I AM NOT ENCOURAGING ANY OF MY READERS TO BREAK WEAPONS LAWS IN THEIR AREA OF RESIDENCE. The following is provided as my own personal opinion regarding possible actions should law no longer be enforced due to extended emergency situations.
Please don’t sue me.
First: If you live in an area where it is illegal for you to own a firearm and you are serious about being prepared for an emergency of this scale… move.
Second: If you own it you had better know how to use it, care for it, and repair it. Money spent on “cool” weapons that you don’t have the time or place to practice is money wasted.
OK, the rant can now continue.
What I personally have in my possession is for me to know and you to not know. However, here are the guidelines I kept in mind while making my decisions.
How much does the weapon or weapons weigh? Remember in an “everything just went swirling down the tubes in a haze of blood and chaos” scenario, you can only pack what you can safely carry. I have a hiking pack that weighs about 50 pounds and frankly it’s more than I should be carrying on my shredded knees. I’m hoping to replace some items with lighter versions as I have the money to do so. My preferred plan is to stay where I am because I have food, water, shelter and a network of friendlies here. If I have to, my preferred evac plan is in my 4×4 and weight will be less of a concern. That said, if I have to take off with only the pack, it still needs to have enough in it to keep me alive. While I might be willing to carry several thousand rounds in the truck I don’t want to carry that much weight on my back. A firearm with a lighter round or a different weapon altogether might be a better choice.
There is no reason to carry around a weapon that only has one purpose. Things that make a big bang a long way away DO have their uses but may not be suited to an evac kit. If you are functioning as part of a group (definitely the best way to go about it for countless reasons) then someone might be willing cart one of those ‘reach out and touch someone’ weapons because they are useful. If you’re trying to go it alone, first, tell me where you’ll be so that we can loot your corpse. Second, you need something with more than one use. There are some firearms classified as mid-range, which is to say they are best within 5-50 yards, and others that run 10-100 yards of effectiveness. I would prefer a handgun with a range like that since most encounters with potential food or potential enemies will be within those ranges. Shotguns are also in the ‘more versatile’ category simply because of the variety of ammunition available. Bird shot or the questionably legal (check before you order anything, it sometimes isn’t) buckshot are good for a variety of applications and my dearly beloved hollow-point slugs are what we like to call “youneedtodienow” rounds. Shotguns and shot shells are still the easiest thing to purchase in this country and the rounds are relatively inexpensive, making stockpiling them more affordable. Their downside is their weight and noise- everything for miles will know you just fired a large caliber weapon. They also tend to kick like mules so if you have a bad back or shoulder they aren’t for you.
But firearms are only one aspect of weaponry. I love knives. I like sharp shiny blades. It’s mostly an aesthetic thing, but I can’t really help it. Do not, I repeat, do not, waste your money on cool looking crap. My favorite blades are lockback pocket knives, corn knives, hunting knives and heavy bladed utility knives like the US military K-Bar. All of these have a few things in common: none of them are too big to pack (except for the corn knife which can be packed but does take a lot of space) and they all can be used for a lot of different things. I have cut kindling with a utility blade and the corn knife both. Lockback pocket knives are very handy and- if you spend the money on a good high carbon steel blade- keep their edge for a long time. From cutting rope to butchering a goat to field surgery I absolutely cannot say enough about the value of a good quality, hand sized blade. For reasons of weight (see above) you probably can’t pack all of them. Consider your terrain and the people you are likely to be with when you make your decision.
Blades do have one serious advantage over firearms in the area of defense. They do not run out of ammunition. Blades have a serious drawback in the area of defense. They require very close quarters. Know yourself when you decide. I admit that I am not a very good shot. My depth perception is kind of wonky for reasons of early childhood injury. I’ll probably hit center mass but there’s not any assurance that I’ll manage a killing shot the first time. I also really, really loathe the very idea of knife fights. There is no such thing as getting out of a blade-to-blade fight without injury. Injury in an already chaotic and dangerous situation is likely to be deadly.
Know your strengths and choose accordingly.
That does bring up the question of accessories for your weapons and violent tools. Blades need to be sharpened and kept protected from moisture when not in use. Firearms require ammunition and regular cleaning. Revolvers are some of the simplest, most durable firearms available but they are also limited in their capacity. If you know how to wield a spear you can seriously fuck up a human or attacking animal. If you don’t you’ll probably perforate yourself in an uncomfortable place. Ammunition is heavy but sharpening equipment requires some skill to use.
Again, know your strengths and choose accordingly.
Which brings me finally to durability. As you have probably already figured out, some things are going to last longer than others. Rifles and semi-automatic pistols have amazing range and capacity but they are more prone to locking up or getting damaged. Revolvers and shotguns are more durable but have limited capacity. Bladed weapons last a long time if properly cared for but not long at all if left out in the elements.
None of them will last forever.
Know your strengths and choose accordingly.
Now before I finish there is one more weapon which must be discussed. I know, I know, Imbrium got long-winded all of a sudden. Bear with me, this part is the most important one of all.
The one weapon which you must, absolutely MUST take with you… is yourself. If you are out of shape (I don’t give a damn if you think you are fat or skinny, are you capable is what matters) then get to the gym now. Don’t tell yourself you will start tomorrow. Do it NOW. Train to your own needs. I must train to fight because I can no longer train to run. I am trained on every weapon I choose to carry. Knowledge has no pack weight, so pack plenty of it.