10 Best Survival Rifles To Protect and Defend Your Family

10 Best Survival Rifles To Protect and Defend Your Family
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Best Survival Rifles - Double Barrel Shot Gun Pointed Straight Back At YouI decided to write an article identifying and singing the praises of the ten best survival rifles to own. And that’s what the title says at the top of this article.

That being said, listing the 10 “best survival rifles” requires real compromises. It’s a cold hard fact that a single perfect survival rifle doesn’t exist. There are too many unique survival scenarios to consider.

Plus, owning ten survival rifles won’t do you much good, unless you have a very large family or a caddy to carry all your guns. So I decided to fight conventional wisdom and focus primarily on the top five (or what I consider the best of each survival category) and then give you five runner-ups.

But again, let me be crystal clear. One weapon can’t do it all and ten options leave a lot of room for less than stellar performance in various roles. It’s sort of like expecting a dump truck to accelerate from zero to 60 MPH in 4 seconds. In the right application, a dump truck is extremely useful, just not when acceleration is the goal.

The bottom line is survival situations vary, as well as the tasks required of your survival firearms. So what are the roles we expect our survival rifles to play?

I like to break down the main survival tasks into 5 broad categories:

  1. Hunting Small game
  2. Hunting Large game
  3. Perimeter-defense beyond 200 yards
  4. Self-defense inside 200 yards
  5. Self-defense in close quarters

So let’s take a look at each task and the best survival rifles to accomplish them.

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Ruger 10 22

Hunting Small Game

In an actual wilderness survival situation, you may need to live off the land, and that means we can’t overlook small game.

There are a lot more squirrel, rabbit, possum and other varmints around than there are deer. Dropping a ten point buck might feed the family for weeks, but those will be few and far between if times get tough.

Squirrel, on the other hand, are rats with cute tails, and we have no rat population problems. Dropping three or four squirrels (or rabbits) every few days can get your family by in a pinch.

But in the small game arena, there are many excellent rifles, each firing a variety of respectable calibers.

You could look at the .17 HMR cartridge, a very flat shooting, very high velocity round and realize it’s the be all and end all of the varmint rounds.

You may also become intrigued by the .22 Magnum for its power over the standard .22LR. This cartridge is fired by great rifles and is excellent as long as you can run down to Academy Sports or Wal-Mart and buy another box of shells.

When the big box stores run dry, these more exotic calibers will be useless unless you’ve got a large stockpile of ammo storage. But wait, you say. These cartridges are available at the local big box store, and the .22 LR is always sold out. And you’re right – however, let’s look at the reasons why.

Reason 1 – The .22 LR is never in stock because people recognize this cartridge as the most versatile, desirable, and affordable survival round. People hoard them by the thousands when they do become available.

Reason 2 – It’s the only cartridge I know where you can walk around with a thousand rounds in your pocket – or a lifetime supply in your backpack. They don’t weigh much.

So it’s a well-established fact that the .22 LR makes the grade for best survival small game caliber. So let’s choose our small game survival rifle to match the best survival ammo. And there’s only one choice:

1. The Scoped Ruger 10/22 Take-down
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To be honest, I personally own a Remington 597 with a good scope and love it. However, having taken it down for cleaning and discovering all the small and seemingly fragile internal parts, I have to say the Ruger seems like a more durable design in the long run – and that is what the Ruger has been in for decades – the long run.

The Ruger and the Remington are competitors in the semi-automatic .22LR regime, however, over the years the public has voted with their pocketbooks and the Ruger comes out on top.

Plus, the newer take-down versions break down into component pieces. So you can easily store it in a backpack to be reassembled later as the situation requires. Perfect for those who’s survival plan includes bugging out.

Remmington 700 Survival RifleHunting Large Game

So your family is sick of squirrel and rabbit stew, and suddenly that ten point buck presents itself at 300 yards. Which rifle do you wish you had in your hands in that situation?

Well, you need a cartridge that can reach out and stay lethal at 300 yards or more. You also need to kill that deer with one shot. You don’t need to wound him and then lose him.

Remember, he’s got a 300-yard head start, and he’s a deer—which means he’s fast, even when injured.

If you get off a bad shot and hit him in the left front leg, you want the leg blown clean off. That should slow him down somewhat. So we’re not talking about mid-sized cartridges, like a 125 grain 5.56 or 7.62 x 39mm traveling at 2100-2400 FPS.

Instead, we’re talking something in the 170-220 grain region in .30 caliber soft-point or better traveling 2700-3000 FPS. We’re talking .30-06, .308 Winchester or .300 Win Mag.

(If you find yourself flush with surplus Soviet ammo, the 7.62X54R is also an excellent choice – though now we’re talking surplus military hardware and surplus military rifles. That’s a topic for a future article.)

So what is the best rifle for delivery of this type bullet? Call me a traditionalist, but the US Army and US Marine Corps are pretty good references.

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2. Remington 700
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The Remington 700, in various forms, has been the mainstay of the bolt-action sniper world for decades. When the Army began sniper school during the Viet Nam War, it had no weapons designed for the role, so they pulled scoped Remington 700s (and Winchester Model 70s) from the shelves of local sporting good stores for use in combat.

Decades later, the Remington 700 in military trim is still a frontline bolt action sniper rifle. A high-quality scope is a must for this long range survival rifle.

ar 15Perimeter Defense

Let’s face it; perimeter defense means keeping the bad guys away from your people by killing them at long range.

Maybe effective signage will keep them away or perhaps you’d prefer the incoming rounds be a complete surprise. That’s your personal moral choice. However, you do want whatever lead you send their way to have the proper impact in the desired location.

That means you need accuracy and lethality.

So why not pick the Remington 700? Surely, if your survival rifle can take down a deer at 400 yards, it can take down a man at 400 yards. No doubt. However, the benefit of the bolt action on accuracy is also a liability when it comes to quick follow up shots or multiple moving targets.

The deer might stand there wondering what the kicked up dirt next to it means and wait there for a second follow up shot, but humans will realize immediately what’s happening.

So a semi-automatic option is your best choice when hunting the “most dangerous game”; Man.

3. AR-15
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When we’re talking semi-auto, lethal and accurate at these ranges, we’re talking a scoped AR-15 in 5.56 NATO – or maybe a scoped AR-10 in .308 NATO. The AR-10 has the better knockdown power, however, the recoil of the 5.56 mm round fired from an AR-15 with a quality buffer is negligible, so your aim is less affected.

The AR-10 has the better knock down power, however, the recoil of the 5.56 mm round fired from an AR-15 with a quality buffer is negligible, so your aim is less affected.

Your shots should come fast, with easy acquisition of your second, third and fourth targets. Quality AR-15s are cheaper than the AR-10 and so is the 5.56 mm round.

You can carry quite a few rounds on your person as opposed to the .308, .30-06 or the like, and they are readily available and affordable – at least before the excrement hits the fan. So stock up.

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ak 47Self-defense Inside 200 Yards

Let’s say you don’t have the advantage of a wide field of fire. You live in the dense forests of Georgia, not the plains of Kansas. In this case, perimeter defense might shrink to an uncomfortably close distance of fewer than 100 yards.

In close quarters, you need a weapon that is both accurate and reliable.

Now we’re not talking 400 yards accurate. We’re talking guaranteed lethal hits on man-sized targets at less than 100 yards. There is one other significant problem at this distance – you can expect the bad guys to shoot back.

So every round you fire must count, and the weapon cannot jam. An AR-15 stovepiping a spent round at 400 yards takes just a moment to clear – a moment you might not have at 50 yards. So what do I recommend?

4. AK-47
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There is only one choice – the favorite weapon of every despot, dictator, and communist in the world –the AK-47.

Now, to be fair, I’m not talking about a real AK-47. You can’t just pick up a full auto AK-47 on Gunbroker. I’m talking an “Americanized”, semi-automatic AK-47 variant.

Realistically, the full auto function of the original is relatively useless, unless you are fighting in a small room or spraying and praying to provide covering fire for someone else. Accuracy goes out the window in full auto.

Oh, you’ll kill that guy at 100 yards, might even hit him two or three times, but you’ll also empty your magazine in 3 seconds, spraying the surrounding trees with the rest of your precious 7.62x39mm rounds.

The AK design is tough and designed for the mechanical torture of full auto operation. In semi-auto operation, everything is simple, over-engineered and reliable.

I’ve owned a cheap Romanian AK variant for four years, have fired thousands of rounds through it, only clean it every five or six times I go to the range and have never experienced a jam.

The 7.62×39 mm round is lethal and even cheaper than the 5.56 mm. Inside 200 yards the AK has adequate accuracy. However, the one concession I would make is to add a holographic sight – even a cheap one enhances the shooting experience.

I have a little $30 unit on my AK and, although the open sights are fine, I love having the fine cross-hairs to lay across the target.

Most AKs come with side rail scope mounts. At one point I had a 9-power scope on my AK, but I had mixed results. The side rail mount of the large, somewhat heavy scope, along with the significant slamming of the mass of the gas piston and bolt within the rifle, prevented the scope from holding a reliable zero.

The small holographic sight offers no magnification, but it is so light on the rail that holds up better to all the steel being thrown around inside the old Soviet design. It holds a pretty decent zero and my follow-up shots are right where they are supposed to be.

With the 30 round magazine as standard, you may want to invest in some these gems – and keep them loaded and ready in your gun safe.

Another option is the large 75 round drum magazines available for the AK. However, these don’t hold any attraction for me. They just look heavy, and attached to an already heavy AK – makes the weapon freakin’ heavy.

Plus, with 75 rounds at your fingertips, the temptation to spray and pray, rather than carefully aim, may cause you to waste a ton of ammo unintentionally.

So in summary, quoting Samuel L Jackson from the movie Jackie Brown, “AK-47. When you absolutely, positively have to kill every MF in the room”.

Mossburg 500 Tactical Survival ShotgunSelf-Defense In Close Quarters

Let’s say you not only live in a heavily forested area with no long line of sight, but you also fell asleep on your watch, and the bad guy is now inside your perimeter or even inside your house.

At this point in a perfect world, you could choose to engage the bad guy with a handgun – but the word handgun does not appear in the title of this article. So let’s assume you are grabbing for something larger. So what would you prefer?

When you’re startled close quarters combat, you naturally begin to spray and pray. If you have the AR-15 or AK-47 variant, you can make a lot of noise and poke a lot of holes in your walls, possibly killing your family members in the next room, however, if you want to remove doubt at close quarters – use a shotgun.

5. Mossberg 500
(check out today’s price)

A tactical, pump 12 gauge, such as the Mossberg 500, can take spraying and praying to a whole new level. You fire a couple salvos of this bad boy down a hallway; you are going to hit your target – multiple times.

Regular, long hunting shotguns are at a disadvantage in these conditions since they are not as conducive to mobility in an enclosed area. The little street-sweeper holds this nickname for a reason. Go tactical.

So the next question now becomes – shot or slug?

Double aught buckshot increases your likelihood of a hit, but a slug delivers an exceptionally deadly blow at close quarters. Here are the two big differences.

A shot pattern does not guarantee involuntary incapacitation. Now if the intruder gets hit with shot in a vital area, then the matter of his withdrawal doesn’t matter. He’s going down.

However, he can be hit several times, even mortally, and still decide to scram on his own volition or he may decide to fight back for his few remaining minutes in this life.

You’d prefer him to be unable to make this choice since it could turn out bad for you. If on the other hand he’s hit with a 12 gauge slug – he’s not going to be able to make this decision.

Any head or torso shot with a slug is going to blow a significant hole in him, and all the walk is going to go out of his feet. Even if he is hit in a leg or arm – he’s still in little position to fight back. It’s likely his arm will be blown clean off (though it could hang on by a few tendons) and, although it’s less likely to blow off a leg, it’s more likely he’ll bleed out fast with the largest artery in the body running through that part of the anatomy.

Regardless, the shock of his injuries will prevent his choice to continue the fight. Slugs deliver devastating blows. However, they also defeat the purpose of the shotgun – the large pattern of projectiles that virtually guarantee a hit. You can miss with a slug.

So it’s your choice. Or do you have to compromise at all? There are self-dense shotgun shells that incorporate a slug along with buckshot.

My shotgun of choice? The Mossberg 500 in its many variants in 12 gauge, which also happens to be the shotgun of choice for the US Army.

So here’s a quick recap of my 5 top survival rifle choices:

My Vote For All Around Best Survival Rifle

So if I could only take one, what do I consider the best all-around survival rifle?

I’m going to go out on a limb here and not choose a .22 LR rifle. I do think there may be a better choice – or at least a marginally better choice.

Do you want range? Reliability? Lethality? Readily available ammo? Do you want one best survival rifle that can do it all?

Well, that weapon does not exist – HOWEVER – I do have a good candidate:

This little jewel is a compact carbine, packs a 5.56 mm punch, is semi-automatic, reliable, durable, and optics ready.  If I could only take one rifle with me—and a few hundred rounds of ammo – it would be this one.

Runner Up Best Survival Rifles

So how about some runner’s up? Here are some other best survival rifles to consider:

That puts me at this article’s goal of the 10 Best Survival Rifles.

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The FACTS and FIGURES You Need To Defend Your 2nd Amendment RIGHTS. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

“Just In Case” Jack


  1. Arthur Raynolds says

    A couple comments. First, this rectangle along the left edge for the social medias options is at the least annoying and withholds a full viewing of videos, and hides the first of several letters of words along the left column. I am using a laptop. The desktop is in the shop getting a new case to filter the air.
    Second item refering the survival rifles, you mention the 10/22 Ruger rifle. What is you opinion ion the new charger pistol model? I have one with a green laser for short range of around 25 yards or so. Perhaps more when I tighten in the laser beam. I’m pleased to learn I loaded my 20ga Mossberg logicly with both shot & slugs..
    Thank you for providing this information.

    • Just In Case Jack says

      Thanks for letting me know about our Social Share buttons blocking content. I’ve made a couple of adjustments to our site code and I tested in on the devices/browser’s I have available. I hoping the problem has been fixed. I’d love you know if it fixed the problem for you as well??

      I think the Ruger Charger looks like a really cool little survival pistol/rifle. It fills the gap nicely between pistol and rifle and with a laser ought to be pretty accurate. Like most things Ruger—it also looks to be high quality.
      Great little weapon for hunting or self-defense and one you can stick in a backpack or strap across your back with ease.
      For a survival, prepper gun I think I’d go with this over the 10/22 takedown.


      • Joe says

        My only comment is to ditch the AK-47 as it’s redundant given the AR-15 that’s already on the list. You say the AK is for close in (200 yds or less) but the AR shines from close in up to 400 yds so there’s no need to have an AK. For close in and under 100 yds you say you “need something both accurate and reliable” but the AR is more accurate than the AK and I have never had a malfunction in my AR so again the AK is not needed. You also say the AK is lethal but so is the AR. Hit anyone anywhere with an AR round and most anybody I know is out of the action. I have seen the AK placed on other peoples SHTF list but the AR is more versatile.

        • Rob says

          I have both AR, and AK, with several thousand rounds each, my AK is tough and in many situations a tougher weapon is helpful, if you drop it in muddy water it’s still going to eat! I have a 30/06 Winchester model 70 with a good scope a colt 22 and a 12 gauge semi auto beretta and my S&W 9mm with 16 rounds so I may get killed but not without a fight!

    • Steve says

      My 5 choices are:

      Ruger 10/22 breakdown with threaded barrel suppressed.

      Remington 870 12 Gauge with slug barrel and PDX Defender’s.

      AR-15 any reputable brand.

      AK-47 any reputable brand.

      Ruger Scout .308

      Runner Up: I agree with the Mini-14 5.56

    • Bill Randall says

      a shotgun, with just a bead sight, is pretty worthless vs a rifleman using cover at a mere 40m. nobody practices enough to be any good with $1 a shot slugs, so realistically, the shotgun is limited to buckshot range, which aint waf. A Silenced M4, with scope, in a see thru mount, with luminmoust iron sights, and a Ciener .22lr unit, that’s what you want. It’s the most versatile one gun and you can only carry one longarm.

    • Flatheadfletch says

      Sorry to disagree but my survival rifle would be a savage over n under combo in 223 n 12 gauge . If I could have what I wanted. It would be 17 HMR over 20 gauge !!!

  2. says

    I enjoy, cause I discovered exactly what I used to be having a look for. You’ve ended my four day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

  3. Justin says

    Desert Tech MARc suppressed shooting 300blk… with a few interchangeable barrels for other round-types picked up along the way or for specific target types. ..a grenade launcher and/or shotgun attachment for the more stubborn targets.

    It’s not the gun that kills but the bullet. .22LR Barnes Varmint Grenades.
    Light. Powerful. Accurate. Extremely deadly.

  4. says

    Very good article. My one comment though is that I would collapse the perimeter defense and HD within 200 yds into one category and one weapon. For these you recommend the AR15 and AK47 respectively but both weapons are similar enough that the AR15 (which more people are probably going to have) does both functions well. A scoped AR15 is great from very close yardage out to several hundred yards so I would therefore combine these two categories into one and therefore recommend the AR15 for this one category. But look on the bright side: it now allows you another pick to round out the top 10 list.

    • Bill Randall says

      there’s no need of anything more than the silenced, shorty AR, the Ciener .22lr conversion unit, 60 gr Nosler Partition softpoint 223’s and 60 gr Aquila subsonic .22’s. You can brain moose and elk to 100m with it, snipe efficetively to 1/4 mile and if you hold the bolt shut, the 22 is BB gun quiet. Noise will get you killed, and it scaares off game. Crap happens at night, too. the silencer gets rid of the muzzleflash and if you aint got luminous sights, your rile is worthless half of the time.

  5. Patrick P. says

    Best versatile weapon I own.
    Mind you I took mine on active duty in Afghanistan on a dumb dare. ONLY after I proved reliability to myself to bet my life on it or not. Means 1,000 round drills.. Sadly my assigned AR actually had more failure to extract, stovepiping, FTF…
    Despite my butt getting into Major Major Trouble…
    I Took a Hi-Point 45 acp carbine on active combat duty in Afghanistan.
    Don’t go diva on me. I was able to trade “stuff” to acquire a mil issue reflex scope and midrange scope with VERY expensive quick change.
    It performed AWESOME at takedowns, sniper at 350 yards or less. one round seemed to always knockdown n end that person’s fight.
    Breaching was fun shooting from the hip was easy.

  6. Antique Jarhead says

    Good for Glenn! you might own 15 firearms, but you can only handle two or so at a time. I’d choose a .357/.38 lever action, mainly because of the versatility and because I’m too old and beat up to handle a .30/.30, and if I’m gonna die by some bad guy’s gun, well, it is what it is…

    • paddy says

      good choice, also your side arm can match this caliber, always a good solution to a big problem, ammo mix up…

  7. voice of reason says

    best all around survival rifle would be a Remington or Winchester semiauto 1950-60’s vintage, with the optional aftermarket 10 shot clip. it is basically an assault rifle with a more powerful cartridge, a modern Garand. it can be scoped easily and is very accurate. also it’s very light. model 740/742 for Remington, forgot the Winchester model number. very overlooked and currently dirt cheap under $400 quite commonly.

    • Guns and Butter says

      I’d have to disagree with the piston. Although your action will be cleaner, it’s just another failure point. Direct gas impingement is how the rifle was designed to operate.

  8. Carlos Figueiredo says

    This might surprise everyone,
    While serving in Africa, I had with me a 0.308 Winchester 88, For ammunition it used 180 and 200 grain bullets, depending on the game.
    That rifle was light enough to allow for a quick swing/aim with great accuracy and power. Indeed, it brought down every food game available, including water buffalo.
    In all it proved to be 100% reliable and accurate under all weather and terrain conditions.
    I would like to get another, but Winchester stopped manufacturing them and those in the used market are just too expensive.

  9. Andrew says

    Lots of “issues” here.

    There isn’t much of any reason to choose a semi auto .22lr rifle for the purposes of small game hunting. A manual action, bolt or lever, is just fine. The Ruger 10-22 is one of the least accurate .22 rifles out there in stock form, and accuracy is a really big deal in a small game rifle as you have a small bullet on small targets with small vital areas. A Marlin Model 60 is a much better choice for a semi auto, however a more appropriate choice would be a bolt action such as a Savage.

    I’m going to assume from your comments on hunting deer that you have never actually been hunting. Even if you were to hit a deer in the upper leg and “blow his leg off”, if you hit a deer anywhere but a vital area, you will never see it again. Even if you took off running after you broke the shot, by the time you got to the 300yard place that you shot him, that deer would be in the next county by now. Sometimes deer will run 2-300 yards after taking a heart and double lung shot purely from the adrenaline dump. When you shoot they bolt 95%of the time.

    The area you live in also dictates the kind of large game hunting rifle that suits you and your area best. Out west or in the open plains, a bolt action shooting a high velocity round is best. But in wooded areas like the southeastern US, your longest shot will likely be inside of 100 yards, maybe stretching out to 200 on rare occasion. This scenario calls for a lever action(.30/30) or intermediate caliber rifle(AR15 or AK47), not only for efficiency but it needs to be short and light for ease of handling in the dense wooded areas.

    Your recommendation for an AK inside of 200 yards is short sighted or uninformed at best. The choice between an AR or AK inside of 200 is merely a personal decision and what platform you train around. It’s been proven that the 5.56 round is equal to or more lethal than the 7.62×39 for a given loading. Using properly assembled rifle with quality parts, the AR is no less reliable than an AK. Several torture tests have proven this under far worse conditions than would ever occur in the US. The AR is also vastly more ergonomic for most people and easier to run fast.

    Using cheap optics is doing nothing but setting yourself up for failure, they will fail at the most inoportune time and leave you with a rifle you can’t aim with until you remove the optic unless you co witnessed your iron sights.

    Magazines, clips are for Garands, magazines feed rifles. There is a difference.

    Your recommendation for a shotgun for home defense is also out of line. A pump action shotguns takes A LOT of training to run efficiently. They are an effective tool to have in the toolbox, but actually quite limited in their application. Spend some time shooting one and you will soon learn. CQB/home defense distances, your shot grouping with any type of shot will be the size of your fist or smaller. Depending on the load you choose, a 2 3/4″ 00 buck load is very similar to firing off 8-9 rounds of 9mm all at once in the size of a fist. It is still very easy to miss even at CQB distance with a shotgun. A slug really only grants you a bit more knockdown power and infinetely more penetration. Both 00 buck and slugs are a reckless and very poor choice if there are others in the home to be worried about over penetration with. Best choice is either a handgun (not what this article is about) or a 5.56 rifle firing 55gr expanding ammunition. Even 00buck will penetrate 4+ interior walls where as the 5.56 will tumble and fail to penetrate walls if you miss, yet if you hit your target, it dumps all its energy in the target for faster incapacitation. Not to mention semi auto for faster follow up shots.

    Shotguns do not in any way virtually guarantee a hit, no way. Far far from it.

    The US Army does not use the Mossberg 500. They issue the Mossberg 590, which is quite rarely used, and when it is, it’s one man in a team uses it for door breaching, it’s typically not used on living targets. The 590 is different from the 500 mostly on the quality of parts used.

    A shotgun will absolutely not blow off an appendage. Nothing short of a .50BMG will do that.

    Your one rifle choice of a Ruger Mini 14, is horrible. It is quite possibly the most inaccurate 5.56 rifle ever produced. At 100 yards it has groups larger than a shotgun at that range. Usually in the 10-12 inch range. That’s around 10x the size it should be.

    Best one rifle would be the AR15. It can do everything you could ask except long range large game hunting. 5.56 handles home defense and battle uses. .22lr conversion for small game. .300blk for suppressed or large game at intermediate ranges. 6.8 is also useful on large game out to 300 yards or so. .458socom or .50beowulf are heavy hitters inside 150yards. 6.5 Grendel will reach out to 1000yards with proper skill level for up to 200lb animal/person.

    • Hoesa says

      You said “…….the 5.56 will tumble and fail to penetrate walls if you miss,….”. Don’t think so……… A projectile traveling at about Mach 2 doesn’t “fail to penetrate”, especially if it’s drywall.

      • says

        Actually it does fail to penetrate which is why LE has given up on the 9mm submachine gun for entry teams….less over-penetration and litigation. It’s not about the bullet’s speed, it’s about the ballistic coefficient, design and weight.

        • Joe says

          Ignorant response. A 223 or 5.56 projectile travels at ballpark Mach 3-3.5 and weigh 55-77 grains. It WILL go through several layers of drywall.

        • Joe says

          Let’s get this straight. You’re saying a 5.56 and or 224 traveling at upwards of 4000 fps will not penetrate several layers of drywall? Is that correct?

    • james says

      wow….you’re a special one….the AK is a lot more reliable than the ar15. less moving parts means, longer life and less issues.

      • Joe says

        Why own two guns when the AR is the better overall one capable of much longer take down distance and just as good at close in???

    • Rick says

      There’s always one isn’t there?! “Lots of issues here” is right.

      every deer will bolt to the next county, never see it again blah, blah, blah… looks like you don’t hunt much either. how does anyone ever come home with a deer, especially bow hunters…

      the 10/22 is quite accurate for small game, that has been proven over the last 40 years and it’s reliability speaks for itself.

      mini-14s are plenty accurate (and extremely reliable) your ignorance is astounding. most minis and all of the newer production, in the last 15 years will give you 1″ – 2″ moa at 100 yards. 3 moa is acceptable battle accuracy

      223/5.56 rounds will most definitely over penetrate (as will buck and slugs). there is this thing called the internet, lots of useful, educational, factual videos on it. you should check it out sometime.

      pump shotguns are not difficult to run and are extremely versatile. if one prefers/needs they can use 20 ga instead of 12 for lighter recoil and faster follow up shots.
      there is very little difference between the 500 and the 590 – we’re not going off to war – you could also try a remington 870

      personally i prefer a 45 carbine for home defense.

      internet commandos will likely be the first to die in a shtf event and probably by “friendly” fire

    • Bill Randall says

      you’re quite ignorant. Nothing about shtf is going to be peaceful. Millions of people will be perfectly willing to shoot you on sight and it only takes ONE

  10. says

    PUMA lever action .357/.38
    Taurus 9-shot revolver rifle in .22lr/.22wmr
    Savage lever action .22wmr
    Marlin Glenfield Model 60 .22lr semi-automatic
    Hi-point 9mm carbine

    I can shoot little critters, big critters (such as deer or pig) and of course those pesky 2 legged critters.

  11. samuel lewis says

    Ar-15 is best all around option in my opinion. Throw is a cmmg to .22 conversion kit and now you have a gun that shoots 5.56 .223 and .22 with a sombre bcg change that takes less than 30 seconds. You then have a defence rifle a big game rifle and a small game rifle. And since the .22 can be easily silenced with something as simple as a plastic bottle you won’t be giving away your position.

  12. Robert says

    Good article. I have the Mossberg 500, the 10/22, and a Henry Big Boy .357 lever action, which covers ALL the bases here in this article… All dialed in, oiled up, and thoroughly practiced up on! But I am about to get the Ruger AR 556, JUST to make sure I am covered, all around.

  13. James says

    I use both ak and are also fnfal 308 histandard bullpu every other round altered n moss burg 500 same way ruger 1022 for quite hunting

  14. Sky Soldier says

    My alternative and better than the Ruger 10/22 is the Browning SA .22LR takedown. And for distance and knockdown power my choice is a Seekins Performance .308 with Vortex scope. Of course close quarters remains Mossberg 500 chambered with a mix of shot shells: 00, slug and rabbit shot. Never far from my grasp are: Walther P99QA .40 cal SA and Ruger GP100 .357 magnum hand guns.

  15. L.A.West says

    Gonna wait a while before I make any moves. Let’s see if TRUMP holds true to his words. He said he would make sure the 2nd Amendment was reinforced so that no politician or party could overrule or put restrictions on it – forever. I also read he wants to loosen up CCW permits so that anyone who passes the background check would be able carry open or concealed anywhere. Time will tell – and we’ll see which rat bastard politicians try to stop him. They may stay quiet until after the Elections for the House. Right now, American’s are pissed off, and won’t take any more bull-crap from Washington D.C, the Leftist’s, or the UN about their gun rights. Had Clinton stole the Election – it would be chaos right now in the gun stores!!!

  16. Knuckledragger says

    This wasn’t approached from a practical logistic stand point. By far, the most predominant rifle in the U.S. is the AR series in a lot of different configurations but the most prevalent caliber is 5.56mm with .223 Remington coming in a close second. No, I am not dismissing the .22LR. With a standard AR-15 lower and a couple of choice uppers, you can use the same magazines and rifle to fire 5.56mm and .300BLK. As another poster pointed out, with a .22LR conversion kit and a couple of .22LR magazines adapted for use in an AR lower, you solve the issue of carrying an additional rifle. If you decide to go the AR route, then make sure you pick up a rifle with a barrel chambered for 5.56mm as it can fire both .223 Rem and 5.56mm without issue, the same can not be said for the reverse.

    A .22LR in a survival situation is failure waiting to happen and only because of the ammo. As a person moves around, sometimes in rough conditions and with changes in the weather, the bullet in a .22LR cartridge will become loose and allow moisture to seep in to the casing, neutralizing the powder and ignition charge. The bullet is also lead, which can corrode over time, also leading to issues with firing. Ideally you would want to store the ammo until needed but in a SHTF situation, the first rule of survival is to be mobile, often in a moments notice.

    The AK-47 is fine for combat but it has its issues, the most glaring is that with all the different countries making them, the specs are across the board. This includes American manufacturers of the rifle, there is no definitive standard for parts and ammo. If I recall, the Soviet rifle bores were at .308 while the Chinese bored theirs at .311. Pin placement and part dimensions also vary. 7.62x39mm isn’t exactly easy to find here in the U.S. either and not all AK magazines will work in any given AK type weapon.

    I love the 1911 and the .45ACP but for practicality, my SHTF sidearm is the Glock 17 in 9mm. You can go anywhere in the world and find a part for the G17 and install it yourself without fitting. To show off this neat feature when the Glock was becoming popular, the manufacturer had a press day and completely disassembled 100 Glocks, down to the pins and rails, mixed it all up in a bag, reassembled them with what came out the bad and all of them fired with no issue. My 1911 will require fitting of parts for tools I may not have the room to carry. Also, the 9mm is the most popular handgun round in the U.S., so that’s a no brainer.

    This is pretty much the case for the AR-15 Mil Spec. Most every part will fit in to another rifle if it is mil-spec. Mil-Spec isn’t some Holy Grail, it just means that the parts and rifle fall with in a given set of tolerances to satisfactorily operate. The AR will work as a good, decent CQB weapon without shattering your ear drums (AK series) and is good for perimeter defense out to 500 meters if you know what you’re doing. Go with the Direct Impingement model over the piston, there is no real advantage of the piston over DI and the DI is more readily available. Gas piston manufacturers have their own standard to the piston setup.

    As far as the vet poster who claimed to have a Hi Point carbine in the ‘stan, my question is, why aren’t you and your Chain of Command in jail? Only a handful of units were allowed to carry their personal weapons and I know people in those units personally. The only reason they would carry a Hi Point was to use it to prop open a door.

    Just my two cents from 20+ years of observations and training.

    • Poprlj says

      Not disagreeing but for shotguns the 97 , was /is with out peer at bad breath range ,also prefer the 1911 in 45 ACP,,Semper Fi

  17. enzo says

    Good article, and I am REALLY surprised to have all of these bases covered and not a long gun extra, with the exception of my Remington 12ga.1100 magnum. Might just get a barrel and a tactical stock instead of getting the mossberg 500?

    Small game: Ruger 10/22, check! Laminated stock, burris 2-7x wide field scope. Check

    Big game: Sako .Hunter .270. Leupold Gold Ring scope. Got it years ago. Looked at the Remi 700, but the guys whose hunting prowess I respected suggested the Sako. Checkaroo

    Perimeter defense:: Ruger Mini-14 paratroop with Burris 5×36 prism scope and reflex piggyback. Tac light and laser. Check on the Perimeter, Check on the Best Overall.

    Inside 200 yards: Oh yes. Spikes Tactical 300 BLK SBR with LRS (long, extra quiet) suppressor. 4×32 ACOG and RMR piggyback. I live in heavy woods. I want super light, very quiet and drop it in the mud, hide in the lake, throw it in the truck toughness.

    For CQB, I am very proficient with my handguns. HK’s all, The VP9 has green laser, the USP 40 has tac and green laser. Several P7’s are great for conceal and most people don’t know how to use them if you lost them. The mini with paratroop stock gets SHORT for interior maneuvering.

    The Mrs. is very good with here PPK/S too. Not a high energy gun, but it should hold her inside safely.

    I thiink I’m set! WOULD kinda like that Mossberg though.. 🙂

  18. Duck of Death says

    Im surprised the Norinco SKS didnt get a mention. Its a very reliable rifle that doesnt require constant care. It spits out whatever you load it with. One can pick up 1000 rounds of cheap Tul ammo for a hair under or over 300 dollars. Yes. It will spit those out flawlessly as well. The hooded site is a nice feature as well. New shooters can do well with it. Its also available at a decent price, usually under 300 dollars. If youre on a budget and want a very reliable rifle, cheap effective ammo, decent range, then the Norinco SKS is the way to go. A thousand dollars should get you the rifle, a thousand rounds, two 30 round magazines, and a 75 round drum and bipod (for defensive fixed positions).
    Thats just my opinion, of course.
    With the pap pistol, now i only have to invest in 7.62 x 39 ammunition for my rifle and pistol. I will admit that the pap is a bit more particular about its ammo, but im hoping it just needs broken a bit more.

    • Sam says

      I am a fan of the SKS myself , I have owned 3 AK’s that the best I could do is about 4″ at 100 a mini that was very accurate until barrel got hot .
      At least 6 SKS’a – I always seem to go back the an sks even for deer hunting.

      The sks’a all would shoot less than 3 and the one I have now soots less than 2″ and I would shoot pop cans at 200 meters so I know I can stretch that a bit- I also like that I don’t have to worry about magazine loss or failure
      I”m set up to carry 4 guns- which is more weight than I like but as long as you can stay hidden and out of trouble doable– but 2 are Pistols so kinda moot point to the article here.
      I have an old savage 22/20ga pack gun as one- my sks – an xd9 with 2- 20 rounders and 3 15s plus my old 22/22mag H&R revolver- I have been hunting shooting and carrying for 45 years and carried pistols and shotguns for duty for over 25 years
      Non of these may be the best– but they work for me and all of them together cost less than $600 at the time they were bought..

  19. Andy Reynolds says

    In my mind, a good 38/357 lever action carbine would fill a few different rolls in a survival situation. Light loaded 38s will take small game, 158gr or 180gr 357 will take deer size game and two legged varmints. Perimeter defense from 100 yds to inside the perimeter, and is short enough for close quarter defense. Coupled with a good 308 bolt action and you’ve got everything covered.

  20. Patrick says

    I think most of this depends on what you have at hand and/or train with. Everyone has their preferences and opinions on whats best. I just wish someone can define “knockdown” power! I hate this term more than when I hear the media describe a near plane crash as a near miss.. What the fu$&! is a near miss? Whatever projectile that comes out of your weapon has to actually hit something vital or significant to even have your so called knockdown power. I hear so many macho, low self esteemed guys that have the biggest and badest socom this and this 50 cal twin turbo rocket blaster that… Damn, a freaking rock can have significant “knockdown” power if you hit the right spot. Take whatever you have and train with it and train again and again. And just always be prepared and have a backup plan or two…

  21. Superbomb says

    While I enjoy the intent of the article and conversation after, I have to disagree with much of what’s being said. First, I have to be that annoying guy who points out that realistically “the gun you have in your hand” is the best one for survival. That said, in a true survival scenario reliability and ammo that can be carried or shared are the main factors. For deterrence of lesser dedicated 2 and 4 legged predators the sound of any firearm can be effective and when properly asserted even a small round can kill a man or drop reasonably sized game. For those reasons alone the .22 caliber rifle or even long barreled pistol would suffice. And while I’d choose a ruger 10/22 for its quality, reliability and customization potential most made by savage, marlin, etc are close to as good. I find the added cost and potential negative aspects of accuracy and immediate readiness for the breakdown rifles of any kind to be make them unwanted for me. And while you can’t really reload 22s the fact you can carry 1000s of rounds easily makes it a hands down favorite. In a true EOTW scenario 22s could also be used for barter without hurting too much. Rounding out my list would be a Ruger SP101 .357 for close quarter / concealed. A quality revolver is more accurate and reliable than any auto and the 357 has plenty of power and most importantly can share 38 rounds as well. Also easier for ladies and kids to use. The SP101 is over built and heavy yet compact. A simple pump shotgun is a must but with a medium length barrel. Too long and it’s cumbersome but with a full stock makes a great club. You can still hunt with it. Too short and all its good for is making noise and covering the same territory as the revolver. And nothing ends a fight faster than the sound of racking a shell into the chamber. Last, if you really had to have an “assault” weapon there’s really 3 choices in my mind for the average person of average means. A tried and true surplus AK47 for its reliability and cheap ammo, perhaps an MP5 (I know it’s really a sub) because it fires the ever present and available 9mm round as most auto pistol owners have an abundance of and was proven highly effected by spec ops when used with silencers as lightweight and accurate, or….I guess….the AR15/M4. A word about the AR15: I know this has become the pride of most gun people who fancy themselves as “operators” but I carried a variation of this gun in the infantry and I hated the thing. With all the handles, mags, etc sticking out it catches on everything in the bush and it’s miserable trying to drop into the prone from a dead run. It’s accurate and easy but it’s NOT a single shot killing round at 5.56 it’s a maiming round that takes up nearly as much space and cost as one that does kill. Furthermore, they sell lower cost versions without a forward assist. Unless your at the range or planning a war inside a carpeted building that’s like driving a car with electrical issues. Even the tiniest grain of sand in the action and you have to bang on the assist to chamber the round. I’ve never understood the love for this weapon? I’d take a UMP or HK93 or SG556 over it any day of the week. Last but not least, while most would put it in the “tool” category I’d add the great need for a good fighting knife. It’s silent, deadly, nearly breakdown proof and can perform several other tasks including splitting kindling or taking down a small tree, making a spear or bow. That’s it, my 2 cents. Thanks and good day to everyone.

    • Bill Randall says

      you’re spreading lies. one grain of sand wont stop an AR and enough sand will stop even a bolt action. We pick the AR cause it’s the most versatile gun out there. If your survival rifle can’t fire the .22r and the GI rifle rd, you soon wont have any ammo for it. then its worth nothing.

  22. Dbl Tapr says

    Keep in mind if the SHTF for real. Ammo will be hard to acquire. Your weapons better run anything NATO as it is the most produced world wide. If you are truly concerned stay stock up. A minimum of 1000 rounds of each caliber needed. I suggest 9mm. 223/556, 308, and 12 gauge as these are easy to purchase in the USA. Most importantly due your research. If you are new to firearms get some instruction. Never forget to Practice, Practice. Practice.

  23. Steve says

    Thanks for the article and all of the replies. My wife and I had a. 40 cal and 9mm handguns already, and we just bought a Kel Tec KSG and AR15. Not a bad start overall for civilian rookies. I plan on using Aguila mini shells in the KSG, 00 Buck and slugs. With a capacity of 24+1, that is 13 rounds, flip a switch and 12 more before a reload. The AR is for longer range targets and has almost 0 recoil. The KSG I believe will work well interior and out to about 20 yards with 00 buck, longer with slugs. I just hope I can find ice for my shoulder when it’s her watch. We went to the range today. I am actually considering a Taurus Judge if my accuracy with the handguns doesn’t improve with practice, and it can fire both .45 cal bullets and 410 shotgun shells.

  24. Walt Stutler says

    I like the AR for my bugout weapon, plenty of parts 7 ammo out there and once you build them you know how to keep them running. But for my EDC bag I have a 17HMR little Badger with 4X scope. Tiny, ammo is light weight and that round is deadly with well placed shots! Please do not think this is just a varmint round.

  25. Joe says

    My choices

    1. Ruger 10/22
    2. Remington 12 Marine Magnum
    3.. Saiga 308 modified like Arsenal to handle different capacity magazines
    4. Winchester 70 extreme weather 308
    5. Glock 45cal high capacity
    6. Walters 9mm PPS M2- conceal carry
    7. Wheel gun S&W 7 shot 357
    8. Remington 870 for hunting combo barrels
    9. Saiga AK47 modified like Arsenal to handle different capacity magazines
    10. Wheel gun S&W – conceal carry

  26. Isaac says

    I have had the privilege of firing a few hundred different weapons. Both foreign and domestic. I won’t share what my job is. And though this topic is much like talking politics, you have to remember the point. Each person has their own focus, desire, and level of training. Some have thousands of hours and military budgets to fund their practice sessions, some have just a few dollars to their name, some people are stacked like Hull Kulgan (probably spelled wrong and don’t care), some are built like and may even be dainty teenagers.
    Here is what is important; very few firearms company’s make horrible weapons, most fire every time you pull the trigger. Size and fit is most important, if it’s not comfortable or your afraid of it, you likely won’t put the time In to become proficient. One of the people I trainedand and introduced to firearms was afraid of guns. Wouldn’t even touch em. So I started her with airport. She had so much fun that by our second outing she was firing my National Match M1A. (. 308). when she started looking for a carry pistol about month later, I helped her choose a Rugger 22lr revolver. Why? She wasn’t afraid to shoot it, she could afford it, and she liked it so much she took it to the range 3 times a week. She became very proficient. A few on target 22lr rounds are better than any single 45 off target. You can’t miss enough times to win a war right? I personally carry a Sig P228 9mm. Why, it’s a perfect fit and I can hit anything moving out to 60 yards (not an exaggeration). Though that is not my first choice that far out.
    The AR argument is a strong one and here is why; it’s lite, cheap, easy to use and modify, parts are available everywhere (even Walmart.lol), ammunition is abundant, and they’re easy to train on. For the SHTF scenario, this is the weapon that you will be able to find parts and ammo to keep yours going. In the U. S., 1 in 3 people have an AR varient, you will be able to get what you need even if stores are out.
    Personally, I don’t like the battery of arms.
    My go to is a Sig 556 {sorry, sig stole my heart) so the AR is not for me but that doesn’t make you wrong If you think it’s the best thing since sliced bread.
    POINT: If it fits, you can afford it, and you’ll spend time to become proficiant with it, it’s for you.
    Also, keep in mind that most people with information on this topic, have fires just a hand full of different firearms and are mostly going off of Internet study.
    Different round sizes are for different jobs, bit for the average civilian, you will likely only ever need 2 guns, and more than likely fire less than 200 rounds per year (on average). You will want a pistol for home defense and carry. And you will want a low caliber (likely 556/223) for home defense and ranged defense. Having one weapon that can accomplish multiple tasks, or a couple weapons that can accomplish many are your cheapest and most beneficial options. 9mm is easy to handle, has great penetration and stopping power, and less deflection through glass and other media that 45. This is why it is the first choice for FBI, HLS, and now the majority of Municipal Police departments around the nation. 223 is the most versatile round being that it is the cheaper variant to NATO 556. Yes, 223/556 does tumble, but that will never matter to (again) most civilians. 556 was originally designed and accepted by NATO as a “wounding round”. It was actually designed to be lite, cheap, and wound the enemy more that kill them. The idea was that a dead enemy takes out 1 enemy, but it takes 2 enemy to remove a wounded one, which occupies 3 enemy, thus making it easier to overwhelm enemy numbers to obtain an objective. Just so happens that any bullet placed in the correct area will kill an enemy. The 556 was actually so ineffective against armor that the 300 Blackout round was designed. Less range, bigger punch (kinda like 45acp to 9mm). Once again, most civilians will never see, notice, or hopefully ever need the difference in performance.
    Stay classy, have fun, and enjoy what you’ve got.

  27. Robert says

    Unless something major has changed with the Ruger mini 14 I would rather have a slingshot. First shot from a cold barrel deadly accurate. 3 or more shots in a couple of minutes on a rest with scope could not hold on target. Neither could anyone else that tried rapid fire. Sold mine

  28. Lhstr says

    Browing tear down .22, 5.56 mini and a/r 5.56 glock 26 and 17. water jug and haul ass. Of course the misses has the mini.

  29. Greg Adkins says

    Obviously the big question is what do we classify as SHTF,to me it’s an EMP.No WROL.So(in my opinion)Hunkering down is most important,so it’s 12-gauge first,handgun,second.then a semi auto rifle of military caliber.I’m in an urban area,so a hunting rifle,even a 22 Will not be needed(shotgun)will suffice for small game if needed.If forced to flee(obviously)shotgun will be left behind.

  30. NVR says

    Read all the comments and now my 2 cents.

    I have my favorites in order of distance of shot:

    1.Tikka .308 with Burris scope
    2. Sig AR15 (NATO) with ACOG
    3. Mossberg 500 12ga Tactical with red dot/light forward grip.
    4. Springfield XDm 9mm.

    My only other comment is to these men who constantly speak about giving their wife or girlfriend some small hand gun because of recoil or blah blah blah.

    I taught my daughter ,at 12 years old, to shoot with the same firearms that I use. She is now 15 years old and handles all weapons like a pro. If survival is at stake my little girl is capable of using any firearm to take out the threat to herself , the family or friends with any caliber.
    I don’t want her facing a big threat with a little gun …that’s just stupid.

    The only difference we have in firearms is
    her favorite hand gun is her CZ SP-01 9mm.

  31. lhstr says

    1.) .22lr 10/22, 2.) Break bbl .22 air gun w/extr. pts.(very quite, 3.) 9mm Glock, millions made. With Trunk gun Kel-Tec S2000 using Glock 9mm mags; 4.).223/5.56 AR/15, 5.) Mossberg.223 and .308 Scoped They use military mags; 8)12 ga. flex w/2 barrels.(hunt and defense) The reason for air rifle it hunts quietly, in a pinch can hunt man, but really ammo forever no primers, bullets or gunpowder req’d. All weapons fit together mags; interchange plus military and civil. Just sayiing

  32. Earl Hammer says

    I read a bunch of these replies and I have an interesting gun to offer up. A few months ago I was looking for the ultimate bugout rifle. I wanted one in .223/5.56 that takes AR-15 mags, is light, and pack-able. I also wanted something that was reliable and at least pretty accurate… So what did I find??? Don’t laugh or roll your eyes, but I found a Keltec SU16c! I found it on the TNP (The Nothing Fancy Project) Youtube channel. They did three, yes three reviews on this gun and the final analysis was if somebody was breaching his property an SU16c might very well be used to confront that breach. The SU16c is piston driven and only weighs 4.7 lbs. unloaded. Watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlxph5UvtBQ&t=139s
    The other guns I employ are a Walther 40 S&W, an Ar-15, Bolt action .243, and a Ruger 10/22. I have an AK and a lever action 22 Mag as back up. Yes, I know I need a shotgun, that is on the list next!

  33. Darkman says

    As far as which guns to own that is a personal choice. The most important thing to keep in mind is ammo and it’s availability. Stick with standard easy to come by calibers. 9mm,223/556,308 and all the 22 you can store. Remember these are all NATO rounds with the exception of the 22. When it comes to shotgun ammo I use 20 gauge in a Remington 870 both shot and slug. I only recommend the 20 gauge because it works well with a lighter recoil for my wife.

  34. Dave says

    Like every subject everyone is an expert. The best survival weapon is whatever YOU own and are most proficient with. Most of us own multiple guns so weight,ammo availability,and overall purpose has to be considered. Besides most of us probably won’t be bugging out alone so you also have to plan with YOUR teams who is carrying what firearm for what purpose.

  35. MTguy says

    I’m surprised the SKS didn’t make the list but the AK did. I’m my opinion the SKS is very robust like the AK (given you find the correct model), has identical if not better accuracy because it was designed as a semi auto, is cheaper and can regularly be found for around $350, shares the same cheap and easy to find 7.62, and it has the added benefit of not requiring bulky magazines so you can carry more ammo with you on stripper clips.

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