Most Geardo's agree, More/Bigger/Cooler is better. Most purists tend to gravitate towards simplistic designs. Why? Well, the story above tells the tale of why. In motorcycle circles, we call it "Target Fixation". It's when a cyclist concentrates so hard on the object they wish to miss, that they steer right into it.
Like most items on the list of survivalist or preparedness supplies, firearms are a basic necessity of the lifestyle. The big difference is, they are way cooler than pasta, more fun to operate than a canner, and get more cool guy comments from your friends than your herb garden. Another stark reality is that if the poop hits the prop, you don't want to have to use them for more than harvesting meat. Everything else you've hopefully purchased you fully plan to utilize in earnest.
Firearms are a tool, and just as Ryan has eluded to in his post. You must use a bit of reason and planning to have the proper tool for the job. Just this weekend, I was teaching a Hunter Education class for a new generation of sportsmen/women in the ways of the conservationist mentality. Much of the class is spent with firearms safety and choice. This includes all types of weapons from archery to antique muzzle loaders to modern centerfire weapons. After a while, the students begin to glaze over and they miss some of the important points and intricacies of firearms choice.
Even the well informed such as myself will throw need to the wind and serve the "Want" crisis of the day/week/month. My silliest purchase to date was a Tangfolio custom built 45 cal race gun in all brushed bright stainless and aluminum. Man, that thing was cool. I owned it a week and sold it off after I came to my senses. I have since instituted some rules for myself when it comes to purchases. Those rules go something like this.
- Will this purchase facilitate a more secure environment for my tribe?
- Does this purchase serve a purpose already covered in my arsenal?
- Am I being selfish and unjustly spending money better served elsewhere?
- Are there ancillary costs to consider? New/Different ammo, accessories
- Can others in my tribe utilize it with ease?
At this point, I cannot justify the expense of a $13k rifle. There are far more practical and usable items out there for me to invest in. For most, the idea of owning more than just a hunting rifle and a pocket revolver is borderline deranged. Statistics and modern social beliefs may even support that theory, but I'm not willing to bet my life on statistics. Anomalies happen, and when they do, you might need 50 rounds of ammo to overcome and survive a fight.
One thing I know for certain is that with 6 basic firearms, you can solve most issues and needs:
Pocket pistol- Deep cover or backup
Main pistol- Primary defensive weapon during day to day travels
Military pattern rifle- WROL use for homestead protection
Precision Rifle- Hunting/over watch use
22 Rifle- small game harvesting (quietly)
Shotgun- Close up and personal fighting/winged game
Ryan's basic ideas are valid and very well thought out. His approach and analogies are spot on, especially with regard to personal choice. I realize that tribe interchangeability is a huge issue, but most accessories used to personalize weapons don't change the major workings or affect the interchangeable parts or calibers. His approach to serviceability is another basic category you must consider. If it only works with a couple brands of ammo, what are the chances you can find that ammo all the time? I generally go by the wal mart rule. If I can go to a wal mart and buy the caliber ammo I'm buying the gun in, it's a common caliber.
Once again, don't waste all your brain power on guns. They can become a distraction to your over all preparedness or survivability if you spend too much time and effort choosing the perfect arsenal. If you run out of food and must trade your gun(s) for food, you're back to square one.
Beans/Bullets/Band Aids- In that order of importance.