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5 Best Guns for the Pandemic (Defend Your Family)

LJ Bonham is a semi-subsistence hunter, hunting magazine editor, and firearms enthusiast who lives in the Rocky Mountains.


Food riots. Looting. Roaming mobs. Police shutdown. Government collapse. All these calamities—and more—are real potential consequences caused by the Corona Virus/COVID-19 pandemic. While most western countries have seen just modest upticks in violent crime since this new, deadly disease erupted from China, the longer the pandemic lasts, the deeper it will erode society. Already, hard-hit cities such as New York have seen police officers by the hundreds, soon thousands, sidelined due to illness.

It doesn’t take a mathematical genius to grasp the fact a tipping point approaches as each day passes. A tipping point where the normal restraints on people evaporate and leave law abiding citizens at criminals’ mercy. If food gets scarce— recent farm production estimates show a substantial reduction by mid-summer 2020 if conditions do not improve soon—urban populations, unable to fend for themselves could burst into rural areas desperate to feed their families. This, after they’ve looted everything in the cities. Hungry people do desperate things.

While gun purchases have soared in the U.S. during March, it’s still not too late to either arm yourself against these possibilities or add crucial firepower to your current supply. Which guns should you get, though? Here are the 5 best guns for the pandemic which will serve you well if civilization crumbles.

1. Glock G17/G19 Pistol

Austrian arms maker, Glock, launched the polymer framed striker-fired pistol revolution in the late 1970s. Its inaugural design, the G17 9mm, arrived in America in the 80s and took the nation by storm. Its mid-size brother, the G19, debuted a few years later and is still the standard by which all other striker guns are compared. There are many competitors on the market these days, so why is the Glock the best gun for the pandemic?

Simple, it is the most prevalent 9mm pistol on the market. Most law enforcement agencies in the U.S. (and the world) issue this gun, the G19 in particular, to their officers. This includes the FBI. In a total societal collapse, these guns and their all-important magazines will become the easiest to find. Plus, they are the best aftermarket supported handgun in the world. As a bonus, 9mm ammunition is cheap and available anywhere.

Glock G19.  Used by the FBI, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Navy Spec. Ops., and British Armed Forces.

Glock G19. Used by the FBI, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Navy Spec. Ops., and British Armed Forces.

2. Smith and Wesson 686 Revolver

This medium framed, double action, .357 Magnum revolver has many features which make it a top pandemic gun. Revolvers are the easiest handgun for novice shooters to handle safely and make the best choice for a first-time gun owner. Current 686s hold seven rounds, up from the traditional six. Built on S&W’s L-Frame, the 686 is more robust than the earlier K-Frame to withstand a steady magnum diet. As with all .357s, the 686 will chamber and fire the milder, yet combat effective .38 Special cartridge.

As ammunition for the popular semi-auto pistols such as 9mm and .45 ACP are scooped up by panicked buyers, .357 Magnum and .38 Special are still in good supply in most areas. Throw in the fact the .357 Magnum is the most effective handgun caliber for stopping an assailant based on real world statistics, and you have a winner for the troubled times which may lie ahead.

S&W 686 with 4-inch barrel.

S&W 686 with 4-inch barrel.

3. Mossberg 500/590 Shotgun

Pump-action shotguns are with little doubt the most devastating close quarters battle weapon ever devised other than the fragmentation grenade. Since grenades aren’t found on the average sporting goods store’s shelves, this excellent long-gun will have to suffice for ordinary citizens.

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The Mossberg 500 and its younger brother, the 590, are used by police nationwide as well as the U.S. armed forces. They are rugged, reliable, combat proven scatterguns. Chambered in either 12 or 20 gauge they make top drawer survival/hunting and defensive weapons. Pump-action shotguns will digest any ammunition in their gauge, from light trap loads to magnum slugs. All too many semi-auto shotguns cannot say the same. Shotgun ammo is cheap and common as air.

Mossberg Model 500 Shotgun

Mossberg Model 500 Shotgun

4. AR-15 Rifle/Carbine

The AR-15 is the best-selling multi-purpose rifle in the U.S., has been for decades. Made in the millions, this timeless gun is perfect for the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. Its battle-tested design is quite reliable if you keep it moderately clean and feed it good quality, brass-cased ammunition.

Given the fact more and more criminals operate in packs like wolves, an AR’s force multiplication attributes give an owner at least a fighting chance when faced with numerically superior assailants. This is the gun for keeping the hoards at bay.

Best bet is to get one chambered for 5.56x45mm ammunition. This lets you fire either 5.56mm NATO mil-spec or civilian .223 Remington loads with safety. If you want a dual purpose AR for both hunting and defense, get one chambered in 7.62x51mm (7.62 NATO). Such a rifle will take game as large as elk and moose plus provide precision perimeter security out to 800 meters.

Two AR-15s and AR-15 lower receiver.

Two AR-15s and AR-15 lower receiver.

5. Henry, Winchester, or Marlin Lever-Action Rifle

While many might not think an ordinary lever-action rifle is the best choice for the pandemic, it is indeed a great alternative. If you live in a jurisdiction which prohibits rifles such as the AR-15 or AK, you can still get your hands on what many deem an ordinary “cowboy gun.”

While lever guns may not have the cache’ associated with semi-autos, with a little training, an operator can put forth a lead steam which will get an unruly mob’s undivided attention. Plus, you can reload lever-guns equipped with side loading gates at a respectable speed. Primary choice for hectic times are rifles chambered in either .357 Magnum or .44 Magnum. They often hold ten or more rounds in their tubular magazines and can fire both magnums and specials which makes ammunition acquisition easier. Also, whether chambered for those magnum pistol calibers or the ubiquitous .30-30 Winchester, they can all take deer sized game at close range with ease.

Winchester Model 1894 Lever-Action Rifle. Fast handling, high capacity firepower.

Winchester Model 1894 Lever-Action Rifle. Fast handling, high capacity firepower.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 LJ Bonham


Richard Hampton on April 03, 2020:

Very well written and super informative article

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