About a week ago, this website was down for almost two days because someone attacked the servers of my hosting company.
I got a little worried because I hadn’t installed the website backup software yet. Obviously everything turned out fine because you are reading this. (and the backup software is now up and running)
But it got me thinking…
What if the worst should happen? (and I don’t mean to this website, I mean in general)
The nation is invaded, aliens attack, the zombie apocalypse begins. Whatever. Pick your favorite scenario. As far as guns go, what would I need?
This is what I came up with:
A Lightweight & Reliable Rifle
Should be obvious, but consider this. If you could only take one rifle from your collection, what one rifle could you take?
Keep in mind it would need to be effective at hunting (for food) plus short to medium range combat (0-300 yards). I don’t see long range combat as likely, but it’s possible.
Also keep in mind that it will probably get dirty and wet.
Possibly quite wet.
Do you have a rifle that is corrosion resistant enough to get wet on a regular basis and still function?
Personally, I have an AR-15 I specifically built for lightweight, low maintenance operation. Stainless steel is the LEAST corrosion resistant material on the rifle. Everything else is virtually corrosion proof.
Reliability is king, accuracy is queen, weight is the Jack.
Your rifle doesn’t need to shoot 1 MOA (MOA = Minute of angle, or 1 inch at 100 yards, 2 inches at 200 yards, etc) It it needs to be accurate enough for hunting and close to mid range combat.
If you’ve ever had to carry a heavy rifle for any length of time, you’ll appreciate lightweight.
Some CLP or other gun cleaner, a bore cleaner, patches and a bore brush (or even a boresnake) should be enough for most things.
Some gun cleaners do double duty as both cleaners and oil. But most of the best gun oils are just that: oil only. There are exceptions (fireclean is a great example) but a good gun oil will be worth it’s weight in gold.
Good Combat / Hunting Ammo
I don’t mean cheap plinking ammo either. Full metal jacket (FMJ) ammo is great for punching holes in paper. It’s not good at much else. (that also goes for the 62gr Green Tip light armor piercing ammo everyone likes so much. I explain why in my Why the 5.56 / .223 is Both the Best and Worst AR-15 cartridge article.)
It could work, but there are FAR better options.
For me, FMJ is only acceptable if its constructed like the Russian 7N6 round. It works, but a quality expanding hollow point bullet is still better.
Personally, I use the .223 Federal Fusion MSR as my “do stuff” ammo in my rifle.
It’s cheap at only $10/box from Palmetto State Armory and it also has REALLY good performance reviews. Plus it made it into Doctor Gary Robert’s “Best Choices for Self Defense Ammo” article.
Out of my 16″ barrel, it would be effective to about 300-350 yards.
There are other plenty of other good choices, and most of them are listed on the Best Choices for Self Defense Ammo article.
Parts break, so having backups is a good idea. You don’t need to carry around a whole extra rifle for spare parts either. Do some research and find out what the most common parts that wear out on your rifle. Firing pins, springs and smaller/weaker parts are good candidates.
Batteries (if you use electronic sights)
Red dot sights, holographic sights, night vision, etc. Without batteries, they are useless so I would have spares. Some sights use tritium instead which is self luminous and requires no batteries.
They will gradually become dimmer over time. After 8-12 years they’ll become too dim to function. That’s why I don’t like them for any application, but especially not for a “Stuff hits the fan” scenario.
You could find batteries for your electronic sights. But you’ll need a whole new sight if you use tritium.
Speaking of battery powered sights, I would choose a sight that uses the common AA or AAA batteries instead of the smaller, harder to find watch batteries.
I would also trend toward those with long run times. An Aimpoint Comp M4 (or M4S) has a constant on time measured in years from a single AA.
Like 6-8 years of constant on time!
The popular Eotech sights only run for 600-1000 hours. (depending on the battery used) and they require two AA batteries to get that lackluster run time.
Eotech and Aimpoint sights are too expensive for most of us. But many companies make good sights with good run times. If you hunt around, you can find them inexpensively.
I side step the whole issue and use a low powered variable scope. I don’t need batteries, am almost as fast in close quarters, and I get up to 6x magnification for long range too.
Its a win, win, win.
If you live in a state that allows them (I live in the People’s Republic of Illinois which doesn’t) I would seriously consider buying a suppressor.
If you need to fight with your rifle, a suppressor will help keep your position hidden which will help keep you alive.
Long term, it will help keep your hearing intact.
Is it necessary?
But I think it would help immensely.
Most such scenarios are fanciful “what ifs” that will never happen. If they do happen then clean water, food, shelter, and clothing will probably matter more in the day-to-day. (the rifle can help with the food thing)
But if you need a rifle, then you’d better have a rifle.
That’s my $0.02.
Your Mileage May Vary
P.S. That incident with my website got me thinking. I don’t want to work for someone else for the rest of my life. So I’ll probably get a Federal Firearms License and start selling guns. I might start making AR-15 uppers first. Not sure.