What Do You Need? (continued)
Black Rifle Accessories/Parts
As mentioned, I am not a gunsmith by any means. Fortunately for most enthusiasts, however, most issues that develop can be resolved without a professional, and broken/worn parts can be easily replaced yourself. With this in mind, I recommend purchasing one entire bolt carrier group for each of your black rifles. These contain every piece that will commonly need replacement over the course of your rifle’s lifetime. The chance that you will need all of them is slim to none. However, in addition to ensuring you have the necessary parts to repair 90% of the issues you are liable to run into, they may very well make for excellent barter/sales pieces. These can be found now easily complete for $70 online (please check this sites advertisers first), so having a spare group for every rifle is a smart investment, in my opinion. Take that for what it is worth. Additionally, if you are purchasing baseline black rifle models (as I did), you are likely to find that they are just that– baseline. I recommend equipping them with a three point nylon tactical sling  and at the very least, a Ruger flip up rear site or MAGPUL flip up rear site  (as both makers offer one for under $20), and a Meprolights (tritium) front site  (I have had excellent experience with meprolights. In general, if it is good enough for the Israeli Army, it’s sure good enough for me!), or at the very least a generic rail mounted red dot scope. If you can afford higher model optics, triggers, et cetera, by all means go for it, but each of your rifles should have at least the slings and sights. Further, I recommend an Otis cleaning system kit  for each of your rifles. These small zippered pouches are compact and complete, with excellent quality. Finally, I would recommend purchasing a lifetime supply of whatever are your preferred rifle lubricants and rifle cleaning solutions. Personally, I prefer CLP Breakfree  and Hoppes #9 , but whatever you prefer, make sure you own plenty of it. I’ll delve into why I say this later in the article.
Without the appropriate projectiles, any firearm is just a rather crude but expensive club. More figurative ink has been spilled on Internet forums on ammunition stockpiles, how much, what kind, and how to store it than could ever be read in a lifetime, and only a glutton for punishment would ever want to. But since my $0.02 is worth about as much as anybody’s, what I have done and what I recommend is that for every firearm you have, you stock and maintain on hand 2000 rounds. One thousand of these rounds are what I refer to as general purpose rotational rounds. These are used for trips to the range, hunting, plinking, training, and the day-to-day usage. You use it and then replace it. The other 1000 rounds are socked and sealed away for a very bad day, to be touched only in case of emergency. So, if you own, for example, a Glock 17 and a Glock 19, you should have 4000 rounds of 9mm on hand; you’d have 2000 in general rotational use and 2000 set aside for a very-bad-no-good-rotten-day. Please understand that these are what I (just me!) consider to be a comfortable minimum. There is no such thing as too much ammo, ever! I have heard the argument that on a very-bad-no-good-rotten-day, one could easily expend 500 rounds. So if you can, buy it (without a background check); buy it until you can’t anymore, but don’t buy at the expense of everything else on this list.
Standard Capacity Magazines
These seem to be second only to “Assault Rifles” on Liberal’s hit list. I have always marveled at the contempt and loathing they view these with, as even a novice shooter can change an empty magazine out of a firearm in the time it takes to clap your hands twice. But they despise them, and I am confident they will be part of the next ban, should it be enacted. As such, the importance of ensuring that you have an adequate supply of the standard magazines that accompany your firearm cannot be understated. Having them available to barter and/or sell is also no less (and given their compactness and greater mobility, perhaps more) important than your spare black rifles. Here are my thoughts on how to handle inventory for your standard capacity magazines. In my case, I am a Glock Fan. You may like Springfield or Ruger or 1911’s or S&W; it doesn’t matter. Stay with me here. When I purchased my Glocks, I made certain to purchase the 4th Generation Models, solely because they came with an extra magazine, with three in the box instead of the normal two. In addition to these three, I purchased five more for each firearm. This brought my total to eight standard capacity magazines for each pistol. (There’s no magic to this number. Eight just happened to be my number when I played ball, and I like even numbers.) These eight are for personal, rotational use, never to be separated from their firearm. Then, in anticipation of them being effected by a ban, I bought an additional half-dozen of each pistol’s magazine. These are a part of the barter/investment stock that, worse comes to worse, I can always use myself. So, for each pistol, I have a total of 14 standard capacity magazines– eight for use and six for barter. As far as rifles go, I will focus here on black rifles and BX-25 magazines made for the ubiquitous Ruger 10/22 rifles. My family has standardized with the AR-15 format rifle. I won’t get into the .223 and .308 debate. It is pointless (in my opinion) and well off-topic. The women (my wife, mother, two sisters, and young nieces), who would make up our group in a crisis situation, are small in stature, and the men (myself, my father, and two brothers-in-law) were introduced to the AR Platform in our military service. Familiarity and manageability win. For each black rifle, I keep ten PMAGS by Magpul in rotational use. These are the magazines that are never to be separated from the rifles. As far as inventory, I buy them whenever I can. In my mind, if a ban goes into effect, these may very well be worth their weight in silver when it is all said and done. I buy them in bulk. (Buying 10 at a time, you can get them in at $10.50 a piece online, and on Sundays at gun shows I have dickered them down to $9.75 when I bought the last 13 he had at his table.) I honestly cannot tell you how many PMAGS I’ve purchased. I pick them up regularly when the budget allows for it, and I have for years. I consider them to be the best of my “tangible investment portfolio”. An often overlooked standard capacity magazine that I recommend having a few of is the BX-25 magazine; it’s the twenty-five round capacity magazine for the Ruger 10/22. Granted, it is a poor self defense caliber, but some of the most fun days in my life have involved plinking around with that rifle, and more than one squirrel met its end on the wrong end of that rifle. I consider these mags more or less for fun, but I do keep four in reserve. You never know what you might be able to barter them for.
Ah, you knew that was coming, didn’t you? Having a gun vault full of rifles and firearms is absolutely useless if you don’t know what you are doing with them. To all my former fellow (and probably several current) service members, I have some bad news. If you’re anything like me (and you probably are), you’ve forgotten much of the rudimentary unit and individual tactics and drills you were taught ten years ago. Also, tactics have changed, and you, my friend, have gotten older. I say this as a thirty-five-year-old man who visited the lovely district of Kandahar for a nice “vacation” in 2003. If you can afford to attend one of the finer schools that advertise on this blog, please do so. If you cannot, you would be surprised what you may find in your own area. For example, the price tag for me for a plane trip to Nevada to attend Gun Site is too prohibitive for me, much as I wish it were not. (Again, please understand that all of the things I’ve mentioned having in inventory have been accumulated over years, not over nights). Nevertheless, in the fairly large town one hour west of me, there is a small security firm that provides bodyguards and personal security (usually for musicians in town for a concert or other celebrities there for whatever reason). The owner is a former green beret with multiple combat tours and a myriad of tactical expertise that the average Joe in the service doesn’t get. During the winter (slow months for him), he augments his income by holding one- and two-day tactical and marksmanship shooting classes quite a reasonable fee. Is it Thunder Ranch? Nope, but it sure beats trying to remember or learning from Airborne Youtube Rangers. (As a side note, please remember that bad training is probably worse than no training. Avoid these poseurs.) Also, practice, practice, practice. Range time is inexpensive. Make sure you know how to use all of your equipment.
I’d like to close with just a short reminder and an explanation for why I recommend buying things like a lifetime supply of Hoppes #9. As it is right now, you can walk into your local Wal-Mart and walk out with five bottles of Rem Oil , and no one is really going to care. In the future, with the expansion of this entire “If You See Something, Say Something” atmosphere, such an action may be viewed with great suspicion. Do not stick out, now or later. Some folks call this OPSEC, I just call it “common sense”. If everyone knows you as the guy with a ton of black rifles or the boxes of PMAGS, when the Stasi come knocking for them, guess who’s going to come to mind first? Again, I am not advocating any illegal activity. I’m only pointing out that keeping your head down, minding your own business, and making it easier for other folks to mind theirs by not giving them anything to talk about makes everyone’s life more pleasant. That is true now, and it will continue to be true when and if a ban ever goes into effect.
I continue to pray for us all, and for our nation and its leaders. I sincerely hope that I am wrong, but in the event that I am correct, well, the truth of the matter is that I could take virtually all of my inventory to a gun show and not lose a penny on my “investments”. And I can do what I do now– providing piece of mind and security and sleeping at night, knowing that I have prepared, legally and morally. God bless you all and good luck!