I agree with your critiques of Jon W.'s article, so I won’t belabor those points. There are a couple of points Jon makes that I would like to add to:
First, since Jon is taking a very practical approach to the weapon consideration and refers to his family, and to the possibility of fleeing with what you can carry, my response will continue in that direction. I’ve considered weapon choice very much and come to some of the same conclusions. However, I personally disagree with the AR as the only platform. AKs are extremely common in the united states, and we know they are reliable in adverse conditions. But AKs and SKSes also have another advantage over 223: their caliber is powerful enough to kill deer and in most states is legal for such. So if you are actually thinking that your combat rifle might have to double as a hunting rifle, which it might if you’ve had to flee your home, then an AK or 308 will serve both purposes. This led me to purchase a Saiga .308, as it has the receiver and parts of an AK but the knockdown power of a 308. It also has a hunting legal 5-round magazine, so if anyone snooped around looking for assault weapons, all they would find would be a 5 round semi-auto hunting rifle that just happens to look like an AK. As for full capacity magazines…I have those too, but can keep those hidden with my ammo stash.
Now about having other weapons: I have planned weapons to fit each of the needs and capabilities of my family. 22s for the kids, and a very accurate bolt-action in .223 for the wife. For pistols I have revolvers that use .38 Special for target practice and .357 Magnum for serious business. They are light yet highly reliable. Jon states that he “doesn’t plan” on getting into a fight with pistols—no one ever does. But if there were a SHTF situation and the government was trying to confiscate weapons, it’s easier to mix and mingle in any town or populace with a pistol under your shirt than with an AR over your shoulder. Not to mention the fact that you might just have your pants around your ankles answering the call of nature when those bad guys pop around some trees and your rifle is leaning up against a tree out of reach. Pistols can stay with you at times you have to leave your beloved rifle somewhere inconspicuous.
Finally, as for shotguns, I live in a mountainous state with plenty of deer and elk, but I suspect that in a real SHTF situation every yahoo in town would be killing them and food would be difficult to scrounge by year two. Birds, on the other hand, number in the millions and a shotgun can be used to bring home a nice fat duck or goose, game that would be a real challenge to hit with a .22 rimfire. In conclusion, when choosing your hammer, it might be unwise to limit yourself to ones so small they are only good for crafting birdhouses, or so big they are used for railroad spikes. - C.S.R.
I certainly agree with your comments on the recent guns article that spent so many words criticizing Mel Tappan’s approach to firearms.
To your comments I will add the historical perspective that in his day, there was no standardized assault cartridge as is now found in the .223 and .308, nor were people amassing huge numbers of cartridges for their arms as is common today. As I understood Tappan, one reason he was therefore advising the accumulation of many different rifle type was so that it would be possible to make use of any cartridges that might come along. I think that was a sound philosophy then and nearly as sound now, although everyone would agree that his books are dated. Glad you put in a word for him. I'm looking forward to the new book. - R.F. in Ontario, Canada
This is in reference to “Thinking About Weapons” by Jon W. It is apparent from the tone and content that the author thought only as far as hordes of Mutant Zombie Bikers. I would suggest that any survival firearm that spends more than an extremely small percentage of its time as a combat weapon belongs to a person who isn’t going to make it. The dislike of the Three Gun battery assumes that you never need a sidearm for up close and personal, [and the need to carry it concealed]. It further assumes that you can take birds in flight (perhaps the author can with his AR, I prefer a 20 gauge shotgun) and that you are precise enough to hit small game in the head so that you don’t destroy the meat (I prefer a .22LR).
Finally, and perhaps my most serious objection is that he assumes his AR will never malfunction. As someone who survived combat in Viet Nam because my M1911 worked when my M16A1 went click (on a half full mag – it jammed) I can assure you that "2 is 1 and 1 is none". Faced with a choice between a .45 ACP or a very expensive club, I’ll choose the .45, thank you. For the price of a decent AR-15, I can own a 20 gauge shotgun single, an AK-47 with 500 rounds, and a solid .357 Magnum revolver.
As to lighter ammo, that is a red herring. When I was in RVN, the troops liked to carry a thousand rounds because they needed them. I know the arguments about better civilian ammo but I much prefer the stopping power of a single 7.62 [NATO] instead of the multiple shots required of 5.56 ammo. Lighter ammo loses it edge if it takes three rounds (or more) of 5.56 to do the job a single 7.62 will do. If weight is my primary concern, then I’ll have a .22 LR to go with my .45.
I strongly advocate looking at your survival situation, determining what weapons mix makes the most sense from a survival point of view. Then see if that weapon can do the other jobs required of it. The weapon that can perform the most functions acceptably well (one of these must be self defense) is the first choice. It might well be a pistol/carbine in the same caliber combination that is still cheaper than most reliable AR’s. I personally do not like the AR platform (see RVN comment above) for survival. It is fun to shoot, I’d have less trouble with Ruger’s Mini-14, but I just don’t think the 5.56 is enough round for the broadest range of survival requirements. It is always easier to use a round in a situation that is less demanding than its design than to use it in a more demanding situation. I know that 7.62X39 (AK round) has been used to kill elephants by poachers in Africa. I just don’t think needing a 100 rounds to get the job done makes the AK an “elephant gun”. Deer have been taken with .22 LR but I don’t think the .22 is a solid deer rifle. Get a long arm/handgun combination that fills most of your survival needs. I don’t foresee needing “The Infantry Attack” as a primary survival reference. - Capt Bart (at SurvivalCache)
A one gun platform for a group is indeed flawed. Just ask the military about Afghanistan and Iraq. The AR platform is good for close in combat against AK armed folks, who are in range and so are you. This war brought back the M14 to help with the longer range fighting, especially in the Afghanistan countryside. Our military forces go with a balanced approach. Most of the squad or platoon is armed with the AR variant. Some members are armed with a 7.62 NATO platform for harder and longer hitting. The mix has been a good compromise.
Most folks will be a "bug in" thing with us banding up with close friends in their neighborhood. The majority of folks don't have the option of money to buy a distant retreat. Most folks with a survival mindset have a 223 caliber. And a few have something larger. My wife and son will be using a Mini-14, which cost a lot less than an AR variant. We will be able to share ammo, but not magazines. I have a Springfield Armory M1A with a good scope. I'm very good with it out to a long range. This should convince a lightly-armed mob to go elsewhere before they get into our mutual range. Don't count out those deer rifles too, for long range shooting to turn or soften up a mob. I then have a SOCOM 16 for close in heavy hitting supporting the lighter guns of our group. The magazines for both guns are compatible and my son can use the SOCOM. if need be.
Again, convincing the looters it's easier to go elsewhere is the key. That will, I know, be a problem with a highly trained group attacking us. The best that we will be able to do is make it expensive for them. If your on your own pick what is good for you. When forming a group you will need balance for overall defense. - Sasquatch
Although I violently disagree with his choice of the AR platform as the ultimate do-all rifle, Jon W. makes a couple of good points. Getting caught by bandits without your main "war"
weapon might be fatal. Unless you plan to hunt as a patrol, you are vulnerable while you are tramping around in the woods with a less capable weapon. In combat, you only get one chance, so you better use every advantage you have. During a societal breakdown, I think life may take on the flavor of a siege. I might have a dozen weapons, but there is only one that I will carry full time.
BTW, for what it's worth, I don't trust the AR platform at all. I have used this weapon for 30 years in the Army and when it gets dirty or your ammo is questionable, it will jam. Under field conditions, I would much prefer something else with more punch that can handle dirt better.
I also agree with his observations about pistols. They are specialty weapons made to conceal. They make a lot of sense because you can't always run around with your battle rifle and full combat load without drawing unwanted attention. If you need one, get one, but you will never draw it in preference to a long gun unless your rifle quits working (like ARs are prone to do). Carrying both makes little sense to me unless you are planning to shuck your battle-rattle so you can appear less formidable. A canteen is a much better use of weight. - JIR
Good Day Mister Rawles,
Thank you, as always, for the good work you do every day. Regarding the letter you posted yesterday on survival firearms I feel the need to offer a thought.
It seems to be a recurring theme that folks talk about storing "X" many rounds of 7.62 NATO versus storing "X times 2" rounds of 5.56 NATO (.308 and .223 respectively).
I'm forced to wonder how many Hollywood-esque gun battles these folks foresee themselves engaging in and also surviving.
I may not be a combat hardened war veteran. Point of fact, I live in a country where I cannot legally own a battle rifle. Yet my layman's perspective indicates that when the SHTF you would be wise to be holding the biggest, baddest battle rifle you can physically handle.
Besides, as Jon W states:, as Jon W states:
"More than twelve million ARs are in civilian hands in the United States. This doesn’t count those held by law enforcement, the National Guard or Army Reserve, and the active military. There is more .223/5.56 ammunition in this country that any other caliber except .22 Long Rifle. There are more spare parts, more accessories and more people trained specifically on the AR platform than on any other weapon."
If you survive the half dozen gun battles it takes to deplete your bulky .308 ammo stores then by that time there should be plenty of other ammunition [of various calibers] left on the ground for you to pick up. However, prior to that there's no great reason to fall in with the crowd.
Kind Regards, - The Apple Islander