While I do feel some survivalists and preppers overcompensate with this category of preps, firearms are indeed a necessary component of a well-rounded disaster readiness plan. They serve two distinct purposes; self-defense and food procurement.
Many of us would love to be able to afford a room full of semi-automatic rifles and military styled shotguns, but 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.
With that said though, you can put together a fairly decent basic armory of firearms for under $600, if you shop around a bit.
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.
As the budget permits, 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.
As you begin acquiring firearms, safety is paramount. Be sure to have a secure location to keep them locked up and away from kids. Many Sheriff’s Departments even offer trigger locks for free so start with those if you can’t afford a gun safe. Ammo should be locked up securely as well.
You’ll also need to learn how to care for the firearms. Have someone teach you how to properly disassemble and clean each weapon. Stock up on plenty of cleaning supplies, as well as spare parts for each weapon.
Of course, all the firearms in the world won’t do you much good if you don’t know how to shoot straight. Make it a priority to practice with your firearms on a regular basis. If you don’t have a friend or relative who is proficient with shooting, inquire about classes at your local gun ranges. Odds are you can find someone who is willing and able to give you the help you may need. Accuracy takes time to achieve and it is a skill that is lost over time if you don’t practice regularly.
Your assignments this week:
1) Begin setting aside funds to begin acquiring firearms and ammunition. If I had to choose only one firearm for survival purposes, it would probably be the .22 rifle, so you might consider starting there and working your way up the list.
2) Locate a range in your area where you can practice shooting as well as receive instruction if needed.
3) Add some comfort foods to your storage this week. Things like popcorn, honey, and other goodies that may not be crucial parts of your nutritional intake but would be so nice to have.