Thanks so much for your book/blog. Every time I read it I find something new & interesting to help me prepare for the coming storm.
That said, I have been looking at getting a semi-auto rifle in 7.62 NATO/.308 Winchester. This will be my first one, and I am a poor college student. I know you like FAL's particularly, as do many other people. As I have been looking at which rifle to get I came across the Saiga .308, which is an AK-47 variant chambered for 7.62 NATO/.308 Winchester. The stock version of the Saiga is sold in the US in a sporting configuration (i.e., traditional wooden rifle stock without pistol grip and low capacity mags). They are relatively easy to convert back to the standard AK configuration, however, with aftermarket parts and minimal gunsmithing.
As I have been researching which of the two to choose I have come to the conclusion that the FAL is probably a nicer weapon, but that it requires a little more care and is more expensive. The Saiga is cheaper and probably more abuse tolerant owing to its AK-47 heritage. Spare parts are probably a little harder to come by as it is not as widespread a weapon as the FAL.
In an ideal world, I would probably go with the FAL, but I'm poor (as mentioned earlier) and am trying to take care of other preparations as well (such as having adequate food storage, first aid supplies, etc.). For someone on a limited budget, do you think the Saiga would be a good alternative?
Hi Jonathan. While the Saiga is a fine choice, given that you’re a poor student you might want to go with the original thing: AK47
You can get a Yugoslavian underfolder and a bunch of magazines for less than 500 dollars. (400 if you go for a Romanian WASR) The weapon is as rugged as it gets, accurate enough for self defense ranges, and the 7.62x39 mm ammo is much cheaper than 308W. Its not as powerful but its still .30 caliber and you will be able to purchase more of it both for training and keeping stocked.
If I were you, no doubt that’s what I would get.
I really enjoy and appreciate your book and blog. I've learned a lot
about preparedness. I own 9mm & 22lr handguns, 40 cal subgun and a 12
gauge and am considering buying a Saiga 7.62x39. However, living in an
apartment, I don't see what type of scenario would require the use of an
assualt rifle. In what type of situations did you use one (or wished you
had one with you)?
Thanks for the great work you do to get people prepared for the likely
rough times ahead.
First of all, what you have in mind is not an assault rifle since it’s not selective fire and it can’t shoot fully automatic. It does look like one but it only fires one round at a time, big difference. Real assault rifles are class III firearms. Legal to own in some States but cost a small fortune, reason why they are mostly reserved to collectors. The liberal media just likes using the word assault rifle because it sounds more scary and intimidating, and that sells news better. Lets just call them semi auto rifles which is what they really are. Let the media and anti gun fanatics choke on their stigmatization attempt. ;-)
About the Saiga, as I was saying before, I’d rather go with the AK47.
For the person that wants to be well armed, a semi auto rifle is necessary to complete the firearm toolbox. While self defense situations are considered pretty rare, the truth is that with crime as bad as the one we have here, sooner or later you end up needing to defend yourself. Gladly, if the training is combined with a good dose of awareness, in most cases just having a firearm is enough. The NRA says that in violent encounters, 9 out of 10 times the mere presence of a firearm in the hands of the law abiding citizen is enough to send criminals on their way. I believe the statistic is pretty accurate.
In one occasion I had a rifle with me just when I needed it. I wont get into any details, but fortunately no one got hurt. Lets just say bad people can be very reasonable and understandable when looking into a gun barrel. That’s reason enough to get a carry license and be armed at all times. 90% of the time you’ll have a handgun with you when you need it… IF you get a CCW license. The handgun is harder to shoot accurately, has less power and capacity, but its concealable and that means it will be with you when needed, and that makes all the difference in the world. Because of this, your training will mostly revolve around the weapon you’re most likely to have with you, your handgun.
But what abut the rifle? When you need a weapon and you have the chance to get to it, the rifle is a force multiplier. You’ll use it when you have the choice.
Agreed, in a small apartment I’d still pick a handgun because the longer weapon may be a disadvantage in tight quarters, but if you’re shooting people coming at you from the outside, the rifle will turn most cover into concealment. If you end up bugging out and going somewhere that is geographically difference, if you organize with your neighbors to provide security for your neighborhood after a disaster you will want your rifle. If you end up using it for hunting, its quite capable of killing most game in USA. You’ll want a few extra mags (say 10 minimum) ammo to load them and some sort of chest rig or shoulder pack to carry the spare ammo and gear.
The situations in which you’ll need the rifle (and even less likely) actually HAVE it with you are rare. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get one. It is indeed a force multiplier when in the right hands.