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What Are the Best Guns for Emergency Preparedness?

By Ready Expert
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We often get asked about what type of gun we would recommend for emergency preparedness. The answer is a bit complicated. The short answer is that it depends on what you’re going to use the gun for. Is it for hunting food that you’d need in an emergency? Is it for self-defense? Each gun has different strengths and weaknesses and the gun you choose should be tailored to your specific needs.

Points to consider before you add a gun Before you choose a gun for your preparedness needs, you’ll want to consider a few points: What are the best guns for preparedness?

What Needs Will You Have? Will you be using this gun for protection? For hunting? Whatever gun you choose will depend on what you’re going to use it for. For example, a rifle would be better for hunting during an emergency while a shotgun would be better for self-defense.

Popularity/Availability of Ammo. You might not be able to buy more ammo in an emergency. As a rare commodity, you’d need ammo that would be popular enough to fit in your gun. You’d also need a gun that takes a very popular type of ammunition.

How Much Ammunition the Gun Holds. How many rounds does the gun hold? This might affect your decision of gun because of the needs that you have.

Interchangeable Choke and Barrel. For shotguns, the choke of the gun is the tapered build of the gun that helps determine how much the shot will spread. The choke will determine the accuracy and range of the gun. An interchangeable choke will allow you to change the use of your gun from a longer range to a shorter range weapon. The barrel length also makes an impact on the range but more importantly makes it easier or more difficult to handle in close quarter like turning around corners in your home. Handling a 4-foot gun for self-defense to protect yourself from a perpetrator in your home will be impractical.

Safe Storage. How are you going to store the weapon? Is it going to fit inside of your 72-hour kit or would it be something you keep under your bed or in the top of your closet? Will the gun break apart and store in a different space? Depending on what you’re using the gun for and how readily available you need the gun, the answers might change. But always keep your gun in a safe place away from children. If you are going to own a gun, treat it with the respect it deserves & get proper gun safety training.

Understand Your Weapon. No matter how many guns or how much ammunition you have, if you don’t understand how to use your gun and don’t have practice shooting it, it will be worthless. Or worse, your ignorance could cause injury or death for yourself, loved ones, or innocent people.

Which Gun Should I Own? Below we’ve listed the different types of guns you could consider acquiring for use in an emergency with some helpful details for each type of weapon. Please keep in mind a couple things: • Prices for ammunition can change. The prices listed below are on the cheaper end. High-grade ammunition can be much more expensive than the prices listed below. • *Range has many variables including: weather, specific ammo, specific gun, gun condition, visibility, and shooting experience to name a few. The best way to know the range of your gun is to use it.

High-Caliber Rifle (Price Range = $300 - $6,000 | Average Price = $800) These weapons are designed for use in hunting large game like deer or elk from a longer distance. The ammunition is large, heavy, and travels very fast in order to take down larger game from far away with a high level of precision and accuracy.

Common Ammunition Practical Range Availability Price/Round
.30-30 300 yards* Common $1.25 (Oct 2012 was $1.00)
.30-06 500 yards* Common $1.25 (Oct 2012 was $1.00)
.308/7.62x51mm 500 yards* Very Common $1.10 (Oct 2012 was $0.90)

Tactical Rifle (Price Range = $400 - $4,000 | Average Price = $1,000) These weapons are designed for self-defense and are typically semi-automatic (you can just keep pulling the trigger to fire without cocking or reloading). Usually these weapons will hold more rounds of ammunition than a typical hunting rifle and are commonly used with a high-capacity magazine. They are usually shorter than a hunting rifle and have a pistol grip and stock combo for easier handling in close quarters.

Common Ammunition Practical Range Availability Price/Round
7.62x39mm 500 yards* Very Common $0.40 (Oct 2012 was $0.25)
.223/5.56 300 yards* Very Common $1.00 (Oct 2012 was $0.25)

Low-Caliber Rifle (Price Range = $150 - $1,000 | Average Price = $300) These weapons are designed for hunting smaller animals like rabbits. They have a much shorter range, but the ammunition is significantly less expensive than other weapons. With a little digging you can find rounds for close to a penny each.

Common Ammunition Practical Range Availability Price/Round
.17 HMR 300 yards* Uncommon $0.30 (Oct 2012 was $0.20)
.22 LR (Long Rifle) 100 yards* Very Common $0.20 (Oct 2012 was $0.05)

Click on the image to compare different kinds of rifle ammo:

click for more info on rifle ammo Tactical Shotgun (Price Range = $200 - $2,000 | Average Price = $500) Tactical shotguns like tactical rifles are intended for short-range self-defense. They usually have a shorter barrel and a choke designed to spread the shot as much as possible. Typically these are pump action or semi-automatic weapons. Barrels shorter than 18” or weapons shorter than 26” are illegal in the USA without proper registration. Another thing to consider is shotguns are the easiest ammunition to load yourself.

Common Ammunition Practical Range Availability Price/Round
12 Gauge 3” #1 30 yards* Common $0.80 (Oct 2012 was $0.50)
20 Gauge 3” #2 30 yards* Common $0.80 (Oct 2012 was $0.50)

Hunting Shotgun (Price Range = $200 - $2,000 | Average Price = $500) Hunting shotguns are designed for shooting small game (especially birds). These weapons typically have a barrel 28” - 33” long. There are many choices for ammunition depending on your intended use.

Common Ammunition Practical Range Availability Price/Round
12 Gauge 3” Slug 75 yards* Uncommon $2.50 (Oct 2012 was $0.50)
12 Gauge 3” 00 Buckshot 50 yards* Common $1.30 (Oct 2012 was $0.80)
12 Gauge 3” #7 Birdshot 35 yards* Very Common $5.00 (Oct 2012 was $0.50)

Click on the image to compare different kinds of shotgun ammo:

click for more info on shotgun ammo Pistol/Handgun (Price Range = $150 - $3,000 | Average Price = $500) Pistols, like shotguns and tactical rifles are design for close-quarter self-defense. Handguns have the advantage that they can be legally concealed with a proper permit. Ammunition is cheaper than other weapons but still not as cheap as a low-caliber rifle.

Common Ammunition Practical Range Availability Price/Round
9mm 50 yards* Very Common $0.50 (Oct 2012 was $0.35)
.40 S&W 50 yards* Common $0.80 (Oct 2012 was $0.40)
.45 ACP 50 yards* Common $1.15 (Oct 2012 was $0.45)

Click on the image to compare different kinds of handgun ammo:

click for more info on handgun ammo

What are you packing? So, what gun do you prefer? Comment below to tell us what kind of gun you prefer for emergency situations. Don't forget to complete your preparation with MRE meals and other emergency supplies.

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7 months ago
George Morris
11 years ago at 3:40 AM
Two glaring problems with your chart. First the "practical" range of your high "caliber" rifles. The 30-30 has a practical range of about 200 yards. The 30-06 and 308 is about 400 to 500 yards. Only a military sniper could be effective to a range of about 800 - 1000 yards. Second, there was no mention of 38 special or 357 magnum in your pistol choices. 38 special ammo is very common and 357 is common. A 357 magnum will shoot both 357 and 38 special ammo, A 357 can have a range of 75 to 100 yards. A 38 special about 40 - 50 yards. FROM THE READY STORE: George... thanks for your feedback. The chart was originally intended to be a MAXIMUM effective range in ideal conditions with a trained shooter. We've updated the chart with numbers that are more inline with the average Joe that would be shooting a gun. Thanks!
7 years ago at 11:19 AM
Thank you for this. Not all of us are gun experts and you have explained our options very well. THANK YOU ALL
11 years ago at 4:38 AM
What make and model is the hand gun in the first picture? FROM THE READY STORE: The gun in the first image is a Beretta 92FS Billennium 9mm (9×19mm Parabellum)
11 years ago at 4:54 AM
11 years ago at 6:09 AM
This is an excellent overview of guns and calibers available. For all those who do not have a shotgun - think about that as a single "long gun" to own. A shotgun can be used with buckshot ammo (varying caliber of BB's packed into a shot shell) as well as slugs (a solid "bullet" packed in a shot shell) This allows the shotgun to be used for small game when loaded with buckshot. Loaded with slugs, the shotgun can be used for large game. I prefer a 12gauge shotgun as it allows for a good balance of firepower to manageability, it does have some recoil but that can be managed. I highly recommend a visit to a shooting range where they have different guns you can rent. This will give you the ability to see what gun fits your hand, as well as what caliber you can safely handle accurately. A gun is useless if you cannot hit what you are aiming at. Just remember when handling ANY GUN – TREAT THE GUN AS IT IS LOADED. NEVER “THINK” THAT A GUN IS EMPTY……..KEEP THE MUZZLE POINTED IN A SAFE DIRECTION.
11 years ago at 6:13 AM
For me the best overall round is the 5.56/.223 I have a hunting rifle chambered for .223 and a AR-15 that is chambered for 5.56 so it can shoot both. Then I just buy .223 ammo in bulk, save the brass and reload them. Sure I wont be shooting a deer at 1000 yards, but if you can only get 1000 yards close to a deer you got other problems. Combine that with either a 9mm or a .40 S&W and you've got a really nice setup. Can take care of nearly any situation with only 2 different kinds of ammo and both of the ammo are on the smaller end so the magazines tend to hold more and are cheaper. Of course real mean are archers.
11 years ago at 6:21 AM
Glock mdl 22 holds 15 rounds in the magazine and one in the chamber for a total of 16 rounds. Glock firearms are very reliable and used by many law enforcement agencies. Also, for each caliber, they manufacture compact and "baby glocks" for better concealment and the larger models magazine will fit in each smaller frame handguns.
11 years ago at 6:29 AM
ESPE, it depends on your needs: most of the more popular .40 S&W sidearms have a 15-round magazine, but you may find them too bulky to use as a concealed carry weapon. The .40 weapons of choice for military and police are typically the Glock 22 or the Sig Sauer p226, both with standard 15-round mags. Each company has smaller concealed carry versions that hold 8-12 rounds. I personally love the Glock, but Glock's lack of a "traditional" safety
11 years ago at 6:29 AM
Sorry folks but your "Practical Range" for the ammo you have listed is way off. You need to revisit the distance listed for the perspective round. Also, NO Semi-Auto rifles are "Assault Weapons" You are merely reaffirming the incorrect propaganda of the main stream liberal media. Assault Weapons are ALL Full Auto, Select Fire.
11 years ago at 6:33 AM
ESPE, it depends on your needs: most of the more popular .40 S&W sidearms have a 15-round magazine, but you may find them too bulky to use as a concealed carry weapon. The .40 weapons of choice for military and police are typically the Glock 22 or the Sig Sauer p226, both with standard 15-round mags. Each company has smaller concealed carry versions that hold 8-12 rounds. I personally love the Glock, but Glock's lack of a "traditional" safety requires more than the usual attentiveness - much quicker to shoot in a hurry, but you MUST keep it away from young, untrained hands.
11 years ago at 6:35 AM
12 ga Pump action shotgun. OO buck for hunting or protection, slug for hunting deer size game, #6 for turkey or grouse, rabbit, etc, #7.5 or #8 for dove or quail. Which do you want? A single projectile of .32 cal (or slightly larger) or 9 - 12 projectiles (OO buckshot) going down range at the same time. On the street or in the brush the 12 ga shotgun is KING.
11 years ago at 6:36 AM
Well said, Gunner, though an inexpensive shotgun really rounds out the preparedness.
11 years ago at 6:37 AM
I carry a variety of weapons, from my Ruger 9mm for personal defense to my shotgun for home defense. Being prepared could be the difference between missing more than one meal to saving your life. Do not take firearms lightly as they are a tool to be used much as any other, it is the person using the tool properly that makes it a good addition to your preparedness kit.
11 years ago at 6:42 AM
One set of criteria you did not discuss is conceal/carry guns. If you want to carry for self defense, that is an important consideration. Ideally, people want to carry small/light weapons with sufficient stopping power and ammo capacity. There are many compromises and personal preferences in making a choice for CC.
11 years ago at 6:45 AM
Just an intimidation factor? Intimidation is not a reason to have or use a gun. Never Point a gun at anyone for any reason if you are not prepared to fire it.
11 years ago at 6:53 AM
Don't forget about some night gear ,and a bullet proff vest for your-self..Take a bow in your back yard and learn that now..
11 years ago at 7:00 AM
I agree with the two caliber theory, but not with three weapons in a bug-out situation. The AR with a Leopold AR scope, manufactured specifically for the AR rifles are a great choice. Can hold a quarter inch grouping at three hundred yards. My preference in handgun has to be the .45acp. It does not hold as many rounds, but usually one or two rounds should get the job done. .40s&w would be second choice and 9mm third. However, 9mm would be found easier and they are manufacturing some very reliable stopping power ammo these days, plus it is cheaper to shoot.
11 years ago at 7:19 AM
9mm semi auto and .357 magnum sidearms, 35 remington,30-30 wnchester for longer range big game, 12 guage and 20 guage for birds and m1 carbine with mags welded together for protection, rifled 12 guage with slugs for closer big game, and a few 22 long rifles scoped for smaller game and practice for myself and family. Probably close to 20,000 rounds locked up at all times. I got into archery so I also keep 5 bows and one crossbow ready to go at all times 4 recurve and one compound. this wasn't intentional for prepardness, just the way I was raised not knowing why, only figured out why after my father died why he always kept us stocked up. All in one place ready to lock up in the truck camper that takes 15 minutes to secure to the truck (maybe less if I bust my hump) that is capable of being off the grid at a minunium of 30 days at a time for my family of 4. And solar so with just electric indefinatly.... hoping I am prepared more then others when and if the time comes and we will be in better shape then most.
11 years ago at 7:24 AM
The best advice to give someone who doesn't own a gun is to get a gun that is easy to use. Then practice shooting it to become proficient with it. A revolver like a .38 is easy to shoot, doesn't jam like an automatic and ammo isn't expensive. For a long gun, a 12 guage pump shotgun is the best weapon. Easy to use, and it'll do most anything you want. The most important point here is this: Know how to use the gun you choose. Practice and shoot it to become familiar with it.
11 years ago at 7:42 AM
As was metioned in the beginning, the answer to this question "depends on what you're going to use the gun for", but also on who's handling the gun. For example, my wife is petite and has small hands. So we wanted to get her a pistol that fit her hands, that did not have a lot of recoil, and that wasn't overly complicated to operate. We tried automatics, but we found she couldn't rack the slide on most of the small automatics that fit her hand because of the spring tension. So we switched to a revolver, but found that the really light revolvers (usually with a titanium frame), like the Smith & Wesson Airweight, transferred a lot of recoil to your hand. Eventually we settled on a Smith & Wesson .32 revolver, which fit her hands, did not have a lot of recoil, and was extremely simple to operate (just pull the trigger). We went through several purchases, and subsequent sales, before finding the right gun for her, so if you want to avoid the same cost and aggravation this entails, I highly recommend going to a store with a range that lets you test fire any gun you're considering buying.
11 years ago at 8:16 AM
A short .223/5.56mm assault rifle + a 9mm handgun. I think you are will prepared. Please make sure you know how to use it and practice shooting often. (Often mean may be every month)
11 years ago at 9:03 AM
As stated above the .30-30 isn't practical beyond 400 yards, which is pushing it. The .30-06 and .308 are equal in their practical distances, around 1,000 yards. You've got it wrong on the .223. It's practical distance is 600 yards as I can hit a man-sized target at that distance. Having the right scope is very important. I'd recommend the Trijicon fixed power scopes at 4X or 6X with a bullet drop compensator reticle. You really don't want to be twisting your elevation knob back and forth while under stress. Here's my pick for firearms, 1911 .45 ACP, Mossberg 590 in 12 gauge and a Daniel Defense M4V4 or V5 in .223.
11 years ago at 9:05 AM
I am former military and weapons trainer. I can shoot my 22LR with accuracy up to 300 plus yards and can shoot continous fire without my barrel jumping up from recoil and hit my target with multiple rounds. This cannot be done with the same accuracy of speed with .223 or 7.65 x 39. I can also bug out with two thousand rounds of 22's so how many can you bug out with AR's & SKS's. 22LR will also take down a deer, elk, bear as well as a rabbit if survival became the norm. However rim fire in most states are illegal to shoot a large game animal except for domestic cows or pigs for butcher which is what we use. For novices get a good 22LR with magazine. No matter what you shoot with a 22 LR the effects will be the same on the receiver.
mr bill
4 years ago at 4:14 PM
Bear? What kind of bear do you hunt with a 22lr? and Elk? uhhh. there is a reason hunting big game wherever you are is illegal with 22lr. I can tell you are an internet chat room stats nerd.
11 years ago at 9:06 AM
For me, it would be a good intermediate caliber carbine, a 4"-5" barreled service caliber handgun and a light, accurate .22LR rifle.
11 years ago at 9:09 AM
I am curious! With all these recommendations for different weapons how many can you shoot at one time. Get one pistol for close ranger personal protection and I suggest a 22 LR with magazine!
11 years ago at 9:10 AM
Everyone makes some good points...I'd just like to add that it would be a good idea to have a .22LR rifle and a .22LR handgun. They're inexpensive to find a decent used one (~$125 for a rifle, ~$250 for a handgun USED) - simply because while the .22s cannot be reloaded (rimfires can't reload) the ammo is cheap, plentiful, and a good shot placement will take down pretty much anything (even bears if you hit them in the medulla or anywhere in the head). I'll be willing to bet that when all the .223/5.56 ammo is long gone, the last weapons firing will be using .22LR....I'd say add at least one - even if it's a pistol - and keep it in your bug-out bag. Even non-shooters/scared women can be taught to use them as they aren't loud and have negligible recoil, so it's a great choice for use for a person that has never shot a gun in crunch time to use as it is only marginally more intimidating to the brand-new shooter than a BB-gun is.
Kevin Thomas
11 years ago at 9:29 AM
Well the simple answer to this is the one you have with you! Many will tell you a AR-15 style is the best but they are expensive and do require maintenance and training. I'm sure some will say a Glock 9mm but a hand gun has its limitations. Shotguns are a great choice they are cheap ammo is cheap and can be used for defense and hunting as wel. Also shotgun shells can be reloaded by hand with little or no training. I have heard the argument that a "air rifle" is the best because you can carry so much ammo with you, hunt quietly, they are inexpensive, and are deadly at close range, the problem with this type of gun is that they are single shot making the rate of fire slow to say the least. If i can only have one(horrors) then In my opinion a shotgun fits the bill and a Remington 870 or a Mossberg 500 with a variety of ammo.
11 years ago at 9:40 AM
I have deer and rabbits in my area, was thinking a .22 rifle, too small? Don't want overkill (no pun intended) just enough to get me dinner.
11 years ago at 9:41 AM
Highest capacity handgun that is reasonably priced and quality construction is made by Springfield Arms....look it up. 12 gauge pump shotgun with extended tube. Assault Rifle AR 15 or AR 10 if you can afford it. Bolt action .308 and your Handgun should be 9mm or 40 cal. All of these rounds are used by the police and military and will be stockpiled.
11 years ago at 10:31 AM
@KMR Of course how silly of me to forget ... a good old 12 ga. ... I have one and use it often (actually my first gun) definitely a good gun to have. @K like others have said if your a good shot you could take down bigger game but often its illegal to use on the hunt. for small game its great and a perfect weapon for beginners to practice practice practice. After all what good is any weapon if you cant use it effectively.
11 years ago at 11:10 AM
I'd have to take either my highly modified AK-47, or my Mossberg Model 464 SPX.
11 years ago at 11:29 AM
Thanks for the overview. Well written and pretty informative. Plenty of points to get you thinking!
Doomsday Patriot
11 years ago at 11:47 AM
I personally have lot of weapons and a ton of ammo but for the average person: A pistol in probably .40. Since the guberment is ordering so much there should be a lot laying around. A rifle in the .30 cal range. .308, 30.06 would be good. For those with budget constrants a mosin 91/30 in 7.62x54R is a great weapon. Then of course a 12 gauge shot gun. Don't forget non firearm weapons. A good high velocity airgun and either a bow or a crossbow. Why waste ammo when you don't need to.
Pat B
11 years ago at 6:41 PM
I have limited myself to one pistol and one long arm if I have to do a long walk somewhere. My carry choices are a Sig 226 in 9mm with a 22LR mod kit (slide, barrel, & mag), and a 12 gauge Mossy 590A1 with a variety of ammo. This gives me the serious take down power of the 12 gauge and the flexibility of a 9mm and 22LR pistol. I feel the shotgun gives me more versatility than a rifle would. If I am traveling with and can equip a second person, then the pistol would stay the same but the second long arm would be a 16" AR-15 platform. Ammo 9MM I carry 100 rounds of 9MM mixed ball and RangerT +P+ all in mags. 22LR I carry 100 Aguila 60 gram rounds for subsonic hunting, 250 rounds of CCI Stinger for longer shots, and 50 rounds of shot shell. 12 Gauge And lastly, 50 mixed shells of Hornady SST slugs, PDX1 shells, and Ranger 00 buck.
11 years ago at 5:39 AM
I have a good many weapons, ARs, shotguns,22s, etc. But I am liking my new combo best, the Ruger 357 magnum sidearm and the Ruger 77/357 bolt action rifle. Both will fire 357 rounds or 38 special. Same round in the rifle or sidearm, with stoping power with the 357 and train with the cheaper 38 special.
11 years ago at 5:50 AM
But, if you could only have ONE gun, what would it be? If I can pick obviously I would take several, but what if I could only take one, or ended up with one? What would be the best all around, considering most of the obvious uses/questions, hunting, self-defense, is quiet an issue, is it better to be common caliber or unusual (others won't want your supply) & reliability? Of course there are geographical influences, but in general what would be the better all-purpose firearm?
11 years ago at 10:08 AM
Wow! That was an awful lot of information for what seems like such a simple question. Please allow me to add my two cents, just two simple considerations. 1. If you plan to use a firearm for intimidation purposes, someone will take it away from you and kill you and everyone you love with it. 2. The only gun that will do you any good, is the gun you have with you. Having the perfect gun in the safe at home won't do you any good if you have to run for your life from your workplace. 3. Get a gun you can use effectively, not one that scares you, or one that's uncomfortable for you, or hard to load, or not as accurate as you'd like. If you're comfortable with it, you'll practice, and you'll keep it with you. Hey, that was 3! Sorry...
11 years ago at 1:56 PM
The Taurus PT 24/7 9mm hold 17 rounds. is tremendously a accurate . reliable as can be. easy to take down and clean. I have put rounds on a silhouette target at 100 yards! Very user friendly also. My lady is a new shooter and picked up this gun and became very proficient in just a few trips to the range. Plus the price is great. I bought mine for $300.
11 years ago at 2:23 PM
For years my job was behind the counter at what is arguably the largest gun dealer (by volume) in the US answering questions and helping people choose the right gun for everything from hunting to target shooting to home defense. There is no one gun that is the best for everything but you can cover most of your needs with four guns. First off get a good .22LR rifle. My preference is bolt action but there are a number of great semiautos, or lever actions if you choose (loved my Marlin 39A). This will be used for small game, the bread-and-butter of emergency situation hunting. Top it with a high quality optic in 4x, 6x or 2.5-8x magnification. Second, get a good bolt action rifle in either .308 or .30-06 for medium to large game. Same as above, top it with a quality optic in either 2.5x9x, 3-9x or 3.5-10x. Rifle brand is up to you but I tend to go with Ruger or Winchester. Remington is good also. Third gun should be a 12ga. Pump shotgun with an interchangabl
11 years ago at 3:09 PM
i use a 38 special/357 mag gp100 revolver and a rossi lever action rifle in the same cal its good out to 100 yards and everyone in my famley can handle them and ammo is everywhare
Shawn p
11 years ago at 7:54 PM
I have a Mossberg 590 pump for home defense (stopping power), a Springfield Xd 9mm for a handgun (capacity and availability of ammo), a couple of .22 rifles for small game as well as an air rifle ( super cheap for small game) and a 8mm Mauser for big game. If you want to survive though you'd better have a .22, there's not enough big game and the report gives away your position more.
11 years ago at 12:05 PM
Wanted to comment on Greg Morris's take on the 357. Though it may be common in some respects,it is not commonly used and or selected as a self defense gun. Recoil is a bit brutal,limited round capacity and 38 special and 357 ammo is more on the expensive side. 9mm is the most common round and the glock 17,19,26 would be the best choice for self defense because of the ammo availablitiy,cost and the glock besides being a tried and true performer spare parts would be easier to come by and the 17,19 mags will fit in the 26 so you could own a 26 and you could barter/buy a 17 or 19 mag for added capacity.
11 years ago at 8:54 PM
I think everyone should have a gun in their emergency kit. My favorite gun for protection is a 45 ACP. Everyone also should have a 12 gage shot gun and a .22 rifle.
11 years ago at 7:02 AM
For SHTF situations - Shoot what you feel comfortable handling, and look towards handling common rounds (9mm, 38/357, 40, 45 (in pistol/revolver); 22LR, 223/5.56, 308win, 30.06 (in rifle); 20ga, 12ga (in shotgun). In shotgun, look towards versatility - Remington & Mossberg make shotguns with interchangeable barrels so you can go long OR short. IF you choose a mag-fed firearm, don't forget to get spare mags! BECOME FAMILIAR with your firearm! KNOW how to replace at least the basic small parts (pins & springs), and get some! Learn to make & use alternatives for solvents and lubes. And God bless you 2nd Amendment guys/gals! Of ALL the Amendments in our Bill of Rights (only 10 of them), there is only ONE that specifically prohibits government interference - the 2ND! WORDS MEAN THINGS!!! Lot's of good advice here! What was the source for most of your info?
John W
11 years ago at 9:04 AM
For what it's worth you need two guns (one a backup) I recommend a Glock (any caliber) strictly because it's the most reliable gun on the market for dependability under extreme conditions. The other recommendation is the new Smith and Wesson Shield, a pocket-able 9mm with incredible accuracy also functions very well. You don't hear many people talk about problems such as jams, failure to extract spent cartridge etc, but these are real life problems. A malfunction while your protecting you family would be catastrophic.
11 years ago at 10:14 AM
The best gun is the one you have , the one with no paper trail and the one you have a pile of ammo for .
11 years ago at 11:43 AM
Irish-7, I am with you about Mrs. Julie a neary. I find that these anti-gun people no nothing about guns. They are fearing their unknown. I did not grow up in a house with guns. So, I understand somewhat in how they are thinking. But, I never felt people should not own guns. We had family that were hunters, both responsible and irresponsible. In my opinion, that had to do with maturity. I enjoy guns. I was trained to shoot a variety of guns in a sport that I enjoy. Based on speed and accuracy under pressure is really good shooting practice. We live in a rural area so I have had to kill rattlesnakes. When the snakes cross the safety zone, they are killed. I wonder how Mrs. Julie thinks about that? Keep us safe from dangerous critters? I do not hunt, but I will to survive. We had to evacuate from a wildfire 2 years ago. We had our animals and pulling trailers. We also had all of our guns and ammo with us. After we took our horses out of a shelter, we had learned that the Dept of Agriculture wanted to confiscate all of the animals. They did not have the right to do so. We had a man who told the Dept of AG to get lost and get out of here. You never know what you need to protect. When times are desperate, those people will kill to get what you have.
10 years ago at 8:10 PM
George: Effective range has nothing to do with the shooter, it's a feature of the external dynamics of the cartridge.
10 years ago at 5:21 AM
The Texas Ranger was asked, "Why do you carry a .45?" He replied, "Because they don't make a .46."
10 years ago at 7:05 AM
A .357/.38 revolver should be high on anyones list of handguns. Revolvers are more reliable to an inexperianced shooter than an automatic pistol. They break far less often, not subject to improper grip (limp wristing) and with dbl action revolver squeezing the trigger gives immediate BANG, no need to rack the slide. Granted ammo capacity is 5-8 rnds, but all rnds will be fired, and NO JAMS. .38 ammo will work just fine in a .357 revolver, and is Highly common....
Mo Better
10 years ago at 7:08 AM
This is a good overview and will help the novice find his or her way. I disregard those who say you should limit yourself to a caliber or two/three. You don't have one screwdriver in your tool box that you expect to take care of every job, do you? Firearms are just like that, they're tools, and different types perform different functions. A variety of weapons gives one the opportunity to match the weapon and ammo to the shooter and/or the situation. The urban apartment dweller will obviously have different requirements than the rancher having long sight lines. Study the differences and select the firearm with which the shooter will be comfortable and effective.
10 years ago at 11:04 AM
if you don't have a lethal means of defense all you are doing is storing supplies for those AGGRESSIVE ENOUGH AND WILLING TO TAKE WHAT YOU HAVE.
10 years ago at 2:09 PM
i noticed that some seem to think that recoil is something to be avoided. The best way to approach recoil is simply shoot a gun with substantial recoil and it will very soon become second nature
Steve K.
10 years ago at 5:34 PM
Rhodesia was an state located in southern Africa during the Cold war. From 1965 to 1979, it comprised the region now known as independent Republic of Zimbabwe when an elderly woman in her seventy's,she was living on an settler establishment in her little home stead and was attacked by ZAPU from Zambia. They were armed with AK's, Chinese hand grenades, and explosives, having been issued vague instructions to sabotage important installations before killing indiscriminately. They intended to follow Soviet thinking of the time period, placing an emphasis on sophisticated weaponry in the hopes of winning a conventional battle like the Veit Minh at Dien Bien Phu but she was only armed with an colt woodman 22lr auto pistol to defend her home stead. The reporter that was intrigued by her actions and interviewed her after the incident. How she was able to dispatch the heavily armed men, she replied it was easier than the rabbits that got in her garden. So have confidence and start with an 22lr.
10 years ago at 2:04 PM
I am a newbe at gun ownership. I have read many forums on which rifle and handgun to get for self defence, survival and hunting. My choice is a 357 revolver and the lever action rifle in 357 cal. I am also getting a good 22cl Air rifle for the bug out senerio for these reasons. 1) I can carry far more pellets (ammo) than I can bullets. and when it come down to it I can shoot rocks from it as well. once you run out of ammo your rifle becomes a club. 2) In a bug out situation water is my first concern. food is my second not to mention shelter of some sort and all weather clothing. carring around several types of ammo. and weapons is bulky and takes up space especily if I'm on foot. 3) I,m not saying I would not carry my 357 but it's use would be limited to the first few days and for the off chance I come across a bear. 4) In my situation for long term survival bringing down a dear or large game would be waistful. it is far less effert to catch small game in several traps and snares than it is shooting them. you can only shoot what you can see. you do not have to see your pray to snare it. With that said, There is one down side to not having large cal. ammo. If and when the Civil end comes ammo of any kind could be used for barter.
Don Russell
10 years ago at 9:24 PM
Actually, no the circumstances are not different in city vs country. The fact is that if shtf, you are going to need fighting rifles everywhere, and that a pistol won't amount to a ram's damn once everyone is carrying a longarm. Everyone WILL be so armed, too, if shtf. You are way ahead to "have to' hunt with a fighting autorifle than have to fight with a bolt action. How can you shoot or intimidate anyone with a gun that you haven't got with you, hmm? Regardless of where you are, if shtf, you want your rifle to give you rapidfire, be rust resistant, have luminous iron sights, have a quick detachable, return to zero scope base, with a "see thru" option, to use the iron sights. YOu want your rifle to have at least 300 yds of effective range, you want it to take the rd that our military armories are full of (clue, not ONE rd therein is .20 or .30 AK). You want it to take down for concealment in a backpack and you want it to be threaded at the muzzle, and have a sound suppressor. It should also have a .22lr conversion unit, so that you have the option of using the most commonly found, (and most commonly needed for survival rd.) nets, trotlines, fish, crawdad and turtle traps can be tended at night. Being see in daylight, if shtf, will get you shot. Those tools work for you 24-7 and in 30 or more locations. They are far more likely to feed you than hunting or fishing with a rod or pole. :-)
Don Russell
10 years ago at 9:30 PM
It's pretty silly to buy any "special" gun for shtf. Your pistol for such a scenario should be the same pocket auto that you use for EDC, everyday carry. The front pants pocket, starting hand in pocket, is by far the swiftest concealed draw, and the pocket holster stays out of the way of your backpack and rifle, yet is concealed and swift to access. If you are not going to spend a lot of money on your survival rifle and becoming skilled with it, reloading your ammo, etc, then stick to a .22 autoloader, like the Marlin Papoose. Fit it with a "spare" 6" long barrel and silencer, so that "normal" .22lr ammo is subsonic thru that barrel. Also fit it with a telescoping buttstock, so that it is concealable under your jacket, (underarm, on a sling)with the 5" long suppressor attached. You do not want an integral can/barrel combo, because then your front sight is on that weak link, threaded on tube! Mount the front sight on the shortened barrel and simply do the female thread inside of the counterbored barrel, with a male threaded stud protruding out of the rear of the can. naturally, all federal and state laws relative to silencers must be followed.
Barack Obama
10 years ago at 9:01 PM
I think you're all nuts.
Name H R Safford
10 years ago at 2:29 PM
How do I obtain 1-3 copies of Brandon Garrett Bullett/Cartridge Display Board--size as offered on the Computer Screen--I wish to frame.
10 years ago at 8:09 PM
Guns, generators, matches, parachutes, water, friends--When you need them there are no meaningful substitutes. Perhaps also shelter. Have a neighbor who is a nice lady over 80years old. She lives by herself but does have a phone, a cat and a 22pistol. When I occasionally visit her at night I usually call then knock. She is a little hard of hearing If she doesn't answer I don't enter her house. Who is more prepared all the people with multiple guns, or no guns or her?
10 years ago at 11:18 AM
I hit all day at 150yrd with a 590a1 12 GA
Joe Thomas
9 years ago at 6:02 AM
If you do not have experience with guns, GET PORFESSIONAL ADVISE!!!!!!!!!!! As to which gun is best: First, the best gun is the one that you like and can shoot well. Secondly, no ome type of gun will do everything that will be needed in an emergency situation. I have a semi auto modern sporting rifle, sometime mistakenly called an assault rifle, in .308 caliber for hunting, self defense distant shots (up to 600 yards), to penetrate barriers, etc, next is my semi auto MSR in.223/5.56 x 45 simular to what the US military uses, these are effective up to 300 yards on small game and can be used to kill ferral hogs, coyotes, etc. (BEfore any complains, I only kill/hunt animals when absolutely necessary). I have a .22 cal for very small game such as rabbits and mostly for target pratice/fun. Two shot guns in 12 ga, a short barrelled tactical one for home defense and a longer barreled one for hunting birds, squirrels (this an 80 year old side by side handed down from my gransfather, still works great). Lastly an assortment of handguns in 3 different calibers, both for defense and target. I have had to use a handgun for defense on at least 2 occations. The brand of gun and whether it is semi auto or revolver is personel preference, use what you can best shoot with. I like the modern sporting rifles best because I have experince with they from the military but have used other types and calibers. Consider your situation, do your research, talk to professionals, people at the shooting range understanding that they have their bias, rent a few guns if possible, shoot other peoples gun if possible and then decide what is best for you.
9 years ago at 9:07 AM
I carry a .357 Highway patrolman 4 inch 98% of the time. I also carry a .38 Lady Smith 2 in. I like the .357 best. I carry cross draw .
9 years ago at 5:27 PM
The best gun in an emergency? The one in your hand.
Mark Neno
9 years ago at 7:44 PM
Guns should never be used for intimidation. Nor should intimidation be a factor in the purchase of a firearm. People who believe a firearm can be used to intimidate may be strangely shocked when it does not serve that purpose with certain people. The purpose of a firearm is to deliver deadly force. To use a firearm to an end that is contrary to that can be dangerous to the user.
Terry C.
9 years ago at 6:15 PM
The Universal sound of intimidation is the racking of a 12 ga. pump shotgun, just the sound of a pump will send most perps running .
Name Ben
9 years ago at 11:20 AM
I have a little of everything, having reached a ripe old age (chronologically) but have used the Holy Bible, the best medical checkups, using new medical procedures, eating the most healthy diet, avoiding dangerous places to protect myself and my wife. Law suites will come even if you are legally shooting. It is expensive to defend. There are no experts in the defensive field! I am still learning and situations are continuously changing. Quality Laser Grip sights are GREAT.
9 years ago at 1:34 PM
When I was a young Marine, I was mostly lugging around a 249 SAW and was always happy to turn it in at the armory. I liked the basic M-16 and M-9 but not that much. Never really had any desire to own a gun until an elderly relative who lived along asked me advice on the subject. As with everything else, I studied extensively, shot every interesting rental at the range(s) and spoke with folks who seemed to know what they were talking about. I've owned everything from Saiga's to .308 battle rifles to heavy magnum revolvers (love Rugers and Colts) to Glocks and Sigs to fun 10-22s - everyone loves 10-22s. Advice for a beginner: Home defense handgun: 38/.357 revolver - this is a no-brainer for countless reasons (simplicity, springs at rest, no magazines, no safeties to mess with, heavy trigger pull prevents accidents). 38 is plenty of power for 99% of situations. You're better of with one weapon you know how to use and use often than with 10 sitting in a safe that have never been fired. If you insist on a pistol instead of revolver stick to big 3 basic calibers (9mm, .40, or .45) all other pistol calibers are nonsense when you look at price v. performance. 9mm is the no-brainer pistol caliber given the improvements in ammo in the last 20 years. There just isn't much ballistic difference between the three calibers and the 9 is cheaper and softer shooting - but shoot what you like - it boils down to a flying hunk of lead. Only variables are the size & shape of the hunk of lead and how fast it is going. The rest is emotional b.s. Long-gun for survival (not home defense) - pick up a good .22 rifle. Marlin 60s are fine (no mags to lose), ruger 10-22s are awesome and kinda like potato chips - you can't have just one. Remington .22s are fine too. Home defense, hunting, do-everything long-gun: mossberg 500 or 590 or remington 870 or Ithaca - in 12 or 20 gauge. The H & R and new Turkish companies are getting better too. A basic pump shotgun is pretty tough to beat for all around do-everything utility at a budget price and you can practice with bird shot for not much. Saigas and Benelli's are fine too - downside is, you can't leave a loaded Saiga sitting around for years because the springs will have issues and it will jam when you need it - fun range toy but liability issues and just not worth the trouble - sold those awhile back. With a pump shotgun, it can sit in the closet, loaded, for 20 years and if you need it just grab it, rack the slide, flip the safety and you're good to go. Course I still love my hump-back...A-5 is too darn fun. Overall rifle - 30-30 lever action or AR-15 / AK 47 / 74. Either will do the job. The AR requires a bit more maintenance. The lever not so much. The AK you can bury in mud for a year and the damn thing will still work. Also if you are in court - the lever action will look much more innocent than will an "evil assault rifle" :)
9 years ago at 11:07 AM
EVeryone mentions that if you are a city/apt dweller that the gun needs differ. I am 65 year old woman not super strong who needs a defense gun for apt dwelling. Suggestions?
8 years ago at 11:08 AM
To: The Ready Store I like all your tips including these on firearms. Some of the suggestions in replies are good but not ideal for beginners. The first match I fired in while serving the US Army in Germany back in 1961 I shot the highest individual score. There were "masters" firing in the match. These are men who qualified expert for five years in a row on their team. I could shoot and still can but could I survive on my own? I doubt it. Revolvers are best for new or old shooters for carry because they are the most dependable and reliable. Rifles are better than shotguns for defense and the more simple designs are best for long term use. Always be prepared and always keep it simple.
8 years ago at 9:11 PM
Since accuracy and a fast second shot are the main factors in defensive hand gunnery, not the weapon caliber, I chose a couple semi-auto 9mm as the handgun. Wife has a Ruger SP-101 revolver that handles 38 special and .357 Magnum loads, but reasonably available. I have an AR-15 chambered so it can handle both .223 and 5.56 making ammo available not much of a problem. Adequate range and ammo availability make the .308 the rifle caliber of choice and a variable 3-9x scope is adequate. Long range sniping is not out o the question but unlikely to be needed. Hunting at ranges over 300 yards for the average shooter should not be attempted. Most folks like the Ruger 10-22, a fine choice in rimfire rabbit and squirrel gun, but I have an old Remington Semi-Auto with a tubular magazine that can handle .22 shorts and longs as well as long rifle, and so haven't bought anything newer. The tactical shotgun will handle slugs quite well for close-range deer hunting.
Brooks A. Mick
7 years ago at 2:31 PM
1) A .22LR pistol, i.e., Ruger, can easily take rabbits and other small game if you sit quietly. And many hundreds of rounds don't weigh too much to move. 2) .308 bolt action is good for deer and animals up to elk size. 3) AR-15 style in Wylde chamber can handle both 5.56 and .223 ammo, thus increasing availability markedly. 4) Modern 9mm is a quite decent round in a semi-auto pistol for self-defense. I personally don't go for bigger rounds. Learn to shoot. 5) A semi-auto .22LR such as Ruger 10-22 is good for small game at longer range than the pistol can handle.
Dennis Alexander
4 years ago at 6:23 AM
I shoot NRA HiPower competition and I have a correction to your info on 7.62x39 and .223/5.52. You have the ranges reversed. I regularly shoot my .223 at 500 and 600 yards very effectively (using 80 gr bullets and fast twist barrel). I have never seen 7.62 Russian effective beyond about 200 yards.