Everyone has their own opinion and preference when it comes to survival guns. Some insist if you only had to choose one, it’d better be a Mossberg 500. Others say the .22 LR is the name of the game for survival. Then there are the community of military and law enforcement professionals who swear upon their M4s and M16s.
Ultimately, there is no such thing as the perfect survival weapon and everyone is entitled to equip themselves in the matter they deem most fit.
With that said, a survival gun should be capable of performing with deadly effect whenever called upon in an emergency.
What to Look for in Any Survival Gun
Though there is no perfect survival gun, there is also no single gun that works best for each type of individual and level of shooting.
While an able-bodied adult male should be capable of handling most common handguns, shotguns, and rifles, the same cannot always be said of women and children. The elderly and disabled are at even more of a disadvantage when it comes to arming themselves.
Any handheld weapons like knives, bats, and pepper spray can be used with relative ease by the untrained, they can also be used against you if taken away by an attacker. Since those cold weapons put distance between you and your target, guns have long been hailed as the best form of weapon for defense and survival.
Therefore, anyone in your family, young and old, capable of learning how to use a firearm safely and effectively should consider doing so.
In a survival situation, your firearm could be the piece of equipment that determines whether you live or die. Not only will it be used to protect you, your family, and your property from others who want what you have, but also for hunting, to put food on the table when other food sources run scarce.
A gun decked out with fancy optics and rail accessories doesn’t always equate with something that will fire effectively every time you pull the trigger, as is its intended purpose. Typically a more industrial gun without all the bells and whistles will serve you best for both hunting and self-defense practicalities.
If a gun will still fire after falling of a ledge, being dragged through mud, or while it’s raining, it’s a reliable gun. If you could only have one gun to survive, you want it to be something that will shoot with the same accuracy straight out of the box and after a year collecting dust in storage.
A firearm without ammunition is nothing more than a paperweight, as is a broken gun without spare parts. For that reason, a survival gun shouldn’t be something obscure that requires the use of expensive or hard to find ammunition.
The more common–and affordable–the gun and its ammunition, the more chance you have to stockpile extra parts and ammo before SHTF, and the more likely you’ll be to find replacement parts and usable rounds in the aftermath of an emergency.
That’s why many advocate the use of a .22 LR for all-around survival usage. Their widespread popularity in times of peace equates to the circulation of plenty of ammo and replacement parts when disaster strikes, though this also applies to 9mm and 30-06 rounds as well.
Whichever firearm you use, make sure its something you can afford to replace, fix, and fire at any given moment.
Simply put, a larger and heavier firearm is less versatile and less effective in a survival scenario.
Though scoped bolt-action rifles and high gauge shotguns are capable of providing extreme firepower, they are simply too heavy and cumbersome to be used for self-defense or home protection in most applications.
Whether you’re firearm of choice is a pistol, shotgun, or rifle (or one of each), your selection should be lightweight, compact, and convenient to carry, draw, and shoot both out on the road and in the halls of your home.
If you find yourself on the move, you will already be burdened by the weight of the water, food, and other essential supplies you must carry.
Not to mention that as the caliber of a gun increases, the amount of rounds you can carry on your person decreases, as they too are heavy.
As long as it has enough takedown power for hunting and self-defense, smaller is better when it comes to survival.
Your gun should be reliable and fire every time you aim at your target and pull the trigger, but doing so should be straightforward.
The process of loading and clearing rounds, using the safety, and pulling the trigger should be so easy that a nine year old could do it with ease. And while it’s up to you to decide when to teach your children about gun safety, you never know when you may have to arm the members of your family, children included, for the sake of security.
Families with young children should consider keeping their weapons unloaded and stored separately from its ammo at all times to avoid accidents, especially if the children aren’t properly trained. But the weapons should always be stored in such a way that they will be easy to access, load, and use for defense at a moment’s notice.
Ideally you will be in a position to equip yourself with a layered defense with some combination of handgun, shotgun, and rifle. But if you had to choose only one, it should be something that will be effective for a variety of survival needs, defense and hunting included. To that end, the rifle you use to hunt elk in Alaska may not be the same gun you’d want to defend your home or apartment.
In a survival situation, you never know what your target is going to look like or how many of them you will face. Accordingly, you can never gauge the distance to your target until you’re staring it in the face or taking incoming fire.
Whether you’re defending your home perimeter or protecting your family while on the move, an ideal survival weapon should be capable of taking down targets in close quarters and at long range.
If a gun adheres to the characteristics listed above, it can be considered suitable for use in a survival scenario. The more you options you are able to handle and range-test before deciding on a go-to the better, as you never know when you’ll have to call upon your choice for your own survival.
In the end, a gun is only as good as the person shooting it. If you don’t take the time to learn how to safely and properly handle and fire your weapon, it may be more of a liability than an asset.