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After checking out Austin I’ve confirmed a suspicion that’s been growing since I got divorced: New England is not a friendly place. Rhode Island in particular. I know the names of three of my neighbors and one of them is about to move. I find this a bit worrying. What if a Hurricane Sandy-style storm ploughs into little Rhody and knocks out power for a couple of weeks? My Lady and the Tramp neighborhood abuts a less-than-salubrious part of town. If the nearby natives get restless, well, I’ll turn the mic over to ace snapper Oleg Volk for a rootin’ tootin’ reality check . . .

Finding ways to join forces with neighbors would be a help as well, since a typical family with two adults cannot hold a fixed position against even a slightly competent assault for any length of time. 24 hour/360 degree watch would be too hard to effect. Exceptions to that would be locations where the approach can be properly channeled, but that’s not the case for most of us.

Oleg is not wrong (as usual). Ironically, he illustrates this important point with gun porn pics of an AR-15 equipped with a “reliable” 150-round ammunition drum.

You may live in the middle of incipient militia, but the chances of one of my neighbors holding a rifle attached to an Armatac SAW-MAG are about as high as Louise Glover holding my, uh, I think you get the point (even if she doesn’t).

If push comes to shove, you may need to equip and train your very own fighting force. STAT. Wolverines! Forgive me for repeating this advice, but the best firearms for that job are the simplest and safest: revolvers and lever action rifles.

Revolvers don’t have safeties to forget. Or remember. Or remember to forget. A newbie can rest their finger on a revolver’s trigger (what’s the bet they won’t?) without necessarily firing the gun. You can teach your new BFF how to open the gate, tell them the bullets face forward, don’t point that thing at me or my child thank you very much, and hope for the best.

Long guns are far better for intimidating bad guys, but shotguns are not for newbies. Pump action? Short stroke. Recoil? Shot number two won’t even be close—if they recover. Reload? Not likely. (Hate to say it but Joe Biden’s double barrel approach offers the best chance a newbie will figure out how to get a shotgun up and running after an initial engagement.)

ARs are awesome for this kind of outdoor activity. I love me some modern sporting rifle. You could, in theory, load-up an AR-style gun for your newbie neighbor, blessing your highly inexperienced team member with 30-round capability (void where prohibited by law question mark) and worry about reloading later.

Yes, but—I would not want an AR virgin walking around with an AR with the safety off. I would not want them walking around with an AR with the safety on; they’ll forget to switch it off to fire. And if they do, rat-a-tat-tat-tat-tat-etc. I’ve seen it many times (most recently on Piers Morgan Tonight): once a newb gets the rifle running they forget to stop.

In short, an AR-equipped neighbor would intimidate them but scare the shit out of me and offer limited strategic advantages.

A lever gun is a low-recoil, visually impressive rifle with a speed-bump-esque learning curve and excellent capacity. You load it up for your fellow defender and leave the chamber empty. Instruct them to work the action if needs be. Continue to work it if needs be becomes needs must.

The necessary pause between rounds with a lever gun—a good second for someone not trying to Lucas McCain the piece—is a good thing, not a bad thing; giving the shooter the chance to consider the effect (or lack thereof) of each shot.

Speaking of which, I know this sounds silly, but lever guns tend to bring out the shooter’s inner cowboy. The taciturn good guy who only shoots when he has to, and does so with steely-eyed determination.

And there you have it: a reason to go out and buy three or four revolvers and lever guns. You might not want to share this logic with your neighbors (just yet) and/or someone in your household who has input on your expenditures. But rest assured they’ll all be grateful should shit get out of hand. Words you may not want to use but you’d do well to remember.

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  1. After not being able to buy a Mosin Nagant at a gun show for pretty much this purpose, I’d say Shotguns

    Go get some cheap ass Maverick 88s from Academy/Walmart ect ect

    They work, they are simple, they’re effective

    • Mosin nagant is almost stupid proof. I love mine and it maintains a special place in my heart/gunsafe.

      • MN 91/30, M38 & M44 fanboy here. Awesome firepower can be yours for a little more than a Benjamin or two, and cheap ammo to boot. But for noobs, no. Too hard for them to operate the industrial-strength bolt action, two much recoil for them to manage, and the noise scares their pants off.

        • Got em down here at the local store for a hell’uva deal…. $299 for a 91/30 (They had ’em for $189 before the surge – Hate that place, but they seem to have guns rolling in if you follow their FB page).

        • Thinking on it for a spell it occurred to me in my LGS. Enfields. They’re almost as cheap to buy as mosins, and I believe they’re a touch cheaper to shoot. They have double the mag cap, and the bolt is down right buttery. But I haven’t seen the one that didn’t have head spacing issues. It’s an easy fix IF you can find the bolt heads.

      • I have a surplus of Mosin Nagants and ammo. I also have a surplus of single shot break action shotguns, possibly the world’s easiest and most murphy proof weapon for noobs.

        I do not advocate giving handguns, even revolvers to total noobs during a shitstorm. If it’s long term and you have a chance to see your noobs under stress, maybe.

        • I think a Mosin would be much more intimidating than a handgun. Half of the battle is looking like you should not be messed with. If I had a SHTF moment, my wife’s getting my M44 with red dot scope and a few stripper clips. Just put the dot on the bad guy and pull the trigger. I’m still looking for an Enfield and German K98.

        • M44 with a red dot scope?
          You just went full retard. Forget surviving SHTF, I’m surprised you can survive day to day life.

    • Hell yeah man. Or maybe a Taurus 608, which holds 8 rounds of .357. One of those and a Rossi lever gun brings you up to 20 rounds fully loaded. Yes please.

  2. “… New England is not a friendly place…”

    Imagine my surprise when I moved from Connecticut to Tennessee. I went from strangers crossing the street to avoid small talk to walking down the street and random people waving. In New England people WILL go out of their way to avoid others, here some people go out of their way to be freindly. Its like Canada with guns and a country accent. I remember getting gas shortly after I moved here and it turned in to a 30 minute conversation with a guy at the pump opposite of me.

    • Same experience moving from CA to North Carolina.

      Funny story: woman tried playing chicken for a parking space at Walmart here with a friend of mine. He called her bluff and got the spot. Lady pulls around and yells out her window as he’s walking into the store, “Where’s your Southern fscking Hospitality?!” He yells back, “I’m from fscking New York!” and walks on in.

    • Now here’s an epiphany.

      Most of us have heard that the population in the Eastern Seaboard civilian disarmament states are reluctant to talk their neighbors much less strangers.

      That means they never get to really know anyone. Because if they did, they would realize that none of their neighbors are looking for excuses to shoot random people for “horrific” actions such as changing lanes in front of them.

    • ^ this. My main worry would be getting some kind of ammo/gun standard set. For resupply and repair purposes.

      • “Now look here son. Right here in the HOA bylaws, it says this neighborhood is a .45ACP, .308 neighborhood. You can take your 9mms, your 7.62x39s, along with your .40s and your .223s down to the city. This is a classy place.”

        Although now that I think about it, they probably don’t have HOAs in Texas. Maybe more of an armed neighborhood watch most likely.

        • HOAs in Texas are more oppressive than the State or local governments ever dreamed of being. I’m pretty sure my HOA president has a brown shirt and red, white and black armband he wears to bed at night. But it’s like the Billy Mummy character in the old Twilight Zone episode, don’t piss him off or you’ll find yourself in the corn field.

        • My house is not even in an HOA and there are asshats who go around and get the city after you.

          Oh look you have a palm branch that is hanging down at 7.5ft instead of 8! Call the city!

  3. I grew up in Houston, Texas, and lived for about 3 years in Connecticut and found the people there to be decidedly chilly.

    • Look for a used Glenfield 30A. Essentially a Marlin 336, but cheaper. Should also be pre-drilled/tapped for optics mounting if desired.

  4. What’s cool is, I actually prefer lever guns and revolvers. My daily carry is a .38 revolver, and my next firearm is going to be a .357 lever.

  5. Am I the only one who read the title “Buy Guns for Your Neighbors” and my first thought was from “Jericho”?

    “We need guns”

    “Guns? …… Guns are easy.”

    • lol, I tried to like that show, it had it’s moments, but mostly seemed like “Armageddon according to Disney”

  6. As mentioned previously in various TTAG reviews of lever guns, an 18″ barrel does a pretty impressive job of increasing foot-pounds of energy from a pistol round. A combo of .357/.38 pistol (I would put .38s in the handgun for a newbie) with a .357 Rossi or Marlin lever gun – that’s not a bad defensive combo. My Marlin .357 cranks a 158gr hollowpoint up to nearly .30-30 energy, and with peep sights it’s easy to shoot accurately at 100 yards.

    REALLY good excuse to buy a couple more guns, too.

    • I recently heard about a friend of a friends Henry rifle clone (Martini?) that fired .357 and was remarkably quiet. Fired around other rifle shooters the report was almost unnoticable.

    • I’ve been wanting a .357 levergun to go with a .357 revolver. I love the round, but I just need more money to buy the guns!

  7. Robert, I am surprised that you are surprised.

    I have lived all over the country. The Northeast is by far the least friendly place. Frankly, my advice is simple – Move. Move someplace more gun-friendly, and you will find that people there are also more friendly, overall.

    This advice from a resident of Maryland, who is counting the days to his wife’s retirement and a move to (back to) friendlier climes. NC, SC, GA, TN, WY, MT.
    You get the idea.

    Given your celebrity status, after the front page article int he Wash Post, I thought this would be a given.

    • >> This advice from a resident of Maryland, who is counting the days to his wife’s retirement and a move to (back to) friendlier climes. NC, SC, GA, TN, WY, MT. You get the idea.

      “Friendlier” is a very relative thing. Where would you suggest an atheist gun owner to move? A homosexual one?

  8. If my neighbors don’t already have firearms, and have no experience with them, IMHO I feel I’d be better off arming them with blunt and edged weapons rather than firearms.

  9. Got a Mosin M44 in the LGS here for around $200 I think. Was still there Wed anyways.
    Got 3 revolvers. Love them all. Right next to my 91/30!!!! And my lovable little 1911.

  10. Correction: A lot of people in Northern New England are standoffish, but not necessarily unfriendly. Massachusetts and Northern Connecticut are unfriendly. Rhode Island is mean. Southern Connecticut, especially Fairfield County, is so obnoxious it might as well be Manhattan.

    • Spent many a summer during my yoot up at my family’s cabin in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. Crotchety ole Yankees up there, but once they see you’re not a flatlander or an “out-of-towner” they’ll give you the shirt off their back. Not too many of em left like that, though.

  11. We were friendly once.

    What happened is all these lunatics started coming in and taking over taking advantage of the friendly folk. Now the old-timers are jaded. Especially if you’re from “away”.

    The saying “no good deed…” it a Northern New England motto. You from “away” and dont know where Joe’s old goat barn used to be? Then FOAD because you cant be here for any altruistic or friendly purpose yourself.

    Plenty friendly if you’re local though. I’d use the term “isolationist” rather than “unfriendly.” Southern New Englanders all seem unfriendly because they’ve been screwed their whole lives. Northern New Englanders are “isolationist” because we dont want to get screwed like the Southerners did.

  12. I hem and haw about this topic a lot. Two neighbors are ex-military, one is certainly well equipped. Two other neighbors don’t own guns but have the right attitude for something like a revolver. Another neighbor is an avid hunter and is well enough equipped for SHTF. But no one really seems that interested in considering worst case scenario and even with six of us we wouldn’t be able to hold our neighborhood from roving looters. If it gets ugly I’ll bug out with what I can and share with them the useful things I can’t take with me. Maybe they’ll keep an eye on my house while I’m gone but also they’ll be understanding that there won’t be much useful left in it to loot anyways.

    • I’ve got the opposite problem. I live in the country on a dead-end road and all my neighbors shoot. Unfortunately, whenever a “townie” comes out to the house and takes a look around they invariably mention something about “how they know where they’re coming when the zombie apocalypse hits…”. Unfortunately, because they’re “townies”, they won’t bring any food, water, fuel, shelter, guns or ammo with them. Bunch of useless gits, actually. While I’d have no problem arming and helping out the neighbors, I don’t plan on harboring any townies unless they’re Marines, have backwoods training or can’t skin a deer/turkey/rabbit. Let ’em eat their own…

  13. Just two questions. Pardon my ignorance, but I have not handled a lever gun since my Marlin 30-30 in 1975.
    1. Is it possible to “short stroke” a lever action?
    2. Does anyone make a lever action with a removable box magazine?
    Okay, #3, can you get a lever action in 7.62 or 5.56 NATO?

    • I would say that lever guns are among the least favorable choices for total newbs. If it’s not something you’ve ever done before, trying to reload a lever gun, especially one that hasn’t had at least a few hundred rounds put through, under pressure could turn into a big snafu. My lever guns are chambered in .45-70, .44 and thutty-thutty, none of which are particularly light in recoil given that my ’94 is a trapper.

      Personally I think NEF handi rifles and shotguns are the best options for arming neighbors. Not only are they (almost) idiot proof, but they also don’t cost a whole bunch. I wouldn’t be all too enthusiastic about putting one of my $1500 AR’s into anyone’s hands unless they are close friends or family.

      • I disagree, simply because emergency deputizing a neighbor should not require teaching them how to reload a lever gun.

        I realize that others may disagree with this, and I acknowledge that there are good reasons to think otherwise.

        If I were in desperate need of rest and had to deputize a competent but unskilled neighbor to stand watch for 4 hours, I would not hesitate to give them kick-ass flashlight and a lever-action rifle with a full magazine, an empty chamber, and no reloads.

        I want any threats to see an armed sentry openly carrying a rifle. Because: deterrence.

        I want the neighbor to have to intentionally execute one simple gross-motor-skill action before the gun will go bang when the trigger is pulled. Because: safety.

        I don’t want them thinking about reloading. I want them to shoot back and sound the alarm, all while keeping themselves alive. Because: focus.

        And finally, if things get ugly, they’re cannon fodder buying me time to wake up and prepare. If they get shot in the leg, I don’t want the gangbanger who takes the rifle to also get extra ammo. Hard truth.

  14. Well, my lever gun wouldn’t do a newbie any good at all. My Marlin 1895GS .45-70 will definitely turn a newbie off for life. Especially since I only use the higher powered stuff. I have let some folks try it and the the reaction after one shot is OUCH – PLEASE – NO MORE! The only ones that love it like I do are the ones with similar experience and time with all things of the gun. Which is like three people, one of which bought an 1895 and one of the others is shopping for one. Other than my .22s and 9mm, I don’t own anything a newbie would be comfortable with.

    As for my neighbors here in the far NW suburbs of Chicago, I have lived in the same house for 16 years and I know three of my neighbors and only one do I have any type of relationship with. Even my friendly neighbor does not think anything bad will ever happen and doesn’t like the evil black rifles. He is mostly a FUDD, but he does think we should be “allowed” to own them if we want.

    • I like you if a Howitzer round does not come out of my 45-70’s it is not called fun.

      405gr and up a minimum of 44gr Rel 7 plus.

      Plus my 44-40’s are even HOT.


  15. Please stop referring to all of New England as anti-gun. If you mean Mass, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, please specify those states. 🙂

  16. HiPoint 9mm Carbine. Super easy to manipulate. Pretty Accurate. Super cheap. I have never had a failure in mine.

    • My buddy had one of those. A Tack-driver it ain’t, but for relatively recoil-free minute-of-badguy follow-up (too many hyphens?) shots, it’s a great bang for the buck. Add to that the decent capacity and relatively simple controls, I agree that this is a candidate for a SHTF scenario.

  17. I’m lucky that my wife makes it her mission to make sure we are on friendly terms with neighbors, even in “chilly” CT. Also lucky that one of my immediate neighbors is, like me, former Canadian Army (though older, so an FN-FAL guy) and his wife was on the rifle team in high school. Once the weather warms up we’ll be taking them out for a range day to get them familiar on modern arms. Another neighbor is a former Marine who served during the transition from M-14 to -16, and still has rifles and shotguns. With my wife and me that’s five adults who I know can shoot and who I know would kill to protect their kids. That’s a decent start.

  18. I agree with Oleg 100%. In a real SHTF situation, I’d absolutely invite trusted friends and family who could shoot to come stay with me, or move to such an environment. (I have trusted friends who live right near a stream in a defensible position… hmm…)

    But, I disagree with Robert. “Modern sporting rifles” are by far the best guns you could have in such a situation. The trick is to have one or two suppressed 22lr trainers so that you can get the newbies enough discreet practice to not totally suck with the real-deal centerfire guns. The basement of an abandoned house, for instance, might make a decent training ground, especially if you stock up some lead-free .22lr. You could also make use of laser trainers.

    The commies managed to teach illiterate peasants to shoot AKs to a usable degree; you’d figure your high school and college educated neighbors could figure out how to safely operate an AR-15.

    I’d also be a lot more concerned about having enough mags, slings, lights, batteries, mag/shell carriers, etc. You need that support system to run the gun properly.

  19. Seeing how our “fellow Americans” acted after the Trayvon incident, Sandy Hook, Aurora, etc, my first thought from reading the title was “buy guns for protection from your neighbors.” Never forget, in tyrannies and genocides past, it was the people who were manipulated into doing the heavy lifting for the government. Our worst enemies are our neighbors.

  20. So you think lever guns are easy for newbies to run?

    Have you ever short-stroked one and jammed it up? I have. Though I was 12 or 13 at the time, I was not exactly a newbie. It was so bad Dad had to come help me un-f%ck it.

    Lever guns often rely on half-cock for safety feature. Not good for newbies…even though we did it when I was a kid. (Dad is a trusting sort).

    Lever guns are difficult to load, even when you know how.

    IMHO, lever guns as a defensive weapon are for experts. Use only in emergencies.

  21. I’ve got a .22LR revolver and a single shot 20 gauge I could loan, in a civil defense situation, to someone, every other gun is going to be in use by me or my wife. I might relinquish the Marlin 60, but only in a pinch. That being said, I’m nowhere near “done” are far as getting the guns I want, so I expect to have a few extra within a year or so. And if things were really that bad, I would load up and drive across town to my inlaws, the FIL is a rifle range instructor with a much nicer collection of rifles.

  22. Defense is a fickle creature. Depending on the population of your community, you may not be able to defend your location for more than a few weeks. There will be waves of people scrounging for supplies that they never put the thought and resources towards. If you have to abandon your location, you have only what you can carry. Right about then you will be glad you had a plan, and likely f’d if you didn’t.

  23. In my neighborhood (in lovely Williamson County Texas, or as I call it, God’s Country) I won’t need to arm too many of my neighbors. A good three quarters already own guns, and a third are active or retired military or law enforcement.

  24. Woe unto the fools who decide to cause trouble on my street. I don’t need to arm my neighbors, fortunately! 😀

  25. I almost bought a rossi .357 lever gun last week. Anyone have a recomendation for a .357/38 revolver newbie?

    • Single action or double action? Full size or snubbie?? Lots of good .38/.357 wheel guns out there. Depends on what you are going to use it for.
      Personally I like te Heritage Arms SA Revolvers for general plonking as target shooting. My backup carry revolver is a S&W Model 67 Stainless .38soecial with the 4″ barrel.
      Just depends what you want it for.

  26. Do not give a gun to a newbie. If they haven’t woke up by now and bought one of their own, use all your powers of persuasion to encourage them to join the opposition. A truly brain dead, unarmed, untrained, undisciplined enemy, is a good enemy.

  27. The neighbors get my 10-22’s and the like. The serious calibers stay home, yet they won’t be completely defenseless.

  28. Build Kenyan bee hives.

    Let the killer bees inhabit them. (all wild bees are now killers…very protective of the hive).

    Place the hives so you do not disturb them in the course of daily life around the home but where you can blow them apart when you are assaulted.

    Kenyan bee hives…$20 bucks for two; a half million killer bees…free; Watching forty bad guys with guns who were assaulting your home running for their lives…PRICELESS…and did we mention the bad guys can’t fight you AND the bees?

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