Top 10 SHTF Firearms

Claude Nelson
By Claude Nelson September 30, 2016 12:50

Top 10 SHTF Firearms

When the world ends one of your primary concerns should be self-defense. While most people are good people, the outer layer of monsters will quickly swarm these good people. You may be forced to defend your home, your family, and yourself from these jerks. Being well armed with a modern firearm is the only realistic way to do so. I’ve come up with a list, broken down into categories of the top ten SHTF firearms.

Category 1 – My State Has Restrictive Firearm Laws

#1 S&W 686/586 357 Magnum

sw-686-586-357-magnumI’ve never known a state to ban a revolver. The 686 is a classic S&W 357 magnum revolver that has an excellent reputation for quality. The 686+ can even hold 7 rounds of powerful 357. The weapon can also fire the cheaper and easier to find 38 special. The S&W 686 has tons of holster options available for it, as well as speed loaders, speed strips, and grip options. The S&W 686 and 586 are the same weapon but the 686 is stainless and the 586 is blued.

#2 Rossi M92

rossi-m92Again if you live in a ban state it can be legally difficult to acquire a modern defensive rifle like an AR 15 or AK variant. The Rossi M92 is a lever action rifle. The benefits of a lever action is the manual action, which makes it more reliable. The disadvantage is a limited range, however, up close this thing can take medium game and be a good defensive weapon. The advantage of the Rossi M92 is that it is chambered in many rounds including the 357 magnum. It can also safely fire 38 special. This means if you already carrying an S&W 686 your ammunition can work in both weapons. Other chamberings include 44 Magnum and 45 Colt. These are common revolver cartridges.

#3 Mossberg 500 12 Gauge Shotgun

mossberg-500-12-gauge-shotgunThis is an excellent shotgun to have regardless of state laws. The pump action Mossberg 500 is an overall excellent shotgun. The Mossberg 500 in 12 gauge is one of the few weapon capable of taking game from squirrel to elk. The gun can handle birdshot, buckshot, slugs and even other calibers with particular adapters. The Mossberg 500 can even be converted into a muzzle loading black powder weapon with the correct barrel. This is a very modular weapon that is legal in the most restrictive states. With that being said even in free states this weapon is an excellent one to have.

Category 2 – Free State Loadout with Logistics in Mind

#4 AR-15

The AR 15 ar15isn’t my favorite rifle, there is nothing wrong with it, but I prefer something a little different. With that in mind, the AR 15 is my go to SHTF rifle. Why? First and foremost it’s a well designed reliable rifle, lightweight, easy shooting, and affordable. It’s also the rifle of the United States military and almost every police force in the country. This means parts are cheap, available, and easy to find. The same goes for magazines, ammunition, and other accessories. You can build an AR style rifle to suit your exact needs, and you can do it cheaper and easier than any other rifle on the market.

#5 Glock 19

glock-19Again not one of my personal favorite handguns, but my chosen for SHTF. Glocks are reliable, accurate, easy to find, affordable, and butt ugly. They work, though, and they work very well. Spare parts, magazines, and ammunition are widely available for them. I chose the model 19 because it can be easily concealed, but is easy to fire as a full sized handgun. The model 19 can also accept Glock 17 magazines, as well as 33 round magazines for that little extra. The Glock model 19 is easy to shoot as well and chambered for the extremely common 9mm round.

#6 Kel Tec Sub 2000

kel-tec-sub-2000The Kel Tec Sub 200 is a pistol caliber rifle that is available in two generations. There are multiple models designed to house and use different magazines from Glock, Beretta, S&W, and much more. The idea is you match your Sub 2000 to your chosen handgun platform. This works as a modern and free state solution just like the Rossi and S&W 686 work for banned states. I have a preference for the Glock model due to it’s affordable and widely available magazines. This rifle lacks the range of a traditional rifle but is also concealable. The rifle can fold in half and easily fit into a backpack or messenger bag for a lot of concealed firepower.

Category 3 – The Pragmatic Choices

#7 Ruger 10/22

ruger-10-22A 22 LR rifle of some kind should make its way into your kit. I suggest the 10/22 for its widely available parts and magazines. You can customize a 10/22 to your heart’s content. The 10/22 is a modest self-loading 22 that feeds from a rotary magazine. The weapon is accurate, lightweight and easy to shoot. There are takedown models of the gun available that split into two pieces for easy carry. The 10/22 is an excellent utility weapon that is capable of hunting small game and dispatching pests. A brick of 500 rounds can fit into a cargo pocket, and in a pinch, it can be used for self-defense. Its main role is utility, though.

#8 H&R Topper Shotgun

jhvhIf you want to have a shotgun, but minimize the weight the Topper series is an excellent option. These little shotguns are single barreled, and hold and fire one round at a time. They are quite cheap, with used models often under 100 bucks. It’s far from the perfect defensive weapon, but it is an excellent hunting and pest removal weapon. It’s capable of hunting bird and squirrel and instantly becoming a deer and hog gun by just changing the ammunition type. The Topper shotgun is very light and easy to strap to a pack.

#9 Mossberg MVP

mossberg-mvpA bolt gun is an excellent staple in some SHTF armories. Bolt action rifles like the MVP are extremely accurate and capable of being quite light. I chose the MVP because it’s a well-made rifle, with a wide variety of different options available. The weapon is available in both 308 and 223. The weapon is also modular, and Mossberg has a wide variety of different options for it. The biggest draw is that it can accept common and affordable AR 15 magazines or AR 10 magazines.

Category 4 – The Ammo Scavenger

#10 Thompson Encore Rifle

thompson-encoreThompson Encore series are probably the most modular weapons in existence. They are simple single shot rifles but are capable of taking a wide variety of different barrels and calibers. Starting with just the receiver and frame the user can custom order barrels to change the caliber in just a few minutes. This allows the user to gather a collection of barrels for common calibers and switch out when necessary.

Now it’s your turn! What do you think are the best prepper guns to own?

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Claude Nelson
By Claude Nelson September 30, 2016 12:50
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22 Comments

  1. AK Johnny 1 October 1, 14:32

    For MY money? The AK-47. They will last a lot longer under conditions of abuse and privation.
    Nothing against the AR, but my gut is telling me that in a protracted scenario, that rifle is going to fail a lot of people.
    As far as ammo, the key is to stock up on LOTS of it. It’s cheaper to buy than 5.56 NATO/.223 as well.
    To those that would argue that they can hit targets out to 450 yards with an AR, understand…. by the time the bullet gets to the intended target, it’d be like throwing a tic tac at a freight train. Same with the AK…
    These are BOTH medium grade, closer-in battle rifles. For my money, anything north of 150 yards/meters, you need a different rifle.
    But for 0- 150, i’ll take a dependable AK any day. Fewer parts which are bigger AND made more heavy duty, Easy to train novices on, like inexperienced neighbors, more than enough accuracy if you sight it in correctly, and they will last for YEARS under the shittiest conditions.
    For a potentially long drawn out scenario, reliability and dependability become EVERYTHING.

    Reply to this comment
    • JAFC October 2, 02:51

      War (and we’re talking battlefield conditions now) is a very rough undertaking involving a lot of dirt, sweat, and abusement to yourself and your equipment rough surroundings..

      The AR system is easy enough to maintain and service. I’d recommend an upper/magazines in 7.62×39 instead of 5.56×45. The AR is inherently more accurate platform than the AK at just about any distance.

      I’d also recommend a solid buttstock (so-called A2 style). Reason- in close quarters the rifle may have to be used as a club. Lightweight configurations bend like soda straws.

      M1As are an excellent (if slightly heavy) battle rifle. They will reach out a long distance but shoot as quickly as anything else.

      Sights- all rifles. Avoid optical (telescopic) glass. Drop (or use as a club) a scoped rifle on anything harder than a pillow and it becomes useless. Target acquisition is quicker with iron sights anyway. Real men (and women) learn to shoot with iron sights.

      Pistols – your Last Chance battle back-up weapon. These MUST be carried loaded with a round in the chamber. With an external hammer – and that hammer DOWN on an inertial firing pin. Mechanical safeties are nice, but they can be jostled off, even in a holster. DO NOT accidently blow your toes off by rough-handling a pistol with an entirely internal hammer. It is embarrassing. People will laugh and make rude noises at you.

      Bolt actions – rapid and accurate fire applies, but these weapons have to be tough. Any variation of the actual Mauser or Lee-Enfield will keep you alive and failure to extract and/or eject is minimal to non-existent.

      Reply to this comment
    • Wing2003 November 11, 01:59

      If I had to grab ONE rifle and run out the door – it would be my AK. Feeds anything, simple to clean, good round in the 7.62×39 and is light and nearly indestructible. I love my bolt actions and semi autos but they are big, heavy and cumbersome. If I have to be on the move and need a magazine to hold more than 5 or 10 – the AK wins.

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  2. Lanman67 October 1, 17:02

    For the price of that Thompson Encore, you can get a decent double barrel 12 gauge and some adapters from MCA Sports. http://www.mcace.com/shotguninserts.htm

    Get the 9mm 10″ insert because 9mm can be found just about anywhere. Get the 18″ 45-70 to reach out and in a pinch use 45LC and 410 out of it. To round it out, add the 22lr insert in 10″ or 18″. 6 calibers in one gun.

    On a side note, don’t get the Chiappa X-Caliber survival shotgun. I’ve heard nothing but bad about it.

    Reply to this comment
  3. keithnh October 1, 17:53

    Semi-auto AK loses its appeal to me as the easy control of the lower power cartridge full auto in a light weight rifle advantages are lost. It is not really a battle rifle neither is the AR. The last US battle rifle was the 14, its semi auto version M1A is a superior military rifle chambered for a round lethal and controllable to 500yards +. Its longer and heavier, with a thick steel butt cover that make it a more formidable piece for hand to hand if that became necessary. That and a Colt 45 semi auto are my choices, both fire ammo the military still uses, are battle proven and are still available. I would choose an 870 pump 12gauge with rifled and shotgun barrels, a 586 wheel gun with six inch barrel in .357 and a Ruger MK4 semi auto .22 pistol for survival. Backed up with TC .50 cal Hawken.

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  4. mark October 1, 20:44

    I started buying extra guns every time there was an election with the possibility of the winner being a anti gun person. I bought them so my kids would have a weapon to defend themselves. now the kids have bigger arsenals than I but we may have to give guns to neighbors or those who finally realize they don’t want to be a slave but don’t have a gun.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Doc October 2, 02:56

    As the article states no one firearm will fit all the possible scenarios. What is important is that the shooter understands his/her firearm(s), it’s limitations through practice, keeps weapon clean and has plenty of ammo. Am fortunate to have several choices in most firearm categories and have stockpiled ammunition over a period of years. I practice(shoot) on a regular basis and have learned to cull out firearms that show any reliability issues I can not address. Have back up parts for the most vulnerable such as springs, fire controls and magazines. I favor large caliber pistols such as .357 magnum. 357 SIG, 44 magnum and 45acp over the 9mm luger although I own several 9mm lugers basically as backup. 5.56 or 7.62 NATO semi-auto AR rifles with 12-22″ barrels. Any pistol caliber I own I can also match with either a lever action
    or semi-auto rifle including up to 460 Roland or 454 Casull. Most would say I have way to many firearms just for self defense…..they are correct….however if it becomes necessary to barter I have a commodity that can be very valuable. My firearms, food, water, shelter, fuel, medicine, survival skills, medical training are designed to maximize our families ability to survive a severe central government or economic collapse or short term bridge caused by a natural disaster. Make a plan, collect the resources and tools for the plan…. if SHTF implement and follow the plan.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Dave October 2, 08:15

    The “best”? As always…the one you have with you…just be able to use it. There is no really “perfect” firearm…for a SHTF world…
    Pray, adapt, overcome, improvise…survive.

    Reply to this comment
  7. Panther05 October 2, 13:03

    The big question is “What’s the scenerio?” When the SHTF, most confrontation will be up close. As in someone is trying to assault wherever you have chosen to set up. For most people, that means your home. Any kind of suburban or city situation means you need defensive capabilities of less than 50 feet. Seriously.
    It seems to me that anyone should prioritize based on the most likely scenerio encountered, and work out from there. Pistols like the 45 ACP. 12 gauge shotguns with OO buckshot. Those two (or similar) would ward off the most likely threat: home invasions.
    From there work out. Protecting your grounds. Even given a good field of fire, you’re still most likely less than 150 yards. Basically any reliable gun that throws lead downrange is going to work. ARs. AKs. .308s. M1As. The likelyhood of having to pick off a sniper at a distance is just about nil. But then again, once you acquire what you need, then buy a heavy barrel sniper rifle with a good scope (Leupold)…. just in case.

    Reply to this comment
  8. Lefty October 2, 13:59

    Your AR picture is a KelTec. You didn’t list the AK 47 as a goto SHTFS. Who the hell is writing this shit. Who is editing.

    Reply to this comment
  9. BUD October 23, 19:51

    Remington 870 with extended mag. tube, ammo cheap and plentiful! (will take down large game) Any pistol in 40s.w., damn near all law enforcement personnel carry this caliber! Any semi-auto in .223 with available large capacity mags.Think AR platforms.Always think military or police usage!! If SHTF, these will be the most easy to access!!!

    Reply to this comment
  10. PPKwhat November 2, 20:52

    Based on 40 years of hunting and shooting, my SHTF arsenal consists:
    1-Glock auto pistols (Models 21, 23, 34 & 35)
    2- Rugger 22 LR & 22 Mag Revolver 10″ barrel.
    3- Rugger 10/22 Rifle
    4- AR 15 .223 with aimpoint red dot
    5- Remington 700 with 5×20 scope in 7mm Rem. Mag.
    6- T/C Dimension 300 Win Mag with spare 7 mm Rem Mag barrel and 4×16 scope.
    7- Mossberg 930 auto 12 GA shotgun 8 shells
    Here is my reason for all this:
    A- I’m a Glock person – been shooting Glocks for 30 years and they never misfired or failed me.
    B-The long barrel revolver in 22 Mag, is excellent for rabbit and squirrel hunting to 50 yards (with some practice anyone can do it}
    C- Rugger 22 rifle is extremely accurate – can easily drop a rabbit at 100 yds
    D- Rem 700 with 5×20 scope – my favorite long range rifle (300 yds+ hunting).
    C- T/C Dimension 300 Win Mag – dropped an elk at 430 yds – gun packs a “punch” for long range shooting and is very accurate)
    D- Mossberg 930 shotgun: multi use (home defense, bird and deer hunting – deadly at short & mid range to 100 yds.
    I also reload my pistols and hunting rifles except for the 22’s
    Finally, I don’t expect all would agree with what I have as SHTF weapons – but the important is that I practice a lot with all of them and my recommendation is whatever weapon you have, practice, practice and practice with them short, medium and long range so you know how to respond in every situation. God Bless…..

    Reply to this comment
  11. Osito November 14, 23:47

    OK…you knew I, or somebody like me, would bring up the Colt Model 1911A1 and the clones. If you like rugged reliability, look no further. Parts availability? Please…you can buy several sets of everything you need to rebuild the gun and toss them into your kit. You might need a bushing wrench and a staking tool, but maintenance is plumb easy. Ammo is widely available, and reloading to your own needs is relatively simple. I must confess that I shot a Springfield Armory race-gun competitively, so I can shoot one quickly and accurately without trying. However, if you want to teach a woman to shoot a major power factor handgun, the 1911A1 is less “scary”, allowing the teaching of good gun handling skills. Admittedly, it is not a gun for small hands. Also, even though the gun is big and heavy, it is certainly easier to carry concealed that a S&W 686, for example. Sorry guys, but anything that is still going strong after more than a century must be a formidable gun to consider.

    Reply to this comment
  12. Beez May 29, 18:27

    I appreciate hearing from the folk who can afford to buy and keep myriads of this and that. However, having been on shoestring budgets for most of my life, I am stuck with what I have. Ruger 10-22 takedown with 25-round magazines, AK 47 with ten magazines, TriStar 12 gauge with extended tube, Mosin Nagant on Monte Carlo stock, Taurus Meridian G2 and Sccy 1. As I see it, these will do about everything I might be called upon to face. The most important weapon I have is the will to shoot whatever needs to be shot, be it food or aggressor. Knives? Of course. Tools? yes. Ammo? Could not start a war but I can survive on the food I can shoot for quite a while. Most of all, I have trust in a God who knows what where and how I face in life. My hope is that I never have to shoot anything other than what I need to eat. Wishing the same for you..

    Reply to this comment
  13. Ozzy June 10, 02:37

    An AK, 20 gauge MOSSBERG W/ 4 shot load … a CANIK TP9v2 18+1 AND a good ole MARLIN .22, a SWIMMING POOL WITH 6,000 GALLONS of EMERGENCY water, BUNKING IN is 96% BEST option for us.Heirloom seed top off basic food.

    Reply to this comment
  14. Sarge August 30, 02:44

    My choices:

    AR-15, in my case a S&W M&P 15 Sport II. It’s lightweight, reliable, accurate and you can stock up on spare parts to your hearts delight. They are field repairable, and legal to own even in Canada, though it’s a restricted weapon here.
    It uses the same magazines, ammo and most of the parts as the rifles used in the Canadian military, so it’s a no-brainer to pick this one. The M&P 15 has a nitride finish for rust resistance and is very affordable as AR-‘s go, and unlike many entry-level AR’s come with everything you need.

    My pistol is a Sig-Saur P320. It’s accurate, rugged and reliable, again with a nitride finish which I really like. You can also load the magazines without the aid of a magazine loading tool, which I think is really important and in my mind gives it a big advantage over Glocks.

    For a .22 rifle, I have a scoped Ruger 10/22, which again, is reliable and rugged, and is quick and easy to maintain. I’ve had mine for over 25 years and if I had to get one today, it would also have a polymer stock, probably a stainless barrel, and maybe even be a take-down.

    I don’t own a shotgun at this point, I would probably pick a Mossberg 50, preferably a 6-shot Mariner model for rust resistance with 18.5″ barrel f, with an extra barrel or two. for hunting. My thinking is that gun oil, like a lot of other things will be hard to come by in SHTF and the less you need to use, the better off you are.

    Reply to this comment
  15. steamyb September 6, 11:27

    The Glock 30SF is 1/8″ wider than the Glock 19 (all other dimensions are the same), but shoots 45ACP instead of 9mm. If you can stand the kick (I am 250 lbs.). IMHO, the 45 has been the weapon of choice for over 100 years, with the 9mm having a possible advantage of ammo availability. But, I am ready with the Glock 30SF & ammo. All of the long guns will be easily accessible, considering most SHTF scenarios. Good luck!

    Reply to this comment
  16. Steve September 22, 23:33

    Little different take on the AR-15,it’s not the AR,that’s bother’s me it’s more on the lines of the cartridge.5.56/223,as would also apply to the AK-74,5.45 round,as you can see(for me)I’m not a fan of small(bullet weight)rifle cartridges.I know I’ve probably gone overboar Especially(financially)but I always wanted an M1A1,Socom.Yes is expensive too,besides the weight.But that’s me.If not it would have been an AK-47 or SKS.,I have a 9mm,but not a Glock.Me personally,I’m not a fan is Stryker fire pistols.Also Mossberg 590,for more home perimeter defense.

    Reply to this comment
  17. Forearmed76 October 27, 04:24

    Ammo Scavenger Handgun option not thought of often, Ruger Blackhawk .357/9mm convertable, think of how many different calibers one of these can use…
    .357 magnum
    .38 special
    .38 long colt
    9mm parabellum
    9mm makarov
    9mm kurtz/.380

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