So, you’ve decided on a rifle and pistol for personal protection. What more could anyone ask of you?Firearms have more utility than simply self-defense. They can also get you food.
If, for example, your chosen semi-automatic battle rifle clone is in .308 (7.62x51), or you picked one in a similarly well-suited caliber like .30-06 or 7.62x54Russian, it's also well-suited for hunting larger game, including most of what romps around on either American continent, north or south. (The .223 is a good varmint round and anti-personnel choice, but anything else is either big enough to be wounded and run far away before it dies, or small enough that the round’s terminal effects will destroy more of the carcass than you’ll get to eat. You may be the ultra-rare exception, but I wouldn’t want to gamble my life on that margin.)And then there are shotguns, because unless you’re Annie Oakley good, you aren’t going to shoot food that flies with a centerfire rifle, so you’re going to need lots of little pellets. As an added bonus, shotguns that can interchange barrels offer the possibility of having a shotgun that’s suitable for personal defense/protection, then swapping another barrel suitable for slugs for deer or bear, and a longer barrel with a screw-in choke system for anything from pigeons and doves all the way to Canadian geese, with the proper selection of chokes and ammunition. Better still, you can probably get one of these (Remington 870 or Mossberg 500 series, for example) for less than you’ll spend for either your rifle or pistol.
Now you’re up to three weapons, and still not done.The next should be either a rifle or pistol (or both, if you’re a suspenders and belt kind of person) in the ubiquitous .22LR. As former blogger Kim DuToit used to put it, .22LR ammunition isn’t just ammunition, it’s a commodity. Because long after paper money or even precious metals like gold or silver have lost trading value, .22LR ammunition will probably suffice to barter goods and services in longer-term situations. With decent optics, you can set up a .22 pistol (e.g. a Ruger Mark II or MkIII) to where you can hit anything out to 100 yards just about as quickly and easily as you would with a scoped .22 rifle like the Ruger 10/22, except in a more compact package. And unlike the .223, the .22LR round is eminently suited for potting small game, and has been used to successfully poach up to small deer with decent shot placement. And one more notch in its favor: should you reside in a state where it’s permissible, you can secure a sound suppressor that will hush it down to a level far less audible than a full-bore hunting rifle, which could spare you from dealing with all sorts of unpleasantness as you go about your survival tasks.
If you’re serious about preparing, each weapon will need cleaning supplies, extra magazines, and should also be provided with manuals and media plus the necessary spare parts and tools to replace or repair things that wear out, break, get lost, etc. Most of these will fit handily in a weapon-specific plastic parts tote from any craft store. And besides a generous supply of ammunition to tide you over any temporary buying frenzies like the one we’re in now, or the one from 2008, one day it will also dawn on you that it’s not a bad idea to double up on your basic 5 weapons, because as both Navy Seals and serious preppers know, “two is one, and one is none” when something catastrophically fails.Always focus on the concept that it’s your safety and security that’s the system, not the weapon(s). If the contingencies you’re planning on suggest a need for a weapon, for less than the price of your current health insurance ER deductible you can (and should!) get ahold of body armor of at least a concealable soft vest variety. Given the price and utility, as well as the value of your own hide, one would be a fool not to do so, and in fact ought to get the vest before the weapons, while they’re still legal to acquire, because unlike a handgun, you probably aren’t breaking any laws by wearing soft body armor in 99% of the country. I can’t speak for every jurisdiction, because some of them are universally stupid about such purely defensive measures. Check your local laws. Some manufacturers/retailers are jackassical too, but the expedient of taking a day’s training and getting a security guard certification in your state is usually enough to paper your way past well-intentioned but idiotic vendor sales restrictions on body armor. If my choice is to spend another $100 or so to take a class and get a license to get the vest I want, or do without, I’m taking the class. YMMV.
Finally, do everything you can not to need this system. Don’t go to the ATM at 3AM in the dive part of town. Lock your car and house doors. Secure your windows and premises. Get bright outdoor lights, light timers, and a dog that barks at strangers. Keep your personal business off the internet, and zip your lip about what you’ve got, and when you’ll be gone, so nobody has any special idea to target you. All of that is part of your personal security system, so learn it and live it. (Or, as multiple collections of military maxims put it “Be courteous and friendly towards everyone, but have a plan to kill anyone you meet.”)Everyone ought to know how to defend themselves, but nobody with a lick of sense wants to use a weapon except for practice or sport. Your goal is to die of old age, after your weapons have killed a lot of targets and the occasional freezer deer or bag of game birds, not to get into gunfights daily, or to constantly battle the odds to survive in some wasteland. Trading lead by choice is a low-percentage investment over the long haul. Be prepared enough that no one wants to play that game with you, then do everything reasonable not to have to either. And come the day, make sure you’re the one standing afterwards, and get to go home instead of the hospital or the morgue.
Too many people think survival is all about having guns. Until, if they're lucky, they grow up, and a minor emergency shows them all the other things they're without, but not to the point they die from the lack. So now that we've bought you some time to survive immediate threats, let's move up the ladder a step.