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a prepper's considerations when selecting an additional pistol

Discussion in 'Firearms' started by CATO, Jan 30, 2013.

  1. CATO

    CATO Monkey+++

    Normally, this question revolves around "which caliber should I buy?" I think from a preppers viewpoint, this is only half of the question. The other consideration besides caliber is surplus parts in the event the manufacturing element of the world stops (e.g., the EMP, CME scenarios).

    A lot of us are brand/format loyal. People either love Glocks or hate them. The same is true for 1911 fans. Some people are anti-polymer and only consider a "real" gun all metal. Fight the urge to pigeon-hole yourself for this question.

    Additionally, let's just go ahead and put to rest the most asked question: "If I could only have one gun . . . ." Who the hell only has one gun? Do you only have one tool in your toolbox. Kill that line of thinking right now.

    So, assume you already have other pistols and lose your favorite gun emotions and focus purely on the consideration of a prepper: What are the prepper considerations to choosing pistol? Based purely on prepper considerations, what pistol would you purcharse to arm a group of people?

    A question like this ALWAYS get opinions, so try and limit this by quantifying some characteristics of some common guns using the following criteria:

    • is the gun high-maintenance?
    • does it jam a lot?
    • will it take any ammo (ball ammo & jhp, Russian)?

    Spare Parts
    • are there a lot of spare parts available?
    • after-market parts?
    • are parts/mags hard to get?

    Market Share
    • is the gun newly released?
    • is the gun used as a service weapon?
    • how many guns are in circulation at the moment?

    The concept behind asking these questions is to get you to focus on what pistol would be best if you couldn't go to the store for a while to get parts, get your gun fixed, or acquire new accessories.

    Some thoughts to ponder are:
    • Come SHTF, what do most police officers carry?
    • How many citizens own this firearm?
    • Are there military stores of this pistol for which an armorer might have spare parts?
    • Which gun will last the longest, without a lot of TLC, that will get me through some ordeal?
    The question is not "What gun do I prefer?"

    Here is a conceptual spreadsheet of what one might come up with the quantify what the best prepper pistol would be. Notice, that caliber is not an issue directly because the choice of pistol determines that:

    gun.............reliability.....spare parts.....market share....after market acc.
    Glock 17........___________.....___________.....____________....________________
    Glock 21........___________.....___________.....____________....________________
    Glock 22........___________.....___________.....____________....________________
    Beretta 92/M9...___________.....___________.....____________....________________
    Sig P226........___________.....___________.....____________....________________

    You can list more guns or characteristics, but keep the focus on prepping for the characteristics.
  2. CATO

    CATO Monkey+++

    To add a little clarification:

    For the Glocks above, the numbers you enter should be the same across the board with the exception of "market share." That is, there are probably more 9mm/17 and .40 S&W/22 service pistols than .45ACP/21. Now, I don't know what the exact numbers are, but I know that, while it's a Glock, a Glock 20 is a bad choice because (1) 10mm is not a round that there is a lot of surplus for and (2) there are probably few departments that standardized to this. I know someone will argue that 10mm may be on the shelf when other more common rounds have been scooped up during a panic buy, but, that viewpoint isn't very "prepper-ish." You shouldn't be in a store looking for ammo during a panic; you should already have plenty of that ammo stocked or be reloading it as much as possible.

    Why is this important? Just like with machine guns--(i.e., civilians can't own any that aren't already in existence), if SHTF, there won't be any new mags or barrels made for a looong time. So, you have to be able to barter for what's already in existence. If the gun is rare, you're just not going to find parts for it.

    Look at the number of countries that use Glocks (I'm not trying to push Glocks in this post, I'm just being practical):

    Glock - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    If all of the cops in your AO use Sig P226s, should you have one? Would it behoove you to know how to field-strip/clean it? Mentally go over some reasons why having this particular pistol would be advantageous when SHTF.
  3. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Before ONE even gets to Caliber, or Make, of which SHTF Pistol to purchase, One NEEDS to see which Make and Model, weapon, FITS, COMFORTABLY , in the Users HAND, and seems to be an extension of the Users ARM. The next Question should be, is it comfortable to shoot, including, but not limited to, RECOIL, Magazine Change, Safety Operation, etc.... Once THESE Questions are answered, then one can make an intelligent Decision on which Weapon to purchase. My Opinion.... YMMV....
    NotSoSneaky, tulianr and oldawg like this.
  4. CATO

    CATO Monkey+++

    It's my opinion that ergonomics shouldn't be a concern from a preppers' viewpoint. You may have a comfortable gun that no one else uses, that jams a lot, has no available spare parts, and has reliability issues.

    Imagine if the military asked each soldier to try out which gun felt good to them . . . you'd have one huge charlie foxtrot. Instead, they issue you a gun/tool and you use it.

    When prepping, I just don't think personal factors make much sense.

    #1 rule of survival: staying alive

    shooting a bad guy with a gun you don't like/feels a little off still gets #1 done.
  5. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Whoa, Who is talking about Military Weapons here???? This thread is talking about PERSONAL Weapons, that must be used, every day, during a SHTF situation.... and keeping in mind, LONG TERM possession. If the Weapon chosen, is NOT comfortable in the Users hand, and actually is hard to operate, point, and fire, for ANY REASON, then it will always be less effective, for THAT USER, than one that exhibits, none, or fewer of these issues. Just how often do your Weapons REQUIRE Refurbishing, and Spare Parts? This is NOT a Prime Criteria, for Weapons Selection, if one does their HOMEWORK, before the purchase in the First Place. I have a Colt 1903 Pocket Automatic in 38ACP, that was built in 1905. It is still perfectly functional, after 100+ years of existance. I have to reLoad all the Ammunition, for it, as there is very Limited production of 38ACP these days, but that doesn't limit this weapons usefulness, as a firearm, as I have 1000+ cases for it out in the reLoading Room. It fires .357, or .355 Caliber Projectiles just like Momma's .357 Dan Wesson, and my FN Browning HiPower. It was the first Handgun, I ever owned, and has travelled the breadth, and width of Alaska, with me as my Pack Gun, before the purchase of the HiPower, and then was reTIRED to the Gun Locker, as it is worth more, as an Antique Collectable, than any other Weapon, I own. Purchasing a PROVEN Designed Weapon is part of the Original Criteria for the Purchase decision, but certainly I would NEVER own a S&W SemiAuto, as they feel like trying to hold a BRICK. Way to FAT for "Me"... so I choose a better fitting Handgun, that has served 'Me" well.... ..... YMMV...
  6. CATO

    CATO Monkey+++


    a 1911, M9, and P226 are all duty weapons used by the U.S. military. Glocks are duty weapons of 68% of the police agencies of the U.S.
  7. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    SO? Why bring that into the discussion? both the 1903, and the FN Browning were MIlitary Weapons.... Has little bearing on what Makes a "Good" SHTF Weapon, for any Specific Individual.....
    VisuTrac likes this.
  8. CATO

    CATO Monkey+++

    YOU obviously don't "get" the point of my post. You are hung up on YOUR emotional and personal opinions, which I urged to reader to avoid.

    I see no further use in the discussion of the subject with YOU. YOU are a moderator, so YOU must be correct, even though your argument is based on emotion and opinion, which wasn't the point of the post.
  9. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    As a Moderator, I have "No comment" on the above Personal Attack on "My Opinion" ...... However that doesn't mean I do not have one.....
    mysterymet and chelloveck like this.
  10. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    Mods and admins are certainly allowed opinions and (of course) to express them in any particular way they wish. That does NOT imply superiority of their opinions over any one else's. The "office" if you will, is that of holding the CoC in mind and taking whatever action needs taken to prevent and/or eliminate infractions. To do otherwise isn't fair to the forum or the members. Staff has the same rules for posting as for everyone else, and the same "chastisement" will be applied for the same reasons. Additionally, there is a route to appeal if any member feels put upon by staff, and taking it to personalities in open forum is discouraged.
  11. Airtime

    Airtime Monkey+++ Site Supporter

    I get the impression from the OP that the intent is to create a small inventory of a common weapon to equip a number of people in a prepper group. I’m guessing something between 3 and 10 people. That a fair assumption?

    With this in mind I don’t know that the answer boils down to homing in on a particular weapon.

    I think you first drive down to a desired caliber that is in wide use so there is ammo availability or ammo component availability (including scavenging brass, etc). Probably the leading candidates are 9 mm, .40 S&W or .45 cal. and probably something else I’m forgetting. However, one should be selected based upon the demographics of the team being equipped. If they are all big, strong guys, then maybe favor a big bore caliber. If the team has a good representation of female and older people for whom the big guns may be difficult to handle, favor the smaller, slightly softer calibers such as 9 mm.

    Then identify 4, 5, 6 , or whatever specific weapons in that caliber that are very reliable, have excellent reputations and are fairly widely used (or WERE widely used and may be police department trade-ins). If you have say 5 models that are all reasonably comparable in reliability, functionality, popularity, etc. the team should be able to function adequately with any one of those models.

    Now, with your choice narrowed to say 5 options, look for a good deal on a quantity of any one of them. If there are 10 people you are looking to outfit, look for maybe 15-20 units all of the same make and model. While a hundred dollars difference may not be a huge deal buying just one gun, it is a big deal when purchasing 15 or 20. Now you can cannibalize failed units for parts to keep the others working and everyone still equippped. Talk with experienced gunsmiths and if there are any parts that are particularly prone to wear or breakage, buy a quantity of replacements and inventory those parts.

    This yields a common platform that all team members know. 2 failed units can be combined to make one good weapon for the weird failures and parts are stocked for the common failures. So 15 is 14, 14 is 13 and 13 is 12. But you reach a point where 15 is say 10 or 11 for a really long time. You should be in reasonably good position almost forever. (if you don’t live in NY).

    Just my way of thinkin...
    chelloveck and CATO like this.
  12. CATO

    CATO Monkey+++

    Good. I had meant to put in a column for 'value' or just put a limit at around $600.

    On the point of type of guy (big/strong): this doesn't really go into the decision because you're letting the data determine the gun. For instance, if every LEO in your state has a Glock 17 and many of the surrounding states have the same, a case could be made that the Glock 17 should be the gun of choice over something else--even if the men in your group have no problem with .45 ACP.

    Come SHTF, there is a greater liklihood of Glock 17 parts, mags, and possibly ammo in that AO.

    One might that that the perfect prepper's gun to be a Sig P250. With this pistol, you can have a barrel kit for 9mm, .357Sig, 40 S&W, or .45 ACP. That gives you a lot of options for AMMO. But, unless you're well supplied with spare parts/mags, you may be the only one in your AO with this weapon.

    Back to the previous example, you could also use your spare gear for barter. But, if you're the only one with a particular gun, others won't find it useful.
  13. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    I believe what CATO is trying to say, is of all the hand guns out there, What pistol/caliber would be the best, overall choice. Something, that is proven reliable, could be found, repaired, and kept fed, with the least amount of hassle.
  14. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    You know 2 month's ago i would have said something in a .22lr.

    However we now know how hard/high a brick is...

    I'm rolling with something in a .38/.357 A good old Smith as an example...
    Rough/tough/reloadable with ease and 99.9% reliable.
    CATO likes this.
  15. Gray Wolf

    Gray Wolf Monkey+++

    Ammo is the determining factor for me. I would choose another based on the ammo I already have on hand.
    CATO likes this.
  16. CATO

    CATO Monkey+++

    95% accurate. The determining factor would be the spreadsheet. It avoids emotion/idiosyncrasies/desire/prejudice.
  17. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    The AR uses the same magazine as the M16, as does the AK and the FA version, add the M1A and M14, the FN FAL, the HK and the 30 Carbine etc.. Obviously, stens, M3, Swed K etc are different.
    Machine guns last a very long time. When required one can be shot until the barrel gets a nice rusty colored patina and the flash "suppressor" has a wasted look. Where the slots meet the bore of the barrel the metal gets thin; so a lot of heat erodes it.. I know by doing it.
    Buying a firearm which fits you poorly is one of the worst things anyone can do. Try a quick mag change with and AK and AR. Does a 1911-A1 jam a lot? Or a High Power?

    Glocks are great pistols; however, the barrel to grip angle isn't for me; nor is the distance between the axis of the bore to the pointing line of my finger. Plus I dislike the trigger; it feels as if I am pushing a pencil eraser. Yeah, I can use one if I compensate for it, but should I bother is the question. Maybe you are the opposite; which means it works for you; but not me.

    As a prepper may find themselves facing looters, ZOMBIES etc; IMO, one best consider all the angles. Plus as the average pistol is not as good at filling the pot as a 22 rifle what other use does one have except protection? ;)

    As the military used 1911s and now a Beretta as compared to the police and government agencies who use a Glock; IMO that is probably more of a black mark against Glock than anything else. LOL Being blunt tested in combat by war fighters has a lot more value than worn by police in cruisers.

    Also SEALs use the P226 but not the same one you can buy.


    These internet exchanges on all sides carry a lot of emotion accompanied by a my way or the highway attitude.

    As he lives so far out in the boonies even the ZOMBIES won't find him, Bruce doesn't count. ;)

    (Sorry Bruce, I couldn't help myself. ;) LOL)
    kellory and BTPost like this.
  18. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    No Issues here Tikka.... I didn't always live this far out.... I lived in Seattle, during the winters, before '91, and year-round before '73.... but some consider Seattle, to be "out in the Boonies" as well.....[violin]
  19. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    Glad you took it as it was meant. ;)
  20. Pyrrhus

    Pyrrhus Monkey++

    Coming from a logistics background, I like to take into consideration things like common ammo. Therefore, one of the pistols I used to have (back when I believed in gun ownership) was a Ruger Vaquero chambered in 45 Colt. Not the most common round, but not exactly rare. Back then, I had a Marlin 1894 also chambered in 45 Colt. If a person were enough of a fanatic to reload, he could use the same primers, bullets, and powder for 45 Colt and 45 ACP. Which I also had. Back when I was an unreasonable gun owner.
    john316, oldawg, VisuTrac and 2 others like this.
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