The Ogre has posted an interesting thought exercise that, with his kind permission, I am passing on to y’all:
QUIZ: Shire to Mordor
Your backpack is full of all the essentials. Your party is outside waiting for you. You have a long walk ahead. You open your Arms Locker… It is full of your life’s collection… all your favorites… with magazines and ammo to spare. But you can only pick one, because you are going to have to carry it a very long way.
You don’t know what you will face… but you know that out there… outside the borders of The Shire… are dark horrible things and you could run into some or all of them. Orcs, Trolls, Uruk-hai, Dunlendings, Goblins, Olog-hai, Easterlings, Wights, Wargs, Ring Wraiths, Nazgul, Skin-Changers, Giants, perhaps a Dragon and Balrog (with wings… because freaking Balrogs have wings, damnit), and if you are unlucky… a Tom Bombadil.
You reach in, grab the gun and head out.
What was it that you grabbed?
Personally, if I were joining up with the Fellowship, I’d roll with a Khyber Pass-style AKMS. 7.62x39mm with the side-folding stock of the AKS-74. IMO, it offers an ideal balance of light(er) weight, ammo capacity, firepower, and portability. The stock folds, making it easier to carry and maneuver around tight spaces with, but at the same time is solid enough to get a decent cheek weld so you can actually use the sights (unlike the famous underfolder stock or the East German wire stocks). And it’s an AK, so dead-nuts reliability is pretty much guaranteed.
Now, the original question stated one gun and one gun only, but I’m gonna expand on that to include one primary arm and one sidearm. For me, said sidearm would be a SIG-Sauer P228 in 9mm. The P228 fits my hand like a glove, and SIGs, at least the ones made in West Germany, are legendary for hell-and-back reliability and accuracy.
Also, if at all possible, I’d want both firearms to be suppressed. Reason being that they’d be strictly defensive weapons; if we encountered any orcs, the primary goal of the group would be to break contact ASAP and evade. Given that the average combat load for a rifleman is 300-360 rounds, there’s no way I’d be able to carry enough ammunition for a long-running firefight. Even if I convinced/bullied some of the hobbits to ditch some pots and pans in favor of extra magazines, that’d still only get me up to a total of maybe 550-ish rounds, not nearly enough to just shoot my way into Mordor. A suppressor would be useful for quietly eliminating any Orc sentries we may encounter or scouts who might pick up our trail without alerting the main force.
So, back to the main point of this post: You’re joining up with the Fellowship of the Ring. You can carry one long arm, one sidearm, and one (large) blade with you. And you can only bring as much ammunition as you can carry on your person, as you’ll be walking pretty much the whole way.
What do you choose?