Previous Post
Next Post


Given America’s number one gun rights org’s financially fruitful fear-based fundraising, it was only a matter of time before the NRA indulged in a little SHTF day dreaming. asks “If you had to choose one gun—and only one gun—to get you through a disaster (be it traditional or zombie-related), what would it be?” Needless to say, the answers in the comments section stretch from Tuscon to Tucumcari. As they may here. But first, let’s have a quick look at the NRA scribes’ choices. Above, Mark Keefe’s Springfield Armory SOCOM 16, chambering 20 rounds of 7.62×51 mm NATO. So much for eating squirrels. Next . . .

Adam Heggenstaller – Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle

“The company’s Gunsite Scout Rifle is chambered in .308 Win., which makes it suitable for a variety of roles at close, medium and longish ranges.” What is it with these guys and maximum firepower? One man army much? You’d think surviving a disaster was mostly about killing people. Not to snipe at them or anything.

Joe Kurtenbach – M4 Carbine

Joe’s choice highlights the problem with this exercise: what kind of disaster and how long would it last? Joe reckons it’s gonna be a long-term deal. “I want replacement parts to be easy to come by . . . I have the option to fire any .223 Rem. ammunition I come across, and because of its popularity as a sporting round, I will probably come across a lot of it.” He also digs the M4’s customization, having stocked-up on tacticoolaid.

Jeff Johnston – Remington Versamax Tactical Shotgun

Jeff’s bugging out. A hunting he will go. “The VersaMax, with its extended magazine tube holds 9 shells in any order so I can quell a small riot before picking off a flying goose as it flees the city park pond . . . As I make my way to the country, whistling as I swing the fat goose—I’ll be assured that I’ll not only survive, but thrive on healthy venison—using modern sabot slugs it’s a bonafide 150-yard gun—squirrels, rabbits, bears, turkeys, wild pigs, ruffed grouse and anything else that’s protein rich and fun to hunt.” Sounds more TEOTWAWKI than SHFT to me. Whatever that means.

Brian Sheetz – Ruger MINI-14/20GB-F

Brian’s choice is a bit . . . edgy. “The prepared law-abiding citizen should seriously consider acquiring a semi-automatic rifle that is reliable, is chambered for a commonly encountered cartridge and that features a folding stock and provision for a bayonet . . . a mounted bayonet might provide a measure of intimidation that could dissuade ne’er-do-wells from escalating a confrontation into a gunfight. The Mini-14 . . .  includes a bayonet lug and flash suppressor that accommodate current standard U.S.G.I. bayonets.” Strange that the NRA’s pic is bayonet-less. Or is it?

Dave Campbell – Winchester Model 70 Featherweight in .30-06

For Dave, familiarity breeds contentment: “Now why would I choose a 57-year-old rifle with a low-powered scope? The answer is reliability. It always goes bang, and through long experience I know where the bullet will land.” True dat: AMMKHL (A Man Must Know His Limitations) when the SHTF. Also to his credit, my new favorite OFWG bitches about not being able to choose a handgun and a rifle.

Paul Rackley – Ruger 10/22

Paul mentions ammo and parts availability but it seems pretty clear he thinks the question is an exercise in mall ninja mental masturbation. “In a true disaster situation, many will have more powerful guns, but the mind is the best tool for survival, and the Ruger 10/22 is just about as sharp as the human mind.” Which is often as dull as Filippa Hamilton is hot.

Shawn Skipper – SRM Arms Model 1216

Shawn’s choice reveals him as a bit of a non-conformist—with anger issues. “Capable of unleashing 48 rounds in under a minute thanks to its detachable tube magazine, the 1216 would be nigh unstoppable in a close-quarters situation . . . The sight of the less-than-normal looking 1216 tricked out with a few accessories may be more than enough to convince potential threats that bothering me isn’t a great addition to their ‘to-do’ list—and that solution is preferable to ever having to put the gun into use.” Right. Shawn’s a pacifist. Clearly.

Ed Friedman – M134 Minigun

Very funny Ed.

Chris Olsen – Any Black Powder Rifle

Something tells me that Chris isn’t short on ammunition . . . “I believe if the situation were to come to the worst, ammunition will be nonexistent. Short-term use of center fire rifles and pistols would be great for defense and warding off the apocalypses, but without ammo what can you do? . . . This is the gun for long-term survival, because in an emergency situation, I can make my own gunpowder and bullets, plain and simple.”

FWIW my first choice for a SHTF gun would be a [high capacity] Springfield XD-M. In any likely disaster scenario, which excludes zombies, it’s gonna be a long time before we have to hunt for food (canned tuna again?). Government types will likely move in and disarm rifle toters (at least here in the northeast). But if it had to be a rifle, I’m down with the 10/22 takedown. Discreet when it needs to be, lethal enough when it has to be and you can schlep a shitload of ammo.

Your choice?

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. Anyone who chooses a high-power semi-auto as a SHTF rifle isn’t thinking the exercise through very hard.

    • I have much respect for your comments here at TTAG. Could you please expound upon what you wrote above and put down some of your thoughts on this issue about what would be some good choices and why?

      • Several of the semi-auto rifles above were chosen for ammo availability.

        Depending on the kindness (or incompetence, depending on your perspective) of strangers for you ammo is a highly dubious strategy.

        If I’m thinking SHTF rifle (or pistol), I’m thinking in terms of reloading my own ammo. I’m thinking there is no more ammo to be had. Everyone else is going to put a rush order in for ammo, or they’re going to clear the shelves of the stores.

        If I’m having to think about limited or no ammo availability in a SHTF situation, then I want my brass to last as long as possible. Semi-auto rifles are harder on brass than bolt, falling block or other types rifles. With semi-autos, you have brass elongation, you need to trim your brass frequently, full-length size on every load, and after a few reloadings, you basically run out of brass life.

        On a (eg) bolt action rifle, if you’re not sharing your brass with anyone else, your first shot on new brass will form the case to your chamber. You won’t need to trim nearly as often, and you need only neck size after your first shot. Your brass, properly treated and not loaded to wicked hot pressures, will last a long, long, long, loooong time. Just anneal the necks ever half-dozen loadings and your limiting factor will likely be how well your brass retains the primer in the pocket. Pick the right sort of brass, and you’ll get easily a dozen or more loadings out of a set of brass.

        Now, let’s talk travelling lightly: If you need to full-length size your brass, you’ll need a reloading press. Unless you’ve got the grip of a gorilla, you won’t be able to full length size your brass with a hand loading tool. But if you don’t need to full-length size, you can decap, neck size and seat with a hand press – just a little tool you can practically fit in your back pocket, plus a couple dies, and you’re reloading. An example is a Lyman 310 tool.

        The other tools I’d need would be a Lyman bullet mold for my caliber of choice. I’d prefer to be dealing with something like .30 caliber (or larger) bullets, just because it’s versatile and there’s lots of molds out there. Now for making my own bullets, I can find raw lead (old pipes, roof flashing, wheel weights in a junkyard, linotype, etc), melt it down, cast my own bullets. You can use pork fat (or something similar) for bullet lube.

        Now suddenly, my ammo availability is much more under my control. I can stockpile or cache’ canisters of powder. Look at the size of a package of 5,000 primers – it’s very small relative to 5,000 rounds of loaded ammo. A can of 8 lbs of powder isn’t much larger. The capability to load 1,000 rounds of centerfire ammo is smaller than an actual 1,000 rounds of centerfire ammo.

        Net:net, by choosing a bolt action, falling block or other non-semi rifle, you can carry the ability to create your own ammo much more easily than you can carry thousands of rounds of loaded ammo. When the SHTF, one needs to think about “how much crap can I carry?” – and there’s not too many people who can carry all the ammo they’re thinking they want, plus water, food, weapon(s), tools, etc. The people looking at .22’s are on the right track, but being as I’m in the west, I’d like the ability to put an elk on the ground. One elk on the ground would feed a bunch of people at once, or a small group for months.

        People really should avert their gaze from the modern plastic-n-aluminum guns for just a bit and look at how the guys who wandered the west 130 or so years ago did it. Sharps (and other falling block sporting rifles) often came with a set of dies, a bullet mold (or two) and a hand loading tool. The rifle companies just assumed you were going to get black powder, primers and lead locally. Hunters and marksmen bought these rifles, loaded their own ammo and laid down some quite credible shooting in their day with this equipment.

        Want to think about SHTF? Our “SHTF” is what folks 130+ years ago called “daily life:” No electrical power, no Internet, no computers, no TV, no hyper-active law enforcement, no Safeway or Walmart, etc. They got it done, or else we wouldn’t be here.

        And, BTW – the Po-Po, should they become hyperactive, are more likely to seize an AR or other modern rifle, than an old BPCR or muzzle-stuffer. Oh, and BTW – you can still order a kit to build a muzzle-stuffer with no background check, 4473 or other paperwork. In other words, by reverting to the past level of technology, you’re no longer of interest to Uncle Sugar’s bunch of proctologists in uniform.

        • That being the case, would you be looking at cartridges that were originally specced for black powder loadings like .45-70 and .45LC too? I’ve never seen a .30-30 black powder loading, but I’ve heard that the original smokeless powders were very similar to black in energy density.

          Would a classic .30-30 lever action then fill your requirements for gentle treatment of brass, reloadability, and also add higher rate of fire than a bolty if such should be needed?

        • Dyspeptic Gunsmith,

          I don’t know what to write. That was an absolutely great and deeply appreciated reply. It was an education. Thank you. I hope that you sometime consider writing an entire post for TTAG. I find that I learn much by always paying attention to reading your thoughts and insights.

        • Much appreciated. Tons of info that I had not even considered. Please consider writing for TTAG, you can’t buy wisdom of this caliber.

        • Reusing brass, casting bullets is all fine.

          But where the hell are you going to get primers when SHTF? Or powder?

        • OK, answering a few questions in one reply:

          .30-30 in black powder: I would recommend against it. The experiment is run from time to time, by experienced black powder shooters. The reports I’ve had from them is that the modern twist rate in the .30-30 lever guns fouls very badly with black powder. Black powder works, yes, but if you’re using real BP to launch pills in a modern rifle, I’d better warn you that you’ll need to clean your rifle as you’ve never, ever cleaned before. Real BP residue is corrosive, even to stainless steel (416) barrels. Don’t leave it sit for a couple days – get on it today and get it cleaned up.

          .45-70: If I were pressed to pick *one* gun and *one* cartridge for this exercise, my reply should now not come as a complete out-of-left-field surprise:

          Ruger #1 in .45-70. Second choice would be same rifle in .30-06.

          Why Ruger #1? As much as I love the old falling block rifles, the modern reproductions are expensive, the real Sharps from the 19th century are highly valuable and collectable and shouldn’t be taken afield just for thumping around, and, quite frankly, they’re heavy as lugging around a flak gun. The Ruger #1 is light, allows you to use the full loading range of the .45-70. Put a recoil reducer into the buttstock to help tame it.

          If all I had were a real Sharps 1874 rifle, then I’d take that over a lot of modern rifles. They’re pud-simple to work on. Accurate. Easy to clean. If I had to, I could revert a 1874 rifle back to a paper cartridge – you pull the falling block for brass cartridges out, make up a block that takes a percussion cap and has a knife on the front side to slice open the back of the paper cartridge. They work. With an 1874, I can keep moving backwards in technology and still have a gun that works – even when I no longer have brass or primers.

          Why .45-70? Most people don’t think of the .45-70 as a “modern” cartridge – but what you can do with the .45-70 depends mostly on what gun you’re going to use to fire the load in question.

          The straight-walled cases of 100+ years ago are very amenable to improvised reloading, lead bullets, paper patching, easy (or easier) cleaning, etc. .45-70 is the easiest to deal with and has the most load development done on it.

          A .45 Colt, used in a modern single-action revolver or modern lever gun, can be loaded to much more power than it ever was in a Colt SAA. Best single action wheelgun for the money today: Ruger Vaquero or New Model Blackhawk, esp. the latter. They’re very strong, and you’re going to exceed them only by going to a Freedom Arms revolver, which will cost you twice (or more) as much. You can also shoot pretty stout .45 Colt loads in a modern lever gun – and take deer-sized game all day long up to perhaps 125 yards with 200+ grain pills.

          Lever guns: The Marlins are pretty stout guns and as an example, their 336 is easier for the non-gunsmith to repair than a Win94. The Marlin 45-70 lever gun is stout, but not as stout as a Ruger #1. If a guy wanted an easy carbine to deal with, a Marlin in .45 Colt has a 10 round magazine.

        • On the issue of 30-30. I’ve owned both the model 94 winchester and the 336 marlin. The marlin, mine is a pre safety model, is easier to strip and put back together than the winchester.

          I don’t have Dyspeptic Gunsmiths expertise but in my opinion the marlin is stronger and is easier to put aftermarket sights on. My marlin is also a tad more accurate than my winchester was.

        • Dyspeptic Gunsmith,

          What are your thoughts about the new Marlins currently being produced in NY under the Freedom Group and Remington? The new Marlins seem somewhat rough in describing the guns lever action handling, fit, and finish. Many people are currently avoiding new Marlins and some older used ones are difficult to find ie the 1894 in 357.

          I am interested in the 1894 .357, and 336 .30-30 carbines. Would you recommend one over the other, new or used, or not a big difference to be concerned about? Or neither?

          Geographically, I live in Portland Oregon an urban area. The state’s a mix of wet and dry. Forests, meadows, and high desert on the east side that I have yet to visit.

        • Since you already have a .357 revolver, Aharon maybe you would be better served by the 1894 marlin if you can locate a decent used one.

          Again, I claim only experience, not expertise. But my understanding is that the modern magnum loads are pretty comparable to the old blackpowder 44 loads used in the winchester rifles that helped to settle the west.

          Having a common round for your rifle and pistol can’t be a bad thing in a shtf situation.

        • These are some really interesting thoughts, followed to their logical conclusions, one should end up with a 44mag lever gun and a 44mag revolver, or the same combo in 45LC. Either cartridge loaded with 40 grains black powder with a 20+” barrel would produce nice results in a fast shooting kinda high capacity platform that would keep many of the advantages listed above, easy on brass, easy reloadability, mold your own bullets, potentially make your own black powder, store a couple of 5000 bricks of primers.
          Cowboys vs. Zombies!
          I’m ready!

        • Should you really have to, you can make black powder. The nitrates you need will be found in manure and urine, including human urine. After that, you need charcoal, which is trivial, and sulphur, which isn’t absolutely essential.

          One book I’ve read on the history of gunpowder had some humorous documentation of French powder masters making special pains to collect the chamber pots of bishops and priests, as the amount of red wine these holy men consumed made their chamber pots especially lucrative in nitrates. For large quantities of nitrates, tho, look for horse poop.

          Primers: Go back to the percussion cap. You make some mercury fulminate by dissolving some mercury in nitric acid, and adding some alcohol. (DON’T try this without thoroughly studying the chemistry and instability of mercury fulminate). Stuff it into a small cup of copper and you’re there.

          Again, if people start a serious study of how we, Americans, did things in the 19th century, all questions will be answered. It’s all there. We’ve just become soft and spoiled. Everyone wants an AR-15 that costs $250, is available at Walmart, and an endless supply of M193 ammo at $0.10/round, and in their pursuit of same, they’ve forgotten lifetimes of learning of firearms technology that answers all of these questions.

        • jwm,

          I agree that a Marlin 1894 .357 is probably the best choice in a long gun for someone in my situation. I think that my next step should be in contacting gunsmiths to inquire about the practicableness and costs involved to fixing up a new Marlin to bring it up to standards if necessary. I hope that I don’t end up paying as much in smith costs needed for a new Marlin as I do for the price of the gun itself.

        • Dyspeptic Gunsmith,

          Have you considered creating a link using your online nic to a contact page for gun owners who might want to contact you about work?

        • I want to add my thanks for all of your answers here on this topic. EXCELLENT points made about choice of firearm and why. EXCELLENT points about keeping stuff simple and easy to use, repair, maintain. Definitely good stuff! Definitely worth my time reading, Thank you again.

        • I agree with all of your observations, and they are very well thought out. But i believe you’re over thinking on the subject. If you think you are going to need well over a thousand rounds for tactical purposes, your chances of survival are not good. In the probable dystopia and escaping to the country, your most valuable asset is going to be your .22. For food and defense against the unarmed, this will be the most valuable weapon, and you can fit over 5,000 rounds in a shoebox. Of course, you will need a larger caliber for big game and some defense, but not at the level you seem to be planning for. But I do like your thinking, although my plans differ.

        • If I ever had to head for the hills, I would take a good quality .22, rifle or pistol/revolver, and all the long rifle-high velocity ammo I could conveniently carry.

        • Other people, when the SHTF, have let the po-po know that while they are out harassing others for fun, profit, and the Regime, that their families are unprotected. You kill mine; I kill yours, seems to have a basic, fundamental impact.

        • Great write-up DG outlining a very compelling, well-considered, and forceful case.

          I’d take both the AR and the .45-70 rifle: different scenarios/threats demand very different technologies. An AR is a flexible platform I can put multiple calibers on with an upper change so I’d want one, even if it is less useful in the longer term than the Ruger #1. the #1 isa great rifle but very pricey. Any decent cheaper alternatives that would be serviceable?

        • Very..very well stated.! Bravo

          One of MY shtf weapons is a Marlin 1894 in 44 mag, with a matching Redhawk…and none max loads for everyday use. 9+1 in the rifle, 6 more in the revolver and 2 speed loaders..all filled with 240 cast SWC has done yoemans duty for me for over 30 yrs, while hunting and fishing out in the wilds. A better choice might be an 1894 in 357 and a matching revolver..but I run what I brung.

          This from 3 yrs after the thread died…(Grin)

        • for human being:
          No lever action will fulfill the brass life requirement. Lever guns, like semi autos, need fully resized brass. What you are after is an action capable of feeding brass that is sized to its own chamber. This is really bolt actions and the various single shots.

          • Straight wall pistol caliber cartridges will outlast bottleneck types regardless, as they’re not stretched in the manner the latter are.
            I have .357 cases that have been fired more than 20 times & the only ones culled are where primer pockets have become slack.

    • WTF? Your goal is to keep people at the greatest distance, and have the ability to take multiple shots in a short time. 10/22 and blackpowder will just get you killed. Plus you want a weapon that is common. For picking up extra magazines and ammo. So a AR platform in .223/5.56 and something in 9mm/.40 Glock or M&P (common with law enforcement) And other government agencies. Jeez people, are you all retarded?

      • It is all very location specific, you can be almost assured that I would have my recurve with me and heading into the mountains to set up camp. Firearms would be for self defense, and all of my food would be by archery. No need to waste Ammunition if you never know if you are going to see it again.

    • It’s now November 2014 and after reading the comments on the merits of .22 LR mainly due to the availability of ammo hasn’t had the recent experience we’re currently facing. IE THE SHORTAGES OF .22 SHELLS !!! This tends to make me lean towards the Black Powder group. NO ONE expected the shortages of .22 ammo.

      • I consider myself VERY short of .22 ammo if I’m under 3K rounds. Realistically, how many people have anywhere NEAR that amount of .223? The supersonic crack of a 22 LR isn’t that much different from a .223. Suppress it, and they don’t know WHERE in the hell it’s coming from.

        • No offense, but if a 22 sounds about the same to you as a 556 you might want to see an otolaryngologist.

        • Well I here have 3500 .3006 2300 7.62 4500 5.56 1500 7.62×39 over 1800 .45 over 1000 9mm over 6000 .22 and at least 500 rounds for all the collectible guns and odd caliber things I own like .357 and .17HMR………..oh and I have silencers for all my guns

    • I guess the world’s military didn’t think through the SHTF exercise very hard when they chose the AR and AK selective fires. But I’m going to trust their judgment anyway and make do with a semi-auto variant of either of these two.

      • Just a thought… maybe SHTF for a soldier in battle is different than SHTF for a civilian needing to be low profile while they get game, protect themselves, etc…

        Don’t get me wrong, I like ARs’s, I own a couple, and in a SHTF situation I wouldn’t feel unarmed with one – at least not until LEO came and took it away 🙂 Bet they’d let me keep my Marlin 66 though because it’s “just” a 22.

    • It’s also an image issue. They are trying not to put an ak up because of the image it presents to the non gun owners. It’s the big scary rifle with hi caps that terrorists use, but we here know it’s not.

    • While I like them, the AK series of rifles has a prominent issue; it’s image. In any emergency situation, other than full-blown Armageddon, there will likely be at least cursory contact with either law-enforcement, or military personnel. Like it or not, (I don’t), these groups are likely to see an individual carrying an AK rifle as a greater threat than someone carrying something similar such as an SKS.

      While I don’t agree with the assessment personally, I know several people in the military that see the AK as nothing more than the rifle of the “bad guys.”

  2. A semi-auto in 22LR, because you can schlep a shitload of ammo and/or an AK variant due to its near-indestructiveness and the high availability of 7.62Russki ammo in my country.

  3. I’d go with a Ruger GP100 in .357 magnum. Reliable, widely available amnunition, and can be used as an effective hunting weapon. Also shares ammo with my favorite rifle.

  4. I think too many people dismiss the “measly” .22 LR far too often. Of course it doesn’t have the ballistics of .270 Winchester or .30-06 Springfield rifles. (That means it will not penetrate ballistic vests.) Nevertheless, a semi-auto .22 rifle with at least a 15 round capacity is quite the defensive firearm. First of all, no one wants to take any kind of hit anywhere on their body in a SHTF situation because there will be no ambulances or functioning hospitals. Second, because there is basically no recoil when shooting .22 LR, you can dump a lot of shots accurately in a very short period of time. I don’t know about you, but I would not want to be on the receiving end of a .22 rifle shooting just one bullet, much less 5 to 15 bullets.

    And the other advantage of .22 LR (in a rifle) is that it is quiet compared to pretty much any handgun, rifle, or shotgun — especially if you shoot sub-sonic rounds. And for ultimate stealth, all you need to shoot are .22 Short CB rounds which launch a 29 grain bullet at 700 fps. While that sounds ridiculously weak, it is plenty to drop squirrels and rabbits at 25 yards or so. And it makes less noise than a 1000 fps .177 caliber pellet rifle. That means you can hunt for food without everyone within a two mile radius hearing about your activity … something that could be very important in a SHTF situation.

      • Mine is a get home bag , folding stock Ruger 10/22 hides good in the backpack until needed, a Ruger mark2 .22lr pistol, and I conceal carry a Charter Arms .357 magnum snub everyday, with speed strips in the pocket for reloading.i do not feel under gunned at all with a .22 ,if need be I can unload 25 rounds quickly enough to get someone away from me or put them down if need be.

    • I think the 22 magnum is a very nice cartridge that combines some of the better qualities of 22 LR with additional velocity and power. Still quite cheap, you can get very good 22 magnum ammo for about $9 for 100, it’s light and easy to carry/pack. I have a Marlin bolt action in 22 WMR I like a lot, very accurate. KelTek also makes a killer 22 WMR semi auto pistol that has a standard 30-round magazine in the grip. That’s a LOT of firepower in the standard mag. Because of the low recoil, high capacity mag, and high velocity, I would consider that a very decent little gun that could be used for small game and would put some hurt on anyone bothering you. And yet it’s NOT the kind of gun that would draw a lot of attention from the meddling bureacrats.

  5. One gun? A twelve-gauge shotgun. Set up properly, there’s not much that such a gun won’t handle–even a guy in armor is going to hurt if hit with a slug. The maker and the action doesn’t matter much.

    Fortunately, most of us don’t have the limitation of only one gun.

  6. Their opinions don’t matter until they also consider Tehachipi and Tonopah.

    Bravado aside, for this purpose, I still like my Savage 24 with a .22 barrel sitting on top of a 20 gauge barrel.

    • Wondered how long it would be before someone picked up on the Little Feat reference. When you are packing the bug-out bag for SHTF, don’t forget the weed, whites and wine!

    • A Savage Model 24 in .22magnum/.410, a S&W Governor, and an American Derringer model 4 in .45 Colt/.410 seems like a good combo to me.
      Advantage of .410 in 3 guns, .45Colt in 2, .22Mag in 1, and .45APC in 1.


  7. A #4 SMLE, .303 british is not uncommon, very accurate rifle, 10 shots, quick draw bolt.

    And ammo is not that hard to manufacture. plus a spike bayonet is perfect for spikin thee zombies through the eye socket



    – Someone at AR thinks that a Semi-automatic rifle with a 30rd magazine (the Mini14) with a bayonet on the front is “Intimidating” but somehow if you take the knife off it becomes…what? Not intimidating?

    Is there an emoticon for Epic Face-palm? I think my brain just turned into pudding.

  9. Great post. #1 Thanks Robert. I really enjoy reading about subjects such as the best gun(s) for SHTF and TEOTWAWKI. Several of the guns listed above and the comments too make sense to me though as always there are pros and cons.

    Lately, I’ve been thinking about the Marlin 1894 357/38 Special lever-action carbine. Again, there are pros/cons to the gun for the mission. It is a good though not great defense gun quickly firing nine chambered rounds of ammo up to 150 yards. 38 cal can be used for smaller game and 357 for some mid-size game. The calibers are common to find and reasonably easy to carry. I also own a 357/38 4″-revolver and will soon own a second snub nose in 357/38.

    • You might want to slow down on the Marlin. I’ve read that the Marlin’s aren’t what they used to be, and the quality is terrible. I was looking at an older used one (the one that got away) and it was fantastic. After searching reviews, I read that the new ones had multiple quality control issues. I went with the Henry (really nice action), but a loading gate would be better than the tube feed of a Henry.

      • I’m going real slow on the Marlin. The new ones in the store are very rough and even the sales people acknowledge that fact. I am open to an older Marlin. I might be open to buying a new one knowing that I might need to spend up to $200 to have a gunsmith fix it up. Even back in 2007 gun stores were telling me to go with a Henry and not Marlin.

        Which Henry did you buy? Was it the 357 with the brass receiver and octagon barrel or another model?

        • Which Henry did you buy? Was it the 357 with the brass receiver and octagon barrel…
          Yes! That’s the one. My ONLY complaint is the lack of a side loading gate. Smooth and accurate, but it would be a pain to reload during an intense situation.

        • I just bought a new Marlin two months ago; and I absolutely love it after putting a lot of rounds through it. I do feel like it is a bit of a crap-shoot with them though. I had my pick of three; one was very, very rough, the other had a badly stripped screw holding in the lever. Luckily, mine is practically flawless. I have shot a Henry quite extensively, and while they are very fun; I see the Marlin as more of a work-horse rifle. I am also more accurate with the Marlin, so that helps. My advice on the new Marlins is to make sure you have a great one before you buy it.

      • Sadly, you’re right.

        The older Marlins are good rifles, but some of the latest stuff coming out of Marlin is leaving me with a “WT*F*?” expression on my face when I look at it.

        This is what happens when MBA’s take over gun companies.

    • I have one of those and it would definitely be my one rifle if I had to choose. 9 +1, butt cuff with an additional 9, and a forearm ammo cuff with even 9 more. Skinner spirited sights,

      .357 through that barrel gets in to 30-30 territory (as I learned right here on TTAG) and mild .38 for small game. Hell, I read recently about some hot hard cast loads that regularly bring down elk.

      That and my Ruger SP101 in .357 and I’d feel in pretty good shape.

      • That was supposed to be “Skinner APETURE sights” stupid autocorrect.

        I must have been one of the lucky ones, Nobody, I got mine about 2 years ago and it looks and performs just fine.

        • That’s great, and thank you! I’ll need to do some more checking. While I do like the Henry, the side loading gate of a Marlin would be a great improvement. If Marlin has improved, I really want one.

          Also, while mine is meant to hold 10+1, with .38’s it bumps to 11+1.
          I appreciate hearing about your Marlin experience, but my pocketbook hates you.

      • Glad you got a good Marlin 1894!! Let us know if you want to sell it. Skinner sights are good. I have their site bookmarked. I have the Ruger SP101 357 with the 4″ barrel. Next month I’m going to buy the Ruger LCR 357 for CC. I’m starting to look into reloading to be a bit more self-sufficient.

        • I have that Ruger also. People around here make fun of the sights, but I love them and have no snagging issues with my holster.

          No doubt the Henry is a beautiful and well built rifle and probably worth the price, but if I’m going to have to defend myself (which I probably won’t, but hey it’s a mental exercise), the ability to reload without taking my gun out of battery trumps beauty for me personally.

        • It seems as though Aharon and Swarf are both in the lever action and Ruger club. Great company for me to be in!
          I’ve had a few minor issues that were solved by either a small file (GP100 ejecting casings smoothly) or a bit of dry firing (SP101 hammer pull), but they are just plain wonderful revolvers.
          I gave up on S&W after a failed trigger lock, but Ruger has never let me down.

  10. I would probably go with a really accurate AR-10 in 308 that is super reliable. Big enough that you can hunt with it and semi auto so you defend yourself against a lot if people in a hurry. I’d just make sure to have an extra bolt and barrel or upper for it.

  11. Ruger SR-556 Piston AR-15 in 5.56 (cause I own that) or an LWRC in FDE (cause I’d buy that if I had $3K for an AR). Hey, it’s the unique choice of millions!

  12. Depends on if I’m just surviving or fighting. If surviving I think I’d go with a good solid manually operated .22 rifle. Lever or bolt action, good iron sights, and a lot of ammo.

    I can also kill just about anything dog-sized or larger within 40 yards with my longbow. Everyone should develop a proficiency in instinctive archery and learn how to floor tiller a stick into a basic bow if they are at all serious about SHTF.

    Fighting? That would depend a lot on who the fight was with. I think any reliable semi-auto in something between 5.56 and 7.62 would be a reasonable place to start. If you want to win, make sure you have lots of buddies and a variety of options and worry less about a non-existent army-of-one-gun.


  13. If more than one gun is allowed, here’s my four-gun SHTF armory:

    1. Twelve-gauge shotgun
    2. .22 LR rifle
    3. .308 Winchester/7.62 x 51 NATO scoped rifle
    4. 9mm handgun

    All of them would be repeaters–no single shots need apply. With those four, just about every emergency can be covered. Those four will allow acquiring the tools to solve other problems, should society as a whole break down.

  14. So it’s a mostly pointless exercise, true. If you’re really going to be prepared for disaster, you should be putting together a portable 72-hour kit (a bugout bag minus the crazy), getting alternative cooking/heating fuel, and storing some water and 3 months worth of food.

    And then after all that, since there are lots of unprepared and desperate people out there, prepare for the possibility that you might have to defend yourself against some of them.

    What would I pick if I were choosing the ultimate rifle to get me through some terrible disaster/end of civilization scenario? Hard to say. But if you could only choose one and it could be anything you wanted and had to be able to do almost everything, a really good AR-type thing in .223/5.56 might just be the ultimate. Versatile enough for everything from small game to deer to rampaging humans, with plentiful ammunition and plentiful parts for repair.

    HOWEVER, as my grandpa used to say, if you’re already at the dance, you got to dance with the girl you brung. I don’t own anything chambered in .223, much less an AR (yet).

    So if the apocalypse ball happens Thursday, I’m going to be dancing with a Henry lever-action .22. Or as a second choice, if I want to knock bigger things down with more prejudice, a Marlin 30-30. They may not be as fast and powerful and popular as a lot of those “ultimate” guns, but I have them and know them well, and I’d feel pretty good about bringing them to the big dance.

    And another HOWEVER… As much as I love rifles, I think Farago is right. A high-capacity concealable pistol should always be the gun of first choice for SHTF/natural disaster scenarios. Carry it concealed so you aren’t a target for overzealous official disarmament, and it can go wherever you go without slowing you down. A rifle would just be icing on the cake. Odds are you won’t *need* a gun anyway. But if you do, carrying a concealed pistol is the best way to make sure your gun is actually *with* you when death tries to steal your date at the dance.

  15. The 1216 may be good in terms of ammo capacity, but in a real tight spot the reload time is going to be a b**ch.

  16. Glock 19/Affordable variation of Remington 870 or Mossberg 500/Any quality .223 semi-auto/any military surplus in working condition/etc.

    Exactly what caliber it is and all that is bordline minutia if you don’t already have a plan for how you’re going to:
    -Get fresh water
    -Handle sanitation concerns with human waste
    -Keep yourself fed (For those in rural areas, I’ll conceed that firearms may play a part in this)
    -Get through minor to moderate medical emergencies if you can’t count on emergency services
    -Get to safety if major routes of evacuation are clogged with traffic or disabled by the event
    -Stay informed without the internet & TV
    -How to get home if you’re away when disaester strikes

    In all reality, firearms are not an area that really requires a lot of thought to successfully navigate the majority of [LIKELY] shtf situations. Just having one that works and that you can use competently is likely to be 90% of the battle. Most of the stories of people who are victimized during times of unrest involve parties that are not armed at all, not outgunned.

    • Ditto on that. In short term real life SHTF (big city riots, hurricane aftermaths, etc.), the mere presence of any firearm will most likely suffice without a single shot being fired as supported by what has actually occurred during these real life scenarios. But as SHTF goes from short term to long term the fabric of society will begin to unravel rapidly. For either short or long term SHTF I would go with either an AR-15 or a MINI-14 .223 semi-automatic. I’ve owned both at one time or another but would lean to the MINI-14 only because I have more familiarity with it. I could probably do a lifetime of SHTF with no more than 500 .223 rounds and no worry about part replacements because I believe few if any rounds will ever need to be fired. This is predicated on a high degree of situational awareness and the intent to avoid any defensive situation to the maximum extent possible. Keep a low profile, hide, run, and forget about this pitched battle Rambo and long distance sniping nonsense.

  17. I think Ed nailed it with the minigun = )

    Arsenal SLR-106 in any flavor. You get the Ak that goes bang in the popular 5.56 whats not to like?

  18. Based on the New Orleans experience, what are the chances local or Federal governments would use concealed carry permit records to enforce a disarm order?

    • Federal governments would use concealed carry permit records to enforce a disarm order?

    • Based on the New Orleans experience, if it hits the fan to that degree, find a way to be somewhere else.

      All kidding aside, I’d put transportation the hell out of dodge quite a ways ahead of any given firearms choice.

    • Three weeks ago I took a CC class. The instructor was a retired city police and Sheriff’s dept officer. He told us how the county sheriff’s office has records from guns he bought 20 years ago. Those records should have been destroyed after three weeks. The CC permit records are a more recent source though not the only one government can turn too.

      The feds can order all merchants to turn over their records for gun and ammo buys, shooting ranges have records of shooter IDs, etc. There have even been reports of the ATF going through gun show parking lots recording license plate numbers. My guess is that the USG has a huge database of names to go after and can make it even larger with some creative research.

      • I think that people are fooling themselves when they believe they’re being covert in their gun buying schemes. We live in the age of information and if you’ve ever bought ammo, used a range or a dozen other gun related activities including simply talking to others about your guns the government probably has you in a data base. What really protects us is sheer numbers.

        If I was limited to one gun for shtf it would be my 38 for concealment purposes.

        • Agreed, we are best protected by numbers and for now the ability to still buy guns privately and to receive guns through gifts from older owners. If the USG wanted they could even compel Visa/MC to turn over the records for all consumer purchases at gun stores. Even gun blogs could be used to track down email addresses of commentators, etc. In the age of information almost anything is possible.

          Why the 38 for SHTF concealed carry and not something else? I think it’s a fine idea I just want to know your thoughts.

          What is really possibly dangerous if some federal paranoids who over-analyze/red-flag people are able to somehow link up individual internet searches and profile people who have interests such as gold, guns, liberty, etc.

        • Aharon, for me the .38 is the choice for a number of reasons. The primary being the simple fact that I’ve used the .38 for most of my life. In a crunch situation I want something that is second nature to me. With my S&W I can hit it at any range that you can be expected ro use a handgun realisticly.

          As for ammo capacity 99% of self defense shootings are over before you have to reload and for the other 1% I’ll do a New York reload.

        • I have a similar thought, but I have a 357/38 that I keep with me. You can still buy relatively cheap ammo, 100 rnds 357 for about $45 at Wal Mart (FMJ) and even cheaper for 38 Special. Not as cheap as 9mm but not bad. And I use my 357 as my camp gun, I like revolvers because they don’t have ‘fail to extract’ and ‘fail to load’ issues, they just go bang every time.

  19. Night vision goggles and a backpack full of batteries. I plan on hiding, sleeping, reading during the day….and feeding/hunting at night.
    Call it the Barnabas Collins option.

  20. Why would you ever end up with just one gun (sounds like a nightmare I had once). But if it was one it would be my 357 lever action. You can shoot 38 vs small game and 357 for larger game, etc. Both calibers are very common, you can carry a lot, the rifle is light and its good to 150 yards (enough range for out east).

  21. I just purchased what I consider to be the ultimate SHTF rifle: Savage 93 FV in 22 WMR. My second SHTF rifle will probably be chambered for 22-250. (Already own the scoped sub MOA .308)

    Anyway, I needed a rifle my wife is willing to shoot, but hits harder than .22 LR. 22 WMR looks to fit the bill.

    Side arms: 1911 variants along with a snubbie .357 that loaded with +P .38 Special.

  22. This might be cheating, but if I’m limited to one gun, I’d probably go for a .223 AR and a good .22LR conversion kit. Two plentiful types of ammo on a platform that is readily customizable and also commonly available. Since we’re adding bayonets and other tacticool that shouldn’t be bending the rules too far.

  23. It seems to me that if the S did HTF, there would be martial law, and as complete a seizure of guns and ammunition as the gov’t could muster. That leaves only the black market for getting additional ammo, and typically that will come from stolen, bribed, or intercepted G.I. – which means the most plentiful (if you can call it that), if not only ammunition available will be .223. What you choose to fire it out of is left to personal preference and availability.

    • In the event of government confiscation of firearms and ammunition, the Mexican drug cartels would rapidly morph into the Mexican firearms and ammunition cartels. Drugs would be chump change compared to firearms and ammunition. But it would never come to that on a national scale. Only around 70 million American firearm owners, which includes politicians, law enforcement and military personnel. However, in the event of actual or even potential SHTF the government could immediately terminate the sale of all firearms and ammunition. I’ve heard this was actually done during the Cuban Missile Crisis but I have never researched it. In any case, the safest bet, even though virtually improbable, is to always assume that when you wake up tomorrow morning you will never be able to purchase firearms and ammunition again. What you have is all you have. But anything is possible on a smaller scale. Case in point. Who would have ever dreamed in their wildest dreams that there would ever be a shortage of the diminutive .22LR?

  24. My Springfield GI .45 Hi Cap 14+1, AR, Rem700 .308 Varmiter, Mossberg 500 20″ 7+1, and Marlin model 60 .22 15+1.

    A man’s got to have choices.

  25. By the way, I thought this was going to be an article on ten guns that have *been* disasters, which I think would be a good article to read. Hint hint.

  26. Ruger 10/22 for the missus, AK47 for me. Cheap plentiful ammo, reliable firearms, the Kalishnikov is accurate enough at 100yds.

    If I could only take one, the 10/22

  27. Sling Shot & Sling Bow Links

    Photo gallery of hunters and fishermen kills using sling shots, and the newer sling bow hybrid which is designed to shoot long or short arrows sometimes with a fishing reel attached. Game taken include black bear, coyote, deer, boar, several different types and sizes of fish some rather large, 9’ long alligator, 10’ shark, pig, and turkey.

    Instinct Shooting Chief AJ (some interesting pictures of slingshots/bows and kills. Includes pictures of the fishing sling bow).

    USA Slingshot Forum

    National Slingshot Association

    Red Dot Slingshot (lazer targeting with a sling shot).

    Slingshot reviews with several good links. The first five links under Modern Slingshots review the Trumark, Saunders Archery, Barnet, Crossman, and Marksman lines. Interesting and worth reading.

    Rhythm & Blues (high-powered slingshots possibly great for hunting).

    Oddwing Slingshots (last picture of fishing slingshot is interesting regarding design adaption to traditional slingshot).

    Blair Combow slingshots (fires short arrows).

    Slingshots: The science & engineering behind the power & performance.

    Shepherd Slings (not slingshots yet interesting ancient weapon for hunting and fighting).

  28. Everyone has their 2 cents, my turn. Everyone’s environment and economic situation is different-hence, so shall their personal requirements for firearms in a shtf situation. Those who are rural will have a greater need for the long reach, where as the needs of those in urban situations will likely be satisfied by concealable pistols and shorter carbines. On a personal note, I am of the mind that a 9mm pistol and a semiauto .22 with hi-cap magazines will serve my family’s needs in a temporary shtf scenario. These choices are based on the availability, affordability, portability and manageability of these particular rounds by just about all adults and most firearm educated children, mine particularly.

  29. You know what I worry about in terms of a long term SHTF scenario? Salt. Especially if you’re on the move, where are you going to find a supply of salt? If you take down a large animal, how are you going to preserve the meat you can’t eat right away?

    Modern society has solved the problem so completely that we don’t think of it at all, but salt used to be currency and people used to fight wars over access to sources of salt. If modern society goes away, we have to solve the salt problem for ourselves again.

    • Good point about salt. It is a vital and traditional preservative for preserving meat in a primitive or non-modern environment. It also helps flavor food. The human body must have a certain amount of salt to survive though less salt than today for the average American will be a good thing. Can meats be fully dried by fire or sun creating jerky without salting it first?

      The survival and prepping blogs are actually very interesting and fun places to spend time. I haven’t been to any for a while. Some of those might have an answer about salt or just do a search.

      • The type of salt can eventually matter too, if you are east of the Rockies or west of the Appalchians iodised salt will be a problem. Natural sat that far inland lacks iodine and eventually you would break down unless you found an iodine supplement. Inland in China there are villages full of people who are basically retarded because they purchased plain non sea salt. Vitamin C would matter too. Most people won’t know about any of that.

  30. The premise is I am allowed only one firearm for a SHTF scenerio. It would depend on what kind of SHTF situation it was and where I was at the moment said poop gets ventilated. If it’s a 5 day to 3 week thing like a hurricane or earth quake, and I am in a major metropolitan area and am trying to travel out to my home, then I want a 9mm handgun like my Glock 17. If I am already home? Then I want a 12 ga. pump. I have a Winchester set up with an extended magazine tube, and a sling.


    if we are talking about TEOTWAWKI, (years to decades before civilization returns if ever) then I’m thinking based on new stuff I learned above in this thread that my Marlin lever gun in .44 mag would be a good choice. Before today, I might have said a semi-auto in .22LR, but I can’t reload for it, so once the ammo is gone, it becomes a poorly shaped club. I already have the reloading equipment for the .44. But I think anyone having to settle for ONLY one firearm hasn’t planned very well for any situation when large scale bad things happen.

  31. AR-15 of choice with the 22lr conversion kit in my cargo pocket 1 gun 2 calibers tons of ammo in 22 and 2 mags of 5.56

  32. For long term teotwawki I alwayas thought having a quality double barrel 16 gauge muzzel loader, either flintlock or percussion, might be a good tool to have.

  33. Agree with the comments on blackpowder and bows, both of which I have but not at my primary residence. I think it depends on how quickly it goes down.
    -Super fast, and I’m away from home – it’ll be me, my knife and my 1911.
    -Fast but at home – my (one of) AR15 get’s to come along for the ride. I can “acquire” other uppers as need may be. I’d also have some supplies.
    -Not quite as fast – drive to second residence pick up more ammo and the rest of the guns for ammo versatility and some other supplies, it’s a bit away, but I could do it all on backroads.

    But I just cheated; he said one gun regardless. Then I’d pick my .308 pre-64. Love that gun, tons of ammo, reliable, accurate… and I bagged a few deer with it. What’s not to like?

  34. CZ452 in .22LR
    There’s a lot less potential armed opposition over here & the caliber’s good enough to take anything from pigeons to sheep & deer – heck; it’ll kill a cow at a pinch.

  35. If only had one it would have to be a 10-22 in 22lr. Can carry tons of ammo buy it in bulk cheap in advance. In a shtf situation most any size animal can be taken but remember it wont take long for all the wildlife to be gone once food runs out. cb22s are also very quiet and wont draw a lot of attention. A 12 gauge might be my next choice since you could use black powder and shoot rocks if you had to. Would have to stock up on primers though. I do love my glocks and ARs but i dont think they would be a good choice for an only gun unless I could have a 22 conversion kit for it and still count as one gun

  36. I have to agree with the Ruger 10/22 for three reasons .Accuracy,Cheap lightweight
    ammo,and size.Large capacity mags are always a plus.I hope this never becomes a
    concern,but it never hurts to be prepared.

  37. forgot about the SKS, very rugged but simple rifle i can stockpile 1000 and 1000 of 7.62 in sealed tin cans, have stripper clips easy reloading and it is not likley to be on any gun ban list. same time accurate and if you get hit by one you are not going to have a nice day… also VERY accurate as well…

  38. Pistol? I dunno about you guys, but in combat a pistol is a secondary, desperation weapon. If you have to rely on it you are in deep shit. But, I’d take the XD(m) in .40 or .45…

    Rilfes, I am not a fan of .223/5.56. They require too much care and feeding, and break down a lot. Try not cleaning one for a week and putting two dozen magazines through it… If you must go .223/5.56 make sure it supports both, and go for top quality. I prefer Nato 7.62/51 rounds… far longer range, more lethal, and better penetration, plus they render body armor useless… M1A, HK91, M1 Garand (.308), FAL, far better choices. AK’s I rule out, because after about 6 months ammo will be difficult to locate, and they really are not very accurate beyond 300 yds…

    After that a decent 12 gauge shotgun, and a Ruger 10/22 should be high on the list.
    Also, a Ruger Gunsite Scout (.308) is a great option for hunting, and backup.

    • I can tell you with 100% certainty that body armour can & does stop 7.62x54R, so it’ll stop 7.62 NATO & 30-06 too.
      Despite that, I’d choose a FAL, or more specifically an L1A1 for serious social occasions.

  39. You land-lubbers have got it all wrong.

    The ultimate B.O.B. is not a ‘bag’; it’s a deep keel sailBoat.

    When TSHTF, a well-found craft can sail upwind (away from the radioactive cloud or the aerosol-spread anthrax or other bioweapon), can be provisioned with sufficient food and water to remain at sea for months, equipped with communications equipment to find a safe haven and – with a stern-mounted, .50 caliber bolt-action rifle and armor-piercing rounds, provide a very stable platform for thwarting the ‘interdiction’ or boarding efforts of whichever government-empowered ‘zombie’ police force they send in one of their ‘inflataboats’ to safely escort you and your family back to the nearest radioactive, disease-infested port city; or steal your food and water.

    Hey, it’s BP’s rules, not ours!

  40. I asked two very wise men this same question as a kid, about 50 years ago. Both WWII vets with much combat and survival experience in desert and jungles. Avid hunters and woodsmen. I wanted a M1 carbine with lots of mags. My Uncle who had 2 Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart from action in the Philippines and other island hopping first choice 22 rim fire, second choice machete. My dad, Silver Star, Bronze Star and had seen more action simply said “the best hatchet I can find.” He explained you will run out of bullets, it will come down to hand to hand combat. An axe can build a shelter, make a spear, clean game and in close is a hell of a weapon. All these years later my kit consists of a M4 “Franken’car I built. But when the gun goes dry I have a years of survival experience a USAF survival knife ( gift from a pilot that needed a ride) and yes the best hatchet I could buy. There is no one gun answer, because once you are out of ammo you only have a heavy club.

    • I apreciate your family’s thoughts – an ax is a necisity! Also I agree with the .22 as an only gun. In practice one could carry four bricks of LR rounds and with common sense have ammo for a decade or more unless you were in daily gun battles and then your days would be numbered. It amazes me that people actually believe they are going to leave a city for the hills and survive off the land: Portland, LA, Chicago or any large city will see a mass exodus as the society collapses around them and the deer population wouldn’t last long as starving, ruthless hoards swarmed over the hills like ants on a pick-nick table. However, here in Alaska where I live there is ample game as long as the shtf wasn’t due to a nuclear fallout scene that could kill off much of the game. However, there isn’t much a .22 won’t take down (unless your up against a cranky grizzly) with a well placed head shot and patiently waiting for the animal to fall – at that point it’s about YOU surviving and not a humane kill. In retrospect there is so much small game available that you would be best suited to that ax and snares along with the .22. Good thoughts in your post!

  41. I understand the premise, and I also understand Dyspeptic’s argument. I think there is a lot to recommend a decent levergun/revolver combo, as well as any number of single-shots.

    The issue I have is with the notion that, in a SHTF scenario, I ever want to be alone and away from home. Now, if you frame this as “what is the long gun you want to get yourself home/to safety,” I think an AR or a shotgun is a great choice. But it is difficult for me to imagine a scenario where I would have access to the weapon of my choosing and not have access to my home, my family, my emergency supplies, my vehicles, my friends or the rest of my gun collection. Barring a direct hit from a tornado that destroys the home (and a tornado in the middle of a massive civil disturbance, I don’t see it.

    My point is not that this is useless; anything that gets you thinking about priorities for resources and preparation is a good thing. My point is that it is more relevant to think about a small array of firearms in combination with other equipment as preparedness items, and then prioritize them in terms of what gets taken should you have to leave your home, and what gets carried should you have to leave your vehicle. For a family, an AR or fighting shotgun should be the priority long arm, backed up by additional fighting long guns and hand guns and augmented by a few sporting arms. Firearms within a class should share ammunition in common chamberings (ie, all 9mm pistols, fighting rifles in .223, hunting rifles in .30-06) and should, at a minimum, reflect the “core 4” of a fighting rifle, a fighting pistol, a .22 rifle and a shotgun. Two able-bodied people can easily carry these four or on decent backpacks and with proper slings and holsters. And even a very young child can effectively fire (if not really fight with) an AR or a .22 if properly trained before the critical moment.

  42. Okay, folks I know this blog is OLD , but after reading it, I see that no one actually got that the writer was a bit tongue in cheek about NRA contributers opinion. kinda sick of the “shtf”, “teowawki” crap.

    Too many gun owners, post hurricane katrina, obama reign, aurora shooting, have embraced the “el’m.o.e” Mindset( last man on earth). There’ll be NO “zombies” ( unless thats code for people you deem undesirable-just “remember” that am emergency/survival situation van make for strange bed fellows, as shown when the planes hit the WTC towers and people who would NEVER bother to talk to one another were rushing in to help others!)

    My realistic “shtf” is another katrina disaster, where there is a temporary breakdown in rule of law. Post storm, people left behind started looting for the things they should have prepp’d for, then for a short time violent folks took to the streets in less effected areas.

    In that situation you’d need a fire arm “just in case”, and any of the above( sans the mini gun) makes sense. The shotgun listed, the m1a scout, the ar style rifle makes for good HD/ SD,heck even the 10/22.

    This perverse “bug out” mindset sounds good in theory, if you have an idea where to go. Seeing as most people have never camped overnight in the wild, that makes it a less than desirable or safe idea.

    And for those that take the “go down fighting” or want sniper rifles, really??? You paint yourselves in a corner where you dump other options-options that may resolve conflicts, or elicit aid from others stuck in the same situation as you.

    Unlike police officers, nat’l guardsmen,firefighters,et al, people see folks running around in the streets with guns, they,may not see you as a “survivor” too, but a threat-and don’t think a panicky single mom with a shotgun isn’t going to crank a round at you when you “rambo” by her front lawn-ditto the other “”who’ll see you as “invading their newly established post disaster kingdom”. Again communication in an emergency is more important than isolation.

    And less we forgot, short of a world ending event, rule of law is going to be re established sooner or later-for those,with the defending me and mine view point, do you really think you can justify scoped rifle shots at “threats” more than 100m away??? Doubtful.

    Talking tough on the internet is one thing, surviving and using a firearm in an emergency is a whole magnitude different. If you truly think you are going to deploy your 2k in stored 7.62 x 39 rds to “survive”, you may already be screwed -it didn’t work at the Alamo,so how do you think it’ll work for you?

  43. That’s all great if the shtf scenario calls for running down the street with machine guns. What if it is more martial law. You gonna run down the road with a machine gun? I would advise a few ” mouse guns ” be added. Small that can be hidden yet used when needed. Those that live in cold weather that may not be a problem. Hot areas is a different story. I just say be prepared for any situation. If all u have is a gp100 and can’t hide it then maybe a small 380 or 32 auto needs to be on the list to by. Even a .22 mag mini revolver is better than nothing. Just my two cents

  44. Before you start worrying abou the “best” disaster gun – If you live somewhere where there are going to be dirtbags out and about after a natural disaster (e.g. like in Katrina), then get TF out, NOW, if you care about your family. There were few dirtbags in Joplin; most people helped each other, and the few looters were arrested. Rush even showed up with free iced tea. There is a vast migration away from the dirtbags going on. Get with it.

    Before my elderly WWII combat vet father died, he said we all now have collective mental illness and terrible anxiety about guns for disaster preparedness, bugging out, social collapse, etc. He said we should just get the F’in civil war over with and kick all the surviving totalitarian statists, socialists, commies, thugs, welfare cheats, and general dirtbags (i.e. Democrats) out of the country. In such a case, the ammo/weapons you are going to need are obviously what the opposing oppressers have (since they have millions of rounds stored – at out expense). Not hunting ammo. In the mean time, use what ever you’ve got.

    After it’s over, we can get our minds back together, and go back to doing what they did in the 40s and 50s after WWII – living a decent peaceful life without all this collective worry. Then all you need is a shotgun, a revolver, and whatever the hell else you want/need for home defense or hunting. You won’t need to be constantly agonizing over what tacticool nonsense you need for the dirtbags. That is, in a country where you can trust your government. Maybe go on a picnic or see a movie for a change without thugs bothering us.

    If we have to go to ever go to REAL war with another country again (not a politically-correct undeclared Cluster-F), then we arm as we did in WWII with massive killing machines.

    It’s the cycle of history – build a decent country, eventual collapse by the dirtbags from within, war, and re-build again. It’s happened before and it will happen again.

    • Everyone needs to research more on anarcho-capitalism. Murray Rothbard, Lew Rockwell, and Larken Rose are some great minds to look into. You wouldn’t need a military, as any person could own a gun and defend themselves and others and you wouldn’t worry about a hostile country taking over. Why would you follow them if you don’t follow any government as it is? Roads would be built, private police would work well, and courts could still be held.

      The only thing you’d have to worry about is an all out attack like what WE did to Vietnam. But whoever would do that would just destroy whatever resources they wanted anyway.

      If you have any doubts, read up. And NEVER give up your guns. Trust me, that is the final stand.

  45. I would take my cz 557 carbine. it has iron sights it is well made hammer forged barrel and still raciver. in 30-06 if you look at what happened in the panic buy. 30-06 caliber was always on the shelves for handguns 40s&w was one of the last to go.

  46. Just a thought, and obviously Kel-Tec has had some QC issues, but what about a Sub-2k in 9 mm. Might have to modify it, but with Glock mags you’d have 33 rounds of hurt before you’d need a reload, finding more 9 mm should be relatively easy, and if you need to hide it you can fold it in half, which opens up some interesting concealment possibilities. If you wanted to get super operator, you could even suppress it and mount an optic.

  47. I disagree with the premise of what would happen when TSHTF. The stores would be out of food in 3 days ,it would be neighbor against neighbor within a week. Your fire arm of choice needs to be combat capable. within a month to two there will be other peoples ammo and fire arms around to scavenge from if you weren’t short sided enough and didn’t carry a pea shooter !
    Doom and Gloom scenario, Exactly!
    M1A is my choice. With a quick detach Scope. .30 cal will do anything I need to do.
    By the time I need another firearm there will be plenty lying around.

  48. Really? You are going to reload? Haha Primers too? Might as well carry you a flint lock then.

    Stash ammo and unless you are blasting out a thousand rounds a day you should be just fine.

    Carry the Ar-15/10 or M1A, and have a shot gun adn a Ruger 10/22 as back up or maybe a scout .22/12 gauge type

  49. I believe the obvious best choice is a lightweight ar-15 carbine in 223 with a 22 cknversion kit. Ironsights, and a decent low to midpowerscope along with flashlight and laser. The whole rig would be under 10 lbs, leaving you the ability to carry 3 to 500 rounds of 223 and several thousand 22lr. Use the 233 for life and death scenarios. Use the 22 lr for hunting, well placed shots can take down a deer or hog and wont be heard from nearly as far away as the 223. 223 and 22lr are both in the top ten of most popular calibers so u may be able to pick up extra ammo threw scrounging or barter.

    I would pair that with a glock in 40sw. For $100 buy a 9mm drop in barrel, i have one and it even works fairly well with th 40sw magazines, but you would want several 9mm mags. I would carry it in 9mm since ammo weighs less, but you cant buy a 9mm glock and put a 40 or 357 sig barrel in it. 357 sig is much less popular than 40 or 9mm but you grab a barrel for ankther 100, and use your 40 mags for if u buy or find 357 sig ammo. 9mm and 40 are two of the top 5 handgun rounds and again in the top ten of most popular cartridges so u should have no trouble stocking up ammo, and would have a god chance of finding or trading for more during a crisis. For 300 bucks you can buy a 22lr kit for it and the whole kits gonna weigh less than a pound. With both a glock and a lightweight ar-15 carbine and ammo thats only gonna weigh you down 20lbs or so giving you 30 to 50 more pounds of other survival gear. The biggest wild boar i ever killed, over 300 lbs was dropped with a 40 glock, so even just a glock in 40, 9mm and / or 357 sig and 22lr would give you decent hunting and defensive capabilities out to 50 yards or so if u practice with it.

    Other things to bring, leatherman / gerber multi tool, hacksaw blade for, big fixed blade full tang knife and / or small axe. Water filtration device and water containers, i love the nalgene 96 and 48 ounce collapsable canteens, cost only about 15 bucks each. A decent large backpack to carry it in, i would go the ultralight backpacking type over a military molle based pack, those military bags can weigh 6 to 10 lbs for a big one and an ultralight pack of similar size weighs 2 to 4 lbs and looks much less threatening. Other camping gear, go for leight weight stuff, say 20 lbs of guns and ammo, 20 lbs of camping gear, and 20 lbs of food and you have a setup that should keep u survivng, assuming u find a water skurce for 3 weeks to a month before you run out of food and need to scrounge or hunt. Also remember in a disaster situation avoiding the crowds is your safest play, move around at night sleep during the day. Just my 2 cents…

    P.s. some mention muzzleloaders and lever guns for super long term survival, most disasters will last a month or two max, and semi auto long range firepower maybe a difference maker in getting you to survival the critical first few days and weeks. Also 500 rounds of 223 isnt very heavy, and if u avoid crowds, that ammo could feed you for years if u dont shoot small game and instead harvest deer wild hogs, along with cows sheep hogs and goats

  50. I sure hope I’m not by myself with just one gun.

    Ideally, you’d want to outfit a band of friends and family with weapons. This would really cover all your bases. You could have a couple folks with shotguns and have the ability to bird hunt. Then you could have a couple more with scoped hunting rifles that could engage long-range threats in addition to landing big game. Others could carry 10-22s, ARs, handguns, or whatever you’ve got. Personally, I could already outfit a group with a 12 gauge, two ARs, a 10-22, a .308 bolt action, and a couple handguns. Not too shabby.

    A group of decent size watching each other’s backs would be hard to stop. If you’re the only gun-owner in your social circle, you could even go the cheap route and just buy ten Mosin-Nagants for around 2 grand and order a bunch of sealed surplus 7.62x54r. Even though they’re large, slow bolt-actions, imagine the damage that ten people armed with them could do if they engaged a target simultaneously. In a TEOTWAWKI situation, hopefully you could gather together friends and family and hand them out.

  51. Well, society does NOT and has NOT completely collapsed in any of the major commie vs capitalist epic wars of the last 3 or so centuries…and it is not likely to completely disintegrate in any future conflict either. In even the most rock infested, barren and barbaric sandpits of the world…to the most cosmopolitan of cities, life went on (and will continue, albeit less pleasurably) even during the most vicious totalitarian invasions and control episodes. Even schools remained open.

    But the guns and the ammo were largely captured. When a ghoul is holding a gun to your daughter’s head, shouting “point me to ze guns!”, you probably will give up your stash too.

    The entire exercise is pretty vapid. I liken all this nonsense to the same nonsense that people invite into their EVERYDAY life, i.e. worrying over a 60 buck water bill, when the 50K pecker extender in the garage plummeted 10K in resale the moment it left the dealership. That mortgage all of you probably have destroys your savings power probably 360 times (30 years) more than you can ever HOPE to recoup in all your little mental masturbation exercises over SHTF.

    If put into the context of the PURELY LOGICAL – as I have inferred here – for most of you, the S HAS htf, and you are all too bought into credit, debt and distraction to ever realize it.

    • Couldn’t have stated it any better. Overthinking abounds here, just like Pete Carroll. Could have got it done at one yard with a shotgun (Marshawn Lynch) but overthought the problem and went with a rifle (Russell Wilson) instead. General rule of thumb is shotgun in urban and suburban areas where distances will be short and rifle in rural areas where distances may be short or long. I live in the middle of nowhere in the Northern Adirondacks and would go with a MINI-14 .223 Patrol Rifle (Identical to a MINI-14 SS Ranch except with a 16-1/2″ barrel instead of an 18-1/2″ barrel. No flash hider. Marketed by Ruger to law enforcement only but you can get one). But if I lived in an urban or suburban area it would be a Remington 870 Express 12 gauge with 18-1/2″ barrel, fixed cylinder choke, Wilson Combat installed rear peep and front tritium blade front sight, #4 buck. KISS in both cases.

  52. A Mini 14 is light, reliable, 30 round mag fed, accurate enough. Doesn’t look like the “assault” weapon it is, can take care of most “needs”, uses readily available ammo.
    “Beware of the man with one rifle, for he knows how to use it”

  53. Survival means different things to different people. You will need to take game and protect yourself. I can’t imagine that scenario without a pump shotgun and an automagic pistola like my Beretta M92 strapped on. Throw in my Henry Survival .22 AR-7 rifle for the pack. That gives me a good mix.

  54. One gun? Rossi Circuit Judge in 410/45LC. Good for defense and small game/birds. Light and short. Some poopah the 410 as light weight, but then no one has shot you with one yet. Easy to clean and maintain. Bird shot to 00 and the 45 for more distance and oomph.

    If you get to have a hand gun a Judge/S&W G are compatible and concealable. And the ammo is interchangeable. Added bonus is the S&W will also take .45Auto.

    Long range. Mossberg MVP flex in .308 bolt.

    But if only get one I’d go with the Circuit Judge.

  55. Best all around would definitely have to be an AR-15 platform. Preferably piston driven for less cleaning downtime

  56. wrist rocket for the win….BOOM!!! didn’t see that one comin did ya

  57. My CZ 550FS. I am familiar with it, am an excellent shot with it, it’s .308 caliber can attend to a wide variety of targets and the ubiquity of .308 ammo means it wouldn’t be too hard to resupply.

    I’d like another person in my group to have a good .22 rifle for putting smaller food on the table,no problem with ammo here. Another should have a 12 gauge pump – any kind will do – for similar reasons. If I were allowed a fourth member, a Class III assault rifle would be ideal. One with a 24″ barrel – no M4 for us. A fifth similiarly armed would be great. As 6 is my lucky number, the last guy should have a Remington 700 tacticool sniper rifle.

  58. I see everybody writing in about their favorite gun and caliber. Of course you wish to have a quality well made firearm but folks we are talking a worst case scenario here. The weakest link on the gun is one of two things. Either the guy shooting it or the magazine. When buying your gun of choice do not forget about the magazine. Pick one weapon hopefully with readily available ammo and buy parts to replace the springs that break and extra parts for the magazine. Learn how to strip the gun to little parts and how to work on said weapon otherwise you have a expensive paperweight or club and that is it. There are many courses available to help you do and learn,this trait now. After the turd hits the revolving blade is too late. Of course it can get real pricey if one tries to buy all the parts for 15 to 20 guns. Pick with the easy obtained calibers like the 9mm,40 S&W, 45 acp and 223 and 308. Buy now because once the fan starts slinging the poop it will be too late. Buying it all at once is pretty beefy in price but start somewhere.

  59. The answer is…it depends on the environment you find yourself in when the SHTF. I’m in a suburban/urban setting, so walking around with a long rifle – especially a tacticool long rifle – would be an exercise in attention seeking of the wrong kind. A concealable semi-automatic handgun would probably be my best bullet-firing survival tool.

  60. The very best prepping is that that is already done. For projectile projection I have a Ruger #1 in .308 Win made in 1967. given me by my beloved for Christmas ,1968 and a DCM M1 Carbine for her.,. following gift occasions provided Lee Classic reloading tools, bullet casting gear, loading components and accessories. fifty or so years has provided experience in use. My handgun are one of two Star B’s and a Ruger Bearcat .22. yes Virginia, .22 LR can be reloaded, it was common during The Depression provided us by Rat Bastige Commie FDR and the Rat Bastige Commie Dimikrats in the 1930’s.

    Reloading .22 LR is not fast, but it is easy and compononents can be had for pennies (Remember those?) in any grocery or hdwe. store. I have my Dad’s tools (Remember those? Dads, I mean?) made by a local mechanic on a Sears and Roebuck home lathe, There is a modern .22 LR reloading kit: It isn’t cheap but it is available. Forget that X-box and get one.

    Gerry N.

  61. If you can avoid a Vietnam style shoutout Id say the best gun choice would be a smooth bored Kentucky/Pennsylvania Long Rifle. Muzzleload 50 cal lead balls and 32 gauge shot. This was a proven survival gun for hunting large game and varmints alike. Not to mention self defense against black bear and Native American Warriors

  62. And in the woods I’d much rather run into some city boy with a 1911 that he can barely operate than a pissed off Native American Warrior with a 75 lb bow. The Pennsylvania Long Rifle is proven

  63. Well think about this , the government would not be able to go the martial law disarm everyone in the country it would tie up too many troops needed to quell violence going on , it would not go over in rural areas because the folks there know they’re areas too well , martial law might go over in some of the bigger cities for a short time but when the residents there realize how thin the troops are stretched they will revolt and then it is war in the streets , as for my family ,we live within 8 miles of each family and have networked with our neighbors , we will run our area and provide our own security , we have common weapons and common calibers , we are supplied pretty good . Be prepared and ready . Keep your powder dry .

    • Here it is in 2018, things are still easing along but anything could happen at anytime, .22lr ammo has made a great comeback though at prices a little higher, this was bound to happen anyway, still hanging in there and still putting back. Be prepared and ready. Keep your powder dry.

  64. I hate to say it, but most of us are going to have to grab the first gun we can get our hands on. Then if we are are lucky we will win the first gun fight we get into and have more guns. I hope they are usable, they didnt do the person just killed much good

  65. Three guns plus ammo is about all you can carry. As pointed out there may well be other things you will have to carry. Now I’ll start a gun fight. two revolvers fixed sight. First one colt courier .22 lr three inch barrel. second colt saa 357 mag four inch barrel. Both revolver will handle all kinds of cartridges from cb caps short, longs, long rifle good small game gun last resort selfdefence. Again 357 mag, 38 spl 38 colt long and short, and speer plastice ammo. Colt single action may not be the best in most people choice , but it has something very important going for it. I can carry enough parts pre fitted to rebuild this gun anywhere. It is one of the easiest revolver to take apart and put back together. and one small screw driver is all it takes. The last gun is a savage 24 , 357 maximum with 20 gauge barrel long gun and shotgun in one. 357 max has 308 performance. and can be reloaded with my Ideal 310 tool. Also push comes to shove, the center fire guns could be loaded with black powder. Keep in mind gunsmiths are going to be hard to find. I have been a gunsmith for 50 years I wont be working on your guns. I ‘ll be hiding from you.

  66. Mmm. I have .223, .357 and 30-30 rifles. But I love shotguns. You can load them with black powder. You can use ANY hull in good condition. I’ve loaded many with 85 grains of ffg powder, wads and a .71 lead round ball. Loaded 0 and #1 buck with black powder. It’s a whole lot easier than loading BP rifle. Can do many things with a shotgun hull. Something to think about. And black powder cleans up nice with just warm water.

Comments are closed.