In 1942, the world was crazy.
Americans were struggling out of the great depression, Japan, Germany and Italy were on the move, Spain Manchuria, Poland, Singapore and the Soviet Union were a mess.
In the US, WW1 vets and sportsmen were armed, of course, for hunting but also for security.
Many surplus Springfield rifles were in civilian hands plus venerable 1894 Winchesters as well as a plethora of shotguns and handguns to not only keep hooligans at bay, but also boogeymen—saboteurs, invading armies, etc…
Making things more interesting was that ammunition wasn’t being manufactured for the civilian market.
What your Grandpa had on hand during the attack on Pearl Harbor likely was what he had for the next four years, no more no less.
There are stories of hunters who only had a partial box of rifle cartridges or shotgun shells for hunting throughout the war years.
Here’s an interesting thought: if you lived in 1942, what vintage firearms would you have on hand considering money would be tight, and you likely wouldn’t be expecting another World War (WW1 put an end to those, remember?)
Then, what firearms would you maintain today, considering that the world has become a crazy place again complete with Chinese Spy balloons, Al-Quaeda, Putin’s Wagner Group, and all the rest of the bad actors running amuck?,
Lets keep it real, this is to be your own stuff, not outfitting a SEAL team.
Back in 1942? I would have had a United States Rifle, cal .30, Model of 1917 in the ubiquitous 30-06, either in original form or sporterized. Those would have been plentiful and cheap and there would have been a ton of 30-06 surplus ammo around. Handgun would have been a trusted Colt 1911 in .45 APC of course. Both portable, plentiful, affordable and easy to feed.
Today, it would HIGHLY depend on my situation at the time and what I need to face. I have a lot of options so I can afford to be specific to my needs, and I have enough supplies that I can feel comfortable feeding anything I need that’s mission specific.
But as a general rule for a rifle, some sort of AR configured for the task at hand. Since it’s the Military standard platform and one of the most popular civilian platforms the logistics of keeping it fed and running are simple.
Everyone who happily goes about life in the USA should watch the movie Grid Down, Power Up (The networks and streaming services won’t show it, go to their website). Fox News has a feature on it.
It’s free and a RUDE awakening about how stable our way of life is. I have many friends in the industry and it’s actually worse than the movie depicts. This movie will pop that whole ballon about how stable civilization is.
A 13.9 inch ADM UIC (AR15 type “rifle” .223 Wylde chamber) with a Surefire SOCOM 556 Mini-2, Steiner DBAL D2, Modlit PLH-V2, and EOTech EXPS3 paired with a bump helmet mounted PVS-14 thin film white phosphor and a JPC 2.0 with RMA ceramic rifle rated (through M80 ball or 5.56 55gr/62gr green tip) plates
Have you seen The Man in the High Castle? Very educational as they show methods of successful invasion of the US in the 1940s. Some of the things are dubious, like the US surrendering after 1 nuclear strike, others, like mustard gas and food shortage make civilians compliant with the enemy.