We survival types like to toss around arbitrary dollar figure for buying up an armory o' guns. $1000 seems to be the average starting point, and for a long time it was something like an SKS, a budget shotgun and a lower-end semi auto like a Sigma or Ruger P95. Nod to TotalSurvivalist for the conversation starter.
The Long Gun - an AR-15
With a glut of ARs out there and prices dropping like it's hot, the ~$500 AR is not just a reality, it's pretty easy to achieve.
There were several deals out there this past weekend that woulda made it easy. But, those deals have past. Quick search this evening (Wednesday post-Black Friday) shows several possibilities:
Kit + Lower Build
- PSA "Freedom" Kit for $420 Link
- Take your pick of $40-$60 stripped lowers plus $25 FFL
- Total: $505 plus some shipping, and looks like you'd need a rear BUIS
- Hardened Arms complete 16" upper for $349 Link
- PTAC Blackhawk Lower for $146 Link
- $495 and you don't even need to build anything. Plus FFL, maybe some taxes and shipping. And BUIS.
Will a $500 AR run? It should. I wouldn't buy anything too sketchy looking, but there are lots of shops out there putting together quality, very functional ARs for not much. I also wouldn't be afraid of building up a lower - morons like me have been doing it in their garages for years.
Hard to go wrong with the carbine - it's become the go-to firearm of choice for freedom-loving survival types. Accessories, mags and ammo are everywhere.
For this thought exercise, I'll be lazy and allocate $600 to an AR-15, which will include back up iron sights, taxes and FFL transfer fees.
The Glock is the ol' standby recommendation for good reason. They just run, and they don't have a whole lot to go wrong with 'em.
Police Departments use them and eventually surplus them out in favor of newer models. These often get the refurb treatment and make it back out to dealers in excellent shape.
Surplus Glocks aren't that hard to track down, and they can be a steal of a deal. Here's a very tempting example - Glock 17 Gen 2 with night sights - at AGS Armament for the low-low price of $337. Toss in FFL fees and any shipping and you're still easily under $400.
Not satisfied? A very quick Google search turned up J&G Sales, Centerfire Systems and others with fairly similarly priced .40 S&W Glocks in similar price ranges. This place has one for $299, shipped!
When you can pick up a Glock for $350, it's hard to recommend any other budget semi-autos. They're by no means perfect, but Glocks have become the standard by which all other pistols are judged.
If you wanted something more easily concealable, the Shield is easy to get under $400, as are several other similar guns.
So, for right around $1000, you can grab yourself an AR-15 and a Glock with night sights--and be pretty well equipped in terms of firearms. Then comes range time, ammo, etc.
Rarely though do people with no guns suddenly come up with $1k to dump into guns. Budgets are often tight and $1k is still $1k.
$500 is a tougher budget to work with, and at that point you're often deciding between one quality firearm or two budget guns. I've become a fan of buying quality and what you want over the years, and would lead you towards picking one good gun over two lesser examples.
For one gun, a $500 AR is a decent choice for an all-arounder, but I think most average joe's would benefit more from a quality handgun. As an alternative, a pump shotgun with a light, sling and sidesaddle is very do-able at the $500 price point.
For two guns, if you really shopped around, you could land on a surplus/used Glock and a good pump shotgun for right around $500. There have been several waves of just over $200 police surplus 870s lately, and Mossberg Mavericks can be had in the $200 ballpark, too. For the price range, that'd be a pretty darn good combo and set one up well for home defense, zombies or what have you.
What's your take? Your $1k arsenal? What about $500? Pontificate in the comments section below.