The SHTF Gun

Bob Campbell shooting the Remington 870 shotgun with a TruGlo sight

The SHTF gun means many things to many people. Having actually taken incoming fire and proven I cannot stop a bullet, I have a different idea than the casually interested. Planning for an apocalyptic nightmare seems a popular pastime—especially for cinematic writers. Just the same there are times when the need may be real.

Man shooting the Remington 870DM shotgun
Perhaps the Remington 870DM should be at the top of the list in SHTF shotguns.

Man’s propensity for savagery, slavery, and mayhem has little diminished since Neolithic times. Geopolitical woes, revolution, disease, and natural disaster are real concerns. I am not one looking forward to such a trial and I think none that are right minded are. Each of these world wide disasters have been an excuse for the scum of a country to loot rape and burn.

The pillagers still exist. Caesars men and the barbarians did so. None did so on the Nazi scale though. There were looters and rapists during the power outage in New York City in 1968. Read about it sometime and you will not be content to live in a home without a firearm. The question is which firearm, and how many, are enough.

The first and most important step is to have a gun. And let’s not allow the liberals to disarm us while they are taking a political bend. As I mentioned to one of my liberal friends, while he was ranting something about Putin and the Ukraine, where in the hell were you liberals the last 100 years when the Brits were putting the heel to Ireland? He was aghast.

Del Ton DT .308 with riflescope right profile
Perhaps the Del Ton DT .308 is a good answer to the problem.

The Brits and their social order and restrictions on freedom are his idols I suppose. If a political upheaval comes, and I hope it does not, no one will help us. The French marquis fought bravely against the Nazis because there was hope. The Americans were coming. Our oldest ally had hope. Who will help us? No one. No one will and no one could.

Ill conceived ideas lead to a downfall. Some have bright and fluffy ideas that do not wash. Anyone who thinks they know how the Lord thinks, as an example, is pretty arrogant. No one has Him figured out. I once mentioned to one of my friends that God would not let Israel fall. Scott laughed and referred me back to the scripture. How often has He allowed my people to serve in slavery over the past few thousand years? We still fight.

So, forget the misconception of any overlaying protection America has. When our enemy looks at America and calls us the Great Satan, well, look at Hollywood and Washington. They enemy may have a leg to stand on! As my good Jewish friend pointed out, protection is individual not national. The individual is concerned with personal safety, the government, national security. Let’s keep that straight. Individual safety is another thing.

Fiocchi Canned Heat ammunition can
Fiocchi’s Canned Heat ammo is a great choice for long-term storage.

Forget the police. They will be as scared as you are. This varies from agency to agency, the training they have, and how they feel about the community. Officers recruited from the community have ties. Others do not. New York City cops raced toward the Twin Towers. Cops in the recent Florida school shooting hid.

The National Guard will be invaluable. As a National Guard general in New Orleans commented shortly after hurricane Katrina, I have never seen so many people, so scared of large groups of poor people. (He was commenting on heavily armed officers patrolling in armored vehicles. The Guard and church groups fed millions of people.) The Red Cross and FEMA will be your hope in such a situation.

As for New Orleans, when society takes a hit, old scores are sometimes settled. Lets hope you have been even handed in dealing with your brothers and sisters. You may need more help than I can give. Hopefully the situation will be similar to other natural disasters and short lived. You may have a governor like Kathleen Blanco of Louisiana that cried and asked for Federal help. She seemed inept and unable to make a decision. Or, you may have Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina in a command post reading after-action intelligence from the guard a few minutes after it was written and directing from the front line.

Each of these actions was largely the finest hour for the National Guard as they saved uncounted lives. The South Carolina Highway Patrol conducted orderly and intelligent evacuations. In Louisiana it was mayhem. I am not knocking New Orleans; I love the Big Easy. However, the contrast is stark.

Beretta APX 9mm left profile
Beretta’s APX 9mm is a reliable and useful handgun. This is the compact version.

I am a law enforcement veteran without any military experience and I have to call it as I see it. The chief and mayor in New Orleans were despicable corrupt individuals that proved inept. They confiscated guns from honest citizens. Have your firearms hidden and well oiled. Breaking the law? They broke the constitution as subsequent law suits from the Second Amendment Foundation and National Rifle Association proved, but the lawsuits did little to help the person on the spot at that moment.

On another theme, a friend of mine who has enjoyed a long career as an educator is retiring to the North Carolina mountains and a small home. He is ecstatic at the prospect, and I wish him well. He owns perhaps a dozen guns and doesn’t wish to take the gun safe with him. What one gun he asks me? This is a question from a man that isn’t a firearms enthusiast, but instead, a reasonable person who recognized the need to be armed against criminals.

Dopers find their way into the wild as a few recent incidents have shown. A person my age was recently murdered for his truck in NC. The Sheriffs Office not only captured the escaped convict responsible, but arrested several members of his family for accessory to murder as they hid the POS out. It can happen anywhere.

AK-47 with camouflage furniture
The AK-47 is a viable choice.

Most of us have more firearms that we need. That’s great but you cannot have a half dozen just in case firearms to lug around. I speak from experience; you cannot be proficient with that many firearms. What can you effectively use? The other guy coming at you is probably about as smart as you and perhaps as well armed. The level of practice makes the difference.

You need a reliable firearm. If a storm comes over the horizon, you may clear the Browning and Fox shotguns out and run because they have monetary value. However, if you are seeing a mob come over the hill, you need that trusty Mossberg 590. The long-term firearm should not be chosen just before the debacle. It should be on hand and something you have mastered to the best of your ability.

Like the survival vehicle, it should probably have a high capacity and the ammo load should be easy to carry. Kind of like the difference between my wife’s Jeep Patriot and the Silverado I drive. Her Patriot exhibits a brilliant 27 MPG average. My Silverado, more like 17—but my two tanks give me much greater range. Think about the logic.

If you are reading this, you probably own several guns. The good news is the fact that you can carry more than one at time. A pistol and a shotgun are not a problem, or a pistol and a rifle. The long gun is the most needed if the situation becomes grim for an extended period. One of my military friends tells me the pistol is good for shooting dogs and little else. Most folks have not mastered the handgun.

Four 1911 pistols
These Government Model .45s fill the bill for the author.

While useful for home defense, a good shotgun or rifle is much better suited to area defense. If the adversary has a long gun, you are in deep trouble. Even a service-grade pistol isn’t a match for a good .22 rifle as far as hit probability for the half trained. Compared to the .223, .308 and 12 gauge long guns the 9mm, .38, 10mm and .45 are more alike than they differ.

At close quarters for the unexpected, the pistol is the weapon of opportunity. The rifle is the gunfighter’s choice. You need to look at what you can reasonably carry along with a good supply of ammunition. Being caught in the present moron apocalypse, I don’t think the tools for a Zombie apocalypse are the best. The AR-15 is a great rifle, and we can carry plenty of ammunition. The same goes for the Ruger Mini 14.

Get a good rifle, not a fair rifle. Fair rifles are a dime a dozen at present. As for taking game, well, if you are already a good hunter and have been for some time, your deer rifle is a good choice, whatever it is. If you are not a hunter, and think you will be foraging for large game, you are in for a big let down. They don’t stand there and let you shoot them. You better know how to dress and prepare wild game too.

Overall, a good .22 rifle might be better than a pistol, and you may have to shoot dogs for food. That bad? Yep, its bad. I have heard they are pretty stringy. This end of the world thing isn’t for the age of the wimps.

Wilson Combat .224 Valkyrie
This Wilson Combat .224 Valkyrie with Leupold scope is first class, but requires a considerable investment to obtain and master.

The rifle and a few hundred rounds of ammunition are a minimum. I think a good quality bolt-action rifle in .308 with a decent scope might be a great life saver. You will be able to hit most folks a lot further out than they have trained to shoot, and you will be able to do so from a secure position. At close range, if you have practiced, you may get quick hits. If your scenario is more rural, consider the .308. I have split the difference and my personal SHTF rifle is a short Springfield M1A. Cannot gainsay that one, it hits hard and what you hit stays down. It will shoot through light cover and take anything on four legs in this continent with the right shot placement.

How about a shotgun? The shotgun is a great problem solver. Nothing hits quite like buckshot at a few feet. If your plan is to hunker down in the bungalow, and take what shots you must as the adversary attempts to break the window frame out, the shotgun is ideal. The problem is sustainability. Shotgun shells weigh a lot. Carrying a few hundred gets ugly.

A shotgun in the base of operations is good. However, if you are wandering, the rifle is the first choice—at least for me. Shotgun slugs change the picture a bit, but the rifle it seems is the best choice. For most of us this means a variation on the AR-15 rifle. The best examples are very reliable. Accuracy potential is also excellent.

Ruger Mini 14 with magazine inserted right profile
The Ruger Mini 14 is a first-class all-around rifle.

The Colt M4 in my safe is fired often and will group 3 shots of Federal 62-grain JSTP into less than an inch at a long 100 yards. I like this. The Aero Precision rifle my son built for me features a SIG Romeo red dot and is more versatile overall and about 90% as accurate. That is good enough for me.

There are those who prefer the AK-47 format. That’s ok, as far as it goes, but there are a lot of cheap AKs made to sell, not serve, and they tie up and tear up as the original Kalashnikov never would. My friend Darrel keep an Arsenal AK handy and that is as good as it gets. If you use an AK, use a good one.

I am not sold on pistol caliber carbines. Most are not as serviceable as a battle rifle. And why a pistol cartridge in a rifle anyway—if you need accuracy and something that hits hard? A lot of graves in the Old West were filled with men killed with pistol caliber carbines, but when the .30-30 was introduced, it was adopted wholesale by professionals.

Hornady SST ammunition
If you deploy an AK rifle there are very few good service loads. However, this is the Hornady SST, at the top of the list.

The Arizona Rangers wanted more, however, and adopted the Winchester 1895 in .30-40. If you are willing to pay for a Winchester or Browning lever action that’s good, the cheaper lever-action rifles may  not always work out for you. In the gun ‘comic’ books you occasionally see a desk jockey recommending a lever-action rifle for survival use. Unless your name is Evil Roy, and you have a wall full of CAS trophies, this is probably not a good idea. No, definitely not.

It is difficult enough to master a self-loader with the proper technique. Stay in shape. If you are overweight and cannot climb and run on par with the assailant you face, then those relying on you are pretty much screwed. Also give thought to load bearing gear. A sturdy sling for every long gun is essential. For the handgun, a good holster, not a $10 rag or plastic trap, is well advised.

I have been short on pistol talk. Whatever you carry daily is fine. A high capacity 9mm pistol filled with good ammunition is the best choice for most shooters. I prefer a Government Model .45, but if I expend my energy in mastering the rifle, perhaps the pistol might not get as much attention. The 9mm is very easy to use well. That is the dark picture we hope isn’t coming. For my friend, narrowing the choice to one or two guns, the future is brighter. Be prepared, study recent history, and prepare accordingly.

Do you have a favorite gun that you would rely on for the SHTF? Share it in the comment section.

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 (36)

  1. Well, here we are in the middle of a pandemic, but the damage is mostly due to the government response, rather than the disease itself. The ongoing lockdown is producing an economic depression, so it seems to me we’re well on our way to SHTF. People in urban areas are already leaving large cities, or those people that can afford to. That course of action would be number 1 on my list, irrespective of what hardware you may own. As you already probably know, firearms and ammunition sales are through the roof.

    My eyes were opened in 2001, and I’ve been prepared since.

    I live in a rural area on several acres, and have made efforts to fortify, if subtly. I’m not going anywhere; I may pay for that attitude, but it reinforces my thinking and lends me inspiration. My choice for hardware?? A .308 centerfire rifle for long range, an AR-15 for perimeter, and a 12 gauge shotgun for close-in defense. Backup is a .357 sig semi-automatic, and several .357 revolvers.

  2. and one reload for it (other than .22lr). Shotguns are horrible choices. You can’t silence them, the ammo is so bulky, heavy, lacking in range and penetration, it sucks. NOBODY practices enough with $1 per shot 12 ga slugs to be any good with them, and if the enemy is using cover, or is head on prone towards you, wearing a helmet. buckshots worth little or nothing at 25 yds, from a riot barrel. It’s not worth much at 30 yds if the enemy is fully exposed and my not be worth anyhting at 10m, if the guy is wearing concealed armor Buckshot is pretty worthless even vs windshields or tires. It’s the choice only of people who can’t shoot. It’s got a horrible flash at night, ruins your night-adpated vision for several minutes. It will call in your killers and be no help vs them. Forget the shotgun. Birds stop flying, animals stop running. nature forces them to do so, to conserve calories. Small stuff is best trapped, caught with nets, bird lime, fish poison, snares. Forget about hunting. To be out in daylight, post shtf, will be to get shot.

  3. one person on guard at night, WILL cut it, if y ou’re down in a tunnel, with noisemakers in the woods and on the lid at each end of the tunnel. Having only one guard is only inadequate if you’re too dumb/lazy to not have made the proper preps.

  4. people who “think’ that the AR is not durable enough are woefully ignorant, about the AR. about how many shots you’ll be firing about tactics, anything. you’ll die in your first gunfight when all you have is a bolt action, and the winner wont bother to do anything with that pos but bend the barrel and throw the bolt where it wont be found. It aint even worth caching properly, along with the heavy, bulky ammo that it uses.

  5. you wont survive needing to fire 500 rds of centerfire ammo in 10 years, or 1000 rds of .22lr in the same time. Especially if you lack a silencer, night vision, night sights passive IR scanner, solar charger and concealed armor. So you’re not going to wear out or break an AR and even if you do, so many people will be dead if shtf, so fast, that it wont be hard to find another AR. The parts all interchange. The animals will all be dead 2 months after shtf. 99% of the population will be dead in a year., So what will you shoot at, hmm? You’ll need need to clean your gun if you’re not in an area of Salty-air. and dont drag it thru mud or sand (without having brains enough to wrap it in your poncho). you have to stay underground during daylight hours. traps, snares, bird lime, fish poison, trotlines, netting, that’s how you catch flesh food, not by hunting. Making noise will get you shot.

  6. I have seen quite a few opinions here and like most of us they differ widely.
    I do not believe it wise to advertise what you do have but I appreciate the comments.
    My opinion is the pistol carbine rifles may not full the bill with all but they do work for me.
    I am concerned that being a 40 plus years reloader, has anyone noticed the quality of
    Primers lately? I have had many failures to ignite than I care to, for a while they were hard to find powder too but both seem to have leveled out now.
    However something is amiss. If you feel anxious lay in a good supply of ammo because though your firearms may function until eternity passes away they are no good without ammunition.

  7. For SHTF you need a rifle that is designed to last forever, not these modern jigsaw puzzles with a million springs and bs inside, something from WWII with good iron sights with as few parts as possible so that nothing on it can break. Scopes will break. Your ARs will all die with no access to the local armory and parts supplier. I started thinking about this when watching several documentaries on bush people, you know the kind where a village in some remote region has one rifle since 1951 and they’ve been surviving with it ever since? What I noticed was 4 rifles kept reappearing: SKS, Mausers and Lee Enfield No.4’s, in Asia Africa and the frozen North. Those old rifles were made to last forever. Modern rifles were made to win battles and then visit the local gun doctor b/c in the long term it’s better for the gun business.

  8. I have always been interested in the AK market. I own several ARs and feel comfortable with the quality of them. AKs though are a different story. What are some of the better AK variants available here in the US.

  9. Recent events of the past 10-20 years have caused me to have more fear of our own American government than any terrorist strike or natural disaster.

  10. Cut power for 48 hours and booya. I’m a South Florida native where every several years we lose power for weeks/months. Seems recently it’s no big deal. Hurricane Andrew of 92 taught us. Be prepared. Food, water, likely not sufficient shelter. And yeah, you better be armed.

    More importantly, you better not be the only one armed ready to protect a family. Wife, kids need to know what to do. One person on guard against the creatures of the night won’t cut it.

    You’ll hate to hear it, but if our already tyrannical govt becomes truly tyrannical, you/we won’t win. But in natural disaster situations, it is up to us!

  11. A well-written essay by the author. He covered many of the variables when one is faced with a multitude of firearm and/or ammunition choices.

    Sometimes too many choices skew one’s ability to make a good choice. Let your conscience and experience(s) be your guide.

  12. Great topic and much more practical in the sense of preparing for an interruption in normal life. Living in west central Florida for much of the past 40 years we have experienced some rough times that could have gone really bad and did not. I am fortunate to have a spouse that shares and indulges me in my firearms habit, with several ARs in various calibers and some pistols caliber carbines with two .22 Henry lever action I believe we have the the long guns covered, ammo as well.
    Pistols from Sig, Glock, Ruger, Springfield and HK in 9mm and .45 are where we spend our time and money, easy to find and cheap enough to train.

    As for local food, BO it all sounds good, but remember you can’t say possum without saying Mmmmmm!

    Pack light and group tight.

  13. Thank you, I really enjoyed the article and agree with you on many of these choices especially the Remmy 870. I completely agree that you chose the Remington 870 as THE SHTF gun. The 870 has proven itself over and over in the field with just about every police department and even the Armed Forces in the last few decades. Wise choice. Hopefully the or Mossberg 500/Maverick 88 rate an honorable mention.

    I’m curious to why the Beretta was chosen over say a Glock which has a worldwide proliferation more than almost any other gun, is nearly indestructible and has so many ammunition choices, shares magazines cross platforms and a user can change calibers between most 9mm and .40S&W with a barrel and magazine. And now with the wide open market of A9 and 40 platforms that use Glock magazines it seems a choice with more options. Glock also has high and very high capacity magazines. The Colt .45 has a 7 round mag compared to Glock 21 factory 13 rounds. I have owned both and if the SHTF I think I would opt for a lighter gun with more ammo capacity.

    I also would ask what would be the options for people like me living in… wait… you guessed… California where Walmarts rarely sell ammo, let alone full blown “buy and take home today” AK and AR rifles. The Ruger 10/22 while not as powerful as the other choices would still intimidate most people trying to take your $h!+ but also works well on small game when food is needed. I can’t imagine trying to eat a pidgeon or squirrel after hitting it with an AK or AR round. CA is an active earthquake state and has the most West Coast ports subject to a tsunami of any contiguous state along with one of the highest populations of almost any other state. It’s definitely a “special place” with rules and laws that prohibit many firearms but given that many other states are following suit,
    I think that it warrants more attention.

  14. Well and objectively done! I concur on all points and further reiterate it all comes down to training (self or pro), attitude and knowing how to do with whatcha got in your hands!

  15. Back in the early 70’s, I spent several years as a medic on teams overseas that did SAR and recon; I was issued and carried a 1911. Before anyone says medics don’t carry guns, they do. Only medics who were draftee CO’s (conscientious objectors) did not carry a weapon during Vietnam and before; I enlisted; therefore I carried a weapon and I qualified Expert with a wide variety of weapons. From there, I went to work in civilian ER’s as an RN. In more than 30 years of playing in the ER, I have seen a lot of GSW’s and am a firm believer that the bigger the hole, the more they bleed, and the more they bleed, the sooner the discussion is over. Having seen people shot with lesser calibers who went on to kill their shooter, I choose the weapon that makes the bigger hole.
    For SHTF situations, I have two 1911’s; one is a government model with Crimson Trace grips, and the other is Smith’s version of the officer’s model, also with Crimson Trace grips. I have several hundred rounds of ammo for each; some hardball for practice and self-defense rounds like RIP and DRT. I have a .22 conversion kit for the government model to keep my options open. For handgun hunting, I have a S&W 629. It is a good deer gun, also for pigs, coyotes, and other varmints at close range. It is not a good self-defense weapon as it is too hard to conceal and has the danger of over-penetration.
    For long guns, I have a Remington 721, which is older than I am at 69, chambered in .270. I have killed more deer than I can count with that gun; still shoots less than a minute of angle. Don’t know how much ammo I have for that, In addition to those, I have an AR with two upper receivers and a .22 conversion kit for it, too. As I said, I like to keep my options open. I have more than 1500 rounds for that gun in .223, about 500 in hardball for practice and some hunting rounds and more than 1000 .22 LR rounds. The AR is a good rifle for deer at closer ranges, say less than 200 yards, but then I have not tried it beyond that.
    My next long gun is a Romanian SKS. It, too has taken several deer and I have close to a 1000 rounds, both in hardball and hunting rounds for it. I also have a 20 ga Mossberg with more than one barrel and lots of ammo ranging from rifled slugs to #7 ½ shot.
    I started dressing and butchering my own deer, as well as small game, many years ago, mostly after I figured out that the processors gave me much less meat that I got if I did it.
    I am amazed at how much people recoil at the thought that if there was truly a SHTF situation, the first thing I would do is go after all the cats and dogs in the neighborhood. Anyone who has been to Asia or parts of Africa has seen cats and dogs hanging in the open air markets, just waiting to be taken home and cooked. With the right spices, they make a reasonable stir-fry; though, I must admit, it is an acquired taste. I highly recommend ginger, Chinese five-spice, soy, and Hoisin sauce. Stew is always a reasonable option also; make sure you get the right vegetables.
    Have raccoons getting into your trash? Take ‘em out with a .22 to the head. Dress them out while wearing medical exam gloves as they are a primary vector for rabies, but that is not an issue once they are slow cooked, either in the oven, slow cooker, or the smoker. That is good eating. Speaking of good eating, skunk is good if you can get a good head hot to keep them from spraying. You want a base of the skull shot to put them down without any spray; you miss that spot, give it up, Same instructions as far as gloves; skunks and ‘coons both carry rabies. Cook them like you would cook an old rooster, low and slow. I would not bother with ‘possums unless you are starving; even then, odds are, you won’t like it.

  16. I have guns for SHTF , too many really . I have thought about that , ” beware the man that only owns one gun”. In any case, I have an AR & Galil/AK in the same caliber – 7.62×39. For ammo commonality & i know , AR actions don’t “like” that caliber . But , i have mine set up well , esp for “long” range , which with my eyesight ends around 350 yards . Rem 870 12 ga, & 2 pistols or each standard cal, 9mm, .45acp, .357/.38spl, a .22 lr pistol & rifle . 200-300 rds for each pistol cal & 1500-ish rds for the .22 & AK types ( all brass cased & in individual ziplock bags) not a fan of steel cased except the hollow points -Silver Bear . Probably 150 shotgun shells . I also have 2 .380’s & 2 .45 lc single actions , but they would be left behind . Which is sad , b/c i love those .45’s. Hmm , perhaps i could get a .45acp cylinder …..

  17. Availability of common caliber ammunition is second only to reliability of a chosen weapon in a SHTF scenario. I have chosen a Glock 19 for obvious reasons though I am a diehard Sig Sauer fan, and a custom built AR15 pistol that groups 3 inches at 300 yards. And of course, a 12 gauge pump action shotgun. I dont subscribe to the cinematic apocalyptic theories out there, but if things ever get as bad as they certainly can, I can find ammo for these reasonable weapons lying on the ground.

  18. Good article. I’m retired military and Homeland Security. I concur with the majority of your article. The only point you missed about carbines is the ammo sharing factor. I’ve got my bug out choices narrowed down to .40 Walther pistol & .40 Ruger carbine but negative is different mags for these weapons. I didn’t think about sharing mags when I bought them.
    But …. My other bug out combo options are my AR-15 & FP-15 (pistol). Same mags and ammo. Some folks ask me why not carry the AR for both? My AR has a long barrel and long range scope which gives me 300 yards very easily that the Ruger carbine can’t match. My FP has a short barrel/no stock, pop up sights and a laser. My 2 bits.

  19. Hi, I just fired my first AR-15 .22 a week ago, so am kind of new to rifles. If I was looking at a Mini 14 300, how does that compare to the standard Mini 14 5.56? I assume the kick is less due to the smaller ammo and maybe the ammo is less expensive, are there any other comparisons I should be aware of?

  20. A lot of good ideas to consider, thank you. Here are a couple of my thoughts for an affordable SHTF arsenal, especially for people who don’t want to spend multiple $1,000’s for a range of gear that is: Effective in practical SHTF scenarios, Easy to handle for men or women (and well trained kids), Easily portable, Affordable to train with, and Mechanically reliable.

    I have carbines chambered for 9mm, that take the same magazines as my handguns. I like the interchangeability.

    9mm and .357 handguns to be prepared in case 9mm ammo is scarce, but .38 and .357 are available.

    Scoped .22 rifles for small game hunting.

    12ga. shotgun with interchangeable long & short barrels for bird hunting and tactical use.

    The cost for practice ammo in these sizes, as well as “duty loads” for each, is much less than buying .223 .308 .45, etc., which means people are more likely to actually train with them and maintain a supply of SHTF ammo.

    While your article is good, it would have been much better without paragraphs 2-13 to have to wade through before finally reaching what is supposed to be about. As a retired law enforcement officer myself, and what most people reading this would consider a “liberal”, (Yes, one can be both!), I would have preferred a more specific focus on the sort of considerations that you finally got to, quite late in the article.

    To you, and others, let me say this: There are far more liberals who are just as concerned with SHTF scenarios as you are. And, a large portion of us are also responsible, legal gun owners. While this may put people like me at odds with some of the more “extreme left” folks, I am also at odds with the “extreme right” as well.

    Please recognize that there is a very large moderate middle ground in the nation, who share much more in common than not. To keep propagating the complete “Us vs. Them” model of all-or-nothing thinking, is exactly what WILL lead us to a SHTF situation. Let’s try working on developing more of the shared common ground and see how that works.

  21. One additional aspect of preparation this article brought to mind is planning with immediate neighbors to band together. We’re semi-rural, but close enough to a large metropolitan area to face large numbers of hungry, ill prepared bands of opportunists. For me that includes knowing each other’s capabilities and firepower. Patriots, by James Rawles is an interesting read that describes nearly every aspect of a total collapse over an extended period. Well written and comprehensive in it’s descriptions.

  22. I believe that at least for urban defense I recommend the Marlin 336W 6 + 1 capacity as they don’t jam , long distance shots can be made with a AR platform rifle well out to 500 yards or more, having various common calibres help a lot when you just might find ammo laying around in a sporting goods store, having a 357 magnum allows you to use both 38 special and the magnum round, Taurus makes a hand gun that chambers 38’s, 357’s and 9 mm, nothing beats a reliable 12 gauge pump , tactical if you can afford one, Rem 870 is easy to adapt

  23. Scary crap, but it is a possibility one should prepare for. It could be a small isolated incident or a worldwide catastrophe.

  24. Carry weight of your weapon plus ammo and your age must be the most important consideration. Safety in numbers and skills to offer others will lengthen your life expectancy. Being not too far from retirement we both have Rossi 92’s in .357,mold bullets and shoot them into rubber mulch to collect and mold again. I feel we are too old to evade the hordes headed for the woods in a social breakdown. Sixteen inch lever actions don’t look scary and are easy for us to practice with. I just don’t want to be too easy of a target . Your articles are good reading in a sea of BS. thanks for the info. The math questions to post are Bull.

  25. I very much appreciate the author’s thoughtful and experienced approach to addressing some of the critical, weapons-related aspects of the SHTF scenario in America. Despite the popular, Millennial Leftist (Snowflake) propensity to dismiss and/or mock survivalist rationale, one brief review of recent natural and man-made disasters with their consequent infrastructure & social calamities, as well as the current political, societal & moral dysfunction throughout America, should serve as ample evidence that those who fail to prepare for the potential collapse of civil order in America will be among the earliest casualties. As responsible, sensible Conservatives we owe it to our families, friends and communities to be prepared to defend against the ruthless savages who are already present in America and will be the first to prey upon the weak in the aftermath of infrastructure collapse. May The Lord bless and strengthen us for the days ahead…

  26. My “go” bags are just that. Ready to go. My wife’s has a Taurus pt111 g2. Mine, a Taurus g2 along with a 10 22 breakdown. Both bags have a couple hundred rounds of .22 and about 100 rounds of 9mm loose packed and vacuum sealed in addition to loaded magazines that i rotate. That’s worst case, like house is burning and alien ship is landing right now worst case.
    The load bearing gear is in the safe. AR mags and spare G17 mags there with an ifak and a couple other essentials strapped on. Firearms in “collusion” with that rig are a G17 and a AR 15 SBR setup.
    The go bags are set up with the best mix of short and long term support I could reasonably do within weight constraints. Secondary support is the FLC setup, primarily for any urban conflict to get me out.
    If I had the time, the other piece I would take is my Mossberg MVP in .308. Local deer, elk, or two legged varmints from most any reasonable range would be easy pickins.

  27. Dave, this is one of the better straight-talking articles I have read in a long time. You hit all points well and provided just enough information for guidance. You can only condense this information so much until it becomes another useless fluff piece. Kudos for way you presented this information: unbiased and with economy of words.

  28. This is one of those subjects that has few good answers, and the good answers are subjective to personal experiences. I agree with a lot of what you said here Bob, and I bow to your experience as a LEO. As a former EMS, I’ve seen the end results, but never experienced them happening while I was patching or loading and going. I don’t know that I would limit myself to one gun for a SHTF situation. Besides my CC weapon, i have 3 rifles that would go with me. 2 AR’s (one in 5.56, the other in .300 AAC), and my 1954 Winchester Model 94 in 30-30. Due to the damage in both shoulders (surgery helped but did not correct them), I can no longer tolerate high amounts of recoil, for more than a few shots. So my old 12 gauge would go with me, but not as a primary weapon. The same holds true for my side by side 20 gauge. Both AR’s are Red Dotted with the excellent, but affordable Vortex Venom 3 MOA sights, as well a a back 4-16 x 44 Vortex Diamondback Tac Scope on quick mounts for targets farther than 100 yards (yes I’m a Vortex fan😊). The Model 94 remains unaltered (took my first Elk with it at 16 over 40 years ago). I agree that a good lever action is an excellent SHTF choice. Even though the 30-30 is on the weak side of the 30 caliber choices, like the 30-06, more deer and elk are taken with those 2 calibers every year, than any of the magnum .30’s. One thing I noted in your article (and this is due to the emphasis upon the “Gun(s)” of the article, is the subject of Ammo. Once someone has picked their gun(s), how much ammunition should one have on hand. A number of considerations/scenarios come into play on that subject. How long is the SHTF going to last is one. One’s location, Bugging In/Out. Replenishment of spent ordinance, and so on. That might be a future topic for you to address, and expound upon in relation to this article.
    I enjoy reading your articles Bob,and look forward to them continuing, especially in this digital newsletter format.

    Thank you

  29. I enjoyed this article and agree on a number of points. One thing I would have added is the potential need to have to get ammunition after SHTF. The most common rifle calibers are 5.56/.223 .22 and 7.62×39. 7.62 NATO(.308) is up there as well. I would avoid the valkyries, grendels, blackouts, etc. to be able to share, trade, scavenge common ammo. I love my Five seveN, but my SHTF pistol is a FN509S … high capacity, easy to carry more ammo, common ammo.

  30. I enjoyed this article and agree on a number of points. One thing I would have added is the potential need to have to get ammunition after SHTF. The most common rifle calibers are 5.56/.223 .22 and 7.62×39. 7.62 NATO(.308) is up there as well. I would avoid the valkyries, grendels, blackouts, etc. to be able to share, trade, scavenge common ammo. I love my Five seveN, but my SHTF pistol is a FN509S … high capacity, easy to carry more ammo, common ammo.

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