SHTF Guns: Interesting Take

I stumbled on this article a little while ago, and the author makes an interesting proposition in his selection of decent alternatives in the SHTF (survival) scenario, in that his list includes the Usual Suspects (AR-15, AK-47, M1 Carbine, large-caliber lever rifle), but also suggests the… semi-auto .22 rifle.

Say what?

Now I know, one should embrace the power of the word “and” with the idea, and indeed, the idea of an EBR coupled  with a .22 rifle makes all sorts of sense, but I’m not at all sure that relying on a .22 rifle alone  would be a wise thing.  Here’s Cody Griffin’s take:

The .22-caliber rimfire ammunition doesn’t deliver any kickback or recoil, but can hit targets at 100-yards with deadly precision and ease.

One of the biggest advantages of a .22-rimfire long rifle is the abundance and affordability of ammunition. This will allow you to enjoy endless days of target shooting before SHTF and the opportunity to stockpile plenty of backup rounds to have on hand when disaster strikes.

No issue with any of the above, but here’s the (unspoken) kicker:  is it better to drop a small bullet into an eyeball out to 100 yards, or to have a decent stopper with “reasonable” accuracy operating at the same range?

I myself have embraced the first scenario, only I’ve attempted to increase the oomph  somewhat by having a small-caliber rifle in .22 WinMag (rather than .22 LR) which can, and does, drop bullets into a dime-sized target all day.  (I also have a Harris bipod for it, just to assist in the process.)  Not only does the .22 WMR boolet arrive with more authority than the .22 LR’s, it nearly doubles the effective range thereof.

“But Kim,”  you wail, “what about rate of fire?  A boltie is nowhere near as quick as a semi-auto!”

Which is why I have that covered (embracing the power of “and”) by also having my little Taurus 62, with a dozen rounds of .22 LR goodness in the tube mag:

Here’s my final take on the topic, and it should be well known to all Loyal Readers by now.

The .22 rifle (of whatever action type) is not a firearm, but a household appliance like a frying pan — and its ammunition is not ammunition, but a household commodity like sugar or salt.

In short, every  home should have one, and under such circumstances, a “survival” scenario will always include both  the EBR and the rimfire options.

And as such, Cody Griffin’s list needn’t include the .22 LR rifle, for the same reason that a list of survival items needn’t include “clothing” because duh.

You all do own at least one rimfire rifle, don’t you?  One for each family member, yes?  And an elegant sufficiency* of rimfire ammunition on hand?

*over 1,000 rounds (two bricks) per gun.


  1. I have a Marlin model 60 tube feed and 3 speed loaders. The gun holds 17 LR and the speed loaders do too. The gun can be reloaded in about 15 seconds with the speed loader. The gun will deliver the ammo as fast as the trigger can be pulled with relatively no recoil. So, in about 2 minutes time I can put about 17+17+17+17 or 68 pieces of lead accurately on a target out to say 100 yds or so. Would 3 or 4 pieces of 1/4″ lead in the face discourage the average person from continuing their offensive behavior? What about the 2 buddies that are going to have to address his wounds and carry him.

    Notice if you will the american communists (Amcoms) focus on presumed negativity of guns, guns that are inanimate objects that are incapable of harming anyone. Similarly, gun people argue about which gun is better yadda yadda, with no consideration for the shooter. A good shooter can do amazing things with any type of gun and a bad shooter will do lousy with the best gun in the world.

    It’s not the gun, in either case, but the shooter.
    I have a variety of guns of various caliber, type, and use, and try to stay experienced in all of them. My 1955 Winchester model 71 in .348 doesn’t get much use because each trigger pull costs about $7 and replacements are hard to find. It was my ol gray pappy’s Pennsylvania deer rifle. My grand pappy’s 1913 Winchester model 12 in 12ga gets lots of use. That old hor will fire anything you put in the pipe.

  2. The “lowly” .22 LR, in a tube-fed semi-auto, can well serve as the poor-man’s “suppression-fire” arm, in much the same way that the giggle-switch on a troop’s M-4, or a well employed SAW or LMG plays it’s role.

    That tube fed thing is slow to load of course, until we encounter ghostsniper’s speedloader, then it’s ideal for the circumstance. Unlike a 10/22 banana mag, the tube allows for a proper hold in the prone, and is more cover/concealment friendly. Not that I’d turn down a 10/22 in any circumstance, mind you!

    A neighborhood that can turn out once such .22 shooter from every home on the block, can indeed be a well defended neighborhood. Add to this the primary Mid-Caliber carbines and MBRs, and that neighborhood might just edge into semi-fortified territory.

    Sunk New Dawn
    Galveston, TX

  3. I recently replaced my .22 H&R M-1 carbine which I have have been shooting for over 30 years with a nice little S&W AR15-22, it is kind of like an AR only a bit smaller and lighter, mine came with one 25 round magazine and I bought four more plus a ten round for prone and bench shooting. I got mine on a black Friday deal for $299 with a S&W Red/Green dot that works and a decent zipper gun case, free shipping and no sales tax and my FFL here in Texas is kind to me.

    I shoot a few hundred rounds of .22 every month with pistol and rifle and now that .22 ammo is in stock most every where any thing less than a thousand or so rounds means you are running low and the get more light is coming on.

  4. Looks like amazon cucked out and doesn’t sell the Spee-D-Loader any more so here’s a link to the website:

    If you’re so inclined you better skarf em up now cause the amcoms may condsider them assault accessories and ban them, then everybody will have to go back kyped McDonalds drink straws. Think I’ll go ahead and get 3 more.

    BTW, I made a holder for the spee-d’s out of a black nylon storage bag from one of those fold up chairs that my wife scatters all down in the woods for her “contemplation” she gets in about every day. Funny, last year an old conifer gave up the ghost and killed one of those chairs.

  5. Only 1,000 rounds per gun of .22? (I’m running numbers here…the problem being that I own a slew of high-end .22 target pistols. OTOH, I buy .22LR by the 5,000 round case)

    FWIW, I highly recommend going to the specialist target shooting suppliers, like Champion’s Choice or International Shooter’s Service, for .22 ammo. They don’t carry the cheap plinking stuff, but their prices on the mid-grade match ammo are about half what you’ll pay elsewhere.

  6. I think we’ve got it covered pretty well – the wife’s 10/22, my old Winchester model 200 lever gun, a Marlin 60 that’s so old it doesn’t have a serial number, and a Henry AR-7. In the handgun department we’ve got a Buckmark, Ruger Single Six, a Charter Arms Pathfinder in .22 mag and a Browning 1911/22 which is the most fun that you can have with your pants on. The 1911/22 was a little pricey but I’ve used it to teach people the proper 1911 automatic manual of arms before I turn them loose on a full size .45. I got burned on .22 ammunition following Sandy Hook, so I’ve tried to maintain a pretty good supply. The wife says that I have enough bricks to build a house. She’s exaggerating – I might have enough to do a one hole sh*t house but that’s about all.

    In the useless trivia department, I keep my ammunition in metal or plastic ammunition boxes with a pack of kitty litter crystals as a dessicant. The boxes are stored in a cabinet in my home office. A couple of weeks ago I pulled out some plastic 50 round boxes of CCI mini mags and shot them in my Buckmark. I got 100% function and good accuracy. The ammunition was at least 35 years old because it had a price sticker from a store that went out of business in the early 1980s. In this old man’s experience good quality .22 ammunition should last a long time if its stored in good conditions. I can’t speak to burying it.

    1. Capped PVC pipe, sealed, with some kitty litter. 4-6″ diameter and 6 feet long. With a sprinkler system for camoflauge, the sealed part should do wonders for baffling Fred the Fed. Heck, you can fit an assembled wossname, three magazines and 1000 units of fodder in there no problem…. Might even survive the boat accident.

  7. In my youthful days of hunting deer, in August (poaching), in Eastern Oregon, the .22 was essential. The sound didn’t carry nearly as far as the bigger guns. With practice is was easy to bring down a deer at 150 feet. (The light also helped.) Now, in the SHTF situation, the same need for stealth and little noise would also be essential. The comparison to a kitchen utensil is quite accurate in my mind. The gun, the knife, the frying pan———–Breakfast!

  8. Good ideas all.
    An idea that I use is a combination weapon light / laser for the primary defense weapon.
    The prices for these items are not high & they give a lot of flexibility in low light or no light.
    I suspect that miscreants meaning harm or mayhem to you and yours may want the cover of darkness to perpetrate their foul deeds.
    Tritium Night sights are a very good idea also.
    All of my personal defense handguns are fitted with either night sights or a laser or both.
    The AR has a weapon light / laser.
    The good thing about Tritium night sights is that their battery does not go dead (at least for about 12 years)
    Rotate your primary self defense ammo every year by buying new stuff & making noise with the old stuff.

  9. Kim,
    Fellow South African “Pete” over at Bayou Renaissance Man has a post today which dovetails nicely into your posting about SHTF guns.

    As for me, clearly the Ruger 9mm carbine which shares ammo & mags with my (now discontinued) SR9c is a nice combo for most localized SHTF scenarios. My scoped AR build for longer-range work is almost done – GGP to come once the build is complete. My Marlin 60 in .22lr fills the high-volume / small caliber role well. Got an extra 9mm pistol and a shit-ton of 18-round magazines. And for short range “shock and awe” I’ve got the Mosin Nagant M44. And if the bullet doesn’t kill ’em, and the fireball doesn’t light ’em on fire, I can always skewer a goblin with the integrated pig-sticker. About the only things I’m missing are a decent 1911 and a quality .357 wheel gun.

    Ghost-sniper — I already own one spee-d-15. I bought mine at (spit) Midway. I like the tool but have one gripe — the spring which holds the end-caps is a bit tight. I should pick up at least one more, especially given Kim’s previous post about IL senate bill SB0107. Those feckless bastards in Springfield would certainly try to ban the loader.

  10. I remember a quote from one of the “survivalist” magazines that flooded the market in the early 80’s to the effect of “after the apocalypse, a single shot .22 with the proper combination of tactics, marksmanship and ruthlessness can get you any type of gun you want”.

  11. I read once about a poor sod who had to shoot a Cape Buffalo with a 7mm Rem. Mag. He dropped it and survived. However, I would not call the 7mm Rem. Mag. a Cape Buffalo killer. Nor would I generally call the .22 a manstopper. Everything is, unfortunately, conditional, with pros and cons. Gotta weigh it out and make your call.

  12. Several take-aways from the read; “a good shooter can do amazing things with any type of gun”. Brings to mind the importance of range time and “it ain’t the dog in the fight but the fight in the dog”. Second thing is that any .22 rifle and ammo should be viewed respectively as household appliances and commodities.

    Comment about “Bolties” slow rate of fire reminds of a pre-WWI Royal Army rifle qualification exercise, the Mad Minute. Mad Minute required a rifleman using the Lee–Enfield service rifle to send 15 rounds 300 yards downrange at a 12”x12” aiming point within a 4’x4’ target. It will be argued which is better; accuracy of fire or volume of fire? Volume of fire surely has it’s merit but end of the day, “you cain’t hurt them if you cain’t hit them!

    Perhaps “Calle Ocho” urban legend, but anecdotal reports cite a few Brigado 2506 troops going ashore at Bay of Pigs armed with Remington Nylon-66’s. No question most were armed with conventional light-infantry weapons, but sometimes you have to work with what you got. At least until you can upgrade from enemy stocks no longer in use.

    Off topic more than a bit, Richard’s comment about an analogy brought the following to mind. “Second to the muskets used in our revolutionary and civil wars, the AR-15 may be the most important firearm in American political history.” And no, I’m not a particular fan of the AR platform.

  13. 2k 22lr ammo???

    you’re dead on accurate that a 22lr rifle should be viewed as a household appliance rather than a firearm and the ammo is like milk butter eggs.

    I always stick a 22 in my range bag. I don’t think you can have a bad time with a 22lr rifle with good ammo.


  14. Several of us, old Air Force buddies, were arguing this very subject (on Skype) late one night several months ago when one asked,
    “We’re all 70+.
    You’re not sure if it was the door busting in or the alarm going off that woke you up, but you’re not gonna spend any time hunting around for your glasses (or your ear plugs).
    After assuring and acquiring your target, just how far do you think that choir boy’s going to be, when you pull the trigger, 15 yards?
    That’s why my o/u lies on the floor next to my bed loaded with #1 buck (about 20 pellets of .30 caliber or so).
    And if he brought an alto along for harmony – well if he’s not, he will be.”

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