Top Ten BEST Guns for Survival

NUMBER TEN – The Mighty Barrett .50 BMG

Okay, okay, I kicked this list off with the Barrett just because. I don’t own one and I wouldn’t buy one, but I’ll tell you what, if SHTF, and you have one, you’re on my side.

The sticker price ($3,000-$12,000) on one of these monsters is enough to take anyone’s breath away, but witnessing the colossal *POW* that this bad bitch delivers waaaay down range will also take your breath away. Nothing on the civilian market can deliver anything close to the *smack* of the Barrett. Consequently, there’s a growing movement in different states (mainly New York, Massachusetts, Hawaii and Illinois) to remove the .50 BMG rifle from the civilian market altogether. California banned it in 2004. So, if you have more money than you know what to do with, this could be a great investment. Buy a few and then sell them after they’re banned nationwide for 4 times what you paid for them. ;-)

The cartridge selection for these rifles is disturbing to say the least. They come in incendiary, armor-piercing, armor-piercing/incendiary, tracer, and armor-piercing/incendiary/tracer all-in-one. A .50 BMG sniper rifle was used by a Canadian solder in Afghanistan in 2002 to pull off the longest-range, confirmed sniper kill in history when he delivered the insane ball of lead to a Taliban insurgent 1.5 miles away.


Advantages: it’ll make anyone go “. . . . . . wow;” it’ll penetrate light armor with NO problem; people will open the door for you when they see you carrying it; you can disable equipment and engine blocks from over a mile away; Made in the U.S.A.

Disadvantages: price, size, weight and recoil (ouch!); very limited availability of the high-end, military grade ammunition you’d need to fully realize this rifle’s capacity



For what you’d spend on one Barrett .50 BMG you could buy a truckload of these things. I’m not a big fan of them. A friend of mine has (maybe had) a Russian SKS and the thing would sometimes fire two rounds with one trigger pull. This may sound cool, but neither of us thought it was. They’re cheap for a reason.

Advantage: they’re cheap

Disadvantage: they’re cheap

NUMBER EIGHT – Bolt-Action .308

Here it is. You need a sniper set up – period, and there’s a reason the .308 is the most widely used sniper round, it delivers – consistently. It may not have the more flat trajectory of a .270 or the extra wallop in a 30-06 (30-06 ammo), but it delivers, has moderate recoil, and offers a more common caliber with a wider selection of ammunition.

Of course, the flip side of having a sniper set up is that it’s only worthwhile if you actually spend A LOT of time (and money) learning how to use it effectively at long distances. Chances are, for anyone not in Navy Seal sniper school, they’re not going to. However, the rifle can still get plenty of use hunting large game. The 180 grain .308 cartridge is my top recommendation for large game. It hits hard.

Advantages: common caliber, highly accurate

Disadvantage: no rapid fire feature

NUMBER SEVEN – Springfield M1A

What’s better than a bolt-action .308 WTSHTF? A semi-automatic .308. If you’re 3 weeks into TEOTWAWKI, holed up in your house with stacks of books around your picture window to serve as makeshift “sandbags,” you’ll want the M1A standing nearby. Gotta send a message to The Golden Horde hanging out by your mailbox? The M1A will do it.

Advantages: common caliber, stock one round for your bolt-action AND your semi-auto; Made in the U.S.A.

Disadvantages: $1,300 and up typically for a new one; heavy if carrying long distances

NUMBER SIX – 1911 .45 ACP Handgun

Ah yes, a handgun enters the scene. You have to have a handgun, and the 1911 .45 ACP (Automatic Colt epic water filtersPistol) is a beauty. Let’s say it appears TEOTWAWKI is on the verge of happening and people are panicking. They’re out in force to empty the local grocery store’s shelves, and you’re heading into town as well to get whatever you can. This is the stage at which you’re not going to head out with rifles wrapped around your torso unless you’re begging for trouble – HOWEVER – you’re not going unarmed either. Shit could break out in the cooler isle as 28 different dads battle over the last gallon of milk and suddenly one them pulls a piece. You need to be ready without letting people know you’re ready. Additionally, you need a piece for your SHTF “go bag” and the .45 contains a whole lotta lead.

Advantages: conceal and carry; whole lotta lead; common caliber

Disadvantages: limited magazine capacity (typically 8 + 1 in the pipe); $800 and up for a good one

NUMBER FIVE – Remington 870 12 Gauge Pump-Action Shotgun

Let’s hear that again.

The sound is undeniable. You hear that and you instantly know what it means, “You wanna roll with me?” The only reasonable response is, “errrr . . . . nah, I’ll move along.”

Related Article: Top Water Filter Pitchers For Survival

You can get a shotgun that’ll take a bigger shell, but you don’t need it. The 12 gauge is exceptionally common and it’ll take a variety of shells: birdshot for game hunting survival purposes; double-ought buck for pushing intruders not only down, but back out the window they came in through; and slugs for anything else.

Want to mount that shotgun to your bed frame (lol)? Check out one of my previous posts on “The Backup” here.

Advantages: common caliber; many accessories available for this model (pistol grips, tube extensions, etc.); obscene knock-down power

Disadvantages: none come to mind


It’s durable, designed to be thrown into a mud hole for a month when it can be dug out and immediately used without cleaning. That might be an exaggeration, but not by much. It also delivers a beefy round for a standard issue assault rifle. If you’re outside the United States, there’s likely readily available parts and ammunition.

Advantages: banana clips, baby; jungled clipped banana clips, baby

Disadvantages: lacks the accuracy found in other assault rifles; made in China, or Russia, or Yugoslavia – you get the idea.

NUMBER THREE – Compact 9mm Handgun

What’s a more common caliber than the .45 ACP? The 9mm. Unfortunately, it’s the most common handgun caliber in the United States used against police officers. Thugs love it. Love the 9mm, but don’t be a thug.

Advantages: cheaper to shoot than the .45 (and thus practice with); high capacity magazines; easier to conceal and carry

Disadvantage: less lead

NUMBER TWO – Ruger 10/22 Rifle

I can hear it now, “What!?” That’s right, the .22 rifle. It’s ALL about survivalism. Look, when TEOTWAWKI hits you’re going to want a rifle like the Ruger 10/22 for put some sort of meat on your dinner plate. Squirrels, gophers or the neighbors’ cats, the 10/22 is quiet, effective, and you can shoot all damn day for what it’d cost you to buy a 6-pack of PBR.

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Additionally, a little recognized fact, Chechen rebels successfully used .22 rifles for sniping purposes against Russian troops in urban settings. The urban setting consisted of narrow streets and close buildings allowing these “snipers” to get exceptionally close to their targets. They strapped soda bottle silencers on them to further the effectiveness. I don’t care what you say about the .22lr, take one in the neck and you’ll think differently.

Advantages: already stated – go buy one

Disadvantages: none whatsoever

NUMBER ONE BEST Rifle for Survival

The Mighty AR-15!


This should really come as no surprise. My only guess as to why so many survival writers don’t list the “Black Rifle” as their top choice is because they want to set themselves apart from the pack. Like in politics, when you’re the man on top, you can expect attacks. There are very solid reasons for the AR-15’s extreme popularity and cult-like following. There are very solid reasons why its the #1 choice of the U.S. military and para-military groups (“AR-15” to include all variations). It’s the best – period.

Explaining in great detail why I believe the AR-15 is the single best choice for survivalists goes beyond the scope of this post. I will detail it in the future, however. In the meantime, basically:

Advantages: very common caliber; fast bullet with flat trajectory; highly adaptable platform that allows the user to meet mission specific needs; extensive options readily available; they’re everywhere (meaning so are parts); wide variety of available rounds from 55 grain to 75 grain, tracer rounds, steel penetrator tips, etc.; very, very light recoil; Made in the U.S.A., and in the case of Bushmaster, Made in Maine ;-)

Disadvantages: smaller caliber than what’s found in other battle rifles; many moving parts; rather annoying to clean compared to other rifles; the gas system often comes under criticism for throwing the “gunk” back into the chamber (some call this “shitting where it eats”), though this problem has been remedied in some newer models (at a higher cost).

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394 comments… add one
  • striker December 16, 2007, 7:17 pm

    • Odd Questioner February 16, 2015, 1:27 am

      You know? they both have one *huge* disadvantage: they eat (expensive!) ammo at obscene rates.

      Personally, I’m glad they included the .45 M1911 in the list (though you can get 10-round extended magazines… I have and use them in IPSA events). I’m also glad they included the 12-gauge pump-action.

      I noticed one gun that was missing though… we’ll call it number zero:

      #0: Mosin-Nagant (either long-gun or carbine – I prefer the M44 carbine myself). An amazingly accurate rifle, yet cheaper than dirt (you used to be able to buy them for $99 each.) They can take an astounding amount of abuse, and can be completely disassembled without a single tool. Although a completely manual bolt-action rifle, it does have a 5-round capacity. The ammunition (7.62x51R) is also astoundingly cheap (about $100 for a can of 440 rounds) – you could build a literal arsenal with two of these rifles for less than the cost of a brand-new AR-15. Reloaders take note: the cartridges use Berdan primers, so you’re not going to reload the brass.

      As a bonus, you can get a bayonet for the things; I’ve seen people eyeball the thing with a sense of wonder at the range whenever the bayonet is fixed (I do that to insure accuracy with or without it). :)

      Advantages: Dirt. Cheap (for both rifle and ammunition.) Tough as nails. Scarily accurate once you get good with it. Easy to clean and maintain. Works well under nearly any weather condition. Easy-to-adjust sights with adjustable rear sighting ramp. Made to be used in sub-zero temperatures, so it’s built with gloved hands in mind.

      Disadvantages: Kicks like an artillery piece (and the only cushion you get is a metal plate on the back of the stock). The newest ones you can get were built in the 1960’s-1970’s, so disassemble it with a knowledgeable friend and inspect it hard before purchasing. Post-SHTF, once you run out of ammo, good luck finding more… (though you may get lucky, this is a surprisingly popular rifle). No reloading ability.

      Okay… that aside, my perfect sniper-style rifle may use an odd cartridge, but I have plenty of them and the means to reload a whole lot more… it’s a Ruger .338 Win Mag. I’ve used it to hunt elk for decades now, and I can reliably reach out and touch an elk with near-certainty at up to 500-750 yards with it (I refuse to shoot any further because I hate walking.) The round is big enough to literally take down a moose. The barrel is glass-bedded, and has a nice Weaver scope perched atop it. I don’t recommend such a rifle if you live east of the Dakotas/Nebraska/Kansas/Texas, though – out West, you have to shoot over long, open distances… back East, not so much need for that. :)

      Blather aside, this brings me to a point I’d like to make: No one set of firearms are perfect all-around weapons. A .338 Win Mag or .223 Swift out West isn’t as useful as a .30-30 lever-action in the Ozarks or in Appalachia. A .357 Magnum can chamber .38 Spl rounds too, while 9mm rounds are as common as water. A revolver doesn’t jam, whereas some autos will jam if you so much as look at them funny.

      The trick is to find a combination of firearms that work for you – a long rifle, a short/carbine style rifle, a shotgun, and a sidearm. Get a set for each teen/adult member of your family. Try to keep them consistent to keep the variety of ammunition limited if possible. Get used to them, work with them, and burn at least a thousand rounds of ammo through each of them.

      • Anonymous May 6, 2016, 10:36 am

        Mosin Nagant is 7.62x54r

        • Mosin October 28, 2016, 11:53 am

          Not a rapid fire but it does have knock down punch.

    • John Phelps May 2, 2019, 7:46 am

      I like the choices, most are a varient of what I have. My personal choices are a browning buckmark whisper .22 in place of the rifle simple because it allows me to carry it when carrying my main rifle. I’ve chose the ruger mini 14 over the AR-15 because of old school nastalgia. It is as reliable as any weapon ever made, accurate enough for me, and 1/2lb lighter than the AR, it also takes high cap mags. my preference for shotgun in the Rem 11-87. I prefer semi over pump. works when filfthy with higher power round, ie buck and slugs, might hang on birdshot.

  • Phil December 16, 2007, 8:07 pm

    I have to agree with your 10/22 assessment. It doesn’t have the knock down power or range of a .223 or 7.62×39, but a well placed shot is devastating.

    I routinely butcher my own meat and I have dropped a 1000lb steer with one shot from my Ruger 10/22 as far out as 30 feet.

    Also it can be equipped with large cap mags to “fill the air with lead” if need be. I also have a tricked out sks – synthetic folding stock, modified to take detachable mags etc and I just love the thing.

    In the event we need to defend ourselves, I plan to hand my wife the 10/22 and wield the sks myself. I also have a .45 for a sidearm.

    Love the site, very interesting and informative!

  • Daniel W. December 16, 2007, 9:33 pm

    Enjoyable read, though for the record the term ‘banana clips’ drives many gun enthusiasts ‘nuts’ :-)

    My top ten would read very differently but I can appreciate your points.

    I would put the SKS and AK at top if I made such a list. Now bear in mind, I’m not a person who ONLY owns an SKS or AK and therefore things THAT is the best – I own or have owned multiples of the following: MAS/MLE, Mausers, Enfields, Mosin Nagants, various .22 bolt & semi-autos, SKS, AK, FAL, AR-15, Remington 870 shotgun, etc.

    While other rifles will cover accuracy at a distance better than the SKS or AK’s 7.62×39 round, the reliability, ruggedness, ballistics and accuracy within it’s designed use (100-200 yards) really makes it a great choice.

    The SKS is very rugged, and being made in Russia, China and such places is NOT an indicator of poor quality – just the opposite. These things are rock solid if left in their original form. Ammo is plentiful and not as pricey as .223 or .308, and on stripper clips can be carried in quantity and loaded quickly.

    I have owned and shot many SKS & AK rifles and fully trust them to function even when things are down & dirty and time to stop & clean them isn’t available.

    The same can’t be said for the AR-15. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve kept shooting my SKS at the range while the guy next to me fought to keep his AR from jamming. It’s a different ballgame in the military where you have a line of supply & backup – but if you were out in the field with limited cleaning supplies (or none) or no time to stop and do maintenance, it wouldn’t be a good thing to have to club the zombies with your AR.

    I LOVE the FAL in .308, but due to weight of the rifle AND it’s ammo I’d probably leave it home unless there were a specialized need.

    .22 bolt or even Ruger 10-22? Great choice. For the proposed ITSHTF (IF the SHTF) were to occur, I would guess that little if any of it would be spent fighting zombie hordes or foreign invaders. But you WOULD probably spend substantial time hunting for food, and something like a 10-22 is perfect for that.

    In certain scenarios an accurate, long range sniper .308 would be invaluable! However, if you were on foot evacuating with a single firearm or out in the field, how would would that single shot rifle with delicate expensive scope hold up? Could you really hump it and go through some hard hits without it breaking or having to re-zero it? If it did break, what then?

    A good pistol is a great idea – be it 9mm, .40, 357SIG, .45 or any other caliber.

    Anyway, good blog.

    • keith December 25, 2014, 2:52 pm

      I would go completely opposite of the list I would do a .45 acp for my handgun I will do something light like the p90 because it would provide a good close range gun and because of its size it would be great for clearing buildings and I would carry a ak47.

      • Anonymous January 30, 2015, 12:18 am

        Where are you getting the ammo for that p90 after tshtf?

        • lance May 10, 2015, 8:06 pm

          He isn’t but he’ll learn.

          • Ot oH August 14, 2015, 5:58 am


            You know the Russians call it an AK right? That’s what the model number is actually.

            AK type II or AK type III.

            The slang term is “Kalash”.

        • William Halford July 20, 2016, 9:59 pm

          Getting ammo for that gun after SHTF would be fundamentally no different than for any other caliber. So that’s basically a moot point.

          Besides, isn’t the whole idea about preparing for SHTF to make sure you have plenty of supplies,which would include plenty of ammo?

        • Anonymous September 8, 2016, 4:45 am

          How about getting a simple recurve, or a longbow? Even better if you learn basic skills of a boyer: make a new bow if your current one wears out. Make all the ammo that you’ll ever need.

      • arleigh September 9, 2015, 6:16 pm

        I can appreciate your choices .and to be practical reloading post a moot point. In my book because there will likely be no time for it in the beginning.
        I am fairly old so my load out may be significantly less than most.
        I am no Rambo .so my choices are more relevant to being able to carry the greatest volume and reasonable weight.
        For close range conflicts the .357 mag. Revolver can deliver snake shot all the way to heavy mag rounds. I can drop about anything running at me 50 yards and closing.
        Realizing that medical facilities will likely be nonexistent .any damage that inflicted on an enemy will likely turn deadly if untreated.
        I chose the 17 HMR for several reasons.
        1. 1/5. The volume of .223= volume advantage 5 x
        2. Flat trajectory
        3. Nonthrettening report
        4. tack driver
        5. Rounds tend to fracture tear up more flesh.
        6. Known to take deer.
        I have larger cal.guns but none so perfect for the job IMO.

        • Lee September 24, 2015, 7:05 am

          Agreed. 50 round boxes for $11 and easy to find. Easy to carry 1000 rounds in a knapsack. Can’t do that with anything else but the .22.

          • Jeff H. October 10, 2015, 10:28 am

            I also agree with the .357 mag revolver.

            It is a revolver, so it eats the crappiest quality ammo with little difficulty.
            It is a revolver, it will not jam.
            It is dual caliber, so its easier to feed it.
            Some companies make a 7 shot model.
            An idiot can use it, even under stress. The true point and shoot weapon.

          • Anonymous August 8, 2016, 9:53 pm

            Jeff, I bought a Ruger GP100 Match Champion recently, and bought some cheap TulAmmo steel case ammo for it. For some reason, the cases swelled,and I had trouble emptying the cylinders. I had to take the staple gun I used for my targets and beat the ejector rod.

            It did this for every single cylinder full I shot, and also did it on my S&W Model 60. So I know it wasn’t the gun.

        • John Phelps May 2, 2019, 7:56 am

          I’ve owned both revolvers and semiautos. while it is true a semi will jam on occasion mostly due to poor ammo they are generally easy to clear. A revolver contrary to belief can jam. when a revolver malfunctions it is more often catastropic and irreparable in the field. I’d prefer semi because if it fails field stripping is easy and possible, not so in a revolver. they do fail and more often than is commonly believed. they are not indestructable, many small precision moving parts that can fail. semi’s are simple and have fewer precision parts.

    • scott August 20, 2015, 8:13 pm

      Piston driven ARs ARE just as dependable as SKS/AKs with the range of the ARs . And to be really honest about it only a very few TRUE Russian AK 47 have ever made it in to this country

      • Anonymous December 18, 2015, 4:15 am

        I have a good selection in my opinion. I’ve got a 12 assault shotgun with pistol grip, 30-30 lever action rifle, ar-15(which i love), and .22 collapsible survival rifle. And the .22 i find to be good, reliable, and best reason of all super cheap ammo

        • Anonymous February 28, 2016, 6:23 pm

          I have a similar Arsenal and love it. Especially my AR. However, I did feel like there was a tactical gap for SHTF, urban environment so I am in the process of building an AR 300 blackout pistol. I just love the AR platform and the 300 blackout has similar ballistics as the AK, which is what I want for close to mid range combat. And having everything the same as my .223/5.56 except for the barrel is really convenient and will save some $!

    • Wasteland Scavenger May 7, 2017, 3:17 pm

      I agree with you when it comes to military surplus rifles. Ive owner a few sks, and two retired military Aks and enjoyed them way over any AR15 I’ve fired. I haven’t seen many Ars jam unless not up to specs or maintained properly.

      Now everyone does have their own thoughts at what guns are at top or bottom, and at times it has nothing to do with reliability, just if someone thinks it’s a bad a$$ weapon, but we all know when it boils down to it, that everyone that is skilled and has knowledge, they will find what weapon works best for them and do as they need. Some like these semi auto’s or..”assault rifles” as many wish to call their ARs. But even the skilled marksman can take down someone using a semi auto rifle or pistol with a single action, being a revolver, lever rifle or pump shotgun, or bolt action.

      And when we look at this SHTF scenario, we need to know exactly what type it is. With the weaponry so freely floating through the states, you are sure to have your issues with other people wanting what you have. Ammo won’t be a shortage for a long time unless your thinking of going to war against a well organized group. But really when it boils down to it, if SHTF, your not going to be able to carry or use this many weapons or move them around if things are bad. At best have a rifle or two, or rifle and shotgun and a pistol or two.

      Me I enjoy my M1A over my cetme, due to weight. And I have a SBR Ar15 pistol. It works for a bit of everything. But even with heavy rounds, a 22 can kill you just as easy as a larger caliber. So my advice to some if your wanting to purchase your weaponry is to hit a range and test fire different weapons. Find what you like, what works for you.

  • Arty December 17, 2007, 1:03 am



    Now, can you tell me how I can own one in California?

    • Dragunov August 12, 2010, 2:47 pm

      Bullet button or featureless.

      • Anonymous May 11, 2015, 9:11 pm

        get the hell out of that shit hole you can’t swing a dead cat with out someone flipping out !

    • Anonymous February 8, 2015, 9:46 pm

      Vote out the Communist bastards!

      • Shadow March 17, 2015, 10:18 am

        Im Communist

        And I Can blow you off with my Avomat Kalahnikova obrazets 1947 goda easily

        • Jeremy Thomas June 14, 2015, 11:01 am

          It’s not a good idea to suck dick with a rifle in your hands, comrade!

        • Peter September 4, 2016, 1:11 pm

          I have been using a 220 swift for my long shooter and yes, a calm wind s almost necessary but with the right load, you can park in someone’s ear at 750 yds.

          While on the curve, I did go thru a barrel but I think I have a good powder, bullet combo established now. My shooting friends and foes for that matter are respectful of the little gun. At 3,900 fps, it will spray deadly gases thru ceramics and in to the chest cavity. Saw t done and tried it myself although the ceramic material was old and substandard.

        • John Phelps May 2, 2019, 7:51 am

          Then you must be in the military. Communist citizens according to their governments aren’t intelligent enough to carry weapons therefore they’re not allowed to.

    • Odd Questioner February 16, 2015, 1:33 am

      The solution is easy: leave California. ;)

    • Luke July 15, 2015, 12:10 am

      Ares SCR.

    • john August 18, 2015, 8:35 pm

      Do what I did thirty years ago, move to a gun friendly state.

    • john February 23, 2016, 2:09 pm

      Oust your liberal democrats and replace them with conservative republicans

      • axelsteve June 23, 2019, 11:48 am

        Weatherby moved from southern Komradfornia to Montana.

  • Raffi December 19, 2007, 10:42 am

    I like this list. I have many of these and have subed a few of the others. Someday a .50 will fall into my lap but until then I’ll make due with my .300 winmag for the long range stuff. Get what you can and pratice as much as you can. old school vet.

    • JAMES WYATT September 6, 2014, 12:01 am

      Rem. 700 .300 Win. Mag. , very nicely scoped; that the long range ticket currently. No, haven’t access to a range over 200 yards so no skill honed for 600-800 yard shots . . . but . . .

      • Cheef December 22, 2017, 11:35 am

        Use my .300 for consistent 300 yd shots will go further but let it get on you first.

    • JAMES ALLEN WYATT, JR. September 6, 2014, 12:13 am

      Rem. 700 .300 Win. Mag. , very nicely scoped; that the long range ticket currently. No, haven’t access to a range over 200 yards so no skill honed for 600-800 yard shots . . . but . . .

      The .22 L.R. in Ruger or Marlin nicely fills the nitch.

      The ParaOrd. 45 acp as ‘backup’ and ‘under my pillow’ auto . . . . to the primary “always wearing and always worn’ concealed S&W M4506 & companion S&W M1006. Why these S&Ws? They fit the hand and point nicely from waist level and put their bullets where I’m targeting . . . and also they have been a constant ‘wear concealed’ sidearm since S&W placed them on the market, and that was a long time ago . . . and with them I finally followed the advice of my favorite custom hunting rifle builder and gunsmith, my Dear, Dear Dad who I have especially missed most ever day over the 50 years he had been gone.; his admonishment being, Son, stop fooling around; pick and handgun ‘that fits’ and live with it to the exclusion of all others!!!

  • ryan December 21, 2007, 4:29 am

    The .50 cal is awesome if you have a huge budget and an already full gun safe. I think the overall top 9 is right on, order is somewhat open to personal opinions. I have a hard time thinking a compact 9mm is more useful (and thus higher on the list) then a full sized .45 1911. I disagree that it takes 800 bucks to get a good one. I own a Springfield Mil spec (535 dollars last summer) and it has never jammed. Maybe a few folks can outshoot that gun but most can’t. Its big advantage of the 9 is itscompactness and in a SHTF type situation open carry would rapidly become the norm. If you really want to shoot alot get a .22 pistol to go with the 10/22.

    I think the scoped rifle is important even if you are not a truely phenomenal shot (trained military sniper/ Camp Murry competitor etc). Almost anyone is going to shoot more accurately at longer distances with a scoped bolt gun then an assault/battle rifle. Better optics and a more stable reciever.

    I know the Ar-15 being number one on this has brought the survival blogosphere into a stir. I think we all need to take things with a grain of salt and avoid personal attacks. A diehard .308 battle rifle type survivalist has much more in common with a ,303 enfield carrying survivalist then he does with 95% of the population, same goes with a 1911 .45 type guy with a .9mm or .357 magnum character. Lets read eachothers stuff and have lively debates but avoid personal attacks and try to learn from each other. I think we all probably know atleast one thing that the next guy doesn’t and visa versa.

    merry christmas

    • Peter September 4, 2016, 1:15 pm

      I have been using a 220 swift for my long shooter and yes, a calm wind s almost necessary but with the right load, you can park in someone’s ear at 750 yds.

    • Peter September 4, 2016, 1:22 pm

      As far as fun but expensive, the .338 Lapua Magnum was always a treat to fire. I could almost swear sometimes it acts like the bullet has guidance.

  • Dragon February 9, 2008, 1:57 am

    My carry weapon at camp is the …Ready…Amd 64 side folder with the short mag.
    in my neck of the woods ak ammo is plentiful and cheap.
    Years back I picked up a forged receiver SKS for 75 bucks.
    and I can shoot it as far as my Mauser 98.
    but my favorite and first gun was a enfield jungle carbine in 303.

  • ouchstop February 15, 2008, 11:07 pm

    I like your blog and your top ten. Although most or all of us have variations of the top ten, I enjoy reading someone elses view point. For my two cents, the Ruger 10/22 is indespensible and seriously under rated, the Remington 870 is a must. A couple of other options, the Ruger mini 14 is a compromise between the AK 47 and the AR 15. Here in Missouri a Marlin or Winchester 30-30 is considered a definite top tenner. One last, the Smith & Wesson 38 special is the Ak47 of handguns. You can’t break it, it won’t jam, you can bury it in the mud, pull it out months later and fire the rounds in it, and if you hand it to your daughter all she has to know is point it and squeeze the trigger.

    • Peter September 4, 2016, 1:27 pm

      I dunno, my old 1911 has been mudded, droppped, run over after falling through a hole in the truck bed and the finish is gone but I clean it well and it will still get the bullet close enough to be a winner. Tough gun, I have enjoyed the years of shooting pleasure it has given and she’s gettin’ pretty long in the tooth.

    • Kevin May 22, 2017, 12:04 am


      As another fellow Missourian, I couldn’t agree more. 10/22 (cheap and available rounds for food and light battle) ANY 12ga shotgun (they spray and the knock down power is undeniable, with plenty of load combinations possible, from birdshot to 00 buck, to slugs for hunting) and then the tried and true AK and all it’s variants. You cannot deny it’s battle proven reliability and ammo is becoming more and more available with all the cheap steel cased stuff flooding the market. Any 357 revolver because of the knock down power of the 357 with the availability to shoot 38 special loads. And then ol’e 30-30, everyone in the Midwest has one. At one time there were more deer taken with the 30-30 cartridge than any other in North America, so you KNOW you will be able to find ammo and within 100 yrds, the cartridge is undeniably devastating. Region has a bit to do with what you own, and reliability and availability is everything. Let’s face it, if the shit were REALLY to hit the fan, I doubt ANY of us would have the time, or the mental capacity to reload. We would all be focused on defending our property and families. Just my 2 cents

  • Flintlock March 6, 2008, 6:12 pm

    A precision .22 is a must–I love my 10/22 dearly, BUT my 77/22 with scope is a LOT more accurate. It is also fairly quiet with Remington Subsonic Hollowpoints and will use the same magazine.

  • Anonymous March 18, 2008, 3:43 am

    One superb caliber overlooked here is the .17HMR. Highly accurate with a rated zero drop out to 100 yards. With a decent scope you can easily hit the same hole at 50 yards. It does well in windy conditions and is deadly for varmint hunting. I carries a pretty good wallop compared to the 22. Although ammo does cost, around $12 per 50 rounds, it is well worth it. The rifle itself will set you back $250-$300 for a quality bolt action. Savage Arms with an accu-trigger is a good choice. It may not be high capacity (7+1) but who needs that with such accuracy.

    • Chuck Findlay October 4, 2014, 3:57 am

      I’m always looking for new toys and I looked at the 17-HMR but decided it gave me nothing new that the 22-Mag I already have can do.

      I also have a 17-Remington handgun and it spits out a 25 grain bullet at 3,550 FPS. It’s one of my favorite guns. And I can reload the 17-Rem for less then the 17-HMR.

  • wally March 27, 2008, 10:32 pm

    OORAH! for the old trusty 22!!!! one of the
    best all around plinker rifles you can get.

    every aresnal should have one, if you don’t
    your just not thinking straight…

    keep yourpower dry man…


  • Dale April 11, 2008, 7:58 am

    Great site! Like most of your choices. My personal armory includes; AR-15/M-4 clone, Mossberg 500 12ga with riot barrel, Springfield XD-.45 semiauto pistol, S&W 686 .357 Revolver, Walther P-22 .22LR semiauto pistol, and a Mossberg Plinkster .22 semiauto riflle. I’m still looking for a bolt action .308 or .270 with scope for reaching out to touch someone. Also considering picking up 2 or 3 inexpensive SKS’s for ITSHTF since most in my influence group have their heads in the sand but will be knocking on my door for some firepower when the time comes. Keep your head down!

    • Anonymous February 1, 2015, 11:17 pm

      Skip the SKS’s go with the AK. Better all around.

      • William Halford July 20, 2016, 10:04 pm

        I’ve had absolutely no problems with my SKS.I have friends with them who have had no problems with them as well.

        The SKS costs less and is supposedly more accurate. I’ve hit things with my SKS that I tend to have more trouble hitting with other guns.

  • CK April 18, 2008, 3:20 pm

    Love the site Rangerman!!!!

    I own a SOCOM 1 and love it – semi auto .308 with 20 round mags!!!! Also have a G23 side piece and the venerable Remington 870 pump with mag extension!!! I bought a Norinco built SKS for 90 bucks way back in the early 90’s, made it US compliant and put it in a Tapco adjustable stock with the folding bi-pod and 30 round mags…..I like it very much too. Again, really enjoy your site and the information herein! Keep up the good work!

    Rangers lead the way!

  • California Legal AR April 22, 2008, 2:00 am

    Arty or anyone else in California. Visit to learn more info about owning a california legal ar. Trust me you won’t regret it.

  • R-Man June 28, 2008, 1:15 am

    I fashion myself as something of a survivalist. I own most of the guns on your list, but not all.

    Now that 2008 has resulted in an extraordinary price hike in ammunition costs, I have to say that the plinker is stuck with .22 LR and 7.62 X 39 mm. That makes my AKM and SKS all that much more desirable.

    Like you, I’m sure, I have a stock of ammo: .223 Wolf and Lake City, 7.62 NATO Lake City, 30-06 corrosive 1954 Korean, 7.62 X 39 mm Wolf Classic and Black Box, .45 cal. White Box and Remington Golden Sabers, 9 mm FMJ. In quantity.

    So the best SHTF gun(s) fire the ammo you have in stock with the gun(s) you have in stock. Multiple guns mean you can arm your friends and neighbors.

    Number 10: Remington 742 Woodmaster.
    This rifle has a four round magazine firing 30-06 with a 9x scope. This is the sniper rifle for the average survivalist. Hits close groups at 100 yards, which is the longest range that my gun club has.

    Advantages: Knock down power that kills anything.

    Disadvantages: Ammo is very pricey. The old surplus Korean stuff requires careful inspection and the barrel must be meticulously cleaned after use. A BAR is a better rifle, but not much.

    Number 9: .223 Remington Bushmaster M17S Bullpup rifle.

    Uses the ubiquitous .223 Remington round. Has a 16” barrel in a short, compact system. Great for home invaders. Very rare rifle. Much preferred is the S-2000 or Steyr AUG. I don’t own those rifles. I like the S-2000 over the other bullpups. If I owned it, the S-2000 rifle would take a higher score.

    Advantages: short length for home defense.
    Disadvantages: Jams. When at the range one must check the action and ejection port after every round fired.

    Number 8: Yugo SKS

    I’ve read that the Russian SKS is of better quality with a SS barrel. However, I only own a Yugo with the muzzle break and bayonet ($400).

    Great blond furniture and looks great. I mean it looks great. Beautiful rifle firing the 7.62 X 39 mm AK-47 round. This is my new range rifle due to the high cost of ammo. Described in “Boston’s Gun Bible” as a “great trunk rifle.” ‘Nuff said

    Advantages: Plenty of cheap ammunition on 10-round stripper clips.

    Disadvantages: 5” MOA. Poor site with Russian-only optical improvements.

    Number 7: AKM (semi-automatic AK-47)

    Mine is a stamped receiver AKM. It’s a toss-up between this 16” bbl AK and the Yugo SKS with a 20” bbl. I give the nod to the AKM because there are so many adherents on the web. Heaven forbid I select the beautiful Yugo SKS over the butt ugly AKM black rifle.

    The edge is really due to the 30-round mag on the AKM, which are cheap and plentiful. I’ve got a ton of them.

    Advantages: Plenty of cheap ammo in cheap 30-round mags. Scary looking with a scary sounding bolt slide.

    Disadvantages: Accurate as an Iraqi.

    Number 6: Glock 30 double stack .45 cal. Compact pistol

    This is one of two .45’s that I carry. It has a short bbl, but the Glock is also listed in “Boston’s Gun Bible” as a preferred hand gun. The Glock is the simplest gun to strip and clean and fire. Once you’ve owned a Glock, you will buy more. I’ve got three and I’m looking for an excuse to buy more.

    Advantages: It’s a Glock in .45. I may not have ever shot somebody with a Remington Golden Saber .45, but if I do, they are going down. Standard square white site is the best I’ve seen. Good for carry. G21 mags fit. The standard mag is 10-round. After market mags have the pinkie grip.

    Disadvantages: Short barrel.

    Number 5: Glock 17-L 9 mm long bbl match gun
    This is the only gun I have ever hit bull with the first shot. The long bbl is a great advantage when distance is necessary. Mine is second gen, so it has no Picatiny Rail. But who cares? It fits in a standard G17 holster, which leaves a lot of options for carry, including shoulder rig.

    Advantages: Very accurate pistol.

    Disadvantages: 9 mm is a pussy round.

    Number 4: Glock 21 .45 cal. Full-sized pistol (1911 substitute)

    Tough to carry concealed because of its size, but rugged as hell. With Trijicon night sites this is the ultimate home defense pistol. Oil? Optional. It’s the AK-47 of the handgun world. Simplicity of design makes the G21 the big pistol of choice. I’ve got the Fobus paddle holster and Blackwater belt holster with trigger finger release. It fits in any tactical holster. This hand gun may not be right for Zombies; too big, too loud, too much. But it is the one hand gun I would most want to be carrying if the shit hits the fan.

    Advantages: Long bbl, plentiful high caliber round, good site picture, stopping power.

    Disadvantages: The Glock Model 21? No. None. Get one.

    Number 3: ????????????

    This was a tough one. I’m down to my favorite and secondary. If you have to have a favorite and a backup, non-hand gun, what would you leave at home? SHTF is a very non-specific situation.

    I’m down to three weapons; the AR-15 , the FN FAL .308 metric and the FN Police Shotgun 12 GA. Shit.

    I have to make the Fabrique National FAL the number three gun. I love the thing ($650). It’s reliable and fires a big caliber. The .308, 7.62 X 51 mm NATO is one hell of a round, but it’s heavy. There is no Blackhawk or Blackwater assault vest made for the .308. Sorry, too bad. You have to get a suspension harness and clip-on ammo pouches to construct a half-assed ammo/assault vest for a .308 rifle.

    Why FAL over the Springfield Arms M1A or the Rock River Arms LAR-8? Because I own an FN FAL and I don’t own a notoriously expensive M1A or reasonably priced RRA LAR-8 in 20” bbl. (bet which one I buy next?)

    I liked the FAL in metric pattern over the L1A1 or L1A2 inch pattern. I scoped the FAL and it is very accurate. It’s a nine pound rifle like the M1A and LAR-8.

    Based on my criteria, neither the M1A or the L1A2 or the LAR-8/AR-10 would have placed better on the list. The .308 round is going for $1.00 minimum each these days (see 7.62 X 39 at $0.19 per round).

    Sorry, but the .308 is a waste for Zombies. It’s also a waste for AQI unless you’re supplied by the US Army, Marines or SpecOps.

    Advantages: Big caliber, accurate, pick ‘um FAL, M1A, LAR-8.

    Disadvantages: The ammo has become too expensive and it’s too heavy to carry in quantity. I have stores of Lake City, but the rifles have become too expensive also. The Springfield Arms is outrageous at $1,300 to $1,850 plus tax. The RRA LAR-8 is not too bad at $1,200, but fuck… I bought my Remington 742 for $350 with a scope and sling. It may not have a high-cap mag, but it will remove your head from your shoulders and drop any game in North America with one shot (other than a Grizzly and maybe a bull moose.)

    Number 2: FN 12 GA Police Shotgun

    Is there someone with a survivalist mentality that doesn’t own a 12 GA shotgun? A Remington 870 or some other pump-action? No. The answer is no. We all own a 12 gauge. Mine is tricked out with a reflex holograph “scope” and flashlights. It looks ridiculous, but I can strip it down to stock in less than a minute.

    With a pistol grip and a long cylinder magazine, this bad boy can take out the worst looter in the worst way. I’ve got a stack of 00 buckshot to do the job. This could, would be the number one gun but for one reason; it doesn’t hold enough rounds. Plus, it kicks like a mule.

    The beauty about a 12 GA shotgun is it doesn’t take much maintenance. Drag a bore snake through the bbl and you’re good to go. The fire power of a 12 GA is unsurpassable. Aim and shoot.

    Advantages: Buy ammo at Wally World. Right off the shelf for bird shot. Top notch weapon for $650. Probably the most deadly for the uninitiated rifleman.

    Disadvantages: Not for pussies or women or little kids. The thing is a cannon, so arm yourself appropriately.

    Number One: You know. The M16/AR-15 .223 Remington 5.56 X 45 mm

    Mine is a Double Star AR-15 semi-automatic .223 rifle ($1,000). It has only jammed twice, both due to black followers. Similar problem with FAL. Bad mags make for bad rifles. My Remington 742 Woodmaster also had a “failure to feed, failure to fire” due to bad extraction.
    With decent ammo and a good green follower magazine the AR-15 is a very reliable rifle. What does it take to kill a hundred Zombies? Marksmanship, ammo, carried ammo. Marksmanship is my problem, ammo is also my problem, but carried ammo is Blackhawk’s problem. And Blackwater’s. They sell the vests that allow me to carry 12 30-round magazines. The ballistics of the .223 are fine. The round will generally fragment and “puff” after it hits. A tumbling .223 round will kill anyone. It may not kill a hopped-up AQI with the first round, but that’s just because a hopped-up AQI drug addict doesn’t know he’s been shot.

    Mine has a carry handle 4X scope. The rifle has a flat top weaver rail, so I could make it much more accurate by mounting the scope on rings. Doesn’t matter much, it hits fine at 100 yards. Good enough for Zombies and al Qaida in the neighborhood.

    Advantages: Light weight at 7 pounds. Can carry 400 rounds of ammo in readily available assault vest. Lots of optic options available. Bad ass Black Rifle.

    Disadvantages: Shitty magazines on-line. Price of ammo has gone up to $.50 per round.

    • lance February 20, 2015, 11:40 pm

      Why the heck would you buy a rifle you have to check for jams every round fired.

      • Wordmahn July 25, 2017, 4:22 pm

        Exactly. Buy a quality AR, feed it good quality ammo, and perform reasonably maintenance. Done.

        I own everything on the list except the Barret. I can put 1 1/2 times as many rounds on target per unit time with my AR over my AK and place twice as many rounds accurately with my AR over any of the four .308 semi-auto rifles I own. My AK IS very reliable, as is my AK-based Galil ARM in .308 and my superbly reliable HK91 with its bomb proof delayed roller block action.

        But those other weapons are pigs to carry around, and none of them allow me to recover from recoil as fast and put rounds on target with near the speed as my light and handy little M4-geries. They require a little more attention to maintenance, but I’ll have plenty of time for cleaning and lubrication while the other guys are taking dirt naps.

    • Anonymous December 18, 2015, 4:33 am

      I agree the 12 gauge is for some big burly guys like me not some pussies or twigs that will push them of there feet.

      • Buzzard March 10, 2016, 2:43 am

        Morgan Craft is favored to take the gold in this Olympic Skeet competition. She has won numerous national as well as international skeet shooting competitions. She began competing internationally at age 14.

        She is 5’5″ and less than 130 pounds.

        But, as has been said here several times in this thread, everyone knows small women and kids cant shoot shotguns.

        • Anonymous August 2, 2016, 10:51 pm

          Ah you are wrong about women not being able to shoot a shotgun. I weigh a hundred pounds and shoot it quite nicely thank you.

          • alfred uhrich August 8, 2016, 9:29 pm

            Good for you

  • June 28, 2008, 10:18 am

    Something in the following:

    .22LR, 12 gauge, then a 30-30 or 308 or 30-06


    • Doug March 21, 2015, 1:48 am

      Agreed, a good combination for game or defense.

  • Weltregierung. July 15, 2008, 4:17 am

    An AK47 for oneself, 3 SKS to arm Friends when needed – and a Ruger 10/22 plus 2 other cheapo .22 weapons.

    my 02$.

    – Cheersregierung.

  • Hunter July 29, 2008, 8:15 pm

    22LR for shooting varmits.30-30 Winchester model 94 with Williams receiver peep sight, 308 Winchester and 30-06 bolt actions for hunting deer, elk and bear. 45 colt single action vaquero stainless for hunting the backcountry on horseback. 9mm Steyr M9 with 3, 14 round large capacity magazines for traveling. Im a former cop so I try to be prepared. I also have the 30-30 in the trunk with ammo belt with 25 rounds ready to grab and a extra box of ammo for the rifle and pistol in a ammo box. Remington 870 with two different barrels 21″ for slugs or buckshot and the standard field barrel for bird hunting

  • Daniel September 13, 2008, 3:08 pm

    Whoever wrote this list knows nothing about firearms. I have been shooting for many years in basically every caliber and weapon configuration…

    #1 is ridiculous… and personally the AK wins the #1 spot. No AK has jammed on me (ever), and I have shot a lot of 7.62x39mm in my life. And i have always hit my target dead on up to decent distances!

    Oh, and they are not called clips, a clip is something you use to hold two papers together! Magazine is more like it ; )

    • What'sYourTopTen June 21, 2015, 6:18 pm

      I know this is a 7 year old article, but I wanted to leave a comment anyway.

      When correcting someone, or when one is simply attempting to show they are smarter than others, one must make sure they actually know what they are talking about.

      Although “clips” do sometimes hold pages of paper together, they are also used in firearms.

      First one that comes to mind is a favorite of mine and one that changed the course of WWII. The venerable M1 Garand. Which is “Clip” fed.

      I never correct anyone online unless it is to correct someone that is attempting to correct someone else and fails. I don’t claim to know everything, in fact after 35 years of collecting, shooting and repairing guns, I am still learning.

      But here is a general rule of thumb: Magazine are bottom fed, Clips are top fed. And please, someone correct me if I am wrong.

      I know a lot of people use the term “clip” to refer to a magazine. I hear it everyday. I just let it go, I do not correct them or make fun of them for not knowing the difference. I know what they mean and what difference does it really make.

      Anyway, I like the article although I don’t agree with his list. My list, for what is worth, will be posted later.

      • Anonymous October 18, 2015, 11:29 pm

        You are wrong!! Bren machine gun is top fed with a magazine! It’s ok for a general rule though.

        • Glenn February 9, 2017, 5:22 pm

          Ya’ll are both wrong. The magazines, clips, etc. are cartridge holders/containers. HA!

  • Phil September 23, 2008, 7:44 pm

    How about a Top Three Guns list? I’d bring my Savage bolt-action .17 HMR for harvesting critter meat, my H&K USP .40 pistolo for up close and personal action, and my Bulgarian SLR-95 AK clone for zombie thumping out to about 150 meters.

  • regimekiller September 24, 2008, 9:33 pm

    i like your list i see all of your points and might agree with the ak loyalists but i wont argue your logic

    what i really want to mention is another sub to consider i personally would pick a mossberg 590 12g for the shotgun.
    its very reliable tank like in construction and *big smile* has a bayonet mount. a shotgun with a bayonet mount really does it for me

  • CountryTek October 3, 2008, 12:07 pm

    No arguments from me – especially since I have zero experience in the AK/SKS realm. Grew up with a Winchester ’94, so the .30-30 “lite” AK/SKS round has always interested me. Just haven’t laid my grubbies on one, yet.

    Since I was born left-handed, I favor either the Ithaca M-37 or Browning BPS shotguns. (Both bottom ejectors.)

    Yeah, you can fire a Mossberg or Winchester left-handed, but that 12-gauge hull whipping through your vision is distracting and sometimes throws hot powder residue your way. You can get a cheap knock off of the M-37 from Norinco, but don’t do it! Spend twice the money and get the real deal. Chinese steel is sh1t, and their quality-control sucks eggs.

    For those who wonder, the M-37 was a John Browning design — and the BPS is an update on that design.

    M-37 Deerslayer IIs can be picked up as police surplus from time-to-time, as they were very popular, but are being replaced with Mossbergs and Remingtons. With the current financial difficulties, that source will probably dry up for quite a while, as new department issue weapons are usually the first budget item to go — right after training ammo. Both are pities — especially the training ammo. You want the people who pack the badges to be able to hit what they aim at.

    I have a weak spot for the M-1A as I know I hit what I aim at with that weapon. But, I’ll probably wind up with an FAL or LAR-8, as the price differential means more ammo and mags.

    Right now, my rifle is the do-it-all auld Brit. Yeah, it’s old. It’s ugly. It’s antiquated. It’s also the fastest turnbolt out there. The .303 British falls in between the .308 and ’06 in power. It packs a 10-round box magazine and you can pick up chargers for it for a buck apiece. (We call ’em “stripper clips” this side of the pond.) Like the SKS, you were never meant to drop the box — you’re supposed to re-fill it from the chargers. I keep two spare mags just in case I go senile and drop the box someday. Mine had its barrel (and bayonet lug) bobbed and the stock re-worked by Holland & Holland. Loss of the lug doesn’t bother me at all — the Spirit of the Bayonet no longer lives in me. If I’m dry and being charged by a Zombie — that’s what a pistol is for, right? Did I mention that the .303 was originally a black powder round? Not a bad thing if TEOTWAWKI lasts more than a few months . . . But by the time I run out of smokeless powder, it’ll be up to my sons to come up with a powder recipe. I’ll be beyond combat by then. (Yep! That’ll be me . . . Sitting in the rocking chair with a pump gun across my lap.) =;o))

    If I had deep pockets, I’d have one of those Barrett 50s – along with a couple gun safes full of a variety of black rifles – but my pockets seem to be getting shallower by the day. Got my pump, got my Brit, got my .22 — next up is one of them handgun thingies. Just call me “Quigley” – I just don’t have much use for ’em. They serve a valuable purpose, but they’re just not my favorite arms.

    I’m thinking Glock. May be contrary and get the 20 – just because everyone says not to. I’m not expecting any Friendly G.I. Fairies to gift me with truckloads of ammo, and I live in bear country. I got big hands and learned how to shoot combat with a S&W M-29, so I think I can handle the recoil of the 10mm. I’d be happier if Beretta would do their Cougar or PX4 in 10mm, but they don’t, so it looks like Glock.


  • Kyro October 30, 2008, 11:32 pm

    You left out FALs… lots are still available in the U.S. for under $700 and many with chrome-lined bores/chambers.

    Obsene amounts of metric mags and parts floating around in the states too. Adjustable gas-system (all you need is thumb-and forefinger) can make it fire in the most extreme cold (close gas off for this) or if you’re in the extreme heat and your loads are a little “hot” (open the gas up a bit to bleed off excess).

    Infantryman accurate, and on-the-fly slide rear diopter aperature can go from 200m to 600m range in about a second (and it actually WORKS well on any setting).

    Tough as nails. Highly customizable. Ergonomic. Great balance. Right arm of the free world.

    FAL baby… FAL.

  • Kyro October 30, 2008, 11:34 pm


  • Marty November 7, 2008, 4:40 pm

    I just bought a Beretta CX4 for this reason. 9mm is compatible with pistols, too. One of my .22’s is the unique AR-7, easy to store, and it floats, too! A couple of rifles, a few pistols, lots of ammo and a shortwave radio.

  • THE SHINDIGS... November 11, 2008, 9:19 am



    • Anonymous August 4, 2015, 12:01 pm

      The m14 is the world’s most expensive plinking rifle not a battle rifle.

      • Ray June 27, 2017, 11:12 am

        The AR-15 is not now; AND NEVER WAS, a “battle rifle”. It is at best a sporting carbine. Same as the Mini-14. Both of them are equally worthless as “survival rifles”.

        • Joe October 14, 2019, 3:28 am

          The AR-15 is worthless as a survival rifle?? Really? It’s lightweight, has cheap ammo, fairly long range and good knockdown power (in a SHTF environment a wound with a 223 or 5.56 pretty much equals a death). Yes, my top 4 would be the following but not in any specific order as I’d have all 4: 22 semi auto rifle, AR-15, 12 gauge pump and a 16 shot 9mm handgun with about a 4-6 in barrel.

  • 9mm Fan November 25, 2008, 12:11 pm

    Any one who think 9mm is a pussy round please stand in front of one.

    Shot placement is always key!

  • SurvivalFreak December 5, 2008, 5:28 pm

    ACP…. Automatic CHAMBERING pistol.

  • Dawg December 20, 2008, 10:37 pm

    I would have to pick the MIA as #1. The ability to shoot far and through heavy brush makes it a very good SHTF weapon. The ammo is heavy, but I’d take the beating to have this rifle.

    • Ray June 27, 2017, 11:17 am

      More “Springfield Armory INC.” M1A rifles have blown up at the range(103 at last count) than all “low number” 1903 Springfield’s combined(68). Springfield Armory has gone to great expense to hide this from shooters.

  • Chip Morgan July 16, 2010, 8:41 pm

    Ranger man, I agree with your choices. I am a former combat Marine from the Vietnam era. I have a Bushmaster M-4, with SS-109 ammo, a Colt 1911 with 10 round magazines, and a Glock 30SF for concealed carry.
    I guess I am fairly well prepared.

  • Anonymous August 5, 2010, 10:16 pm

    Rem 870 12 ga. mag
    Win 20 ga. single shot youth model (my first gun, ca. 1974)
    Ruger Ranch Rifle Stainless/Composite .223
    Marlin Model 60 .22 LR
    Kel Tec Sub2000 9mm carbine
    Glock 19 9mm (shares mags and ammo w/Kel Tec)
    Ruger P89DC 9mm
    Ruger PC9 9mm carbine (shares mags and ammo with Ruger P89)
    1954 Colt Huntsman .22 Auto Pistol
    Ruger Mark III Hunter .22 Auto Pistol Stainless/Crimson Trace Lazer Grips

    I have stocked up on ammo for all of the above (ridiculous amounts, in some cases) to the point that I can’t justify any more purchases, and am looking into handloading/reloads for looonnggg after SHTF. All I am wishing for on the “additional firearms” side is a decent bolt-action long ranger for distance work, and I believe I am set to go. Or perhaps a decent scope for the Ranch Rifle instead.

  • Dragunov August 12, 2010, 2:58 pm

    I agree with the AR as #1 period.
    My list:

    1 AR15.
    2 SKS (Sorry, I own two… Best thing since swiss cheese).
    3 AK47/74 (‘Nuff Sed).
    4 .22lr Semi Auto. Not just Ruger. Marlin makes good ones too.
    5 Saiga 12ga/Remy or Mossy.
    6 Any .30+ cal handgun that goes BANG! is a must.
    7 Any good .30+ cal Lever action. How could you forget that!
    8 Bolt Act. .30-06 or 7.62X51/54r with good glass.
    9 SU-16. Folds up in your pack.
    10 AR10 $$$$ though.

  • Patrick August 17, 2010, 9:13 pm

    I’d totally re-do that list. In a situation where you need to solve problems with bullets, most of those are bad ideas. 7-9 rounds of .45 in a 1911 will get you killed. 1911’s definitely speak “Bad ass”, but dead Bad ass is dead Bad Ass. Get something more reliable. Sigs, HK’s, Glocks, M&P’s are all good choices. I’d ditch the .22 caliber entirely. 9mm’s are FINE. It’s all about shot placement, not size of the bullet. .50’s are either anti-material, or just for show. No real practical use. And a PROPERLY maintained AR 15 is JUST AS RELIABLE as an AK. Especially with piston AR’s nowadays (LWRC comes to mind).

    So, here’s MY list, with a little explaination.

    1. AR 15 (preferably 6.8 SPC, if stockpiled correctly, but 5.56 is fine)
    2. Remington 870. Stupid simple. Very common.
    3. Sig Sauer P226, in 9mm. More bullets per mag than the .40, still effective. Reliable as all get out. I’m also a fan of Sigs. ‘Nuff said.
    4. Glock 19. Same reasons as above, but it’s cheaper.
    5. Remington 700 in .308/7mm/7mm 08/.300 win mag, or, if you lucky enough to own, .338 Lapua. Very reliable (Yes, even bolt actions jam.) Cheap, and accurate for the price.
    6. AK series. Preferably SBR’d, with the Bulgy triangle stock. Small, reliable, stupid simple, and effective. Stash one under your car seat, with a few hundred rounds of ammo, and forget about it.
    7. Saiga 12 gauge. Can’t go wrong, but it causes itchy trigger finger syndrome. Handle cautiously.
    8. MP5 in 10mm. Stockpile ammo correctly, and it’s your best vehicle based friend. In the hotter loads, it rivals the .357 mag. Still manageable. And far more maneuverable inside a vehicle than an AR 15, even SBR’d. Make sure you get the Surefire lighted fore end.
    9. Mark 23 for those of you who still “need” a .45. Big, bulky, and heavy, but it’s stupidly accurate, easy shooting, and reliable. (You can see where my guns list is going)
    10. M240. Definitely hard to get as a civilian, but nothing says “DON’T fuck with me” like belt fed, full auto, 7.62×51.

    • John September 28, 2010, 6:41 pm

      Stash an AK under your seat with a couple hundred rounds? good luck fitting all that under you car seat.

      • Patrick September 28, 2010, 9:52 pm

        M70 Krinkov in 5.45×39.5 with the Yugo underfolding stock under the driver’s seat. A tin of 1,050 rounds under the passenger. Not difficult. I can fit those under the seats of an ’83 El Camino, it’ll fit under others. I’ve done it to test the theory. And it fits. The tin of ammo also fits in the under-seat drawer of a ‘2000 Blazer, and fits with lots of room for extra gear under the back seat of a 2006 Dodge Ram 1500 Crew Cab. The only difficult part is stashing the magazines. And that’s not difficult either.

    • James T Kirk April 9, 2015, 3:46 am

      Your GD fool, please tell me you are just a kid that likes playing shoot em’ ups.

      • MyTopTen June 21, 2015, 6:58 pm

        LOL, I love it!!!

        While I was reading his list I was think the same thing.

        Figured this guy reads a lot, shoots very little and dreams very big.

        He does have a nice car though, 83 Camino, nice. I had a 78.

      • Joe October 14, 2019, 6:20 am

        I think I am the one responding to the fool….you….

        His top three list (AR, pump shotgun and 9 mm) are all in my top 4 list but I have added a 22 in there. AR for zero to 200+ yds, shotgun for around home, a 17 shot 9mm for travel and 22 rifle for small to medium game and 100 yd generalized “silent killing”

    • JohnG July 20, 2016, 10:26 am

      My prepper gun list:

      1) AK-47 (I have a VEPR with a nice red dot). Mags are cheap, ammo is cheap and plentiful, and this gun is SO RELIABLE. I like the AR platform, but every time you say things like “Properly maintained AR is just as reliable as…” I think you are dead. It is a mistake to assume that you’d even have cleaning tools and supplies. Safer to assume you won’t have these and carry a gun that shoots.

      2) 22LR rifle for small game hunting. I don’t have one yet. 22LR ammo is plentiful and cheap. Would not be hard to stockpile 10,000 rounds.

      3) Sig P226 9MM pistol with 20 round mags. Firepower in your holster, and 9MM ammo would be plentiful even after SHTF. I own this already.

      4) Smith and Wesson 686 (7 shot) or TRR8 (8 shot) in .357 Mag. These guns also take 38 special. Ammo flexibility here. The TRR8 is on my wish list. Completely reliable.

      5) 12 GA shotgun. Most here are advocating pump actions, but I’ll take a Saiga 12 with the Kushnapup bullpup conversion. Short and fast. 12 round magazine, semi-auto. Perfect for crowd control, and you can reload in seconds. Reliable (if built correctly to begin with) as an AK-47. I may acquire 2-3 additional pump action shotguns as backups and to arm friends. Saiga is on the wish list.

      That’s it for me. My choices are mainly based on:

      * Ammo availability
      * Reliability
      * Portability

      With the exception of the Kushnapup, all of these guns are affordable. I’ll likely drop $3K on a fully customized Kushnapup tho.

  • Thomas August 27, 2010, 11:09 pm

    My list is shrt Fellas:

    1) M-14/ M1A
    2) 1911 .45 ACP
    3) M-1 Gerand
    4 Barrett M468
    5) Mossberg 590 in 12
    6)M1 carbine (own oine)
    7) Savage Mo. 954 in .22 own one

  • Oscar Cannington September 10, 2010, 9:53 am

    S&W 686 Stainless steel .357 Magnum revolver
    Marlin 1894 .357 Magnum lever-action rifle
    S&W 617 Stainless steel 10-shot .22 LR revolver
    Marlin 39A .22 LR lever-action rifle

  • Michael September 20, 2010, 12:59 am

    I am middle aged and in my younger years I owned the SKS’s and such but over time I began to see them for what they were and sold them all. To me if faced with a SHTF situation the “plan” is more important than all the fancy military style guns on the market. Throughout history many nations have risen and fallen and one thing stands out. The meek and humble are always the ones that survive and start anew.
    I went a different route. I bought two inexpensive Marlin 270 winchester rifles. The 270 is a common caliber available anywhere and shoots flat enough to 300 yards to drop anything inside the lower 48. Also doubles as a cheap sniper rifle if all else fails.
    For defense I bought a Marlin 1894C rifle in .357 magnum and topped it off with a 4x Burris scope. A better urban defense gun for the “defensive” minded person would be hard to find. I also have a revolver of the same caliber. (purchase speedloaders) I purchased all the critical spare parts I might need in case something were to fail and can fix it at home. I can carry a ton of .357 ammo..
    For food gathering I have a Marlin semi auto .22lr and two single shot 20 gauges. The levergun, the .22 and the shotguns can be taken down and hidden inside a standard military style green duffle bag. A pump shotgun is a great choice for the person who can only own one gun but for me I prefer my single shots as that is what I was raised with since I was very young… A cheap box of bulk 20 gauge ammo from Walmart will go a long way towards putting food on the table…
    In these forums I see way too much attention paid to the fancy military style weapons rather than how your going to eat, sleep and travel. I plan to avoid all conflict unless forced into it. I’m too old for running gun battles. In the forest I would much rather be the hunted than the hunter. I know how to hide.

    • Steve August 9, 2011, 8:56 pm

      I have to differ on the comment about the meek and humble! Ask the Jews how that worked for them in WWII? Screw that, I will go down fighting.

  • dan September 24, 2010, 11:01 pm

    no gun is wurth a chit unless you can shoot it. i have a 1939 win. 410.. cut an bord to hold .45…a 22 lr no name. and a 357mag python…i live in a trailer. so i have a get out of town bag…ha ha…but when tha stuf hits the fan…i fill every man for him self, my wife is handycapped. so i’ll do for her. and my boy’s will help #2……hake to see it come thouth.

  • John September 28, 2010, 6:37 pm

    I’m a big fan of the Marlin 336 as a civilian defense rifle/survival tool. So was the late Jeff Cooper. Takes less practice to use and effectively maintain than an AR, it’s PC, and you don’t need to worry about low quality ammo failing to feed. My 336 can easily and accurately engage man-sized targets out past 200 yards with the factory sights, and I’m outta practice, too. Unfortunately, my gun(s) weren’t even on your list. Sad face.

    Gabe Suarez is actually making a video on the lever gun as an MBR. Might want to check that one out, then look at you list again. It would handily occupy the position of the AK.

  • AUSSIE October 21, 2010, 1:38 am

    Yawn, Yawn!! No thought put into this weapon selection at all! BORING BS!!

    • Anonymous June 5, 2011, 8:39 pm

      Well what excites you Aussie? Puking on the fender of your car after drinking too many fosters? Steve

  • TripoXL October 28, 2010, 11:28 pm

    It’s only boring BS because you have no guns left down there! Further, ACP stands for Automatic Colt Pistol. Even a completely American made, milled $1000 AK still only shoots 2-3 MOA, it is inherent to the design. The power of the 7.62×39 is only greater than the 5.56×45 out to about 150 yds, if you can hit it. The 2-3 MOA is only the inherent accuracy of the rifle, then you have to go with the ability of the shooter which usually means even less accuracy. I have my own range to 200 yards and shoot weekly or more and I still have to cope with the “use it or lose it” skills associated with shooting. If you do not shoot monthly (12 times a year 200+ rounds), you lost it. The M855 is actually the M885 62 grain FMJ ball ammo, but the MK262 is the way to go. For the reloaders, the Sierra 77gr HPBT WITH CANNELURE is the bullet used by the military and also what is loaded in the Black Hills ammo. The winner out of all of the above is the man with THE PLAN. The way to survive is to prepare and BE IN PLACE WHEN THE SHTF, period. Be prepared in every way that you can, in place, as well as have a brain and a plan, then worry about the firearms. If you want quality practice at the cheapest price then buy an S&W M&P 15-22 or (better IMO) buy a complete, dedicated, .22 LR upper (not a conversion) and you are actually using your real AR to practice with and it is more accurate than a conversion. Also, there seems to be, in some peoples minds, some confusion about SKSs and AKs. They are not related, other than cartridge, and a well made SKS is twice as accurate as an AK, or better. I have two detachable mag SKSs that function flawlessly and are true 200 yd rifles. As has been said, the gun you have is the best one. HOWEVER, if you have a chance to prepare, like you should all be doing (that Jarhead fella is right most people on here aren’t) then you could be acquiring these firearms in a non-panic way. Here is my list;
    1. AR-15 (M-4 style for weight or full 20″ for longer range)
    2/3. Depends on your needs; Ruger 10/22 and Mossberg Mdl 51663 or 51668 only (the only shotgun to ever pass Mil-spec 3443).
    4. Handgun, if you want a 9mm go for it, I have 3 but I carry a 1911
    5. M1A (standard model as the SOCOM II or 16 weighs more than the full size) OR as someone pointed out plenty of FN/FALs, OR even an SVD (Dragunov) although this would be yet another type of ammo to stock and BTW it is not an AK with a long barrel. While similar it is a significantly different rifle and very accurate.
    Quite frankly this is all the firearms I would have to HAVE, of course nothing is done right if not done to excess.
    6. SKSs for everybody. Buy a crate of them for friends that don’t have any, they’re cheap and so is the ammo (relatively). More hands with more guns, yea!
    7. Bolt .308 with 4.5x14x40 or better Mildot or TMR reticle scope, that you have actually practiced with. Go shoot some F-class matches.
    8. Some cheap .22 bolt actions for trade or barter
    9. .22 cal pistol with a can that also fits your 10/22 for SPECIAL USE
    10. Dedicated .22 AR upper (or M&P 15-22) with adapter for the can. It is accurate, you can use it to hunt with and the can makes for SPECIAL USE. You will need at least 30-40 mags per AR; 15-20 for the M1A/FN/FAL; 10 for the 10/22; 5 per each handgun; 200 stripper clips per SKS. This way you only need .223, .308, 7.62×39 and .22 plus handgun ammo. You need at least 1K rds of ammo for each rifle with components to load at least another 2K and 10K .22 with another 1K of handgun ammo. This would be a minimum supply. I have all of the 10 above plus spares, as well as 20x that much ammo, but I’ve been prepping for 20 years. I live in a rural area, around like minded people, garden, have animals, 2-4 year food supply, off the grid and live a debt free lifestyle, plus I live the plan every day. This does more to protect me than all of the guns mentioned on this blog. 2cents

    • Joe Fiumara February 16, 2011, 12:53 am

      Finally someone who makes a lot of common sense and backs it up with facts that I can relate to instead of bragging about what they own and why it is better for each situation. I envy you and I am trying to get to the level of independency that you are at.I live in southern fla in a postage stamp lot with neighbors rite onto of me in a mixed community; I would need to get out when shtf.I have to many guns and ammo to carry so I have started to spread out my collection to other places that I would most likely make home. I am trying to purchase as much supplies as I need and like you’re ideas about trading rifles, as money may seem to be not a necessity, Personal hygiene and long term food supply are a must for me and feel these would be a good trading tool as well.I feel like the shtf will happen and as a parent and husband it is solely my responsibly to be ready.I see my neighbors spending money on home insurance car insurance investment insurance and even pet health care insurance while very few of them hold or own a fire arm.i will be spending my time and money getting ready as this is my insurance policy. Thanks for the post

  • Sibbe November 7, 2010, 4:38 pm

    Thinking alot about need to have and nice to have… The top 10 list is fun at the bottom and gets more serious towards the top…

    My personal favorite would be a Tavor 5,56 NATO , but thinking it through in a TEOTWAKI scenario I would have to go with a .22 semi auto rifle like the Marlin 795 with a scope, very reliable, very reasonably priced with good accuracy.
    The .22 round has been around for about 100 years now, and would be easy to find ammo for AND making reloads for in a TEOTWAKI scenario. Backed up with a .22 Walther P22 for close-up selfdefence than I guess my needs are covered.

    I know people will be chomping down on me for it, but the .22LR round in some of it’s speciality forms (like the Remington Yellow Jacket HP) will render a person inable to fight… Hell, fit the .22 with a suppressor and subsonic ammo you could drop a group of thugs and they wouldn’t even know what hit them!

  • dancenbear November 28, 2010, 2:35 am

    the top three guns for me i will be carrying on me and in my ebearlstock gunslinger bugout bag are my m4because of accuracy & more ammo capacity and my 1911 both have 22 cal conversion kits that take take up very little space ! and a a no brainer is the rem tactical 870 with a speed feed stock honorable mentions go to the following lever action rifle & revolver combos in 357 or 44 mag because ammo availability & standardizing purposes ,a scoped m14 common cartridge and knock down power from a distance nuff said,the ak 47 because you might need to arm a friend that dosent know much about guns and has to have something with alot of bullets that dosent malfunction , the ruger 1022 this gun has to many benefits to list, the m1 garand because every arsenal needs a semi auto rifle chambered in 30o6 duh!a 50 BGM just because you never know when your going to have to shoot through a brick wall a mile away i have a 50 cal upper for my ar its not the Barrett that everyone loves but it will do !!!!! except for the 50 cal all take common ammo and will be fairly easy to find parts and accessory for #1 ar/m4 #2 1911 #3 rem 870 #4 & #5 lever action rifle & revolver combo 357 or 44 mag #6 scoped m14 #7 ak 47 #8 ruger 1022 #9 m1 garand #10 50 cal BGM

  • justin December 1, 2010, 5:59 pm

    well i have to say id put the SKS and the AK-47 at the top of the list without a doubt. i own a sks and i have never had any problems with it. AT ALL. it is reliable and id stake my life on that sweet lil rifle. sure it doesnt have a long range but it comes in with a passing grade in every catagory. you can hunt deer with it. you can fight of the hordes with it. you can depend on it. ammo is easy to find no matter what.

    • Rafterman May 13, 2011, 4:16 pm

      I had a friend who was shot by a Viet Cong with an SKS during the Vietnam war. His thoughts on the SKS were, “Damn! It felt like I was hit by an AK-47!!! so why pay more?”

      • lance February 25, 2015, 1:53 pm

        It’s the same caliber so it should be just as powerful however it’s not as reliable as an ak47

        • William Halford August 9, 2016, 1:53 pm

          Not as reliable as an AK? Mine has had excellent reliability, just as reliable as my AK was, but more accurate. And I’ve known others that had reliable SKS. And all for less money. I sold my AK a few years ago when I was out of work, but will never sell my SKS. Granted, I got more money out of the AK than I would the SKS, but I love the lowly SKS. I’d say that the SKS is the best semiautomatic centerfire dollar value out there.

          • Ray June 27, 2017, 11:23 am

            Fu**in A RIGHT! The SKS 1945 made in Russia is far and away the best semi-auto carbine ever made.

        • William halford August 9, 2016, 7:48 pm

          I’ve had an SKS since the early 90s, and it’s been very reliable. I’ve had friends with them that have had the same result. The ones that have also had the AK have said the SKS is just as reliable.

          Not only that, but the SKS is more accurate than the AK, and for a lot less money.

  • dancenbear December 1, 2010, 7:16 pm

    this comment is to justin my first battle rifle was an sks and i still own 2 of them and i used to share your opinion, of course that was before i got my first ak the benefits of a mag fed rifle (in my opinion) far surpass the stripper clip fed sks i know now your going to tell me the sks’s take mags to but i never found any sks mags that preformed properly and i tried most . i still own a ak and it has also performed wonderfully and i have never had a malfunction after over 20ooo rounds , and yes ar platform requires more maintenance (not a problem for someone like me who enjoys the work)and yes it shoots a less powerful round but i can comfortably carry twice as much ammo and it is far more accurate than the 762×39 and the customization options are nearly endless which appealed to my tinkering nature. you also stated that 762×39 ammo “was easy to find no matter what” all i can say is it used to be but right after that jackass obama got elected you could not find them anywhere and when you did they were almost $9 a box of 20 meanwhile 223s were sitting on the shelves getting dusty because they were so abundant,why ? not because they are not being used its because it is the standard round or the U.S military and law enforcement so more of it is made locally not in Russia that is a big plus if somehow dumb ass Hillary manages to get the small arms treaty with the U.N passed or there is a true TEOTWAWKI situation and we are no longer importing goods from other country’s thats why the ar platform was at the top of my list and the sks wasn’t on it at all (not to take anything away from the sks because i do like them and they are a great firearm for less experienced shooters”not calling you one”)my list was just my preferences and the 10 options that will always be in my safe even if i streamline my collection

  • Chefbear58 December 7, 2010, 3:19 am

    Rangerman, gotta say if I could, I would have both a Barret .50 and mount ‘ol MA DEUCE on the roll cage of my JEEP.
    Reality for me, though I want a .50 BMG or a .50 sniper rig… I can get a HELL of a lot of other things for that much money as I think everyone agrees. That being said here goes my wish list of what I would want in my TEOTWAWKI long term, stationary kit
    So “barring” the .50 BMG slingers, but not to far behind-

    Armalite AR-30 in 338 Lapua Magnum
    -OR- Barret 416

    30-30 Winchester “cowboy action” rifle
    -OR- .45 ACP Winchester “cowboy action” rifle

    AR 15 or M4, and on reserve… conversion kit and upper to allow for .45 ACP

    M1911- Something to be said about 100yrs of kickin’ ass! I have had mine for years, shoot every week ~100rds and I have had only 2 malfunctions- FTF- mag spring & FTF- “stovepipe”

    Colt PYTHON S&W 500! Never know when you might need to shoot somebody who is standing 30yds away, standing behind a brick wall wearing body armor! -OR- Dissable a vehicle pretty fast

    I think it’s called M-32? Could be wrong! It’s a “revolver style” 40mm grenade launcher… cases and cases of different rounds (hopefully labeled) and I could be happy! Not unatainable, some police & prison departments keep a few around

    Taurus Judge- DON’T CARE IF ANYBODY ELSE DOESN’T LIKE IT! If I need to sling some serious lead in close quarters this would be one of my choices

    SERBU “super shorty”- Surprised more folks don’t mention this one…. It is pretty much a REALLY SHORT 12 ga shotgun, again serious leadslinger close in!!!

  • Dave December 13, 2010, 3:21 pm

    nice list. As for me, my number one choice would be the IWI Tavor. =D

    Reason why is simply because i wanted an AR but all the disadvantages you would find on the AR platform have been fixed. Its gas-piston operated, it has a 18″ barrel (3000+fps good for ballistic performance and more reliable fragmentation) with a 1:7″ twist(good for heavier loads 75gr. 77gr. etc).

    Even though it has a long barrel its as short as a 10″ barrel SBR (good for CQB yet still good for long distance). Very ergonomic btw. The only drawing back I would think of is that parts are hard to get so if something breaks, you’re screwed. Besides, everything is to milspec standards and its VERY reliable .

    • Ray June 27, 2017, 11:31 am

      There is nothing anyone can do to “fix” the AR. Its defects were designed into it by Eugene Stoner. I would never carry one, and wouldn’t pick one up off the ground if it came with strippers and rum.

  • dancenbear December 13, 2010, 4:50 pm

    i heard the tavor is supposed to be a good rifle, its just so ugly!just my opinion thou

    • Dave December 14, 2010, 3:38 am

      you know what, I’ll have to agree with you on this one lol. Its no where near the looks of an AR-15. With the shorter barrel and different optic, it looks much better tho.

  • Hadesmyboa569 December 16, 2010, 10:55 pm

    Everyone here talking about guns for SHTF, IF it goes down I hope you have enouf food storage for your family, friends, and all your neighbors around you……..Because if they dont and ONLY you do YOUR [admin edited expletive]. Unless you extremely isolated. There will never be a FULL BLOWN BREAKDOWN of the USA…If it gets that bad…There wont be any deer, left to hunt. Hell they were almost extinct back in the 30’s and 40’s and we still had a food manufactureing industry then. You wont be able to garden with out being over run. ALL you can do is to Stock pile food, ammo, and STAY as OPSEC as possible and out wait the MASS starvation and murder…After about a year or two depending on the SIT REP in your area people might start to work together again…It wont Be ZELDA fantasy adventureland. If you walk on private land..Land owners are gonna blast you dead with out warning. Exspecialy if your carrying guns and MAGazines. Survival blogs are full of fail.

    • SaturdayPrepper November 13, 2017, 6:51 pm

      I disagree with you on your statement that there will never be a full blown failure of the USA… I say this knowing that it may not be in my lifetime, but eventually our state will fail just as all others have. Nothing is perfect, human beings are fallible, and we eventually destroy nations to make way for new ones.

  • dancenbear December 17, 2010, 12:56 am

    whats with all the anger hades did your herpes flair up at an inopportune time again F.Y.I i would bet most of the people on this tread talking about guns are doing it because we like to talk about guns,not because it is the only form of preparedness we pursue . im quite certain most of the good folks on here were not planning / fantasizing about strapping our arsenals to our backs and scouring the land like swarm of locusts ! i for have had the presents of of mind to position myself in a rural location were im neighbored by close friends who are also survival minded with a vast array marketable skills ,respectable arsenals and deep larders.quite frankly im a bit peeved at your non amiable demeanor just because we didnt happen to touch on all subjects pertaining to preparedness in this particular thread!lastly if you you think our survival blogs are full of fail and dont enjoy the camaraderie of fellow preppers then dont log in and feel free to play hermit while you stock pile your lonely woodland fortress , because with a dour disposition such as yours it will most defiantly take you years to find others that are willing to work together with you !!!that being said let me suggest a preparedness strategy you have obviously overlooked i call it – QUIT BEING A DOUCHE BAG – master that skill and you might be able to keep yourself from being amongst the first people targeted

    • john December 19, 2010, 10:50 am

      Amen to that.

  • Ron W December 28, 2010, 10:55 am

    I may have missed it in the comments, but I’m surprised there has been no mention of the Mosin Nagant . It’s very inexpensive ($125) and is a very rugged and reliable 5+1 bolt-action with decent iron sight accuracy. It uses the 7.62 x 54 which is approximately equivalent to the 30-06. Non-corrosive Russian made ammo is fairly cheap ($10 per bx/20) and plentiful. I just sold an M-44 with 550+ rounds of ammo and kinda wish I still had it.

    • ChefBear58 January 16, 2011, 4:28 am

      I currently own 2 Mossin/Nagant 1891/30’s, they are VERY reliable, they do throw a nice hunk ‘o lead a pretty fair distance and are relatively cheap to start shooting/maintain. I have had them for about 3 years now and with normal maintenance have never had an issue with them. They are pretty accurate with iron sights to. I usually practice at a 100yrd range, but have hit man size “silhouette” targets out to 250yrds using just the flip-up iron sights. The ammo is pretty cheap for the “good stuff” (as good as you can get I guess), I usually use the “Golden Bear” JSP. I am currently working on making one a designated long range rifle, synthetic Monte-Carlo stock, “turned” bolt, LER 3-9×40 scope and bi-pod. The 1891/30 has been used for decades as a “sniper” rifle by several countries and some still use it to this day. I really like the 28-1/4″ barrel, it’s a little heavy, but when you line that “cannon” up on something a long ways off it’s gonna know it!

    • Odd Questioner February 16, 2015, 1:40 am

      Count me in (I still have my M44 Carbine)… I love and hate the damn thing all at once.

  • WSC January 28, 2011, 12:56 pm

    Great list. I would change the 1911 to any .45 caliber automatic. I love my Sig p220. Dead on on the AR-15. And, by changing uppers you can have several different weapons. I have two, one chambered in 6.5 grendel, a real hunting and long range machine and one in 5.56, cheap to shoot. As for jamming, I have not had a jam and with the 5.56 I routinely shoot 250-500 rounds at the range. I would also change out the 9mm for a 357 magnum revolver with a 6 inch barrel. Shoots 38s, and can be used for hunting at short range. I always carry one when I hunt where there may be hogs.

  • Mac February 6, 2011, 10:25 pm

    I like the list. I’m sporting an SKS, 30-06, 22LR, 2-12ga, XD40 and a partridge in a pear tree!!! With plans to add a 9mm and a 5.56 to the collection. Hey, another thing to think about is having a cheap rifle or shotgun to lend out or barter with in the post TEOTWAWKI survival community. Mosin Nagant maybe.

  • Jack Fallin February 21, 2011, 12:08 pm

    The top ten best guns anyone could have would be the guns they have access to, ammunition for and the experience to hit something with. The old story of beware the man with one gun, because he is probably an expert with it. I have made long range shots with ridiculously priced rifles, and I have made long range shots with left over surplus war relics. Firepower is a great thing when you need it but I hope I don’t ever need it, because I don’t have a ma deuce. I still believe that we should encourage people who want to prepare and learn and don’t have access to expensive guns to be confident with whatever they have or can get. Calibers, gauges and the like are important but a good shot with a mauser and enough ammo can keep several people at bay for a long time just as well as a fair shot with an FN or Galil. I like expensive “Black Guns” but some of us can’t afford them. Better to have something than nothing, but here goes, Spanish Mauser, 308 caliber, Enfield Jungle carbine in 303 or 308,or Moisin-Nagant 31 or 44 in 7,62x 54, 12 gauge pump, 18: to 24″ barrell, legal of course, Mossberg, Winchester Remington or whatever you can find, a good AK Variant, These are indestructible, in 7.62x 39 , Cheap and ammo availability along with mags. .22 caliber , single shot, semi, bolt or lever. Model 60 Marlin, Model 99 or Model 39, Ruger 7722 or 10-22 or an old good barrel, savage, stevens or winchester .22 Just practice with it. Rossi or NEF Single shot rifle/ shotgun combination your choice, standard calibers and gauges, These are cheap and very accurate, light and easy to operate. Browning 9mm Semi auto, Model p-35 Hi Power, Ruger, or a clone, Any glock 9mm, or Beretta M9, GP 100 357/38 or Smith Model 10 or 64 .38 special, Ruger .22 Mark III, or Chiappa 1911-22 accurate and cheap. Any cobination of the above will serve you well. This is a poor mans arsenal but it is effective, usable, parts are available, ammo is available, inexpensive, and most are easy to use or to learn. The best advice to give anyone is practice, practice and practice, Good luck
    Semper Fi

    • WhatsYourTopTen June 21, 2015, 8:44 pm

      Very well put!!!!

      My thoughts exactly!!

      Could not have put it better myself!!!

  • bad day February 23, 2011, 1:46 pm

    Seems like nobody likes the AK-74. AK reliability, AR accuracy(or pretty damn close.) I can buy an AK-74, 2160 rounds of ammo, 6 30 round mags, tech-SIGHTS and other bells & whistles for a lot less than the cheapest AR. I’m an old jarhead, too, and I carried an M-16a2 and an M-4 for over 12 years. I’ve owned 2 AR’s (Bushmaster & DPMS) and I’ve had problems with all of them. Are you going to be re-supplied if TSHTF? Are reinforcements coming so that you can get back to the rear and clean your gear? Hell, will vehicles still work, will you have to leave your house/land/city/state? You might have to carry all that crap yourself. I carry an AK and a 357. My wife has a 308/410 combo rifle and a Ruger Single Six (22lr/mag)My daughter has her 22 rifle.When it comes down to it, I guess the best weapon is the one you have. Expect the worst, pray for the best, and it’ll fall somewhere in between.

  • 7 Legions March 2, 2011, 10:15 pm

    I second the Ak-74. Don’t get me wrong, the AR is a better weapon, but when you factor in cost and everything else the 74 makes sense. Plus I live in a ban state and all could get in 30 rd mags were pre-ban ak-74’s. Its somewhat heavy though and doesn’t have the range of some other choices like an FAL.

    The 5.45 is an impressive round. Its terminal ballistics are decent and it will go through light cover (unlike the movies, people get hidden when the bullets start flying). Its also inherently cheaper to manufacture because of its designed to be made mostly out of steel, unlike the 5.56. Lead is bad for the environment.

    The kel-tec 9mm sub2000 would be a great survival gun, shoots fairly flat out to 100yds, tough, rust resistant, lightweight, compact.

    A sidearm is a must, and a 9mm is adequate and compact, will be picking one up.

    I like my Ruger 10/22, but its a bit heavy for what it is. I do like the fact that you don’t need ear protection to shoot it.

    Having a bolt gun that can connect at 600+ yards would be nice, but not very versatile. Needs very high quality ammo and guns are on the heavy side. Useless club us close, but maybe with a lightweight 9mm carbine one could have a decent set-up.

    Shotguns are nice and versatile, but ammo is heavy and range is limited. Perhaps the closest thing to an all in one gun.

  • 7Legions March 4, 2011, 10:50 am

    I would rank survival guns like this.

    First, some kind of concealable pistol, in a commonly available caliber, 9mm, 40sw, 357 etc. Your not gonna walk around carrying a 10lb rifle with 100 rds of ammo all the time.

    Next is some kind of semi automatice rifle, 5.56 is preferred, but 5.45, 7.62, are also good. 308 maybe the best if you can afford to practice with it. Not all guns have the accuracy to take advantage of the 308’s range. The bigger calibers might also ruin the meat on small game.

    Another option for a main gun is a shotgun. This might even be preferred if you live in a heavily wooded or urban area. Some shotguns will last basically forever as well and are extremely versatile, but lack the capacity of other guns.

    If you want to get off cheaper and lighter then go with a 22 rifle or a 9mm carbine. These can do almost as much as the big stuff, at a fraction of the weight and cost. Seriously, you’re probably not going to need anything more than this.

    Then theres the long range bolt actions. These rely on scopes to make use of the calibers range, however scopes are a weak point on a gun. Unless it has back up irons it can’t be used up close. This wouldn’t be a good choice for a single gun, but paired with something like a shotgun it would make a good long/short range combination. If you live in the desert or open areas then having long range capability is more important. It would also be good as a dedicated hunting gun.

  • Mitch E March 20, 2011, 7:36 pm

    I am on a budget so the AR is unfortunately out of my reach at the moment.

    However I still confident that my current arsenal would definitely carry me a long way if SHTF.

    Currently I have the following gear.

    Taurus PT 111 Millennium Pro:
    Ya, Ya, I hear you, “9mm is a pussy round yada yada”.
    But you know what? The gun is small, easy to conceal, accurate, and fits my hand perfectly Not to mention ammo is reasonably cheap and plentiful. Trust me, it may be a weak round compared to your .45, .40 or 357 but if one were to take a HydraShock JHP to the head, one wouldn’t be around to explain the difference.

    Mossberg 500 12 Gauge Pump:
    Accurate, deadly, cheap ammo… Enough said.

    Savage 110 30-06 w/ Weaver 4-18x42mm Scope:
    Extremely accurate, solid design, easy to repair. Common cartridge. Easily takes down big game.

    Expensive ammo.

    Ruger 10/22:

    Dirt cheap ammo, crazy accurate out of the box, highly customizable. Reliable and takes a beating. Great for varmint hunting. A well placed shot is devastating even on larger game.

    So despite my lack of a battle rifle I am pretty confident that these 4 guns would almost cover all the possible needs that could arise, save taking down an armored vehicle or a grizzly.

    Now does that mean I wont continue to work toward picking up an AR, SKS, AK or the like? Not at all. I just chose to initially pick up several handy and useful firearms for the same price I could have purchased one well rounded assault rifle.

    Remember two is one and one is none.

  • dan March 26, 2011, 9:20 pm

    ah…M1 is chambered in .30-06, not .308

    • SaturdayPrepper November 13, 2017, 6:55 pm

      They can be chambered in either. Some were converted to .308 after WW2 by allies who received them post WW2 and did not want to spend the money for a new rifle in their arsenal.

  • General Quarters April 18, 2011, 12:41 am

    I agree with the guide lines and premise. My preferences below:

    RWS M48 Scoped air rifle-:-Very useful for game
    Ruger MKIII 22/45 Target Bull-Game
    Savage MKII BV Bolt Target-Game
    Ruger 10/22 Semi-Game/Defense
    RRA Match A2- No need to explain
    SA XD9 Service-Carry
    S&W 686P 4in-Carry
    Ruger Vaquero 5.5in-Field and home
    Browning B-92 Lever Action-Defense/Hunting
    Kimber Custom StainlessII Government-Home Defense
    Kimber Super Carry Pro Officers 4in-Carry
    300 Winmag:
    Ruger m77 Scoped-Drops an anvil at 1,000 yards
    SA M1 Garand-Does this need explaining
    Mossberg Mariner 18.5in-Enough said

  • bad day April 18, 2011, 2:15 am

    I disagree with you, 7Legions.I don’t think that the ar is a better weapon,I believe that we are more comfortable with it because we’ve been trained with it.The ak-74 weighs in @ about 7 lbs. An m4 weighs in @ about 6.3 lbs.Both mags (30 rnd) weigh about .6 lbs.Effective range for both is 600 meters.As stated before, I have tech-sights on mine.I can effectively hit a man-sized target @ 500 yds.Admittedly,I shoot a bit tighter with the ar. I’ve shot coyotes with my ar and deer w/ my 74 and both get the job done effectively. Now here’s the kicker;my ar didn’t like certain ammo,she didn’t like certain mags,she didn’t like to get dirty.She was snooty!My ak is a party-girl; she’s cheap,she’ll eat anything,get down-right nasty & keep going.She’s a whore & I love her.Just don’t tell my wife.P.S. I agree w/ the keltec sub2000.Have you seen their new shotgun?Check it out.Oh, by the way,dan, versions of the M1 were later produced in 308.You can find one here

  • jim April 22, 2011, 10:32 pm

    Different list less hollywood:

    1. AR-15
    2. 10-22 (got those first two right)
    3. Any pocket gun any caliber you are comfortable with, 22 actually might be the best
    4. A high capacity 9mm
    5. Remington 870 good choice
    6. 1911 45 yep, gotta have one
    7. Lever action 357
    8. 357 Revolver to match the same rounds as #7
    9. Heavy 22 LR revolver for the wife to use
    10. Bolt 223 sniper set up

    12 gauge

    Thats more then enough different calibers

  • john April 23, 2011, 3:28 pm

    Well, I concentrated on 12 gauge, .22LR (pistols and semi-auto rifles), .40 S&W, and 7.62x54r.

    For $100 a bolt action Mosin 91/30 is a good enough urban sniper rifle (imho) and will defeat all body armor with the steel core 7.62x54r except maybe ceramic vest plates.

    I am still trying to convince myself it is worth throwing down the $800 for a semi-auto 7.62x54r, instead of more food, since my main use for the guns is against ad-hoc MS-13 gangs, not military or police.

    I like to think my area is different, but, after Katrina and the rogue police executing people, I guess that is always something to think about if food dries up.

    Biggest advantage of the 7.62x54r is $0.18 a round and the spam cans keep forever.

    I really like the .22LR because you can actually fire it off inside a house without choking to death on fumes and the report is bearable without ear muffs.

    One reason I have been looking into 12v solar powered fans is you can’t fire too many rounds indoors without the need for venting and as soon as you stick a barrel out a window you are an obvious target.

    I agree with the laying down of .22lr lead as I think it will keep most morons and 9mm gang bangers away. Main idea is to give me time to get a real rifle since the .22LR are readily accessible and loaded because if I have to fire something off in a hurry I don’t want to kill innocent urban neighbors. I am working on killing dimes at 100 yards with my night scoped .22LR.

    One thing you might think about keeping on hand is spare OSB/plywood, polycarbonate for glass, and tarps for repair of storm or defense damage. If you are forced to fire on someone, that usually means holes and broken windows on your receiving end.

  • T.R April 24, 2011, 2:01 am

    Im not made of money so I get a few new ones with some trusty hand me downs .
    Two 9mm pistols
    pump 12 gauge
    ruger mini-30
    win.1895 30.06
    M1 garand
    butt load of ammo !
    may be able to make a swap with a buddy for his broomhandle mauser

  • Tom April 29, 2011, 9:26 pm

    Great article. Of course, those of us with the SKS will disagree with your poor review. This gun is cheap price-wise but not cheaply made. I’ve got a bud who pulled his rust covered one out of storage and it worked flawlessly…and that was a Norc, not even a Russian. Shoots the same round as the AK and they’re dirt cheap as well and have lots of power for the average altercation. Tons of mods available for any type of mission, as you mentioned for the AR. Oh, I’m down with the 10/22. Beautiful piece of kit and the ladies like that they can comfortably put 25 rounds down range on the quick.

    • ChefBear58 April 30, 2011, 3:21 pm

      I also own a SKS, Chinese made… It’s an OK firearm, sure it’s fun to shoot, sure it’s cheaper than most to shoot… but I don’t know that I would want to rely on it as my primary firearm. Of course this is just my opinion, and it may be that my second/third/fourth-hand SKS is just not as good as a new one, but I have not been impressed with it’s performance. I took it to a gunsmith a year ago, because it was impossible to achieve 5-shot groups on a 100yd target. He replaced the sights and checked everything out, said there was nothing else he could do and it still won’t shoot a group on paper at anything over 50yds. Maybe I just bought a poor example of an SKS, but I think I will keep saving up for an AR15, and in the mean time stick with my Mossin/Nagants and 300win-mag for distance work!

  • Mike May 2, 2011, 12:44 am

    I disagree with the .45 being a good choice during a post-apocalyptic scenario because EVERYONE in my state right now has been hoarding the ammo for a year. I’ve visited 11 stores and they’ve been sold out for six months. I even checked out two stores in the next state over. No luck at all. On the other hand, 9mm and 10mm are always in very abundant supply. A gun with no ammo is useless. It’s far more realistic to avoid any .45 guns and stick with a 9 or 10. If you rely on .45, you’ll find that it’s impossible to find ammo for it and even if you do, the sellers rip you off every time. The price for a box was once $25. Now it’s $31 and it keeps climbing.

    • T.R June 28, 2011, 1:52 am

      Buy on line , never a shortage .

      • Steve August 9, 2011, 11:54 pm

        Glad to see someone mention the 10mm. I have a S&W 1076 and that round will give a 45 a run for the money ( have 2 rock island’s). Still got some 10mm black talons, and those will get you a meeting with Jesus. As for 45’s, the rock island is an excellent choice. Price and quality are both good. As stated in an earlier post, having a good plan of action is the most important. People think they will leave the city and head for the mountains? What are you going to live in? Eat, drink, get sick? There is still saftey in numbers, but you will still run into ” Who’s in charge”. If the time ever comes, and I hope it does not, that this country falls into total civil disorder, things will be worse than you could ever concive. I was in New Orleans for 3 months when that bitch rolled thru, and I know and saw firsthand how it is with no power, food, water or civil order. It sucked!! As an old saying goes, “Plan your work and work your plan”. Back on the gun thing, I go with decent quality arms. Norinco pump 12ga $150, draco ak pistol $350 ( that thing rocks and fairly easy to conceal), good for close quarters or out to 50 yrds or so. Got to figure that the normal person is not going to be shooting out past a 100 yrds anyway. Even in police involved shootings, most occur in less than a 10 ft. distance. Lets just hope that we don’t have to resort to these measures. Something else to think about, are water proof containers to store your weapons in. Stay Safe !!!

  • Chris May 16, 2011, 3:07 am

    I’ll have to disagree with the AR-15 being the top gun for SHTF survival. Best for defensive use after SHTF maybe but #1 for survival? It really doesn’t do a whole lot of good for putting meat on the table. Its pretty light for big game and will vaporize small game.

    I think a Lever Action rifle in 30-30 belongs on this list, and definitely ahead of the SKS. I don’t know why so many frown upon these rifles. Similar capacity to a defensive shotgun and just as fast to fire. A 30-30 at defensive ranges is a very devastating round. It has the energy at 100 yards that a 223 out of AR does at the muzzle. One thing that is commonly overlooked is how easy it is to top-off the magazine. You can fire a few shoots then pop in a few more rounds.

    I really think an M1 or AK is the ultimate SHTF rifle. I really don’t know why somebody would put an AR ahead of an AK or M1 as a survival rifle. If all you are doing is shooting thugs and looters all day you are in a heap of trouble. The AR is good for that but a survival rifle needs to do more than be a defensive weapon. If all I had was one gun for survival it would be a Marlin 336, AK or Springfield depending on how much I could afford. I’ve never been a big AR fan. Troops tend to not like the 5.56 cartridge. The cheap military ammo that is around really isn’t all that effective at longer ranges. The 5.56 works well at closer ranges because of violent fragmentation which doesn’t occur reliably at longer ranges. Its basically a varmint cartridge. It does quite a number on groundhogs and coyotes but I like a heavier cartridge for creatures weighing more than 100 pounds. There aren’t a whole lot of big game hunters out there using an AR by choice. Just my opinion.

  • Tom May 17, 2011, 2:55 am

    The m1 garand, Fnfal type rifle or m1a would be my choice for an all around rifle for hunting and defense. Since I have a scoped M1 garand that is my pick. For close defense I would choose my m1 carbine or car 15. The car
    15 is scoped and very accurate with reloads. The m1 carbine is small, light
    and very quick. With soft point ammo, I would not feel under gunned with the carbine at close range. The car 15 is more accurate than the carbine but heats up considerably faster than the 30 carbine. Both have been very reliable.
    For long range hunting or defense I would favor my m40a1 clone or scoped 1903. The 1903 is surprisingly very accurate for such an old war horse but has been glass bedded and a new trigger added. The m40a1 is heavy but its accuracy is really in another league. For handguns I favor
    the 45. I have both the 1911 and Sig. To round out my list I have three 22 rifles, two with scopes and a 12 gauge shotgun.

  • Tom May 17, 2011, 3:05 am

    Forgot to add my glock 17 and S@w 19 so have the most common pistol
    cal covered.

  • Anonymous May 24, 2011, 7:15 am


  • Bear May 24, 2011, 8:43 pm

    THINK! It may be a new experience. The majority of guns listed by bloggers a their SHTF choices are great guns, fine pieces of machinery, BUT. There is only one gun for a SHTF senario. Imagine all of your twenty five “survival guns” lined up in a ready rack by the door, and the call comes down that, “Charlie is in the wire!” Which one are you going to grab? Thats your SHTF gun, your “Battle Rifle”. That one, and that one only. Thats the one that you have thousands of stockpiled rounds for, and spare parts, and magazines. The rest are all just wasted money. All of this “survival gun battery” BS was started in the 60’s by a stockbroker who never fired a shot in anger. But made alot of money selling books. Are you really going to leave your SHTF gun behind while you go hunting, or are you planning to carry a full combat load, and a hunting rifle, and plan to haul back whatever you manage to kill? When you take your .22 out to kill rodents in the garden are you going to leave your “battle rifle” behind? In a SHTF situation you will be in combat mode 24/7 or you will be dead. When exactly do you plan on using your shotgun? A shotgun might be good for night time operations when you don’t have night vision equipment but I still won’t be without my battle rifle. A pistol is a weapon of convenience and not a weapon of war. For the weight of my XD 45 and three mags with a total of 40 rounds (4 1/2 pounds) I can carry 150 more rounds of Green Tip 5.56. Let’s think about that, 40 45’s, or 150 5.56’s, or 40 45’s or 75 rounds of 308. Duh!
    The 22 is for other people to use while you watch for trouble with your battle rifle. Or if you must, pack a long barreled 22 pistol in a holster for those pesky critters.
    We need to think these things out and make some smart decisions about what we need, and what is best, and stop believing gun writers who basically work for the gun companies. Ever read an article in a gun mag that slammed a firearm? They won’t do it because the gun companies would pull their advertizing and the writers would be blacklisted.
    Sell all of those other guns and buy more of what you NEED. Parts, ammo, food, medicine, etc.
    How many different weapons does the military issue to one man? ONE!
    Finally, with 12 million AR platforms sold in the U.S., the National Guard, the Reserves, and the police, the subsequent availability of parts and ammo alone should make it the hands down first choice for a battle rifle. Add to that, the fact, that anyone (women, children, seniors) can handle the weight, recoil, and simplicity, it’s a no brainer. I am a firm believer in everyone in a group shoots the same weapon in the same caliber, for obvious reasons. I have other weapons, and can aford to buy what I feel I need, but when I hear, “Charlie is in the wire!” its my LMT 5.56 with thirty round mags that I’ll be snatching off the rack.

  • john May 25, 2011, 8:45 pm

    > How many different weapons does the military issue to one man? ONE!

    Yes and when they do they pay a price for doing it.Worse for the Germans in Afghanistan because they do not have an air force to bail them out of tough spots after IEDs turn their tanks and trucks turtle.

    In close quarter combat in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Vietnam many times the weapon of choice is a shotgun. A .50 beowulf or shotgun is the weapon of choice at roadblocks too. A 300+ grain shotgun slug with a steel core not only defeats body armor, it defeats adobe walls, windshields, and engine blocks.

    In Afghanistan, our troops frequently have pot shots taken at them with bolt action 91/30s well outside the effective return fire range of the 5.56. imho, The difference is our ceramic body armor, otherwise they would suffer the same fate of the soviets with the ak-47.

    To defend a house you will likely use more then one type of weapon. I tell you this, you stick a barrel out a window, you are a target. Try lighting a M-16 and a few rounds off inside a room shooting through an open window while staying in the shadows. You better have hearing protection and good venting. Now try a .22LR rifle or pistol, a big difference. I can still hear, breath, and see after 20 rounds of 22lr. I have not been brave enough to try the shotgun inside a room with the door closed.

    imho, If there is a riot and armed gang coming, your best defensive in a house to house will be a person on a shotgun and one on a semi-auto rifle, .308 and up. Personally, I would not stand up within 300 feet of anyone spraying F or T pellets from a shotgun. I don’t know if anyone has practiced it, but, with slugs, 00, and T shot, you can easily rain tree tops and branches down on anyone that has hidden behind a tree. Or bounce them off the ground at a person’s feet or under a car used for cover.

    I view SHTF as discouraging the felons and gangs that always take advantage of a disaster, not trying to hold out against my local police force or national guard. Just keeping order in my own neighborhood.

    Personally, I can’t stand the sight of blood and guts from animals or humans, the smell of it is almost as bad. If I can discourage someone with a cloud of #8 or #3 or a .22LR to the leg to go somewhere else, I view that as ideal SHTF gunning vs. plugging them with a 7.62 and leaving them to rot like road kill in the sun. I would save that for the guy that shows up in body armor or with a scoped rifle.

    If I lived in a very rural area, my “only” SHTF gun would still be a .22LR rifle. I can carry enough rounds in a pocket to eat 500 small birds, squirrels, rabbits, pigs, and deer. Plus, still be able to defend myself if I tried to avoid people.

    > The 22 is for other people to use while you watch for trouble with your battle rifle.

    That is exactly why I have them, watch the windows and my back. Plus, I am not going to loan a neighbor a gun that can defeat my steel, sandbags, bricks, or body armor.

    > . A pistol is a weapon of convenience and not a weapon of war.

    Agreed 100%, it’s main use is to buy me time to go grab my shotgun or rifle or allow me time to clear a jam or reload.

    > When you take your .22 out to kill rodents in the garden > are you going to leave your “battle rifle” behind?

    Yes, in the hands of a family member watching me from a second story window. I will take the .22 and shotgun. I take the near threat, they take the long threat.

    > In a SHTF situation you will be in combat mode 24/7 or you will be dead.

    Agree, -we- will be sleeping with the shotguns and have rifles nearby.

  • Bear May 26, 2011, 10:51 pm

    Dear John, I have three tours of combat and twenty years of Law Enforcement experience and in both contexts we have a name for people like you, VICTIM. Good luck, you will need it. Bear

  • bad day June 2, 2011, 2:23 am

    Hey Bear, I too am a veteran of 3 different conflicts (Desert Storm, Somalia, & OIF x2) and while I think you made some valid points I think that your being a little hard on ol’ john. He plans on bugging in and I think he has a good plan. He doesn’t really want to kill anyone but he will if he has to, to protect his family. Bravest man I ever met was our Doc (Navy corpsman). He never pulled his weapon but put his ass on the line too many times to count. He wasn’t a victim but a hero. Now, as far as your AR platform goes, it’s a fine range rifle but it’s not always reliable. It’s prone to jamming and getting overheated. That’s why I carried the 60 & later the 240. The last time I was over there I carried the 870. Those bastards were terrified of shotguns! One of the scariest sounds in the world is a shotgun racking. Anyway, ol’ john’s got a plan, & instead of being a dick, hook him up, debate. ‘Cause trust me, you ain’t the end-all, be- all. None of us are.We will need each other.Count on it.

  • john June 3, 2011, 5:29 am

    > Good luck, you will need it

    When God loves you, you do not need luck. I know what is coming from II Esras 15, I am just trying to prevent it from happening to the USA and taking precautions if it does.

    > I have three tours of combat

    Thank you.

    Then I am sure you had a load of time to fully consider Jeremiah 51:62, though maybe you might reconsider Deut 28:12 to find out why we are still there.

    I was the person that solved this:

    “Want to see a signature worth $320 million?”

    The truth was much worse then the conspiracy theories. But, if you have any first person insight on it, I would love to hear it.

    > we have a name for people like you, VICTIM

    VICTIM is the name we use to describe the children that have to pay for this mess if the country survives, on Memorial Day for the 40+ million of the “true” FORGOTTEN GENERATIONS killed in the womb, and the 10,000+ soldiers wounded and wasted because our blind leaders never consulted God about what he wanted and why.

    No worries though from this victim, because the good news is it will all come to a head soon because our 40 year probation periods are almost up.

  • JDFFLATS June 3, 2011, 7:32 am

    Everyone has their opinion about what rifel or hand gun to use .Well I like to post my 2 cents and will try to back up my points with facts .lets start with the 22 and the air gun I do not like the air gun simply because you can use Aguila Colrbri ammo in a 22 witch is a 20 grain bullet packed with 2 primers no noise at all the bullet hitting the target makes more noise then it going off .But it will not cycle the bolt great for inside city limits and I killed a racoon at 50 ft dead in its tracks and he was rabid. Buy this ammo .Also see their other ammo for 22’hollow point 22s sub sonic,’ and tracers yes tracers I don’t care who you are when you these whipping by you will retreat. A great deterrent as well as helping you aim as you can walk it in ,yea I know you can follow it back but I feel if you take control rite away you just one so load clips ,mags and mark them. No need to lug the air gun . AK’Sand SKS’S and anything that shoots this great cheap hard hitting round I love everyone who has a negative out look about this usually compares it to a AR and hold it accuracy as its worst fault ,ok point taken it kicks hard and not as accurate as a AR but try shooting a cinder block at 200 yrd with it and see what it dose then use the AR if you want get serious buy the Romanian aes 10-b heavy barrel it’s a ak on steroids’ and this put it down range and on target at half the coast of any good quality AR and you can use surplus ammo in the ak/sks/aes all day every day. I bought all three for the coast of one of my AR’S .Don’t worrier im not putting down the AR I have three and love them but there are other options, The AK 74 I just bought for 349.00 and 1120 rnds of ammo for 119.00 really opened my eyes as it will put 1.5”group at 100 yrds for the price of my last colt 6920 I could have bought 3 of these and this ammo is over the top as the bullet tens to flip on impact. This is one gun and caliber that I will be investing a lot more time and money in it is worth the second chance to look at as I am sorry I bought my last colt AR 15 and not a better one or too ak74’s and a crate of ammo for the same money. My next gun is a Mosin Naganat Rifel I got 5 they tend to be rite on the money or way off as far as dialing them in I plan on using them in a shft situation saving the best for me and the worst for barter or trading as you can buy a rifel and 100rnd for $100.00 it will kill anything in north America and once again cheep ammo and supper cheep rifel buy them as a night out at the bar will coast more then the gun they start at 69.00 and top out at 130.00 for a hex receiver ammo 80.00 per 440 rnd sealed case hunting ammo is out their and it works like a 308 on hogs yes its that good. The shot gun is a must but I relay would like to express my opinion about the availability of exotic ammo exploding, armor piercing ,double slugs flachett ,rock salt, bird bombs, flares, dragon breath all need to be in you’re ammo stash look them up and think about the endless possibility’s you have with a 12 gage nuff said . Hand guns hear is where me and my friends get loud and really heated up .I believe in a shtf situation a one handed black or dull colored revolver is best a 357 double action is my choice as it will shoot a wider range of ammo and a revolver because its simple and anyone can use it point and squeeze I don’t care what anyone says woman have trouble with automatics clip buttons, safeties, chambering rounds ect they are not worth the extra rounds as most conflicts are close within 30 yrds this is not a good time to be fumbling with a hand gun just imagine you re wife with a baby on her hip and a 1911 on her side make it a shiny one also or even in her purse do you really think she will have enough time to pull cycle and point and unlock the safety or is it easier for her to slide her hand in and pull out a revolver rember the baby on the hip thing you could use the groceries or a load of fire wood what ever I hope you get the point. Simplicity and surprise will get the jump on a guy who intends to take you freedom. I also like the Tokarev 7.62×25 pistol for me its perfect lots of power cheep ammo and fits my small to med hand well it’s a reloaders dream of a cartage also and the ammo is around $90 00 for 1100 rounds. To cheep to reload but the custom rounds you can make are great.The pistol can take hot loads as well. Everyone in my family has one and yes it cheep enough and very dependable . My friends as well as me are pretty efficient with all types of guns but to get my wife to the range is a chore so be sure to get one or too simple guns that fit her hand and you re children as well out of 5 of my survival friend not one has a hand gun that their spouse or kids can use efficiently or fit their hand but all of them will not hesitate about spending $100 on a Friday night for a good time and that is a very concretive figure. I really think people need to start paying more attention to ammo availability and getting everyone in the family or group you intend on bringing into you’re compound efferent before anything. If you have a AK concentrate on that .the gun ,the ammo the shooting of it not just you everyone in you’re circle I see some of my friends spend stupid money on top line stuff that we will never see the difference in not on our level. I will always look at my ROI return on investment .Not in a resale sense but in a how much gun can I get, ammo, can my wife shoot it or will it fly out of her hands and scare her, Can my kid shot it load it and hit what he is aiming at. And can they do this in the dark when it’s raining this is what we need to focus on not our opinions of the best gun as it dose make a great conversation platform I just think that utilizing what you have to the fullest is more important before you spend you’re hard earned money on a top line stuff that you like and white knuckles’ everyone else .buying and storing ammo as well as different kinds of ammo for the same gun/caliber need to be a priority for all.

  • Jack Fallin June 3, 2011, 8:10 am

    A top ten is hard to narrow down to or come up with depending on your mood. In no specific order: A good 12 gauge short barrel pump shot gun, An AK variant, best you can afford, I prefer over AR platform Rossi or NEF 308 single shot rifle, good scope, various barrels, one frame and several barrels, such as 762 x39, 45-70, 30.06, .22, 12 gauge is still cheaper than an expensive “sniper rifle” and we are talking
    economics, accuracy also, Ruger 10-22, a Marlin 45-70 guide gun depending on your neighbor hood, A Marlin, 357,38 special lever rifle,
    M-1A M14 Socom scout rifle, a Gibbs modified Enfield jungle carbine in 308 or a regular Enfield in 308, In pistols, HK P-7 if you have the money if you don’t Glock 17 or 19 or 26, A 1911 Colt, a Smith Model 64, or 66 and a Browning High Power is the first choice for this ex marine.
    I believe a good AK platform including SKS, or an AR or M4 ,
    and a good, accurate 308 rifle, single shot if that is all you can afford, or a good semi or bolt action, op,tics are important, A good solid 12 gauge ,pump, Mossberg, or Remington, a good 22 caliber, rifle and pistol, I have a Chiappa, but Ruger is better, or some of the more4expensive models, A good solid 38,357 revolver and a 9mm or 45 semi auto, best buy, I like colts, brownings, HK and Glock, and if you can afford a big bore cannon, 45-70, 300 Magnum, 338 magnum would be nice if you are in the neighborhood and need it. If you are on a budget as we all should Military surplus is good if you can find the right action in the right caliber, SKS, Garands, M-1A variants, Mausers are great, Moisin-Nagants are not bad Enfields are especially reliable, Reliability, and availability of ammo is most important. I would rather
    have working bolt than a non working semi. You do what makes you
    happy, I do. Just do something.
    Semper Fi
    Jack Fallin

  • Excursiones en Español en Rusia June 3, 2011, 11:33 pm

    gracias amigo! gran post!

  • Bear June 4, 2011, 12:47 am

    Bad Day – I prefaced my comment with, THINK, It may be a new experience. So Please, THINK. We are not talking military operations here. In this context we are talking about survival. We are discussing the possibility of having to bug out with what you can carry on your back. That does not involve helicopter resuply or drawing replacement warm bodies from the pool when someone eats one or dies. There is no second place winner here. You don’t have a Squad, Platoon , Company, Batallion, Artillery, reinforcements, Air Cover, or resupply systems, backing you up. SURVIVAL not war, is waht we are discussing.
    Now that we have established the peramiters are working in ( I honestly thought everyone already understood ). There is no “perfect” weapon, every choice is a compromise. Having ten guns lined up in the ready rack for use by one person is a waste and money not well spent. When the dirt bags pull up in front of your house in their stolen (or not) APC and begin spraying your “retreat” with their “Ma duce”. Which gun are you going to grab from the rack on your way out the back door? Thats your survival rifle. This is the “all purpose”, “general purpose” weapon. We are not talking about a contest to see who has the most and coolest chrome plated, 500 round magazined, lead sprayers. The only thing you win here is another few minutes of life. We are not talking toys or collections here, this is life or death. This tool is going to be used to save your life and take others. All of the other guns are “special purpose” and are going to be left behind, providing the bad guys with lots of new toys that you paid for. Having said that, considering where we live (USA) and all of the other points I made in my first post, the AR platform is an obvious first choice. If we lived in the former USSR I would obviously chose the AK platform. By the time you grab your fully loaded BOB, and your rifle you are DONE. Every ounce put in that bag, you are going to have to be prepared to carry. There is no room for Barret Fifty’s or shotguns. If there is, I guarantee that you have forgotten something really important.
    As for our young friend, anyone who advocates a .22 as his only firearm is just not thinking. How would you feel if you were putting a group together to help each other stay alive and this cretin showed up with his choice of battle rifle – a .22. From your retort I bet you would let him stay because you feel sorry for him.
    How do you discuss anything with someone who does not, or is not capable, of thinking?
    P.S. And don’t you just love it when you know, that they know, they’ve lost the argument, because they start spueing bible verses. Pathetic.
    I just can’t take the whiners and wannabe’s. I will leave you to them.

    ” I am prepared to be wrong, are you?” (unknown)

  • john June 4, 2011, 4:53 am

    > Just do something.

    Out of 9 neighbors on my dead end, only one has guns, and they decided to store even more food after talking to them. We have a Muslim family and I think I convinced them (Kurds from Iraq) to start storing at least something and they started a garden and cleared their back yard of trees. The rest will not do anything, Kroger’s Supermarket is right down the street. :-(

    For an XMAS gift I gave my neighbor boxes of 20 gauge #6 and adapters so he could fire it in his 12 gauge as well.

    > not one has a hand gun that their spouse or kids can use

    Why I sold my Ruger 44 magnum, even with the 44 specials I knew it was too brutal and big for my wife.

    My 11 year old girl just moved up from BBs and “qualified” shooting real guns for the first time. Using her pink Chipmunk .22lr rifle (xmas gift) and my wife’s Ruger Single Six she put 10 out of 12 of her first shots into a six inch target at 21+ feet freehand. She loves to shoot so I think her next gun might be her own Mosin 91/30 or 10/22.


    > this cretin showed up with his choice of battle rifle – a .22.

    It is a PSL and the backups are 91/30s. I don’t see any of my kids under 12 shooting them anytime soon.

    > they’ve lost the argument, because they start spueing bible verses. Pathetic.

    No, they start insulting people, cry about how they are going home, and not talking to anyone any more. No loss. Obviously you don’t know why the USA is in Iraq and Afghanistan, but, don’t worry, everyone will find out soon enough.

  • Ryan S June 9, 2011, 11:53 pm

    I understand this is a top 10 list but my personal list isn’t that long. What do you guys all have pack mules or something? How are you carrying all this shit? Taking your car/truck? I thought this was SHTF, what are you gonna do just pull into your local BP and get gas? I guess your definition of SHTF is different than mine. My choices would be what I own. I own them because they would be my choices.

    In the order I would grab them…

    (1) Semi-Auto .22 LR Rifle – Could be used for engaging multiple targets rapidly, great for small game to eat, accurate enough, quiet enough if there happened to be someone on the other side of the hill they may not know you are there due to muzzle blast.(2k rnds HP ammo, 5 mags)
    (2).45 ACP 1911 Pistol – Reliable, Accurate, Round is a stopper. Will be great to dispatch anything 30-50 yds and closer. Ability to conceal isn’t gonna mean S when S hits the F, be realistic. Even still I conceal mine on a regular basis.(300 rnds HP ammo, 5 mags)
    (3).270 Win Bolt Action Rifle with 3-9×40 glass – Distance weapon capable of taking down Elk with the right bullet further than I am capable of as an individual. Will handle humans no questions asked.(200 rnds ammo, 50 rnds bonded, 50 rnds ballistic tip, 100 rnds soft point)
    (4)Winchester Model 1200 12 GA Pump Shotgun-Great for up close, extremely versatile based on the variety of rounds available.(200 rnds ammo, 100 rnds “00” Buck, 100 rnds #4 shot)
    (5) Mosin-Nagant-Rifle for a wife/friend that is easy enough to operate and recoil friendly enough to be able to “deal with it” if your life is on the line. Able to engage multiple targets in rapid succession.(200 rnds ammo, ball ammo)

    That’s pretty much it. This is being carried by my wife and I. Anything else I need I will take off you fools stumbling over the 10 guns and ammo you are struggling to carry :) Until then, Carpe Diem!

  • Guerrilla Machinist June 15, 2011, 12:16 pm

    Pretty much how I would have laid them out , except a tie for first tween’ the AK and the AR .
    But a Barrett ?


    ( wishes I had one too )

  • shouvelhead June 19, 2011, 5:42 pm

    Interesting. My input.
    0 to 200 yds + 30.06 Remington
    0 to 100 yds Ruger Mini 14 .223
    0 to 30 yds Winchester mod 12 12ga w/fleschette rounds w/ 18 & 1/4″ barrel
    0 to 12 yds Colt 1911 .45cal, Taurus mod PT140 .40, CAL, S&W
    MOD 59 9mm

  • shouvelhead June 19, 2011, 6:40 pm

    WOW! I hadn’t READ ALL OF THE BLOG B-4 i OPENED MY BIG MOUTH. I can see some of you are vets a big ooorah and Semper Fi to all of you. I was in the Nam 63 to 65. We did a lot of intelligence work. That may be why my primary objective when tshtf is to be invisable. In most confrontions wether it be with the corupt govt. or the zombies, you will be out numbered. If you have a confrontation and you have never killed a human being, chances are you will hesitate. This hesitation will be responsible for the death of those around you and yourself. It really doesn’t matter which weapon you have all things being equal you will die. Survival will depend on defensive tactics and the ability to obtain food and shelter. If you don’t know for certain that you could slit a man, woman, or childs throat to guranteed your survival.
    Then rethink what you plan to do. There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging you can’t do it ahead of time. It;s not ok to take innocents down with you. If you still want to do it try this. Buy the cutiest pair of rabbits you can find. Breed them and hand feed the young untill they are ready to eat. Then with your bare hands strangle them, skin them and cook and eat them. When you’ve done this you have a small idea of what it’s like to take a human life. Incidently I don’t have a problem with human life, but I like rabbits. God Bless.

    • Joe F July 1, 2011, 12:12 am

      I love it you hit the nail on the head.I wan’t you as my neighbor

  • bad day June 20, 2011, 8:45 pm

    Bear, I’m truely sorry. You are absolutely right and we should all bow down to your vastly superior intellect. John, stop prayin’ to God, you’re wastin’ you time. Pray to Bear. You’ll obviously get better results. This blog is actually the top 10 survival guns, not top 1. Now Bear, go back, read the entries with “bad day” and tell me where you see me carryin’ tons of shit. I actually stated that we will not be re- supplied, that you may not be able to break down and clean your rifle in a fire fight, therefore I choose an AK. My wife has her fire arm and my daughter has hers. I have shit loads of ammo for my few fire arms and yes, a pack horse to carry it. If I want an AR, I’ll just get it from the same place you will get your ammo from. Might pick up a Ma Duece, too. Mount it to my hoss. Semper fi.

  • KYprepper June 29, 2011, 9:56 am

    Many of these Top-Ten are pretty close. I’m still amazed how passionate the arguments are for/against the AR15 and AK47 rifles. They are both battle tested and if well maintained they are as effective as the operator holding them. I agree with the comments about shooting the firearms you choose regularly and stocking adequate ammo for them NOW. Assuming you’ll be able to make that last minute trip to stock up is what’s gonna bite many in the ass. Also, teach your wife how to fire and clean the weapons you expect her to use. It will give her the confidence to actually do it if your lives depend on it.

  • revjen45 July 3, 2011, 2:36 am

    We live in a semi-rural area on a cul-de-sac. I just turned 64 and medical issues would make it a lot more more desireable to hunker down than to bug out. (Clouds of nerve gas, volcanic eruptions, or radioactivity could require Plan B). My survival battery is based on defending the home and ‘hood. The ability to use several common or uncommon calibers could enable us to to shoot when some get scarce. When the .38 SPL, .357, etc are gone from the shelves that Nagant revolver can shoot .32 S&W Short and Long and.32 HR that may still be there. Having 2 degrees in gunsmithing, I have skills to barter, and greater-than average ability to keep my guns running.
    Random thoughts:
    > The Ishapore Enfield is a useable 7.62X51 for those who can’t afford the M1-A or FAL.
    > An air rifle can provide quiet practice and dispatch garden pests.
    > If you have a good revolver you can buy a lot of practice ammo for what you would pay for a decent SD auto.
    > +1 on the Steyr Model M or S. Steyr M or S is to Glock as Luger is to Borchard.
    > The only difference between a scoped bolt action hunting rifle and a sniper/DM rifle is what you’re shooting at.
    > Mossberg 500 or 590 is a great buy for the $.
    > M-N may not be an auto, but you can buy lots of cheap ammo for practice and have some left over for zombies.
    > A 9X19 you can afford to practice with beats a .40 you can’t. Skill trumps power.
    > SHTF and TEOTWAWKI aren’t the same thing. Katrina was a massive disaster, but it didn’t end up with The Humungous leading a plundering tribe of sociopaths. Because you can’t be ready for Armageddon doesn’t mean you can’t be able to take care of yourself in a disruption.

  • John Russell July 4, 2011, 7:32 am

    this is a LAUGHABLE subject. A gun that you aint GOT is of no value to you and it’s just not feasible to carry more than one longarm and 1-2 small, lw pistols. No enemy is going to let you go get the “proper” gun for the job, so you must always have the most versatile, utilitarian gun. That is an M4, with the Ciener .22lr conversion unit and a good sound supppressor. The “can'” will make subsonic .22lr’s sound like a BB gun, folks, while retaining rapidfire potential and lethality to 100m.

  • John Russell July 4, 2011, 7:34 am

    The only other gun worth having, really, is a pocket 9mm. I favor the Keltec PF9, and a front pants pocket holster of my own design, made of Kydex plastic and held in the pocket by a swatch of Velcro. Nobody’s ccw belt rig draw can match the average guy’s ability to simply pull a gun out of a pocket holster, if the pocket gun user starts with his hand already in his pocket! :-) If you don’t see trouble coming in time to take the 3/4 second necessary to get your hand in your pocket, on the gun, it is quite unlikely that your pistol is going to save you, anyway.

  • John Russell July 4, 2011, 7:38 am

    Until shtf, the rifle has almost no purpose, the pistol will suffice. After shtf, tho, the pistol has almost no utility, because it is so ineffective when everyone has a longarm. It is useful mainly from inside vehicles or sleeping bags, as you crawl in tunnels or climb trees. Since its utility is so limited, why bother to have a big, heavy one? It can’t hope to match the ability of the rifle, you know! So you’d better have a lw, compact rifle, always on an assault sling, ready for instant use. With that being the case, there is almost no use for the pistol. In normal times, the pocket carried pistol is what you want, for handiness and surprise deployment and it’s all you need, too. Since I already ccw such a piece, why would I discard it for shtf, hmm? It fits right in with the M4, and it stays out of the way, and it’s protected by the pocket and the holster.

    • SaturdayPrepper November 13, 2017, 7:07 pm

      Rifle has lots of value before TSHTF… it’s called practice and hunting. If you don’t do those before, the rifle has no value during TSHTF.

  • John Russell July 4, 2011, 7:44 am

    It is a pantload to “think” that you are going to be ALLOWED to sometimes have a crossbow, an air rifle, a 22 rifle, a shotgun, a bolt action “sniper’ rifle an AK, and 2-3 pistols, folks. You dare not go anywhere, post shtf, without a good fighting rifle, so pick a 223 autorifle that offers a .22lr conversion, because .30 cal rds are 18-22 to the lb, 223’s are 40 to the lb and .22’s are 135 rds to the lb. With a good sound suppressor, the .22 conversion is far, far better for foraging small game, disposing of dogs, taking livestock with brainshots, etc, than any shotgun can ever be. why “call in” every enemy within a 2 mile radius every time you shoot a rabbit? You won’t be able to handle them, if they use cover and stay 100 yds away. Your buckshot is worthless at 50 yds, on cover users, poking out their heads now and then to fire at you. Your slugs won’t have the penetration or accuracy required, either.

  • John Russell July 4, 2011, 7:46 am

    ur horse will be EATEN by someone within a week or so of shtf. It makes a HUGE target, easily hit at 1/4 mile or more and you can’t hide it as you can a mountain bicycle. the horse quit being a viable combat tool with the advent of long range, repeating rifles, like the Mauser, in 1900, get over it, ok?

  • John Russell July 4, 2011, 7:50 am

    Put a scope, free float tube, trigger job, anti can’t bubble level and cheekpc on an M4, use 69 gr hpbt match ammo, and it will relaibly hit men at 500 yds. That is 3x as far as most people can hit you back, using an AK or sks and typical .30 ak ammo, if you are prone around cover, as a sniper should be and they are fully exposed and erect, stationary targets, as you should be sniping at. So, no, you do NOT need to risk having no repeat hit speed by carrying nothing but a silly bolt action.

  • John Russell July 4, 2011, 7:56 am

    WHY is a precision .22 a must? I have taken literally TRUCKLOADS of small critters with service pistols with which I could not reliably do better than to hit a 3″ circle at 25 yds, standing Weaver and with ear protection. The .22lr conversion unit for the AR 15 will group 2″ at 50 yds or better, for 5 shots, it is plenty accurate enough for taking small game, or for braining cattle, deer, dogs, or men to 50 yds, or gut shooting men at 100 yds, for that matter. without modern med care, a .22 in your torso will mean death, within a few days, from infection. Nothing you can contrive in the field will save you from this fate. With subsonic .22lr ammo and a sound suppressor, the .22 conversion unit and AR is a very fine way to reduce the numbers of your opposition, with very little risk to yourself. Just shoot them from cover/ambush, at 100 yds, at dusk, slip away and listen to them howl, until their friends kill them to get their stuff and shut them up.

    • Survival Samurai August 2, 2011, 4:48 am

      Was wondering if this would be probable with a highpowered Airgun like the FX Independence in cal.25 or .22?

      It’s V/0 is 1000 fps for the .22 (Energy 40 joule) and 900 fps for the .25 (Energy 60 joule)

  • Bad Day July 6, 2011, 3:23 am

    Wow! You need all that shit to hit a man-sized target at 500 yards. We did it with 62 grn green tips with open sights. Can still do it with the 74. Look. The best weapon is the one you have. It is the the one you are most familiar with. If you see something else better down the road, pick it up. Not everyone can afford an M-4 style rifle with all those bells and whistles, or 69 gr hpbt match bullets to go with them. I agree that a 22 is an awesome survival weapon. Probably nothing better. Now, as far as my horses. I’m not stupid. I’m not riding it down the road, I’ll go down the seldom used trails in the woods. A week after SHTF, my family and I will have been at our retreat for 6 days and 20 hours. Now, you are probably not familiar with horses so let me educate you a little bit. Owners worm their horses. The wormer states,” Do not use on horses that are for consumption. May cause illness or death.” Just a heads up.

  • Greg July 8, 2011, 7:45 am

    22lr – if it can take out a 1,000lb steer it can take down a 300 lb idiot.

  • Bad Day July 16, 2011, 9:27 pm

    Amen, Greg. That’s what my daughter carries and I have taken too many squirrels and rabbits with it, and one hog. It has to be THE best survival gun ever. I only wish I had baught that Henry AR-7 when I had the money.

  • CanukATC July 22, 2011, 7:24 pm

    Can’t agree with the SKS comments, as a few folks above. Extreme reliability (ignore the hearsay of the writer of the article), inexpensive, (that does NOT mean the same as cheap), common and cheap ammo. for the price of one AR, grab a case of 5 and invite some friends over to defend the homestead over a homebrew.

  • The Bear August 1, 2011, 6:43 pm

    Enjoyed the read! I think your choices are good.
    Naturally everyone has their own list of preferences though. So I might as well include my own. :)
    My list is as follows: (an asterisk * means I currently own it…a ^ means I plan on purchasing it eventually.)

    1: *Ruger Mini-14 w/fast detach scope.. Uses the same ammo and magazines as the AR-15 but has a more reliable firing mechanism. The fast detach scope means it won’t get damaged while trekking through a forest or across wastelands. And having four 20rnd, two 30rnd, two 40rnd and one 5rnd mags helps too.

    2: ^ AR-15 set up for short to medium range combat. w/night vision scope. You can’t beat the fact that it has huge commonality, and that is a major plus in a SHTF situation. Plus they have many advantages as far as customization and such.

    3: ^ Springfield M14(or)FAL STG58 (.308) w/quick detach scope, bipod, accurized barrel. .. Accurate, reliable and simple.

    4: *British Enfield .303 (Mk4) with very custom stock(front bi-grip[both a pistol grip and a regular grip] a pad on the bottom of the pistol grip for setting on logs or posts for stability, folding bipod, quick detach scope(open sights still fitted), folding butt-stock for more compact carry on my back, a spot inside the stock that fits the scope when detached, two extra mags fit into the butt-stock. (yes, I went crazy, but it was fun back when I was 19 to build the custom stock and it is a nice weapon.)

    5: *Ithaca 37 ‘Stakeout’ 12Ga. Shotgun .. Small, fast, reliable. (a shortened Remington 870 could be used with identical results)

    6: *FN-45 .. This handgun must be fired to be appreciated. Very accurate for a 4.5″ barrel. And the 14+1 mag capacity is very nice, especially for a .45 ACP. The pistol comes with 3 of those 14 round mags standard! According to myself and anyone else I let shoot it, it is much easier to use and fire than the 9mm Glock most of my friends use, or the SIG-.40 my brother in law uses. It has less recoil than a regular Colt 1911.

    7: *Rossi M92 – .38/.357mag w/24″ barrel .. This is a modern clone of Winchesters infamous Model 92. Surprisingly accurate within 200yds and with a muzzle velocity of 2400-fps using Winchester .357mag hollowpoints, it has some decent knock-down power. Incredibly reliable and very light, mobile and quick. Nice back-up.

    8: * Ruger 10/22 w/seven 25rnd mags. .. Just plain good gun.

    9: ^ Desert Eagle .357mag. ..Yes its overkill, but I would like a second weapon that uses the .357mag ammo(more weapons less ammo types) and it has good accuracy and mobility. And since I am a big guy, it fits well in my hand. They are easier and faster to reload and easier on the wrist than a revolver.

    That said, I still have a long ways to go before I’m truly ready for the Zombie Apocalypse!

    • SaturdayPrepper November 13, 2017, 7:11 pm

      Mini-14 does not take the same mags as an AR unless you have a conversion I dont know about… and if you do please share, mini mags are ungodly expensive.

      • John Phelps May 2, 2019, 8:17 am

        Not the same mags, the same ammo. If you have plenty of mags on hand as I do mag interchangabiliy is a non issue. spare parts are also a non issue. if they are so plentiful for AR’s when my mini fails I’ll just grab enough to build an AR.

  • Jeremy August 3, 2011, 7:32 pm

    Keep in mind….. all of you who say dont forget those euro firearms…… if the US and rest of the world keep going in the same direction that it is…… you will need 1000-5000 rounds for everything you own ALONG WITH PARTS for all the assult rifles,pistols…. Where the hell are you gonna get parts for the euro guns once the shit hits the fan?????

    I say pick 22lr,9mm,,7.62 nato ,45acp,12ga.,20ga,4-10 round systems that you can get ammo for easly around here, stock up… what ever systems you use-10 of each-like mags, extra parts for like fireing pins, springs, extractors,the shit that breaks..get the parts and manuals, along with your ammo to stock pile now.

    And no matter what or how many firearms you own…. if you dont fully understand them,arent accurate with them and how to maintain them their not gonna help you for very long.

    So you wont have to trade for the parts later. dont tell or brag of what you have to ANYONE.

    Dont forget if you have reload ability… save as much brass as you can.. and dont forget what we used in the old days. a black powder rifle will shoot out just about anything you shove in the barrel when ammo runs dry. and a good bow will take game or even people without much noise.

    also if your firearms have knife attachment option, spend the xtra 20-50 bucks ..if you ever get rushed and 1 or 2 are left and your outta ammo, either break the weapon over there heads or that trusty blade keeps them about 2 feet awat from you :)

    thats my thoughts on the firearm side of what if…

  • The Bear August 4, 2011, 2:42 pm

    After reading your post I must say I agree whole heartedly! Great comment!

  • Little Lady August 4, 2011, 4:23 pm

    Greetings Gentlemen

    I have enjoyed reading this thread.

    I ask you all to please give me advise on what I should own.
    I am 5 ft tall, older than I want to admit, live alone in a semi-rural area, and have 4 big dogs. . . . that I love dearly.

    I own a Smith & Wesson .22 Airlite revolver and a joke of a 22 rifle — it has a squirrel carved in the butt. Certainly not the type of guns you are talking about.

    I am a damn good shot! Anie Oakley style.

    WHAT should I buy – that won’t knock me down in recoil — to protect myself, home and dogs???

    I would prefer something that holds lots of ammo — or can easily be reloaded. Putting in 8 bullets – one at a time – in the revolver is pretty slow.

    I am not too worried about killing game. I have enough food to feed the dogs and me for about 2 years. HOPEFULLY everything will be “friendly” by then. . . . if I am still alive that is.

    Thanks for any and all suggestions — please remember that I don’t know gun lingo either — so plain English will be much appreciated.

    • lance February 25, 2015, 2:13 pm

      20gauge shotgun doesn’t have as much recoil as a 12 but keeps the knock down power of a 12 and is almost as versatile

  • Little Lady August 4, 2011, 5:20 pm

    PS — what does TEOTWAWKI mean??

    • jeremy August 4, 2011, 9:06 pm

      The end of the world as we know it.

  • john August 5, 2011, 8:58 am

    > it has a squirrel carved in the butt

    Glenfield aka Marlin 60?

    > I am a damn good shot!
    > that won’t knock me down in recoil —
    > I am 5 ft tall, older than I want to admit
    > I am not too worried about killing game

    An AR type gun marked in 5.56 or one marked 5.56/.223. The new Ruger looks nice. Best thing about a Ruger gun is the service if you ever need it.

  • Little Lady August 5, 2011, 1:49 pm

    Thank you Jeremy.

    John, I have no idea of the make of the squirrel gun. I’ve had it for over 30 years.

    I will check out the Ruger you suggested.


  • Survival Samurai August 9, 2011, 9:02 am

    Well here’s my (sort of) realistic top 5 guns for survival in Scandinavia…

    Nr. 5: Mossberg 590 SP 9 Shot: A good shotgun is a great asset in a survival situation. 9 shots give me more firepower.

    Nr. 4: Ruger 22/45 Threaded Barrel: Mounted with a holographic or red dot sight (and a silencer) then I’ve got a silent, close action pistol and the missus can also use for it personal defence purpurses (It doesn’t go BOOM)

    Nr. 3: Ruger 10/22 tactical: Tricked out 10/22 with a Tapco Stock, suppressor, good scope and an ATN gen2+ night arrow night vision.

    Nr. 2: Glock 17: This would be my main carry. A good, reliable handgun. I know it dosen’t have the stopping power of a .45 but a 9mm will still put you in a world of hurt if the SHTF.

    Nr. 1: Steyr AUG-Z: Civilian version of the Steyr AUG with an Aimpoint micro T-1 and the 3XMag

  • RoninAmok August 10, 2011, 1:09 am

    Simply amazing , a perfectly civil discussion destroyed by a couple of berks who just have to set themselves up as knowing it all.

    Here’s a clue for the two clowns in question , the issue of firearms and what’s “best” is ***situation and locale dependent*** , and all your ranting and foaming at the mout won’t change that.

    And ” Bear” , or should I say ‘cub’? You’ve got your head so far in the ….uuuuhhh sand as regards .22lr as to be uneducable , tell ya what
    there mr. know it all , if you wish to argue that one with me then get back to me when you’ve spent four or five trapping season s way up above Lake Louise or better yet back in the Lake Iliamna country and filled the damn stewpot with a .22 consistenly , daily to hand rifle along with something else you denigrate….. a sidearm in .44 mag and up , see that pissant AR would be worth SPIT , while a Marlin ’95 Guide Gun is
    worth any five ARs in that particular environment.

    So how do you like them apples , mayhap you DON’T have all the answers for all folks ‘eh.

    And Cub , I may well be the one person here that you don’t want to run your mouth at as regards ballistics and various cartridges , lets just say I don’t purchase off the shelf…….and ***no*** bolt gun stays resident here unless it holds well under a minute of angle , especially the Varmint rigs , none of which is .223 anymore , fancy that. Don’t yap at me about high velocity , your .223 is an also ran in that race.

    And the average guys is one hell of a lot with an M/N and lotsa ammunition than with some masturbatory fantasy blackrig.

    Now , either go back to being civil , or continue to act like an egoridden , raving loon , no sweat of my ….eerr…either way , it it’s the latter at least you’ll be good for a laugh.

  • Survival Samurai August 11, 2011, 7:06 pm

    Found a great little article on the “lowly” Ruger 10/22 that “lacks stopping power”. Aparrently the Isreali Army used to use a silenced 10/22 as a less than leathal crowd control gun…

    From the article:

    In the recent Israeli-Palestinian clashes that began in 2000, the Ruger resumed it’s original role as a less lethal riot control weapon. However, it’s usage in this role was rather controversial this time. After several incidents involving the death of Palestinians by the Ruger fire, the IDF conducted a field experiment in the Ruger at the IDF Sniper School in Mitkan Adam under the supervision of the IDF Judge Advocate General (JAG). The test showed that the Ruger was more lethal then thought especially in upper body injuries. Also, since it’s suppressed and was considered less lethal by the troops, the soldiers were much more likely to use the Ruger loosely then intended.

    Whole article:

    Guess someone forgot to tell the Palestines tha the Ruger lacked stopping power…

    Gosh I really would like one of these!

  • Mr. A August 19, 2011, 1:26 am

    Ranger Man, I happen to like your list as I have everything you listed except for #10, #7 and #1. Hope to add an M1A someday, but the recession put me out of work like lots of others. As for #10, I don’t plan on engaging any light armored vehicles and my urban self defense location doesn’t call for any half mile shots. I believe .308 fmj will give me enough penetration if needed.

    In regard to your #1 choice, sorry to say I’m living in the People’s Republic of Kalifornia and can’t own a true un-neutered AR15. Truth is, I did own a couple back in the 80’s but could never muster much fondness for “Matty Mattell”.

    As I do have a fondness for the AK’s ruggedness and reliability my solution was to add an AK-84 to my battery. This gave me the advantages of .223 ammo compatibility, better accuracy, and much lighter ammo weight. This is in addition to my AK and SKS in 7.62×39. I also added M1 carbines for each adult member of the family for close in home defense. Two are GI and the others are commercial, but all have been throated for soft nose ammo for much improved effectiveness. Any doubters are referred to Jimmy Cirillo’s comments that this load gives stopping power as good as 12GA 00 buckshot.

    The only criticism I can really muster to your selections is the absence of a good .22 LR pistol like a Ruger MKII. This addition in lieu of #10 would make your list pretty much dead on. Maybe not as macho or as much fun, but very useful.

    In regard to all the bickering and name calling between the arm chair Rambos, ENOUGH ALREADY! Remember that different calibers and firearms can be used with effectiveness depending on the confidence and comfort of the shooter, each person being different in what they can handle with success. As Mas Ayoob says, different tools for different uses.

    Remember too that opinions are like a–holes, we all got one and they all stink!

  • workers compensation vic August 20, 2011, 9:04 pm

    Youre so right. Im there with you. Your weblog is definitely worth a read if anybody comes across it. Im lucky I did because now Ive got a whole new view of this. I didnt realise that this issue was so important and so universal. You certainly put it in perspective for me.

  • Kurt April 18, 2012, 10:24 pm

    I agree you can’t carry it all. Bury in your yard what you’ll need later on: food,clothes,ammo,parts,tools,etc, as the rest will be looted, burned, blown or washed away, or should you have to leave. I CCW a Glock 9mm, 75 yds max range,high cap mags,light wt,+P+ Ranger-T ammo,on my person. Two 9mm ball 33 rd mags, and one mag of bird shot in a waist pack. I own an AR15 for several reasons: common rifle,common caliber,high cap mags. It will take Eastern deer or man at extended range. (mm will take man deer or man at closer range. I have a S&W 22 cal pistol for small game in my back pack with 2-10rd mags and 500 rd boxed ammo. All tactical rounds are in mags-no loose ammo. I will carry a Scandvik-mora type knife and a ColdSteel Kuhkri Machetee for self defence or other tasks. Second pack can carry if needed my folding Keltec 9mm carbine which has a velocity of a .357 at 100 yds. My mag loadout is as follows: pistol 4-15rd mags gun/belt carry; 2-33 rd 9mm mags waistpack; 6-33 rd 9mm carbine/second backpack for my wife. My AR chest rig 6-30 rd mags and 1 in the riffle, 7 -30 rd mags in my back pack. Six 30 rd .556 rd mags weight 5.4 lbs. The 22 pistol and rds go in the alice pack. I’m carrying other kit items so ammo can’t dominate my space. Pockets,belt,waistpack,backpack each add to the level of my short and long term survivability. Little redundency.
    Burry what you’ll need later, even if bugging in.

  • Anonymous April 20, 2012, 10:40 pm

    the ar is one the crapest gun ever

  • vic April 25, 2012, 3:52 pm

    When I think of a SHTF scenario I always think back to the riots following the Rodney King beating verdict. Since then I have prepped in the following manner: I now live in a cul-de-sac at the very end. Sandwiched by retired LAPD officer on one end and retired Army Colonel on the other. Back yard has 8 foot rise from back neighbor’s property with an additional 8 foot tall fence. There is also a 20×40 pool in back serving as a barrier/moat should someone make it over the fence. I have 3 patio doors facing backyard for coverage. I have weapons designated for use in 3 perimeter stages: long range – Mosin Nagant 91/30 in Monte Carlo stock with bipod and peep rear sight and red optic front. Can switch to LER scope fairly easy. Medium range – S&W MP15 Sport with red dot and a laser and also have S&W MP15-22 as trainer and primary for wife. Short range – Charles Daly 12 gauge with 00 buck. Yeah I have some other weapons too but these make up the defensive perimeter. I put my arsenal together based on moderate budget and ammo costs. Have stockpiled sufficient ammo but could always have more. I make it a point to go to range minimum 1x per month and shoot/practice with each. I think I’m well equipped and prepped for another civil unrest scenario.

  • Ridgerunner August 11, 2014, 2:29 pm

    What do you folks think of the Mini 14 Ruger? I never hear it mentioned as a survival rifle. I know it is not the most accurate gun in the world but I have never heard of any huge problems with it.

    • john-atlanta August 11, 2014, 8:40 pm

      For an in depth opinion from people that love and hate it, visit the for all the finer points including from those that hate Ruger based on politics.

      I was considering one myself, mostly to support Ruger and AZ. I value dependable over accuracy, especially if I plan on shooting 100 rounds in a row in a SHTF scenario.

      To sum it up, it is an okay rifle to use with bulk spam can ammo. 3″ groups at 100 yards is normal.

    • SaturdayPrepper November 13, 2017, 7:22 pm

      Love my Mini-14, Ruger did a lot of work on the ones that they have now compared to the older models. It’s a reliable rifle the action is a bit hard if you ever want to reload it throws the brass far right making it hard to find, but is based on the M1 Garand action… reliable as all get out. Get a newer model, they sell them at wal-mart these days and the ranch rifle is not a scary black rifle. Downside is magazine’s are really pricey.

  • Toad August 11, 2014, 3:40 pm

    As a disabled person I cannot use guns with a lot of recoil. I bought two 9mm pistols. I then bought two KelTec P-32 pistols for concealed carry. For a rifle I bought a Henry lever action 22 magnum with holds 11 rounds. Works great. May buy another when funds permit.

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  • robert August 21, 2014, 4:29 pm

    the AR15 is the best? wow. The only reason why the M4 or AR 15 was used by the Military was weight considerations and cost. There is a reason why government agencies use that platform. Contracts and money. Pretty simple. Colt holds a huge contract , same with FN. Do you think the military is just going to dump it and re tool? not as likely. I chose the Kalashnikov in 7.62×39 for a reason. And its my own combat experience I got in Iraq that led me to that reason. I m not convincing anyone its the best. Because nothing is the best.
    People had said the AK is heavy. Africans carry them so hit the gym. Some say its inaccurate. Stand 500M and let me shoot you. no? didn’t think so. Its quite accurate for what it is, you just need to do hold overs because of the drop. And I think most people are too lazy to do bullet drops.
    Some say because its from Russia, China and Bulgaria that is junk. Not even in the slightest. These countries make excellent AK rifles. Yes China makes an awesome one too.
    But the thing is , besides its detractors the AK has a war record. If it was so crappy , why was used so much? some say cost some say innovation. Who knows. But what I do know is that tactics win battles not just the tool. You can have nothing but a bolt action rifle but with superior tactics you can overcome a lot of things.

  • PF Flyer August 23, 2014, 11:24 pm

    RE: 12 Ga.
    There is a definite drawback. It hurts like heck. I’ll use my 16 Ga. till the shells run out then use the 12 for a club.

  • NicktheEnforcer August 25, 2014, 10:24 am

    10/22’s are great, easy to train an inexperienced counter-force [friends/neighbors] to help protect an area/patrol sub-division. highly reliable and accurate. I don’t care what naysayers claim, when a noisy .22LR goes off folks will take cover. The ones that dont will take a dirt nap.
    Good list though, disagree with the AK variants b/c the stamped receiver models are junk, would not pin my life to one. Milled receiver hard to find and if you did it is probably not worth the cash.

  • Ethan September 8, 2014, 8:30 pm

    great list man.
    and just to let you know the barrett, unless shoulder fired which if you feel like flying backward I guess would be fine, fired on the bi-pod there is almost no recoil, I had the pleasure of shootin it downrange and at army ranges, granted only a dozen or so times, but I was always surprised at the lack of kick

  • BamaMan September 12, 2014, 4:39 pm

    50 cal was a surprise. Really has no good use except for long range sniper or piercing heavy armor. If you need to engage at 1,000 yards or pierce armor, might as well get out of dodge….

  • Anon September 29, 2014, 2:05 am

    I feel like part of this list was biased toward “cool” guns, more than reliable ones.
    Not doubting the SKS, AK or AR, mind you- But the .50? The 1911? Really?

    The .50 is a terrible choice for SHTF scenarios, and shouldn’t even be considered. If you have one, good for you. If you don’t, you’re probably better off. Sure, it’s cool, but it’s bulky and weighs, what, 30 pounds? That aside, it costs too much for the average prepper. And, seriously, at what point will you need to pierce armor? The ability to do so is great but think about what you’ll actually being doing in these kind of situations. You won’t be shooting trucks or tanks. With .50 ammo costing so much, what would be the point of lugging around a rifle that size with MAYBE six rounds to use? The very first shot would give you away, too.

    That said, I think a .22 or 5.56 rifle is a good choice, as these ammo types, along with 9mm, will be easier to come by. A 7.62 sniper setup would come in handy but I would think that anything you would NEED to shoot could be taken down with a smaller caliber and lighter gun, meaning less carry weight. That’s me, though; I prefer smaller calibers. If I could get my hands on one of those HK 7.62 marksman packages, I’d be all over it.

    The 1911 itself isn’t a bad choice but I would have just said “A .45 ACP Pistol”, and then encourage people to go out and pick a .45 they actually like. I’ve held a 1911 and I hated it. To me, it’s the Gibson Les Paul of guns; everyone has one, everyone wants one, for no other reason than being “iconic.”

    Walther .45s, on the other hand, are awesome for me.

    I wouldn’t pick a shotgun, either, especially if it isn’t mag-fed. Great for blasting down urban areas, I guess, but I’d take a rifle for hunting that won’t douse my dinner in buckshot. I can’t stand the thought of having to reload a shotgun during a life/death situation, when I could just pop a mag in a rifle and go to work.

    I have heard good things about the SKS but I’ve never fired one, personally. Would love to get the chance to. Right now, I’m comparing a list of guns and checking reviews for them, to determine which would be the smart decision. I suggest everyone do that same; pick a few models out and learn as much about them that you can. Go from there.

  • vocalpatriot November 9, 2014, 12:00 pm

    apparently, the author has little knowledge of guns. do yourself a favor…do your own homework, rather than take advice from people who talk big.

  • Dan November 21, 2014, 10:42 pm

    I thought it was a well thought out list. The author knows what he is talking about. I’ve been around guns for over 50 years, instructed, shot and collected and although everyone has their own list the author has avery good one.

  • Don Russell November 29, 2014, 9:57 am

    if you saw an AR having trouble, then it was a frankengun, improperly asssembled, not gauged properly, or using bad ammo, mags, or improperly lubed. Out of many, many thousands of rds, the only problems were one (each) failure to close the bolts in brand new AR’s (Colts) Once they got the high spots worn down, they ran perfectly.

    The 22lr conversion unit, folding stock, concealment (short barrel) luminous sights, trigger jobs, availability as a stripped lower (and parts kits) 80% finished, or (now) 3d fabricated (ie, “off the record) silencer, scope, free float tube, forend mounted bipod, quick, easy swap of uppers (different barrel lengths and rifling twist rates), chrome plated chambers, etc, just leave the competition in the dust. 223 Ar’s win most of the 600 yd matches, guys. They also are fully competitive with 308 autos at the 1000 yd matches. The latter use 26″ barrels, 90 gr VLD bullets and 1 in 6.5” rifling twists. the bullets still have 250 ft lbs of power remaining at 1000 yds. Just like your plus P 38 snub 158 gr lhps have at 10 ft.

  • Mountain Trekker December 14, 2014, 4:07 am

    Hey drop me in the wilderness, give me my Ruger MKll on my belt with a pocket full of 22lr ammo for Rabbitts, Squirrels and Grouse and my Mossberg 590 with a bandoleer with 20 slugs and 20, 00buck and 10 Rds#6 and I’m read for anything up to and including the biggest bears. Drop me in the city I’ll take my Para .45 and my Colt AR15. And you can take whatever suits you best. Trekker Out.

  • Geo December 14, 2014, 10:03 am

    I am new to this site, great site! I have read through and have learned much from great feedback and so many interesting viewpoints and top tens, I have some of the weapons listed ( SKS, 10/22 , S&W 357 and Governor , HK 40 , 1911 , Mossberg 935 magnum ) and a couple not mentioned ( I.e Voere Shikar 30.08 , Ingram Mac 10 Which survived a flood and still shoots like a dream ) after reading this site I will re consider some of my future plans …..however have 2 questions if anyone would like to advise …any thought on archery for a survival situation ( We have 2 Excalibur Matrix 380 crossbows with extra strings, bolts etc they are great for 40-60-80 yd big US game) and any thoughts on best way to store amo long term 5- 10 years i.e vacuum packing etc ? Congratulations on a really awesome site with folks who really know their stuff and willing to share the knowledge !

  • Donnie Kee December 30, 2014, 10:03 am

    Obviously we all have an opinion and in most cases they are all different to some extent. Here is what we get from all this, there is multiple correct answers. What’s important is, under what conditions will you be operating? This more than anything should determine what you carry and use. In many cases what you already have at home may work fine for you, then again you may need to make some adjustments. But remember this the firearm that you are most familiar with may be your best bet. Going with a gun that you have shot only a few times or possibly none at all may be asking for trouble. For my situation (which may be far different from yours) I carry a Glock M 22, .40 cal and a Kel-Tec Sub 2000, .40 cal. These two firearms work for me and here’s why…dependability, a strong and dependable caliber, inter-change ability of ammo and magazines which allows me to carry one ammo for both firearms, and did I mention conceability? The Sub2000 when folded can be carried in a computer bag and the firearm itself weighs only 4lbs. Using the Sub2000 gives my cartridge added muscle because of the extra barrel length along with more accuracy than a hand gun. With all that said just change the scenario and what you need to carry can all change so moral of the story, adjust what you carry to your situation BUT beyond all considerations be intimately familiar with whatever you carry.

  • Max December 31, 2014, 10:53 am

    1. Trg 42 .338 laupua mag.
    Awesome gun.
    Currently holding longest kill shot.

    2. Ar-15 armalite.
    Another great gun.

    3. Smith & Wesson MP-15 .22

    4. Wheatherby SA-08 .20 gauge.

    5. Glock 10mm pistol

    6. Remington R-25 semi-auto .308

  • Zombuck Rogers January 1, 2015, 3:56 am

    dodge power wagon 4×4 and an ar-15 and 9mm-.45acp pistol for sure. there would be a couple buried stash spots with additional ammon and rifles/pistols etc..
    plan for close range combat at 30 yards or less. a samurai sword would be great t00.

    • Scott R May 26, 2016, 9:01 pm

      If you have a dodge powerwagon 4X4 truck you are depending on for survival you had better go to the junkyard immediately and grab every single ballast resistor you can find!!!! Just sayin’…LOL

  • LEE LUCKY FALCO January 2, 2015, 4:02 pm

    these are nice choices, i will take the m1a and the 1991-a1 in 45 for my all around protection. the m1a is proven to be accurate and very tough. yes it has weight to it. but once you get use to it, it is not a problem, it is all what you are use to. haveing trained and fired rifle expert in the marines with the m14 i know its capbilities and it has almost no problems in function in all climates, just as the colt 45 i carried back in 1972 in the marines. i guess i’am a little prejudice, but i also fired rifle expert with the m16 while in the marines, but for me the m1a is a much better rifle for combat and in any survival climate. lets not forget that marines and seal teams are still useing the tried and true m14 and 45 in their special operations missions.

  • mike January 13, 2015, 1:49 pm

    I choose a Henry 357 magnum repeating rifle to go along a Dan Wesson 357 magnum revolver and a Bond Arms 357 magnum derringer. Ammo the same and general easily available and decent fire power to do what ever.

  • Anonymous January 23, 2015, 9:41 am

    If you can find one a Ruger pc9 with a ruger p85,89, or 95.They use the same magazines so they are interchangeable and the mags are easy to find and plentiful.

  • Ed February 4, 2015, 2:18 pm

    I respect your selection of the venerable 1911 .45 ACP as your top handgun choice, and I tend to like the weight of the round and ballistics of the larger and heavier bullet. However, the practical truth is, its lower magazine capacity, heavy weight, and negligible “stopping power”–which no handgun actually has–over the .40 S&W and 9mm really do not justify its alleged dominance over the 9mm. (Ditto for the .40 S&W over the 9mm.) When you explore the real scientific truths about the ballistics, generated wound cavities and related damage, one-shot stops, handgun self-defense stats and the like, fewer rounds and just 24 percent more muzzle energy than the 9mm all combine to debatably relegate the .45 to lesser overall effectual status. I still love the .45 and probably would love the .40 S&W, as well, but, the truth is, 50 percent of armed attacks involve more than one assailant. With two guns drawn on you, can you unholster, aim, and put an accurate shot on target, against the first guy, in two seconds or less, then turn to the second guy and nail him immediately, too? (With that adrenaline rush and all the shock and uncertainty breaking loose, wouldn’t you prefer to have more projectiles immediately available?)

    Furthermore, from 0-6 feet, 57 percent of shots miss their human attackers. From 7-21 feet, 70 percent of shots miss. (All FBI stats.) This all leaves one with what I think is a fairly clear better choice–the 9mm (hollow-point, of course).

    Not only is the 1911 .45 ACP–however much I like and respect it–particularly impractical for CCW, and overall in an attack, but for what you get in the “bang-for-the-buck” category, it just doesn’t effectively compete with a similarly sized semiauto having a larger magazine capacity.

  • scott monahan February 26, 2015, 11:30 pm

    Neighbors Cat ??

  • aczewolf March 2, 2015, 3:03 pm

    You seem smart enought not to make a snap decision based on one experience, as far as the Sks, you need to do your homework. The reason the Sks shot two rounds at a time is it has a floating firing pin. Simply boil the bolt in a pot of water and shake the bolt to make sure it rattles, problem solved. Second, the Sks, not Norinco late models, are milled from solid gun stock, even the trigger guard is one solid piece and does not screwes on. It would take 1200.00 to duplicate the materials and workmanship today. Cheap, definitely not, very little money, Yes. In combat test, the Sks is considered the most reliable war gun [AFTER] the AK-47, which took number one, they both use the piston activated bolt system. Compare the SKS to a quality AR15. Sks, less expensive, Sks more reliable, Sks, ammo cheaper, Sks, more knock down, If clip is lost on AR15, very handicapped, Sks, can be clip loaded, or manually loaded. with a banana clip in an AR15, you cannot lay on the ground in the proned position, Sks, no problem. If you wacked an SKS against an AR15, the AR15 will cease to function, the SKS, solid steel, not plastic and aluminum. The AR15 has tight tolerances which makes it very accurate, however, tight tolerances will jam easily in dirty enviroments. The AR15, is very light, the SKS is very heavy, so if I had to cover lots of ground in a short amount of time, the SKS would not be well suited for the task. The heavy SKS could be used to force a door open, the AR15 is too light and not made for this punnishment. Run out of bullets in an AR15, loading the mags would be time consuming, if you had a contest between, an AR15 and an sks to see who could put 100 rounds down range the fastest with non loaded mags or clips in either gun, the SKS is faster. The AR15 looks cool, the SKS is an ugly gun, but if you were at war, the 7.62×39 is a killer round, the 223 is not even legal to hunt deer in in many states because it’s maximum [game weight], is 130 pounds. AR advantage, cool looking, light, accurate. So, could you hit a man in the chest at 400 yards with an AR ? A good shot might, but, the round has lost it’s potency at that range, and a shot anywhere but the brain or heart will not kill him. The SKS is the most underestimated gun for SHTF use. The next time you give a rating for a gun, do not base it on one experience from a friend who did not clean out the cosmoline [packing grease] from the firing pin. The SKS was the most advanced semi automatic rifle to come out of WWII. It came out too late to be tried in battel ver much and two years later the fully auto capable AK47 came out with it’s stamped components. It was lighter, cheaper to make, and even looser tolerances for more dependability in dirty situations. So, know your subject better before you call the SKS cheap, that is not the same meaning as doesn’t cost much.

  • Rustafo March 4, 2015, 11:12 am

    #1 SKS
    #2 AK
    What people don’t take into consideration with the AR is that needs constant cleaning to operate dependably. In a SHTF situation the ability to properly maintain a weapon and the greater chance of debris getting into it knocks it off the list. Someone once said, “The AK is like a pick-up truck and the AR is like a Maserati.” I’ll take a pick-up over a Maserati in any SHTF situation. Your friend’s SKS just needs a trigger adjustment which is covered on Youtube. The SKS is more accurate then an AK and more dependable then an AR. I am speaking from experience having seen the reliability of the SKS and AK and the extreme unreliability of the AR while serving with the 101st in Vietnam. Granted the AR has gone through some changes since then, however the tolerance are to close to be dependable in a less then perfect environment. I have an SKS as my main battle rifle and feel secure in my choice.

  • juzcallmesnake March 14, 2015, 4:34 pm

    as long as people are willing to live or die on their decision it is not my call.

    I vote for a bolt rifle and like steel frame pistols no plastic and NATO caliber.

    revolvers are great just have enough power for your area here 357 is fine.

  • jim March 18, 2015, 2:01 am

    How cute. “My favorite gun is…because it is fun…I have one…and I’d buy another one…and I’d carry it with me if I were on the run and that makes it the very best gun.”

    In reality, software comes before hardware and caliber comes before platform. First get some training on a basic platform. Then once you get the fundamentals down, worry about what caliber you fancy. Once you’ve decided on a caliber and know why you want it (price, power, availability, versatility) pick a platform based on how if feels and how it fits you. Simple.

    Don’t be one of those idiots with a .50 S&W they’ve only shot twice because they needed that big bad caliber. A guy who actually trains and knows how to run any quality .22LR pistol will put Mr. .50 S&W down 99 times out of 100.

  • JQPub March 18, 2015, 3:45 pm

    Hey Folks – So, having a lot of experience in this area, I feel it necessary to add a humble word of caution to my fellow citizens regarding one of the selections: The venerable 1911. I too love the 1911 and have a great amount of respect for it’s incredible history and it’s amazing designer, Mr John Browning. I love to shoot my 1911’s. The trigger on a 1911, by nature of the mechanism, is generally better than that of a modern firearm; crisp, short, no over-travel. Also by nature of the design, (not a tilting barrel like modern pistols) 1911’s generally have increased accuracy over a modern-designed pistol. HOWEVER, I would strongly advise anyone considering relying upon a 1911 for a long term survival scenario to first own and operate that specific 1911 for a considerable length of time and shoot no less than 1500 rounds, of all varieties through it, cleaning it and maintaining it themselves each time along the way. Reason being, 1911’s, while awesome (and again, I do love them), are known to be very finicky in regards to what ammo they like and don’t like, and specifically very often tend to have problems chambering modern defensive rounds (hollowpoints). That as you can imagine may very well limit your ammo choices in any situation where you can not just select whatever ammo your particular 1911 happens to like from the shelf. They were made in the era of ball ammo remember. They are also, in most cases, not near as reliable as modern firearms that use a tilting barrel design (which greatly aides in reliability as to how the round is chambered). That’s one big reason why modern guns like Glocks and such are so reliable. If that’s not enough for consideration, they are also much more difficult to take down and service/clean, and especially if you had to do so not sitting at a comfy lighted workbench area (as may be the case in such a scenario). They have more, smaller parts and can be a bit of a pain in the butt to maintain, frankly. Also, none of those parts are not interchangeable, as with modern firearms. They are all crafted for that gun specifically. Oh, and that issue with being finicky and prone to have issues is greatly exacerbated as they get even a little bit dirty (especially the feed ramp), which means you would really want to take it down and clean it even after shooting just a few mags worth of ammo. Not ideal for this type scenario. These facts are known to us 1911 enthusiasts, but not necessarily to the general public or firearm owners who haven’t experienced this themselves. Again, I love them, but having lots of direct experience with many of them, tells me that they are perhaps one of the last firearms I would want to rely on in such a scenario where parts and maintenance and ammo selection now become major factors. If you really like the .45 ACP round (which I do for Home Defense in a ROL world, but do not so much for such a scenario as is being discussed here – due to weight, capacity and availability limitations) – then there are many other choices in a modern firearm design that are much better and do not have any of these issues (XDM, M&P, Glock, Sig, FNX, etc). There is a reason after all that Browning designed the Browning high power as a successor to the 1911. This is the modern tilting barrel design that is now employed in most modern firearms that we know today. It’s also notably, 9mm, the most prolific ammo out there, which does add some value in such a situation, whether you love 9mm or not.

    Finally, a very similar note of caution applies to the 10/22. Yes, I love them, I have them, I live them… but in so doing, understand that rimfire ammo is not as reliable as centerfire. Look into it. You’ll see. Also, have you ever actually tried to take apart and clean your 10/22? (not just swab the bore, but take apart the bolt/assembly). Now try that outside in the field. Oh, and .22 is very dirty ammo and will also mean that you have to clean your 10/22 rather often. IMHO, you would be better served with traps, snares, or even an air rifle, bow or hand-crossbow. OR, if you really want to go with .22 instead, look at something like a SR22 and get a suppressor. They are easily taken down and cleaned (as pistols like the 22/45 are not). They will have limited range, being a pistol – but at least will be easily maintainable in the field, in such a scenario.

    Again, I say all of this humbly, from my experience, and with no absolutes. There are always exceptions to the rule and I do not mean to offend anyone, but only pass on my experience for the better of the community.

    I was always, and still am, an AR guy – so I can appreciate the number one rating! Wooo! They are awesomely accurate, ergonomic, adaptable and customizable…. Love em! BUT (yeah, me again, Mr Danny-Downer)…. For reliability – in the muck and grime and rain and dust…. For low maintenance requirement – in a situation where you can’t bring a tool box with you and don’t have time to stop and clean your weapon on a nice dry lighted table… For longevity and durability, where this may be your only rifle – ever…. I have to say that AK wins every time hands down. In addition, they are very economically viable, as is the ammo.

    Ultimately however, as others have keenly stated, your firearm choice is in no way anywhere near your most important consideration. Your knowledge and skills – that which adds value to any community – and that which no one can simply take a way from you – are by FAR more important. As is your planning, your experience, your networking, and your physical and mental constitution.

    Anyway, FWIW, just thought I’d pass on my 2c. Thank you. Maybe we’ll cross paths some day.

  • Peter N. Thermos March 20, 2015, 8:09 pm

    Buy yourself an over & under 20 or 12 Ga. W/some rifle bbl. on top or under like mine, 12 ga./.308 or a single bbl. break open shotgun. Go to and buy some of their inserts for about ” 8. ” or so of them. Then have your wife do the same ( mine has a 20 ga. / .22 lr ) she has about 6 & I have 8. 44mag/44spl. \ .357 / 38 SPL. \ 20ga. \ 410ga. And Of Coarse 22lr. Choose your handgun cal. & make sure U get that cal. insert for your shotgun. Buy yourself a cheek rest for shotguns and put inserts inside and out. Now put 1st. insert in bbl. , set target at whatever range U want, shoot 3. rounds from bench, check target, if you have a tire group but not dead on, pull insert out, twist 1/8 th turn, shoot again and continue until U R happy. Then make a small scratch on top of breech face & then on base of insert so they match. Next insert ! GODbw/U&Yours&SemperFi.

  • FLOWERMAN March 22, 2015, 11:53 pm

    YOU men with your steel penises that deliver death instead of sperm

    Ranger man offered this blog to me many years ago. i may have to take over and set you naughty boys right.

    give up your madness and find your gladness.

  • Joe April 22, 2015, 4:28 am

    There are two firearms here that I think shouldn’t be included. For one is kind of the obvious: the .50 cal. It’s quite unpractical for anything other than ‘being cool’ when in reality like you said your self you can afford an entire self of sks’ (or food, medical supplies, ammo,ect.). The other gun I hate to say because it’s one of my favorite firearms ever: the 1911. Unfortunately although it’s possibly the best shooting handgun (ever.), and cool as all get out, its just not the most sound option for shtf. If you were to have a 1911 stored away somewhere or in a go bag, you would also need a cleaning/lubrication kit with it. Because even the #1 most reliable 1911 on the market still will require proper maintenance and cleaning even if it’s hasn’t been shot, just to make sure it will function properly. Don’t get me wrong I’m not a glock fan boy who hates 1911’s, there not only my favorite handgun there easily my favorite firearm altogether. That being said it’s a cool list I agree that all of those firearms would definitely have a place in a survival scenario.

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  • Matthew Groff May 14, 2015, 1:51 am

    I like the list, but I would have added a couple of different firearms into the list. My top 10 in no specific order:

    .50BMG sniper rifle Yes it is expensive as all hell, but man it packs one hell of a punch out to well over a mile!!

    AR-15 style rifle in one of any number of calibers: 5.56/.223, 7.62/.308, .300 Blackout, 6.8 SPC, etc..


    Bolt action rifle: Either a Remington 700 or Savage 110 .270 win, .300 win mag, .338 Lapua mag or 7mm Rem Mag.

    A Lever Action in: .30-30 win., .357mag/38spcl, .44mag, .44-40, .45LC, .444 marlin, or .45-70 GVT. Yes, I said a Lever Action!

    12 gauge Shotgun!

    1911 style .45ACP Pistol and a 9mm semi auto.

    Revolvers in .357mag/.38spcl, .44mag, .44-40, .45LC, .45ACP, 9MM, etc.. Why a Revolver? It is simple to use and does not jam.

    M1A1 .308 win

    I would also include as possible firearms to have:

    Spencer Repeating Rifle (Modern Reproduction).

    Sharps rifle (Modern Reproduction)

    Kentucky/Pennsylvania Long Rifle: Black Powder .50 cal

    Cap & Ball Revolvers: Black Powder .41 cal.

    Flintlock pistols

    Why those “Older style” Black Powder firearms? 1) I like them 2) they are fun to shoot. 3) they are just as deadly as modern firearms! 4) no one would expect anyone of using one of those for defense in a SHTF situation! 5) Plus the ammunition can be easily made by melting lead. 6) with the right materials and the “know how” you can make your own “black Powder” if need be, after a SHTF event.

    • SaturdayPrepper November 13, 2017, 7:32 pm

      I’d add a repro black powder shotgun to that list. Given my furthers I’d never choose a bp rifle, pistol, or shotgun over cartridge fed… but they have their place, and could be all we have someday if all things go to H.

  • Toad May 31, 2015, 11:47 pm

    As an older gent I have little use for assault weapons.. I own two .22 Magnum rifles, two 9mm pistols, two .32 acp. pistols, two single shot 20 gauge shotguns and a CZ-USA Mallard O/U 20 gauge. That’s all I need.

  • Chris June 2, 2015, 2:28 pm

    Although I do love the .50 BMG, and one day I hope to own one, I do think that it could be only used as long-range sharpshooting. There really isnt any other reason I could think of. Plus, those things weight A LOT. It could be the end of you, if you start carrying around a .50 BMG that weighs 28 lb. Just a thought. I do love the other gun picks as well!

  • Matthew Groff June 6, 2015, 12:45 am

    A few firearms I forgot to mention in my previous post:

    A rifle in .22LR quiet and is deadly on small game and can also be deadly on Humans with the right ammo!

    A 12 Gauge shotgun. Especially When loaded with buckshot or a slug for self defense or home defense and can also be used for hunting!

    Don’t forget to include a couple good quality knifes!

    My personal feelings on “Lists” are include what you have and are good shooting, Also include firearms that you can Reload or Load ammunition for, and also include firearms that you have plenty of ammunition for!

  • George July 7, 2015, 3:59 am

    A .357 carbine and revolver combo could work well, also using .38, and a 9mm carbine with a 9mm pistol would work too. A 9mm coming out of a longer barrel gets a velocity boost. I think you could kill a deer if you had to and felt like doing some walking and trailing. One thing, the Mossberg 500 is at least as functional as a Remington 870.

  • Mahabub Hassan July 9, 2015, 2:41 pm

    Hi There,
    Thanks for post about “top ten best guns for survivals”
    The survivals guns are very useful for surviving.
    These guns have a lot of smart feature that fascinated me.
    Thanks again for posting the article .

    Mahabub Hassan.

  • S.H.A.D.O. July 21, 2015, 3:47 pm

    One weapon you may have overlooked was a nice little pellet rifle.I got one for Christmas that has changeable barrels (177 & 22). Along with the scope around $100.00. Ammo is cheap and great for teaching fundamental marksmanship.

  • Artz ApeSide Attic August 2, 2015, 4:25 am

    I can not physically carry 10 weapons with ammo…and my GHB bag?!! I will carry
    #1 Slick, a Browning semi-auto .22LR
    #2 Mynegha ,Weatherby semi-auto 12 Gauge/#1 Buckshot. Good for exiting, opening doors and clearing right-of-ways! This loud, close round, heavy hitting monster will stay hot & hungry.
    #3 Mr. Nasty, SKS that I do not particularly care for, but it just so simple.
    Sidearms, my pussy-ass 9mm Beretta (ref from above). I’ll probably throw my little fairy-assed Ruger .380 LCP in my pocket too.
    To me, where I live, this is the “blue light special”. NOW, If I could get my hand on a semi-auto .22 WMR rifle and semi-auto .22 WMR pistol…I would drop Mr. Nasty and The Pussy 9mm and 30 lbs.
    ***DO NOT fall into the “I have to keep this because my _____ gave me…” and tote around 7 lbs of useless metal when you could be carrying vitals – 2 lbs of dried beans, 1 lb of dehydrated veggie soup, 1 lb of rice and a pound of salt go a long way…and you will need salt in the swamps.***
    How many of you know why I do not “hide” a cache of food and weapons in the swamp?

  • Firearms Historian August 31, 2015, 11:03 am

    You have gotten almost all of your choices wrong and most of your logic is incorrect. In the case of an overall insurrection having a long range weapon will be of no use. A gun such as a .50 BMG is too large to carry around, which suggests to me you have no concept of what a fight would be like. Extreme range shooting works ONLY when there is a TEAM since the person looking through the scope cannot see enough of anything to even find the target at ranges much over 500 meters.

    The fighting will be at very close ranges, often indoors. You have made wrong choices in almost every category and for each of your stated reasons. Where you are correct: A 9mm Double Row, DA/SA military approved handgun is the only suitable handgun. Using the highest powered 9mm ammunition such as a Magsafe or Corbon is a necessity although using machinegun ammunition would be useful against automobiles.

    As far as urban combat and legality… the Tavor would be by far the best choice followed closely by the FN Five-SeveN if the thugs are wearing heavy clothing which clogs hollow cavity bullets (which they do). The Five-SeveN even without it’s banned SS110 ammunition will defeat almost any body armor that the thugs can come up with. The Tavor is short enough that it’s an ideal urban combat rifle, unlike much longer guns such as the M-4. .223 Nato ammunition for TAVOR makes it excellent for Urban Warfare.

    Your stated reason for liking a pump action shotgun is … the sound. Shotguns are very large and best suited to hunting birds in the field. A short Combat Shotgun is the BEST in the home defense gun when loaded with the correct ammunition. There is no case in which a pump action would be a preferred weapon.

    Now… you changed the discussion when you mentioned the Ruger 10/22 which is a fine survival rifle for taking small game, but it needs to new trigger group to be as good as it can be. Larger game, up to the size of Deer can be easily taken with such small calibers as .308 Win but… larger game needs a bit more power. I would recommend .300 Win Magnum in a bolt action gun. This is also, in an accurate rifle, an excellent long range sniping round and it can take most game up to Bear, Bison, Moose etc.

    For Ultimate survival due to the collapse of civilization, guns should be Cap and Ball with supplies for reloading for a long time. For temporary survival the least expensive ammunition that can be had in extremely large quantities is called for. For Rifles this would be either .22 Rimfire or 5.56 mm Nato at this time. For handguns this would be 9mm x 19mm Nato. Only three guns would ever be necessary and should be A: 12 Gauge Shotgun, B: .223 Nato Rifle C: 9mm Pistol.

  • Trav September 15, 2015, 9:30 pm

    Great info and posts. I like a short rifle, long rifle, handgun (or two) and a shotgun. I will pass on the black gun/assault rifle as I have no intention nor need of going urban commando. I spent nine years USMC, and I believe the guns my dad taught me to shoot will serve me better all-around that the crazy thing I shot expert with in the corps. To each their own, right? My short rifles are a .357 model 94 Trapper (16″ bbl), a Ruger 44 Winmag carbine, and a Remington 742 30-06 carbine, in order of preference. My long rifle is a Rem 700 .270 with a Leatherwood sniper scope. Both of my handguns are 9’s (Beretta Nano and Astra A75) and my wife’s Security Six shares ammo with my beloved Trapper, but I’m in the market for a .44 mag revolver to share ammo with my carbine. I’ve got the 870 12 gauge covered, and my Browning A5 Light Twenty will probably be currency. As for the .22, I keep a cammo Henry AR-7 and a hundred Stinger CCI’s in my bug-out bag and a Henry Frontier with a very sweet Leupold 4×9 in my safe. As for ammo, I will die or be killed before I run out as long as I can get us and my truck to our cabin on 70 off-grid acres in BFE southern Colorado. The best gun is the one you have and know how to shoot ;).

    • john-atlanta September 15, 2015, 11:31 pm


      Since you served in the Marines, I will repay you with a small $0.02 as part of my duty as a citizen.

      God is wiping the homosexual states off the face of the earth. The dividing lines are going to be Rio Grande and the Chattahoochee. If you are not between those two rivers, you will likely die. All the homosexual marriage states are on the west side of the Rio and east side of the Hooch. This is what Zech 13 is about, but, to know exactly what it means you have to take it back to the Hebrew. This is so exact, that FL gets wiped out (homo marriage) which the hooch barely misses and some of GA does not (no homo marriage) which divides it. FWIW: If you look at the these mountain ranges which follow the rivers and then look at the fault lines/plates and how the ranges were created, you will start to get the idea how these states are destroyed in fire and water.

      If I were you, I would move further in land. The USA only has about 1 year and 3 months left and God is killing Congress, the stenographer was their last warning not to mock God, after ignoring my many letters sent by US mail to the same effect. $0.02

      • Anonymous December 11, 2015, 10:18 pm

        No one knows the time or date, but GOD!!! Anyone that says they know Exactly when the END is Coming is LYING and does not know what the hell they are talking about!!!

  • Michael Cooke September 22, 2015, 7:12 am

    My resources have been limited the last couple of years, so I’ve gone the way of function in lieu of form for cost purposes. I’ve become a Hi-Point convert based on actual use.

    Yes, the pistols are ugly and yes, capacity sucks (10 rounds for pistol and carbine) but they’re both dead-nuts accurate out of the box, won’t break the bank and in .40 or .45, magazines are interchangable. Makes for a nice platform and cuts down on ammo types to purchase, and I only have about 400 bucks into ’em. Oh, and they have a lifetime warranty, no questions asked. Sure, that doesn’t mean anything when SHTF, but it does if the weapon breaks down at the range and you need it fixed. Ship it back, they fix or replace it.

    Would I like an AR? Sure, nice platform, fun to shoot, and can be had as low as 450 bucks (Rural King in case you’re wondering where). How about an AK/SKS? Yup, for the same reasons as the AR. Unfortunately, SKS quantities have dried up, and I’m not seeing many under 400 bucks. AKs? 550 bucks. Minimum. Add my H&R pump .20 that I picked up for the ridiculously low price of 140 bucks, and I have less money than the cost of one AK in three guns. All of which, coincidentally, my wife and teenage daughter can handle without a problem.

    Mosins are sweet, but those are drying up too. The days of the 99-dollar long range hitter platform are unfortunately over, though I’ve seen them advertised for 150 (very) used but a fair example of the weapon goes for 200-300 bucks now. Corrosive ammo is still somewhat plentiful for the Mosin, as it is with the x39mm platform; unfortunately corrosive ammunition kills the whole “you don’t need to clean it as much” argument.

    Basically the point to this rambling missive is this: get what guns you can afford to get, with an ammunition type that is both plentiful and inexpensive to shoot/stockpile. Practice with your weapons of choice, and get really good with them, because when SHTF any gun is better than no gun, and range ammo is better than no ammo.

  • Elsa de Cheloneax November 30, 2015, 3:33 am

    I’ve read the entire commentary, except for a few longer posts without paragraphs (who reads those?). I’d like to point out few things to ppl who have not spent a LOT of time in the woods. I have spent years in the woods, full-time, in a nomadic fashion, in the central Rockies. You really don’t see much game. The bears pretty much stay clear of you. You’ll prolly never see any cougar. Unless you plan to hunt every day or every other day, what you see every single hour of every day are ground hogs and various squirrel species – and birds.

    You also see a lot of deer.

    What you won’t have, if you are reduced to procuring food like Jed Clampit, is gasoline, electricity (refrigeration) etc.

    You also will not be able to just go up into these places you’ve always hunted and expect to be welcome. You won’t be; because whoever owns that land is going to be sweating it for the same food sources on it.

    Your days drinking beer and hunting off ATV’s are over.

    There’s so many more problems with the thinking on this thread, that I can’t even address them all. You just are NOT going to do your hunting like you have always done it. How are you going to get gasoline? How are you going to store meat w/o electricity? Even if you’re offgrid, your place is going to be raided by starving droves of armed ppl.

    Chances are, if things are SO BAD that you have to hunt for food, then you’ve got bigger problems in life – like what to do with your waste products w/o sewer; where are you getting your water? Car parts? Gasoline? Propane?

    None of those things would be available in SHTF. I’ll tell you what else – you come up here and step on any local’s land in those kinds of dire straits –

    1) you’ll be walking or riding a bike
    2) you’ll encounter ppl not keen on letting you on their land.
    3) all the NFS and BLM land will be closed and heavily monitored.

    Everything will be upside down. Your little top ten gun list will not mean jack.

    You would be far smarter to worry about water, getting rid of your waste, and feeding yourselves WITHOUT hunting. If I found you out there and I were starving as well – I’d put you down, just to get your stuff – and everyone else up here would do the same thing.

    If you own a section of forested land with lots of cover and a water source and about 30 ppl to defend it at all times, then different story.

    Another thing not being mentioned is weather. It’s very cold about 8 mos of the year and unless you have actually lived day and night without heat or with very little heat – trust me – you aren’t even mildly mentally prepared for the major head fooking you’re about to undergo. Add mild to severe starvation and having to go somewhere (dangerous in itself) to get water every other day or so, and you will not be able to stand the life. You’ll break.

    You’re far better off to be worrying about what climate you’ll likely be in, than which caliber or platform to carry. Being nomadic and dirt poor is not for pansies.

    Most of you will probably die from your juried up heating source than from someone else’s bullet – or from hypothermia.

    It will be the boredom, starvation and the cold that kills the lot of you b/c most of you (unless you’ve been in combat) are mentally prepared for the shocker of no cable, internet, electricity, refrigeration, gasoline or solid waste disposal.

    It isn’t a game and it is very hard mentally to actually live ‘out there’ without shooting yourself.

    I would bet a lot of you would end up sucking on your own muzzles after a month.

  • john-atlanta November 30, 2015, 7:30 am

    > your place is going to be raided by starving droves of armed ppl.

    You are correct.

    God’s written word says the only people to survive unscathed are the ones that flee to the “deep woods”. Cities will be turned to hell holes with armed gangs taking what they want. Then once the civil wars are over world wide, there is going to be hardly a male left alive. It will be so bad, there will not be enough people to eat the food that is left that grows wild by itself when it is all done.

    Isaiah 4 (KJV)

    4 And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach.

    What is the reproach? I will get to that shortly. It has to do with their lack of hair.

    As for this:

    > If I found you out there and I were starving as well – I’d put you
    > down, just to get your stuff – and everyone else up here would do
    > the same thing.

    Obviously you have not read the best and most accurate history book in the world, The Bible. People like you get delivered into our hands because the angels fight for us and if God allows you to kill one of his annointed, God then delivers you into Satan’s hands. After which Satan makes you suffer as much as he can and will take everything precious to you and make you die slowly and in pain, while you are cursing God and Jesus. Read the Book of Job sometime for a primer. I know from personal experience with the words from their own mouths how much the evil spirits delight in torture and death.

    God is about to wipe the east and west coast off the face of the earth (Zech 13) and kill Congress for mocking him.

    If you have read the Book of Enoch and know what the fallen angels did to cause the flood, then you might understand what Jesus meant by:


    Matthew 24:38 (KJV)

    7 But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

    38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,

    “marrying and giving in marriage”

    So, I suggest you stay right where you are because when the fallen angels come back, you will not be protected no matter where you hide, they will know where you are, they are supernatural and HATE anyone born in the flesh. The fallen angels will be allowed to rape you with their horse sized private members.

    Maybe a well versed Christian can explain this in more detail for you.

    1 Corinthians 11 (KJV)

    3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

    9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.

    10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.

    14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?

    15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.

    16 But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

    There are some things worse then death.

  • Sai Vaughn December 11, 2015, 9:04 pm

    Disadvantage to shotgun: reload time, ammo takes up a lot more space and weighs a lot.

    • SaturdayPrepper November 13, 2017, 7:39 pm

      Learn the “select slug” drill for a shotgun, and you’ll find reload is not an issue.

  • Joseph December 12, 2015, 12:48 am

    For those of us who are disabled and cannot run, bug out or fist fight a hoard of cannibalistic teenage zombies, I will share my thoughts. I have bad knees, cervical stenosis, degenerative lumbar spine, aging eyes, weak hands from surgery and am going bald… (horrors) That lessens your options, trust me. I got a technicians license in Ham radio and set up a cheap 2 meter base station in my bedroom which has a simplex range of over 75 miles in my area. Farther with repeaters. I also am getting a CB radio as I live near I-10. (News nationwide) I purchased a couple of S&W double action 9mm handguns and about 1000 rounds of ball ammo cheap. I then got myself two Maverick 88 20 gauge pump shotguns. Found a place that sells bulk #1 buckshot. I am set. Have enough food for six months. Working on more. I don’t owe anyone a dime and have enough saved to pay all my expenses for a full year. (you never know.) Best I can do. I can’t use the AR’s and AK’s. No need for them. I’m keeping things simple. Now for some dark shoe polish to keep the sunlight from shining off my bald head and giving away my position. ;-)

    • ricardo deguzman February 20, 2016, 11:38 pm

      Good for you bro, stock more ammo…

    • SaturdayPrepper November 13, 2017, 7:40 pm

      If you can handle the 20 gauge you can handle an AR.

  • Franco Villa January 24, 2016, 5:25 am

    I’d replace the SKS with a good .177 breakbarrel air rifle. Let’s say a Gamo…The SKS is already redundant while the air rifle could save your .22 rimfire rounds for plinking. Thanks for the comment space…

  • G February 7, 2016, 1:51 am

    the best thing to remember is to buy weapons that fire 9mm, 12 ga, 7.62×39,7.62 nato, 5.56 nato or 45acp… there will be plenty of ammo for the taking in a shtf situation. Who know’s who you will be at battle with, just remember you need only carry enough common rounds, there will be plenty to pick up if you have practiced well.

    • Anonymous February 8, 2016, 12:35 pm

      You forgot the most common caliber around: 22lr. Pretty cool in that you can carry 500 rounds in your pocket. If you think it’s not that great a round, have someone shoot you twice with a .22 weapon.

  • herb terry February 20, 2016, 11:29 am

    If I only had one gun to survive with it would be a 20 gauge Mossberg pump shotgun. It would have rifle sights on the ribs. A 20 inch barrel. With slugs and buckshot you can shoot deer, pigs or any unfriendlies. With birdshot you can shoot small game to feed your family. Shells are cheap and easy to stock up on or reload. This shotgun is reasonable to buy and is very reliable to shoot. Doesn’t kick so bad as a 12 and is smooth operating. I have one shot kills on deer at near 100 yards. As a backup I would carry a good .22 LR pistol.

  • ricardo deguzman February 20, 2016, 11:29 pm

    sks chinese in 7.62 x 39, ,Baikal 12 gauge single shotgun with 410/45 long colt insert. glock 22 40 cal and lonewolf 40 to 9mm conversion barrel, . smith and wesson sd 40 ve , zastava m70a in 9mm. reminton 700 tactical in 308, stevens 300 in 22lr I can’t complaint…

  • Michael Case February 26, 2016, 3:44 am

    If I would choose, I would still go for the AK-47 nothing beats that when it comes to visual impact. Try walking around your block with that in your hand you will definitely be feared.

    • Sepfian Herdyanto July 31, 2018, 7:36 pm

      I hate that “Ivan” weapon, I’ll just pick my own StG44

      “Deutschland uber alles!!”

  • 19Echo March 9, 2016, 5:37 pm

    The SKS is an awesome weapon to have. I actually own 7 of them. The reason for the 2 round shot is that the bolt needs to be clean. Gunk gets built up in there and the pin gets stuck. there should be no oil or any lubricants in there.

  • Best Compound Bow March 13, 2016, 12:39 am

    I have done some investigation into large caliber PCP’s and in a SHTF scenario perhaps another consideration to have as long as a manual and reliable compessor or high pressure pump were easily transportable. PCP for those not familiar is a recharged pneumatic high caliber pellet rifle up to ..60 cal I think but a bit pricey on purchase and support for compressing the charge high pressures of 3000 psi like that in scuba tanks are not at all cheap though the actual pellets or projectiles are very reasonable much more than typical ammunition also not much chance of projectiles exploding in a fire god forbid if there is no powder charge or cartrige to them. Just a thought.

  • Anonymous April 7, 2016, 1:25 pm

    Hi I shot a 50 bmg semi auto and I am ten

  • William May 13, 2016, 11:11 pm

    My SKS has done just fine. I’ve never really had a problem with it, despite going a few years without cleaning it. And it’s more accurate than the AK47, as well as costs less.

    I know this will probably offend some people, but I prefer the Marlin Papoose to the Ruger 10-22 Takedown. The Papoose is lighter and shorter when taken down or assembled. Plus the hollow stock can be used for storage. And it costs less.

  • David Ferraro July 5, 2016, 2:04 am

    Thanks again for posting and sharing. Thanks for post about “top ten best guns for survivals”. The survivals guns are very useful for surviving. These guns have a lot of smart feature that fascinated me.

  • Lee July 7, 2016, 1:03 pm

    I’da add a .22 Gamo Whisper Pro Fushion Mach 1 Pellet gun…cheap ammo and easy to find, with some hellashish knock down power.

  • Harold W. Weaver July 19, 2016, 3:31 am

    I prefer handgun to others, so 1911 .45 ACP Handgun is my best choice. I’ve used it for a long time and I’m really satisfied!

  • Patrick Horne August 9, 2016, 10:21 am

    Interesting subject with much information about guns and their advantages, disadvantages. Personally, I will choose Bolt-Action .308 for its pros and cons. But I have enough money, I will buy more than one gun for different uses.

  • Rick August 27, 2016, 3:44 pm

    The problems with the SKS are related to the Chinese leaving out the spring loaded firing pin that was in the original Russian design. For $50 the right parts can be had to make them safe.

  • Dutch K October 21, 2016, 6:25 pm

    I would reverse the order and put the AK47 near the top of the list, not the bottom. The AR-15 is like an Orange County Housewife…beautiful, but lots of maintenance and always some little drama going on.

  • Brian Marks November 24, 2016, 2:37 am

    Interesting subject with lots of information about guns and their advantages, disadvantages. Keep your work!

  • boliso December 29, 2016, 10:29 am

    you left out major advantages of the AR. available in many barrel lengths and rifling twists, chromed bore and chamber, luminos sights, silencers, drop in trigger jobs, ambi safety, folding stock, takes down to conceal in a pack in 5 seconds, reassembles to fire in 10 seconds, .22lr conversion unit, GI rd, mags, parts, easily used with just one arm (as carrying a kid or helping a loved one walk, driving, etc. The bolt comes out to let you clean the bore properly (ie, from the rear) not possible with an M1A, 30 carbine or Mini-14, so THEY are the ones that are messed up for proper cleaning.

  • boliso December 29, 2016, 10:31 am

    I left out the QD, return to zero scope mounts of the AR, the see thru mount option, available as a stripped lower, available as an 80% lower, so nobody knows that you own one

  • boliso December 29, 2016, 10:34 am

    with the forend removed, wrap the barrel with Nomex, you can ccw the AR under normal clothing, when taken down, to include the .22 unit, scope, and silencer. Once you get to where you”ll be dealikng with the warlord, assemble and test POI with a subsonic .22 rd, with the bolt held shut. It will sound like a BB gun. Since the relationship of 22lr POI and 223 POI is held constant, you’ll know that all is ready for your shot. You can disassemble the pc to escape, or abandon it after the shot.

  • Michael January 12, 2017, 4:50 pm

    I’ll take my PMR and CMR 30. 22 WMR packs a good punch. And, while many say these guns are junk, I disagree. Over 2500 rounds through each and both are still “Rockin”. Got LOTS of ammo and it fits in a light weight pack.

    Living in Alaska, I am sure I can take a Caribou, Black Tailed Deer, under the right circumstances a Black Bear and numerous other small game with these guns. Zombies? NO PROBLEM!

  • Jimmy Muller April 5, 2017, 7:05 am

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  • Bill July 24, 2017, 7:17 pm

    .22 revolver, like 357 mag, a revolver will shoot shorts cb caps etc. 357 mag revolver. I stray from the pack because I use a colt saa. Before you beat me up, go to utube and watch some of the sass crowd use them, you might have an eye opener. i have gone to the effort of having extra cylinders bored out for, 38 S&W 9mm 380 38 super. Now the range of ammo I can use in one gun just went to six different cartridges.( really more than six) Also it doesnt take any tools to change the cylinder. Since Im not looking for a fight, and combat requires a different set of fire arms than survival does the only other firearm I want is savage V24 in 357 mag and 20 ga. Here I thing I have asembled the lest number of fireams(weight) to the greatest number of different ammo. You will never know what you will find, but you had better be prepared to use it.

  • Wordmahn July 25, 2017, 1:22 pm

    Good list.

    I’m gonna refine the #1 pick. No one knows exactly what SHTF would look like but IF and when it occurs, one thing is likely: Things will be unpredictable and dicey from day to day. “The best gun to use is the one you have with you.” No one is going to keep a 15 pound, scoped, M1A over their shoulder all day, every day while they are out and about. Try slinging a scoped battle rifle (.308) all day long and the problem will soon become obvious.

    A LIGHTWEIGHT 5-ish pound, M4-ish AR carbine with a mini red dot sight (MRDS) would be a joy to keep slung over one’s back all day, in and out of the truck, etc. Keep it light, light, LIGHT!!! Add a medium frame, high-cap 9mm pistol in a good holster and you’re GTG for 95% of your defensive needs and you’ll be FAR more likely to have the heat on you when you need it.

    I agree with the OP’s addition of a small, concealable pistol. There are times when having a gun on you that no one knows about, would have great advantages. The element of surprise can be a BIG force multiplier in many cases.

    IF SHTF occurred, things would

    • SaturdayPrepper November 13, 2017, 7:46 pm

      I disagree, if TSHTF I believe open carry like the wild west would be the plan of the day. As much as I like my concealable pistol now, I’d have one on my hip all the time then. I’ll assume everyone else has a gun, I want them to KNOW I do.

  • Stryker August 13, 2017, 1:06 pm

    I have AR, AK, SKS, and 1022 TD. My favorite is Keltec Sub2000 Gen 2 Glock 17 carbine which enables shared 9mm ammunition and magazines across two platfoms. And Keltec still has considerable killing capability up to 400 yards. See Iraqivet8888 videos on YT. At 4.25 pounds, the Keltec folds and can be carried in a backpack.

  • Tim Marks September 8, 2017, 1:24 am

    The ruger 10-22 is a cool semi auto with flush rotary clip! They also make the American rim fire rofl now with Same 10 round clip,but bolt action sporting a bit more accuracy and range. Both great go survival and home defense. Did you know the standard velocity 22 long rifle round (1250fps.) 40grains, will penitrate both sides,enter and exit a whitetail dear skull at 100 yrds no matter how you place the butchered deer head on the stand,every time. And benched both rifles i mentioned will usually keep a 1.5 inch dia. group at 100 yrds strait out of the box with match amo. The 22 mag is also available but holds 9 rounds in clip and will do even better at 150yrds with cci amo!

  • Tim Marks September 8, 2017, 2:01 am

    When we butcher 1000 -1500 lb cattle we shoot between the eyes ahead on in the dish of the forehead or brainpan at point blank to 10 foot range. We use bolt action.22 cal. Rifles (not pistols) loaded with .22 cal. short amo in an effort to keep the bullet out of the meat behind a skull. It can still make it to the meat. It drops the cow instantly and I never have personally witnessed one get back up successfully! Don’t under estimate the 22 rim fire round! I’m favorite survival rifle is the 22mag. rim fire in a bolt action. (Ruger American rimfire rifle) .22mag!! With headshots it will kill any animal in North or South America at 100yrds! Including,moose,black,brown,grizzly and polar bears. For fur I prefer the .22lr for less fur damage on headshots up to wolf sized game (200lbs) out to a max of 100yrds. Yes, I can shoot!! Like in the ear every time out to 100yrds (.22 lr) so the hole won’t show. 200yrds with the .22mag. on wolf sized game or smaller,bigger is 100 or less. Both rounds will take flying ducks,Turkey , geese and pheasants and crows in the head,out to 50 yrds in n hands.(no feathers in the meat!)

  • Tim Marks September 8, 2017, 3:18 am

    In any survival weapon of any caliber or gauge (survival) and my personal opinion,”especially a combat weapon!” I do not like multiple shot weapons unless a quality bolt action!! I have used everything out there as far as multi shot or repeating guns go! And the only ones that haven’t jammed,misfired or had failure to feed on me,were the quality made bolt actions. Even the 10 gauge super goose bolt action worked fine! “EVERYTHING”,else I’ve ever used, “made by anybody”,jammed,misfired,failed to feed excetra,”WITH GAME OR FUR I TRACK,SEARCHED FOR OR CALLED ALL DAMN DAY!” In the sights as nice as you may have! Even the ruger 10-22! That’s why I prefer the American rim fire rifle or any other bolt action repeater in tube Load or rotary clip or magizine Only! Never mind Criss cross loaded clips for bolts,Same problems! I’ve had the Semi autos,and level actions jam repeatedly on quick follow up shots of one or more follow up rounds. Same with pump action,both rifle and shot guns!!! And certain bolt action clips. Mostly bolt action that gets the clip loaded with every other round pointing the opposite direction. Nothing piss me off more than a mutilated cartridge jammed in my action with my other two fur checks dragging ass away from Me! Not to mention the weapon might have damage to linkages and extract ers now rendering it useless or the most troublesome time consuming single shot on planet? I can only be thankful no one was,” aiming back!” If it isn’t a good bolt action with a simple,dependable,well designed magazine or clip,then I will prefer a single shot weapon of any actions available.Its called a survival weapon do a reason? So what is combat about? Yeah right? Besides,when shtf do you think parts will be cheap and easily available?

  • Tim Marks September 8, 2017, 4:33 am

    Same for pistols, single shot and revolvers only please for survival guns! When your 9mm jams I’ll club you to death in the meat department at Wal-Mart with a bat from sporting goods. Pistols really have no place as a survival gun unless it’s all you have? They don’t have the range,power,accuracy or velocity needed for putting food on the table. They are more for personal close range defense. (ie) Naval special forces I was only ever allowed to carry the A1 1911? No 9mm for special forces then! And a .314 Enfield. Average pistol shot in Naval combat proved to be 8 feet! “Close range?” That’s why they are called side arms. No real place in survival! Same .38 cal pistol bullet in a Stevens .38 cal rifle has no trouble killing antelope at 100 yrds. More barrel time= full powder burn,higher velocity and much greater accuracy,and range and Down range impact! Excellent deer and wolf gun out to 100yrds!

    My definition of a survival gun or weapon is,”one that can put 10 rounds in a circle the size of a quarter at 100 yrds without cleaning it!” It will also penetrate and pass through atleast 1 thickness of 2×4 or 1 9/16″ of wood atleast with each round. 3 thickness Like the 22mag is awesome,so is the 1/2″- 3/4″ group circle or smaller at 100yrds!! Amo and weapon should be light,low recoil and as quiet as possible! Should be dependable as all hell as far as firering,and feeding of amo goes and amo should be easily available and common as all hell and cheap if God will permit. It should be bolt action holding 1-10 rounds when loaded! It should have Sturdy crisp adjustable sights and scope capable! Should break down for cleaning and storage in moments with little or no tools. Adjustable synthetic stock is best.

    • SaturdayPrepper November 13, 2017, 7:49 pm

      My definition of a survival gun is the one I have with me when I need it.

  • Tim Marks September 8, 2017, 5:00 am

    Just for shits and giggles from a guy 52yrs old that actually counts on survival rifles for gathering everything from food for the table,pelts and furs with undetectable bullet holes down inside the ears and the like,and money for my wallet! Please pay attention to this??? If the weapon will not keep a 1″ group or less with ten rounds at 50yrds benched,no matter what amo is fired through it,I pound it!!! That’s right!! It’s junk not worthy of being carried in the field! Loose it,trade it,sue or take it back,but get rid of it! “It’s junk!” And it happens more these days then you think? Let’s rush the Pace and turn out some more junk because,”no one really counts on them anymore?” What ever the excuse, $400 for any 22lr or 22mag,should do it out of the box with the right amo. No bedding,nothing! You should not have to spend another dime! If you do,its poor quality and workmanship,(junk,dont fall for their lines!)

  • Tim Marks September 8, 2017, 6:18 am

    When dealing with .22 cal rim fire amo for a survival rifle be it .22lr or .22mag or any other rim fire amo you may encounter up you cannon rounds. Rim fire is a completely different animal as far as amo and the way it behaves (accuracy),goes. All rim fire amo whether match grade or not should be stored as if going to shoot at a match! Then you might begin to get the tiny groups i do at 100 yards. Rim fire primer compound is a liquid,gel or runny paste. So bullets must be stored with the lead or projectile pointing strait up at the sky! Never lay bullets on their side! The primer runs around the rim to the lowest side eventually leave part of the rim empty and void of primer! By standing the bullets up you will make the primer run back down and evenly fill the primer ring. when bullets lay on their side and the primer runs to one side many things happen leading to disappointment. First off a great number of them will not even go off because the firing pin strikes an empty spot on the primer ring. these are known as Duds. Rotate them in a bolt action reload and fire a gun and half the time they’ll go off. you also get a problem like hangfire with muskets. this is when the firing pin strikes primer but not enough for proper ignition causing Hang Fire and or inconsistent burning of the powder. which affects velocity accuracy and hitting power. This causes zingers or Wildcats increasing group size and misses and lost game.

  • JCMS September 16, 2017, 12:39 pm

    The mini-14 all but one model fires both .223 or 5.56 less parts than a AR looks like a regular rifle w/ a 5 round mag, but in seconds can sport a 20 or 30 round. There are add on parts to increase accuracy lessen hammering of recoil block and awesome ways to mount optics lasers and lights little recoil so it’s fun for the whole family

  • David Harvey September 21, 2017, 3:25 am

    Thanks for post about “top ten best guns for survivals”. The survivals guns are very useful for surviving. These guns have a lot of smart feature that fascinated me.I will return to read more of your site. i wish you good day…. <3

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  • Paul Hood November 11, 2017, 2:52 am

    Ruger 10/22 Rifle is what I use for hunting down in Colorado. Happy to see it getting featured on your blog. I was just scrolling down the list. Bam. There’s my .22 rifle. Quite overlooked one, though.

  • Mitchell Wood November 14, 2017, 10:52 am

    I have found and read your article. I wonder Ruger 10/22 Rifle what gun I’m using on your list? And it’s already on the list. Thank you for useful information.


  • Pat November 30, 2017, 5:11 am

    I don’t have much…three 12 gauge pumps. A mini-14 with 20 round Mags. A ruger American bolt action in 7.62×39 with 20 round Mags and a suppressor. A Rossi .357 carbine. Two .357 revolvers and a sig .40 cal. That’s about it.

  • Dennis Taylor January 10, 2018, 2:45 am

    Good reviews. I heartily agree that a 12 gauge of some sort and a decent .22 should be standard home arms. Both will protect you and help feed a family. Spent some time in Alaska years ago. There really are some things up around there that will eat a person. At the time, issue arms for game officers in bear country [most of the state] was either a .458 magnum rifle or a 12 gauge short barrel shotgun, loaded with slugs and buckshot. Both were said to be well proven stoppers. The .30 calibers are time honored too. The ‘lil .22 has likely put more meat on the table and worked harder than all the others combined. It would make our outdoor trips much enjoyable :).

  • David February 4, 2018, 11:27 pm

    Dang this blog is awesome lol, a lot of passion for the followers. Only own a 22 myself but I use to hunt with a Russian SKS and a 30 round clip although I only had a few bullets in there. It was all I had at the time to hunt with.

  • steve February 6, 2018, 11:22 pm

    When people mention a ..45 1911 only having an 8 round capacity I always smile and think Para Ordinance made P-12’s officer size, P-14’s commander size and P-16’s full size 5 inch barrel. A 16 round .45 vs. a 18 round 9mm?

  • jamie bell February 17, 2018, 10:50 pm

    If you had to choose one weapon that would be used to hunt, for defense and everything in between, what would it be? I currently do not own any firearms and would start with one, then over time increase what I have.

    • Sepfian Herdyanto July 31, 2018, 7:18 pm

      u could considering M1A Springfield Armory

      want to brainstorm with u about that gun

  • david April 11, 2018, 11:43 pm

    Wow…!! This Post is so intriguing that now i want to know more about this topic. Waiting for your next Post..!!

  • Daniel April 24, 2018, 2:01 pm

    Yes! Nothing beats an AR-15, it’s the ultimate survival weapon – especially with a nice red dot or scope attached to it. Combine and AR-15 with some night goggles (for night use) and a first aid kit + some dry meat and you can survive for quite some time in the woods.

    • Davey Crocket May 12, 2018, 8:01 am

      If you got the ammo, cleaning kit and skills

  • Davey Crocket May 12, 2018, 7:58 am

    Also depends on the State your in.
    In the SE USA say Georgia i would like a 30-06, AK or AR version or a Remington 700. In Florida unlike Georgia there is no mountains and 200-275ish yards is what you may shoot more, and Bucks are smaller so you may get by with a 30-30, a Remington 700, or AK or AR, or something that could handle the sands better, or humidity those marine type weapons are good to combat rust especially the Shotgun. I do like the option of being able to shoot one handed as i was taught in the Army so i tend to like a semi auto, lever or bolt action. I can manage pump action one handed but slower. If you get shot in the arm or you are dragging a friend you have to shoot from the other hand.
    And if you can hit a squirrel size target with a 22 i would like having you around. Shot placement is a key factor, but if you have a Group of combatants a injured comrade is sometimes a better idea because you take 1 or 2 to move them, and a medic, and its a moral dampener to see there friend hurting

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  • Mark July 19, 2018, 12:42 pm

    Hey what about the Glock 17, or the ruger PC carbine, or the Mossberg MVP LC?

    • Sepfian Herdyanto July 31, 2018, 7:14 pm

      just no doubt: take G17 for u, preparing SHTF

      lots of ammo, spare part anywhere in the world, and reliability

      maybe just shtf speciality handgun

      just my 2 cents

  • Sepfian Herdyanto July 31, 2018, 7:05 pm

    just wondering, why there isn’t fn five seven there, in many suggested top survival weapon, in other sites also!?

  • Aleena August 8, 2018, 2:08 pm

    great job! I love your content, please keep up the good work!

  • Franck Wang August 15, 2018, 7:32 pm

    This article offers excellent info to buy the very professional guns on the market, some guns even more than $12000 I suppose, not cheap.

  • Bill Randall September 18, 2018, 5:53 pm

    M4, with a .22lr conversion unit, silencer, scope in a see thru mount, luminous sights. A belt 9mm for practice, a pocket .22lr pistol with silencer, a pocket 9mm for ccw and for shtf, cause it fits in a front pants pocket holster. The bolt action is a joke for shtf, as is the shotgun and the large, heavy pistol. The .50 is only useful for shooting at liquid fueled rockets on the launch pad, big propane tanks, etc. The 1022 is pointless if you have the .22lr conversion unit for the AR.

    I’ve taken literally a truckload of small game with handguns that would not group better than 2″ at 25 yds, so a rifle that groups 2″ at 50 yds is plenty accurate enough and the AR’s .22lr conversion unit does so, easily. Practicing with a gun that doesn’t match your centerfire rifle’s trigger pull, sights, handling, mag release, etc is just silly.

  • John Bass December 14, 2018, 10:54 pm

    My favorite gun Remington 870 12 Gauge Pump. Very good product. Thanks

  • Erik Himmel January 13, 2019, 10:06 pm

    It’s so nice of you, to create and share thoughts like those in this article! I almost feel like spreading your thoughts on Hunting among our fellows whose habits include visiting our website Ranger Expert once in a while. Thanks to you!

  • Dead Trigger Site March 11, 2019, 12:06 pm

    I think Ak-47 is one of the best weapon that is every being engineered but the thing is pretty much sure we have to do all what is to be needed.

  • Hungry Shark World March 11, 2019, 12:07 pm

    I would rather say that M416A would do a hell of a job other wise there can be pretty much every one to do great work, these weapons have great grips and can work in all type of weather conditions.

  • Jump Starter March 11, 2019, 12:09 pm

    Uzi is my fav category as they could do lot of bursts and can fire rounds at a pretty amazing speed and that is what some people would like in hand to hand combat.

  • illiniwarrior March 31, 2019, 11:05 pm

    the best gun u can have >>>>>>>>> is one you take away from a gooberment loving sheeple

  • Smith April 30, 2019, 7:23 am

    in my personal opinion, AK47 is the best of them.

    There has some reason,

    – It is easy and relatively cheap to manufacture.
    – It is easy to fire.
    – It is robust enough for most climates.
    – It shoots a decent cartridge.
    – It is easy to maintain.

  • John Phelps May 2, 2019, 8:24 am

    All these weapons seem fine for the job. the best is the one on your shoulders. with a good one any weapon will do the job. I see a lot of attention on military weapons. All should remember that military does not equal the best quality. the military uses what works at the best price and can carry the most ammo, it’s a combination of criteria. many civilian weapons are of superior quality but at a price the military can’t arm 100000 soldiers with at price that can be afforded under current budget. nothing wrong with military, they work, but it is not a mark of superior quality.

  • John Phelps May 2, 2019, 8:28 am

    The .223 isn’t always the best round but it always sufficient. that and the fact that a soldier or civilian in bad situation can carry upwards of 1000 rounds on them make it the best round for field work. being good enough and having lots of ammo make up for being the best.

  • Steve C May 7, 2019, 10:12 pm

    .17 HMR is one of best option for survival gun. It is awesome to carry in wilderness survival. Such a powerful weapon I use in my survival life.

  • Jerry Gonzalez July 5, 2019, 12:09 pm

    Love SKS Rifle. Thank you for your brilliant post! :D

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  • Chad Samuelson November 27, 2019, 9:19 am

    I Live in Alaska so yes a 44 magnum is one gun that will be with me along with my 44 carbine also my 22 LR but also have the option to carry my brake down keltec 9mm and my Beretta 9mm the other choice would be my brake down 22 410 over under

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  • Oak December 29, 2019, 5:11 pm

    So many thoughts… This would be mine if the planets aligned:

    S&W M&P 2.0 Compact 4″
    S&W M&P 2.0 Comact 3.6″
    Glock 23 GEN3 w/ 9mm conversion barrel (9mm, .40S&W)
    Ruger SP101 w/ more usable (larger) grips (38/.357)]
    Ruger SP101 (.22LR)
    Ruger 22/45 Target/Hunter or 22/45 Lite Take-Down (prefer 5.5″ barrel)
    Ruger 10/22 Take-down
    Ruger 10/22
    AR15 16″ barrel
    AR15 18″ or 20″ barrel
    Mossberg 500 combo barrels
    Mossberg 500 marine persuader
    AK-47 variation
    AK-47 variation
    Springfield Armory M1A Scout Squad
    Bolt-Action .308 (Remington 700, Savage Scout, etc.)

    Additional Thoughts would be an NAA Revolver w/ .22WMR and .22LR cylinders and .22/.177 pellet gun and S&W M&P Shield, and maybe a bolt-action in .223 or 7.62×39, and a .357 Revolver. Something in 45 ACP would be nice to have as well.

    But, I would be just as happy with the following:

    Glock 19 and Glock 23 w/ conversion barrel
    OR S&W M&P 2.0 Compact 4″ and either 2.0 Compact 3.6″ or M&P 9C Compact
    AR15 or AK47
    Bolt-Action .308 or 30/06
    Mossberg 500 w/ combo barrel

  • balisong January 2, 2020, 12:17 am

    almost all of the above is a crock. if shtf, all of the animals are going to be eaten within 2 months, along with all of the fish and the known-edible wild plants. Cannibalism will be commonplace a month later. The N guard and military armories are FULL of 223 and 9mm, with a bit of 12 ga buck and a lot 308 on mg belts. 208 ball aint much of a deer rd, much less for bigger game and it’s intended for use in belt feds, so it’s very unlikley to group better than 2 MOA, and some of it is just 3 moa. thus, it has ZERO range advantage over the 223.

  • balisong January 2, 2020, 12:20 am

    you want a shorty AR-15 in 223, with a $160, 3/4 lb CMMG .22lr conversion unit. It groups 2″ at 50 yds or better, and the caliber swap takes just 10 seconds, 20 seconds if you have to be discrete. 6x per shot practice not 30c per shot (50c if 308) you’re NUTS to not have a silencer, the GI rd, the ability to use .22lr, to not have a chromed bore and chamber, rapidfire, one hand-utility, the abiity to pierce soft armor, night sights, night vision, and enough brains to stay underground during daylight hours. You dont want to be in open country even at NIGHT, especially not on snow or during a full moon. A low powered scope can still see you at night, under such conditions.

  • balisong January 2, 2020, 12:35 am

    you’ll have to at all times carry 25 lbs of survival gear, water and food, plus your rifle, pistol, night vision and armor. You CANNOT carry two longarms, that pack and enough ammo to make both longarms worth having. YOu have to have a silenced autoloader .22lr ammo option, with subsonic ammo. The best is the 60 gr Aquila subsonic .22 load, but it keholes in normal 22lr barrels. It’s perfect with the 1 in 9″ twist of the AR-15 and .22 conversion unit, tho. If you have a regular .22, use the 45 gr federal subsnonic.22` ammo. It groups ok and will not have supersonic “crack” when fired thru a silencer.

  • balisong January 2, 2020, 12:40 am

    a .22lr blast can be heard for half a mile. Centerfire blasts can be heard for a mile or more. If shtf, dozens of people will hear every un-silenced shot you fire, and many of them will come looking to kill you and take your stuff. It only takes ONE man and one shot to kill you. they can come from any direction and at any time. you simply DARE NOT be without a silenced .22lr autoloader. At least, a very accurate 22lr pistol, if your rifle lacks a .22lr conversion unit. You’ve got to have night vision, concealed armor and enough brains to stay underground during daylight hours. Bury steel traps, nets, trotlines, fish poison, bird lime, bait, snares, etc, near your BOL. You want to be “hunting’ in 40 places at once, silently and you can services those devices at night, showing no light.

  • john January 15, 2020, 5:25 am

    I really love this place for all of the update idea, thanks a lot

  • betty January 22, 2020, 12:51 pm

    Free card knife for anyone interested!! Click the link and get your free knife now! I’m not a bot, I just thunk everyone should get their free knife.

  • laura denison January 30, 2020, 6:15 am

    This is very outclassed guns for hunting. I use this type of gun in my last hunting tour , it was really out standard. on another thing that is mostly used in winter tours areBest legging


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