The Best Prepper Guns List – Must-Have Weapons for SHTF

I believe that all things being equal, the best defensive weapons you can own are firearms and with that I mind I want to discuss what I recommend everyone have if you are considering a firearm as part of your preparedness strategy.
Best Prepper Guns

For those of you starting out in prepping or looking to purchase a gun for home defense best prepper guns. Before we get into the list, I like to share the thought process that went into these decisions.

As another year draws to a close, I find myself considering a host of issues that I routinely pause to reflect on at the end of each year. Since I started prepping back in 2007, my days to varying degrees are filled with a sense of expectation that wanes or increases with current events and trends. My reason for prepping was and remains to be able to protect my family from disasters whether man-made or natural in origin and it is that goal that causes me to look to the future for warning signs. Some days I see problems just over the horizon and on others, the risk is further away. The sense of something in our future never leaves but the intensity changes. 

If you consider yourself a prepper you may have had similar thoughts. In the beginning, there was for me a greater sense of urgency to get ready, but as I have learned and gathered supplies, that urgency has relaxed a good bit. I chalk that up to actually being prepared at some level and the comfort I gain from knowing if something does happen, I have a lot of bases covered already. It seems that I start each year with a reasonable belief that it is all going to tank “this year” only to be sitting at my home at the end of the year with my family safe from any disastrous EMP, a pandemic that ravages the planet or an economic collapse that destroys our wealth and throws everyone into a second great depression. I am not depressed or disappointed in this fact, don’t get me wrong but time passing does have a way of making me recheck my priorities and reevaluate my personal prepping plans.

I think there are 4 key survival concepts that every prepper should work on at all times to place you in the best possible position to survive anything that happens. These are Water, Food, Shelter, and Security. If you have these four bases covered, you will be so much better prepared to survive anything from a flood, hurricane or Global pandemic. We talk about all of these survival concepts on the Prepper Journal, but there is one topic that comes around frequently that generates a substantial amount of debate so I wanted to write an article that focuses on Security.

There are a lot of opinions on firearms as defensive weapons. There are also numerous laws and regulations that govern what you may be able to legally purchase. I believe that all things being equal, the best defensive weapons you can own are firearms and with that, I mind I want to discuss what I recommend everyone have if you are considering a firearm as part of your preparedness strategy.

AR-15 always makes the list for one of the best prepper guns
AR-15 always makes the list for one of the best prepper guns

What are the best prepper guns?

A shotgun makes a great first firearm for a prepper.
A shotgun makes a great first firearm for a prepper.

If you can legally own firearms I believe that there are 5 firearms that make up a well-rounded prepper battery of arms. With these 5 firearms, you will be able to deal with situations that we routinely talk about in a breakdown in society. Even if you never go through any disaster, having these firearms will benefit you in terms of security and firearms generally do not lose value, only appreciate so they are an investment that pays off in multiple ways.

I have listed the weapons below in priority order. If you can only afford one weapon, you should buy the first one on the list and add to your arsenal as your budget/resources allow.

  1. Shotgun – If you can only have one single weapon for home defense in a collapse scenario, I recommend a shotgun. Shotguns are easy to use, the ammunition is reasonably cheap and they can pull double duty as both defensive weapons and hunting firearms. In terms of price, shotguns are cheaper than pistols (generally) and can be purchased a lot of times without the same license requirements that you have purchasing a handgun for instance.
  2. Semi-Automatic Rifle – Also known as “Assault rifles” by anyone trying to demonize guns. A semi-automatic rifle is simply one that automatically chambers another round when you pull the trigger. For the weapon to fire again, you would need to pull the trigger again. Civilians, unless they have their FFL cannot buy fully automatic weapons so to compare these semi-automatic rifles to what the police or military has is not accurate on one side. They do have many advantages though and when we think of a semi-automatic rifle for a prepper there are two that are the most common. Those two options are the AK47 and the AR-15. When it comes down to choosing which one to go with like anything on this subject there is a lot of debate, but for me personally, I believe the AR-15 is the better of the two for a variety of reasons. Either one will work fine and you should have one.
  3. Full-size pistol – Again, another topic that causes a lot of arguments but for the sake of inclusion I will say a 9mm, .40, or .45 would work equally well as your main defensive pistol. I am not talking about a concealed carry firearm here as I deal with that in another article. This is the nightstand gun that can also be used as your backup weapon in the event your main battle rifle (semi-automatic) is unavailable for some reason. I do not recommend only having a pistol but I think they are great to have and compliment the other firearms nicely.
  4. Long Range Rifle – The shotgun is perfect for close range. The AR-15 will definitely reach out to several hundred yards, but you likely won’t be engaging anyone at that distance. To go further 400-600 yards or to take large game animals I would go with a .308 or a .30-.06. Some will say you can simply purchase an AR chambered in .308 and kill two birds with one stone. That is one solution but it comes down to preference and who is shooting the rifle. .308 certainly has more of a kick than a .556 or .223 round.
  5. Small game Rifle – For me, this is a .22 rifle. I would not buy a .22 pistol unless I was purchasing this for a younger child or for plinking (practice). A .22 will actually kill larger game and even humans as many will argue but I would not count on that as my main weapon for defense. It is great at taking small game though and the ammo is still much cheaper than any of the other options.
Boston T. Party – Gun Bible is a great resource for choosing your survival arsenal.

Is there a best gun for home defense?

There are arguments for shotguns, pistols, and even Semi-automatic rifles as your home defensive weapon and it really comes down to what you have, what the threat is, and where you are in your home at the time in relation to the weapon. I have all of the items above but my home defense plan is different if I am in bed as opposed to out in the kitchen. It also depends on whether we are in a normal situation like now or in the middle of wide-spread riots and looting.

If I am in bed and someone breaks in, I won’t grab the shotgun or the rifle, I would go for the pistol. Now, that is because I have one in close proximity and I am comfortable using and firing this particular firearm. If I didn’t have any weapons at all, I would still purchase a shotgun first and that would be my home defense weapon.

Shotguns are more forgiving with aim and this could help you in a high-stress situation. Now, before anyone starts beating me up on that comment let me clarify. A shotgun is going to shoot what you are aiming at so I am not trying to say that you can just wave it in the general direction and actually hit someone, but shotgun pellets spread. If you aim at a person, the spread of the shot will more likely hit them even if your aim is a little off. Naturally, you need to practice with any firearm you have that you are planning to shoot. If you have in mind the potential for shooting someone who has entered your home you need to know exactly how this deadly tool works and become proficient in hitting what you are aiming at.

There are always considerations for penetration in a home since our walls are made from sheet-rock and not concrete, but this applies to any firearm.

How much ammo do I need?

How much do you plan on shooting and how confident you will be able to purchase more ammunition when you need it? We are starting to see a return to normal on ammunition availability and cost but any upcoming legislation could change that again. When the last ammo shortage hit you were not able to easily find many of the most common calibers and what you were able to find was much more expensive. I had the benefit of having plenty of ammo stored up so I didn’t need to purchase anymore. Had the end of the world happened, I would already have a full stock of ammo for each of my weapons, but I started stocking up years ago. I have recommended ammo storage amounts listed in another article.

You should also consider an inventory system and we have a free ammo inventory spreadsheet available for download that you can use to set targets and track your own personal ammo storage amounts. This will help with budgeting as well as give you a clear idea of what you need to purchase if you have some extra money.

Now it’s your turn! What do you think are the best prepper guns to own?

  1. I get that different types of guns are better for certain situations. I was just wondering how many guns would be best? I ask because I know someone with 30+ guns, and that seems a little extreme unless they plan on making themself a personal army.

    I just was wondering if someone can enlighten me on the reason behind a personal armory and how many guns should a prepared individual have?

    1. Good questions, Samantha. I’m not a guru of any kind, but I think I can cover the basics. Others can refine.

      As Pat stated, every prep arsenal should have at least one of each of the five primary firearms types.

      Here’s my prioritized list:

      1. Handgun. Purposes: home defense, target shooting. There is no easier weapon to maneuver in tight spaces.

      2. Semi-Auto rifle (AR/AK). Purposes: home defense, hunting, target shooting. More accurate, but harder to move in tight spaces. Indoors the risk of over penetration exists. Can accurately reach out to the limitations of your vision.

      3. Shotgun. Purposes: home defense, hunting, target shooting. The ultimate room clearer. Many different loadings for different purposes. Longer barrels can be swapped for bird/varmint hunting.

      4. Hunting rifle. Purposes: hunting, precision threat deterrent. From a deer to a thug in the woods, a well sighted hunting rifle can both provide food for the little people, and potentially break up an attack from marauders before they move in.

      5. Plinker/varmint rifle. Purposes: hunting smaller game (less destruction of meat), educating new and younger shooters, target shooting, and home defense. THIS IS NOT anywhere near the best home defense weapon, but if its whats behind the door when trouble shows up, a 40-grain .22LR slug to the guts will make anyone question continuing their efforts against you and yours.

      Bottom line: firearms are purpose built. They each have their own purpose and niche. Shooting a possum with a hunting rifle will certainly kill it, but whats left might not make lunch.

      As for the question of why someone needs 30+ weapons? Simply they don’t. People have multiple firearms for many different reasons, but need isn’t one of them. An AR/AK and hand gun for each ‘of age’ person in the house is, while not truly needed, a smart approach to prepping. It ensures that everyone is armed if/when the SHTF.

      Some collect guns, some love shooting guns, and wind up with far more than they planned. Some fear gun future gun seizure, and hope to hide something for the afterward. Some buy, shoot, sell, and buy a new one. For many, its a loved hobby.

      With the pacification of our “civilized” society, many look down on folks with guns, but think nothing of the guy who spends all his money buying $100k cars. I say, to each his own. Lets see how long the unarmed guy with the $100k lasts after the SHTF vs the guy with 30+ guns and ammo. I know where I’m putting my money.

    2. simple enough reply Samantha …. one that a female can more than relate to ….

      you can only wear one pair of shoes at a time …. how many pairs of shoes do you own? …. why? ….. same thing with guns

    3. 30+ guns?
      Well a family of 4 (Dad, Mom, and two curtain climbers) could easily pull in 36 guns. How? Well, each member should have their own set of guns. In my case it is boiled down to 9 guns per family member.
      Handgun, Large (x2), two full size handguns per adult
      Handgun, Small, this is your hidden backup (three pocket pistols and one revolver)
      Shotgun, both urban defense and small game (rabbit or bird)
      Rifle, rimfire (all of us have 22s minus the oldest child he chose .17HMR) our squirrel guns
      Rifle, medium caliber (we all have 30-30 lever actions) these are our deer guns
      Rifle, heavy caliber, bolt action (two 30-06s, .338 federal, and .338 Win-Mag) when you have to punch through some thick stuff to get the hidden bad guy
      Rifle, sniper, bolt action (two .270s one with night scope, two .308s) flat trajectory medium range (for sniper range)
      Rifle, assault, magazine fed, semiautomatic (four AR-15s), obvious main gun for SHTF
      So, 30 guns is nothing for a family of 4.

  2. Nice article. I agree that there is no one perfect “do everything” gun for all the situations one might find themselves in.

    My one add would be to strongly consider foregoing sexy/exotic/antique chamberings in lieu of ubiquitous chamberings in your area or region. There are thousands of excellent chamberings available to the discerning customer, but which of those chamberings can a person reasonably expect to find in an abandoned house/police station/sporting goods store/cabin after SHTF?

    While you may be able to put the eye out of a bear at 300 yards with that sexy 300 Win Short Mag, will you be able to scrounge extra ammo for it post-SHTF?

    All this is based on my contention that if the S really hits the fan, that everyone who doesn’t live in the Alaskan back country, will eventually be forced to abandon their fortress. Unless you have a UTV and trailer, its highly likely you won’t get to take the thousands of rounds you may have stocked up, and will eventually have to scrounge for survival until like Rick Grimes, you find your own prison.

    Again, none of these rounds are the sex newest options available, but for realistic resupply ‘in the field,’ they should be targeted ammo types.

    For the US, here are my thoughts on chamberings for survival:

    Shotgun: 12 gauge, 20 gauge

    Semi-automatic rifle: 5.56/.223 or 7.62×39.
    + Locally, .223 in bulk has been easier to acquire than 5.56

    Handgun: 9mm, .45 cal, .357 Magnum
    + While I like the .40 cal round fine, it’ll never match the availability of these three rounds. Lest some forget, a .357 will also shoot .38 Special ammo.

    Hunting: .30-06, .308, .270.
    + While .308 has surpassed the venerable .30-06 round, even at the bottom of the ammo shortage, I was still able to acquire 20-round boxes of good quality .30-06 ammo. The other non-wildcat type round I had little trouble sourcing was .270. The .308 round is a good one, but with its twin sister, the 7.62×51 Nato rounds, they were as scarce as 5.56 Nato.

    Small game: .22LR
    + Locally, the shortage is over. Prices have dropped back into the $0.10 range for good ammo, and simply stated, there is no round more common than the old .22LR.

  3. Good question Samantha. I suspect the person you know with 30 plus weapons is probably more of a collector than a one person armory. reason I say that is I used to have that many guns or more because I like to collect. Now, I have come to the conclusion that I don’t need that many weapons and have sold most of them off over the last few years. Some folks collect guns, some collect coins and others collect stamps.

    I agree with Pat Henry and his recommendations on best prepper guns.

    However, I have found that with fewer weapons I am now shooting more on a regular basis. Ironic, isn’t it?

    One thing I’d ad to the excellent post is that I try to stock my cache with 2 critical thoughts in mind:

    1) If there is an emergency, what kind of caliber guns should I have in stock? Answer: whatever caliber is most used. .22, 9mm, .40, .45, 5.56, 7.62 X 39 and .12 gauge shotgun ammo. If SHTF then these calibers will be most readily available.

    2) I also ask myself if there are weapons I can purchase that use the same ammo. For instance, you could purchase a .44 caliber lever action rifle and a .44 cal handgun. You’d save a lot of weight on ammo if you had to bug out and yet have some serious knock down power within a 100 yards or so. I personally have three different pistol/rifle ammo combinations that use the same cartridges.


    Happy New Year ya’ll!!!!!

    Snake Plisken

    1. Well said Snake. While I would debate 30-06 vs 7.62×39 being more readily available, the list of ammo calibers most commonly held is on target.

      I always wanted a two-weapon, one-caliber combo. I was thinking .357 Magnum primarily due to availability of .38 Special as an alternative, but I think 44 Magnum is a great combo round. It’ll fire 44 Special, although that round is all but gone from circulation.

      It also seems to me that having one large stash of ammunition might be a big negative. Several smaller caches of all your common rounds would be more sensible. Its the two is one, and one is none philosophy from a different angle.

      1. I hear ya Bob. My choices for the long rifles reflects where i live and should give consideration for anyone’s geographic location.

        When i lived in AZ my .06 was the preferred caliber because most of my hunting shots for deer and elk were in that 300+ yard range. Same thing i would think for persons hunting antelope and other large game on open range areas of the country.

        I now live in a state that doesn’t allow rifles to hunt deer but shot guns only. Funny story, when i first moved to OH my step brother wanted me to go deer hunting with him so I got the required permit and deer tag. Step brother shows up at 3am and as I was throwing my kit into his van he stopped me and asked ” what is that?” and I said ” well, it’s commonly called a 30.06 rifle” he was horrified ” you can’t use that here it’s against the law!” OK, what do YOU use for deer? “I use a shotgun.” “Whaaaat?” I was very confused. ” So what do you do? Wait for the deer along a game trail and club the poor bastard to death?” I went back into the house and brought out my trusty old ,12 Ga Winchester. We did get to his preferred hunting area and once the sun had started to come up the deer began to get chased around the whole wooded area sounded like a war zone. No wonder that the state mandated .12 Ga slugs in this fairly heavily populated state. A fast and heavy rifle round could travel for a mile or more and the slug was good for a couple hundred yards. Made sense to me although I gave up deer hunting here at that point. If I wanted to hang out with a bunch of amateur hunter wannabees then i’ll go hang out at BassPro and be much, much safer and warm!

        Long winded and i apologize. My point is that there has to be some consideration for your environment when it comes to selecting a weapon for hunting. Where i live my AK 47 and Mossberg 12 Ga is more than adequate to hunt larger game. My .22 rifles are great for hunting small game in the area. All I’m suggesting is right size your choices of weapons to match the area you live in to best effect and pragmatic.

        While I’m chiming in here, let me suggest another weapon or two. I own two air rifles. One is a heavy duty Benjamin in .20 caliber and the other a Crossman .177 pellet rifles. Both are great for killing small game in the yard and the Benjamin ( Sheridan ) can knock off squirrels in the woods without alerting the other critters in the woods. The drawback is that you have to put 10 pumps into either gun in order to have the knockdown power for small game. Outdoors, the pumping action of the guns give away your location to your prey because the action of the gun is not a natural sound in the woods. Consequently, the air rifles are very much more quiet and less likely to give away your location to the worst and most dangerous predator of all: a hungry human!

        Happy New year to all!

        Snake Plisken

  4. I feel like this article sort of just covered what has been put out there many times before, it’s the prepper mantra: “Get a semi-auto pistol, shotgun, semi-auto rifle, long range rifle, and small caliber rifle.”
    I have a different point of view now after years of following that advice. In my opinion (which is just one man’s view and always subject to change) is get a long gun and a side arm, all the required accessories, and then train on them until you are outstanding before collecting other weapons.
    I have to ask which man is more dangerous, the one with the 5 guns listed above (or 30 or 40) but no ability to reload on the move, no equipment to hold said spare magazine, a crap holster that doesn’t work, and that misses his shots until the gun jams (AKs included) and he doesn’t know how to resolve it or the man that only owns one rifle and one pistol and has paid more than the cost of buying those shiny items in training to employ them expertly. This same man has quality gear like slings and chest rig that fit his fighting style and have proven themselves reliable. For example he discovered flashlights that stay on will get him killed and so he only uses ones equipped with momentary on switches and he knows the factory plastic front sight on his Glock are poor quality and often come off when the gun is really pushed hard so he has replaced them with metal sights.
    I would say the second man. Now if you want to argue you need all the other weapons for hunting that is one thing but I think only a small percentage of preppers have the skills to sustain themselves by hunting if things really got that bad that no other means to procure food was available and in that drastic of a WROL scenario you can hunt a fair bit of game with a .223.

    1. Excellent points Veritas!

      I agree with you completely on “who would be more dangerous” but I was trying to come at this from the realm of not strictly going to war, but living (and yes I meant hunting too) in a SHTF world. I think you are absolutely right that training and proficiency as well as capable gear are major factors, but that wasn’t my focus. You bring up great points for another article though…


  5. I am going to try and purchase a 12gauge shotgun. The only problem is that i got two felonies when i was 14. Im in my mid twenties now. Im not sure if i can get one but i will try. They didnt popup when i visited an army base earlier this year though.

    1. You’re probably OK to go through with your shotgun purchase Ziggy especially since the Army vetted you. Most states in the USA seal juvenile records once a person turns 18 YRO so I would venture a guess that you can buy a shot gun without any hassle or delays.

      Good luck!

      Snake Plisken

  6. Good article and good replies.

    So I’m going to toss in my two cents worth into the ring also.

    Honestly, I look at that nice pretty photo at the beginning of this post and wonder why? Nice clean white room, nicely stacked guns everywhere. Hell that floor looks like it’s not even been walked on…. Some people have wayyyyy to much money for their own good. I would bet most of the firearms in that photo have never been fired.

    I agree 10,000% with Veritas (and others), and I like the famous quote, “Beware of the man that owns only one gun, for he probably knows how to use it”. Now I will admit I’m one that has the hobby fever and loves to “play” but like most I have one set of “go to” firearms, and play with others for shits-and-giggles. Never take a Knife to a Gun-Fight.

    I would like to address Samantha Stauf if I may. Samantha the only firearm you need to have is the one you feel comfortable firing and have in your possession when you need it. Firearms locked away in the safe, sitting “at home”, in a nice pretty room like above, or “thinking” of buying are completely useless. It’s like having 10 gas stations just 5 miles away when you run out of gas. Please take some time to find what you personally feel comfortable with and are willing to have with you at all times and stick with that. It does not matter if it’s a SW500, a 12ga shotgun, a AR-8 (308) or a 22LR handgun .Just find someone that has those 200 guns and ask to fire a few so you know what you like, than go to a Gun Shop and do a “blind” gun test to find what feels comfortable in your hand. Don’t let someone else “tell” you what to get, a firearm is a very personal thing that only you can decide what to have. And get some training, as we all should do on a continuing basses. And hit the range 2 times a month and shoot even if it’s only a couple of rounds.

    One last little thing; the man that runs out of ammo first—– losses.


    1. Funny turn on this conversation. I can’t imagine having guns in my house that I’m not confident in shooting, carrying, cleaning, and clearing malfunctions on. I may not be able to field strip all of them under fire, but then why would I?

      Take my daughter’s Savage .22 bolt gun. She’s fired it once. Just once. But before she ever fired it, she spent many hours practicing loading and unloading magazines, loading and unloading rounds into the magazines, feeding and clearing the chamber, going from a low-ready position to a firing position, cheek welds, sight pictures and the like. Sure its her first weapon and a lot of this is basic weapons handling, but by doing some light drilling with the weapon, her familiarity with the rifle at the range was evident. When ridiculous idiosyncrasies of the Savage were identified on the range, we stopped and adjusted, finding better ways of doing it, or identifying a real problem, and stopping until a solution is identified.

      Folks who are not completely comfortable with their weapons either haven’t taken the time to truly understand the weapon’s functions, or have a weapon that doesn’t suit them.

      Don’t be afraid of getting it wrong. Buying a weapon only to find out you just don’t like shooting or carrying it, then locking it away in a safe forever is, to me, kinda crazy. If its not going to be trained and used, its effectively worthless. Sell it and find one that you enjoy and want to use.

      As for that Savage, I’m starting to look for an old Winchester 69A like Grandpa taught me to shoot on. Bulletproof design without the much documented magazine/magazine well issues.

  7. I think I’m nearly squared away as far as firearms except a 2nd shotgun. That and a midrange bolt gun in 223, probably a Mossberg MVP as my 308 is very accurate and fun to shoot. As a bonus the MVP uses AR mags.

    When choosing my firearms I focused on interchangeability of ammo/magazines in common calibers. I’ve also made grab and go cans with a quantity of ammo and basic cleaning kits for all my guns. Makes it easy if I’ve got to bug out or go to the range.

    I need to focus on getting more practice, training and ammo storage this year. On that end I plan on following the same model I use for food storage, replace 1.5-2x of what gets used until I’m at a certain quantity.

  8. Great article Pat Henry. I’ve passed it on to several friends of mine.

    I fully agree with your thoughts, assessments on the various topics you have highlighted in your article here, not only on firearms, but even on some of the topics embedded in the article such as how much propane to have on hand. I’ve recently acquired 120lbs of propane in several tanks.

    Am now getting a Camp Chef propane grill and oven so we can not only cook, but make breads, rolls, cook meats in the oven and/or over type of oven cooking.

    I also have 200lbs of charcoal as well. Just incase….

    For grills of several methods for cooking on as well as 18″ metal grates to make grills out of blocks and stones with.

    I have 2 bales of straw & wood chips to use to start fires with and 15 28 fluid ounces of charcoal lighter fluid stored to put on the straw + charcoal + small wood kindling to make open air fire pits.

    Now for the firearms….

    No one gun is correct, nor will one work in all circumstances.

    I speak from a “tactical mindset” since I spent 26 years in law enforcement. We did not just have one gun, but use to carry our issued gun (sidearm) plus the 12 gauge shot gun. Just incase….

    I retired before the AR15 became a weapon issued to police.

    So I’ve used a variety of weapons during my career, from the 38 cal revolver, to 9MM semi automatics which came out after the FBI shooting down in South Miami in April of 1986 in which Jerry Dove and Ben Grogan were killed by Platt and his associate.

    Eventually our department issued the Sig 40 cal P229.

    I’ve now found that after some 15 years of not having any guns, that times dictate becoming armed again.

    I see dark clouds on the horizon and the perfect storm coming, sooner than later.

    So because of my immediate environment which is in a rural location, I’ve decided on the following weapons.

    Semi auto’s in the 9MM & 40cal (both are S&W M&P’s)…

    A Sig Sauer P320 full frame 9MM

    2 380cal semi’s

    a Ruger 9MM 5 shot revolver for the wife.

    12 gauge 18.5 Stevens 320 shotgun

    Kel-Tec KSG “Bull-Pup” 12 gauge shotgun, 15 rounds, which I am referring to as my “Getting religion” gun…

    2 AR15’s with Vortex SPARC II” and one I’ll equip with a 2X magnifier to meet my needs, because my property extends some 500-600 feet, both front and back and 200 feet to the sides. So I need to be able to use these weapons for longer distances. I have both .223 and Nato 5.56 ammo on hand.

    I am looking at probably 6000 rounds (minimum, 10,000 rounds max.) rounds of ammo both for any activities associated to a SHTF event as well as “post event” unable to replace or re-stock ammo due to none being available. 9MM, 40cal, .223 & 12 gal “low re-coil” “00” buck & slug rounds.

    I also have stored about 1 year of food which will be rotated out for regular use and then restocked.

    7000 watt generator and 600 gals of stored gasoline in 55 gal metal drums that initially contain racing fuel and are lined to protect both the barrels as well as the fuel. Each barrel of gas also have fuel stabilizer added at the time they are filled.

    I have a passive water collection system on hand as well, with will allow me to collect rain water and store up to 300 gallons as well.

    5 Cords of firewood stocked.

    Assorted tools (mostly hand), chain saws, and other items to go to survival mode.

    several large 1100 lumen spot lights plus assorted Mag and Stream light battery operated flashlights with rechargeable batteries, plus smaller flashlights including strobe type which can be used with my hand held weapons. I am not a fan of mounting lights on my weapons, since that tends in my opinion identify my location and could make me an easier target.

    I also have other things lined up and planned…but over the past 6-8 months I’ve been stocking up and “preparing”….

    So as you can see my “tactical mind set” is similar to what you have written.

    Anyway, having worked through Hurricane Andrew and being w/o electricity for 14 days and seeing the devastation down in Homestead Fl. after Andrew “came a callin”…I have the attitude of being prepared to the max….

    “An ounce of prevention, is worth a pound of cure” is my mindset….

    So yeah, I’m preparing “Just in case”….

    If nothing happens so be it, but if it does, I’ll be better off than 95% of the population.

    If nothing does happen in time, I’ll have one great yard sale.

  9. Well, At 80 years young, I read thru and I have to disagree… I do keep a cut down 12 gauge pump with 5 round of #1 buck shot (that 12 BBs about the size of a 22 in each shell.
    I keep a 38 snub nose for up close & dirty.
    I have a Rem. 22 semi auto with 22 long rifle hollow points 17 rounds at a fill, 9 power , Also a 10/22 Carbine with scope variable scope.
    My favorite is a Ruger 22 Mag pistol, again Hollow point ammo With matching 9 power variable Scoped Rifle with tripod (my feelings are there isn’t anything on the north American continent that I can’t kill with a 22 Mag, Hollow point plus I like to shoot cheap.
    Marine Corp Sniper, Sempra Fi
    John, Austin TX

    1. Disagreement is a daily occurrence around the topic of guns rvinjohn, but I thank you for your comments. You have variety for the same reasons I suggest just different options.

  10. Greetings!

    It’s an unfortunate fact that firearms have become almost synonymous with Preppers and disaster preparedness.Here’s an article that explains why that is true:

    Cheers! Capt. Bill

    Capt. William E. Simpson II – USMM Ret.

    Semper Veritas / Semper Paratus



    Member: Authors Guild

  11. Stop saying that the AR 15 is a superior platform. It’s not. In a WROL situation you won’t have time to clean and maintain an AR. This will cause it not to function. Also, the 5.56 round is not designed for killing. It’s designed for maming. The 7.62 of the AK is a far more superior round for most civilians. The AK platform in it’s entirety is less expensive and more reliable. You might not reach 1000 yards but in a civilian scenario you’re talking 200 yards.

    1. Bryson,

      Here is what I don’t understand about the AK side of the house… If the AR platform is so horrible, why does our military use it? Don’t you think the gunfight aspect of combat would be comparable to your ideal of WROL?

      I can understand a preference for the AK, but I don’t understand how anyone can imply the AR is essentially useless in combat because that is simply not true. It is also dishonest to try and paint the AR as needing to be cleaned after every round, implying that any dirt whatsoever will cause it to jam or malfunction. I haven’t been in a gunfight, but I have put several hundred rounds through my AR in a short time without cleaning it and it never jammed one single time. Never!

      In a WROL if you are shooting several hundred rounds, that is one hell of a firefight I would agree. If I am hitting your side and maiming your guys what does that mean? Does that mean nothing?

      There are so many other reasons why I believe the AR is better for US based preppers. There are other factors like parts availability, compatibility with Mil-Spec weapons, ammo availability and accuracy and I list them all in my article on the AK47 vs. AR-15 and in that I concede that the AK has definite advantages that make it a good choice, although I have a preference. I do not ever say the AK is worthless though.

      1. In the beginning of the Vietnam war there was no “forward assist” on the first m16’s. There were dead American’s found trying to use a screw driver to work the 5.56 into the chamber because it would not load properly because of dirty firing powder fowling the chamber. The powder was changed to a cleaner burn and that is the reason, Bryson, your AR never jammed. The forward assist is still needed today (and do not let a salesman in a gun shop or anyone else tell you otherwise wise) because of SHTF worst case there is what is called “Battlefield Pickup” meaning you may have to shoot what is avalible after you run out of ammo. You may have to use steel enameled 5.56 from another country and there is a lot of it around. Belive me there are all kinds of powders in them. (anything but clean) so the forward assist will help. The percentages are with you when using 5.56 that can always fire a 223 in the long run and always have a forward assist on your AR so it can use any ammo you put in it………..and do not let any RAMBO tell you otherwise. Let us say, Bryson, everybody in your family has been killed and you and your two little girls are left alive and at that moment you can choose which AR you are going to use to survive……which one will you choose?

      2. We can agree to disagree on AR vs AK but I agree with you about questioning the poster who says the AR will only maime. In that sense he does not know what he is talking about. Both the AR and the AK are fine weapons and the difference between living and dying in a SHTF situation will NOT, repeat NOT, be in any way shape or form determined by whether or not you had an AR or an AK.

    2. ……..the 5.56 is not designed for killing . It’s designed for maming. This depends how accurate you are when shooting a 5.56. Maming is not a bad thing particularly when the 5.56 goes in at your elbow and comes out your ear. You are going to need attention and that is a good thing because the people who are helping you cannot help anyone else.

    3. Are you really asking us to believe that when hit by an AR15 5.56mm that you won’t be either taken out of action or dead from the shot? You really believe the AR is that ineffective? If so, then kindly let yourself be shot at with one even at 300 yards and tell us how long you spent in the hospital or on what date they held your funeral…. Also, my AR15 m4 carbine with 5.56 mm green tip ammo will go through a 1/4″ steel plate. Still think that will only “maime”??? And your bull about not having enogh time to clean a gun is exactly that….bull. First off, I don’t know any gun that won’t go several hundred rounds without cleaning and in a pinch I use a can of teflon cleaner that I shoot down the barrel and on the moving parts until clean liquid drips out the barrel, then I let it drain a few minutes and whalla, a quick field cleaning that will suffice until a more thorough cleaning can be done. Comments??

    4. You are clueless. Go stand in front of an AR then report back to us how long you stayed in the hospital recovering and if worse, have your next of kin tell us when your funeral was. An AR can easily kill a person from 10 yds out to over 500 so please don’t tell us its for maiming……

    5. I disagree:

      1) I use rem oil in a spray can and clean my hand gun or rifle in about 2 minutes. Remove all magazines and drench the barrel and entire trigger and magazine release mechanism and you have the 90% cleaning solution….. in less than a few minutes. You can do the 100% clean method with rods, swabs and oil at a later time.

      2) Also, both the 223 and the 5.56 can kill people so never doubt that. Just think how many people “stop” whatever they are doing when they get so much as a sliver in their hand or a cut on their finger from a knife. Now imagine a 5.56 green tip capable of piercing a 1/4″ steel plate or even a standard 223 round for that matter, entering your body at twice the speed of sound. Even if it passes through your body you are in a world of hurt and if it tumbles, you do even more damage. In either situation 99.9999% of people retreat, die or call it a day. And in SHTF times where medical help may not be available, they will die from loss of blood.

  12. even 4 guns is extreme actually. I have 2 pistols and one rifle. The longarm has almost no use until shtf. Once shtf, however, the pistol will have almost no use. My 2 pistols are a matched set. One is the practice/spare and one is the ccw gun. I dont want the wear and fouling of practice on my carrry pistol. Most of my practice these days is done wiith airsoft, or with .22 conversion units for my pistol and rifle. I do a bit of precision practice with .177 lead pellet guns, too. I shoot 1-2k of my 223 reloads per year, mostly from the weak side shoulder. I shoot 5-6k per year of my 9mm reloads, too.

  13. The shotgun is a waste of time and money. It can’t do the job of either the rifle or the pistol. Nothing done with a shotgun needs to be done, if it can’t be done with rifle or pistol. Nobody needs to hit rabbits on the run or birds in flight. They just WANT to, that’s all. Small stuff is better trapped, quietly, because traps can be working for you in 50 spots at once. and they work 24-7. Making noise is likely to call in your killers, if shtf. Your rifle should have a silencer on it.

  14. you will have no choice, if shtf, but to continuously wear your bOB and your fighting rifle. The 223 auto, with a .22lr conversion unit is the most versatile, desirable longarm for prepping, if it’s got an 11.5″ barrel, silencer, and luminous sight inserts. However, you might be able to get by with a silenced .22 handgun, a pocket 9mm and an AK or sks.

  15. how to get game or looters to WAIT while you go get “the right gun for the job”? How to shoot a gun you aint got with you? you wont be carrying more than one longarm and your pack, and you won’t have a safe place to leave anything.

  16. not, anyway ,for the first year after shtf. It’s not going to be peaceful. I intend to just stay in a hole in the ground, literally, for a year after shtf, coming out only after dark. after a year, 99% of the population is going to be dead, making it much safer to be out and about in daylight. the game is all going to be gone in the first month, guys.

  17. if you can survive the first year, you’ll be able to just go pick up all sorts of goodies. But animals will have to be brought back from remote islands, or there won’t be any at all. the dog packs, cats, and starving people will have eaten them all (and then each other).

  18. all the inexperienced guys “think” that they will get to choose the situation, but they wont and they’ll get killed cause they’ve got a bolt action when they need rapidfire, or a shotgun when they need to reach 100+ yds of distance to the enemy. It aint Burger king, guys. You wont get things your way. Better to have to brain an elk or moose with an M4, at 100 yds, than have to fight with bolt action or shotgun

  19. with subsonic 60 gr AQuila .22 ammo, 223 silencer and .22lr conversion unit in the M4, the full power 223 softpoints sound like a regular 22lr rifle and the subsonic 22’s sound like a BB gun. Dont make noise to kill that dog, cow, or rabbit. Dont waste a big, heavy shell or rd on it, either.

  20. Jon Ciener makes .22lr units for $200 (30 shot mag). The caliber swap takes 10-20 seconds, depending upon how much noise you make while doing it. The .22 unit weighs just 3/4 lb and fits in the thigh pocket of your pants. It adds so much versatility to the rifle that there’s no arguing about it.

  21. funny how people are prepping for “the end of the world”, yet handicap themselves by not having the means of making and mounting a silencer. 🙂 Nobody’s going to care about any laws if shtf. The $100 bill will be toilet tissue, so there wont be any cops or soliders, cause they can’t work for free, while somebody’s raping their wife and kids.

  22. you don’t get the chance to fire at long range, at dangerous people. If they know enough to be dangerous, they wont be holding still iin the open, in daylght, and you wont be hitting them at more than 1/4 mile if they are moving. A scoped M4 will reach 1/4 mile, with a good suppressor on it. There’s no need of the “long range” rifle, nor the shotgun, nor the .22 rifle, nor a big pistol. Get a pocket 9. the front pants pocket holster is best, cause it keeps the gun accessible, concealed, out of the way of your pack and your rifle and out of the elements.

  23. if you’re smart, you’ve got a little underground shelter. There’s no reason to fire at people when you can just vanish. Why start crap and use up your ammo, when you can just hide, hmm? there won’t be any chopper evac, no help, no medical care. Avoidance of trouble will be the only intelligent thing to do.

  24. one hunk of woods is like any other. Dont have an above ground structure or camp for anyone to find and there’s no reason for you to be firing at long range. the silencer and rapidfire will be far more useful than some long range toy.

  25. the AK’s safety lever sucks a root. Nobody’s going to be taking their gun hand off of their pistol grip when they are in danger, so the jerkoff safety design means that you have to walk around with the safety dis-engaged on the AK. to hell with that.

    1. MR. Randall……you have to do what you have to do any way you do it after it hits the fan and the safety on a working AK will be a minor concern. 3-5 days after it hits the fan looting starts. GOOGLE “Katrina”. In time looters form “HUNTER KILLER TEAMS” and a natural leader comes forward and takes control and the luxury of gun choice is over and all your neat gun info won’t mean a hill of beans. If you have been a in uncontrolled looting or combat you know what I mean, if not you are on the outside looking in. Good luck.

  26. keep the rifle in 223 firing mode, unless you see good reason to swap to l.22lr. Immediatly after using the .22, swap back to 223. 22 ammo is 135 rds to the lb, 100 rds if it’s the 60 gr subsonic load. 30 AK and .45 ball ammo is 22 rds to the lb, 12 ga shells are 10 to the lb. 223 and 9mm are 35-40 rds to the lb, depending upon bullet weight.

  27. Once you’re out of ammo, a guns’ worthless. A silenced .22lr autorifle, with luminous sights, 30 rd box mag and subsonic Aquila ammo, is no joke, especially in thick cover or darkness.

  28. forget all that stuff. You want an 11.5″ barreled AR15, with luminous sight inserts, a trigger job, a scope option, 7.5″ of silencer and a Ciener .22lr conversion unit. You have no need of a shotgun, bolt action or full sized pistol. You need a small 9mm, carried in a front pants pocket holster.

  29. u can’t carry the pack (that you’ll HAVE to carry everywhere) and more than one longarm (and enough ammo to make 2 longarms worth having). The pistol should be accessible, out of sight, out of the elements and out of the way of your rifle and your pack. A front pants pocket rig is the answer.. You can’t shoot a gun that you aint got with you. You can’t get game or looters to wait while you go change guns. Your longarm better be silenced, and fire 223 and .22lr. It better be capable of piercing soft body armor, sniping effectively to 1/4 mile, yet offer a rapidfire, BB gun quiet, lethal option. No 12 qa can be effectively silenced and its flash will ruin your night-adapted vision for several minutes.

  30. there will be no safe place to leave your gear or your “other” guns. So when you cache them, you’d better remove their bolts and cache said bolts separately, a goodly distance from the guns. Or risk getting shot with your own guns.

  31. Using Aquila 60 gr subsonic .22 ammo, thru the Ciener unit in the AR, you can’t hear the shot more than 50 yds away on a cold, quiet night, in open, flat terrain, even if you DO let the bolt cycle. If you contrive a bolt lock, you wont here the .22 unit at 50 ft. Beats a shotgun all to hell. The subsonic 22’s are 100 rds to the lb, 12 ga shells are 10 to the lb.

  32. The carbon fiber AR weighs just 4 lbs, the .22 conversion unit and the silencer are 3/4 lb each, the scope and aluminum, QD, return to zero mount with see thru base, weighs 1 lb, 223 ammo is 40 rds to the lb. The 12 ga is 7.5 lbs, and with 10 lousy shells being another lb, you get 3 each of bird, buck and slugs. but with 8.5 lbs of AR, I get a .22 unit, 223 silencer, scope, 100 rds of .22lr and 40 rds of 223. You don’t have a crystal ball telling you when it’s safe to make a lot of noise, killing a rabbit or a dog. Normally, keep the AR in 223 firing ‘mode”. 10 seconds swaps it to .22lr. Make your quiet shot(s) and immediately swap back to 223.

  33. I’d take half as many rds to get a set of NVD goggles and the same weight. The only intelligent thing to do, for the first year of shtf, is get into a concealed underground dugout and stay there during daylight hours. If you don’t have grain and legumes cached, that’s your second project, after getting the AR and the pocket 9, silencer, scope, etc.

  34. One of my biggest beefs with most peoples “plans” are that the rely mostly, if not solely on, ammo they think will be easy to find post-incident. First, if we all plan on 9mm (for example) will be just laying there in the streets for all to take, there won’t be any. Secondly, how do you all plan on acquiring said aforementioned ammunition? Do you really think you’ll just waltz into an abandoned home or vacant LEO depot, and find ammo? While this may be remotely possible, it reduces you to looting in hopes that the owner isn’t just out hunting or ehat have you. Good luck explaining to a group of highly stressed LEO’s why they walked in on you raiding their armory before you find yourself ventilated. My outlook is this, you wouldn’t wait to die to get life insurance would you? Because if/when the feces flies, having been *pre*pared will be your life insurance policy IMHO.

    1. Mr. RED……..I suggest you go find the closest Vietnam Veteran around and if he does not have a ton of ammo he probably knows one that does. It is called battlefield pick up when using ammo you have run across after you have run out particularly after you win your firefight and take there ammo out of their guns. You may have to take ammo from the police because they (most) are not going to be your friends. Depending on how bad you want to live after SHITF will also influence your understanding of the concept of “anything on two legs or four is your enemy” and you may have to pull the trigger on Mr. Smith (who you set next to last Sunday at church) when he breaks down your front door trying to get your food.

  35. shotgun’s a waste of time and money. A pocket pistol is what’s needed until shtf. Post shtf, very few know enough to benefit from more than a silenced takedown autorifle .22lr, like the Marlin Papoose.

  36. why would you need to forage, when others do not, hmm? and if they do, many will shoot you on sight. You can[t risk it, as it only takes one guy to kill you. you need a concealed dugout, a kid’s airsoft night google, $200 passive IR monocular, a concealed dugout (barely room to lie in) a silenced .22 auto rifle, cached food, foraging tools, like gill nets, trotlines, fish poison, bird lime, traps, snares, etc, cached grain, honey, salt and legumes and enough sense to not be out in daylight, for a year after shtf,

    1. Your best place to go is your home.That’s where all the food is, guns are, and water is, then defend it. Trying to take it all in a sack and bugging out and leaving everything else all behind is difficult.

  37. It all sounds good, but what if the grid goes down for a extended period of time, It might be difficult to defend your home in the long run.If forced to hit the road on foot what do you do(take your bolt action 308,22 rimfire,5.56 military caliber rifles, Plus your 12 gauge and handgun plus ammo.I think not that’s my concern I limit myself to my 9mm handgun and my Mossberg 12 gauge.I know ammo is heavy but I have figured various ways to carry the 12 gauge ammo other than putting in my backpack and still keeping weight down approximately 200 shells,yes it’s a little cumbersome but I always test my therories with weekly evening walks,plus I don’t want to have to 3 or 4 different types of ammo plus mags.Plus I’m not rich.Or want to spend money on firearms I do not need or use.9mm handgun/12 gauge for a little over 700.00 bucks.Just my 2 cents worth.

    1. Thanks for your comments Greg!

      You bring up a fair point, but the must have weapons list assumes you aren’t on the run. In that scenario I would only have one long rifle and my sidearm. The sidearm is an easy choice in my Glock 17.

      The long-rifle is a little more difficult based upon the area you are in, the expected threats and the way you intend to use that rifle. If it is solely for self defense in close quarters, I agree a shotgun might be best. For me, the 5.56 is a real multi-tasker that can handle short and medium range targets with ease.

  38. Suggested arms for the coming SHTF.
    1. 9mm/H&K – Glock – XD – S&W – SIg – many good ones out there: Why 9mm – mags carry up to 20 rounds each, 9mm ammo is a major caliber, easier to learn due to lower recoil than .40 or .45, and ammo is cheaper and the easiest to find.
    2. An AK/AR – both magazines and ammo are close to the same in price, both are dependable, although the AK is more recommended due to its reliability in all weather and situations and easier to learn on. The AR is just as dependable “if” you know its limitations and functions, the AR takes much more time to learn on and become proficient with.
    3. Shotgun – Mossberg, Rem, whatever – and lots of OO buck.
    4. .22 semi preferably, but a bolt will do for small game etc, although a .22 can take a deer and can be used for self defense – plus the ammo is very cheap compared.
    That’s minimum: It would be good to have also some other weapons, 30-30, .308, .303, 30-06, 7mm – .300 mag – .270 etc, for long range, big game and backup. Although most people are proficient with large caliber weapons at under 300 yds, if that much. Note: The AK is combat accurate out to 400m. – the AR combat accurate out to 500-750+m.
    But it takes practice and knowhow to shoot long range. Of course good scopes, red dots, etc are all added helps.
    Buy some guns or weapons, and stash them away without breaking them in and doing some serious shooting to hone your skills, accuracy, and familiarity with your weapon is a program for serious failure.
    It’s what you can afford. If only one personal combat weapon – AK – although I prefer the AR being a Vietnam Veteran and quite proficient with it.
    Ammo: You can’t get enough.
    For an AK or AR – min – 30-50 mags and 3-5000 rds (not counting the min 1000 rds to break you and your weapon in). You might have to drop your mags in a firefight and not be able to retrieve them, so have lot’s of mags also.
    For your handgun: Min – 18 mags or more, carrying 6 at a time and also the consideration you might have to drop and leave your mags, so have spares at home or put away. 3-5000 rds of ammo with at least 1-2000 rounds for break in and practice. Handgun proficiency is much more difficult to learn and takes much more practice.
    I would have an extra AK or AR in case my main battle rifle is lost or some how made inoperable. Also good idea to have a backup pistol.
    12g. at least 250-500 rounds of OOB and a few thousand rounds of #2-7 shot for game, but can also be used for self-def.
    For your so called hunting weapons – at least 500-1000 rounds and more if it is going to be your main battle rifle, being that’s all you can afford.
    Again: Extra’s like red dots, scopes, whatever you can afford, and all the ammo you can buy. Ammo will be like gold, even worth more, when the SHTF, for barter. How do you get change for a $1500 gold bar, or how do you break it up to a smaller denomination. Forget gold – it will be near useless in a major SHTF scene.
    You will learn that you just can’t have enough ammo or mags in a real situation.

  39. “Civilians cannot buy fully automatic weapons so to compare these rifles to what the police or military has is not accurate on one side.” False. You just can’t buy them cheaply.

    1. OK, I concede your point Brian.

      I should have said that if you go out and acquire your FFL you can purchase fully automatic weapons, but I think you are splitting hairs here. Joe bag of donuts is not going to go to those lengths and live under that scrutiny to purchase fully auto and there really is no reason to do so for the overwhelming majority of “civilians” or those who might be reading this article.

  40. Pretty good list, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it the best. This is how I’d modify it if I only had the money to make five such purchases (this is in no particular order):

    1. Shotgun, I agree;

    2. Rifle- AR/AK, I agree (preferably the former for reasons stated in 4);

    3. I vehemently disagree with a full-size handgun. Get a Glock 26 w/G19 mags, XGrip sleeves, TLR-6 OR a G19 because you want the ability to conceal if you’re going to have only one handgun. If you think you need the 2 rounds and half inch of sight radius on a full-size handgun, you need your AR;

    4. If you’re east of the Mississippi, I’d more times than not skip the long range alternative to the AR-15 and instead get a can. If you’re truly in a SHTF situation, the likelihood of needing your AR and shooting it while indoors is higher than at normal times. It would be better to put this money towards a silencer/suppressor and the $200 tax stamp in my opinion; OR….

    I would get a crossbow. In the worst SHTF scenario, where they economy doesn’t recover in your lifetime, the crossbow will last you a lifetime whereas everything else on this list will last as long as you have ammo. I’d also get a recurve so you don’t have to tune it. Lastly;

    5. .22lr, again, I agree.

    1. Thanks for your comments and perspective Brian. Everyone has their own opinion and I am happy to hear all. I do agree that a bow of some form makes a great addition.

      The difference between a Glock 19 and a Glock 17 is really negligible in the context of size when you are talking about less than an inch difference on length as well as height. I don’t consider the 19 a concealed size which was all I was trying to say. You seem like a details guy though so I will try to be more explicit next time.

      1. I agree with what you said about the G19/17 if you can’t carry the former. When I was about 180 lbs, I could carry the G19 under a t-shirt, but I could never carry a G17 that way. Once you layer up, however, I agree, it’s not going to make a huge difference.

  41. Well, I think these fantasy lists are fine but I have gone another route. With public opinion turning against the NRA/gun owners I fully expect a complete ban soon on all semi auto rifles (Like England and Australia). Worse yet, I expect a ban similar to what Australia imposed onto it’s people. Oh yes, I am very serious. Everyone lined up and threw their firearms into a grinder under penalty of jail/felony. In Australia even pump shotguns went into the chopper. So, as I am an older goat who cannot “bug out” and run over hill and dale anymore I figured I had best think of another route. While I do own 9mm handguns I cannot count on legally owning them forever. I bought a lever action .22 magnum rifle. Not a bad little home defense firearm/game getter. I also own a bolt action .223 rifle. Good for our small game/tiny deer around these parts. Gives me something with a 200+ yard range if needed. I also bought a couple of CZ Mallard 20 gauge (cervical stenosis- 12 gauge is out) shotguns. These will/should bypass any gun bans coming down the line. Great for hunting and if need be a quick cut with a saw makes them a better than nothing home defense gun. Last I have 2 single shot 20 gauges.. Just plain fun to have around. Could give to a friend who doesn’t own a firearm should a crisis hit. That’s it. Not fancy. Not uber technical/tactical. Just a simple plan for a simple man..

  42. Honest thoughts here, if everyone uses guns with the most popular ammo it would run out first. So it might be worth adding a gun or two that utilizes rarer ammo. I am not saying pour ton of money on them just that it would be worth learning rarer ammo to use if your other sources run out and you can only scavange for odd ball bullets.

  43. I’m one of the few who has no intrest in purchasing a semi auto rifle of military caliber(i’m strictly on a budget,so a good quality,12 gauge(mossberg 500,a 9mm handgun, and a AR-7 Survival rifle.No birdshot of any kind,all buckshot/slugs.The AR-7 if hunting is needed.All 3 purchased(2016)prices, for cheaper than an AR-15 from Colt,obviously you can get cheaper AR’S,but that’s my(so called)Arsenal.I’m always practicing my shotgun loadout system.

  44. Beware of the one gun man because he’s going to shoot you while you have your hands on the wheelbarrow used to take multiple firearms and ammunition with you when you have to bug out.

  45. Good advice but I have a serious comment regarding the shotgun and aiming. Shot from a shotgun does not start to open up at across the room distances, be it a dove load number 7 or 00 buck. Go out and practice with a shotgun at a paper target at the distance of the longest room in your house. If you are not aiming center mass, you will miss the target. Also, notice how much spread you got. You will be surprised. Also, a 12 gauge shotgun shooting 00 buck or any sort of buck has brutal recoil for the uninitiated. In order to meet the needs of everyone in the family a 20 gauge is manageable with training, given we are not talking small children. Good sights are essential on a shotgun. Proper aim, aggressive stance, and mastery of recoil cannot be overstated. Practice, practice, practice.

  46. I guess there is no perfect gun. I choose a shotgun. Yes they have limitations. But with everything going on, you probably will run out of ammo. Shot it all or have it ripped off. Can you reload? Well with a shotgun it’s easy. What if there is no smokeless powder? Well any hull in good condition can be loaded with black powder. No wads? Use pieces of rag or cardboard over the powder. No shot? Dimes work in a pinch. I have loaded many black powder hulls with 0-buck, #1 buck and #4 birdshot. Maybe a .69 or .71 diameter lead round ball? Just need a large supply of 209 primers and a way to load them. You can do it by hand if you have to. Like I said they have their limitations. But they are versatile if you think about it.

  47. if you have a scoped AR and a .22lr conversion unit, you dont need the small game rifle, the long range rifle, or the shotgun. You need the pistol; to be a pocket 9mm, like the sig P938 or the Kimber Micro9. It has to be concealable on your person, out of the elements, accessible, and out of the way of the rifle and the pack. That means in a kydex front pants pocket holster. Once the longarms come out, the pistol better have almost no role at all. So a 1 lb gun and half a lb of ammo and spare magazine is all you’d better devote to that issue. you’ll have to carry at least 30 lbs of water, food, and survival gear everywhere, so yo can’t be carrying more than one longarm (and enough ammo to make them both worth lugging around.

  48. i have read many “experts” talk about shtf guns….I think Mel Tappan was my first read back in the 1970s. He said that the guns should be common and be of common caliber. In this way you can buy or trade for parts and for ammo. Also if you have guns in calibers used by police and military…u should be able to get ammo after shtf…Now I know many preppers can reload and make wildcat calibers from any brass they find…but many of us can’t. I have been shooting for 50 years and tho I have read how to do it all i can just about ( afford) to reload using simple lee loaders and I don’t make up my bullets from wheel weights….etc…I buy components to save money and reload my brass…then buy loaded rounds when I have the cash. I have settled on 45 acp……30.06……12 gauge and 223/5.56nato ( make sure your rifle can fire both….mine can)…once upon a time I had 9mm and a 38/357….My plans are to get a single stack 9mm soon ( where i live double stack 9mms are illegal)…..My guns are also military or para military which means parts are easy to obtain and the guns can tear down easily…..I have a 1903a3….a colt 45 acp a Mossberg 500 and a Ruger mini 14…any gun person knows these guns are easy to tear down in the field to repair or maintain. I liked my Ruger Blackhawk with an extra 9mm cylinder. this allowed me to shoot 38 special 357 magnum and 9mm…all in one gun by just changing the cylinder…sadly I had to sell the gun when $ was short……However revolvers are more complex to time and maintain than semi autos so I won’t replace the RUger with another revolver but get a single stack 9mm as mentioned before…This is my array….I state it just to give newbies an idea…….

  49. you can’t CARRY more than one longarm and 1-2 compact, lw pistols, You can’t shoot a gun you aint got with you. If shtf, you’ll have to carry at least 30 lbs of other stuff all the time, armor, night vision, food, water, shelter, sleeping gear, medical kit, etc. So the guns and ammo have to be held to15 lbs or less. You have to settle for the most versatile gun combo. even tho it doesn’t do much of anything perfectly, the shorty AR-15 in 223, with a silencer and .22lr conversion unit, does most things adequaely, so it’s the best choice. 60 gr softpoints, a scope option, and night sights 60 gr Aquila subsonic 22 ammo, 1 in 9″ rifling-twist, a sub-compact 9mm in a front pants pocket holster, with a spare mag, night sights, full of Corbon 100 gr jhp ammo.

  50. it makes no sense to bother with the shotgun, the bolt action, the .22lr or the AK nor the full sized pistol When the longarms come out, the pistol better have almost no role at all, so keep it to a 6″long 15 oz pocket 9mm, like the Kahr CM9, or the Sig P938, Put corbon 100 or 90 gr jhp’s in it, so that you’l have 370 ft lbs and reliable expansion in flesh and blood. What happens in jello is irrelevant and often very misleading.

    A shorty AR-15 in 223 can have a silencer and a .22lr conversion unit. Get the 1 in 9″ twist rifling, cause that’s the best for all around use. Have 60 gr softpoint hunting ammo in the 223 and 60 Aquila subonic .22 ammo, cause it’s BB gun quiet if you know to hold shut the .22 bolt with the off hand. You can’t carry the needed 30+ lbs of night vision, soft armor, food, water, sleep/shelter gear, spare clothing, etc, and more than one longarm.

    With a scope, bipod, free float tube, 69gr hpbt match ammo, anti-cant bubble level, the 10.5″ barreled AR in 223 will snipe effectively to 1/4 mile, which is 50% further than is feasilbe with an open sighted milsurp bolt action or 30-30, twice as far as can be managed with any pistol caliber or .30 carbine and 3x as far as it’s feasible with a 12 ga with iron sights and smoot bore. So that’s enough “reach”. as long as you have the silencer.

    You shouldn’t be out in daylight anyway, cause doing so will get you shot. So the scope belongs in a hard belt case, most of the time. The AR’s carrying handle offers a “return to zero” scope base and you can get a ‘see thru” scope mount that lets you use the luminous iron sights with the scope mounted.

    The subsonic .22 ammo and 223 silencer lets you quietly take small game, or remove problem men, dogs, or deer or hogs with brain hits to 50m. The 223 softpoings stop men with a single torso hit, and take deer or hogs effectively to 150m, which is all the 30-30 or .44 mag or 45-70 can manage, due to the fact that their bullets drop like rocks and drift in the wind like balloons.

    12 ga shells are 10 to the lb. So you wont be carrying more than 75 shells. How many each of slugs, buckshot, birdshot, hmm? would you be happy with just 25 rds of rifle ammo? Cause that’s as many slugs as you’ll have. Men using cover at 30m can’t be reliably hit with buckshot, from a riot barrel. Two guys with .22lr autorifles can use fire and maneuver and get you after hearing you shoot that rabbit, from over a mile away. Anyone can tell the difference between a shotgun blast and a rifle’s crack.

    308 ammo is 18 rds to the lb, 223 is 35 rds to the lb. the 100 gr subsonic 22 is 100 rds to the lb. the 45 ACP 230 gr load or the .30 AK ammo is 22 rds to the lb. 9mm ammo of the 90 gr jhp load is 40 rds to the lb. You cant spare more than 15 lbs for your guns and ammo, guys 44 mag 240 gr ammo is 18 to the lb, .45-70 is 14 rds to the lb. Shtf is going to mean COMBAT.

    No place in the lower 48 states is more than a night’s motorcycle ride and a nights walk from millions of people. No matter HOW “remote’ and “unknown-about” your spot is, the facts are that 100’s of people know about it. and it only takes one to kill you. If there’s a road to it, people will search for it, post shtf, believe it. The cities will be out of water in a week. When the people are forced to leave, the wont go back. It will be too dangerous. So they will roam from farm to farm, looting and killing as they go. 300 million of them. After the first week, they’ll know better than to attack in daylight. They’ll notice your noise or see something, wait until dark, sneak up and check you out, Then they’ll either use molotov cocktails to burn you out or hide and snipe you the next day.
    There’s 8 million motorcycles in the US and every one of them can mount 5 of the 5 gallon jerry cans of gas. This will give them 1000-2000 miles of range. During their travels, they’ll find more gas, believe it. So they’ll be in instant threat, at any time, for a year post shtf. However, your neighbors can get to you a lot faster. and they aint a lick better prepped. Nobody knows everyone who lives 30 miles from them. You dont know if they had visitors or looters the day of shtf, either. You also can’t know who’ll crack from the stress, go insane, etc. Most people will give up their grandmother to be anally raped with barb wire before they’ll spend a weekend in jail for not snitching on a friend., So if you think that they’d rather starve, or water their kids die of disease, rather than kill you and take your stuff, you’re very badly mistaken

  51. I would include a .300 winmag, 7mm, .338 lapua 6.5 creedmoor, etc. Not necessarily to engage suspected targets with, but the ability to set a 1000 yard boundary accurately for suspected targets encroaching at that range. Ballistically, with practice you can reach out at that distance accurately with a very flat trajectory from range rounds with the aforementioned guns. Try that with a 30.06 and you’re already compensating for a 9′ drop at that range using similar rounds.

  52. Sir I found 3 misconstruing views. #1 The AR-15 is not an assault weapon. An assault weapon has an option of full automatic. #2 You may prefer AR-15 however the the AK47 is easier to maintain especially for a novice prepper. and #3 When stock piling ammo you failed to mention that ammo only has a one year self life. Any longer than that one will be risking his own life. Granted some rounds may/can last longer but will never be used in actual combat and I believe that is you are preparing for.

    Jim Grinwis
    USMC. Ret

  53. Interestingly enough, while an older post, I have a concept on firearms that I don’t read as often, and that is common manual of arms. I have an M14 for my full-power rifle but a Ruger Mini 14 (a GB model from the State Troopers) for the 5.56 rifle. Why? I carry the M14 while my son and daughter (the latter is the real shooter of my kids, and she’s in junior high) could carry the Ruger if need be. My daughter has a .243 she uses for deer hunting and is proficient with shooting. In any case, my son is now in high school. There is zero manual of arms transition to the m14 now that he is proficient with the Ruger, so he could use the M14 (say if I needed the shotgun for a reason).
    Yes, there are those who say go AR for the same reason, but AR-10 magazines are not universal nor are parts. Yes, the AR15 is going to be more accurate that the Ruger, but my Ruger is accurate to 2-3 MOA, which fits the bill nicely for its purpose. With reliability confirmed with both rifles, as well as quality magazines for both, then all the training with the Ruger was not lost in transitioning to the M14 – very important in an emergency situation.

    1. Good thinking. There’s a reason to standardize on one type of firearm, and familiarity across weapons is one of them. — Bill

  54. 17 HMR instead of a .22…If you are after small game like squirrel/rabbit shoot them in the head you will want the rest to eat..17 HMR 20grain jhp or fmj will easily take dog size animals but once again go for a head shot..And of course the availability of the ammo is paramount don’t buy just a few rounds buy a lot…I have on hand 5000 rds of it..In 17 grain ballistic tip 2000 in 20 grain fmj 1000 in 20 grain bthp 2000…

  55. Yeah I stopped reading shortly after “many time shotguns can be purchased with less background scrutiny as other hand guns. Actually I stopped after “civilians can’t buy fully auto….”

    If no one notices the idiocy of that ill go ahead and point it out A) IF we’re true it would be because SHOTGUNS are not HANDGUNS…however its NOT true because B) you still go through the same background/NICs check you would buying a shotgun as you do with a handgun. The only difference is in certain states where a carry permit is needed for a handgun purchase. But either way it doesn’t change the background scrutiny.

    As for full auto capability you absolutely CAN purchase full auto weaponry 100% legally. The Hughes act made to “machine guns” can no longer be produced and sold on an open market. So no NEW ones are being made specifically for sale to the public HOWEVER you can still purchase ones that are already manufactured PROVIDED you have the required tax stamp class 3 license. If you think that’s untrue go visit any oneif the many full auto for rent firing ranges across the country. You can all check out the annual shootouts various clubs from all over have at Knob Creek every year with legally owned machine guns. One guy has a trailer setup with the dual 50 cal turret from a PT boat.

    In conclusion…try research ans editing good day

    1. John,

      You are absolutely correct on both points. Even though I wrote this about 6 years ago that is no excuse for not accurately presenting the facts. I was just in a hurry and thoughts vomited out. I have amended the article to clarify what you pointed out.


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