In another life, people used to ask my recommendations on survival gear, especially firearms. Of course, there is no one simple answer to these types of questions. The first thing I’d ask folks, is was what kind of a budget they were on. Needless to say, we all have budgets, like it or not. If a person didn’t have a lot of money to spend on a firearm, I’d recommend they go with some kind of 12 Gauge shotgun, and preferably a short-barrel model. This way it could be used for home defense, and short-range hunting purposes. Of course, a lot depended on where a person lived – in a big city, you probably wouldn’t do much hunting when things got really bad. Then I’d tell these folks to stock up on a variety of different types of ammo, with 00 buckshot being at the top of the list.
Over the years, and with much training in military, hunting, and survival topics, I’ve come to a different point of view: If a person can only afford one firearm for survival. Today, I’d recommend a good .22 LR rifle of some sort – and I mean a “good” rifle in this caliber. If a person could afford it, a handgun in .22 LR would be a great choice as well. With a good .22 LR-chambered firearm, you can not only defend yourself, but you could do some hunting as well. Save the nasty e-mails, I’m not saying a .22 LR firearm of any type is the best choice for this purpose. However, you can still find some great .22LR firearms at reasonable prices – even today, with elevated gun and ammo prices.
Of course, the .22 LR isn’t ideal for anything except small game hunting. However, given proper shot placement, you can put an attacker down for the count – even out to 100 yards. Long story short, and I related this before in an article: I had a friend, a school teacher, who wasn’t earning enough money to support himself and his two kids. He supplemented his food locker, by poaching deer – I don’t support this sort of thing as a rule. However, everyone in the valley knew he was feeding himself and his kids by taking deer. He did so, with a .22 LR rifle, and headshots to the deer, and they went down immediately. So, I know that in extremis you can take some game – even big game with a meager .22 LR caliber firearm.
No one wants to get shot – ever! Leep in mind that if you were to shoot an attacker with a “mere” .22 LR firearm, they wouldn’t want to stick around to see what else you might throw their way. A chest shot is sure to discourage further attacks.
One big advantage to a .22 LR firearm is that you can carry a lot of ammo on your person if you have to…and even today, you can find some reasonably priced .22 LR ammo – you can easily carry a couple of 500-round bricks of .22 LR in a pack.
As to a shotgun as your one and only firearm: Of course, a 12 Gauge kicks a lot – it is hard to control. On the other hand, it has a lot more knock-down power. One disadvantage is that you can’t carry a lot of ammo for it – shotgun shells are bulky and heavy. Another disadvantage is the limited range. As a rule, if you’re using 00 buckshot, for self-defense or when taking game, you are limited to about 25-to 30 yards for your shots. Loaded with slugs, you are probably good to go out to 100-yards or so. And, let’s not forget, a shotgun is slow to reload. And, importantly, self-defense loads like 00 buckshot are quite expensive these days. But regardless of your choice for your primary weapon, I’d recommend a good quality pump-action shotgun be included in your survival arsenal. One advantage is that many shotguns are still reasonable in price.
Today, we’re looking at the G Force Model P3, pump-action 12 Gauge shotgun, that is made in Turkey. Believe it or not, Turkey produces some of the best firearms in the world – at great prices. The P3 model weighs in at 7-pounds, about what other similar shotguns weigh. It has an 18.5-inch barrel, and overall it is 40-inches in length. This P3 model has a satin nickel finish on the barrel and the receiver – this will really help the gun from rusting when exposed to the elements.
The front sight is a “rifle” sight – however, there is no rear sight – not a big deal considering the short ranges you might be firing at. I added a dot of red nail polish to the front sight – it was hard to see in bright daylight…the nail polish made all the difference in the world. The 18.5-inch barrel has a fixed modified choke that is non-swappable. So you can NOT fire slugs in this gun. But that is not a deal-breaker if you ask me. If I want to fire at longer ranges, then I’ll reach for a rifle of some sort for that job.
The stock and slide grip are both made out of black polymer of some sort – so it is built to handle the elements. The slide grip is longer than need be, and you can remove some of the polymer at the rear of the pump action – if you want to. The grip does have a Picatinny rail at the front for adding a laser or light, and that is a good idea to do so.
So, how does the G Force operate? About like any other pump-action shotgun. You load the magazine tube – that is under the barrel, with 5 12 gauge shells, by pushing them into the tube. If you want to add one more round, you can do so, by placing it in the chamber before you load the magazine tube. Then add the other 5-rounds into the tube. Put the gun on safe by pressing on the cross-bolt safety and you’re ready to go.
The loading lever can be released by pressing on it, and you can then unload the gun without firing the rounds. Simply press up on the loading lever while working the pump, and each round will eject without your having to press the trigger. Still, all unloading and even loading for that matter should be outdoors with the gun’s muzzle in a safe direction, not indoors – for safety reasons.
The P3 that I purchased was on sale for just $200 – and that is a deal for such a high-quality shotgun if you ask me. I discovered that the gun was void of any lube at all, so I had to add some lube to it – it was stiff to operate the pump on it. After that, it became smooth to operate. In the course of testing this nice shotgun, I fired about 100 rounds of various shells. I had forgotten how much a 12 gauge shotgun kicks.
There wasn’t any “accuracy” testing done, per se. However, I did place some man-sized torso targets out to 25-yards to see where the 00 buckshot was hitting. It patterned well. I was using 9-pellet loads – and this is typical of 00 buckshot loads. All 9 pellets were hitting the target without any problems – only once did one pellet hit outside of the torso section – might have been me, and not the gun/load. I didn’t do any shooting beyond the 25-yard distance because this was in the summer and locally we were in a severe drought. I didn’t want to have pellets strike rocks and start any fires.
When I worked as a police officer, and even when I did K-9 security patrol work, I kept a 12 gauge riot gun in my patrol car. I never once had to use it, but just the sound of chambering a round from the magazine tub – that “cha-ching” lets someone know you mean business. In the home, for home defense, I’d keep this gun loaded with 5-rounds of 00 buckshot, and the chamber empty. If someone breaks into your home, just grab the P3 and chamber a round – even the bad guys know that sound and will probably remember an appointment across town for a root canal.
One shortcoming I found on the P3 is that the forearm is drilled for a sling stud – as well as the stock. However, no sling studs came with the gun. Its easy enough to add the common and fairly standard sling studs, and then put on quick-detachable swivels and a sling. But that is just a minor complaint.
I still wouldn’t recommend a shotgun – of any sort – as your first firearm for self-defense, home defense, or survival purposes. However, if you’re on a very limited budget, like I am, and probably everyone else reading this, check out the Turkish-made G Force P3. Or consider an of their other shotguns, as they make quite a few different models.
Lay in a good supply of 00 buckshot, and some bird or target loads – just in case you can do some small game or bird hunting. Expect to pay about a buck a round for 00 buckshot these days – it’s out there. Believe it or not, but even before the ammo shortage we are in, 00 was a bit on the pricey side. I’d add a buttstock ammo carrier on the stock, and either some military shotgun ammo pouches on a belt or a bandoleer with spare rounds on it.