A handout gun is an inexpensive carbine and/or pistol given to someone who arrives at your home during societal collapse without one. The required criterion for this tool is that it be simple to operate, reliable, and reasonably priced. If you don’t have them in a rack waiting, then you do not fully comprehend what you must do in order to be prepared for TEOTWAWKI or WROL times.
Who Will Show Up At Your Retreat?
Family and friends will show up at your retreat. That will come unless they fall prey to a wild pack violence event on the way to your retreat. Who else will show up at your retreat? Straight up refugees will seek shelter with you also. Can you definitively predict this? What about your buddy from work? A refugee doctor or dentist? A Soldier that was on his way home for leave? A Lurch-sized college student far from home? Of course, one has no idea who will show up on their doorstep. If you could, then you would be able to also tell exactly when society will unravel and in what exact manner this will occur.
The refugee/family member you take in will also likely not be trained to fight with a weapon. In addition, the refugee/family member will likely not have their own weapon(s). Therefore, they will be of little to no use in the securing of your retreat, if they cannot help pull security. Without a weapon, they cannot cover the front/back/east/west window. They cannot effectively man an Observation Post (OP), nor defend against the attacking hordes seeking your food, water, ammo, medicine, et cetera.
A 24/7 Perimeter Requires Many People
It will take approximately 12 people to run a 24/7 operation at a retreat.
- You will need to have a rover patrolling the perimeter 24/7, hopefully broken into three shifts of eight hours at least. This requires a minimum of three people. (A total of three people so far.)
- You will need a Charge of Quarters (CQ), which requires three more people. (A total of six people so far.)
- You will want someone manning an OP on your most likely avenue of approach. This requires three more people. (A total of nine people so far.)
- If someone gets sick, injured, or dies, you will need replacements. Would it maybe be good to have a day off every so often? Therefore, another three people are needed to rotate into the mix, for everyone’s sanity. This requires three more people. (A total of twelve people so far.)
All of this assumes you only have one likely avenue of approach that mandates a manned OP. It also assumes all people are able bodied and can carry out security tasks. Be ready to “plug and play” for these 12 people with a handout gun. More people is better to a point. The difficulty with adding additional retreat members is having to feed them.
Reliable, Universal Weapon Platform
The weapon platform must be reliable, above all else!!!! A universally used platform that any of your retreat members can pick up and put to work is prudent. Also, a common and simple manual of arms will be useful. An ergonomic weapon is good, particularly for those unschooled at soldiering.
These weapons are to be a combat platforms. I mean that 2-pound triggers and sights designed for 1,000 yard Creedmore rifle matches are in no way what is needed. Think ghost ring iron sights and USGI triggers. When I buy Magpul Back Up Iron Sights (BUIS), I drill out the aperture on the rear sight. I do this to allow the shooter to look through it to find the front sight for using available daylight as late or early as possible. I once was unable to shoot a bobcat with my Garand while waiting for daylight in the deer woods. There just was not enough light to use the sights in spite of being able to see the bobcat walking by me 10 yards away. You can bet all of my Garand apertures are drilled out now!
Camouflage Your Weapons
Paint the carbine. There are no straight black sticks in nature. Just get the Krylon and paint the thing! If it gets scratched, shake the can and repaint it! Pick the shades that match your area of operations (AO), and get it done. Be sure to mask off numbers on dials and any glass you have mounted, as well as the actual sights. Keeping the front sight post flat black is prudent to reduce glare on it.
While the current military .30 caliber cartridge provides many steps up the power application scale over the 5.56×45, average younger retreat residents (10-15 year olds) and ladies will not be able to effectively fight with a weapon chambered in 7.62×51. Indeed, many “males” in our current sissified society would be unable to effectively employ a genuine battle rifle, such as a G-3, a FAL, an M1A, or an M-1 Garand. My Lovely Spousal Unit (MLSU) can effectively fire an M-1 Garand and loves to do so. The Garand for use in a fight, where she’d have to use it in a position other than off the shooting bench, engage in three second rushes, or even just carry it around the retreat, is completely beyond her capabilities. The handout gun likely needs to be chambered in 5.56×45. 7.62×39 (AKs) might be another viable platform.
The sidearm cartridge for a handout gun needs to be 9×19. The milder recoiling cartridge equals less intimidating recoil. Many people of smaller stature cannot adequately grip a .45 ACP chambered Glock. (Use G21 and G30. The G36 is single stack and not suitable for use with the other two as a combat weapon.) While the G22 and G23 can be acquired for a song now due to police trade-ins, be careful. All of my Concealed Carry Weapon students prefer the G21 or G19 over a .40 S&W chambered Glock. This is due to the snappy/harsh recoil impulse.
If you can afford another cartridge and want to match Law Enforcement in your area for ammunition, trade-ins make the .40s a possibility. However, fear of the sidearm due to pronounced blast and recoil impulse will result in flinching and many rounds in front of the target. Later, when it genuinely counts, this means misses instead of rounds inside the bad guy.
AR-15 As Recommended Handout Carbine
Here in the contiguous U.S., the handout carbine should be an AR-15. While the AK could be used, the tidal wave of ubiquity that the AR platform brings to the table is unmatchable. The good old Military Specification (Mil-Spec) is to blame for this. The Modern Sporting Rifle (MSR) enjoys a 95%+ interchangeability of parts and accessories thanks to this set of rules. (MSR is the firearm industry’s label for AR-15s and AR-10s in its an attempt to get into the terminology war with the gun grabbing hoplophobes.)
While fortunate for the user to be able to swap parts and accessories, understand the Mil-Spec for what it is. It’s the best set of technical specifications available in the early 1960s! The firearms industry has made significant technological advancements since then. Metallurgy has improved. Polymers are stronger and more resilient. CNC machining makes tiny tolerances a matter of easy routine. Nickel Boron (NiB) coating and nitride finishes surpass parkerizing for weapons care and longevity. All in all, the Mil-Spec and its accompanying tsunami of spare parts and magazines makes the AR platform your go-to weapon system.
Direct Impingement or Piston Operation?
Should one use direct impingement (DI or a “gas” gun) or piston operation? I personally struggled with this aspect of the platform. I was schooled at the altar of the M-14 by soldiers who had lived the debacle of the “no maintenance required” newly fielded M-16. The bottom line, as Pat Rogers once told me, was that by the time you have fired 400 rounds with a direct impingement gun you should be looking for the opportunity to break it down and clean it. Finally, it is highly unlikely that you and your retreat group will be re-enacting the Battle of Wanat, where U.S. soldiers actually fired enough ammunition in a short period of time through their M-4s to heat seize the actions.
Short of a Battle of Wanat situation, the direct impingement carbine defecating upon itself with every pull of the trigger will likely get you through your “exchange of pleasantries”. The piston guns cost several hundred dollars more and weigh a bit more. It seems like these two factors probably bump the piston gun out of the running for handing out to your newly arrived retreat team members.
Also, the cost difference between a 7.62×51 AR and a 5.56×45 AR is quite noticeable and departs from the Mil-spec ubiquity. Unless you have won the lottery, your handout gun will need to stick to the smaller platform due to higher cost and weight.
With regard to a sidearm platform, 75% of the world’s law enforcement and military organizations use Glocks. The British army replaced their Browning High Powers with G17s in 2016. In fact, Glocks are a sack of hammers in terms of toughness and reliability. Certain portions of our armed forces have selected G19s. Those favoring them are the combat soldiers, not the morons in ordnance acquisition. Maybe, there is a message there. Additionally, Glock does not change models every other year, like their competition. Therefore, spare parts and magazines remain available and inexpensive. One can get parts and magazines from a dozen vendors on the web at fair prices. Try that with your Ruger, Smith & Wesson, or Springfield Armory weapon, which are all imitating Glocks by the way.
When a company fields a new model every other year, you should be put you on notice you will no longer be able to get parts or mags for it, if you ever could do so. The ubiquity tidal wave of the Glock platform is nearly insurmountable for their competitors.
Personal Experiences with MLSU
Let me share with you an example or two from my personal experience locker. Clint Smith loaned his G21 to MLSU during her first pistol course with him. She was failing miserably to master the two trigger pulls on a Ruger P90. Clint sent Pete to his house to fetch the G21. The problem was solved! I still have the silhouette target missing the center 3” area after her last afternoon of class instruction. Where I come from, this could be considered to be a “clue”.
Several years later, MLSU and I conducted our annual Independence Day noise-making ritual by conducting proficiency firing of the last ditch, night stand gun– the dreaded P90. The second shot MLSU put down range, the spring that lays along the inside of the magazine well dislodged and stuck up into the recoil path of the slide. This stopped the thing dead. Had it occurred during a home invasion, it would have been a catastrophic failure. MLSU’s comment to me was “Why don’t you just sell this thing and get another Glock?” I was on that like a duck on a June bug!
Now for the solutions. The sidearm is easily solved with Glock 19s. The G26 would be nice for deep concealed carry and still takes G19/17/18 magazines. Glock makes a $10 combat holster for them. Dale Fricke also makes a $20 Zacheus holster. Get one for each personnel slot in your retreat. Get five flush fitting mags and five more G17 mags, and don’t look back. Furthermore, put tritium night sights on them, and call it good.
I have had great success with Palmetto State Armory. The chat boards warn one off of their PTAC products. Therefore, I have never tried any. The regular PSA lines have yet to disappoint me, and I have gone to this well at least half a dozen times now. As an example of their available wares, on April 3rd, 2017, the PSA 16″ MIDLENGTH 5.56 NATO 1:8 SS MOE FREEDOM UPPER W/BCG, CH, & REAR MBUS SIGHT – 516445358, available on their website is an excellent choice.
Commentary on the SKU: #516445358:
- Barrel Length: 16” – light and maneuverable – you will not be engaging bad guys at a range (over 400 yards) that a longer barrel would provide any noticeable ballistic advantage.
- Gas System: Mid-length – softer recoil impulse after the chamber pressure falls = less wear and tear on your parts.
- Twist Rate: 1 in 8” – good middle of the road twist rate that will handle all common cartridge loadings.
- Hand guard: Plymer – excellent and comfortable to use.
A blemished lower receiver is $50 today on the PSA website. (Blemished receivers are our friends!) Furthermore, the base model complete lower that you could mate to the upper listed above is $130. If you want to step up just a tiny bit, the complete lower receiver decked out in Magpul furniture is $150. Therefore, with the $320 for the upper listed above + $130/$150 for the complete lower receiver = $450/$470 for a complete carbine! Gun shop prices will run at least $600 for a less well-equipped carbine.
Depending on your ability to catch sales/specials and the condition of your wallet, here are some features or add-ons you would want to snag when possible:
- Cold hammer forged (CHF) barrels are tough and generally give good accuracy.
- Melonite or nitride surface treatment is preferred over parkerizing.
- Magpul furniture is inexpensive, tough, and just feels good. (This is subjective, yes, but very much worth a trial run.)
- Nickel Boron bolt carrier group, which runs $90-$100.
- Nickel boron trigger parts. Palmetto State has a package called Enhanced Polished Trigger (EPT) for $30. I thought it was well worth the removal of the sandpaper grit experience one gets with a straight USGI spec trigger group.
- Bravo Company ambi charging handle.
- Ambi safety. Because you can’t tell me if the people who make it to your retreat will be righties or lefties. The complete ability to fight with a carbine would entail using it from both shoulders. $25 is money well-spent on this.
- Bushnell 1-4×24 First Focal Plane scope. (I caught these on sale at Palmetto State for $150!). Or, you could use a red dot from Vortex.
Each carbine should be paired with the following support gear:
- An Olongapo Outfitters shingle with waiststrap to carry eight 30-round magazines.
- 9 Magpul PMAG magazines. Get more when you can. Remember, the magazine can be lost or damaged and is the weakest link in the weapon system.
- A blowout kit (tourniquet, Israeli dressing, celox sponge).
- A boo-boo kit (bandaids and moleskin to keep your feet working).
- A ruptured casehead extractor.
- A cleaning kit.
- carbon scraper
- chamber brush
- Rod section/pistol rod to use the chamber brush with
- dental pick
- a small bottle of Breakfree
- a small bottle of Mobil-1 to keep the BCG sloppy lubed
- At least 2,000 rounds of 62 grain green tip. Unless you’re swimming, more ammo is better.
- Web gear. The shingle permits your retreat member to play Minute Man but is not adequate for security patrols. See Spec-Ops or Tactical Tailor for this gear. If you can find it, USGI ALICE gear is adequate to the task. It won’t be as sexy or perhaps as comfortable as a battle belt from Tactical Tailor, but it will be less expensive! A 72 hour security patrol would require the ability to carry 9 mags, two water bottles, a Camelback, a water filter pump, some rations, cleaning gear, spare socks, compass, snivel gear, binos and other mission specific gear. On the battle belt members need two mag pouches; two canteens; a butt pack; blow out and boo-boo kits. In addition to a battle belt, an assault ruck is probably going to be needed.
I hope my gear set approach (ala, Aliens II) makes sense to you because I arrived here after several years of frustration trying to find like-minded people with a similar commitment level. By assembling plug and play gear sets to equip the generic person who does make it to your retreat location, you will enhance the chances of your own family’s survival. By the way, don’t forget to assemble various sized sets of clothing from your local thrift store!
SurvivalBlog Writing Contest
This has been an entry for Round 70 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:
- A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
- A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate that is good for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,195 value),
- A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
- DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper with a hammer forged, chrome-lined barrel and a hard case to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel, which can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools and a compact carry capability in a hard case or 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
- An infrared sensor/imaging camouflage shelter from Snakebite Tactical in Eureka, Montana (A $350+ value),
- Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
- A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
- Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).
- A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
- A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
- A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
- A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
- A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
- A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
- A pre-selected assortment of military surplus gear from CJL Enterprize (a $300 value),
- RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site, and
- American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.
- A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
- A custom made Sage Grouse model utility/field knife from custom knife-maker Jon Kelly Designs, of Eureka, Montana,
- A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
- Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
- Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
- Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
- Montie Gear is donating a Y-Shot Slingshot and a $125 Montie gear Gift certificate.,
- Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value), and
Round 70 ends on May 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.