Although unlikely, it pays to be prepared for anything in life. An SHTF situation could be anything from a zombie outbreak, an alien invasion, or something more likely: nuclear annihilation, civil war, or the breakdown of society. Regardless, having something to defend yourself is extremely crucial in that situation. After all, there will be no police to enforce the law and the worst of humanity will come to pass.
Other than the basic survival necessities such as food, water, fire, and shelter, having firearms is one of the highest priorities. However, you need to stock up ahead of time because everybody else will have the same idea when the apocalypse arrives and you do not want to be standing in a queue when that happens.
Firearms are the great equalizer. They give you a lot of power and they can be an invaluable tool. You can use them to defend yourself or hunt for food. In a social situation, they can tip the balance of power in your favor.
With this in mind, I have put together a list of firearms that I think are worth having in such a scenario.
Mossberg makes some excellent firearms. For their shotguns, I recommend you pick up the Mossberg 500 because it is easy to maintain and use. It is chambered in .410 bore, 20 gauge, and 12 gauge, but I recommend you go for the 12-gauge variant since it is the most popular. That means, you can find more ammo and replacement parts for it. Plus, it also offers more customization than the rest. With this pump-action in hand, you can shoot your way out of most situations.
2. Chiappa X-Caliber
The X-Caliber is capable of shooting both 12 gauge shells and .22 rounds with its double trigger. Both of these rounds come from two different barrels in an over-under configuration. If that does not scream versatility, here is another thing to consider. The gun comes with eight adapters that allow you to fire about eight different pistol calibers as well. This thing pretty much fits any role in a survival situation.
3. H&R Single Shot 12 Gauge
I get it. Single-shot shotguns do not do well in both hunting and self-defense because of their slow rate of fire. However, I chose the H&R here because it has many possibilities. If you can get your hands on the chamber adapters, this shotgun becomes a very versatile platform. You can scavenge for ammo and this thing will shoot anything, provided you have the appropriate adapter. That can be shotgun shells, birdshot, slugs, and even rifle ammo. I am sure you will agree that this is a very helpful firearm to have when your ammo supply runs short.
If you want something that spits larger lead, this is your option. The Mosin-Nagant might not be your go-to rifle in a self-defense scenario against human attackers, but it can take down the biggest game in your area with its 7.62×54 rounds. This Russian rifle packs a mean punch that can convince lions or other hostile critters to reconsider their options.
One benefit of this rifle is that there are millions of them in circulation, so acquiring one should be a piece of cake. The ammo is also quite common as well. With a bit of practice, you can become a very effective and deadly sniper.
5. ArmaLite AR-15
Of course, the AR-15 is going to make the list. It is durable, easy to use, and readily available. It is so common that you can find replacement parts for it easily, and I am willing to wager that this fact still holds up when the apocalypse comes. The AR-15 is designed so that maintenance and disassembly are easy as pie.
Just make sure that your AR-15 is chambered in 5.56 because that would allow you to work with both 5.56 and .223 rounds. This little bit of flexibility might go a long way when you run out of ammo and needs to scavenge for them.
6. Ruger 10/22 Takedown
This rifle is perhaps the most versatile option you can have in a survival situation. Chambered in .22 Long Rifle, the Ruger 10/22 Takedown is perfect for hunting small game. The cartridge itself is perfect for a survival situation for many reasons.
For one, the .22 Long Rifle ammo is readily available virtually everywhere. You want to have plenty of ammo with you and weight is not a concern here as .22 ammo is very light. You can start stockpiling the ammo right now since it is quite cheap. Moreover, the recoil from the cartridge is pretty light so even inexperienced shooters can work with it.
What about the gun? It gives you 10 rounds in the magazine, which is plenty in most situations. As the name suggests, the Ruger 10/22 Takedown can be disassembled easily into a more compact form that fits nicely in your backpack. The gun itself is also pretty lightweight, making it an obvious choice.
7. Chiappa 1892 Alaskan Takedown
Similar to the Ruger 10/22 Takedown, the Chiappa Alaskan Takedown is also a rifle that you can disassemble and pack into your backpack. It is a rugged workhorse that can be had in either .44 Magnum or .357 Magnum. The only downside I can think of is the fact that this is a lever-action, so you need to get some practice with it if you are unfamiliar with this platform. Still, you can cycle this thing pretty fast so you can lay down follow-up shots as needed. The rifle is also easy to maintain, which is crucial in a survival situation where you may lack the facility to do so. It is lightweight and easy to use once you get comfortable with the action, and I highly recommend you pick it up if you haven’t already.
You also want to have a revolver in your collection for a very simple reason: reliability. It requires minimal maintenance and no semi-auto is going to beat a revolver in terms of reliability. Revolvers have fewer moving parts and therefore are less prone to failure.
For this purpose, I present to you the Smith & Wesson 586. It is very easy to load and clean. The only real downside is the capacity. Depending on the model, you either get 6 or 7 shots in the cylinder. The thing is that this limitation is inherent to all revolvers. If you want more capacity, you would pick up a semi-auto, but you would sacrifice some reliability. The 586 is versatile in the sense that it can take both .38 Special and .357 Magnum rounds, so ammo should not be a problem.
An added advantage is that you can use it in a combo with the Chiappa Alaskan Takedown if you buy the latter in .357 Magum as well. That way, the ammo is interchangeable so you can use it as actually needed either in the rifle or the revolver in any given situation.
This is a no-brainer. The 1911 has a slim profile and packs a mean punch from its .45 ACP rounds. It is also readily available, durable, and reliable. It has been around since the First World War, which is a testament to how versatile this handgun really is. It will not disappoint you in any situation.
The Glock also makes the list, and I recommend getting the Glock 17. You have 17 rounds in the magazine, which is about twice as many compared to some other handguns. Chambered in 9 mm, you might not stop a desperate attacker in one shot, but having 17 in the magazine gives you that assurance that you can get out of most situations unscathed.
One reason why I recommend the Glock 17 is that it is widely used by law enforcement agencies across the globe. This tells me that the pistol is reliable enough for the police, so it is good enough for you. The ammo is abundant and affordable. Plus, when an SHTF situation arises, it should be pretty easy to scavenge for replacement parts or extra ammo.
And there you have it, folks. These are my top 10 picks of rifles, handguns, and shotguns that I think you should have for the end of the world. If you are unsure whether to get a rifle, handgun, or shotgun, here are a few things to consider.
Rifles can be used in both defense and hunting, although they are a bit clunky to carry around. When it comes to rifles, reliability is key. In an SHTF scenario, you want something that requires minimal maintenance. Ammo weight and ammo availability are also important.
What about handguns? They are convenient and have that element of surprise since they are small enough to be carried concealed. Handguns are best for self-defense against human attackers at close range. While you can hunt with handguns, it is not recommended unless that is your only option.
Shotguns are also important. They are bulky and heavy, but people usually leave you alone if they see one on your back. No one wants to be on the wrong end of a shotgun. Most can be used for hunting and self-defense. Ammo might be quite hard to come by, so you need to use it sparingly. Also, ammo weight is also a concern. Shotguns also have a limited range. Still, I recommend you have one in your arsenal