So I’m not a doomsday type of individual, but I do believe it is intelligent to be prepared. I guess in some ways any level of preparedness would earn one the title of prepper whether they believe the end of the world is near or not. I was watching a movie last night and the heroine picked up an M-16 and carried it and a 1911 for much of the movie. I started thinking about it and with the popularity of the modern sporting rifle an AR is the perfect choice. While not everyone will have one and ammo in stores has been scarce at times the rifle is in many homes across the US. The magazines are compatible for all ARs and even some other rifles although running into them would be a rare occurrence. So if you were looking for something you could have, but also might find ammunition and magazines for while out and about the AR would be the rifle of choice. One caveat, be sure the one you choose is chambered for 5.56 and .223. If it is chambered for only a .223 your ammunition choices will be limited to .223. Since a shotgun typically does not have a magazine the cartridge would be the area to focus on and none is more popular in the US than the 12 gauge. I personally have never had any issue other than a broken safety button on a pump-action 12 gauge so that would be my suggestion for those looking for a dependable shotgun.
Handguns are a much more difficult bird to tackle. A revolver would make sense except it is not as popular now as it once was. Even with the semi-automatic leading the market a .357 Magnum would make sense as it could chamber both .38 Special and .357 Magnum. You are limited in capacity to typically five or six rounds, but malfunctions in revolvers are rare. My favorite, a Ruger GP100, would be a bit large in a 6″ barrel to carry full time, but a 4″ might fit the bill well and you could throw it at someone if you ran out of bullets. As far as semi-automatic handguns your choices to find something universal and easy to find are limited. A 1911 is an excellent choice because magazines would be universal and .45 Auto ammo should be easy to locate. Even during the ammo scare it seemed to be available even though it was somewhat limited. The last suggestion I have for a semi-automatic would be a Glock 19 or even consider a Glock 26. Most law enforcement agencies carry Glock 17/19 or have in the past and the firearm is very popular. The 19 will accept a 17 magazine and the 26 will accept both the 17 and the 19 although it looks a bit peculiar with the larger magazine. The 9mm ammo is a cinch to locate and should be plentiful everywhere in the US.
So let’s recap what I would suggest as a list of firearms which are easy on budget, reliable, and would serve you well in the event of a long term emergency situation.
-S&W M&P Sport (5.56/.223)- $600 or used $450+
-Mossberg 500 (12 gauge )- $300 or used $200 or less
-Ruger GP100 4″ (.357 Magnum) – $600 or used $450+
-Rock Island M1911 (.45 Auto) – $450 or used $350
-Glock 19 (9mm) – $550 new or LE trade in $300
If you have other suggestions, please let us know.