How to Choose Guns and Ammo

find the best survival weapons, combat rifles, handguns, and shooting supplies

Is your arsenal of guns ammo going to be enough when SHTF? How can you be certain the survival weapon you’ve chosen is right for you?

How much confidence do you have in your survival gun? Is it multipurpose? Can you use it for hunting large and small game? Will it do the job if you ever have to defend your home and family from an attacker?

Is your survival weapon accurate when shooting long-range? Can it be used up close if needed? Can you carry it with you discreetly?

Five Ideal Survival Guns For Survival Situations:

In a perfect world, there would be a weapon that could do every one of these things, and choosing a survival gun would be a piece of cake. But unfortunately that’s not the world we live in.

Instead, we have to choose our guns  ammo carefully based on the criteria that are most important to us. And for most of us, that usually means owning multiple weapons. (Not necessarily a bad thing.)

I can’t tell you what type of survival gun to buy—only you can decide that. What I can do is give you a rundown of the types of guns ammo I think everyone should own, what they’re used for, and why I think you need one.

The Best Survival Guns Ammo for Your Arsenal


1. The Combat Rifle

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

Uses: Defense, hunting

What to look for when choosing a combat rifle: magazine-fed, semi-auto, minimum 300 meter accuracy, center-fired rifle cartridge, detachable magazine with capacity for at least 20 rounds (if legal in your state), dependable iron sights.

survival weapons, survival guns and ammo, survival gear, and shooting skills

A combat rifle makes a great multipurpose survival weapon

Bottom line: A good combat rifle makes an ideal go-to weapon for both hunting and self-defense, so this is not a weapon you want to scrimp on. If you’re only going to have one survival gun, this should be it.

Want to learn to Build Your Own AR-15 “Ghost Gun?” Click here now.

2. The Shotgun

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

Uses: Typically a hunting weapon, but often used in combat as well. Best for up-close shooting.

What to look for when choosing a shotgun: 12 gauge (or 20 gauge for less experienced shooters)

the best shotguns for your gun safe, how to choose the best guns and ammo

A double barrel shotgun for hunting and self defense

Bottom line: This is a really versatile survival weapon with many variables. I prefer pump-action, double barrel guns, but other types are great too. Shotguns have great accuracy and are easy to shoot, but may not be the best choice for self-defense.

3. The Handgun

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

Uses: Concealed carry, day-to-day shooting, self-defense, backup weaon to rifle

What to look for when choosing a handgun: Center-fire cartridge, minimum 9mm, .45 ACP for automatic or .357 magnum for revolver

guns and ammo, shooting supplies, gun accessories, and survival weapons for your gun safe

A handgun for concealed carry and self-defense

Bottom line: A handgun is a must-have for self-defense and survival, especially if you want to concealed carry (which you should). Ammo for 9mm handguns is abundant, which is a huge plus. 9mm’s are also easy enough to handle for women and young adults.

The debate between automatics and revolvers is never-ending, but it all comes down to personal preference.

4. The Long-Range Rifle

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

Uses: Long-range precision shooting, hunting

What to look for when choosing a long-range rifle: Center-fire cartridge, ability to take down medium to large game, 308 or 30-06 (my preferences; your needs may vary depending on your environment and skill), accuracy.

long range rifles, 308 rifles, 30-06 rifles and more survival guns and ammo

Long-range rifles are great for precision shooting

Bottom line: If you have a combat rifle, it’s debatable whether you need a long-range rifle too. But these guns are great for shooting big game at a distance, and the US military even uses some long-range rifles as sniper weapons.

These weapons and their ammo aren’t cheap, but in certain situations and environments, it’s worth the investment.

5. The Rimfire

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

Uses: Small game, last-resort self defense

What to look for when choosing a rimfire rifle: A .22 is your best bet. Bolt, lever, semi-auto, magazine, single shot, or tube fed all comes down to personal preference.

the best survival weapons, 22 rifles, rimfire weapons, guns and ammo

A 22 rifle is the most common rimfire gun

Bottom line: This is a handy gun, compact, and easy to shoot and carry. It’s also inexpensive and ammo is easy to come by. A .22 is a great “starter gun” for novice shooters.

6. Surplus Style

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

Uses: Backup weapon, good for novice or ill-equipped shooters (in other words, when SHTF, you can loan it to someone you trust)

What to look for when choosing a surplus weapon: This will depend on the specific weapon, since surplus weapons can come in a variety of styles. Generally, stick with the recommendations listed for other guns.

military surplus weapons, guns and ammo, and survival weapons for your gun safe

A military surplus weapon for hunting or self defense

Bottom line: In general, ammo for surplus weapons is cheap and readily available. The weapons themselves are in low demand, making them inexpensive and easy to find. While not an essential item, a surplus weapon is great to have as backup and is handy, durable, and well-built.

The Final Word on Guns and Ammo

A well-stocked gun safe with a variety of reliable guns and ammo is essential. In my opinion, these six guns are the basics of any decent gun collection. Every gun on this list is affordable (around $300 or less) and would do the trick if needed for self-defense or hunting food.

Since each gun serves its own unique purpose, it’s good to have a well-stocked gun safe with plenty of survival weapons to choose from. Plus, who doesn’t want an excuse to buy more survival guns and ammo?

Guns and Ammo | How to Choose Guns and Ammo

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Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on October 13, 2014, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

84 Responses to :
How to Choose Guns and Ammo

  1. The only thing I feel I’m missing is a long range hunting weapon. Need to pick up a Remington 700

  2. TSgt B says:

    Would you PLEASE hire a proofreader?

    And maybe update your research a bit?

    The M-1 carbine, a fine defensive weapon, is not that easy to find affordable ammo for, trust me.

    “pump action, double barreled guns”? REALLY/ Show us one example.

    And in case you haven’t noticed, the most rare, “common” ammo at this point seems to be .22 Long Rifle. Try buying soma at Wally World, today.

    I’d be happy to offer some much needed guidance. You have my email address; contact me.

    1. TSgt B says:

      OK, I fat-fingered “some”. Sue me.

      1. Jade says:

        Why “Convert” a 9MM hand gun…. Just buy a 9MM Carbine! No problems with the Feds!

      2. Mahatma Muhjesbude says:

        Daryl, I know it had to be a typo when you said the ‘SKS is an extremely good long range defense weapon”?! Right? Unless you misunderstand the typical definition of long range? Long range is considered by the international sniper competition ranges to be over 400 meters. And ‘long range hunting is considered to be out to about 800 meters in mountain country. And i guarantee that No SKS’s are ever used at this range. That’s because you’d be very ‘lucky’ to even hit a man sized target with a scope mounted SKS fifty percent of the time at 300 meters, let alone long range shooting.

        Overly optimistic and emotionally ambitious assessments of your equipment will get you and/or your team killed.

        A decent well sighted in AR-15 or M-14, on the other hand has been in the hands of more combat vets who qualified ‘expert’ by regularly hitting the knock down steel point blank plates at over six hundred meters, with iron sights.

    2. Daryl says:

      I agree with you and the SKS is an extremely good long range defense weapon and can take alot of adverse conditions. I have the M1 and a original SKS and a tactical built one and they are very deadly and accurate. .22 ammo is hard to get reasonable in some areas and makes a good varmit weapon.

      1. glenbo says:

        Wrong. It doesn’t normally take removeable magazines, but it does take clips, stripper clips, which are used to load the internal magazine. There’s a difference between magazines and clips.

        1. walt says:

          OK , split hairs, stripper clips hold individual cartrage in groups to be fed into the mag.

          You still can load a SKS one cartrage at a time until the 10 rounds are all loaded. Rifles with detachable magazines are single shot with out the magazine

        2. Randy says:

          I beg to differ. The SKS can and will take separate magazines. I have three and they all will accept separate mags after the 10 round box is removed. And I’ve had them and used them for 20 or so years. As for accuracy, it depends upon the country of origin. The Chinese SKS is crap. The Russian is probably the best and all the others fall somewhere in between.

    3. SmokeHillFarm says:

      I agree about ammo for the venerable old M-1 carbine. I fell in love with it back when I was first issued one at Ft Lewis in 1966 & would always try to get one as my duty weapon instead of the M-14’s & M-16’s that predominated during my 21-yr career with Uncle Sam.

      I got an FFL after I retired, and one of my first purchases was three M-1 carbines. At $130 wholesale, what’s not to like?

      It’s one of the best all-around rifles available, but though the ammo has always been available — it’s never been very common. The local guys might not have it, and Wally World might only have a couple of boxes in stock. In a SHTF scenario, you aren’t going to be scrounging much of this, and I’d recommend reloading this one, definitely. Keep a lot of reload material around and the little one-at-a-time Lee Loader in that caliber, and you’re all set.

      My big objection to this article is its assumption that most people can keep semi-autos in good repair & working smoothly.

      That, and I’d sure like to see these modern tactical rifles and decently-made semi-auto pistols for the $300 he suggests. At that price I might actually buy one of those Ar-15s or Glocks — though I’d still trust my revolvers, pump guns & single-shot rifles to be operating decades after the semi=autos are rusting in a corner, jamming on all that old, scrounged ammo they try to feed them.

  3. Dick says:

    James, Don’t get a Remington 700. They have trigger problems. They have been recalled. Very poor customer service area. Difficult to get cooperation and get gun repaired. Also: article said these guns are available for under $300. Where can I get a new AK, AR, combat .308 for $300? Please publish particulars so I can order one. Thanx

    1. JScott says:

      Remington sent me a postage paid box to return my 700 for trigger replacement. Received gun back in two weeks. Cost me a trip to the post office. Period. Even got a discount on products at the Remington store. No complaints at all. Excellent service. Great gun (.308, bolt action)

  4. left coast chuck says:

    This article should open a long list of replies. I’ll start off. A long range .338 or some variation thereof requires a fair amount of expertise in order to utilize it for its intended purpose. This would be low on my list of weapons for my self defense. If you have the bucks and the time to learn how to use it, go for it. Keep in mind that there are not that many ranges that have a 500 yd range.

    The M-1 carbine is a handy rifle to have, but hardly is in the SKS price range. Carbines are going out the door at a premium price. Even the newly manufactured copies are retailing in the $600+ range. You can buy 2 or even 3 SKS for that amount of money. Having a back-up rifle in the same configuration is very handy. Jungle Enfields also sell for way more than their value, especially as they have a tendency to have their zero wander. If you are interested in an Enfield style rifle, consider an Ishnapoor (not sure of the spelling) Enfield. It uses .308 ammo which is easier to find than .303 British. The Moisin-Nagant is a sturdy battle weapon that is selling fairly cheaply and ammo is plentiful. It can be a mule to run, but it will never let you down. Think winter of ’43, Moscow, Russia. It turned back the Wehrmacht.

    If I could only afford one gun and one gun only, it would be a Remington 870 or Mossberg 500 in 12 ga. There is a huge variety of ammo available. I would get a 20 inch barrel with an extended magazine tube. I would get a barrel that either had internal threads for a variety of chokes or I would get a Polychoke installed. Many people think a Polychoke is ugly and they may well be right, but with a Polychoke you have the full range of chokes with you at all times. You instantly go from modified to full to cylinder with just a couple of twists of the Polychoke. Disclaimer: No financial or any other interest in the company itself, just happen to own one and am satisfied with it and don’t have to ever go searching for that choke tube that I haven’t used in a couple of years. Very handy when you have to pump some slugs down the barrel and can’t find the cylinder bore choke. You do have to disassemble and clean the Polychoke unlike my brother who used it for 25 years every duck season and never cleaned it. After I disassembled it and cleaned it, it went back to functioning just fine. Disassembly is easy. If I can do it, so can you.

    Just my 2¢ worth. I am sure every following poster will have compelling arguments why none of my choices is valid.

  5. Donald A Luksan says:

    Your list is ok,but please tell me where you can buy an AR for 300.00 or less.Some of these weapons can be had in used condition for under 300.00,others not even in worn out broken shape for that money. Thank You Don.

  6. doc says:

    If you really want to explore the survival gun topic, try to find copy of a now out of print book called “Survival Guns” by Col. Jeff Cooper. It will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about the subject. He of course does not discuss the brand new guns on the market but gives valuable, timeless principles that will help you choose from what is available to you today. Highly recommended!

  7. obsidian says:

    My thoughts are One cartridge and a variety of arms chambered for it.
    .357 Magnum.
    Revolver, Carbine, Rifle, uses heavy expanding hollow points for hunting large to medium game, light bullets for small game, anti personnel for combat/defense. Can shoot .357 Mag, and .38 spl. if that ammo is found or scavenged traded for.
    Shot shells for shot gun work.
    With a proper scope and used inside it’s effective range it can be used as a long range rifle on a rifle platform designed or mod to make it so.
    Using several firearms that chamber 9 mm will do, pistol/revolver Carbine and rifle.
    out to perhaps 150 to 200 mt.
    I would think 5.56 x 45 mm would do with the number of pistols chambered for this cartridge as well as carbines and rifles.
    Long range rifle fire would work in areas that have the terrain that makes this a need.
    This could be a single shot or bolt action any caliber from .270 up…..
    My go to is a .357 magnum brace of revolvers and a Win M 94 in 30/30.
    A 12 ga and a 20 ga shotgun.
    A gaggle of .22 lr.
    A man could conceivably go with one rifle, a bolt or semi auto long range rifle in .308 and use it for every long arm and hand gun function.

  8. obsidian says:

    Walmart in my area is selling a twelve gauge shotgun, standard Remington 870 hunting weapon for $287.00
    Ya cannot beat that and can mod it to do every job you need it done.

  9. Donald says:

    You do not want a Marlin after the company was sold to Remington. A lot of bad blood occurred. It is my understanding no lever gun people [gun smiths ] from Marlin were hired by Remington. Do a little research and you will understand why I feel this way.

    1. obsidian says:

      Research? Hell Ya need a gun ya buy one.
      Remington is just as good as the others and for that price it’s better.
      I don’t play politics when it comes to buying what I need.
      Smith and Wesson did get bad press once for some stand they took, I didn’t sell or throw away and stop buying S&W because of it.
      If you don’t want to buy a Remington for what ever reason, don’t.
      I still own a Remington I am quite proud of and never had a problem with.
      Your call, I could care less.

  10. Jim says:

    And a minimum of 1000 rounds for each.

    1. obsidian says:

      The standard combat load out for rifle ammo in an Infantry unit US Army or USMC is 210 rounds.
      1,000 rds is the ammo load of 4 to 5 infantrymen/riflemen.
      So you say at minimum you are going for the ammo load out for a fire team of combat soldiers per weapon.
      I got an exercise for you.
      Take a coin, any coin but a silver dollar will do.
      Flip that coin and call out heads or tails.
      get what you call out every time three times in a row.
      Getting into a shoot out once is flipping a coin and calling it right and surviving, getting into a shoot out three times and calling it right is the same as surviving three gun fights.
      Now more ammo may mean more chances of surviving BUT having an ASP lying about waiting for thieves to come take it from you is not sound thinking.
      If you have, One pistol, one carbine, one rifle and a shotgun you are talking about 4,000 rds of ammo or the combat load out for a re-enforced couple of squads.
      What if you have to bug out?
      I hope you plan on having a 6 x 6 truck.

      1. Allen says:

        Not sure what article you read, but this one is about survival, maybe short, maybe very long term. There are plenty of potential situations where there would be no supply line replenishing your ammo when you run out after a year or two. Guns are used for plenty of things besides going into battle.

      2. John D says:

        obsidian, to clarify: 1000 rounds supply for a rifle does not mean it all will be carried at once. What you might think about is carrying 210 rds, five different times.

        1. obsidian says:

          Load up then Bubba.
          Hell 1,000 rds per rifle handgun?
          Seriously what are you planning, fighting world war in your backyard?
          reality will show you surviving that many actual gun fights is not possible and just how much hunting will you be doing?
          I stand by my statement.
          you will not need that much ammo.
          If you do, you need a squad automatic weapon and a Rocket team in support.
          LOL go ahead buy up that 1,000 rds.

      3. SmokeHillFarm says:

        Some of us are assuming that one likely SHTF situation may last indefinitely … possibly many years. My basic prepping strategy is to aim for a couple of years’ supply of the essentials and then add to it as time goes by. Since ammo is so important, it’s one I stock heavily in my critical calibers: .38 special, .22 magnum, .22 LR, 12-gauge and .22 airgun pellets.

        I have enough HTH to purify water for decades & enough coffee filters to filter it. Food gets added to regularly, 100 Bic lighters & other small but essential items.

        One may hope that SHTF may resolve itself in weeks, or months … but there are no guarantees here, as we know, and we need to bear this in mind.

        It would take a pack mule to carry all my weapons & ammo, but I’m too old & crippled to leave my little farm, which I’ve set up to defend — so I’ll make my stand here with the deer, rabbits & fish in the pond to keep me fed.

      4. Great Grey says:

        Lets see there are bulls and cows that will attack a person just because they are in sight. Then there’s the stupid people who will turn the hogs loose from hog confinements which will create a problem for anybody on foot. If you think cattle and other livestock will stay put when electric fence quits working or a wire fence will stay up without maintenance you’re crazy.
        Then there’s things such as coyotes, wolfs, bobcats and mountain lions around here. There are a lot of reasons you could go through 1000 rounds and not one them fired at another person.
        Of course a 1000 deer would feed me for a long time.

  11. glenbo says:

    “I prefer pump-action, double barrel guns..”

    I’ve been around guns for my entire life and I’ve never seen such a critter as a pump action double barrel shotgun. Anybody got a picture?

    1. John D says:

      Glenbo, come on. did he have to put in OR to satisfy you?

  12. Kelly Smith says:

    One gun I own is a Savage .22/410 over and under that makes a great survival rifle. They were made originally to be put in WWII bombers for scavenging in case the crew got shot down over enemy lines. If you can find one at a gun show I believe they are in the $300 price range.

    1. Coydog says:

      The model 24 runs $600 to $1,000 currently. The mod. 42 can be had for under $400.

  13. Bill says:

    Congrats ! . . . .This looked liked a pretty good list of essentials to me. . . If I were to add anything, it would be to also have a backup on “high wear” parts that may fail rendering a particular weapon useless, and possibly also the ammo. . . I chose a Winchester Model 70 in a .308 over a 30 06 for a little better accuracy, but mostly due to the “kick” being substantially lower than a 30 06, in case my wife or smaller, younger person should have to fire it and be able to handle the recoil. . . . The AR15 platform is great for almost anything and highly accurate. . . .556/.223 ammo is highly packable due to semi-small size & weight, reasonably priced, and with a 30 round magazine could, I stress “could” be used on very large game if the need arises. . . . Whatever the choice, you should have enough ammo in any given caliber to literally burn out the barrels of that caliber weapon(s) you have, and possibly a thousand more for close quarters protection when the rifling in the barrel is all but gone. . . . Great article. . .Makes you think !

  14. John says:

    The .223 and the .308/30-06 are not in the same class, so the first category should be split into “light” defensive rifles and “heavy”. The .223 is fairly common and easy to shoot, but is not optimal for defense and is lousy for hunting, except perhaps for Javelina sized game. It is a small bullet traveling very fast, so is good at penetration but not effective at transferring energy to the target. Thus, having a .223 to provide a way to shoot common ammo and for training is a good idea, and it would be better than nothing for people who cannot handle a better defensive round. If at all practical, your primary defensive rifle should be a .308 or 30-06.

    A fine single shot or double barrel shotgun is great for sporting uses, but is too limited a capacity for survival usage. A pump is usually the best choice. There are a few autoloaders which have a decent magazine capacity or can be extended, which should also be quite adequate.

    .338 Lapua may be an exceptional round, but probably not be common enough for survival usage. If you have a defense rifle in .308/30-06, it CAN be used for hunting good sized game, but it is not optimal for that purpose. Also having a good bolt action rifle in the same caliber would be a better option. For long range usage, a bolt action is usually better than a semi-auto.

    The M1 carbine is useless for any conceivable purpose. The ammo is mostly ineffective for any purpose, the guns are not that accurate, and the recoil is higher than it’s usage warrants.

    1. obsidian says:

      The M-1 Carbine accuracy falls off miserably out at 100 yards.
      It can hit a man size target but not in any type of group worthy of the name.

      1. SmokeHillFarm says:

        Do you really expect firefights at 100 yards plus? The Marines of that period loved the carbine, according to my Dad, who island-hopped all the way to Japan during the 1941-45 Pacific Cruise of the USMC.

        I have my SKS & other rifles for longer work, if necessary, but I expect most “attacks” by SHTF mutts will be at much shorter ranges, nicely handled by the same carbine I take to the barn at night when strange noises happen (along with a .357 or .44 in the pocket).

        The carbine isn’t a rifle and was never intended to be, but it’s a great intermediate tool between a rifle and a handgun — its original intent for tankers & paratroopers.

        1. obsidian says:

          I don’t at my age and location expect firefights at all.
          If I did have one I’d feel just as well armed with an M-1 Carbine as anything else I would have, it’s the man not the weapon, the mind is the weapon the rifle and carbine or handgun is merely the tool.

          1. SmokeHillFarm says:

            Agree. My Dad loved his M1 carbine, as did most of the paratroopers & OSS commandos in the European Theater (I worked with a lot of them in DIA in the 60s & 70s).

            I was issued my first one in ’68 at a Nike missile battalion and loved the thing. It was still standard issue to missile site guards & dog handlers at that time, too.

    2. pHIL CUNNINGHAM says:


      1. SmokeHillFarm says:

        I must add one thing here, for the benefit of those on a very limited income. Of course, your first choice in a gun will depend on what you can afford NOW, and that may vary. For me, it would probably be the revolver in .357 mag, and I’d have zero problem with buying a used one from Ruger, Colt or S&W. The next most essential (which will get lots of argument, I’m sure) for me would be a bolt-action rifle in a somewhat deer-capable caliber like .270.

        My next buy would be a high-powered airgun like the RWS Model 34, arguably one of the most reliable accurate ones for the price. It gets around 900 fps in .22 caliber and will obviously take any small game (saving your .22 for later). A decently-placed head or neck shot would certainly stop, and perhaps fatally wound, a human at ranges up to 100-200 feet. The real plus, though, is that it’s close to silent, compared to actual firearms, and the ammo costs almost nothing ($9 for 250 pellets, often cheaper). Needless to say, the shelf life of the “ammo” is nearly forever.

        A high-velocity, quality airgun with good accuracy is around $200, less on sale, and should be in EVERY prepper’s gun cabinet, but for those on a tight budget, getting an airgun even before you opt for the .22 rifle or higher-caliber rifle might be a wise choice for some people if it gets a useful gun to you sooner. Just be sure to stock up on maintenance stuff like barrel oil, cleaning pellets, etc.

        The airgun also has value in that in most places it has no restrictions, or even a record of the sale if you pay cash — always a good thing!

        As I say, every prepper should have one for the long-term SHTF, but it may give some good options to the fixed-income guys who are just starting out.

        Fixed-income preppers should also be looking hard at choices like used revolvers, pump shotguns and bolt-action rifles. You can often save enough there to buy another gun, or a lot of ammo to feed what you have.

    3. left coast chuck says:

      Either a .308 or a .30-06 will take any game in North America using the right ammunition. Using a 200 grain solid you certainly can take a Kodiak brown bear or a moose. If you are in the lower ’48, your chances of encountering a moose, musk ox or Kodiak brown bear are pretty slim and a 180 gr. bullet will take any black bear around. I wouldn’t want to mess with the deer or elk that a .30-06 wouldn’t handle. With the wide variety of ammunition available in .30-06, you are not poorly armed with any rifle in that caliber, although for self-defense, I would prefer a magazine fed semi-automatic. In that vein, .308 will certainly incapacitate any human I have ever met.

    4. John D says:

      For the 223, how about FMJ for practice and hp or sp for hunting medium game? or for serious social situations? We are not limited by the Geneva Conventions.

  15. Ron H says:

    The Best Survival Guns and Ammo for Your Arsenal — when SHTF ???
    First, in a SHTF situation I want guns in calibers I know I can steal, scrounge, barter, buy, ammo from your house and everyone’s house & that ammo is most likely going to come in common calibers. If I have to make my own ammo I want calibers I would most likely find components for.. No, 338 Lapua isn’t common ! No sense in having a weapon without ammo.
    I also want a limited number of weapons as a complete 56 gun arsenal isn’t easy to transport in a SHTF situation.
    The Combat Rifle – I have been in the military & I understand military rifles BUT I don’t care for Combat rifles under most circumstances. BUT in a SHTF situation my choice would be FN SCAR 16/17 Caliber: 5.56x45mm NATO/.223 Remington. Almost anyone that has a MSR has 5.56 or 223 ammo I can steal !! And I can fire either in the FN. I don’t currently own a Combat rifle.
    The Shotgun – Any GOOD quality Auto, Pump, or Double Barrel in 12 Ga. – I don’t want the 20 Ga. in a SHTF situation. I can steal more 12 Ga. ammo than 20 Ga. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE 20 Ga. guns and own 3 O/U 20 Ga. guns. Every house has 12 Ga. ammo.. If I were to find 20 Ga. ammo in your house I would most likely find 12 Ga in the same place. I currently own in excess of 17 shotguns and double rifles.
    The Handgun – Wheel guns, Ruger, S&W, Colt – 38 Spec., 357 Mag, , 44 Mag., I currently have 12 GOOD quality wheel guns. Auto’s ANY good quality Auto in – 9mm, 45 ACP – I have 4 Auto’s, and Last resort – 22 RF… I have 3 Ruger 22 auto’s
    Long Range rifle – Calibers will be 30-06, 243 Win, 308 Win.. Bolt guns – Ruger 77, Winchester Model 70, Remington 700, Auto guns -,Browning BAR, Rem 742- I have 2 Ruger 77’s, 1 Win Mod 70, 1 Rem 742, 3 Browning BAR’s , and a couple Sako’s, & a couple Marlin 336’s..
    Rim Fire Rifle – 22 RF, Ruger 10/22, Marlin 60, Henry Lever Gun, Marlin 39 A, Browning BLR, Win 63. I have a Ruger 10/22. Marlin 336, Browning BLR, Win 63
    Surplus Guns – In a SHTF situation I don’t want any surplus guns ! I want GOOD guns in common calibers I can scrounge ammo for and if I have to hand someone a gun to help protect me I want them to have a GOOD gun I can trust with the same ammo I have for my other guns. – see above selection.
    I currently reload for every firearm I own and I cast my own bullets for all my wheel guns & Auto’s.. Got primers ????

    Ron H

    1. obsidian says:

      A simple single round reloading kit with dies and such for each weapon would as you said be ideal.
      You will have time to sit and make bullets and cartridges.
      I doubt you can or will shoot them up faster than you can make them, if you do then you need a Machine gun with a squad of infantry not a survival weapon.

  16. John Smart says:

    As with many experts including Law Enforcement, You are only considering the beginning of the flight of the bullet.
    The latest research has shown that a shotgun with birdshot in it is the most sensible home defense gun for the average shooter. It will kill at 30 feet and yet it will rarely penetrate more than one wall.
    I have seen an ar15 penetrate the offender and lodge in the fourth house over.
    I personally carry a gun according to the situation.
    A large dense crowd, the 40 caliber or the 45ACP will penetrate one person and usually be lying on the floor within 5 ft. of the offender.
    I could talk much more, but the bottom line is that you are responsible for the complete path of the bullet you fire.
    40+ years of service has taught me this lesson. You would be wise to think about the total outcome before you pull the trigger!

  17. Please share sources of guns #1, 3 and 4 for $300 or less. I feel the need for some duplication.

  18. Colby says:

    “In general, ammo for surplus weapons is cheap and readily available.”???
    Really? I have been trying to find .22 ammo for the last 2 years and have only come across about 600 rounds. Yeah, it’s still relatively cheap, if you can find it.
    Last weekend I went to the counter at the Walmart, like I do every time I go there and asked if they had any .22 ammo, to which they always say “No.”
    This time they said “We had 22 cases this morning, but were sold out now.”

    AAAAHHHHHH!!!!! It was only 2:00 pm.

  19. SF Frank says:

    there is only one soldier’s rifle that is head and shoulders above the others.
    It will fire in the worst of conditions, is very rugged, easy to maintain, ammo is inexpensive, and as the old soldier saying says – KISS. It is the AK 47.
    Avoid any rifle that is finely machined, has close tolerances as it will jam at the first opportunity. Also weapons that have teeny parts to get lost in the woods, swamp, sand, etc.
    In RVN, SF soldiers would throw away an M16 and grab an AK at the first opportunity.

    1. David S. says:

      Lots of good to great options. I like simple. I have an old Rem. tube fed 22lr that shoots to 100+ yds with iron sights,hits what I aim at,good for small game. Or a bad guy if need be ,holds 16 rnds,Mag.HP,s will mess up your day. A 9mm pistol for up close to 40-50 yds. A Rem 870,for at home to hunting. An AR15 I hand built for close-quarter to 200yds,NOT fancy looking or covered with a bunch of show junk. But my favorite is my Norinco 84s AK47 in 556 with 18″ 1-8 barrel, folding stock and sight base if I choose to use a scope. It WILL shoot to 500 yds with scope and take any abuse you can put it thru and uses common ammo. Which I reload for to my taste.

    2. SmokeHillFarm says:

      Amen !!!

      Unless you have at least moderate skills in repair & fine adjustment of those tight-tolerance “modern battle rifles,” and have loads of tiny spare parts & tools, I believe you are better off with much simpler, sloppier-made firearms.

      Though I have been playing with guns for almost 60 years, did 21 years in the Army, and sold guns for a couple of decades, I don’t kid myself that I can diagnose & fix broken parts or jamming problems years down the road, or even know what extra parts & tools to keep on hand. Since we all may be dealing with old or scrounged ammo, this may well add to feeding & jamming problems.

      That’s why I stick mostly to revolvers, bolt-action rifles, or pump shotguns (plus a few single-shot & double-barrel shotguns).

  20. Pedro Roy Laigo says:

    I am planning a self sustainable farm for my family and a few friends. I need help in the for of infos and contacts.

  21. RAGNAR BENSON says:

    The best bet, is, military surplus rifles or their clones.
    Stay with the military rifle calibers, 7.62 Nato, US cal.30, 5.56 Nato, 7.62×39, 7.62x54R, 7.92×57, alternates but expensive are 303 Brit and US 30 carbine as stated here. Keep away from any wildcat cartridges.
    In handguns, 45acp, 9mm, 357 mag. These are the staples, found everywhere. Top brands only should be considered, Ruger, Smith, Sig, etc.
    I agree with the post’s list of rifles, however two important rifles were missed, M1 Garand and the k98. Bringing the Galil’s in is questionable, they are expensive and both mags and rifles (not clones) are hard to come by. A good FAL clone would be a better bet and cheaper (keep away from the century junk). Mags are another consideration with these, some are difficult to find. Stay with a metric rifle and mags. DSA is making both rifle and mags.
    In shotguns, 870 is about the best for the money. used ones are cheap. Mossberg 500 and sub groups are good also.
    A side by side is somewhat inadequate for SHTF.

    1. Mahatma Muhjesbude says:

      Not the REAL Ragnar by any chance?

  22. J.P. says:

    “Shotguns have great accuracy and are easy to shoot, but may not be the best choice for self-defense.”

    Since when and in what bizarro-world scenario? The 12 gauge shotgun has been the de facto ideal self-defense weapon on the planet since its inception.

    If I was stuck with only 1 long gun, I wouldn’t feel the least bit unprepared if it was my Mossberg 8-shot 930 SPX. After all, if it really is a SHTF event, hunting capacity rules and laws will cease to exist or be enforced.

    Rather than an extreme long-distance rifle for distances I would never shoot, I prefer my .45-70 that will reach out and touch anything at the distances I would; and it’s the perfect camp rifle for even the biggest critters when they would inevitably start adding human beings to their regular diet.

    And I’ve got the rest covered. Miculek cut this list in half; said he could accomplish anything he ever wanted to with a gun with a 12 gauge shotgun, a .22 rifle, and a .357 revolver.

    1. Mahatma Muhjesbude says:

      There’s one caveat with citing Miculek. He happens to be a world class expert with those weapons. I’m sure he could do as well with several other ‘combinations’ of weapons also. But The average cop can’t even fire the standard 870 for instance, with any formidable effectiveness against someone with an AK who had some experience with it and at least knows how to lay down the firepower. Even skeet shooters aren’t much better, especially with fast reloading, so what’s the point of mentioning guys like Miculek when we are talking about everybody else and their weapons?

      With my light weight one hand shooting capability AR carbine and drop free mags i can out shoot most people with a pistol at pistol ranges and better.

      I could certainly out shoot most people using a 7 shot 12 guage with my sixty round .223 mags.

      And don’t even make me laugh with your .22 rifle, doing anything ‘better’ than a .223 AR, even in expert hands. Of course if ammo ever became dirt cheap again, you can always get one of those nice pop on uppers in .22LR.

      While Miculek is far better than my modest skill by comparison. I could still outshoot his ‘choices’ in any capacity, compared to just about everyone else including putting 7 or 8 70 grain expanding bullets in that man eating camp Bear’s head in around one second before i emptied the rest of the 20 plus rounds in him as he went down. And then have another mag l&l’ed before i even take the bead off the target–in case he had any ‘friends’ hiding behind any other trees,lol!

      Choices do make a big difference in reality especially if you practice to suitable performance levels, but none if you don’t practice at all.

      If you ask him again, what he would choose in a shtf catastrophe if he COULD ONLY HAVE ONE FIREARM, wanna bet which one he’d choose?

      And while you’re right, the Shotgun was always traditionally the number one ‘self defense’ weapon back in the day. that is until the AR-15 carbine arrived. And of course that’s why more LEO agencies are dropping the old outdated for modern CQB compared to Ar carbines. And even .40 pistol/carbines.

  23. Nolan says:

    Finally, a list that I agree with. My only addition might be an air rifle that shoots .177 pellets, or larger. Silent hunting. In a survival condition, if hungry zombies hear a shot, they will immediately head for the location. A shot equals food to them…

    1. SmokeHillFarm says:

      Airguns, as I’ve often posted, should be standard for preppers because of cheap ammo, mostly silent, and infinite shelf life of the ammo. Though I do have a couple of so-so airguns in .177 caliber (the usual size), my “real” one is an RWS Model 34, which has amazing accuracy & is a legend in the airgun community. I’ve murdered uncountable trash birds (crows, etc), possum, skunk, groundhog, fox etc for 25 yrs on the farm, using many thousands of pellets, and never had one probem with it. Not a bad deal for the current price of $200, often less on sale.

      I would DEFINITELY get it in .22 caliber, though. It comes out a bit slower, but the heavier pellet gives better penetration, which could be important if you’re shooting at a human predator.

  24. Wolf Champlin says:

    I myself look at ammo ,what I mean is the availablilty of ammo within different areas around the country. Like 9mm,shotgun shells,and 223-5.56 ammo oh and 22 shells. After the shtf day one will be able to trade for this ammo since there is a huge amount of this type of ammo for trade. Like for whiskey salt rice or oatmeal water and other supplies, well that’s the plan anyway

    1. David S. says:

      Ammo is important,I live in Texas so ammo isn’t too hard to find. 12ga is plentiful,22lr does come around,and I reload 9mm,556 and 308 for my brothers and myself. Getting a box or 2 of 22 when available,and No I don’t empty the shelve like some do. Every body deserves to get some when available. I’ve stored several K of all these in sealed containers in small lots in different locations on several routes,along with supplies. Lots of eggs in different baskets. Survival is the plan,And having more then one plan is the key to any problem.

    2. John D says:

      With Fearless Leader’s economic sanctions against Russia, Russian guns and ammo are really drying up. Luckily, there are other sources for both. But you will pay a premium. Again, with 7.62×39, you are not limited to FMJ. Hunting SP and HP are out there, and pretty effective

    3. SmokeHillFarm says:

      Well, theoretically you may be able to trade for it, but I suspect few people will be trading any ammo. My inclination is to hold onto any ammo even if I can’t use it myself, just so it won’t eventually be used against me. I figure there is much better trade goods to stock anyhow, like Bic lighters, little baggies of HTH to purify water, or toilet paper, or salt. Booze would be good, too, just too expensive to stock (like cigarettes).

      1. SmokeHillFarm says:

        I suspect that most ammo will only be traded for OTHER ammo — like if someone scrounges up a box or two of 20-gauge shells but has only a 12-gauge. They’d certainly be willing to trade someone else who had 12-gauge ammunition. That’s the one case where I might trade ammo.

        1. left coast chuck says:

          I have food. You don’t. I have weapons and ammo. You have weapons and more ammo than I do. Are you willing to trade ammo for food? Remember, you kids asked you when they were going to get something to eat when you left your soddy* this morning. I think you would trade ammo for food and/or water in that situation.

          *soddy: a dwelling made of cut sod. In common usage on the plains in the early days of the pioneers. Sometimes built into a hill to make them larger.

          1. SmokeHillFarm says:

            I am less worried about food than anything else I stockpile. I’ve been stockpiling for years and we could probably survive for 9 or 10 years without fishing the bass & bluegill from our farm pond or shooting the deer & rabbits that hang out here. By that time, the heritage-type seeds should have sprouted anyhow ….

            Would I trade ammo for food if I needed to? Of course, but my priority after firearms & ammo was purifying available water (pond or well) with HTH, and making food a non-problem. No system is perfect, but we do the best we can. My basic point is that ammo is pretty much a last-resort to trade off, which is one of the reasons I want to keep a LOT of acceptable trade goods like Bic lighters, aspirin, & Zippo flints. I actually keep a couple of guns I don’t even like, just in case someone wants to trade .25, .32 or 9mm ammo. Eventually I hope to include a couple of other solid people into my defensive plan, since two people is not ideal for defending one brick farmhouse (though the big dogs will help a lot). And for others joining us, any gun or ammo will be helpful. Better it’s in my gun locker than being packed around by some ghetto mutts.

          2. Mahatma Muhjesbude says:

            Most people will trade all their gold or silver for one bag of Ramen noodles if they run out of food and are hungry. And most of their ammo for the last beer known to be alive!

            Do NOT forget one of the top five survival commodities. MOONSHINE! It’s a better antiseptic than rubbing alcohol and if you mix a little with bleach it will kill virtually any germ. It’s good lamp fuel, And you can (sadly) use it your vehicle engine in an emergency–but it better be a good emergency, lol, to use it for anything other than it’s most valuable appreciation, drinking! And of course a very hot trading commodity. But be careful, there are more than you think out there who wouldn’t think twice about wasting precious ammo to get a bottle of ‘everclear’, one way or the other.

  25. Cat says:

    What about a 410?

    1. left coast chuck says:

      In my opinion only, a .410 is a waste of money. The ammo is not as widely available as 12 or 20 ga. The .410 is only good for very small game, rabbits, squirrels, doves, sparrows, perhaps crows, but only at very close range. The .45 long colt that some .410 handguns can fire is a good man stopper and will take larger animals at close range. I suspect you wouldn’t want to fire a hot-loaded .45 LC in one of the combo guns more than once and then after that your flinch would preclude accuracy. There has been some discussion about a .410 slug out of a shotgun as being adequate for deer but why screw around with what is possible when you know that a 12 ga slug will take out any game in North America and is cheaper than .410 and more available? If all you have is a .410. it is better than a pointy stick, but look for a 12 ga. You can buy reduced recoil rounds for the 12 ga. is you are really recoil adverse or you can use padding on your shoulder or you can drill a hole in the buttstock and insert shot into the buttstock to reduce recoil.

    2. SmokeHillFarm says:

      I’ve stocked a dozen boxes of .410 only because I have an ancient, but solid, .410 of my grandfather’s. It’s so old it has no serial number.

      For close range defense the .410 is useful, and it may be a good choice for small people or children in your SHTF family. whether game loads or slugs are better … depends on the capability of the user.

      Certainly the least useful of the shotgun calibers, and the sooner you upgrade to 12-g the better.

    3. Mahatma Muhjesbude says:

      Nah, waste of money.

  26. Gary says:

    I have not heard anyone talk about the Saiga version2 .308.This gun is built like an AK-47.You can throw this thing in the mud ,underwater,in the sand and load with match grade ammo or the cheapest ammo and this gun will fire 98% of the time. I’ve done it.I’ve seen it done and knock down power at 100-200yds is scary.I would put it up against most M-1 or AR. The shot gun is good choice along with a.22 ankle gun.Springfield Armory is putting out some very reliable handguns in a variety of sizes and calibers. I like the XDM ,XDS 9mm. with the right defensive ammo or not don’t forget that it will put down most things in its path.That ammo is very common and easy to steal,borrow,or what ever you want to call it when SHTF.What do you think?

  27. Bill says:

    How long does a comment have to wait for moderation ?

  28. glenbo says:

    One of the best sources of info that would help this discussion is Jeff Cooper’s book, The Art of The Rifle. Lt. Col. Jeff Cooper was the foremost small arms expert of his time and the founder of the Scout Rifle concept. Art of the Rifle is a short book, full of info, and easily read. I was amazed at what game he took with only a 30-06. He advocates a short, light, bolt action rifle in 308 or 30-06 for anything you need, and he’s right. Either can take anything from rabbits and squirrels to anything you will find in North America’s contiguous 48 states. I got the book on Amazon for my Kindle for around $10.

  29. Joe says:

    Some chooses were left out. First is handguns calibered in .40 S&W. I have owned or now own all the handgun calibers listed but like .40 the best. A .45 has great knockdown power but limited magazine capacity and can kick like a mule. Not a great choose for a small person or someone that cannot stand the recoil. 9mm is a great caliber with very good magazine capacity but it is an open field caliber developed by the military for combat that usually happens over a long distance. A 9mm bullet is very high velocity and has great penetration but can easily over penetrate in a close quarters combat situation like inside of a home. I have seen a 9mm round penetrate a interior wall going through 2 pieces of 1/2″ drywall and a 2 x4 stud diagonally and hit a child on the opposite of the wall killing them. The new defense rounds have solved some of this issue and it is easier to handle because of the lower recoil but still has to be used with caution in close quarters. I shot the 9mm for years until a bought a .40 S&W on a whim, I quickly fell in love with it. 12 round magazine, 180 grain bullet, recoil between the 9mm and the .45 without as much of the over penetration issues. The .40 is often used by special operation units for its greater stopping power than a 9mm and lower recoil compared to the .45.

    Another chose left out was the AR 10, the father of the AR 15. Gene Stoner first developed the AR platform in 7.62 x 51 mm to replace the M1 Garrand and M14. An Air Force general liked the gun but wanted a smaller caliber so it was resized to 5.56 x 45 mm. It is both my combat rifle and my long range(600 meter)rifle. 7.62 x 51 mm can be effective out to 800 meters and can easily take down a deer, a feral pig and some other large game. It can also “drill” through a car windshield and other barriers. Most but not all accessories for the AR 15 will fit an AR 10. I own both and can switch some parts and accessories between them. After buying the AR 10 and loving it, I decided to aquire an AR 15 because it was lighter and was easier for my wife and kids to shoot because of the lower recoil. This is my 300 meter gun. One of the most popular rifles used by snipers is the SR 25, a high end AR 10 chambered in 7.62 and other calibers.

    Lastly, surplus rifles are great but you must check their condition or purchase from a trustworthy dealer and some of the ammuniation that they are chamber in can be hard to find. Especially when ammo becomes scarce. Be sure to check the availability of the required ammo before buying.

  30. Dan says:

    OK first of all most of the Gu a on this list are over $300. Second of all I have a mosin-naganta and it’s accurate to 800 yards with sites that cone on the rifle and it’s extremely cheap. Therefore this gun should be 2nd or 3rd behind a semi auto pistol which is a necessity not a revolver where your limited to 5 or 6 shots. If shtf would you rather have 5 or 6 shots or 10-17 rounds ready to roll? 2nd or 3rd would be shotgun or mosin-nagant because they can be had for cheap and are very reliable. And last but not least .22lr is scarce these days however a .22lr is deadly at 100 yards with a head shot. So the real answer to what’s the best gun? The one you have with ammo for.

  31. David Thew says:

    I like my GP 100 .357 Magnum. Friends say things to me such as, “Yeah, but my gun has 15 shots.” I reply, “Yeah, but I don’t miss.” On a side note, I also only need one bullet to seriously ruin somebody’s day, even if I shoot to wound (which is unlikely; if I pull my gun, it’s with the intent to kill). I alternate my bullets. My 1st bullet is a flat-nosed, 158 grain, .357. 2nd is a hollow point, 130 grain, .38 (I like Winchester Bonded PDX1). 3rd is a hollow point, 125 grain, .357 (I like Hornady Critical Defense FTX). Yes, the holliw points are expensive, but as I mentioned before, it will only take one shot. Plus, my GP 100 is dead on accurate. I live in an open carry state, so I wear it most wherever I go. Seldom do I have a problem with people (although they (liberal morons) sometimes ask me stupid questions about why I carry) and the police, here in Vegas, have never, ever, hassled me. I am clean cut, responsible and 100% legal. De oppresso liber.

  32. SmokeHillFarm says:

    I must add one thing here, for the benefit of those on a very limited income. Of course, your first choice in a gun will depend on what you can afford NOW, and that may vary. For me, it would probably be the revolver in .357 mag, and I’d have zero problem with buying a used one from Ruger, Colt or S&W. The next most essential (which will get lots of argument, I’m sure) for me would be a bolt-action rifle in a somewhat deer-capable caliber like .270.

    My next buy would be a high-powered airgun like the RWS Model 34, arguably one of the most reliable accurate ones for the price. It gets around 900 fps in .22 caliber and will obviously take any small game (saving your .22 for later). A decently-placed head or neck shot would certainly stop, and perhaps fatally wound, a human at ranges up to 100-200 feet. The real plus, though, is that it’s close to silent, compared to actual firearms, and the ammo costs almost nothing ($9 for 250 pellets, often cheaper). Needless to say, the shelf life of the “ammo” is nearly forever.

    A high-velocity, quality airgun with good accuracy is around $200, less on sale, and should be in EVERY prepper’s gun cabinet, but for those on a tight budget, getting an airgun even before you opt for the .22 rifle or higher-caliber rifle might be a wise choice for some people if it gets a useful gun to you sooner. Just be sure to stock up on maintenance stuff like barrel oil, cleaning pellets, etc.

    The airgun also has value in that in most places it has no restrictions, or even a record of the sale if you pay cash — always a good thing!

    As I say, every prepper should have one for the long-term SHTF, but it may give some good options to the fixed-income guys who are just starting out.

    Fixed-income preppers should also be looking hard at choices like used revolvers, pump shotguns and bolt-action rifles. You can often save enough there to buy another gun, or a lot of ammo to feed what you have.

  33. James says:

    From these comments, got to figure out how to feed guns long term. What will the budget allow? What are you planning for? First priority is saving empties for reloading if weapon is bigger than .22 rimfire. Can you afford to lose empties fired from any big semi-auto over the long term? If not,take a serious look at reloading equipment to reload saved empties. For those “on the go”, take a good look at Lee Hand Press with Breech Lock feature. Will take almost any brand of reloading dies, with quick insertion and release. Totally portable, no reloading bench needed. Quiet. No hammering noise like original Lee Loader. Figure on 1000 primers a month, 4 to 8 lb container of gunpowder,and supply of bullets to reload empty cases. A reasonable stock of supplies. If you need more, you can get more. At present, .22 rimfire is having serious distribution problems due to too many people “stocking up”. But plenty of primers. Gunpowder is still having supply problems, but it can be found with extra effort.

  34. James says:

    Got to figure out what you are planning for. If dealing with people in motor vehicles, .357 Magnum or .357 SIG are preferred over 9MM Luger cartridge. The .40 S&W and .45ACP can also be used. But may not give quite as much needed vehicle penetration. Most center-fire rifles are useful in this area. Shotgun can be used with rifled slugs within range, usually about 75 yards maximum.

  35. royce barker says:

    I have given this subject a lot of thought, but after the recent ammo shortage I have taken a good look at my arsenal. I like the 357 cal. so I bought my wife a 38 spl handgun, I have a 357 handgun and a rifle in 357. I also have a 9mm revolver and a 1911 in 9mm and a carbine in 9mm. I also have a 7mm for hunting, I could hunt with the 357 if need be. that gives me less ammo to stockpile. I have various 22 cal. guns but once the ammo I have is done it’s done, I can reload the rest.

  36. adam says:

    No one else is upset that they called the hk ump a handgun? lol I believe they meant usp

  37. dogmeat says:

    I’m pretty much a rational black and white thinker, some of the comments I’ve read on here seem to be way off the norm as far as calibers such as the 338 and others, #1 in my mind is ammo and if you can’t get it you have no weapon for self defense or for procuring a food supply ! I have an AR platform (S&W chromed chamber and barrel) that I like because it’s light weight, low recoil and ammo is easily obtainable because it’s widely used although somewhat anemic when it comes to shooting thru obstacles such as heavy doors etc it’s a soft flesh round period, if you do penetrate an obstacle there’s not much left to disable the human target that may be your enemy, and reliability from what I’ve read about in the last several skirmishes our military has been involved in, reliability is in question unless your meticulous as far as keeping the weapon clean in my experience, and that’s a definite downfall in times of need when a weapon is being depended on for survival! I also have an AK47 that’s plug and play although accuracy lacks we’re not talking about holes in a paper target, it’s adequate and extremely dependable even when it’s abused! Remember .. your gonna be on the run not sitting in your comfortable home when the SHTF so I chose a berretta PX4 side arm 9mm, an AK, and an AR7 for a small game getter, that’s my 2 cents worth .. (no guarantees expressed or implied) 🙂

  38. TheDudeAbides says:

    I’d role with the AR-15 since it is a very easily customizable weapon with tons of after market parts and accessories. It is also one of the top sold rifles in the United States. When it comes to spare parts considering that so many people own them and it is still used by the military IMHO there are bound to be spare parts and ammunition available for scrounging off of dead military, police, and fire arms owners (all RIP). Not to mention if you were to happen upon a dropped military weapon, without much difficulty you could switch out your semi auto lower receiver for its full auto capable military counter part and bam you now have a fully automatic version of the same gun you’ve hopefully been practicing with. Most of the tools you need for any deep maintenance of this weapon can be found in pretty much anyone’s tool box less an armorer’s wrench which you can pick up for $30ish… I don’t choose an AR because of what others say it’s more so because that’s what I’m practiced with and I know what I can and cannot do with my weapon, not to mention its custom tailored to my personal preferences since I built it. If I were running out the door Id also grab my 1911 as back up for no other reason than that’s what I’ve thrown the most lead with and am most comfortable. My lady and I also practice defensive moving and shooting with each other, no cliche offensive commando BS (I say that because it’s easy to play Rambo when nobody is shooting back) but more of a “keep their heads down so we can get away” mentality. Although I own them shotguns and long range rifles just seem like a lot of extra weight to be carrying for a single purpose when your trying to get out of dodge unless you have a vehicle, I’d rather pack my bag with 10lbs of extra ammo rather than an additional weapon.

  39. Joel Tuco McKey says:

    Where to start? You claim “every gun on this list…is around $300 or less.” Really? Please tell me where I can pick up a Barrett in .338 Lapua or an M1A or M14 or even an HK UMP.45 for $300 or less. Really, please tell me, so I can buy out every gun in their inventory and become rich selling them at their actual market values. Even buying used very few of the firearms you listed are $300 or less. A couple of the .22s and a couple of the surplus weapons and that’s it.

    Second, you stated shotguns have “great accuracy” are “easy to shoot”, but “may not be the best choice for self-defense.” To what are you comparing the shotgun to arrive at the statement that they have “great accuracy”? Even firing rifled slugs from a smooth bore shotgun gives (at best) acceptable accuracy within 100 meters or so, while firing shot increases “accuracy” by increasing distribution of projectiles, though that is hardly considered a traditional measure of “great accuracy”. Too, the twelve gauge shotgun is about the hardest recoilling firearm on your list (save for the .338 Lapua, which becomes essential when large game simply must be taken down at 800+ meters, ranges the VAST majority of shooters are simply incapable of shooting accurately at). If you meant the simple, uncomplicated operation of a break action double barrel or pump action shotgun, then perhaps a little clarity would have been nice. Lastly, the scatter-gun is nearly ideal for home (read: self) defense. Few weapons are more devastating at close ranges nor as capable of swiftly and decisively ending a confrontation, the use of shot minimizes the likelihood of over-penetration and thus also minimizes the chances of injuring or killing loved ones accidentally by a stray bullet going through a wall and striking them.

    All in all, and seriously not simply being rude here, this article seems to have been written by an individual with no real experience with the subject on which he is pontificating on here. To put out such nonsense as advice (recommending an extreme long range sniper round/gun as a “hunting rifle” to inexperienced shooters?!?!) is irresponsible at best. This article is among the worst I’ve ever read on this subject online. Just goes to show, anybody can say anything online and act like an expert. Decency would dictate removing this entire article, however.

  40. Rick Shultz says:

    I am not particularly impressed by the handguns that you have chosen to recommend to people to defend their homes. Most people who are buying a handgun for the first time to defend their homes are likely NOT experienced shooters. I’m going to out on a limb here and recommend one particular handgun that, although it is expensive, I feel gives an inexperienced person a better chance to defend himself and his family against home invasion. Since the range is usually very short in a home invasion skill is not as important as ease of use of the chosen weapon. It is for this reason that I feel that a handgun must have certain characteristics to be considered a good home defense weapon for a person with little experience. It should the least amount of recoil possible, but at the same time have the highest muzzle velocity and the greatest ammunition capacity available. I think the weapon that fits those requirements better than any other handgun sold at present is the FN 5.7mm. It has almost no recoil, it has almost twice the muzzle velocity of any other handgun available, and it has an ammunition capacity of 20 rounds per magazine. The gun and the ammunition are both somewhat more expensive than the guns that the article mentions, but it will produce an amazing wound channel, it can be fired rapidly without coming off target any great distance because of the lack of appreciable recoil, and the person using it can still be blasting away when the fool who broke in has emptied his magazine.( Obviously the fight is NOT likely to last THAT long, but who knows?) If it is good enough for the secret service presidential protection detail, then I think it would be quite good enough to use as a self defense weapon. The only real drawback that I have found about this gun it is incredibly LOUD report. Whoever wants to use this weapon as a personal defense weapon needs to fire it a few times without earplugs to get used to the VERY loud sound it makes so they are not startled by it and end up dropping it because it scares them. Otherwise I think it is an EXCELLENT choice for home defense.

  41. greg adkins says:

    Shotguns may not be the best choice for self defense(in my opinion)that’s totally wrong,far superior to a handgun, and in SHTF/GRID DOWN)by far again(in my opinion)for defending ones home,handgun ok but only because of portability around the home.I would rather have a 12 gauge in a SHTF/GRID DOWN against an AR/AK,is my home than any other firearm.On the move no,but defending the home no question about it.

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