Firearms are a common topic when discussing Survivalism. In the event of a world changing catastrophe, firearm ownership may well be the difference in being a victim or surviving. As with anything, however, there are many things to consider before deciding the "if" and "what" of owning a gun.
So, tell me about it.
The most important thing to consider is the "if" portion. Owning a gun is much like owning a car or a house. There are both benefits and obligations to it. Ask yourself a few questions before you make the decision:
1. Am I willing to take the proper safety precautions with a firearm? This includes making it inaccessible to smaller children as well as keeping it properly locked up to prevent theft and misuse.
2. Am I willing to learn how to properly and safely operate my firearm? That includes going to the range and practicing on a regular basis, and possibly taking a course if you are not comfortable with guns to begin with.
3. Am I willing to commit to maintaining my firearm? This means learning how to disassemble and properly clean your gun as well as keeping proper cleaning supplies on hand.
4. Is my family comfortable with my decision? Will your family commit to learning gun safety as well? If you properly train them, especially children, you lessen the chances of a tragic gun related accident happening. I shoot, my kids shoot, my wife does not. However, I have tried to make sure she is comfortable with guns in the house. She knows all mine are stored properly and made safe if they are not locked up (cleaning, heading to range, etc.)
I have decided to get a gun!
Now on to the fun part. What do I get? Well, a Desert Eagle in .50 caliber and some sort of full-auto Class 3 Machine Gun, right? Nope. No. Nyet.
I thought you said this was the fun part!
A gun is a tool, and just like you would not hammer a nail with a screwdriver, you need to decide the right tool for the job. Decide what you want your firearm to do.
Home Defense? Small Game Hunting? Target Shooting? There are thousands of different guns out there in hundreds of different calibers and it can be a little confusing when you try and decide what you want.
Great, so how do I decide?
Do your homework. Buy a copy of Shotgun News. Look at the pictures and read the articles. Search the Internet. Ask a friend. Keep in mind your mission for the weapon as well as your budget. Price ammunition before you make a purchase.
Why does the price of ammo matter?
I have a wonderful custom hunting rifle from the 1950s. It is built off a Japanese Arisaka rifle action that someone brought back from WW2 and mated with a war surplus Johnson Ligt Machine gun barrel. It is highly accurate and obviously made by a real craftsman. I paid only $125 for it. This should be the perfect rifle, right? Wrong. It is chambered in .300 Savage. A round that waned in popularity after the 1960s. Right now a box of 20 rounds in this caliber runs from $27 to $45. That means more than $1.35 a shot! What point is a good gun if you can't afford to shoot it?
What does RipperBravo6 think?
**Consider a semi-automatic pistol for home defense. These are easy to use, easy to maintain and ammunition is readily available.
**A semi-auto rifle in a lighter caliber such as .223 can serve for defense as well as hunting.
**A 12 gauge pump shotgun can be loaded with buckshot for home defense and bird shot for hunting. With slugs, it can even take larger game.
No one weapon is going to handle everything, so be prepared to compromise. Consider your primary mission and purchase something easy to use and maintain that fits your budget.