To continue the ongoing series (Part 1, Part 1.5, Part 1.75) today we will talk about handguns. To catch you up I recommend buying common model firearms from reputable and common manufacturers chambered in a common caliber. Also remember to consider the cost of fully equipping them when comparing and pricing guns.
The goal here is to get a basic gun that fits a tight budget but is still a good solid weapon to bet your life on. The distinction between this and the cheapest guns out there is significant.
While I do not have a clear price range in mind a loose goal of $350 (of course markets vary so these guns might be 4 and a quarter in LA or 300ish in Alabama) to $400 seems like a good mark. This is of course for the gun itself, though if you buy used a holster (and maybe extra mag) might get tossed into the deal.
For a one handgun solution I tend to favor compact pistols. A .38/.357mag *3 inch* J(small) or 3-4" K(medium) sized revolver is a really good option. I would recommend Smith and Wesson or Ruger or if those are not available a fairly new Taurus. Unless you know what you are doing (which is not the target audience of this series) an older Charter Arms, Rossi, Taurus, etc might very well be a lemon and only useful as a paperweight. Newer Smiths run out of this price range in a hurry but an older revolver like a Model 10 or 64 can be had in this price range. Rugers do pop up here also. Both will probably run a bit closer to $400 but they do not need mags.
The reason revolvers will come in the cheapest is because you do not need mags. Figuring $25-35 for most mags (not today, we'll get to that in a minute) and that IMO you want a bare minimum of 6 mags cost adds up fast.
For semi auto's the Kel Tech PF9 and Ruger LC 9 both seem like pretty decent contenders and are in our price range. They are towards the smaller end of guns I would be comfortable with for an everything handgun but they are readily available and take single stack mags which are still out there at sane prices. The really little .380's and 2" J frames are difficult guns to shoot well and not especially fun to shoot which means you are less likely to put in the time to learn to use them. This combination makes them less than ideal beginner guns.
Interestingly Iraq Vet8888/ Barry of Moss Gun and Pawn did a video on handguns under $350.
Won't disagree with anything they said but there are inherent compromises in basic budge guns. Compromises that are acceptable for one person might not be acceptable for another. If you are a bit less concerned about commonality of ammunition and parts the Bersa .380 is worth looking into. If you plan to buy all the ammo and parts you will every need with the gun then the Makarov is a fine option.
Note that I really haven't talked about any double stack auto's. Glock pistols and in particular the Glock 19 (which would otherwise be my choice here) are relatively hard to find these days. You can get them but (excluding oddballs like .45GAP) they are running a bit more expensive than before firearmagedon. In my neck of the woods it will be very hard to touch a non oddball used Glock for under $550 with $600 probably being average. Most significantly the price of full capacity double stack mags that hold more than 10 rounds (especially Glock 9's) is up considerably, though they are slowly trending down. Glock mags are running $43-45 in my neck of the woods and it's a sellers market. This is significantly up from the $25-28 pre panic prices. For a guy like me who wants to have 9-10 mags that is a big price difference. Between the higher price of the gun and mags I think the Glock 9mm is currently priced out of a "common man" budget. The same can be said for the other pistols that would normally be in this range. Smith and Wesson Sigma's and the old Ruger P series still offer good value if you can find mags at a sane price.
My basic budget handgun setup would be:
-6 magazines for an auto/ some speedloaders for a revolver
-500 rounds of ammunition. In a perfect world you might have 500 rounds of JHP ammo and then some FMJ for plinking but if the budget is tight consider getting 100 rounds of JHP and the rest FMJ. If the budget is uuber tight just rock boring old ball ammo.
-decent holster that can be used for concealment
-belt stuff enough to comfortably hold said gun in holster
Personally I would be looking for a decent used revolver either a Smith and Wesson Model 10/64 .38 or a Ruger Security 6 .357 really whichever came up first.
Hope that helps somebody. Next chapter we will talk shotguns which will be short and easy.
Spent some time more with the Solo Stove and think I've pretty much figured it out. Just got to fiddling with the Solo Pot 900. Pretty psyched about that combo.
This weekend a lot of time went into working on my systems. The EDC bag was totally stripped down. After taking all preparedness stuff out of it I reinserted a personal survival kit, one of those heavier space blankets, a cheapo first aid kit and a pouch for a steel water bottle. Need to pick up a bottle of water purification tablets to go in there and it will be good to go.Will probably talk about it this week.
The rest of the stuff plus a bit more went into a commercial hiking style backpack. I added a few more things and it is shaping into a pretty decent heavy get home bag/ bug out bag. Need to go over it again and plug a few small holes then things should be good to go. We will talk more about this once I finish the last little bit.
Coming up next week I am going to order a few odds and ends. Also plan to keep working my systems and talk about the stuff in my EDC bag. Speaking of EDC bags Teotwawki Blog is doing a series on them which should be interesting. May change mine a little bit based on stuff that comes up there. Also Wifey said I should go shooting so that will probably happen early this week.
What did you do to prepare this week?
A few things to share just to clear out some tabs:
They also linked to an excellent site Congress.org that makes it super easy to write all of your federal or state representatives in one shot (instead of looking them up and wading through their websites). So click on this link and tell them what you think about the current hysteria and the Second Amendment in general. If you are not sure what to say Ruger put together an excellent blanket letter. Send it to your federal and state reps today. I did and it took like 5 minutes.
In my collection there are a couple guns (1911 and M1 Garand) that are marked for sale. One may be spoken for and the other I will have to put a bit of effort into. The two should get me at least a grand though $1,100ish would be better. For awhile I was thinking about different things I could get with that money. A little pocket pistol like a Keltech P3AT or the Ruger knock off would be nice. Then again the new takedown 10/22 is super cool and I have a total gun crush on it. Of course I can always use another AR or Glock 9mm. So many options. Then I got to really thinking.
What I actually need to do is take care of a bunch of little stuff to really get the guns I already have (admittedly not a bad battery) set up properly. Over my time here I have done most of the heavy lifting in this area by purchasing plenty of mags, spare parts and some ammo. Still there is some work left to be done.
About 3 guns need trijicon night sights. The Glock which lives in the bedroom should have a light attached to it. My Springfield '06 needs to get drilled into so I can put a scope on it. On the bright side I've got a 3x9 Leupold lying around so that should be a pretty affordable project. I am still looking at options but both a rifle and a shotgun could use lights too however that might not make this round of purchases. There are probably a few other little things I can use.
Another thing to do when I get home is get my M4agery set up properly. I have the gun and an ACOG to go on top of it. Prior to putting that on I need to get a backup iron sight and zero it. (Previously it had a detachable carry handle) Still toying with the idea of putting a light on it. The thing doesn't have rails and at this time I don't plan to mount anything else so buying them just to make a light slightly easier would be a waste and I don't really want a rail anyway. That means either one of those hose clamp type setups or using a novel little piece of rail that hooks into the A looking hole in the front sight. The rail setup looks like the way to go as it lets me use all manner of lights and is in about the right location. For about 8 bucks it is worth fiddling with anyway. I don't think it would be stable enough to hold a zero on a laser but for a light as long as it points straitish that is good enough.
On another front I have recently switched from carrying a Buck 110 back to the clip in your pocket one hand folder type knife. It is so convenient to just slip a knife into my pocket and have it vanish. Also the Buck is way more knife than I need the vast majority of the time and I have one handy in the car anyway. Currently I am carrying a medium sized Cold Steel Voyager. I am not totally thrilled with the thing but it was already in my pile of knifes. One of my guys had an Ontario Rat 1 which looked pretty nice (and got good review online) and for about $35 it it is worth rolling the dice. I am not totally opposed to paying more for a knife but would want to be able to handle one before doing so which is problematic here.
On yet another front you can get the new 2012 15th Anniversary Edition of the LDS Preparedness Manual for free downloadfrom www.ldsavow.com. You may or may not agree with their theology but Mormon's have their stuff together when it comes to preparedness. It would be foolish not to take advantage of the free resources they offer to the public.
Anyway I am going to wrap this up. Hopefully you all have a great weekend.
I have received some interest in the two guns I plan to sell which is suprising and cool. The 1911 is a Springfield Mil Spec .45 and the M1 Garand is well, an M1 Garand. The 1911 may go to a buddy who I always offer right of first refusal (and he does the same) on gun sales. As to pricing I am pretty out of touch and will have to do some research to get a final solution.
The complication that spawns this post is that I am in Germany and my guns are at home in the PNW. Not going to inconvenience a family member that has been doing me a favor with taking detailed pics, let alone shipping through an FFL or a personal sale. In the early fall I will be headed back to the US. Any action would have to take place at this time.
I like approving comments so I can see what people put up. More about knowing what is going on and being able to reply to that comment on last Tuesdays post then controlling content. Anyway a fellow wrote a comment on guns.
He specifically decided he should not own more than 5 guns. He currently has 4: a bolt action .270 a ruger mini 14 .223 mossberg partner 12 gauge and some sort of a 9x18 soviet bloc piece
He wondered what my thoughts were on his collection. In terms of individual guns I can find little to argue about. Mossbergs and Mini's are pretty darn common and well liked. The .270 isn't as common as a 30.06 or a .308 but it passes the country store test so I can't say much. As for the pistol I would stock PLENTY (3+ cases) of ammo because unless I miss my guess you may be able to pick it up at a well stocked store in the big city but other than that it is mail order.
As for what you should get for the fifth gun I can observe that you do not own a .22. Maybe you don't like plinking and choose to practice with centerfire weapons, I am not sure. In any case you mentioned maybe getting a .44 magnum. Can't say anything bad about them in terms of power and such. My advice is that unless you life in Grizzly country go with a .357. The odds of finding .357 magnum ammo are far better as everyone and their mom owns a .38 or a .357mag. Since the pistol you have now is definitely an odd ball getting something very common could be wise.
This idea has popped up a couple times recently. I think everyone should own a .22lr rifle as part of their basic 4. I am a huge fan of the Ruger 10/22 for this nitche. If you are going to own more then those 4 basic guns a .22 pistol is a must.
Someone is going to inevitably mention that the .22lr kills a large amount of the people who die firearms related deaths in a given year. I tried to look this up and failed but it has been thrown out enough times that there is probably some truth to it.
The reason for this is that it is what people tend to have at hand most often. Almost every home that owns a gun has some sort of a .22 and many of the cheap Saturday night special kind of guns are chambered in this caliber because low pressure guns are easier and cheaper to make. That it kills oodles of people doesn't mean it is the BEST at killing people.
More people throughout history have probably been killed by sticks and stones (or simple variants thereon) than anything else. From the beginning of time to the 17th century these accounted for almost all deaths and though the spread of firearms has changed what people kill each other with in any big city during a given month someone almost surely gets hit in the head with a stick (bat, pool cue, etc) and dies.
The Chechens did use use silenced .22 rifles for urban sniping with some success. For this nitche role (shooting someone in the head/ neck at close distance) they worked admirably.
They are not however a defensive weapon and have a bad tendency not to STOP violent aggressors. From a strictly tactical perspective taking someone out of the fight is more important then the harm that is done to them. Some Goblin getting knocked unconscious while chasing you with a knife because his saggy assed pants slip off his ass and he falls strait on his head is more of a win then putting a few rounds of .22 into him which leads to death several hours later AFTER the conflict is otherwise resolved.
If you have a .22 handy that is fine and well but if you are CHOOSING a gun for defense make it a shotgun or centerfire pistol.
I ended up at the apartment of some of my co workers this afternoon. We had some work to do and since 3 of them live in the same place and the other in the complex me coming there was a non decision. One of the guys brought out his new toy to show us. He has a tricked out Mini- 14. It currently has a folding paratrooper stock on it with a vertical grip in front and is planning to get some sort of a high end optic (CCO or something) in the near future.
Now don't get me wrong the Mini 14 is (with going over the ground we have already covered) a decent gun. However if you want to spend a couple hundred more bucks you get an AR not accessories for the Mini 14.
[Edited to add: It became clear with the first comment that I needed to clarify something. The difference between essential and nonessential accessories. You need slings, holsters, cleaning gear, maybe a scope (with rings, etc), a good supply of mags and of course plenty of ammo. You do not need tac lights, night sights, vertical grips, bipods, lasers, tactical urban optics and all kinds of other stuff. Basically if you can have the firearm live a normal working life without something it is not necessary.]
I like some unnecessary accessories: Night sights on a pistol or a light on a shotgun are good things. Some kind of a nice optic on a rifle is great also.
I guess my point is that if the cost of the unnecessary accessories is approaching the cost of the gun then you are probably approaching Mall Ninja levels of ridiculousness.
I do think the one exception (to the accessory to gun price ratio) is bolt action long distance rifles. The difference between a couple hundred yard gun and a several hundred yard gun (aside from the shooter:) is generally the optic. In this you definitely get what you pay for.
Also tonight's homework took time and thinking so I needed something to write.
My mid western blogging gal pal Brigid had a good post about bears. I started to comment but when it gets past a paragraph or so it becomes a post. Especially these days when my time is limited and there are lots of field days to crank stuff out for. Here are some of my thoughts on bears. Probably not much that is outside of the already discussed and agreed upon range of thought but cut me some slack as I've got 3 days to crank out a couple weeks worth of posts. Anyway here it goes:
Dealing with (non jumbo Alaska sized) black bears is a pretty strait forward proposition that can probably be handled with weapons already on hand; as opposed to the freakishly scary beast that is the Grizzly. I am intentionally not addressing the mighty polar bear because it is basically impossible to accidentally stumble into their domain.
Don't have more then a .357mag when it comes to pistols. Had a Ruger .45 colt that would be great for bear but I swapped it for a (much superior for my needs) 6" Taurus .357 mag. If I was going to live in bear country a .44 would find its way to my possession almost immediately. It would probably be a heavy double action Ruger.
As for long guns I think it is important to keep in mind that what you would want for defensive purposed against bears is somewhat different then for hunting bears. IMH (and somewhat ignorant)O hunting bears should be done from a tree stand not traipsing all through the brush looking for a bear. Going through brush for bear IMHO is kind of like a woman being involved with Drew Petersen; there isn't a guarantee something bad will happen but if it does you shouldn't be suprised. For hunting bears I would be inclined to go with a heavy rifle.
For defense against bears I think the big thing to keep in mind is that you aren't going to be taking a leasurely shot from a tree stand at a hundred yards. It is going to be fast and at close ranges. A bear a hundred yards away isn't a direct threat to anyone (unless it is a bear with a gun) though you better fricking keep an eye on it. The thing here is that most of us like to save cash whenever possible and for those just visiting bear country you don't want to go out and spend $500 on a rifle just for that upcoming fishing trip. A pump 12 gauge would be a good way to go. IMHO the biggest benefit of this strategy is that everyone should have a short barreled pump 12 gauge in the house anyway. Buy some slugs if you already don't have some, keep that sucker handy and your good to go.
As for rifles. I think a semi auto rifle is a good option if you already own one. A 30.06 like my sweet assed Garand would be a good option. Eight powerful shots as fast as you can pull the trigger would give as much of a chance as just about anything else. For the sake of discussion if I was not comfortable with the shotgun stragegy I personally was going to buy a rifle specifically for bear defense it would be a 45/70 marlin guide gun. They are light and easy to handle with rapid reloading. I am not huge into ballistics and such but I think the 45/70 hits about like a 350 pound pro linebacker high on PCP. These are also pretty affordable for new guns. For those who light there big cigars with $20 bills a BAR in .338WinMag could be a very good choice.
I don't believe bear spray is a good choice unless you are forbidden from having a firearm. I would be a lot more comforted by a big .44mag which isn't that much heavier. A family friend who lives in Alaska says fishermen (the most frequent victims of bear attacks) tend to have a big bore (.44mag or some sort of fancy new round) revolver on them and a shotgun leaning against a tree nearby.