When the world as we know it collapses into anarchy, most gun guys talk about which rifle they’ll grab first, but what about the secondary weapon? Sometimes handguns get brought up as an afterthought in
“Shit Hits The Fan” discussions, but I’d like to focus on why handguns are just as important. I plan on grabbing my trusty CZ SP-01.
While this article is about my choice for a handgun, it’s by no means my only go-to gun. James already succinctly covered my choice for an AR-15 equipped with a low power variable optic (LPVO), but this series would get pretty boring if we all repeated the same aspects of gun use to be applied during any given SHTF scenario. It’s my belief that handguns will also provide a vital ancillary role for those just trying to get by.
1. Disruption of food, medical and fuel supplies and lack of utilities.
2. Natural or man-made (EMP) disaster diverting all national resources.
My area is very rural, interspersed with small towns. I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by do-it-yourselfers and knowledgeable people, willing to lend a hand, but it’s not that there aren’t some ne’re-do-wells nearby. My area is mostly farmland, with a mixture of small wooded patches, so a scoped rifle will come in handy, but subsistence living requires a lot of hands-on work, and slinging a rifle on one’s back won’t always be an option.
III. MY GUN OF CHOICE/SPECS
The pistol I plan on taking to the edge of the world as we know it, is the CZ SP-01 Phantom that I reviewed last year. I absolutely fell in love with the SP-01 platform from the moment it was in my hands. If you told me a few years ago that I’d actually be voluntarily switching back to a DA/SA pistol as my go-to over Glock for the apocalypse, I’d have laughed in your face. I’m certainly not bashing Glock, and if it’s your go-to, you’ve certainly got a reliable, proven pistol, and a lot less parts to keep track of. I’ve been slowly picking up some spare parts for the Phantom from Brownells and Cajun Gun Works.
Since my review of the SP-01 Phantom, I’ve put close to another 1000 rounds through it without a single hiccup and it eats everything I feed it. Putting the time into shooting it whenever I can has helped me get more in tune with the Phantom’s trigger and I shot my state’s law enforcement qualification course better than I did with my duty pistol. Although, I’ll freely admit that that style of test only induces some stress by adding time constraint, compared to the real stress of a deadly force situation involving rioters, raiders from the next town over, or (according to the wild-haired guy on the History Channel) aliens.
The CZ SP-01’s have quite a variety of offerings, some of which include night sights, suppressor sights and threaded barrels. However, the polymer-framed SP-01 Phantom I reviewed (and purchased) only came with photo-luminescent (glow in the dark) sights, which require you to charge them with a flashlight if you want to see them at night. The charge lasts long enough to check out a strange bump at o’dark-thirty, but when you’re pulling guard duty on your livestock and gardens, you don’t want to be giving your position away by shining your flashlight at your hip every once in a while. To alleviate this issue, I changed the front sight to a Meprolight night sight to start turning my SP-01 into a modern fighting pistol. I’ll change out the rear sight in the future when the budget allows (assuming there’s a future to be had). By upgrading the front sight, it at least gives me a point of reference for where the muzzle is pointing in the dark while it’s in my hand, as well as lets me know where the gun is when it’s on the nightstand.
I also added a Streamlight TLR-1 weapon mounted light to the accessory rail on the SP-01’s dust cover. This allows me to keep my aim on a threat. A separate flashlight will also be at my disposal to help identify threats. Feel free to check out Pete’s guide to weapon lights HERE, in which the TLR-1 HL is included.
Streamlight Handheld Stinger Flashlight
Thorfire AA Flashlight
Finding ammo that my SP-01 Phantom likes wasn’t a problem, it’s eaten everything I’ve fed it, from Federal, Hornady, Fiocchi, Blazer and others. One load I like to keep on hand for the end of the world is Hornady’s American Gunner in 9mm. It’s an affordable defensive load for those with budgetary concerns, but still loaded with a little extra oomph (very scientific term) and their hollow point XTP projectiles, although that projectile can be a bit of a wild card according to Lucky Gunner’s gel tests.
The two, 18 round magazines that came with my SP-01 Phantom work great, but to be honest, they’re a little pricey for this family man’s budget, so I tried one of the cheaper options Brownell’s had to offer, which are Act-Mag’s 17 round magazines for the CZ 75. I tried one at first just to make sure, and it worked flawlessly, so I bought two more for the time being, with more to follow in the future. I filled in the numbers on the witness holes with fingernail polish as I covered in a previous DIY article.
Hornady American Gunner 9mm
Act-Mag CZ 75 magazines
VI. FIELDING/RANGE TIME – CZ SP-01
Okay, it’s larping time. I set up a budget-minded battle belt that’s still a work in progress, but it makes for a quick and easy way to kit up if people start running for the hills, particularly my hill. Amazon was an easy stop for most of what I put on the belt, which I’ve collected over time. I wanted to keep the belt light but practical, so I kept it limited to my SP-01’s magazines, a homemade hammer/tomahawk handle loop, Gerber fixed blade knife and the SP-01 Phantom in a Safariland holster. The only changes I plan to make on the rig is to add a tourniquet and some belt keepers to secure the battle belt to my everyday belt. I ordered the belt on the slightly larger size so I could adjust it to wearing over winter coats if need be.
While my set up isn’t flashy or pretty, it was within my means to acquire, and I think men and women with a family to care for during a major societal or geological upheaval would be well served by something similar with a CZ SP-01. By including the pistol as a go-to loadout, it gives you more leeway to defend yourself and your loved ones with one hand if the other is occupied with children or other necessary gear. It should at least give you time to get to your rifle kept nearby. The CZ SP-01 is also easily manipulated without needing lots of hand strength and easy to teach family members that may have previously been unwilling to learn about firearms.
VII. FINAL THOUGHTS
While we all know that handguns aren’t that great at ballistics when compared to rifles, they serve their purpose when rifles become a hindrance or aren’t suited for the task ahead. A reliable pistol in a good holster on a sturdy belt gives you the ability to tend to duties that don’t require a gun, all the while being ready at a moment’s notice.
What pistol do you plan on strapping to your hip when the feces hits the wind generator?
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