How to prepare your family to survive and thrive in todays uncertain world

Rourke’s Views On Firearms Selection

(NOTE:  This is a guest post from Rourke over at Modern Survival Online.  It was intended to go live yesterday, but I messed something up on the scheduling and couldn’t fix it until I got back from our vacation trip…

In any case, enjoy the post, and go check out Rourkes other work at his main blog!)

DISCLOSURE:  These views and opinions are Rourkes, and if you have no prior experience with firearms you should absolutely obtain professional training before purchasing and using your own firearm.  Even the experts get regular training, you should too!

A Basic Firearms Collection for Survival

Firearms should be an integral part of any survival & preparedness system. Why? They are a tool just like the shovel you dig a hole with or the tiller you turn your soil with. They serve a variety of purposes – from harvesting game animals to feed your family or to protect your property and supplies.

When putting together a survival collection of firearms – your environment can certainly effect your choices. If you live in an area of large open spaces – you very well may need different firearm choices than if you live in the city. For the purpose of this post – I am going to discuss a suggested “preparedness arsenal” which can fill just about any role that you may need.

Now – please understand that people are as opinionated about firearms as they are football teams and car makes. Everyone thinks they are right. This is merely my opinion on the matter.

Firearm #1: Semi-Automatic Centerfire Carbine

A semi-automatic centerfire rifle can be useful in several situations. For the purpose of this post – its main function is for self protection. Being able to fire multiple shots in rapid succession accurately and reliably in a defensive situation is critical to your being able to protect not only yourself, but your family as well.

It is an unfortunate reality that in a major survival situation – those who failed to take proper steps to prepare before “the event” may be forced out of desperation to take from others what they need. Secondary functions include hunting.

Specific Recommendation: AR-15 rifle or AK-47

Firearm #2: Centerfire Pistol

A pistol is a valuable tool in your survival firearms collection. The big advantage of pistols is the ability to carry a firearm on your person – hands free – accessible in a moments notice.

Generally pistols come in 2 variations – revolvers and semi-automatics. Either one can work and it is up to the user as to which type to purchase. The larger the caliber – the better the stopping power.

Specific Recommendation: Glock 17, Springfield XD, or Smith & Wesson M&P9

Firearm #3: Shotgun

There are few hand held firearms that can deliver the pure raw firepower of the 12 gauge shotgun. Probably the most versatile firearm in this list – the shotgun can fill many roles simply by changing the type of ammunition (shells) used.

Shotguns are shorter range firearms.

Specific Recommendation: Mossberg 500 or Remington 870

Firearm #4: Rimfire Rifle

The .22LR rimfire is probably the most popular caliber in the United States – for good reason. A high quality .22LR rimfire rifle – such as the Ruger 10/22 – is accurate, easy to shoot, has low recoil, and is very inexpensive for both the firearm itself and the ammunition.

Specific Recommendation:Ruger 10/22

Firearm #5: Bolt Action/Lever Action Centerfire Rifle

For long range shots  – a bolt action or lever action rifle is a good choice. Firing a large caliber – these firearms typically have a scope mounted to provide easier long range shooting.

Specific Recommendation: Savage Edge, Remington 700

In Closing

Whether you are preparing for an economic collapse, mass terrorist attack or just wanting to be self sufficient  – firearms are an essential supply that should not be overlooked. In the event of a serious grid-down/civilization interrupted situation – criminals will still be criminals and will take advantage of the situation.

Those that failed to prepare prior to “the event” will eventually become desperate – and look to take from those with supplies. It is not a pleasant thought – but there will be mothers and fathers with children starving – and unless you want to sacrifice your family by giving away your supplies – you will need to turn them away. What if they try to take from you….and your family? Lets hope that never happens.

Take care all –

Rourke –

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7 Responses to Rourke’s Views On Firearms Selection

  1. For a semit auto rifle and one that is cheaper and just as fast and accurate as the AR-15 and better than any AK is the Mini-14 put out by Ruger

  2. I have an AR15, Ruger Mini 14GB and an AK47. The AR was the most Expensive and you can add many assesories. It is a very accurate firearm. The Mini 14 is not as expensive as the AR and is resonably accurarte but not as accurate as the AR based on my experience. The AK47 was the cheapest. I picked up mine which was made in Yugosalvia for $500. but I have seen them sell for less and some for more. Some are quality AKs and some like the Romainan Ak not so much but they still sell like hot cakes. The AK lacks the accuracy of the AR15 and Mini 14, BUT its 7.62 x 39 round is more devistating that either the AR or the Mini 14. Its only drawback is the accuracy issue and the range of the round. It seems as though after a couple of hundred yds the round just falls out of the sky. While in Vietnam I saw what the AK47 was capable of and it was far more devistating round than that of the M16 round. The AK 47 does not have the close mechanical tolerances as the other two rifles, therefore it does not need cleaned as much as the others. I have seen AK’s that had not been cleaned after firing 1000’s of rds of ammo,and carried in the field for months on end. They were so dirty you would swear that they would not function but they functioned without a hitch, while the other two rifles needed to be cleaned and cleaned often because of carbon fouling. You should always clean your rifle after shooting but in a life or death scenario, SHTF you may not have the time to clean any rifle on a regular basis. All the rifles I have mentioned would be good rifles to add to your armory but which one you choose is up to you. For me I chose all three. There are other rifles out there that may suit your needs like the M14, M1 carbine, M1 Garand just to name a few, its just up to you to choose which one. One thing to remember don’t just buy a rifle and then just put it in your safe until its needed. Take it to the range and sight it in and then shoot it like you stole it. Learn how to shot it and know everything there is to know about it then teach others to shoot it. It will save your life. JMHO

  3. As a follow-up to all the great information provided so far, for anyone who is considering buying an AR style firearm, there have been several good gas-piston operated AR’s developed recently that address some of the shortcomings brought up by Dennis. Unlike the original gas-impingement system of the M-16 era gun that inject heated combustion gasses and carbon fouling directly into the the upper receiver, gas piston guns use the older, tried and tested, mechanical operating rod system to cycle the action. This results in less heating of some internal components (bolt & bolt carrier), and greatly reduced carbon fouling that can cause malfunctions.

    All guns need to be cleaned, if nothing else to maintain accuracy and prevent corrosion, but if the situation dictates that a large number of rounds be fired between cleanings, my experience has been that my gas-piston guns are more reliable when extremely dirty.

    The first gas-piston AR’s were quite expensive, but recently several AR manufacturers have introduced very good gas-piston guns at near the same price as their gas-impingement guns. The high-end models are still out there, and I encourage anyone who has the extra cash to support those companies also (nothing wrong with having a Corvette AND a pickup truck), but you don’t have to “sell the farm” anymore to purchase a good quality gas-piston operated gun and the benefits that come with them.

    There are as many opinions about AR options as there are AR owners, but with 32 years constant military and civilian experience the the M-16/M-4/AR-15 platform…this is mine. To my NRA instructor friends, you should be proud, I didn’t use the we*p*n word once.

  4. i love this site. Thank you so much for all the info. For three weeks now ive been researching preparedness. I usually have 3-6mths food supply taught by my church, lds. Im a lil leary of having guns as ive had a fireing pin go bad and while trying to stop an intruder, i blew a hole in my bedroom floor. Yeah i dont trust that gun anymore its in storage. How about crossbows, pistol grip crossbows? Sling shots, bow n arrows, large bb guns, paintball guns fir the blind n run or blind n hit with skillet technique? Are there any alternatives to guns? Can u run an article? My pc is down so i cant access my email. What of tear gases n grenades for the zombies? Are those legal for public? How long is ammo good for? Does it spoil? Ive never been a gun buff, but i do have 20gage shotgun for home defense. And just yelling i got a loaded shotgun has chased off intruders. I plan on milking your website for all the info you have! Thank you sooo much for caring enough to share.

    • April, while I do not consider myself an “expert” at anything because way too many times, when I thought I was at that level, I found someone who was light-years ahead of me. I do have some experience in most of the topics that you asked about. First off, I would like to thank all members of the LDS for the incredibly kind and generous way that they have assisted me, a non LDS member, with my food insurance endeavors. They literally wrote the book on this, and have been a great resource to me.
      Here are my opinions;
      1. I don’t know what type of gun discharged into your floor, but unless you pulled the trigger, it’s obviously unsafe. If it is salvageable or a valuable antique, I would have it repaired by a reputable gunsmith. If not, I would get rid of it (most law enforcement agencies will dispose of it for you, call them first to arrange the transfer). The next person who unknowingly tries to use it may not be so lucky to only have a hole in the floor.
      2. As for crossbows, sling shots, bow and arrows, I personally would not consider them a good option for home defense. You will only have one chance to stop an intruder, who may not be alone. Anyone who has done much bow hunting will probably tell you that deer rarely drop in their tracks when shot by an arrow. Usually they bleed to death a few seconds to a few minutes later (even with a good hit), and thats more than enough time for an intruder to do you harm.
      3. BB guns and paintball guns to blind an intruder are also not good options. A moving human head is a very tough target to hit, especially if they see you pointing something at their face. It would be a very lucky shot to hit an attacker in the eye with a paintball gun during a highly stressful situation, and that might only make things worse.
      4. I do not consider chemical sprays to be a reliable option for most home defense situations and would only use it against an unarmed intruder when deadly force was not required or legal . All my students (military) are required to be sprayed with pepper spray in order to be qualified to carry it. I can tell you without a doubt that most people can fight quite well for a period of time after being sprayed. It can be almost useless on people who are under the influence of drugs and alcohol. If pepper spray is your only option, spray and run.
      5. Ammunition has a very long service life when stored properly. Humidity and temperature are the enemies here. If good quality ammo is purchased new, stored in air-tight containers, in moderate temperatures, it should last at least as long as your long-term food storage. Desiccant (moisture absorbent) packs in each container are added insurance and are inexpensive. Like your food storage, the oldest ammo should be consumed (fired during training/practice) first, and replenished with newer ammo.
      6. Zombies?!? Can’t help you with your living dead problem beyond what I’ve seen on TV.
      7. 20 gauge shotgun…that will do nicely if you don’t think you can deal with the recoil of a 12 gauge. Be careful about yelling anything when there is an intruder in your house. Depending on your situation it may be better to take cover, with your shotgun ready wherever you are, stay quiet, stay ready, and call 911. Nothing in my house is worth more than my life and the lives of my family. They can have anything they can carry before the police show up…UNLESS they are an immediate threat to me or my family. Even if you can legally shoot, nobody wants a blood stained chalk outline on their floor unless it’s absolutely necessary.
      8. Owning a gun for self defense is a huge responsibility. In most states you can go from being a victim to a criminal in a single heartbeat if you don’t know the law, or if you shoot negligently. If you own a gun, get training. The more the better. Not only in marksmanship but also when, where, and when NOT to shoot. I’ve been a firearms instructor for 33 years now, and I still seek good training where ever I can find it. Once you’ve gotten training, practice regularly.

      Hope this helps.

  5. When choosing an AR 15 it should, I think, be built so that common M4 military parts can be substituted for repair. Granted, many of the $2k to $3K+ are extremely reliable and accurate. But these top end guns often have manufacturer-specific dimensions and tolerances and builds, and their parts will NOT interchange with the common M4. Which is why, even though some say it’s not a very good AR, I bought a Bushmaster.

    As a former NRA Life match shooter, the first never failed to deliver the goods, and never had a hitch feeding or firing or ejecting. Which is why I bought another one. It is fitted with everything but night vision and thermal vision. Can’t afford that stuff. But it delivers the goods, as did the first, which I sold to pay off the bills from my wife’s 2nd Master’s Degree.

    There are many schools of thought on a semi-automatic handgun. I am of the Keith-Cooper persuasion: a big bullet in a reliable pistol. The 1911 has over 100 years of performance history, as does it’s cartridge, the .45 ACP. With the 230 grain Remington Golden Sabre HP in the 1911, you are armed as the FBI SRT. Uncle Sam has spent millions upon millions investigating all aspects of bullet performance and handgun reliability. Why would I try to reinvent the wheel? And, as an old jarhead, I am pleased to see my Corps re-issuing the 1911.

    The Remington 870 has over 10 MILLION copies out there: they must be doing something right. I know the Corps has gone to the Mossberg 590, but the parts availability for the 870 are, in my opinion, an over whelming argument for it. It’s as reliable a shotgun as has ever been made. “Nuff said”.

    The Ruger is a reasonably accurate .22LR, but the Savage bolt action heavy barrel synthetic stock will shoot holes around it. My .17HMR is so close to a one-hole gun I was amazed off the bench. Simple, easy to clean, and impervious to the elements. And none of the hassle of a cracked or broken rotary magazine.

    The high power rifle is a hornet’s nest for all quibblers. Some say a .300 Weatherby. Yes, I have a Vanguard that cost $429 at Walmart 2 years ago. Test target is just an inch for 3 shots. And a Savage FP 10 Heavy Barrel .308 Winchester for moderate ranges.

    And a Marlin .45-70 heavily customized for deep brush, woods,engine blocks, and up close and personal for body armor. The Marlin can be loaded up into the lower end of .458 Win Mag territory, but ONLY the Marlin, and the Browning REPRODUCTION NOT ORIGINAL 1886 .45-70. If the rifle was made before 1996, DO NOT USE HEAVY .45-70 loads. Your funeral may come just little bit too soon to suit your tastes. That is why factory loads are so anemic.

    Long ago I bought 400 rounds of .30-06 AP, and a bunch of API,I, Red Tracer, Orange Tracer, and some .308 SLAP cartridges. I’m told these will penetrate at least 1 inch of mild steel at 100 yards. I’ve got an old and perfectly serviceable 1917 .30-06 Enfield also. Looks like junk but it’s accurate enough to bring in the meat. For $75 it was a match made in hell-a Winchester bolt in a Remington action, but it gages and headspaces perfectly.

    And left out?? We find the .22 Ruger heavy barrel semiautomatic pistol (sickeningly accurate) and a .357 Magnum revolver, which also will fire the ubiquitous .38 Special – a “2-fer”, we might say. A .44Magnum will fire .44 Special, so there’s another “2-fer”.

    Yes the heavy barrels are heavy to carry. But when you’ve sighted in on your target, that weight will help steady the rifle or pistol. Always take a rest to shoot from. Always cheat. Always win. The Weatherby with the AP loads will enter ANY engine block, and it has the range and power to keep uninvited visitors 1,000 yards away, at least.

    You don’t have to spend $4K on a scope. Redfield (now run by Leupold, the national standard by which all other scopes are measured[and a few are better at 2-3x the cost], Bushnell, Weaver: these are affordable to the average guy, especially by looking on the Web, and will do anything you can reasonably ask them to do. Leupold has some less expensive scopes also. I bought a version of one that built for tactical use cost almost $300 more.

    And to April, the old guy who replied to you is so right it’s great to have the advice and kindness of his experience. And I too owe the LDS a big thanks. I have a brother-in-law who married three of them. He divorced the 1st, the 2nd died young, and the 3rd couldn’t take any more of him. My grandparents and parents always did a lot of canning, smoking, brining, and so forth. All the guns and ammunition in the world won’t do much good if you’re starving to death, don’t have water, shelter, and heat.