Should All My Guns Be the Same Caliber?
It’s an often-repeated belief that as a gun owner, you’re better off if your guns match, right down to the model for ease of magazine sharing. The idea is that if you’re using a commonly owned firearm chambered in a popular cartridge, you’re more likely to be able to grab what you need in a TEOTWAWKI situation. Also, many gun ownerswith other halves who also carry—or hunt—prefer matching guns and cartridges so they can be easily interchanged.
There’s some logic behind this belief system, and if it fits your purposes, there’s no harm in following it from a defensive perspective. However, stop and think about these benefits of having multiple calibers available:
- Broader shooting skills as a result of using a wider range of calibers
- Easier to adapt if you need to use someone else’s firearm that doesn’t match your own
- Cartridges used less often are frequently more readily available during ammo shortages affecting the more mainstream ammo options, such as 9mm
- The “popular” cartridge might not be your personal preference
- Commonly used cartridges and guns may not fit your needs, skills, or hand size
- Having multiple options, rather than being restricted to one caliber, gives you more choices and flexibility in different scenarios
When choosing a gun and caliber for personal-defense use, select what fits your skill level, hand size, and needs. Firearms are tools and should suit a specific purpose, whether that’s daily carry, hunting, home defense, or fun at the range.
How Much Ammo Does the Average American Have?
The answer to how much ammo the average American has varies wildly. Some gun owners may not keep any ammo on hand while others take stocking up seriously and could have thousands of rounds per gun. There are a surprising number who have one or two 50-round boxes available. No one-size-fits-all answer exists for this question. It depends on the person.
Ammo Storage Tips
Ammo storage can be simple or complex. If you’re looking at long-term storage, you’ll need to consider methods that reduce exposure to excessive heat, cold, and moisture. The following are some of the possibilities for long-term ammo storage:
- Metal ammo can with desiccant packets
- Plastic ammo can with desiccant packets
- Safe or storage room with dehumidifier
What to look for in an ammo can:
- 0 inch longer and 0.5 inches wider than needed for the specific ammo being stored
- Durable enough design to handle the weight of what you intend to store in it
- Handle and latches also capable of withstanding the weight of ammo
- Consistent style, rather than various types, for easier stacking
- Rubber gasket on lid for a better seal
- Portability (ammo is heavy; be sure they won’t be too heavy to transport)
How Many Magazines Do I Need?
Magazines are necessary to run your guns, and they’re the first failure point when something goes wrong. Due to that reality, it’s wise to have more than a couple magazines for the guns you use all the time. Ideally, have at least six magazines per gun, and grow from there. Try to avoid buying new magazines and throwing them in a box without trying them out. It’s best to catch magazine failures before the moment your life depends on them working.
Bottom Line: How Much Ammo Do I Need?
A good starting point is to have 500 rounds, 200 of which should be defensive ammo, for each regular-use handgun. This isn’t the end goal, it’s where you start, meaning you should plan to build your ammunition reservesinto the thousands.
AR-15s being used for defensive purposes require a larger store than handguns. Try to keep at least 2,000 roundson hand for your AR-15, and if that is your TEOTWAWKI gun, make half defensive rounds.
If you use your AR-15 for hunting, you’ll need to increase the stockpile to account for that use. Separate hunting rifles will need a minimum of 500 rounds each. Remember, you need to zero your scope using your chosen hunting load, get some practice in, and hunt more than once.
Shotguns depend on what you’re using them for. Your personal-defense shotgun will need at least 250 shotshellson hand, but if you use it for hunting, it’ll depend on what you’re after. For example, doves and ducks require far more ammo than hog or deer hunting. A hunter can burn through 100 or more shotshells in one day dove hunting. Plan accordingly.
These are all a great place to start your ammo stash, but it isn’t the end by any means. Having enough ammunitionreadily available for training, practice, hunting, and defensive use is much simpler than being forced to go to the store every time you want to shoot. And when there are significant ammo shortages, you may not find any at all—or if you do, you’ll end up limited to two boxes. That’s an especially bad position to be in from a defensive perspective, but it’s also not good when it’s hunting season and you have no ammo at home and there’s none in the stores. Life as a gun owner is easier when your gun room shelves are well-stocked.
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