I was never really a gun owner until I met my to-be-father-in-law. A career Army guy, he took me shooting for the first time about 5 years ago, and planted the seed for what has now become an obsession with preparing for SHTF situations, reloading, and marksmanship. Understand, this man is a total badass. I look up to him in just about every way. When I met him he was still very much sold on the AR platform – he owned a couple of shorties, and I cut my teeth as an aspiring marksman on his M4. Of course, he’s had ongoing love affairs with his M1A and his M1 Garand, but at the time, he would have considered his suppressed M4 shorty his primary SHTF weapon. So 4 years later, I’ve bought a .45ACP, a Remington 700 in .308, and a 12ga shotgun. Just trying to cover my bases, you know? Then I buy an M4. The same week as he sells his M4 along with all the ammo to it. He says he’s changed his mind about the M4 as a platform, and sinks all the money from selling is 5.56 collection into an FAL and a M1A Supermatch, or something. He’s been little by little whittling away at my confidence in the M4… saying that what I really need for SHTF is a ‘battle rifle’, like an M1A, or even an AK/SKS platform. Thinks the people who invest in a sub-caliber cartridge are really just romanced by the ‘tactical’ look of the rifle, but don’t consider the underwhelming performance of the cartridge. His words, not mine. I understand his points – I love the idea of having great accuracy at 400 yards, but to be honest, if I’m reaching out to 400 yards I’m using my bolt gun anyway, right? Further, I feel most comfortable with my M4, having done 100% of my training on it and having about 4,000 rounds of freshly reloaded ammo sitting in my basement. This all kinda came to a head for me when I mentioned to him that I was considering getting a .50Beo or .450SOCOM upper for the gun, just for S&G’s… he looked distressed, and mentioned that the aluminum upper of the gun probably wouldn’t take the stress of anything that big for more than a few hundred rounds, and that if I was looking for something with more oomph, I should change platforms, plain and simple. Basically, that the rifle just wouldn’t take that kind of stress, and that it would break down when I needed it most. His big point was this: “In a true SHTF situation, if you’re reaching for a semi-auto rifle, things have gotten really, really bad. It’s better to have a few cheap rifles (SKS) and a few thousand rounds of ammo than one expensive, obscurely-calibered platform. I’d be able to trade ammo for things, because they’re for rifles that people actually use, not something like .458 SOCOM, for instance. Plus, cheap and simple-to-operate rifles are useful in that you can toss them to someone and say, “Here you go…” instead of only having one “weird-calibered” and “overstressed” platform to protect those you care about. I’m just look for some input. I feel most effective as a marksman on an M4 right now, because it’s what I’m used to. This means that at least in the short term, my M4 is more useful to me than an M1A. I don’t hunt – I keep guns in the house to protect myself against bad situations, and I like to prepare for the worst. I feel like now is the time to sink some money into some serious firepower, but am unsure about what is a better investment – I don’t have the money for an M1A and all the rounds I’ll need… but a few SKS’s and a couple thousand rounds of ammo might be useful. I think .458 SOCOM or .50BEO is “Cool”, but admit that it might be an impractical SHTF weapon.