For as far back as I can remember, as a police officer and as a member of the media, some government official or another has been calling for a ban on “assault weapons.” Sometimes those “assault weapons” are AR-style rifles, and sometimes they are “high capacity” polymer framed handguns. Not long ago, a man even more veteran than myself in law enforcement postulated a question: if AR-style rifles were banned tomorrow, what would you be carrying instead? If polymer framed handguns were banned tomorrow, what would you be carrying instead? The questions caused quite a stir of curiosity and I had to pass those questions on. Thankfully, in my line of work I can get responses from some true experts in the field.
So, I posted the question: If you were putting together your kit – one rifle, one handgun, one knife – and COULD NOT have an AR-style rifle, COULD NOT have a polymer frame pistol and the knife HAD TO BE fixed blade… what would they be? I’ve received twenty (20) responses so far and there are some interesting weapons mentioned. I’d like to review through the list as I believe readers will find it interesting and informative. The one caveat I should have placed: when I specified a non-AR-style rifle, I should have specified a non-semi-automatic weapon. It wasn’t my intent to avoid semi-autos but I was intending to avoid box-fed military style weaponry. Knowing the group of experts I’d be tapping with my question, I should have known better and been as specific as need be.
That aside, as I said, I received twenty responses and some of them have proven quite enlightening. The gentleman, mentioned above, had put out the statement that he’d carry a lever-action rifle if he couldn’t carry an AR-style rifle in his patrol vehicle. That same man, after being presented with the question the way I posed it, decided to change his selection. Instead of a lever-action rifle he chose a Ruger M77 Scout Rifle chambered in .308. For the non-polymer handgun he specified a Kimber Warrior .45ACP, and for the knife he picked a DPX Hest knife. It should be noted that a semi-auto .308 of some type seemed to be a fairly popular choice as a replacement for an AR-style rifle.
So, what other choices were made by some experts in the field? As far as the rifles go, the following is a list of those selected.
- AK-47 / 74
- DSA SA58 Para FAL
- Federov Rifle
- H&K G3
- Springfield Armory Standard M1A
- FN-SCAR Light
- .30 cal M-1
Bolt Action Rifles
- 03 Springfield
- Mossberg Patriot 308
- Pre ’64 Model 70
- IBA Remington .308
- Bergara HMR chambered for .300 Win Mag
Lever Action Rifles
- Winchester Model 94 .30-.30
- Henry .45-70
- Henry “Big Boy” .357 Magnum
Since my original intent was to seek replacements for semi-automatic rifles, the bolt action and lever action rifles were of greatest interest to me. I think the most surprising part was the variety of calibers specified. The .308 and .300 WinMag weren’t all that surprising as they are quite common for bolt action weapons. The .30-.30 for a lever action rifle isn’t all that surprising either. It is quite common in fact. That said, the .45-70 was quite specific and was teamed with a 9mm handgun (more on that in a bit) so there was no desire for cross-ammo capability. The lever action rifle chambered for .357 Magnum and teamed with a revolver in the same caliber. The reasoning was clear: one ammo type for both weapons. One other submission was the same lever action rifle chambered for .38 Special and also teamed with a revolver of the same caliber. As an aside, I don’t know if the Henry Big Boy .357 lever action will properly chamber and shoot .38 Special ammo, but for sure a .357 Magnum revolver will. Choosing the .357 versions of these weapons may well increase the ability to find suitable ammo.
Since the only specification for selecting a handgun was that it not have a polymer frame, some folks selected steel or other metal frame semi-autos and some people selected revolvers. The large majority of handguns specified were chambered for either 9mm or .45ACP. A few selections chambered .357 Magnum or .38 Special and there was one selection of .44 Magnum and another for (quite unique) 7.62x25mm. That last one was selected by a gentlemen who very specifically focused on older weapons for his choices.
- Beretta 92FS
- SigArms P226
- STI Tactical*
- Les Baer 1911 Government*
- Tokarev TT 33
- Springfield Armory 1911*
- SigArms P220
- Kimber Tac Custom II*
- 1911 Government Model (no manufacturer specified)*
- SigArms P228
- DoubleStar 1911*
- Kimber 1911*
- Kimber Warrior .45ACP*
*all of these pistols are a variation of the Colt Government Model 1911 .45ACP single action semi-auto.
- Taurus Judge .410/.45 Long Colt
- Taurus .357 Magnum (no model specified)
- Smith & Wesson Model 10 (.38 Special)
- Smith & Wesson Model 360 (.38 Special)
- Smith & Wesson Model 629 (.44 Magnum)
- Smith & Wesson TRR8 (.357 Magnum)
I found it interesting that so many (8 out of 13) of the semi-auto handguns were chambered in .45ACP. 9mm was the next most popular option and that makes sense given how popular both are in the military community. On the revolver side, there were some surprises (for me). The selection of a .410/.45 Long Colt revolver made sense given the location of the man who chose it and his biggest concern: snakes. The two .357 Magnums weren’t a surprise and since they can also chamber/fire .38 Special ammo, one has to wonder why the other two revolvers chambered in .38 would be specified. One choice expands ammo options while the other limits them. The .44 Magnum revolver was out of the ordinary but not unexpected or very surprising. It would be good for defensive use against most mammals… bipeds or quadrupeds.
Given that the only restriction on selection of a knife was that it had to be a fixed blade, and taking into consideration the plethora of manufacturers in the industry – custom, semi-custom and mass-production – it’s no surprise that such a wide variety of knives was selected. It’s also not a surprise that the USMC issued KA-BAR knife was the most specified knife. Other knives specified were:
- Blackhawk Crucible
- Simonich 10-inch hunter
- Randall number 14
- Tom Brown Tracker
- Spyderco Proficient
- Krudo Manikomio
- Gerber LMF 2
- Cold Steel Tanto
- DPX Hest knife
- Mad Dog
The least recognizable knives on that list (for me) are the Simonich, the Krudo and the Mad Dog. I had to look them up and learn a bit about them.
The Simonich knife company no longer exists. Rob Simonich was killed in an automobile accident while returning from a hunting trip. I think that was 2003 or early 2004. He made wonderful utilitarian purpose-built knives. The gentleman who submitted this knife as his selection had one Rob Simonich made for an article that teamed the knife with a Colt 1911 Commander size. The knife had a unique (for the time) camo pattern on it and the stocks were G10 with, an again, unique golf ball texture.
The Krudo is made by Louis Krudo and the Manikomio is just one of his models. One his website there are a total of eight fixed blade models. I’ve never tested any of them but he looks like a capable designer/manufacturer.
Mad Dog Knives is a custom knife-making company headquartered in Arizona. It makes a wide variety of fixed blade knives that look to be of high quality. They are fairly easy to find online for purchase, but a website for the company itself doesn’t seem to exist (that I can find).
Where knives are concerned, especially fixed ones, the length of blade, handle shape, design features, sheath… all of it is widely dependent on the desires of the person purchasing and carrying the knife. What one person considers of necessity or value, another may see as silly or unnecessary. Cost is always considered but is comparable to value… and value is subjective to the person buying it.
– – – – – – – – – – –
So, those were the responses received. Next I think I’m going to ask about rifles, handguns and knives specifically for the “back country;” in other words, when you’re far away from any city, on your own, and need something to defend yourself from predators – whether they are quadruped or biped mammals or even reptiles.