!

  • Evil von Scarry

    Some good points. I would simplify it even further. First of all:Have 2 of whatever you have. Even better narrow it down to a shotgun, any given centre fire rifle and a .22 either pistol or rifle, lots of ammo for everything.

    • prepperjournal

      Thanks Evil! -that sounds odd…

      Yes, that puts it nicely too, but doesn’t make for a lot of reading. :) Thank you for commenting and stopping by!

      Pat

  • OHIO SHAWN

    I agree, everyone should understand that you need the right tool for the job. Many times this means you will need more than one type of firearm in order to accomplish your goal. For example if you only buy one rifle, and you make it a 30-06, when you go rabbit hunting you will not enjoy the bits of fur and meat that are left after you take your shot. However a 22LR won’t be effective against deer and other large game animals. You need a toolbox that has multiple tools in it.
    I won’t even get into the whole pistol caliber nonsense discussion. A pistol is of minimal use when compared to a rifle, so any pistol caliber wont compare with a rifle and no one should rely on a pistol. Buy a long gun first, as the article states. Overall I think your list has a lot of merit, and would be a great guide for anyone first starting out.

    • prepperjournal

      Thank you very much Shawn!

    • Kwil1390

      I do disagree with you on a .22 lr not being able to kill a deer. I won’t cite the specific reasoning due to legality, but I assure you that it can. My advice would be to skip the .22 lr and get a .22 WMR instead. Much more stopping power. I would get a Marlin model 925M as a rifle and a Kel-Tec PMR 30 as a pistol. Both are chambered in .22 WMR and the 30 rounds the pistol holds make it a viable source as a personal defense weapon. Now I know some will not like the thought of such a small round for personal defense, but compare the ballistics to those of 5.7 x 28 mm rounds available to civilian consumers and you’ll realize they are almost identical. I assure you that at 200 yards that rifle with CCI Maxi-Mag 40 gr jacketed hollow points will drop whatever THE OPERATOR can accurately hit. I own the afore mentioned Marlin rifle and hold groups you can cover with a quarter on a windless day. FYI the white spot on a whitetail deer’s neck marks the location of some vital veins, arteries, etc. I grew up in WV hunting whitetail deer and various small game and spent time in a line unit in the Army. I assure you these 2 weapons would be a valuable asset considering the literal bang/buck. Bulk order 5000 rounds for about $350. You can get the rifle at Wal-Mart for $180 and the pistol retails for about $430. All that said these 2 would be my first purchases since the bolt action rifle will be great for teaching you to make each shot count and the pistol shares the same ammo and combined with the rifle fills the needs that the shotgun, pistol, AR, and hunting rifle really do. I noticed the bow post which would be my second purchase (if I didn’t already have one) so you can begin honing your archery skills but with this being a firearm post I won’t actually count it. So second (firearm) is an AR-15 with a 20 inch barrel, collapsible buttstock, and good 3x-9x 40mm scope. This rifle if practiced with can kill deer out to 600M (an M4 can kill a man at this range) and the scope will make any shots outside of 50M (which is pretty much point and shoot range anyway) a cakewalk. The buttstock makes it a viable CQB weapon. Next I would get a shotgun(but A personal defence pistol would come first which I covered with the PMR) This is where situation makes a big factor on the exact gun chosen. I like 12 gauge because I know how to couple the ammo with the use. If other people reside in your home, you will either need to choose a very light load or go with a 20 gauge. I can use a 12 gauge to breach doors etc. so it would be useful in say an unrealistic zombie apocalypse situation where there’s no real law or personal property left. Next would be a hunting rifle. I already have several but the one I would take is a .300 win mag. Tack driving accuracy and enough knockdown to kill a grizzly. It actually can use the same projectile as the 30-06 and .308 but it has more powder charge and a different casing. What this really means is if you can reload ammo you can save your brass and repurpose the powder and projectiles from several common loads. Finally would be a large caliber autoloading pistol (my preference is a 1911.) That said realistically I’m not in a rush to go buy anything more than what I have. I have multiple centerfire hunting rifles, multiple rimfire rifles, a compound bow, and a Ruger Mk III .22 lr pistol. I figure if SHTF I can pick up an M4, shotgun, and pistol from the same place I would get 5.56mm ammo and a burst/fully auto capable lower receiver anyway. I just hope that day never comes. Btw precise tactics and shooting are far more important than getting a shotgun so all you have to do is hope to hit the target. Shotguns are horrible first guns because of the lack of practicing good marksmanship habbits. Airborne Sappers clear the way!

      • Kwil1390

        P.S. It all really comes down to confidence and competence in YOUR ABILITY with what you’re using. Generally the mechanisms we use (firearms included) have higher capabilities than what human error allows for their performance. Airborne Sappers clear the way!

      • http://www.theprepperjournal.com Pat

        Thanks for all your comments Kwil1390, you have some great choices in there too!

        Pat

  • James Hart

    An AR-15 is way out of my budget and I managed to get lucky with a bonus and have a 30-30 rifle. What’s your opinion about this for my long range?

    • prepperjournal

      James,

      I guess it depends on what your range is going to be. Hornady has a ballistic trajectory chart on their site at http://www.hornady.com/assets/files/ballistics/2013-Standard-Ballistics.pdf that will give you a good idea of the range of virtually any caliber you can choose. The 30-30 doesn’t even rate past 300 yards. That’s why I personally like the .30-06 better for a long range rifle. You can find these very inexpensively if you buy when they are running sales. The cartridge is very common too so finding ammo isn’t a problem.

      Pat

    • David I Nelson

      James – I am not sure if reloading is an option for you, but the Hornaday flexitp bullets can extend the effective range of your 30-30. If it is a modern, rifle you can push the loads to the upper end of the reloading manual recommendations. BIG caution – if you see any signs of “HIGH PRESSURE” STOP, pull the bullets and back off the load a bit.

      http://leeprecision.com/lee-loader-30-30-win.html – enter level

      I started reloading in my late teen. My shooting buddy said, “you can buy another gun or reloading equipment. You’ll get more shots for your dollar if you reload” I can attest that it is true. PLUS, I have not had any issues with ammo, save .22lr this year.

  • David I Nelson

    For a carry gun – Keltec’s PF9 provides 7 +1 of 9mm in a package not much bigger than most .380 and are very reasonably priced – good bang for the buck – pun intended :-D

    As for the rest, all are great tools when properly used based on your environment, geographic location and population density. Whatever tool you use, the ammunition is just as important as the firearm. Target and full metal jacket bullets are not what you want when defending yourself. Match the ammo/bullet to the application to deliver the most effective stopping power on target. In this context it is not war, it is your or someone you love’s survival.

    • prepperjournal

      Thanks for the comments David!

      I have the P3AT from Keltec and really like it. I’ll have to check out the PF9 the next time I am out.

      Pat

  • Nate W.

    Love all of the suggestions, and spot on (in my opinion of course) with 30-06 for long range. Only thing I changed personally was for the “assault” rifle. I went a little euro-isk and purchased an AK-47 chambered for the normal 7.62×39. Mainly for its ruggedness, power, and good price. In a SHTF situation, I think it’s likely that an all around use weapon would likely take a licking. One may not have the time or resources for ideal firearm care. AK-47 is a use and abuse weapon. Drawback of course is that you would be more likely to stumble on 5.56 or .223 stockpile if scavenging for ammo. But it’s not all bad since 7.62×39 ammo is pretty cheap to get as long as its stocked before the Internet/ shipping crashes. Eventually i will get an AR, I suppose, just gotta get a good deal. Also for an additive I go with 9mm for side arms. I know that debate is never ending so I leave it as simply being my personal preference.

    • prepperjournal

      Thanks Nate!

      If I had a ton of money I would own a few AK’s myself, but do prefer the AR platform. AK’s are cheaper though. Maybe the prices will continue to fall, but until then I still have a list of other items on my Christmas list that need filling.

      Pat

  • KingOfTexas

    I would never use a shotgun. It won’t even go through a car door unless you are shooting slugs. Racking the gun? Why don’t you just tell the bad guy “here I am”? Sit in a corner with a semiautomatic rifle of your choice and wait for the bad guy. Then when you see he isn’t a friend shoot him 7 or 8 times. If he’s in your house shoot him 7 or 8 times through the wall when he walks towards you. Then call 911. :)

    • RealTexan

      “It won’t even go through a car door unless you are shooting slugs.”

      Maybe if you’re shooting bird shot… 00 Buck will easily punch through a car door. Here are three youtube videos that demonstrate how easy it is a 20 yards:


      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG5xbx6O9to

      “The effective range of a shotgun with 00 buckshot, is about 20 yards.”

      You know modern shotguns have such a thing as a choke, right? You can set your pellet group to 18 inches at up to 35 yards. I have no problems hitting small targets every time with buckshot (or slugs) at about 40 yards and my LEO buddies put me to shame (they can bullseye a can at over 50 yards). If you can’t hit any thing past 20 yards you either need to practice, get glasses, or perhaps change the sights on your gun (personally I think a simple bead sight is fine on a shottie but each to their own).

      More youtube videos of buckshot at 50 yards and beyond:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G–EsibXYkA

  • Dave

    Entirely reasonable recommendations and I agree with all. I’ll echo your comments on the Mosin and add one more…at <$200 each (they seem to be up in price…at the gun show this weekend they were $179 or so) you can gradually buy a few dozen without going bankrupt. Why so many? I've got some neighbors and friends who are like-minded and a good group but basically unarmed. So if you've got to arm your own militia you can do it relatively inexpensively. Yeah…I know…a bunch of Mosin-toting members isn't optimum…but I can't afford a supply of AR's and if we need to come together they'll at least be able to send lead downrange.

    • prepperjournal

      Thanks Dave!

      Yes, at the last show I was at, I saw one vendor with boxes of them. The price tag was $168 each and I was tempted to buy a couple. I decided against them though and put my money in ammo. You have a great idea though for relatively cheaply having backups for your neighbors.

      Pat

  • Rawn

    Bought my Colt AR15 in 98 for $750 and my buddies made fun of me for “over spending”. Now, not so much :)

    • prepperjournal

      Yeah, it would be nice to have a couple at that price these days. I can find them around $975 stripped down, but after you add some rails and sites they are way over $1000. Mine was about $900 (before taxes) back in 08.

  • cmethowusa

    I agree with all of your picks except for the AR. I’m an old Viet Nam vet infantryman and carried the AR 16. It could sometimes be an unfaithful girlfriend. Field stripping was always a risk due to conditions and with rough or dirty use it was often a jammer. I understand that they have improved a lot since 1967, even so it is not the faithful wife I trust. I have 2 AK 47′s for mid range with open sights. If you dropped it in the mud, it would still fire. I had a lot of 7.62×39 whizzers go by me except for once.
    When they switched me over to the M-14 with a scope, (the 1st Division started using one long shooter per platoon) I had the finest rifle I have ever shot. The only thing better would be if they had not gone to the NATO 308 and stuck with the 30-06. I have a Mosin as well and it will reach out straight and true. If things get bad, I guess I could put the bayonet on (ha, ha.) I agree on the handgun although I don’t have 40. I’ve got a 1911. However, I ha a C&R and picked up a Zastava M57, (7.62×25. 50+ years old. But, wow, it hits verrry hard.
    I shot a friend of mines Hi-Point 9mm carbine with a red dot and was very surprised at the range and accuracy. We were using his 2nd time around reloads and never missed a lick. It changed my opinion of cheap rifles, at least this one. It might be a cost effective 9mm option. Promag makes a 15 round mag.
    I’m new to the journal but have enjoyed all the info. Guns are hard to argue about but I think the best answer is to keep them clean and shoot a lot. It should become part of your body.
    A Texas secessionist.
    Clay

    • prepperjournal

      Thank you very much for stopping by Clay and for your comments and service. You certainly aren’t alone in your preference for the AK’s. It seems that AR versus AK is the age old debate like Ford vs Chevy or PC vs Mac. Everyone has a favorite and at some point regardless of whose side you are on, you have to agree with some of the other persons points. The AK is a solid choice.

      I would love to have a few AK’s to add to my collection and someday hopefully I will. Maybe at that point, I will change my mind and come over to your camp. Great information about the other choices you have too. The only High Point’s I have seen are pistols selling for about $100 at the pawn shops. I haven’t tried one out yet, but have thought on more than one occasion that you couldn’t go wrong with a hundred dollar pistol.

      Thanks again for stopping by; hope you visit often and share your experiences!

      • cmethowusa

        I have not fired an AR in many years. I’m not opposed to them at all. I just don’t trust them as I do the AK (personal preference and cheaper bulk ammo). I have the Bersa 380 and a C&R Makarov 380. The Makarov out performs the Bersa by 3 fold. The Bersa is fixed sights and it took a number of rounds to figure out where to aim. On the other hand, the Makarov was dead on and is adjustable. Like you, I am not a fan of handguns. I’m close range proficient but marvel at those who speak of 30-50 yard patterns.
        I’ve never fired a H-Point pistol just the carbine. I was impressed with the carbine and can see the potential of it. Even so, my AK more than compensates for the same purpose. A friend of mine gave me a box of 500 9mm reloads, but I don’t have an 9mm. It seems impractical to go and buy an 9mm just to shoot the rounds. I’m trying to keep my calibers at the minimum. I need to clarify the 2 AKs. I have an Arsenal AK and a Ruger Mini 30. The magazines are not interchangeable and that’s the rub.

        • prepperjournal

          I hear you on trying to keep the calibers at a minimum. I thought I was set with .9, .40 and .45 for handguns and .22, .223 and .30-06 for rifles. Getting ready to purchase another one for my kid and that will probably be a .270 and then I will call it good. Anything else would have to be a gift…

      • Urban gun enthusiast

        I find it funny when it comes to calibers, some people are different side of the spectrum, I have a 9 mm pistol but have a 7.62 by 39 AK, where I have met quite a few guys that will not shoot a semi rifle under 30 caliber, but picks on guys who do not carry over 40 caliber with pistols. I shot most caliber handguns, I personally chose the 9 with speed and better accurate follow up shots in a in a matter of seconds. What is so funny is AR is the same with speed , lighter recoil and better accurate follow up shots, but i still love the AK………… Don’t you being a human differences! lol

        • prepperjournal

          That’s so true. Everyone has favorites for different reasons. That is one thing that makes coming up with a definitive list like this sure to cause an argument. In the end, specifics don’t matter as much as the general concepts I think. In the end, I’ll take just about anything over nothing…

  • Bob1371

    Agreed with almost everything. Almost. I am a huge .45 fan/ Love them! But lately I have been reading articles about pistol rounds and all have said that the fabled knock down power of the .45 is highly over rated when one is in an adrenaline charged moment. What stops most people is blood loss. And with a 9mm one has the ability to fire 2x’s the amount of rounds into the attacker. And 9mm is much cheaper and mre available. But I will still keep my trusty 1911 close by!

    • prepperjournal

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting Bob.

      Its perfectly fine with me to disagree with the details. We can always do that as long as you have the basics. I love my 1911 too. That reminds me, I need to go kill some paper. Been too long.

      Pat

  • Cooper

    1.Rpg
    2.Miny gun
    3.shotgun
    4. Ak47
    5.p99 pistol.

    • prepperjournal

      Ahh, the RPG. Yes, I would like to have a whole case of those and some stinger missiles and a TOW or 40 while were dreaming! Thanks for commenting Cooper!

  • Scott Clark Sr

    The list is great, except I am more of a Mini-14 to an AR kind of Guy……My Mini-14 and M14 serve me well. Thanks for the Post.

    • http://www.theprepperjournal.com/ Pat Henry

      Thank you Scott! Everyone has their favorites and Ruger makes a great rifle.

  • drkennethnoisewater

    .9mm isn’t going to do a whole lot of damage :)

    Personally, I’d also recommend a 7.62×39 rifle: AK or SKS. Both are reliable, shoot fairly common and relatively powerful ammo, don’t cost a whole lot (at least they didn’t), and the SKS comes with a flip-out bayonet. I have an AR and a SKS (among other toys) and would probably sling both in case family or friends needed a rifle.

    Also, for a shotgun, consider a breeching barrel: it not only performs its intended function, but can also be used a bit like a bayonet to stab an opponent if you’re stuck between reloads.

    As for concealed carry, I still prefer 9mm, since it’s so common and cheap, with effective personal defense rounds (such as 124gr +P Gold Dot, among others). I have a G19 for CC and a Kahr K9 for the car. (I may switch to CZ 97B .45ACP for concealed carry since the laws in TX regarding printing have been loosened)

  • Sammy

    Thank you

  • Sven79

    I would change the AR-15 to be chambered in 5.56 instead of .223. That way, you could use both 5.56 and .223 ammo safely. A 5.56 rifle can safely shoot all .223 ammo, but the reverse is not true, due to the higher pressures of the 5.56 round.

  • some guy

    Pet peeve, but shotguns are discussed in terms of gauge, not caliber (except for the .410 and ‘shot’ ammo like you can get for .22, 38, 9mm etc). You also shouldn’t put a decimal point in front of the number; it’s 12 and 20 gauge, not .12 and .20. The decimal points are used when discussing calibers under one inch; for example .22 cal bullets are nominally 0.22 inches in diameter. Gauge is a weird measurement that has something to do with the number of spherical balls of lead that of the barrel diameter that you can make out of a fixed volume of lead, or something like that, I read about it a long time ago :-) Suffice it to say, a .12 gauge would be a HUGE barrel diameter.

    • spk1100

      Pat:

      Sorry I arrived late to the discussion. I think I read most of the string and everyone is accurate, lucid and very sure of their choices. For me, I don’t consider magazine capacity, rate of fire, stopping power in my prepper paradigm. My end of the world 5 guns would not include an AR or an AK……..I am looking at more of a self defense situation where I may be cut off, isolated or even a rare survivor. I rate my weapons by reliability, low maintenance and available ammunition and or parts. While the AR scores high on many lists, if you only had to pick 5 weapons I would eliminate the AR due to maintenance requirements. In that line of thought my choices would be: .357 S&W or Taurus w/6 – 8 shots (.38 ammo flexible is the reason and revolver reliability), 12 gauge SS or OU, again great round, lots of flexibility, great reliability, Springfield 1903 or any bolt action surplus military rifle fitted for the indigenous round in the area (US would be 30.06 or 308, 1911, again plenty of ammo and ability for field maintenance, reliability, finally S&W or Taurus.22 revolver w/4 in barrel and 9 shots. My only problem with my own list is the variety of ammo, but I don’t see how we can eliminate the types of ammo with this many weapons. I am not preparing for wave attacks by intruders or running gun battles where I would need massive volumes of fire. In an end of the world situation my mind would be focused on the lack of medical attention, re-supply and potentially needing to move away from any one location.

      Thanks for the discussion. Great forum.

      Scott
      from Georgia

      • http://www.theprepperjournal.com/ Pat Henry

        Better late than never Scott and thank you for adding your comments to the discussion!

    • gfr

      If you took a ball of lead with the diameter of a 12 gauge shotgun barrel (inside) – that lead ball would weigh one twelth of a pound.
      .
      This system was developed back in the day when cannon were designated based on the weight of the shot that they fired – thus twelve pound, eight pound, three pound etc.
      .
      A half pound cannon ball would be a 2-gauge.

  • Chaos

    good article. just another reminder of how badly i need to save up for that ar-15. Fortunately, i’ve got the other bases covered.

  • d prepper

    i think the ar15 should be switched with the ak47. my reasons are, 1. 7.62×39 is one of if not the most common round in the world. 2. the price of the gun and ammo are way cheaper than the ar. 3. in an emergency situation you might not have gun cleaning supplies or might not be able to obtain them, and in that case the ar will not be as reliable. when its been 4 months and i have not had the time or supplies to clean my gun i would much rather be holding an ak. the only other thing i would change is the

    cal choice for the handgun i think the .9mm for some people is the best choice hears why. i am a small guy and not saying i cant handle the recoil of the larger cal but i am able to put twice if not three time as many rounds on target because of the less recoil so if those guys miss their first shot i will have at least two if not three shots before they shoot again which increase my chance of survival by a lot.

    • http://gunpreparedness.com/why-i-like-the-ak/ Zach Adkins

      I love the AK and feel the article should have been an either or. I totally agree with everything you said to an extent. Even though the AK is the most popular in the world, it isn’t the most popular in the U.S. The way I see it, you could screw yourself with either of them. So my solution is to have both!

      • http://www.theprepperjournal.com P. Henry

        Thanks for your comments Zach,

        As you can imagine, the AR-AK debate will probably rage on forever and its virtually impossible to make everyone happy. I am planning on a fuller comparison between the two that should really cause some fireworks but still have to weigh the AR higher for a lot of reasons. Now if we were stranded in Poland, would I say the same thing? Probably not.

        Pat

  • longrange72

    Thank you all for the comments. Each post has a very valid point based on shooter ability, region, physical surroundings, bug in, bug out, budgetary restrictions and so forth. I must say, I do personally agree with the originally listed top five (I personally prefer a .45 caliber 1911 for an automatic) and am fortunate enough to have all bases covered and well beyond. The only other consideration I might make in the handgun category would be of a .357 Magnum revolver with 8 round cylinder. With it’s ability to shoot both .38 and .357 ammo, and multiple selections in each, it can be well served as a home defense weapon, a carry weapon, a hunting weapon, and has practically no issues with reliability even when extremely dirty.

    • http://www.theprepperjournal.com P. Henry

      Great points Longrange72 and thanks for commenting!

      Pat

  • Justin

    My system consists of the following:

    AK-47 7.62X39
    Mosin-Nagant 91/30 7.62X54R
    Glock 17 9mm
    AK-47 Bayonet
    Compound Bow and Arrows

    I prefer the AK over the AR due to it’s ruggedness and simplicity.
    I’d go with a Glock 17 with some good 124 grain JHP ammo by Speer or Hornady.
    The Mosin Nagant… Your $100 30.06 that is TOUGH and (again) simplistic. Surplus ammo runs about $4-$5 for 20 rounds too.
    AK-47 Bayonet, well, it goes with your primary weapon and it doubles as a mean fighting knife.
    Compound Bow, because sometimes, even a .22lr is too loud.

    • http://www.theprepperjournal.com P. Henry

      Those are great selections you have Justin, thanks for commenting!

      Pat

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  • Tom

    .308 shoots flatter than a .30-06 which is why an m14 would be a far better purchase than an ar15