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If you’ve bought a gun (and you’re reading this, so I’ll assume that means that you have), you know that a $300 price point is typically only going to buy you a very entry level pistol. If that’s your budget, you are not likely to be going in expecting beautiful inlays and engraving on the weapon, and you may be expecting some aspects that make the pistol a bit “rough around the edges.”

But, sometimes things pleasantly surprise you.

Take the Canik TP9 SA. Eve Flanigan tells us about this pistol:

The TP9 SA, [Canik’s] first striker-fired 9mm semiauto that I’m aware of in the U.S. market, became my choice of range gun four years ago. More than 6,000 rounds and with a few other Canik product experiences later, it remains my favorite handgun.

The TP9 SA emerged with apparent design influence from the Walther P99, but with an American magazine release. Canik wisely kept a low bore axis (hence low recoil) design, simple disassembly, and modular grip panels which are included with each gun. Other handy features include an accessory rail, lanyard hole in the grip, a highly visible three-dot sight system with a subtle vertical highlight on the rear sight, and a Serpa-style Kydex holster that can be used as a paddle or belt-borne. Color choices include black and desert tan. Magazines, now readily available for a reasonable price, hold an impressive 18 rounds in the same space a Glock mag holds 17.

Now, to be fair, there is a warning to be made if you are buying one of these pistols used. Again, from Flanigan:

It was after the repair experience that I learned that premature striker failures are common among TP9s made earlier than 2016. A gunsmith who knows the TP9 SA well showed me the seemingly minor difference in construction between the trigger on my repaired handgun and the original.

Canik has had time to learn from early mistakes in the TP9 series. From my own experience and conversations with people in the industry, it seems those issues have been resolved.

So, with a price point for a new pistol as low as $310 and with some nice features, this may be the pistol to consider for your next gun purchase.

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Are you considering buying a shotgun? If so, then there is a model which has become almost a staple of shotgun owners in the U.S. for fifty years that you may want to consider: the Mossberg 500.

You may wonder why it’s been a popular weapon for fifty years. Great question. David Maccar explains:

Why have they been so popular? Several reasons: The 500 is a simple, no-frills shotgun. It’s affordable. It appeals to shooters who prefer a tough, functional gun rather than something prettier and more refined. But the biggest reason for its longevity is its balance of adaptability and consistency.

And how did Mossberg achieve that consistency? Maccar continues:

The gun was made with as few parts as possible, and could be produced easily with less machining than pump guns of the day. It required no hand-fitting, which saved on production time and costs. This translated into an extremely affordable shotgun that just about anyone could own. It also meant the shotgun was particularly robust and could take a beating in the field and still function.

To give you another idea of the simplicity of design, you can almost take a Mossberg 500 apart by hand, with the exception of pins that hold the trigger assembly in place. How many other guns can you take apart, clean, and put back together without precision tools?

Additionally, you can swap barrels by yourself in seconds so you can use the same shotgun for multiple uses (you only have to loosen one bolt), and the inside design of the gun allows for movement without wear due to components rubbing against each other. Another plus for longevity.

This dependability, versatility, and economic pricing go a long way in explaining why Mossberg has manufactured over nine million of this model over the years and why everyone from hunters to law enforcement to military personnel have used this shotgun.

In a nutshell, the Mossberg 500 is incredibly versatile while still being incredibly affordable. If you’re looking for a shotgun, this may be a weapon to consider.

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You already know that to keep your weapon clean. That goes without saying, but, sometimes things happen. With that in mind, you ideally would want a weapon that you can get running again quickly.

Well, one that came across our screen to look at surprised us: The Hi-Point Firearms C9.

Now, before you think I’ve lost my mind, let me acknowledge that a lot of serious shooters hate this pistol. It’s inexpensive. It’s not pretty. It’s ergonomics leave something to be desired, and some people hate the way that it sights.

Having said that, for someone without a lot of money who is buying their first gun, this may be a great way to go. It’s plain, basic, does the job, and is well under $200.

Having said that, if you’ve got the money, people such as Benjamin Shotzberger are going to tell you to spend the money to go with a nicer weapon. He hated the nine-pound trigger, the overlap of the slide to his thumb, the safety, and the sights.

However, other reviewers have better words for this pistol. InRange TV felt that, for the price point, this pistol is worth considering. It’s an inexpensive gun that isn’t going to be a show piece and will do the job. InRange TV even went so far as to take the C9, drop it in mud, test it, then rinse it off with water, and retest it to give you an idea of how this pistol stands up to ugly conditions. They were pleasantly surprised. See it here:

(hat tip here for the source)


A few more stats to help you decide on this weapon: You already know that it’s a 9mm. It’s a relatively short-barrel pistol (3.5″) but is physically bigger than many concealed carry pistols, so, if size is an issue, be aware of this. Also, it comes standard with an 8-round magazine.

Bottom line: If you’re being cost conscious, this pistol can be worth considering, but if you have an extra $200-$300 to put into your everyday carry, that may be money well spent.

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These guys thought of everything. The new Urban carry G2 holster allows you to wear your gun well below your belt line without having to fish around in your pants to draw.

Check this thing out for yourself:

Imagine the shock on a criminal’s face when a full size 1911 almost magically pops out of your waistline. What’s really exciting about this style of draw, is that it makes wearing a large frame pistol much more practicable.

This is one of those — I hesitate to call it a “gimmick” — things — that has a very limited use. It’s kind of like the “Sneaky Pete” holsters that are look like “pager” or cell phone holsters — but they hold a gun. For some remote reason you might want to carry something like this.

A big drawback is that it’s going to be a little slow drawing with one hand. In fact, without some practice, it will be very slow one handed. Plus, why would you make a deep concealment rig with a picture of a gun on the only part that clips on your belt that everyone can see? Stupid.

All in all, kind of neat idea even if the reality isn’t as great as they might think … Just when you thought you had seen it all, someone pushes the boundaries yet again. God bless American ingenuity!


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I know that's Marpat and not Ranger Green ... but hopefully John understands

If you consider yourself one of the growing number of liberty-loving folks who think to be a TRULY prepared gun owner … you need to consider the possibility of one day being a freedom-fighting guerrilla war fighter … then I have two things to say.

Number one, you’re smart.

America was founded by a bunch of liberty-loving guys that had to fight a revolution to become more free.

And two, you’re in luck because today I want to tell you about a book that is truly “The prepared citizen’s answer to The Ranger Handbook.

In short, if you want to know anything about unconventional warfare as it relates to being a freedom fighter, you need this book!

What Are You Preparing For?

Whether you’re worried about a total socio-economic collapse of society where you will be facing increasingly bold and violent street crime, robberies, home invasions and (at least temporarily) mass riots, mobs, looting and a full blown WROL (without-rule-of-law) situation …

Or an increasingly authoritarian Federal government that has slowly morphed into a tyrannical regime hellbent on painting traditional, conservative Americans as “Domestic Terrorists” over the last few decades (while increasing their ‘legal’ powers such as Martial Law, the PATRIOT Act, the NDAA, etc) …

Or an invasion by Russians, the Chinese or even Foreign UN-backed “blue helmet peace keeping” troops being called into our country (possible in any one of the aforementioned scenarios).

And especially if you consider yourself a “Modern Minuteman” or “3 Percenter” …

In short, for ANY reason, if you want to take your preparedness to the next level by learning the basic doctrine of Unconventional Warfare Guerrilla Operations as it applies to the liberty-minded American civilian in the modern world — THIS is the book to read.

It’s a 384 page handbook called The Reluctant Partisan Vol I: The Guerrilla

Who Is The Author And Why Should You Listen To Him?

The Reluctant Partisan Volume One: The Guerrilla is written by John Mosby. He spent 10 years in Army SOF (Special Operation Forces), including the 75th Ranger Regiment and Special Forces. He’s also currently the author of an online blog entitled “Mountain Guerrilla” which I have been frequenting over the last few years …

His blog and book are, of course, a study of individual and small-unit irregular warfare, as it applies to those of us concerned about impending disquiet in the socio-economic structures of the world and our nation.

WARNING: John is extremely foul-mouthed. He is a former Special Forces operator after all. I don’t know if you’ve ever spent time around anyone in the military but they tend to use language for effect.

If that offends you, or if you can’t look past or (God forbid!) enjoy his use of ‘colorful’ language then there is no need to read any further.

(I should point out though, that you’re a certified idiot if you think that because someone happens to cuss like a soldier, you should not listen to them. In short, if mere words offend you, you would never make it as a guerrilla fighter anyways, so there is no need for you to read this book.)

Moving on …

John shares with you the Guerrilla warfare Special Forces doctrine that’s heavily influenced by three things (as he says himself):

1. John’s personal, real-world experiences in small-unit combat and failed state environments during “nation building” operations …

2. Undergraduate and post-graduate degrees in history, with the resulting perspectives they may or may not offer …

3. John’s personal interpretations–based on the previous two factors–of what the continuing decline of socio-economic structure will resemble.

In other words, you have the perfect teacher in John. Why?

I’m not sure if you’re aware of the differences in the different types of U.S. Military Special Operations forces, but Johns’ background is all you could hope for in a teacher of these topics.

That’s because the primary and original purpose and mission of the Army Special Forces (also known as the Green Berets) has always been to train and lead unconventional warfare (UW) forces, or a clandestine guerrilla force in an occupied nation.

Which, obviously, means John is exactly the teacher you’d hope to stumble across if you want to learn these skills and why I’m so excited to share him and his book with you.

What Will You Learn?

John has actually posted the full table of contents to his website, so I feel comfortable posting it here too:

The Reluctant Partisan, Volume One: The Guerrilla

A Comprehensive Training and Evaluation Program for Community, Tribal, and Family Security Preparedness

by “John Mosby.”

Table of Contents

  1. Cogito, Ergo Armatum Sum (I think, therefore I am armed). The introduction to the book and the reasons why I wrote it and consider the information important.

  2. Tactics are Like Assholes…Everybody has One. This chapter is a discussion of doctrinal considerations for irregular warfare and how to develop doctrine and training doctrine for your own group.

  3. Strong People are Harder to Kill….and More Useful in General. It’s not secret that I believe a sound, solid PT programming is the baseline foundation of life in general, and preparedness specifically. This chapter discusses in detail, my thoughts and beliefs on that, as well as offering a complete strength and conditioning program.

  4. Throat-Punching and Skull-Stomping, or “Put the Pointy End in the Soft Spots”…The Sho Kosugi Shit. This is a discussion on the realities of what works and doesn’t work in the context of unarmed and close-quarters combatives, in the face of people who actually want to fuck you up, versus people who are more concerned with protecting themselves.

  5. Hips and Heads, Kids! A discussion of the realities of running a rifle in modern combative environments, whether an AR15, AK, or “battle rifle.” This is not Basic Rifle Marksmanship alone, nor is it a cool-guy “carbine at pistol range” subject, but spans both…and more.

  6. Oh Shit! I’ve Been Shot! Ouch, That Hurts! Tactical Combat Casualty Care and Casualty Evacuation Care…including extended care in Austere Environments for Irregular Warfighters.

  7. Who Has the Map? Oh Damn! We’re Lost! A primer on tactical land navigation skills and training.

  8. Hide-and-Seek for Grown-Ups. Escape-and-Evasion considerations for bug-out and “get home” planning.

  9. A Chihuahua Can Kick a Great Dane’s Ass…If He Remembers that He’s a Chihuahua. A discussion of the fundamental battle drills for irregular force small-unit warfighters, and how to train them effectively.

  10. Get Off My Lawn! Defending the Homestead and Community.

  11. Nocturnal Nature Walks. Fundamental skills and application of those skills for effective security patrolling operations.


  1. Schoolyard Stuff. Copies of the Mountain Guerrilla programs-of-instruction outlines. These are the notes and plans I use to teach my classes.

  2. How Many Suitcases Did You Bring? Packing for Partisans in both rural and urban environments.

  3. Mine is WAY Cooler Than Yours! A primer on effective weapon selection and set-up.

  4. Old School. Hard School. Best School. A revised and updated version of the classic SF/Recon Tricks of the Trade

To me, the best part about this book is the way John teaches this stuff …

As you can obviously tell from the chapter names in the table of contents — John has an entertaining personality. Which is CRITICAL because I don’t know about you, but actual Military Field Manuals are the most BORING manuals in the world to read.

I find this teaching style to be much easier to learn from. And that’s important because this is a DENSE book packed full of information and every one of the 380+ pages is valuable.

I Learned a LOT From This Book (So Much, I Bought It Twice!)

As you should know by now, I have no military or law enforcement background. I’m just a “regular Joe” who decided to become a Prepared Gun Owner. That means I know next to nothing about operating in a war fighter capacity because I have no previous military training.

And the fact is that — while I’ve taken over 170+ hours of open enrollment firearms/tactical training classes — for the most part, I’ve avoided most all “cool guy” spec ops type training classes …

In fact, I had only taken one formal, 1-day, carbine training class before reading John’s book.

That’s because — as I’ve explained before — training time is limited and the Prepared Gun Owner needs to seek out training that’s most applicable to his own paradigm as an armed civilian. In other words, most of the stuff you learn from Tier-1 door kickers– like running around with your AR-15 and full “battle rattle” — is not applicable to your daily life where you’re armed with a concealed handgun.

You’re not a member of a SWAT team doing entries, you’re not a member of a direct action spec ops unit doing smash and grab black ops–you’re a civilian dude that occasionally has to go get milk from the gas station and may have to deal with a violent criminal there or you may find yourself in a public place that some terrorist decides to shoot up (with your wife and kids right next to you I might add).

That said, if you have ALREADY taken quite a few applicable and excellent concealed carry courses that teach you what you need to know to operate in your civilian concealed carrier capacity …

And you’re looking to take it to the next level …

Then THIS is the handbook you need.

John shares the entire unconventional warfare doctrine to give you the correct frame of reference for you to later take those same courses and be able to apply them in a way that works if and when the SHTF!

As far as I know you can still order the book directly through John by going to his website or by visiting the Forward Observer website.

The book is NOT cheap, but it’s worth — at a bare minimum — 10 times what you will pay for it.

For example, at the time of this article publishing, it’s going for $70 over at Forward Observer.

And I can unequivocally state it’s worth TEN TIMES that.


That’s $700 bucks which is about the lowest price you’ll ever pay to acquire a suitable fighting rifle like the AR-15 … and … if you’re wanting to be prepared, but you don’t know how to actually FIGHT with that rifle (like John shows you in chapter 5) then you wasted $700.

I like this book so much, I not only bought my own personal copy but I also bought a second as a “backup” and to support the “cause”.

The truth is that unless you happen to be super lucky and know someone personally that has served in the GWOT as a Special Forces soldier, you simply can NOT get this type of “NO STUPID, THIS IS HOW YOU DO IT!” info anywhere else.

That’s why I think it’s so incredibly valuable. And I recommend you pickup a copy of it today if you want to be a seriously prepared gun owner.

DISCLOSURE: I was not paid for this review or compensated in any way. I paid for my two personal copies of this book at full retail price. While I’ve never taken a live class from John I plan to do so in the very near future. And before publishing this review, I contacted John to make sure it was OK.

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We all love firearms. Shooting is a fun and fulfilling hobby, and the pursuit of building an extensive gun collection is part of the experience. However, not everybody can afford to build up a massive arsenal like the ones we see online.

So what’s the best course of action if you could only own three guns? You want to have a wide range of flexibility when it comes to the type of shooting you can do, but you don’t want to break the bank. What should you do?

Well, if you’re interested in having just three guns that can serve as self-defense, hunting, and sporting firearms, then there’s a video you have to see. It tells us the best three guns to own, and it tells you exactly why.

Check it out below:

What do you think? Do agree with the video’s stance?

Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

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Finding the right pistol for you is the number one factor in successful concealed carry. You can tweak your setup all you like, but if you’re not carrying the right handgun it’ll all be for naught.

Having said that, some guns are better suited to concealed carry than others. Size, weight, and ease of firing are all important things to consider, and it can be difficult to find a gun that meets all your needs.

By the same token, some guns are ideal for concealed carry. From grip to tip, they dominate the concealed carry market.

You’ve probably already got a few in mind right now.

What you don’t have in mind, however, is this awesome concealed carry handgun that practically nobody knows about.

It’s the Steyr S9-A1, and Off the Grid News just published a fantastic write-up on it. Check it out below:

One of my favorite carry pieces is a little known Austrian-made pistol: the Steyr S9-A1. On the surface it looks like a typical polymer framed, striker-fired pistol. But its utility is deeper than this.

Most people know of Steyr for their iconic AUG rifles. These futuristic bullpup rifles have been around for over three decades and represented innovations for rifle manufacture and deployment.

The S9-A1 pistol is no different.

Like the majority of polymer-framed striker-fired pistols, there are no external safeties or de-cocking mechanisms. This is not new, in and of itself. These types of pistols have proven themselves time and time again.

Where the Steyr starts to depart from the rest of the pack is in its trigger.

Wilhelm Bubits, who was the brain behind the Glock 20, developed this trigger. It is a two-piece type that is preset to a crisp-and-clean four pounds, and rearward movement is more reminiscent of a 1911 style pistol. A very short reset allows the shooter to make quicker follow-up shots.

Another key difference is the unique trapezoidal-type sights. Instead of traditional “three dots,” the Steyr S9-A1 makes use of a triangular front sight that reminds us of the reticle on our Trijicon ACOG. Diagonal lines cut into the rear sight allow the shooter to bring the sights to alignment and seem to allow the eye to capture this sight picture readily.

Some shooters have a hard time adapting to this sight picture, and that can be remedied by replacing them with traditional three-dot sights with tritium inserts.

My main reason for loving this pistol is the Steyr S9-A1’s superb-grip angle. Cut high into the frame, the shooter can easily maintain a grip which is close to the axis of the bore. I find it to be the most perfect grip design on any polymer-framed handgun, and think it needs no “grip reduction,” texturing or interchangeable back straps.

There is a short accessory rail on the frame to attach a visible white light or laser.

The magazines are masterpieces of construction, but this is one of the pistol’s shortcomings in my view. They are easily capable of holding 12 or 13 rounds, yet they are blocked off to hold only 10 rounds. They resemble circa 1994-2004 restricted capacity magazines and probably help sales in states with restrictive bans on magazine capacity, but I would like to see true factory magazines that are unrestricted.

Fortunately, magazines for the full-size M9 and L9 series will fit in the pistol, although they protrude from the bottom of the frame an inch or so.

Unlike other polymer-framed striker-fired pistols on the market, there are very few aftermarket accessories for the S9-A1. Part of the reason is that the pistols are just about perfect out of the box; the other is that it is not a well-known firearm.
The holster makers are getting better at producing holsters for the Steyr pistols, though. I went with a custom Kydex rig through L.A.G. Tactical of Reno, Nevada.

My main reason above all these for going with the Steyr is its accuracy. I regularly achieve sub-two-inch groups at distances of 50 feet with my Steyr. It replaced my H&K P7M8 for carry based on this alone.

They can be tough to find, but MSRP is less than $500, and every now and then you can find them on sale.

Caliber: 9mm

Weight: 26 ounces

Overall length: 6.7 inches

Barrel length: 3.6 inches

MSRP: $469

Had you heard of this gun before? What’s your opinion of it?

Tell us what you think in the comments.

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The firearm industry, like any other, is constantly pressing forward with new technology. Making guns more efficient, accurate, and easy to shoot is always gun manufacturers’ top priority, which is why new developments like the single-action and striker-fired pistol are around today. But is new always better?

Some shooters don’t think so, especially when it comes to single-action pistols versus handguns that use the older double-action mechanism. And they make a compelling case.

There’s something to be said for the extra safety and control a double-action pistol can provide. And the benefits don’t end there.

Watch the video below to hear the details for yourself:

What do you think? Does this give you enough reason to switch back to a double-action?

Give us your opinion in the comments.

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When we think of revolvers, we automatically start seeing images of gunmen in the wild west shooting up saloons and putting down bad guys. The revolver is a quintessential part of American gun history, and it holds a special place in our hearts.

Unfortunately, many people believe that revolvers are quickly turning into a novelty item with little potential practical use, and it’s a crying shame.

Despite the growing sentiment that revolvers should be relegated to collectors and old movies, there are plenty of good reasons to keep these guns in your regular carry rotation. Furthermore, there’s a strong argument to support the notion that these guns will NEVER be outdated like some people say.

You might be surprised to hear that, but give us a chance to tell you why.

Off the Grid News tells us more:

Revolvers are here to stay, despite the fact that they hold a limited number of rounds and are slower to reload when compared to semiautomatic handguns. Does that mean that you need a six-shooter in your handgun battery?
It depends.

For more than a century revolvers were the de facto “go-to” handgun for civilians, soldiers and peace officers. They remained in service after the introduction and adoption of the semiautomatic pistol, and their decline has only been over the past two to three decades.

Manufacturers continue to produce revolvers, and it seems that every time we try to write them off as obsolete, that a new model comes forth.

What is it about the revolver that still endears it to so many shooters?

1. Nostalgia

For many shooters, revolvers hearken back to a simpler time. Whether it is from watching Western-themed movies or police dramas set from the 1940s through the late 1980s, the revolver played a dominant role from the taming of the frontier through the end of the Reagan era.

Many new revolvers coming to market are designed for period re-enactors who need to replicate arms from the Civil War, through the Old West up through the Roaring 20s.

As a student of history, the author can certainly appreciate revolvers from this standpoint.

2. Reliability

There was a time when revolvers held the advantages of simplicity and reliability. The modern semiautomatic pistol has finally come into its own in this regard, but for many years they were denigrated as being “fussy with ammo types,” “prone to malfunction” and – heaven forbid — the “need to be maintained and cleaned.”

There is a lot to be said for any firearm that can be left loaded for long periods of time, remain reliable, have no worries about automatic ejection of spent casings before firing another round and no reliance on external safeties.

Many new semiautomatic pistols have this same advantage, but it is one thing that cannot be taken away from the revolver.

3. Concealability

Apart from the reenactor revolvers, there are two other classes of revolver that shooters want to see. The first of these are the small, compact revolvers that can easily slide into a pocket holster and be carried comfortably all day.

The J-Frame Smith & Wesson revolvers and the mini revolvers from companies such as North American Arms make for outstanding concealed carry or backup guns to a primary defensive handgun.

Some revolvers with concealed or shrouded hammers can be fired from inside a pocket; not even the best compact 380 can manage that.

4. Power

The other type of revolvers that shooters seem to want is the Magnum caliber revolver. Beyond 357 Magnum, 41 Magnum and 44 Magnum, there is an entirely new class emerging in the 454 Casull, 460 S&W and 500 S&W cartridges.

These large caliber wheel guns have all but replaced the various single shot and bolt-action pistols chambered in rifle cartridges for handgun hunting due to similar and sometimes superior ballistics — not to mention their ease of use when compared to the bolt action “mini rifle handguns.”

Semiautomatic handguns in these calibers need to be overbuilt in order to handle the pressures and the slides made much heavier.

Even with some modern auto pistol rounds (like the 10mm fired through a 6-inch Glock 40), the power factor is at the lower end of the power scale when compared to the revolver cartridge it is trying to emulate.

For a hunting handgun, the revolver is still king.

5. Simplicity

Regardless of the type of revolver, the hallmark of a wheel gun is its simplicity and shorter learning curve. We learned how to shoot on semiautomatic pistols, and when we started as an instructor we were convinced we could teach all our students the same way.

For some shooters, though, the revolver has a quicker learning curve. It may be they are distracted by ejecting brass, have difficulty with slide manipulation or are enamored by the superior grip characteristics of a classic Colt or Smith. If part of your goal is to introduce new people to the shooting sports, a spare 38 Special revolver can help a newcomer who might otherwise give up.

I simply like revolvers, for many of the reasons cited above. My Colt SAA is a piece of history at more than 115 years old, and a Colt Detective Special conceals easier in the summer months than a Glock 19. Additionally, my S&W 500 can drop an elk at 50 yards.

Now that you’ve heard the case for revolvers, what do you think? Was that enough to sell you, or are you still skeptical? Maybe you’re already a faithful revolver fan. No matter your inclination, give us your thoughts in the comments.

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Different guns have different strengths and weaknesses. That’s a given. Consequently, there will always be certain tasks that some guns are better suited to than others, and ability to perform on these tasks is often an easy way to separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to picking a gun.

In terms of survival value, for example, one rifle stands above the rest. It’s arguable the best and most versatile survival rifle ever made, and every prepper should consider owning one if they don’t already.

Can you guess which rifle we’re talking about?

Off the Grid News has the answer:

It’s got a great power-to-weight ratio both in firearm and in ammunition, great flexibility in custom loading and commercially available cartridges, tons of platforms, and an excellent supply of military surplus rounds.  It can take animals ranging from a sheep to a small grizzly without too much alteration or planning and can be used accurately out to 175+ yards for hunting and protection.  In a world where choice pretty much trumps everything else, maybe the time has come to ask the question everyone who has held a rifle has asked in their head before:

Is .308 the perfect rifle round for all-around utility and hunting?

Ask any expert which rifle caliber will give you the most versatility, and they will invariably have to settle on the .308 as the clear choice.  Taking into consideration the availability and price of ammunition, the load customization capabilities, the power and speed of the projectile, the various manufacturers who make weapons in the caliber, the terminal ballistics as a defense round, and the reliability of the guns and cartridges in this caliber, it seems the answer is clear.

No other round can compete with it on such a wide range of attributes and potential uses.  The .308 can be an excellent choice for a rifle system or rifle portfolio to be built upon.

For all the benefits of the round, you must know its limitations as well to properly use the round:

  • For aggressive and massive game where you aren’t completely comfortable making a shot, this round may not offer the proper ballistics for the job.  At close range on a grizzly bear, for example, this round can’t be considered a true one-shot kill with any specific certainty.  It will serve you better than a .223 in this situation, but it’s not going to drop a bear in a stressful situation with any guarantee.  Similarly, in longer ranges for bear hunting, it is not responsible to use the .308, as it cannot guarantee humane and clean kills on such tough animals.
  • It is overkill on smaller game like varmints (coyote, etc.) unless you are using specific light loads with higher velocity, like plastic-jacketed penetrator rounds (think .223 projectile housed in a breakaway plastic case which is the size of a .308 projectile).
  • You cannot reasonably expect a military surplus round to take out a long-range elk in the .308 caliber, as it simply doesn’t have the long range terminal ballistics to guarantee a clean kill at super long ranges.  You will need to custom build or buy rounds made for the specific scenario you expect to encounter.

You can reasonably expect to cleanly take down the following animals with a .308 (with specific load characteristics listed after the animal):

  • Varmints: Using specialty ammunition with high velocity and low grain weights and a barrel capable of sending out a flat trajectory (rifling).
  • Pronghorn or similar-sized animal: Though the size is a bit small perhaps for the normal grain weight, look for a good mix of penetration and projectile heft to avoid causing overkill.  Typically a .260 or .270 would be about ideal for this sized animal, so plan accordingly with your grain weights and powder charges.
  • White tail and mule deer: These can be easily taken with a .308, but look for a flatter shooting projectile weight and faster bullet velocity to bring the conditions as close to perfect as possible.
  • Caribou and large sheep: These should be just about right for a .308, but look for a faster, flatter round within the .308 builds.
  • Large mountain goats: These will be in the range of even good quality military surplus rounds ballistics.  Any normal .308 load should be efficient for an animal for this size.
  • Elk: Because they are a bit on the larger size, you will want to take shots from under 100 yards with heavy bullets and be precise with your placement on the animal to ensure clean kills.  The flatter and heavier, the better.  High quality loads will make the difference here.
  • Moose: Think the same as elk. Look for heavier bullets, shorter distances, and try to find a flat-shooting premium round to ensure success.
  • Black bears: These can be taken using proper tactical or heavy-penetration rounds and with good placement.  Look for closer ranges, and try to shoot the heaviest high-penetration rounds you can.  Don’t fool around with light, fast loads here; go for maximum impact and penetration of a heavy projectile.
  • Grizzly bears: Make a good responsible shot with premium ammunition that has penetration and heavy bullet weights.  The dense body and bone composition of the grizzly bear will challenge the ballistics of the .308 without proper planning.  It’s almost too much animal for this round.  It’s not responsible to try with substandard loads at long distances.  If you feel you can’t follow these guidelines, look for more gun/caliber when dealing with these animals.  You could shoot a grizzly with a .375 or a .338 and still have concerns about proper kill certainty.  These animals are tough and aggressive, so be prepared to follow up your initial shot, even with excellent ballistics.

Humans are another animal which can reasonably be taken down with a .308, but it is slightly outside the scope of this article.  Know this: The .308 is a battle-proven long-range capable and terminal caliber when used against human beings.  It has been thoroughly tested and proven on battlefields around the world in conditions far exceeding those you can reasonably be expected to take a shot in on a normal day.  It is a widely used caliber for police and military sniper activities, and should not be discounted as an anti-personnel round.

Bullet weights come in 55, 110, 130, 150,155, 160, 165, 168, 170, 175, 178, 180, 185, 190, 200, 208, 210, 220, and 225 grain for the .308, which will allow for almost unlimited tailoring to your specific situation.

Safe powder capacity stands at around 48 grains, which allows for further load customization.

Every major rifle manufacturer makes a weapon in the caliber, from bolt actions to autoloaders, and even single shot “benchrest” guns.  A huge variety of military builds are available, including the FN-FAL, the HK G3, and the M1A1/M14—all decades-old proven battle rifles.

The author’s hunting and protection weapons include the following .308’s:

  • A Custom short-action bolt-action built for 300 yard+ target shooting
  • A Remington 700
  • A Browning A-Bolt
  • A HK G3 with short barrel
  • A FN-FAL Paratrooper
  • An M1A1 from Springfield (New version)
  • An M14

All of these weapons serve different purposes and allow further customization of the round.  This caliber forms the basis of the author’s biggest weapon/caliber pairing.

If one had to pick the most versatile round for off-the-grid living, the .308 would definitely be among the top three, and it would likely take the top spot because of its amazing versatility, long-standing reputation, and the relative ease of finding ammunition and add-ons, not to mention the terminal capabilities of the round.  It is certainly worth the exploration if you are considering a new rifle this hunting season, as it can serve you outside of the hunting season as well.

What do you think? Is there any other rifle that could possibly match the survival utility of the .308?

Give us your thoughts in the comments.


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