Thursday, February 28, 2013

3 Firearms 4 Life, Part VII: More Bang For Your Buck

File Under:  With Both Barrels

Building a Battery of Arms on a tight budget.

Drool-inducing for sure, but unless you're Ted Turner you probably do not have the cash to have a collection that looks like this.  So what does one with modest finances do to stay tactically fit?

Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV  | Part V | Part VI | Part VII

It has been many moons since I have added an entry into the 3 Firearms 4 Life series (3F).  Well the drought is finally over, here at last is the long-awaited seventh installation; and, it could not come at a more opportune time.  As so frequently happens whenever a liberal/Progressive president wins an election (and especially when talk of new or increased firearms legislation arises) a panic ensues and there are massive runs on the nation's firearm dealers.  Moreover, national tragedies, natural disasters, halting economic recovery, thinning supplies of raw materials, and a massive government contract for ammunition has strained the nations supply of arms and ammunition to the breaking point.  Currently, the American firearm and ammunition industry is trying to recover from these forces and is not projected to stabilize until the end of the year or beginning of the next.

The reduction of supply has escalated demand, and increased cost across the board for firearms and ammunition.  When you can find items in stock or available for backorder, prices are 25-30% inflated versus when I began writing this series over a year ago.  In fact, pricing for notoriously inexpensive items like the WASR-10 have in some cases more than doubled.  Corporations are all about their profits, they prey upon people's concerns and fears to drive those profits ever higher.  Sadly history has shown us that inflation in the firearms industry is not subject to the forces of recovery or gravity -- when prices go up, they do not come back down.

Budget Conscious Battery of Arms

The situation is not hopeless.  Despite cost increases and ammunition shortages there are still economical options that will allow you to continue building your Battery of Arms and get prepared.  First let us examine more cost effective options for adding tools to your Battery during an economic pinch:
The Sidearm:  If you want a solid house to protect you in the longrun you need to begin with a solid foundation.  The 3F house is no exception.  If you want your Battery of Arms to serve you well, cover you in the widest breadth of situations, and not break the bank, your first purchase should be a rock solid performer.  That is exactly what the Hi-Point C-9 is, and it does not cost a mint to get your hands on one.  If you aren't convinced a firearm at this price point is a quality arm, check out this series of torture tests done by professional gunsmiths (ignore the stereotypical absurdity):
    • Hi-Point C-9 Model 916
      • MSRP:  $179.00
      • Caliber:  9x19mm NATO (Parabellum, Luger) +P
      • Magazine:  8 or 10 rounds
      • 100% American manufactured parts and assembled in Ohio.
      • Lifetime warranty
      • Savings vs. Glock 17 Gen 4:  -$476.99 [73% off]
The Shotgun:  After you lay a good foundation it is time to add the frame.  You will get (literally) the most bang for your buck out of a shotgun, as it can be used for the widest rang of applications of any modern civilian firearm.  In the American market the two premiere entries in this category are the Remington 870 and the Mossberg 500, and while not the most expensive shotguns on the market by a few hundred dollars, they are still cost prohibitive to someone with limited funds.  Thankfully there are "clones" on the market that give you similar quality without all the expensive frills.  As a bonus, many of the parts, aftermarket modifications/accessories of the original will work in the clone.

      • Savings:  -$201.21 [47% off]
Rifle / Carbine:  Now we're ready to add the walls and roof to the house.  To do that we need to increase our capacity to reach out and say 'hello.'  In the current economy getting away with a hunting rifle purchase under $600 is almost nigh unto impossible.  Almost, but not quite.  The following options have increased in price in the last year, but yet remain rock solid performers at an unbeatable price.  All you need to do is determine which one fits into your Battery of Arms philosophy and budget.
    • Mosin-Nagant M1891/30
      • MSRP:  $129.00-149.99
      • Caliber:  7.62x54mmR
      • Magazine:  5 rounds
      • Comparable to:  .308 Winchester (Remington 700, Winchester Model 70, Savage 110, Ruger M77)
      • Average savings vs. modern bolt-action rifle:  -$546.01 [76% off]
      • Average savings vs. AKM (WASR 10):  -$531.51 [78% off]
    • Mossberg 702 Plinkster
      • MSRP:  $176.00
      • Caliber:  .22 LR
      • Magazine:  10 rounds
      • Comparable to:  Ruger 10/22 Carbine
      • Savings:  -$103.00 [37% off]
    • Hi-Point 995TS
      • MSRP:  $285.00
      • Caliber:  9x19mm NATO (Parabellum, Luger) +P
      • Magazine:  10 rounds
      • 100% American manufactured parts and assembled in Ohio.
      • Lifetime warranty
What could you buy for the price of a Glock?

Glocks no doubt have a reputation for being as reliable as the rising and setting of the sun, and being easier than Sunday mornings.  Therefore it is no question why you would want to have one of the most widely available firearms in your Battery of Arms.  However, Glocks do have one major weakness:  they are more costly than paying a call girl with a personal check.  If your budget is tight, the high initial cost of ownership might slow down or halt your preparedness plans altogether while you try to save up for this purchase.  The same is true for many entries that made the list, quality is not cheap -- but can it be inexpensive?  Let's see what you could get for just the cost of one (1) Glock pistol:

Mosin-Nagant M1891/30 Rifle $149.99
H&R Pardner Pump Protector Shotgun $226.79
Hi-Point C-9 Pistol $179.00
Extra magazine for C-9
Mosin Nagant stripper clips Pack of 5 $4.99
7.62x54mmR 150-grain JSP One box of 20 $16.29
9mm 147-grain JHP One box of 50 $17.49
12 gauge 2-¾” 00 buckshot nickel-plated Two boxes of 10 $13.98
12 gauge 2-¾” 1-¼ oz buffered #6 copper-plated shot One box of 25 $18.49
12 gauge 3” 1-¼ oz hollow point rifled slug Two boxes of 5 $11.98

Glock G17 Gen 4 MSRP $655.99

As we see, with what you would have spent on one firearm purchase, you could fulfill your entire list of 3 Firearms (3F) purchases.  Moreover, not only will you be able to immediately protect yourself and hunt for food, but you you also could equip an entire group of 3 or 4 for the cost of some high end "modern sporting rifles."  In the end, you will not be winning any firearm beauty pageants, but you will have covered all your bases without breaking the bank.

Love the One You're With

What's even cheaper than the hot bargains we've seen today?  The old stand-by you inherited from grandpa you might have laying around or the occasional sweet pawn shop find.  If the above load-out still puts too much pressure on your finances, you might be able to make very good use of a second hand firearm.  Practice and education will allow you to fake it until you make it, using something traditionally less tactical in an unconventionally tactical manner.

Bullets? We don't need no stinking bullets!

As we all know we are firmly entrenched in what will be a very prolonged ammunition shortage.  It might be a costly and impractical idea to expend your usual 200 rounds per month training when ammunition is so expensive and you may not be able to replenish your stock.  How do you remain proficient without compromising your finances and preparedness?  Here are a few things you can do:
    • Dry-fire practice (Important: Snap Caps!)
    • Drawing and presentation drills
    • Room clearing drills
    • Magazine change (reloading) drills
    • Live fire exercises with a non-firearm

We have come a long way since starting this journey.  We examined how to be tactically prepared for whatever we might face everyday in the city, out in the wild, when anarchy strikes, and when zombies attack.  We learned all about building a Battery of Arms and everything you could ever want to know about ammunition.  And finally, we figured out some ways to get our firearms "house" in order on the cheap without having to take out a second mortgage.  It is time to go out, get educated, get trained, and start building.  If this political and economic crisis has told us anything, it is that preparedness for any eventuality is crucial.  We cannot afford to wait until the problem arises before you begin to solve it, because at that time it is already too late.

Is this the end of our journey together?  Preparedness is a never-ending journey.  Stay tuned for the next exciting chapter of:  3 Firearms 4 Life.

Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV  | Part V | Part VI | Part VII

"Lawyers, Guns and Money" by Warren Zevon from Excitable Boy released 1978 on Asylum

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