It is no secret that a complete survival plan has many facets to it. There are areas that tend to require more emphasis. The deprivation of food, water and shelter, for example, for a significant period of time will cause death, whether it is natural or, most unfortunate, self-inflicted. Those areas of a survival plan are an absolute requirement. No one argues that point. Security is an area where things start to get foggy.
The idea of owning firearms or having them in one’s house is something that not everyone is supportive of. There is always the risk that the gun might climb out of storage and shoot someone, right? I choose to take the perspective that nothing else matters if you do not have the ability to defend yourself and the goods that you have worked hard to procure against theft, raiders, looters, etc. This makes a firearm a necessity for the complete survival plan.
What makes a firearm a necessity?
There is no one magic justification that will outline why each and every person needs to own a gun. We all have our individual reasons for gun ownership. It could be for security (personal or property), hunting or even just for their future value and potential. Either way, I think the saying, “Better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it,” applies here.
Keep in mind that if things ever go really bad, the opportunity for (or even likelihood of) law enforcement being available to protect you and your loved ones from those who wish to do you harm may not exist. The 911 system may be either overwhelmed or just plain not functioning. This is especially a concern based on the fact that we are not experiencing what most would consider the end of times, yet there were several reports last year of an average police response time of 58 minutes to high-priority calls in Detroit. Or what about the situation around Ferguson, Missouri, where things seem to be heating up again and city officials are warning residents to prepare for the worst? Can you imagine what it might be like if there were a disaster or collapse of some variety?
These situations, along with the general volatility of humans even during non-disaster times, really highlight the need for a survival firearm.
Things to look for in a survival firearm
The first and main point to consider is what you are planning on using your survival gun for. Will it be strictly for defensive purposes? Do you need something that will not only be good for security but for food procurement as well? Does this firearm need to be easily concealed? At the end of the day, your needs may dictate that you require more than one gun.
Secondly, look at who will be using the firearm. Is this going to be a family gun or is it for just you? The user(s) will dictate what is practical in terms of caliber and may even limit the size of firearm that you get. Smaller-framed shooters will need a smaller gun that will best suit their size; larger-framed shooters may want a larger gun. If your survival firearm is going to need to be carried long distances or for long periods of time, consider looking at a lightweight option or a pistol that can be carried in a holster for maximum comfort.
Ease of use, reliability and maintenance are other important considerations for a survival firearm. A survival gun should be easy to use and maintain in almost any imaginable circumstance. Ideally, your selected firearm will also have readily available parts and not require a gunsmith for even simple repairs. It never hurts to select a firearm that has a reputation for being reliable.
The overall cost of not only the gun itself but the ammunition is something to consider when selecting a survival firearm. In fact, the .22 long rifle is not the most stout round for a firearm; but it is a very popular option for the prepper because the cost of obtaining the gun and the ammunition can be easily afforded, if not downright cheap when compared to most calibers.
Training and safety
It is important that whatever firearm you select to be your survival gun is something you are trained to use. You must know how to properly fire it. You also must know how to clean and maintain the firearm and how to perform all its functions. I don’t subscribe to the thought process that you can be overtrained. Look at the elite military forces of the world for a prime example of how constantly training and shooting will result in not only accuracy but the muscle memory that allows for the “automatic” response needed in life or death situations.
Safety comes not from only proper training, but from proper storage as well. A gun safe provides a safe place to store firearms as well as a place to secure valuables and paperwork from theft and disaster. If you choose to forgo a gun safe, look at using a trigger lock or at least storing the ammunition separately from the firearm. These are especially important safety concerns when children are in the home. Of course, educating children about the safe and proper use of firearms is one of the best ways to prevent the “curiosity” that often results in firearms mishaps.
When it comes to you final decision on which firearm to make your survival gun, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. But there are what I would consider one-size-fits-most answers. A common brand and caliber of firearm is definitely the best way to go, due to the availability of parts and ammunition. Don’t gloss over the fact that we are talking about a piece of equipment that may save your life. It very well could be worth the extra money to buy a quality firearm.
Here are some of the most recommended firearms for survival.
.22 long rifle
While primarily a rifle cartridge, pistols are also chambered in .22LR which makes it a very versatile caliber for survival.
- The firearm itself is usually very affordable. And ammunition can be considered cheap, especially in comparison to other calibers.
- The compact size and light weight of the gun and ammunition make this firearm perfect for survival situations, especially when considering it as an addition to your survival kit.
- A quiet round, .22 LR will attract minimal attention.
- The .22LR cartridge has almost no knockdown power, which limits its practical uses.
- It’s a poor selection for security purposes because the small size of the round makes a lethal shot far less likely in comparison to other calibers.
The 9mm is a caliber that is available for most models of handgun and even some pistol caliber carbines. It is extremely common and makes the supply of ammunition fairly easy to come by (at least during regular market conditions).
- Manageable recoil.
- Higher capacity.
- Very concealable as a handgun.
- Easily handled.
- Limited range and accuracy.
- Ammunition can be expensive.
- Extensive practice required to be accurate.
12 Gauge Shotgun
The sound of a pump shotgun is unmistakable. This makes it the premier choice for home defense weaponry and a top choice of preppers.
- Intimidating sound.
- Pinpoint aim is not required to hit a target.
- Huge variety of ammunition that is available makes it a versatile weapon system.
- Target overpenetration is usually not a concern.
- Excellent for hunting birds and waterfowl.
- Ammunition is heavy and takes up a good amount of space.
- Limited range results in less effectiveness for distance.
.270 Winchester rifle
This is a great selection for taking medium-sized wild game to eat. It could also be used as a defensive rifle in a sniper role as part of an overall security plan.
- Good stopping power for a variety of game.
- The accuracy and range are excellent and can even be improved with proper ammunition selection.
- Bolt action rifles are easy to maintain.
- Many models are bulky and heavy.
- Large game may require a larger caliber.
5.56mm NATO (AR-15) rifle
The caliber of choice for all of the military branches in the United States, the 5.56mm NATO round is a high-velocity round that is capable of eliminating threats in a big way. In addition to its capabilities, the signature black color has caused many a politician to be frightened of the AR-15 style of rifle.
- Easy to train with and become proficient with/accurate.
- Excellent availability of parts.
- Consistent threats of gun control legislation make the AR-15 a rifle that is in demand and grows in future value in many cases.
- The advanced materials used in making the firearm and components lead to a lighter weight.
- Easily customized to accomplish almost any mission.
- Expensive to purchase the gun.
- Ammunition can be scarce to come by and consistently increases in cost.
- Complex design makes repairs more complicated and requires more parts.
While these are some of the most popular firearm selections made by preppers for survival, don’t limit yourself unnecessarily. Examine your situation, needs and budget to pick the best fit for you. One thing to consider is finding a range where you can rent the gun you are considering buying and test it out before you make the financial commitment.
What if I don’t want to have a gun?
If after reading this you decide that having a firearm is not right for you, that is OK. My only warning to you is to not leave yourself defenseless. There is a reason that the wolf will attack sheep; they are easy prey. The best thing you can do is avoid being a sheep and have something to protect yourself, your loved ones and your cache of preparedness items. If you are against having a firearm, consider one of the following options:
- Pepper spray.
- Baseball bat.
- Expandable baton.
- Stun gun.
These options are not lethal and give you the best chance of deterring an attack if you do not have a gun. It may also be a good idea to have one of these options available so that the lethal option is not the only one that you have.
With all that being said, keep in mind that there are advantages besides self-defense when it comes to owning a survival gun. A firearm will afford you the opportunity to hunt for food is a survival situation, scare off predators or even signal for help. These are things that you cannot do to achieve the same result as you will with a stun gun or pepper spray.
At the end of the day, it does not matter if you get a rifle or handgun, large caliber or small caliber, it just matters that you take charge of your survival. A firearm can provide security and peace of mind during times of peace, but especially during a disaster. This has been proven time and again and will not likely change. While everyone should be taking care of the basics and stocking up on food, water, medical supplies, etc., it very well could be in vain if it can all be taken from you at the first sign of trouble.