Thursday, June 11, 2009

Why no gun? (Z Kit)

So, Demonic Bunny and a couple other readers have mentioned guns of some sort, and no doubt many of you are wondering what kind of heat I recommend packing in case of apocalypse.

I'm going to say "None," but hear me out on this.

Guns are useful. Guns are neat. I like guns. I own guns. But I don't think they have a place in a kit like this, for a variety of reasons:
  1. They are expensive, and everything in this series of posts is obtainable by the average citizen. The priciest part of this kit was the bag itself, with the kukri a close second. This is why you also won't see neat-but-costly things like GPS transcievers or satellite phones. If you can afford these things, more power to you. I won't tell you that you're wrong for having them.
  2. Guns require ammunition. Ammunition runs out. A gun without ammunition is pretty worthless.
  3. Ammunition, and most guns, are heavy. A rifle or shotgun is heavy and awkward, and yes, I've humped an 80 lb. rucksack with an M-16 for miles as part of my ROTC experience, so I know of which I speak.
  4. Guns often draw the wrong sort of attention. I once got fired from a job for mentioning the fact that I'd rather be home cleaning my guns. In an emergency, people will be hysterical and the police overworked. I'm not giving anyone a reason to detain, arrest, or shoot me.
  5. Perhaps most importantly, if I want to have this bag with me on a regular basis when I leave the house (and an emergency kit left at home is rather useless when you're not at home), I can't have a gun in it. I'm a bit vague on Florida's concealed carry laws here and I don't want to experience them firsthand. There are also the considerations that A) a Concealed Carry pistol belongs in a holster, not an oversized purse, and B) if said pack ever got stolen, there's all kinds of legal trouble involved if my now-stolen gun is used to commit a crime.

All that said, if I were to suggest a pistol, I am rather fond of the Smith & Wesson .40 M&P: Single stack, which is good for my tiny hands; 15 rounds; beefy caliber which nearly guarantees a knockdown.


  1. .40? Is that really a common caliber in the states?

    I would have thought something in 9mm/.380/.32.

    For small hands I've heard people recommend the Colt Government .380, CZ83 or G26

  2. The compact version of the colt government that is.

  3. Depends on how you define common, I suppose.

    Is it as famous as 9mm or .45? No.

    Can you find it in every gun & ammo store? Yes.

    I'd have a .45 or .357 if I could, but I've yet to find a pistol in those calibers that feel comfortable in my hand. The S&W M&P feels just right -- the swappable hand grips help a lot.

  4. My mother recently purchased a .38 revolver with a 7-chamber cylinder. It's a sweet little gun, and I prefer the dependability and safety of revolvers to semi-automatics, but it certainly doesn't have the ammo capacity, and that might be a serious consideration in the scenario you're suggesting.

    In the novel "Tunnel in the Sky" by Robert Heinlein, a young man about to do his survivalist final exam for school (in which the students are dropped on a non-colonized planet and expected to survive for a few days on their own) asks his older sister, who is in a military organization, what firearm he should bring.

    She advises him to not bring any firearms. Instead, she suggests knives. Why? Because firearms can give you a false sense of security. A man with a gun feels bulletproof, even though he isn't. A man with a knife knows he's the rabbit, and acts accordingly. (She also points out that knives are less prone to breaking, don't run out of ammo, and have many utilitarian uses, whereas guns are pretty much only good for one thing.)

    A gun has it's place, but, as Erin says, they can sometimes be more trouble than they are worth.

  5. As a fella who carries the .40 M&P day in and day out in my capacity as a PI lemme point out that the magazine is infact a dual stack column. That said the interchangable ergonomic grips are great and the gun is pretty comfortable to carry for extended periods of time in a paddle holster. Also since I'm a southpaw it was a nice surprise at how easy to switch the magazine release to the left side of the frame, something your average Glock doesn't do. Here in OK you can conceal carry up to a .45, but I've never liked lugging one around, and as you pointed out 15+1 is a pretty respectable amount of ammo for a gun that size to hold.

  6. I thought about my comment last night and took a look at the magazines for the M&P, I'd still say it's not a single stack but they do use a staggered column instead of stacking rounds straight up like in a 1911.

  7. I use a Colt 1911, myself... but i can see your point about certain handguns being big for some people's hands.
    I like the .45 because it's pretty much a guaranteed knockdown if you hit something with it. even if i miss the zombie's head and hit a torso, he's falling over, at the very least.


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