CHOOSING A SURVIVAL WEAPON
As survivalists many of us have stockpiled some of the following items:
In this article I would like to address the pros for choosing between a revolver over a semi-automatic pistol for an extended emergency situation. By this I mean a total/partial societal collapse, not a temporary situation like the L.A. riots or a natural disaster.
To give credit where credit is due, the inspiration for this article was a recent telephone conversation with my brother. Now, Mike (like many others) is afflicted with what I call the Gun-of-the-Week syndrome. When the M9 was all the rage, well he just had to have one; it now belongs to me. His current field weapon of choice for now is the HK USP in .45 caliber; for concealed carry he is partial to the discontinued HK P7M13. God knows that I love him, but I think that his time would be better spent practicing with what he has, and stockpiling. I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with his personal choice, what works for him does not necessarily work for anyone else, just like what works for me may not work for anyone else. He often likes to call me a dinosaur: why? Well, even though I own many of the latest guns of the week, I prefer to stick with either my old Colt 1911, or a Smith & Wesson M25 in either .45 ACP or .45 Long Colt.
During our conversation he asked me if I had to pick only one weapon, which weapon would I choose to carry during an extended emergency situation, where re-supply would be a major concern? I told him that my choice would be a revolver (.357) or .45. I would prefer a .357, but would settle for a .45 (sorry Shooter), .45's just do not have all that many choices of ammunition swapping. Now let me explain why I choose this weapon above some of the others in my vault.
I believe that should there be a collapse, most if any of the expected confrontations will involve small groups of attackers. If you think that you (or a small number of like-minded individuals) can hold off a large number of armed, organized and determined attackers then I believe that you are in for a very rude shock. The only possible way of succeeding would require mobility and no one to hold you back, or slow you down. This means no noncombatant types what so ever (children, elderly, etc.). Along with this is the possibility of a nationwide weapons roundup, either before or during the emergency, so something that can be easily concealed (yet readily accessible for use) rules out rifles and shotguns. Many of you might be wondering about a pistol caliber carbine; like semi-autos, pistol caliber carbines require the use of magazines, more on that later.
Reliability 1911 and other semi autos perform well with good quality ammunition (either factory or reloads), and I have used one on several occasions. However, in a field or emergency situation I'm thinking more about lost and damaged magazines, and their ability to function reliably with poor quality ammunition (either factory or reloads) or even the wrong type of ammunition. This is not a concern with a revolver, not only will they function with poor quality ammunition, but they can also chamber and fire a wider variety of ammunition in an emergency.
Ammunition In a situation where ammunition shortages may occur, or you are reduced to bartering for reloads (beggars can't be picky), you will find that a .357 can and will fire any .38-Special round; many police departments and even the military now carry 9mm. This round can also be fired in a .357. Empties need to be pushed out with either a small stick or even a pencil or pen, or you can take some time and twist a small piece of wire around the extractor groove to give the extractor something to grab on to. In a really hard spot, .380 (9mm short) can be fired in a .357; you will need to twist a small piece of wire around the groove in the case, for extraction and support purposes. **I would not recommend trying this unless it was an emergency situation of life-and-death proportions**
Included in my emergency (absolute last resort) bugout bag is a 4-inch Ruger Security Six with speed loaders and strips, a suitable belt and holster, a small cache of factory ammunition and the following reloading items:
One single .38 bullet mold
Melting wheel weights or plumber lead (for making lead bullets over a campfire)
One hand squeeze-type priming tool and a resizing die in .38
A small punch (you can grind one down to fit) to de-prime the fired cases
A pair of needle-nosed pliers to crimp the bullets in the case if necessary
One package of 1,000 primers
A small stash of black power or any slow powder without a scale to accurately measure, I would not use any of the fast burning smokeless powders)
One single empty case, for each type of ammunition cut off so that it holds the right amount of powder. **Be very careful using this as you do not want to double charge your reloads**
Note: using leaded bullets will eventually cause the gun to lead up, but until then an unsized and hand-lubed bullet can be fired with surprising accuracy.