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Best Weapons For Long Term Survival

13 Aug

You’ve survived the breakdown of civilization. Most of humanity is gone. What weapons would be best for long-term survival in a hostile and primitive world?

A few survivalists follow the philosophy of Mel Tappan in Survival Guns. His feeling: You can never have too many firearms and too many calibers. A great article on challenges that philosophy. It’s better to have a substantial stock of ammo for a few select calibers.

Makes sense. If you have 5,000 rounds for your 308 Winchester, what’s the point of owning a 30-30? Do you really need a 30-06 too? Not really.

Here are some of the top long term survival weapons:

1) Ruger 10/22. My first choice would be a Ruger 10/22 in 22 LR. The reason: The 22 LR with a well placed shot can kill anything in North America. In a pinch, it can serve effectively as a self defense weapon. It’s an autoloader. This gives you some firepower.

The biggest reason to put the 22LR first on the list is that it allows you to deeply stock your ammo supply. 22LR ammo is much cheaper than centerfire. You can easily squirrel away 5,000 rounds, 10,000 rounds or more.

2) A bolt action 308 Winchester. Why a bolt action? Bolt actions are the most robust rifle action available. They’re serviceable. With a few spare parts, you should be able to keep your bolt action rifle going indefinitely. Theoretically, the barrel will eventually wear out. Realistically, you’ll never fire that many shots through a hunting rifle.

Add a 2-7x adjustable scope on your rifle and you’re good to go. If it fails have a good backup sight. If you want the best compromise between shootable sights and robust sights, install an aperture or peep sight. It will out survive a scope and outshoot traditional iron sights.

3) A defensive semi auto pistol. The Glock would be perfect. So would be the Browning Hi Power. This gives you a weapon for person protection. Stock up on plenty of magazines.

4) Optional. Semi auto “Assault” rifle. If you can afford it, add a semi auto defensive rifle to the mix. If you’re going to stock 5,000 rounds of 308 Winchester, you could go with the 308 as your caliber. Given the cost of most of those rifles, I’d suggest looking at the AK-47 in 7.62 x 39 mm instead. It’s not as great a caliber as the 7.62 NATO but Russian surplus ammo is relatively inexpensive.

The AR-15 is another option. Tappan and many other popular survivalists poo-poo the 5.56 mm caliber. It’s not as powerful as a 7.62 NATO, but ammo is less expensive and weighs much less. If you were ever forced to flee, you could carry much more 5.56 ammo with you.

From my old book, Checklist for Survival by Tony and Jo-Anne Lesce, 100 rounds of 303 British (about the size of 308 Winchester) weighs 7 pounds. 100 rounds of 223 ammo weighs 2 ½ pounds. You can pack more than double and nearly 3 times as much 5.56 ammo as 308 ammo for the same weight.

Charlie Palmer, Author The Prepper Next Door.

Here’s a great article comparing pistol shooters with rifle shooters.

People today just aren’t familiar with nature. This guy wanted to take a “selfie” of himself with a rattlesnake. Little known fact: Rattlesnakes are camera shy. It bit the guy. The rattlesnake bite wasn’t the worst bite put on him that day: The hospital charged him $83,341.25 for the anti-venom.

Commentary/Opinion On UZI Shooting

28 Aug

By now all gun owners have heard about the horrible tragedy of a 9 year old losing control of a fully automatic UZI and accidentally shooting her instructor in the head.

My opinion is that this accident should never have happened. No nine year old child should be allowed to fire a fully automatic weapon. Ever. To allow a small child to fire such a weapon is negligent. The issue is recoil.

With a shot, the gun barrel rises. With a single shot nonautoloader, the rising barrel isn’t an issue. With a fully automatic, a second shot is fired automatically driving the barrel higher. A third shot, more recoil and more upward movement to contend with. It’s basic physics and common sense.

There are many adults who can’t control a fully automatic 9mm or 5.56. Even the strongest guys can’t use a 7.62 mm NATO in full auto. This is why 3 shot bursts are taught to soldiers and police.

A few “shooters” don’t know this, but shooting isn’t just “fun” blasting off rounds. It’s about controlled fire. It’s about bullet placement. If you can’t control your shots, you’re not a shooter, just a wanna be.

Giving a small child a chance to blast off shots with a powerful SMG at some half-assed gun amusement park isn’t about responsible teaching of respect for firearms. It’s about entertainment. It’s about making a buck.

Here’s now to properly teach children about guns. Focus on safety. Get them a gun that fits them. Have responsible adult supervision. A Daisy Red Ryder is a good BB gun to start with.

A few instructors say they don’t have a problem with very young children firing a powerful weapon as long as an instructor holds the weapon. That’s wrong. If a child can’t hold a weapon on their own, it’s too damn big for them. If an adult must operate any of the controls, like the selector switch to go to full auto, the child doesn’t have the experience to use that gun.

When a gun is too large for a child, the child isn’t going to learn to shoot. They’ll just develop bad habits as they accommodate the oversized gun.

Once a child knows how to use the sights and can shoot with some degree of skill, the next weapon to introduce them to is a 22 LR. You can load it with CB caps. A better air rifle is another choice.

The best weapon is a single shot. This forces the child to think about each shot. With a semi-auto, Ruger 10/22 or other, many youngsters just want to pull the trigger. They’ll seldom become really good shots. Those taught with a single shot don’t get in the bad habit of raising the gun and just pulling the trigger.

The gun stock should be cut down to match the smaller size of the child. When the child has experience with a 22 LR, then more powerful weapons can be gradually introduced. If you’re using a SMG or even a semi auto for the first time, load two or thee shots to get a feel for what it’s like to have the barrel rise on you. An appropriate age for trying a full auto, in my opinion, maybe 16 years old or older.

If a gun starts rising, it’s natural to grip it tighter to get control. Learn to operate your trigger finder independently of your grip. Before the gun gets out of control, you must take your finger off the trigger while you grip it tightly.

If I were at a gun range allowing small children to use fully automatic military/police weapons, I’d leave and never return. Accidents like this harm the shooting community. When something like this happens, many parents who thought about introducing their children to firearms will adopt other sports. Many Americans who were on the fence about gun control issues will go over to the anti-gunners.

Ultimate 20 Gun Prepper Battery

4 Jun

I’m a minimalist. I don’t purchase a lot of “stuff.” I’ve greatly reduced my personal gun collection over the years. You don’t need 20 guns as a prepper, but what if you could have any 20? What would you choose? Off the top of my head, this is my list.

1) AR-15 in 5.56 mm. Accurate. Fun to shoot. (2). In the day, if money was tight, the Mini 14 was an alternative. Even those are expensive today.

2) AR-15 in 6.8 SPC. Just Cuz. Don’t own one and probably never will, but
it has better stopping power than the 5.56×45.

3) 1911 45 ACP. My standard defensive pistol. (2) The Glock 19 in 9mm would be a solid alternative.

4) 9mm Browning Hi-Power. Should have something to shoot 9×19. Glock 19 would be a more modern choice.

5) 357 Magnum Revolver. My favorite is my S&W 66 with 4″ barrel. Ruger GP-100 is better. A great all around caliber for wilderness use.

6) Marlin 39A 22 LR. A Ruger 10/22 is an alternative. A Marlin 22 LR bolt action is another. Great for practice and small game. For like the last 40 years, 22 LR ammo was cheap and commonly available. I wrote that in the book. Right after writing it, 22 LR ammo prices went through the roof and availability dried up for a time! Relatively speaking 22 LR ammo should remain inexpensive compared to centerfire ammo.

7) Ruger MK 11 22 LR pistol. I said Mark 11, not Mark 111. The standard pistol is great. Wish they made it with adjustable sights. The bull barrel version and longer barreled versions are great too. The Mark 111 added a slew of new safety features I don’t like. I have the Mark 1s and Mark 11 and do think the Mark 11 is an improvement. It locks the slide back after the last shot, something the older Mark 1s didn’t do.

8) 22 LR S&W kit gun with 4″ barrel. Tiny gun. Great for field carry. A Ruger Single Six would be an alternative.

I watch gun reviews on youtube and one thing I hear a lot is “I love this gun.” I’m a glass-half empty kind of guy. There’s something I dislike about nearly every gun I own or have owned.

I like my 66 but hate the rounded curvy backstrap on it. Don’t like the grip saftey on the 1911. Hate the sights on the S&W model 60. The Hi-Power has a crummy trigger compared to the 1911. The one gun I think is perfect is the S&W kit gun.

9) 870 Remington 12 gauge shotgun with short barrel for defense. 7 or 8 shot magazine extension. I have a 20″ barrel with rifled sights on mine. My eyes don’t like regular iron sights anymore. Given a choice I’d rather have a big front bead on it. Have another barrel for wing shooting.

10) Remington 11-87 12 gauge shotgun. Really like autoloading shotguns. If you can only have one, go with the more reliable pump. If you hunt upland birds, you could go to the 20 gauge.

11) Bolt action big game rifle built on Mauser action or pre-1964 action. I’d go with 308 Winchester because it’s so common today. 30-06 would be great too and a slightly better choice for a hunting rifle. For big bears and moose, you can load slightly heavier bullets. The 7×57 Mauser would be great. It’s just not popular. Why not? I haven’t a clue.

12) TC Contender Carbine with barrels in 22 LR and 30-30. The one thing this gun has going for it is its ability to break down into small packable parts. If you shoot well, a single shot is all you need.

13) HK 91. This is the semiautomatic version of the famous G3 assault rifle. I added a heavy caliber “battle rifle” to this list so I wouldn’t be called a whimp by other preppers. The M1A is an alternative. If money is limited I’d pass on the 7.62 x 51mm guns. They’re just so expensive. If you’re in combat and need to shoot through something, the 7.62 NATO is great.

My thought on the 7.62 NATO is this: If you think the odds of being in a violent WROL world for a long period of time is high, this is the most effective fighting caliber. If you think the worst you’ll ever face is a disorganized group of looters for a few days, the 5.56 will be all you need. If you think the worst you’ll ever face is a home invasion by a handful of criminals, all you’ll need is a pump or autoloading shotgun.

14) FWB 124 spring piston air rifle or any other well made spring piston air rifle in .177 caliber. When younger I had a 10 meter basement range where I shot air rifles nearly every day. If you’re a city dweller with a big basement, look into air guns for practice.

15) Beeman P3 .177 caliber air pistol. I don’t like plastic pistols in general. This gun has a crummy slippery grip. Buy some gaffer’s tape to wrap around the grip. For hunting the spring piston P1 would be better. For practice, the P3 is perfect. If you have the scratch, a FWB 65 would be even better. Like with many guns the F-65 was just too good and still dropped from production. You need to purchase used. The P3 is so inexpensive I feel almost embarrassed adding it to the list, but it’s so accurate and fun to shoot.

If you want to get good at anything, regular practice is the key. If you don’t live in the country and find range time too expensive, air guns could be the answer.

16) A concealed carry gun. Many preppers carry Glock 19s. Many of us prefer a smaller and lighter weapon. I don’t really have an optimal choice here. I like the S&W 5 shot 38 revolvers with 2″ or 3″ barrels. It does take practice to shoot a small double action revolver well. The sights on these guns suck really bad.

In the nit-picky half glass empty way I look at it, small revolvers just aren’t as flat and compact as autoloaders. I know you’re not supposed to be concerned about sights on a small pistol but one thing I’ve always hated about small revolvers is the lack of distance between the front and rear sights. Small autoloaders give you a greater sighting distance.

An alternative would be the 9mm Kahr pistols.

17) 44 Magnum S&W model 29 with a 4″ or 6″ barrel. If you hunt with it go with the longer barrel. If you mainly carry it as a sidearm go with the 4″ barrel. Ruger revolvers are a great alternative.

I don’t really need a 44 magnum and might sell my last one someday. If you live in Bear country, Alaska, and want a defensive weapon to carry on your hip, it’s hard to beat a 4″ 44 magnum.

I know guys who would never sell their 44 magnum. It’s their go-to revolver. I posted a complete article about this caliber and will only restate one thing here: For practice, you can use lighter recoiling 44 Special ammo. For self defense, full power ammo in this caliber is overkill. Mid velocity ammo pushing a 240 grain bullet at 1,000 fps is more than adequate.

18) I’m down to my last choice. Above I added duplicates of my defensive rifle and pistol. I don’t currently own a second defensive rifle, but it’s a good policy to have one if you can afford it. Two is one. One is none. That sort of arithmetic. That’s why my number 18 is really 20.

We do have many backups to our defensive pistol. We can press the Hi-Power or 357 or even 44 into service as a backup if we can’t repair our 1911s.

What should I add to the last gun? If you live in a country with really big game the choice is clear: A really powerful rifle. A 375 H&H magnum or 416 Rigby. In Alaska perhaps a 338 Winchester Magnum. Bolt actions.

Given the biggest animal threat in my area would be an overgrown squirrel, I feel safe skipping the big booming rifles. I worry repeated firing of these calibers could turn my brain into scrambled eggs.

For my last choice I’ll go with a lever action 30-30. The Marlin 336. The 94 Winchester would be great too. For deer sized game a 30-30 is all you need and I like lever action rifles.

What would be your top 20 ultimate prepper gun list? Share your answers below or on your blog.

Charlie Palmer -author The Prepper Next Door

4 Self Defense Guns You Need

16 Jan

In my opinion, a well-equipped prepper should have four firearms for self-defense. Gun cranks can own more, obviously, but with four weapons you’re basically all set. You can defend yourself in pretty much any situation. You won’t be undergunned.

1) The first weapon is your defensive sidearm. Yes, soldiers would make their first weapon a battle rifle, but most of us are more likely to need a handgun. It’s portable and for most defensive situations, it’s really all you need. It can be carried semi-concealed and draws little attention. That’s a huge plus. It isn’t awkward to maneuver in tight locations, like inside your home.

There are many great pistols to choose from: The Glocks, the Beretta 92, 1911s, and many others. It could be a 9mm (9×19) Parabellum. It could be a 45 Automatic (45ACP). It could be in another caliber of your choice.

This is your main “Go To” self defense weapon. Whatever you choose, it should be completely reliable and you should learn to shoot it well.

2) A backup pistol. This gun serves as a smaller concealed carry handgun. Sometimes you just don’t want to carry a full-sized gun. In a more violent world, this gun would serve if you became separated from your main defensive pistol or if it failed.

There are many choices for this weapon. It could be stub nose 38 Special. It could be 380 ACP. It could be one of the smaller Kahr 9mm pistols.

This gun is very likely the weapon you’ll have with you in most self-defense situations. Is it the best choice for the Zombie Apocalypse? No. But, it’s great for daily life.

3) A shotgun. Probably in 12 gauge. It could be an autoloader or a pump. This weapon has several nice features. It has better stopping power than the two first weapons. It has more intimidation value. That could be important if you’re trying to discourage somebody from attacking you.

The shotgun does have some downsides: It lacks range, which could be an issue in some situations. On a battlefield against rifles, a shotgun isn’t really a great weapon. Buckshot is easily stopped by most body armor. Beyond maybe 50 yards buckshot really starts to loose effectiveness.

For most of us, we’ll never need to engage an attacker beyond 20 yards and most attackers won’t have body armor. This makes a shotgun a great choice.

If you have the three above weapons, especially, if your defensive handgun is a 357 revolver and your backup a 38 Special, you’re about as well equipped as a law enforcement officer from the 1970s would be. With the revolvers, many today would consider you a bit undergunned. 9mm Glocks have more firepower.

4) A defensive rifle or a battle rifle would be my fourth choice. This is a weapon you’d never need except in the most dire circumstances. If there is a complete breakdown of law and order, this weapon would give you the most firepower to defend your retreat and your family.

Your rifle should be a semiautomatic version of one of the battle proven assault rifles. It could be an AR-15 (OK, some say those aren’t battle proven!), it could be an M1A, it could be an FAL. It could be an AK-47.

To make this weapon most effective, you should have several magazines for it.

Those are my four general “go to” self defense choices. What four self-defense weapons would you choose if you could only have four firearms?

Charlie Palmer -author The Prepper Next Door: A Practical Guide For Disaster And Emergency Planning


“Must Have” Prepper Guns (Part 2: Hunting Weapons)

28 Nov

In the last post we looked at “must have” prepper guns for defense. To celebrate turkey day, we’ll look at “must have” firearms for hunting. Most of us in America today, myself included, will celebrate with a store-bought turkey. The majority of Americans don’t hunt for their food anymore. None of it. When our country was first founded, most Americans would have raised their own turkey or hunted for one.

City & Suburban Preppers

For city and suburban preppers, hunting guns make little sense to me. I just don’t see us grabbing our 30-06 and trying to bag a buck. If we’re able to knock off squirrel with our 20 gauge, and not arrested for our efforts, that means 30,000 other people will be outside trying the same thing. In the city, the chances of success are vanishingly small, even for experienced hunters, if people are starving. The competition will be too great.

Driving “up North” to go hunting won’t be a good idea either. We’d need to leave our family and venture too far away in a serious crisis.

Police in many cities today have things called “shot trackers.” If you take a pot shot at a rabbit, you could be arrested if law and order is still present. Put this all together and my advice: If you’re a city prepper who plans to stay put, you don’t need any guns for hunting.

If you’re going to try to procure game in a cityscape, I’d focus on quiet weapons. An accurate spring piston air rifle could take small animals. A slingshot can work. If you developed skill with a bow, you could use it for larger game, but I doubt you’d find much big game. You can even bag birds with a bow if you use Flu Flu arrows.

Lesson: City preppers must store, grow, or raise their food. You won’t survive gigging frogs and hunting deer. You have no “must have” hunting guns.

Rural Preppers

If you’re fortunate enough to live where you might procure substantial amounts of meat by hunting, and you’re already a hunter, you almost certainly have the guns you need. Just stock up on cartridges for them.

As I write in the book, you’re well prepared to hunt every creature on earth with six weapons:

1) A 22 LR for small game. It could be a Ruger 10/22.

2) A varmint rifle for…varmints. This could be a 223 Remington bolt action or your AR-15. Serious varmint hunters like more esoteric calibers.

3) A larger game rifle (“deer rifle”). It could be a bolt action in 308 Winchester, 30-06, 7×57, or any of several dozen other calibers. Many experienced shooters/hunters love the 7mm Remington Magnum.

4) A “dangerous game” rifle, perhaps needed if you live in Africa. The 375 H&H Magnum is a standard choice. The 458 Winchester Magnum is another. If you live in Alaska and want a firearm for large bear, the 338 Winchester magnum is good. Many would consider the 30-06 adequate for everything in North America, including the largest bear.

5) A lightweight 20 gauge shotgun for upland game.

6) A 12 gauge shotgun for ducks, pheasants, turkey, or just about anything else.

If you have a gun representing each of those six groups, you’re prepared to hunt anything anywhere on earth and be appropriately armed. If you want to cut your hunting battery down, most of us don’t need a 20 gauge. It’s handy, but anything it can do, a 12 gauge can do too.

A “dangerous game” rifle isn’t needed by most of us. There aren’t too many rhino running around in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Very few lions charge people in Dallas, Texas. The varmint rifle can be skipped too.

For most rural preppers who see hunting as viable, there are three “must have” hunting guns: a 22 LR, a 12 gauge shotgun, and a big game rifle. You’re pretty much set to hunt anything in North America with those three weapons.

For a 22 LR rifle, it’s good to add a sling for carry (& stability in shooting, if you’ve been taught to use one for that). It’s good to have a low power scope. 4x is good. It’s much easier to aim with a scope than with iron sights. Toss in a few boxes of 22 Long CB caps which are extremely quite from a rifle barrel.

The 12 gauge shotgun probably should have a polychoke or choke tubes. A good barrel length is 24″ to 26.” Goose hunters might like 30″ barrels and turkey hunters stubby barrels, but if you can only have one barrel, you’ll need to compromise on length.

For most shotgunning, a large front sight bead is appropriate.

In addition to stocking birdshot, pack away a few boxes of rifled slugs, which are quite deadly for hunting deer and bear. If you want to use your shotgun for deer and bear, you can purchase a scope mount for it and get a low power (2x) scope. Putting a scope on a shotgun doesn’t make sense to some, but it helps in aiming. While great rifle shooters talk about minute of angle accuracy, shotgun slug shooters talk in terms of “minute of paper plate” accuracy!

The deer rifle should be set up like the 22. It needs a sling and a scope. A 2-7x variable scope is a good choice. For reliability and ease of maintenance, I’d go with a bolt action. The most popular calibers are the 308 Winchester and the 30-06, but any caliber you like is good, as long as you stock up on ammo for it.

These are my choices for “must have” hunting guns. What choices would you make?