Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Poverty Arms

The Nineties and early Aughties were the Second Golden Age of milsurps. Between a footnote inserted in a trade and tariff bill making the importation of military surplus legal again, and the ending of the Cold War throwing the dusty arsenals of the East open to American firearms importers, you could pick up reasonably decent blasters for next to nothing.

When you were living in the sort of paycheck-to-paycheck circumstances that had you viewing a twenty dollar bill as an entire weekend's worth of mad money, these deals made a certain practical amount of sense. A Mosin 91/30 for forty bucks, an M1895 Nagant for fifty, a Yugo SKS for ninety, or a Makarov for a c-note were affordable for some folks in a way that a gun that cost five hundred or a thousand dollars simply wasn't. Five hundred or a thousand bucks was what you paid for the hooptie to get you to and from work, not the pistol in the nightstand.

If my choice in home defense firearms were between an M1895 Nagant or TT33 Tokarev loaded with some corrosive surplus that the guy at the gun show had thrown in for free, and nothing...? Yo, dude, toss me the Russian burner.

But the days of the forty dollar Mosin and hundred dollar CZ-52 are long behind us. Tokarevs and Polish P64s are bringing multiples of their old price tags. Finnish Mosins are, for the most part, legit collectibles. M1895 revolvers are selling on auction sites for prices that could get you a new Taurus G3 with money left over for ammo or training.

At a price of three or four hundred dollars, a clunky Russian revolver with lousy sights and an awful trigger pull that fires exotic, hard to find ammunition in a marginally effective chambering is a fundamentally unserious choice of personal protection arm. It's not a weapon so much as an affectation; the M'lady of home defense firearms. For god's sake just go...and here's something I thought I'd never type...buy a Sccy or something. Leave the esoterica to the collectors and slavaboo reenactors.