Warm, Dry, Hydrated, Fed, & Capable of Self-Defense. The Basics.
Hope you have sought your Defensive Weapons on a priority basis. Survival Guns by Mel Tappan is such a seminal work; none other like it before or after. Tappan's ability to differentiate between Working and Defense weapons and give straightforward advice that acquisition of such pistols and rifles was a Definite Priority for a "survivalist" was and remains The Prime Firearms Adviso of the past 100 years.
These firearms have "special" abilities and only those of their type will fill the bill should you ever need their extended functioning and longterm accuracy retention. All feature mil-spec parts, fast magazine change facility, chrome-lined barrels (rifles, mainly), and ease of gunsmithing and wide-availability of spare parts. The ability of these Defense weapons to fire w/o degradation of performance as long as you have loaded magazines at the ready IS The Issue! Most sporting arms are not designed to such capabilities. YOU NEED THESE CAPABILITIES IF EVER YOU MIGHT HAVE OCCASION TO DEFEND LIFE OR PROPERTY.
The limited supply of proper defensive weapons is by now, extremely apparent. Hope you got yours while the getting was good & easy.... Ammunition for these and firearms are presently undergoing a "strong upswing in demand" as previously discussed here. The Just-In-Time production and distribution models have already failed. Perhaps smalltown gunshops or private sellers have something to offer, but reports are widespread that most suitable Defensive Guns and ammunition have been sold-out over the events of the past week or so.
Kind of like waiting till hurricane warnings are issued to buy a generator, or until the power grid is down to go the fuel depot to fill your storage cans... IF you intended to acquire a Defense-worthy weapon, but haven't yet; you may still find your way, but the effort required will likely be much more lengthly and costly. That supply & demand thing, again. You are now competing with all the others who were blind to the situation, but now can see. That they are taking action where you haven't.... Well, as they say: Fortune Favors The Bold.
Tappan advised purchase of a proper Fighting Pistol as primary or first aquisition. There had been no "assault rifle" crimes when Survival Guns was written in the late-70s. Gun-grabbers then were mostly concerned about handguns, so seemed most likely that a handgun ban would happen first... Times changed, though; didn't they? We saw the Clinton-era AWB (asault weapon ban) and The Gun-Buying Public is voting with their wallets that they expect similar or worse legislation to be forthcoming. Likely, many are "investing" in weapons and accoutrement with eye to resale at profit even though such activities are likely at odds with Firearms Law & Code.
Point is, IF You Need one or more specific weapons; guns you have identified and intended to acquire. NOW Is The Time to find them and buy.
NOW is also the time to own spare magazines. Something like 2-4 for each defensive pistol, and 4-6 for each defense rifle. You need magazine pouches or carriers, cleaning gear, spare parts (see archives list) and plenty ammunition. Best to buy one firearm with ammunition, that 2 guns and no ammo. Need that ammunition. 250rds as minimum per pistol and 500rds minimum per defensive rifle; IF you are an experienced shooter and are capable shooter. If you are inexperienced, probably will need 2x or 3x the ammunition recommended with the extra to be shot at gun range, on targets to learn trigger control and sight adjustment and become confident with your piece.
Ammunition may be the greater difficulty. If can't buy it ready-made, the HANDLOADING Option remains.... It is very cost effective to make your own ammunition, especially if you desire match quality rifle ammo or self-defense rounds for pistol.
Here's the deal about ammunition: Pistols of smaller caliber than 10mm or .45 caliber (not talking revolvers here, talking semi-auto pistols) touted for defense purposes are wholly reliable upon "special" ammunition loaded mainly with Hollowpoint bullets. Rifles deliver much greater power so need no "special" bullets unless high degree of longrange accuracy or precision is the goal. The 10mm Auto and .45acp are the primary defensive pistol chamberings. Only these cartridges offer large enough bullet diameter, heavy enough bullet weight, and sufficient velocity to serve as Primary Self-Defense handguns WITHOUT Necessitating "special" hollowpoint or slugs.
Can't get ammunition, but can buy handloading gear & components? If you can follow simple instructions and formulas enough to cook a meal from scratch, you can likely handload your own ammunition. See the archives here on handloading.
With a Dillon 550b or Lee progressive loading machine, you can assemble several hundred rounds of ammunition per hour; once you get the hang of the process. I would buy loading gear and components if ammunition was not available. Many online vendors of loading gear and components. Nosler is a bulletmaker that has an online store. Their match rifle bullets and their handgun bullets are priced right and typically available. Midway-USA, Graf & Son, Sinclair, Mid-South Shooter Supply, Wideners, Natchez Shooter Supply, and many other online vendors may have the equipment you need, bullets, and brass ctg cases. For primers and smokeless powder you want to buy locally to save on hazmat and other delivery costs. Primers are often a short supply item.
One pound of powder loads about 1000 pistol cartridges. The assembled round is a Cartridge, not a bullet. Bullets are a component. You can make cast bullets from raw lead or melted wheelweights or buy Jacketed bullets from a bullet maker. Round or pointed nose cast bullets or swaged bullets will generally function well in the .45acp. I don't own a 10mm Auto, but likely hardcast etc will be fine. Berry's Bullets, Meister Cast, and other brands are often in-stock at retailers or can be bought online.
Powdercharges of ammunition are measured in Grains. There are 7000 grains per pound. Like Grams, Grains are a weight measurement that is a fraction of an ounce.. In loading .223 ammunition, you get about 300 loads per pound of powder. With .308win you get about 175 loads.
Lee Reloading offers the lowest priced tools for handloading. Their dies and machines are excellent. Dillon offers the finest affordable progressive and automatic loading machines. RCBS and Redding offer about the finest in tools and dies. Not talking match-quality gear here, but Redding is about the finest in the 7/8x14 threaded die loading gear market.
Before you buy loading gear, you want to STUDY a loading manual. Sierra, Hornady, Lee, and the powder mfrs and other bulletmakers all publish Handloading Data. Hodgdon Powder company has extensive Online resources.
You want pistol bullet weights of 180gr or heavier, with a flatpoint bullet being most effective for energy transmission to your target. Hollowpoints are an option also, but I would avoid any such bullets with exposed lead anywhere on the bullet nose. For .223 rifle the 69gr and 75/77 gr match bullets are most effective for accuracy and knockdown power. For 308 rifle, 147/150gr are the military standard, but 168/175gr match bthp designs are better for longrange precision unless you choose a match design in a 150/155...
Lots to consider.
If you waited, you are behind the curve and the curve is rising every day.
The weapons and ammunition you want to own are being bought-up and may soon no longer be available for sale due to legal constraint.
If you have assets to buy ammunition in quantity, I recommend you also buy loading gear and components. Brass, bullets, primers, and powder will only increase in value. Study a loading manual or two and then buy what you find that you can use.
Hope you are well out of the line of fire, but also ready and able to mount an effective defense should the need ever arise.
All the best from us this Holiday Season!