So, I thought I would start off a post about something that everyone likes, guns. Or more specifically, the rifle. As I stated in my last article, I am preparing to be able to provide food, water, shelter, and security. Now, I personally feel that without solid security, it will be very hard to provide the other 3 items on the list. So what defines “solid security”? I would say security, that adequately protects you from the most dangerous threats to you and your family. So, it could be as simple as some pepper spray for a pesky dog when you are out for a walk. But, if you are preparing to defend yourself from pesky people, or more specifically dangerous, deadly people, pepper spray isn’t really going to work. Hence, the rifle.
Now, I am a fan of pistols and shotguns too, but a rifle in capable hands is unmatched in it’s broadness of capabilities. So, if you are getting started in preparing, I would recommend you look into acquiring a rifle. But, what kind? (I’m sure many of you can hear the siren from the incoming artillery shell that is the ‘AK vs. AR’ discussion) I will only tell you what I personally use and why. I’m not going to tell you that it is the only rifle that will work. One thing I want everyone to remember is software over hardware. I am a capable marksman by almost any standard, and I can tell you that I would still be effective with any rifle even if it isn’t my preferred rifle of choice. The next things everyone talks about, is caliber. Once again, I will only give you my preference and why I chose it. Feel free to comment about why it is a bad idea or why you feel something else is better.
What you really need to consider, is what are your needs? What do you need to be able to do with this rifle? I would say, since you are getting a rifle for defensive purposes, you need to be able to defend yourself and family with it. Like what I did there? So, what is a defense? Dictionary.com says it’s “the practice or art of defending oneself or one’s goal against attack”. So what kind of rifle is good for that? I would say a “defensive carbine”. That, my friends, is a compact (as in, not any bigger than necessary) and maneuverable rifle, capable of quickly, and accurately, engaging threats to the limit of your line of sight. So what does that mean? It means, if you live in a suburb, you want a rifle that can reach out as far as your line of sight extends from anywhere in your home. Or, if you live in the country, you want a rifle that can reach out to the nearest cover or key terrain around your home. (Within reason there “Carlos Hathcock”. If you can afford to put a scope on a Ma Deuce, be my guest. But for the rest of us working guys, something that can reach out to 700 yards might be sufficient.)
Now, the rifle that suits the suburbanite may not be the best for the rural guy, and vice versa. See why you need to determine your needs before you start buying stuff!! If you run out and blow a ton of money so you can look like recoil magazine just puked all over you, you may find that half that stuff is really not that useful to you.
Now there are many more things to consider when looking at a weapon. To me, a working class guy, cost is always a concern. But not just the cost of the actual rifle. How about the cost of the magazines to go in it (If you are allowed to have them)? How about the cost of the ammunition? How about extra parts for said rifle? How about cleaning gear? How about miscellaneous tools you might need to adjust sights, etc.? How about equipment to help you support the weapon, like a sling, some form of gear to carry magazines, your cleaning gear, etc.? What about a white light so you can see if who you are aiming at is a threat so you don’t kill somebody you shouldn’t have? What about optics to help you engage easier? How about a way to mount said optic to said rifle? These things all cost money, and each rifle has unique things to consider when it comes to these needs.
You see, when you are picking a rifle, you are really picking a rifle system. I know lots of guys who have an AR in the gun safe, and 2 magazines for it. That’s it. Pathetic. So what is a system exactly? I would say it’s kind of like a three legged stool. The rifle itself, the gear to support it, and you. If any one of these three things fails, the effectiveness of your rifle system is compromised.
So, by now if you are still reading this, you are likely saying “Okay smarty, what do you use?”
I use an AR-15. (don’t quit reading AK guys, just pretend I’m saying “AK”, the concepts apply to either rifle) I use it because I am familiar enough with it that I do not see the need to change. My three legged stool is very strong with me running an AR. Not as much with an AK or any other weapon system. I also use it because the other leg, the “rifle support gear” is plentiful, and cheap. You can also say that about an AK. With my preferred AR, I can supply an instant 0-500 yard ‘bubble of safety’ around my family. Probably further, but I won’t get into that here. I can’t personally do that with any other weapon.
So what about ammo? My go to round is actually M193 ball. It does more damage to unarmored targets at defensive ranges than M855, and is cheap enough that I can buy a lot of it. That means more practice, which means my three legged stool just got stronger. And, it’s also cheap, while still being made to NATO standards, which are pretty good compared to wolf, or some other cheaper rounds. I guess I have more peace of mind, knowing that I have something that is made to military specs. Not that that is the ‘be all, end all’ of ammo, but at around $ .35 a round (at published date), it works for me. Feel free to comment your thoughts.
My “500 yard bubble maker”
So what about past 500 yards? I bet if your smart you determined that I most likely live in a suburban area from my choice of weapon. But, what if I find myself out in the country? What weapon would I choose? (Spoiler alert: Not an AK)
It is a DPMS G2 Hunter. For those of you who have not checked out the G2 series of rifles from DPMS, I cannot recommend them enough. I will do a whole article on this rifle soon, but I am still getting it set up.
So basically, you want the rifle system that gets you the most bang for your buck, while being reliable enough to bet your life on it, and helps you to provide the best security you can for you and your family.
But yet another thing to consider, especially if you are a novice shooter, is how easy will it be to become an expert with your rifle? Not just proficient, but a true expert. Someone who knows enough to teach others. I know that there is more than enough proven knowledge and techniques available to take a novice shooter to expert and beyond for the AR. This is also something you should consider when selecting a rifle system.
Because you see, this is the only way you are going to improve the “you” leg of your rifle system. You can have the best rifle with the best gear, but if you suck with it, you are really just a living, breathing resupply point for somebody better. On the flip side, you can have a mediocre weapon and gear, and as long as you know how to expertly use it you should come out ok.
So you see, there are alot more variables to selecting a rifle than just the type of rifle. Oh yeah, and another tidbit of advice. Don’t get caught up in hype. I’ve seen it so many times, from calibers to piston AR’S to optics. IF you choose an AR as your first defensive weapon, go for something as close to mil spec as you can. No pistons(unnecessary added weight), no 6.whatever calibers(expensive and less common ammo), no SBR/ pistol length (piss poor ballistics ) Just a standard 16 inch carbine in 5.56.
But whatever you choose, get off your ass and go train with it.