Resources for building my ultimate worst-case scenario gun
One of the projects I’ve embarked on over the past year has been to build the ultimate worst-case scenario gun (or “WCS gun”, as I’ve taken to calling it). This would be a gun that I could use to take game and feed my family, and that I could also put to defensive use in a jam.
But before I talk about the gun, I have to talk about my worst-case scenario and my philosophy on survival. I call this the “ultimate worse-case scenario gun” and not the “ultimate survival gun”, because “survival” means having a range of gear options for different types of scenarios (bugging in short-term, bugging in long-term, bugging out in vehicles, bugging out on foot, etc.). So there is no “ultimate survival gun” — there are only “ultimate guns” for different types of survival scenarios. I’ll be buying and modding other guns for different types of scenarios, and blogging about those, too. (I already have a great little shotgun for bugging in, which I’ll discuss in more detail in a future post.) But anyway, back to my worst-case scenario.
I live in a major, densely populated American city, so my own particular worst-case disaster scenario has the following features:
- I have a very limited amount of time to round everyone up and bug out.
- I have to bug out on foot with my family, which presently includes multiple small children.
- There are other people leaving the city, as well, so the open carry of a large gun would invite unwelcome scrutiny and quite possibly hostility from people who are either afraid of seeing an armed man or who want my gun for themselves.
Obviously, I’m making bug-out plans that involve vehicles and so on, but the absolute worst-case scenario is something like the above. So in this scenario, weight and space are at a premium — I have to be able to conceal the gun and the ammo, and carry it for miles in my pack, all the while knowing that I may be depending on this gun and my ammo to feed and defend my family for an indefinite amount of time.
Given this scenario, I set out the following requirements for my WCS gun, all of which pointed me toward the .22LR pistol as my weapon of choice:
- A popular caliber with plentiful ammo
- A popular gun model so that I might be able to procure spare parts if I had to
- Gun model has proven reliability
- Caliber is specifically popular with military and guides for survival situations
- Gun has stainless steel finish for low maintenance
- Maximum utility and flexibility for minimum weight and space, because my worst-case scenario involves leaving a major city on-foot with my family.
Notice that you don’t see the word “cheap” anywhere in the above list. As with all my prepping-related projects, which are often as much about acquiring cool gear as they are about preparing for doomsday (which I don’t honestly expect to happen in my lifetime), money is not a major consideration. I’m looking for the best of the best, although I’m not willing to just get ridiculous for ridiculousness’ sake.
Ultimately, it’s a .22LR pistol l that I feel fits the above requirements most optimally. I know that other calibers have their proponents, but I grew up hunting with a .22LR, so I know what it can do and what it can’t. As for the gun itself… well, that’s a little more complicated. After some serious research, I’ve decided that a.22LR revolver from Freedom Arms with a Trijicon ACOG mounted on it is probably the ultimate in what I’m looking for. These are allegedly very accurate, and because it’s a wheelgun the odds that it’s ever going to break are greatly minimized.
But I already started and progressed quite a ways in building and modding a Ruger Mark III Hunter (with an Aimpoint scope) before I ran across Freedom Arms, and the Mark III + Aimpoint combo also ticks all of the above boxes. So while I should probably title this post, “The Penultimate Worst Case Scenario Gun,” I’m satisfied with my choice, and I know that if I had time and room enough to grab only one gun before bugging out, I’d be well equipped to hunt successfully for years with the Mark III and a few thousand rounds of ammo tucked into a relatively small pack.
And as I said above, I value flexibility, and I’m putting together an armory that will give me options for a wide variety of survival situations — urban, wilderness, short-term, long-term, etc. So I’ll end up with a variety of prepper-oriented guns and calibers, eventually. I’ve started work on the .22LR pistol first, though, because it represents the gun I’d reach for in the most adverse possible scenario.
In the rest of this piece, I cover the mods that I’m making to the gun, and the tools and resources I’m using. Everything is linked up, with prices included, in case you wanted to try this yourself.
A word about sights and optics
Based on this SERE piece and on the reviews I’ve seen online (both product reviews and numerous forum posts), I went with Aimpoint red dot optics. The Micro H-1, which is just the (now discontinued) silver version of the Micro R-1, has gotten high marks for durability, accuracy, and battery life. I realize that a battery is a liability in a real SHTF situation, but the Aimpoint battery can power the device for some five years of continuous use–so basically forever, in practical terms.
But I’m not about to stake my life and my family’s food security on the Aimpoint’s reliability and battery life. I’m not only keeping the iron sights on the gun, but I’m also going to upgrade the rear sight. I want to have the best available iron sights on the gun, in case the Aimpoint dies one day and I have to pull it off; hence my upgrade to the Mark III Hunter’s rear sight.
Speaking of pulling the Aimpoint off, I’m considering a possible mod that would ensure that I could always unmount the sight, even in a bind. I’m planning to either have made or make a set of canvas micarta grips, and I’m thinking I could have small chambers milled out on the inside for holding a tiny torx wrench and three spare fiber optic inserts for my high-viz sight. This way, if I lose one of the inserts, or the Aimpoint dies in the field, I can pull off the grips and access all the parts I need to get my iron sights back in working order. This is just an idea, though, and I’m not dead set on it. I actually have an A.R.M.S. throw lever for the Aimpoint that fits my pistol, and that’s probably a saner alternative.
On a final note about sights and reliability, I’m eventually going to acquire and mod Ruger 10/22 Takedown so that I’ll have a rifle option (for either myself or an ally), and I’ll put an ACOG sight on that (because the ACOG doesn’t need batteries).
In order to mod the gun and maintain it, I’m putting together a gunsmithing tool kit based on the first chapter of The Gun Digest Book of Firearms Assembly/Disassembly Part I – Automatic Pistols, which you can read for free on the Kindle.
Obviously, this is a lot of money to spend on tools, but it’s not just for this gun alone. I’ve got other guns that I look forward to maintaining on my own with these tools, so this toolset represents an investment that will continue to pay off regardless of whether doomsday comes or not.
- Grace USA 17-Piece Gun Care Tool Kit: $88.99
- Tekton 3180 40mm double-faced soft mallet: $9.00
- Wheeler Firearms Accurizing Torque wrench: $44.00
- Precision Instrument Screwdriver Set: $71.99
- High Grade Parallel Jaw Pliers: $34.95
- German Made Special Gunsmithing Pliers (curved needle nose, #154): $29.99.
- Angle-point shop tweezers (forceps): $6.89.
- 4-way nylon/brass punch set: $18.99
- Roll pin punch kit: $19.99
Total for tools: ~$324.00 (sans shipping)
My main focus with the mods for this gun are accuracy. I try to hit the pistol range at least one day a week, and I’ve always been a good shot. But in a bug-out situation, I want to use every available advantage to get the most game for the least amount of ammo, so that means hitting my target every time.
You’ll notice that I’m skipping a compensator. There are a few reasons for this. First, from what I’ve read online and seen on YouTube, these don’t seem to make much of a real different on Mark III; they’re mostly for looks. The other issue is that if I were to use a compensator, I’d want it integrated into the barrel. Volquartsen makes one that fits onto the front end of a Mark II/III by removing the front sight and using that bolt for the compensator. But this just adds another point of failure to the gun, not to mention the fact that it’s sealed by an o-ring, and o-rings don’t necessarily last for decades in the best shape.
- Volquartsen Titanium Disconnector: $27.50
- Volquartsen Bolt Tune-Up Kit: $35.70
- Volquartsen Accurizing Kit for Ruger MKIII, Stainless Trigger: $130.00
- TL Rear Sight (with night sights option): $119.00
- Aimpoint Micro H-1 (no longer available, so you’d have to get the Micro R-1): $580.00
- Aim Point Ruger Mark III Mount for Micro Sights (silver): $54.00
Total for parts: $946.20
- Trigger Tweaking Ruger’s Mark III Target Pistol
- Gun Guide for MKIII
- Ruger Mark III – Field stripping, Upgrading, Cleaning, and Tips Tutorial
- Ruger Mark III Field Stripping Disassembly Procedures