Alright, you have made your mind up that it is time to get serious about “prepping” for times when the SHTF.
You’ve seen all the nutty headlines of chaos around the world; you’ve watched as tens of thousands of illegal aliens – many of them dangerous criminals and gang members from Mexico and Central America – pour across our southwestern border, with the apparent permission of the Obama administration; you’ve watched as the cost of living has skyrocketed, with gas, food, electricity and clothing going through the roof.
If one of the first things that came to mind was how you might protect yourself and your family, that’s not a bad thing at all. It’s instinctive, in fact; survival and self-preservation are two of our most basic instincts. But how best to ensure you and your family’s safety from those who may seek to do you harm?
The most obvious answer is obtaining a firearm, especially a long gun that puts some distance between you and a potential enemy. But what should you select? What is “right” for you and your situation?
All good questions, and this primer is aimed at helping you answer them.
What are your needs?
First, a bit of education about rifles and how they operate. According to Bob Beers over at ChuckHawks.com, rifles have various “actions:”
What is an “action”? The cartridge is moved from the storage location to the chamber by a series of actions in and around the receiver. There are four basic types of actions used in repeating sporting rifles: bolt action, pump action, lever action, and self-loading (autoloading or semi-automatic) action.
Different “actions” mean the rifle will operate in different ways; a bolt-action differently than a semi-auto; a small-caliber semi-auto differently than a larger caliber semi-auto; and so forth.
That said, the first thing to do is assess your level of experience in handling a rifle/firearm. If you’re new to shooting and are wanting to learn the proper shooting techniques first, a .22 caliber rifle is probably your best bet. One of the best rifles in this class – though there is certainly room for debate – is the Ruger 10/22; it’s been around for some time, is very user-friendly, easy to field strip (for cleaning) and very modular with after-market parts.
Some prefer a single-shot, bolt-action weapon, but reloading can get old in a hurry. If you’re a more experienced, you already have a good idea what kind of rifle you want, but more on that in a moment.
Next, you will need to assess your situation and figure out what function(s) your rifle should fulfill. Most modern rifles can fulfill multiple roles – self-defense, securing a food source (hunting), long-range target acquisition, etc. – but not every rifle fulfills these roles in the same manner. And that’s why you need to first identify the primary role your rifle will need to play.
If you are primarily choosing a weapon for self-defense, again, the choices are many. If you’re new to shooting, go ahead and get yourself that .22; once you master techniques, you can think about upgrading (and if self-defense is going to be your primary purpose for getting a rifle, you should).