I make no apologies for saying that a Glock 9mm pistol should be the first gun you should own.
The way I see it if a gun is going to save your life, the most likely situation you’ll be involved in will be one of self-defense against two legged predators. A Glock will do that for you. It will protect you in your home, and it will do it when out and about when carried concealed, something no shotgun or rifle can do. I can’t think of many cases of home defense shootings where a full magazine of 9mm wasn’t enough and a long arm would have made much of a difference. On the other hand I know of numerous cases of people getting killed because they weren’t unarmed and simply unable to defend themselves.
Now, a handgun is just one firearm in your battery. I suggest getting a semi auto rifle, some people will go for an AR, maybe an AK. Those that hunt will want to have a good big bore rifle for such purpose, usually a scoped bolt action rifle and most people will agree a 22 is a must have as well. In my opinion you are best served with a semi auto 22LR such as a Ruger 10/22 or a Marlin. Having said this, when it comes to a reliable, accurate, built like a tank dependable carbine that will fire any .22 rimfire, S, L and LR, then the Winchester 9422 is what you’re looking for.
The utility gun
There’s one niche that most people will try to fill and that’s the one of a utility gun. A gun that is more of a tool in your toolbox, reliable, durable but most of all intended to fullfill certain practical, mundane roles.
Typically the shotgun has been that multi purpose utility gun. Especially when it comes to pump action shotguns like the Mossberg 500 with easily replaced barrels you can get one with a long barrel for bird hunting and a shorter one for slugs and for home defense. In my opinion this combo makes for the swiss army knife of the gun world.
Very hot on its heels though is the venerable 22LR carbine. The humble 22 may not be as versatile as a 12 ga shotsell but the round has been perfected over the years into what is today the most cost effective round in the planet, making it arguably the best all-round utility gun in most households for the money. Utility being defined as “capable of being put to use” the uses for a 22 carbine are many:
- Small game hunting (and then some). When push comes to shove, for the same value, weight and volume, nothing puts as much food on the table as a box of 22LR. The round is clearly intended for small game, but larger animals are often dispatched with a well-placed round and even killing larger game (far from ideal though) such as deer or even hogs is possible with headshots.
- Pest control. Sure you can blast squirrels with a 12 ga shell, but the ammo is more expensive, both gun and ammo are heavier and they make more of a mess. When you want to keep it simple (and you don’t want to blow up everything around the tree rat you’re trying to kill) then 22 saves the day. With the right load it can be pretty quiet as well given the ability to shoot 22 shorts and its 20 inch barrel.
- Target practice and plinking. 22LR lends itself nicely for that. These are great guns to learn the basics with. Its easy for new shooters to understand the basic working of the firearm and identify the different components and moving parts. The lever action also happens to be one of the most enjoyable guns to operate. The mechanism forces the new shooters to take their time rather than spray the target, preserving ammunition and making each shot count. The fantastic trigger, nice sights and option of mounting optics means you can squeeze a lot of accuracy out of it.
- If there’s one brand I’ve seen in shooting ranges around the world, guns worn and weathered with almost no bluing left, yet still running and running well, that would be Winchester. 22s can be picky at times, liking some ammo more than others, or downright refusing to run reliably all together unless certain ammo is fed. While semi auto is faster, in exchange for that speed the Winchester lever action gives you unparalleled reliability. Any .22 you feed down that tube will run.
- Rimfire options. Unlike a Ruger 10/22, the Winchester 9422 can fire 22 S, L and LR. This can be quite an advantage when getting by with whatever ammo you manage to scrounge, again the lever action mechanism being a plus when dealing with older ammo that may not be in ideal condition.
- The Winchester 9422 isnt the lightest of 22s, but it can be easily broken down in a more compact package. It’s easy to fit in a backpack along with a few hundred rounds of ammo and carry it without breaking your back.
- Last ditch self-defense. 22LR sure isnt what you want for self-defense. Even if that’s what you have, a 22 semi auto with a large capacity mag would clearly be a better option. Still, when combined with a handgun, the Winchester gives you a platform to easily reach out and touch someone that happens to be further away and the 15 round magazine gives you a nice supply of ammo. Although there clearly are better options and you should have a fighting rifle in your battery, I wouldn’t like to be running around a field with someone taking shot at me with the Winchester 9422.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.