Firearms for Long Term Survival

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Today is Day Four of Preparedness Blog Crossover Week.  I hope you have been enjoying the series.

Today’s question is:  What firearms do you feel are most appropriate for long term survival and why?

I’ll be the first to admit I am not the biggest expert when it comes to firearms.  But I have read and researched enough to know at the minimum what I would have for long term survival.  I’d have a handgun for defense.  In my case I prefer a revolver, as it is easier for me to load. I have a shotgun on my wishlist, but I have not had the budget for it.  I’d also have a hunting rifle to be able to hunt game for food.  Finally, I’d like to have an AR-15.

By the way, The Prepper Next Door, a book I recently reviewed, has an extensive discussion in the Gun chapter that I recommend.  The author talks about what firearm is ideal for what purpose such as hunting, target practice, defense and such.  I plan on looking at some of the types mentioned before making my choices.

Readers, now is your chance to share what you know – please add your comments below.  You’ll also get to see what the other participating sites are thinking by clicking the links below:

The Retreat



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  1. I have a pretty simple wishlist for my firearm arsenal. I currently have an M4, 9mm pistol, and a 10/22 rifle. The only other guns on my list that I think I will need are a ccw pistol (waiting on permit now), a bolt action 308, and a shotgun and that’s it. I would much rather have a lot more ammo for the small amount of weapons I have than a ton of guns with hardly any ammo. You can’t use all your weapons at the same time.

    1. Hi CS, Definitely stocking up on ammo vs having various gun types that are just sitting around useless would be the smart way to go.

  2. It is my practice to have different types of firearms in the same caliber… A M1A as a MBR and a ruger gunsite as a great hunting rifle, both in 7.62 x 51, that handles both defense and hunting, also in my party I have 2 .40 sig’s per person for emergency defense.

  3. Just wanted to point out a few things from an apartment dweller’s viewpoint. Your minimum requirements entail as many as 4 different types of ammunition. Firearms, ammunition and gun cleaning materials all take up space and cost money.

    1. Handgun. I personally prefer a large caliber (.40 or .45) semi-automatic. Mostly, this is because I like the larger capacity and quick swapping of the magazines. But I have also received military and law enforcement training and know how to quickly clear a jam or malfunction. Revolvers don’t offer as much firepower, but I have never seen one jam either.

    2. Shotgun. There is no better close quarters defensive weapon than a tactical shotgun like the Remington 870. There is nothing like the sound of chambering a round in a pump shotgun, and that huge opening at the business end looks even bigger when it is pointed at you. Shotguns are generally less expensive than many handguns, with the 870 going for less than $600. Another advantage is the variety of ammo – from slugs, to buckshot, to birdshot.

    3. Hunting rifle. How many apartment dwellers have game animals in their immediate vicinity? If you really expect to feed yourself by hunting, then you would be better off with a high-powered air-gun. Then you could at least hunt small rodents and birds. Forget the small herd you saw in the park. Someone else will have already taken them.

    4. The AR (assault rifle) series look cool, offer lots of gizmos, and are good weapons, but only in the hands of someone that knows how to use, maintain, and even repair it. In an apartment dwelling context though, you are more likely to shoot through walls and kill your neighbors than being able to effectively use it to defend yourself.

    If I had to choose one and only one weapon to defend myself in my apartment and survive, it would be the Remington 870 Tactical shotgun with a variety of ammo loads.

    1. Hi Todd, You brought up a lot of good points, and well taken. At this time, except for the revolver, the items are on the wishlist, and not necessarily a firm one at that. This is why I appreciate comments such as yours and others’ as well, as they give me different perspectives. Thanks for the comment!

    2. Here is you answer on your comment that a revolver do not jam. I have seen it happen myself as well. If a revolver jams it usually requires tools to fix unlike a pistol.

      While the shotgun may be a good choice for home defense it is not the best. It has limited magazine capacity and will not go through body armor. That slug and 00 buck you fire will go though that sheet rock wall in your apt. without any problem.

      The key is to train and to obtain tactical training that put you under a lot of stress and gets your heart rate up. The key to what ever gun you choose is bullet placement. Nothing else matters if you can not hit the target.

  4. I am not an apartment dweller and have a lot of room for a large gun safe, so have stocked it with a good variety of firearms and ammo. I am strong believer in using the right tool for the job, so one or two guns are not going to meet every possible need that is likely to arise in an extended SHTF event. Here are the guns I like and why:

    1) Colt Python – .357 Revolver, powerful, concealable, goes bang every time (my “city” ccw gun) – Cons: short range, 6 shot

    2) Beretta 92FS – 9mm Semi-auto Pistol, 15 rnd mag (carry 2 spare mags on belt), easy to get ammo, never failed to fire – Cons: fairly large

    3) Mossberg 500 (tactical) – 12g Pump Shotgun, 7 shot capacity, exceptionally reliable, useful for defense and hunting, portable with folding stock – Cons: none really

    4) Beretta Cx4 – 9mm Carbine, 15 rnd mags (same as Beretta 92FS, so good “companion” gun), easy to get ammo, reliable, lightweight – Cons: Only good for defense

    5) Stevens 200 – .308 Rifle w/ Bushnell 3×9 40mm Scope, 4 shot internal mag, accurate past 300 yards, reliable – Cons: Only good for hunting

    6) AR15/M4 – 5.56 Carbine, 30 rnd mag, accurate to 200 yards with iron sights, tons of accessories, easy to get ammo – Cons: Difficult to master and maintain

    If I had to pick any two, they would be the Beretta 92FS and Mossberg 500.

    1. Hi Carl, Thanks for providing a description and the cons of each firearm. They all sound like they’ll do the job, but I appreciate your pointing out the 2 picks.

  5. Step 1 ) Define your risks
    Step 2) Assess your resources
    Step 3) Maximize the resources to risk management.

    For an apartment dweller, a two weapon arsenal makes sense. Anything else is gravy / hobby / training value.

    What two weapons? First is a 12g shotgun. I lean towards an auto, either a Mossberg 930 or Remington VersaMax, but there are others out there as well, as well as the popular pump guns Proper shotshell selection will allow you to decide whether or not you WANT to send lead through the walls, a very important consideration in multi-family housing. If you do want to, a shotgun gives a much better chance of putting some pain on target than a single bullet weapon. If you don’t, you can still deliver a heckuva punch of smaller shot that is going to spoil any goblin’s day.

    Second would be a pistol. Much has been written on the web regarding caliber and such. the most important thing is that you get something that YOU can afford to become proficient in. That means it’s got to FIT you. You need to be able to handle it well. The better it fits, the less ammo you’ll need to use to become and stay proficient. Never forget, a .22 on target is, 99% of the time, better than ANY other handgun round that misses. For an apartment dweller, again, a 22 has some advantages because it’s less likely to go poking holes in people behind wall(s) and such.

    Now, once you move beyond securing YOUR apartment and person, to securing the building, then the rifles come into play. What caliber? What style? Is a bolt action .338 Lapua really a rational value play when the longest sightline from anywhere on your building is only 250 yards? If you live in one of the People’s Republics, then a lever action rifle can be a fine thing. No hassles over capacity, but you’ll still have a good round count.

    Now, for some esoteric considerations: How long do you expect to be hanging out in the ol’ complex? If you expect to be there quite a while, then a 22 revolver loaded with them micro-shotgun rounds is a fine thing for putting paid to rats and such, which may be necessary. An air rifle for taking birds. There are some high powered air rifles available that rival powder weapons in kinetics, are quieter, and may currently be completely outside the purview of most/all gun control laws.

    Once your scenario changes to bugging out, then the equation (Risk / Resources) changes as well. Risk becomes what you can stumble into along with what stumbles across you. Resources now has to include what you can carry. Etc, etc.

    Fundamentally, any of us can envision scenarios that justify ANY firearm we desire. Yes, even living in an apartment I can come up with a scenario where a bolt Action .50 cal sniper rifle is THE necessary firearm. Or one where one of them gopher guns is just the ticket.

    Perhaps the worst part of it is simply this. Nobody, save the LORD God Almighty himself can tell us what the best battery of firearms is for when the SHTF. Why? Because nobody can predict where the crap is actually going to land. So you makes your best assessments, you put down your money, and you pray that you never have to find out if you called it right.

    1. Hi Biker Dad, Thanks for taking the time to share some good weapon choices for apartment dwellers. With limited space and resources and so many choices out there, it’s good to narrow down to a few select types of weapons. I pray we won’t need any of them, but would be grateful to have should the SHTF. Appreciate the comment!

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