Best guns for long term survival

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Preparing for a disaster is a personal journey involving many steps. Self defense is a very important survival topic we must consider. Choosing the best guns for survival requires several critical points to consider.

The purpose of this article is to give you some questions to ask yourself before purchasing guns for long term survival situations. It is up to you to decide which system works for you needs.

Survival depends on skills more than it depends on your gear. The right tools can make the challenges you will face easier to overcome. The best gear is useless if you don’t have the knowledge how to use it.

Bugging in vs Bugging out

The option of bugging in or being forced to bug out will play a considerable role in the decisions you make. You will need to carry your gun and ammunition in a bug out situation. The weight of your gun and ammunition is important to consider as part of your bug out kit.

A friend of mine who served in the Iraq war said his guys kept a three day supply of ammo and other necessities whenever they left the base. They kept an additional day in their hummer just in case.

The Gerber Strongarm fixed blade full tang knife. A good knife is an important part of your disaster survival kit.
The Gerber Strongarm fixed blade full tang knife. A good knife is an important part of your disaster survival kit.

The weight of the supplies were critical and some items were limited because of it. One long gun and possibly two handguns of the same caliber, as well as the ammo, would be all someone would be able to carry for very long.

Bugging in gives you the most flexibility in keeping a variety of guns and ammo and other supplies available. Unfortunately, as people grow more desperate, you may be forced to leave the security of your home.

People will become desperate the longer a disaster lasts. Natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina show how fact societal norms can break down. Desperate people will do desperate things to survive and you must be prepared to protect yourself and your family.

Types of guns for survival

The shotgun is the most commonly owned firearm in the country. A good shotgun gives you the ability to hunt and protect yourself. One problem with using a shotgun for self defense is the limited ammo capacity they have. The weight of the ammunition makes carrying large quantities of it another challenge.

A rifle gives you the ability to hit targets at greater distances. Bolt action hunting rifles have lower magazine capacity and a slower rate of fire than semiautomatic magazine fed rifles.

A drawback to rifles and shotguns is the size, weight and concealment difficulties. The total weight of the gun and the ammunition must also be considered if you will be traveling.

Handguns are smaller, lighter and easier to conceal. Some handgun models like the Glock 19 or Sig P320 hold a large amount of ammunition. These models and others are very popular concealed carry weapons.

Availability of repair parts for survival guns

The reliability of any gun is a critical consideration to make. Regularly shooting your guns will reveal their reliability and weaknesses. Failure of any weapon system can happen. Any gun you cannot get parts for will become useless in a long term survival situation.

Look to the popularity of any gun you are considering as part of your survival gear list. The more popular a gun is the easier it will be to get repair parts.

Availability of Ammunition

A gun is noting more than an expensive stick unless you have ammunition. The availability of ammo is a critical component in deciding the best guns for long term survival.

One of my favorite movies is The Book of Eli staring Denzel Washington. The movie is about a post apocalyptic world without the rule of law. The movie is one of my favorite survival movies because it shows the brutality that can happen.

The Supreme Court is hearing a case which may result in expanding gun rights for millions of citizens.
The Supreme Court is hearing a case which may result in expanding gun rights for millions of citizens.

One scene in the movie shows a group of people approaching Denzel even though he is clearly armed. An attacker asks him what he has in his pack. “He’s got a gun but it ain’t loaded… they never are.”

Several stores in the area I live in had very limited supplies of ammunition during some of the gun control debates several years ago. I have friends who own gun stores and none of them were able to keep certain calibers in stock. It was difficult for them to get certain types as well.

We live in a golden age of firearms and firearms calibers. The ballistic performance of today’s ammunition defies the imagination. Manufacturers introduce new calibers regularly that are designed to fill the performance gap in particular applications.

The best performing ammunition on the market is not necessarily the best choice for long term survival. You need to look on the most available ammunition calibers. You must consider ammunition availability and have a good supply of it for your survival guns.

The NATO calibers are the most produced calibers in the world. The most popular rounds are 5.56, 7.62×51, 7.62×39 and 9mm for handguns. I would include the 45 acp also due to the popularity of the 1911.

The flexibility of the 22 cal

The most common caliber of ammunition for both a handgun and a rifle is the 22. There are millions of 22 caliber rifles and pistols on the market. It is easy to carry large amounts of 22 ammo and the guns are very light.

The 22 can be used for hunting and self defense but is under powered to bring down large game. Another drawback of the 22 is lower levels of reliability compared to other calibers. The stopping power of a 22 is also not very strong for self defense.

My choice of long guns for survival is an AR 15

The popularity of the AR 15 cannot be questioned. There are millions of AR 15 rifles in circulation in this country. The popularity of these rifles has created an entire industry of aftermarket parts and accessories for them.

This AR 15 pistol build features an Anderson Lower and Palmetto State Armory 10.5 upper build kit.
This AR 15 pistol build features an Anderson Lower and Palmetto State Armory 10.5 upper build kit.

An AR 15 is configurable for different applications and is a flexible platform. Parts from most AR 15 will interchange with any other AR 15.

An AR 15 chambered in 5.56 NATO would be my first choice for a long gun in a survival situation. The light weight of the AR 15 makes it perfect for bugging out and the 5.56 is not as heavy as other calibers of ammo.

Popular handguns are some of the best guns for survival

The growth in popularity of concealed carry has led to an explosion of new lower cost handguns into the market. I’ve looked over several lists of the most popular handgun. It is impossible to determine which list is the most accurate. However, there are common threads in each of those lists.

Every one of the lists I considered included the Glock 19, the M&P, the Ruger LCP and the Sig Sauer P320. Sales trends of new guns vary across the lists but these models seem to be the most popular.

My first handgun choice is a Glock

The Glock 19 and Glock 30sf are very similar in size.
The Glock 19 and Glock 30sf are very similar in size.

My first choice for a handgun during a long term survival situation is the Glock. The Glock has a large aftermarket parts following making repair parts easier to find. Glock magazines can interchange between different models and give you large capacity.

The Glock 19 is light and easy to conceal and are very reliable. There are other guns which may be better to shoot and more accurate but Glock makes a reliable gun. Reliability is a very important consideration.

My second handgun choice is a 1911

Some of you may question my sanity after reading the heading above. Take a moment to read through my thought process on this decision before clicking away. Why would I consider having a 1911 in my survival list?

Rock Island 1911
The Rock Island 1911 comes in many different models.

The 1911 is copied by multiple handgun manufacturers. It could be considered the AR 15 of the handgun world. There is a large aftermarket of parts and accessories for the 1911 and many parts are interchangeable from one manufacturer to another.

Regular survival training can save your life

No piece of gear will be useful if you don’t know how to use it. Every part of your kit needs to have a purpose. You must know your equipment is reliable and useful.

Do you ever test your gear? Do you ever learn about wilderness survival? Without proper training you will become another statistic.