Obviously not a "stock" answer here, and I agree that what you need will depend on your tactical situation. With all that in mind, I think one should have an ample and broad supply of weapons to choose from. Having only one choice to make, I guess I would choose a good shotgun for a SHTF situation!
My Choice, M1a or M1 Garand
With that said, It's all a matter of what you own, what you can shoot and what gets you hits on target. As someone once said, The .22cal that you can consistently hit the target with, Is much better than the 7.62cal that you only occasionally hit the target with.
OK, the trucks have stopped running food into the cities. The SHTF a week ago. People are starting to wind up stranded in different parts of the city when the cars run out of gas. The local power company has switched residential loads off the grid to maintain some power for government, law enforcement and, hospitals.
Some martial law zones are set up. Otherwise, all else is open season. If you elect to live in a compound, you will follow their rules and go along with a way of life that would not suit many of us here in this forum. Yes, you get to eat something and maybe drink good water. While, you must bed down next to creeps and low life shit. OK, if you can sell your way of living for a meal ticket.
But, if you do not elect to subvert to a martial law zone with its way of living you must provide for yourself and be ready to fend off intruders. You should also be able to take small game for food. While at the same time be able to defend your homestead from various levels of invasion. In this instance I would select,
1.) .22CAL long gun. For taking small game to eat.
2.) .32Cal pistol. Always in pocket. Backup weapon always ready to go.
3.) 9mm semi pistol. Wife's backup pistol. Most of the time ready to go.
4.) 9mm UZI semi. What gets picked up once other armed intruders begin to show themselves about the residence. Targets in larger numbers that are with in 100 meters.
5.) 9mm AR15. What wife will have in hand along with me having Item 4.
6.) .223 Cal AR15. What we break out if more heavily armed intruders begin to show up.
7.) AK47. Backup for if massive numbers begining to encroach onto residence.
If we should survive up until this point, hopefully good sniper weapons can be used to drop better skilled raiders at a longer distance. However, those individuals will most likely be well armed too.
8.) 8mm MAUSER-K98. Heavy hard hitting for medium sniper duty out to 200 meters. Punch holes in half track engine blocks. Nail copters. Drop other snipers.
9.) .308 AR10. 4-10X scope. Semi auto. Hard hitting fast shooting sniper weapon. Long distance duty out to 300+ meters. For hitting that fuel tank inside of the enemy compound. A sniper with this kind of firepower can hold back a lot of infantry.
10.) COMMON SENSE. Use what fits the application when the time is right. Or, don't do anything until the time is right! Do NOT give away your position until you absolutely have to.
If the SHTF that bad, I'm on my way to my folk's farm. Where we're at now we could walk there in 4-5 days.
Firearms for that march, there's three of us:
My son packs his 10/22 and ammo. He's the food provider, and good at it.
My daughter packs an AK and ammo. In a tough situation, it's just her size.
I pack my 870 12 gauge, 1911, and ammo of slugs, birdshot and ball.
Looks like that covers everything but the high-power and sniper roles. Don't see too much need for that on a 5 day hike.
Being a loner at this point probably, I'm headed for the trees with an AK and the Beretta (as previously mentioned). Maybe the underfolder broke down a little to have a backup rifle if I need it, but not at the expence of less ammo. Hopefully I can hook up with a buddy or two and make a pritty good small unit. But its gonna be to the trees for me. Biggest damn forest I can find with decent water supply.
If your in a fair fight, your tactics suck.
The trouble with "heading for the trees" is everyone who ever went on a Boy Scout camping trip or hunts has the exact same idea. You think opening day of deer season is dangerous? You ain't seen nothin' yet!
Far better to have a defensible rural property one can fall back to (if you can't live there full time). This can be a "hunting cabin" or even a relative's or friend's place you can head to if TSHTF. Several advantages compared to camping out in the forest, plus you're more a "local" as opposed to a "troublemaker" fleeing from the city. And if the rural property ever beomes compromised you still have the option of heading for those trees........
That is where I sit. Inside the Urban rows of houses. But, it is completely opened up on the front side. 200 meters open field between me and the next street. The sides are fenced in with several meters space between the houses to the fence line. The rear end is the most likely easy to sneak up on us. But, if they get in there and are detected, plenty of room to take a shot and not hit the back neighbors.
While I have food and water we will dig in here till the ammo runs low. Or, if we listen in on the military radio and learn that a huge force is moving through soon. An enemy tank would lob an incendiary shell into each house one after the other. I have nothing that would take out a tank. It would be time then to make a run for it.
Unless I could scavenge an RPG from some dead squad member we took out.
That really does depend on a lot of things for me, especially as an active duty member.
Though for the most part you'd probably find me either in old tri-color fatigues, blue cover-alls, or depending on the time, dungerees or the new blue digis with a med bag and a beretta strapped to my leg.
Ya I didnt really think about the active duty part of things. I guess it all depends on the situation. My base doesnt allow guns on base and since they would obviously be searching every car, bringing by "backup plan" would be a terrible idea. I live really close to base though so I could probably get a feel for how things are going before showing up and checking in. Maybe stash the goodies somewhere till a new sop was established. hmm.
If your in a fair fight, your tactics suck.