The Basic Battery
I was speaking with a couple (let’s just call them Sid and Nancy) at a Christmas party recently and somehow we got talking about me going deer hunting. Nancy said I should teach her husband Sid to hunt and at the time I thought it was a throw away line delivered just to keep the conversation flowing. A few days later I was talking with Sid and hunting again came up. I asked him what kind of guns he owned. Now, Sid is a combat veteran who grew up around agriculture in the deep South - certainly not some touchy-feely metro-sexual. Nancy was at one time a reserve police officer – and it was she who recommended I teach Sid to hunt. So I naturally assumed I was about to hear a litany of firearms they had tucked away in their safe.
“I don’t have any guns”.
In this day and age. No guns.
Sid, a big ol’ country boy combat vet, and Nancy a supportive and at least marginally trained wife – with kids I might add.
And not a gun in the house.
I wanted to weep.
But instead I went on the offensive with something like, “DUDE – you need to get some firearms. Right now.”
He asked for recommendations and this entry is based on what I told him.
This is the basic firearm that should be required by law to be maintained in every home. I recommend a pump because they are simple to learn to operate, they are less complex in operation, and they are less expensive than semi-autos. Single and double barrels may suffice for hunting but they are not ideal for defensive purposes due to the lack of ammunition capacity.
Normally for those on a budget (and who isn’t?) and with smaller wives I recommend a 20 gauge. At household distances a 20 gauge is just as effective as a 12 gauge but with significantly reduced recoil. I also recommend a youth model. Youth models have shorter buttstocks and longer fore ends which make them easier to handle by those with short arms. Those with big arms have very little problems shooting them. Conversely, smaller people have a difficult time shooting shotguns that are too big for them.
In this case however, Nancy is a large woman (and I don’t mean fat – she is over six feet tall I’d reckon and strong) who can handle a 12 gauge. I recommended to Sid that he stop by Chinamart on his way home from work and purchase a Mossberg 500 “combo model”. I recommend this shotgun for a few reasons. First, Mossberg makes the least expensive decent pump shotgun. No, it’s not the famed Remington 870. That logo on the side will cost you at least an additional $100 and you won’t get the spare barrel and chokes you get with a Mossy. That’s right – the combo package comes with an 18.25” barrel ideal for defensive purposes and a longer, vent-ribbed barrel complete with three screw-in choke tubes so you can use it to hunt just about whatever you want. It also comes with a really sexy pistol grip. I tell everyone to sell the pistol grip at the next gun show and use the money to buy more ammo.
Now, I could write a book on shotguns and some day I may, but to keep this entry manageable let me conclude by saying a pump shotgun as described is an extremely versatile weapon: you can defend the homestead and hunt everything from squirrels to turkey to geese to bears with them. If you don’t own one you should really just stop reading and go buy one. Now.
We are describing a bolt action rifle of approximately .30 caliber with a scope. Now those of you who have been reading this blog for any length of time know I’m not a gear queer. That is my deer rifle up there and to the uninitiated it looks “high speed”. I assure you it is not. It is just a base-model Remington 700 in .308 with a Bushnell scope and about $3 worth of Krylon spray paint. You can pick something like this up (minus the paint job) at most Chinamarts for less than … wow, I was going to say $500 but I decided to do a quick online check – I think you are looking at around $600-700. I will entertain comments from you guys on pricing of decent, basic deer rifles. My wife bought me my deer rifle a long time ago for about $300. They aren’t getting any cheaper gang.
Now entire Internet forums are dedicated to firearms. There you will find folks who argue incessantly about this detail or that. I’m a basic guy. I use basic gear. If that gear works, I’m not usually in a hurry to replace it. Take my deer rifle. It is not special. It doesn’t have a synthetic stock or pillar bedding, an adjustable trigger, or any other gadgets. My scope is a basic off the shelf model that I paid $32 dollars for. You can spend four times as much on a deer rifle set up. But you know what? I have killed about 30 deer with that rifle. I never miss. And that basic, low budget rifle is capable of shooting better than most people who pick it up. It does no good to buy a rifle that will shoot sub-minute of angle groups if you are not a sub-minute of angle shooter. And the vast majority is not. Also, to hunt deer, one does not need that kind of accuracy – you need to hit a fairly large target area to put a deer down. Buy a basic rifle, learn to shoot it well. Spend you money on ammo and training and only then consider upgrading to a better rifle.
Why buy a deer rifle? Because you can shoot big things far away with it. That could be a deer, or a cow, or a crazed zombie mutant. Much better to shoot them way over there than in the living room. ‘Nuff said.
Every adult should have a handgun. Every adult should be armed all the time. Scroll down and read about Virginia Tech, read about Jeanne Assam – you don’t get to pick when Trouble is coming to visit. You will not be carrying a shotgun or rifle around with you 24/7. There is a cutesy phrase that circulates amongst the gun culture that says, “A pistol is to fight your way back to the rifle you should not have set down in the first place.” Yeah…
Get a handgun. Here I will once again enter into the fray: As long as it is .38 Special or better, it really doesn’t matter what caliber you get. I have a friend that shoots 9mm. I used to tease him unmercifully. I’d say things like, “9mm is a fine caliber – my daughters shoot it. My wife even used to shoot it until she moved up to .45”. I don’t want to enter the caliber wars so I’ll just stick with what I said - .38 Special or better. I will also say that it really doesn’t matter if it’s a wheel gun or a semi-automatic. Just get one you will feel comfortable toting around all day, every day. And once you get your handgun – go get trained in its use. First learn how to shoot accurately. This is basic handgun instruction. Then go learn how to fight with it – you will pay good money for this instruction and if you ever need to use your handgun for real it will have been worth every penny.
You may never need it. But if you do – you will be so glad you have had one, trained with it, and gotten very familiar with its use. I think the odds are good we will have a Democrat for President and a Democrat led Congress in a little over a year. I think if that happens things could get very tight in the gun market – Democrats are traditionally anti-gun. I think I am not alone in these thoughts as the price of “assault rifles” continues to climb. “Buy one before ’08 and know the price will go up every week between now and then” is what I told Sid.
Again, I will not enter the fray on which type to buy. I will just say this – get a platform that closely mimics a proven military arm. AR15, AK47, M1A, FAL, etc, etc. Basically you want a weapon that is robust, that fires a proven cartridge, and that takes magazines so that it can be reloaded quickly.
I chose the Mossberg 500 because it is the least expensive decent pump gun. For the same reasons, I recommended that Sid buy an AK47 clone. Of all the decent “assault rifles” it is the cheapest. And for the record, I am not a huge AK fan personally. But I am also not trying to build an armory over night with limited funds. When you get your rifle, get a bunch of magazines for it. Get real magazines – not some Cheaperthanmud knock off. Having 12 would not be too many. Not by a long shot.
So those are the basics according to Joe. For those with no guns at all, I recommend you go out and get this battery as quickly as possible. We are potentially just two days (at any given time) away from total chaos. I may have mentioned it before, but Gabe Suarez said something that keeps resonating through my mind – “The only thing harder than preparing is having to explain why you didn’t”.
Is this an ideal battery? Of course not. It is a working one though. It would be better if one would standardize weapons and calibers. For example, one could get a deer rifle in .308 and then choose a .308 battle rifle such as an FAL, or MIA. Ideally, a family would purchase identical pistols or at least caliber, for the adults to use as well. It would be great if every member of the family had a complete set of the above weapons – all identical.
But in the end, your family is not a military unit – you don’t NEED to be standardized. You won’t be shooting a million rounds at mutant zombies over the course of your lifetime – but you could very conceivably have to go through several magazines at some point in your life.
Time is getting short. I hope that you never have to sit down and cry someday because you spent your money on big screen televisions and Wiis instead of basic gear – basic gear like a basic battery.
Do you know what Jesus said?
Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. – Luke 22:36
Do you have a “sword”?
See you out there.
If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
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Prepared Americans for a Strong America