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Your All-Around Weapons Cache

A .223 AR-15 assault rifle.

You’ve decided that you’re not going anywhere. It doesn’t matter how far down the rabbit hole the world falls, you’re situated in a reasonable location, you have your food stores and a measure of land to grow a garden, enough surrounding land to hunt for game, and let’s face it…at some point there’s not going to be anywhere else to go.

Considering all the choices in firearms out there, which weapons would be the better option for meeting any of your hunting or self-defense needs? There is no one-weapon-fits-all-scenarios available, so after doing a little bit of thinking, these are the four I’ve narrowed it down to.

The .22 long rifle

The .22 cartridge is the most common and the most economical cartridge around. The .22 short is the oldest cartridge still being manufactured today, and was first used in a Smith & Wesson pocket pistol introduced in 1857. The .22 long rife cartridge was introduced by Peters in 1887 and is the most popular and useful of all the .22 rimfire cartridges.

A .22 rifle has minimal blast and recoil. This rifle is not expensive to purchase and the ammunition is affordable by anyone—forty .22 copper-plated hollow points by Federal is less than $2 a box.

And that’s the more expensive stuff. You can purchase a box of Winchesters containing 333 hollow point rounds for target practicing for $13 online.

A .22 rifle is an excellent choice for small-game hunting. This would include rabbits, squirrels and coons. It’s the perfect “varmit” gun for taking care of possums or any feral cat or dog.  The .22 comes in a variety of rifle types—bolt action, pump action, lever action, and semi-auto. Most every gun manufacturer makes some type of .22 rifle.

The Shotgun

The shotgun puts a wide spray of pellets into the air and is the excellent choice in hunting birds or any type of running rabbit or squirrel. However, the different types of shells available (from bird shot to slugs) make it ideal for hunting any type of game—from birds to deer.

It’s also one of the best self-defense weapons around.

Shotgun sizes run the gamut from the .410 up to the heavy-duty 10 gauge. A 12-gauge is about the most versatile all-around shotgun and the most common. We started our children out on a .410 single action to break them in to hunting, and as soon as they became proficient with the weapon (and had bagged a deer or two) they graduated to a 20 gauge and then a 12 gauge shotgun.

The High-Powered Rifle

The most common calibers in high-powered rifles include the .270, the .308, and the 30.06. Smaller rounds include the .223 and .22/250. If you’re not planning on hunting larger game at longer distances, or if you don’t have large or mean predators that you have to contend with, this is the gun you can most do without.

These guns come in bolt action, pump action, lever action, and semi-auto. They are a little bit pricier, starting at around the $600 range. However, you can find great deals on used guns at gun shops in your area.

The Handgun

There are a variety of handguns available for self-defense purposes. Previous articles have listed the pros and cons of each type, including the choice of our own Carmen! Those most commonly used are either J-frame revolvers or semi-autos. The calibers range from .22 up to .44 Magnum in revolvers, with the .38 special or .357 being the one of choice for most people.

You can also purchase a semi-auto handgun in calibers ranging anywhere from 9mm, to .40, .45 or a .357 SIG. The weapon you choose should feel comfortable in your hand, and you should arrange to practice with it frequently. If you’re going to rely on this weapon for self-defense, it’s important that you know it inside and out.

These guns are not the end-all to what you can have in your home arsenal. These recommendations are simply a starting point as you consider you situation and what issues you face or feel you will face in the future. The important thing is that you’re prepared for as many eventualities as you can imagine.

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26 comments

  1. Personally, I have several different weapons, for different situations.
    Handguns:
    .25 semi-auto (8 round clips) its a good backup for concealed carry as it is small.
    .38 caliber 2 shot derringer. Again small, fits in my pants pocket or outer coat pocket without
    sticking out, or having to worry about it showing through.
    .40 cal semi auto. my main CC weapon. Small enough to conceal easily, with good stopping power.
    S & W .357 6.5 in barrel stainless steel revolver. ALWAYS a good idea to have at least ONE revolver!!
    Also have a .357 revolver for the wife.
    9 mm Beretta, with internal laser. Ammo is cheap, and can do my own reloads.

    And then as the, last resort, have 2 black powder 44 caliber revolvers. If you can find the lead, you can make
    your own bullets!! Black powder is cheap, you just need to remember to clean your weapons!!!

    As for rifles:
    I have 2 – 22 LR semi auto’s. Tube feed so highly reliable and hardly, if ever, break down. These I bought for my sons, but still have one until he wants it, is a lever action 30-30. Good power, low kick, and very accurate within 100 to 200 yards.

    Mossberg Model 500 pump 12 ga.. Good for home defense, and just about everything said above. I prefer the pumps as they are less susceptable to breaking down. And in a crisis situation a gun smith may be hard to find, and parts even harder!!

    For my large bore’s both in 30.06 is a Remington Model 700 bolt action w/ a 3×9 scope and a M1 Garand. Remington is mainly for hunting and the Garand would be mainly for self defense.

    And for Christmas I’m getting a Henry AR7 22LR Survival Rifle. I know, I had to pick it up 🙂 as the wife didn’t have the correct address on her drivers license after we moved.

    I try to group my guns to use the same ammo, this way, in a crisis situation, if a gun is damaged, broken, stolen, or lost, you don’t suddenly have a large supply of ammo you can’t use. If that DID happen, DON’T just throw it away!! Remember, you can barter with it, open the shells to retrieve the powder for your own reloads, etc etc.

    For those that aren’t very familiar with firearms just remember for example that you can shoot .38’s out of a .357. They are the same diameter bullet!! DON’T try to shoot a .357 out of a .38 though, In most cases the shell wouldn’t fit, because its longer, but if it did, the .38 is NOT rated to handle that kind of chamber pressure the .357 round would produce.

    Hope everyone has a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

  2. In my opinion anything in 9mm , 40S&W, 45ACP (PISTOLS) 308, 223 ,22 (RIFLES) 12GAUGE..Think about it between military,police and civilians there are alot of those in circulation. I would stay away from things like 338 lapua 300 short mag, and pretty much any non military and police round just due to the fact that those will be drying up quickly.

  3. My personal leaning is a full size pistol,rifle and shotgun for each shooting member of your group…you can argue about calibers/guages etc but thats for a personal preference.You really need at least 1 .22 in your battery and dont use that for self defense unless its an emergency.My kids have a 20 ga each and a .22 mag for their primary’s.The extra .22 is for small game.Most of the “current” calibers are suitable for self defense but ammo availabity is a consideration.Handguns should be 38/357,9mm(Not advised).40 or .45 and shotguns should be 12 or 20 ga’s.Rifles are a bit more scattered but .223,.308 or 7.62×39 will always work.JMO

    • Homedawg,
      I agree about the .22 mag or LR. Cheap ammo and good for small game.
      I just got the Henry AR7 for Christmas…..NICE little compact rifle.
      Not sure about your (not advised) on the 9mm though, I’ve got mine loaded with hydrashok’s and they do a job!! May not drop them in one, but then, I never fire just one 🙂 Minimum before I even look up is 2 to the chest and 1 to the head. Beretta 92F with internal laser is VERY accurate. Although its more my secondary as its a little large to carry. I prefer my .40.
      Shawn

      • Hey Shawn,
        I agree that some “special” loads for the 9mm are fine for self defense.My reservation comes from the availibilty of premium ammo in a worse case event.9mm Ball is worthless as a showstopper unless you plan on throwing lead.Of course,anything is better than nothing at all,but for someone just starting to buy,why waste money on a 9 when .40’s and .45 are there for the taking at the same base price?
        My family defense plan has both me and my wife with 12’s,.308’s and .45’s,although we do have two .357’s for certain circumstances.Having like calibers for each gun is something i decided to do when i formed my buying plan.Same with the kids’ .22mags and 20 ga’s.
        Although we do use different .308’s(mine is a semi and hers is a bolt gun)our ammo is the same,allowing bulk purchasing.
        Good luck to you.

        • Hi Homedawg!

          Well the thing I like about the 9mm is ammo is VERY cheap, but also, as “other family members” show up, its one that I can give them as it is easy to use, easy to learn how to fire, and very cheap to do your own reloads.

          I definitely agree about trying to keep everything the same caliber, as much as possible! As you say, can buy in bulk, plus you don’t have to keep multiple calibers sorted out.

          I still recommend at least ONE revolver, .357 or bigger! My S&W .357 stainless will probably outlast all of my other guns. And its not so heavy that the wife can’t feel comfortable with it. Main reason I like the .357 is you can teach them to shoot it with .38’s, especially those who haven’t shot much before, so the kick doesn’t scare them, until they are ready for it.

          Have a Great New Years to you and yours!!

          • I agree that if you already have a 9mm,by all means keep it and have some ammo for it…no reason to get rid of it now….my thoughts were directed more to someone who is going to buy”just one” handgun(heh-heh)then why buy a (limited usfulness)9mm when the .40’s and .45’s are out there for the taking?….I have a number of guns I bought to “try-out” and never got rid of them….they most certainly wont be the first one I grab,or have packed with my kit,but any gun is better than no gun…I know of several people(and have read of others on-line recentl;y) who are just now starting to “prep” and they just dont need “extra” guns right now…so a good quality Pistol,rifle and shotgun,with a .22 and they can move on to Water Purifiers,food and gear…JMO

  4. As an aside,I usually qualify with my G21 .45 Duty weapon 3 times a year.My wife hadnt shot in awhile and I took her yesterday to shoot .22’s,just pistols.She had to start all over again on the basics.I shoot all the time but I just didnt realize that someone who hasnt been raised on guns,and just started when she married me(7 years)NEEDS a lot more practice.She was back in the groove by the time we finished but Id hate to shoot up a lot of my stash ammo just getting her up to snuff…The .22’s worked just fine.We have a Ruger Mark I;an old auto…my Buddy that was with us has a Bull Barrell Mark II.Shes in love with that and says we really NEED one.A woman after my own heart.

  5. I’ve read the above coments and it shows many of us have been thinking. For some with small or weak hands, like the females in my group using a 9mm is the best they can use. I have noticed that nobody has a common bow and arrows as part of their survival weapons cache. There are beak down recurve (models before compounds bows) that will shoot homemade arrows, current compound bows are too powerful for homemade wooden arrows. A bow is slient, you can take any game animal in North America with one, and making your on ammo (arrows) is not that hard. When the end times come guns will run out of ammo, you can always make more arrows. It is a weapon that has conqured th world before guns were invented.

    Enjoy life and God Bless us all.

    • im an avid bow hunter and have 3 bows one of which is a breakdown bear 80lb recurve bow my other 2 are compound bows i also use only carbon shafts with these as they dont bend or break while they may get lost i would then use my recurve with home made arrows im also a fan of tred barta if ya dont know who he is look him up on the outdoor channel this guy hunts with a home made recurve bow and home made arrows

    • I agree that a good bow should be a part of every “survival”equipment stash….I too have a small(60lb) recurve bow and several sets of strings and a quiver of arrows.I also have two “wrist-rocket” slingshots with ball bearing ammo…anything and everything should be laid by if possible.Its a matter of how long you have been prepping,the amount of money you have to spend and what your family/personnel situation is.The general trend of this thread was someone just coming into the process being kinda overwhelmed by what they ‘need” as opposed to what they should get right away.Im dealing with that now with a new memebr just joined.He just needs so MUCH stuff.

      • i would suggest to anyone just getting into this would be to start out with the basics check out your local theyre maybe others in your community that are way ahead of you on prepping and would likely gladly accept the help and what youve to offer while sharing their excess with you ie theyve more weapons than they can shoot and that way you could concentrate more on food and other such staples until you could then stand on your own

  6. Recent development in air rifles are indeed impressive. The GAMO air rifles are almost as powerful as a 22 at close ranges, and very quiet. I bought two for my wife and daughter, to hunt rabbits or the neighbors cat. The arsenal I carry is considerable, and already been covered in detail by folks above. Resolute is correct, choose military rounds for reasons stated. One exception, is 7.62x 39 (AK or SKS) very ‘available’ whether black market or legal. The round is an underpowered .308 akin to a 30-30 in range if fired from an american gun. If fired from an SKS or AK it is effective and accurate to 300yds. Still it will drop a deer/elk (if shot is well placed). If the govt of our country decides like in LA to stop the sales of American ammo, our friends the russians/chinese, true capitalists that they want to be, will have an ample supply of these rounds guaranteed. A usable SKS is available in pawn shops for around 300 an AK around 500. Dont bother tricking them out, with the exception of a stock, you are wasting your time.

    • i just recently seen on the alaska game wardens show where these people shot and killed a grown mother moose with one of these pellet guns now i dont condone using one of these to hunt moose but this is some valuable info to tuck back for a rainy day just as to how powerful these pellet guns actually are also they can be purchased for a cpl hundred dollars with no paper work also some of these guns will have a faster bullet speed than a 22 and a shotgun some reaching over 1650 feet per second theres a video out on the outdoor channel of them using these guns to hunt wild hogs if anyones interested

  7. I know I’m preaching to the choir here in this crowd but it bears saying over and over……As a law enforcement officer, a long-time expert pistol shooter, and a 15+ year NRA certified instructor I would only add the following for those considering getting a handgun (or any gun for that matter)…..For God’s sake, if you’re not proficient with some extensive knowledge of firearms, find a competent instructor, a knowledgeable friend, or someone at the gun range who will give you a half hour or so of their time to instruct you in some of the finer points of safe gun handling. ESPECIALLY if you are a first-time handgun owner/shooter. Handguns have a short “swing” and it’s incredibly easy to sweep it dangerously across things you don’t intend to destroy. Safety is the order of the day folks. I’ve spent countless hours in classes and on the range and I’ve seen some of the smartest people commit some of the dumbest acts with a gun. All the preps in the world won’t amount to anything if you accidentally shoot yourself or someone in your group. Please….make sure you know your weapon and understand the proper procedures for safely handling it. Nuff said.

  8. I know some don’t like the 9MM but i spent some time carrying one for Uncle Sam and know they will do the job if shot placement is used with good ammunition, I handload all of my ammunition and use hard lead bullets for both my 9mm and 357/38 for practice and small game hunting. I did try an experiment using 124gr 9mm (.355) in my .38 special (.358) loads for target practice with good accuracy using lighter loads of Unique and titegroup at 850fps. Use a good crimp on the bullet to ensure it wont shake loose. It makes shooting cheaper and the recoil is very light so training the younger generation on firearms use isn’t so agressive to scare them off. It takes down rabbits, coyotes, and one skunk (never again though, I’ll ignore it or chase it off from a distance) so they are like an upscale .22.
    Now I do keep 124gr JHP in 9mm for personnal protection and SHTF but I use Berry’s 124gr plated HP for most of the loads and XTP when I can afford them. I also have 115gr XTP loaded at 1400fps for use in my M9 and that lovely CX4 storm since the magazines are interchangeable and they work great on coyotes out to 300 yards so I know they will do the job if I ever have to point the dangerous end at another human being again. I have a HI point 9mm for the kids to use since if they break it, I’m not out much money there and it is surprisingly accurate out to 200 yds with 147gr subsonic cast lead. It punches through old fridge/freezers and water heaters at the local junkpile so it will do the job too.
    The advise on the .22, .223, .308, .357/.38 and 12ga is right on though, I have several .22 for training and small game, a 20ga for training and small game (i reload for that too), a bolt action savage in .223 with a high end scope that gets me out to 500 yards with 69gr HPBT and my .308 for deer hunting. Ak and SKS are good guns but go with the Ak in my opinion since the SKS’s I have had in both Yugo and Chicom had trigger issues or lousy firing pin springs that misfired about 1 in 8 rounds so I deem them unreliable, the WASR Ak I got for 300 bucks is reliable dependable and legal (get one while you can) ammunition is cheap and easy to reload (if you can find BRASS casings american eagle, S&B, or MFS make them) and the .311 bullets (160gr) in cast lead from LEE Dies resize down easily to .309 for use in my .308 for target practice.
    If you want to find a good reliable used .357 for around $200 check with the local state patrol or police depoartments and see if they have any old service revolvers that they are getting rid of. I got a 4″ S&W for $250 from them in advance of a police auction just by being friendly (advantage of small town and knowing everybody).
    Good luck everybody, I think that there are “interesting” times ahead.

  9. To my Fellow Americans-
    The weapon that you choose to use is the weapon that will keep you alive when all hell breaks loose, as for me I have a slight case of MS and any thing over a 9mm would not be able to hold on to it unless it is a rifle, their I would use a .44-40, or a .45 colt, hey, if you can hit them and stop them long enough to get away, so be it! But what ever you use, make the first shot count, you may not have a second chance.

  10. other weapons you might want crossbow/Bow and arrow, ak47 ( 1000 rounds for about 225.00 Guns can be found in most gun stores price ranging from 299.99 to 599.99 also one of the top assault rifes ever made you can drop in mud and it will still shoot as seen on the military channel show top assault rifes) Mosin nagant ( 1000 rounds 170.00 Gun is also bolt action and can be found in most gun stores for around 100.00 shoots a 7.62x54R) Taurus Judge shoots 410 and 45’s, also would own some blades swords, knives and a blow dart for small game , also a black powder gun for hunting as well you can get the new ones or you can get civil war remakes like the 3 band enfield with bayonet for 400 to 500 dollars look up army sport they do the remakes for re-enactors shoots a .58 cal ball while most other black powder guns are .50 cal would not recommend any black powder pistols civil war style ones can be dangerous if you don’t know what you are doing shoot once not done right and all chambers can go off. also black powder can be used for other defense measures

  11. southernpatriot

    Just wanted to see what everyone thought about buying a Henry 22. It is a beautiful gun and from all accounts it is a great weapon to have. also, any feed back on a Marlin 30.6 would be appreciated. I would be interested in your thoughts and are there any good gun classes around the Hickory area in NC, to brush up on some training. I’m enjoying reading everyones thought at this site. Thanks again. Southern Patriot

  12. I love guns, all of them! As for planning for SHTF scenario, I am focused on collecting 9mm (concealed carry for myself and my wife) and .45acp in handguns (home/office/vehicle defense). I have still own some .40S&W, but this is one of my least favorite calibers in a handgun. Most of the ones that I have shot have a very sharp recoil and I am just not very accurate with them, not the case with my 9’s and 45’s. I have tried to make sure that any handgun that I have that has magazines with capacities of 10 or more that I keep a minimum of 10 mags on hand (in the event of another federal ban, in a SHTF scenario – replacements/parts). I have also focused on two calibers in my rifles, .223 and .308. If I buy an AR style weapon, I always purchase a 5.56 version (for the flexibility w/ammo – 5.56 OR .223 – remember that it does not work the other way around). I personally only purchase .223 ammo so I can use it in all of my rifles 5.56/.223. I also collect .308. All four these calibers are readily available and still somewhat affordable and they are all used by both the military and law enforcement so these should available the most available in a SHTF scenario. I also have some .22lr for the reasons stated in the article above with lots of ammo. I suggest budgeting for ammo purchases on a regular basis, manufacturers continue to have price increases and there is another sceduled by most of the major manufacturers at the first of May (2011). This is not a trend that is likely to reverse itself, as we are just now begining to see the effects of Washingtons poor descisions and the inflation that IS coming. You all need to take the steps to protect and provide for your families in a time of crisis. This could be an earthquake, a hurricane, etc. As we saw during Hurricane Katrina, the government is unable to protect and provide for you, and quite frankly we should not be relying on anyone else to come and save the day when the SHTF! Good luck, God Bless and God Speed to you all!

  13. my feelings are everyone should keep a good 22lr with plenty of ammo a good shotgun in 20ga to 12ga with plenty of ammo and a good big game hunting rifle for each member of the house hold and everyone should know how to use them and know there own limits not the guns limits lets face it most hi power rifles will kill out to a much farther limit then the person behind the trigger can do

  14. Hi people am here to suggest a weapon that the military is now using for sniper! Its the Lapua .338 cal. Its a great weapon and more accurate than the BMG.50 cal. So it is pricy but there are other types of models out there that use same calaber and cheaper! So hunt around!

  15. I keep seeing where people do not recommend the 9mm handgun. It is the same argument that only those who squat to pee use the 9mm. My reason for liking the 9mm is it is cheap to obtain, easy to shoot without wearing yourself out. Is not overly loud. But the most logical excuse is because it is an almost universal round. In case of the SHTF scenario, almost all law enforcement, and military personnel, and even amongst the so-called “Gansta” element, the 9mm is very common. So, in my twisted state of mind, I want a hand gun that I can scavenge the ammunition of those who do not survive the confrontation with me in case of a firefight. It matters not to the human body what caliber kills it.

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