I am a gun snob, I admit it, and I like high quality firearms. $25,000 Over/Under shotguns are beautiful; however I am a blue collar worker so they are not in my budget.
Sometimes I carry over that snobbery to the weapons I own and like at this time. However, just because I have a Glock does not mean I always have, and that everyone can afford one. There was a day, a decade ago, I worked three jobs and was writing my first book on computers just to keep up with the bills, not the Jones’s.
With that in mind, I have owned $100 Makarov’s, PA-63’s, and CZ-50 and CZ-52 pistols, other of you may own different inexpensive guns. If all you can afford or get in a reasonable timeframe is an inexpensive handgun or rifle then do it, down the road, life should get better and they you can upgrade.
With that in mind, I recommend putting in your monthly budget, maybe with groceries (especially if you shop at Walmart) one box of ammo. If you own two guns then the next month (or grocery trip) get a box for the other gun you own. Over time you will get a small stockpile. If you shoot it, replace it plus buy the monthly stock. You don’t need thousands of rounds, if it comes to that bad of a situation (The End Of The World As We Know It –TEOTWAWKI) the amount of ammo won’t make a difference, knowledge and skills will.
If you are looking to get your first gun, or a weapon for each family member, many times it is wiser to take a step back, figure your finances and find what everyone can shoot. The firearms should not be “just for the man of the house”.
If you think ahead, you can get a ‘carbine’ that shoots pistol caliber ammunition. A carbine is a short barreled rifle (normally 16 to 18” barrel).
Don’t think negative of carbines, the M-16 and M-4 our military uses are called ‘carbines’, they are just a class of weapon.
If you research a little you can find a carbine that uses the same magazines as a pistol. You can buy the rifle / carbine now, then buy magazines (I suggest a minimum of 12 – yes a dozen and only get new, not used) then you can start to budget in for the handgun. By sharing magazines and the same caliber bullet it is easier to budget in.
I suggest the rifle / carbine first for several reasons. In some ‘slave states’ (as my friends Paul and Jarad Markel say) it is easier to get a rifle, less paperwork. They can shoot the bullet more accurately at all distances due to site plain (distance between the rear and front site), and as a rule of thumb (but not always the case) the bullet will be able to go “further” since all the powder is burnt inside the barrel.
As a quick aside, if the powder is not fully burnt before the bullet leaves the barrel then the bullet is not going as fast as it can. If the powder burns up too early then the bullet is slowed down by the barrel since it is “tight” on the bullet.
Some examples of rifle / carbines that accept pistol magazines are (but not necessarily limited to):
Caracal CC10 – comes in 9mm – Uses the Caracal pistol magazine
Keltec Sub 2000 – comes in 9mm and 40 S&W – Uses Glock or Smith & Wesson Model 59 magazines
Beretta CX4 Storm- comes in 9mm, 40 S&W and 45acp- uses the Beretta 92, 96, PX4 or Cougar Magazine
Colt’s AR6951 – comes in 9mm *
Just right Carbines – comes in 9mm, 40 S&W and 45acp- Uses Glock or 1911 Magazines
Marlin Camp Carbine (used only) – comes in 9mm or 45 ACP – Used 1911 or S&W 59 magazines
Hi Point 95 series (very inexpensive) – comes in 9mm, 40 S&W and 45acp-
* Calico Liberty – comes in 9mm *
* Magazines NOT interchangeable with their or any other handgun
The Caracal would be the best budget one, if you decided to work a 2nd or 3rd job to raise the funds I would recommend the Keltec Sub 2000. You must decide for yourself.
Ideally you would have 1 long gun per person over 12, and 1 handgun per person over 18. Your entire family can “be in the fight” if necessary. Again, don’t do this until budgets allow.
If you buy multiple weapons I suggest the same “style” or series. Here is why, if all the rifles are based on the AR platform, everyone who shoots knows how to pick up any rifle and fight. The controls – safety, magazine release et al, are all in the same place. You can even get different calibers in the same weapon. Using the AR platform, you can get them in .22 for the youngsters, 223 for the wife and teenagers and then 308 for the ‘man of the house’, all controls are the same.
There are many pistols that are similar, though I prefer Glock many smaller hands don’t fit well but there is the Walther P-22 (.22 cal), PK380 (.380 auto) and P99 (9mm), all have the same controls, the pistols just get larger as the caliber increases. If you want to only have 1 holster and magazine size, the Smith and Wesson M&P series. The 22 is the same dimensions as the 9mm and 40 S&W.
While on the subject, in theory a lot of American’s have guns and little ammo. Some of them think they will get what they need by the barrel of a gun, not by preparing or training. If you cannot afford enough firearms for everyone in the family, don’t panic, ammo will be scarcer if a long term event occurs (greater than 3 months) so get common ammo such as 380, 38 special, 357 mag 9mm, 22 long rifle, 45ACP, 223/5.56, 308, 30-06 and 270. It is better to have ammo to fight with, trade or put in a gun you pick up from someone who ran out of ammo than to have 52 guns with no ammo.
If you inherited a firearm and you are on a budget then that is what you go with. If you want a different or newer weapon, then start saving up.
When you get your handgun get a 380, 9mm, 40S&W or 45ACP or another common caliber. Do not get a non-standard gun (such as 45 GAP, 41 mag, 357 Sig) because ammo availability is limited, how much more so if a “situation” arrives?
I suggest the same with a rifle/long gun. Common calibers are 223/5.56, 243, 270, 30-06 and 308. Uncommon calibers include but are not limited to 260, 280, 7mm, 7mm-08, 7mm mag (see a common thread in the 7mm – too many flavors), 338 (there are a handful of different 338’s and they don’t interchange).
If your inherited firearm is not a popular caliber, don’t panic, just remember from earlier, buy a box of ammo here and there and stock up, that is a higher priority than a new firearm.
After I wrote this article and before I got this published, my friends the Markel’s posted a Patriots fire Team budget guns list and why. While their list is slightly different than mine, you might want to check it out their thoughts at Student of the Gun https://studentofthegun.com/videos/tv/s5/patriot-arsenal-on-a-budget-s5e03/
Have an idea? Comment? let us know.
Until we meet again, keep your booger hooker off the trigger.