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Things That Go Boom: Things to Consider

Armament Theory

We have all seen the “end of the world” movies that have the main characters firing machine guns and slinging around switchblades.  While this is definitely entertaining, it is nowhere close to practical.  Nothing will cause you to run out of ammunition reserves faster than a fully automatic ammo dump.  For your weaponry, it is always best to use your guns less for several reasons:

  • Bullets will become extremely expensive and highly coveted. Bullets offer the power for defense, food acquisition, and “negotiation.”  This power will not be cheaply bought.
  • Firing a round is loud. The worst thing you can do is draw attention to yourself.  If you fire a round, not only will you alert your neighbors that you have rounds to fire, but also you will alert the police and military to your presence.
  • Killing someone may cause you to create enemies.  In this scenario, you need more friends than anything else, so definitely do your best to negotiate rather than use lethal force.

The Handgun: Your First Priority

Still, if you do have to pull the trigger, you will want to make sure that the round does what you need it to do.

First, it is important to note that any weapon you buy or inherit is a machine with moving parts.  Moving parts tend to break if the machine is not well built, and they require constant cleaning and oiling.  Also, if a part breaks, it will need to be replaced or the machine will be rendered useless.  Also, the rounds for the weapon need to be relatively common, or shooting it will become too costly.

If you decide that you need to arm yourself, it is best to buy a handgun first.  The reason is that it is a weapon that is readily available now, but is constantly threatened by legislation and government regulations.  Also, it is the most usable mobile defensive option that you can buy (depending on the caliber).  More often than not, you will need a free hand in the event of a possible firefight, and a handgun will allow for that eventuality.

Depending on how you want to use it, you will want to consider your caliber.  Do not use exotic calibers, such as the 10mm, because these are expensive and will be extremely difficult to find.  Use a round that is supplied to militaries, such as the 9mm and the .45ACP.

Many believe the 9mm to be too weak of a round; however, a 9mm will allow for more rounds in the magazine, they are one of the cheapest rounds on the market, and a hot defensive-loaded hollow point will be just as powerful as a .45ACP.  While hollow points may go out of existence relatively quickly, the round will still be highly abundant during a conflict as it is the main handgun round for almost every military on the planet.  Also, the 9mm will have much lighter recoil, allowing it to be more controllable for follow-up shots.

The .45ACP is also an excellent option, as it is one of the most powerful handgun rounds on the market.  Because of its weight (grains), the round will penetrate car doors, drywall, and even some wooden structures.  Also, it has excellent “stopping power,” as it has been proven as a battle-tested round.  This is another round that is used by many militaries, and while it may not be as abundant as the 9mm, it is still readily available.

Depending on what you want to do with your weapon, it is probably best to get a mid-size, compact, polymer-framed handgun.  You will want to conceal it in the event that you have to leave your home with it.  Depending on certain ordinances, you may not be allowed to have a weapon, so you do not want to be seen with one.  At the same time, if the barrel on the weapon is too short, it will be difficult to aim and control.  The question is always a balance between concealable capabilities and effective control.  The longer the barrel, the more accuracy you will have, but it will be harder to conceal.  Usually, the preference is a round a four-inch barrel with a double-stack magazine.

Polymer frames are excellent because they have been proven to be highly reliable, are rust and wear resistant, will not bend, and are relatively easy to repair.  Among some of the most notable polymer frame pistols, you will find Glock, Springfield XD and XD(m), FN FNP, HK USP, Sig Saur P2022, and CZ 75 at the top of the list.

The Shotgun

Shotguns make excellent defensive weapons, because they are not only extremely scary when you are facing the business end, but they also do not require as much accuracy. From seven yards, taking a slug or a pattern from a 12-gauge shotgun is devastating and will result in a near-instant kill.  A 12-gauge pump-action shotgun with an eighteen-inch barrel and a pistol grip is considered one of the most effective defensive weapons on the planet.  Also, it requires very little maintenance as there are fewer moving parts, and 12-gauge rounds are used by militaries and police forces around the world, making them relatively abundant.  It is best to buy a weapon that is in common usage, as the parts will easier to find if something breaks or is lost.  The Remington 870 or Mossberg 500 will be a great place to start your research.

The Rifle

If you want to buy a rifle, do keep in mind that it must not be seen.  One of the first things that an oppressive government will do is round up the guns to disarm the opposition.  If you have a massive rifle system, it will stick out like as sore thumb in the event that you have to hide it or travel with it. This is one reason why large, bolt-action hunting rifles are not the best way to go in the event of a crisis situation.

Battle rifles have a tendency to have a shorter barrel, but at the same time, they have excellent accuracy.  Many in the battle rifle community laud the praises of the AR-15 for the survival scenario, but there are a few drawbacks.  While the AR-15 is highly ergonomic, highly accurate, and offers the ability to stay on target due to low recoil, the system is extremely high maintenance.  If you lose a detent or spring, the rifle is out of commission.  Also, many of the parts only last so long before they begin to cause the rifle to malfunction.

Some have said that the AK-47 is the most reliable semi-automatic assault rifle on the planet.  Developed by Anotov Kalashnikov and the communist Russian government, the AK-47 has been the weapon of poor armies around the world.  The weapon was designed to be dragged through the mud and sand and keep on firing.  It also fires the 7.62 x 39 round, which is the size of a .308 high-power rifle round.  While it does not have the accuracy or the fast 5.56 round of the AR-15, it has the reliability of a Swiss Army Knife.

What draws many gun enthusiasts away from the AK-47 is that it is considered an inaccurate rifle.  An AR-15 can ping silhouette targets out past 500 yards, but the AK-47 will only be effective under 200 yards.  The question is, why would the survivalist need a 500-yard range?  If you are trying to avoid a fight, it is better to leave the area if your enemy is past 300 yards.  The AK-47 will give you 200 yards of defensive power, and then allow you a chance to leave the field.

Also, the AK-47 can be found in a pistol form called the “Draco” and is available for about $600.  Through the use of different measures, the “Draco” can be stabilized for efficient shooting and will still be highly concealable.  The AK-47 is also easier to convert to a folding-stock option, making the rifle less than 20 inches in overall length.   The AR-15 cannot convert to a folding stock because of the recoil buffer.  Without the recoil buffer, the weapon cannot effectively function, and a fix to this problem would cost over a grand.

The most important things to consider in terms of survival weaponry are simple.  Make sure it will fire every time you pull the trigger, make sure it does not require high maintenance, make sure that the rounds are readily available, and last, make sure that you can conceal the weapon in the even that you have to travel with it.

©2012 Off the Grid News

© Copyright Off The Grid News


  1. Why not wheel guns. Yes, they may not have the actual fire power of nine or more rounds, but for the most part, more accurate and more powerful than the .45 ACP. A .357 or a .44 caliber will do the same as a .45 ACP and they are quite common also. Just a suggestion.

  2. Great point, Bear. 3 of the 4 “things to consider…” are covered by wheel guns. Only availability of rounds could become a concern.

  3. A good article with which I almost,,,,ALMOST completely agree!
    I’m never one to start the AK vs. AR fight and I won’t here. I own them both. I like them both.
    One variant of the AK that is rarely mentioned is the smaller 5.45mmx39mm round.
    This allows a shooter a number of advantages.
    1. Compact weapon. With a folding stock and 5.45, the shooter gets a light maneuverable but VERY capable weapon.
    2. This round, developed by the communist as their version of a NATO 5.56mm round is almost exactly the same as a 5.56mm. Recoil is very light. The round is accurate.
    3. One thing I love the most about 5.45mm is the price. A “Polish Tantal” most often offered by Century Arms (but available from others, I think) sells for around $400.00. I saw ammo this weekend for$139.00 for 1080 rounds. That computes out to about 13 cents a shot. You cannot buy as capable a round for twice that price per shot!

    Buy what you want, SHOOT what you buy!

  4. I liked the article and thought it very well balanced and dead on about the Draco.
    About the ammo comment above:
    I know its cheaper and the soldier could carry more with a lighter weapon to boot, but the 5.45 and 5.56mm, just seem so woefully underpowered compared to every other predecessor before it; as it should since it was a “varmit” round. It is cheap and fun to play with, but so is a .22. Just to tink cans around it is very cost effective, but for off the grid living or self defense I do not want to find out at an inopportune time that saving a dollar for that shot sacrificed my safety or a loved one’s life.

  5. Good article above, better to be missed by a 44 then hit with a .22. Speaking of that. What type of caliber is most produced today? Answer 5.56×45. Is it the best round? No however it does work on deer size game. It’s called shot placement. The AK’s 7.62×39 IS NOT as capable as the 308, It will take deer size targets down better then 5.56. AR’s can be bought in other calibers, 6.5 grendale, Hard to find and stock pile, Same for 6.8 Rem. 7.62×39, lots of ammo in the US due to the high number of AKs sold here. Just have a good rifle any type in a good caliber with a lot of ammo and all family members can shoot, would be the Key.

    As for hand guns, limited use in SHTF scenario’s. Good for concealment. I have a glock in 9mm with a .22 cal conversion kit both for training and hunting small game.

    Shotguns, Have you ever really trained with w .12 gage using only a pistol grip, Good luck I have and it hurts. Regardless of range you still need to point/aim a shot gun. with in 7 yards, full choke you can expect only a 5 inch spread of shot. Now try to hit a moving target with only a pistol grip with buckshot. If you can try it. it will be difficult, especially with several rounds. Bottom line get a stock for the shot gun. Due to the large number and type of rounds out there, cost, effectiveness, versatility. it one of the best Off the grid weapons out there. True shot range even with slugs. As for the rest of the family, small kids/wife. Women, I’d suggest getting a recoil absorbing stock like the Blackhawk Knoxx stock. It takes about 70-80% of the recoil from the shotgun. .12 gage is the most available caliber, and the Rem 870 and the Mossberg 500 are two of the best out there.

    God bless and watch your six.

    • A .410 firing 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 brenneke slugs is also good for shooters that lack strength to fire a fully slugged 12 gauge. It has less than a quarter of the recoil of a 12G firing a .50cal slug.

  6. “It also fires the 7.62 x 39 round, which is the size of a .308 high-power rifle round”

    The 7.62X39 is NOT the same size as the .308-!!!
    The .308 is 7.62X51 – longer,heavier bullet, much higher powder charge,much greater range.

  7. I concur with soldier, it’s all about shot placement. Another thing I take into consideration is fear. When it comes to a loaded weapon, I’ve never once met a single human that wasn’t afraid of it when they are put on the receiving end of one. With that said, a .22 will do as much devastation as you allow it to. I’m partial to the 45 myself jus because I was raised around it and the stopping power, as well as the 40 cal. Im about to purchase a Springfield xd 45 as a result of abundance of ammo and the stopping power. I am highly considering the mosin nagant as a long arm to go along with my bug out bag. Granted its not as overly intimidating as an AR15 or AK but it does have the distance and available ammo especially when I have found 440+ rounds for $90 and the gun alone is around $100, I also have a mossberg 500 on standby next to my bag as well. All in all it’s pretty obvious that I won’t go to great lengths to spend every dime I have on my “arsenal”. I may have 900 bucks all together in firearms and ammo combine that do their job very well at protecting me and mine.

  8. 7.62, 308, 30.06, 30-30, 30 cal, 300 wby 300 winmag, all are 308 caliber “bullets” Slop from different makers world wide can vary from .307-.311 dependent upon who makes them.
    The loaded amunition is indeed all different, but the actual projectile, which is called a bullet is a .308.
    The cartridge called a .308 is militarily designated the 7.62 x 51. The term bullet is not technically correct, but everyone calls it that. But the part of a cartridge that actually goes down range is the bullet. Kind of like the big argument about 45 Long colt and 45 colt.

  9. I am not correcting anyone, I am asking a question. In this article they discuss the poly frame pistols are best, and it says that cz-75 is a poly frame. I own three of them and the are metal. Is this just a mistake or do they now make them in plastic?

    • I did NOT write this article, it attaches my name for ease of publishing I assume.

      The CZ line does have poly framed guns, but no, the cz75 is not, it is in fact a steel framed gun (alloy on special configurations made by tanfoglio in italy).

      the 7.62 projectile is in fact the same size as the .308 in one dimension, so there is some truth to that statement, but again, it’s a bit odd how things are worded.

      Sometimes articles are placed under different authors by accident, but in reality, MOST of what comes through is pretty accurate. Especially about firearms. The editors have a tough job with the sheer volume of information being posted, and do a very good job I am sure most will agree.

  10. I am not correcting anyone either!! I’ll take my 5.45. You take 5.56. He’ll have ‘”7.62 x whichever”!!!!

    White, as far as I know there are no Poly CZ-75’s; not that I’ve ever seen. I do agree that a “75” is a SWEET peice of defense equipment! I have one and could see pulling a few more for my wife and daughters.

  11. Didn’t notice .40 s&w on you list. I personally prefer 9mm (cost; experience), but just about police dept. i know of issues 40 cal., so its should definitively be recognized for its availability imho.

  12. Great article. I guess I will keep my Winchester 1300, (with pg, cs and extended mag), G21, Detonics .45, AR15 (16″ and 20″) and save all my 8mm for the Mauser, just in case I need that +600yd range. Would like a suppressed .22 but who wants to be on a reg.

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