The Top TEN Best Guns for Survival post I wrote a while ago still continues to be one of my most visited posts. Agree with my conclusions or not, you KNOW it’s just sweet SHTF debatable action. A recent SHTFblog reader posted a comment on the post just a few days ago, and his analysis and comment was so complete I felt it warranted attention as a single post. Oddly enough, he labeled himself “R-Man” . . . . kinda like “Ranger Man” only . . . . what does the “R” stand for, bro?
In any case, here is his analysis:
I fashion myself as something of a survivalist. I own most of the guns on your list, but not all. Now that 2008 has resulted in an extraordinary price hike in ammunition costs, I have to say that the plinker is stuck with .22 LR and 7.62 X 39 mm. That makes my AKM and SKS all that much more desirable. Like you, I’m sure, I have a stock of ammo: .223 Wolf and Lake City, 7.62 NATO Lake City, 30-06 corrosive 1954 Korean, 7.62 X 39 mm Wolf Classic and Black Box, .45 cal. White Box and Remington Golden Sabers, 9 mm FMJ. In quantity.
So the best SHTF gun(s) fire the ammo you have in stock with the gun(s) you have in stock. Multiple guns mean you can arm your friends and neighbors.
Number 10: Remington 742 Woodmaster.
This rifle has a four round magazine firing 30-06 with a 9x scope. This is the sniper rifle for the average survivalist. Hits close groups at 100 yards, which is the longest range that my gun club has.
Advantages: Knock down power that kills anything.
Disadvantages: Ammo is very pricey. The old surplus Korean stuff requires careful inspection and the barrel must be meticulously cleaned after use. A BAR is a better rifle, but not much.
Number 9: .223 Remington Bushmaster M17S Bullpup rifle.
Uses the ubiquitous .223 Remington round. Has a 16” barrel in a short, compact system. Great for home invaders. Very rare rifle. Much preferred is the S-2000 or Steyr AUG. I don’t own those rifles. I like the S-2000 over the other bullpups. If I owned it, the S-2000 rifle would take a higher score.
Advantages: short length for home defense.
Disadvantages: Jams. When at the range one must check the action and ejection port after every round fired.
Number 8: Yugo SKS
I’ve read that the Russian SKS is of better quality with a SS barrel. However, I only own a Yugo with the muzzle break and bayonet ($400).
Great blond furniture and looks great. I mean it looks great. Beautiful rifle firing the 7.62 X 39 mm AK-47 round. This is my new range rifle due to the high cost of ammo. Described in “Boston’s Gun Bible” as a “great trunk rifle.” ‘Nuff said
Advantages: Plenty of cheap ammunition on 10-round stripper clips.
Disadvantages: 5” MOA. Poor site with Russian-only optical improvements.
Number 7: AKM (semi-automatic AK-47)
Mine is a stamped receiver AKM. It’s a toss-up between this 16” bbl AK and the Yugo SKS with a 20” bbl. I give the nod to the AKM because there are so many adherents on the web. Heaven forbid I select the beautiful Yugo SKS over the butt ugly AKM black rifle.
The edge is really due to the 30-round mag on the AKM, which are cheap and plentiful. I’ve got a ton of them.
Advantages: Plenty of cheap ammo in cheap 30-round mags. Scary looking with a scary sounding bolt slide.
Disadvantages: Accurate as an Iraqi.
Number 6: Glock 30 double stack .45 cal. Compact pistol
This is one of two .45’s that I carry. It has a short bbl, but the Glock is also listed in “Boston’s Gun Bible” as a preferred hand gun. The Glock is the simplest gun to strip and clean and fire. Once you’ve owned a Glock, you will buy more. I’ve got three and I’m looking for an excuse to buy more.
Advantages: It’s a Glock in .45. I may not have ever shot somebody with a Remington Golden Saber .45, but if I do, they are going down. Standard square white site is the best I’ve seen. Good for carry. G21 mags fit. The standard mag is 10-round. After market mags have the pinkie grip.
Disadvantages: Short barrel.
Number 5: Glock 17-L 9 mm long bbl match gun
This is the only gun I have ever hit bull with the first shot. The long bbl is a great advantage when distance is necessary. Mine is second gen, so it has no Picatiny Rail. But who cares? It fits in a standard G17 holster, which leaves a lot of options for carry, including shoulder rig.
Advantages: Very accurate pistol.
Disadvantages: 9 mm is a pussy round.
Number 4: Glock 21 .45 cal. Full-sized pistol (1911 substitute) Ranger Man note: I notice a Glock theme going here
Tough to carry concealed because of its size, but rugged as hell. With Trijicon night sites this is the ultimate home defense pistol. Oil? Optional. It’s the AK-47 of the handgun world. Simplicity of design makes the G21 the big pistol of choice. I’ve got the Fobus paddle holster and Blackwater belt holster with trigger finger release. It fits in any tactical holster. This hand gun may not be right for Zombies; too big, too loud, too much. But it is the one hand gun I would most want to be carrying if the shit hits the fan.
Advantages: Long bbl, plentiful high caliber round, good site picture, stopping power.
Disadvantages: The Glock Model 21? No. None. Get one.
Number 3: ????????????
This was a tough one. I’m down to my favorite and secondary. If you have to have a favorite and a backup, non-hand gun, what would you leave at home? SHTF is a very non-specific situation.
I’m down to three weapons; the AR-15 , the FN FAL .308 metric and the FN Police Shotgun 12 GA. Shit.
I have to make the Fabrique National FAL the number three gun. I love the thing ($650). It’s reliable and fires a big caliber. The .308, 7.62 X 51 mm NATO is one hell of a round, but it’s heavy. There is no Blackhawk or Blackwater assault vest made for the .308. Sorry, too bad. You have to get a suspension harness and clip-on ammo pouches to construct a half-assed ammo/assault vest for a .308 rifle.
Why FAL over the Springfield Arms M1A or the Rock River Arms LAR-8? Because I own an FN FAL and I don’t own a notoriously expensive M1A or reasonably priced RRA LAR-8 in 20” bbl. (bet which one I buy next?)
I liked the FAL in metric pattern over the L1A1 or L1A2 inch pattern. I scoped the FAL and it is very accurate. It’s a nine pound rifle like the M1A and LAR-8.
Based on my criteria, neither the M1A or the L1A2 or the LAR-8/AR-10 would have placed better on the list. The .308 round is going for $1.00 minimum each these days (see 7.62 X 39 at $0.19 per round).
Sorry, but the .308 is a waste for Zombies. It’s also a waste for AQI unless you’re supplied by the US Army, Marines or SpecOps.
Advantages: Big caliber, accurate, pick ‘um FAL, M1A, LAR-8.
Disadvantages: The ammo has become too expensive and it’s too heavy to carry in quantity. I have stores of Lake City, but the rifles have become too expensive also. The Springfield Arms is outrageous at $1,300 to $1,850 plus tax. The RRA LAR-8 is not too bad at $1,200, but fuck … I bought my Remington 742 for $350 with a scope and sling. It may not have a high-cap mag, but it will remove your head from your shoulders and drop any game in North America with one shot (other than a Grizzly and maybe a bull moose.)
Number 2: FN 12 GA Police Shotgun
Is there someone with a survivalist mentality that doesn’t own a 12 GA shotgun? A Remington 870 or some other pump-action? No. The answer is no. We all own a 12 gauge. Mine is tricked out with a reflex holograph “scope” and flashlights. It looks ridiculous, but I can strip it down to stock in less than a minute.
With a pistol grip and a long cylinder magazine, this bad boy can take out the worst looter in the worst way. I’ve got a stack of 00 buckshot to do the job. This could, would be the number one gun but for one reason; it doesn’t hold enough rounds. Plus, it kicks like a mule.
The beauty about a 12 GA shotgun is it doesn’t take much maintenance. Drag a bore snake through the bbl and you’re good to go. The fire power of a 12 GA is unsurpassable. Aim and shoot.
Advantages: Buy ammo at Wally World. Right off the shelf for bird shot. Top notch weapon for $650. Probably the most deadly for the uninitiated rifleman.
Disadvantages: Not for pussies or women or little kids. The thing is a cannon, so arm yourself appropriately.
Number One: You know. The M16/AR-15 .223 Remington 5.56 X 45 mm
Mine is a Double Star AR-15 semi-automatic .223 rifle ($1,000). It has only jammed twice, both due to black followers. Similar problem with FAL. Bad mags make for bad rifles. My Remington 742 Woodmaster also had a “failure to feed, failure to fire” due to bad extraction.
With decent ammo and a good green follower magazine the AR-15 is a very reliable rifle. What does it take to kill a hundred Zombies? Marksmanship, ammo, carried ammo. Marksmanship is my problem, ammo is also my problem, but carried ammo is Blackhawk’s problem. And Blackwater’s. They sell the vests that allow me to carry 12 30-round magazines. The ballistics of the .223 are fine. The round will generally fragment and “puff” after it hits. A tumbling .223 round will kill anyone. It may not kill a hopped-up AQI with the first round, but that’s just because a hopped-up AQI drug addict doesn’t know he’s been shot.
Mine has a carry handle 4X scope. The rifle has a flat top weaver rail, so I could make it much more accurate by mounting the scope on rings. Doesn’t matter much, it hits fine at 100 yards. Good enough for Zombies and al Qaida in the neighborhood.
Advantages: Light weight at 7 pounds. Can carry 400 rounds of ammo in readily available assault vest. Lots of optic options available. Bad ass Black Rifle.
Disadvantages: Shitty magazines on-line. Price of ammo has gone up to $.50 per round.
Thanks for the comment, bro!
– Ranger Man