Since the 'quake in Japan several people have asked me to take to take them out shooting and many more have asked to go hunting with me this fall and to go on plant foraging walks. Inevitably there are some questions arise about what is the best firearm to have in case of a SHTF/Black Swan event. A few points immediately come to mind.
Any firearm is better than no firearm.
Pistols are over rated
Simple firearms with common calibres are cheaper
Guns don't equal food.
Any gun will be useful in discouraging an attack. The damage for a .22 calibre bullet is roughly the same as being stabbed with a big hunting knife. Having any gun puts a person far far down the list of potential targets.
Quite frankly there are a lot of guns in Canada. Upwards of 11,000,000 by some estimates but these guns are not evenly distributed. (I will exclude the Yukon and the north because you all already own a gun 880 per 1000 people in Dawson City itself even higher in the rural sections) On average in Canada is 1 in 5 households has one or more firearms. It is much lower in the downtown cores: 1 in a 100 households in downtown Toronto, and an average of 1 in 20 in most Canadian downtowns. That said there is a much greater chance that they will be pistols or military style rifles. Basically that is a lot of other people to choose ahead of you.
Over the years I have taken various people out pistol shooting. With a .22 pistol it was difficult for people to place their shots a piece of paper only 25' away. Almost everyone can consistently hit a popcan 150' away with a rifle with open iron sights. The experts conclude that under stress your grouping sizes are 3x to 4x the size of your practise groupings. Then add a backpack, no sleep or proper food for days, a bruised shoulder. What is the real chance you'll be successful using your pistol to do anything other than making noise.
Travelling routinely with any sort of unregistered firearm or even registered restricted weapon will result more trouble then it is worth. It is difficult to prepare from a jail cell, and the fines cut into your budget for food storage. Did I mention pistols are kind of useless anyway.
.22 calibre bullets are the most common round followed closely by 12ga shotgun shells. Any common hunting calibre is fine 30-30, 30-06, 270 for the smaller framed still recommended but less so .308, .303 British, 7.62 Russian. .410 shotgun. Avoid anything weird 7mm Magnum, .338 Lapua 8mm Mauser they maybe great guns but if you can`t find anything to shoot with they are just an awkward club. All but the cheapest rifles will shoot better than most casual shooters so the real money should be spent on a good scope and practise at the range.
Lastly Guns do not equal Food. Hunting is a very unstable way to provide for your food source and anything that walks, flies or swims is going to have tremendous hunting pressure on it, Game will quickly become scarce near any centre of population. Putting aside any moral questions concerning robbery theft and what would have to be considered murder by starvation the simply fact of the matter is: The people you can rob are not going have what you need and those that do are going to be armed and organized.