Rambling Thoughts on Budget Firearms for Survival and Defense
by Greg Ritchie
I am often asked what firearms would be a good choice for self defense or survival for the person who does not have a lot to spend on firearms. I have given this a lot of thought and actually have my choices narrowed down to a select few. I think at a minimum a person needs three firearms, a handgun, a shotgun, and a rifle, in that order. Let's take a look at my choices.
First, the handgun. First, I want to rule out the 22 rimfires. They have a place, but in my opinion they are not optimal for the subject we are discussing, so right off the bat I want to rule out one of the first handguns I am often asked about. The inexpensive, but very good, Heritage revolvers.
I feel that the handgun cartridge must have sufficient power and low enough recoil to not turn off a new shooter. Plus the cartridge needs to be one that is easy to find and inexpensive. To me, that is the 38 special and 9mm Luger.
Do you want a revolver?. Then it's the Armscor M200 4 inch six shot 38 special. If you want to conceal it then get the M206 with the 2 inch barrel, but with one modification. Put the M200 grip on it. It makes it much easier to shoot well. An option that should not cost any extra, as the M206 revolvers I have seen recently at my local gun store come with both grips. An Uncle Mikes nylon holster with snap will provide secure carry and complete the set up. Cost is around $250.
[Armscor/Rock Island M206, .38 Special "snub nose" Revolver]
What about the semi automatic? Then it's the HI Point C9. I would pair this with the Alien Gear Cloak Tuck holster for concealed carry, or the Fobus paddle holster for belt carry. The only accessories I would suggest would be at least 2 extra magazines. A C9 costs around $160 in my area.
[Hi Point C9, 9mm Luger "compact" Semi-Automatic Pistol]
The shotgun will be a 20 gauge. The 12 is just too much for a new shooter. My choice here is either the Maverick 88 youth, or the H&R Pardner Pump youth. Why the youth? They have 21 inch barrels. The youth stock can be easier for some to shoot as well, if a longer length of pull is needed a simple slip on recoil pad could do the trick. A 5 round magazine completes the package.
My choice is the H&R pardner pump. I like the all steel construction and the trigger guard mounted safety. I do not like that I have to alter my grip in order to operate the slide release. The Maverick 88 has an aluminum receiver, but the safety is located on the front of the trigger guard and the slide release is behind the trigger guard, thus you do not have to alter your grip to operate the shotgun. Cost for either is about $180.
[H&R Pardner Pump Youth, 20 ga. Shotgun]
Last is the rifle. I want so much to say a lever action in 357 Magnum, but even the cheapest ones bring $400. There are several entry level bolt actions in the $300 price range, and one of those in 270 Winchester, or another similar cartridge would be hard to beat if hunting fits into your survival scenario.
But sticking to my thoughts of home, self defense and a foraging rifle, I again turn to HI Point. Again I would choose the 9mm Luger, the 995TS as it will fill most of your needs at a cost that encourages practice. A 9mm bullet will cleanly take small game with minimal damage, and a careful shot will do well on deer sized game at reasonable ranges. I would add a forward grip for stability and a laser. Why not a red dot? A laser will work well at most practical 9mm Luger ranges, and i still have my iron sights should my battery fail, plus I don't have to worry about co-witnessing the sights. In my area, price has recently jumped from about $240 to $260 dollars.
[Hi Point 995TS ("Target Stock"), 9mm Luger Semi-Automatic Carbine with forward grip, forward-mounted light, under-barrel laser]
There you have it. My choices for a 3 gun self defense and survival. What are your choices?