Imagine the snap above without the National Guardsman. Now what would you carry? How would you carry it? Would you put up a sign like that one? And would you worry about a prosecutor waving around your bad ass firearm in front of a jury, later, should things get seriously gnarly? [h/t to sometimes TTAG contributor Destin S for this real life snap of his sister’s place after a tornado took out parts of Tuscaloosa. Click here for his account.]

63 Responses to Question of the Day: What’s the Best Gun for Intimidating Looters?

  1. Nothing says intimidation like a Ma Deuce. But in all seriousness if you’re going for straight up scare ’em away tactics I would pull whatever had the biggest bore diameter out of the safe. I’ve never had the occasion to be on the wrong end of a 12 gauge, but I would assume that muzzle would appear to have a diameter the size of a manhole cover when stuck in your face.

  2. The racking of a 12ga pump may be a strong psychological deterrent. That BIG hole in the muzzle looks mighty intimidating from a perp’s point of view.

    I think a properly loaded 12ga (#00, #000, Buck and Ball, etc.) would be far more effective than those 2 guardsmen shown. It looks like they have no magazines in their ’16s.

    Her SAIGA 12ga is an excellent intimidator, despite the lack of the classical racking sound of a pump.

  3. I think a shotgun would be the best thing but since i dont have one a Ar-15 with a 100 round drum would do just fine for me, if that doesnt work then i’ll bring out the mini gun( i wish)

  4. Ideally, my Mossberg 500. The cha-CLACK of chambering a round from cruiser-ready is intimidating, but I like a pump gun for a couple more reasons.

    1. Reliability. My 930SPX is a horse and it’s shot everything I’ve fed through it so far, but at the end of the day, it relies on its ammunition and/or user to properly function. A pump has no such issues. If the slide moves, if the firing pin falls, it shoots, no matter if it’s a light target load or high-powered slug in the chamber.

    2. Speaking of which: The flexibility of pump gun is unmatched. Want to put a 2/3rds of an inch wide dent into someone wearing body armor? Slug. Want to stop a threat RIGHT NOW? Buckshot. Rampaging zombie squirrels? Birdshot. A rifle will reach out and touch someone a lot farther than a scattergun can, but a pump shotgun can do a lot of things a rifle won’t.

  5. They don’t call riot guns ‘Crowd Pleasers’ for nothing, but their limited capacity and slow reloads would be a liability if intimidation failed and things went even farther to hell.

    A well set-up tactical carbine also conveys a clear “don’t fuck with me” message. I suspect the ‘snick’ of an AR or AK safety being disengaged would be also be a highly motivational sound to an opportunistic looter.

    But why not choose both? My wife would have the AK-74 (no recoil) and I’d carry the 870.

  6. If you’re making the case that you’re defending your property, standing in the front yard may not be the best legal or tactical choice.

    I’d be holding a shotgun as well. So would my wife. So would my daughter.

    If looting was a real issue, I’d board the windows and bolt the doors. Pick a nice spot to barricade. Back the truck into the garage and close the garage door in case I need to bug out fast and then I’d sit tight and try to ride it out.

    • Scott – after Hurricane Ike I was one of the first back in my neighborhood (not counting the few guys that rode it out). No looting, but we saw plenty of unfamiliar and suspicious looking cars/trucks prowling the streets for the first week or so. Maybe sightseers, but maybe looking for empty houses too. I didn’t brandish any guns or put signs up in the yard, but I made sure to be outside and visible. I made sure a car was visible in the driveway. The place to stop them is while they’re still in the car, out on the street. Tactically standing in the front yard is much better than hiding in the house.

      • Good point. Maybe there’s a good way to let everyone know you are home and armed without making yourself a target? Standing still in the front lawn with a shotgun may make you a drive-by victim (or float by?)

        • A nice big confederate flag would probably do the trick. The don’t tread on me flag might work but not as widely recognized

  7. plasma rifle in a 50 watt range…..no really we have a castle law down here in texas so come as you may ….

  8. Looters wouldn’t see anything, because I would be inside my house. I don’t feel like being shot in the head by a guy with a deer rifle hiding behind a dumpster, or run over by a truck. But I have 1,000 rounds of 5.56 if he feels like coming in.

    • you have too many rounds at your disposal….we (the government) will have to come up with a law for that one 🙂

  9. The little lady in the picture has the right idea – a Saiga 12ga. But most people facing a Saiga 12 have no comprehension of the lethal firepower they are up against.

  10. In a real looting situation? That’s kinda remote, but I belive that my AR-15 and my sidearm should be highly persuasive. If the looters are too stupid to be intimidated by a 5.56, they deserve to get shot with one. Or ten. Or whatever it takes to discourage them. And don’t give me any of that “they’re just looters” crap. If a mob tries to bust their way into my home, I think I’m allowed to draw a negative inference.

  11. 12 ga, with an AR backup.

    Based on Magoo’s responses to Destin’s June 12 post, he will probably add the following sign to his front lawn:

    LOOTERS AND CRIMINALS WELCOME – PLEASE HELP YOURSELVES TO OUR FOOD AND POSSESSIONS, BECAUSE MATERIAL GOODS ARE NEVER WORTH HURTING ANYONE. WE WILL NOT RESIST. PLEASE, PLEASE DON’T HURT US.

    This sign would also make Magoo very popular with his armed neighbors, as long as he still had anything worth a looter’s time. And I see no reason why Magoo should benefit from his neighbors’ willingness to protect the neighborhood. (Please don’t take offense, Magoo, I’m just suggesting that you be willing to practice what you preach.)

    • In the case of a hurricane or other natural catastrophe, which firearms are more prone to intimidate looters is not among the first 10 or even the first 25 things that come to mind for me.

      It is sort of interesting to see what you guys fantasize about, however.

      • I’ll repeat my acount – after Hurricane Ike I saw plenty of unfamiliar cars prowling the streets. My assumption is that maybe some were sightseers looking at the damage, and maybe others were potentially looters picking out unoccupied houses to hit. I wasn’t fantasizing about guns, I was making sure we didn’t become a target by mistake. Based on accounts of Katrina, the threat of looters (esp. after a mandatory evacuation) was very real.

      • Is this the same Magoo who thought flash mobs were a figment of our gun crazed imagination? Nah, that must have been a different Magoo.

        When you are in a disaster situation you first secure your property and then your immediate neighborhood. Once you have done that you can begin to recover. Unless you do the first you won’t get to do the second.

        I bet this Magoo is the world’s most accomplished disaster recovery specialist.

        • I’m not particularly worried about flash mobs or looters. You guys are because you are obsessed with fantasy violence. Read this discussion from top to bottom. Do you imagine that normal people occupy themselves this way?

        • Normal people discuss hypothetical situations all the time. Fantasizing has nothing to do with it.

        • And the citizens [oops, subjects] in London were fantasizing about their homes and shops being looted and burned down by “youths” who were just “getting theirs back from the rich”.

          Hey Magoo, is denial a river in Egypt where you live?

        • Magoo is the kind of guy who bad mouths everybody who prepares and then shows up looking for help when the going gets tough. I will help anyone in a crunch except self-righteous prigs like Magoo.

  12. Although I love my AR and my 870, there is something about the look of an AKM that is very intimidating. Maybe it is because the AK is so often used by the bad guys. Maybe it is the classic, scary look of that 30 round magazine. Everyone knows what an AK is and what it can do.

    I also like the bayonet that came with mine for deterrence. My AK is all black except for the bolt. Add that nice, bright blade to the end of the barrel and the intimidation factor goes up again because nobody expects to see a bayonet anymore. And we all know that adding a bayonet turns a plain sporting rifle into a super-evil, deadly, mean, nasty assault rifle. That might keep the more liberal looters away at least.

  13. Most definitely a saiga 12 with a few 20 round drums and 00 Buck shot.

    In contrast to Barbarossa I believe most people know the shape of an AK 47 when they see one and the ones that fail to understand its firepower will be very sorry they did.

    • Well, assuming the statistics I’ve seen are accurate, the AK-47 is likely the most common firearm in the world accounting for around three out of every twenty firearms in existence.

  14. I will have my AR on it’s tactical sling over my shoulder (with 30-rd mag inserted, unlike the guys in the pic above), my SIG P220 .45 in plain view on my hip. My wife will be wielding our Benelli 12ga SuperNova Tactical pump with her 9mm SIG on her hip.

    If my family is available, there will be three ARs wielded by three 6’2″+ guys, a tactical shotgun wielded by our father, and a sidearm on each person’s belt.

    For sheer intimidation factor, a tactical pump shotgun with an ammo-belt sling is hard to beat, and the iconic profile of the AK is a close second. The AR is the next best thing, and that’s what we have, so that’s what we’ll use. A big magnum wheelgun is also on my to-buy list in the near future, and those tend to send an effective “think twice” message as well.

  15. No way to predict exactly what I would do, or need. Depends on the situation.

    My GOTO gun is a .45 1911 on my hip. If needed another 1911, lever action .30-30, a couple of .38 revolvers, pump 12 ga and a dbl barrel 12ga.

    If that ain’t enough then I am really in deep do-do, way above my head. The sound of a pump shot gun is intimidating but since it would be fully loaded and I am not going to expend a round when yelling I HAVE A GUN is louder and carries thru the door and further distances outside, conveys the message.

    The last thing I would do is post a sign outside telling the world I am armed, which IMHO is just silly bravado. To me I would rather give the bad folk an Oh S+++ moment.

    As to if I would stay inside, most likely, or go outside, depends on the situation.

  16. I have to go with what I got. 1911 on my hip and a Remington 700/308 slung ovre my shoulder ready to pop the hooligans. Wife will be packing her M-9 and providea suppressive fire with the trusty coon gun (Savage MK II 22lr).

    I won’t be in this alone. This will be a neighborhood defense. There are a few military/spook types on the block who will even protect our anti-gun neighbors.

    • That’s the best response I can think of to the “There’s a guy with a deer rifle down the block who’ll take me out if I stand in my front yard”. If your friends and neighbors allow such things to happen after a disaster, you need need new neighbors.

      Before there were governments, there were kinfolk and neighbors who watched out for each other, and it’ll be like that right after a major disaster or social disruption when government’s effects can’t be noticed.

      Take a look at the 1991 LA riots or the riots in London this month. It wasn’t one guy with a gun/cricket bat standing out in front of his shop, it was him, his employees and a half-dozen or more friends and family who stood together against the crowds.

      “Strength in numbers” works both ways.

      • I used to have some really good neighbors. We’ve had a lot of houses switch to rentals in the last couple of years. Theres still a few good’uns on my block but it’s not like it used to be. It makes me sad.

  17. In an all out, condition black, an army of looters are coming down my street? I’ll defer to my post the last time this was asked on here. I’d be on my roof in a lawn chair with my LAR-8, 5 DSA 30 round FAL mags, a case of ball ammo in an ammo can, and a six pack of Heineken. On a more realistic note, I’d probably just go about my normal business but with heightened awareness. I’d probably open carry my Glock 20 and keep my long guns sitting out, easily accessible, around the house while cleaning up my property and/or my nieghbors property.

  18. How about just ANYTHING?

    Looting after an earthquake/hurricane/tornado is a crime of opportunity. Looters are going to be looking for empty houses where they can get in & get out and get what’s valuable.

    Thus in the story that went with the picture, just the Tiki Torch perimeter at night saying “this place occupied”, let alone somebody on the porch, let alone somebody on the porch with a shotgun, are going to be enough to keep the looters at bay.

    So heck, a lever action .22 with a tube full hollowpoints works well enough once all the above is taken care of.

    Even better? Be on friendly terms with your neighbors so you can ALL make sure the looters go bug people someplace else.

  19. If I were one of the guardsmen in that situation, I’ve gotta say I’d feel much better if I could carry my gun with an evil black assault clip in it; those unloaded AR’s don’t seem too threatening.

  20. After living in coastal NC for 20 years, going through Fran, Bertha, and Floyd, that were bad. We not only opened carried. But were visited in our stilt house by the NCNG, on Carolina Beach, who asked if we were OK, and even gave us some MRE’s that we didn’t need by semi rigid inflatable. (Water was to the bottom of the STOP signs for 18 hours).

    We had fuel, ice, provisions, and were very aware that “we” were the community watch.

    Remington 870 Marine Magnum, G22, and an Armalite Carbine AR. Neighbors wore big revolvers, and also had other firearms at their disposal. There was NO looting, no civil disruptions, and no Katrina nightmares.

    Local LEO’s conducted their patrols after the water receded, and knew we were armed and left us in peace to rebuild/repair our homes.

    • And if the same had happened in New Orleans after Katrina, the looting wouldn’t have been as bad, nor would it have been as widespread.

      I guess it just goes to further prove Frankin’s Law….

  21. I’ve got a Mossburg 500 mil-spec riot gun that mounts a bayonet (optional). That would be backed up either with a CAR-15 or HK-91. An M1911A1 or HK Compact .45 USP add to the list.

    As a retired History teacher, I also have a Roman Pilum and a Greek Hoplite spear.

    Its good to have choices.

  22. All looters are COWARDS and they’ll run from any gun. The BONE COLLECTOR would certainly ruin their day after the see the huge fireball and feel the sonic boom that will shake their body.

  23. Not that I would condone shooting someone without just cause…

    but I believe the best sign to “Stay Away” is a body or 3 lying dead in pools of their own blood on your lawn.

    That said, I like the white sign above.

  24. Instead of a gun, how about a large ax or large sword in your hand? Sends a clear message.

    If they continue to advance, you can assume they’re armed in some way and your 2 family members in hidden positions with long guns will have the green light to shoot through their loopholes (rifle) or from behind concealment (shotgun?) and drop them as they approach you.

    If you have more than one person, ALWAYS have someone cover your 6 visually at least even if they aren’t armed. NEVER assume that the obvious threat is the only threat. Last thing you need is to get backdoored by Joe & his brother while distracted by Jim and their dad.

  25. AR-15 (preferably configured as a machinegun) with an attached suppressor.

    That or something belt-fed.

    Both say “I’ve got military hardware, and I know how to use it, don’t fuck with me” which in a situation like you suggest in the OP, is a good thing to say. They say it even better when you have a buddy or two (at least) also manning positions behind cover, and similarly armed.

    • Suppressor makes is a lot more pleasant to shoot and would definitely take you up several notches in the DNFW meter if anyone got close enought to see it. But I am not hunting looters, I’m trying to keep them away in a situation in which I am likely to be alone with no backup. I would probably leave the can off, and if you have to fire let everyone in a mile-plus radius know there is someone at home and armed. Most likely all of us wear hearing protection when we shoot, experiencing rifle fire close up without hearing protection is a bit of a visceral shock for nom-military folks and I would hate for my local meth-heads and low lives to be deprived of that sonic experience.

      Intimidation is key, and the intimidation of sound extends farther than the visual impact of a suppressor.

  26. I’m surprised no one’s mentioned bayonets yet, the older and longer the better. For some reason, there’s something about the sight of a foot of sharpened steel on the end of a long arm that makes people reconsider their life choices.

  27. Why are most commenters here telling what they have? Or are the mentioned weapons just on the ‘wish list’ (nudge-nudge, wink-wink)?

  28. See I subscribe to a different camp. My 12 ga pump is at the ready , backed by plenty more. I won’t rack one to scare a goblin off. I do keep the chamber empty, and that is to “sound off”, but that comes after I have screwed the muzzle of that scatter gun in an ear. I think that one time of that, and the goblin news network will have you permanently on the DO NOT F___ WITH THAT GUY list.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *