Tag Archives: firearms

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

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Overrated Combat Weapons

25 Feb

I feel some weapons are overrated in military combat situations by preppers. A few weapons preppers overate:

1) Submachine guns. SMGs. If you’re a buff of old war movies, it’s always a hero with an Tommy Gun or German SMG holding off the enemy. Why do they even make rifles? Why not give all soldiers SMGs?

SMGs are just so cool. They’re cute. They’re sexy. They’re bad-a**. The problem is they fire pistol calibers, nearly all in the 9mm Parabellum. Against well-armored soldiers, even a 9mm fired from a longer barrel isn’t going to cut through body armor.

Many soldiers don’t even like the 5.56mm NATO because they worry the bullet will hit magazines or so much of the other crap modern soldiers wrap around their body, before even getting to body armor. This is why they like heavier calibers like the 7.62mm NATO or even the 6.8 SPC.

The 45 Tommy Gun is even worse. It’s not fair to say it’s only a super fast rock chucker, but during prohibition, 45 Automatic Tommy Guns regularly failed to penetrate car doors. In the book, I tell the story of an ambush on famous outlaws Bonnie and Clyde to illustrate this. BARs cut through car doors, big slow pistol bullets don’t. On the other hand, they don’t build cars like they used to.

In countries like Israel, where a threat of personal attacks by multiple attackers is a realistic possibility, you see citizens armed with SMGs. It’s not uncommon to see a UZI on a beach or in a car. These are much more personal defensive weapons than hard-core military weapons.

One application where SMGs make sense is guarding prisoners. Prisoners don’t wear body armor. The SMG is a compact weapon with a lot of firepower, against unarmored opponents. The lack of penetration can even be an advantage when you don’t want to injure somebody behind your target.

2) The shotgun. I risk flamming by preppers for saying this! How dare I say a shotgun is overrated?! I’m not talking about personal home defense, against an unarmored attacker. I’m talking about combat where we must assume opponents have protective armor.

The shotgun is even worse than the SMG when it comes to penetration and lack of range. At 60 yards, 00 buckshot has about the penetration of a 25 ACP “mouse gun.”

I know many people have taken deer successfully at this range with buckshot and I know the stories about how awesome fighting shotguns were in the jungle. It doesn’t change the fact that even modest body armor stops buckshot.

For personal defense at home, a shotgun is great. Going off to war, leave the shotgun at home.

3) The handgun. It’s not fair to criticize a pistol for only firing a pistol cartridge, but everything I wrote about SMGs and shotguns applies to most pistols. Pistols are a last ditch weapon in the military.

For preppers, I believe a good defensive pistol is the most important weapon to own. It will serve you well for personal defense. Soldiers in combat never want to rely on a pistol. Not only because of lack of penetration, but handguns are notoriously difficult to shoot well at a distance.

It drives me crazy to watch old episodes of Gunsmoke, where the heroes take out their sixguns and head up the side of a mountain to confront the bad guys, leaving their lever action carbines behind. If you must engage in combat and you know it ahead of time, you want something that’s more shootable than a handgun.

4) The “fighting” knife. Even soldiers and ex-soldiers who should know better spend a lot of money on expensive blades. There’s nothing wrong with liking quality, but realistically, if you must rely on a knife as a last ditch weapon in a war, you might just want to say a quick prayer and ask for forgiveness for anything bad you did. Take a minute to think of your wife or your family. Your life is about to end. Or you’ll be captured.

Knifes are lethal. Even an untrained crazy person with a knife can kill somebody. Something I’ve heard so many times is that within about 21 feet a knife is more lethal than a pistol. I’m not going to go into detail about why I don’t believe that, but will say this: Personal awareness is paramount to self defense because people have surprisingly slow reaction times. Up close, a prepared attacker has the advantage against somebody taken by surprise, regardless of weapon choice.

The same argument that a knife is more effective at 21 feet than a gun applies to the fists of a trained middleweight boxer. Before you can react, he could charge you and knock you out.

5) Throwing knives. The above weapons are serious. An SMG, shotgun, handgun, or knife isn’t the best choice in battle, but they’re effective in many situations. Throwing knifes cross the Rubicon into absurdity. Professional exhibition knife throwers work at fixed distances. Even making a throwing knife stick into a board at a variable distance takes exceptional levels of practice. It’s impressive, not practical.

Conclusion: A prepper armed with a shotgun and a pistol is well prepared to protect his family in nearly all situations. Perhaps, it’s all you’d ever need. But compared to well-equipped soldiers, you’d be badly undergunned.

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

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
http://www.amazon.com/dp/0967162491

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“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?

“Must Have” Prepper Guns (Part 1: Defensive Weapons)

21 Nov

A common question preppers ask: What are the “must have” prepper guns?

No specific firearm is “must have.” There are always options and alternatives. One prepper can like the Glock 19 for defense, another the Beretta 92, and another the 1911. Somebody will choose the Browning Hi Power. Any of those is a good choice for a defensive sidearm. There are many others.

For defensive shotguns, I like the 870 Remington pump. Others like Mossbergs, Benellis, or Berettas in pump or autoloader. Again, no specific choice is “must have.”

There are a few general categories we should have represented. But even entire categories aren’t always “must have.” Not all preppers feel the need to hunt or are located where hunting is viable. If you don’t hunt, you don’t need firearms for hunting.

Here are some general categories:

1) A defensive pistol. In my opinion, this is as close to a “must have” category as there is. In the vast majority of self-defense or home-defense situations, this is all you’ll ever need.

For maximum firepower, it should be a semiauto. Owning a half dozen or more magazines is a good idea.

2) A defensive rifle. It should be magazine fed and reliable. The FAL, AR-15, MIA, and a semiauto AK-47 are some choices. Some like the Ruger Mini 14.

In a really hard-core, violent without-rule-of-law (WROL) situation, this weapon would be your most useful. If you look at war torn countries without order, you’ll see guys carrying assault rifles. If there’s a riot, a defensive rifle has a lot of firepower to deter rioters. These rifles have more stopping power, firepower, and range than defensive pistols. They can shoot through car doors and can cut through soft body armor.

Some preppers feel a defensive rifle is a “must have.” Things would need to get very bad before you’d need one. Personally, it doesn’t make my “must have” list. It would make my “recommended” list.

3) A defensive shotgun. A defensive shotgun should be a pump action or an autoloader. It could be in 12 gauge or, if recoil is an issue, 20 gauge. The idea is to have a weapon that has good stopping power up close and is more effective than a defensive pistol. Many preppers consider a shotgun to be a “must have.” I’d put it on my “recommended” list.

One advantage to a shotgun is the intimidation factor. If somebody smashes through your door and you point a shotgun at them, they’ll probably chill out immediately, unless they’re on drugs.

The downside to the shotgun is the lack of range. Up close you can expect 00 buckshot to penetrate, maybe, 4″ of pipe boards. But at about 50 yards that’s cut in half. Number 4 buckshot penetrates less. For comparison, that’s about the same as a 25 ACP up close. But, up close, the multiple hits of a shotgun make it extremely deadly.

You can get a magazine extension for your shotgun, which is just a little tube extending the end of the tubular magazine. That’s a good idea.

4) A concealed carry gun. This is a smaller handgun for defense. It’s for day-to-day use when you don’t want to carry a full size pistol, but want to carry something. Some people are OK carrying Glock 19s. For slimmer, smaller folks, larger guns aren’t as easily concealed, especially in light clothing. This weapon can serve as a back up to your main pistol.

Popular choices are the Smith & Wesson J frames in 38 Special, the smaller 9mm Kahr pistols, and the PPK/s in the maligned 380 auto or 9 mm short. I’d say it’s a personal choice whether or not you have one or more smaller handguns. It’s not really an absolute “must have” but, for city preppers, I’d probably make it my second purchase.

5) A target pistol in 22 LR or an accurate air pistol like the Beeman P3. This is a category too often overlooked by preppers. If you can afford to do all your pistol practice with your defensive pistol, that’s great. If you shoot a lot and need to save some coin, pick up a Ruger Mark III or some other 22 LR. If range fees are killing you and you have 10 meters in your basement, get a P3.

The purpose of this category (target pistol) is to save you money in the long run while helping you hone your marksmanship skill. If you’re completely new to shooting, this could well be your best and first purchase.

6) A target rifle. The idea is just like 5). A 22 LR or an air rifle lets you practice for less money. This doesn’t have to be something expensive. A Ruger 10/22 will serve. If you don’t have a place to shoot a 22 LR regularly and cheaply, go with a quality spring piston air rifle.

It’s not just about what you own, but what you can do with them. That’s why I put target weapons on the list as something to consider.

The above firearms comprise a basic battery for self defense. If you have a defensive pistol, a defensive rifle, a shotgun, and a concealed carry pistol, you have your bases covered. Toss in a couple of guns allowing for inexpensive practice.

A few preppers say you should have a “sniper rifle.” This is typically a bolt action rifle with a scope, usually in 308 Winchester. For most preppers, that’s not necessary. If you own an AR-15 or an M1A, by all means, add a scope to it.

If funds are tight, I’d just purchase a defensive pistol and then the shotgun (or maybe an AK-47 instead). You’re good to go. Those would be your only “must have” defensive weapons.

NEXT UP: HUNTING WEAPONS

Charlie Palmer -author The Prepper Next Door: A Practical Guide For Disaster And Emergency Planning (link to book at Amazon)