Saturday, September 18, 2010

7 Basic Firearms That Every Freedom-Loving Self-Sufficient Prepper Should Own

Gun knowledge is not something that I'm very proficient at, however my husband loves the topic. Recently, some have expressed an interest in more hard-core emergency preparedness/survival topics, so I drafted Shawn to write a guest post for me. Even though this is a vast change from the normal SAHMville posts, I hope you enjoy it!

As a law enforcement and firearms instructor, I am often asked,
“What firearm(s) do you recommend for….” To cover every situation or need that may arise for a firearm, I recommend that everyone have at least these 7 firearms available:

1. .22 Caliber Pistol

With rising ammo prices, it is difficult to target practice often with centerfire weapons. A good .22 pistol and rifle (mentioned later) provides an affordable way to maintain your shooting skills. The .22 pistol can also be used for small game, finishing off a wounded larger animal or for use when the loud report of a larger caliber is not desired. While there are many options to choose from, here are my favorites:

Walther P-22
The best thing about the P-22 is that it is built to function and feel like a larger, full-size handgun. This helps maintain your skills in combat reloading since the magazine release, decocker and slide are set up like a full-size handgun.

Ruger MKII (and similar)
For over 50 years, Ruger has produced one of the most popular .22 caliber handguns. There are several models that have evolved over the years. All of them are high-quality, dependable and affordable rimfire handguns.

2. .357 Magnum Revolver

The primary handgun for law enforcement during the mid to late 20th century was the .357 magnum revolver. They are very dependable, accurate and easy to use. While a revolver has a limited capacity compared to a full-size semi-auto, there are some advantages with this old workhorse. Lighter and cheaper .38 special ammo can be fired in a .357 mag, shot-shells work well and there is no fear of malfunction or bad round bringing the weapon to a halt. If a round of ammo fails to fire, simply pull the trigger again for the next round. With a little practice, speed-loaders can be used quickly and are a must if you carry this gun for protection.

My personal favorites are the Smith & Wesson model 19 (blued) or model 66 (stainless) as well as the Ruger Security-Six and SP-101.

3. Full-Size Combat Pistol

If you only own one handgun, it should be a full-size combat pistol. By “full-size,” I mean a barrel length of 3 ½ to 5 inches with a capacity of no less than 11, preferably 15 or more. I would avoid “odd” calibers such as 10mm and .357 Sig which would prove difficult to find in a “hit the fan” situation. Stick with military and police calibers (9mm, .40 caliber, .45 ACP). These rounds are common and can be purchased in bulk from various suppliers. I would have no less than 6 magazines, keeping 3 loaded at all times, rotating the mags each month to avoid excessive wear on the springs. Don’t forget a variety of holsters including a military flap holster, shoulder holster and high-quality law enforcement grade belt holster so that the pistol can be carried in whatever manner is needed. Don’t forget magazine pouches and a sturdy belt.

The Beretta Model 92 (U.S. Military M-9) 15-round 9mm is built on the same frame as the Model 96 11-round .40 caliber

The Glock Model 17 17-round 9mm is build on the same frame as the Model 22 15-round .40 caliber and Model 21 13-round .45 ACP

There are more options available in this category than any other. Dozens of companies make high-quality combat pistols. My personal favorites are Glock and Beretta. Many may wonder why I have not listed the popular 1911 pistol……well, like it or not, it is out of date. The single-stack 7 or 8 round magazine, single action and excessive weight fail to meet today’s demands. The slight increase in knockdown of a .45 compared to a .40 does not outweigh the fact the 1911 has less than half the capacity of a full-size .40. I’ll take 15 rounds of .40 or 17 rounds of 9mm in a gun battle any day over a mere 7 rounds of .45. Most people under-estimate the number of rounds fired in actual combat and over-estimate their accuracy in such a situation. Trust me, you want a higher capacity. There is certainly nothing wrong with owning a 1911, but it should not be considered your primary combat handgun.

4. .22 Rifle

For most of us, our first firearm was a .22 rifle. I’m sure more .22 rifles are sold in this country each year than any other class of firearm. It is a must for every home. As with the .22 pistol, it is cheap and affordable to shoot on a regular basis. With today’s high velocity rounds (CCI Stinger/Velocitor), the .22 long rifle has surprising range and effectiveness compared to the low velocity rounds we grew up shooting. What other firearm can you still buy 1000 rounds for under $50? Also, hike 3 miles with 250 rounds of .22 long rifle in your pack, then hike that same distance with 250 rounds of .308; the ability to carry a greater amount of ammo becomes obvious.

Ruger 10/22 with Tapco stock and 30-round magazine

The German made GSG-5 with 22-round magazine (HK MP-5 Clone)

Henry Survival Rifle (AR-7) – 8-round magazine (15-round mags are available)

A good .22 rifle will cost between $200 and $500. I recommend you consider the most popular .22 on the market, the Ruger 10/22. This reliable semi-auto has every type of high-capacity magazine, stock and accessory imaginable. For a military-feel right out of the box, I would suggest the GSG-5, built on the frame of an H&K MP-5 sub-machine gun. The GSG-5 provides a less expensive means of training with a military-style rifle. Finally, the Henry Arms Survival Rifle (the latest version of the AR-7) is a unique rifle that disassebles into the stock and is so light weight it will actually float. Remember, if you are carrying a .22 rifle, be sure to have a larger caliber handgun with you.

5. 12 Gauge Pump Shotgun

I’ll admit, I’m not a big fan of shotguns. Oh they have their purposes, especially for bird hunting, but they are very over- rated for self-protection. Despite that, I still recommend you include one in your collection. The versitility of the shotgun is its best feature. Switching from birdshot, to buckshot, then to slugs completely changes the purpose of the weapon. The limited range and limited capacity of a shotgun pushes it back to a secondary weapon in my book. I recommend a pump-action 12 gauge with no less than a 6-shot capacity.

Mossberg 500/590 series come in a variety of configurations, ranging from 6 to 9 shot.

The Remington 870 Police remains the most popular self-defense shotgun.

6. Military-Style Auto-Loading Rifle

The single most important firearm in your collection is the military-style auto-loading rifle. While at least one of these is vital, I would strongly recommend at least one per every person in your household capable of shooting. While a variety of calibers are available, stick with the primary military calibers (.223, .308, 7.62x39mm). These 3 calibers are sold by a variety of suppliers in 1000 round cases. (Cheaper Than Dirt, Sportman’s Guide) Popular military-style rifles include the AR-15, AK-47, Mini-14, Mini-30, HK-91/93 clones, M-14, M1A1, and M-1.

.223 and 7.62x39 rifles typically use a 30-round magazine, while the larger .308 will typically use a 20-round magazine. I would recommend no less than 8 spare magazines per rifle. Avoid keeping magazines loaded for extended periods of time, as this will weaken the spring. Parts kits for these type of rifles are readily available. Lets face it, we live in very uncertain times with a variety of possible threats. A good battle rifle with pleanty of ammo and magazines is the only weapon you could realistically defend your home and family with if faced with multiple, armed invaders. If you live in a state that prohibits these rifles, MOVE.

Don’t wait, these rifles could be banned at any time. With anti-Second Amendment types currently in control of our government, a semi-auto ban or 10-round capacity limit is no doubt on the horizon. These rifles truly represent what the Second Amendment is all about, an armed civilian population cabable of defending liberty from both foreign and domestic threats. They are the insurance that protect our other liberties. I see owning a military-style rifle as more than just my right, but my duty as an American citizen. I love this rifle’s ability to quickly identify those for liberty from those for tyranny. Those who hate freedom, hate these rifles and those who want tyrannical control want to ban them.

The AR-15 has become the hottest selling rifle since the anti-gunners took control of this country in 2008. With every imaginable accessory widely-available, the rifle can be set up in hundreds of configurations. The standard .223 (5.56 mm) is a very effective round due to it’s high velocity. There are dozens of calibers available from a variety of manufacturers. In all my years in law enforcement, I was always conforted knowing I had an AR-15 within reach in my patrol car. If I could only have one firearm with me in a survival situation, it would be the AR-15.

AK-47 (7.62x39mm) – The rifle mentioned by name during Obama’s first speech following his election as a target of his desired gun bans. That alone should make anyone want to run out and purchase one just to prove we value freedom more than he opposes it. For those not familiar with the performance of the 7.62x39 mm, it is ballistically similar to the popular 30-30.

If you’re a history buff, the .30 caliber M-1 Carbine and .30-06 M-1 Garand are battle-proven. The M-1 carbine has a standard 15-round magazine (30-round mags are available) and is effective at up to 100 yards. The mighty M-1 Garand has an 8-round internal magazine and is effective at distances beyond most shooter’s ability or sight. At over 10 pounds, the M-1 Garand may not be your first choice for hiking long distances but will stop any living creature walking on Earth. The .308 caliber M-14 with it’s 20-round magazine is another historic military rifle that many shooters love.

7. Long-Range Bolt-Action Rifle with Scope

Every shooter needs the ability to reach out and strike targets at long distances when the need arises. This calls for a high-powered bolt-action rifle with a good quality scope. These rifles are also effective against large game and in situations where your assailant is wearing body armor or behind cover. While there are dozens of calibers to choose from, I strongly recommend that you stick with standard military and police rounds. The .308 and .30-06 are the most common high-powered ammo on the market and can be easily purchased in 1000 round cases, unlike other rounds such as the .243, .270 and .300 Win Mag that are only available in 20 rounds per box.

As with all rifles and shotguns, avoid wood stocks. Synthetic stocks are stronger, lighter weight, scratch resistant and come in black, green or camo. It is better to use a “tactical” rifle for hunting and target shooting than to use a “hunting” rifle for tactical operations. Plan ahead on how you are going to carry spare ammo, since most bolt-actions have internal magazines. A variety of looped shell holders are designed to carry on a web belt or even the stock of the rifle.

The Remington Model 700 is popular with law enforcement and hunters.

An inexpensive, yet very reliable and powerful rifle, is the 8mm Mauser. This was the primary battle rifle for the Germans during World War II. These old surplus rifles can be purchased at half the cost of current production bolt-action rifles. A case of 8mm ammo should last your lifetime.


Examine the firearms you currently own to determine where your deficits are. Start a firearms/ammo budget and begin building your collection. Don’t forget plenty of ammo, a gun without ammo is an expensive billy club. You may also want to purchase a gun safe. If you have young children in your home, make certain that all firearms are completely inaccessable to them. If you keep any firearm loaded for home defense, have a keyless entry gun box or an unchambered semi-auto in a secure location. Firearms are like automobiles and power tools, very useful and helpful , but potentially dangerous if not handled safely. Finally, under no circumstances should a firearm be available to a person who has recently consumed alcohol or any mind-altering drug.

I hope you found this information helpful. I plan to submit additional guest commentaries in the future assuming they are approved by the webmaster, who also determines my meals and ammo allowance.


  1. Oh thanks Janice, thanks a lot, now my DH insists we budget what amounts to two truck payments for an AR-15 and all the goodies that go with it. That post should include more money saving tips to go along with it. lol

  2. Anonymous, I'm going to show your comment to DH and see if it'll be motivation for another guest post from him. I know he has his favorite places to get inexpensive accessories and maybe those would be worth sharing. DH knows that if we're going to buy the things he wants to buy, then we have to find the best prices on them, otherwise we can't afford them either. So, I definitely FEEL for you there!

  3. Great list for on the farm, how about off the farm? I need a gun when I go to town. What is your advice for personal carry?

  4. This is Shawn responding to your request for concealed carry suggestions....
    First of all, I recommend semi-auto pistols over revolvers for two primary reasons: 1. A pistol has a higher capacity and reloads more quickly, 2. A pistol has a slimmer profile than the cylinder of a revolveer, therefore conceals more easily.
    Caliber: Typically, you have to settle on smaller calibers due to the limited size of a concealed handgun. .22 and .25 are too small. .32 auto, .380 and 9mm are typically the best choices for compact pistols.
    There are some dependable compact pistols for around $300. I would suggest Kel-Tec or Ruger's LCP.
    The final issue would be how to carry the pistol. If wearing a jacket, a secure belt holster would be suggested. Without a jacket, there are pocket holsters that work well. Ladies may want to consider a "belly band" holster which conceals the pistol under your shirt.
    Hope this advice helps.

    1. just stumbled on a deal I couldnt pass up for conceiled carry. a used subcompact xd9 lady's husband had bought it about 2 months before he passed, I ended up buying that and a sks for 400

  5. Shawn again...
    In response to the first comment, the best deals on ammo and firearm accessories can be found at Sportsmans Guide and Cheaper Than Dirt. Just Google either company, you will be surprised at the amount of items and affordable prices. They also have "buyer's club" memberships that result in a 10% discount.

  6. Buy your online ammo, high capacity magazines, semi-auto firearms NOW. When the Dems take a hit on Nov. 2, they will seek their revenge on us prior to leaving office in January. Good-bye to the Bush tax cuts (child tax credits will be cut in half by the way), and hello cap-and-trade taxes and assault weapons ban.

  7. Seeing the photo of your M-1 rifles on this thread, then reading the "Who does Obama trust?" thread just gets my blood boiling! What a slap in the face to our veterans, not allowing their rifles to return home, back to the people whose taxes bought them to begin with. My grand-dad's rifle will be melted down instead of enjoyed by a fellow American. Excuse me while I scream!
    Barack Obama, Barry Soetoro, Hussein or what ever the hell your name really is, go back to Kenya, Illinois, Indonesia, Hawaii or where ever the hell you are really from and leave us alone!