We have this post from The Survival Blog which asks the eternal question: Best SHTF Gun? I greatly respect this blog and the writer of this post. I do, however, differ with him on his premises in this question. What are your thoughts?
September 24, 2009
Best SHTF Gun
The issue of the best SHTF gun has been worked top to bottom, bottom to top and side to side and back again, it is nothing new.
Some will say a .22 rifle or shotgun, others will suggest an AR-15 or some other center-fire magazine fed rifle and a few will tell you a bolt action is the most logical choice.
While they aren't wrong – at least under certain circumstances, they fail to see the big picture or fail to realize what really happens after a collapse.
It would seem many survivalists have been influenced by Hollywood or writers of fiction and can't separate reality from illusion. Leave make-believe to armchair commandos and teenage boys.
* You won't be engaging constant combat.
* Those wanting to do you harm will not announce the fact.
* Anyone wanting to rob or steal from you will attack when you're most vulnerable.
* If you're attacked it will be up close, quick and violent.
After a collapse, violent crime will increase to levels never thought possible, theft, robbery, kidnappings and home invasion will be the norm. You'll need to be armed at all times. Not following this rule will almost guarantee that you will be abused, robbed, raped, tortured and killed at some point.
Keeping a rifle or shotgun on your person at all times is impossible. Working the garden, feeding the chickens, cutting firewood, setting traps etc. And don't forget barter markets where going armed will likely be forbidden. Criminals will know this and will wait to attack when you leave the market area.
It's been said before; the first rule of winning a fight is to have a gun, in this regard a handgun makes the most sense. I know many of you look to be attacked from a distance, you see yourself returning fire from 300 or more yards away.
It could happen - but it's not likely. In war yes; but not in a SHTF situation – most survivalists confuse the two. You're more likely to need to defend yourself at arms length than from a distance of several hundred yards, if you're attacked it will be fast, brutal and in your face closeup.
In a recent study it was found that 90% of police and civilian self-defense shooting occurred at ranges of less than 15 feet. With 34% being from contact to 3 feet.
I can't find one justifiable civilian self-defense shooting taking place at 100 yards or beyond - if you know of a documented case please let us know.
Like any firearm, handguns are encumbered by a number of limitations; namely low power and limited range compared to a rifle or shotgun - but a handgun can be there when you need it and that is most important...
An interesting question that seeks a single, simple answer to to an almost unlimited universe of possibilities.
For example, why would barter zones be disarmament zones? They will be what the consumers demand in terms of rules. You want me to come and trade my horses for your salt? Fine, I stay armed. No? Then you bring your salt to my AO. Here are the rules for approach. Wait, Auntie Entity doesn't get a cut of that for providing the trading space? Too flipping bad. Should let me come armed.
Cops won't let you walk around with long guns? And who feeds them? Do they till the earth, raise the crops? If its like almost every small town I know, Charlie will come into town with his oldest sons and buddies as a security force escorting the wagon of consumables to trade (but always with enough left at the homestead to defend). Deputy Doug, who's known Charlie all his life will just wave as they come in past the roadblock, armed to the teeth. Dangerous times call for different measures. Human relationships will adjust to the new normal. And the new normal will be everybody other than small children will be armed. I concur with the fellow above who noted: frontiersmen vs. Indians = long guns. Farmers vs. guerrillas = long guns. The other thing is that the situation that develops will require a Minuteman/quick reaction force for raiders. Individuals will be less likely to survive than communities, or more likely, several communities linked by trade, family ties and mutual defense pacts. The station system of the Tennessee Cumberland River folks still almost collapsed under opportunistic Indian raids until the stations banded together, went to the source of the enemy raiding parties and killed every warrior they could find and burned it to the ground. This was against both Federal and State diktat. Still it happened because it had to be done. Americans, being practical people, will make their own arrangements if governments fail.
Thus the premises of your search for the perfect weapon are, at least in part, flawed. You have no way of knowing what conditions might obtain, and how those conditions will influence either the worm's eye level of local politics or the local tactical aspects of public safety. Neither do I, but in the aftermath of collapse -- however you define it and from whatever source -- the immediate survivors are unlikely to be sheep willing to obey the first cop's (or local bully boy's) BS rules.
Sometimes, events have a way of evening things out. Take for example the Cumberland stations. As homesteads incurred casualties, the per capita of firearms available to the survivors increased. This became a factor in their survival when attacked in their stations, for the surplus weapons could be loaded and held at ready (and reloaded by womenfolk and children) providing a constant base of fire that the marauding Indians could not match. And no male, adult or teen, went around without a long gun. Handguns were rare, eschewed in favor of the hunting knife and tomahawk for close in fighting.
See Seedtime on the Cumberland by Harriette Simpson Arnow.
Now, I am not saying we should all go out and buy tomahawks (although there ARE worse purchases). What I am saying is that it is impossible to cope with all contingencies by limiting your choices.
And I am also betting that unlike the folks on the Cumberland, we will not be particularly awed by the diktats of a government that got us in this situation in the first place. We will make our own arrangements. But for those times when we are out of sight of our own "stations" or the reinforced walls of our newly-fortified towns and villages, carrying a long gun will be assumed and as natural as carrying it to our tasks outside the defensive perimeters of our new lives as picking up our car keys and cell phone today. As natural, indeed, as it was to the men of the Founders' generation on the frontier.
And there's this, which didn't make my reply. One of my favorite passages from Seedtime on the Cumberland, in the chapter, "The Shirttail Men":
The men who hunted the elk and the buffalo disappeared with less dramatic suddenness, but more completely than did the animals they hunted. They were the last of their generations, for the hunters who went west of the Mississippi were hunters, not the many-handed men who hunted, farmed, and fought the Revolution. Many of the men mentioned as hunters were were officers during the Revolution and later in the Indian warfare of Tennessee as were John Montgomery, John Rains, Isaac Bledsoe, and Kaspar Manskar. Most were good officer material; the letters of many have been perserved; some spelled phonetically, revealing that their speech resembled the now almost extinct speech of the hills, filled with gits and whars.
Still, the ability to keep even a properly spelled muster roll was only a fraction of what on officer on the borders had to have. It took quite a man to persuade other men to leave their families, not to mention crops, and risk their lives on some battle front hundreds of miles away, and with no promise of pay, glory, or even food for themselves or the horses they furnished. "In the old frontier wars, every man turned out at the drop of the hat and each man was his own paymaster, forage master and commissary." If he got killed there was no pension for his widow and children, not for a long time. A man who could lead men under such circumstances had to have all the woodcraft, courage and endurance of the Long Hunter, plus something one might call personality.
Yet, somehow they did it, and like George Rogers Clark got little for their pains. The long-hunting-soldier-farmer-borderer was an unloved figure; Washington praised his skill with the long rifle, but found him difficult. He was, and he didn't mind fighting but hated soldiering, and had an innate distaste for drills, standing armies, and all other aspects of the military life. New Yorkers and New Englanders found him uncouth and even silly with his long shirt and "rifle barreled firelock," though even Boston made him welcome as long as he was needed. The British also hated the borderers for they found the "shirt-tail men, with their cursed twisted guns, the most fatal widow-and-orphan-makers in the world."
They were; they hated war. Fighting was a business they would be done with, and the only way they knew to end it was to kill as many men as possible. They could then return to the real sruggle for more and better land on which to raise their families and get ahead in the world. Their many-handedness was typical of the times when a man had to be a world within himself: make a poem; sing a song; mend a gun; preach a sermon; shoot buffalo, Indians, British; make a mocassin or a boat; teach school; but always able to live in the woods if need be. The old west could not have been settled and won without such men. Still the physical characteristics of the Long Hunter's way of life, were, in a sense, the least of him. It wasn't so much that he was completely master of a hard world and hence fearless, but rather it was his ability to believe in himself and the world around him. Seneca snakeroot may never have cured a single case of snake bite, but a man with faith and a bit of dried Seneca was never afraid to sleep in rattlesnake country. His faith did not stop at Seneca snakeroot, but went on, encompassing himself and other men around him. (pp. 170-171)