The sixth question in our list of basic survival questions is closely related to, but strangely separate from, the fifth:
6. Are the firearms I have in good working order?
I say “strangely separate from,” because this question could (and possibly should) be integrated into Question Five, thusly: “Do I have a firearm in good working order for each adult family member?” If anything, I would have done this, and split the ammunition part of the equation off into its own Question.
The commentary to the original version adds that you should consider unreliable “old guns that have not been shot in 50 years,” until/unless you can prove that they are, in fact, reliable. I feel that this is very good advice, but would take it even a step farther: you should probably be able to do basic maintenance and repair to your weapons. This would involve a small outlay for tools, and a supply of spare parts probably wouldn’t be a bad idea. If nothing else, I would recommend being able to strip and clean the weapon, the better to extend its service life.
In fact, I would give that advice for any sort of weapon (heck, for any sort of tool, weapon or not): if you have a bow, you should know how to make another bowstring, how to make arrow shafts, and how to fletch the arrows. Slingshot? Can you replace the elastics? Can you sharpen your pocket knife? Your axe? Your saws? Remember, in the “end of the world” scenario that the original post presumably envisaged, you’re not likely to be popping down to the local big-box hardware store to get a new saw blade. Knowing how to maintain what you have will make it last longer, as will having spares.
A bit of secondary advice the original poster provides is: Having any firearm, even if it is less than ideal, is better than having no firearm. Here, I would agree guardedly. I would change it to “any weapon” is better than having none. Again, I’m quite fond of the lower-tech solutions; there tend to be fewer moving parts, fewer things to break, and replacement of the parts or the whole tends to be easier. Granted, for some of them, the entry may be more difficult–firearms tend to be “point and shoot” easy (although precise marksmanship takes work), whereas any real degree of accuracy with a bow & arrow takes some practice–but if you’re going to have to take the time to practice with the firearms anyway, getting in some practice with other weapons isn’t that big a stretch.
This is a fairly short analysis, but (I think) it’s a fairly cut-and-dry question. Does anyone have anything to add?