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What Makes a Great SHTF Gun?

By: Greg Chabot

Scenario: The power is out, and cities have descended into anarchy. Unprepared refugees are fleeing to rural areas. The government is not coming to save you. It is time to bug out while there is still time left. You have a small collection of firearms, but which ones do you take for the long haul?

Since the beginning of the China Virus and election theft crisis, I have been asked, “What do you recommend for a SHTF (Sh*t Hits the Fan) scenario?” That can be a complex answer with many factors to consider. My intent with this article will be to give some basic considerations for choosing what guns to grab when SHTF. I am not a fan boy of any weapon system or brand. To keep it simple, I will use generic examples (AR, Glock, etc.). At the conclusion of the article, I will share what I prefer if I were to find myself in a SHTF situation.

The best weapon you have in your arsenal is your brain. Keeping your wits about you is key to surviving a dangerous situation. Planning ahead will always give you the edge over the last-minute types. I know many folks own more than one gun. Figuring out which one to take can be a challenge. To narrow that down, consider these factors:

1) Weight: Ounces = Pounds, Pounds = Pain. As a former soldier, I can attest to this. I know many will say, “Greg, I have my end of the world Unimog. Why worry about weight?” Depending on the scenario, a vehicle might not be practical or available. Vehicles break down, and roads could be impassable. And you could find yourself on foot. When on foot, every ounce counts, and that includes ammo, water, and food.

I take the minimalist approach to my personal weapons. I don’t load up every inch of rail with accessories. My recommendation: take your choice for a loadout and go for a hike over rough terrain. After a few miles, you might discover that a pimped-out SCAR-H might not be the best choice for you, weight-wise if you are going to be foot mobile for an extended period. It’s also a great opportunity to check the comfort of your gear and make adjustments. If you do not train in your gear, I suggest you start doing so. If you plan to stay put, you will still have to patrol, etc. Get used to carrying your kit and get in physical/mental shape.

2) Common weapons: For SHTF, I try to steer folks to commonly available weapons. It doesn’t do you any good to have an odd caliber or weapon that others don’t use.

Let’s face this fact, as much as we want, in theory, to get our Rambo on and be the loner, most of us won’t last a week solo. We will more than likely work with like-minded people. Compatibility is very important when working with others as a unit. Using a Beretta BM-59 when everyone else has an AR isn’t a good idea. I understand if that is all you have, then use it. It is easier in the long run to have similar caliber, magazine, and parts compatibility, however. Caliber is a personal choice. My only advice is to stick with commonly available ammo. You can find 9mm and 5.56mm anywhere in the US. Oddballs like 6.8 SPC, etc. not so much.

Same goes for handguns. Glocks and 1911s are prolific and can be found just about anywhere. If you plan on staying put, you could also consider using what local law enforcement prefers. Just to be clear, if you are on a tight budget, a rifle should be your first purchase, then a handgun. If it gets bad enough, you’ll be able to “acquire” a commonly found weapon from a previous owner who doesn’t need it anymore.

3) Reliability: A weapon that is unreliable is useless. My priority when choosing a personal firearm is reliability first and foremost. Not accuracy or how cool it looks or price. When I review weapons for Gunpowder and other publications, I do my damnedest to push it to the limit and try to make my weapon fail. Do your research and pick a weapon from a reputable manufacturer. Personally, I would avoid a weapon system with proprietary parts. Most AR/AK types have parts compatibility. Don’t let price be a factor in your selection; expensive isn’t always better. Most folks don’t need a $3K AR-15; they can buy a reliable $1K AR and spend the rest on ammo, mags, cleaning kit, and competent training. Buy a workhorse, not a show horse, regardless of platform choice. That also includes handguns: stock Glocks run better than Gucci Glocks in harsh conditions. Looking cool doesn’t win a gun fight – confidence and training do.

The above are some very simple tips to choose your SHTF weapons. Do your research and test your choices. I know ammo is expensive, but remember: your life and those of your loved ones might depend on that weapon. Spend the money and run it hard to see what it can and can’t do.

My choices for the scenario I described above include:

Rifle: Colt 6920 LE carbine: I have thousands of rounds through this weapon with no malfunctions.

Handgun: Wilson Combat CQB in .45 ACP. The gun runs like a top with only one malfunction in 25K rounds.

Both weapons meet my standards for reliability, weight, and being common platforms/calibers. As I have stated before, weapon selection is a personal choice. The important thing is to be competent and confident with your weapons of choice regardless of platform, brand, or caliber.

I hope this article will help my readers in either making a purchase or looking closer at their preparations. It is not meant to be a be-all, end-all. Remember, your brain is the best weapon in your arsenal.

See you in the woods!”

Greg Chabot is an Iraq Combat Veteran freelancer, writing from New Hampshire.

 
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