An entry on firearms for the writing contest
Supporting Your Firearm, Especially After TEOTWAWKI Security guy
I’m not going to give advice on what firearm you should buy. Everywhere I have looked for what people recommend the discussion always gets heated as everyone gives the ONLY reason why their choice is the ONLY one that should be bought by anyone. I might give some advice on the best caliber a for rifle I recommend: .30-06, .30-30, .223 Remington, .308 Winchester, 5.56x45mm, 7.62x51mm, 7.62x39mm, .22LR; yeah the rifle that can shoot that should be good. For handgun the best would fire .45ACP, 9mm Parabellum, .40, .22LR; yep best pistol would shoot that. For shotgun it should shoot 12ga, 20ga. If you can’t tell there is no best weapon out there. The best weapon is the one you are most comfortable with, affordable, meets your anticipated needs, and can be supported. It is the support that I want to talk about in this article submission.
Any and every weapon you buy as a survival weapon you need to support. Just some of the things you need: spare magazines, ammunition, cleaning supplies, spare parts, tools, and maintenance literature. Everything requires research and a choice to be made. I’ll give you some ideas but the choice is up to you, you are the one potentially buying and supporting the firearm. The number 1 consideration for spare magazines is, how many will you need? That’s if it is a semi-auto and not a revolver. Either way YOU need to decide how much you want to carry or have readily available. Let’s say you decide it is 3 magazines (doesn’t matter if you are yelling it should be 10 it is just a number pulled from the rectal region). So you are carrying 3 magazines at all times, how many will you actually need? Magazines wear out over time. You should have at least 2 times the number of magazines you carry on hand. That allows for rotating the magazines before they wear out too soon, hopefully. To make it simple lets say that you choose to rotate all magazines every Sunday. So every Sunday you pull out the ones you have used for the last week, unload them, clean them (as needed), and load the wiped down ammo (no oil) in the next 3 magazines. For revolvers get speed loaders or moon clips to allow for quicker reloads and do the same thing.
For ammunition my considerations are: is special ammo needed for a particular reason (like soft points for hunting) and how cheap is it. I’m not locked on “only brand X should ever be shot”. Once again it is what works for you, meets your needs, comfort-ability, and is in your price range. In the end, how much will you need? Easy thing to say is as much as you can get. But really it comes down to what do you expect to be doing? Do you ever expect to do target practice and familiarization with non-firers (like your sister who thinks guns are evil and will go off just looking at them)? Maybe someone will go after a buck a couple times a year? Or you will have to face herds of ravenous rotting zombies? In the end I will tell you that 2 20 round bricks(boxes) will not be enough unless you are on a deserted tropical island miles from any other inhabited island. Then your choice will be do you need 100, 500, 5000, or 20,000 rounds PER WEAPON. Get what you anticipate you will need and can afford. Always buy more than you anticipate. I usually tell people if you think you will need 100 of expendable item B then get 125 or 150 just to be sure. After you get it you will need to store it. I like putting “bricks” of ammo inside metal ammo cans with rubber seals on the lid. If you are in a humid environment you might want to add a desiccant pack to each can so the ammo does not corrode. I have seen in the military what happens to ammo sealed in boxes that was packed damp, the whole can was corroded when it was issued to us and we turned it back in for destruction. Corroded ammo is too dangerous to try and shoot, at least when it is so corroded it won’t even chamber. I might give it a try if it is light corrosion, primer looks good, and at least chambers; but just be safe. It wouldn’t hurt to lock those labelled and clean ammo cans of ammunition in a locker or cabinet. And like other preps try to store it in a dry and even temperature storage area (it will last a lot longer then). I have seen people buy and use WW2 era ammunition that was stored properly and it worked with few if any duds. Inspect any ammunition you pull out to use. Make sure it is not discolored, corroded, damaged, or in any way looks different from normal or others in the same batch. If it is set it aside and move to the next brick or box. You can test the pulled batch later to see if it useable or should be pulled apart for salvage. It wouldn’t hurt to learn to reload your own ammo to make your supply last longer.
Cleaning supplies, you will need a kit for each weapon or at least the proper items for each. Get what you are comfortable with not what someone else tells you is the only best one out there. My preference is sectional cleaning rods but I do have some that are pull through cable type. I also have a “barracks cleaning rod” from the former communist block that comes in handy once in a while (it is 1 long cleaning rod). You will need to have lots of cleaning patches, spare brushes (bore, chamber, general purpose,etc..), oils/solvents/cleaner, and a few spare tools or kits. Cleaning supplies are fairly cheap so get as much as you can of the expendable items. My preference for solvent/cleaner/oil is mil spec CLP (cleaner-lubricant-preservative) also under the name Break-Free. It is all in one so I don’t need multiple bottles of different items that has to be used in the right order. I remember that recently within the last couple years someone did an experiment with different oils and preservatives to test durability and corrosion. You can look it up the guy did post a video showing the test over time and results. Some of the results were very surprising considering the big name products tested. CLP was one of the best so I’ll stick with it. One of the reasons I like CPL/Break Free is that I can get it in 1 gallon jugs which lasts a long time. A little 1 oz or 4 oz bottle won’t last long and if it is a TEOTWAWKI situation you won’t be able to run to the store for another one.
Now for the nuts and bolts; your spare parts, tools, and maintenance literature. I’ll start with literature. First off get the manufacturers operator manual for each weapon, if it is a used weapon you usually can get a copy by contacting the manufacturer or find an electronic copy online. You should also get the armorer’s manuals if they exist (I usually come across them for Glock and Heckler & Koch weapons). If it is a military surplus weapon then get the manuals for it, for US surplus their Technical Manuals (TM) for the -10, -20, and -30 levels (sometimes they are -14, -24&P, etc… look it up to get most current or correct one for your model). It wouldn’t hurt to get gunsmithing books also, especially if it covers a weapon you have or want to get. You can’t go wrong with getting more manuals for each weapon to cover everything from basic cleaning to modifying for better performance. Then you want spare parts. You want spares for everything that rubs or strikes another part or is under tension. So spare springs, sears, strikers, hammers, firing pins, retaining pins, locking pins, etc…. It is also good to get a spare stock and furniture set for in case yours cracks, breaks, or whatever causing it to no longer be usable. How many you need is up to you and what you find when you do research. Some weapons are notorious for breaking firing pins, others for sears wearing down, and others for springs loosing tension. Mostly those problems are because of sub-par parts made very cheaply and not meant for much usage. Next you will need the tools to install those parts. I am not a gunsmith and I am still looking into what tools to get. But ones I see commonly mentioned are jeweler screwdriver sets, small files, brass headed hammer, punches, and basic flat head and Phillips head screwdrivers. There are also manufacturer/model specific tools like armorer’s wrenches and barrel wrenches. Once again do research and see what tools you may need to do at least basic repairs like changing springs and sears. I have seen mentioned more than once, do not use gun repair tools for anything other than gun repairs. That way they do not get damaged or lost when you need them the most. You probably won’t need a lathe to make a new barrel or the hydraulic ram for joining parts under extreme pressure. It might not hurt to get a damaged unusable gun same or similar model to yours to practice repairs on, I have heard of people doing that to get their gunsmithing certificates.
Whatever weapon you choose make sure to get training. It is irresponsible to do what they do in movies and that is go out and get it, load it, and starting carrying it around. Learn responsible weapons handling, employment, and maintenance. Get a good firearms locker especially if you have kids around. Until WROL happens they should be locked up unless you are practicing, cleaning, or transporting them. Do not store them loaded unless you have one of those 1 gun safes designed for pulling the weapon quickly to respond to a break in. Even if you don’t fire it, it is a good idea to clean each weapon at least once a year. If you do fire it then clean it as soon as you can. Make sure to put a light coat of oil on all internal parts. For a light coat you put a little spot of oil on a rag and rub it over the parts making sure to work it into cracks and crevices. Go out and practice shoot with each weapon even if it is one you intend for trading or throwing at cousin Ed for when he is on guard duty, that back up weapon could become your primary if things go bad. Anything extra you stock can be used as a trade item for after TEOTWAWKI or for trading for an item you really want during normal times. Just remember to follow the law, they are different everywhere you go even from town to town. If you are in a less than gun friendly state my personal recommendation is move to another state, Cali will always be a leftist liberal hell and NY will always be controlled by a new “mob”. I hope this article gets you thinking and realizing that owning a firearm is a big responsibility, just like having a child. When I worked at a gun store for a little while very few buyers bothered to learn anything about what they were buying. Not even how to clean them (my boss wanted it that way because he made LOTS of money from people bringing them in for the gunsmith to clean). Even if you don’t trust yourself to do basic repairs at least have the parts so someone can do it for you. Reloading is something I know very little about and is on my list for skills to learn and supplies to acquire. So is gunsmithing. It is better to get the items and literature now then try to find it after things would go bad.