I believe that anybody who subscribes to the principal of Survivalism should have a few firearms. I know that guns cost money. I also know that money (or the lack, thereof) can be an issue for a lot of people. So, maybe the best way is to try to obtain firearms one at a time.
If you have NO guns at all, I recommend that you start with a rifle in .22LR. I know that the .22 lacks power compared to a lot of larger calibers, but, I still think that a beginner should start with it. I have seen many crime programs on TV where criminals used .22 rifles and handguns to do their dastardly deeds. It is true, that, unfortunately, many people and animals have been killed with the .22. I don’t want to be shot with one and you don’t either! But, it can do the job!
To start with, the ammo for this caliber is the least expensive available. You can buy a brick of 500 rounds for less than $20 in a lot of places. This gives you the chance to get lots of ammo for practice. And, that is something that all of us need. And, it is not expensive to store up a large amount. There is NO SUCH THING as TOO MUCH AMMO!
“So, what gun do you recommend?” Well, I’m glad you asked! I would say that a good semi auto RIFLE would be your best choice for a one gun battery. A rifle is easier to shoot accurately and the longer barrel (as compared to a handgun) gets all of the power that is available for the round.
A good .22LR rifle is a very good home defense gun. You can protect yourself with it with good results. And, if you miss, there is a good chance that the bullet will not penetrate your walls and enter your neighbors’ homes. I sometimes think that I should keep a .22 rifle next to my bed.
“What’s the best .22 to buy?” Another good question! If you can scratch up around $200, I think that the Ruger 10/22 would be the way to go. It is rugged, dependable, accurate, and, there are tons of after market accessories for it (although you can get carried away with them if you’re not careful). About the only thing that I would recommend for a 10/22 is a few good 25 round magazines (mags) . DON’T buy Butler Creek mags with Plastic feed lips. I have heard a lot of complaints about these. Butler Creek does make these mags with steel lips, as does Shooters Ridge ( I have several of these and they work beautifully) and Ruger. I believe that these are serviceable. I also think that there may be other makes available, but I cannot attest to their quality.
“Can you name something that costs less?” I think so. Marlin makes their Model 60. This is a tube loading little rifle that holds 14 cartridges in the tube. Marlin claims to have made more than 11 million of these, so, I think that you could do OK with one of them. They probably cost around $40-$50 less than the 10/22. Savage makes a nice little rifle in .22. So do Remington, Mossberg and henry. Henry make a gun that they call “the Survival Gun” that you can easily disassemble and store all the parts in the stock. The guns listed in this paragraph are semi autos.
Several manufacturers also make .22 rifles with other types of actions such as bolt, pump, lever, single shot and combination. But, I believe that a semi auto is better for survival purposes.