First, let me start with a disclaimer. I love the AR platform. I carried one in the military and it served me well. It put rounds downrange perfectly every single time. A well-maintained AR is without a doubt the ultimate combat weapon. Its accuracy and durability are legendary and it has proven itself in combat all over the world. Now that you know that I’m not some AR hating heretic, let’s move on to the issue. We had a debate here in the CTD office recently. Let’s take a step into a world where you can only have one gun. Let’s say that western civilization fell and you only had room in your pack for one weapon. What would that gun be? To answer this question, we would have to come up with the most flexible, all-purpose firearm for every possible situation. There are many schools of thought on the subject, but for my money, the pump 12 gauge shotgun is the best all around, one gun to rule them all butt-kicking, hole-punching piece of hardware a person can own. Many people in the office chose the AR-15. While I have absolutely nothing against the AR platform, I still would rather have a shotgun if I could only have one gun. I know it sounds blasphemous, but bear with me here. Let me explain some of the reason why I think that a shotgun is better for this scenario.
In a post apocalyptic society, food is sure to be a scarce commodity. I like to eat. I’m a good size guy and I love steak. I grew up hunting and I’m pretty good at it. Whenever I go out to the family ranch to hunt deer with my rifle, I always throw my shotgun in the truck too, just in case. Being an avid hunter, I’ve learned that often times it is easier to kill small game for food rather than bigger game, such as deer. A dove flying overhead is a much more likely breakfast than a large buck crossing your path. Hitting a flying dove with an AR-15 is just a bit above my skill level. I might be able to score a hit occasionally, but I wouldn’t bet my food supply on it. Have you ever seen what a .223 Remington does to a squirrel? Unless you are good enough to get a head shot every time, then you can bet there won’t be much meat left on the little guy. You might end up with cream of critter instead of a tasty meal. Oh and yes, I occasionally eat squirrel, but only fried. Therefore, in my most humble opinion, a shotgun is a far more versatile hunting weapon than an AR-15, while I agree that you can indeed hunt with an AR, I feel that in a post apocalyptic society, you are far more likely to encounter smaller critters to eat, rather than larger ones.
The shotgun can fire just about any type of ammunition imaginable. About the only thing a shotgun can’t do is engage a target outside of 100 yards. Oh wait, yes it can, all you need is a rifled barrel, which takes a whole 20 seconds to change out, some sabot rounds, and you have yourself an effective firearm that can hit and kill targets well outside of 100 yards. Therefore, that less than common deer that you may run into is no problem for your trusty little shotgun. Inside of 100 yards, no barrel change is necessary, as a slug can bring down most large wild game, including deer with about a three-inch group, depending on your gun. That is good enough.
Okay, here comes the tough part. I’m not sure how common person-to-person combat would be after western civilization falls, but I’m betting it would be more common than it is now. If you are trying to defend a small area such as an abandoned building or home, a shotgun is an excellent weapon. Engaging a target with one round of buckshot from a 12 gauge is like engaging it with several .38 special rounds simultaneously. The U.S. military has used shotguns in combat since the First World War, and with great effect. The German military tried to outlaw shotguns during WWI because they felt they caused undue harm to soldiers. Therefore, the freaking Germans think that a shotgun is too deadly to use in combat. That scores a few points in my book. I must, however, concede to the fact that I would not want to get into a sniper competition with some guy with an AR-type weapon. The AR has greater range and accuracy, and at very long distances, it is clearly a far more effective weapon. Most real combat however, takes place at very close range, where the shotgun really shines.
If our society were to collapse under its own stupidity, what type of weapon would you carry? If hordes of gun-toting assailants came to take your supplies away, would you go with the AR or the shotgun? Comment below and let us know!