Ranged Weapons 101

Posted by jack ma on

The process of choosing ranged weapons suited to your needs and preferences is exhaustive, but because weapons are an essential part of a survival kit, we'll briefly touch on some broad principles that can help point you in the right direction, or perhaps shed some additional light on your current weapon choices.

In terms of what you can carry on your person, ranged weapons are either large or small. A standard configuration of gear that works well for most people in most situations consists of your primary survival bag, one large weapon and one small weapon. Carrying two different weapons for different purposes increases your ability to respond to different situations without significantly impeding your movement.

When it comes to large weapons, most people prefer a rifle, a shotgun, or a bow. The most popular small weapons are revolvers and semi-automatic handguns. Whatever weapon you choose, be sure to keep the four rules of gun safety in mind.

Rifles are excellent mid to long-range weapons equally suited to hunting and self-defense, but they're less practical in close-range engagements. Magazine-fed variants are particularly easy to use.

Shotguns excel at close and mid-range combat and for hunting certain kinds of game, although their lower rates of fire, low ammunition capacities, and generally slow reload times require regular training to mitigate.

Bows have big advantages and major drawbacks compared to firearms. They're nearly silent and arrows can often be recovered and reused, but skilled bowmanship requires significant practice and bows are impractical in many combat scenarios.

Revolvers are, broadly speaking, more mechanically reliable than semi-automatic handguns, although that gap is much narrower now than it was twenty years ago. A revolver's heavier frame with fewer moving parts makes it capable of firing much larger calibers.

Semi-Automatic Handguns
Semi-automatic handguns have higher ammunition capacities and can be reloaded more quickly and easily than revolvers, but they are more difficult to master and generally can't fire rounds capable of reliably bringing down large animals such as grizzly bears.

Experiment with different weapons to figure out which ones feel most comfortable to you and try to cover as many needs as possible with your two choices. For instance, if you have a small or medium-caliber rifle for self-defense, you may want to pair it with a large-caliber revolver with high stopping power for large game hunting. If you choose to carry a bow, consider a high-capacity, semi-automatic sidearm capable of firing rapidly.

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