WHY WE OWN WHAT WE OWN
We all own guns for different reasons…collecting, self-defense, competition…at least these are the reasons that we'll admit to. But some of us accumulate a variety of firearms, including military-style weapons and related equipment, for reasons that may seem unfathomable to non gun owners. Why would a professional golfer need an assault vest with a drop-down thigh holster and a fully tricked-out M4? Why would a software engineer need a 33-round magazine designed for a full-auto Glock 18? Many in the media and the general public ask "Why does anyone need an assault rifle?" Let's take a look at some of the scenarios which many gun owners wisely prepare for.
We've all seen movies where the dead return to life and walk the earth in search of human flesh to feed upon. If this were to actually occur, a Mini-14 or AR-15 with a dozen 30-round magazines (or better yet, a Beta C-Mag) would be awfully handy. And you will definitely need some sort of optic, since we all know that the only way to put down a zombie is with a head shot. A pair of Glocks with 33-round "monopod" magazines will be useful if you are trapped in an enclosed area and have to engage the undead at point blank range. High power rifles and shotguns will do the job, but they are unnecessarily powerful for the task of disabling zombie brain stems and are handicapped by their limited magazine capacity. If necessary, hole up in a Wal-Mart Supercenter instead of a shopping mall…these small-town economic Death Stars have everything necessary for survival, including food, medical supplies, guns and ammunition.
When our government becomes co-opted by the U.N. and our skies are darkened by black helicopters, the conspiracy theory kooks will be screaming a collective "I told you so!" When that happens, the AR-15 will be the hands-down favorite of the American insurgency, although an SKS or Winchester 94 will do in a pinch. A completely accessorized M4 or AK-47 will be invaluable if you plan on attacking and seizing a National Guard Armory…or a grocery store. And you will need an assault vest or web gear to tote your equipment when you venture out to ambush an enemy column or to patrol your rebel-controlled subdivision.
Escaped Circus/Zoo Animal
This is the premise that those of us who don't hunt can use to justify to our spouses the purchase of a high power hunting-type rifle. With the exception of very large animals such as elephants and hippos, a .30-06 or 7mm Mag should be able to put down just about any species you're likely to encounter in the Ringling Brothers menagerie or at the local zoo. A Marlin Guide Gun chambered in .45-70 with full-power loads should prove just as effective at close range, and would also seem to be the ideal rifle to bring along on a hunt for Bigfoot or the Chupacabra.
Rise of the Machines
When robots run amok and your toaster tries to kill you, a .30 battle rifle will be the weapon of choice. The .223 round cannot be counted on to reliably penetrate the combat chassis of a Cyberdyne Systems Model 101 Terminator, but sustained fire (especially with armor-piercing ammo) from an M1A or an FN-FAL may do the trick. An M1 Garand should prove to be a capable alternative as long as you have enough clips. Handguns will generally only be effective on very small machines such as blenders and CD players, but 12 gauge 00 buckshot should be capable of taking out any major home appliance and most push-type lawn mowers. Use slugs on riding mowers and lawn tractors.
In this scenario, a rifle of the AR/AK/Mini-14 variety and a brace of good quality sidearms will probably be your best bet for keeping marauding bands of looters and starving neighbors from getting their hands on your five-year supply of MRE's. But exterminating giant mutant insects and/or rodents may require something with a little more oomph. Depending on the size and tenacity of the irradiated vermin, repeating rifles suitable for hunting large dangerous game, such as a Remington 700 chambered in .375 H&H Mag., should do the job on anything up to the size of an Orkin truck. And coating the bullets with Raid or filling hollowpoints with rat poison can't hurt. If, however, you run into a spider that's as big as a house, see the section below on dealing with Dinosaurs.
Taking on a rampaging Tyrannosaurus Rex is probably beyond the capabilities of the average gun owner, but if you have a Barrett Light 50 or better yet, an M2 mounted on an armored Humvee, this should be adequate. A hardcore "White Hunter, Black Heart" type of outdoorsman may try his luck with a fine double rifle in .600 Nitro Express or an 8-bore, but I personally would rather have more than two shots to prevent me from becoming cholesterol in the arteries of a giant carnivore. The 30mm chain gun on an Apache attack helicopter will work best in this situation, but a LAW rocket or RPG should be effective as well. Raptors, on the other hand, can generally be dispatched with 12 gauge slugs at close range, or any other caliber suitable for taking bear-sized game.
Vampires and Werewolves
Destroying creatures of the night can be an expensive proposition, as any firearm projectile used must be composed of silver. Pawn shop owners who handload and cast their own bullets have a distinct advantage here. Projectiles merely plated with silver, such as buckshot pellets and pistol bullets, may prove to be a cost-effective alternative to solid silver projectiles, but it is unknown if this method can deliver enough silver nitrate into the monster to result in a fatal wound. Any pistol cartridge capable of reaching the FBI's minimum acceptable penetration depth should be sufficient for defeating vampires, but werewolves, by virtue of their generally larger size and greater muscle mass, may require a centerfire rifle cartridge to reliably pierce their thick hides and return them to Hell. Winchester Silvertips are NOT effective, as their tips are not actually made of silver. And leave the fancy sword-play to Blade, unless you don't mind being exsanguinated.
According to the conventional wisdom of Hollywood, the military forces of the world will be easily swept aside by the technologically superior weapons of an invading humanoid alien species. The aliens themselves, however, generally appear to be vulnerable to small arms fire. Depending on just how fragile their bodies are, any military-style rifle chambered in .223, 7.62x39 or .308 should be satisfactory for waging an interplanetary insurgency and ensuring that only humans get to deplete the earth's natural resources. If, however, the aliens turn out to be allergic to water or some other liquid that is harmless to us, then Super Soakers and water balloons will be the armament of choice. In any case, a 12 gauge shotgun loaded with 00 buck is preferable to a baseball bat or kitchen knives.
Some might say that this kind of thinking is paranoid. But being prepared for these kinds of situations, in addition to being prudent, is just plain fun. Besides, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean that someone…or something… isn't out to get you. I have to go now…I can hear my dogs barking, so I need to go put on my body armor and find my night vision goggles. Lock and load, baby!