In response to your requests for more visual media in Jarhead’s Lifestraw giveaway post, I hustled out and made a quick video on shooting while moving, with me popping a couple 2-liter containers full of water with my AR while moving in the sandpit. I was pretty pleased with myself, especially since it took about 30 takes to even get to the shooting part, and so my disappointment was pretty extreme when I came home and popped in the SD card from my video camera into the ol’ laptop. Apparently my card had run out of memory about a third of the way through! D’oh! So I’ll have to redo it, but please rest assured that we’re listening!
I was pretty much caught with my pants down for a post, especially since I’d already typed up an article for shooting while moving. So, I thought I’d have some opinionated fun this week. I know Ranger Man did a post (listed on the top of “Popular Posts”, no less.) on his personal Top 10 when TSHTF, so I thought I’d share my opinion too… but to combat the redundancy I’m gonna throw in my choice of worst guns as well. Mind you, at this point, it’s pretty much all academic, and of course what I think would work best for me and mine, since the S hasn’t really HTF that I can tell, but anyway…
Let’s get started, shall we? Wherever possible, pictures will be taken from the manufacturer’s website.
TRW’s BEST guns
–RUGER 10/22 TAKEDOWN: The Ruger 10/22 has really endeared itself to the modern public as a classic, no-nonsense, easy to use, easy to shoot, reliable-as-hell .22 autoloader. And when Ruger introduced it as a takedown variant that can pull apart into two pieces less than 20 inches long, and be stowed in a small pouch, with magazines and ammo ready to go, and an assembled rifle ready in less than 30 seconds, they hit it out of the ballpark. These things are extremely accurate, and the aftermarket support for triggers, optics, and other snazzy goodies is bordering ridiculous. Too cool.
-AR-15 VARIANTS: Bet you didn’t see this one coming, huh? The AR-15 and its family have become the media darlings of late, both in good and bad ways. However, the AR-15 has become the staple of the self-defense, prepper, combat shooting, Law Enforcement, and hunting schools-of-thought. The first models weren’t so snazzy, but the modern AR has a dazzling adaptability , excellent reliability, and breathtaking accuracy (in most) that really makes it a hugely practical arm. Toss in the fact that parts can be found/scrounged everywhere, you can change calibers from .22 LR to .223 to 7.62×39 to .300 Blackout, to .50 Beowulf and ohers, just by switching the upper receiver, and, of course, the CDI (Chicks Dig It) factor, and you have a great, and indeed practical, platform for when TSHTF.
-AK-47 VARIANTS: I really don’t like AKs, I’ll admit it, but I will begrudgingly acknowledge what everyone knows them for: Their insane reliability. This reliability is the reason you see them in pictures of troops ranging from Siberia to the Sudan to Guatemala to Iraq. They work, with minimal maintenance. ALL THE TIME. Fill it full of sand. It goes bang. Fill it full of muddy water and take it out in freezing weather. It goes bang. Let it rust to hell. It goes bang. You get the picture. The 7.62×39 cartridge is a great all-around caliber too, if not the most accurate in this platform. But ya gotta respect something that does its job so damn well!
-REMINGTON 870: I read an article once where a fella from Scattergun Technologies (I think it was) said, “870s don’t die; they just get handled to death.” And, having run the same one for about 15 years now, using it from everything from duck hunting to practical shotgun classes, I can vouch for the statement. The 870 is simply the most functional, simple, down-to-earth shotgun out there. My 13-year old son can pull mine apart, down to the major assemblies (trigger group, bolt, receiver, barrel, pump) and reassemble it. The barrels can be easily swapped, allowing you to go from a short deer hunting or home defense gun, to a great-swinging bird or sporting clays gun in seconds. You need one of these.
-(ALMOST) ANY SMITH & WESSON REVOLVER: Yeah, there are other revolver manufacturers out there, but S&W still is the Gold Standard. With great trigger pulls out of the box (buy a used one for a great deal and a more-worked in action), stellar accuracy, and easy-to-find accessories and parts, these workaholics do just that: work all the time. My S&W M65 pictured above has had thousands of rounds put downrange, and the only malfunctions have been ammo-related. With different frame sizes, caliber, sights, barrel length, finish, and grip sizes, it is almost impossible to not find one that will fit your needs nicely. For extra versatility, get a .357 Magnum (you can shoot .38 Specials in it.)
–GLOCK : The ubiquitous Glock has become synonymous with the terms “reliability” and “simplicity” How can you go wrong? Yeah, they’re blocky and kinda ugly, really no “soul” to them, but they do their job well…and it’s the reason why they have the lion’s share of the Law Enforcement and private market for autoloading handguns. I personally prefer the Smith & Wesson M&P series of guns, as it will go everything the Glock will do, but better. HOWEVER – The Glock has a really awesome thing going for it that pulls it above the pack: The Ciener .22 LR Conversion kit. In about 5 seconds, literally, you can change your 9mm (or whatever caliber) Glock into a very accurate .22 LR handgun for training and small game use. (the SIG P226 and others have these kits available as well, but you can buy a Glock PLUS the conversion kit for the price of one SIG) Plus, the Glock doesn’t have safties or doo-dads all over it, making it very easy to learn on and use.
–WINCHESTER 94/92, .45 COLT: Yep, here’s an oddball one. This gun is light, easy to carry, very accurate, powerful enough for most big game at close ranges. However, where it really shines is its ability to still be effective with black powder. The .45 Colt was developed in the 1870’s as a black powder cartridge, where it served the US military for years and racked up quite a reputation as a manstopper…even with the archaic black powder loading. SO… Why not have something in your arsenal that you can MAKE gunpowder for? Seems like a good bet to hedge.
TRW’S WORST PICKS
–1911 VARIANTS: Heh heh heh…here we go. I think out of any of these, this will create the most controversy. Perhaps the most beloved gun in the US, the 1911 is an AWESOME gun. I’ve built a couple, and won IDPA matches with them. When you have a good one, it’s a good one, and usually will feed most ammo through it. But when they don’t want to play, 1911s are the most cantankerous hunks of metal on the planet. I love owning mine, I love shooting it…on the range. I don’t carry one with me to defend life, limb, and property…because there’s just that constant irk in the back of my mind that says, “will this thing work this time?” Yeah, you can spend a ton of money for a Wilson or Kimber or Les Baer, but for my money, a SIG P220 does the same thing better, and works all the time. Sorry, John Browning.
–KEL-TEC KSG: I’ll admit, this is a super-cool idea. Two magazines under the barrel, containing 6 rounds each of full-power 12-gauge ammo. Who wouldn’t want 13 rounds of 00 buck ready to go when the chips are down? Well, I’ll pass. This gun is ALL the rage right now in the tactical shotgun market (prices have SKYROCKETED…when you can find one!) , but I’ll stick with my Remington 870. The Kel-Tec is a neat, compact idea, but it’s a mishmash of mediocre ergonomics, magazine-changing levers in wierd spots…oh, and it’s HEAVY. 12 rounds of 12-gauge weighs quite a bit, especially when it’s in your gun. I’ll admit, part of me is just prejudiced against a new, fad gun, but due to complexity and scarcity on the market (who knows where to kind parts?) I’ll look this one over then hand it back to the nice man behind the counter.
–ANYTHING .50 BMG: Hoo boy, are .50s cool! That HUGE carrot-sized cartridge, the ability to shoot miles away with pinpoint accuracy, the monstrous, mean-looking guns. Which are all weak points in my book. If, indeed, things go sour, the ability to only carry a few of the heavy bullets in their giant magazines, (did I mention ammo is really expensive and almost impossible to find? There’s that too. Even HANDLOADING for this beast is pricey, with special equipment needed), with the 20-plus pound rifle, is a big handicap in my book. If you’re engaging targets 1000+ yards out, you have the time to get the hell out of dodge and find someplace better to be that doesn’t involve the necessity of shooting at stuff that far away. Yes, they’re cool. Yes, they have a place. But I’ll leave it behind at that place, thanks. The logistics of supporting this mean bastid are just too much.
–HI-POINT HANDGUNS: “Hey, remember that Hi-Point I had that was accurate, aesthetically pleasing, and reliable?” said no person ever. These things should be sold as six-packs. As paperweights. If you ever wanted to buy a gun that you could practice clearing jams and stoppages with, this is it. I’d rather throw it at a target…at least I’d know it worked that way. Also see: Jennings, Lorcin, etc.
-COLT SINGLE ACTION ARMY VARIANTS: Boy, are these guns beautiful. They handle well, point like your finger, they’re elegant, the finish is usually superb, bordering on breathtaking. They’re available in a lot of great calibers, too! But, there’s a reason you don’t see them in police and military holsters any more. They’re easy to break, parts will break the bank when you can find them, and it’s slow to shoot safely. Why handicap yourself when, for the price of a new Colt SAA, you can buy about 5 Glocks? Sorry, but we’re in this to win this, not trick shooting.
Well, what do you think? Did I piss anybody off, or validate anybody’s opinions? What’s on your loved and hated gun list?
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