Letter Re: “Group Standard” Firearms Standardization

I live in the Pacific Northwest, in an urban area and in the event of TEOTWAWKI, my wife and I will most likely bug out and retreat to a friend’s ranch just outside our urban growth boundary. The location is not ideal, but better than us attempting to retreat in place. The ranch is somewhat hidden and has a few acres of cleared fields around the house. My friend is retired and his immediate family will probably reside there too. He’s got a large house and there will be eight adults and two children living together. I’m a firearms collector and shooter and have a decent collection of defensive and hunting tools, a la Dan Fong [a well-armed character in the novel Patriots], but I don’t have enough duplicates to outfit the group with a “standard”. I was thinking of outfitting the group with one defensive pistol and battle rifle or carbine per person and a shotgun per couple, regardless of their current personal firearms battery. I figure my outlay could range from ~$13K to ~$40K, or the price of a compact to mid-size car depending on make and “best” or “no-frills” features selection. As this is a major expense that will compete with my food and medical supply acquisition, I’d like to know your thoughts on firearms acquisition in relation to other necessities.
1. What is your thoughts on the ratio of battle rifles to carbines? In your book, you left the selection to the individual retreat member.
2. Should I acquire the “best” weapons I can afford and make due with “adequate” food and medical provisions? Or do I acquire “no-frills”, reliable firearms and splurge on food and medical supplies?
3. What are your thoughts on some of the “no-frills” firearms suppliers and makes out there like the Rock Island, Springfield or Charles Daly M1911 .45 pistols, Bushmaster, Stag AR-15 5.56mm or CETME .308 cal rifles and Mossberg 590 or Maverick 12 gauge pump shotguns?
Thanks, – Collector

JWR Replies: Standardization of defensive weapons is a worthy goal. As previousl\y stated in this blog and in my other writings, standardization results in commonality of training, commonality of magazines, commonality of stored ammunition, and commonality of spare parts.  It is a “win-win” in many ways!

1. For defending a fixed location, your should standardize with .308 Winchester for your rifles. The only advantage of .223 is that the rifles weigh less and you can carry more ammunition. These are only meaningful factors for long distance patrols. If weight is not an issue, why not standardize with a full-power cartridge?  Since a CETME can be purchased for less than the cost of an AR-15 clone or about the same as a Ruger Mini-14, and magazines for CETMEs are far less expensive (under $3 each), I would forego buying any .223s and buy all .308 CETMEs. Here at the Rawles Ranch we have nine .308s (mostly L1A1s) and just one .223. (It is an “M4gery” that I built on a pre-ban receiver.)  The latter is strictly a transitional training gun for our children. I don’t consider it a serious man-stopping rifle. I think that you should only get .223s for any of your group members that are under 16 or that are too frail to handle the weight and recoil of a .308.

2.) I recommend buying “no frills” guns to start. Balanced purchasing is important. What good is a full-up defensive battery if you only have a few weeks of food storage and scant first aid supplies? You can always upgrade later.

3.) I think that the following “group standard” should make sense: CETME .308 rifles (one per adult), Mossberg 590s (one for each two or three adults), and Springfield Armory .45 ACP M1911 clones (one per adult), will make a fully adequate no frills battery. A few years down the road, as your budget permits, you can transition to more top of the line guns such as HK-91s and perhaps Springfield Armory XD .45 ACPs or stainless steel original Colt or Kimber M1911s.