A “Survival Item” to Store with Your Gun

Gunsmithing the AR-15 by Patrick Sweeney

Gunsmithing the AR-15 by Patrick Sweeney

If the “stuff” ever truly hits the fan there’s more that you will need than just food, water, guns, and ammo. It’s the reason I write this letter to you each week and it’s probably the most important thing you need of all – I’m talking about knowledge. Yes, I know that’s a cliché, but don’t worry, I’m not going to start getting all philosophical on you.

Instead, I’m going to tell you about a book you should consider buying. If the power grid goes down and riots break out in the streets your knowledge and this simple book sitting on your shelf may make a huge difference in your survival. And notice I said “sitting on the shelf.” You want a physical copy of this book (and all survival books). You don’t want a copy sitting on some device that could run out of battery and will likely have no service when everything goes down.

The book I’m referring to is Gunsmithing the AR-15 by Patrick Sweeney. In my opinion, the AR-15 is the best overall “survival gun”, and if you don’t already own one, I wouldn’t wait too much longer. Even though none of the gun laws have passed, it’s still dangerous to wait, because you don’t want to be one of the millions of Americans who realizes they need one when it’s too late.

The reason I recommend getting the Gunsmithing the AR-15 book is because it’s a good reference guide to keep on hand. I’m certainly no gunsmith and I don’t know every little nuance about the AR. However, this book covers almost every maintenance and repair topic you’ll likely ever need to know.

At times, the book can be dry…

But I promise you, if your rifle breaks and you need some Gas Rings for it, that section of the book will likely turn into the most exciting reading of your life.

But don’t get just the AR-15 book. You should have reference guides for every gun you own. I realize right now many people get online and simply search for help when they need to disassemble a gun or when they need to do some minor repairs.

However, you should prepare right now, just in case you don’t have the Internet or your smart phone when you need it. Simply get online today, and print off the directions or repair information you need for your guns or buy the various books.

Then put these directions or books in a waterproof Ziploc bag and store them in your gun case. You may never need them but at least they’re close by. Plus, if something happens to your gun while at the range, you can look in your gun case and start troubleshooting right there.

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  • Greg A.

    Great article and book.

  • While I agree with you and the DHS that an M4-clone is the best Personal Defense (Weapon) one can have—better than a shotgun for home defense—since the ammo shortage I switched to a Shuff’s Mini-G version of the M1 Garand. Without the muzzle brake, it’s as short as an M4-clone. It’s 7.7 pounds and the ammo is heavier, so it’s not great for long hikes or suppressive fire. However, M1 Garands are on DiFi’s Nice list. Unless there’s a ban on all semi-autos, Garands will be okay. They’re even C&R eligible. Bad news: Even buying a donor rifle from CMP, a Mini-G costs as much as a top line AR. However, I can get .30-06 through CMP for pre-panic prices, while I can’t find ANY .223/5.56. And, if ammo is for sale, .30-06 will be available. If the S does really HTF, many bad guys will be wearing body armor: the ’06 is barely bothered by Class IV. Downside, you must reload every eight rounds. Upside: One hit from an ’06 is worth several from a .223.
    The M1 is more or less ambidextrous: As a right hander who’s been forced to switch to southpaw, this is a big advantage.
    Most important, it makes me feel like Walt in Gran Torino.

    • If the way a gun makes you feel is that important to you. Maybe you should not have one in your hands to begin with. You are adding credence to the gun grabbers agenda about why people should not have firearms. in short you are a megalomaniac

      • bretj

        Note to self- If one has an opinion of a weapon based on personal preference and voices said opinion, one is considered a megalomaniac. Good to know….

        • Very Important To Us

          I agree with Bretj. Schoemann is almost as narcissistic as Jason.

      • jon

        uh, scott…I think that is called humor…not hubris

        • Tom

          Faraday cage is a great idea,have two myself.But almost all of the transmission devices are unshielded.

  • anampses

    Alternatively, you can still “prep” your ebook collection with the assurance of a portable solar panel for USB devices.

    • not if an emp or solar event cooks your reader…

      • anampses

        Faraday cage.

  • I have this book, i have all my books that are important physicaly in my posession! Ive got a librarys worth here. I agree on the garand! Ive never heard oth the one mentioned in the comments but ive been looking into a CMP version then convert the stock to synthetic but CMP will most likely run out of rifles before I would ever see one in my hands! I agree the 30-06 round is an ass kicker and can be found thru cmp and EVEN IN WALMART!! LOL

  • SKIPTORT

    before the book, I need the weapon. Looks like all are being marked up, I’ll wait to see if I can get a deal…

  • VT Patriot

    I never have a new gun more than 2 days without having taken it down to the bare bones, then re-assembled. The engineer in me requires that. I always feel much better knowing that I understand how and why it works, and what possible problems I may encounter. Jes Sayin..

  • LARKAYR

    I was quite surprised by your book recommendation. I immediately thot your were going to recommend survival manuals, such as the military have. When the “ship hits the sand” I want sure reference to review… what is edible, what is poisonous, what works and what doesn’t when I am injured, under stress, and can’t think straight…. I wasn’t trained to be a SEAL, RANGER or CIA agent!

    As a gunsmith the past 50 yrs, I have a wide shelf full of firearms repair books. But I don’t even own any AR type rifle. I own many semiauto battle rifles in various formats, and frankly will take the Ruger Mini 14 over the AR stuff…. same ammo, same firepower, more dependable action, and smaller size in my format.

    A friend asked me a few weeks ago how all these proposed gun laws would affect me. Outside of a ban of semiautos and magazine limitations, I told him that the new laws would probably not affect me more than 10% of my firepower.

    As was already indicated by Knaus and Turner, I don’t need too worry about someone seeing me with a “Black Gun”. And I have a great abundance of surplus military ammo, which is still available.

    If you own and AR type, get the book. Nevertheless, it sure will do you no good if you can’t remember the knowledge of how to take care of yourself when you can only find food out in the fields, and you are injured and stressed to care for your loved ones!

    I always enjoy your ideas…. Thanks for keeping us thinking…

    • AS both armorer and smith, I find your commentary on the Mini14 over an AR both odd and troubling, in the downsizing of the mini, it’s dependability and accuracy are highly compromised, A true smith would recognize that fact. The AR being an older design than the Mini14 is proven far more dependable. Even the CA556 is acknowledged to have a live span of half that of an M-16…

  • Adelbert Waldron

    The AR-15 Complete Assembly Guide (AR-15 Guide Vol 2) by Walt Kuleck is better. Zip lock bagging books is the only good advice I’ve heard from Super Secret Squirrel. Then there is “Full Auto, Volume 1: AR-15 Modification Manual” (The Combat bookshelf) by Desert. If Super Secret Squirrels gloom and doom fallacies are correct you should but that too.

  • IF you own a firearm that is “beyond” your personal knowledge base and you subscribe to the “prepper” philosophy, you need own some physical form of documentation on upkeep and repair of it, just as any other mechanical device you would depend on, be it a generator, or even medical manuals for your own body. This is pure and simple common sense. I’ve been collecting firearms for decades, in multiple calibers and action types. I’m highly skilled in firearms repairs, and ballistics. For me. documentation isn’t as necessary as for others. BUT there are other pieces of equipment that I own that I do find manuals indispensable for. Thing such as my vehicles, generators (previously noted) comm equipment, and so forth. If you are not heavily skilled with the mechanics of an AR, to quote a popular catch phrase, “Buy The Book”!

    • anampses

      Real survivalism in a SHTF scenario requires stripping down possessions to bare minimums in ratio to water & food. This promotes mobility and affects your efficiency of carryable weight & mass. Paper material and books should be the last things you consider packing in case you need to flee from your current shelter. One tiny 64GB microSD could store every firearm manual in existence AND all of Wikipedia offline (as of April 2013, takes up 9GB), AND even a few thousand e-books. Try to pack all of that in printed paper plus your food and water in a car, much less on your back.

      Keep your digital storage device in an isolated faraday cage. They sell flexible solar panels that roll up quickly for travel to charge USB devices.

  • judojoe

    Survivability? AK47 hands down! A screw driver, coat hanger and a small to medium metal file can fix most of your field problems.

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