So, I presented this question to our staff and some friends of mine. If you could only take one long gun and one handgun with you out in a survival situation, what would those guns be? The responses were interesting. Some folks zeroed in on “survival” situation and decided that wouldn’t include any combat whatsoever. Others read “survival situation” and assumed combat would be included. The responses were enlightening. Before I get into what everyone else replied, let me share my own response:
Based on what I can open my gun safe and put my hands on my choices would be my Remington 870 12g pump shotgun and my Glock Model 19 9mm. Here’s why…
Contrary to what some people believe, I have neither a conex in my back yard full of gear nor a walk in gun safe. At the moment I don’t even have an AR-15 / M4 style weapon in my assortment of firearms. The rifles I DO have include the Remington 870 shotgun, a lever action .30-.30, a bolt action .22 Magnum (my youngest son’s rifle) and a Russian or Japanese bolt gun that my oldest son left in my safe when he deployed. As I considered the amount of ammo I have available, the ease of acquiring other ammo, ammo versatility, etc I selected the Remington 870. It has a sling for ease of carrying; holds 7 rounds “in the tube” and has on-gun saddles for 11 more rounds. It might be comparatively heavy and have a limited range, but I still prefer its versatility and ammo availability over the .30-.30.
As to the Glock 19 9mm… It was either this or my 1911. I have about ten magazines for the Glock while only have six for the 1911. That equates to 150 preloaded rounds for the Glock versus 42 for the 1911. I have an equal number of holsters for each. My final thought was the realization that I’ve had little luck finding good quantities of .45ACP while I’m still seeing 9mm relatively easy to find on the market – albeit at increased prices. Overall I felt it would be easier to find ammo for the 9mm than for the .45ACP if I had to bail out of my house with no clue where I was headed or when I was coming back. As a final note, I currently have more 9mm ammo on hand than I do .45ACP so I’d be better stocked on my way out. For those who might be wondering my other choices were:
- Kahr CW4543, 6-shot .45ACP
- Beretta 96FC, 10-shot .40S&W
- Browning High Power, 10-shot, 9mm (only 1 mag though)
- Glock 22, 15-shot, .40S&W (oldest son’s gun with 3 mags)
- Beretta Model 85, 8-shot .380ACP (wife’s gun, and I mean… really? Not so much)
- Walther P22, 10-shot, .22lr (youngest son’s handgun, 2 mags)
If you’d have chosen different out of the options I had available I’d truly enjoy an email telling me why? or comments on our blog. Now… on to what others responded.
From Mr. Chuck Bennett: (edited barely)
I’m going with an AR in 6.8mm because the platform is easy and the 5.56 won’t do s**t for glass or larger game. I was going to go with a bolt .308 but not fast enough. Also a .458 SOCOM is one hell of a thumper, but I’ll have to reload. I’m too lazy for all that.
I’m going to go with the S&W M&P .45 because it’s comfortable in my hand, gives me 10+1, is a .45 (well duh) and chicks dig it. (I might need two handguns just to be safe… even if they’re the same). If I needed to conceal it, I still love my .45 GAP. G19 size frame with a nice big hole. Hehe. It’s a nail driver too… The new FN .45 or H&K .45 would be an option also, especially since I can suppress them.
From army vet, former Sgt. in the 82nd Airborne and a retired SWAT operator:
SURVIVAL situation? Springfield Armory Scout over under .410/22 Long combo – Glock 21
Editor’s Note: this gentleman expounded not at all beyond that. He’s not the kind of guy who feels the need to explain his choices. His outlook is pretty much that his choices will prove correct or not as the need presents itself so why talk about it? Note, however, he specified SURVIVAL situation and I believe his choices would be dramatically different if he felt that “survival situation” might include any defensive combat. And I know him well enough to know that he picked the Glock 21 because 1) he likes the .45ACP, 2) it’s very comfortable in his hand, and 3) he has one laying around with plenty of ammo and mags.
Veteran police officer / volunteer firefighter:
Since I already have the Glock 22, I would take it. For long gun, I would want an AR15/M4. If possible, I would have two upper receivers, one that is 16″ barrel; the second with 24″ for hunting/long range. If I had money I would get some Glock 17s due to availability of ammo.
Editor’s Note: I’ve had some at-length discussions with this gentleman about handgun preferences for long term survival situations. I understand his desire for the Glock 17s (one for every member of the family). I like his choice of the AR platform and understand his desire for two upper receivers to tailor it for more specific uses. I thought about pressing him about if he could only have ONE upper which would it be? I assumed his choice would be the 16” version for maneuverability and he’d just have to “make do.”
Former Marine, current writer / trainer:
AK 47. Glock 17.
Editor’s Note: Shortest, sweetest, simplest answer received. And I appreciate the time he took to type it out on his blackberry in response to my inquiry email. I know this gentleman fairly well and would venture to guess that his selections are all about durability and ammo availability – not to mention his own skill with these firearms.
Retired Police Officer, currently writing / training:
Oh well, I can take one long gun. The most prevalent ammo is .223/5.56, so I’m guessing the Colt LE6920 or M&P15X. I can arrange optics/BUIS, upper for 6.8SPC, good for deer, hogs, gunfights. Upper for .22LR. Far down to 2nd place, lever gun in .30WCF because I can get ammo.
Handgun: likely a revolver — 38/357, so I don’t have to futz with magazines. I can only have one, so I won’t let the Rulekeeper see the 5-shot J I stow as a spare. 2nd place — G19 (9mm easy to get) with Advantage Arms upper in .22LR. Of course if the survival situation is battle, I’ll accumulate more firearms. It’s how I roll.
Editor’s Note: I like how this man thinks. ‘I see what the rules are but if you don’t catch me cheating then so be it.’ He selects a revolver… and a backup revolver. He too selects a long gun with multiple uppers to spread out the functional versatility. Finally, he specifies that if the survival situation is battle his first choices are only dominant until he can collect better choices from the battlefield. A confident man thinking about wars of attrition. Yeah, baby…
Police Sniper / Trainer:
M107 and my Sig 226.
If you are going to take a long gun then let’s get it on. You did not say anything about ammo so if I had my wish…
and the Sig as I have had that most of my career.
Editor’s Note: The M107 he speaks of, for those of you not familiar, is a .50 caliber Barrett manufactured precision rifle. You can hunt anything with it – although there won’t be anything left of smaller game. He obviously has no intention of getting close to combat if it should come to that – and with this weapon he can stay safely a mile away and still be effective. Note his choice of the Sig P226 based on familiarity; that can count for a lot.
Former UK Counter-Terror officer, now writer/trainer:
It would be one of the following:
7.62mm (.308) or .338 Lupua,
SIGARMS Inc. Blaser (LRS2) / Tactical 2, with a additional Left handed Bolt,
Accuracy International (L115A1)
Leupold Mark 4 8.5-25x50mm LR/T M1 Optics & Suppressor.
5.56mm (.223) with M855A1 Ammunition,
Colt Canada (Formerly Diemaco) C8A2 or SFW or Colt USA LE6920,
Leupold CQT Optics & Suppressor.
Editor’s Note: I find it interesting that even when specifically asked for only ONE long gun and ONE handgun he hedges his bet with two of each. These Englishmen… I tell ya’… In all seriousness, his choices – to include custom features and optics – make it clear that he is familiar with these firearms and is comfortable in his competence with them. I’d not want to be his opponent if he is thusly armed.
Former Army Ranger, now trainer:
Great question, usually comes up over a pile of empty beer bottles, but here goes.
If I had but one handgun and one long gun…and since you said survival situation, not combat situation…
The long gun would be a toss up between my well worn, but nicely rigged Winchester 94 lever gun in .30/30, plenty of gas for four legged and two legged prey and durable enough to take a beating without a cleaning, or my equally well worn DPMS AP4 (with 6×48 ACOG) and a stack of P Mags.
As for handgun, same toss up, my tried and true first duty gun, S&W M19 and a butt load of 158 gr SJHP’s or my Sig 226 (easy to find ammo).
Editor’s Note: This man too lists two options for each but he puts them in order so I can accept that. I find it interesting that he selected the Winchester 94 .30-.30 lever action – my second choice after my shotgun. Note too, however, that this is a survival situation he’s addressing and NOT a combat situation. I have a sneaky suspicion that had I said “unknown” situation he’d have clearly selected weapons better suited for combat.
Army Vet, writer:
I’m going to proceed on the assumption that this is a social economic crunch situation or a survival situation like a plane going down in the bush. Alternatively, it could be a SERE situation in remote and unfriendly lands.
I’d take a bolt action Ruger 77/22 rifle in .22LR with a nice Leopold 3-9x scope. With that I can drop any game I might come across. I’ve used mine to cull deer well placed headshot. The ammo is everywhere and you can easily carry 100 rounds in the pocket of your jeans. A few CB or BB caps would also for nearly silent shooting. In a truly bad situation, you could also use it as an extremely effective sniper weapon to eliminate any threats from a distance.
For the pistol I’d use a S&W Model 629 with a 6 inch barrel in a cross draw belt holster. If anything gets close enough that you need a pistol, you need to kill it dead as fast as possible and that means both 2 and 4 legged critters. Bad guy or Grizzly Bear, it will end the argument and fast!
Given an opportunity for some Elmer Keith action, you can also hunt game all the way up to Cape Buffalo with it and it’s nice having 6 shots ready to go.
Editor’s Note: What can I add? He articulated this well.
Heavily experienced well traveled contemporary security specialist:
Ok, My G17 as a secondary. Ease of op, ammo is a plenty, etc…
My JP “franken-four” will prolly do all the rest. Has so far.
Odds n ends for the noise makers:
75 and 77gr 5.56
124gr for 9mm prolly
Acog like one above with a side dot with Burkett offset mount
Heinie straight 8′s for the glock
I would like to add:
My Ovation acoustic guitar
2 magnums of Caymus 2004
And I will try to steal that guys above AI- those guns rock!
Editor’s Note: This was the first gentleman to step “outside the box” and add on a few desires in addition to the guns: a guitar and his Caymus 2004. From here the conversation was mixed and steadily traveled a different path.
Other non-gun comments that flowed in:
Wait a minute…didn’t know we could bring other gear and beverages, I want to add a pony keg of Ranger IPA, after all Rangers Lead the Way!
OK if that’s the case add a case of 15 year+ Scottish Malt Whiskey too…
You forgot about the cigars boys????
Now we’re talking…
Somehow I suspect that we have drifted off topic.
Editor’s Closing Comments:
So, while we have great insight into what experienced men would choose to carry had they only one long gun and one handgun available, we also see the strength of a flexible mind. In many cases “option one” and “option two” were provided and those asked would need more information before making a final choice. I can respect that – and do a great deal.
It’s also obvious that as we venture out into this “survival” situation we need to have a good supply of beer, good whiskey, Caymus wine, cigars and I imagine a small library comprised of a happy mix of good literature mixed with contemporary, ah, recreational periodicals.
My thanks go out to Chuck, Steve, AJG, CH, SC, WD, Dutch, Dave, Paul and Rich.
Please feel free to share your choices on our blog or via email to email@example.com
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