Saturday, October 17, 2015

Basic Survival Battery on a Shoestring

Survivalblog posted an article called "Shooting on a Shoestring", rehashing the same old, mainstream recommendations for a basic battery that anyone who has ever read one of the multitude of articles on the subject can recite in their sleep.
If the recommendations in the article were sound there would be no need for the article because a complete neophyte who has never before owned a gun nor set foot inside a gunstore could walk into their local emporium and simply buy the centerfire rifle, .22 rifle, shotgun, centerfire handgun, and .22 handgun that elicits a glimmer of name or visual recognition, and he or she would end up with the battery universally proclaimed in most of these articles as the best. If our intrepid gun buyer were to become stumped on one choice, the nearest gunshop empoyee would quickly put him back on the path of right and true.
Allow me a moment to critique the statements in the article.

"If advertising guns is unrestricted in your state, then pick up a local "shopper" advertising paper and/or check out the classifieds in the local newspapers."

 "A couple of thoughts about “paperwork” – the forms you fill out and the info you give whenever you buy a gun at a gun store. First, the government tells us that the info you give to get their permission to buy the gun (the instant criminal background check) is required by law to be destroyed.  Maybe they do, maybe they don’t – either way, you give them the info, fill out the Form 4473 and register yourself. The 4473 has to be surrendered to BATFE on demand, or when the store goes out of business."

This is true as far as it goes, and buying from an individual (where legal) does bypass that process. But what happens if that gun you bought used has a, shall we say, "checkered" past? If the gun ever happens to come within the sphere of influence of a cop for any reason and he knows about it, he will certainly "run the numbers" on it. If it comes up as a "gun of interest", you are now a person of interest. If you bought it from a gunstore, new or used, you have a built-in defense against anything that may have happened with the gun before you bought it.
Besides all that, how do we best retain our right to keep and bear arms: by buying them off the books, or by buying as many as possible on the books, so elected officials can see that a huge percentage of the voting public are buying guns?

"...there’s something inspiring about the sound of a 12 gauge racking a round into the chamber."

How many times has this been repeated? If there is an intruder in my home, I want my weapon locked, loaded, and pointed in his direction before he knows I am there. The thing is, if he is armed, he may just turn and shoot at the sound, instead of soiling himself and running. I do agree that a reliable pump action is a good choice for a basic battery. Don't trick it out to the point that it is only usable for defense though, because a shotgun is also a great choice for subsistence hunting as well as dealing with problem animals around the homestead or BOL (bugout location).

"What you don't want: Double barrels, single shots, and anything other than 12 or 20 gauge.  Double barrels look cool but they are slow to reload and only have (surprise!) two shots.  Singles go bang half as much and suffer from the same slow reload drawback."
I disagree. Sure a single- or two-shot shotgun has disadvantages in a combat situation. But since we are building a survival battery, every gun does not need to be a dedicated combat gun. As mentioned above, get a utilitarian pump shotgun if you feel a need for a repeater. But do not discount the light weight, simplicity and low price of a single shot, nor the simplicity of a rabbit-ear double.

"For our purposes, we are only looking for a semi-automatic military type rifle. Good ones can still be had for cheap and they offer a level of durability and reliability far beyond their low price. Military weapons are built tough for a tough job – warfare. That translates into a tough dependable weapon in any situation – always an advantage. Bolt actions are less desirable because of a lower rate of fire compared to a semi-automatic. Should you get into a firefight, you want to have all the firepower you can muster."
Wait a minute here. "For our purposes." What were those purposes again? Basic survival battery. And what are we trying to survive here? I think a lot of preppers and survivalists envision warfare when they think about survival situations. I also think that is not a realistic attitude. If your bug-in location is surrounded by active warfare, your best bet is to hide and avoid drawing attention to yourself, while watching for a chance to sneak out of the area and get far, far away from that type of situation. Once you do get away from that situation, you will have need of a rifle that is useful for hunting as well as defense, and that will function with ammo other than military spec; to include lower powered loads using home-cast bullets.

The recommendation of a Glock for the primary sidearm is sound, if totally predictable. But why bother even saying it? To the non-shooting public, the name Glock is synonymous with "handgun" or "pistol". Most people who do not own a gun cannot even name another handgun, yet they can name the Glock at will. If they decide to buy a handgun for protection, what do you think they are going to ask for? Bingo. But does that make it the best choice? Absolutely not.
I submit that the best choice of handgun for most people is exactly the same as it has been since 1899: a double-action revolver in .38 Special. Like a .22 rifle, any gun owner who doesn't own at least one, probably doesn't know as much about guns as he thinks he does.
Like I said, the Glock is a sound choice in a defensive handgun. But a .38 revolver is a better choice for most people.
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Friday, January 16, 2015

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