I rarely ever discuss security issues, especially firearms, on this blog. The main reason for that is I believe that while security is important, having adequate food and water are higher priorities. It is kinda hard to shoot with any accuracy when you’re shaking from hunger, y’know?
I have a colleague named Lawrence Rayburn. He owns a Yahoo Group called Surviving The Day After. He and I don’t always see eye to eye on several issues but when he talks guns, I pay attention. He’s a military vet and very well-versed with firearms. Plus, he’s from Texas where my understanding is you receive your first long gun as a reward for successful potty training.
While many of us would love to be able to afford a room full of semi-automatic rifles and military styled shotguns, the reality is firearms are expensive and ammo ain’t cheap either. And if you’re relatively new to firearms, you’re going to burn through a lot of ammo before you become proficient.
For under $600, Lawrence says you can put together a basic collection of firearms that should serve most of your needs. I tend to agree with him.
1) A 22LR rifle. A Ruger 10/22 is just about the best there is in this category. You can find them brand-spankin’ new for $200 or so, cheaper if you find one used. A 22LR rifle is great for small game hunting as well as just practicing marksmanship. Ammo is cheap and plentiful. If you shop around, you can find boxes of 50 for about $2.00. Of course, there are all sorts of add ons and customizations you can do to make it look cool and mean. But all that stuff is just cosmetic, really.
2) 12 gauge shotgun. With an enormous range in shell types, a shotgun is very versatile. From big game hunting to waterfowl, it will keep your kettle full. Plus, there are few sounds more pucker inducing than that of a shell being racked in a shotgun. As such, a shotgun makes a great defensive weapon. What it lacks in long range, it makes up for in power. If you shop around, you can find a decent quality shotgun for around $200.
3) Mosin Nagant 7.62X54R. This is your long-range weapon as well as hunting rifle. These are all over the place right now for $100-200 depending on the model. These are bolt action, magazine fed rifles. The ammo is very similar to 30.06. The Mosin Nagant has an effective range to about 1000 yards, which should prove to be sufficient for most needs.
So, for about $600, you can outfit a decent poor man’s armory. Add in a few hundred bucks for ammo, bought a little at a time, and you’ll have enough firepower to last you at least a few years.
To that list though, I would add a decent handgun for defense. If you’re relatively inexperienced with firearms, I’d suggest starting with a revolver. They are less complicated than semi-autos, but the trade off is you’ll have less rounds in the handgun. Most revolvers have six shot cylinders whereas semi-autos can have nine or more in the magazine. For a revolver, a .357 is probably one of the better choices. A decent Taurus .357 with a 4″ barrel is going to run you in the neighborhood of a few hundred dollars. When you move over to semi-autos, you’re easily looking at more than $400 just for something basic.
Get your long guns situated first as you’ll get more bang for your buck, no pun intended. Once you’ve met those needs, look towards the handguns to complete the arsenal.