When is ‘Good Enough’ Good Enough?, by Survivormann99

In the various areas of human endeavor one often runs across an individual who only wants “the best” in the pursuit of his or her chosen activity. Deciding what is the best involves choices about such things as golf clubs, running shoes, automobiles, firearms, wristwatches, and small kitchen appliances, to name only a few.

Some individuals’ opinions about what is the best can be absurdly wrong, but it’s their choice to make–and to live with. They revel in the fact that others–even if they are complete strangers–see them driving a certain SUV model, carrying a certain designer handbag, or pedaling the most expensive mountain bike on the trail.

I’m reminded of a situation in my deer hunting days. There would occasionally be a hunter who showed up with an unusual caliber rifle for the area in which we hunted, such as a 7 mm Remington Magnum or the like. Those who carried “humdrum” 30-06, .308, .270, and .30-30 rifles would gather around him and inspect his new toy, while engaging in the almost obligatory “oohing” and “ahhing” that stroked the owner’s ego. Yet, given the fact that even a 250 yard shot in the terrain around the area was a rarity, the choice of the 7 mm Rem. Mag. was grossly excessive in contributing to a successful hunt.

On the flip side, we’ve probably all seen individuals get involved in an activity or hobby, only to decide that they must have everything that is used in the hobby as soon as possible. The way that many of them do this is to buy the less expensive offerings, the very things whose quality can vary widely, but which they hope/expect to work well enough, if not with perfection.

Some people call those who are preparing for “spicy” times survivalists, and some call them preppers. A disagreement often follows as to what each term means and as to where particular individuals fall in these categories. While the authors of various articles on the subject offer their opinions, there is no general consensus about the matter, and there is no central authority that is capable of issuing an opinion or a “ruling.” As for me, I will just call all of these people (and myself) “preparedness types.”

No matter what these people are called, however, the simple fact is that some of those who are engaged in preparedness efforts are just as prone to demand only the best as much as certain golfers, vehicle owners, fashion devotees, or bicyclists are.

Most of us have heard the saying to the effect of “Buy the best and cry once. Buy cheap and cry forever.” Buying the best is excellent advice if a person’s pocketbook can finance this approach. If you fall into this category, then congratulations and good for you.

Choosing What is the Best is Problematic

Of course, choosing what is the best is often problematic. Some luxury car brands, for example, are surprisingly skewered in surveys of owners because of their poor maintenance records. Yet, people continue to buy a particular brand because it gives them what they perceive to be a certain status, panache, and cachet when that car is sitting in the driveway for the entire world to see. I also suspect that it is sometimes the case that they want their neighbors to know that they drive that particular car because paying for its additional upkeep is not a problem for them.

Many people who want the best often find themselves saving their precious discretionary funds over a long period of time in order to buy their dream item, while, in the meantime, they are forced to forego purchasing many other things.

Yet, here is one important factor that separates, say, golfers, luxury car owners, etc., from serious preparedness types. Serious preparedness types don’t have “the luxury of time” and they don’t know how long they have to acquire critical items, such as sufficient food, medical supplies, equipment, etc. (We all know how that whole “Mayan 2012 thing” worked out.)  For them, the balloon could go up tomorrow morning. Beyond that, buying the best and applying the rule, “Three is two, two is one, and one is none” presents even more daunting financial challenges for the “average Joe.”

When is ‘good enough’ good enough?

The question then becomes, “When is ‘good enough’ good enough?” Your life and the lives of others can depend on the choice you make.

Some wise observer once said, “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” Somewhat related to this concept is what General Patton once said, “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.” The simple fact is that things often don’t get done because minor concerns are not addressed, and opportunities are often lost while individuals wait for conditions to become perfect. For preparedness types, waiting for an extra six months to buy that $1,800 6.5 Creedmoor sniper rifle that will impress everyone at the range–or at the retreat– rather than buying a well-made, reasonably priced, and accurate deer rifle of a common caliber, could leave a person in the lurch if things turn spicy in the interim.

Take AR-15s, for example. JWR recently reported that certain Colt Precision AR-15s were bringing as much as $3,000. (Any firearm with the word Colt engraved on it seems to come with a higher premium, even though the quality of some Colt firearms “ain’t what it used to be.”)  Around the time that JWR mentioned the prices of Colt ARs, Palmetto State Armory offered a complete upper receiver group for $199, and a complete lower receiver (their “Classic Stealth Lower”) for $119. That’s an incredible $318 for a complete AR-15 carbine, minus the rear sight. (To catch those sales, I suggest that you get on Palmetto’s e-mail list and begin to receive their daily e-mail blasts for guns, parts, magazines, and ammunition.)

I saw comments about the Palmetto State Armory offering on another web site. The Palmetto rifles usually gets very good reviews, yet one person dissed Palmetto States Armory’s ARs and claimed that he only got 5-inch groups (5 Minutes of Angle or “5 MOA”) with an AR he had purchased. Interestingly, he didn’t say what ammunition he used (55 grain? 62 grain? Russian steel case? US brass case?), nor did he say what the twist rate was for his particular rifle barrel, 1/7 or 1/9, something that can make a noticeable difference with regard to accuracy. Others who commented there disagreed with his opinion and said that he was way off or that he must have gotten a bad barrel. As an aside, check out this video with a comparison of a Palmetto State Armory AR vs. a Smith & Wesson M&P AR.

In any event, 4-inch groups are usually considered to be acceptable “combat accuracy.” Compare that with the accuracy of the ubiquitous AK-47. One is having a good day at the range with the AK-47 if groups can be kept under 4 inches, although 5 inch groups (and worse) are more common. Yet, it is usually the AK-47 against which all others are judged around the world with regard to acceptable combat accuracy.

So let’s compare that Colt AR-15 to the Palmetto State Armory AR-15 offering a few weeks ago.

First, if you’re planning on being a lone wolf, you can only shoot one rifle at a time and, if price is no object, maybe that Colt AR is exactly the right firearm for you.

Relative Costs

Yet, for most people reading this article, price is an object. Beyond that, most people are not planning on being a lone wolf. They have family to defend and to arm, and many would consider providing guns to neighbors (the much discussed ad hoc “mutual assistance group”) if societal conditions deteriorate past a certain point. (I’m hoping that those responding in the Comments section don’t go off on a tangent on whether or not it is wise to arm neighbors who might have varying levels of firearms proficiency or who might have deficient personal ethics standards. As was said in the first “Star Wars” movie, “Stay on target! Stay on target!” Just save those thoughts for another article where such issues are addressed.)

If you fall in the latter category, you could have bought at least seven Palmetto State Armory ARs that were on sale instead of buying one top-of-the-line Colt Precision AR. You could have bought five Ruger ARs instead of buying one. Or you could have bought three Springfield Saint Victor ARs instead of buying one.

Or, to make the issue perhaps even clearer, you could have bought:
1) One Palmetto State Armory AR-15;
2) 250 lbs. of pinto beans;
3) 300 lbs. of white rice;
4) 100 lbs. of non-fat dry milk; and,
5) one 100 Watt Harbor Freight Solar Panel Kit.

And then you could have purchased several cases of Mountain House freeze-dried food–and still have money left over for ammunition.

I could choose numerous other examples of preparedness items, but I expect that you get the point. By going this route, you would have dramatically ratcheted up your preparedness level today, and not next year or the year after that. Are you sure that the “Apocalypse” is not scheduled until 2021?

Using the example, if the Colt AR is actually the best, which is a big assumption, by choosing it you would enjoy the ego strokes in having everyone know that you owned “the best.” As a “booby prize,” however, by choosing the Palmetto State Armory AR, you might obtain the satisfaction of having your home and much of your neighborhood bristling with so many black rifle barrels after a societal meltdown has begun so as to make it seem impregnable in the eyes of two-legged predators who were considering dropping by that evening for an informal, surprise get together.

As I mentioned earlier, if price is no object, then go with what you believe represents the best quality available in every aspect of preparedness.

When price is an object, however, as with so many issues in life, you will have to determine exactly where to draw the line when choices about quality are involved, and simply decide when “good enough” is good enough.

Unfortunately, it is likely that you will make some mistakes. While I can’t help you make the right choices, I’m hopeful that the points I’ve made provide at least some insight on the decision-making process, and that this article helps you to arrive at the right balance with regard to your own personal circumstances.

I don’t want to trivialize the matter, but perhaps a simple paraphrasing of the Prayer of Serenity is appropriate here:

“God grant me the knowledge to avoid the things that won’t do, the resources to obtain the things that will do, and the wisdom to know the difference.”



  1. I would choose reliability over accuracy any day for the AR-style platform. It should run like a farm tractor. Leave the high-accuracy shooting for specialized weapons. Admit it…most of our weapons exceed the capability of the shooter, so the limiting factor is the person pulling the trigger, not the weapon itself.
    Nice article!

    1. Agreed, Sleepless. Reliability matters. I myself have multiple PSA builds, and they all put bullets where I aim the gun. Only once have I ever experienced an issue, and PSA promptly took care of it at their own expense (return shipping, parts replacement, re-shipment back to me). I myself have one big brand name gun I consider my “trophy” in which I can sink money and have fun with. But my go-to trunk gun is a PSA AR pistol that is rather out-of-the-box bland, but has shot a round for every trigger pull and has never ever given me a single problem since I bought it. Of course, I take good care of it to ensure it takes good care of me.

  2. I have several palmetto ars and they shoot my old norinco 55 gr 223 just fine. Yep I still have cases of the old norinco 223 how’s that for hoarding. But my worst palmetto ar shoots 3 inches at 150 yards and never skips a beat with cheap ammo.

  3. Good Enough
    Brand names have nothing to do with it. It either works or it doesn’t.
    A 7 Mag works under 250yds but the 30-30 doesn’t past that. It either works or it doesn’t.

  4. My wife and I own 2 Palmetto ARs and love them. I’ve used cheap Russian ammo up through the better quality without a single problem. I love buying the best when money is no object, but for my money these have been great rifles that I’ve been able to enjoy for the past few years. With the money saved you can buy some good optics and plenty of ammo.

  5. Great and timely article that makes the sorely needed point of keeping it real, and making sensible purchases that make the most of one’s money. If in doubt, always stick to the basics, and stack it deep. ‘Perfect’ is indeed the ‘enemy of good enough’.

    The baseline milspec PSA build is the way to go for most work and folk, and if needed for longer ranges, the best upgrade is a better trigger, and then optics. And get the 20″ barrel for another 150fps at no extra charge. Spend more only on better ammo for that rifle, if more accuracy is need. That, IMHO would be the most sensible choices for the money for a DMR (Designated Marksman Rifle) rifle. All other in the inventory is good enough if milspec, including old school irons. Eotech is better, but it will cost you another PSA rifle and mags. If another rifle is not needed, then put the money toward night vision. But before doing that, make sure there is web gear to go with each rifle. This includes commo, an IFAK (Individual First Aid Kit), and maybe a sturdy day pack to carry a extra mags and water. Get ‘mostest’ for the cheapest, and have extra, and replacement sets for friends and neighbors.

    In the end, logistics is usually the dominate factor for victory. Although Germany had a relatively smaller, yet efficient and finely tuned war fighting machine, with superior technology, and experienced troops etc., they were exhausted, and surrounded by superior numbers.

  6. Great article. The Colt Precision AR example drives the point home. Like the old saying goes, ‘Two is one. One is none’. Or ‘Three is two plus 100% spare parts’.

  7. Great article Survivorman99!
    I have AR’s in every price range (2 are PSA) but the one that essentially never leaves my side also happens to be the one of the cheapest. It is the old Gen 1 S&W M&P15. Yes, the one without the forward assist and dust cover. I bought it from a young man for $400 but because his buddies gave him so much grief over the missing “tacticool” options he literally would have given it away. After thousands of rounds of ammo from dubious sources and treating it like a rented mule, I can’t kill the thing. Wouldn’t trade it for two Colts.

    1. I also have the M&P Sport Gen 1. I was a little concerned about the lack of the dust cover and forward assist, but it hasn’t been a problem. The modern materials and my environment make the dust cover negligible, and I’ve never needed the forward assist, either on my M&P or on any of the M16A1s or A2s I carried for 12 years. I think that was primarily for the original model, which frequently had feed issues.

  8. “Balance.” Buying a Sooper-Spiffy rifle (or any other piece of gear) is great but if it precludes buying another 30 days of food, or 1-2K rounds of ammunition, or another 4-pack of NATO gas cans, it risks putting you Out of Balance.

    In a former life I was an engineering-based IT Project Manager, designing and implementing multi-million dollar enterprise-wide systems, and the first project team meeting was always devoted to this premise: What will be required to define this project as successful upon completion? From that came a SHORT list, no more than 5 items. During the life of the project I will resurrect that list innumerable times because it’s so easy to lose track of what the mission is. The same is true of preparedness.

    I counsel my clients to perform a SWOT analysis – Strengths, Weakenssses, Opportunities, Threats – on their own time before the clock starts running on my bill – so we have a starting point. They’re always shocked to discover how little they know about the ACTUAL daily nuts-and-bolts operations of their business. Education is, sometimes, a bit painful.

    Survivorman99 points out the value of a simple Palmetto State rifle – it puts a functioning rifle in your hands instead of spending 2 years focusing on your savings account for a Super Neato rifle. The same is true for nearly every other thing we procure as preppers. Am I going to make my living wth this tool? If yes, then I’ll buy Mac Allied, Snap-On, Starrett, etc. Do I need this tool for this and several upcoming projects, and perhaps just general future use? If so, Lowe’s Kobalt brand, Home Depot’s Husky or Craftsman is a good bet. A one-time use? I’ll see what Harbor Freight has.

    Here’s a tip on PSA rifles; I’ve built several and been pleased with every one, but perhaps I approach it differently. I shoot NRA High Power competition and would never expect a PSA rifle to equal my custom-built competition rifle. It doesn’t have to – I’m not planning on shooting HP matches with it, much less taking it to Camp Perry.

    “What’s the mission?” With a generic AR-15 I’ve defined that as “put all aimed shots inside the staple border of an IPSC silhouette at 300 meters fired from prone.” (For testing purposes I substitute a solid bench and sandbags instead of prone in the dirt to reduce variance as much as possible.) I consider it improbable that I’ll need pinpoint accuracy beyond 300 meters, and because of the limited kinetic energy available I’ll be reluctant to engage at that distance, preferring to avoid instead. Once the rifle is well broken in – 200-400 rounds – whatever it may, or may not have, for sights, I’ll put a 4-16X scope on it and shoot from sandbags on the bench to build 50, 100, 200 and 300 meter group data. I’m not concerned with where on the targets the groups are because that scope isn’t staying on the rifle. Once group sizes are determined I’ll start working solely at 200 meters and switching out the ammo to determine what changes occur when the rifle sees different ammunition. When done, the “base sights” go back on the rifle (while everything gets BUIS, I’m partial to adjustable magnified optics, and both Nikon and Burris make very good and reasonably priced
    2-7X and 2-8X scopes; Palmetto State Armory also puts the Vortex 1-6X on sale with mount from time to time with very good prices).

    The rifle gets zeroed at 225 meters, the goal being POI 1.5″ above POA at 200M. Depending on ammunition, and barrel length, this provides a Point Blank Range of (approximately) 310 yards. (Hollywood has, like everything it touches, corrupted “point blank range;” it is NOT the several feet in front of the muzzle, but “the maximum distance at which a bullet strike can be achieved on a target of specified size from the muzzle to that maximum range with a particular rifle using particular ammunition with a center hold on that target.”

    A tip: 8.5″ X 14″ copy paper is very cheap and handy for “zero checking” at various distances; hold a sheet vertically just below your Adam’s apple to see why.

    Notably, PSA has a lifetime warranty on their rifles; I’ve never had to send an upper back but I know of a couple people who have exercised the warranties on complete rifles and I’m not aware of any rifle that required more than 1 trip to be set right.

    The rifle is then cleaned, lubricated and placed in “accessible storage” along with a quart ziplock bag of accessories: an inexpensive sling (a 1.25″ wide double thickness of 10-12 ounce canvas duck with the ends stitched in closed loops for QD rings works well), a bore snake, some oil and a spare fully assembled bolt. I can use it anytime, knowing what it will do, or I can hand it to someone who needs the use of a rifle and be able to quickly explain exactly what the rifle will do. Do not underestimate the value of being able to hand someone a fully functioning rifle and 10 full 30-round magazines, especially if they have at least a basic understanding of rifle shooting. Which is probably something you might not be comfortable doing with your treasured $2000 Daniel Defense DDM4 Pro.

    The same holds true for most of what we procure as preppers; I won’t own a wheelbarrow without a flat-proof tire or cheap plastic rain gear because I consider the time cost of dealing with equipment failures prohibitive, but using $2 plastic 5-gallon buckets makes sense. Everything is a trade-off in cost, time and serviceability. I’ll use plasticware in “portable food” packs I put together because I may hand a few out to others; there’s a Ka-Bar Hobo knife in my pack if I need real utensils, and I’ll quickly pop for a handful of 5 cent cheap stainless spoons at Goodwill for the prep team “food packs” I build.

    It’s all about Balance.

  9. I would almost say you might be an accountant. You are looking at cost and opportunity cost (the cost of purchasing one expensive item that keeps you from buying other items). So by buying one expensive rifle you give up buying beans bullets and bandaids. The beans bullets and bandaids are the opportunity cost when buying an expensive rifle. It is refreshing to see one who analyze things like I do. I would make a joke by saying, “I let go of my ego a long time ago.”

  10. Hard to add to all this good advice. Here is all I got to improve the basic PSA AR for DMR work.

    My Bravo 18 says:

    -Get the standard 20″ 1/7 twist barrel.

    -Get the A1 stock for better check weld.

    -Get the A1 sights and carry handle (it gets hot)

    -Get a better trigger, 4.5 lbs pull, smooth and crisp is good enough.

    -Learn how to break in a barrel correctly.

    -For a DMR work, use the shorter DPMS 20 round mags. (More room under the rife, and mag changes help cool it down.

    -Use the heavier bullet in Federal ammunition that will be okay accuracy in most rifles, is a warmer load for 300, and delivers better energy at POI (Point of Impact).

  11. Never heard of “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” I have heard of “Good is the enemy of great” or the more colloquial “Good enough sucks.” Both of those sayings are at odds with the point of the article though.

    You have to identify key pieces of equipment that simply must be of high quality. A leaky water filtration system, or one that breaks after a week, is not useful. Having 2 of them is also not useful. A BOV that barely works is a white elephant at best.

    As alluded to in the article, very few people can out-shoot their weapons under the stress of combat. Once your equipment becomes a limiting factor, it’s time to upgrade, but most of us do that much too soon with firearms owing to the “be the cool guy/gal on the range” factor or simply equating the success of top shooters/military operators with their equipment and not their thousands of hours of training.

  12. I do believe this is a good topic to consider. I feel that people need to seriously consider food as well as other items. I realize that this is often covered but I wonder how many readers are actually putting food by. Freeze dried foods (the best?)are nice but quite expensive. So it’s entirely possible to put back lots of less expensive, yet nutritious food if you consider dried foods and canned foods bought on sale. And yes, if you grow a garden and put your produce up the quality and cost goes way down. Many people put off storing food because they can’t afford the freeze dried kind. I strongly suggest you just start buying what you Can afford. There’s so much information out there to guide you in less expensive ways of food preservation. I can’t help but think the easiest way to gain control of the people is by controlling their food. What would you do to be able to eat ??

  13. First AR was a xm 177 spent better part of three years with one ,still have a old sp1 ,have cheep (300$)home build,just as good as the others. For this type of weapon I find no fault with 5 inch groupes with’ iron ‘sights ,have gone to a AR pistol now for EDC at the ranch 7 inch ,20rd ,iron sights ,5.56 ,300bk ,for truck or saddle,and in the house at night 9mm ,or 22lr , happy with CMMG drop in 22 ,have up grade all triggers/firecontrol ,bottom line you got to know your and your wepons limits ,,,EDC IS EVERY DAY ,
    back to work on tractor after tea and chocolate

  14. Survivorman99:

    It isn’t “could have (bought seven)” for us.

    Discussion of what you choose to buy is interesting.

    The baseline consideration is weapon proficiency, secondary is how many can you employ. If you are stationary and have backup, yes stacking is cool. If you have to be foot-mobile, one decent quality day/night total system will have to do

    My first PSA was a build, and I did have a problem. The bolt got stuck after about a dozen rounds so we had to place the butt on the ground and step down onto the charging handle to clear a jammed round.

    It was due equally to both my ignorance and operator error. I failed to adequately oil the bolt carrier group, and may have overpainted the magazine well causing less than good seating of the magazine and thus a poor feed.

    Since then I have bought uppers and lowers from PSA and slap them together. I tested a nice Ruger 5.56, but the PSA trigger pull is just as good as the Ruger.

    My PSA AR10 trigger pull was just as good as a Diamondback trigger pull, at half the price of the DB, and I got a 20 inch barrel instead of the DB 18 inch. I’ve since upgraded the PSA trigger to a G2S Geissele and love it.

    I used to shoot small bore in national biathlon competitions, so have a little bit of experience to judge capability. Poor triggers always, always induce and amplify shooter error. Some say spend more on the scope than on the rifle, but poor trigger and wobbly collapsible butt stock is a combination that negates expected benefits of fancy ammo and cannot really overcome the obstacles to accuracy striven for with installing good optics.

    But it is true that good optics will let you see your shooter error in great detail. BTDT. GTTS.

    Best wishes

  15. Buddy of mine wears a Rolex. I asked him why. He goes into the precision movement and all that crap. I ask him, what time is it? He say 1pm I say really my $20 Timex has 1pm too! I think too often we confuse slick advertising with something being the “best”. When Wise food came out and it became a craze I was thinking “I been prepping since the 80’s and I’ve never heard of Wise.” You look into it and they spent a ton of money on advertising. I own none of it and won’t. Got a really good deal on a Kimber 45. Shot it and sold it, no better than other guns I had and liked better. I laugh at these kids who buy jeans for over $100 that are all worn and ripped up. I tell them you can get the same thing at Salvation Army for 5.99. Good enough works just fine.

  16. Good enough is good enough with what you have at the time you need it. Example, I went merrily rolling off into the mountains for my daily elk hunt, and after a 20 mile drive up curving mountain roads I came to my hunting spot, as I got out of my truck I couldn’t believe, I had left my favorite elk rifle at home, so just before panic set in, I remembered that I had my old Chinese SKS behind the seat under all the clothes and junk so I pulled it out and blew all the dirt and crap out of the action and loaded it with some 145gr soft points I had and took a shot it a bare spot on a pine tree about 50 yards away. It went off and I hit the bare spot, I didn’t see an elk that evening but if I had, I feel like it would have been Good Enough. Trekker Out

    1. For 7.62 x 39 crowd, the Tula 154 grain soft point mushrooms nicely to 0.7″ and penetrates 16″of ballistic gellatin, and runs at 2,175 fps out of a 16″ barrel. It’ll do better of course in the SKS 20″ barrel, and my newly acquired Mac-91 AK with a heavy RPK 20″ barrel I just got in a straight across trade. These AK’s are much more accurate that the standard AK’s, 2.5 moa verses 5 moa with the regular fodder, and I suspect it will be 1 moa tighter with this 154 grain SP. This is solid hunting ammunition, on par with .30-30. And here is the kicker. It is only .27 cents per round! If I could, I would use this for self defense, no question. It would be far more effective than any FMJ. According to literature, on average it take 5 rounds of .223 FMJ to stop the action. I suspect this ammo would be close to a one shot stop. If my estimate is correct or even close, then this AK ammo is up to 5 times more effective than the 5.56 ball ammo. It is at least note worth. Would you rather be shot by a .30-30, or a varmit round. Would .223 FMJ take down a deer as quickly? No way. And 223 soft points are more expensive.

      One thing to check however before ‘backing up the truck’ is to make sure it feeds reliably. If it does not, another inexpensive bullet that fragments nicely within 75 yard, is the old M83 bullet still used in the Military Classic 124 grain HP (this is the old Sapsan LCB “effect” bullet, 8M3). It would be my second choice after the Tula 154 grain SP, and it is a far better choice than FMJ ,or the other HP ammunition that is typcially 122-`123 grain. If It blows a gallon milk jug to smithereens, you’ve got the right ammo. The FMJ simply makes two holes. It is an ‘effective’ bullet inside of 100 yards. The fragmentation that occurs is significantly decreased after 50 yard, or with MV. A 20″ barrel would increase the effective range of this bullet another 25 yards. I would much rather be shot by M193, than this stuff…. and certainly not by the Tula 154 grain SP. And accuracy may improve as well! Additional cost per round over the standard cheap stuff, is about 5 cents. Well worth it!

      1. Tunnel Rabbit, thanks for the correction to my comment, I said 145gr and it was 154gr soft points. Years ago I ordered 500rds of FMJ and instead received 154gr soft points, at first I was rather disgusted but then realized if push came to shove I could use these to put meat on the table. As the saying goes, if life gives you lemons make lemonade. Trekker Out

        1. Hello Trekker,

          If I can afford it, I’ll be buying that Tula 154 grain SP for defensive ammo. This means I can cheat!  Don’t waste it hunting! Buy more.  That 20″ barrel on your SKS is an advantage.  The 7.62×39 Tula 154 grain SP comes out of the 16″ barrel at about 2, 150 fps.  The 20″ barrel gives the round another 150 fps push for a estimated MV (muzzle velocity) of around 2,300 fps.  This mean the SKS’s range is about the same as an AK-47, but it packs a much harder punch, and it expands to 0.6 to 0.7″ in diameter, making a hole twice it’s original .30 caliber, and three times bigger than 5.56 holes. This means an increased effectiveness, and more efficient use of a limited magazine capacity of either the 10 round SKS, or 30 round AK mag. More is always more better!

          Here is one layman’s ballistic gelatin test of the 7.62 x 39 Tula 154 grain SP out of a 16″ barrel.  The 20″ barrel that is on my nearly new in condition, and new to me MAC- 91 AK-47 variant, freshly stolen in a trade, will likely launch it 150 fps faster, and deliver energy (1,762 foot pounds at the muzzle, with B.C. of .325 instead of .295 of 123 grain bullet in 7.62×39) that will result in even better terminal ballistics demonstrated in this video.  Why seek parody, why play fair, when using a more powerful weapon when possible:


          The AK-47 is a known to wound rather than kill.  The whole idea of defending yourself is not to get shot, so at all opportunities when possible, it is best not to play fair, but use every opportunity to cheat, or use superior fire power and tactics, and kill the attacker before they kill you.  This means stopping the fight as soon as possible. 

          The Geneva Convention outlawed the use of expanding ammunition, because it killed and maimed better than FMJ .  For some reason they pretended to have a sense of fair play. FMJ is more reliable fodder when used in a variety weapons in an arsenal, and it penetrates better, but this is not what we should limit ourselves too.  This superior ammo is only .27 cents a pop, verses .24 cents for the boring stuff.  

  17. Told to me by a crusty Green Beret, and heard and seen elsewhere:
    “You don’t need a $2k AR, you need an $800 AR and $1200 worth of training.”
    Preparedness is not cheap but overspending on “gear” instead of “skills” is epidemic.

  18. I lucked out just before the big price increase several years ago and bought a Smith and Wesson m&p 15, and a CMMG AR-15 bull barrel both at great prices and they work great. I didn’t need perfect, just reliable. I’m new to the preparedness lifestyle but I figured two long guns with pistol back ups were a good way to start.

    Just wanted to add my 2 cents. Also, just learned about Palmetto State Armory so I’ll be hitting them up for goodies as well.

    God Bless

    AIR CAV!!!!

  19. I rarely ever comment here but I felt that I needed to.

    While I agree completely with the premise of the article saying that “good enough” is actually “good enough” and you don’t have to have the best of everything, I disagree with the comparison of the Colt Competition rifles and PSA rifles as an example.

    Colt Competition guarantees sub MOA on all of their guns. Can you or I take advantage of that? Maybe, maybe not, but what that does is remove variance from your shots. I WANT my equipment to be capable of more than I am, because then I know that I will be able to take full advantage of the skill that I do have, and the only limiting factors will be my own.

    I think that rather than being condescending or defensive towards others who choose to buy more expensive (and yes, often times that means better) many here should focus on what they can.

    If you can afford the Gucci guns then by all means, purchase and use them, if you can’t, then by all means get yourself a PSA! I own PSA, Colt, LMT and BCM, and as someone who services and employs weapons professionally I promise there IS a quality difference. PSA makes a fine firearm, but stop pretending there’s no difference.

  20. Luckily, when we take a look at whats available on the market today there are a lot of “bests”. Seriously, it almost a fluke to buy equipment, including firearms, from any reputable maker and find glaring defects. Take knives for example. The days of having to buy from a custom knife maker to achieve real quality are long gone. There are so many quality knives from commercial makers today that you can pick whatever brand you prefer and be happy with it…. for life.

  21. I have let’s say several ar’s set back already but I saw email from psa for their stock rifles at $269 plus shipping can’t buy spare parts that cheap but I know if things go south I will have friends and family who will show up and may need them to get my back or my kids so for that price I have bought several figure if nothing else give them away as gifts to family.

  22. I have a few AR’s made by Bear Creek Arsenal, Palmetto State and Aero Precision. Aero Precision is definitely a better fit and finish than the others.
    The problems I have encountered are using Anderson lower parts kits. Anderson LPK the bolt catch where the bolt made contact. It bent enough that it no longer functioned and would not hold the bolt open on the last round. I replaced the parts with another manufacturers parts and the problem has not resurfaced.
    If you reload .223/5.56 and use a Wylde chamber I recommend to get a set of small base dies. Sometimes reloaded rounds will get stuck in the chamber and I would have to “mortar” the rifle to extract the round. Switched to small base dies and the problem is gone.
    No matter how much is spent on a rifle I run that rifle for 1000 rounds without cleaning and only lubricating to make sure that rifle is going to run. Now some people get upset when I say this, but you never know when you might have to use the gun a lot and not be able to clean it. I don’t trust an AR until it has 1000 rounds through it without rifle related problems.

  23. A few years ago you could have bought a couple crates of Mosin-Nagants,K’s of ammo,cleaning gear,reloading equipment and components for what a Colt or a couple Ar’s would cost and be far more effective(1000+ yd range,proven battle effective,penetration vs light armor,ease of use(they were designed to hand to peasants and be effective),mass fire power(10-20 bolt actions vs 1-3 semi auto make maneuver far more effective). I still prefer my upgraded M1A to ar’s because I can do more with it and have chosen to not carry as many mags but bandoliers of stripperclips that allow the weapon to be topped up with the mag in place or mags to be filled separately or speciallty rounds to be employed.
    This article isn’t just about ar15 costs but the highest and best use of resources(money,time skill,knowledge) and using judgement for your particular situation.

  24. Something for you all to consider is to expand our 2A support group by sharing personally with friends. Make a plan to take someone new out with you next week. This is national Preparedness Month.

    I took a buddy for coffee and explained I was prepared to defend my family if needed and talked about a little of my equipment. I asked him what his plan was. He wanted a handgun- preferably a revolver he thought.

    I took some time and we went to a rental range where he could try several, giving him the basic safety rules, and visited several shops explaining to him that he would get a better idea by handling more models in the stores. I also supervised his use of several of mine.

    I am happy to say he now has two 9mm’s, a mag-fed 22 AR, both a plain jane and fancy AR15, a shooting collectible-valued AK47 with suppressor (it was a used pairing), a D-60 mag, a few spare stripped lowers, and is getting a custom AR10 build. He is now an educated 2A supporter.

    Make new friends, keep the old. One is silver, the other is gold.

    Take a new person shooting before October.

    God Bless

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