The Most Critical Firearms For Survivalists 

6 Most Critical Firearms For Survivalists 

What are the most important firearms that you would use in a true disaster scenario? If a natural disaster struck, the power grid went down, or if society collapsed and you were forced to rely on firearms as part of your strategy to ensure your defense and survival, what would be the most important guns you need? 

Long story short, the answer to this question comes down to three primary factors:

  1. Make sure your bases are covered
  2. Make sure you know how to use the firearms in question
  3. Make sure your firearms are of good quality 

It’s not so much about the make and model of guns you own as much as ensuring that the above three factors are met. 

Before we dive into the best guns for you to use as a survivalist, let’s flesh out these factors in greater detail.

The Three Factors

The Three Factors

Factor #1 – Making Sure Your Bases Are Covered

This is another way of saying that you need to think about situations where you anticipate using guns in a disaster scenario. You then need to ensure that your personal arsenal covers those situations.

While you may be able to think of more cases where you need to use a firearm in a disaster scenario, the following situations are likely to apply:

  • Home Defense
  • Self Defense
  • Big Game Hunting
  • Small Game Hunting 
  • General Target Practice (this is important to help keep your shooting skills up)

The firearms you decide will be your ‘end of the world’ guns need to ensure that the above needs, along with any other needs you can personally come up with, are met. 

Factor #2 – Making Sure You Know How To Use The Firearms in Question

This all comes down to one thing: training. 

Did you know that the average number of rounds that a new gun owner will fire out of a new handgun they purchase is only seven rounds? That’s because more gun owners than not will decide “I need to buy a gun so I can defend myself when times get tough”, take it to the range and fire a few rounds once, and then store it in their closet or a desk drawer back home and forget about it. 

This is a critical mistake to make, and it’s a mistake that many people will make when disaster strikes. You need to train with your firearms regularly to give yourself an advantage (at least once per month is ideal) and make sure you know how to do the following:

  • Shooting your gun accurately (this should be a given)
  • Knowing how to manipulate the safety (if applicable), decocker (if applicable), and the slide/pump/bolt/lever (depending on the type of firearm) 
  • Knowing how to draw from a holster and shoot (in the case of a handgun)
  • Knowing how to bring a rifle or a shotgun to your shoulder to fire quickly 
  • Reloading 
  • Clearing malfunctions
  • Field stripping the gun and putting it back together 

If you don’t know how to do each of the above proficiently, you have more training to do. 

Factor #3 – Making Sure Your Firearms Are of Good Quality

The easiest way to ensure this is to ensure that your firearms come from a reputable manufacturer. Space does not permit us to list out every relevant gun brand here, but do a bit of research and it won’t be difficult to figure out which makes and models of firearms have developed a good reputation. 

The Most Critical Firearms For Survivalists

The Most Critical Firearms For Survivalists

Now with the above factors in mind, here are the most critical firearms to use as a survivalist:


A handgun is arguably the most critical firearm you could have in a grid down disaster scenario. This is for one simple reason only: you can carry it concealed with you everywhere you go, which is a major advantage. 

The ideal handgun to have will be a mid-sized semi-automatic handgun with a generous magazine capacity (if you live somewhere where it’s legal, that is). The idea is that the handgun will be large enough to handle and shoot like a full-sized duty pistol, but also compact enough to carry concealed on your person. 

That’s also not to mention that a handgun is one of the best defensive tools you can have as well. You can wield it in tight conditions where you can’t a rifle or a shotgun, for instance, and you can also use it as a last ditch backup gun in the event your primary long gun fails.

In short, a handgun is important to have for a survival or disaster scenario because it’s an effective defensive tool that can conveniently go wherever you go. 

Handgun #2

Don’t have just one handgun in your disaster arsenal, but at least two. This is for another simple reason: there is likely to be another person in your group who will need to carry a handgun as well for the same reasons that you do. 

.22 Rifle (and Pistol)

Small but mighty, the omnipresent and yet commonly underestimated .22 rifle could end up being the firearm you use the most in a disaster scenario. 

There are many reasons for this. .22 ammunition is very small and light, and it can be bought in bulk packs of literally thousands of rounds for very cheap. As a result, you’ll likely be able to stockpile more .22 cartridges than any other caliber. 

Furthermore, .22 is a very versatile caliber that more often than not doesn’t get the credit it deserves. A .22 is the perfect caliber to use for small game hunting and pest control, and due to the large quantities of ammunition that you can store for it, you should be able to practice and train with it more than your other guns to help keep your shooting skills up. 

12 Gauge Shotgun (or 20 Gauge)

Shotguns are immensely practical in general due to their ammunition. Birdshot loads can be used for bird and small game hunting, buckshot loads can be used for home defense, and slugs (solid projectiles) can be used for defense or for big game hunting within moderate distances. 

It’s for these reasons that a 12 gauge pump action shotgun is another gun that you are likely to use a lot if disaster ever strikes. Pump actions are inherently reliable and more affordable than semi-automatic shotguns, and with enough training, you’ll be able to chamber and fire off a number of rounds in quick succession as well. 

The 12 gauge pump is, in many ways, the quintessential home defense weapon. Even though it’s not as wieldy as a pistol, it’s devastating at close range, and no burglar or intruder will want to hear the sound of a pump racking after breaking into your house. 

Take note that the 20 gauge really should not be underestimated either, and if anything, it can be an even more effective weapon than the 12 gauge in the hands of the right shooter. That’s because 20 gauge shotguns generate considerably less recoil than a 12 gauge (assuming that the weight of the shotgun itself has not been lightened), which can make them a better choice for women, adolescents, and shooters who are of a smaller stature. 

Hunting Rifle

A ‘hunting rifle’ can technically mean anything (a bolt action, single shot, lever action, pump action, or semi-automatic rifle could all be classified as such), but in general, this means a full-caliber rifle that is capable of dropping big game animals such as deer, elk, and wild boar. In other words, it’s the rifle that will put food in your freezer. 

Rifles chambered in calibers such as 6mm Creedmoor, .308 Winchester, .270 Winchester, 7mm, .30-06 Springfield, and .300 WInchester Magnum (among many others) all fall under this category. 

Take note that your hunting rifle can serve as an anti-personnel rifle to engage enemy targets at longer ranges as well. 

Defensive Rifle

The ideal defensive rifle is a semi-automatic rifle in an intermediate caliber (such as 5.56x45mm or 7.62x39mm) with a detachable box magazine to facilitate quick reloads.

A semi-automatic rifle is good to have as a defensive arm that complements your handgun and your shotgun. A semi-auto rifle will have increased capacity over both and a faster rate of fire, as well as a longer effective range, than your shotgun. This could make it a more effective weapon for engaging multiple enemy targets. 

Your defensive rifle can serve as a hunting rifle (for appropriately sized game) as well. A 5.56x45mm NATO round, for instance, will be too light for ethically bringing down larger game such as elk or moose, but will be more than capable of dropping smaller big game such as deer or boar. 



The next step is simple: start putting your survivalist arsenal together and to start training if you haven’t already. 


What is the Ultimate Survival Gun?

The Ruger 10/22 is esteemed as the ultimate survival gun. It is lightweight, reliable, and versatile, ideal for various survival situations. Its .22 caliber ammunition is affordable and widely available, allowing users to stockpile with ease. The rifle’s adaptability to both small game hunting and self-defense underscores its value in a survival arsenal.

What is the Best Caliber for Survival?

The .22 LR caliber is often heralded as the best for survival scenarios. It is lightweight, compact, and its ammunition is abundantly available, characteristics that are crucial for long-term sustainability. Moreover, its versatility in hunting small game and basic self-defense contributes to its esteemed standing in the context of survival.

What is the Best Rifle for Doomsday?

The AR-15 is widely regarded as the best doomsday rifle. With its exceptional modularity, it can be customized to suit a range of applications, from close-quarters combat to long-range engagements. Its durability, ease of maintenance, and the abundant supply of 5.56mm ammunition make the AR-15 a reliable choice in catastrophic events.

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