The Preppers Arsenal – Choosing The Best Survival Firearms For Your Needs Now and Post Collapse

gunsI live in a small town in the Midwest, not on the outskirts but smack dab in the middle. There are about 5,000 people in my town, not a large town by any stretch of the imagination, but big enough for my tastes. A preppers mindset has to make a bit of a shift when living in town, versus a more rural area. Namely, your garden is smaller, you can’t keep chickens and your ability to maintain a watchful perimeter is greatly diminished. These are all challenges that we need to adapt to, and as such your firearm choices need to adapt as well.

The premise of keeping firearms for more than just sporting purposes has been around ever since the first flintlocks were invented. So it makes sense that we should keep that tradition going. I have read many articles from people who have boldly proclaimed that a .50 caliber muzzleloader is all you need as it can be used to take small game, big game, waterfowl and defend your home. And while that’s true to a certain extent, a 30-50 second reload time between shots, combined with a 200-yard maximum range doesn’t appeal that much to me. As such, here are my musings on what I consider a prepper’s arsenal should look like, along with my personal choices for each category.

The categories are

  • Sporting
  • Defensive
  • Handguns
  • Backups
  • Trade


Survival gunsFor Sporting firearms, you should have a .22 for small game, a shotgun for waterfowl, and a long gun powerful enough to legally take the largest animal in your region. Here in northern Indiana, that means a shotgun loaded with slugs.

My choices:

  • .22 Mossberg 42M with 1950’s era 1.5x Weaver scope.
  • 20ga Remington 11-87
  • 20ga Mossberg 500 with a 3-9×50 Optic.

Since I am a sportsman at heart and participate in all deer seasons possible around here, I also have a .50 Hawken and a .50 CVA Kodiak inline. The reason for two muzzleloaders, with the right tools and some training, casting your own rounds for a Hawken rifle is not only fun but immensely rewarding.


Survival gunsThis is the category that tends to be the hardest to fill. Mainly due to the huge (and always growing) variety of options out there. Primarily it should consist of a shotgun for home defense, optional rifle for inside the home/under 100-yard engagements, a rifle for 50-300 yards and a rifle for 200-500 yards. The ranges on the last two are adjustable based on your location. Since I live in Indiana, there is not a whole lot of areas one can safely practice/shoot longer than 500 yards. If one lived in a place such as Utah or Wyoming, a rifle capable of reaching 800-1,000 yards may be necessary.

My choices:

  • 12ga Mossberg 500 for home defense16″ DPMS Oracle with a red dot sight for under
  • 16″ DPMS Oracle with a red dot sight for under 100-yard engagements.
  • 20″ Del-Ton AR15 with a 3-9×42 Optic for 50-300 yards..308 Mossberg ATR Night Train with a 4-16×50 Optic for 200-500 yards.
  • .308 Mossberg ATR Night Train with a 4-16×50 Optic for 200-500 yards.


Survival gunsA solid selection of handguns should consist of the following, one for Every Day Carry, one for home defense and one for practice. Optional, nightstand gun. Any choice you make for a nightstand gun should be extremely simple to operate, as you would be using it in a state of half awake/ half asleep.My choices,

My choices:

  • Kahr CM9 for EDC.
  • Kahr CM9 for EDC.Glock 19 for home defense.
  • Glock 19 for home defense..38 Spcl S&W 10 for practice.
  • .38 Spcl S&W 10 for practice.
  • S&W 5906 for a nightstand gun.


Survival gunsThese should be firearms to compliment/ replace what you’ll be using. Ideally, they will be ones that will escape notice if the government decides to push confiscation of “assault rifles”. No magazines over 10 rounds, and in calibers other than your primary firearms. That way if the government confiscates your ” assault rifles”, “high capacity handguns” and “military grade ammunition”, you will still be armed. You should also have a holster for your backup handgun.My choices,

My choices:

  • Mosin M91-30
  • Romanian SKS
  • 30-06 Sears 53
  • .45 ACP Tisas 1911A1

Survival gunsThe premise of firearms for trade is that you should develop zero sentimental attachment to them, they should be in generic calibers and be simple enough that anyone can use it. That way, if you have to/ want to trade for something in a situation where the economy has gone belly-up, you have a very useful commodity on hand and ready. The second reason for keeping firearms for trade on hand is that they can turn a neighbor/local friend from someone to be viewed as a liability, into an asset.

I have two different friends across town who do not prep beyond a 72-hour kit due to the chance of tornados. And as such, they do not/aren’t able to invest in acquiring firearms and training for themselves. I have taken them to the range and both are competent, if not familiar with guns. And in a crisis, my ability to hand them firearms to defend themselves and their homes creates two new allies.

My choices:

  • 12ga Stevens double barrel
  • 12ga Ithaca 37
  • .22 Marlin 81
  • 20ga H&R Pardner

There you go. That’s just my two cents worth of opinion. Any criticism is welcome, and appreciated. I am always ready to update and improve my defenses, mindset and safety.


One thought on “The Preppers Arsenal – Choosing The Best Survival Firearms For Your Needs Now and Post Collapse

  1. I suggest that your EDC and home defense be as similar as practical, so that practice with one will carry over somewhat to the other. For a “nightstand gun”, a revolver is the best choice – nothing simpler, plus it can sit there for years without concern of any springs taking a “set”.

    .223 rifles are very popular for defensive rifles, and many of the guns are very good. Unfortunately, the ammunition is of limited effectiveness for defensive uses, small game (unless you have a 22LR conversion) and large game. It is readily available, compact and pretty good for varmints and medium game. Great for training, practice and those who are not able to handle a more effective caliber due to stature, injury or disability. Having guns which shoot it is wise; having it as a primary defensive rifle is often not the best choice. .308 or 30-06 is much more effective, and even 7.62×39 is a bit better.

    But the U.S. Military uses it, so it must be good, right? Well, no. It was chosen by “bean counters” who liked its small size and weight (easier to ship and store, can carry more in the field) and light recoil (easier to train) and nifty gun to shoot it with. I’ve met Viet Nam vets who tell of hitting enemies multiple times (per puffs of dust, etc. from their clothing) yet they kept running.

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