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

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Last Updated on October 29, 2020

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

Boston T. Party – Gun Bible is a great resource for choosing your survival arsenal.

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

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?

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Freedom-loving American doing what I can to help prepare and inform others. Editor and creator of The Prepper Journal 2013-2017, 2020 -

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Samantha Stauf

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?


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:… Read more »

Illini Warrior

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

Jeff Stevens

Only 30?


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… Read more »


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… Read more »

Snake Plisken

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… Read more »


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… Read more »

Snake Plisken

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… Read more »


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… Read more »

Gus Mueller

You’re just starting a one person measuring contest.


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.

Snake Plisken

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


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… Read more »


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… Read more »

Gus Mueller

The best tool for unloading a magazine is the trigger. And .22 mags are a pain in the ass.

Thomas Paine in the butt

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… Read more »

Steve Cullen

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… Read more »


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… Read more »

Capt. William E. Simpson


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

Pat Henry

Et tu, Brute?


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.

Pat Henry

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… Read more »

William Snapp

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… Read more »


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.

William Snapp

……..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.


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… Read more »


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……


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… Read more »

bill Randall

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… Read more »

bill Randall

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.

bill Randall

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.

bill Randall

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.

bill Randall

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.

bill Randall

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).

bill Randall

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

bill Randall

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.

bill Randall

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.

bill Randall

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.

bill Randall

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… Read more »

bill Randall

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.

bill Randall

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.

bill Randall

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.

William Snapp

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… Read more »

bill Randall

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.

bill Randall

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.


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.


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… Read more »


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.


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.


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… Read more »


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.

Joe Red

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… Read more »

William Snapp

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… Read more »


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.


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,


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.

greg adkins

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… Read more »

Pat Henry

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… Read more »


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… Read more »

Brian Mumford

“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.

Pat Henry

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.

Brian Mumford

I agree about Joe bag of donuts. lol.

Brian Mumford

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… Read more »

Pat Henry

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.

Brian Mumford

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.


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… Read more »


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.


You should have at least 1,000 rounds of ammo for each firearm. The more the better. Oooo…Raaahhh….! Semper Fi..!

greg adkins

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.


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.

Michael Sisley

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… Read more »


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… Read more »


I think a fnh five seven is really great prepper gun. It is expensive but 20 Rounds a mag three mags your set.


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… Read more »

Timothy Toroian (@POedPlenty)

I suggest weaponry in calibers that can be found on military bases and in police armories re ammunition availability.

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