Recent­ly, I have been mak­ing it a point to fre­quent gun shows in my home state.  I’m look­ing fora new car­bine, and thought it might be a good way to get a broad­er view of what is out there, and what I might want.   I have a very good idea of what I want, for var­i­ous rea­sons I won’t get into now, how­ev­er, as I looked around in the two HUGE rooms of guns, knives, ammu­ni­tion, mem­o­ra­bil­ia, body armor, sur­vival gear, antique weapons, cus­tomer gear man­u­fac­tur­ers, and much more.

Walk­ing around I saw many of the same gun on table after table in var­i­ous con­di­tion and price.  That got me think­ing.  One of the first things that came to mind, that I already knew, and as many expe­ri­enced gun own­ers know, is that a gun does not have to be expen­sive to be effec­tive for it’s var­ied uses.  While I may always be drawn like a mag­net to that $1,500 tricked out car­bine, not every­one can afford it, nor may it be the right choice for you, or me…  Fur­ther, while the $1,500 car­bine may be fun to shoot, you no not NEED one to pro­tect your­self and your fam­i­ly with.  There are plen­ty of alter­na­tives that you can acquire along the way that are just as good or bet­ter for a frac­tion of the cost.

Back­track­ing a lit­tle bit, I know many read­ers are gun enthu­si­asts, Sec­ond Amend­ment sup­port­ers, wor­ried about pro­tect­ing them­selves and their fam­i­lies.  How­ev­er, I also know there are a cross sec­tion of read­ers, since this blog is pri­mar­i­ly about sub­ur­ban and urban sur­vival­ism that do not own nor may not believe in or own a firearm to hunt, pro­tect, tar­get shoot, etc.  In NYC alone, it can take a year just to get an appli­ca­tion approved.  Then you have to wait to buy the gun.  Then you are not allowed wo pur­chase anoth­er one for sev­er­al months.  You should NOT neglect firearms or firearms train­ing as part of your pre­pared­ness plan­ning for you or your fam­i­ly.  A gun, firearm, weapon, what­ev­er you want to call it is a tool to per­form a cer­tain job just like a shov­el, auto­mo­bile, can open­er, etc.  They have mul­ti­ple uses in many dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tions.  Hunt­ing, pro­tec­tion, sport; Alan Kor­win wrote a short post on the mul­ti­ple “noble” uses for firearms here.  I hap­pen to agree with ALL of them.  Acquaint your­self with the list, and see what you think.  The list of uses should answer your ques­tion of why firearm own­er­ship at all… When think­ing about this in sur­vival terms it becomes a bit more pri­mal, in that dur­ing a SHTF sit­u­a­tion, those with­out resources (food, water, med­i­cine, ille­gal drugs, shel­ter, heat, etc.) will come after those who have them.  If the SHTF is a pro­longed sit­u­a­tion with­out addi­tion­al sup­port from exter­nal resources, or depend­ing on how well dis­trib­uted those emer­gency resources are, they may still come after you if they find out you are flush with resources.  This must be con­sid­ered.  I want to say it is your respon­si­bil­i­ty to your­self and your fam­i­ly.

That said, do not wait until there has been some emer­gency sit­u­a­tion, SHTF, or WROL sit­u­a­tion to try and pro­cure a firearm.  It sim­ply will be too late.  If you are lucky enough to try acquire one in an emer­gency sit­u­a­tion then you will prob­a­bly have paid through the nose for it and the ammu­ni­tion for it with mon­ey or oth­er resources.  Not a good use of those resources to say the least.  I will reit­er­ate, those who have not pre­pared for an emer­gency of any kind will take from those who have in a sur­vival sit­u­a­tion.

So, pre-SHTF acqui­si­tion of a firearm or firearms is real­ly the way to go.  Do not wait until or after an event to obtain tem as there may be imposed new gun reg­u­la­tions that may make it hard­er to “legal­ly” get your hands on the gun that could pro­tect the very fab­ric of your fam­i­ly.

Peo­ple, inher­ent­ly are unpre­dictable when their life changes dras­ti­cal­ly in an unex­pect­ed fash­ion.  Just like the phrase “mon­ey changes every­thing,” so does dis­as­ter.  Do peo­ple pull togeth­er and bond to help each oth­er.  Sure they do.  Look at 9/11, Haiti, Japan, etc. How­ev­er, what do we not see.  Look at Kat­ri­na, and how much of the crime was sup­pressed, and you did not hear about it until MUCH lat­er… Grant­ed, firearms were seized by the gov­ern­ment, which in my hum­ble opin­ion, made the crim­i­nal sit­u­a­tion worse.  Crim­i­nals knew peo­ple would be unarmed and have loose defens­es.

I once heard some­one say that “humans are a vio­lent species.”  I’ll quote Agent Kay, from Men In Black, “A per­son is smart.  Peo­ple are dumb, pan­icky, dan­ger­ous ani­mals, and you know it.  Fif­teen hun­dred years ago every­body knew the Earth was the cen­ter of the uni­verse.  Five Hun­dred years ago, every­body knew the Earth was flat, and fif­teen min­utes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this plan­et.  Imag­ine what you’ll know tomor­row.”  I will mod­i­fy this and state that to reg­u­late par­al­lel what Kay said, every­one has a good bead on things until they go sour.  Then a new gene kicks in and they become “dif­fer­ent.”  I hope this makes sense.

This new gene makes a per­son, mob, or group unpre­dictable.  You need to be pre­pared for that.

So, you have decid­ed it is time to look at a gun or guns for your pre­pared­ness plans.  What to buy first?  I think this is sub­jec­tive.  You need to look at what you need.  Per­son­al­ly, a hand­gun would be my first pur­chase of choice.  Some of you may dis­agree, and I wel­come your feed­back below, but here is my rea­son­ing…  A hand­gun is ver­sa­tile.  Here s why I think so:

  1. While not per­fect for it, a hand­gun “can” be sued for some hunt­ing depend­ing on it’s cal­iber.  a Walther P22 may be used for tak­ing small game like a rab­bit from a dis­tance.
  2. It is ide­al for home defense because it can be easy to reach in an emer­gency
  3. It is eas­i­ly con­ceal­able, and if you have a CCW you may car­ry dai­ly or when you feel the desire to.  IN a sur­vival sit­u­a­tion use your com­mon sense on this one.
  4. Easy to car­ry with respect to weight.
  5. You can hide it in or out­side your home if you so desire eas­i­ly.

What oth­er fac­tors are there in pick­ing a hand­gun?  A lot, actu­al­ly.  Let’s look at Semi-Auto­mat­ics vs. Revolvers (remem­ber this is just my opin­ion and per­spec­tive so feel free to com­ment).  Revolvers are just as good as auto­mat­ics if you are look­ing at a gun.  If you are on a bud­get there are some inex­pen­sive revolvers our there, and just the same, that are also inex­pen­sive… Do your research.  I hap­pen to like Nut­n­fan­cy’s Youtube chan­nel… Some of his reviews have actu­al­ly helped me choose firearms to look at and in some cas­es pur­chase.

From a philo­soph­i­cal per­spec­tive, you also need to look at reli­a­bil­i­ty.  This is an area I admit­ted­ly am a lot light on.  What I do know is that there are a few brands of firearms that are very reli­able if you are look­ing at semi-auto­mat­ics:

  1. Smith & Wes­son M&P
  2. Glock
  3. and my per­son­al favorite, the Spring­field XD series.

To be hon­est, I do not know a lot about the reli­a­bil­i­ty of most revolvers, how­ev­er, I have to believe that revolvers are very reli­able.  Per­son­al­ly I do not own any, but I have friends that do and con­tin­ue to pur­chase them because of reli­a­bil­i­ty.  My friend’s Dad had is .22 revolver cham­bered to .17 and that is what he car­ries when he is out in the woods.  First, he loves the .17 for a mul­ti­tude of valid rea­sons, sec­ond, it is a great, fast, accu­rate round… It’s his “ol’re­li­able.” Which brings me to more ques­tions or reli­a­bil­i­ty… Just like your car, a firearm is mechan­i­cal.  By that I mean it is com­piled of dif­fer­ent machined parts that have to work togeth­er to fire a bul­let at it’s intend­ed tar­get.  To do this there are some­times hun­dreds of mov­ing parts, and some­times only a cou­ple dozen.  With that, there are always weak parts of your firearm.  You should inves­ti­gate what they might be and pur­chase sev­er­al replace­ment parts in the event you need to replace some­thing that is bro­ken either at home or in the field.  Even I need to stock up more on parts for my guns that what I have today.   With spare parts, comes the knowl­edge of know­ing how to replace them, and pri­or to that is learn­ing how to dis­as­sem­ble and reassem­ble your firearm your­self.  You should prac­tice replac­ing some of these “weak” parts such as trig­ger springs your­self and reassem­bling and test­ing.

I seem to be spend­ing a lot of time on hand­guns, but I think there is a lot more to take into con­sid­er­a­tion than rifles (in my hum­ble opin­ion).

Also, pri­or to pur­chas­ing a hand­gun, you may want to go to your local range and rent a few of them to see what fits you the best.  You may want a $1,200 .45, but you may not be able to han­dle it, or it may not fit your hand(s) cor­rect­ly, or both.  So you may be forced to look at a used $190.00 .380 Bersa Thun­der.  Maybe that fits your hands bet­ter and you have bet­ter con­trol over the firearm when squeez­ing the trig­ger.  Trust me when I tell you I would not want to be hit by either bul­let.  Both guns are very lethal.  Maybe a .22 revolver is best.  You won’t know until you try sev­er­al of them.Recently, I had a bud­dy at the range that I let fire all my hand­guns.  He was look­ing for some­thing for him­self, and he did­n’t know what was best.  He even­tu­al­ly set­tled on a 9mm, but he thought he want­ed a .40 or above.  He did­n’t like the way the .40 felt…  Too much pow­er for him.  He is much more pro­fi­cient with the 9mm.

Once you buy it, learn how to use it.  Become pro­fi­cient with it.  Prac­tice with it.  Go to the range.  Take safe­ty class­es.  Safe­ty class­es are just as impor­tant as hit­ting the tar­get with your bul­let.  Safe­ty class­es will teach you the fun­da­men­tals of also being at the ready, the cor­rect way to hold your firearm when at rest at the range, etc.  I can­not stress enough how impor­tant they are.   As impor­tant as the safe­ty cours­es could be tac­ti­cal cours­es.  These will teach you the fun­da­men­tals of draw­ing and fir­ing on short­er notice, stay­ing behind the right bar­ri­cades, etc… All train­ing will make you more pro­fi­cient.

This is the end of Part One of the “Thoughts on Bud­get Guns for Sur­vival” series.  I know there was not a lot on bud­get in here, but I promise to be work­ing up to it.  Stay tuned for Part Two com­ing in the next few days.

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