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    1. And here’s mine…

      If you can count how many guns you have off the top of your head without having to take a moment and mentally inventory them – then double checking to be sure you got them all – then you ain’t got enough, lol. Or so the joke goes.

      Then there are all the additional ones that went down to the bottom of the lake in that canoe accident. And darned if I can’t recall the name of the lake, either. I should be more careful.

      As far as ammo, the answer is always “just one more box”.

  1. I think your recommendations are valid, and, as you mentioned, if one were to have those 3, they would be well prepared for many a situation.

    If course, the magazine fed semi auto rifle would come in very handy for a true self defense weapon, but, a bolt action rifle and a pistol, I think could still do a decent job at getting the attention of bad guys and perhaps convince them to move on.

    Great article.

  2. Good article.

    Good recommendations for post “event” hunting gun battery. In my opinion, post “event” survival and defense require an AR/AK platform.

    Also, most handgun malfunctions are traced back to the magazine. Personally I would never advise just 2 magazines as adequate for your primary pistol.

  3. I agree with the big three choice. Dad was a frugal person, and a Ruger Super-Single Six convertible rimfire, Remington Mohawk 600 .308 and Marlin 81 rimfire rifle was the battery I had as a teenager. I did work a summer cutting lawns to buy my own Remington Wingmaster.

    It covered what I needed to do. Plink and practice my shooting and hunt deer. I have a few more firearms now but my needs really could be done with the original if ‘social work’ isn’t needed.

    All but the Mohawk 600 are still available but the Ruger Ranch would make a good substitute. I in fact have two of those Mohawks, one scoped for hunting, the other with irons for a carrying ranch rifle. It will do the job.

  4. I don’t differ with this, recognizing a lot of intentional simplification.
    Many people might only want or afford one weapon.
    A medium caliber revolver might be a great choice for some people who only want a panic button type firearm. Point-and-click interface with no manual of arms to learn and no hot brass flying around.
    The most versatile one weapon answer would probably be the AR/AK platform. Adequate for most purposes, available in compact pistol setups, common and inexpensive ammo, endlessly customizable, fairly lightweight, and inexpensive.

  5. This article is useful for the person who just awoke to the realization that things are going downhill fast, arrived on Survivalblog for the first time today, owns no guns and “needs to do something.”
    Hopefully that person will read many more articles, books and other available information before making decisions about the firearms needed for survival prepping.

    1. You beat me to it. It’s akin to the line attributed to Bruce Lee:

      “I do not fear the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks. I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”

      In a true TEOTWAWKI situation, I think most of us would make do with only two (MBR + sidearm) in a bug-out. But these articles are always fun fodder for conversation.

  6. As far as handguns go, HI-Point probably make the ugliest handgun ever, but I have a couple and they have consistently worked well through thousands of rounds and the price is $249 for a 9MM carbine and I have seen the 9MM handguns for as low as $139. I have multiples placed in different locations. I love Ruger, and my AR’s are all of that brand. I have found that the Ruger 10/22 has no equal for 22 caliber. When asked by many how many guns I have, my standard reply is “More than I need and not as many as I want”. 2 is 1 and 1 is none.

    here in pennsyltucky a popular combo is:
    .22 long rifle of any sort, Marlins are very popular, sold by kmart for years
    12 gauge pump gun
    30/06 or .308 rifle, any sort (you can find ammo on the shelf anywhere for them)
    .357 mag wheelgun, cheap practice with .38 loads
    the 12 gauge pump is very versitile with a short close quarters defense barrel, a rifled slug barrel with sight for 100 yards, and a 28″ game barrel with interchangable chokes.
    it can put out 5-6 shots quickly and reloads fast! i would NOT want to be on the recieving end of one with any of the above barrels!

    1. “Is a rim-fire cartridge as reliable as a center-fire cartridge in terms of detonation?”

      Not quite but both now are pretty reliable.

      Thanks everyone for the nice comments.

  8. Living in Montana, I found that my Remington 700 in .270 and my High Standard Camp gun in
    .22 were the perfect combo.

    But times change. For home defense a .308/7.62 is needed. Get a decent bipod and scope with offset iron/acrylic sights.

    If you’ve ever seriously used a standard barrel .22 rifle you know that a good tube fed magazine is far superior for using varieties of ammo and accuracy compared to a 16 inch barrel with even shorter sighting radius box-magazine weapon.

    I invested in the takedown 10/22’s for the grandkids but also am getting the better shooting semi-auto tube-feds when I find them.

    I’m snickering at how we all jump into these weapons discussions but often have far less enthusiasm for daily subsistence topics!

    Best wishes and may God Bless your day.

  9. @ Matthew

    Assuming that you’re actually asking, the conventional wisdom is no. Lucky Gunner did some tests with .22 rounds recently and found no issues, so they seem to have come a long way over the years, but I would still not count on them to be as reliable as center-fire.

    To the discussion, In KY poachers take deer with .22 lr, and if it’ll kill a deer it’ll kill you. My view is that any sidearm of any caliber makes you not a soft target. At 25 yards a 9mm Hi Point or .22 revolver will ruin your day just as surely as a .40 Sig, even if they’re far (far) from ideal.

    1. When I was a new paramedic, I had a call with a guy shot in the forearm (between the wrist and the elbow) with a single .22 LR round DOA on the sidewalk. As I was taught, we stripped him down to look for additional entrance / exit wounds and there were none. I asked at the morgue the next day, and was told the round went up his arm, around the shoulder and ricocheted around inside his chest cavity. it passed through his heart in two different places , through his aorta and both lungs. Do not underestimate the .22 LR.

      1. As a surgeon working in a major US city for the last 30 years I, like many of my colleagues, have seen many victims of firearm injuries. The 22 caliber rim fire is indeed a fatal wound producing projectile. It kills by direct injury to the cranial vault contents or through direct penetration of the thorax injuring the heart, lungs, or mediastinal structures. Outside of the chest and head shots the only other “dead right there” wounds by a 22 are to the great vessels of the abdomen or femoral/brachial arteries. Any other 22 wounds will take days to weeks to kill through continued blood loss, infection, thrombosis, or other factors. What a 22 doesn’t do is “bounce around”.

        For your example of wrist to heart travel, with the heart being penetrated twice, would require the 22 rounds to travel through some 120cm of tissue. That’s the equivalent of 48” of ballistics gelatin. There is not, nor has there ever been, a 22 rim fire with that kind of penetrating power. Even if we were to develop and load this super 22 rim fire it would require a lateral shot of a person standing in nearly perfect anatomical position with a shooter likewise nearly perfectly aligned on the long axis of the outstretched limb. Then it would need to miss all boney structures. Lastly, it would have to make a nearly perfect 180 degree turn inside the thorax.

        So there is no need to perpetuate myths and tell fanciful stories. The 22 caliber rim fire has killed a significant number of humans in perfectly simple ways.

        1. Fantastic as this may seem, this occurred on the streets of Canarsie Brooklyn 37 years ago. I was the first unit to arrive, and was there within about 5 minutes of the receipt of the call. This is not a myth or a fanciful story. There are many stories that seem unbelievable, but are, in fact, true. I had another call where someone was shot in the head, and when we arrived was walking around smoking a cigarette. The entry wound was approximately three centimeters above his ocular dexter (right eye), and the exit was at the back of the neck. A .380 shell casing was found nearby. The bullet passed circuitously between the scalp and the skull.

          I appreciate your experience and attempt to discount what truly seems to be an incredulous account, but I was there and lived this event.

  10. I still have my first gun a 22 cal. that dad had given me for Christmas when i was a 12 y.o. Many a rounds have been put thru it, i had gotten so good with it that when i went into the woods the squirrels would just come out with their hands up!
    Have added to the arsenal since that time but i think for starter’s your advise is good.

  11. As I’ve stated before, how many do you need? One more than you already have. And you’re right, if you can state the quantity off the top of your head – you don’t have enough!
    If you have to think about how many you have – you don’t have enough!
    If you can count those that fell in the un-named lake in the state you visited back in 2008, or was that 2010, you can’t really remember what state it was, or what hunting party you were attending – you don’t have enough!
    If you can’t supply every Patriot that needs one throughout your entire county – you don’t have enough.
    If you don’t have one of every caliber and make made – you don’t have enough!
    And ammo; if you don’t have at least a 1 ton pickup load for each caliber and and make you have ever seen – you don’t have enough!
    Hey, if the IRS needs a few million rounds, for “security” you know, then you need the same…. for security you know! BLOAT and then BLOAT, and then BLOAT some more…..

  12. So just my 3 cents. Currently there are 320 million people+ or -. If you go by the “experts” 90% will die in the first month if shtf. So that’s 32 million hunting the same food as you. You can forget the big game, it won’t be there. If we are talking budget arms his thought of a 22 will work and any decent hand gun with enough ammo. If you are in a fire fight you are in the wrong place and should be looking at a tactical retreat. You can have as many weapons as you want if your bugging in, if I’m traveling it’s my Mossberg 12 pump and 2 sidearms ( s&w 686 and sig 226) I can afford what I want but can’t carry everything. P.S. to the newbie’s out there, learn how to fish if you want to eat.

  13. While I own more than 1 firearm, living in the Northeastern USA, I would strongly suggest that 1 of your first firearms be a pellet gun, preferably a low noise one. You can learn brass rules, breathing …. etc cheaply and without spending a lot of money on ranges. Even a 22 fired here will get a quick visit from the local police or maybe SWAT team if you fire several rounds from a AR15 and they are rapidly getting rid of the ranges. No firearm is adequate if you do not know how or when to use it.

  14. I agree with the choice of the primary triad (.22LR bolt action or semi, center fire semi), and a 7.62 bolt action hunting/sniping rifle). I wouldn’t disagree with any cartridge size.
    However, I will go out on a limb/rat hole and recommend that every family/tribe have a set of laser boresights, suitable tactical flashlights (if possible using the same platform and the same batteries), and the same platform/brand of optics. It doesn’t do much for efficiency if your optics and iron sights are out of alignment.
    I won’t bore anybody with my first and last time hunting when my scope had been knocked out of kilter during the drive to the farm. Very disappointing and upsetting.

    1. Thanks for that important advice. Recently purchased a laser bore site. Quickly gets an out of kilter scope back on track without making too much noise or spent ammo.

  15. I have always thought that the basic compliment should be 1 handgun, 1 shotgun, 1 long rifle. That covers most of your needs.
    With the shotgun you can get Mossberg or the made by Mossberg Maverick shotguns can be found with both 18 inch and 28 inch barrels that come as 1 package deal, so are good for both self defense and hunting. The Mavericks run around $250 give or take, and the Mossberg version will run around #350 give or take. Big 5 has them on sale regularly.
    Also, for long guns don’t leave out the old surplus WWI and WWII rifles that are still quite good. Mausers in 7mm or 8mm, Lee Enfields in .303, Mosin-Nagant 7.62 x 54R, Springfield M1903 30/06, and others can be found at affordable prices and are good for hunting and long range self-defense. All can be scoped depending on your needs.

  16. Way back in the old days, one rifle, one handgun, same caliber. Still a valid idea today. No guessing on cartridge. .22 lr, 9mm, 357, 44 mag. Bolts, levers, semis. Just no .308 or 7.62 true pistols or revolvers., (true meaning not an AR or AK platform pistol. Glock 17 and Ruger PC9, both 9mm and they use the same magazine!!!!! Ruger 10/22 and any number of rim fire handguns. Ruger bolt action 357 and any number of .357 revolvers.

  17. A handgun is for short range use of typically less than twenty five yards.
    Because of that statistic expressed in a basic statement JWR made , when you do get your handgun experiment with Point & Shoot . Without using the sights just get a large background target [ mobile home , camper , 98 Dodge 4WD Quad Cab ] and put your handgun target on it . Use your motor controls to correct and if you’re in the top 25% skill set for motor control you will be real close to the center in short order . Then start your aim with sights practice . I haven’t used sights for a year or better except target practice and I’ve killed a bunch of predators and pests this past year . Also in the jungle like forests of the Buckeye Hill Country you seldom get a shot not obscured by underbrush and small trees . 25 yards is a long target in Ohio. You hit Bambi with a .357 at 25 yards and it blows those peepers right out of the skull .

  18. Of course the argument for the best well round battery of firearms has been made, yet if the question is what is the ‘mostest for the leastest’ in terms of money spent and I had to start to build an arsenal, then my answer would be first the 12 ga pump, then the AK-47, or if budget will only allow, an SKS. The 12 ga does it all within it’s range limitations, and is the most firepower for the money, but the AK-47 or lastly the SKS, would do it much better for someone on a strict budget. Get the AK-47 first if possible, but get the 12ga first as a stop gap until the AK, or better can be purchased if it will sometime before a box fed semi auto can be had. With the proper hunting ammunition, the 7.62×39 will easily take deer. Anything in 7.62 Nato, would of course be better yet….

  19. As an attorney at law with many nights spent late at night studying constitutional law, it pains my heart to see so many survivalists/preppers talk about firearms in an incorrect purpose.

    Hunting, target practice, self defense, defense of others, defense of property are not the intended purposes for the Second Amendment.

    Let’s put our selves in our Founding Fathers’ shoes going back in time to 1776.

    We would hear statements such as [taken from website https://www.wideopenspaces.com/25-pro-gun-quotes-founding-fathers/%5D:

    1. “Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed, as they are in almost every country in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops” -Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution, October 10, 1787

    2. “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country.” – James Madison, I Annals of Congress 434, June 8, 1789

    3. “Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined…. The great object is that every man be armed. Everyone who is able might have a gun.” – Patrick Henry, Speech to the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 5, 1778

    4. “The Constitution shall never be construed to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.” – Samuel Adams, Massachusetts Ratifying Convention, 1788

    5. “What, Sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty …. Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins.” – Rep. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, I Annals of Congress 750, August 17, 1789

    6. “No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.” – Thomas Jefferson, Virginia Constitution, Draft 1, 1776

    7. “The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes…. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.” – Thomas Jefferson, Commonplace Book (quoting 18th century criminologist Cesare Beccaria), 1774-1776

    8. “I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery.” – Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison, January 30, 1787

    9. “As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the article in their right to keep and bear their private arms.” – Tench Coxe, Philadelphia Federal Gazette, June 18, 1789

    10. “A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined…” – George Washington, First Annual Address, to both House of Congress, January 8, 1790

    11. “A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be your constant companion of your walks.” – Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, August 19, 1785

    12. “We The people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the Courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who would pervert the Constitution.” – Abraham Lincoln

    13. “While the people have property, arms in their hands, and only a spark of noble spirit, the most corrupt Congress must be mad to form any project of tyranny.” – Rev. Nicholas Collin, Fayetteville Gazette (N.C.), October 12, 1789

    14. “The militia, who are in fact the effective part of the people at large, will render many troops quite unnecessary. They will form a powerful check upon the regular troops, and will generally be sufficient to over-awe them” – Tench Coxe, An American Citizen IV, October 21, 178

    15. “A militia when properly formed are in fact the people themselves . . . and include all men capable of bearing arms. . . To preserve liberty it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms… The mind that aims at a select militia, must be influenced by a truly anti-republican principle.”- Richard Henry Lee

    16. “… the loyalists in the beginning of the late war, who objected to associating, arming and fighting, in defense of our liberties, because these measures were not constitutional. A free people should always be left… with every possible power to promote their own happiness.” – Pennsylvania Gazette, April 23, 1788

    17. “Arms in the hands of citizens (may) be used at individual discretion…in private self-defense…” -John Adams, 1788 A Defense of the Constitution of the Government of the USA, p.471

    18. “Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation.. (where) ..the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.” – James Madison (Federalist Papers #46)

    19. “Little more can reasonably be aimed at with respect to the people at large than to have them properly armed and equipped.” – Alexander Hamilton (Federalist Papers #29)

    20. “If ye love wealth more than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; and may your chains set lightly upon you, and posterity forget that ye were our country men.” – Samuel Adams, 1776

    21. “A people who mean to continue free must be prepared to meet danger in person…” – Rep. John Randolph (22 Dec 1790, Elliot p.4:411)

    22. “…but a million armed freemen, possessed of the means of war, can never be conquered by a foreign foe.” – Andrew Jackson in his first Inaugural Address, 1829

    23. “O sir, we should have fine times, indeed, if, to punish tyrants, it were only sufficient to assemble the people! Your arms, wherewith you could defend yourselves, are gone…” – (Elliot p.3:50-52, in Virginia Ratifying Convention demanding a guarantee of the right to bear arms.)

    24. “The burden of the militia duty lies equally upon all persons;” – Rep. Williamson in Congress, 22 Dec 1790 (Elliot, p423)

    25. “The people are not to be disarmed of their weapons. They are left in full possession of them.” -Zacharia Johnson (Elliot, 3:645-6)

    As ratified by Thomas Jefferson the 2A states:
    “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. ”

    Let me underscore this quote from above:
    12. “We The people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the Courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men[feminists] who would pervert the Constitution.” – Abraham Lincoln

    Having said that: the reason to bear arms is to overthrow a tyrannical governing arm, or an arm from a private sector which has oversight of authority.

    What is tyranny? Everyone needs to complete a list regarding the 2A – for my family it is when a governing arm takes away God given freedoms.

    The reason to bear arms is to overthrow tyranny. Anyone catch that in this article?

    God bless.

      1. @ Ohio Guy

        I am writing a fictional book and it’s not against the law to disseminate what fictional characters are doing and the action they take in the book.

        A three step approach [from my novel]:
        1) Building a self sustaining off-grid retreat [A Texas gentleman did just that and won against the authorities–never doing jail time (https://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Authorities-ignore-fugitive-holed-up-on-Texas-1693380.php)]
        2) Becoming combat trained [to the teeth]. Knowing how to utilize a variety of firearms effectively and accurately. Obtaining professional level sniping understand assassins and why it is extremely effective. Know how to be armed to the teeth as the grey man walking down the street.
        3) Get involved in the political process. Running for office as a conservative. Writing letters, invading town halls with Conservative values, over throwing the superintendent at the public school for suspending a child for the reason of having a bible, removing campus leaders who have removed conservative student speakers off their venue, suing the Internet Silicon Valley moguls for de-platforming patrons due to being Right of politics, disrupting diversity hiring practices corporately by being the best for the job and a white heterosexual male… et al.

        The days of the Revolution are over. There will be no civilian standing army with body armor, AR-15s, night vision, comms, and tactics. They would be fodder for helicopter chain-guns.

        We need to be smarter than that to fight a physical war against the unconstitutional authorities who hold all weapons systems with superior technology.

        My characters perform these three options in reverse order.
        3) When fed up with the political process [of trying to move God’s law back into existence as law of the Land], they have reason/grounds to partake in option 2. Unlike the paid LEOs called in to stop them, my characters put their heart and soul into the fight.
        2) They understand their enemy is a communist on American soil, donning American citizenship [one political party in Congress is almost entirely Communist in my book]. My Characters then use firearms, as lone wolves uprising all across the land of the free because of the brave, in order to remove unconstitutional Lawmakers, Federal Judges, and Law enforcement [alphabet governing agencies]. There’s no standing army, no uniforms, and stealth just like Vietcong, Taliban, North Koreans, Iraqis [civilian by sight, lethal undertaker by reason].
        1) Once these uprising occur from sea to shinny sea, my characters are hunted down mercilessly by the authorities in which they yield more resistance due to them physically entering and off grid-living style, to remain there hidden away [to either enact more lone wolf lethal strategies in their region or wait it all out] already procured in option 1.

        Stay tuned for the novel…
        Keep your powder dry!
        God Bless!

        1. Thank you. Coincidentally, I’m doing some research for a writing of my own. Some of my ideas parallel yours. I certainly hope to avoid committing plagiarism.

  20. I agree with the basic premise of the article, and even with the choices. I’d like to throw in another suggestion for your consideration. In the last year or two I have become enamored of the .22 WRM. I can’t believe it took me 60 plus years to discover this little powerhouse.

    I have acquired a Ruger 10/22 in .22 Mag, and recently a Henry .22 Mag pump. Both are splendidly accurate and very sturdy. The ammo is only slightly larger than the .22 LR thus allowing for easy portability of a lot of rounds.

    Cost used to be pretty disparate but thanks to Obama, and the subsequent chronic rim fire shortages, the cost is not that much more these days.

    How does the round stack up against larger game? One of my best friends was a predator control hunter for USF&W, and took dozens of lions with with the .22 Mag over a 25 year career.

    I learned as a very young lad back in the 50s, the value of bullet placement. One of the men who taught me to shoot was a big game guide on Kodak Island in the fall and in Central America (Jaguars). I asked him what gun he used as a guide, and he said a Savage 99 take down in .243. I asked if that wasn’t kind of light for Kodak? His response? “Not if you can shoot!”

    A year or so later another friend took a doe in the city limits with a .22 CB Cap from a range of about 18 inches. He was very good about camo and scent masking.

    Many years ago, when I was a young DDA in Oregon (1974) I came across a statistic I found interesting. Up until 1974, every recorded defensive shooting in the state that involved the death of the assailant by a civilian involved a .22!

    My point is if I could only have one gun I’d pick a .22.

  21. Most all good comments. Regardless of what any particular person selects as their ideal and what-they-can-afford firearm(s), I caution one small point. No matter what you think is the best choice, be sure of 3 things. What sidearm and rifle/shotgun/long-gun you opt to carry when you’ve got just 2 seconds to grab and go; and, how much ammunition and weight in general you can bear. The third, understanding that when it gets close, what knife/hatchet or other close-quarters weapon you’ll reach for will be crucial.

  22. Regardless of how many and what calibers,they aren’t any good if you don’t practice. They are worthless with out ammo to back it up. Practice,practice and practice some more. Stay focused on political events, you may need it all before its over…..just sayin.

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