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If you’re searching for ammo in a post-apocalyptic world (and you most certainly will, no matter how much you’ve stockpiled), multi-caliber guns make it more likely you’ll find ammunition that you can use.
A ‘multi-caliber’ gun is exactly what it sounds like: a firearm that can chamber and fire two or more calibers rather than just one, and with little to no modifications to the firearm required.
In an SHTF situation, ammunition will be hard to come by. Even if you don’t plan on making a multi-caliber firearm your primary weapon, it’s easy to see why having at least one such firearm in your arsenal could be to your benefit.
We already are in the midst of a major ammunition shortage right now, which began during last year’s pandemic due to panic buying. This shortage unfortunately shows no signs of letting up soon, and prices have skyrocketed.
This is why investing in a multi-caliber firearm isn’t just something you should think about for a major disaster scenario. It’s something you should think about for the current circumstances that we have found ourselves in as well.
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Here are the best multi-caliber guns for life after SHTF:
AR-15: 5.56x45mm NATO, .223 Remington, .224 Valkyrie, .300 Blackout, 6.5 Grendel, or 6.8 SPC
AR-15s can be easily modified to alternate between various calibers. All you have to do is swap out the upper receivers while using the same lower. Swapping between uppers is also very easy and can be done quickly if you know what you’re doing.
Most calibers of AR-15 can even use the same magazines, although it’s up to you to research the specific magazines you’re using to confirm. For example, a standard metal GI AR-15 5.56 magazine should accept alternative rounds such as .224 Valkyrie or 6.8 SPC, but at a reduced capacity due to the larger diameter of the individual rounds.
Beretta APX: 9mm Luger and .40 S&W
The Beretta APX is a fully modular pistol design, inspired by the SIG Sauer P320. The APX comes with a single internal stainless steel chassis that houses a fire control unit. This chassis can then be alternated between different frames.
The idea is that you can buy one fire control unit (which requires a background check to purchase) and then different sizes of frames and slides (which do not require a background check to purchase).
But you can also alternate between calibers as well. The APX is currently available in 9mm Luger and .40 S&W configurations, and you can alternate between the two versions with the same fire control unit.
Chiappa and Springfield M6 Survival Rifle: 12 Gauge or 20 Gauge with .22 LR or .22 Mag (Chiappa) vs. .410 Bore and .22 Mag (Springfield)
Currently manufactured by Chiappa and Springfield Armory, the M6 Survival Rifle is an over and under (O/U) rifle/shotgun that is heavily based off of the original M6 Aircrew Survival Weapon.
The M6 is instantly recognizable due to its skeletonized buttstock, double triggers, and double barrels. The entire design also easily folds so it can be easily stashed away such as in a backpack or in a car. In the case of the Chiappa model, scopes or red dot sights can also be added thanks to the presence of Picatinny rails on the top of the design.
The Chiappa M6 comes with a 12 gauge or 20 gauge barrel along with a .22 LR or .22 Mag barrel (depending on the configuration you choose). The stock holds two spare shotgun shells and four spare 22 rounds.
The Springfield M6 comes with a .410 bore along with a .22 Mag barrel. The stock holds fifteen additional rounds of .22 and four extra .410 rounds.
Ruger GP100: .357 Magnum and .38 Special
Virtually any .357 Magnum revolver is a multi-caliber firearm due to the fact that it can chamber both .357 Magnum and .38 Special ammunition. But you should still be strategic about the specific .357 revolver that you choose to add to your arsenal.
The GP100 from Ruger is an excellent choice due to the fact that it’s one of the most rugged and durable .357 Magnum revolvers ever made.
An upgraded version of the earlier Security Six model, the GP100 was designed by Ruger to handle an unlimited number of .357 Magnum rounds without the cylinder locking up (as can happen on other magnum revolvers). The GP100 accomplishes this with extra metal built into the frame and the cylinder.
The GP100 is currently available in 3-inch, 4-inch, 5-inch, and 6-inch barreled configurations, and with either a blued or silver stainless finish. The cylinder holds either 6 or 7 cartridges, depending on the configuration that you choose.
Ruger Redhawk: .45 Long Colt and .45 ACP
The Ruger Redhawk is well known as a .44 Magnum revolver, but Ruger manufacturers another model of the Redhawk chambered for both the rimless .45 ACP and the rimmed .45 Long Colt.
Ruger accomplished this by machining the cylinder to accept .45 ACP moon clips, while also being able to accept .45 LC rounds without the moon clips.
Ruger SP101: .357 Magnum and .38 Special
If you want a compact, snubnose .357 Magnum revolver that’s easy to conceal, check out the Ruger SP101.
The SP101 is essentially a scaled down version of the GP100. But as with the GP100, it has extra metal built into the frame and cylinder to handle extended shooting sessions of .357 Magnum. This does mean that it’s heavier and bulkier than other snubnose revolvers, but with the advantage of superior durability.
The SP101 is available in both blued and stainless steel configurations, and with either a 2 inch or 3 inch barrel as well.
SIG Sauer P229: .357 SIG and .40 S&W
Since the .357 SIG and the .40 S&W share the same parent case (the 10mm), swapping between them in a pistol requires nothing more than a barrel change.
The P229 is a double action/single action metal frame hammer fired pistol with a 12 round magazine capacity in .40 S&W ad .357 SIG. Purchase a P229 in .40 S&W and an additional barrel in .357 SIG, and all you have to do is change the barrels during field stripping.
SIG Sauer P320: 9mm Luger, .40 S&W, and .357 SIG
Like the Beretta APX, the SIG Sauer P320 is a fully modular pistol where the internal fire control unit can be swapped between frames.
This also means that you can switch the fire control unit between calibers as well. 9mm Luger, .357 SIG, and .40 S&W versions of the P320 have been made. The full-size 9mm carries 17 rounds of ammunition, while the .40 and .357 SIG versions hold 14 rounds.
Note: As of early 2021, SIG Sauer has officially discontinued new production of .40 S&W and .357 SIG pistols for the foreseeable future. However, used ones can still be found at gun shows and in pawn shops.
Smith & Wesson Governor: .410 Bore, .45 Long Colt, and .45 ACP
The Governor is Smith & Wesson’s answer to the Taurus Judge, which we’ll discuss here in a bit.
Designed to accept .410 Bore and .45 Long Colt like the Judge, the Governor also has the unique ability to accept to .45 ACP rounds with the aid of moon clips as well. The Governor also has the advantage of carrying six rounds rather than the Judge’s five.
The disadvantages of the Governor in contrast to the Judge are its much higher price and the fact that it is only available in shorter barrel lengths.
Smith & Wesson Model 686: .357 Magnum and .38 Special
An alternative to the GP100 for a large frame .357 Magnum duty revolver is the Smith & Wesson 686. The 686 has been in continuous production since 1980, longer than the GP100 has been around for.
Current 686 revolvers come standard with a cushioned rubberized grip. As with the GP100, the 686 is available in either 6 shot or 7 shot configurations and in a variety of barrel lengths. The blued counterpart to the 686 is called the 586.
Taurus Judge: .410 Bore and .45 Long Colt
Released in 2006, the Taurus Judge has been marketed by Taurus as an ideal weapon for defense against carjackers and home intruders. The Judge holds 5 rounds of .410 Bore and .45 LC, and comes with a cushioned grip to help absorb recoil.
The Judge is available in either matte bluing or matte stainless finishes, and in a variety of barrel lengths: 2.5 inch, 3 inch, and 6 inches.
The compact version of the Judge is called the Public Defender; certain versions of the Public Defender come with a lighter polymer frame as well.
Taurus Raging Judge: .410 Bore, .454 Casull, and .45 Long Colt
The Taurus Raging Judge is a massive revolver that is designed to also accept the .454 Casull rounds as well. It also comes equipped with a 6 round cylinder rather than the Judge’s 5 rounds.
At 73 ounces, the Raging Judge is one of the heaviest revolvers on the market today. It comes with a dual cylinder release to help handle the massive .454 rounds.
Taurus Model 692: .357 Magnum, .38 Special, and 9mm Luger
The Model 692 is a relatively new revolver from Taurus that ships with two cylinders: one for .357 Magnum and .38 Special, and another designed to use 9mm Luger with moon clips (which are also supplied).
The 692 also comes with adjustable sights and a 3-inch ported barrel, in either matte stainless or matte bluing configurations.
And there you have it: the best multi-caliber guns for life after SHTF.
When ammunition of any kind becomes exceedingly difficult to find – to the point that a single round of any caliber becomes immensely valuable – it’s easy to see why multi-caliber firearms are worth owning.
It’s ultimately up to you to decide which guns you want to buy, but just know that multi-caliber firearms like the ones we’ve covered here are an often-overlooked investment.
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