Arming a Group

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Arming a Group

Post by by-the-throat » Mon Oct 13, 2008 3:38 am

So I thought I'd discuss the armament of our group and let you guys in on some of the things we have done to make our supply problems a little easier in PAW/SHTF situations. We are a group of about 30+ preppers, all told and including spouses, all of which are based in the same area and most of whom attended high school together, so that gives us a unique perspective compared to many ZS posters.

I'd say pretty much all of us are poor, working class or lower, so our first consideration was for budget. Thus, Mosin-Nagants as a first purchase were a no brainer. For several members it was their first gun purchase, but even a few of us that had working long guns already got Nagants as well. The nagant has a number of advantages for people arming a large group. They use a cheap, well proven calibre, enabling us to share ammunition. (Some of us are getting Dragunovs as well, when the time is right.) They use stripper clips instead of magazines, which is another cheap fix to the problem of expensive magazines. This has led to us adopting them as our main rifle.

Almost against my intuition, we authorized several purchases of SKS carbines as well, and one WASR. I wasn't sure about adding another rifle calibre but the cheapness and reliability of the SKS/AK platform, plus the semi auto capability, basically convinced me and I went out and bought a Yugo SKS. They are also cheap and simple, and give us more firepower at close range. I'd like everyone to upgrade to a semi auto BR, but given our financial situation (we are all saving up for some land) it is unlikely to happen. However, we only encourage our members to buy rifles in one of those two calibres (x54R and x39) so that we can stock bulk amounts of ammo without having to buy cross calibre too much.

Pistol wise, there is less standardization, because we feel the pistol is a personal choice, even optional, and many of our members do not have pistols. 5 or 6 of us have .45 calibre handguns, but that is by no means universal. We expect members to stock their own pistol ammo although we have a reasonable chunk of .45 FMJ's stocked away. The make and model of the handguns varies a lot, with the springfield 1911 being about the most popular in that two of us have them. However, as I said, with the handgun being a secondary consideration, we just don't place a huge emphasis on commonality here and allow people to go with what they are comfortable with.

For shotguns, we have all gone with the 12 gauge. I don't really know why people use other shotgun calibres; 12 gauge is so close to universal that stocking anything else seems silly. Most of us have pumps of the Mossberg 5xx flavor, with the odd 870 or single barrel model thrown in. We haven't got a huge stockpile of shells squirreled away yet, but we are working on it. A few of our members greatly favor the shotgun over the rifle, especially given our urban BIL, but we encourage people to have both and many do.

Finally, carbines for noncombatants (which includes most but not all of the spouses) have traditionally been hi point 995s, but with the .45 model coming out we are considering selling off all the old 995s and going with the new .45 acp model instead, which would give us more commonality of ammo and enable us to get a few of those ugly, clunky hi point .45 pistols as well. It's an idea we've been kicking around for awhile and the fact that only two spouses currently own their own 995s is making it highly likely we will go ahead and upgrade when the new model comes out. Only having to carry one type of ammunition and magazine will make life a lot easier on those who aren't really going to be in the thick of the fighting and only need a PDW.

Just thought you guys might enjoy hearing some of the travails of arming a sizable group of survivors. I would also welcome suggestions or constructive criticism.
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Re: Arming a Group

Post by congochris » Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:31 am

Where have you heard that hipoint is coming out with a .45 version? Or is it the same "we're coming out with one soon!" crap I got from them 2 years ago?

Other than that, it sounds like you're making some pretty good decisions to make sure you have commonality. Right now in my own family we have a rediculous abundance of calibers to try to stock, which is what's making my MBR choice tougher.

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Re: Arming a Group

Post by TravisM.1 » Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:39 am

by-the-throat wrote:Almost against my intuition, we authorized several purchases of SKS carbines as well, and one WASR.
You "Authorized" someone to purchase a gun other than a Mosin? Why was the "Authorization" required? Besides standardization on ammo, why not let people just buy what they want and worry about stocking ammo for it themselves? You already expect people to stock their own pistol ammo.
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Re: Arming a Group

Post by by-the-throat » Mon Oct 13, 2008 5:19 am

Where have you heard that hipoint is coming out with a .45 version? Or is it the same "we're coming out with one soon!" crap I got from them 2 years ago?
I saw people talking about it in one of the Hi point threads on this forum.

What really interests me is the ability to standardize ammo with our handguns; that would basically cut 9x19 out of our calibre list.
You "Authorized" someone to purchase a gun other than a Mosin? Why was the "Authorization" required? Besides standardization on ammo, why not let people just buy what they want and worry about stocking ammo for it themselves? You already expect people to stock their own pistol ammo.
We let anyone buy any 'fun' gun they want but when serving in an official capacity we need to know that we have stocked sufficient ammunition for the MBRs and dictating the calibre choices is just the simplest way to do that when arming a large group. However, most of us are on an extremely limited budget and we don't buy a lot of fun guns-basically we get the workhorse model every time.
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Re: Arming a Group

Post by phil_in_cs » Mon Oct 13, 2008 7:32 am

by-the-throat wrote:
TravisM.1 wrote:You "Authorized" someone to purchase a gun other than a Mosin? Why was the "Authorization" required? Besides standardization on ammo, why not let people just buy what they want and worry about stocking ammo for it themselves? You already expect people to stock their own pistol ammo.
We let anyone buy any 'fun' gun they want but when serving in an official capacity we need to know that we have stocked sufficient ammunition for the MBRs and dictating the calibre choices is just the simplest way to do that when arming a large group. However, most of us are on an extremely limited budget and we don't buy a lot of fun guns-basically we get the workhorse model every time.
It is also answered by:
congochris wrote:Other than that, it sounds like you're making some pretty good decisions to make sure you have commonality. Right now in my own family we have a rediculous abundance of calibers to try to stock, which is what's making my MBR choice tougher.
Groups need standards, to keep cross training down, reduce the variety of spare parts, and make bulk buys of ammo easier. If you have 4 shooters, and they all have an SKS, your supply train is easier than if they had AK47, AK74, AR, and an M1A.
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Re: Arming a Group

Post by bonanacrom » Mon Oct 13, 2008 7:59 am

An organized group of 30 or more ? stockpiling ammo in mass ? buying land as group ? Standardized weapons ? What are you going to call your compound ? If that's all true then I wish you all the luck. Myself I prefer to stay under the FBI radar enough people have files on me already.
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Re: Arming a Group

Post by EeeNinja » Mon Oct 13, 2008 8:32 am

Standardization makes life easy on everyone involved. Part of what I do in both my life and work is create and develop standards and policies. It gives a clear outline for people to follow and makes repairs/replacements easier.

Anecdotally back 35 years ago when Craftsman made good solid power tools my father bought all of them. Every single table saw, drill press, and sander had a yellow universal safety key built into it. He would keep them all locked up and would just have one he would use from machine to machine to keep us kids safe. To this day the concept of commonality between parts has carried on with me and I always look for a universal solution over a proprietary solution, both in life and work.

More on topic I would look into getting some reloading equipment. It would allow you all to shoot and practice more and with more people involved to split the costs of equipment and supplies it wouldn't be that bad. Granted that surplus ammo runs fairly cheap and often most isn't reloadable but finding reloadable brass in 7.62x54mm isn't impossible. Plus reloading with a group of people can be a good social event and makes it easier on the arm if you can switch off between people.

So you got the arms down what have you all done in the way of food, water, medical supplies?

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Re: Arming a Group

Post by FlashDaddy » Mon Oct 13, 2008 8:34 am

I've made most of the same ammo/rifle choices, probably because I also put great emphasis on economy. My Mosin in no Mauser or Enfield, but it meets my needs and I can still get surplus brass cased surplus ammo for .15/round.
Though .45 is a tempting pistol round, I'm sticking with 9mm. Its a cheaper round with all the performance I need. I have a great 995 carbine. I've seen Hi-Point pistols in action and you get a lot of performance for your buck. I wanted something smaller (I have my Indiana handgun license) and went with a used Kel-Tec P11. Its a great little pistol and carries well.
My only caliber advice would be to consider .22LR as a good training round. At 3 to 5 cents per round, it is economical to practice with and a good introductory round for youngsters. It will also provide a squirrel or rabbit meal a lot cheaper than my 20 cents/12 gauge round.

And rock on with your PAW/SHTF group. You are fortunate to have folks you've grown up with for support, training and prepping.
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Re: Arming a Group

Post by MosinMe » Mon Oct 13, 2008 8:48 am

EeeNinja wrote:So you got the arms down what have you all done in the way of food, water, medical supplies?
Usually people start with the food, water, and medical supllies first.

1) I'm only one person, but I stock everything canned. Canned soups, canned fruit, canned vegitables, canned meat, etc...

Stock piling MREs is also a good idea for the long term. They last anywhere from 1-10years depending on how you store them. I've eaten some made before I was born and it didn't taste all that bad. (I'm still alive)

1) Water is easy. You can either buy those huge plastic water containers to store it in or just stock it by the bottle/gallon. I just started but currently have 56 bottles and a few galon jugs stored. It sounds like you will need to buy the larger plastic containers for storing lots of it for so many people though.

3) Medical supplies is something I havn't dove into yet. Other than a few packs of bandaides, gauze, and triple antibiotic I don't have anything.
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Re: Arming a Group

Post by FlashDaddy » Mon Oct 13, 2008 9:46 am

+1 on the canned food and water. Just buy a few extra each week especially when they are on sale.
I also stocked up on powdered milk and canned milk for the kids.
I have cases of bottled water and slowly keep adding more. This is where having a basement comes in very handy.
The ZS first aid thread has great advise on what medical supplies to get and creating a first aid kit. I would have never learned about the wonders of Kerlix without it.
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Re: Arming a Group

Post by Brendan Sullivan » Mon Oct 13, 2008 10:15 am

Gotta give a "I love zombies" to groups of preppers, and the idea of simplifying the supply train with commonality of ammo, parts, and training.

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Re: Arming a Group

Post by Dave_M » Mon Oct 13, 2008 10:39 am

I would not purchase hi point pistols.

They are not suited for any sort of PAW. They are unreliable and cannot be broken down without the use of tools.

If you want a budget pistol, look at the S&W Sigma. It is reasonably reliable and easy to break down. The main complaint is the trigger (which is still better than a Hi Point trigger BTW)
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Re: Arming a Group

Post by thorian » Mon Oct 13, 2008 10:52 am

Well most people I know use the same stuff the mil uses, their belief is that they will either be fighting with or alongside the mil.

So .223 and .308 rifles 9mm and .45 for short arms. I dont follow that viewpoint persay but needless to say I like shooting the same caliber as my buddies. It makes it easy to load and share magazines.
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Re: Arming a Group

Post by Domino » Mon Oct 13, 2008 11:34 am

Well I have to say that I agree a lot with the choices given in the OP. Mosin Nagant's and SKS/AK rifles are all good choices, very durable, cheap enough to stockpile. At one point you could get crates of Mosins or Yugo SKS rifles for pretty cheap. You could arm a group like yours for a couple of grand.

Shotguns, obviously anything in 12 gauge would be fine. I would personally stock up on Mossy 500's or maybe a chinese clone just to keep cost down.

Handguns, not big on the .45 ACP but its all aobut personal preference. There are enough cheap handguns in .380/9X18/.38/.357/9mm/40S&W/45ACP to get pretty much whatever your heart desires.

PDW's, I think the Hi-Point 995 is tough to beat. I would keep my handguns in the same caliber if possible but, its not 100% necessary.

Good choices but, I would concentrate on intermediate caliber rifles (SKS/AK's) and have a few full-sized Mosins or PSL's if you want. The SKS would be my choice for a primary rifle of a group of that sort. AK's could be used for fire support or for those who need a compact weapon. Mosin's could be used for backup's and maybe a PSL as a designate marksmen rifle. I might opt for a Saiga .308 though.

Then the remaining people can have Hi-point 995's or pump shotguns. Seems good to me.

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Re: Arming a Group

Post by Ramius » Mon Oct 13, 2008 11:42 am

Those old commie guns are a great way to arm a group on a tight budget. If I was arming the group, I would plan it as the following:

The 30 people would be divided into 3 squads of 10 people, with each squad consisting of 2 fire teams of 5 people. For the first go around, everyone would be armed with Mosin Nagants. When upgrading for the second time, one member on each fire team would be armed with an SKS to serve as fire support. For the third upgrade, each fire team would be armed with 1 WASR, 1 Mosin-Nagant, and 3 SKS rifles. The WASR would provide far more of a fire support weapon, with the Mosin-Nagant reaching out to the distant targets, and the SKS rifles providing a better “all around” service rifle. For the fourth upgrade, I’d outfit the fire teams with 1 RPK (with drums), 1 SVD (or a Mosin if the budget is tight), and 3 WASRs. This would provide a very good, all around setup, IMHO.

Any medics, RTOs, or others carrying specialized supplies would be armed with lighter weaponry, such as pistol caliber carbines or maybe sticking with the SKS rifle. The ammo for the SKS on stripper clips will be far lighter and compact compared to a magazine fed weapon. All of the group’s “surplus” weaponry, such as the Mosins and SKS rifles would be given to non-combatants and garrison forces.
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Re: Arming a Group

Post by Gatorfarmer » Mon Oct 13, 2008 11:49 am

The old Mosins can be interesting rifles. They also rather lack the safety features of other contemporary designs such as the Mauser, Lee-Enfield, etc. The czar had plenty of fresh bodies to fill the ranks. Poke a bit and learn where all the escaping gases go on a MN in the case of a catastrophic failure (which could happen with a 60 or more year old Communist rifle and old ammunition), yep, right into the user's face.

Outside of a military organization that trains together and has a hierarchial command structure, or unless your leadership trained as a Special Forces A-Team, I wouldn't expect a larger group based on normal relationships to hold up under pressure. That's a group dynamics issue more so than a firearms issue. Though any time you run into "group" standard, you're in fact dealing with group dynamics.

I'm not sure why spouses are considered "con-combatants" and have different weapons. For that matter, I'm not sure what you plan on doing with your MN's or why you're considering - apparently the males - "combatants". As to the MNs... They'll make okay hunting rifles. Not great mind you, but okay. For self defense, under normal conditions short of invading Martians, a bolt action rifle is far from ideal. Muzzle blast, length, and slow rate of fire work against one as used indoors. Their extended range is unlikely to be useful short of a major civil disturbance or invasion, in which case you'd be using them against semi or fully automatic weapons or scoped hunting rifles with better range and accuracy. Either way, that's problematic. (BTW, don't leave a MN with the magazine loaded for a long period of time. It can kill the leaf spring. I found this out first hand by experimenting.)

The Hi Point carbines are actually going to be harder to maintain and have a more complicated manual of arms than a MN. Other than an increased hit probability for a novice user (as compared to a handgun) and slightly greater range, I'm not sure of the advantage that these are presumed to confer. If you're set on MNs, then having M44 carbines as the carbine of choice would make more sense.

If a MN is a first gun, that's also short circuiting the usual "learn to shoot a .22" method of gaining firearms experience. It also requires experience in cleaning rifles fired with corrosive surplus ammunition. Proper use also means becoming quite adept with using iron sights. These aren't skills found in novice shooters.

Shotguns break parts. Particularly firing pins. Have extras.

Even 1911s from various makers don't usually interchange parts without fitting. This will require a gunsmith or a reasonably fascimile there of. Thus there might not be as much standardization of parts even if a number of folks all have .45s (presumably 1911s).

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Re: Arming a Group

Post by karlsgunbunker » Mon Oct 13, 2008 11:58 am

Sounds like the OP and his group have put some thought into the weapons choice.
I have most of the same weapons.
I have 5 to prep for and chose the AK and FPK/Mosin.
My wife has a Hi-point Carbine in 9mm and is deadly with it out to 100yds.

Common ammo and equipment for a group is a must, IMO
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Re: Arming a Group

Post by Sheol151 » Mon Oct 13, 2008 12:46 pm

I agree with the Hi point as far as breakdown and shitty trigger (which bushman just made a aluminum trigger for JHP .45s!) should improve trigger pull....
But for around 120 bucks each they would be great to stock to hand out during a situation i would think. Ive never had problems with my JHP .45. But some people DO have problems so its touch and go.
I wouldn't necessarily trust it in a PAW, But it is one of my loaded nightstand weapons. Its proven so reliable for me that i trust it completely for HD.
Having something is better than nothing i would say, and unless you find a good deal somewhere its gonna be hard to stock "new" guns at $120 bux ea.

SKS are great, but hell they're getting to where they're not cheap anymore...

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Re: Arming a Group

Post by pyratemime » Mon Oct 13, 2008 1:25 pm

Given the stated desire for semi-auto rifles in the future I am curious why you did not just start there by grabbing SKS's for the entire group. Yes they are more expensive but only marginally so and they still use stripper clips which is one of the reasons you stated for liking the MN. Using the intermediate round would also be easier to handle for any inexperienced shooter. Not to say that there is anything wrong with your choice of rifle like I said I am just curious.

As to the pistols have you but any thought into .357 revolvers? Allows you to shoot .38 specials for practice at a cheaper cost and then you can load up with the .357 rounds for self defense. No need to worry about magazines in terms of cost or maintenance at that point either. Just a thought.
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Re: Arming a Group

Post by talon313 » Mon Oct 13, 2008 2:54 pm

I like the way you are thinking. Here are my comments:

Mosin-Nagants were a good first choice but they have one big problem. As soon as most of the people shoot a semi-auto SKS they and their shoulders are going to want a change.

SKS's make a logical next step if cost is a major factor. AK's are a nice logical step up from the SKS.

My suggestions are the following:

Since you have an AK, SKS's and MN's around take the opportunity to go out and shoot all of them in small groups and make a group decision on where you want to end up as a group. (I think most people would want the AK if they could afford it. I would also throw an AR into the mix if someone had one.)

Once you have decided where you want to end up, get creative on buying them. 3 years ago I would have suggested buying AK kits and building them at a build party or two or 3. Now days, I would suggest using your buying power to your advantage. Email a few vendors. There are a lot of vendors that will give deep discounts if you are doing a group buy of 25 SKSs, AKs, ARs or parts kits. See how cheap you can get things. Then present the costs back to the group. You might be able to skip a step or two in upgrades.

A few other things you might consider. You said a few people are planning on getting SVD/PSLs.... You might consider adding RPKs for a little heavy support. RPDs if you can find them would serve well there as well. AKs for adults, SKSs for children.

As far as pistols go, I would look at GLOCKs. Although they are not my favorites, you might be able to get a group buy on police trade ins. The 17 or 22 would make a good standard with 19s and 23s being backups. Again, there are a lot of vendors who would be willing to make a deal to move 20 to 30 units.

For shotguns I would look at the Maverick 88. They are solid shotguns made by Mossberg. They take barrels and many parts from the 500. They are solid and can take shorter home defense barrels as well as longer hunting barrels. The Mossberg 500 and the Remy 870 are also good choices.

Someone else mentioned .22s for training. That is a good idea. A few Marlin 60s or 10/22s would be nice.


One last thought. Me and a few friends have standardized on magazines. For instance, you can use any rifle you want, as long as it takes an AR magazine. Or you can use a full, midsized or compact GLOCK as long as it takes and you stock some full sized magazines.

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Re: Arming a Group

Post by Dave_M » Mon Oct 13, 2008 3:26 pm

talon313 wrote:Mosin-Nagants were a good first choice but they have one big problem. As soon as most of the people shoot a semi-auto SKS they and their shoulders are going to want a change.
Not only that but the vast majority of 7.62x54R is corrosive. Not ideal by any means for a long-term situation.
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Re: Arming a Group

Post by Wolfdude87 » Mon Oct 13, 2008 3:34 pm

FlashDaddy wrote:Though .45 is a tempting pistol round, I'm sticking with 9mm. Its a cheaper round with all the performance I need.
When I was a new gun owner my buddy who at the time worked at a local armory told me. "A .45 is for someone who can't kill you with a 9mm." That stuck with me (though my favorite pistol is still the S&W 1911). Props on the kel tec P11 too, I plan on getting that as my carry pistol once I get my concealed carry permit.
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Re: Arming a Group

Post by doctor_ocks » Mon Oct 13, 2008 3:48 pm

Wolfdude87 wrote: When I was a new gun owner my buddy who at the time worked at a local armory told me. "A .45 is for someone who can't kill you with a 9mm."
Oh boy. Now you dun'it.
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Re: Arming a Group

Post by Arkane » Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:00 pm

Commonality of weapons amongst people is a good thing. Some additional things to consider if you use the group approach is stockpiling spare parts and investing in at least one to two of the group going to a decent smithing school or course to learn to do the dirty work of fixing them when they break. Might want to send one or two to a decent tactical course as well, and for marksmanship Appleseed is worth it's weight in gold.

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