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Top Survival Guns For Your Arsenal



Feature | Top Survival Guns For Your Arsenal

It isn't a question of whether to keep a stash of survival guns, but a question of which ones. Check your list for the ones you're missing in this roundup of the best survival guns!

Survival Guns You Need to Have Handy In Case SHTF


Yes, You Need More Than Just One Survival Gun

Do you own a master-of-all-trades weapon? A rifle with which you can take a large and small game? How about one that can defend your family and home from an attacker or multiple attackers?

Something that is accurate enough for long-range shooting, but something handy enough for close-range fighting? What about a weapon you can carry with you without anyone knowing?

If there is a weapon out there that can do all this, I want it, and I want it bad. Unfortunately, there isn’t a survival gun or weapon I know of that has all of these traits.

A lot of weapons can be jacks-of-all-trades and can fit several requirements. However, they master very fewer of them and even then probably not fulfill them all.

You can what-if me all day with things like “my folding stock means I can fit it under my trench coat or in my duffle bag.” Well, any guy in a trench coat is suspicious, and any gun in a duffel bag isn’t exactly on hand.

So since we don’t have one gun to rule them all, we get the joy of justifying owning multiple guns to our significant others. If you can’t look at your spouse and say, “Honey, it’s for the zombies,” then why get married in the first place?

I’m going to give a rundown of the weapon types that I think everyone should own for when things get tough or just to have a respectable gun collection. Few of us need an excuse to own another weapon though. I’m simply listing broad types since the actual weapons will always be up to debate.

The one thing all of the guns need to have in common is a shared and easy-to-find stockpile ammo. I love the 22-250 round. It’s expensive but readily available, so I don’t stockpile it. Now, the .308 is incredibly common, and surplus rounds are relatively affordable.

Take a look at the survival guns you need in your survival arsenal or simply, must have guns for collection:

Number 1. Combat Rifle

Combat Rifle | Top Survival Guns For Your Arsenal


This could be the most important firearm you could ever own. This rifle can be used for defense and hunting. With proper shot placement, even smaller rounds like the 5.56 are good for hunting medium game. This rifle should be magazine fed, semi-automatic, accurate out to a minimum of 300 meters, and chambered in a center-fire rifle cartridge.

The magazine should also be detachable to ensure not only quick and easy reloads, but also because owning multiple magazines means one can break, and you’ll have extras. The magazine should have a capacity of no less than twenty rounds unless of course, you live in a state that you need to vote the politicians out of.

The weapon should feature dependable iron sights, and though not required, a quality optic should be able to be mounted. Rifles like the Browning BAR (not the machine gun) are a great hunting rifle, but a substandard battle rifle.

Your combat rifle will be your go-to gun when both four, and two-legged predators come calling. This rifle must be trusted and dependable. If you were only going to own one gun, this should be the survival rifle you own.

Examples: AR-15, HK-91, AK-47, M1A/M14, Galil ARM in either .308 or .223, FN SCAR 16/17

Number 2: Shotgun

Shotgun | Top Survival Guns For Your Arsenal


A shotgun is an excellent hunting weapon that has been used by police and military for combat for over a hundred years. The application of a shotgun is limited due to its range, but up close you are unlikely to find a more devastating weapon.

The different types of shot you can fire from this weapon really make it versatile though. Small game-like squirrels and bird can be taken with birdshot, and the weapon can be instantly loaded with buckshot without any modification to take down a medium game. With the use of ‘rifle slugs', this weapon can even be accurate out to 75-100 yards.

What kind of shotgun should you own? Here is the point I feel pretty flexible on. I prefer a pump-action like the Mossberg 500 or Remington 870, as these weapons have proven to be tough and reliable. I really don’t see a problem with double barrels though, besides their limited self-defense aptitude.

There are some great combat shotguns, like the Saiga and Benelli models, but their hunting applications are limited. Remingtons and Mossbergs both can very easily swap barrels and parts to be fine-tuned for hunting or defense.

Now, what gauge? The 12 gauge is great and my preferred caliber, but if you can’t handle it, then I suggest the 20 gauge. Anyone can handle a 20 gauge, and it’s powerful enough for most things. The best thing is to just have a good, dependable shotgun.

Examples: Mossberg 500, Remington 870, Stevens/Savage 511, Benelli Super-90

Number 3. Handgun

Handgun | Top Survival Guns For Your Arsenal

A handgun is a niche weapon, but the niche is very important to fill. The handgun may be a backup weapon when wielding the rifle, but it’s also the ace in your pocket. A concealed handgun gives you an advantage when carrying a rifle openly isn’t a choice. A handgun is also a great choice when you’re doing day-to-day tasks where a rifle would just get in the way. A handgun is one of those weapons that are there to help you survive and fight your way to a rifle or out of a situation.

So what kind of handgun should you choose? The weapon should fire a center-fire cartridge, and I believe the minimum should be 9mm. The 9mm is a good fighting caliber, easy to handle for the majority of people, including women and young adults.

Furthermore, the 9mm is the preferred choice of almost every nation on earth as the sidearm for their military, so finding ammo will NOT be a problem! Now the debate between automatic and revolver is going to appear. This will be personal preference, and nothing I say will ever finish this battle.

I prefer the .45 ACP for my automatics and the .357 magnum for my revolvers. Both rounds have a history of being good man-stoppers. My favorite and personal preference is 1911. Glocks, Smith and Wesson M&Ps, and Sigs are great modern choices as well.

The weapon should not be a little pocket pistol. The LC9 is a great gun for concealed carry during normal situations, but you may find yourself under gunned after the lights go out.

Examples: 1911, Springfield Armory (.45ACP) HK UMP .45ACP, S&W M&P, Glocks

Number 4. Long-Range Rifle

Long-Range Rifle | Top Survival Guns For Your Arsenal


This rifle ranks kind of low for the simple reason that your combat rifle can probably take care of this. The combat rifle may not be the master of long-range shooting, but it could fill the role in a pinch. Your long-range rifle should be capable of placing precision shots at a minimum of 600 meters; farther shooting will depend on your skill level. I feel 600 meters is easy for most people with a precision rifle and an optic.

The rifle should be chambered in a center-fire cartridge that is capable of taking down a medium-to-large game. I prefer the 308 and 30-06; due to my location, I don’t need anything bigger like a 300 Winchester magnum. Choosing your caliber will be based on your needs for a game and how far you can skillfully shoot. The U.S. Military, as well as other militaries, are now moving to the .338 Lapua Magnum as a long-range ‘sniper’ weapon capable in the right hands to hits on man-sized targets from 800-1200 yards. These weapons in this caliber nor the ammo are inexpensive, but if you can afford it there is nothing like the feeling of being able to “reach out and touch someone” at 1200 yards that might be a threat and that your environment gives you the ability to see the threat coming at that range!

I believe a bolt-action rifle fed from a detachable or internal magazine is optimum for this role. The rifle should have a scope mounted and be zeroed. A bipod is helpful and downright just nice to have when shooting from the prone.

Examples: Winchester Model 70, Remington 700, AR-30, M40A3, Nighthawk Tactical .338 Lapua Magnum, Barrett 98/Bravo .338 Lapua Magnum

Number 5: The Rimfire

The Rimfire | Top Survival Guns For Your Arsenal


A good rimfire rifle is incredibly handy. The compact size of the rounds means hundreds can be carried without significant weight. The rounds are great for taking small game. They are also incredibly inexpensive and should be stocked up on prior to SHTF. In a defensive situation, it can be a last resort.

I’d recommend a .22 long rifle over a .17 HMR or .22 magnum, mainly because of availability and price. The weapon can be bolt, lever, or semi-automatic it’s all the shooter’s choice. The same goes with a magazine, single shot, or tube fed. A cheap scope on one of these is a force multiplier and perfect for a short-range precision shot (like a rabbit’s head).

Examples: Ruger 10/22, Marlin 60, Henry Lever Gun

Number 6: Surplus Style

Surplus Style | Top Survival Guns For Your Arsenal


A surplus weapon is a handy weapon to have for a few reasons. For one, the ammo is probably readily available and inexpensive. Two, the weapon itself is probably cheap and in low demand.

The surplus weapon can be handy as a backup rifle should you get low on ammo stores. The weapon can also be used to arm a trusted but ill-equipped neighbor or family member. Surplus weapons are also amazingly durable, as most were built during a time when fighting was in trenches and hand-to-hand combat was commonplace.

Examples: Mosin Nagant, SKS, Makarov, M-1 Carbine No. 5 Enfield Jungle Carbine


Watch this entertaining and possibly insightful video from MoJo for the top 10 must-have guns for surviving the zombie apocalypse:

These are the survival guns I keep for when things get tough. Nowhere near a comprehensive list, but these are all under $300 and would serve perfectly if you had to defend yourself and fend for food in the middle of nowhere. Having a variety of weapons helps when it comes to the expenditure of ammo, and multiple guns can fill multiple niches. Plus, who doesn’t like more survival guns?

Do you have any favorites among the survival guns listed here? Tell us all about it in the comments section below!

Up Next: Go-Bag Guns | Getting Your Guns In Order When SHTF

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Placard | Top Survival Guns For Your Arsenal

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on March 3, 2014, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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  1. Tim Brown

    July 6, 2022 at 6:36 AM

    For survival scenario you would def want
    1) Handgun(typically CCW-style): Good options here are 9mm like Glock 17 since you can use 9mm rifle ammo in both
    2) 9mm rifle(med. range) – 9mm since it’s one of the easiest to find ammo calibers. Also fits both you handgun and rifle. AK in 9mm or one of the Ruger semi-auto 9mm rifles . Ruger PC 9mm would be a good example.
    3) Shotgun: Obvious choice for close/medium range, can double down as a good hunting weapon. Good example: Mossberg 500.
    4)Long range rifle: Self-explanatory.

  2. Marty

    March 7, 2022 at 11:46 PM

    On target for the most part, but way off on the long range rifles. Most shooters are not willing to pay for a scope that will perform as well as the cartridge ( not rifle). I know guys that shot 1k yards iron sights using 7.62×51. .338 will push an effective range well beyond what you suggest, closer to 2k yards. But would require a scope of incredible clarity costing at least as much as a rifle, making at least a $3k setup, which is by far not a shtf grab and go gun. So let’s get past that ultimate long range shot it’s not a survival scenario. Settle on a decent bolt gun, in any common caliber, mounted with the absolute best optic you can afford, and learn how to shoot tight groups out to 200 yards, then learn your ballistics performance in that rifle out to 500 yards, and that will take care of 99.9% of what the rifle and shooter are capable of,

  3. Marty

    March 7, 2022 at 11:45 PM

    On target for the most part, but way off on the long range rifles. Most shooters are not willing to pay for a scope that will perform as well as the cartridge ( not rifle). I know guys that shot 1k yards iron sights using 7.62×51. .338 will push an effective range well beyond what you suggest, closer to 2k yards. But would require a scope of incredible clarity costing at least as much as a rifle, making at least a $3k setup, which is by far not a shift grab and go gun. So let’s get past that ultimate long range shot it’s not a survival scenario. Settle on a decent bolt gun, in any common caliber, mounted with the absolute best optic you can afford, and learn how to shoot tight groups out to 200 yards, then learn your ballistics performance in that rifle out to 500 yards, and that will take care of 99.9% of what the rifle and shooter are capable of,

  4. Joseph Lyles

    June 17, 2014 at 1:05 PM

    Would LOVE to know where you’re finding AR-15’s and AK’s for under $300.

  5. Rob Price

    May 12, 2014 at 4:28 PM

    I would also add a rifle that shoots pistol ammo-like the HENRY lever action .357 mag or .44 mag rifle. Then you can also carry the same pistol caliber as well.

  6. gavin

    March 10, 2014 at 5:33 PM

    What about the maverick 88 by Mossberg?? Is this OK enough? it was cheap at least

  7. John bees

    March 6, 2014 at 10:20 PM

    Good posts , keep em coming ! Love your site !

  8. Don18D

    March 6, 2014 at 1:51 PM

    Mine are; AR15, Remington 870, with both a tactical and hunting barrel , Kimber Custom2, Ruger 10/22, Remington Model 700 in .308, Colt Challenger .22LR (6 inch)

  9. Mike Simpson

    March 6, 2014 at 7:54 AM

    Under the title of surplus rifles, neither the SKS or the M1 carbine are cheap anymore. They were 15 years ago, but not any longer. If you are talking cheap surplus, you need to look for Moison Nagant blot action rifle in 3.62X54 They can still be had for $150 or so.

  10. Orrin M. Knutson

    March 5, 2014 at 10:18 AM

    Dear Sir,

    Nice article!

    Carrying a closet full of weapons, sufficient ammo for them all and cleaning gear into the wilderness alone to have on hand when lost or stranded in some remote scenario is of course impossible, impractical and unnecessary.

    For this purpose in our book: SURVIVAL 101, HOW TO BUG OUT AND SURVIVE THE FIRST 72 HOURS we discuss this issue. However, we strongly recommend always carrying a large bore handgun and a survival long gun. Our family personal weapons are .357 Mag revolvers and AR-7, .22LR caliber survival rifles that brakedown into their own stocks; saving weight and space.

    There are several excellent new takedown rifles, in a variety of calibers on the market today intended for wilderness survival.

    Of course you are making recommendations for when a family must bunker down during ultimate chaos. In that nightmare scenario you are absolutely correct! Everyone should have a handgun on their hip at all times and long guns within arms reach.

    We pray America is never thrown into such a Survival Black Event nightmare … BUT, as things are going and our freedoms stolen by our own government we certainly recommend everyone be fully prepared and train often.


    Orrin M. Knutson
    Peace Officer Retired
    Police Firearms/Sniper Instructor

  11. Gordon W.

    March 4, 2014 at 4:44 PM

    I agree that the 5 weapons listed are real good.
    Military style: I use an AR 15 and have for 45 years.
    Shotgun: I use either a Remington 870 or Browning Auto 5 (all 12 ga)
    Handgun: I use a .44 Mag Ruger or .357 Magnum 5″ Smith & Wesson
    Long Range rifle: I use a Winchester 70 in .300 Magnum or a M-1 Garand
    Rimfire: I use a Marlin 39 Lever Action .22 or a Remington Nylon 66

    I have used these weapons for at least 40 years. I load my own ammunition!

  12. tjbbpgobIII

    March 4, 2014 at 3:43 PM

    I’d be interested to find one of those m16 type military that you say are under $300.

  13. Ken

    March 4, 2014 at 11:23 AM

    1, check, 2, check, 3, check. 4, full sized m1 with large scope, check. 5, check. 8, ill think about that. wife thinks i have to many as is. that one not worth the fight right now.

  14. Lee

    March 4, 2014 at 9:49 AM

    Sir, I agree with almost all that you say, but respectfully disagree with your assessment of the Browning B.A.R.. I think most soldiers from WWII would tell you how much they appreciated and desired having a B.A.R. as their weapon in combat.

  15. jim

    March 4, 2014 at 4:12 AM

    Years ago I decided to purchase Glock for this simple reason, if you by a .40 caliber pistol then purchase a 9mm conversion barrel & 9mm mags. Your not locked into just one caliber ammo. I see other companies now also have this available for their pistols. I think this is the way to go.

  16. Viet Vet

    March 4, 2014 at 1:22 AM

    I have weapons of many caliber. That way you have a firearm for any ammo you come across. I have .22, .223/5.56, .380, .38 special, 9mm, .40 cal, .45, 7.62×25, 7.62×39, 7.62x54r, .308, 30.06, .50 cal Beowulf, .50 BMG, 20mm, 37mm launcher, black powder mortar’s black powder cannon. I also have 750,000 rnds ammo with the abilitiy to reload the same.

    • Lee

      March 4, 2014 at 9:51 AM

      Nothing like being prepared brother.

    • GEtting older

      March 6, 2014 at 8:02 AM

      I agree, this is also my plan

    • David

      December 14, 2017 at 9:44 PM

      750,000 rounds, crap how’d you do that?

  17. Dan

    March 3, 2014 at 10:14 PM

    The 9mm is a capable round for self defense. The reason the military has a problem with it is because the Geneva Convention prohibits the use of anything but full metal jackets.
    Personally I carry a 10mm. But I wouldn’t use a FMJ on anything but paper. I can reload my 10mm with my .40 S&W dies and it’s performance exceeds the 45 ACP by a large margin.
    Better advise might be to skip a gun now and invest in reloading equipment, including powder, primers, and bullets. What you can save in the long run can pay for guns down the road, and be invaluable in a SHTF situation.
    I can’t believe how much brass is left on the ground at my local gun range. I save everything I find and sort it. Exotic stuff like WBY .30-378 I sell on ebay. .17, .22 ,.22wmr I scrap for $2.50 per pound. I get paid to go to the range.
    I put survival preparedness in this order:
    1)rifle in 22 lr
    2)shotgun in 12 ga
    3)rifle in .30 cal (bolt .308 or .30-06)
    4)reloading equipment
    5)membership to a shooting range
    6)pistol or revolver of choice
    7)update on reloading equipment
    8)hunting revolver
    9)standard capacity semi auto sporting rifle (AK or AR)
    10)update on reloading equipment
    11)there is no step 11. By now you are so into being prepped your friends come to you for advise, or to reload their empty casings. You have already found the cheapest online sources for your supplies, stockpiled your needs, reloaded for the future, and proven you are the leader to your friends.
    12)it’s all out the window now, shooting guns is a profit. Currently at 47 now and am searching for 48. .338 Lapua or .50 BMG, I’m so confused.

  18. Sky Soldier

    March 3, 2014 at 9:41 PM

    Oddly enough the U.S. Army M-1 Carbine .30 caliber is somewhat difficult to find because when the government of South Korea wanted the U.S. to accept return of loads of these weapons left over from the Korean War the American government refused. I wonder why?

    • Smoke Hill Farm

      March 4, 2014 at 4:19 AM

      A bunch of these came back from overseas back when I was a dealer — early or mid-90s, as near as I can guess, and probably from Southern Ohio Gun. The dealer price was about $179, and I bought one for myself, and then two more when it dropped to $139. I yelled at everyone I knew to buy these things, and some actually listened and were glad later. Magazines for them were dirt cheap, about three bucks for the short one, 5 or 6 for the banana mag.

      Some were Israeli, but I think some also came from Korea. Later on, as I understand it, some of our commie presidents refused to take back ANY surplus U.S. weapons (Clinton, Obama, etc). No wonder surplus rifle prices went thru the roof.

      Haven’t been a dealer in many years, so don’t know the history firsthand in recent times.

      • CamdenC

        March 6, 2014 at 8:54 AM

        I picked up a Universal M-1 Carbine back during the “2012 Panic” and it is my favorite rifle. It is probably Korean/Vietnam era. It came with 3 mags (one in and two in the butt pouch)and 100 rds. of ammo. It doesn’t have the bayonet lug, though. I had to have the extractor replaced last year as it was damaged and not ejecting cleanly. I paid $650 for the gun/ammo and dropped another $75 for the extractor (parts/labor). I couldn’t afford a Rockola, Inland, or Singer as they were going for $1,300 – $1,500.
        I do have 4 out of the 6 types listed; AR, 1911 / S&W 9mm, 10/22 and REM 597, and the M-1. Up next, Tactical Shotgun…

        • TSgt B

          April 14, 2014 at 10:54 AM


  19. John

    March 3, 2014 at 8:43 PM

    What was the brand and model of that single shot folding shotgun? I cant seem to catch it in the video?

  20. Smoke Hill Farm

    March 3, 2014 at 6:49 PM

    Generally a good treatment of the issue, though it seems — as most similar articles — to ignore one aspect: the spare parts & maintenance necessary, over the long haul, to support semi-autos, compared to revolvers, bolt-action rifles and pump shotguns.

    The AR platform and the popular semi-auto pistols are fine examples of engineering, but over time, and particularly in harsh conditions and scrounged ammo, they are going to be more and more unreliable unless the user has some serious gunsmithing skills & tools.

    Since I am preparing for a possibly long-haul SHTF environment, I lean heavily toward simple, reliable weapons — perhaps a bit slower in an extended firefight, but certainly less likely to fail me should I ever have to rely on old, or scrounged ammo. And, though I never see it emphasized on survival “lists,” I have stockpiled a serious cache of cleaning equipment: gallons of Hoppe products, many pounds of cleaning swabs, many extra brushes & rods, lubricants, etc. Rods break, or the threads strip, and wire brushes wear out quickly. That big bottle of bore cleaner in your gun cabinet may look adequate, but what happens when it runs out? Or the glass bottle breaks accidentally? I re-package the glass-bottle stuff into plastic mayonnaise or catsup containers, just to be sure.

    I also downloaded internal diagrams and breakdown instructions for each of my weapons , and keep hard copies in my gun cabinet (with a spare in my safe), in case I need to figure out how to replace a broken firing pin or something simple like that. I am also gradually collecting (and carefully labeling) firing pins and springs, just in case. At least with revolvers & bolt-actions, I can probably handle some repairs — which is hardly likely if I owned an AR or similar platform. For surplus weapons I chose an SKS and a few M-1 carbines (a particular favorite), though carbine ammo will admittedly be hard to scrounge. But the actions on both these rifles is loose enough that serious gunsmithing skills should not be needed. I have stretched the utility of these weapons by also relying on .22 magnum caliber, which is cheap, easy to store & carry, and will handle most needs beyond the .22 LR’s capability, thus saving my large centerfire ammo for serious threats and larger game. So far I have the Savage-Anschutz rifle, the 30-round Grendel, and an old Davis Derringer in that caliber, but hope to add a revolver shortly.

    I do have a few semi-autos and even the lower-gauge shotguns, since I want to be able to use ANY possible ammo I might be able to scrounge someday, even calibers normally I have little use for, like .32 and .25.

    The humble .22LR we all know to be an essential prepper tool that won’t break the budget stockpiling ammo. I have also “stretched” this with a high-power, quality airgun — the RWS (Diana) Model 34 in .22 caliber. It’s effective for small game, stopping the pests who’ll be eating your garden, and, with good marksmanship, could stop even a human predator. Might not kill him unless it was a head shot, but at 900+ fps in .22 cal, it is a serious discouragement to him, unlike the cheaper little .17 cal airguns. I regard the high-power airgun as essential for a long-term SHTF, since it’s almost silent compared to a firearm, and you can stock 10,000 or 20,000 rounds on anyone’s budget.

  21. Adam

    March 3, 2014 at 5:48 PM

    I’m in the UK and looking for an SKS. All the SKSs I can find are deactivated. Desperate to buy a working SKS in the UK.

    • tjbbpgobIII

      March 4, 2014 at 4:01 PM

      And if you could get one, how would you manage to keep it, aren’t rifles, pistols and other things banned in the UK?

  22. russell Drinkwater

    March 3, 2014 at 3:59 PM

    Fair summary I think. Your biggest problem is safe storage of your gear from what I can see in America atm. I favour ak copies myself and have 1000’s of steel core penetrator rounds for the same put away. Carrying ammo for larger calibers is a problem (I love my 308 but the ammo is heavy) 45-70 with a can is a show stopper but carrying 100 rounds of sunsonic with 500 plus grain projs is a chore. 22 with a can should be in everyones survival kit with 5000-20000 rounds of winchester subsonic hollow points. I shoot 9mm better than my 45 or 357 and a hit even with a 22 pistol is better than a miss with a 50 action auto. 12g pumps have the shot capacity in riot guns and are versatile. Have spent a fortune on moulds, primers, cases projectiles, powder, shotgun presses and loaded ammo the last 2 years as things are not looking too clever world wide.
    Good luck with your muslim president.
    No offence to ordinary working Americans!

  23. Bill Stone

    March 3, 2014 at 2:02 PM

    In place of a shotgun(incidentally, the Remington 870 is by far the best shotgun extant) how about a “Paradox” gun. See “African Rifles and Cartridges” by John “Pondoro” Taylor. This would be ideal!


    March 3, 2014 at 1:05 PM

    I don’t really understand the rational behind the surplus rifle for “when your ammo stores get low”. Just use the money for the rifle and ammo to get more primary as mom. If you got a .308 cal combat rifle you could also eliminate the separate “long range rifle” Even better, get 2 .308 combat rifles of the same model so you can cannibalize parts between them to keep 1 always working if needed and store 1caliber of ammo instead of 3.


      March 3, 2014 at 1:07 PM

      I hate auto correct. “as mom” was written “ammo” by me and changed by my tablet. 🙁

  25. Johnny Geetar

    March 3, 2014 at 12:47 PM

    Jack, i commend you for tackling a minefield subject like THIS one. There are so many varied, AND VALID opinions and preferences that there is NO uniform list all will ever agree to.
    That being said, i would add a few insights of my own.

    1) On the “Assault Rifle,” as our progressive brethren have labeled them, I would offer forth that the best choice would be the AK-47. Not trying to start a fight with AR owners, but the AK is more practical in SHTF situations. Reason;

    *)Tearing it down for cleanup is a breeze.

    *) Training folks NEW to firearms is also a breeze with this firearm. This rifle was designed by Kalashnikov to have recruits, even the stupid ones, proficient in ALL aspects including maintenance, inside of FOUR HOURS of concentrated training. You’ll want untrained friends and relatives up to speed quickly if it all goes bad….

    *)Fewer moving parts. Preferable in a SHTF situation. The AR has too many little springs and small parts that can easily get lost or misplaced when fieldstripping the weapon is performed in less than optimal conditions. How many folks here have popped a small spring out of a rifle or ANY implement, and lost it in the grass or gravel? Don’t wanna be SEARCHING for it with bullets flying over my head when addressing a malfunction or jam. I’m 50 years old, and i LOSE stuff all the time! lol

    *)Almost never jams. And if it does, this rifle was designed to clear out jams with a stick if need be.

    *) One can go for literally months between cleanings. Not advisable, but if necessity demands you stay on the move and stay READY, this rifle will accomodate.

    *) Not finicky with ammo in the least, due to it’s loose tolerances. One can load the cheapest, dirtiest crap known to mankind in it, and the weapon WILL fire it!

    *) No need to carry lubrication or a packet of small, high-wear spare parts.

    *) A heavier gun, with a good solid wood buttstock. If one ever needs to use it to strike an opponent with, it’ll double as a club. AR’s have light polymer buttstocks not ideally suited for the art of bludgeoning….lol

    *) I believe ALL Romanian AK’s come with chrome lined barrels, which will greatly extend the life of the barrel, even the lower tier WASR’s. Who needs to be looking for a barrel replacement during a SHTF scenario? The chrome lined barrel, chances are, will outlast the OWNER! lol

    I’m not criticizing the AR…. far from it. It is a fine weapon, and a damned accurate weapon to boot with a very fast bullet. But if a societal collase befalls, I want the gun that needs little to no pampering, especially if forced to go on the move. I want it reliable! Insurgencies throughout the world have chosen the AK-47 for a reason…. And it AIN’T pricepoint….

    2) I would submit that a 9 mil cartridge is not a reliable show stopper. Our troops overseas HATE those things. Reason; you have to put 4 or 5 slugs into someone to get them to stay down! Your choice of .45 cal in the 1911 format is a great choice.
    For my money, as heavy of a caliber as you can reasonably handle should be one’s optimal choice. If you ever, God forbid, find yourself defending with a pistol against an interloper or 3 with rifles, you’re going to need something considerably more formidable than a 9 mil.
    This is an odd reccomendation, but a Tokarev chambered in 7.62×25 is an outstanding defense gun. 7.62×25 is a reliable penetrator, and you can indeed reach out and touch folks hiding behind cars, dumpsters, brick, trees, you name it. The surplus eastern bloc round travels at roughly 2000 FPS. The commercial rounds, Prvi Partisan and Sellier and Bellot, travel around 1680 to 1733 FPS. Most useful for situations where folks are firing at you from a barricaded condition. The first video I ever saw of this pistol and caliber, a fellow was blowing big, ugly chunks out of a Toyota Forerunner brake drum. Just demolished it….. it will also penetrate level 3 kevlar with ease. Take that comment as you will……. It’s a very slim gun so it CC’s very easily, and it doesn’t kick like a mule, so the ladies of the household can easily handle it. Both the wife AND the teen daughter have one.

    3) I’m uneasy with the proferred strategy of buying multiple firearms of different calibers. In a SHTF, dire privation scenario, this would seem to be the quickest way to knock a gun out of action…. NO food for it. None to be had and no one trading out for it…. Bullet stockpiles will be hoarded like no tomorrow. And that which folks will be willing to part with will come at a vicious price indeed. Best NOT to even entertain that scenario…..

    My thoughts….

    *) Buy 2 or 3 handguns of ONE caliber.
    *) Buy 2 or 3 assault rifles of ONE caliber
    *) Buy 2 or 3 hunting/sniper rifles of ONE caliber

    And then buy a BOATLOAD of those FEW calibers! 2000 rounds of pistol ammo, 5000-8000 rounds of assault rifle ammo, and 1000-1500 rounds of hunting/sniping ammo. That way, if you lose a gun to malfunction, broken parts, loss or abandonment and such, the remainder of the arsenal remains valid for use.
    If you hold 8 guns for instance, and each of a different caliber, easily FOUR of those guns could be out of action in short order, all predicated on ammo availability. If i’m fending off a douchebag or 2, the LAST thing i want to be mentally calculating, is HOW MANY ROUNDS i have left for the gun…..

    Just my humble thinkings……. Thanks for opening this topic for discussion. Thoughts and opinions will of course, be subject to different experience and preferences.

    Johnny Geetar

    • Terry

      March 3, 2014 at 2:10 PM

      You make a lot of sense. I’ve got several hand guns and a mini 14, but I like your thoughts on the AK. Just might have to get one. Thanks for your thoughts.

    • Mark Spoon

      March 3, 2014 at 4:51 PM

      Johnny, you and i are on the same page. I have 2 Romanian 7.62 x 25 pistols. But cannot find a rifle in this cal. Any ideas? Please email me at [email protected]. Thanks!

    • Smoke Hill Farm

      March 4, 2014 at 4:12 AM

      I totally agree about the need for simpler, low-maintenance weapons. Your criticism of the AR & similar platforms is spot on — and the main reason I rely mostly on bolt-actions, revolvers and pump (or other break-open) shotguns. My only serious semi-auto rifles (in centerfire) are the SKS and the M-1 carbine, though I plan to add a Romanian AK soon.

      I do, however have a number of lesser guns that I’ve kept because they have little value but might be useful if I were to scrounge some 16-gauge shells, or .25 cal or .32 cal ammo. If SHTF occurs I figure that ammo scrounged from empty houses will be a good source, and I’d hate to waste it. Why sell the old Raven .25 junker when I may turn up the ammo someday? And certainly it’d be great trade goods, with ammo, if SHTF. My general policy will be to turn loose of NO weapon or ammo, but if any dependable friends or neighbors turn up to join the group, something is better than nothing.

      Good point about the Tokarev. I may look around for one myself.

    • tjbbpgobIII

      March 4, 2014 at 3:58 PM

      Is that 7.62 x 25 not a .32acp cartrige? I just want to know about that.

    • drderek

      March 16, 2014 at 3:54 PM

      The extent to which you have given your thoughts here is extremely commendable. For your time and effort, I thank you greatly, for you have given us a logical and clear presentation. The bottom line of what you are sharing seems to be: the overwhelming majority of us do not have combat experience, and, thus, we do not possess that “edge” no matter how often we train. When the horrendous stress of attack is upon our families and ourselves, simplicity of defense is an absolute MUST for survival to prevail. Your suggestions provide a start in achieving that end. Thnak you.

  26. David169

    March 3, 2014 at 11:49 AM

    I’ve been a shooter for over 60 years now and there are a few items I don’t agree with in the article.
    1. If you have a battle rifle it needs to be in a battle rifle caliber.
    2. Under most conditions a scope is a hindrance under 600 yards.
    3. This article assumes you will be able to tote all this gear with you where ever you go. Unless you have a group a fixed location is out of the question.

    I would suggest that a person limit their gear to a rifle suitable to the area they live in. Which is a 5.56 if your long shots are to be 350 yards or less. 7.62X51 if your shooting will be longer ranges. Both of these can be assembled in an AR type package with an EOTech and back up iron sights. Then a major caliber pistol with ammunition loaded to about the 500 fp energy level. This will give adequate knock down power without excessive recoil. Lastly get a good quality 22 pistol. I would recommend a ruger semi-auto or a S&W model 63.
    Then shoot a service rifle match and a service pistol match every month.

  27. Doug Nicholson

    March 3, 2014 at 11:45 AM

    The link to the “Practical Prepper” article, “DIY Altoid Tin Survival Kit” is not working.

  28. Rob

    March 3, 2014 at 11:29 AM

    Always a fun thought/ exercise in mental masturbation…so pardon the stains

    Hand gun. Glock 19/23, can convert 23 to 9mm or 357sig with barrel. Also make 22 conversion kits. Probably looking at $400-600 depending new/jawed.

    Rifle. AR-15-pick brand. 1/7 twist let’s shoot heavier bullet better for medium game. Can get drop in bolt for 22 with special mag. Also can get upper with 300ACC blackout working on basic 30-30 ballistics or 6.8SPC without need for new mags…getting more big game

    Shotgun. Mossberg or Remington pump + 3 barrels…18.5 with sights for PD, 24-26″ for fowl, & rifle barrel for slugs increasing game range to 100 yds.

    Just a few thoughts…

  29. Cleo

    March 3, 2014 at 11:03 AM

    I have multiple guns for the same caliber. I have several 9mm pistols and a carbine that is very accurate. Also like 30 cal carbine, and a pistol version.

  30. Mike V

    March 3, 2014 at 11:02 AM

    I am a prepper and proud of it ! I have several guns listed here, however if I had to pick one and get out of dodge in a hurry, I would pack my kel-tek 2000, 40 cal, and my Glock 22, 40 cal, both take the same ammo and magazines! it’s a beautiful thing! The Kel-tek folds in half to 16″ and can fit in a day pack quite easily, and of course we all know how rugged Glocks are, combined with some pre-ban mags, I’m sitting pretty good for self defense, long range defense and hunting purposes.

    • jimbo

      March 3, 2014 at 12:42 PM

      I own the Kel-tek as well as most of the guns mentioned in this article. Carrying the Glock is a great choice, but I would recommend trading the Kel-tek for something accurate at long distances. Sure its great that you can stuff it in your daypack, but you WILL lose in a shootout with an sks, ar15, or any other “rifle” for that matter. If you’re talking about carrying it camping, fine. But if we’re talking prep for SHTF, the kel-tek is use for defense compared to a modern black rifle.

      • jimbo

        March 3, 2014 at 12:43 PM

        Sorry. Meant “useless”, not “use”.

    • Pat

      March 3, 2014 at 1:00 PM

      Right on, Mike! I searched for months to find a deal on a Sub 2000 in 9mm and glad I did. While it won’t win any awards for being the best made rifle, it sure is on top of the versatility list. Great for close quarters and short-to-mid range with the proper optic, the interchangeability of the mags with 2 of my hand guns is a time, weight, speed, concealability and compatibility god-send.

      The only problem is Kel-tec doesn’t seem to be making them anymore. I have seen new ones for sale but no one seems to be taking delivery of any new ones off a manufacturing line for the last few years.

  31. Irish-7

    March 3, 2014 at 10:35 AM

    I feel as if I am on the same page with the author. I just have a different take on the priorities. I spelled out my recommendations in a reply to a guy named Chuck, after he commented on the .357 Magnum (Survival Life article and videos on 02 MAR 14). The following is copied and pasted from my response to Chuck:

    My survival battery advice to those PRUDENT folks just entering the “prepping” community would be (in order): 1) Shotgun .12 or .20 gauge (to tolerance). 2) Ruger 10/22 or Marlin 60 in .22 Long Rifle. 3) Ruger or Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum (rural) or .45 Auto (urban). 4) Modern Sporting Rifle AR15/M4 or Ruger Mini-14. 5) High power bolt or lever action in .308 or 30-06 (Remington 700, Marlin 1895, Savage, etc).

  32. Bob

    March 3, 2014 at 10:25 AM

    I agree with your list with a couple caveats. First, your comment at the bottom says these guns are all under $300. Your #1 gun is not under $300 anywhere I’ve ever seen one, and is usually at least twice that price and can go for much higher, as is the Glock, SW M&P, etc. Second, your #6 rifle if properly equipped can easily take the place of your #4 and will be most likely cheaper to buy and to shoot. Just my opinion for what it’s worth.

    • jack allen

      March 7, 2014 at 8:13 PM

      The author was referring to the surplus rifles only, all of the ones he listed are under 300$

      • gavin

        March 10, 2014 at 5:32 PM

        I hope so lol

    • gavin

      March 10, 2014 at 5:31 PM

      Agreed!!! That isn’t under 300$!!! Why do I depend on this dam website!!

  33. Virgil Ferguson

    March 3, 2014 at 9:41 AM

    This is a very good article and I agree with the writer. I would add that I could also recommend a six or nine shot .22 caliber convertible revolver. Ruger and Heritage both offer revolvers of this description. I personally like the Heritage as it is less expensive and the one I have has the best out of the box trigger of about any revolver I have ever fired. Ruger does offer theirs in stainless, which is just about maintenance free, whereas blue is what you get with Heritage.

  34. David

    March 3, 2014 at 9:36 AM

    I disagree with your assessment that tactical shotguns aren’t good hunting weapons. I have a Benelli M2 Tactical, and it is just a modified version of their hunting shotgun (there is a turkey gun version of it). All the workings are the same, it’s as accurate (or more so due to the better sights)as any shotgun using rifled slugs for large game. I have, for fun, used it to shoot trap! LOL It has the capability of using different chokes and is very easy to shoot.

  35. Steve Burkholder

    March 3, 2014 at 9:20 AM

    I am assuming you are only talking about surplus rifles when saying “all under $300”

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