I want to talk about selecting firearms for catastrophic disasters because the Shepherd School, and the Dave’s Homestead website were originally designed strictly for firearm training. I did it that way on purpose. At that time, I felt it was my calling to help train citizen to be able to protect themselves and their families from predators (mostly the two legged kind).
When I started I was still working in the prison and the reality that evil exists was constantly being shown to me. When I began working in emergency management, I grew a softened approach. I have seen the other side of people working together to help each other also exists. I also find that people have the capacity to deal with hardship in either generous and positive ways or negative violent ways depending on the situation and the resources they have available.
Prepping, and living the prepper lifestyle is now starting to become more popular, just like the old “back to the land movements”, but survivalism and survivalists still carry negative connotations. I don’t understand this as they are basically the same thing. People that take extra time to build additional resources and skills as a safety blanket or insurance policy. This idea was recently discussed on an email group I belong to. Basically they said that a “prepper” WAS a “survivalist without the guns”. I tend to agree with that, since to me I don’t care as much WHY I’m stuck in a disaster and to the fact THAT I’m stuck in a disaster.
Disaster Preparedness is More Than Just Buying Guns
One thing I am adamant about in the disaster prep world is that anyone that has all guns and no food is setting themselves up for murder… I will say that again. Anyone that believes that a large scale disaster is possible and takes time to prepare for it, and does so solely by buying firearms and ammunition is either consciously or unconsciously stating that if the manure ever flies they are going to use their guns to take food from people without guns. Those people are the reason people like me spend money on weapon preps.
Personally, I love guns, but at this stage I would rather buy a $500 country living grain mill, or a $600 honey extractor than another AR-15 upper.
But that’s because its our households theory to prepare in depth and balanced. We don’t have top of the line anything until we have quality everything… Meaning, you first have to have 72 hours of gear, food, light, heat, first aid, and defense – Get the bare basics. Then get a month of gear – better quality. I’m not going to spend 4 or 5 grand on a Generation 4 night vision scope to sit on a $3000 dollar M-14 rifle if the only food I have is two cases of Ramen noodles. However, I am not going to try to protect a year supply of freeze dried food with a whistle and a rubber slingshot either.
Weapons Do Have a Vital Role in Disaster Preparedness
That being said, weapons – especially firearms, do have a place in a prepper’s lifestyle. But these firearms need to be chosen with the same care we spend on making sure we get the best quality storage food for our money. We have to compare quality, price, our needs, our wants, and all the added costs to get a firearm that works in our program.
A Gun Needs to Always Go Bang When Needed
To me the most important aspect of a gun is reliability. I know that if I have to use my firearm in a emergency it’s a BAD DAY, and since the statistical probability of a BAD DAY is low, I don’t want to tempt Murphy with a firearm that cannot shoot 3 rounds in a row on the range without a malfunction. Get a gun that goes bang every time with NO exceptions. Cool guns with neat little stories or exotic ammunition is cool to show your buddies, but a disaster gun needs to be practical and reliable.
A Survival Guns Needs to Be Fed Common Ammo
The next is that it needs to shoot ammunition that is common. That means something you can get at the local hardware store or Wal-Mart. Adoption by our military or police is also a good sign that it is a common round. That means 22lr, .38 spl, 9mm, .40, or .45 acp, 12 gauge, .223, .308, 30-06 and the like. We can debate all day long that 10mm or .38 super is the best round for handguns, or that nothing beats a .35 whelen for hunting big game , but if you cannot find any ammunition then your firearm is a unwieldy club.
The Best Survival Gun Is Big Enough to do the Job
It needs to be big enough to do the job, that means at least .38 in a handgun, and .223 in a rifle, and some would consider these to be marginal. While it is true that nobody likes to bleed, and a .22 can kill, I don’t want to have to face off a desperate and starving biker gang with a .22 pistol.
It needs to be cheap enough that you can afford to fit it in your budget, along with ammunition, needed accessories, and training. While I pine over a Barrett M98, it costs more than my last two cars, rounds cost about $2 a shot, and I don’t have a single place to fire it. I don’t own any truck or any gun I am afraid to get muddy and scratched. I don’t beat up my tools, but I bought them for work. If your gun is too pretty, or too costly to use, then lock it up and buy something else that you will use.
Few items in a prepper’s kit is as personal as their choice in (or even to have) firearms. Its worse than ham radio guys and their gear. I am not going to tell you what to get, but if you buy something you can afford, that you will train with, and that you have put some thought into, I am sure you will be fine.
But, just in case you are wondering. We went with common guns that most “gun-people” have, and instead of buying different brands, we have stuck with buying multiples of the same make/models for redundancy. Of course, once you have one of each, guns go back on the bottom of the list until you are buying multiples of the wheat grinders and radios…
Our Picks For the Best Firearms for Catastrophic Disasters
- .223 AR-15 with many magazines
- 12 gauge Remington 870
- 9mm Glock 19 with many magazines
Of course we do have some revolvers, 1911’s and a odd WWII bolt gun here and there…