I’ve been asked several times for an opinion on survival guns. What is the best gun to have? How many should you have? What caliber? And so on. What this and what that, but people seem to miss an important point when thinking about survival and guns. First of all, let me say that I am neither a gun nut, nor an expert, so my opinion is simply a thought based upon the sum of my gun knowledge. Which really isn’t very great.

To start with, we must first differentiate between a gun for survival and a gun for defense. Some guns can be used for both, but not all of them can, or rather, should be. And you should always bear in mind that while any tool that serves multiple functions may be adequate for those many functions, it serves none of them as well as a tool dedicated to that one function. Just like a pocket multi tool. So we have to look at guns for survival, and guns for defense. Then we have to break down the different categories even further into the differing qualities each presents. For instance, you can use a handgun for defense, and for hunting, but which does it do best?

You have rifles and shotguns. Then there are loads for high power caliber that can hit and kill a target easily at over a thousand yards. But they’re useless when an intruder is in your home. So there are many variables to consider. Urban settings will require a different weapon than somebody who lives in the woods far from large numbers of people. If you’ve the money, then you can buy several and have multiple weapons at hand for any contingency. But most people do not have the resources to accumulate a virtual armory that would cover any possible need. So they have to limit their choices to a couple or so guns, in many cases inexpensive ones at that.

My idea of a survival arsenal is to have as few guns as possible, and if possible ones that can share ammunition. The 22LR caliber is a very popular and easily obtainable round. You can have a rifle for hunting small game, and a pistol as well for defense. Having been in existence for over 100 years, the 22LR remains the most widely available round in the world. Semi auto pistols and revolvers alike take it with good results along with the scores of rifle choices on the market. There is even a 22 shot load for 22 caliber shotguns. While it is unlikely to blow an attackers head clean off at the neck like Clint Eastwood’s favored sidearm would, it still can be a lethal round nonetheless.

These guns can be used for hunting small game and rodents, and possibly for smaller specimens of larger game as well. The smaller profile of the rifles makes them easier to use inside a building when under attack as well. And the pistols are light enough that even well trained responsible children can control the firearm while shooting. I remember that over 30 years ago I could purchase a brick of 500 rounds for under five dollars, although the price is much higher today. Now you can expect to pay around $50.00 for a brick of 500. Sad picture of the times we live in, isn’t it?

There is one other piece I would have in a survival arsenal, and that is a 12 gauge shotgun, with an interchangeable rifled barrel. 12 gauge loads are easily obtainable as well, and with a rifled barrel you can also fire slugs for hunting bigger game such as deer and bear. With a shorter barrel it makes an ideal defense weapon in an enclosed environment, and there is less fear of a round penetrating a wall and hitting an innocent person in another room, such as one of your children.

The Remington 870 is a popular model, and is low priced as well. With a little gun savvy you can fit it out to be a fine defensive piece as well as using it for hunting.

So, to make it a quick summary, my budget survival armory would consist of but three pieces, plus accessories. And a supply of repair parts. A 22LR rifle, and a 22LR pistol. And don’t forget to add the scopes for rifle and shotgun, along with any other add-ons you think necessary. Also, make sure you have stockpiled plenty of ammunition for them as well. I would suggest at least ten bricks of 22LR and 4 to 5 hundred rounds of various loads for your shotgun. These suggestions are a bare minimum, you’d probably want to have much more for the long haul as there will be no place to obtain this stuff after the meltdown. I would actually feel comfortable with 20 bricks of 22LR hanging around. That’s 10,000 rounds that’ll fit in a smallish trunk or tote bin.

Not only that, I would also have a stock of commonly used rounds in other calibers as well to use for bartering after cash and credit cards are gone. One cannot afford to be too careful when planning for the coming times. And always remember the old adage, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. 30-30 is a popular round where I’m from, but do some research and figure out what works best in your neck of the woods.

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