Firstly, forget about what will happen in the SHTF event. Whatever it is, the reason for preparing by obtaining diversities among firearms calibers is to ensure you can obtain ammo for it. This is not detracting from reloading whatsoever. I guarantee, however, that situations will arise in which you have to load a firearm and don’t have time to sit around with your RCBS “Rock Chucker” press or your Lee Handloader. You have a need to employ a firearm at the moment, and time is of the essence.
Common calibers ensure that you will usually have ammo for the weapon no matter where you go. This is one of the reasons it is advantageous to own an AR-15. Personally, I hate ‘em, because after 200 rounds or so, you have to clean the carbon off of them. The AR-15 is so finely-tuned with so little leeway between moving parts such as the bolt group and bolt carrier that any severe carbon buildup is almost intolerable to firing the weapon. That being said, we have had more than 5 decades of dealing with .223/5.56 mm ammo. The military, law enforcement (state and local) all rely on the AR-15 family; therefore, ammo is obtainable.
The phrase “What if?” however, is your watchword. If you have either a .308, or a 7.62 x 39 mm (AK), then you’ll also be in pretty good shape. Law enforcement is switching back to .45 ACP, but there are still plenty of 9mm rounds to go around. The .45 ACP round is a great round that is widespread. Your .357 magnum and .40 Smith and Wesson rounds are not as common but are commonplace. In essence, yeah, you need each of these.
One piece that I’ll finally mention is really unique. It’s the P-320 Compact by Sig Sauer. They have a system called the Grip Shell system. This Grip Shell is the basis for the weapon, that accepts full size magazines and full length slide assemblies. What’s so big about this? You can switch out 9 mm, .357 sig., .40 S&W, and .45 ACP on the same frame: the frame will hold all four of those calibers. Nifty, huh? Not only that, but it is a “redefinition” of BATFE rules.
The Grip Shell is a modular frame that is a trigger group and receiver with a serial number. Guess what? It is this frame that has the serial number, and not each of the individual barrels that you can change out on it. Ahh, I feel the gleam of many eyes reading these words now. Isn’t that neat? You can buy four calibers, but only one receiver is your serialized piece. You run with the ball from there: imagination is the only limitation.
If you want prices, you’ll have to check with a gun dealer. The basic piece will run about $700 more or less, and additional barrels will be more. It’s all up to what you want, but you can pretty much cover the bases with it, as you’ll be sure to find something to fire through it no matter how short ammo may be in supply. To take that “kit” and pack it up with you…well, that would be prudence and providence prepared by your own hand. Just make sure to pick up a box of ammo initially for each caliber you decide upon.
For anything you shoot, you should also be able to reload, and I recommend a good stationary press akin to the one I mentioned before, as well as a Lee handloading kit with dies and accessories. The latter you can pack in your rucksack, as you never know when you might need it. So hopefully you’ll take some advice to stock up and “plow the field” on different calibers. If you run across a supply that won’t feed your main piece, it would be good to have a backup piece that can fire what you find until your “lead sled dog” is “fed” and up and running again. Keep that powder dry, no matter what the caliber, and stay in that good fight! JJ out!
Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.
Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.
Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.
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