Arizona Response Systems, LLC
REVIEW, BEST GUN
(updated 09-20-2016)
Introduction
Many times I have been asked, what is the "best" firearam or the best configuration of a particular firearm. Of course, this is an extremely difficult question as every choice is dependent on many factors. Each of the factors is important and can swing the results to a different rifle. Some factors are:
  • cost
  • legality
  • size
  • weight
  • parts availablity
  • acquisition cost
  • operational cost
  • longevity
  • balance
  • reliability
  • accuracy
  • intended application
  • cool factor

I have a number of guns in my collection that I acquired for various reasons. Some I acquired because they had historical interest to me, others because they were inexpensive recreational shooters, and others, such as my cowboy guns, for informal cowboy action shooting. Some for no reason other than they were "cool." Recreation aside, there are certain guns I'd recommend for anyone wanting to put together a basic survival/end of the world arsenal. The hard part is establishing their priority. For years I played the mental game of "If you could have 10 guns, what would they be and why." Then reduce the quantity one by one until left with "if you could have only one gun, what would it be?"

I see the quest for a minimum battery of guns to be similar to knives. There simply isn't one gun that does everything, any more than there is one knife that chop down a tree, peel carrots, and conduct surgery. So while there is no one gun, there are categories of function, and for this I've narrowed it down to 5.

I have listed the guns I would pick in each category. There are many quality guns. I have made my selection in bold within each category taking into account all the reasons above. As time permits, I will expand on my reasoning.

  1. personal carry (defensive handun)
  2. close to medium range (carbine / light rifle)
  3. medium to long range (heavy rifle)
  4. small game hunting (.22 rifle)
  5. bird and small game hunting (shotgun)
Defensive Handgun
Defensive Handgun. You can have a hundred guns and million rounds of ammo, but you can't carry it all with you. For that reason, I rank the utility of a handgun over the greater functional efficiency of a carbine. If I knew I was facing trouble, I'd choose the carbine first, but it may be impractical to carry a carbine with you everywhere. The handgun you are carrying, is of greater value than the carbine you left at home. So my first choice in filling the arsenal is the handgun. I call this a "defensive" handgun to establish it as a general purpose weapon.

  • Glock 17/19 9mm
  • Browning Hi-Power 9mm
  • Sig 226/228 9mm
  • CZ-75 9mm
  • Springfield XD 9mm
  • Springfield XD .45
  • Glock 21 .45
  • Government Model 1911 .45
  • Sig P220 .45
  • Smith & Wesson 3-4" .357/.38
  • Taurus or Ruger 3-4" .357/.38
Carbine
Carbine. I categorize a carbine as a shoulder fired weapon of intermediate range. You should be able to hit a man sized target at 200 meters with some consistency. It should be compact, light weight, and fast handling. It should be readily available, although not necessarily on your person.

  • SCAR-16
  • AR-15 carbine, flat top 5.56mm
  • AK-74 5.45x39mm
  • AK-47 7.62x39
  • Sig 5xx series
.22 Rifle
.22LR rifle. After the carbine comes a survival hunting weapon. I think this should be either a lightweight, accurate .22LR rifle

  • Ruger 10/22 with 2x7 or 3x9 compact rimfire scope
Heavy Rifle
Heavy Rifle. This rifle is similar in many respects to the carbine. If I could definitively choose between the two, it would be much easier, but I have wrestled with this question for 20 years and still have no good answer. This rifle should be effective at medium to long range. 200 to 400+ meters and be of a caliber sufficient to cleanly kill large animals. It should have adequate penetration. This can be a hunting rifle, or a military style main battle rifle. The employment differs from the carbine in that it is for deliberate operations, rather than reaction to an event. For example, when investigating a noise at night, you may grab the lightweight carbine by your bed. But when going hunting, you would select your heavy rifle.

  • SCAR-17
  • FN FAL / L1A1
  • HK 91
  • M1A/M14
  • AR-10 type
  • Remington 700 or Savage 110 bolt-action
Shotgun
Shotgun. Some people swear by them. I am not enamored with them. I have an old beatup 20 gauge side by side I use for dove hunting, and I build riot shotguns in a variety of configurations, but I cannot think of any defensive situation where I would choose a shotgun over my carbine. Personal preference.

  • Remington 870 12g
  • Mossberg 500 or 590 12g