Mark Hatfield submitted this article.
What REALLY is the best gun for SHTF, the Zombie Apocalypse, and the End of the World as we know it. Maybe it’s not what you think. A Modest Proposal.
Ok, so I stole the ‘Modest Proposal’ line from Jonathan Swift. Just trying to show that I’m a classy guy.
What are the usual concerns? High ammunition capacity, stopping power, accuracy (But how much?), cost, availability of ammo, cost of ammo, length, weight, reliability, east of maintenance, available of spare parts, iron sights or the $1000 perfect combat optics, and on.
Must be a hundred thousand articles ‘out there’ about this.
It’s actually tied into another question which always pops up, ‘What if you could have only one gun?’.
The late ‘Skeeter’ Skelton wrote about that question using one of his fictional characters, an old Texas rancher whom he called Dobe Grant. Reportedly, ‘Dobe’ was a composite of several real Texan old timers. When the ‘one gun’ question was posed to the tough old dude (Oops, ranchers aren’t ‘dudes’), he wanted at first 4 guns. A scoped 30-06, a 12 gauge shotgun, a revolver in 44 magnum, and a revolver in 22 rimfire.
When pressed to get to one, the first dropped was the shotgun, then the rifle. The rancher was skillful enough that he could use the 44 to hunt big game and to deal with predators upon his livestock. The 22 revolver was just so useful for just about everything that he would not give up that option. But that is still two guns.
He later returned to Skeeter and said ‘If I could have only one gun, it would be a 22 rifle’.
Now obviously, the 22 rifle is not going to be carried concealed unless you go about wearing the ankle length coat as do most of the pseudo-serious make believe ‘tough guys’ in the current trend of movies and television. In a major societal breakdown, having a concealed weapon may be a very wise thing, but for the moment, let’s just think about defending your home.
What about the common 12 gauge shotgun? Definitely powerful, can ‘do the job’, but limited ammunition capacity and the individual rounds are big relative to other types of ammo. More important, the recoil is too much for many people, perhaps most people. Perhaps fine for us macho kind of guys but for the wife or the older kids?
The deer rifle, or hog rifle. Again limited ammo capacity, possible recoil concerns. The bullets may penetrate too many walls and end up places where you didn’t want them to go.
What about those Evil Black Rifles, such as the AK and the AR. Truth is that they are pretty much designed for this type of thing. These seem to be the preferred rifles for those people who have decided that they and their loved ones will not become victims. But cost? That’s variable, and most owners tend to modify these rifles and add accessories, then there’s the price of ammo.
Perhaps you’re an exSEAL, Special Forces, SWAT, or some other thing which too many people falsely claim to be, or maybe you just really know your gun, it does what you want it to do, and you can make it perform, but can your spouse use it, or the older kids, or the relatives who are sheltering with you? (And yes, the rest of the family really should be prepared as well as yourself).
Rather than one ‘almost perfect’ $1000 rifle with an attached ‘superest ever combat sight’ for another $1000, couldn’t you get several 22 rimfire rifles and a whole lot of ammunition?
If I was a violent criminal offender who had decided to invade an occupied home and I know that the owner had the civilian version of the AK-47 I would be a lot more careful, especially if I thought the owner actually knew how to use it. If I knew that instead of one defender with a good gun, that daddy, mommy, and the 2 older kids might be defending their home, together, all with minimally adequate but adequate weapons, that home would not be worth my trouble, too much risk to me, even if I had some helpers.
At the ‘mart’ stores, 500 rounds of 22 rimfire ammo is less than 25 dollars. The ‘shelf life’ of 22 rimfire ammo is not as good as centerfire ammo but generally will not start to experience misfires until it is over 10 years old or more. The cost of the rifles is far less than military style rifles. The useful distance for use of these rifles for defense is much less than a military style rifle but it is long enough and longer than that of most shotguns.
Hand the untrained person a modern defensive handgun and have them try to hit a man sized target at living room distance, not so easy for many people. But give them a 22 rifle, and they can quickly be good at 50 yards and beyond.
Does this mean that I will give away my accessorized customized military style rifle which is outfitted with super optic sights in exchange for a 22 rimfire, heck no. But if I had to equip several friends or family members who have limited funds and training, this is worth considering.