Top 3 SHTF Budget Guns

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Written by Richard Douglas

As the world becomes more unstable, Americans are turning to firearms for self-defense and security.

For most of us money’s tight.

This article will look at the 3 top SHTF guns for folks on a budget — like me.


I’ve heard the debate between handgun vs shotgun as a primary weapon for home defense. Price is part of this also. Taking that into account, the first gun to get is a handgun.


Portability and conceal-ability.

You need to know your local laws on this one, but to get the biggest bang for your buck, a handgun gives you the greatest amount of protection over the greatest number of locations.

It can travel with you. When you’re in your car, on foot, or anyplace where you feel the need for added protection, you can most likely bring your handgun. Not true for a shotgun.

That said, I’d recommend getting a Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 9mm. Here’s why:

It’s slim, light-weight, ultra compact, super easy-to-carry, and insanely accurate. For the money, the S&W M&P Shield is a solid budget-friendly handgun.

Another solid handgun is the Glock. More specifically, the Glock 17, 19, 22, or 23. These handguns are incredibly popular, making parts and accessories available everywhere. The pistol itself is rugged, accurate, lightweight, and so much more. It’s definitely worth the buy.

Pump Shotgun

There’s nothing in the world like the sound of a shotgun pump.

Everyone knows that sound. Everyone knows what that sound means. That sound alone can make an intruder spin on his heels and run from your home. Can you blame him?

There are a variety of shotguns you can opt-in for. Personally, I love the Remington 870. Simple, rugged, easily-customizable, versatile, powerful. It’s a beast. Anyone that owns one and uses it daily could attest to this.

But there’s a problem:

Both handgun and shotgun have very limited range. The solution? Get a…


A good rifle is next.

There are many good rifles on the surplus market, and you don’t need an AK! In a SHTF situation, an invader with a .22 can hide 100 yards out and pin you down.

With a handgun and shotgun (unless you have shotgun slugs – and even then), you’re not really able to respond and return fire accurately. With a good rifle, even a very inexpensive rifle, you can respond.

A good Mosin-Nagant rifle is accurate and inexpensive. Many surplus rifles will come with accessories, like ammo pouches and slings. These might not be exactly what you want, for whatever reason, but if you’re on a budget, they help cover you with what you need. Ammo for the Mosin-Nagant rifle is also extremely cheap. Often cheaper than even a .22 round.

Other solid rifles I’d recommend are Ruger 10/22, Remington 770, Winchester 70, and the AR-15.

Whatever firearm(s) you choose, make sure to do your research and buy used if you really want to save money. Gun shops can be a good source. The internet is probably better. GunsAmerica, Gunbroker, Auction Arms, and similar online auction sites could help you land some REALLY cheap firearms.

That said, I’d like to turn it over to you:

What SHTF guns would you recommend if you were on a budget? Let me know by leaving a quick comment down below.

Author Bio:

Richard Douglas is survivalist and firearms nut. He’s work has appeared on large publications like The National Interest, Daily Caller, American Shooting Journal, and more. He’s also the founder of Scopes Field, a blog where he reviews various firearms and optics.


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  1. In an intense survival situation, any gun is better than no gun, but I have to wonder about the recommendation regarding the Mosin-Nagant, and whether this article is simply a warmed over article from several years ago when prices were very different.

    A large gun company located in my old stomping grounds was selling Mosin-Nagants for $70.00 during the heyday of their initial introduction in large quantities in this country. The last time I looked earlier this year, the price tag was $400.00. Good grief! (In a similar vein, in the 90s, SKS rifles were being sold for less than $100.00. Now, it is difficult to find them for less than $400.00.)

    Earlier this month, a local gun shop chain was selling Ruger AR15s for less than $450. A national gun company was selling an AR15 lower and upper receiver, which, when put together, produced a complete AR15, less rear sights, for around $450.00.

    While Mosin-Nagant ammo is relatively cheap, so is AR15 ammo.

    I am sure that if you look around, you can find a Mosin-Nagant for less than $400.00, perhaps from a buyer who still has in his head that bargain price at which he purchased it, but finding one will likely be on a hit or miss basis.

    Unless you need a firearm for use against bad guys in the Hindu Kush, or perhaps for use in brown bear country, how would a Mosin-Nagant be a better choice than the AR15?

    1. Let me correct my math before someone else does.

      Palmetto State Armory is currently offering a complete AR lower and upper receiver for $349.98. That’s an entire rifle for less than $350.00. No rear sight comes with it because 1) some people rely only on optics, and, 2) it holds the price down. IMHO, you should get the rear sight because optics can fail, and at the worst possible time. A Magpul-type rear sight can be purchased for around $40.00.

  2. Not sure when this was written (I’m here in 2020) but holy crap! Y’all are talking budget guns, but s&w and glock and Remington are not budget. Ruger, Taurus, maverick, Stevens, and Keltec all make more budget friendly choices.
    The mosin nagant hasn’t been a budget option for some time now, and the ammo, though cheap, is mostly corrosive. Far better options are an ar15 home build, or a semiauto 22.

    And did you seriously use the shotgun cocking sound as a selling point?! Do yourself a favor and turn off the movies and reddit. Go use these weapons and research ACTUAL defensive tactics with firearms. Y’all sound like Biden with that nonsense.

    1. Hey Fred, You’re right, that article is an old one. Prices for firearms are way up this year! It’s one author’s preferences, and what works for him may not work for others. Good suggestions-thanks for the comment.

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