R. Ann Parris on Pistols v. Rifles & Shotguns
Pistols v. Rifles & Shotguns by R. Ann Parris
Firearms and alternatives regularly come up pretty quickly in the prepper world. The wide array of firearms (and articles stressing which 3-12 platforms and types preppers must have) can be a little daunting, and there’s no end of forum and blog and journal posts touting the need for preppers to snag battle rifles and shotguns, particularly.
Specific location can play a huge role in prioritizing what firearm is going to be most needed and most useful. There is no one right answer for everyone — which is why we face such diversity in platforms and calibers in the first place.
Give some thought to a handgun when we’re ready to expand, though.
By location, arguably, a reliable, compact .22LR rifle is not a bad idea, and they can be had pretty darn inexpensively, just like bog-standard starter-level pump shotguns. The 10/22 and long-historied 870s or 500s make particularly compelling arguments because they are so readily available, are available used (lower cost), and have so many plug-and-play off-the-shelf upgrades available. There are also readily available shorty, poly-stock shotguns brand new in the box that can be argued compellingly as a good expansion or starter option.
Even so — and as light as a 10/22 or tactical shotgun are, as easy and affordable as it is to nab some reliable tool-free single-point and two- or three-point sling adaptors and buttstock adaptors for them — they’re still long guns. Easier to hide in map or drafting tubes, golf and tennis bags, and HAM radio antenna or tripod bags than some other options, but still a long gun.
The heavier and bulkier something is, the less likely we are to carry it (particularly if we have not tied some string to it so we can wear it over a shoulder or across our back).
The heavier and bulkier something is, the more likely we are to take it off and prop it against something while we bend over to weed, cut firewood, slide out of a vehicle to check fluids or tires, haul groceries (however we procure them), or sit down to eat or read, and then move away from it.
The bigger something is, the less likely we are to keep it in a convenient zip pouch so it can easily move around with us without being readily visible.
Compact thought they may be, much as I might love them, even small rifles and shotguns are more likely to not be right at hand, everyday life or End of Days.
If we don’t have something when we need it, it does us no good.
Being small enough to conveniently carry, and to carry in a variety of ways on our bodies, from fishing vests and small zip chest pouches we can wear even with a backpack, to dedicated chest holsters, thigh holsters, and typical waist carries, even sizeable handguns become a lot more portable due to weight and bulk, and a lot easier to wear while working.
There are other considerations to weigh, though.
While many are going to be the same price as a battle rifle or decent/nice shotgun, and a frightening number start eking up into the prices of a dedicated hunting rifle, there are options that can be had for as little or even less than a used 10/22 or starter-level Maverick.
Some are more than capable of handling both short-range hunting and personal defense.
Handguns are faster around corners and give us the ability to draw them in tight — without lowering the muzzle — to reduce exposure further.
Likewise, we have more opportunity to draw and deploy a handgun inside a vehicle and while stiff-arming a bad guy than we would a rifle or shotgun.
There’s an even wider variety of ammunition than most rifle calibers. Some manufacturers are increasing that further with pistol-caliber shotshells in #4 and #9, not just snakeshot/ratshot. There are rounds specifically designed to damage a bad guy without punching through multiple walls even at very close range, reducing risks to loved ones and innocents next door or out on the street.
Handguns admittedly have definite limitations.
They’re slower to aim with more limited effective ranges versus shotguns and rifles. They can be pretty darn pricey depending on what we want. They face more regulations. It usually takes several tries to find a comfy, practical carry holster, while slings … psh, easy.
Some people really would be better off with a pistol-caliber carbine, a shotgun, or a long-range or brush-punching elk or antelope or deer rifle.
Weigh the risks we’re most likely to face every day, our housing and location, and the most common and most probable disasters. Even if we expect we’ll be taking to the wilds with a backpack, the portability and accessibility of handguns should factor in.
Especially compared to a battle rifle and for personal defense, for most preppers, handguns are worth giving some serious consideration.