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Letter Re: Choosing Between a Shotgun and a Rifle for Retreat Defense

I was wondering if the following items that I already have are a good start on a survival kit and what else would be good to add on. Ruger .22/45 pistol [1], two 10 round magazines, stainless steel blade fishing knife with regular blade, gutting blade, small scissors, probe, and flashlight, cell phone with flashlight, Savage Arms .22 bolt action rifle with scope, salt packets, duct tape, cold cereal in a good sealed case, and a standard military issue canteen. Also, I was looking at a 12 gauge pump action over a .30-06 bolt action. Which would be better? Thank you for your time, I know I have a lot of work to do, but better safe than sorry. – Declan

JWR Replies: It sounds like you have made a good start at getting squared away. Keep up the good work. Build up your food storage systematically.

The choice of a rifle versus a shotgun involves your expected range of engagements. If you live in densely wooded country or an urban environment, the versatility of a shotgun makes sense. Otherwise, a .308 or .30-06 is more appropriate. As your budget allows, you will probably want to own both a large caliber rifle and a riot shotgun. Most likely in the interim between those two purchases you will want to get a major caliber handgun–at least a .40 S&W [2], but preferably a .45 ACP [3]. Since you have been training with a Ruger .22/45, a M1911 [4] probably makes sense. (The Ruger has its safety, slide release, and magazine release in the same locations as found on the venerable M1911.)

Logically think through the rest of what you might need in the event of a full scale collapse. Water storage and purification should be at the top of your list. For fixed site retreats, a British Berkefeld water filter is appropriate. In a tactical “on the move” situation, the smaller Katadyn filters work wonderfully. Both are available from Ready Made Resources [5] and a number of other vendors.