Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Survival Arsenal - The Pistol, the Shotgun and the Rifle

There are countless firearms available at very reasonable prices, both new and used, even in today’s market. Certain factors will need to be addressed in order to maximize the benefit of your survival arsenal while minimizing its cost. Creating a survival arsenal can be a daunting task, especially if you are on a tight budget. Trying to figure out what and how many firearms you need is quite simple if you approach the problem with a little common sense, knowledge of your own limitations and a firm realization of the intended purpose of your survival arsenal.


There are three basic purposes for any type of firearm. These are for protection purposes, hunting and for sport. While shooting firearms can be quite enjoyable as a sport, in a survival situation you will want to conserve your ammunition as much as possible and limit the amount of wear and tear on your firearm. That leaves us with the other two basic uses…protection and hunting. These two main uses, protection and hunting, should factor prominently into any decision you make when building a survival arsenal.

The next factor that enters into the equation is who will be using the firearm and what their abilities are and their level of training. Most men have no problem shooting a 12 gauge pump shotgun with 000 buck, a high-powered rifle or a pistol with a lot of kick. The bigger question here is can your wife, your daughter or your son or other family member use the necessary firearm with confidence if you aren’t there to do the shooting for them. Don’t sell the ladies, the senior citizens or the younger ones short when it comes to using firearms. With the right training, knowledge and firearm, other family members can build skills that may become equal to or even greater than your own. Knowledge and training in the use of the firearms in your survival arsenal will be a critical factor.


The next factor to consider when building a survival arsenal is the reliability of the firearm you will be using and the ease of maintenance and repair for that particular weapon. In a survival situation, there may not be a gunsmith available and you may have to rely on your own ability to effect repairs. If you don’t have sufficient knowledge to effectively do minor repairs on a particular firearm, you may need to consider a different one. A rifle you can’t fix or easily repair, if it becomes non-functional, will be little more than a club in a defensive situation and may wind up being just so many spare parts. Firearms that are reliable and have ease of maintenance and repair should be ranked high on the list for your survival arsenal.


In addition to the factors above, you will need to consider the limitations of certain firearms and their practical uses when it comes down to your two basic needs in any type of survival situation…protection and hunting. Firearms generally have a usefulness often designated by their range. The pistol is usually considered most appropriate at close range, the shotgun at intermediate distances and the rifle for long range purposes. Any survival arsenal should include at least one firearm that will be appropriate for the range and distances its use may involve.


With the exception of certain pistols, the .357 magnum being one of those exceptions, most pistols are basically for protective purposes at close ranges and do not figure in as significant weapons for use in hunting. Pistols of the right caliber can be effective hunting weapons but require a great deal of skill and expertise on the part of the user to be effective. The question here is do you go with a revolver or a semi-automatic pistol? Most revolvers are very reliable and many have been proven trustworthy in the field by either the military or law enforcement over an extended period of time. The same can also be said for many semi-auto pistols as well. In the majority of cases, a good revolver in a common caliber will be sufficient for the average person. More experienced shooters may find the same to be equally true of semi-auto pistols. In this regard, it therefore becomes more of a personal choice and will be dependent mainly upon your shooting skills and your knowledge of the firearm when making a choice between a revolver and a semi-auto pistol for your survival arsenal.


Shotguns are probably the best weapon ever designed for the combination of hunting and protection which is only limited by their effectiveness at short or intermediate distances. A good shotgun alone can satisfy the two basic needs in a survival situation and there are many used and new models available that are relatively low cost. This makes them another must have firearm for your survival arsenal. Your main choices in this area will be the single shot, pump action or the semi-auto shotgun in either of the more common 12, 20 or .410 gauges. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages. Single shot shotguns usually have very reliable and simple mechanical actions but lack the extended round capability of a pump action or semi-auto shotgun. Once again your skills and expertise should be considered when deciding which type will be your best choice. With a wide range of ammunition available that is suitable for both hunting and protection, shotguns are quite simply a must have for any survival arsenal.


A good rifle should be your next consideration. Most rifles are designed to be highly effective at longer ranges and can be effectively used for hunting purposes but can also be used for protection. Some rifles are more specifically designed for use in hunting and this will probably be one of its more important uses on a day to day basis in a survival situation. Their effectiveness will generally be limited only by the proficiency and skill of the user. When it comes to choosing a rifle for your survival arsenal, the choices become harder. Bolt action, lever action or semi-auto rifles can all be good choices for your survival arsenal and the only real limitation here is your budget, your knowledge of the firearm and your proficiency. There are many reasonably priced surplus military rifles available and a great number of very reliable lever action rifles as well. Most semi-auto rifles tend to be a little more costly but there are still bargains that can be found if you keep an eye out for them. Hunting will be one of the critical uses for your rifle in a survival situation and their long range capability will factor significantly into the protection factor as well. A rifle that is both reliable and trustworthy will afford you the necessary means for providing value in both hunting and protection at longer ranges that will be a necessary part of any survival arsenal.


Remember to keep in mind that ammunition supplies may become critical and you will probably need to keep your choices for firearms in your survival arsenal based on the more common and readily available calibers and types of ammunition. This will vary depending upon the type of firearm and your budget restraints. The more common calibers will be easier to procure in a survival situation than specialized ammunition that may end up being extremely difficult to find, if not impossible. If your budget allows, a pistol, a shotgun and a rifle that is suitable for use by each member of your family will form a solid foundation for a survival arsenal.

Staying above the water line!

Riverwalker

12 comments:

mama4x said...

Thanks for an in-depth post!

Brigid said...

You realize I also have a finely cared for samurai sword in the corner of the room in case I'm totally out of ammo. :-)

riverwalker said...

To: mama4x

Most people think they need a large arsenal to meet their survival needs but it can actually be achieved with a few basic firearms.

Thanks mama4x!

RW

riverwalker said...

To: Brigid

Ah! The old samurai sword in the corner trick...very, very sneaky!

...and the large Bowie knife in the drawer, and the skinner with a gut hook, and the boot knife...

Thanks Brigid!

RW

Ken said...

...very good post RW,you leave all the opinions to the readers,very rare in a "gun post"...

oh yeah,Happy Fourth...

Western Mass. Man said...

For the most part,
doesn't matter what you have, just be a good shot. Know you and your weapons limitations and...
Practice, practice, practice.
Always remember, stress is a terrible thing to overcome. You can't really practice for it, you just have to try and deal with it.

riverwalker said...

To: Ken

There are too many variables for a "one size fits all" when it comes to firearms...myself included.

Being a "lefty" when it comes to shooting has made me a big fan of lever action rifles which are easy for me to manage but may not be right for everyone. Mrs.RW does like the feel of her .30/.30 lever action...which is a good thing!

The cost and availability of left-handed bolt actions has perplexed me for quite some time...

Happy 4TH back at ya...

Thanks Ken!

RW

riverwalker said...

To; Western Mass. Man

Being a good shot is critical. You may only get one...

Thanks.

RW

Anonymous said...

Good post sir, but I would add at least one good air rifle for pest eradication, even rimfire ammunition may become too dear in price or too powerful for killing a mouse, rat or bird that is eating or damaging your property. Pellets are very compact, resonably cheap and last a loong time with some proper storage techniques.

Not to mention keeping your rifle shooting practice going without having to go to a range - no, air rifles have a place, methinks.

riverwalker said...

To: anonymous 5:58

Air rifles are a great addition as well and are relatively inexpensive, even for some of the better quality ones(Gamo,etc.) that are available. I did a post on springers some ime back and an update may be a good thing right about now or in the near future.

Thanks anon!

RW

David N. Olson said...

Hi there! I've read many posts about survival pistol, and I can tell that yours is very valuable. In a true survival situation, there are going to be numerous challenges and dangers. You are not only going to have to survive the elements and what it means to live without modern conveniences, but you will also have to survive people trying to live in chaos. Chaos does something to the human brain. See more http://survival-mastery.com/diy/weapons/survival-pistol.html

Alice Taylor said...

What an article! Three masterpieces discussed in a single post. My interest is mainly on rifles. You talk of rifles designed for specific uses. However, do you have a number of rifles that you can recommend? I am planning to buy a hunting rifle for my next hunting trip. I also checked out some reliable rifles here: http://wildernessmastery.com/survival/best-survival-rifle.html

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