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13th Legion

Calibers for Survival - Your Input Please

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Hi everyone,

 

New to the forum and to building up my survival cache of weapons. My first consideration is to limit the number of different calibers and gauges.

 

Without question I have or will have:

12 gauge pump shotgun

22LR survival type rifle

 

The biggest decision is between:

 

handguns: 45 ACP v 9mm

rifle/carbine: 7.62 v 5.56

 

My favorites are 45ACP and 7.62. However in a survival situation many are of the opinion that 9mm and 5.56 ammo will be more plentiful. I will have a good amount to start, but if I must move or go on the run, will I wish I had chosen different? Also open to other caliber ideas.

 

I am sure this is a common debate, but I would ask for input on this. Thx.

Edited by 13th Legion

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I personally use:

.22 rifle and pistol

9mm pistol

5.56 rifle

12guage is my next purchase

 

.22 is obvious, I dont see where anyone can argue against it. Rifle for small (and large) game, pistol for vermin and self defence (not optimal, but better than throwing rocks)

 

I am normally a 45 guy, but when I bought my last handgun, I needed something that the wife could shoot comfortably, carry more rounds and be concealable. I could only afford one pistol at the time, so all of the criteria pointed me towards 9mm. I also like to shoot a fair amount and the 9mm ammo was half the price of 45. In my neck of the woods, I see alot more 9mm ammo in stores than 45 as well, so ammo is more available.

 

5.56 was chosen, because I wanted an AR. I know there are many calibers available in the AR, but 5.56 is by far the most common. I would have made it in 7.62 in a heartbeat except that it cost more than 3 times as much and I was on a budget. Another consideration is ammo weight. If the SHTF and it gets REAL bad, I may be hoofing it a couple of hundred miles to my BOL. I'd rather have 300 5.56 than 100 7.62 if the world has ended...

 

In that situation, I will carry the AR and the 9mm, the wife will cary the Walther P22 and the Ruger 1022.

I'll just have to re-asess the carry situation when I get the 12 guage. I'll probably give it to her and break the 1022 down into a pack.

 

I also have an old .303 and a .50 muzzle loaderthat can be used for larger caliber situations, but they will be the first left behind to to ammo limitations and weight.

 

If between now and "then" I win the lottery and get to build my castle fortress in the woods. I 'll have lots of ALL of the calibers that you mentioned. They all have their place. You just have to look at your preferances as well as the preferances of the people that will be using it with you. Can your wife, mother, daughter effectively fire a 45? Compare this with your weapon and ammo costs. Then consider the weight and bulk of these items. Will you be hoofing it a couple of hundred miles to your BOL? Weigh your BOB. Take it or a similar weighted pack on a day hike. Add the weight of a few hundred rounds and the weight of your weapon(s). Things get ALOT heavier, faster than you think. Then think of adding stress on top. That is why I opted for the smaller calibers every time. Smaller weapons, smaller ammo = less weight.

Edited by Ready?4What?

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Ideally, I would have the following;

 

Glock 17, 19, 22, or 23 for EDC. (You use a pistol to get to your rifle!) 9mm & 40 are both common and cheaper to buy and fire than .45.

 

Taurus M85 .38 Special for discrete EDC/back up.

 

Ruger Mk III 22 pistol for plinking, hunting small game, and snakes.

 

Mossberg Special Purpose 500 Tactical Shotgun 50420 for home defense, patrol, scavenging, crowd control.

 

SIG Sauer M400 Semi Automatic Rifle 5.56x45mm (Molon Labe) for defense, hunting, and patrol.

 

Ruger 10/22 with a 10X 1" or greater scope for hunting small game, pest control, plinking, and marksmanship practice.

 

Remington 770 Sport Rifle with Scope 308 or Remington Model 770 30-06 for hunting/sniping/perimeter defense.

 

Several Mosin Nagants to hand out in a siege and for sniping/perimeter defense.

 

AK-47s for building and perimeter defense.

 

In most cases of respected makers, I don't have strong brand preferences. I do with the Glocks and the Ruger 10/22 because they are so well proven.

 

I'd like multiples of each with back up parts.

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13th Legion,

Before I give advise I would have to ask you several questions:

1: Where are you planning to have your BOL? (General area only)

2: What do you see as the survival situation?

3: What are the capabilities of you and the group you are surviving with.

 

For example, do you want a 12 ga or do you need one? The fact is I have both 12 and 20 and if I knew at 21 what I know at 62 I would have only 20. In terms of hitting power there is simply not enough difference to matter, unless, perhaps, you are trying to stop a Polar Bear with a slug or hit Geese at extreme range. Even then the result would probably not be changed if you had a 20 instead of a 12. With that as a given, the 20 has a softer recoil, is easier to handle, easier to get back on target and lighter to carry. So unless you have a compelling reason for the 12, I'd go 20 if I had it to do all over again. Ammo is not quite as common but it is far from rare so I don't think that is a major factor.

As is clear to all who have read my missives in the Blog and newsletter, I am a major caliber bigot. That said, you don't need a .375H&H Mag to hunt squirrels. My first 3 gun battery was a 12 Ga, a 22 semi, and a .45 ACP. Remember your objective is to survive, not fight WW3. For a city dweller east of the Mississippi that means a 9mm or .38SP is plenty of pistol for what you will likely meet. Out in Black Bear country I'd bump it up to a .357Mag or better. The handgun is my "where did that "expletive deleted" (name least favorite predator here) come from and how did he get so bloody close" equalizer. If he is beyond pistol range, I'll avoid him, if not then the handgun is my last defense. I prefer the rifle to be the most common hunting rifle in the area. I do not like 5.53 and AR platforms based on the fact that one failed me when I desperately needed it to work. I prefer .30 caliber to .22 for anything larger than Bobcat or coyote. I know deer have been harvested with 5.53 but I don't think it is a dependable deer rifle. If you are going to carry an assault carbine, my preference is the 7.62X39 (AK-47 round). There is an excellent thread on the blog on survival carbines. Again since I don't think major combat is part of TSHTF scenario, a rifle should be one that allows you to take the game you need to survive as well as defend yourself in minor (they are never minor if lead is coming in my direction but I'm told that is a very parochial point of view) 1 on 1 or few on 1 scenarios. I personally like lever guns (30-30, .35, 45-70, .444 etc) here for simplicity and accuracy but the AK is incredibly reliable and accurate enough to get the job done. In a city environment a pistol caliber carbine that matches the carry gun might be just the ticket.

I think the "more ammo" thing is a total red herring if you are talking about a defense gun. The reason so many in Viet Nam carried a 1000 rounds was because they needed them. I'd rather have 200 rounds of 7.62X51 (NATO .308) than 1000 rounds of .223. Just like 9mm requires a double or triple tap to be sure of your hit, the .45 typically requires only one. I am alive today because an M16A1 went click instead of bang but the 1911 on my hip fire when needed. I don't like either the AR platform or the round because I don't trust them. They are fun to shoot but not my choice for survival. That is my bias but there it is. If you think your survival scenario includes wild hogs, black bears, or similar game, a Ruger Mini-30 or an AK-47 might be a good choice. If you are mostly concerned with E&E (escape and evasion) out of a city then a semi-auto or lever gun in 9mm or .357 Mag or .40 or .45 Colt or ACP might work well, limit types of ammo and deal with any critters you are apt to run into out to about 100 yards ( a little more depending on your skill.)

If you'd care to describe the general area in which you live and what you see as your survival scenario I'll be glad to express my not so humble opinion but it is a very personal choice. No single gun can do it all but it is always easier for a major caliber to do a smaller caliber gun job than it is to do a major caliber job with a small caliber. Grizzly bear is not impressed with .22s, .38s, and 9mms. They do notice .357 mag on up and .454Casull will definitely get their attention.

I've recommended everything from 22s and pistol calibers up to .308, depending on what you see as the situation and what you are comfortable with.

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I agree and disagree on the ammo weight issue. If you are bugging in or sort bug out (distance and duration) 200 7.62 over 1000 5.56 every time. But if you are buggin out on foot over several hundred miles (as I am likely to encounter) forever, never to return... I'll take the thousand rounds of 5.56.

 

My answer above did not address the possibility of Bears, as there are none here, and hogs rarely get over about 100-150lbs. I have dispatched many with the old 5mm Mag, ballisticly similar to the .22mag. One was at about 3ft!!! That'll make you pucker EVERY time! haha

 

You do have to assess your potential dangers, weights, availabilities, and abilities. On availability, assess your current location as well as where you are going... Like the example above, the 20ga is common for him. He probably lives in the midwest or west where there are gamebirds. Here gamebirds are rare and in my 40 years have never seen a 20ga. Here it's 12 or 10ga, with a little 410 mixed in (mostly for snakes).

 

There really is no right or wrong answer to this question, it is one of those eternal debates that no one will conceade ground. Republican/Democrat, God/No God, Best Football Team, What is best caliber? All are lose/lose questions. haha. All end with both parties thinking the other is an idiot. haha :-) (not calling Bart an idiot. He has very valid points)

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Thanks for the advise and input already, but I'll clarify a few things. I live in the Northwest. My Bail out is a self-sufficient property of about 10 acres. I eventually will build an underground shelter either here or on a different property, and then move. I do already have an old 30-30 and a 30.06 for hunting but am wanting to build a more survival conscious arsenal. I like the 30-30 lever on horseback or ATV. Regardless of the calibers chosen, I am an HK fan and the HK416/417 and USP Tactical will be the centerpieces.

 

A friend of mine suggested .45 and 7.62 home arsenal with a spare rifle and handgun of 5.56 and 9mm respectively packed in the bug out truck, to give the flexibility for ammo availability on the road as some of you have suggested.

I didn't really think about others needing to use the guns. While I don't think full out combat will be an issue as was mentioned, I do think protection of resources and against looters and the unprepared will be important. I don't think it is unreasonable to expect there to be groups and gangs pillaging and and trying to take what they want.

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Legion and all: Curious scenarios all being different for everyone's own personal situation. I live in the south where people have guns before food or at least a close 2nd to cable or dish to get college football. Up in the NW you may have more (social leaning) moochers who did nothing to prepare knocking on the door looking for water and food.

 

Truth is about any firearms cache will work if you can shoot them proficiently. That might mean a 38 Special (buy a .357 to shoot 38s) for some or a 454 Casull for another. For me the choices are influenced by what I think I can afford to stockpile or what might be on the local shelves in the event of a real pinch. Stores here stock regularly 9mm, 40, and 45ACP along with .223 and .308 (7.62x51) and of course lots of 22 rimfire and 12 gauge. Shop your local stores to see what they stock in quantity or go ahead and lay in a stock via net offerings. Gun shows can offer good buys but not always. You will find 7.62x39 at the shows, but be careful of the Russian ammo especially steel cases. The AK was designed to handle steel cases, but other makes are not. ARs were not meant to handle steel cases.

 

Every choice of firearm model and or caliber has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Capt does not like the AR and I am not fond of the AK. On thing about the AK is its absolute reliability, but accuracy can be an issue. The AR is accurate, but it gets dirty fast via the gas system, but the new piston designs handle some of that concern. For 308, the HKs are great but expensive. Check out DSA's FN-FAL models or Rock River Arms. The M1A is a good choice, too but heavy.

 

Frankly if your budget is in a real jam then you can get by with one pistol, one rifle, and a shotgun. Get plenty of backup magazines and a way to store ammo safely at home in portable boxes.

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Less concerned about budget, as opposed to weapons that can be beat to hell and last. I did feel limiting calibers would help me save some money and have greater interchangeability. As an example, I'm on my property, and I have a .45 pistol on me. Maybe I spread my ammo between house, workshop, underground shelter and vehicles. Doesn't make sense to have a .45 on you, but get to your bug out truck and have 250 rnds of .45 and 250 rnds of 9mm. Why not eliminate one of them and carry 500 rnds of one caliber? Anyway, that's my thought.

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That's what I did. Eliminated the extra calibers. I almost went as far as to not buy the AR, and buy a Marlin Camp Carbine in 9mm instead. The main reason that I did not is that it used S&W M659 mags and I do not like 659's. So I wasn't going to buy one. Matching ammo AND mags would have been nice.

The only exception to this is the .22's. I figured that you can ALWAYS use a .22 around the house, I keep a rifle and pistol in .22. And there are small boxes of .22 everywhere, truck, BOB, house, car, etc

 

The comments about the south are so true. In my comment above about questions that will never be answered, (Republican/Democrat, God/No God, etc) I almost added Auburn/Alabama Football...

If the SHTF for good, some people will miss drugs, my wife will miss her cigarettes, and I will be having DT's for college football!!!

Edited by Ready?4What?

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College Football - You and me both!!! Saturday is my day in front of the TV, not Sunday. I live in the Northwest so I don't get to the games - I am not a Huskie or Cougar fan. I love rivalry games and think Nick Saban is the best coach in football. I did grow up not far from Notre Dame. I know, to SEC folks, it may as well be a team fro Ireland. I have been to several SEC games when I was dating a girl in Knoxville.

 

Anyway. I am with you on keeping calibers to a minimum. While I will probably go .45 and 7.62 as well as a .22 and 12 gauge, I would have one handgun in 9mm and one carbine in 5.56 stored or brought on the run (in vehicle), in the case I run out of ammo and can only find those calibers. Basically an HK USP Tactical/or FNH FNP 45 Tactical in both, and an HK416/417 or FNH SCAR MK 16/17.

 

Remington 870 eventually replaced by an FNH SLP Tactical

and some sort of PDW like an HK UMP that takes handgun caliber, .45 cal.

 

I know it comes off as a pipe dream, but we all need something to work towards.

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.22, then 2 glock pistols (same make & caliber), .223 rifle (ease of finding ammo), pellet gun, then a shot gun.

 

Shotguns are great utility gun but if I was hunting for food i would shoot small game with pellete gun (dont shoot birds while flying, and other guns are good self defense with the .22 better than shotgun b.c i can defend myself at longer range.

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I personally have not gone this route (yet) but there is some wisdom in matching ammo in a rifle/carbine and a pistol. Pistol caliber carbines aren't the best choice in a combat situation, but carrying 3 or 4 different types of ammo is tough. The 44 mag and 357 come to mind as well as the 40 and 45.

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The "7.62x39 or 5.56" debate has been an ongoing conversation for many a prepper. I think it really comes down to your field of fire (amount of yards) and what you are firing the round from. If I were worrying about more than 100 yards I would probably go with a 5.56/223, being that it is a flatter shooting rounds and accuracy is better beyond that point (unless you are maybe firing the 7.62 from an SKS)

 

I don't have anything more than 100 yards so I stick with 7.62x39. I'm pretty familiar with the round and the weapon, at least enough to do damage.

 

As far as the availability of the round? If it comes down to it and I'm not part of the great beyond then there will be other weapons laying around to gather and be able to grab an advantage.

 

Same thing goes for the .45 ACP or 9mm debate.

 

Not pleasant but how I look at it.

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2HOW,

Unless you are faced with a special need (targets 500 yards out for instance) the pistol/carbine combination can make a great deal of sense. If you're not looking at large predators (bear) then the 9mm/.38spc round is quite serviceable. My preference is for .40 and above or .357 Mag but that is me. One of the Kel Tec carbines that uses a Glock mag couple with the Glock in the same caliber gives you a lot of compatibility in both long and short arms.

I'm solid with my .45 Long Colt (OK, I've sold out - I KNOW there is no such thing as a Long Colt but I've grown tired of explaining) lever gun out to a little more than a 100 yards. With the modern .45 LC round it still has stopping power at that distance. It would work for even bear close in. Out West in "rifle" country it would not be as effective as a true rifle round but in the city or country like Texas' Big Thicket that is plenty of gun.

If I were worrying about more than 100 yards I would probably go with a 5.56/223, being that it is a flatter shooting rounds and accuracy is better beyond that point (unless you are maybe firing the 7.62 from an SKS)

CCsir,

I worry about lethality out much past 300 yards on the 5.56. It is flatter shooting but I have had no trouble with the AK out to 300 yards with good ammo. Just me.

 

I'm trying to not be so verbose, my apologies to the thread for the LONG posts.

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During the first Fallujah engagement, in April 2004, when the Provisional Gov't requested Marine ceasefire for negotiations, the first thing the insurgents requested was that the Marines withdrawl the "hundreds of snipers" imbedded in the city. What they didn't know was that although there were around 1,000 Marines operating in the city, only 25-30 snipers were in the city at any given time. What a study later showed was that it was infantry Marines making kills at over 800 yrds and headshots at 500 with M16-A4 in 5.56.

 

I have no doubts about terminal ballistics past 300 yards. I zero my carbine for 300 yards and know the hold over for 400 and 500. My 20" rifle is good until at least 600 and I have the hold over for 800, and experience shooting a 20" AR out to 1,000 yards. It may not be as hard hitting as 7.62x51 or .30-'06, but compared to the football arc of 7.62x39, it's a compromise I'm willing to take. Although I do see a FAL in my future, depending on how I want to get optics setup. It's not as ergonomic and modular as the AR platform.

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What a study later showed was that it was infantry Marines making kills at over 800 yrds and headshots at 500 with M16-A4 in 5.56.

:eek:

 

I have no doubts about terminal ballistics past 300 yards. I zero my carbine for 300 yards and know the hold over for 400 and 500. My 20" rifle is good until at least 600 and I have the hold over for 800, and experience shooting a 20" AR out to 1,000 yards. It may not be as hard hitting as 7.62x51 or .30-'06, but compared to the football arc of 7.62x39, it's a compromise I'm willing to take. Although I do see a FAL in my future, depending on how I want to get optics setup. It's not as ergonomic and modular as the AR platform.

 

Well I know my AK is good out to 100 yards and I'm pretty sure beyond that as well. (Not really tested it past that.) I figure if I would have to make an accurate shot past 200 yards I have the appropriate weapon for that too.:)

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My complement is .22 rimfire, .223, .45 ACP and 12 ga. although I presently carry .38 special around the property. I've got it loaded w/shotshell (snakes), wadcutters, and JHP +P; 2 of each in the cylinder.

I'm curious about your .38 spc. Mind revealing the manufacturer? Many six guns are unsafe with six in the cylinder; Ruger and Taurus use a transfer bar system that lets you load six but every S&W I've seen can only be safely loaded with 5. (Yes, I know there is a 'safety bar' to keep the firing pin off of the round under the hammer but that "safety bar" is easily broken and the result is a best noisy and at worse fatal.) I don't disagree with your mix (I chose 3 shot shells and 3 Hornady's for my Blackhawk .45 probably for the same reasons) I am just concerned with 6 in the cylinder.

Edited by Capt Bart

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The Hi-Point line of carbines have gotten great reviews from everything I have read and are on my list. Bart, I also like the .40 and .45. My EDC is a .40. There are several rifles everyone should have, or should I say several calibers of rifles. But that can be another thread.

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Ah, the age old quandary. Really it depends on the person. I have both a Kimber 1911 (.45) and a Sig p229 (9mm). Both shoot well, but obviously the 1911 shoots much better, its a precision gun. If I was starting out, as it sounds like you are, I would advocate looking at a few things. If you've never fired a gun, much less a handgun, I wouldn't buy anything yet. I would go to a range, talk with a RO (ranger officer) and have them instruct you, show you different types of handguns, etc. Shoot the different types and see what you like. I would advocate for the beginner, starting out with a cheap .22 pistol. Ammo is crazy cheap and it builds up skill rather well without breaking the bank. If you'd rather move into something with a little more stopping power, but still not break the bank, 9mm is the obvious choice IMO, as .380 is too underpowered for my tastes (everything I own has a duel purpose of fun and defense, as I think most firearms owners would say. I would not personally trust my life to a .380, but that's me). If you have firearms experience but no handgun experience, I would still recommend what I said before, go to the range and try several out.

 

If you have firearms background and own handguns, then you can ignore most of that. Everyone is going to have different opinions about what round is better, I like them both. I have owned 9mm, .40, and .45. I sold my .40, b/c I didn't care for the gun and I felt the .40 was a compromise between the velocity of a 9mm and the stopping power of a .45, which made it seem useless to me and what I wanted. Notice I said "me" and "I", others my differ in their opinions and that doesn't make them wrong, everyone is different and has different needs. Both rounds are very common, as least in my area, and for my own personal BO situation, I would carry both. However, in my opinion, I would start out with a good, reliable, easily maintained, 9mm. Look at Glock, Sig, S&W, and even Springfield. I feel the Springfields are a little overpriced, but you can find good deals. They are good guns, I have shot one many times, and from my experience are very reliable. Glocks, well, they're Glocks. You will probably either love them or hate them, but they are damn near indestructible, and you get alot of aftermarket support for them. Sigs, I'm partial to them, though sorta the Glocks too, I carry a Sig daily and its great, however the trigger being DA/SA (Double action for the first pull with a round in the chamber and hammer decocked, and each subsequent pull being single action, throws some people off). Sigs are also at the high end of the spectrum price wise. S&W has been building a pretty good name for themselves with their M&P series guns. They are relatively inexpensive and are pretty reliable from what I hear, I do not have first hand experience with them as I do the other ones however.

 

I have no issues at all, trusting my life to a 9mm round. I carry 147g Winchester Ranger Talons in my Sig, plenty of stopping power for most everyone you'd meet on the street and I've usually got 30 rounds on my person. If I need more then that, I should have been running long before then. Its relatively cheap to shoot, I think I picked up 2,000 rounds of American Eagle for under $300 when it was onsale. There's a large variety of ammo available for it and it is plentiful. After that, if you want to move on to another caliber, go for it. Personally for Ohio, walking around in the woods, I would feel fine with a .45 or .357, other places I wouldn't want to go around without a .44mag or larger. And really you don't have to limit calibers so much as make sure you have a small bunker filled with ammo for all your weapons :D

 

I'll do rifles a little later, once I get out of work.

Edited by JonM1911

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Capt. Bart,

I carry a Colt Detective Special. Yes, you are correct regarding the safety issue and I don't advise anyone leaving the sixth round in the cylinder. Guess it's one of those "do as I say, not as I do" scenarios. I do appreciate your concern however and should re-think my carry. Thanks Capt.!

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JonM1911,

 

I'll step up and vouch for the M&P series. I have always been a 1911 guy. When my custom Caspian/Colt NM got stolen a few years ago, I needed to replace it. At the time I was married to a woman that would shoot, but didn't like the recoil of a .45. So I needed something a little more tame. When I went looking, my local dealer showed me the M&P. I didn't want anything to do with another one of those plastic guns. Yes, I'm a glock hater (well, disliker). Great guns, but the instinctive point of aim is wrong for me. I always shoot high. Same with the Springfield XD's. Anyway. I got talked into the M&P9 (.40 ammo too expensive and availability is spotty here) I LOVE IT!!! I have probably 5000 rounds through it and have 0 failures of ANY kind! I can hit a phone book at 100 yards with it and it is lighter than my 1911 was. It is available in 9, 40, 45, in both standard and compact models as well as black, green, and tan frames. I cant say enough great things about it and wouldn't trade it for anything.

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New to the site, but not new to being prepared. Just a few comments based on my own opinions and practices. As a current L.E.O. I've gone the route of going with:

What I know.

What I've trained with.

What I feel comfortable with.

There is a tremendous amount of great and well intentioned information on this site, but when the time comes it will all come down to what works for you, the individual, and those loved ones that you are responsible for. Here's my take on the Calibers for Survival. Firepower is how many times you hit the target, and not how many rounds you have. You can have all the bells and whistles available on the most exotic and expensive weapons platforms, but it will be nothing but noise if you can't hit your target. Firing a weapon is a mindset, and an extremely perishable skill. Are you prepared to shoot, and can you shoot are the two biggest questions that need to be answered. If the answer is yes, then any individual is ready to take that important step towards self sufficiency.

Here is the personal route I went for my family and I.

 

Pistol Calibers - 40 cal. It's what I know and what I train with. It's readily available as it is one of the most common L.E.O. rounds in use. It has knockdown power when placed appropriately, and can be obtained at a decent price. My weapon is the S&W M&P 40 in full size and compact. Good solid weapon.

 

Shotgun - Mossberg 590 12 ga. Things shot with a shotgun tend to stay shot. Nothing more to say really. "OO" and slugs for me.

 

AR15 - S&W M&P15. Lots of people argue when it comes to what they'll take into battle. I prefer this as it's user friendly, accurate, and reliable. No gimmicks, bells, or whistles. Iron sights rule when Murphy's Law pays you a visit. The bad thing is that ARs cost money, so that could be restrictive for many.

 

Marlin .22 - Everyone should have a .22, and you can buy thousands of rounds for what it costs to takes your family to the movies these days.

 

Mosin Nagant M44 - Best kept secret when it comes to a reliable weapon that makes a huge BOOM when it goes off. These are readily available at a good price. You can stock up on them, and outfit an entire family. The M44 fires the 7.62x54R round. Ammo is easy to get a hold of, and the weapon will serve you well.

 

Bottom line .... I'd rather get missed 30 times with 7.62 than hit once in the face with .22. Do what works for you, your situation, your budget, and your abilities. Most of all....be prepared.

Quiet Man

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JohnM1911 and Quiet Man,

Mostly agree, some minor disagreement.

Notice I said "me" and "I", others my differ in their opinions and that doesn't make them wrong, everyone is different and has different needs.

Actually, if you want 5 opinions, ask 3 gun guys!

 

I also don't like the .380 (think of it as a 9X17 or a 9 "short") for self defense unless that is about all you can handle. I have a daughter who carries a 380 because it fits her hand better than anything else. She had a Makarov (9X18) and it just didn't work for her. She could handle it; could handle the 9X19 (Parabellum) but was uncomfortable and didn't want to practice. Practice being key, we tried the .380 and she fell in love with the gun/round (Kel Tec P3). The key for her use is to get the best ammo possible so I chose Hornady's Critical Defense.

I also do not like the DA/SA of the Sig. That second shot is way too easy in that arrangement and I fear an inadvertent double tap. That said, without a safety for "locked and cocked" carry, you either accept that or carry it without one in the chamber so that the drill is draw, rack the slide, shoot.

As to carrying what you are used to using, I am such a fan of that philosophy that I won't have an immediate response weapon that has a different drill than my other firearms. If I were to go Glock, that would be all I'd have. They have a large product range and can provide a platform for most caliber/carry uses. I've never shot one, being a 1911 bigot, but if I was starting fresh I'd find one to try. It might be perfect for you. I've heard they shoot higher than a 1911 given the same aim point. I don't know but if I liked it, that would be my only brand. It also has the advantage of sharing magazines up and down the scale as well as with some pistol caliber carbines.

I also agree about the .22 as a training arm, both pistol/revolver and rifle. Nothing de-stresses a bad week like a few hours of putting holes in paper and still having enough money to buy a burger on the way home.

I keep threatening to get a Mosin. Those seem like great weapons and I can get them for around $125 here.

I think that you should carry what you practice with. Tom Horn failed in a jail break and was hung back in the west because he could not figure out that new finagled Luger that he had stolen. One of the reasons I prefer revolvers for folks who don't get a lot of range time is that things like clearing drill and even basic operation are simple on a revolver and can be very complex on a pistol. I also am a true believer that you can not MISS fast enough to win a gun fight.

3. Only hits count. The only thing worse than a miss is a slow miss.

25. You can't miss fast enough to win.

Both rules are true. All that verbiage to say, try before you buy, get what feels comfortable to use, and then practice. Not just shooting but also buy enough dummy rounds/snap caps

 

http://www.officerstore.com/store/product.cfm/pid_6399_s_t_action_pro_action_trainer_dummy_rounds_pistol_calibers/

 

http://suburbansportinggoods.com/training-roundssnap-caps.html?gclid=CNzlnJar1KsCFVMBQAodVg8wQQ

 

to allow you to practice reloading, dry firing, clearing drill, using speed loaders etc. Especially true with pistols.

WARNING:

BEFORE DOING ANY "DRY FIRE" DRILL, DO THE FOLLOWING:

1. UNLOAD THE WEAPON

2. CLEAR THE WEAPON

3. REMOVE ALL AMMO FROM ROOM WHERE DRILL WILL BE CONDUCTED

4. UNLOAD THE WEAPON

5. CLEAR THE WEAPON

6. VERIFY UNLOADED AND COMMENCE DRILL.

 

If you are not paranoid about leaving a live round in an "unloaded" gun, you need to pause and rethink the results of being wrong. Even after the above steps the first "shot" goes into a mattress so that if I missed something, I don't kill somebody or thing.

I like to practice in front of a mirror so that I can see my mistakes. Draw and fire drills at slow speeds help you to be ready for reality. Speed comes with time - a fast miss is useless (see above). Clearing drills and reload drills to train your muscles to work without thought are necessary. This is a reason I want all my immediate action weapons to work the same. Practice until you do it right, each and every time. Some things take a lot of practice. I'm still not happy with my one-handed clearing drill for my Colt. So I practice.

Oh, and one last thing - before you start - make sure the gun is unloaded and all live ammo is out of the room. You put a .45 ACP through your wife's favorite mirror and I strongly suspect there will be no desert with dinner that night; perhaps for many nights following.

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Guess that I'm from the old school and prefer the .45 cal for a handgun and the highly reliable AK-47/74 in 7.62x39 for a carbine.

Reasons: The .45 was developed at the request of the USMC to have more knockdown power than the .38 Specials they had during the Nicarauga campaign. Too many cases the enemy was able to take several shots from the .38 Special and still be alive. The .45 ACP offered real "brick through a plate glass window" to enemy combatants when it was used.

The 5.56 caliber Mattel CAR/M-16 or whatever else you want to call it is a weapon that is built to aircraft tolerances, that leads to a multitude of problems. The least of which is a malfunction/jam/or other problem.

The 7.62x39 AK is NOT built to aircraft tolerances and is "loose" in design and mfgr. Therefore, it will be almost like the old Timex commercial, "takes a licking and keeps on ticking".

As other long guns for the survivalist, a .22 rimfire is great for almost all small game and even if handled properly could bring down a deer. For the average shooter, the .22 is a great long gun and the Ruger 10-22 is probably among the best. The true Stoner Survival Rifle (AR-7) I believe is also great to have.

In the scatter gun family, I personally have a Mossberg 590A1 that I was "trained" with. Also have a couple of other shot guns too. Most of them are double barrels where the 590 is a slide action.

Also have several other handguns to outfit us with WTSHTF.

For those diehard .223 addicts, the AK does come in a .223 version and I am presently looking for one. Reality is that .223 ammo may be more readily available than 7.62 WTSHTF and would rather have a carbine to cycle easily gotten ammo than an empty one in any caliber.

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