Letter Re: Observations on Gun Laws in Europe and Request for Gun Selection Advice

Dear Jim,
It is almost a year since I [started to] read SurvivalBlog. It is a great thing. Thank you for it. I am doing my best to be ready for the moment WTSHTF.

Here in Europe, as you know, we have a problem with the gun control, so the only way to have guns is for hunting purposes (for self defence is almost impossible), and after few difficult tests, that includes psychiatric and medical tests, some law knowledge about guns regulations, safety and laws, and of course, having a clean background (no prison). Of course, there is regulation even about the amount of ammo that you can have at home. I read you store 10.000 cartridges just of .22 [rimfire], and I can’t believe it!!!! Here, the government would take your license, guns and of course, all the ammo plus assess you a nice fine.

Comparing with your great country, it’s a madness. I feel envy of how easy you can buy such tools.

I always want a gun, but feel too lazy to apply for it and pass through all those tests, controls, taxes (did I mention how many local, regional and national taxes must be paid??).
Thanks to SurvivalBlog, finally I decided and encourage myself to get one or two weapons (of course for “hunting purposes”).
After few months, I finally got my permit last week. And now I have my doubts: which models should I buy. What will you recommend for me?

I want a 12 gauge for home defence: My choices are Mossberg 590 or Remington 870 Police. Which one do you believe is better? I am considering the 870.

As a rifle, I really have no idea, so I would appreciate your opinion about this matter. I believe with a 12 gauge I am served for short distances, but for hunting and long distance shooting, what would you recommend? And what about the caliber?

Thank you very much for your blog, which is helpful as nothing else I found in a long long time. I am almost ready with food, location, medicines, and other stocks…. everything but the weapons.

Hopefully nothing will bring us TEOTWAWKI, but I am getting ready, just in case. Good luck. – TL

JWR Replies: I recommend 12 gauge for riotguns. Functionally, I consider the Mossberg 590 or Remington 870 roughly comparable. Both are sturdy and reliable. The Remington 870 has a slight edge on quality over the Mossberg, but in my opinion not enough to justify the higher price. For left-handed shooters, I generally recommend the Mossberg, since their top-of-tang safety is truly ambidextrous. (Whereas the M870 triggerguard-mounted safety is a bit slow for left-handers.) If you opt for the Model 870, I recommend that you replace the fragile black plastic cup shell follower (in the magazine tube) with a Choate Machine and Tool Company solid high density orange plastic follower. These are almost indestructible. There are also steel cup followers made.

For rifles,assuming that semi-autos are probably restricted, I recommend that you buy a “Scout” type bolt action chambered in .308 Winchester. I realize that many European nations restrict civilian ownership of rifles and pistols in “military” calibers. If that is the law where you live, then I recommend getting a .243 Winchester.