Primary, Secondary, Tertiary…Part II

"Grab Mosin...go inna woods." Words to live by...

Allow me to begin with a disclaimer. I compiled the choices people submitted during the last article. I looked at the comments on both the TFB site and the Facebook page, which you should go to immediately and press “like” if you haven’t already. Comments were also submitted verbally or via email. This is NOT meant to reflect upon the shooting community as a whole. It’s not meant to be a purely scientific study. It’s also not meant to be anything more than percentages based on the comments made. Finally, it is not exhaustive and does not address every individual variable. In reality, all I had to work with was what I was provided as comments. I would caution anyone about drawing inferences from this data due to the small sampling. Also, I’m fully willing to admit the question could have been more narrowly tailored so as to provided more accurate results. So again, this isn’t conclusive. It merely reflects the data provided. With that being said, and for your viewing pleasure, here’s what we ended up with.

The question posed was essentially which one rifle, shotgun and pistol you’d take with you in an emergency. A knife could also be added if desired.

The AK pedigree was the most widely chosen rifle, barely edging out the AR platform.


  • the AK platform (47, 74, vz 58) was preferred by 29.5%.
  • The AR platform was preferred by 25%
  • Mosin Nagant 7%
  • Tavor  6.8%
  • Other contenders making up less than 5% were: the Garand, M1A, SKS, SCAR, Galil and Ruger Mini 14 and 30. The FAL, Vepr, M1 carbine and others were also suggested.

Interestingly, when comments did involve caliber – and most did – 5.56 was preferred by 34% The AR platform was almost always chosen in 5.56 and the Tavor and several AK’s were chosen in 5.56.

  • 5.56        34%
  • 7.62×39  25%
  • 7.62×54   7%
  • 7.62×51   6.5%
  • 5.45×39   3%
  • Other contenders were 9mm, .30 carbine, .30-06, etc.

I was somewhat surprised by these findings. Again, this isn’t applicable across the board, but given the amount of complaining I hear about 5.56 from all corners of the shooting world, I can only assume that the people who chose it are either satisfied with its performance, have a lot of it, or expect there to be a lot of it available in an emergency. I also thought the AK would have an even higher percentage in terms of rifle choice. Still, 30% is nothing to scoff at. The AK family will be around forever. I wonder if Kalishnikov ever imagined the AK would gain so much popularity outside of the Soviet Union, particularly with its former enemies? Likewise, I thought the combination of the AR and AK platforms would be higher than the combined total of 55%. This means 45% of people who responded prefer something else.

“Trust me, Comrades. In 50 years, you’re going to love me.”

The best part of this was seeing the choices of others. Two people chose M1 Garands as their go-to rifles. Not a bad idea. I had never considered that, even though I have one. After hearing their reasoning, I still wasn’t convinced, but I certainly respected the choice. There are a few things I’d rather have, but now I’d consider grabbing the M1 if need be, instead of forcing it to occupy a place at the back of the safe until time for its semi-annual cleaning.

Also, 7% of people chose the Mosin Nagant! That’s a testament to a solid design. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not surprised. I love the Mosin Nagant also, but never considered using it as a primary either. But like the AK, I doubt much could stop a Mosin.

Finally, to the guy who said he’d like a phased plasma rifle in a 40 watt range – I got the reference and appreciated it very much. Next time you’re in South Carolina, let me know. I owe you a box of ammo for being clever.


9 round capacity, 12 gauge, convenient safety, bayonet lug...what's not to like?

9 round capacity, 12 gauge, convenient safety, bayonet lug…what’s not to like? It wasn’t my first choice but I can see why it is for others.


  • Mossberg 500/590    36%
  • Remington 870          32%
  • Benelli                         8%
  • Others were unspecified, such a “double barrel”, “over/under”, “sawed off”, etc. There were a couple of Stoegers, Winchesters and Serbus.

Without question, and for obvious reasons, not a single person wanted anything other than 12 gauge. No surprises there. I was surprised that a relatively small percentage wanted a semi-auto, though.

Both Glock and 9mm carried the day.

Both Glock and 9mm carried the day as the most preferred handgun and caliber choices.


  • Glock   50%
  • Sig       16%
  • 1911    13%
  • HK        10%
  • Others included the XD, FN FiveseveN, the FN 45 and a couple of revolvers in .357 so that .38 could also be used, etc.

This was probably the most surprising element of the data. I am not surprised that Glock carried the day. I’ve owned a lot of them and I don’t have any complaints. Their reliability is mostly unquestioned and almost everyone I know own several. But they have lost market share over the last few years. Again, I wasn’t surprised by people choosing Glocks themselves, but I was surprised that a full half of the people chose them. I assumed -wrongly- that there would have been a more even distribution. What was even more interesting was the caliber preference.

  • 9mm    50%
  • .45      26%
  • .40      13%
  • .38        7%

I would have never guessed that 50% of the respondents would have chosen 9mm as their preferred “Get Out of Dodge” round. This most definitely demands further inquiry. My only explanation is capacity and availability. Many people I know prefer 9mm due to capacity and its wide use would most likely translate into availability. Many more people will never own a 9mm, or admit that they own one. This is going to add fuel to the fire for the 9mm v .45 debate. I worked in a gun store during undergrad and trust me, I heard this debate several times daily.This isn’t conclusive, but with all the complaining I hear about Glocks and 9mm, I find it noteworthy that of all the people who responded, there is almost a 50% chance that they chose a Glock 9mm. .40 and .45 combined weren’t preferred as much as 9mm. Wow.The percentage of people choosing 1911s was telling. Over 100 years later, it’s still the go-to for a lot of people.

Some people said they wanted the Kel Tec Sub 2000 so they could use the same mags in their Glock. Also, .22 conversion kits were mentioned as additional, lightweight items. Both were great ideas.

I know proponents on every side will vehemently advocate for their choice. I understand that. But if I had put money on this, I would have lost several times by now.

I now must own one of these.

I now must own one of these. I’ll also be giving them as gifts for Christmas, birthdays, bar mitzvahs, graduations, etc.


Most people didn’t comment on this one. Of those who did, 25% wanted a bayonet, either for an AK or an M9-esque bayonet that would fit on their AR and/or Mossberg. An AK bayonet was the most popular answer. 20% chose the venerable K Bar. I am going to rethink my choice of knife as well, although I’ll never entirely give up my Gerber.

Thanks to all those who participated. This is one of those conversations that I love to have and I was glad to have it with a few hundred people. Many of you have enlightened me and, I hope, each other. As I said before, this wasn’t exact, but I appreciate your input anyway. I would really like to ask this on a much larger scale to see if the numbers are similar. Until then, this is where we are.




GD Crocker is a proud Southerner who has been shooting for decades. He is a competitive shooter, armorer, instructor and collector. He recently passed the bar exam and deals primarily with securities law. GD’s proudest moments are seeing his kids shoot and get excited about their 2nd Amendment rights. He’s no Rick Taylor, but then again, who is?


  • John184

    5.56, 9mm and 12 gauge makes sense. 3 very common and relatively powerful cartridges. I guess the knife choice doesn’t even matter that much, Decent knifes all perform very similarly and will keep you alive.

  • Samuel Suggs

    I think the senrio should have been more detailed but all and all this was a great idea that provided interesting results kudos to GD for writing it where you also the orginator of the idea for the article?

  • Hanno

    “the AK platform (47, 74, vz 58) was preferred by 29.5%.” – Again with the VZ58 and AK question. They are really very different platforms, check hickok45 comparison video for example..

    • floppyscience

      I didn’t catch that when I read the article. You’re right, totally different platforms. I’m surprised so many people still make that mistake.

    • noob

      GD how do the percentages look if you split the vz 58 out of the AK category?

      I’d guess that the AKM in 7.62×39 would still be the lions share, but I could be wrong.

      Strange that Arsenal canned their SLR-106 in light of this survey but then wanting things may be different from going out and getting them at a given price.

      • GD

        There was only a single vz58 chosen. I threw it in with the AKs to keep that single comment from being lost to obscurity, not because they’re similar. Statistically, it was insignificant. But I did want it represented somewhere in the results.

        • noob

          Thanks GD!

  • Leonard

    Thanks for compiling the results!
    Since you asked about the choice of 9 mm as a pistol calibre: I think this is mostly about availability. I don’t know about the US but here in central Europe, 9mm is by far the most common handgun calibre. Most people here who shoot know it and own it (admittably, .22 lr is several times more common, but too small and powerless for the “survival” type scenario discussed here).

    Personally I never quite understood the complaints about the 9mm’s performance. As a sports shooter it does the job just fine for me, and with our military also using it I guess it works adequate in combat too. With no combat experience of my own, this is just guess work though. But I never heard any of our soldiers complain about it. They complain a lot more about their rifles and heavier weaponry, and I guess when you’re forced to use pistols a lot has gone wrong already anyways…

    • bucherm

      >Personally I never quite understood the complaints about the 9mm’s performance

      People who worship at the altar of Browning and the M1911, is what it is.

      • Sable

        And what of those of us who worship at the altar of Saint Browning’s Hi-Power? Nobody seems to remember that he wasn’t exactly adverse to 9mm Luger…

        • bucherm

          True, but if you ask most people what they think of when they hear “Browning”, they think of the BAR, M1911 and the .45(which he developed), not a half-finished wonder-nine.

          • Torrorojo

            John Browning designed weapons using everything from the 25 auto, 32 acp. up to the 12 gauge and the fifty caliber machine gun. I suspect his interest was in the purpose of the weapon and it’s intended market

          • Vince

            You forgot his 30mm cannons!

          • Samuel Suggs

            yeah he needs to edjucate himself see best image ever posted below it scales up to full poster size bye the way

          • jamezb

            LOVE the poster, thanks for posting…the poster, …post-er…er…

          • Samuel Suggs

            your welcome

          • jamezb

            I did find one little error on the poster…did you notice it?

          • jamezb

            I believe it was probably a cut and paste error.

          • Samuel Suggs

            yeah looks like it however the poster also has other issues but i would be happy to correct and repost in a few minutes

          • Samuel Suggs

            heres mine revised for historical accuracy its quite good if I may say so mysef I corrected all majore errors listed above and added to the cartrdges

          • Samuel Suggs

            sorry image didnt post revising for mega bite count

          • Samuel Suggs

            k here she is

          • Samuel Suggs

            sorry about the lower visual quality

          • jamezb


          • Samuel Suggs


          • Samuel Suggs

            theirs a picture of a pair of grenades to my knowledge he never designed a grenade also it dosent list 9mm browning long under the cartriges he desiged however he also designed the ammunition for the M4 oldsmoblie 37mm cannon and several other lesser known cartriges so thats kind of moot. also the colt m1905 new marine is just a varient of the colt m1892 which was a revolver that bridged the gap between the single action army and M1911 in US military servic it did so with over 12 varients all of which where unpopular with their users to some exstent for a variety of reasons and none of which were designed bye John Moses Browning this error is also present of John Moses Brownings Wikipedia page and I believe it stems from the fact that Browning designed the other Colt m1905 which was in turn a varient of the Colt 1900 which was the first tilting barrel short recoil operated pistol listed on this poster as the colt m1900 which was chambered in the earlier .38 ACP wheras the short lived M1905 was devloped for the second section of the US pistol trials in response to the miltarys reqest for a .45 caliber pistol cartridge following the first section which did not have a caliber reqirement and involved everything from the C96 to the colt M1900 itself in .38 acp anyway as the trials progressed the m1905 was adpated bye browning into an eaiser to manufacture safer more ergonomic pistol called the m1911. also the remington model 17 20 gauge shotgun is listed as a semi automatic rifle

          • jamezb

            Sam, you are my new go-to Browning man. Isn’t the sheer volume of engineering brilliance he was gifted with astounding? Had it not been for JM Browning, the firearms world would likely be 50 years behind where it is today. I love to point out how the 1911 and M2HB…not to mention the Auto-5 and Browning .22, and others, “Soldier on” to this day with no clear end in sight. We as a people were blessed with a visionary in Browning, He deserves a spot somewhere between Ford and Einstein in my opinion.

          • jamezb

            Above Ford…MAYBE above Einstein. I can’t include Edison, sadly, because it is unclear what he invented, and what he stole from Tesla and other contemporaries.

          • Samuel Suggs

            I wasnt aware that he devloped anything in 30mm i was aware that he designed the 37mm oldmobile naval deck gun/ air to air cannon thing he made for oldsmobile

          • jamezb

            Thanks Samuel, …now I want an Olds Tornado or Delta 88 road boat with a cannon mounted underhood to fire through the grille.
            (evil grin)

          • Samuel Suggs

            how Sean Connery’s bond of you

          • jamezb

            If I took out the A/C and shortened the barrel I think I could JUST shoehorn it in on the passenger side…

          • Samuel Suggs

            heres some pictures showing its feed system and high cap ammo “apature feed tray”

          • jamezb

            Size would likely limit round count, but look at it this way…
            Olds 37mm cannon with cut reciever (SARCO) …5000$
            1972 Olds Delta 88 …1500$
            DD license taxes, etc,

            Parking on the line at Knob Creek, …Priceless.

          • Samuel Suggs

            are you going to actually do this or are you deadpanning if so I want pictures 🙂

          • jamezb

            Samuel, If I win Powerball one of these days I honestly wouldn’t be beyond doing something goofy like that just for the fun of it. If and when that ever happens, You and TFB will be the first to know. 🙂

          • Samuel Suggs

            ah how the world would fill with awesome if any of us won powerball

          • Samuel Suggs

            they will flame you if you isult the bhp to much

          • A lot depends on your age. Those of us who have been around awhile would think of the 1911 then the hi power followed by the Ma Duece then the BAR.
            The Hi Power was pretty much finished when FN put the last touches on it. I guess Browning finished about 90% before his passing.

          • Samuel Suggs

            its been heavily discussed nowone is really sure how far he got buts its his design through and through regardless

      • Pat

        I prefer a 1911 in .45 because I like the way the .45 recoils better than the 9mm and because in NY we can’t have magazines with more than 7 rounds anyway. In a SHTF scenario though I’d take any reliable 9mm with the highest capacity mags it is was originally designed to take, since 9mm is common in the world at large and every extra shot, especially in a pistol caliber, counts in a gunfight.

  • floppyscience

    I think half of the people chose 9mm because they realize all handgun cartridges suck equally. For all the talk about “stopping power”, “knockdown factor” and other pseudo-scientific BS, most every handgun common centerfire handgun cartridge produces near identical terminal effect. If the difference in performance is negligible or not there at all, why not choose the most common cartridge, which also happens to get the highest capacity?

    • Hunter57dor

      most common > more people own > more people attempting to get ammo > less ammo available.

      we saw this with the most recent obama scare, 9mm was a golden unicorn for several months. so is .22 lr.

      seriously, just pick a caliber you like, don’t go with what other people think works, or what is “popular”

      • snmp

        same ammo of Polices & Militaries forces could be resuplies in Governements arsenals

      • KF

        That’s what I’ve always thought – the argument works both ways

    • Esh325

      I suppose to get a handgun cartridge to have terminal effects like that of a rifle, the amount of recoil (.44 magnum,50 AE,etc) would be unacceptable to most people. Not to mention the reduced capacity.The 5.7x28mm seems to be the closet cartridge that approaches the lethality of a rifle cartridge, while maintaining little recoil.

    • dan citizen

      Well said. I am a big .45 fan, but carry a 9mm currently and have had to make do with ..380 and even .22 in the past. Having over a long career seen firsthand the results of pistol wounds I think luck has more to do with it than any other factor as any pistol round is just a stop gap until you can get to your shotgun or rifle.

    • El Duderino

      Totally agree. I like my .45s, but when you read the specs and see that a .45 JHP might expand to .69 and a 9mm to .65 and penetrate to the same depth, you nod and realize there isn’t much difference…it’s not like 12g vs. .410! Plus, you get a nice bump in capacity. If I lived (Heaven forbid0 in a magazine restrictive state I might lean toward a .45…or just carry a S&W 627 .357 8-shot…

  • Nicholas Mew

    A Reproduction Type 38 or Type 99 in a modern caliber, better iron sights and a melonite finish would be wonderful.

    • Chris

      I’ve often considered rebarreling one of my mixed parts T99’s in .308. I guess I’ll need to put more practice time on a lathe before even considering the idea further. I have no desire to wreck a good barrel blank!

  • bucherm

    The Tavor beats out the SKS or Mini-14 platforms? Really?

    That’s a testament to marketing and gimmicks if there ever was one.

    • dan citizen

      the mini 14 and SKS are built like tanks. I have used both as “loaner guns” thanks to their simplicity, and reliability.

    • strong_epoxy

      300M in the country and probably eight have even seen a Tavor.

      I’m confident it’s a great weapon, but in top 10, no way…

      • I’d put it in the top ten. We have a review here:

        • Samuel Suggs

          well an almost entirely polymer construction dosent bode well for exstreamly cold conditions and the trigger needs work but other than that I dont see any real reason for its exsculsion form a top ten list of any kind

          • FourString

            polymer actually bodes quite well for extreme weather, why else would the SCAR and Mauser M12 Extreme be constructed in a good deal of polymer? furthermore, the trigger pack for the TAR is all metal, as opposed to the polymer trigger bar of the AUG/F2000. just fyi

    • It’s just my opinion but it’s an informed one based on how much I’ve shot the Tavor. 500 rounds during the review process. Total rounds fired was right at 900. 100% reliable with any type of .223/5.56, very fast on target as a result of the design. If you get a chance to shoot one it will change your mind.
      So yes I would say it beats out both of those rifles especially the Mini-14.

      • bucherm

        >So yes I would say it beats out both of those rifles especially the Mini-14

        Probably not for the price point or the general availability.

        The Tavor is expensive and rare. Yes, I suppose if you had the kind of money to buy a Tavor it’s viable, but most people don’t. Hence, SKS and Mini-14(of which there are many, many copies out there) make a better SHTF platform.

        Especially if society has broken down and you need spare parts.

    • FourString

      marketing and gimmicks? Really?

      how about just engineering? -.-

  • gunslinger

    i find the mossberg at number 1 for shotty to be a surprise. it seems like anybody you ask, the 870 has the higher “respect” or at least, the majority of the people i encountered put the 870 as a better weapon over the 500.

    maybe they are all just closet mossberg fanboys?

    • Hunter57dor

      price point.

      the 870 may be a little better quality, but most people can’t justify spending 300 more dollars to do the same job.

      • David Sharpe

        Not new 870s

        The new ones suck monkey balls.

        • Samuel Suggs

          no they dont they simply over use metal injection molded parts thats it they are ok otherwise the old ones are better though

          • David Sharpe

            No, they suck ass.

            After about 15-20 shells my 20 ga 870 warps so much that I cannot work the action.

          • Samuel Suggs

            what warped I have put over 5000 rounds of birdshot through mine and it was made in 2010

          • David Sharpe

            The receiver.

          • Samuel Suggs

            I assume you contacted the Remington, do you have pictures? as that would be exsteamly interesting.

          • David Sharpe

            Nah I didn’t bother. It’s not like they would A) Replace it and B) If they did, the replacement would probably be shit too.

            It warps as it heats up, after 30 mins it’s fine for another few rounds.

          • Samuel Suggs

            ah I thought you meant it became permanaentely inoperable thats a tolerance problem the reciver heats up and swells around the locking mecanism they would prorbly fix it for you also you can get a remington 870 action job from virtually any gunsmith or do it yourself

          • RocketScientist

            I think this goes to David Sharpe’s point. Any gun as simple as a pump shotty that needs to be sent back to the factory or a gunsmith to be made to run right does indeed suck monkey balls. I could forgive a little finnicky-ness in an oddball caliber semi-auto rifle, or a historically interesting surplus rifle made during wartime or by a country with minimal resources, etc. But a pump shotgun, made with modern resources in america by one of the largest firearms companies should not require tuning-up or a trip to the gunsmith to be reliable. I’d expect a vintage British sports car or a new Pagani Zonda to need a little TLC to be reliable, but no one should have to take their basic Ford pickup in to the dealer because it overheats everytime they use it.

      • A new 870 with extended magazine is $380 at Bass Pro.

    • J.T.

      New 870s seem to have gotten the Freedom Group treatment and the quality has suffered. Old ones are still good though.

    • Aaron

      Mossberg has sold over 14 million model 500 shotguns. Since the shotgun is typically a “scatter gun” for maximum effect, I think more shooters are opting for the less expensive Mossberg – especially their 8+1 capacity model.

      Don’t get me wrong, I love an 870 and think that they’re constructed better (until recently?), but I also own a Mossberg and am more than happy with its performance as well.

    • I’ve been issued both and prefer the 870. With that said I think the mossberg is also a reliable quality shotgun for defensive purposes.

    • jrt 82

      Could it also be that many people still have the notion that a Mossberg is a disposable item? The belief that when it breaks its cheaper to buy a new one that to repair?

  • MOG

    So many choices, so little time. I have a long lasting aversion to the 5.56, (first M16 experience in Military, 1960s). But, now, if I had to move fast and light, it would be the US 5.56 Rifle, with minimum attachments, a light rifle weighed down is still a heavy rifle. Thinking ahead, no matter what firearm you might chose, weigh rifle/pistol/shotgun and ammo as a package. Know just how much you can tote and still move out fast. You may not have a vehicle to haul it all, or, you may have to hoof it sooner or later. Initially, you will be trying to avoid whatever you are running from, not engage it in battle. As to an edged weapon, a good machete has many uses, at about 24 inch blade. Very good article.

  • atm

    I personally have switched to carrying 9mm due to price of ammo. A box of 9mm is half the cost of a box of .45. If .45 was still only $10 a box, I’d still carry it.

    Another part of the 9mm’s new popularity is all of the magic bullet hype. To get people to buy all of the .380s during that fad, the gun and ammo companies had to convince everyone that the .380 was a manstopper. And if .380s were now manstoppers, then 9mm must now be as powerful as the .45 use to be.

  • SteveG

    I was considering trading my M1 Garand for something in .308 as that is my primary heavy round now but a trip to Cabelas a few weeks ago changed that. .308 was scarce 5.56 was non-existent but 30-06 M2 FMJ was plentifully available in bulk. So JIC the M1 stays.

    • Samuel Suggs

      that would be a good call

  • Frosty_The_White_Man

    Caliber choice matters less in the apocalypse than it does now. In 2013 it takes significant effort to slay an attacker considering what hospital services are available. In 2076 without doctors the 5.56mm becomes much more viable.

    • Samuel Suggs

      why is this your avatar?

      • TZH .

        otto the nazi. not cool

        • Samuel Suggs

          yeah I know

      • I’m not sure it is a German uniform. There is no rank, unit or any other markings to indicate what army it is.

        • Samuel Suggs

          It’s not a uniform at all as far I know, however that’s Otto Skorzeny in a holding cell awaiting his turn the Dachau Military Tribunal for minor war crimes associated with the use of German special soldiers dressed in American uniforms at the battle of the bulge and the development of project Werwolf. A charge from which he was acquitted, he then went on to assist in what is now called project Odessa which involved the smuggling of fugitive members of Hitler’s regime. His involvement with the post war NAZI movement continued until his death in 1975. the first image was found on this page through a Google image search of Frosty_The_White_Man’s avatar image.

          • Makes sense since he’s locked up.

          • Samuel Suggs

            he was also heavily creditied with organizeing the elimination of the rebellion conducted bye Claus Von Stauffenberg on July, 20 1944 and in aiding in the exscape of bennito musolini

          • Samuel Suggs

            hes kind off the real life action hero of Neo Nazism

    • schizuki

      Huh? I’m not looking for an attacker to die days later of an infection, I’m looking to stop him NOW.

      • Frosty_The_White_Man

        Caliber choice matters less in the apocalypse because 1.) you won’t scavenge any more 2.) without treatment any hole you put in a BG won’t be repaired while he’s chasing you. Granted things like weight and range matter…but any center fire rifle chambering will work.

  • Ryan

    You might also consider a mountain bike with saddle pack. Screw walking like some chump. The US military doesn’t like them because… well I haven’t figured out why. But the Swiss have been using them for years and it makes cross country movement a breeze even if the freeways are clogged with the soccer mom hoards. When you stop and think about it, what is the most likely SHTF emergency; a localized weather or social disruption. On a bike, if you are reasonably healthy, you can be 50 miles away by the end of the day and across the state line within two (unless you’re in Texas).

    • Ryan

      I guess that was a bit off subject, but I’ve chosen to give the kids SKS’s. A 22 for the wife. And I’ll be taking my great grandpa’s 30-40 Krag (Ruger P89 and a K-bar on hip). It is the only gun I would feel bad leaving behind to get destroyed/stolen by the “zombie hoard” or whatever the emergency is. Plus I know if I have to pull the trigger, whatever it is, it’s going to get hit and it is not getting back up. I’d prefer not to get into a situation where I need lots of ammo. Box of 20 krags & two mags of 9mm should get me out of anything I can’t ride a bike away from, especially if I’m backed up with three kids with some sks action.

      • awmperry

        I was fortunate enough to try a mate’s Martini-Henry rifle – the classic Zulu War-era .577 one. Now that’s a put-down gun. Not subtle, but subtle in the same way that a half-brick in a sock is unsubtle…

    • Bill

      Good call on the mountain bike. Ive never thought of it as more than a toy but it would be a really good get the heck out vehicle. And to think I used to laugh at the pics of a dude in a dirty dish dash with an AK under folder slung under the top tube of his ancient 10 speed.

      • schizuki

        Bikes aren’t toys. If the disaster is a Carrington event or EMP, your car will not work. Best have a back-up bicycle and a smaller bug-out kit to fit.

        • awmperry

          Depends on the car. A modern one will be knackered by EMP, but an older one without all the computers and things would survive nicely. I drive a diesel-fuelled ex-military Land Rover; no circuits to burn out, no problem with EMP. 🙂

    • schizuki

      Check out the Montague folding Paratrooper bike. Available on Amazon. Essential.

      • Ryan

        Seen it. Nice but I’m not planning to jump out of any planes. Just an old POS should work fine. If I’m going to spend money I’d get an electric motor/generator on it so I could recharge batteries or help me on the hills… I’m not 30 anymore.

  • Jsim

    surprised no one said a saiga 12 gauge shotgun. that and I think any gun that takes nato rounds are good you can find them anywhere

    • Tim U

      Saigas can be finicky. Also, the box mags can get really bulky in a hurry. I own a Saiga and would gladly use it in a relatively static defensive/high volume fire type role, but I would not want to run around with it in the field. Too limited ammo for too high a bulk carrying.

    • Samuel Suggs

      The saigia 12 is up there with the worst possible choices, let’s see it’s unreliable, heavy difficult to feed, expensive, conspicuous, and typically convoluted also the reliability problems are compounded by the fact that you have to use full metal shot shells or just hope that squashed shell on top chambers. It also suffers all the issues inherent in the AK platform while retaining none of its advantages these issues include lack luster ergonomics, again heavy as sin and a crappy safety.

      • dan citizen

        What did a saiga 12 do to you? I spent a bunch of loving hours tuning mine and it is a well behaved monster. I can leave it loaded without denting rounds, it will digest any ammo I feed it, with the 12 round drums it is still plenty compact. Jamming is a non issue and the versatility of ammunition is only topped by it’s ability to send a silly amount of lead downrange. favorite load? triple round balls totaling 945 grains (2+ oz) cooking along at about 1,100 fps (yay dixie slug)

        • Samuel Suggs

          how did you solve the shell sqishing issue and I understand that they can be tuned up to be reaonably reliable but how did you manage to get it to feed everything

          • dan citizen

            Polishing the bolt and bottom of the carrier eliminates the top shell squish. Very, very careful throating took care of a lot of feeding issues. I bought a 4 port so I had plenty of gas so once I smoothed out the BCG and FCG cycling low brass was not a problem. I put in a better gas puck and that was it. I’m thinking of switching to an auto gas regulator next. I also shortened the trigger pull and reset as I like a tight, crisp trigger.

      • Beaumont

        “Conspicuous”? Any long gun can be conspicuous under the right circumstances. Many arguments can be made in favor of one or another firearm, but that one isn’t viable.

        • Samuel Suggs

          well thats kindo of relative the magazines are 2 feet long making concealment in a pack impossible also its somthing people will want to kill you to steal not that that desnet apply to 90% of the viable firearms anyway

  • Lance

    9mm HPs are a good round for a hand gun. Ak is a tough sell they are less accurate and in 5.56mm jams ALOT. A 5.45mm AK is a better deal if you have to go Russian.

    • john huscio

      im past 500 rds in my slr106. not a jam to report so far………

  • MooseNinja

    Phased plasma in a 40 watt range! Love it.

  • idahoguy101

    If I’m wanted a handgun with the best track record for “stopping power” I’d choose the 357 Magnum. However… If I’m stuck using FMJ ammo then the 45 ACP works. But the 9x19mm JHP loaded with 110-125 grain bullet needs no apology.

    • Samuel Suggs

      why would you be stuck with full metal jackets you could even carve them into flat nose soft points with a swiss army knife i have seen it done it works quite well

      • Beaumont

        Absolutely DO NOT DO THAT! Most FMJs are not jacketed across the base of the slug. If you cut off the tip of an FMJ round, you have a thin copper tube with a chunk of lead inside. The possibility of a jacket separation in the firearm increases dramatically, as does the possibility of injury or death from the results of same.

        • Kyle

          I think he meant the very tip of the round, not cutting it off at the case mouth. Regardless it’s sort of a dumb idea.

        • Samuel Suggs

          ah didnt think about that good point

  • Davdberg

    Not interested in taking a shotgun with me. As to rifle, I’d have a primary and a secundary rifle. a semiauto and a bolt action. Problem is that my preferred bolt action is in a different caliber than the semi, which complicates logistics. Pistol would be 9mm or a .32 rimless (up close).

    • Beaumont

      By “.32 rimless”, do you mean .32ACP? As a backup pistol or as your primary sidearm? Unless one is unable to accommodate recoil, I would argue against a defensive pistol of a caliber under 9mm/.38Sp.

  • DiverEngrSL17K

    It should be borne in mind that the vz.58 rifle is NOT an AK, or even remotely related, in spite of ammunition commonality ( 7.62mm x 39 cartridge ) and an outwardly superficial resemblance. The vz.58 is a striker-fired, short-stroke gas-operated assault rifle that operates using a locking wedge versus the AK’s hammer-fired, long-stroke action with a rotating bolt. There are also numerous other detailed mechanical differences that anyone can look up on-line at websites such as or

    While I am sure that the majority of enlightened contributors and readers of TFB understand this, it is amazing how many otherwise knowledgeable firearms enthusiasts — and even experts — still subscribe to the fallacy that the vz.58 is an AK clone.

  • Simon

    Thanks GD. Just shoot some cyborgs with it.

  • DiverEngrSL17K

    Ryan wrote about adding a mountain bike to the inventory as a means of emergency transportation — I think this is a very good idea. People seem to forget how effectively it can be used, and what the Japanese infantry did with bicycles in Malaya back in 1942.

  • Doosh

    Nobody said sig 556 or beretta 92fs/M9? I guess I’m doing it all wrong. Better order ten glocks and 3 ARs stat.

  • Survivalist

    A bit late but my choice would be Type 84s in .223, Vepr Molot 12G and CZ 75 Shadow. Strange that Vepr & Saiga 12 missing from choice of people (might be due to unavailability?) as well as CZ 75 which is an excellent platform in 9mm.

  • I too am in SC (upstate). It’s really a hard question without knowing factors going into the situation. Perhaps a S&W 686 .357.

  • BigSal

    I commented on the last TFB post, had a huge number of “up-votes”, but didnt see my handgun choice (Russian PM) or my shotgun choice (the Vepr-12) in the results above. Since these are both the obvious best in their category, I can only assume that there is an endemic hatred for certain platforms here… I am disappointed, so now I am going to drown my sorrows with pie.

    • Samuel Suggs

      have fun with your pie

  • marc

    Surprised no body chose a lever gun as their primary rifle. Seeing that you can get them in many common handgun rounds, i would think it would be nice to consolidate ammo like this. They are also very reliable. Having a lever gun and a revolver in 357 mag. would seem like a good idea to me.

  • Plumb

    Not much love for the FAL 🙁

    • Samuel Suggs

      out modded bye the scar 17 with the exception of the qestionable buttstock

  • Ian McCollum

    Looking at these results, the nonconformist in me wants to see a SHTF happen just so I can grab a CZ52 and a Remington Model 8 on the way out the door. 🙂

    Or, for historical points, a Chauchat and a Ruby. 😀

  • Bull

    ive been thinking alot about this … and my choices would probably be a polymer ar 15 in .460 rowland

    a over/under rifle/shotgun in and .410 / .444 marlin. / 454casull/ 45 colt
    and a revolver in 357 magnum / .38 special (or a suppressed .22lr semi auto in case of classic zombie situation)

    why? availability of ammo. this combo lets me use a huge variety of ammo. also the .460 rowland (or .45 acp) is enough against humans in the most distances there semi (or full)auto is really needed. .444 marlin for longer distances.

    .22lr suppressed because if destroying the brain is the only method of killing the stinkies it will do the job and without attracting MORE zombies!

  • awmperry

    My preferred calibre is .40, but in a bug-out scenario I’d go with ease of replenishment every time. Besides, a decent hollowpoint should make up for the lesser power.

    My selections, incidentally, would be as follows:

    RIFLE: AK5 (FNC variant), LM-6 (compact South African Galil variant) or S&W M&P15 in 5.56, loading up with the heavier round we had in the Swedish forces.

    SHOTGUN: 870, Mossberg or FN Police Shotgun – any nice reliable pump gun, really. I prefer semi-autos, but again it’s kitting out for the scenario.

    PISTOL: S&W M&P 9mm, Glock 23 (for reliability and easy access to spares, really – it doesn’t fit my hand as well. But I’d have to stipulate .40 and a ready supply of ammo, because without that going for it I just don’t like Glocks enough), or Sig P226.
    KNIFE: UK-issue MoD 2000 utility knife. Blade the size of a shovel, designed to do anything you need it to do in the field. Otherwise also a fan of the Cold Steel SRK and the Fällkniven range.

  • simon

    since when czechoslovakian vz 58 is an AK-based rifle?

  • TheToad263

    As for the Knife… you’ve gotta go with the ESEE 5P… sturdy as an OX… while I am sure it would be more than serviceable as a combat knife, realistically a blade is going to be much more important when it is being used as a tool. This is where the 5P’s very thick and sturdy construction will make it shine.