Many people, who are purchasing a firearm, are getting a gun in case the things that we take for granted, like having the police respond quickly to a 911 call is unavailable due to a crisis. This is especially true for first-time buyers. These people are preparing to defend themselves during an emergency, and are often referred to as “preppers.”
Preppers have a few unique criteria, which they must consider when choosing the best device for protection. At the same time, there are several criteria all gun buyers, preppers or not, should consider when selecting the proper firearm for themselves. A few things to take into consideration are cost, accuracy, reliability and ergonomics. You can find all of these items included in our rankings of each firearm.
However, because preppers might be using their gun in an emergency, there are additional things that one should consider. For example, during a crisis, supplies of ammo might be limited. In addition, if you have an issue with your firearm, you may not be able to get your firearm to a gunsmith to perform a repair. One must also consider that it could be days or months for the emergency is over. That being said, a prepper needs a gun that will tough out a rough situation, for an unknown amount of time, without any outside help.
Keeping all of this in mind, here are a few things to consider when choosing your firearm.
Firearms will only work with one specific caliber of ammunition, with a few rare exceptions. A gun without the right kind of ammo is useless. If semi trucks can’t quickly resupply local gun stores because the roads are blocked or fuel is scarce, having a gun that shoots a common caliber is a huge advantage. The more shells manufactured for a given caliber, the higher the likelihood of obtaining more ammo. For example, millions of rifles like the AR-15 use .223 Remington. Bullet manufactures crank out billions of rounds of .223 Remington every week. A prepper should look at a gun with a common caliber such as this. Below is a list of a few common calibers.
- .223 Remington
- .308 Winchester
- .22 LR
- .40 Smith & Wesson
- .38 Special
- .357 Magnum
- .45 ACP
- .380 Auto
- .22 LR
- 12 gauge
- 20 gauge
All semi-automatic guns require magazines to hold ammo. These devices will not fully operate without the magazine in place. Therefore, another reason to invest in a firearm that is popular is because magazines get lost and occasionally break.
An example of a popular semi-auto is the AR-15. Because of its popularity, manufacturers make millions of magazines every year. The odds of finding AR-15 magazines is much better than, say, Mini-14 magazines. Below is a list of some common magazines.
- Smith & Wesson M&P
- Sig Sauer
Ammunition and Magazine Supply
Preppers should have an adequate supply of both ammo and magazines in order to avoid running out of either, which could be disastrous. While there is no hard-and-fast rule about how much lead to purchase or the number of magazines to have on hand, there are a few popular scenarios you may follow.
For each firearm:
- Assault Rifle: 1,000 rounds and 10 magazines
- Hunting Rifle: 200 rounds and 3-4 magazines (if applicable)
- Pistols: 500 rounds of full metal jacket, 100 rounds of premium hollow point and 10 magazines
- Shotguns: 250 rounds split between birdshot, buckshot, and rifled slugs
- .22 LR: 500 rounds and 5 magazines (if applicable)
There is a contrary school of thought on common calibers. If a gun takes an “oddball” caliber, that is, one of the calibers not listed above; there may be less demand for that ammunition. Therefore, if a store stocks even a small amount of these bullets, you may be able to find some still sitting on the shelf. While this may be true, why take the gamble? I would advise preppers who are buying a gun to protect him or herself in an emergency, to never leave something as vital as the ammo supply to chance.
Also keep I mind that guns in oddball calibers will also take corresponding oddball magazines. Often oddball magazines are even scarcer than oddball-caliber ammunition to find.
On the other hand, if a prepper has a very good supply of ammunition and magazines, then oddball calibers are not a problem at all. For example, an AK-74 takes the oddball caliber of 5.45×39. If a prepper has several thousand rounds of the corresponding caliber as well as corresponding magazines, then he or she should not worry.
Speaking of 5.45×39 ammunition, preppers who are casual shooters should avoid guns like the AK-74 that shoot corrosive ammunition. Soviet-bloc countries using the 5.45×39 and 7.62x54R calibers manufactured giant batches of ammunition with primers that leave a light rust coating on gun parts, unless cleaned with a mild alkaline solution such as Windex. If a prepper uses a gun with corrosive lead and forgets to clean it or is unable to clean it because of lack of supplies, the gun might lightly rust. (Note: Only 5.45×39 and 7.62x54R is corrosive).
Let’s face it. A broken gun is useless. Some guns are more reliable than others are. And some are easier to fix without complicated tools than others. In order to find the most reliable gun, Preppers should consult a review site, such as our rankings page in order to find out ratings specific firearms for reliability.
Tactical or Duck Hunter
An AR-15 and a duck-hunting shotgun look very different. Sometimes a tactical-looking gun like an AR-15 is an advantage because it can persuade a criminal to leave you alone. However, also keep in mind that it is easier to walk around with a common hunting gun without raising suspicion. Because of this, preppers should consider which gun type their circumstances and surroundings warrant.
Preppers have many things to spend money on in addition to firearms. Food, water supplies, medical supplies, and communications are just a few. Every dollar spent on firearms is a dollar that cannot be spent on these other non-gun necessities. Preppers should consider whether they need expensive tactical firearms or, could defend themselves with a less expensive shotgun, such as the Mossberg 500. Hunting rifles and handguns, such as metal frame pistols should also be considered.
When choosing the right firearm for protection, take time to consider all of the items mentioned above. Review our rankings on different guns. This will help you to be sure you have made a solid decision.