Ideal Survival Weapon: What do you think?

Discussion in 'Vintage Topic Archive (Sept - 2009)' started by Jag, Jan 6, 2008.

  1. Jag

    Jag Member

    Alright, ladies and gentlemen, here’s the scoop. I would like to do a serious of separate threads for the survival section here on the forum that deal specifically with the various “tricks†and techniques that people here and on other forums, internet magazines, books, and any other medium you can think of have written about over the years. To give this idea some clarity and direction, I would like to define what I mean by “survival techniques†and outline a few basic parameters for such discussions. When I say “survival techniquesâ€, I am referring to the various methods that people use to provide for their true survival needs (i.e., the necessary elements for physical survival, such as shelter/heat, water, air, food, rest, and, in a remote area, a reasonable means to signal some form of transportation for egress from the area where one might be stranded, and the proper priority sequence of these elements), and I would like to discuss these various techniques and forms of survival equipment from the standpoint of an “ideal†survival technique or piece of equipment. To lend some objectivity to this matter, I propose that the following guidelines for judging a particular piece of survival equipment or a particular survival technique be used to reach a reasonable conclusion about a given technique or object (as outlined in my previous post on here about fire pistons). They are of my creation, but I figure that they would quickly be arrived at by anybody analyzing the subject of survival in depth; bear in mind here that the word "tool" is meant to include any conceivable item you might take or need in a survival situation. These parameters are as follows:

    1) The tool should be as lightweight and portable as possible, taking into consideration all factors of manufacture and durability, including the construction materials (i.e., metal, wood, plastic, etc.), needed dimensions (does the tool have to be big or small in width, length, and depth?), and frequency and "harshness" of use (is this tool something that you will be using on a daily basis, or will it be stored safe and sound in a warm shelter in your backpack somewhere?).

    2) The tool should be as simple in its construction as possible (i.e., no extravagant features or needless functions should become a part of the tool's uses or design) to facilitate maximum dependability in a field situation (this is why surplus military equipment is often the best choice for someone looking to obtain a piece of equipment to use for a harsh, long-term situation in a field condition out in the wilderness).

    3) The tool should require as little or no maintenance as possible to facilitate its maximum amount of dependable use in the field (that is, it should not need a lot of fancy chemical cleaners, spare parts, or disposable pieces [like a bullet for a gun] to maintain its intended use UNLESS there is no other alternative to its continued functionality, like being faced with having to supply cartridges for a gun or not having one at all in a remote area where it would be used for harvesting game and protecting oneself from predators).

    4) The tool should, if possible, be able to perform multiple functions in a field situation so as to maximize the amount of space available for an individual to store needed goods (I don't know about you, but I can only effectively carry around forty to fifty pounds in a backpack for an extended period of time while still remaining reasonably mobile and energetic, if the goal of the given scenario is to have to survive a survival situation in a remote area away from the support of fixed shelters and storage facilities).

    5) The tool should ideally glean its energy for use from a readily renewable source, if possible, to enable it to be easily and continually used without interruption (for example, the fire piston uses a readily available substance (air) combined with the mechanical energy of a human arm and a tiny piece of a disposable component (a small piece of tinder) to start a fire, while, by comparison, a match is great for an instant, single moment of ready-to-use fire-starting potential, but it uses a virtually non-renewable chemical energy source (a blend of red and white phosphorus) to obtain its energy; from a survival standpoint, the match is not very good as a source for long-term fire production, while the fire piston is virtually the ultimate implement for long-term production of fire since all components for its use are readily obtainable [air, calories from food so that a human can use the pump, and a piece of tinder]).

    6)The tool should, if possible, be designed in such a way that it could be easily repaired, if necessary, in a situation with limited, easily-obtained resources (rocks, wood, vegetation, and animal parts would be examples of easily-obtained natural resources that would not require a lot of further refinement to be put to basic uses; for example, an axe or hatchet handle can easily be replaced with a length of properly whittled wood, provided you don't lose the axe-head).

    7) The tool should be, if possible, the best choice amongst a given variety of tools for the survival situation based on all the other factors of judging criteria for a tool choice in a survival situation, if such a variety of choices of tools actually exists (for example, there are many forms of tools to start a fire, so do you take a box of matches, a cigarette lighter, or a flint-and-steel striker set?).

    8 ) The tool should not be considered, if possible, for a survival situation if it does not perform a vital or needed function; this is an extension of the "multiple functions" criteria (for example, do you really need a gold-plated, artistically inscribed, titanium-framed, electronically-dependent accessory-loaded AR-15 as a survival weapon, or would a run-of-the-mill, simple, reliable, durable, rugged, utilitarian bolt-action military surplus rifle be a better choice? Of course, if you simply COULDN'T live without your AR, it would be better than taking no gun at all in a survival scenario, but it might not be the most practical; the choice would rest with you; in addition, that heavy, oak-framed 1' X 2' picture of your family WOULD be an example of a useless "tool" that would serve no vital function in a survival situation other than firewood or a sentimental reminder of a life that you might not make it back to; if you absolutely need such a sentimental reminder for your own "mental health", take a small 1" X 3" photo in your wallet instead).

    9) The tool should, if possible, be able to be stored easily and compactly when it is not in use (this is an extension of "lightweight and portable" criteria).

    10) The tool should, if possible, not be something that would require an extensive expenditure of valuable time, resources, and energy for its use in a survival situation (this is an extension of the "should not be considered unless it performs a vital function" rule; an example would be the choice of a mechanically-complex semi-automatic firearm versus a mechanically simple break-action, bolt-action, or pump-action firearm for a survival weapon; I did not include lever-actions in this example since, in my opinion and understanding, a lever-action has a few weak points, namely the amount of pivots and the thin metal connection points in its action, that could easily break with repeated use).

    With a little adjustment, these parameters can be used for intangible survival aspects (like a positive mental attitude, or PMA, but more on that later) by utilizing the underlying principles behind these guidelines to evaluate such intangible aspects. After such techniques and equipment have been objectively discussed and evaluated (as best as we can), a subjective discussion on what people think about the technique or equipment in question will help to further evaluate the topic for relevancy to an actual real-world survival situation. To start off such a discussion, I figured I’d first write about a topic that all of us have a passion for: weapons for survival use!

    Well, from a survival standpoint, conversations about firearms for survival use have probably been done to death (though they are the best choice for a field weapon). But, I wonder, is there perhaps a weapon out there that exemplifies the best points for use as a survival weapon AND is virtually self-sufficient in terms of maintenance, ammunition, and functionality?

    Believe it or not, such a weapon actually does exist! Yes, I know a black powder firearm (particularly a flintlock with homemade black powder) would be an ideal choice to fulfill this role, but there is actually (in my opinion) something better. What weapon requires no chemical propellants, no bent levers requiring replacement torsion bands, runs on a substance that can be replenished anywhere, only has a single disposable part of its system: the ammunition (and even that can be improvised), can fire multiple times with only bullets having to be replaced, requires minimal field maintenance (especially when the weapon is made out of high-quality modern materials), and is powerful enough to take down even large game? The answer: a PCP (Pre-Charged Pneumatic) air rifle with an accompanying hand pump and lead bullets (some good sites to find out about these devices are,,,,,,,,, ). Why would such a weapon be the best choice for a survival arm? Well, look at the previous guidelines and gauge the PCP air rifle for its qualifying marks: it’s literally bulletproof (pun intended) when it comes to simplicity and, in terms of long-term use, it requires only that a person recharge it with a hand pump, reload it with fresh lead rounds, lubricate the valves with any appropriate grease, and have a decent supply of food on hand to facilitate enough strength to continue to charge the pressure tank with the hand pump :wink:.

    Weigh in on this idea! Let me know what you guys think, and check out the links for more info!


    Jag 8)
  2. Thayldt21

    Thayldt21 Senior Member Member

    Requires to much TLC and what happens when you fall and break the pump or a valve???

    At this rate a bow and arrow seem much better.

  3. Only one weapon for my survival choices?? I'll take an Air Force survival knife with the hex-head butt and sheath w/ sharpening stone. With a knife, I can make a multitude of other weapons including spears, bows, arrows, traps and so forth. Definitely a knife for me!! :wink:

    SHOOTER Z Well-Known Member

    My most important tool? Simple My brain! :wink:
  5. Kelotravolski

    Kelotravolski Member

    (until the zombies from the lounge eat it!!) :shock:

    I think I would take a radio so I could find someone else who was better prepared and had more than one tool to survive.
  6. neothespian

    neothespian Member

    Damnit!!!! Why do you gotta beat me to the good answers!!

    SHOOTER Z Well-Known Member

    Cuz yur too slow Neo! :lol:
  8. griff30

    griff30 Member

    I would say half way down the requirements would have been a pair of good steel-toed boots or a sharp edged camp shovel. Then the reqs got way long.
    Air pistol or rifle? Yes It can kill game but what else? Sorry not my first choice. Hell, I used to joke I hunted deer with 2 slices of bread.
  9. dirtimdebbie

    dirtimdebbie Guest

    We seriously need some little LYAO icons that grab their sides and roll around.
  10. Space

    Space Member

    Can't cut down a tree and build shelter with an air rifle.

    My vote would be a good knife, preferably one that I could fashion into a spear if need be. Maybe one of these...


    oh, and my brain, as long as it's fast enough :lol:
  11. I am not too fond of chunking my good knife at a critter that may run off with it, so what I did was purchases a few of those inexpensive throwing knives and added them to my outdoor gear in the event I need to make a spear.

    A good quality knife is one of the most valuable tools one can have when facing a survival situation, so make sure you get the best you can afford as your primary field knife. Then add less expensive ones to be used for other task like chunking at critters etc etc.
  12. Strangerous

    Strangerous Member

    Nothing is worse than watching your dinner and good knife run 30mph through the woods away from you.
  13. Jag

    Jag Member

    Hey guys:

    Sorry for any confusion that might have arose with this thread. My original intention wasn't to suggest that you should only have ONE type of weapon in your kits for long-term survival scenarios; the intention of the post was to analyze the merits of a big-bore, PCP air rifle for its long-term use as a tool of minimal maintenance and high durability. Sure, as a defense weapon against multiple threats or as the SOLE relied-upon weapon for food or defense it certainly isn't the best choice. However, in a true long-term SHTF or TEOTWAWKI situation, where access to factory-manufactured firearms, archery equipment, ammunition, and other weapons and their accesseries would be limited (if these were not completely gone) to existing personal stores of equipment, I believe that a big-bore air gun or flintlock black powder rifle (both of which can be fairly easily repaired and cared for in terms of their ammo, components like air and black powder, and general cleaning) is a pristine choice for an arm that one could use to provide general defense against individual threats, hunt for food, and, even in a situation such as this with limited resources, target shooting for practice/recreation (since these projectile weapons fire solid lead ammo, the projectiles themselves can be recycled for futher use, as long as you were to shoot them into a backstop where they could be recovered, of course). The more valuable modern firearms could thus be saved for situations where they would be needed for dealing with multiple threats and/or long range hunting/defensive fire (since the muzzleloaders and air weapons would be limited in range to about 100 yards or less for effective power and practical engagement ranges).

    Anyway, just thought I'd offer a little clarification. Great commentary so far, keept it up!

  14. Mordecai

    Mordecai Member

    An e-tool would be an excellent survival tool also.
  15. z71silverado98

    z71silverado98 Member

    for firearms it sounds like an AK

    for blades it sounds like a cold steel Kukri machete
    "not just a chopping weapon but a piercing, slashing, and smashing weapon as well. Smashing techniques allow the Kukri to function as a hammer or mallet or to deliver non-lethal blows in a self-defense role"

    the best weapon of course would be human ingenuity. even w/ a lack of modern resources, humans can reason and work their way through challenges. even in teotwawki there's gonna be tons of plastic and metal litter to scrounge just about everything you need.

    case in point, our junior high went camping for 2weeks near a river, fishing poles were not allowed as they didnt want you catching the fish. they also served crummy brown bag lunches, what did we do? some one snuck some hooks in, a few others used thier swimsuit liners and food from bag lunches to catch live bait then we used the nylon dental floss someone brought and hooks to catch river trout. every night our group cooked fresh fish over our campfire. we did it after dark so we wouldnt get caught.

    we also tricked someone into eating 7 servings of choco-lax and shut the water off in the shower then dumped a 5 gallon bucket of cocoa mix on a guy but thats a different side of the human ingenuity...
  16. elguapo

    elguapo Guest

  17. condition1

    condition1 Member

    Z71 is right

    the kukri is one of the best all around knives you can have. Mine, a gift from a good, smart Marine, has two smaller knives in the sheath, so it would be my choice for all around survival.

    SHOOTER Z Well-Known Member

    You guys can have all the fancy knives, guns, bombs, bazookas, or whatever If your mind is not set for survival you will be found dead.

    I have been on many searches where he would find a hunter with a great rifle the best knife money can buy and enough survival equipment to last him 3 weeks in the wild dead. All because their minds would not go into survival mode and they panicked Yet we also would find folks alive with almost nothing on them and they had the right mindset to build shelter start a fire and find some food and water and they would be a little bit lighter but very much alive.
  19. dirtimdebbie

    dirtimdebbie Guest

    I must agree with Z-man, a rare situation.

    3 minutes without air
    3 hours without shelter
    3 days without water
    3 weeks without food

    This is the accepted secquence, taught in almost every survival course/school world wide.

    In a survival situation (not a combat situation) that puts a firearm in last place on the chain of necessities. "Hunting" is even down the food acquiring list after snares, traps and fish sets.

    Many primitive people live a lifetime without firing a shot.