Friday, March 14, 2014

Why Not A Battle Rifle?

First, an AR or an AK is not a battle rifle, nor are the civilians versions “assault weapons”  -- but you knew that.   When someone who purports to be an expert shows a picture of an AR and says to the average prepper or student of prudence that a “battle rifle” is the most important firearm in the survivalist/prepper arsenal, I shake my head. 

I know a lot of good ol’ redneck boys and girls who own and regularly shoot AR-type rifles.  They are excellent firearms in many situations, including predator hunting.  They are great platforms for customization.  You can put good optics and accessories on them.  There are a plethora of after-market products for personalization.  They are accurate, tough, reliable weapons.  Buy one. 

I don’t have one, and I don’t have any plans to buy one, but that’s a personal thing.  I appreciate black rifles; I like them; I just don’t have any urge to have one myself. 

My personal opinion – that’s all it is – as a complete non-expert is that the one firearm I would encourage every person to have is a centerfire handgun.  The reason for a solid, dependable handgun being high on my list is that I can have it with me a lot of places a lot of the time.  I don’t care if it’s an autoloader or a single-action revolver, .45, .44, .40, .357, .38, 9mm, .380 or something more exotic, it’s not going to make that much difference.  The difference will be if, in a threatening situation, a person has both the will and the means to protect life and property.

My situation may not be typical, but I’m outside around my property, away from the house quite a bit, especially in the warmer months when we are gardening or mowing or working on this, that, or the other.  I can usually carry a handgun of some kind without it interfering with my movements or the work I’m doing.  Home invasions and hot burglaries are generally confined to more urban settings and are most often drug-related.  For now.  That’s slowly changing and some two-legged predators are seeing rural residents, especially the older ones who might have some valuables on hand, as being more attractive targets.  The last time the county deputies came out this way in a hurry, I think it was at least forty-five minutes before they arrived. 

The situation is not going to get better as the economy continues to flounder and budget constraints cause jurisdictions to cut back on personnel and hours.  Firearms themselves, electronics, farm equipment, supplies and materials, tools, or rumors of precious metals might draw in the jackals.  It may get to the point where food and fuel become attractors.  Cattle rustling has become a major crime around here.  A gang that will steal cattle might resort to violence if someone inadvertently interrupted them. 

I’m not really expecting to be involved in the Battle of Helm’s Deep.  My grandfather was born in 1863.  As a young man, he worked for a gentleman who had been a victim of bushwhackers during the Civil War.  The old man had been in bed when the raiders showed up, and he and his wife had offered no resistance to their plundering.  When, though, one of the thieves picked up the man’s trousers which were hanging on the bed frame, the victim protested, “Now, boys, please leave me my britches.” 

In response, one of the bushwhackers shot him, the ball passing through his throat.  He fell and flopped like a beheaded chicken while the bushwhacked departed, presumably triumphant, having secured the pants.  His wife fetched the local doctor who found that the bullet has passed completely through the man’s neck without doing fatal damage.  The wound was cleaned and bandaged and the old man lived for many more years with naught but a scar.  According to the doctor’s assessment, had the ball gone to either side of its path “the thickness of a piece of brown paper”, the man would have died. 

That’s the kind of thing that Ferfal reported happening in Argentina and the kind of thing that happened in Bosnia during the upheaval there in the ‘90s.  It’s the kind of thing that is most likely to happen anywhere that the rule of law begins to lose ground to tribalism, criminality, and violence.  Most of us are not going to want to join up with a gang for protection, even if the gang calls itself a militia.  We will try to get through challenging times without resorting to tribalism and living under garrison conditions. 

Personal arms that can be carried on one’s person are the best defense in such a situation.  Nobody really wants to get shot, and predators look for prey not opponents. 

So, as I said, get a “battle rifle” or whatever you choose to call it, get a shotgun, get a sniper rifle, and whatever else you like while the getting is good, but have a handgun that you can carry and keep close for when you need it most. 

And practice.


  1. “Now, boys, please leave me my britches.”
    In response, one of the bushwhackers shot him, the ball passing through his throat.

    Now that's just low down and mean.

    That's my fear, I'd try to see the humanity in whomever is tresspassing and get myself or family killed -or worse.

  2. John, you make a good point. My oldest son and I caught a burgler in our garage at 2:00am one morning. It was pitch dark and he was dressed in black, head to foot.

    I had grabbed a cricket bat as I headed down stairs after waking my son. The adrenalin is pumping and you are expecting the worst.

    In any event, the criminal made a run for it when we opened the garage door, and my son who was 19 at the time, and playing senior rugby (I know, that makes two strange sports I have mentioned) tackled him on our shingle driveway.

    I was on him in a flash. ;-)

    I had the cricket bat pressed over his throat in order to restrain him and I was very consious of conflicting emotions. Part of me wanted to teach him a lesson he wouldn't forget, and another part of me kept thinking "this is a human being just like me".

    Fortunately for him, the second thought prevailed and I settled for giving him a lecture. After waiting 15 minutes for the police to arrive we delivered him into their hands and a subsequent prison sentance.

    We don't own firearms and the average 'joe' is not allowed to own handguns here in NZ. Having fired a 9mm Glock (standard Police issue) I'm hoping I'm never in a hostage situation where the cop with the Glock is looking to take out the hostage taker. I'd be just as likely to wind up dead!

    I do understand gun ownership however, and appreciate why you would own one (or two or three).

  3. Great story, Brendan.

    There's nothing wrong with blunt instruments. We do not understand cricket, but those flat bats look like they would work about like an axe handle. Not a bad choice at all.

    Restraint is always advisable because most people are not psychopaths. As I've said before, I used to work around convicted felons, as opposed to the unconvicted ones in Congress. Out of 1100 or so that I dealt with on a more or less daily basis, there might have been 50 that were "wicked beyond redemption". The rest were just guys who had done something stupid or had problems of one sort or another. Most of them, if you treated them reasonably, they responded reasonably.

    Most of these "experts" have watched too many movies.

  4. One more thing on this -- I may have misstated my original stimulus for what I've said. I said that an expert touted a military-style rifle, like an AR, as the most important weapon for a prepper's arsenal. Actually, what he said was, that if a person can only have one firearm, it should be one of these semi-auto, military-looking, mil-spec rifles or carbines.

    My contention is that if you can only have one, the most practical single weapon (in the States) -- for people in the suburbs, commuters, farmers, ranchers, and other people in rural areas who do things other than ride around and play soldier -- is a handgun.

    If they limit me to only one firearm forever, it won't be an AR or a handgun, it will be my good old 870 12-gauge. I'll get one of Joerg's slingshots and a good air rifle as back ups.

  5. I have AR-15 for target shooting and for hunting. I have installed a optical, bullet drop compensator laser rangefinder which is really useful in calculating the distance of my target. I use .223 Remington round for hunting.

  6. The .223 is a great round for varmints, and it works well on our little whitetail deer. Over the years, I've seen the "average" Ozark deer hunter go from .30-30 to .30-06 to .243 to .223.