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|White76Knight's Survival Gear||White76Knight's Weapons (You Are Here)|
|White76Knight's Notes: |
All information contained upon this page, as it pertains to Survival Gear, can be coded by section. Unmarked text will be items that I actually own, and when applicable, items marked by red asterisks will represent items that I would like to own (this is not just a fantasy wish list, every item so marked is an item that I actually plan to acquire as priorities and resources permit). Should there be categories in which I do not currently own any items, I will add the Wish List items only, but these will be marked as noted above.
While the following sections had originally been posted on my Profile and Survival Plan pages, I decided that the information would be more at home on this page, so I have relocated them. There is almost nothing in the following descriptions that I have yet acquired, but these descriptions are representative of what I am hoping my loadout will look like once it has been fully assembled.
For Survival Gear other than weapons and combat related equipment, please see my Survival Gear page.
Battling the Undead (Real World):Weapons I Actually Own or Have Access To: I admit that I do not currently own a single firearm. If it came down to it, though, I do have two Kukris and a wakizashi that I would use to defend myself, and also a set of three European hand-and-a-half swords in addition to these. The latter were only intended for use as training swords, and thus were made without any sharpened edges, but being made out of good steel bar stock (one of them was made from leaf spring for strength and flexibility), they'd all make fine blunt weapons, rather like steel bokken. See below for why blunt weapons would probably be a better choice anyway. These particular swords, though, are all rather poorly balanced, thus they should be quite tiring to wield for any long period of time. These will still be better than nothing, though, should push come to shove and shove come to bite. The best weapon that I actually own is probably the Irish Blackthorn Shillelagh from Cold Steel.
My father has a Lee Enfield .303 bolt action rifle, a .30-30 lever action rifle and a Ruger .22LR pistol. He also usually has a couple other hunting rifles around that belong to out-of-province buddies (who often store them at his house for use during hunting season). He usually has about 20 rounds on hand for the Enfield, and 40 rounds each for the .30-30 and the Ruger, but I have no idea how much ammunition he has available for any of his buddies rifles. If I were able to get home to them before things get too terrible, I'd bring those weapons as well (and my parents too while I was at it, LOL). All these weapons are likely much too far away for me to access, though, now that we've moved into our new place which is around 500 miles (including one 8hr ferry ride) away from my home town, where my family still lives. Whether or not I'll still be able to reach my family or these weapons would depend on how much advance warning we get before the SHTF. Man, I really gotta get me some guns.
Battling the Undead (Wish List):What are my weapons of choice? These are my dream weapons, and I freely confess that I don't own any of them, but given opportunity (and pending Canadian legal status of these individual items that follow) these are the weapons that I am currently trying to acquire.
(Legal Note: I will open this section by stating that ammunition capacity is legally limited here in Canada, with the maximum being 5 rounds for rifles and 10 being the maximum for handguns. We can still legally acquire higher capacity magazines up here, but before such mags can legally be imported into the country for civilian ownership, they first have to be altered to restrict their capacities to the required limits, so the only choice for those who desire high capacity firepower is to acquire magazines that have been thus altered in the hope of being able to remove the alterations After the SHTF to allow full capacity use. Bearing this annoying legality in mind, whenever I say on this page that any given weapon has this or that capacity, I am speaking in terms of the After the SHTF capacity when the alterations have been removed.)
Long Range: I had originally wanted to have an FN SCAR-H or HK417 (.308) with the 20" Long Barrel upper receivers, or any semi-automatic only (better ammo conservation) civilian versions of either rifle (to whit, the SCAR 17S and the HK MR762 respectively). As both of these are military grade weapons (and relatively new ones at that), I highly doubt that I would be able to get my hands on either.
I have set my sights, if you will pardon the pun, on the AR10 platform (also in .308) which is far more readily available (but somewhat expensive). I'll start with an AR10 Carbine style lower assembly. I have chosen the Carbine assembly over the Rifle assembly as it includes a collapsible stock, useful in shortening the weapon for ease of getting in and out of a vehicle and also for adjusting the length of pull to accommodate any extra thickness of heavy clothing, body armor or tactical vests. AR platforms are available from several different manufacturers, such as Sig Sauer, makers of the Sig 716 Patrol Rifle, as seen below. I had originally wanted the R308 from POF, but the Sig 716 has pretty much all of the same benefits while being almost a thousand dollars cheaper. The Sig 716 is a good choice, as it has a short stroke pushrod operating system, similar to the gas piston of the R308, rather than a Direct Gas Impingement operating system as is commonly seen in most other AR type platforms. While the DGI systems are a little less expensive, the Gas Piston or Pushrod systems are preferable, in my opinion, as they are both easier to maintain and more reliable when used in less than ideal conditions. As they also run cooler than the DGI systems, they tend to inflict less wear on the working mechanisms, thereby leading to a longer service life before its individual components would need to be repaired or replaced. As spare parts may well be precious or hard to obtain after the SHTF, anything that extends service life is probably a "Good Thing".
Ideally, I'd like a custom barrel for the upper receiver, 22" or greater, with a removable muzzle brake so it will be able to safely fire the sub-caliber sabot rounds as described in the paragraph below. This 716 rifle shown here only has a 16" barrel, and the webpage doesn't mention a removable brake (which will also be required if I want to use one of those telescoping silencers that fit over the barrel), but as I am planning on having the barrel customized for length anyway, I figure they can thread the muzzle while they are at it. The suppressor would be good to have but, as all silencers are illegal here in Canada, it may have to be something that I jury rigged together on my own After the SHTF.
This LB receiver should be equipped with a decent long range scope (plus the BORS Unit from Barrett while I'm dreaming), all in addition to the Flip-Up Iron Sights, and it should use the standard 20 round mags. Aside from a supply of .308 FMJ rounds (and probably also a supply of JHP for hunting purposes), I would also try to lay in a supply of sub-caliber .224 sabot rounds, seen on this website, originally intended for hunting small game at long range. This website says that it is unsafe to fire such rounds from any rifle that is equipped with a Muzzle Brake, which is why I mentioned above that a removable muzzle brake would be necessary. Aside from the small game hunting applications, I am unsure whether the sub-caliber sabot rounds seen on the site linked above would be capable of penetrating a Zombie's skull, but I fail to see any reason why they wouldn't.
Upon comparing velocities of standard 5.56mm rounds, which will penetrate a skull just fine, to the velocities that can be expected from a .224 bullet when fired from a .308 sabot, at least one other poster on this forum agrees with my assessment.
(Addendum: I have also been looking into bullets manufactured by GS Custom Solids from South Africa. The company only sells bullets, not full cartridges, so they'd have to be hand loaded, which isn't insurmountable. What GSCS makes is monolithic bullets out of solid copper, designed to bring down the biggest and baddest game animals, such as charging rhinos and bull elephants and critters of that sort.
Since copper is lighter than lead, any bullets of equal length and therefore equal ballistic coefficient will weigh far less than their traditional lead counterparts. Because of this, and also due to some features of the bullet shape itself, their bullets get much, MUCH higher velocities with the same chamber pressures. This will make for longer ranges, flatter trajectories and decreased flight times, which in turn leads to decreased wind drift.
Now I was originally thinking of using their standard bullet, which is the high velocity hollow point, in .308 for long range hunting, but they also make flat nose dangerous game bullets, and spitzer point tactical or match grade bullets. You can see the spitzer ones here.
If one were to load the GSCS Spitzer bullets into the previously discussed .30 cal sabots, one would likely achieve full .308 velocity (in fact, probably significantly higher than normal .308 velocity, in this case) out of a solid copper .223 spitzer. Given that the solid copper bullets will experience little or no mushrooming, expansion or other deformation upon impact, I'd be inclined to think that one of these solid copper .223 spitzer traveling at such velocities could make for decent anti-armor rounds, just in case a few raiders who were wearing 'bulletproof vests' came calling.)
Mid Range: One of the principle reasons why I chose the AR-10 Platform over any number of other perfectly good rifles out there is because it has a modular capability. The user can readily swap in different grips, fore ends, shoulder stocks and so on, customizing the weapon both to suit the individual user and to suit the role for which it is to be used. Just about any long barreled rifle chambered in the .308 round could be useful for shooting at long distances, but the very same configuration that makes it suitable for that role would likewise make it unsuitable for close quarters combat in the urban environment. Rather than carrying the extra weight and bulk of a second weapon for this purpose, the use of this AR-10 will allow you to simply remove the long barreled upper receiver and replace it with a short barreled upper receiver more suited to the task.
As nothing changes but the barrel and the upper receiver assembly, both configurations would still make use of the same .308 round and the same magazines, making it unnecessary to carry yet another supply of mags and ammo as would likely also be required if I were to simply carry a second weapon entirely.
The Sig 716 rifle noted above is available with a 12.5" barrel in the CQB upper assembly. This version, seen in the first photo below right, can be equipped with dual function short range / mid range optic sights such as the Trijicon ACOG/RMR (with built in back up tritium iron sights) and also a tac light/laser combo. I'm unsure whether Beta C-Mags are compatible with the 716 rifles, but I've also discovered a 50 round alternative from Allied Armament as well, so hopefully one or the other should work. Now high capacity mags such as these are entirely illegal in Canada but, if I were ever able to get my hands on them I'd still like to get one or two of these as well, in case I happen to get besieged by any larger horded of walking dead, while still carrying my standard 20 round mags for day to day use. I would think that the drums would be too cumbersome to carry around most of the time, given the hoped for infrequent need of its use, so I'd probably just leave it behind in a more secure position anyway, like a Fortified BOL, where it will sit politely on a shelf until needed.
This CQB receiver should be equipped with some type of mag fed under-barrel shotgun, such as an M-26 MASS, as seen in the second image on the right, or maybe a sawed-off jury rigged equivalent thereof. The inclusion of a 12ga shotgun provides for some additional capabilities (such as hunting small game with bird shot, breaching doors using special slugs, increased short-range lethality with buckshot, and less-lethal capability using teargas shells, rubber slugs or shot and the like. A variety of 12ga loads for these and many other purposes may be found here). Using an under-barrel model will do these same things, but without increasing the overall number of weapons that will otherwise have to be individually carried. Plus, if a fellow hit the right odds (like winning the lottery on the same day that he gets hit twice by lightning odds) he could even stumble onto some Frag-12 (PDF) shells, and thereby the shotgun could serve as a light Anti-Armor weapon.
I know, it would never really happen, but a fellow is still allowed to dream, ain't he?
Some cut down variant of the highly lauded Saiga-12, would likely make a decent jury rigged equivalent, with the right mods. (Addendum: As it turns out, Red Jacket Firearms in Baton Rouge, LA had the same idea and already makes an underbarrel version of the Saiga-12, shown here). However, as a Saiga or any variant if it would be unavailable (prohibited) in Canada, then any other common pump action or semi-auto shotgun can be substituted, with the resultant amalgam being similar to the Master Key System, based on the Remington Model 870 shotgun.
Simply get a removable stock or pistol grip version and replace the sights, as needed, with a picatinny rail so it can be properly mounted. Have its barrel shortened to 8" and retreaded and I'd have my own 12ga shotgun goodness, right at my fingertips. I'd keep a standard set of rail mounted iron sights somewhere on my person so I can dismount it, put on the sights, reattach the stock and use it as a short barrel stand-alone weapon.
(Addendum: It recently came to my attention that there are a few Chinese variants of the well known Rem 870. One such copy is called the Dominion Arms Grizzly, which is exported by Norinco, and there is even a magazine fed variant that is available for their export market. Shown here is a version of the Master Key system that I did up in Photoshop using the Grizzly. As it is based on an American made design, I have been given to understand that most of the spare parts and accessories marketed at other Rem 870 shotguns are also interchangeable with those of the Chinese variant, so future availability of replacement components shouldn't be a big deal). In any event, the under-barrel shotgun, of whatever model, should also be equipped with one of these commercially available adjustable hunting chokes to make up for the reduced barrel length when firing buckshot rounds.
UPDATE: I had long believed that the minimum legal barrel length for Rifles and Shotguns up here in Canada was 18", but as fortune should have it, I was wrong. See Here for further details. Anyway...
Short Range: As an alternative to a pistol; I'd like any pistol shaped submachine gun that has a 20-30 round magazine (ie - the Walther MPL/MPK, FAMAE S.A.F., Interdynamic KG-9 or Franchi LF-57, etc). Many folks stress the importance of sidearms chambered in a round that has "stopping power". If the films and literature are to be believed, stopping power may prove unnecessary, as any bullet that can generate sufficient energy to penetrate the skull will be enough to end the immediate threat, which means that a sidearm chambered in 9mm, or even the .38 Spec or other small rounds, could do the job just as well as a deadlier .45 ACP round.
Furthermore, again according to the literature and movies, Zombies tend to present themselves in larger hordes, with the commotion of engaging even a few often attracting the unwanted attentions of still others. To my mind, therefore, ammunition capacity(*) may well prove to be a far more important factor than stopping power alone.
* Note: Again, 10 rounds is the maximum legal magazine capacity for a handgun here in Canada, but if the current political leaders endeavor to abolish Bill C-68 (which is the legislation regarding magazine capacities and barrel length and so forth), as they hopefully will eventually, then a full capacity magazine, or at least higher-capacity-than-we-can-get-now magazines, might become available in the future. Here's hoping! In any event, as mentioned before, we can still legally acquire higher capacity magazines up here, as long as they have been altered to restrict their capacities to our legal limits, and then we should only need to remove the alterations After the SHTF to allow full capacity use.
I had originally thought that either of the above SMG type weapons should serve my intentions just fine, but it was pointed out to me that an MPL (originally my top choice) weighs over six pounds UNLOADED, with most of the others all weighing about the same, rather much for a sidearm. The KG-9 is the exception, weighing in at under 3 lbs empty, but these are prohibited in Canada. The Russian PP-90M1 SMG, a descendant of the old PP-19 Bizon, also of Soviet origin, weighsunder 4 lbs unloaded which is still too heavy for a sidearm, but better anyway. Some further digging has led me to another alternative, however, so please read on.
I have been doing a little bit of research into the .22WMR round, and have find myself leaning more and more towards the conclusion that, while the .22LR might be somewhat anemic and underpowered for this purpose, the .22WMR (also known as the .22 Magnum) just might have enough guts to do the job. Even out of a ONE AND ONE EIGHTH INCH BARREL, this round is capable of penetrating ten to twelve inches of ballistic gel. Now, I wouldn't use this round in my primary weapon, but in a sidearm used at typical pistol distances it looks, to my mind, like more than enough to get the job done.
If I decide to stick with the .22WMR rounds, my sidearm of choice may be a Kel Tec RMR-30, as seen to the right. I had originally had my eye on the PLR-22 from the same manufacturers, but as that weapon is currently offered only in the .22LR, I'd have to bring it to a gunsmith to have it re-chambered for the .22WMR at added cost. This PMR-30 as seen here, though, comes in the .22WMR straight out of the box, and aesthetically speaking, it seems to be Kel Tec's reply to the H&K MP7. Current trial models have a 16" barrel, but once they have gone to full production other lengths will likely be available. I would like to get one that uses a 6"-10" barrel (like the Photoshopped version pictured here to the right), and at this length, it would be able to achieve even better performance with the .22 WMR rounds than the short barreled pistol that was mentioned above.
The PMR-30 pistol, upon which the RMR-30's are based weighs in at less than a pound unloaded, and given Kel Tec's proclivity toward having their weapons made almost entirely from lightweight polymers, it turns out that an RMR-30 will weigh around 4-1/4 lbs fully loaded, with a 16" barrel, slightly less if they offer one with a shorter barrel., Further, as the .22WMR rounds are much smaller and lighter than 9mm rounds, they will also save even more weight, both with the fully loaded 30 round magazine (6 oz) in place, and by allowing one to carry a much larger supply of extra ammunition for the same weight.
Using the RMR-30 as a sidearm has a further advantage, in that it has a railed fore-end, allowing for an easy task in incorporating Tritium night sights and a tac light/laser combo like this, with which I prefer my sidearm to be equipped. And as it was originally intended to be a carbine, it has a collapsible buttstock (unlike almost any pistol), which increases accuracy if firing at small game or other targets a bit further away. While most of my original SMG style choices are select fire or full auto only, any civilian legal version will be semiautomatic only, which is better for this purpose anyway, as it both improves accuracy and conserves ammunition. This sidearm will be loaded with something like Critical Defense Ammo from Hornady. If I could get a silencer for the weapon (again, silencers are illegal in Canada) then even better. A short barreled RMR-30 could even be worn in a standard Drop-Leg Holster, as many holster designs (including the one linked here) are open at the bottom end, allowing the longer frame to pass through the holster from the inside.
Now given that either of these firearms (solely because of their shape) are probably ENTIRELY illegal here in Canada, I will more likely have to settle for a sidearm of a more conventional design. Should this prove to be the case, I will settle for a high capacity .22WMR pistol like the Kel-Tec PMR-30 (though I personally find it to be intolerably ugly). If a 9mm round is chosen, I will try to acquire a Glock 17 or 34.
As stated earlier on this page, ammunition capacity is legally limited here in Canada, with 5 rounds being the maximum for the rifle and 10 being the maximum for the handgun. We can still legally acquire high capacity magazines up here, though they first have to be altered to restrict their capacities to these legal limits, so the only choice for those who desire high capacity firepower is to acquire magazines that have been thus altered in the hope of being able to remove any such alteration After the SHTF to allow full capacity use. There is a slight legal loophole, though. If you have any rifle or carbine that will accept pistol magazines, you are legally allowed to use your 10 round pistol mag in it. Sadly, the RMR-30 that I want is something of a legal oddity in this regard. By Canadian law, rimfire rounds such as the .22LR or the .22WMR are typically exempt from the rifle bit of this regulation. Ten rounds is still the maximum capacity for a rimfire handgun, but rimfire rifles and carbines are not bound by the same limitation. An RMR-30, though, is exempt from the exemption. LOL
Normally the PMR-30 pistol would have to be reduced to ten rounds but, being a rimfire carbine, the RMR-30 could have its full thirty round capacity mags unaltered. Given that the PMR-30 and the RMR-30 magazines will be interchangeable, however, ALL mags for these weapons will have to be capped at 10 rounds, because while it would be perfectly okay for me to put a 10 round pistol mag in any other carbine that should normally be restricted to 5, it would NOT be equally okay to put a 30 round carbine magazines in a pistol that is legally restricted to 10 rounds. That particular legal loophole is evidently only allowed to work in one direction, from pistol to rifle, but not the other way around. So even if I get the RMR-30 carbine, I will only be allowed to own the 30 round mags that have been capped to 10. Again, however, I may still hope to remove such alterations After the SHTF to allow full capacity use).
Short Range (Back Up): Some compact or subcompact pistol like a Glock 19 or 26, or a Taurus 905, or even a derringer. This Back Up pistol will be chambered in the same round as my sidearm, for ammo commonality with that weapon to reduce logistical concerns. My back up pistol will not need any special optics or anything fancy, Tritium sights at most, as it is only intended to be my emergency "Get the Hell Off Me" pistol for use if some reeking Zed has crept up on me without me noticing, and is already standing right in my shorts. If used at distances like these, optics are not an issue. With this purpose in mind, in spite of the lesser capacity, I am leaning toward either the Taurus or the Derringer because they aren't likely to jam or mis-feed the way that a semiautomatic might, which is something that you definitely DO NOT want in a backup pistol that will only be used when a Zed is already within chewing distance.
This is another area where a .22WMR round shall add some measure of advantage. The Taurus 905 weighs about 22 oz unloaded. A derringer is somewhat lighter at 14 oz, but only has a two shot capacity. The NAA Revolver called the Mini Master in .22WMR, as pictured here on the left, weighs in at just 10.7 OUNCES, with five round capacity. NAA also builds some even smaller and lighter revolvers, but the Mini Master is also offered with a 4-1/4 inch barrel, which is just slightly over the minimum barrel length that is legal here in Canada (though after The Fall, I'd waste no time in cutting the barrel back to about 2 inches). Again, if our current political leaders go after the Bill C-68 legislation, and shorter barreled handguns are thereafter made legal in Canada, then an NAA Black Widow revolver would soon become my back-up pistol of choice. In any case, while optics would probably not be an issue at the distances that such a pistol would likely be used, an Integrated Laser from Laserlyte (which is compatible with both the Mini Master AND the Black Widow) might be a cool addition that would get you a couple yards of standoff distance without adding more additional bulk to the weapon.
These NAA Mini Revolvers can offer another advantage as well, in that they have interchangeable cylinders available, chambered in a more common .22LR round. This both makes the revolver useful in hunting small game and should also keep it fed in case .22WMR rounds become unavailable. I have also read reviews to the effect that none of the NAA Mini Revolver models are particularly accurate, but as the gun is only meant for use at immediate physical contact distances anyway, accuracy shouldn't matter overmuch.
If whatever back up pistol I eventually end up with proves to be small enough, it can be carried in one of the gimmicky spring loaded Quick Draw Rigs strapped onto my forearm like the ones used by Antonio Banderas in the movie Desperado and by Robert De Niro in the movie Taxi Driver (I have no idea where to get one of these things, as they would be entirely illegal in Canada, and quite likely everywhere else for that matter, but for After the Fall, it could easily be made from scratch... I did a trial run with a replica pistol, and it seemed to work just fine.)
Explosive/Incendiary Ordnance: While real military grenades and explosives would be as rare as fresh Unicorn Sh!t After the Fall, small scale improvised explosives might still be possible. Simple fragmentation grenades and flashbangs all fall well within the realms of possibility, provided one has access to the proper materials and knowledge of the proper way of assembling them (Again, it is probably best not to share any of the actual details here, but suffice it to say that the Anarchist's Cookbook or other similarly worthless crap notwithstanding, there ARE actually various commonly available substances that can be made to go *boom* under the right circumstances).
Max Brooks wrote in the pages of his book, the Zombie Survival Guide, "What would be better than hurling a hand grenade at a mass of approaching zombies? Actually, almost anything. An anti-personnel explosive kills mainly by shrapnel, metal shards tearing through vital organs. As this won't affect zombies, and as the chances of shrapnel penetrating the skull is slim, grenades, bombs and other explosive tools are inefficient weapons."
This, in my opinion, is total nonsense. As I posted in This Thread, "I have seen this argument before, and to be honest, the logic of it eludes me. Why on earth would a fragmentation grenade NOT kill a zombie? All of that shrapnel flies out pretty much in all directions, doesn't it? So as long as some of the shrapnel struck the zombie in the head, which at least some of it almost certainly would, it should be job done, son."
A few of the replies made to my post were as follows, "I am pretty damn sure that grenade shrapnel can and has found its way inside of brain pans... And, zombies would not know to run, so you'll have a lot less issues with over/under throwing a moving target (unless they're ragers)."
And, "Explosive overpressure causes just as much damage to the brain as it does to everything else, so any zombies within the kill radius will either die or be rendered completely useless."
There was also, "I believe the shock-waves would actually cause damage. It will cause major damage to the persons bones rendering the zombie easily able to be killed simply by using something like say a spear, plus if they are close enough their brains will be turned to mush simply by the blast radius alone."
Perhaps Max Brooks believes that grenade shrapnel can't generate enough force to penetrate a skull. I shall freely admit that I don't know much about grenades, other that what I've seen in the movies, but I'd still find it difficult to believe that the shrapnel from a REAL grenade, even the improvised ones, would be incapable of scrambling a zombies egg. I figure that even when such shrapnel fails to kill a zombie outright, the damage done to flesh and bone would still incapacitate them for long enough that one could either escape or finish it off. Such improvised explosives, although built to a significantly larger scale, may also be used in defense of my BOL, described in greater detail in Fortifying The Castle.
Hand to Hand: I don't like the idea of getting that close to a Zed, but for those occasions when you're out of ammo, or just don't have time to reload, some utility tool that can double as a weapon, or vice versa, will be my choice. I prefer any blunt instrument over a cutting weapon like a machete or the (ugh) Katana, for fear that cutting weapons may get stuck in flesh or bone at the worst possible time, leaving me defenseless just when I needed it most. Besides, most people don't have the right training to use a Katana as an unbeatable uber-implement-of-doom like some people think it is anyway, I certainly don't.
The most readily available blunt weapon may be a crowbar, but that could also get a little heavy. Better could be a medieval style war hammer (can also be used like an ordinary hammer in a pinch for building, breaking windows or whatever, and some models have a spike or claw at the rear that could also be used for prying if required) or the Riflemans Tomahawk from Cold Steel which has a hammerhead on the back (can do all the above plus chop too).
Once all has been said and done, I figure my best bet may be a Riggers Framing Axe as seen on the left. It has many of the same features that are found in most Tomahawks, but it is a few ounces lighter and a few inches shorter (its reduced reach as a weapon will be offset somewhat by the fact that it is less unwieldy for use as a camp tool, and since I'm not planning to take on the Zeds hand to hand at all, if I can by any means avoid it, a Riggers Axe is more likely to be used as a camp tool anyway.) The tool has an additional advantage over the tomahawks as well, in that several models come with a full steel handle. I find myself a bit torn here, however: the wooden handles might well be easier to replace if they break, but steel handles should be much less likely to break to begin with. Pictured above is a Riggers Framing Axe made by Estwing.
As mentioned on my Survival Gear page, should I happen to find myself living or working anyplace that does not permit daily carrying of weaponry, I would also take along my Blackthorn Shillelagh from Cold Steel.
I also own a couple of kukri knives (one of these was hand forged) so I guess I might also bring one of them along as my back up melee weapon, or just for day to day use as a camp knife. Seen here is a generic kukri pic from the internet (the knife in this photo is just a cheap a$$ P.O.S., but I'm using the picture because I've got no pics of the knife I actually own.)
Although hollow handled knives are usually worthless, being cobbled together affairs that are likely to come apart just when you need them most, there are a few exceptions to be considered:
Although monolithic One-Piece Hollow Handle knives, available from both Schrade and Chris Reeve Knives, are no longer produced, and neither of them made kukris to begin with, my ideal camp knife would be a custom kukri made in the same manner. Proper hollow handled knives, as described in the Reeve link, should have blade and handle milled together from one solid billet of quality steel, thus omitting the weak points traditionally found in hollow handled knives where the two are usually joined. If such a knife also included a gut hook and saw teeth that were milled into its back edge, as shown above, along with a hole located near the tip to be used with a wire cutter sheath, as is seen on the M9 bayonet, it would kick wholesale a$$. You can click on the image above to see an Adobe Photoshopped design that I did for such a kukri; this one was basically a souped up version of a far simpler knife design that I made as an exemplar during the Survival Knife Design Competition thread hosted by Braydonn.
The M40 Wilderness Survival Website shows a way to upgrade both the sheath and the Kukri itself (starting with any generic Indian-made Ghurka Kukri) to improve on this already perfectly serviceable field knife. M40 has also added a belt-pouch sized survival kit that straps onto the sheath, which is described here. Although this kit would also contain duplicates of many of the items that I should already be carrying elsewhere in my Bug Out Gear, I happen to be a big fan of redundancy; the old "Don't Put All Your Eggs In One Basket" idea has always made sense to me.
Other Weapons: In case the Z-Poc lasted long enough before civilization can rebuild that all of the ammo is gone (although, personally, I more agree with posters on this forum who think that this is highly unlikely, if not outright impossible) I would try to acquire a crossbow as a backup weapon, like this one or, better yet, an add on PSE TAC 10 module such as the one pictured below, which was designed to fit upon the lower receiver of an AR10 rifle (such as the Sig 716) in place of a standard upper receiver assembly.
While I'm sure it's excellent for hunting, I would be wary of using any compound crossbow during a survival situation, however, as I would fear that this complex system of cams would only end up being one more thing that could fail just when it is needed most.
Given this, and given also that the PSE company website explicitly says that, "only PSE TAC 10 arrows should be used in a TAC 10 crossbow. The use of other arrows could result in serious injuries, and will also void the warranty of your PSE TAC 10 crossbow", I think that a more common recurve crossbow may still be better. That implied danger might just be a marketing scheme to compel their customers to only buy PSE arrows, but we should err to the side of caution (though perhaps one of the PSE Tac 10's can be cannibalized for its working mechanism, and the compound bow arms thereafter replaced with a recurve prod from any simpler recurve crossbow). If this crossbow was for some reason unavailable, then perhaps a hunting bow could also do the job.
In any case, trying to get my hands on one of these before the SHTF is probably the better idea, but for now everything else that I've mentioned will assume a higher financial priority (Y'know, all of those silly things like vehicles, weapons and food stockpiles that we love to spend so much of our time talking about). If I prove to have financial difficulties in acquiring a proper crossbow BEFORE the Fall, one can be made quite simply by following the instructions outlined in this series of Youtube Videos.
Actually, crossbows may be good to have around even if one does have access to regular firearms, because you can silently hunt even the largest of game, at least here in North America where we don't see elephants and rhinos and the like, without drawing undue attention to yourself with the noise of a gunshot. Even if rifles are equipped with suppressors, they still aren't all that quiet (unless you use subsonic ammunition, at which point you have likely wasted most of the range advantage gained using rifles in the first place). Besides, any crossbow powerful enough to take down large game is probably also powerful enough to pierce the skulls of any unwanted Zombie that happen by, so quietly putting down a solitary Zed (or lone raider) from a distance might be possible as well.
Back Ups for Scrounging: A pair of Blackhawk Convertibles by Ruger (pretty much last on all my firearms-to-buy priority lists) have gotten my attention of late as great "just in case" guns. As described above, my eventual load-out will hopefully include a .308win rifle, a 12ga shotgun, a sidearm/carbine that eats .22wmr, and a mini-revolver that can be converted take either .22wmr or .22lr rounds. These weapons were chosen precisely so that, in the event that my entire supply of ammunition were exhausted and I had to scavenge to get more, the .308, 12ga and .22 (all of them being VERY common rounds) will hopefully be rather easy to find. Should this not be the case, though, it might also be a good idea to have a Plan B in mind. While there's not much I can do about backup rifles and shotguns, Convertible Blackhawks instantly give the ability to use the span of 9mm, .357mag/.38spec, .45LC and .45ACP rounds, with 9mm or .45ACP in particular being just about the most common handgun cartridges out there. That's five different rounds from two guns, aside from what I will be carrying in my own load out, so even if I didn't carry any ammo for them, the inclusion of these two pistols, packed neatly in the bottom of my Bug Out Bag, make it far more likely that I will actually be able to get some use out of any mismatched handgun rounds that I find, which might be the only rounds available After the SHTF.
You need to reload that thing? Got a plan for that? Should I ever acquire the weapons that I want (or any other firearms for that matter) I will stockpile as much ammo as I'm able to get my hands on (insofar as legal status and financial ability permit) and I will also acquire and learn to use any and all equipment and supplies needed to reload all that ammunition (again insofar as legal status and finances allow) as many times as it is safe to do so. Though given that the .22mag used in my sidearm and back up pistol is a rimfire round, which cannot be reloaded, a large stockpile of that particular round may be the order of the day. As both the .22LR and the .22mag are relatively cheap, and take up relatively little space (even when gathered in fairly sizable quantities), such a stockpile shouldn't be very difficult a task to accomplish. Besides, both rounds (especially the .22LR) should have excellent trade value After the SHTF as well.
This, of course, assumes that I am Bugging In. If I am on the move, I'll just bring along as much of my ammo stockpile as I can, given the limitations of my mode of travel.
The crossbows are invaluable when no other ammunition is available precisely because most of the supplies used for its operation can be manufactured or improvised by survivors with no need of a modern commercial factory. The bow or crossbow can be reloaded with readily available components, as long as we take care to learn the proper skills in advance. Traditional arrows could be made of wood, with arrowheads crafted out of chipped stone (the old school method) or any sharpened piece of scrap metal (the prison shiv method). The fletchings might also be improvised from feathers, plastic, leather or several other common materials. These wooden arrows might not be strong enough to withstand being fired from the more powerful modern bows or crossbows; for such a weapon, the arrows can be made with the same technique, but with fiberglass rods or aluminum tubing instead of wooden shafts. Both the above materials might be available to be scavenged out of almost any hardware store, as they should have limited appeal to the 'Panic' Buyers (even the collapsible poles from a nylon dome tent should work in a pinch, particularly for crossbow bolts which are often shorter than arrows). Such makeshift arrows and bolts will most likely not perform as well as the commercially made ones, but they would still be miles better than poking at zombies with a stick. o o o o o o o o o o o o o loo :o)
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