It’s hard to separate firearms from prepping. If you start preparing yourself for disasters and other various survival situations, inevitably you’ll have to ask yourself if you want a firearm, and if so, what type? Now, there is already a mountain of information that is available on this topic, and at the end of the day there isn’t a single firearm that is suitable for all situations. In any case, what works for one person may not be the best for you. What I mean to say is, this is a subject that could be debated endlessly if one were so inclined.
So instead of delving into the subject of what you should or shouldn’t own, which could go on forever, I’d rather offer up a single consideration. Most preppers own multiple firearms, since ultimately, these are tools we’re talking about and none of them are one-size-fits-all. So if there’s one tool I would recommend for your tool-chest, so to speak, it is the Mosin Nagant. As you’ll see, when compared to most firearms, it fits into a very unique niche.
To me, this Russian bolt-action rifle is one of coolest guns ever made. Admittedly, it is heavy, clunky, and has some very rough recoil in addition to sub-par accuracy. However, it more than makes up for these faults with two qualities. It’s very cheap, and it is arguably one of the toughest guns ever made.
The first gun I ever owned was a Mosin, and at the time they could be bought for less than a hundred dollars. Like most firearms their price has increased over the past 3 or 4 years, but you can still buy one of these rifles for around two hundred dollars. Surprisingly, military surplus ammo is still relatively cheap as well (when it’s available). It fires a 7.62x54R round that in terms of power, lies somewhere between a .308 and a 30-06.
They were first manufactured in the late 1800’s, and the Soviet Union made tens of millions of these guns (nobody seems to know the precise number), as well as countless rounds for their vast conscript army. So despite the massive surge in gun sales we’ve seen in recent years, they’re still pretty cheap and will remain so for a long time. For the price of a really cheap AR-15, you could buy the gun, and probably all the ammo you’ll ever use in your lifetime.
As far as toughness and reliability goes, the Mosin is a doozy. These are obviously very important qualities for preppers, since we want weapons that can not only survive harsh conditions, but will remain functional for long periods of time without maintenance. The Mosin knocks it out of the ballpark in these regards. Gun owners like to joke about how reliable and indestructible the AK-47 is, but that gun has nothing on the Mosin.
If you don’t believe me, take a look at this torture test that was done on the Mosin. It survived conditions that would destroy pretty much any other firearm.
Earlier I mentioned that the Mosin fits into a very unique niche in any arsenal. So what is that niche? Well, most guns provide a certain peace of mind. Having one means you can protect yourself if any nasty situation comes up. The Mosin Nagant provides a different peace of mind. Owning one means that even if the world turns into a smoldering heap of rubble for several decades, you’ll still have something that can shoot.
Also consider the fact that during a disaster, you may have friends or family showing up at your door that you weren’t expecting to take care of. Buying a Mosin is a cheap way to make sure you have something simple and powerful to hand out to these people. And unlike some really cheap guns, you can rest easy knowing that you’re giving your friends a weapon that won’t jam or fail catastrophically in their hands.
As a final word of advice, the Mosin has one glaring drawback that owners often complain about. The accuracy leaves a lot to be desired. Out of the box, you’d be lucky to have a rifle that would be reliable past 200 yards. The reason for this has more to do with how these rifles were manufactured, rather than the design itself. The vast majority of them were made under war-time conditions with little quality control. Some are inexplicably accurate, while others will struggle to hit the broad side of a barn.
So if you buy a Mosin, don’t do it online. Buy it from a brick and mortar store where you can inspect the stock, bore, chamber, etc. The ammo they used back in the day was very corrosive, as is most of the surplus ammo that is sold today. So make sure to shine a light down the barrel and look for any rust or pitting.
But even if the gun looks good, the accuracy will still be mediocre. Fortunately, there are some cheap and easy modifications that can elevate the accuracy to a reasonable level. If you do that, then you’ll have one awesome rifle that will last a lifetime.