Ammunition

10 ‘Must Have’ Calibers and Platforms

long-barreled S&W Model 27, right profile

Whether you are getting ready for the zombie apocalypse, anarchy, or the revolution — in today’s increasingly volatile environment — I believe there are some absolute, must-have platforms and calibers — whether you like them or not. If things go south and even if they do not, it’s a numbers game.

What does that mean? It means, the items that will be available are the items with the greatest supply at that moment. If there is one red T-shirt it will be gone faster than the stack of 10 white T-shirts. If that makes sense to you, read on. If not, I can’t help you. If you understand the premise and are still here, read on.

Sturm Ruger Convertible Single Six .22 LR Revolver
A Sturm Ruger Convertible Single Six Revolver is my choice for the .22 handgun due to its versatility.

.22 LR

The most obvious must have by the numbers is the ubiquitous .22 Long Rifle cartridge. Admittedly, it should not be anyone’s first choice as a defensive round but in a rifle platform, wielded by a proficient marksman, it can be formidable at 50 yards or less. It can also provide food in the form of small game and birds while doing it in a less obvious manner.

This is my first recommendation due to the amount of .22 Long Rifle firearms and ammunition in circulation. It can always be found, bought, or bartered for. The platforms for this are varied, but I would probably recommend owning a Ruger 10/22 rifle — again, because of the numbers.

The chances of finding parts or a replacement are greater, because of the percentage of the market it encompasses. Its semi-auto capability makes it more practical when used defensively. It also has acceptable accuracy for survival.

As for a handgun chambered in .22 Long Rifle, I do not have a recommendation for a specific model that stands out as far as numbers other than to say there are most probably more Strum Ruger handguns in circulation than those of any other manufacturer. My choice would most likely be a single-action revolver with adjustable sights and the longest barrel I could find.

The adjustable sights will allow you to re-zero for different brands and types of ammunition found or bartered for. The long barrel will get the most energy out of the cartridge and provide the longest sight radius to increase its practicality.

.223 Remington

My second choice, again only because of availability and the numbers, would be the .223 Remington. Notice I said .223 and not 5.56x45mm. The reason for that is weapons chambered in either caliber will all safely fire the .223 Remington. However, those chambered in .223 cannot safely fire the 5.56.

Bushmaster AR-15 with A2 carry handle and red dot sight
This is a Bushmaster rifle chambered in 5.56x45mm which can fire .223 Remington with equal aplomb.

Additionally, without question in the U.S., more rifles are chambered in those calibers than in any other. Not only the various AR patterns but other designs including the Ruger Mini 14 series of rifles make it unquestionably the most numerous rifle caliber available. That said, I must add that it is not my first choice as a defensive caliber or weapon.

I believe there are much better choices. However, looking at strict numbers and availability, it remains number 2 on my ‘must have’ list. You will always find the ammunition. If you reload, components will also be around. Likewise, the weapons, parts, and components should be plentiful — if in no other place (not to assault any one’s sensibilities, but we are discussing worst case scenario’s here) than in battlefield pick-ups.

When choosing .223 ammo, try to avoid the thin jacketed, ‘explosive’ varmint bullets because of their lack of penetration. They will create very ugly, close to the surface wounds. If placed with precision, they can be deadly, but I would opt for a heavier jacket with more penetration before expansion is initiated. That said, I’ll take what I can get and shoot what I have.

9mm

The next choice is again strictly a numbers choice and that is the 9mm Luger, Parabellum, or 9x19mm. Whatever you call it, there is no doubt as to its popularity and availability. I will take a wild guess and say there are more firearms in circulation that fire the 9mm than any other. That means that although its use is limited primarily to the handgun, if you go by the numbers, you should have at least one firearm that is chambered for 9mm.

Browning Hi Power 9mm semi-auto pistol
My favorite 9x19mm platform, the Browning Hi-Power shown here, with some nice custom touches by master pistolsmith Jim Hoag.

There are also some carbines chambered in 9mm that will marginally increase its lethality. Personally, unless you are an exceptionally gifted pistol shot, I would not expect much from it other than as a close defensive weapon. There are almost too many choices available in a pistol chambered in this caliber to mention.

However, once again for the purpose of this discussion, I will recommend that your choice be a full-sized handgun to get the most return in accuracy and ballistics. My personal all-time favorite pistol is the Browning Hi-Power, so I personally have this one covered.

12 Gauge

I’m sure many of you have been waiting with bated breath wondering when, and if, I would mention the 12 gauge. Well, wonder no more. The 12-gauge shotgun is my next recommendation because of its popularity and versatility. There should always be 12-gauge shells available, but whether they will be in an appropriate load is debatable. Without question, more shells will be loaded in 7½, #8, or #9 shot sizes. Those shot sizes are most available because they are the most used sizes for trap and skeet shooting and the most popular bird hunted in north America — dove.

If you want to use the shotgun for larger birds, game, or defensively, the availability of those shot sizes and slugs become much less available and more expensive when found. That aside, it is unquestionably the most versatile platform.

My recommendation would be a pump, followed by a semi-auto of some type. That way, you give nothing away in the defensive roll. There are many good choices. However, by the numbers, there are lots of Remington, Mossberg, Winchester, Iver Johnson, and Benellis out there. I must mention some negatives, however, that keep the shotgun relegated to subservient rolls in my choices.

Remington 1100 12 gauge semi-auto shotgun
The 12-gauge semi-auto shotgun represented here by the versatile, reliable, Remington 1100 in its tactical configuration.

Conventionally-styled shotguns are more versatile, but they are slow and awkward to reload quickly (without many hours of regular practice). The level of recoil and muzzle blast take some getting used to and a fair amount of upper body strength to master.

.30 Carbine

I know my next recommendation will be very controversial. However, for the reasons I will state, I think one would be foolish to dismiss it out of hand would be the M1 Carbine. Because of the large numbers in civilian hands, thanks to the DCM, CMP, and NRA, hundreds of thousands of carbines are out there, not to mention the millions of parts to keep them running.

M1 Carbine with attached bayonet, rifle scope, and weapons light
As you all must know by now, this is the author’s favorite urban defense weapon — especially when decked with an Aimpoint sight, Surefire light, and bayonet (if case they get too close). With a 30-round mag, nothing is safe out to 150 yards.

There exists plenty of ammunition and all major ammunition manufacturers offer M1 Carbine ammo. But the best reason would be its versatility. Anyone can effectively operate and shoot the carbine. It is light, handy, easily maneuverable, accurate to 150 yards, reliable, and can be loaded with 30-round magazines.

I know that many will refer to bogus reports of unreliability and a lack of lethality, so I will address those. First, it was not designed to be a main battle rifle. It was adopted to replace a pistol. In that roll, it exceeded expectations. The pistol it was to replace carried 7 rounds and was not accurate or lethal between 25 and 50 yards, even in expert hands. The carbine bested all those stats.

The early reports of reliability problems arose from the new non-corrosive primers. Once the chemistry was corrected, reliability was no longer an issue. As for the lack of penetration of Chinese winter clothing in Korea, do you really think a 110-grain round nose full metal jacket projectile moving at 2,000 fps can’t penetrate quilted cotton fabric? What planet is that possible on.

The lack of effect was due in fact to both bad shooting and projectiles being deflected by brush. I have personally never met a veteran that did not have a place in his heart for the M1 Carbine, including myself.

.30-30 or 7.62x39mm

My next recommendation was a little difficult to make because availability and ballistically they are somewhat equivalent. They are a lever-action in .30-30 Winchester or a semi-auto in 7.62x39mm. Because we are talking the possibility of using it defensively, I went with the semi-auto platforms, SKS, AK clones, and the Mini 30.

Marlin .30-30 lever-action rifle
The .30-30. This one is a Marlin. It’s close, but no cigar!

The soviet cartridge is a better close-to-medium range round than the .223/5.56mm, and quite frankly, I prefer it. There is plenty of ammunition available in that caliber imported from Russia, China, and Korea. Normally, I do not recommend the use of ammunition from those sources. However, because the platforms we are discussing were designed for it, use the foreign for the SKS and AK clones only and not in the Mini-30.

Here are few more calibers and platforms I see as must haves and are in platforms and calibers:

M1 Garand .30-06 Springfield

As Lieutenant General Patton proclaimed, “The Greatest Battle Implement ever devised!” A must have for sure, but be advised to only shoot loads that were designed for its pressure curve, or you will damage the rifle. To increase its versatility, Hornady makes Garand specific ammo with its excellent 168-grain A-Max bullet. With it you can take anything in North America.

M1 .30 Carbine rifle, right profile
In the final months of World War II, on January 26, 1945, Lieutenant General George S. Patton, Jr. wrote the famous phrase, “In my opinion, the M1 Rifle is the greatest battle implement ever devised.”

M-14/M1A1 7.62×54/.308 Winchester

This is another great and versatile choice, especially for those in more rural areas. The options provide plenty of hunting or fighting power and .308 Winchester caliber ammunition is plentiful and versatile.

M14 or M1A1 .308 Win. Rifle, right profile
The M14 or M1A1 (whatever you call it). It was the last great battle rifle the U.S. fielded. It is still without a peer in my not so humble opinion. If it was all you had, you would be in fine shape.

Any High Quality 1911 Clone in .45 ACP

I can’t imagine a defensive battery without a 1911 of some kind, it’s just un-American not to own one. Plenty of guns, parts, and ammo will always be available. Think of it as basic to a shooter as the black dress and pearls are for a lady’s wardrobe.

1911 .45 ACP long slide gun
If you are lucky enough to have a 1911 ‘long slide’ similar to this Jim Hoag Custom, you’ll enjoy plenty of accuracy and increase the range of old “Slab Sides” considerably.

Smith & Wesson revolver in .357/.38 Special

A long barrel .357 Magnum can easily double as a hunting arm for non-dangerous, medium-sized game. With .38 Special ammo, small game doesn’t have a chance. You know there is plenty of .38 special that has been hoarded out there. If you don’t have one… get one!

We all have favorite guns for a SHTF scenario, but reasoning have you put behind your choice of caliber and availability beyond your personal stores? Share your choices and reasoning in the comment section.

  • long-barreled S&W Model 27, right profile
  • Russian SKS rifle with folded bayonet
  • Israeli Galil 5.56x45 rifle
  • M1 .30 Carbine rifle, right profile
  • Remington 1100 12 gauge semi-auto shotgun
  • Marlin .30-30 lever-action rifle
  • M14 or M1A1 .308 Win. Rifle, right profile
  • M1 Carbine with attached bayonet, rifle scope, and weapons light
  • 1911 .45 ACP long slide gun
  • Browning Hi Power 9mm semi-auto pistol
  • Bushmaster AR-15 with A2 carry handle and red dot sight
  • Sturm Ruger Convertible Single Six .22 LR Revolver
  • AK-47 rifle with attached bayonet
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (33)

  1. I feel like you have been looking in my gun vault as I have all the firearms you mentioned (and more). The only exception is the M1 Garand, but I trained with and used it when in the Military Service many years ago. Personally, I like the M1A1 better.

  2. My choice of shotguns..clearlyid the John browning design. The model ten Remington,the Ithaca model 37.
    These are slam guns..as with the trigger.pulled once and held,the entire magazine contents are repeatedly loaded and ddpendef by merely striking the pump handle. Deemed that trench broom in WW1,THE Ksidet complained yo to the Geneva vonb. That is was too lethal to compare with snu other weapon st slaying German troops hand over fist.yjr bottom load/rejection also leaves the shooter gtom moving his dihy og focused vidion yo one virus ..the enemy..
    Also s favorite choice for left handed shooters..got obvious reasons.. I have out raced more than one dr.i.suyo shotgun with my virca 1955 Ithaca 13 ha. Model 37 featherlight.
    My only regret is that yet gun will not fit the circa(1964??) Rifled ,sighted ,deetdlayer barrel with the “,raybar” barrel end sight guide
    If anyone out there knows of sway yo git that barrel to .u pre :64 Ithaca
    .I’m all ears. Thanks..Tim “Jake,” Thomas

    1. Sarge,
      Not sure what’s going on, but you are the second person having trouble commenting on this post. Our apologies… I am looking into it. Please feel free to send your comment to social@cheaperthandirt.com and I will post it under your account. ~Dave

  3. Wow! That’s a lot of comments. I think you should take the .30-30 off the list. It’s not that common anymore in most of the country. Same for the M1 Carbine. You should add the 20 gauge shotgun for all the reasons you mentioned for the 12 gauge, plus it is even better for smaller adults and younger survivors. I’m not so sure about including the .45 as a necessity. Other calibers are much more plentiful (9mm, .40) and mostly just as effective (I love it, though). Stay safe.

  4. The biggest objection I have is to the .30 Carbine. The ammo is not readily available in an effective form, and when you can find it, it’s expensive. I’d like to come up with a better substitute, the closest is 10 mm.

  5. Thank you for putting this together, ESPECIALLY including the .30 carbine. It seems to have “triggered” the community. I, too, disagree with the choice for the posted reasons of the round being anemic. Additionally, in my world in the Southeast, finding .30 carbine ammunition, M1 carbine parts/magazines, and even the rifle itself is religated to on-line purchases or the occassional gun show. Thus, its lack of “pre-apocalypse” abundance should dismiss it from the list.

    That having been said, I have and am a proponent for the PCC concept. Your pictured M1 Carbine wins “The Coolest” prize and I would totally love to run that girl through a shoot-house until she’s hot and steamy!

  6. While I love to go back and read all the new comments, several key points need to be mentioned. Original 30 Carbine rounds, i.e. “Hardball”, are not that effective. Should note that 9mm “Hardball” is also ineffective for any self-defensive use. Col. Thompson (of Thompson “Tommy Gun” fame) proved that in Military testing that led to the 45 ACP being adopted in 1911. 30 Carbine is easier to make hits with at anything over a few yards than a handgun. It was used by military personnel that would normally not be in the front lines. Years later, the 223/5.56 first generation military rounds also proved ineffective because of being “Hardball”, and only making 22 caliber holes, without doing any major secondary tissue damage. Cousin was a Forward Air Controller and dumped his M16 for a M3 “Grease Gun” in Viet Nam. At near contact distances, those 223/5.56 early rounds didn’t do much to stop the VC. In short, any Hardball rounds should be used for target practice only. Modern expanding bullets only way to go for self defense.

  7. .22 pistol–Ruger Mk4 Lite. Very light, threaded barrel for an oil filter (SHTF situation the ATF probably not going to be out checking for suppressors), rail for red dots or scopes. And did I mention that they are very light?

  8. I am not an M1 carbine fan, based on my own combat experience and discussions with many Infantry veterans of combat in Korea. Carbine is not a good combat weapon and thus, not one on which to depend for protecting life and family. It is often described as *popular* but that was only among REMFs who did not experience any/enough actual combat to appreciate life and death imperatives of range, reliability and stopping power. M-1 Carbine is essentially a pistol cartridge, even though with a *longer barrel* benefit. However, in the gritty, filthy conditions of actual combat, with vast amounts of dirt and grime thrown up by incoming enemy artillery and mortar fire, the cartridge simply does not have enough power to reliably cycle the action. There is no time to stop shooting and fighting to clean the carbine.

    WW 2 Infantry Platoon Leaders and First Sergeants who were issued carbines soon changed to M-1 Garands. In Korea, those same leaders obtained M-1 Garands or even M1928 Thompson SMG that we had given to the Nationalists, which were then captured by the ChiComs and captured again by our units from the Chinese after November 1950.

    As an advisor to South Vietnamese Ranger units August 1964- August 1965, I found that the carbine was not well respected. Their tables of organization and equipment (which higher HQ American advisors wrote for the Vietnamese long before I arrived) had the Ranger rifle platoon equipped with one BAR, then one third of the Rangers in each squad armed with M-1 Garand, one third M-1 Carbine, and one third M-1928 Thompson SMG. (An absolute nightmare for ammo supply and resupply.) In the open rice paddies the carbine did not have the range needed and in the jungle, the carbine projo was easily deflected or stopped by heavy vegetation; same effect with bamboo hedges between houses in the village or hamlet. M-1 Garand and BAR had neither of those problems, and for close in work, most of those armed with carbine tried to trade it off for the Thompson, which was loved by all. Also, even at shorter ranges, M1 carbine did not have the power to be a fight stopper. The VC who were shot several times by a carbine often kept on fighting, usually until some other Ranger with M-1 Garand, BAR or Thompson put them down.

    There are home defense options much better than the underpowered M-1 Carbine. It was developed and issued to rear echelon troops who would likely never see the enemy and who thus did not need an M-1 Garand. The carbine was popular only among non-combat soldiers because it was light weight. Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise has likely not seen any significant combat with it. Ask for their service record (verified by DD214) and what unit, what MOS, what war, how long in combat in what duty assignment in what size/type unit (squad or platoon in a rifle company or staff position in some supporting unit etc)

    Lieutenant Colonel, Infantry, US Army (Retired), 49 months total Viet-Nam combat service between 1964 and 1969. By no means an expert on *all* firearms but serious student of Infantry combat actions and Infantry weapons in WW Two, Korea and Viet-Nam.

  9. I am not an M1 carbine fan, based on my own combat experience and discussions with many Infantry veterans of combat in Korea. Carbine is not a good combat weapon and thus, not one on which to depend for protecting life and family. It is often described as *popular* but that was only among REMFs who did not experience any/enough combat to appreciate life and death demands of range, reliability and stopping power. M-1 Carbine is essentially a pistol cartridge, even though with a *longer barrel* benefit. However, in the gritty, filthy conditions of actual combat, with vast amounts of dirt and grime thrown up by incoming enemy artillery and mortar fire, the cartridge does not have enough power to reliably cycle the action. There is no time to stop shooting and fighting to clean the carbine.

    WW 2 Infantry Platoon Leaders and First Sergeants who were issued carbines soon changed to M-1 Garand. In Korea, those same leaders obtained M-1 Garand or even M1928 Thompson SMG that we had given to the Nationalists, which were then captured by the ChiComs and captured again by our units from the Chinese after November 1950.

    As an advisor to South Vietnamese Ranger units 1964-65, I found that the carbine was not well respected. Their tables of organization (which higher HQ American advisors wrote for them long before I arrived) had the Ranger rifle platoon equipped with one BAR, then one third of the Rangers in each squad armed with M-1 Garand, one third M-1 Carbine, and one third M-1928 Thompson SMG. (An absolute nightmare for ammo supply and resupply.) In the open rice paddies the carbine did not have the range needed and in the jungle, the projo was easily deflected or stopped by heavy vegetation; same effect with bamboo hedges between houses in the village or hamlet. M-1 Garand and BAR had neither of those problems, and for close in work, most of those armed with carbine tried to trade it off for the Thompson, which was loved by all. Also, even at shorter ranges, M1 carbine did not have the power to be a fight stopper. The VC who were shot several times by a carbine often kept on fighting, usually until some other Ranger with M-1 Garand BAR or Thompson put them down.

    There are much better home defense options than the underpowered M-1 Carbine. It was developed and issued to rear echelon troops who would likely never see the enemy and who thus did not need an M-1 Garand. The carbine was popular only among non-combat soldiers because it was light weight. Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise has likely not seen any significant combat with it. Ask for their service record (verified by DD214) and what unit, what MOS, what war, how long in combat in what duty assignment (squad or platoon in a rifle company or staff position in some supporting unit etc)

    Lieutenant Colonel, Infantry, US Army (Retired), 49 months total Viet-Nam combat service between 1964 and 1969. By no means an expert on *all* firearms but serious student of Infantry combat actions in WW Two, Korea and Viet-Nam.

  10. Mr. William (Bill) Honeyman,

    Of course you are correct and I take full responsibility for the error whether a typing error or old age. Thank You.

  11. 7.62×54 is NOT the same as .308 as you indicate. it should be 7.62×51. Please have your articles proof read before publication.

  12. Not a comment for posting but an inquiry about why my previous comment has disappeared.

    I left a comment and checked both those boxes below (notify of new and follow up comments). I have since received numerous email notifications of those items, so I have reasonable suspicion that I am somehow *in your system* on this issue.

    However, my initial comment was never posted nor acknowledged; nor have I been told I am a bad person for having a difference of opinion. Just ignored. Did my comment fall off the edge of the flat earth?

    1. I just did a search, I do not see a previous comment from you nor do I have a comment that was moderated for any reason. Please repost it. ~Dave

  13. I like and agree with all of your choices, but with one caveat: while the M1 Carbine is a capable weapon for the purposes you suggest, it has been my experience that ammo is not plentiful or inexpensive enough to include it in your list. Some consideration has to be made for the practicality of stockpiling an affordable amount of ammo for the weapons and reasons you describe. Yes, I know that .308 is expensive, but it is not as hard to find (in my area anyway), and a little of it goes a long way (literally). I think one would be better served by an additional shotgun of smaller size than a 12 gauge with considerably less recoil. This would provide for the sharing of weapons with family or friends who may not be as ready or capable of handling a 12 gauge, while also assuring a much larger and less expensive ammo supply, Having two shotguns running for the closer work would likely prove more effective than adding any other weapon on your list. Buckshot from a 20 gauge or even a 410 can be pretty darn discouraging to anyone on the wrong end of the muzzle.

  14. This old man surely knows his stuff 🙂 Having been taught a bit and listened to his reasoning I do own the S&W 357 6″ and a slightly harder hitting .380 + .223 and .357 rugers , rifles that is and a few besides 🙁 no semi auto though not allowed here . Great stuff Ol’man keep it up.

  15. An insightful article that attracted the expected commentary on a few of the favorite topics of firearms users & collectors, Everyone has favorites for what they consider to be the job. I happen to share the authors view as I own at least one of each firearm he cited except the last – I do not have a long barreled S&W .357 revolver. I do have a 4″ Ruger GP100 in .357. I especially support the selection of the Browning HP although it is probably better known by the Fabrique National name and commonly called the FN HP. The FN HP is back in production along a few modern clones from Springfield, FEG, Tisas, EEA & Girsan.
    The discussion of the 9mm vs 45 cal is ongoing without need of my opinion. However, I do believe the venerable .30 Cal US M1Carbine has a place in these discussions. As written above, the carbine was never intended to be an American main battle rifle, The author correctly states that the carbine was intended to a replacement for the very old .45 auto pistol as an issue TO&E weapon. Our government issued surplus M1 Carbines to foreign troops supporting US forces. The .30 carbine cartridge is a decent pistol cartridge with performance improved by an 18″ barrel. Over 100 years ago Winchester manufactured lever-action carbines in a number of popular pistol calibers and still do. The adoption of the M1 Carbine as a personal defense weapon was valid during WW II as it is today.

  16. You sure about that 5.56 firing safely in a .223 weapon? Check that .223 introductory paragraph again, please. I believe that you can safely fire a .223 in a firearm chambered in 5.56, but you cannot safely fire a 5.56 in a .223 firearm. What say yee?

    1. Hey Jack,

      You are correct, as the paragraph states: “weapons chambered in either caliber will all safely fire the .223 Remington. However, those chambered in .223 cannot safely fire the 5.56.”

      Thanks for reading!
      -Alex

  17. Once more. A well written and concise list of prime choices for “Must Haves”.
    For all of them I feel the Ammo chosen for a particular application is Key! For instance, in .223 Rem. My choice would be the “Winchester” 64 Gr. “Power Point”. It penetrates Deeply, Expansion is Reliable and Core/Jacket Separation is seldom an issue.
    For .22 LR both the “Remington” 36 Gr. RNHP “Golden Bullet” and “Winchester Power Point” cartridges have a reputation for Accuracy and Dependability.
    My Personal preference in .38 Special is the 158 Gr. Semiwadcutter Hollow Point (SWCHP). Several manufacturers offer factory ammo loaded with this projectile and Speer/cci produces an exceptional Bullet for Handloading that can be tailored for a variety of purposes.
    This Bullet is exceptionally Accurate, Expansion is both remarkable and consistent, plus the Weight assures Deep Penetration.
    .357 Magnum is a different story. At Magnum Velocities a Jacketed Bullet is Mandatory and for them I prefer the Speer/cci “Gold Dot” or “Winchester” Ranger JHP in the bullet weight of one’s preference or requirement. The Winchester “Black Talon” was my previous favorite until their CEO’s bowed to Media and Political pressure.
    9mm Parabellum is another caliber where the “Gold Dot” bullets excel in all categories with the caveat that the 147 Gr. Projectiles perform their best from a Carbine Length Barrel that allows them to reach their full velocity potential.
    When it comes to 12 Ga. I leave that choice up to each individual. My personal preference for at home is #4 Buck. It delivers a payload of 27 Pellets with sufficient energy to stop most any assailant while not over penetrating through the house!
    I’ve chosen a 7.62x39mm “Platform” over the 30-30 Winchester primarily for it’s versatility ammo wise.
    Domestic and Overseas manufacturers offer cartridges in various Bullet Weights and styles plus the intrepid Handloader can find suitable Projectiles in weights ranging from 110 Gr. to 150 Gr. Depending on their intended purpose (Speer/CCI is now offering a 123 Gr. “Gold Dot” Jacketed Hollow Point in .310 diameter for Handloading).
    When it comes to both 30-06 Springfield and .308 Winchester I say to each their own. I have limited experience with the .308 and my Remington 700 is equally accurate and effective with most any Factory Cartridges and seems especially fond of the Barnes TSX 150 Gr. It also performed surprisingly well firing the E. Arthur Brown “Accelerator Type” Sabot carrying a Remington 50. Gr. “Power Lokt” JHP.
    I offer these particular suggestions simply as my own personal preference and observations but obviously your readers will have different experiences and preferences.

  18. Seems the M1 Carbine is a lot like a Glock, in that people either love it, or hate it. Being a member of the correct handed crowd, and unpleasant experience with the M1C, I fall in the latter. Something like a Ruger PCC, and a Glock, both in the same caliber, and magazine, seems like a very good option, and/or say a .357 mag in both revolver, and Revolver Caliber Carbine, like a Henry. Probably no more accurate and dependable .22LR pistol than any of the MK series, but like you recommend, get the longest barrel possible, with target adjustable sights.

  19. M-1 Carbine is often overlooked, but anyone that thinks a 9mm is a good cartridge in a carbine should think of the actual ballistics of a 115 grain 9mm versus a 110 grain 30 carbine round in a 16+ length barrel. As to using a 9mm pistol and PCC, would suggest a 357 revolver and rifle combo instead. 9mm firearms need good ammo to function properly, while almost any 38 or 357 round would work in a revolver or lever action rifle. Bonus using the 357 lever action rifle is it an “old time” or “cowboy” type gun, and not an evil assault rifle. With so many magazine capacity limit laws, modern 357 lever action rifles are “grandfathered”, even though they can be “topped off” through the loading gate. A “J” frame size 38, a midsize 357, and a short barrel 357 rifle appears to many folks as not nearly as scary as most 9mm PCCs.

  20. Have a Ruger Mk4 .22lr, an RIA XT22. 22wmr (a favorite), a Taurus 85 .38 snub nose, four 9mm (sub 2000, Walther PPQ, Girsan MC P35 Ops, Browning BDM). My wife has a .357 Trooper MkIII and a Ruger LCR. Would like a .22wmr rifle, just can’t decide, maybe a Henry. My focus is on 9mm and 22wmr. I’m 71 and find these calibers give me the best way to protect my home, not going big game hunting.

  21. When I went in the Army some 50+ years ago, there were still a number of Korean War vets on active duty, most of whom were getting ready to retire. We talked about weapons used in the old days, during Korea and WW2.

    I never knew any Korea vet who considered the M1 carbine to be a reasonable for combat (or hunting) firearm. More than one old vet told me it was not a good man stopper and they would rather carry anything than that; there were some who were still not sold on the M-16, but everyone seemed to love the 1911.

    When I compare the numbers of the M1 Carbine, the .30-30, and the 7.62X39, there doesn’t seem to be a contest. Muzzle velocity and muzzle energy for those weapons: M1 C:1990 fps, and 960 ft/lbs.; the 30-30: 2370 fps and 1890 ft/lbs; and the 7.62: 2349 fps and 1507 ft/lbs. I have seen the 7.62X39 in action and will attest to its efficacy on people and deer.

    To me, the M1 Carbine is more of a novelty or a plinker than a real weapon to be used in defense of myself or others; definitely not a must have for anyone I know. Not to mention, I haven’t seen any ammo for it around here.

    I had a .30-30 years ago and swapped it for something else, just never cared for it. But, I have a rather significant ammunition stock for my long guns in .223, 5.56 (I have AR barrels chambered in both), 6.5X55, .270 Winchester, 7.62X39 (SKS), and .30-06 (M1 Garand). That is just my centerfire rifle ammo, and all are adequate for deer or a firefight (except for the bolt actions). For handguns, I have enough .45 ACP in HP and FMJ for a large number of firefights, and enough .44 Magnum to last me several deer gun seasons. I have several 1911’s which are locked and loaded. My hunting handgun is a 629 Classic Hunter.

    I quit 12 ga years ago, I no longer care to endure the punishment. My shoulder began complaining when I would play with a 12 long ago, but I can shoot my 20 ga Mossberg all day; I have a rather nice ammo stockpile for it in loads from 7.5 all the way to rifled slugs.

    For .22 LR, I have .22 conversion kits for my 1911 and my AR. I also have several .22 rifles, including a Ruger 10-22 with a scope. I have a couple of bricks of .22 ammo.

    I am not a fan of 9 mm or .357. For self -defense, the .357 has been shown to be overkill and over penetrate walls. I know people who carry it for deer but not sure any of them ever took a deer with it although there were some who wounded and lost it. As far as 9 mm, I have seen a fair number of fails when it was used, not real often, but in my book, once is too many, twice removed it from my consideration, I sold my 9. I have never seen a .45 fail to stop anyone hit center of mass. And I have seen quite a few of those.

  22. Generally agree with the choices, though I have to wonder if M1 Carbine* ammo is going to be plentiful. 30-06 isn’t as popular as it used to be either, so Garand seems doubtful, which is too bad. And 30-30 seems to be in the same category. That said, if you have it, use it. If it gets really bad, all ammo is going to be gone way sooner that we would hope or expect.

    Also, I’d note that when .223 is recommended over 5.56×54, that applies to ammo. You’ll want a 5.56×54 rifle so you can use both. The other way around might not be good. Though if it’s a true SHTF situation, I’d use what I had and pray for overspecced rifle or underspecced ammo.

    *An anecdote about the M1 Carbine:
    Many a year ago I often found myself sitting on a barstool next to a retired LCOL USA. Somehow our talk turned to weapons and I opined as to how the M1 Carbine was quite underpowered. “Nonsense,” he replied, “I’ve killed a lot of men with an M1 over 100 yards away.” That’s a paraphrase, but not too far off.

  23. Great list…
    I have 8 of 10 of the calibers (lacking 30.30 and 223), some of my platforms are bit different (.308 in both Blaser and Tikka)… btw my M1 Carbine is the paratrooper folding stock version. My hidden jewel is a not so pretty Bul M5 45 cal double stack mag with a 13 round capacity. It can take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’… a battle pistol (like my 9mm PT 92). Being prior service I lean toward military pistols 🤷🏻‍♂️. I guess I still have to re-set some goals though… 😂

  24. I have one of each and a couple of some! 1911, in 45 ACP., 38 Super, and 9mm. Numerous 9mm pistols and carbines. No, S&W revolvers, but have Colt, Ruger, and Taurus. Three 10/22’s in various configurations, including stock 10/22 and Mannlicher stock model. Carbine, Garand, M-14, and
    Springfield 1903-2, and 1918 A2. Winchester 30-30 and 7.62x39mm AK and AR platform. Winchester and Mossberg shotguns in 12ga. and 410ga.. I think I’m covered.

  25. I have all the listed guns except the 30-30. I’m not a fan of 9mm, but I own a Kel-tec Sub 2000.
    I agree the 22lr is a must. I can carry a LOT of 22lr if I have to bug out. But I will be bugging in and family will try to make it to me.
    As for my dislike of the 9mm. I was a respiratory therapist for a bunch of years; so I saw my share of trauma. Persons shot with 9mm often were talking. 45 ACP not so much.
    I really really like my 30 mcarbine. If ammo were not a dollar a round; I would shoot it more often than my 22lr’s. It is a fun gun to shoot. I read the ballistics info , in an article, it is impressive for such a sweet light recoil round. The article stated that the ballistics of the 30 carbine at 100 yards, was equal to a 357 at the muzzle.

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