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?