ASSESSING YOUR NEEDS/RISKS/THREATS
(To know what to buy, know why to buy)
Should you buy an AK47,…or a shotgun,…or a Glock pistol? Heck, maybe a silencer? Well, they are all available, and all it takes is money. But are any of these suitable for you?
You are reading this article because you already know that there is an uncertain future out there which troubles you and which causes you to ponder whether getting into guns is finally a move you want to make. There are really only 3 categories of reasoning to buy guns, some with sub-categories:
2.) Investment and monetary gain
3.) Self-defense; sub-categories of self-defense include A.) Defense from crime/assault, B.) Defense against government (domestic or foreign), C.) Societal and economic collapse, which although related closely to both A and B, is uniquely separate.
Category 3 is likely what concerns you, and it is the focus of this article.
DEFENSE AGAINST CRIME
Criminal assault happens everywhere, but where is it likely to happen to you? Wherever it happens, you cannot resist it with a gun unless you have a gun handy at that moment. If you don’t go out much and are always home, you might not need an easily portable gun. But sooner or later, everyone leaves and has to go somewhere, and sometimes those places are not safe. This is why handguns are so popular;…because they are so easy to always have at hand. They are also concealable, which can be important for many reasons. For portability and ease of travel, nothing beats a handgun. For going about your business discretely, without scaring others needlessly about your possessing a weapon, again, nothing beats a handgun. The first rule of a gun fight is “have a gun”, for which handguns make it easy to observe the rule.
But as I mentioned in the first article of this series last week, handguns are notoriously poor fight-stoppers. They certainly are capable of lethal results,…just not always immediately enough. There can be times when a more lethal gun is desired; something more immediately final; something bigger. Typically, the more preferred guns for combat are rifles and shotguns. Shotguns for close range only, rifles for all distances. Since they are not able to be carried down the street in today’s society without creating a lot of fuss, these are often kept in the home.
Shotguns have been erroneously touted as the ultimate home defense gun because supposedly any fool can effectively use one. You don’t even have to aim, the myth goes, because since they throw a handful of projectiles in a pattern, all you have to do is point and pull the trigger. Well,…that’s almost true. But you CAN miss with a shotgun. Where shotguns are uniquely better suited to home defense, however, is in the choice of shells they can fire. This is because the interior walls in your house, unless you live in an entirely adobe home, are not much resistance for a bullet in flight. Even mere handgun bullets can easily penetrate completely through your home’s interior walls and possibly to the outside. Drywall and fiberglass insulation matting are no contest for a hunk of lead traveling at 1200 feet per second (or faster). If you are ever forced to shoot at someone in your home, any bullet which misses your attacker could perforate into another room and kill someone you love my mistake. But some shotgun rounds meant for hunting birds throw, instead of 9 or 12 large pellets, about 200 little BBs (often called “birdshot”). At distances the length of an average home’s hallway, these rounds are still devastating on a person. Yet, because of their reduced mass individually, this payload of shot will not blast through nearly as much wall material as regular bullets. They also will not exit the person being shot, as regular bullets often can.
The two weapon types just described are the traditional guns relied upon for defense of home and self from the more common criminal assaults. Police have been armed primarily with these for decades and decades. But assault rifles have their place too. In rural areas, especially in the southwestern border states, criminal assaults involving more than a single attacker have become more common than in years past. Although home invasion robberies are primarily an urban phenomenon (also on the rise), they occur in remote places as well, where there is no help for miles around and perhaps an hour away. Many home invasion raiders are increasingly not only dressing like police, but wearing body armor as well. Handguns and shotguns do not do much against body armor, but rifles usually do. While domestic upheaval in the form of economic or political turmoil would certainly be experienced to greatest measure in urban areas, rural communities would not be immune. Which brings us to our next section;….
We have been very fortunate to live in a very stable society and economic system,…so far. And hopefully, the future will not be one of wondering where our next meal will come from or who will next week be fighting over our neighborhood as their turf. But human history has shown over and over and over again that even in the most advanced societies of their time, upheaval has come not only to every style of government ever known, but usually happens with amazing quickness once certain events gain a momentum. Untold millions of people have deluded themselves into thinking bad times were not coming, while unstoppable forces bore down upon them to change their lives forever. These events can be economic, political and especially natural (such as earthquakes, hurricanes and volcanoes). But the common thread between them all is that once polite society is unable to function and satisfy people’s needs in peaceful ways,…many people become predatory, and take what they need or don’t have enough of. Suddenly, “might makes right” to those who are starving, need medicine, a means of escape or just a place to sleep. Some simply believe, even in their daily lives now, “do unto others before they do unto you”.
Our nation is the closest to economic collapse right now than it has ever been. Understand that when I say “collapse”, I am referring to something much worse and entirely different than “The Great Depression”. Back then, much of America still possessed some degree of self-reliance. Food was grown more locally. Most of our everyday products were still made here. Much of America still got by without electricity, running water or a telephone. The infrastructure then was enhanced by modern conveniences, but not built upon and depending upon them. Our infrastructure today that supports our daily lives is one which, if it were to temporarily stop running for some reason, is not capable of just firing back up the next day. Imagine if the dollar was worthless tomorrow. Who would sell anything to anyone trying to buy with it? Would cattle companies ship cattle for greenbacks they couldn’t spend? Would farmers sell grain if what they got for it couldn’t buy fuel for their tractors? Would workers in all industries and occupations continue to show up for work when they could not be paid? The whole machine could come to a horrible halt. And then soon, in a few days, the chaos would start. People would need food, medicine, fuel, all the basic things,…and soon they would begin to take them. While some sort of transitioning to a more stable system that could deliver basic goods and services would undoubtedly occur, it simply can’t be known how long such would take.
A recent example of this behavior was observed in New Orleans in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina. We’ve all seen what happened, so it doesn’t need re-hashing here. But suffice to say that the neighborhoods where the residents banded together and were heavily armed sustained little or no loss of their meager supplies of necessities, and neither did they suffer any violence, with the exception of a little bit of random ineffective gunfire thrown their direction by frustrated looters. And good thing they banded together too, because they weren’t the only ones who joined forces. So did the bad guys. We’ll never know if or how many individual armed survivors in New Orleans were overwhelmed by the roving bands of armed criminals that were going up and down many streets taking what they pleased. Because no one has survived to tell their tale (if such a thing happened). But there are at least a few stories out of that disaster of individuals who were left alone by people they knew were sizing them up as they evacuated or stayed, by themselves, and were left alone because they openly displayed and made known that they had an assault rifle.
While a handgun or shotgun may do okay when shooting is only occurring the distances found in your home or driveway, things get very different out in the larger world. If defending your block against looters for instance, someone might be shooting at you from far down the street and you need to shoot back. Only a rifle could effectively counter such a threat. Perhaps, instead of staying and hunkering down for the duration of some calamity, you decide you must flee. Perhaps roads are impassable and you must walk out of the area. You would be out in the open for anyone to attack if they were of a mind to do so. Walking out might takes days. The limited shelter you take at night might not be very defensible. Maximum firepower, capable of warding off multiple attackers would be essential. In urban terrain, even at close distances, attackers could be able to hide behind cars, walls and other objects. While in the home over-penetration is often a bad thing, in open-distance engagements, being able to perforate cars, walls and fence posts is often a good thing. And speaking of fleeing on foot, when Hurricane Katrina blew through New Orleans, the bridge that spans the Mississippi River from New Orleans to Gretna was one of the few ways out, until police from Gretna used force to stop pedestrians from crossing it. You read that correctly .The Gretna local police stopped residents of New Orleans escaping over the bridge. Those that made it across were rounded up at gun-point. (See picture.)
This is a threat most people think they understand. But likely you do not. Even if you have spent time as a soldier, your experience was that as part of a gigantic team with support of all kinds and heavy firepower to back you up. But for citizens, whether facing a foreign enemy or a domestic one, the situation is uniquely different. Whether facing a foreign government or your own, the firearm is likely going to be rarely employed. The reason is that there will always be more of the enemy than your side has, and they will always have bigger and more terrible weapons than you. Going up against them face-to-face will be avoided at all costs. As an offensive weapon, the gun will only serve on occasion. Mostly assassinations and small raids. (Explosives and explosive weapons would be the main tool.) But it is as a defensive weapon that firearms will be incredibly important. Any war waged against partisans or a rebellious population, even with today’s technology, still requires soldiers to seize locations and seek out the people participating against them. There is no substitute for “boots on the ground” as they say, and sooner or later individual soldiers and citizens face off against each other. The absolute minimum fighting tool the soldier you may face will have is likely an assault rifle. So at the minimum, you should have one too. Even if your only objective in such a situation is to escape, maximum firepower is your friend.
As a partisan (whether against a foreign government or your own), the American civilian combatant cannot expect any supply of ammunition beyond that which they have on hand whenever the excrement first hits the fan. Not only is it a good idea to have a stockpiled supply of ammo for you and your friends and family (that may have to last a very long time), but thinking ahead, it might well be prudent to chose guns that use ammunition that might likely be captured and usable in the course of such an unfortunate time. Today, the only foreign troops ever likely to be engaged against Americans on their own soil in the foreseeable future would be as part of a multi-national peacekeeping effort in the wake of social or political upheaval. Those troops would likely come from primarily NATO and western countries. Almost all of those armies field guns in a very few calibers standardized upon by NATO decades ago. So while the Russian-designed AK-47 is a cheap and affordable gun that is effective and proven, it might be hard to feed in such times. And if the future enemy is ever our own government, weapons chambered for the same ammo – and even the same weapons – would be ideally suited to the time at hand. So what are these calibers, and which should you choose?
5.56mm NATO (AKA .223 in civilian form, far right in picture): This is the caliber the U.S. military currently uses as the primary caliber for individual assault rifles carried by soldiers. It is also the primary caliber of most western countries including not only NATO member states, but others as well. However, its predecessor as the main cartridge for “battle rifles” and many crew-served machineguns is;…
7.62mm NATO (AKA .308 in civilian form, far left in picture): This caliber is a heavier and more powerful one than 5.56mm and was the standard caliber for most NATO countries up until the mid 80’s. However, even in those armies, it is still fielded by some units, such as the U.S. Navy SEALs, and is also the caliber still used in NATO belt-fed machineguns. Yet in others it is still the main caliber. Mexico, Greece and Norway are such an examples.
7.62x39 (Cartridge on middle left in picture): Not to be confused with the 7.62mm NATO round, this is the caliber for which the famous AK-47 was first designed and which it was produced in greatest numbers for decades. This caliber is fielded by armies and police forces throughout the world, and can be encountered on every continent. But in 1974, the Russians designed a new cartridge;…
5.45x39 (Cartridge in middle right of picture): Similar in performance, and its design inspired by the 5.56mm NATO, the Russians renamed the Kalashnikov rifles that were made in this new caliber. The AK-47 had been first produced in 1947. This new variant, redesigned in 1974, was thus named the AK-74. Although not yet having been produced in the same numbers as its predecessor (which were handed out as party favors to revolutionaries everywhere for decades, and still are), the 5.45 caliber AK rifles are the types currently fielded by most eastern European countries, such as Russia, Romania, Bulgaria, and is found in police forces from Africa to India to El Salvador.
Those are the main 4 military calibers available to American shooters. There are others that are not as common, such as the 6.8 SPC, 6.5Grendel and the Chinese 5.8mm. But while these others might have been designed to be more effective (and are), there is insufficient surplus of them on the market to say that any supply of such calibers might be had in a future calamity. If you are able to salt away thousands upon thousands of rounds of these odd ducks, then feel free. But otherwise, stick to the widely adopted and proven calibers.
Along that same line of thinking, consider whom else you might be allied with in a future where war is waging here at home. There may well be many others like yourself who are seeking to fight or defend. But perhaps they have no supply of ammo. Perhaps their supply ran out, or maybe it was seized. Ideally, you should have ammo that (if you choose to) you can share with friends and/or family.
(And in sufficient quantity to do so.) If you secured a big stockpile of the latest custom caliber before the unseen troubles began, that’s all well and good for you. But what of others?
In Part 3 of this series, we shall cover that series of weapons currently most threatened by federal gun-grabbers;…the Evil Black Rifle (EBR) known as the “assault weapon”.