With all the craziness, complications, and sheer unpredictability in today’s world, you have to wonder: why carry all that stress and extra…well, STUFF…along into the post SHTF world? Thoreau said to “Simplify, simplify” and there’s no better way to accomplish that by preparing for whatever apocalypse or natural disaster faces us than by not piling up extraneous clutter around us.
The firearms world landscape is littered with culch and debris. There are so many guns that do so many jobs with so many calibers with so many bullet types with so many accessories that it would probably drive you mad (some would argue it’s already gotten that far with me!). So therefore, it’s a great place to start simplifying. Looking over the scope of our bug-out or bug-in plans, figuring out where we will plan to be and what we can bring will help shape the type of firearm you look for.
One way that I think is a stellar way to simplify, is to have multiple guns in one caliber. This simplifies ammunition logistics in a huge way. I only need to keep stores of ammunition around for a few calibers, and if I ever need to bug out, I don’t have to sit there making decisions, wondering, eenie- meenie-mienie-mo-ing. Grab a couple guns, the ammo boxes, and out the door we go! For someone like me who loads his own ammunition, it makes things even easier. One set of reloading dies all set up, one type of powder and primers, and a pre-selected load that my guns like. As an added bonus, if one gun breaks or goes down for whatever reason, you still have ammunition for another, and you’re not just left with a bunch of useless ammo that’s only good for trade stock.
Obviously, this limits our choices somewhat, but it’s not a bad limitation. There are many very versatile calibers out there that work very well out of both rifles and handguns. As a bonus, a handgun caliber out of a rifle gains a large amount of velocity, accuracy, and power out of the rifle’s longer barrel. For instance, I chronographed (measured the speed) of a pet .44 Magnum handload, one out of 4″ barreled S&W 629, and also out of a 16″ barreled Winchester 94 levergun. The handgun spat out 200-grain bullets at an average of 1265.2 feet per second (fps), while the exact same load out of the rifle produced 1821 fps. That almost 600 fps gain more than DOUBLES the amount of energy transferred by the bullet (711 foot-pounds for the handgun, vs. 1473 foot-lbs for the rifle)! That, my friends, is a huge difference and well worth your consideration. The added velocity also makes the trajectory curve flatter, allowing you to shoot longer distances with ease, and it will have more punch when it gets there. Winning!
So we’ve established that ballistically and logistically, it makes lots of sense. So what multi-gun/caliber combinations are out there?
Well, I live in very rural Maine, where close brush limits contact with critters to close ranges, and the action can be fast and furious, so I adore the quick-handling properties of lever-action guns and the simplicity and horsepower of revolvers. So, I tend to gravitate towards those, as they fit my personal needs well. My very favorite combination is a Marlin 1894 carbine in .357 Magnum paired with a Smith & Wesson Model 65.
The .357 Magnum’s versatility is superb, with enough power to easily take down a deer or bear if I’m careful with bullet placement, and as the .357 was the gold standard for defensive calibers for years, I know it will do very nicely if I have to defend myself with it. When I head out in the woods, I keep the rifle’s ten-round magazine loaded with snarly fast-moving 158-grain Jacketed Hollow Point bullets in case I see a coyote or some other unsavory critter at a distance (100 yards shots are no prob with this rifle) and I keep low-power target-type .38 Specials in the revolver, in case a rabbit decides to jump in front of me…the low-powered, non-expanding bullet won’t ruin meat. I also have a similar combo in .44 Magnum, but if THSTF, it probably wouldn’t head out the door with me; this one would.
Okay, so you don’t want a levergun…you live in an urban area and you might encounter gangs. Why not an AR-15 in 9mm? Yep, they make them, and they are tremendously popular and reliable.
Pair this with a quality 9mm handgun of your choice (Glock, SIG-Sauer, S&W, etc) and you are good to go!
Bolt guns preferred? No problem! How about a Ruger .357/77? A bolt-action, detachable .357 Magnum bolt gun with a detachable mag.
Oh yeah, they make ‘em in .44 Magnum too. And .22 Long rifle. And .22 Magnum.
Point is, there are many options out there, so if you do a little digging with the objective being to simplify, you’ll be in good shape in many ways if you consider and implement the multi-gun/one caliber option!
Any others I missed? Let me know what you think!