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Is it really Bows or Guns??
3 March 2012, 00:28,
#1
Is it really Bows or Guns??
Is this a valid argument? I see it often put forward that it is one or the other..

The technology required to make and feed guns is Old hat. It is antiquated simple technology that can never be uninvented. It only takes someone with the basic knowledge & some simple metalworking skills or even a bodger with scavenged scrap to make a simple, crude but effective gun. Likewise the propellent can be created with low tech & the easy to aquire right knowledge.
It seems that the modern mind has difficulty in looking at things in a Retro sense. Bows & arrows are good and useful, but it is not a case of only having modern type firearms and then after PSHTF then over time regressing to more primitive tech such as ancient bows & arrows. Modern firearms may well expire over time and even pretty rapidly in many cases. This is where prepping has many levels and prepping may at times include subjects that differ from Bushcraft to strive for the same result. ie:- learning the low tech & archaic art of black powder or similar propellents and also construction of simple & expedient firearms.

It is not ideal equating gun related experience with being a licence holder & gun owner. You can still prep for it. Prepping for knowledge of & some legal practical aspects in gun use, construction & ammunition is not going to cause these same problems of red tape hassle & appearing on any authorities licence holder lists..
You do not have to be a licence holder or gun owner to prep within legality the subject of personal gun use, expedient construction, propellents etc.

If a SHTF situation really occurs, then how useful is that bow & arrow going to be against 2 legged predators? Think about our human history & reflect. It is a useful weapon & has some advantageous characteristics, but even so it did not attempt to compete with the gun for long in history. Ask yourself why? Why is it that the American west pioneers used black powder flintlock guns? They used these to great effect. If they had found bows & arrows to be a greater asset, then why did they not change over to them? Even in that great wilderness, with all its materials supply problems and inclement weather issues, they still hunted & fought with black powder flintlock guns.(+ hand to hand back ups) This was the same in many many frontier areas of the world.

Is there something about us in the modern age that makes us know better than the historical model shows?
There is a major popular misconception that black powder(or similar propellent) firearms are ancient out of date clumsy, inefficient, inaccurate, lucky to hit a barn door type affairs. This is woefully wrong. They may not be as accurate as a modern carbine etc, but strangely enough - they did the job & did it well. Most confrontations in scenarios we deliberate about are not long range sniper scenarios. In fact experienced police, military & other combat veterans will testify that the majority of individual actions take place at fairly close or very close ranges AND that they are usually over within the first few shots, if not the first. A black powder gun is perfectly usable in this scenario and whats more, the calibre is usually large. Being hit by .69 calibre soft lead ball is not something you are going to get up from or continue to fight back from. A soft lead ball of high mass is more devastating at close range than a supersonic jacketed modern type bullet. These black powder archaic firearms were used effectively right up to the 1st World war. That is not long ago and they were perfectly capable of doing the job at the time. It is easier to walk through a confined threat area in low profile mode with a 0.69 calibre black powder pistol secured to the body than with a bow strung & nocked to go. The famous lawmen of the American West and the armed settled citizens favoured the Shotgun as their primary self defence weapon. This is documented. Those guns were blackpowder and they performed well enough. Those people sure weren't using bows & arrows for a reason.
It is easy enough under post SHTF conditions to make an armour, soft or hard, that is capable of stopping an arrow - especially a modern non historical war bow. It is not easy or practical to construct an armour capable of stopping a large calibre, subsonic soft lead projectile. Even if it stops it after some fashion, it will still not mitigate adequately the complete kinetic energy dump of the lead mass. The armour would have to be extremely dense & heavy and would not be practical. Again, historical warfare ballistics has all the answers.
Another thing about arrows - how many do you need to put into a large predator to stop it fighting back? An arrow by its very nature is a slim cutting or localised piercing weapon. If the arrow does not hit the right spot, then another one will probably be required. This is not good if the opposing predator is intent on doing you harm. There is probably not going to be time to allow the opponent to "bleed out". Generally only one 0.69 calibre lead ball is sufficient to incapacitate.
A soft calbre lead ball or even slug, will not only dump ALL its energy into the opposition, it also in the process will flatten out, shear off pieces & travel within the target body in erratic pathways. The overall impact of this is immense. Any bone in the way is smashed & becomes shrapnel inside the body.
As in the case of shotgun 00 buckshot strikes, it is medically known that the combined impact of many lead pellets has a force multiplier that overloads the bodies sensory nervous system & often immediately puts the body into "shutdown mode". Whilst we are not talking about 00 buckshot & shotguns at the moment, the 0.69 calibre lead ball and its shearing, fragmentation effect can contribute to this "shutdown mode" or immobilisation in shock result.
Another thing about the pro bow case - It is put forward that bows are simpler and therefore much more suited to survival scenarios. While this is a good reasoned logic and is indeed partly true, it does not tell the whole truth, especially to novice enquirers. Other than expedient bows, (which I agree are definitely useful & easy to make inc ammo,) the bows usually propositioned are of the modern glass fibre limbed or similar variety. These have modern strings & fittings. Now in a SHTF or PSHTF scenario which is the usual discussion, then exactly how durable would these bows be? Spare strings, & nocks and even limbs would be needed. The bows are simple and robust to a point, but that point is not extreme and in a situation we propose, then the spares may well be needed. What happens after the spares if any are exhausted? What happens when it is raining for days and the bow string will not operate efficiently (same for powder propellent). A bow is large & fragile to a degree and can easily be damaged whilst traversing rough terrain.
The fact is that these bows are not simple affairs that can be constructed or repaired easily. It would need someone with the knowledge and a comparable skill set to an expedient gunsmith. Also, the materials are more exotic and less common than gun materials.
In fact the modern bow has a historical & much respected lineage that goes back to Mesolithic times. approx 6000 years ago and may be even older. A bow is an advanced skillful design and is not something a home mechanic can put together in an expedient workshop, unless he already has the learned skills to some useful degree. Yes expedient bows can be made, but these are not so effective and the poundage draw weight and accuracy may not be adequate to immobilise large predators as quickly as needed under duress.
The arrows themselves are often difficult to construct correctly for those without time spent learning the art. It is a multistage process and the materials used are crucial. Why use modern poor inferior materials to test out modern self theories, when it should in fact be the historical documented info on this that should be consulted first - so that an understanding of the materials & methods used is gained. Only then can a prototype using modern related or substitute expedient materials have a much higher likelihood of success, rather than using the hit & miss long way round method. Each material used historically was used for a reason and in a certain way. In our modern world, the same named material is not necessarily actually the same as it was historically. Eg, for wood shafts, modern saw cut & kiln dried wood is not the same as hand chosen, multi seasoned & humidity controlled, grain split shafts, balanced & shaped. The practical shooting result of this is very different!
String making is a necessary skill and the right materials & techniques must be employed. Don't forget fletching, & the right kinds of glue etc.
Making a round lead ball or bullet for a gun is fairly simple, easy to do around a campfire. lead is pretty common in our industrialised societies if you know where to look.

Why is it sometimes put forward that PSHTF, guns over a number of years would fade away into history due to being too high tech modern for a post disaster society to construct & maintain and that a bowyer would instead be in huge demand and could be very rich as a result? Would it not be the case that an amateur gunsmith would be a highly useful & desirable asset? again, the technology is old hat and fairly simple now the techniques are known & recorded and whats more, no matter how much you like bows & arrows, guns can not be uninvented..

I have no dislike of bows & arrows, indeed they are a useful tool and can double up for defense against large predators. I have knowledge of ancient bows and they are beautiful magical items that tell us much about the sophistication & cleverness of our ancient ancestors.

I do not see why it should be that it is sometimes thought that it could or should be one or the other, guns or bows.. Both have their place & proponents. Both have their advantages & disadvantages. What I can say is that History repeats itself over & over and that History has the answers to our future. How far back in time do you think our future will be? Maybe in this, there is an answer.....

TL (Don't get upset anyone, this is knowledge for debate :-)

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3 March 2012, 10:08, (This post was last modified: 3 March 2012, 10:12 by NorthernRaider.)
#2
RE: Is it really Bows or Guns??
I dont think its even a debate to be honest, either route in the future is equally valid, if enough people survive so theres enough extra bodies not required for farming or fuel producing you could easily find ourselves in the pre industrial revolution stage quite quickly with cottage industrioes thriving making medicines, clothes, leatherwork, linens, ironwork, gun smithing and of course apothicaries knocking out fulminate of mercury and black powder alongside custard powder and zinc oxide medicines. I think it we come down to luck ( who and how many survive) and what resources survive long enough to start a new industry.

HOWEVER if we set aside the effectiveness and efficiency of A against B one must also consider which is the most economical and viable and cost effective in any given society. One group may find its most prudent to make black powder, lead balls, rifle barrels and machined parts. Others may find by shear circumstance that bow making and arrowsmithing is the best use of resources. I like the idea of mechanical simplicity and reliability and reusability of archery for day to day living, and guns only for xecurity. So after TSHTF more me I prefer crossbows for hunting cos its silent and I am a confirmed coward not wanting to advertise my presence in a PA world. BUT if I got into trouble a sporting rifle of the bolt action ultra simple ultra reliable action could be a life saver, and something like a BDL 700 action can last hundreds of years if cared for.

Though a Gatling gun for bagging herds of roaming Labour voters will be useful, that way lefties can serve society in a useful way as fertiliser Smile
Now as a slight aside after over thirty years of thinking about the old question " If you could pick only ONE gun for a PA world what would you choose? " I settled on a 9mm Marlin Camp Carbine or similar 9mm powered carbine such as a winchest lever action, MP5 etc. I never managed to make up my mind what sort of bow I would be happiest with though.

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3 March 2012, 11:43,
#3
RE: Is it really Bows or Guns??

If a SHTF situation really occurs, then how useful is that bow & arrow going to be against 2 legged predators?

I'm not going to get to involved in this coz I know little about either, I'd feel safer with a gun but have often said I don't see the point as I personally would not know how to make bullets when the stock I had ran out, so for me the trick would be to learn what I could dip my arrow into that would stop 2 legged predators in their tracks or a least slow them down enough so I could deal with them in another way.
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3 March 2012, 11:56,
#4
RE: Is it really Bows or Guns??
The viet cong used a variety of methods of protection against a superier in number heavily armed enemy,
see here for an example http://www.angelfire.com/hero2/vietcong/
It would be advisable for us to do the same, modern armies do so with tank traps or strategicaly placed obsticles funneling troops, armour etc into specific killing zones. This makes it easier for small numbers or individuals to deal with a larger oposing force.
Guerrilla tactics being the best defence in a post apocalyptic world unless you have a band of armed, millitary trained individuals who can take on large groups.
The french resistance used the tactics to great effect during ww2 attacking lone guards, or single vehicles thereby minimising causualties and taking their weapons thereby enabling them to do bigger and better operations next time.
"Some say the end is near, some say we will see Armageddon soon...
I certainly hope we will, I sure could use a vacation from this silly shit."
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3 March 2012, 12:35,
#5
RE: Is it really Bows or Guns??
I totally understand what you're saying, even if it did take a few return journies to get through it all.

To put it very simply, from my side/view, I have a much better chance of making an arrow or spear, than I do of making gun powder. I wouldn't have a clue where to start, or anything like that.

I'd have to get a musket or something to use black powder. Getting a gun would be worthwhile until the bullets ran out. Then the gun would become nothing more than an expensive deterent or hammer.

With a bow, I would be able to rip off some small core tube, stick on some flights, get a sharp enough stick to ram down the front of it, then hey presto, a crappy arrow. No doubt it would suck! But it's better than running over and hitting a person with the butt of my gun.

As for fixing or building a bow, the process has been meticulously lined in many books. It would obviously take much time to perfect, but it would be possible to build a simple one that could be good for maybe 20 shots. Then you build another one, better quality, until you have good skills.

At the end of the day, I'm going to be 100 times better at building a bow and arrow system, with some paracord and a knife, while in the woods, than I will be at making a gun with some paracord and a knife.

I'd love to be able to make bullets. I'd spend all weekend doing so if I could. Same with making the propellant. Saturday is propellant day. Sunday is shell and bullet tip day. But I neither have the materials, machine, or expertise. I can however, buy bows and arrows and spare parts over the weekend. An arrow might be good for a few uses. 100 arrows, 3 uses an arrow, that's 300 shots. 100 bullets, 1 shot a bullet, 100 shots. The stopping power is greater, but the longevity not so much.

If this was America and we could freely buy guns, I'd be stocking ammo. Since it's not.........arrows it is.
Dissent is the highest form of Patriotism - Thomas Jefferson
Those who sacrifice freedom for security deserve neither - Benjamin Franklin
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3 March 2012, 12:37,
#6
RE: Is it really Bows or Guns??
the problem with guns is that they make a hell of a racket thus giving away your position, when someone is shooting around here you can here it for miles. i intend using my air rifles post SHTF plus a bow and arrows for when i want to be quiet but still hunt, i do NOT want to confront 2 legged predators but i want to stay hidden, quiet and unobtrusive.
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3 March 2012, 12:44, (This post was last modified: 3 March 2012, 12:54 by NorthernRaider.)
#7
RE: Is it really Bows or Guns??
(3 March 2012, 11:43)Prep Girl Wrote: If a SHTF situation really occurs, then how useful is that bow & arrow going to be against 2 legged predators?

If its all you have apart from your EDC knife its bloody useful cos even if you only shoot once that reduces the opposition by one, it can make all the difference. Archery gear will probably be more useful in the mid to long term for hunting, stalking, recceing etc than open combat straight after the shit hits the fan. But a bow and good knife is better than a handbag and loud voice. Consider which of the possible attackers wishes to be the first to get shot by you, and which wants to be the first shot by K? That could give you the time to get away or persuade the hostiles to try some place else.
(3 March 2012, 11:56)mikebratcher69 Wrote: The viet cong used a variety of methods of protection against a superier in number heavily armed enemy,
see here for an example http://www.angelfire.com/hero2/vietcong/
It would be advisable for us to do the same, modern armies do so with tank traps or strategicaly placed obsticles funneling troops, armour etc into specific killing zones. This makes it easier for small numbers or individuals to deal with a larger oposing force.
Guerrilla tactics being the best defence in a post apocalyptic world unless you have a band of armed, millitary trained individuals who can take on large groups.
The french resistance used the tactics to great effect during ww2 attacking lone guards, or single vehicles thereby minimising causualties and taking their weapons thereby enabling them to do bigger and better operations next time.

Mike makes a good point, there was an article that reported how in one case the US rangers in an outpost were haunted by a Vietcong guy with a bow, he always hit his target, rarely killed the soldier though BUT his arrows were dipped in something that gave really nasty infections that would be fatal if untreated. Equally the Vietcong were haunted by the Montengnard native tribesmen who sided with the yanks, and they used bows to great effect against the commies.
Though guns will and do serve a valid purpose after the SHTF, if you just consider the effect of say me, my wife and son ALL firing bolts accurately in self defence, or Prep Girl and her daughter both firing aimed bolts down the corridor of her appartment block, or S13 sniping silently from his roof window. No its not as good as a shotgun volley but its 100% more than the neighbours who are limited to dialing 999 and waiting for the idiots in blue to POSSIBLY respond and before you have been murdered. If you can acess firearms all fair and well, I choose not to cos I dont like being on government lists where possible, if you cannot then go archery cos whilst you are spending resources on a good bow/ cross bow, extra bolts, strings, etc they family next door spent their spare money on a PS3 or plasma TV so who is the most secure?

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3 March 2012, 13:06, (This post was last modified: 3 March 2012, 13:09 by mikebratcher69.)
#8
RE: Is it really Bows or Guns??
I think it all boils down to what you have. Any weapon is just a tool to achieve an end result.
Take hammering in nails for example. You traditionaly use a hammer but I've used a brick, half a brick rocks etc it achieved the same result ie the nail went into what I wanted it to go in.
Weapons are the same intruders, gangs or as some like to say zombies are much less likely to go for you when prevoius encounters with you have left some or all of them perforated to some degree or another. The terms aceptable losses and easier targets come into play wneeby yu just need them to move on to an easier target and leave you alone.
Word spreads fast, I've done it with chavs here, slap a few up and down and the rest avoid you. The phrase grew man/woman is also relevent here whereby you want to seen a worthless target who has nothing of interest.
You can also make getting to you virtualy impossible with thorny bushes or such surrounding your location.
sorry for the spelling, thats what I get for trying to type fastTongueTongueTongue
"Some say the end is near, some say we will see Armageddon soon...
I certainly hope we will, I sure could use a vacation from this silly shit."
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3 March 2012, 13:17,
#9
RE: Is it really Bows or Guns??
Yeah I'd chose a bow before a gun, well actually I'd like both, K will learn Archery in the cadets and will be doing target practice with guns, and it is all about the practice! in a panic situation your only as good as your skill.
I'm in two minds about shotguns, don't wana go on the list but, first signs of shtf I'd be out of here in about half hour, with that in mind I keep thinking it wouldn't matter if I was on the list coz I'd be gone before they got here, but I think it's a better plan to stay off the list and improve my skills with what I have.
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3 March 2012, 14:17,
#10
RE: Is it really Bows or Guns??
Hey after any collapse of normal law and order and the authorities are openly unable to manage the situation I would grab a challenger tank if I could, but so long as law and order remain I also want to avoid being on anyones lists.

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