> TEOTWAWKI Blog: Survival Guns for Less Free Places



Survival Guns for Less Free Places

Many of us live in places with less-than ideal firearms laws; California and several other states come to mind, as do most foreign countries. I know we have some readers in up in the frozen wastelands of Canada ;), who have their own labyrinthine firearms laws to deal with. So, what do you do?

The cop out answer is "vote with your feet!"; sometimes situation dictates that you live somewhere with crappy firearms laws. And even if you currently live somewhere with sane gun laws, you may find yourself in a less-sane place--job transfers, change of circumstances, etc. You never know. And there's also the possibility of new laws being passed where you currently live. The world has been in a long trend of "gun banning" and that will probably continue for the foreseeable future.

Guns are certainly a part of survival, but they're not everything. Man lived, survived and thrived for thousands of years without guns--and, if you had to, you could to. But few places have an outright and complete ban on all firearms. There are endless laws out there, and you need to research what legal hoops you need to jump through for your AO.

The most common laws place restrictions on ammunition capacity; 10 rounds seems to be the common 'limit', though this varies. This arbitrary limit neuters much of the attractiveness of weapons like high-capacity 9mm pistols. If you're limited to 10 rounds, why not make them the best 10 rounds you can? Look at weapons in .45 ACP and .357 magnum. 1911s run eight round magazines and .357 revolvers can be had with as many as eight round capacity. A survivor would be very well served with either weapon.

Many jurisdictions also place limits on semi-automatic, mag-fed rifles like the AR-15 and the AK-47. They have 30 round magazines, fire with every pull of the trigger, and have "evil" features like pistol grips and flash hiders. Yikes--run for the hills! Some areas ban these weapons by broad type, others place brainless restrictions left over from the Clinton-era assault weapons bans.

There are, of course, still options. In many places where the AR/AK rifles are banned, you can still get semi-auto, internal-magazine rifles like the SKS and the M1 Garand. Both are fast-reloading; practice frequently. I would personally pick the cheaper and less expensive to shoot SKS.

If a semi automatic rifle is completely out of the option, look for lever action, bolt action and pump action rifles.

There are plenty of solid, WWII-era bolt actions available on the surplus market--Mausers, Mosins and Enfields in plenty good shape. The fast-shooting Enfield typically gets the nod amongst the survivalist community, but study the designs of each and pick what works for you.

Lever action deer rifles are about as politically correct as you can get. Much has been written about using the .30-30 for defense; it will certainly put a bad guy down if needed. If you're in bear country or need serious stopping power, lever guns are made in some fairly hefty chamberings. There are also of course carbines in .357, .45 colt .44 magnum--they offer slightly lower ammunition costs, slightly higher magazine capacity than their .30-30 counterparts, and there's also the potential to run the same ammunition in your pistol.

If you're in the market for a lever gun, the Marlins come well recommended. Avoid the Henry rifles; they're designed mainly for cowboy shooting and looking pretty in a display case. We had one in the family that proved to be unreliable and prone to malfunctions and falling apart. It was traded in for a Marlin 336, which has functioned flawlessly.

If lever guns aren't your style, there are also a few pump-action rifle designs out there. For example, Uberti makes a replica of the Colt Lightning pump action--ten rounds of .357 or .45 colt. There are also pump action AR-15s and rifles that run on the AR-15 magazines; the Remington 7615 is one such design.

Finally, pump action and side by side shotguns are usually left alone by the gun banners. I guess the skeet shooters and dove hunters of the world wield a lot of power, or perhaps the scattergun is just viewed as a more "friendly" weapon than a semiautomatic rifle. Heck, Canadians can have short-barreled shotguns--there's only an overall 26-inch minimum for the entire shotgun. Yes, Cannucks--despite all your crappy gun laws, money-wasting gun registry, etc., you can actually have cool short barreled shotguns without jumping through the NFA hoops of your American brethren. Weird but true.

So, specific recommendations for less free places?

Handguns - A quality 1911 or a S&W revolver (I like the eight round 627, personally)
Rifles - If you are just limited by magazine capacity, then the usual rifles (AK, AR, M14s, etc.) still have merit. You'll just need to practice your mag changes. If you can't have a detachable magazine, pistol grips, etc. then go with an SKS. If you can't have a semi auto, then go with a Marlin lever action or a Lee Enfield.

Read up on the particular laws of your state/providence/country and see how you can work around them. But keep in mind that the tool is not everything. Resourceful survivors can make do with what they have available, be it a whiz-bang FN SCAR, an SKS, a 120 year old bolt action rifle or a blackpowder revolver. You, your skills, knowledge and creativity are what really matters and what will get you through hard times ahead.