Black Rifles & Rambo Knives

[This article by Bro. Ryan was originally published in 2010]

AR-15 rifles with assorted configurations. Does a Survivor really need such weapons?

Let me deal here and now with the whole "armed Survivalist" stigma. Self-protection is a Natural Right as well as a responsibility and duty. Firearms kept on hand for self-defense purposes are the best and most effective way for a person to defend themselves. When it comes to physical size or strength a gun is the great equalizer in a physical violent confrontation.
There is much truth in the old adage "God made man, but Smith & Wesson made them equal".
There is no "equality" in nature and there is no "civil equality" considered by a criminal predator when he chooses his fellow human victims.
Firearms can be used by the physically handicapped, elderly, sickly, small statured and out numbered to effectively defend one's self from a much stronger attacker or small group of attackers. Even if those attackers are also armed with firearms. Guns certainly "equal" the odds in an unfair fight.

An American manufactured AK-47 rifle. Nice to have but there are many more important Preparations to spend money on.

As long as a person wielding a gun knows proper safety handling techniques and understands such things as field of fire, background and trigger control firearms are safe self-defense weapons.
The actual choice of what style of firearm one chooses to purchase and own for self-defense is a personal one. Caliber of round a particular gun shoots as well as brand of firearm is a personal choice, but should be made with some intelligence. If a person is not a firearms expert there are plenty of such knowledgeable people around that will be glad to share their knowledge and advice. A gun owner also needs to regularly practice actually shooting his/her firearm(s) to learn to become an effective shooter in the event they actually have to use a gun to stop a violent attack.

Any basic hunting rifle can be used in a Survival situation.

This article is not about Gun Rights nor is it a "Pro-Gun Ownership" article. This article is also not written to convince a non-gun owner to go out and purchase a gun. Buying and owning a gun is a personal choice and this writer respects people's right not to own a firearm as much as he does the rights of others to own them. Instead the aim (no pun intended) of this Survivalist writer is to deal with some of the preconceived notions of Survivalism as it relates to guns.
These preconceived ideas are floating around in some non-Survivalists and Survivalists minds alike. Many non-Survivalists shun the Prepared Survivalist lifestyle and Survivalists simply due to Hollywood generated misconceptions. Hollywood and the media have portrayed Survivalists as "Right-Wing gun-toting nuts" who are awaiting the total collapse of modern civilization. The fact that modern civilization could in fact suffer major collapse and upheaval due to either natural or man-made disasters is not the point. What the issue is here is that many who have never looked into Survivalism and living the Preparedness lifestyle are led to believe it is all about weapons and guns.
What I am about to say here would be considered "anathema", or "blasphemy', by many Survivalists, even the less gun-oriented ones. One of those things I have to say is a Survivalist does not have to own a single firearm to be a Prepared Survivalist.

Any hunting shotgun, or basic home-defense shotgun, will serve the needs of a self-defense firearm.

One does not have to have firearms on hand for self-defense, but some sort of weaponry, even if it is simply a sword or crossbow, is a must. Yes, to be a Survivalist and be well-rounded in ones Preparations you do have to have some sort of weapons in your over-all Survival supplies. Just as being Prepared for other emergency eventualities of life, being Prepared to fend off violent assaults is something you must Prepare and supply for. One does not have to have a full mechanics tool box in their vehicle to be Prepared for automotive emergencies, but having a somethings in your car for highway breakdowns is sensible Preparedness.
Having a flat tire on the highway is a daily possibility to all motorists and therefore only wise to have a spare tire, lug wrench and jack in your vehicle. Being the victim of a violent crime is also a daily possibility for everyone. You don't even have to venture out of your home to be such a victim, due to robbers and criminal home-invasions. Even if you live way out in the country and don't live in a city or suburb you are not safe from violent criminals. This is simply just another of life's hard realities that Survivalist are aware of and Prepare for.

This author certainly recommends owning firearms, both long-guns and handguns, but they don't need to be purchased and owned simply to fulfill a Hollywood stereotype of a Survivalist.

If a fellow Survivalist does in fact own firearms for self-defense (something I personally do recommend by-the-way) they don't have to be fancy. To be a Survivalist one does not have to own expensive firearms or stock up enough ammunition to supply a small army. Some Survivalists are medical doctors and they stock up medical supplies, more than most Survivalists. Some Survivalists are mechanically inclined and stock up all kinds of tools and assorted engine parts and mechanical materials. Some Survivalists are professional gun experts, or just firearm enthusiasts and have many guns and lots of practice ammunition. Yet most Survivalists simply have a firearm or two for each member of their family.  Again, I will dare say that an individual Survivalist don't even have to own a single gun to be a Survivalist. But I will say they do have to have some sort of items for self-defense put away. Being Prepared to defend one's self is as important to Prepare for as being Prepared for medical emergencies or any other situation.

Don't buy a gun, or any Survival equipment,  just because it looks cool or due to unrealistic Rambo-like fantasies.

It is important to the reader (both the non-Survivalists and Survivalists) to know that the black sexy-looking military rifles, such as the AR-15, are not mandatory self-defense weaponry for Survival.
The whole big-bad-black-gun thing reminds me of the whole "Rambo knife" phenomena. A person Surviving in the wilderness does not need a big, mean looking sheath knife like they saw in the movies to Survive.
Purchasing a knife to actually use should not be based on some macho image it is thought to project. Purchasing a knife, firearm, or any equipment for serous emergency Preparation purposes, should be an exercise in real-world practicality. Having an expensive rifle with all the bells and whistles and after-market attachments on it simply so you can "look cool" holding it is not Survivalism.
Not only are such "big boy toys" expensive,  they are more macho status symbols than needed self-defense firearms to Survive with, even in the worst of scenarios. Now before my gun expert and gun enthusiast readers flip out on me let me explain why I say that.
First of all, I again will say I believe in a person's right to own a firearm. Gun "laws" are silly and just plain asinine if you ask me. Secondly I believe in a person's personal choice of firearms, no matter how overly priced or fancy they may be. But my third point is that the misconception that a person is not fully Prepared to defend themselves unless they have a Colt AR-15 or a 308 caliber sniper rifle is just that, a misconception.

A very fancy and expensive 308 caliber sniper rifle. Do you really think you will need this type of investment?

I will further elaborate on my "gun philosophy" as it applies to Survival situations. No Survivalist thinks they need a AR-15 or AK-47 to defend their homes during present times. All Survivalists that own such military style rifles own them for extreme Survival situations. Extreme meaning the total collapse of civilization. I certainly believe such an event is possible. But I also believe such an event will only be temporary and some sort of Government authority will re-establish "law and order". If a Survivalist has fantasies of stacking bodies of looters up on their front lawn that Survivalist is living in fantasy world. That Survivalist will have a lot of explaining to do to the cops when they do come back around. An armed Survivalist will have questions asked and an investigation done on him/her to deal with even if they just shoot one person.
If a Survivalist is having to use his gun more than, say once a week, in a total collapse scenario than that Survivalist needs to immediately evacuate that area.
Some Survivalists may say they aren't moving from their homes or supplies and equipment. My answer to that is how many violent assaults and gun battles do they expect to Survive before getting shot?! Play paint-ball or soft-pellet gun battles and see how easy it is to get shot, no matter what your firearm combat skill level is.
I know that some fancy combat rifle owners reading this will say something to the effect that in a gun battle one wants the best gun they can get in their hands. I certainly don't disagree with that point. Some Survivalists are ex-military combat veterans and they may say that I don't know what I'm talking about. They might state that in a life-and-death gun fight a military rifle is a must, because that is what they used in actual combat. Yet there is a element of reality that is being overlooked in all the pro-military rifle hyperbole.  That element is the general danger and unpredictability dynamic of gun battles. Those same military combat veterans would also admit that a gun fight is one you don't want to be in. With that said I will reiterate that Survivalism is not about guns and shooting other people. Survivalism is about overall Preparedness and that means Preparing to Survive. If your Survival and the Survival of your loved ones is what is Priority #1 to you than Preparing to avoid gun battles is more important than Preparing to engage in gun fights.

Battle rifles are cool to shoot and to have your picture taken with, but eating and drinking and other less macho and mundane activities also require much Preparations, money and effort.

I find it odd that some Survivalists are more interested in fulfilling Hollywood stereotypes than actual Preparedness. To those type Survivalists Preparing to eat is secondary to preparing for war.
I have a rule for my own Preparations and that rule is simple. Have no more guns than I have water purifiers.
I don't know about some Survivalists but I plan on eating stocked food and drinking safe water more than I do shooting shots from a gun in self-defense.

A 50 caliber sniper rifle. If a Survivalist ever needs this of type weapon perhaps he would have a better chance of Survival by spending more money and effort Preparing to locate to a safer area.

One last thing I would like to cover concerning Survivalism and firearms. There are the Militia-types that Prepare more for armed revolution than personal and family Survival. Their Preparations are more militantly oriented than Survival centered. Some people, due to movies and the media, sometimes confuse Militarism with Survivalism. Militias are formed and joined by the more politically-minded individuals. I do not condemn these type people at all. Everyone has their rights to their own beliefs and lifestyles. But it must be noted that Militia groups are not the same thing as Survivalist groups. This is not to say Militia groups, and individual members of such groups, may not also have general Survivalist Preparations for their selves and families. Yet Survivalism as a philosophy and lifestyle in itself is not concerned with politics. Individual Survivalists and Survivalist groups are simply concerned with being Prepared and Surviving in the event of Hard Times.
Survivalists and Preparation groups are not armed to engage in political agendas.