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    I wanted to open a discussion about the choice of weapons- specifically guns- that people choose for SHTF.

    My decisions were based on:
    1. Ability to be used by myself and my wife- in other words, controllable recoil, yet
    2. Decent “stopping power” of the weapon (a nebulous term, but basically a basic guage of how effectively it will stop an attacker with one or more decent center-mass hits),
    3. Commonality in the market- no “exotic” or one-off calibers, ease of finding extra ammo, and
    4. Minimize the number of different types of ammunition to store.

    Nearly all my pistols are chambered in 9mm. Most of them are relatively cheap guns (in terms of price) yet highly reliable… and a few of them are kept specifically for arming neighbors/friends/help if they’re under our roof. There are trade-offs with anything, and pistols are no exception. The larger the caliber (generally), the more recoil, or how hard it will try to “jump” in your hands. A physically larger pistol will help absorb some of the felt recoil due to having more mass… but that means it is that much harder to conceal. The 9mm offers pretty good “stopping power,” yet can come in a variety of physical sizes. The smaller pistols will require additional effort to control, but can still be operated by a small woman, with some practice.

    Some other issues with pistols I’ve used often:

    One problem with 9mm pistols is that women often have difficulty racking the slide back. Springfield XD pistols are especially stiff in this regard, and my wife hates them so much, she refused to use them any more. The XD is known for superb reliability, but this is dependant on having the “good stuff” for ammunition, not the cheapie practice ammo you buy for the range. XD pistols require hotter pistol loads than other similar pistols, or failure-to-eject problems will drive you crazy.

    As a counterpoint, I have found the Ruger P-89 through P-94 series guns are very easy to rack. Plus they’re big enough to absorb the recoil to make them controllable, and can be disassembled for cleaning with no tools necessary. Reliability seem rock-solid as well. The ONLY catch is, you must hold tightly. If you do, you’ll never have a FTF/FTE out of any Ruger 9mm pistol, no matter what cheap ammo you feed it with. If you hold it loosely in your hand, it will allow the pistol to rock back (instead of forcing all the energy into cycling the next round) and you will have FTF issues. They also don’t have the smooth operational feed that the XD pistols do- which drives me crazy- but they ARE extremely forgiving.

    Kahr makes some very compact 9mm pistols (“chick” guns, I guess you could say). Easily concealed, single-stack magazine, 6-7 round capacity depending on the magazine you use. Easily operated by a woman, and surprisingly easy to control. You can find them for $300-400, and they’re surprisingly reliable.

    We have one small (expensive) model fitted with laser, for my wife. Inside the waistband (IWB) holsters for the ones most likely to be carried in deep concealment after SHTF. My personal carry pistol is a stainless 1911 in .45ACP, fitted with Tritium night-sights and zeroed at 50 yards.

    With regard to rifles, I have a bolt and semi-auto, both chambered in .308. Again, standardized rounds, both can fire NATO surplus for short-range (good to ~300 yards), after which the more expensive match-ammo is required. I spent too much money on each, but they’re dialed-in with some of the best battle-tested optics available. The bolt gun is a sniper-rifle built for law-enforcement use; it’s heavy, about 16 lbs with optics and a loaded magazine. The semi is an M1A that I’ve upgraded a lot internally… yet when you look at it (a camo similar to the ATACS-AU pattern) it looks like it’s covered with dried mud (so says my wife). It’s also heavy, but is good to ~500 yards, and dead-on reliable. I chose not to go with AR-15 platforms, because I wanted something that could be used effectively out to 800+ yards while still carrying a sufficient amount of stopping power. And it had to be affordable… so .308 was what I settled on. Both rifles are fitted with muzzle-brakes and optics, so both my wife and I can shoot them comfortably. (Lugging them in the bush will be a different story, LOL.)

    What are your thoughts on weapons acquisition, philosophy, etc.?

    Profile photo of Georgethreshman

    Think like a soldier. Most u carry is one rifle one handgun. Most encounters 100 meters or less.


    It is short and simple for me, I am having weapons that is usual in this region, in short eastern types of weapons for SHTF here make sense.
    I had that once and it worked for me. I make difference between what I like today, and what I use when SHTF.
    Great majority of fights that I was involved in were happening in maybe 75-125 meters.
    And also lot of those happened in very difficult conditions for me and weapon in terms of abusing weapon.

    Mr. Red
    Mr. Red

    Honestly, whatever weapon system you operate, especially in this tighter economy, run with it. The key, in my opinion, is using something that has a common round. Here where I’m at, many people are hunters, or outdoor enthusiasts, so we have a lot of hunting style calibres, but that also means we have a lot of .308 and .223, which are popular hunting rounds. So any “military style” rifle that first either of those is a good bet for my area ( I like .308, takes moose much better than .223, plus the extra punch at a longer distance is great).

    But, like I said, if you’ve got a 10/22 as your rifle, and you don’t have much money coming in, then by all means run with that until you can upgrade, but don’t go out and spend all your money on a firearm, while you have no food/medical supplies. It may not have the stopping power of an M1 Garand, but if you train with it, you can be fast an accurate, and that, in my opinion, outweighs the stopping power.

    Back on the topic of limited funds, if you DO have some sort of rifle already, then next you should get either a pistol or shotgun, at least in my thinking of it. Pistol because it’s easier to conceal should that be something you need, and a shotgun because, well, it’s one of the most versatile platforms there is, with a huuuuge amount of different rounds you can use. Plus it’s great for defending your home, hunting, and you can shout “THIS IS MY BOOM STICK” once and a while when you’re at the range practising with it lol.

    Also, to end off, as I stated in another thread, if you have a group of like minded people, make sure that, of you can, have the same set up, or as close to it as possible (ESPECIALLY ammunition commonality). Hope it helps.


    Canadian Patriot. Becoming self-sufficient.


    I prefer an AK in 7.62×39 based on battlefield reliability, maintenance, and cost of the round itself. I also love my .45 but no entity uses it in mass quantities. If I had to leave the house with just 3 weapons it would be My AR-15, Remington 700 LTR and my Glock 19. Compatibility with all current NATO calibers. For the AR and the 700 interchangeability with current US Military and Police issued weapons platforms and the Glock for interchangeability with the most common Police issued firearms. While none of these weapons are the most accurate or best performing in their respective fields they are way above average across the board and ammo, magazines and repair parts will be more plentiful.then other models and are generally more affordable based on their prevalence in the market . The 5.56, and 9mm are low recoil enough for people with smaller stature to fire with little or no problems and the weapons themselves are easy to operate and maintain. As far as the ability to “Rack the slide” If your racking at the time of need, you’ve already failed. As far as during firearms failures and normal reloading there are several products available for the Glock series and the XD’s that can help provide for more leverage. Search Amazon for glock or XD slide assist.

    As far as picking firearms for purchase. When asked “what should I buy?” my first question is how much are you willing to spend. My Second question is “what is the status of your other preps?”. A person with a $3000 dollar rifle a couple thousand rounds and no preps is a looter waiting for an opportunity to act. The answer is buy the best upgradeable , common caliber firearm you can afford. Put money and time into training before you buy tactical gadgets. Standard AR sights have worked just fine out to 500m and beyond for 30 years. The Army’s requirement for enhanced sights for all rifles was a massive waste of money. As you grow with your firearm you can upgrade but remember all of these lights, lasers and sights require batteries and also may require parts and maintenance. Also as far as pistols for SHTF. In combat the pistol is a last resort weapon. reliability and ease of operation are paramount. Initial upgrades should be extended controls, such as mag release and slide release. Unless you have tried a combat reload in actual combat please believe me large uncomplicated ,easy to find and operate controls are a must.

    Profile photo of Roadracer

    My focus has been on standardizing with common calibers. For my wife and I it is 9MM, .223, and 20GA. I realize that 20GA is a bit of a departure from the normal 12GA, but the reduced recoil, and reduced penetration of walls in a home invasion scenario seems to make sense for us.

    A battery of multiple firearms with interchangeable parts for a SHTF situation provides the best flexibility.

    Agree with mic68 that upgrades that improve reliability and ease of operation are worth the investment.

    Profile photo of MR Ts Haircut
    MR Ts Haircut

    For me it all goes to logistics and Familiarity. Use what you train with. Use what you can feed. I reload 5.56/.223 and for pistol .45 and .40 My personal choice is the AR15 with a 1×4 scope with an incorporated red dot. Of course BUIS. I simply prefer this round and with its use by LEO and militaryit will be available. The 5.56 is ideal for home defense and is unlikely to overpenetrate. With the 1×4 I can reach out to 300 yds and it is good for CQB.
    For Pistol, I prefer the 1911 in .45 My Springfield Loaded fits the bill. For the .40 I prefer the XDM because of the stopping power and the round capacity (15 rds Mag).

    that is my choice and what I will go with.

    Mr. Red
    Mr. Red

    I forgot to add in my previous post, the idea of KISS, otherwise known as Keep It Simple, Stupid!

    There are a million and one extra parts, optics, all sorts of wazoo ninja uber operator things you can throw on your rifle (and shotgun, even). Before you go out and spend a few hundred, or even thousand dollars on an optic, or new fancy thing-a-ma-jig, understand that your stock firearm will still work without it. I’ve seen many a prepper say they NEED an EO Tech or Aimpoint or ACOG. Sure it may improve your shooting, but that’s extra money that can go to food or tools.

    I dunno about you guys, but I’d rather have a slick rifle (slick meaning that it’s stock/nothing big added on) and have more food or medical supplies, than go without that extra stuff for a fun sight on my rifle. But, by all means, once you can afford something like that, go for it. But remember that food is important, your rifle will still be deadly effective without an ACOG or something of that nature. Not to mention the food for your gun (and mags).

    Just a few thoughts, YMMV.

    Canadian Patriot. Becoming self-sufficient.


    A bit of a qualifier before I attempt to opine on anything.

    I was Infantry for about half of my time in the military. A shooter – usually the designated marksman. If the military has it in inventory, I’ve probably used it at one time or another.

    That said, if I were starting from zero today (and knowing what I know) I would tend to side with Selco’s philosophy – use what is found in your area. This means spare parts, compatible ammo and extra weapons/mags (since the guy you just decked won’t be needing his anymore). Whatever you run has to be tough and reliable.

    I’m a bit hesitant about going into what I use, but I figure I’m on a list somewhere by now anyway, so why not? Don’t read into this as a “hey, ain’t this sooo tacti-cool!?!”. I invested in what I did because of quality, accuracy, reliability and personal experience with the weapons…

    My personal rig is a plain-vanilla HK91. I upgraded the rear battle sight to the latest design (since I judged it to be superior) and also invested in a Bundeswehr-issue optical sight. I’ve cross-trained with the Germans and you can beat a G3/HK91 like a rented mule, and it will shrug it off. It’s designed to run on 147 grain ball ammo, but any .308/7.62×51 in the right bullet weight will make it happy.

    My wife’s rifle is a HK93, which is the 5.56mm little brother to the 91. It’s just as tough, and there is some parts interchangeability. I upgraded the rear sight as well, but also opted for an EOTech 512 optical sight for her. It’s easy to use, easy to hit with. It’s a good piece of gear if your shooter doesn’t have a lot of experience. If it craps out, dump it and go back to the open sights.

    No lasers, no flashlights on any of our firearms. The HK’s have been dosed with a good amount of camouflage colored Krylon, so they look suitably crappy and are hobo-approved…

    Sidearm is a standard GI-issue plain-Jane Colt 1911A1. My wife opted for a S&W 686 in .357 mag. For small game, I have a blued S&W K-22. Small, light, accurate.

    Optional weapons include: Winchester Model 12 Trench gun (with bayonet). A Suomi K-31 carbine in 9mm. Precision rifle is a Winchester Model 70 in .30-06, fitted with an ex-Marine Corps Unertl scope. These are being held in reserve for those who we hope will join us when TSHTF.

    I was going to write about choosing the correct ammo, but I don’t want to be overly-windy…


    The wicked flee when none pursueth..." - Proverbs 28:1



    I tend to agree with you re: high-speed go-fast stuff. The more stuff you have on your rifle, the greater the chance it will crap the bed when you need it most. Mr. Murphy and I are old friends. And yeah, you can obtain more ammo (or what have you) if you don’t buy that High-Speed widget…

    The only concessions I made to add-on stuff are the issue optical sight for the G3 (which is detachable, has a repeatable zero, and is stored in a pouch on my battle belt), and the EO Tech 512. It really is a good piece of kit and runs on AA batteries, which are everywhere. If it takes a hit or craps out, then just dump it and use your battle sights. (My eyes aren’t what they used to be, which explains the optical sights, etc).

    Lasers and flashlights and doo-dads and night vision and all sorts of extra stuff on a carbine? You’ve just increased the weight up to the 12 pound range, which means you can swap that M4 out for a real rifle, like a M1A or a G3 (or even an old Springfield 03)… never made sense to me, buying a tiny carbine like an M4, then hanging 8 pounds of extras on it… meh..

    The wicked flee when none pursueth..." - Proverbs 28:1

    Mr. Red
    Mr. Red

    If I were to run an optic of some sort on any platform, I’d make damn sure that it was quick detach, and that my irons are on point. And that the optic (unless it’s just magnified glass, or something like an ACOG) used standard batteries, like your 512.

    Like you said, rather than having a 10-12 pound M4 style rifle, either keep it slick so you can carry more ammo, or go with a big boy rifle (I’ve personally been eyeing one of those scout style M1A’s).

    Unless I had nearly everything else squared away with regards to food, medical supplies, comms, all that other vital stuff, if that was all good, then and only then would I look at night vision and IR lasers and stuff. It’s an excellent force multiplier to own the night, but at the price for it, I’d rather send those funds elsewhere. Not to mention those things devour batteries, so you’d have to have good rechargeable ones, and a good way to keep replacing the juices in em.

    In case y’all haven’t noticed yet, I like slick rifles and saving money to where it needs to be sent to lol

    Canadian Patriot. Becoming self-sufficient.


    Being a gunsmith, firearms instructor and former LEO, my thoughts used to be complex on this.
    Now, it’s much simpler for various reasons.

    First, I have a family now and my priorities changed.
    The threats I face also changed when I left LE work.

    What I choose has to be used by them also.
    They can’t handle much of what I chose over the years, so my collection is changing.
    Simpler, smaller grip and firearm size, easier recoil, low maintenance, all play a part in the choice.

    Many items were sold off for various reasons, changing to another ‘platform’, increasing the prepping stockpile,
    letting collectors pieces go to a collector rather than me beating them up.

    A lot also plays into what we do now, the entire family hunts and shoots.
    Our hunting guns can provide yeoman service as defensive weapons.
    Slower, yes but there’s something to be said for a gun that one has killed many critters with, you’re going to be familiar with it.

    There are a lot of good options out there, some better than others, but in all reality how much use do you expect out of your firearms post-SHTF?
    That’s the key point. You can have 35 guns, 1 million rounds of ammo and still starve to death because you focused on the wrong thing.
    Conversely, you can have years worth of food but no way to keep the neighbors from taking it. Bad idea.

    There is a balance that many of us gun owners forget.

    Make your choices according to your needs.
    Where I am, we hunt. Big game, small game, game that hunts you back.
    My/our choices are made accordingly.
    We have some fear of refugee’s and such, but depending on the season and what actually happens (SHTF wise), they may not be an issue, not being able to get here.

    As such, most of my ‘stocked’ ammo is hunting related. It will work fine for defensive use also.
    Too many people don’t understand ammo and it’s availability.
    Some expect to find it laying around like on “Call of Duty”, or that they can trade some military or LEO out of ammo. Ain’t gonna happen. Pretty much everything anymore is counted and signed for. You are issued “X” amount of rounds, you better be able to explain where every last one went as it stands. Post-SHTF, they are going to be keeping the ammo for themselves. I would/will.

    For serious social work:
    We keep a couple of AR’s for the kids. Building 6.8mm uppers for them for hunting.
    The wife has her AK, I have my FAL.
    For handguns:
    I prefer 1911’s but have some Glocks also.
    The wife has her 9mm/.38’s
    The kids? So far, they’re learning and trying different things.
    Although the oldest daughter is a terror with “‘her” .38.

    Ammo, I do need more but could hold out quite a while with what I have or can make.
    Changing guns/calibers has left me short on some choices. But I’m not worried about that, at least not right now.
    Right now, it’s getting ready for filling the freezer, buying tags and making sure the hunting guns are ready.
    That and the fishing gear.

    Minimal count?
    One good rifle per person, one good handgun.
    At least one spare of each, just in case.
    After that, I don’t give recommendations on brands, calibers or such in general.
    There are too many variables and personal opinions and fit issues.

    As far as ammo goes, I do have some recommendations:
    Rotate your defensive rounds yearly.
    Put that old ammo back for a ‘rainy day’ and sight verification.
    Put new ammo in and mark the box end with the date. Save that for ‘just in case’.

    That means you may go through 100 rounds of defensive pistol ammo a year, storing the older stuff.
    Buying a box or two every couple months, you can quickly put quite a bit back. Remember, this is defensive not blasting/target.

    Rifle, defensive ammo? You carry 3-4 mags with you daily in your car/truck/etc? Rotate that yearly also.
    Say 100 rounds again.

    Rifle, hunting? I may go through a 20 round box a year between sighting verification and hunting.
    I can pick that up at my leisure (or sit down at the loading bench for an hour and have that).

    I can’t see any of us ‘practicing’ post-SHTF, so blasting/target ammo is just extra ammo in case we would run out of the defensive ammo and we won’t count that. But it’s nice to have a lot of it regardless, prices just seem to keep going up long term.

    So figuring 20 years, 100 rounds a year, that’s 2000 handgun rounds,
    Same for the Rifle.
    That seems pretty steep unless you break down the purchases to 50 handgun and 20 rifle a week. If you can buy more, do so. But it will eventually add up. And with each additional year, that ammo that comes out of rotation adds to the ‘stockpile’ at no additional cost.

    Edit to follow.


    for me I have shot a lot with AR and M1A, plus my 9mm/45ACP Glocks. You know Glocks break in about 2500 rounds, so you must know you hardware is relaible and second nature to you. I standardized calibers for 22lr, 9mm, 45ACP, 5.56 (223) and 7.62×51(.308), 12ga etc. I am good with iron sights and optics +600meters, obviously some won’t reach. Point is BE PREPARED. What ever you have practice and be proficient with it, do it till it is memory. If we have a SHTF situation, martial law, etc. I will boost my supplies accordingly from the BBT (black booted thugs) or blue hats, their call. Also figure to have some cashes in alternate locations, + gear, + food, meds etc. I have purchased ammo just for barter and also other stuff too. Also have some trusted people you can count on helps too with same hardware to interchange with and for your planning too. IMHO.


    I absolutely agree with the KISS principle. It appears to me you have it covered pretty well. Have you tried to get her to exercise the hands a bit to increase strength? Anyway, my wife has the same problem (she’s 71), and may have to switch to a difference firearm. We tried out the S&W M&P Shield, and it seem to be accurate, reliable, and the slide was easy to retract. If you don’t mind them, Cheaper Than Dirt has them for less than $400.

    We also are “shooting” for commonality of calibers. Primary for us at this time is 9mm in Glock 17 (may change for the wife) and AK’s firing 7.62×39. We do have other calibers of rifles and handguns, but those are the primaries. Of course, she also has a 20ga and I have a 12 ga shotgun. And we each have a .22 rifle, her’s is a Ruger 10-22 Take down, and mine is a Ruger 10/77 bolt action.


    I always thought that the Mini 30 was also a good choice , I recently picked up an AK , and thats my go to weapon now . I have both , but one thing about the mini , is that its very small and light , but uses the same 7.62×39 round the AK does , which is a proven round . Its VERY fun to shoot , its almost as simple as the AK , but no track record . Its less intimidating looking , and easier to hide , due to its small size , this makes it perfect if you are equipping people who are not real proficient with firearms , young people, and women ( no offense ladies )

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