Monday, June 11, 2012

Urban Survival Guns

Hello Fernando,
I value your reviews and opinions on equipment in addition to all
other subjects in your blog.
If you can find time, I would appreciate hearing your views on the Kel
Tec Sub 2000 as a firearm for various scenarios. You may not have
personal experience with this carbine however I believe you would be
able to draw some conclusions based on the concept and relate that to
your past experience.
I am an avid reader of your blog now going on a year or so.
I am very happy for you and your family to have found a better place
to call home.
Hi Pete, thanks.
I don’t have personal experience with the Sub2000 but I know its good reputation and I know its very popular among survival minded people, so I wouldn’t doubt in picking one up myself.
In terms of concept, I’ve always liked the pistol caliber carbine and believe I made a good case for it in my book. In many ways it’s a similar concept as the cowboy carbine/revolver combo, both using the same ammo so as to keep logistics more simple. In the case of the SUB-2000 its even better because it even takes Glock magazines, simplifying things even more. It also fold into a very compact setup, easy to carry in a backpack or other container.

Why a pistol caliber carbine? Its compact, shares your handguns ammo (and mags), its more accurate, hits harder, with 9mm approaching 357 magnum velocities because of the extra barrel length, its cheap to feed and the low recoil makes it adequate for small frame women, teens and young adults.

I remember a long time ago you wrote a piece about which rifle to use for self defense.  I went through your whole firearm, caliber, and defense sections and could not find it.  I might have missed it too as I didn’t read the articles but the titles.
As an American, after the handguns, what rifle should you own?  I have it narrowed down to the RFB, AR, and AK.  AK would save me money but doesn’t have the quick follow up shots to win the fight I feel.  The RFB is perfect for close quarters but is expensive, along with the ammo, and I feel, don’t know, that the recoil is very high for the quick follow up shots.  And it normally only holds 20 rounds.  Although you can get the 30 rd mag.  The AR is long, if you want to get the “rifle” effect out of the 5.56 fragmenting round.  It is not really a reliable as an AK, it takes a lot of babying and care to keep it running like an AK.  But it can throw lead down on a spot to win a fight.
In your urban experiences, what would you have?
I am not talking about an apocalypse.  But just for the car, the woods (self defense, not for animals), neighborhood, or people in cars.  I am a RFB and AK fan, I don’t like ARs.  But AR’s throw a lot of lead in one spot to win fights.  He who can throw the most lead on your target first, wins the fight.  And he who has the most lead.  Well, that sounds like the AR!  But I remember you talking about the FNFAL and AK, why?
File:Rifle AK-47.jpg

Hi B-, hands down I’d go for an AK. I don’t like ARs either. The AK is solid, as reliable as it gets and very popular as well. That would be the first rifle I’d buy after buying a Glock pistol.
In my opinion its more important to have a weapon that is rugged and easy to repair than having one that for some people may be slightly faster to shoot,  but has severe design flaws that make it delicate and requires detailed cleaning. Yes, I can clean guns, but sometimes you just don’t have the time and the weapon should perform in less than ideal circumstances.

The difference of speed is really marginal, how fast or slow you’ll shoot with either one is a matter of training, not the gun (Check Gabe Suarez AK videos), and if it comes down to putting led down range you’re putting more lead on target per shot with a 7.62 x 39mm than with a 5.56.
I also like the FAL because it’s a fine weapon, reliable, powerful and accurate. The 308W does considerable damage and punches big holes into stuff, turning cover into concealment after a few shots.  As an in between option between speed, power and given the price and history of reliability, at least for me the AK is an obvious choice.
Join the forum discussion on this post!



Anonymous said...

Kel-tec is cool. If someone wants something more powerful they also make the SU-16D rifle in 5.56mm with twelve or nine inch barrel. It has a folding stock and can be fired closed. Very light, very compact, with built in sights.

Regarding the AK vs AR vs RFB, I guess it really depends on the gunfighting environment.
The RFB would be better for indoors as it has less blast than a AK/AR short barrel rifle and a more powerful calibre for extra stopping power in CQB.
The AR SBR with it's higher magazine capacities would be better in large outdoor environments where suppression and movement is paramount.
An AK SBR with folding stock is the most versatile rifle, as it's caliber is still fairly potent for CQB but it also has high magazine capacities for suppression outdoors.

One disadvantage of the RFB is it's not as well tested or reliable as the AR or AK.

Anonymous said...

The only thing to remember with Kel-Tec is they are a very small company with a history of announcing new products and then not being able to keep up with demand. Many of their products (e.g., the RFB, their carbines, and their new KSG) are somewhere between vaporware and unobtanium. Those that do get released usually sell at prices high above MSRP and/or you have to wait a very long time to get one. The first models released also usually have design flaws which their engineering has to correct (at no cost to the buyer, but still it's not something I would want to deal with).

Although they have some interesting products, given their general lack of availability, lack of spare parts, and generally high price compared to MSRP, I would probably not pick up a Kel-Tec. I would choose something much more prevalent (e.g., an AR or an AK).

SWard said...

Ferfal, Love your book but feel the need to defend the AR, I have made my AR's my primary rifle for several reasons, one was the ammunition, a forty round mag of 5.56 is considerably lighter to carry and takes less space than the 7.623X39, on a fully loaded combat rig it would make quite a difference. also the quality and cost of ammo, here in the US, I have access to all the federal green tips {steel core] ammo or high quality hollow points that I want, the affordable 7.62X39 ammo is imported steel case ammo of a much lower quality, the american made 7.62X39 is really expensive. Also my piston AR's are very reliable, and if you don't have a piston AR, the conversion kits are readily available. When you consider effective range, weight, optics mounts, and abundance of compatable parts the AR just makes sense to me.

Disciple of Night said...

I go with an AR only because I'm in the States where spare parts, ammunition, magazines and other essential stuff can be found everywhere. The AK is an excellent weapon, but logistics can't be ignored. If I was in any other country I'd use an AK.

It's the classic Sherman vs Tiger tank argument.

David said...

If you're a lefty, or plan to enjoy target shooting (or hunting) while awaiting the apocalypse, get an AR15 in a hunting caliber (e.g. 6.8 SPC). It isn't cheap, but target practice with an accurate gun that scopes well tends to be more fun than spraying lead downrange. If a gun won't shoot where I aim (and many won't) I lose interest real fast. ARs really shine when you put ambi parts and Giessele SSA-E triggers in them.

Lurk and learn on the forum, the forum, or (my fave) the 68forum.

Just my 2 cents.

Anonymous said...

I almost bought a Mec-Tec / Glock G21 .45 carbine, until I thought about it and figured a folding stock AK had more going for it with less cost. Tried and true design too.

Shannon Baker said...


I really enjoy your posts and insight into the "possible future" we face in this country (USA) and others. I do have to disagree with some of what you say regarding ARs as a self-defense weapon.
ARs do require more attention and cleaning than many other rifles, especially AKs, however, it is not nearly as failure prone as many would lead you to believe.

There are two main criticisms of AR rifles; stopping power and reliability.

The criticisms on the stopping power relate to the 5.56 cartridge which is less powerful than the 7.62 which it replaces. This decision was based on a trade off in the number of rounds carried vs. power. Smaller, lighter rounds mean that you can carry more of them. Larger, more powerful rounds mean (potentially) better stopping power and ballistics that are less affected by things like foliage. The debate over caliber continues to this day but a couple things to keep in mind but keep in mind the Russians adopted a similar caliber (5.45×39mm) as standard back in the 70's and ARs are available in a wide variety of calibers other than 5.56, from .22 Long Rifle to 300 AAC to .50 Beowulf. The "other AR," the AR-10 is typically chambered in 7.62 so you can match the caliber to your own needs.

All rifles should be properly maintained and cleaned, unfortunately, when the AR was first issued some idiots with a total lack of common sense or knowledge of weapons in combat decided the AR did NOT need cleaning. Add to that the fact that the ammunition issued was much "dirtier" than what it was designed for and you had a recipe for failure and fail it did. The AR has had a poor reputation in many circles ever since. I have fired hundreds and others have fired thousands of rounds through ARs without cleaning and they continue to function. I have seen videos of people stuffing them full of sand, mud and water and they still functioned. The AK variants are definitely MORE tolerant of such behavior but are not magic. They still need to be cleaned and maintained.

This is due to the design of the AK (gas piston) vs. the AR (direct). There are many AR uppers that are gas piston operated instead of direct impingement. So you can have both, the superior ergonomics and modularity of the AR and the reliability of an AK. One thing to keep in mind though is that cleaning an AR is fast and easy, removing one pin allows access to breach and bolt for a quick shot of solvent which will frequently return the weapon to service. According to an ex-soldier who helped train local forces equipped with AKs, returning an AK to service if there is an issue with the gas piston is a "home base" operation. Elite US military units that get to pick whatever weapon and caliber they want still choose them.

I have an AR as my self-defense rifle. I based that decision on modularity, extensibility and ammunition availability. There are ammunition offerings in 5.56/.223 that limit over penetration in urban/suburban environments and even jacketed hollow points for self-defense. I also found that I shoot an AR better and more accurately than I do an AK.

From a cost perspective (at least around here), the AK is a less expensive solution and I will add one to my battery as soon as I can afford to.

I don't think either of these rifles is a bad choice.

DeltaRomeo said...


Love your postings and appreciate you providing a reality check to being prepared. Congrats on your family move to Northern Ireland. I am a big fan of the AK, but as others have said, the AR-15 is no slouch. I understand you may only be familiar with non-mil-spec weapons, coming from Argentina. Instead of vague suggestions, please read the following specific links. Two of the authors are former Delta Force members, one is a former USMC/NYPD officer who trains PJ's and Force Recon Marines.

The last test is from Larry Vickers, who helped develop the HK 417. Even he has stated that the only need for a piston AR is: if your shooting a barrel less than 14.5", lots of full auto, or suppressed.

You do need to keep an AR lubricated to keep working in the long haul, but it ought to go through three combat loads of ammo bone dry before it has issues. I assembled my first M4 from parts (upper with barrel, but no different than an AK in that case) using only a flat head screw driver, stock wrench, and a random pin like tool, so they're definetly field maintainable. I shot it unlubricated and uncleaned for the first few hundred rounds with only one failure to feed from a known bad magazine. Causes of AR failure: MEAL (Magazine, Extractor, Ammunition, Lubrication). I have friends and co-workers who have used both AK and AR in the Iraq and/or Afghanistan--they all appreciate both, but given the choice pick the M4. I think either one is a great rifle, with different advantages and disadvantages.

Anonymous said...

Ferfal, seeing as you are now in N.Ireland, what do you do for weapons given that firearms are not allowed in the UK?