Firearms For Freedom and Forage-Part 3, Hunting Long Guns

Firearms For Freedom and Forage-Part 3, Hunting Long Guns

A semi-auto centerfire rifle (M1A Socom) left, large capacity, pump action shotgun (Mossberg 590A1) center, and a semi-auto rimfire rifle (Ruger 10/22) is about as versatile as one can get if you’re trying to cover both defensive and hunting needs with a small selection of long guns.

I started hunting when I was 7 years old. Like most, the first firearm I used to hunt with was a .22 Long Rifle chambered bolt gun. Many an “Adventure” I went on with that rifle. First thing I ever killed with it was a poor old mangy fox (did him a favor). Dad and I were sittin’ up in a tree the first day of deer season ( I was not deer hunting yet), and Dad said, “Hey, why don’t you shoot that fox when he goes by.”. I look up ( I was probably daydreamin, thinkin’ about being the sniper in my favorite picture from the Civil War) and see a fox out in a field runnin’ from right to left. I threw my rifle up, pulled the trigger and dropped him.

Yup, that was about what it looked like, I even had the canteen hanging on the branch.

Ended up being one of the best shots I’ve ever made. 70 yards, right through his temple and with peep sights no less. My Dad also gave me the family nickname, that I’ve had for decades, that day. In a worst case scenario, it’s hard to go wrong with a .22LR rifle if you can shoot it accurately. It will take game far larger than many think possible, if you can accurately place a bullet in the animal’s vitals.

Many articles and videos have been done on what makes the best “One” firearms for survival. The first response should always be, “What are you trying to ‘Survive’?” I’ve already given my thoughts on long guns and handguns for defensive “Survival” needs, so now we’ll get into what I’ve found useful in the long gun category for foraging/hunting situations.

The two most useful hunting long guns I have. A Ruger Scout Rifle and a Savage model 24 in .223Rem. over a 20Ga. (3″ chamber) barrel. Pictured above the Scout rifle is a Savage “Four Tenner” .410 insert for the 20 Ga. barrel. BTW, a box of 20Ga shotgun shells fits perfectly into an M16 20 round magazine, 4 mag pouch.

Savage Model 24.

Throughout the last century, Savage/Stevens Arms made a number of combination guns ranging from .22LR over .410bore to 30-30Win over 12Ga., and in various barrel lengths. Many military pilot survival kits had one of these in it back in the 40’s and 50’s (started off being made by Stevens Arms). When I was 14, I bought my first rifle. I chose a Savage 24V Series D. This was the model with the .223 Remington upper barrel superimposed onto a 20 Gauge lower barrel.

“Most versatile rifle I’ve ever had.” is the first phrase to come to mind. “Best minimum chamberings to do most jobs.” is the second. The barrels are 24 inches long, with the .223Rem barrel having a 1-14 twist and the 20Ga is a Modified choke and patterns very well. I have killed pretty much every common game animal in my area with this firearm.

The .223Rem is a little light for deer, but will work if you know where to place the bullet (central nervous system shot). The .223Rem is also one of the most available and popular centerfire cartridges on the market today. The 20 gauge is a great hunting round, and only second to the 12 gauge in popularity. By the way, if you have a 20Ga, but want 12Ga performance, use the 3″ Magnum in it. Same payload in both the 2 3/4″ 12Ga and a 3″ 20Ga.

This long gun’s chamberings fill my “Mandatory Minimums” and “Readiily Available” requirements very well. After starting out with iron sights as a kid, I upgraded a year later with a Bushnell 3-9x scope. Not long ago, I downgraded the magnification to a Leupold 1-4x, because I wanted as low power as I could go for using the shotgun barrel.

Combo guns like this one and the one mentioned below are also good candidates for cartridge converters ( a future post), like my Savage “Four Tenner” .410bore adapter to fire .410 shotgun shells out of the 20Ga barrel. Unfortunately, they no longer make the Savage M24. If you find one on the used market, snatch it up. You won’t be disappointed in the versatility of this long gun.

Remington SPR-94 

Remington SPR-94 12 gauge over .308 Winchester

As you can tell from the above Savage 24 commentary, I’m a big fan of versatile firearms, and Combo Guns in particular. The Remington SPR-94 was their cleaned up version of a Russian Baikal copy of the Valmet 412. Valmet also made this firearms for Savage under the Model 2400 label.

My SPR-94 shoots 2 inches at 100 meters with the .308Win barrel. It has interchangeable chokes and patterns very well out to 40 yards. I like the hammer option better on my 24 than I do the double triggers on the SPR-94, but it works out fine, once you get used to them. The front sight post is the same as an AK post, in case you need to replace it. I’ve put about 300 rounds through the rifle, and approximately 500 rounds through the shotgun barrel. If I’m bear hunting, this has always been the rifle I carry. This is due to being able to choose from a 180gr Remington PSP .308Win bullet or a 3″ Brenneke 12Ga slug at a moments notice. I’m a bigger fan of the .223Rem/20Ga combination of cartridges for a survival gun than I am the .308Win/12Ga. combo. I believe the .223/20Ga is more versatile choice.

Ruger Scout Rifle 

I’ve written a few posts that talked about many of the aspects of the Ruger Scout Rifle I use for large game hunting. It is a solid, “Mauser Style” action. With the 18.7″ barrel, the overall length is approximately 40 inches. Total weight with the PA 4-14x Orion optic and the XS Sights extended scout rail is 9 3/4lbs. (7.3lbs. with nothing extra). With good ammo and the PA optic, it will shoot into an inch at 200 meters. To get more of my impressions of this rifle, check out the other posts already written.

Mossberg 500 pump action Shotgun

Mossberg M500 series 12gauge shotgun shown with an 18.5″ rifle sight, smoothbore barrel-top. A 24″ rifled barrel with scope on a cantilever mount- center and a 28″ vent-rib smoothbore barrel with interchangeable chokes mounted on the action.

One of the most versatile long guns, especially for hunting, is the shotgun. I have used Mossberg shotguns for well over 30 years, and can say they are not only solid and reliable guns, but they are geared towards the budget conscious and the left handed crowds. As you can see above, the shotgun pictured can do not only the “Upland/small game” (28″ barrel) thing, it can double as a long range (200 meter) deer rifle, and a short, handy defensive weapon (18.5″ barrel).

The Mossberg M500 is always the first long gun I recommend to new shooters who want their firearm to be a “Jack of All Trades”. It is easy to shoot, available in all the popular gauges. It has many different barrel options, is basically ambidextrous and finally, is durable and reliable. Not much more needs to be said about the specs and options you look for in a firearm, whether for hunting or defense.

Old School

Left to right, Springfield M22 .22LR, Springfield 1903 .30-06, A Savage/Stevens 311 in 12Ga and one in 20Ga.

I’m a big fan of “Old School” firearms, and have been using them since I first started hunting. My advice on any long gun you get to hunt (not as a collector piece) with is this. Look at the track record of the firearm you are getting. The ones pictured above have been maintenance free (except for cleaning) for decades, and they’ve been use…..A LOT!

Cartridges used by the four long guns from left to right. .22LR, .30-06 Springfield, 12 Gauge, 20 Gauge

Another criteria to look at is the chambering. . 22LR is a no brainer for versatility and popularity. The .30-06Springfield and 30-30 Winchester are two more wildly popular and reliable game getters. Finally, 12 and 20 gauge shotguns are generally the “Go to” gauges when it comes to shotgun selection, and a good old double barrel or pump action will probably do everything you ask of it. The Stevens 311 20Ga. pictured above also has the versatility of having two of the Savage “Four Tenner” .410 bore inserts so it can be a “Starter” shotgun for a youngster or new shooter.

Ruger 10/22

At the top of the post, you’ll see a pic with a Ruger 10/22 on the right side. I’ve had that 10/22 for well over 30 years and it’s never failed to fire and hit what I was shooting at. It’s had in excess of 8,000 rounds through it, and still keeps pluggin’ along. The most recent addition to it was a PA 6x ACSS optic, and like the rifle, it is simple, sturdy and versatile.

As has been said before, the .22LR cartridge is versatile and will get the job done, but, as Clint Eastwood said, “A man’s gotta know his limitations.”. Precise shots and knowing your holdovers are prerequisite for success with a .22LR firearm. Lightweight weapons and being able to carry a lot of ammo are the advantages the .22LR has in a survival scenario.

If you can carry a bigger caliber, and your survival hinges on literally, “Bringin’ home the bacon.”, use a bigger caliber. If you need light weight and are just going for small game, use the .22LR in a 10/22. You don’t need any more than that.

Henry Arms AR-7

I started out with a Charter Arms AR-7 about 30 couple years ago. I bought a Henry Arms version of this rifle about 13 years back. While the Henry didn’t need any tweekin’ after I bought it, the Charter Arms version did. I had to ream out the chamber’s base a little to make the CA model feed reliably. Other than that, they’ve both been reliable and “Minute of Squirrel” accurate since I’ve owned them.

The AR-7 is very spartan as long guns go. It is a semi-auto .22LR takedown rifle that has a 2 aperture rear peep sight (you have a large and small aperture size to choose from), and a plastic (aluminum on the CA), drift adjustable, front sight. It comes with two 8 round mags (1 with the original Armalite and CA versions and apparently now 3 with the new Henry version which also has a built in scope rail). It weighs 3.5lbs. and collapses into a pretty small package. It does the job if you need a lightweight, compact semi-auto for a survival kit, but if you can take the length and weight, go with a 10/22.

That’s it for now, next up in the “Firearms For Freedom and Forage” series will be “Part 4-Hunting Handguns”.


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They Learned From History: The Enacted 1994 AWB And The Proposed 2019 AWB.

They Learned From History: The Enacted 1994 AWB And The Proposed 2019 AWB.


The listed purpose under the header for H.R.1296 reads as such, “To regulate assault weapons, to ensure that the right to keep and bear arms is not unlimited, and for other purposes.”

Read that again, “TO ENSURE THAT THE RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS IS NOT UNLIMITED”. The second half of the Second Amendment says, “The Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED. Another way to define “Shall not be infringed”, is to say, “Shall not be limited”. The header purpose for AWB ’94 said, “To make unlawful the transfer or possession of assault weapons.”. Sounds like the agenda has changed. Personally, I don’t think it’s changed at all. Obviously, they have just slid the mask down.

Here are just some comparisons I’ve noted between the 1994 AWB of September 1994, and the Proposed “Feb 15, 2019 H.R.1296” Bill.

Part 1 (1994) says, “The term `semiautomatic assault weapon’ means:

  • (A) On this line they show a list of nine weapon types with lists of the manufacturers and the model names/numbers. Look it up under the link above.
  • (B) “A semiautomatic rifle that has an ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least TWO of the following:
  •    (i) a folding or telescoping stock;                    `
  •    (ii) a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon;
  •    (iii) a bayonet mount;                    “
  •    (iv) a flash suppressor or threaded barrel designed to accommodate a flash suppressor; and                    “
  •    (v) a grenade launcher”
  • (C) a semiautomatic pistol that has an ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least TWO of;                    “
  •    (i) an ammunition magazine that attaches to the pistol outside of the pistol grip;
  •    (ii) a threaded barrel capable of accepting a barrel extender, flash suppressor, forward handgrip, or silencer;
  •    (iii) a shroud that is attached to, or partially or completely encircles, the barrel and that permits the shooter to hold the firearm with the nontrigger hand without being burned;
  •    (iv) a manufactured weight of 50 ounces or more when the pistol is unloaded; and
  •    (v) a semiautomatic version of an automatic firearm; and
  • (D) a semiautomatic shotgun that has at least TWO of–                    “
  •    (i) a folding or telescoping stock;
  •    (ii) a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon;
  •    (iii) a fixed magazine capacity in excess of 5 rounds; and
  •    (iv) an ability to accept a detachable magazine.”.

(31) The term large capacity ammunition feeding device’—

  • (A) means a magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar
    device manufactured after the date of enactment of the Violent
    Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 that has
    a capacity of, or that can be readily restored or converted
    to accept, more than 10 rounds of ammunition; but
  • (B) does not include an attached tubular device designed
    to accept, and capable of operating only with, .22 caliber rimfire


Primary Arms Blog Post11

Under the 1994 AWB this rifle with 10 round magazine was OK for sale, according to the listed criteria from that Bill. That being a rifle with detachable mag could have the threaded barrel and be “Legal”. Under this proposed 2019 AWB, this rifle would be banned for sale.

“AWB: Part Deux” (2019) says,

(A) A semiautomatic rifle that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and any ONE of the following:

  • (i) A pistol grip.
  • (ii) A forward grip.
  • (iii) A folding, telescoping, or detachable stock, or is otherwise foldable or adjustable in a manner that operates to reduce the length, size, or any other dimension, or otherwise enhances the concealability, of the weapon.
  • (iv) A grenade launcher.
  • (v) A barrel shroud.
  • (vi) A threaded barrel.

(B) A semiautomatic rifle that has a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds, except for an attached tubular device designed to accept, and capable of operating only with, .22 caliber rimfire ammunition.

(C) Any part, combination of parts, component, device, attachment, or accessory that is designed or functions to accelerate the rate of fire of a semiautomatic rifle but not convert the semiautomatic rifle into a machinegun.

(D) A semiautomatic pistol that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and any ONE of the following:

  •   (i) A threaded barrel.
  •   (ii) A second pistol grip.
  •   (iii) A barrel shroud.
  •   (iv) The capacity to accept a detachable magazine at some location outside of the pistol grip.
  •   (v) A semiautomatic version of an automatic firearm.
  •   (vi) A manufactured weight of 50 ounces or more when unloaded.
  •   (vii) A stabilizing brace or similar component.

(E) A semiautomatic pistol with a fixed magazine that has the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds.

(F) A semiautomatic shotgun that has any ONE of the following:

  •   (i) A folding, telescoping, or detachable stock.
  •   (ii) A pistol grip.
  •   (iii) A fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 5 rounds.
  •   (iv) The ability to accept a detachable magazine.
  •   (v) A forward grip.
  •   (vi) A grenade launcher.
  • (G) Any shotgun with a revolving cylinder.

(H) “All of the following rifles, copies, duplicates, variants, or altered facsimiles with the capability of any such weapon thereof:”

This section goes on to list 88 different weapon types and models by manufacturer and model name/number. Here are a few of note:

  • (XIV) Colt Match Target rifles
  • (xii) Hi-Point Carbine.
  • (xv) SU–16
Primary Arms 1x Cyclops03

Under the this proposed 2019 AWB, they list the KelTec “SU-16”, with no exception for the CA (California compliant) models. It also is not listed in the exemption list of the “APPENDIX A—FIREARMS EXEMPTED BY THE ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN OF 2017” shown at the bottom of the 2019 BILL.

(I)”All of the following pistols, copies, duplicates, variants, or altered facsimiles with the capability of any such weapon thereof:”

This section goes on to list 42 different pistols by manufacturer and model name/number. Here are some to note:

  • (i) All AK–47 types.
  • (II) CZ Scorpion pistol.
  • (ii) All AR–15 types.

(J) “All of the following shotguns, copies, duplicates, variants, or altered facsimiles with the capability of any such weapon thereof:”

This section goes on to list 12 shotguns by manufacturer and model name/number. Here’s one to note:

  • (iv) All IZHMASH Saiga 12 types.

(K) All belt-fed semiautomatic firearms, including TNW M2HB and FN M2495.

(37) The term ‘large capacity ammunition feeding device’—

  • (A) means a magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device, including any such device JOINED or COUPLED with another in any manner, that has an overall capacity of, or that can be readily restored, changed, or converted to accept, more than 10 rounds of ammunition; and

      (I guess no ducktape allowed)

  • (B) does not include an attached tubular device designed to accept, and capable of operating only with, .22 caliber rimfire ammunition.


This is what the law says right now after subsection (u),

[(v), (w) Repealed. Pub. L. 103–322, title XI, § 110105(2)Sept. 13, 1994108 Stat. 2000.]

This is what the proposed 2019 AWB would put into the law,

(a) In General.—Section 922 of title 18, United States Code, is amended—

(1) by inserting after subsection (u) the following:

“(v) (1) It shall be unlawful for a person to import, sell, manufacture, transfer, or possess, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, a semiautomatic assault weapon.

“(2) Paragraph (1) shall not apply to the possession, sale, or transfer of any semiautomatic assault weapon otherwise lawfully possessed under Federal law on the date of enactment of the Assault Weapons Ban of 2019.

“(3) Paragraph (1) shall not apply to any firearm that—

“(A) is manually operated by bolt, pump, lever, or slide action;

“(B) has been rendered permanently inoperable; or

“(C) is an antique firearm, as defined in section 921 of this title.


My takeaway from this is that they are playin’ the “Incremental” game (imagine that), but are definitely closing the perceived gaps they had in AWB 1994. I wonder how long it’ll be till bolt guns with detachable magazines and threaded barrels, or pump action shotguns with more than 5 round tubular mags are on the banned list? What, you think there will be a “Sunset Clause” if this gets passed? Fat chance! Remember, they learned from ’94 and their proposed Bill for 2019 shows that.

I’m not aware of this Bill makin’ it out of Committee….yet, but in the climate we’ve seen in the last few weeks, it’s only a matter of time. Is there a chance they will pass this bill without modification when it’s proposed? Probably not. Don’t be fooled though, if they win in 2020, this or something similar, but probably more draconian, will be out before the swearing in is completed.

The reason I went to the effort here is to show what they desire and have publicly put ON PAPER to try and take your RIGHTS away. The fact that they would propose this is treason. The first one in ’94 was treasonous as well, but we as a People did not call them on it (Americans weren’t mad enough, maybe?). What are you gonna do if they do pass it? Bury your guns? You better get a handle on your options and your possible courses of action before we get there. In the moment is not the time to decide.


“Parata Vivere”- Live Prepared.

Firearms For Freedom and Forage-Part 2, Defensive Handguns

Top is a Glock 30, Bottom left the Glock 21 and the Bottom right is a Springfield Armory XDs45. All three are chambered for .45ACP

Most people who’ve read my posts know I’m a .45ACP fan for a Survivalist’s defensive pistols. My reasoning is simple. The .45ACP cartridge is the best auto pistol round made if you are forced to use the least effective bullet design, which is the the round nose lead or jacketed bullet. Without expansion, it is already almost half an inch in diameter. Below are my choices in that caliber, as well as some choices I’ve made in 9mm.

The Glock 30 pictured is a pistol I’ve owned for 20 years. It is one of the best mid sized pistols made. It is big enough to use as your “Full size” pistol, and small enough to readily conceal. The recoil spring system used in the G30 makes felt recoil similar to that of it’s full sized “sibling” the G21. It is accurate, reliable, takes full sized G21 mags and after thousands of rounds, has never had a malfunction or part break. I either carry this pistol in a Safariland ALS paddle holster or an Aker “Flat Sider” shoulder holster.

Another addition I’ve found advantageous in the “training” and “survival” categories is the Advantage Arms .22 kit. It is a “winner” for all the obvious reasons. Practicing with the same trigger, pistol frame and sight, as well as having a lightweight, small game cartridge adapter for your full size, centerfire firearm in you pack just makes sense.

The Springfield Armory XDs45

I’ve owned an XDs45 for a while now, and I can’t say enough about how much I love that pistol. It is pretty much as compact as you can get in a .45ACP. It is reliable with everything I’ve fed through it from cheap, steel cased Wolf ammo to high end Federal “Hydra Shok-Deep” ammo. Finally, it is accurate. The XDs45 is more accurate than one might expect from a subcompact .45 Auto. Here are some of my other thoughts on this pistol, to include the new “Version 2” Model. The XDs45 is my regular “Off Duty” pistol, and the holster I use to carry this pistol is the Galco Classic Lite Shoulder rig.

The Glock 21

I’ve used Glock pistols, starting with a G17, for 30 years, and the Glock 21 specifically, for 20. Reliable, durable and accurate are synonymous with the name “Glock”. I’ve already stated why I’m a fan of the .45ACP cartridge, so ’nuff said. As to the specifics of why I like the G21, well, here goes. It starts out with 13 or 15 rounds mags, depending whether you get “+2″ floor plates or not. With moderate to good ammo, it will group around 3” at 25 yards as long as I do my part from a rest.

The G21 is a large pistol, but by no means is it too large for the average hand. Having put thousands of rounds through my G21 and experienced no failures in performance or parts durability, I can safely say, this is a “Pistol for the TEOTWAWKISTAN” if ever there was one. Like the G30, I also have an Advantage Arms .22 Kit for my G21 and it is for all the reasons I’ve already extolled in the section on the G30. The holsters I use with this pistol are the Safariland ALS, an El Paso Saddlery 1942 Tanker holster, a Blackhawk Serpa, a Bianchi UM-84 flap holster and a Tactical Tailor drop leg holster.

Top, Beretta M9. Bottom left, S&W M&P 9mm, Bottom right, Kel-Tec PF-9

The Beretta M9/M92FS

Having qualified with worn out M9’s a couple dozen times, I can tell you this pistol design will last a long time. It is the only pistol I’ve ever carried in combat, and I never felt that if needed, it would fail to do the job required. I have also been an M9 Armorer, and can tell you that very few times was an M9 on my workbench for repair.

I bought an actual M9 when I came home from the last deployment 11 years ago, and it is one of the most accurate 9mm’s I’ve ever shot. Considering the accuracy of the worn out, mil issue M9’s I had been shooting for decades, this was a pleasant surprise. Like the AR, parts and mags will always be available for the M9/92FS. Owning a mil issue type weapon has it’s advantages.

With a standard mag capacity of 15 or 17 rounds, depending on what brand you get, and extended mags of 20 rounds readily available, the user will not be without a decent round count when you need to send them down range in a hurry. A final thought concerning the Double Action first shot, transitioning to single action follow up shots. Yes, a Glock “Safe Action” with it’s consistent trigger squeeze is great, but with enough practice and training, you can overcome the initial problems you might have with the M9/92FS trigger squeeze.

Holsters I’ve used with this pistol are the above mentioned El Paso 1942 Tanker holster, the Bianchi UM-84 flap holster, the Blackhawk Serpa, a Safariland SLS and a Tactical Tailor drop leg holster. Accept for the Safariland and Blackhawk holsters, my M9 will fit in the same holsters as my G21.

Kel-Tec PF-9

I have owned my PF-9 for approximately 13 years. In that time, I have carried and shot it…A LOT! For a $200 “cheap” plastic pistol, it has performed better than I ever would have believed it could. It has around 900 rounds through it, and still shoots very well. At a little over 12 1/2ozs. empty, it carries like a “Nothing at All”, and it’s not hard to forget you’re carrying it. I have never had a malfunction with it, whether it was being fed cheap steel cased Wolf or high end Federal defensive ammo.

Although the finish is worn thin from holster wear on many areas of the slide, it still does what it’s supposed to do to protect the gun. Finally, I have never had to call Kel-Tec customer service, but I hear they are on the ball and will square you away ASAP with what you need. I use either the DeSantis Pro Stealth IWB holster, or the Galco Classic Lite shoulder rig.

Smith and Wesson M&P 9mm

I qualified with a .40 caliber M&P for approximately 8 years. Since retirement, I have qualified with my issued M&P 9mm about a half dozen times. The .40cal. was OK, but I love the 9mm M&P. It is extremely accurate, from my experiences with the .40cal., it is a durable system(.40cal. is very hard on polymer guns), and it is reliable.

I would and do trust my life to this gun when I strap it on every day. I have been told by a guy who also carries the M&P 9mm for work, that the new M&P 2.0 model blows the one we carry, on the job, away. That is saying something. Standard mag capacity is 17 rounds, and it has interchangeable backstraps for different sized hands. Accurate, reliable and durable, this is all that needs to be said about a defensive pistol. The holster I have regularly used with the M&P is the Safariland SLS Level 2.

In part 3 of “Firearms For Freedom and Forage” we will be discussing long guns for hunting.


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Firearms For Freedom And Forage-Part 1, Long Guns For Defense

Firearms For Freedom And Forage-Part 1, Long Guns For Defense

Me at 15 with my Savage 24V Series D (.223/20Ga) ready to take on the Soviets LOL. A rifle is the first weapon you should plan to pick up in a self defense situation if possible. A pistol is only a “Self Defense First-Aid Kit” used to fight your way back to a rifle.

Over the forty years or so I’ve had a serious interest in firearms, I’ve always wondered what were “The Best” firearms one would select for survival, whether self defense or supplying nutrients via wild game. When it comes to shooting wild game, I’ve hunted for the last 43 years and found the most useful rifle on the rack is generally a .22LR. That being said, a .22LR requires precision shot placement that some might not be capable of after TEOTWAWKISTAN (The End Of The World As We Know It land) becomes our AO (Area of Operation) and just plain wears you out from the “normal” level of activities. The firearms listed below will be reviewed in stand alone, in depth posts. This post is just a brief overview of my reasons for selecting them.

In a TEOTWAWKISTAN environment (a non permissive environment where you have threats from marauder types, and also have to be self sufficient in food gathering) the first firearm you will need will be for protection. Although a pistol does well for up close, personal protection, nothing says, “Drop Dead!” like a good, reliable semi automatic rifle. As most of you know, I’m a fan of the 7.62x51Nato round, AKA the .308 Winchester. For a defense rifle in that caliber, I recommend two different rifles, depending on your envisioned use. The first is the M1A, specifically the Socom model. The second is the FN FAL, more specifically, the DSA 11″ Para FAL OSW.

The only difference between these two rifles is a forward scout mount, a folding stock, and a coat of paint. Which will bring less scrutiny if you shoot someone in our present “Rule of Law” environment? Top is an M1A Socom with a Delta P Design front end, a Primary Arms 1-6x ACSS scope, and a Surefire 9P light. 10 round mag in the rifle, 20 rounder below it. Bottom has a Choate Machine and Tool Folder, a Surefire G2 and a PA 1-6x ACSS optic.

The Springfield Armory M1A Socom

Although I like M1A/M14 type rifles in general, I’m a huge fan of the Socom model in particular. The Socom is about as compact as you can make an M14 type rifle. It has a 16″ barrel, and if you check with Smith Enterprises or Delta P Design, you can give it a threaded front end for a flash or sound suppressor instead of the integral muzzle brake.

Some have had issues with mounting optics. I have had no problems with either the Smith Enterprises scope mount or the Sadlak scope mounts which I have used on these rifles. As the rifle appears in the top pic above, it weighs 13 3/4lbs. (12 3/4lbs. with a synthetic stock) with a loaded 20 round mag in it, optic and light, and it regularly shoots LC 149gr ball into 2.5MOA.

I use this rifle specifically as my “House rifle”, and thus use 110gr Federal AMAX ammo in it. Those rounds usually produce 1.5-2MOA. Why use that instead of one of my AR’s? Look at it and tell me what you see from a “Public” point of view. To the typical cop, it looks like a hunting rifle, not an “Assault Weapon” (especially with the 10 round mag in it).

That rifle makes a Hell of a better impact weapon than any AR I have, and the 110 AMAX (ballistic tip, varmint type bullet) at 3300FPS acts like a 5.56 on steroids (2650 foot pounds), without the residential media penetration ball type bullets are known for. A solid rifle with a reliable action shooting a dependable “killer” cartridge out of 20 round mags and can also double as a “deer rifle”, what’s not to love?

Gear and weapon (11″ ParaFAL OSW) I would take on a property or “Presence” patrol.

The DS Arms ParaFAL OSW (Operations Specialists Weapon)

I have been using FN FAL type rifles for about 25 years. I had never really looked into the shorter barreled versions because I figured you’d lose too much velocity and energy to make them worth the extra weight in carrying the 7.62N/.308Win ammo. After seeing a video by Garand Thumb concerning this weapon, I decided to look into it and get the real numbers. The numbers for velocity were OK, but when I “crunched” them for the foot pounds of energy, I found out it still put out a lot more energy than a 16″ AK with Ball ammo, so I bought one.

On average, it chronographed at 2380 FPS with 149gr. LC Ball and that round is putting out 1880 Foot Pounds of energy. For reference, a 16″ AR with anything from a 55gr to a 77gr bullet, is putting out 1075-1250 foot pounds of energy. Another comparison would be a 16″ AK’s 123gr-150gr bullets. Their performance was between 1520-1760 foot pounds. My OSW is 4 inches shorter than my 16″ AK’s with folding stocks, and the OSW puts out 100 foot pounds more energy than even the non standard 150gr soft point hunting round that most people won’t be using.

At distance, my holdovers for the 11″ OSW barrel are 50 meters off. This means When I use the ACSS reticle holdovers, past 200 meters I use the 350 mark for a 300 meter shot, and the 450 mark for a 400 meter shot. As to the compact and easily carried aspects of the OSW, they made it a “no brainer” for a “Patrol Weapon” choice.

Overall length is 24″ with the brace type “stock” folded, and measures 33″ extended. It weighs 13.5lbs. with the a loaded 30 round mag (regular mags are 20 rounders), a PA 1-6x ACSS optic, Tac light and DBAL IR laser. It is as compact and powerful as a hand held firearm can be. Accuracy is approximately 2-3MOA at 200 meters.

Keltec SU-16C pictured here weighs 6.6lbs. with a loaded 10 round mag (7lbs. even with a loaded 30 rounder) and PA 1x Cyclops optic.

The Keltec SU-16C

This is a unique design that is a good alternative to the AR-15 while still using the 5.56x45Nato/.223 Remington cartridge. If I’m gonna use a 5.56, it’ll probably be this rifle. I own plenty of AR’s, but that is because of their ubiquitous presence and parts availability nationwide, not my fondness for the design. Some of the SU-16C’s advantages are it’s lightweight at 4.7lbs. with no accessories attached, it has the ability to easily attach a scope via the built in picatinny top rail, and it takes M16/AR-15 mags. Finally, it is compact and folds up to 26.5″ (this “Charlie” model will fire when folded) and is 36.5″ when locked open (measurements are with an AR-15 A1 flash suppressor attached). The SU-16C that I’ve had for 10 years regularly shoots 2MOA groups at 100 meters with a 1x optic, and I’ve never had a jam, malfunction or part break.

Top, 11.5″ SIG M400 AR “Pistol”. Center, 16″ Standard M4 type rifle. Bottom, 16″ type with TTI StraightJacket barrel.

The AR-15

Having used and repaired (I was an Armorer among other things in the Mil) the M16/M4 type rifle for the majority of my life, either in the military or out, I’d say I have a pretty good idea of what the AR platform has in the way of advantages, and what it lacks in attributes. The AR system is lightweight, accurate and within a low end, “maintenance depot’s” reach, durable. As a “One size fits all” rifle, the M4 type AR is hard to beat. Considering it can be used by even the small framed, less strong and recoil sensitive among us, it is probably the best “All around” rifle to be considered by a group with plans on a collective defense where everyone is armed with a rifle.

The downsides to the 5.56/.223 AR platform need to be given serious consideration as well, starting with the cartridge. As an “All around” reliable “killing” cartridge, the 5.56/.223 has little to be desired, especially when using MilBall ammo. As a Survivalist, I want more “Kill for the Buck” when it comes to defensive rounds in my rifle. The 5.56 was designed to wound, not kill. From a military perspective, a wounded enemy is an asset. From the “Survivalist in TEOTWAWKISTAN” perspective, that wounded adversary is someone who can come back later and finish the job.

From a maintenance perspective, the AR platform is in “Armorer Speak” a “Depot Whore”. By this I mean it is very high on the preventative maintenance needs/parts replacement scale. As long as you replace certain parts regularly, you should have no issues with it’s reliability. Lacking those extra parts for the regular PMCS needed, will give you a rifle that could fail you at any moment in TEOTWAWKISTAN.

I definitely will recommend the AR to individuals and groups. That being said, it’s always with the caveat that you better have someone who knows how to work on the weapon (in perspective, it is a pretty easy system to work on) and have a ton of extra parts for the long term. BTW, I will not recommend the AR-10 systems to anyone, considering the number of military Armorers and “End Users” I’ve spoken with, concerning the AR-10/M110’s lack of reliability in the field. Also, given the lack of standardized design across the civilian industry in the AR-10 type rifle designs, it takes away from the reason many want an AR type rifle to begin with, which is “Commonality”.

Two types of folding stocks for AK’s. Top, the Mil issue underfolder. Bottom, the MagPul Zhukov-S folder.

The AK

Although many think the AK type design is crude and unwieldy, I think their main problem is a lack of practice and training with it. Having used AK’s for upwards of 30 years, I can tell you they are not hard to run, once you’ve worked out how to “run the gun” for you. Manipulations such as operating the charging handle (should you go over the top or underneath), operate the safety (left hand underneath or strongside right hand trigger finger) are all things you need to practice and decide what techniques you are most comfortable with. Fortunately, as a “Lefty”, running guns like AK’s, M14’s and other right side charging handled guns is a piece of cake. Find what works for you, and practice the Hell out of it. It’s that simple.

For the most part, AK’s are reliable, durable and “Minute of Bad Guy” accurate. Just like the AR, the amount of accessories available can boggle your mind. At a minimum, have a way to mount a light on your defensive rifle. Optics are nice (I recommend the RS-Regulate mounts), but I don’t feel they are necessary on an AK. Buy Mil surplus or Magpul mags along with some Wolf or Red Army ammo and you are set up with a rifle system that will do all the practical functions one should expect from a defensive rifle.

Three Mossberg 590’s. Top M590A1 with Holosun red dot and ghost ring sights, Tac light and Side Saddle. Middle, M590 with bead sights, Tac light and Side Saddle. Bottom, M590 Shockwave. All are chambered for 12 Gauge.

The Mossberg 500/590 Shotgun

The 590 is the model of pump shotgun I have regularly used for over 30 years. I have owned several of both the M590 military shotgun (carried an 18.5″ 590 in combat) and the M500 hunting version and have never had an issue with any of them. Reliability, durability and accurate (for a smoothbore shotgun) are words I’d use to describe them. I’ve spoken before about the 20″ barreled M590’s ability to take an attached bayonet, but another awesome feature is it’s 8+1 ammo capacity (20″ barrel), which is one more than most other 20″ barreled military type shotguns.


Basic Arsenal for FF11

They also double as acceptable hunting weapons as well. Even if I was hunting pheasant or crow (yes, I put the required mag plug in it), I would just make sure I was using heavy duty 2 3/4″ High brass or 3″ magnum Remington “Nitro Express” and I’d take what I was after, even with the restrictions a cylinder bore choke imparts on your range and pattern at 30 and 40 yards. Pump shotguns excel at being versatile. If you have less lethal “pepperball” or rubber buckshot loads, they will cycle and fire just as well as the lethal ammo you have for hunting or defense.

Part 2 of the Firearms For Freedom and Forage will be out within the week. That post will concentrate on the reasons I’ve picked the handguns I use, and the benefits and detriments of each.


"Parata Vivere"-Live Prepared.