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5 Guns Not To Be Without During Trying Times

5 Guns Not To Be Without During Trying Times

Let’s imagine for a moment that the world of tax-funded public safety and well-stocked grocery stores are a thing of the past and you, perhaps with a handful of family and friends, must fend for yourself in a tough and hostile environment. Among the considerations for survival are, of course, firearms. Which would you choose?

The most critical consideration for firearms in this scenario would be reliability. Does it go “bang” with every trigger press? Does it cycle the widest possible spectrum of ammo available in that caliber? Is it simple to maintain? What ammunition is likely to be found in the area? It’s a given that one of each major civilian classification of firearms will be needed—a handgun, a rifle, and a shotgun. Our task here is to pick an ideal group of five.



The Glock 17/19 has a long track record of reliability and the other criteria here. While Glock offers a wide variety of calibers and models, the 9mm is a commonly available cartridge worldwide, and less pricey. Like the AR-15, parts are currently ubiquitous, and many are interchangeable between models/calibers.

As a true admirer of the 1911, it’s hard to think of turning my back on that old standby. Indeed, it’s more accurate. But it falls behind, quickly, where ease-of-maintenance and magazine capacity are concerned. Newer models are, in my experience, less reliable than Colt originals

Concealability, which may or may not be a consideration in this scenario, isn’t easy with the G17 but the Glock 19 can bridge this gap effectively.


A carbine, with its shorter barrel, offers ease of maneuverability as well as the capability of reaching out to larger game, within limited range, to provide for food. Larger capacity magazines and quick reloading capability may be necessary to defend against attackers of the two-legged variety.

My choice for a long-term carbine partner is the AR-15. The platform is proven as reliable, and most owners have accumulated a supply of spare parts. Ammunition and magazines as of this writing are readily available, but that can change on a moment’s notice, of course!

The .223/.556 cartridge is admittedly not the most ideal for down-range energy. Thanks to the other virtues named here, though, it garners top billing on the list. I have personally taken deer-sized game with the .223/.556.


This was the easiest choice. A shotgun in general has nearly endless applications based on the variety of loads available, especially if one has reloading equipment. The Remington 870 pump action, chambered in 12-gauge, has endured as one of the most reliable shotguns in history. It’s inexpensive, made for utility, and rugged. Semi-auto shotguns abound on the market today, but none have the track record of reliability and simplicity as does the 870. The gauge selection is due to the wide range of loads available in 12-gauge.

The Mossberg 500 was a close runner-up, but the 870 edged it out thanks to personal experience both in the field and in law enforcement. It’s capable of earning its keep by obtaining large and small game and is an effective defense weapon.

Traditional hunting models are probably the most common 870s in civilian homes. The police model, with its shorter 18-inch barrel and larger magazine capacity, offers more practicality. Either one will serve the owner well, with greater reliability than most semi-auto shotguns. I have taken everything from birds to varmints to big game with a 12-gauge 870. Not to mention the shotgun is an effective deterrent against two legged pests.


Now imagine for a moment that we have the luxury of two other guns at our disposal. To me, the ideal ones are—

A Bolt-Action Rifle

As with the AR-15, the brand and model are less important as there are many choices with legendary track records. It’s comforting to know that, with the assistance of an optic, the little arsenal includes something that can be effective at long distances for most game and any precision shooting needs. The ideal caliber could be the .270, .308 or 30-06, all of which are more or less commonly available. All can effectively take any game in North America and, of course, provide greater long-range precision capabilities.

Rate of fire and weight are potential drawbacks with this firearm. In comparison to others here, this platform requires greater knowledge and time investment on the part of the operator to accomplish the long-range feats it’s capable of.

A .22 Rimfire

There’ll be plenty of nay-sayers for this cartridge as a final choice, but the .22 has been a ballistic tool of choice for hunters, assassins, farmers and housewives for over a century. It’s eliminated countless barnyard varmints and more good and bad guys than I care to count. If we as consumers discount the memory of the days when .22 was three cents per round, the cost and availability factors aren’t as dire as it once was just a mere year ago.

Notice there’s no make and model named in the subheading—that’s a reflection of how difficult it is to choose among the many candidates. In the end, utility is king. Some of my favorites are the Ruger 10-22 Takedown, Ruger 22 Bearcat and S&W Model 17 Revolvers or the KelTec PMR and CMR 30 in 22 Magnum (if you have a good supply of 22 mag ammo). Choices in this category are endless and should boil down to what you have experience and confidence in. Another consideration: 500 rounds of .22 is portable in comparison to the same amount in other calibers.

Many will likely argue that a .22 rifle is preferable to a .22 handgun. And I’d not argue back much, especially when discussing a firearm for a beginner to use effectively. In a world where the return on investment of both resources and calories may be critical, perhaps a .22 should be at the top of this list.

Bottom line: I want a “survival” gun that is reliable, simple to operate (including maintenance issues), in a caliber that ammunition can easily been obtained and that I have confidence and ability with. The picks listed here are one person’s opinion … but the choices are endless.

What would you put on your list? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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  1. Pellet gun great for small game and quiet and pellets are very cost effective

  2. AK 47 can withstand a lot more abuse and has a larger round than the AR15

    • Rick, I like your mindset.
      My experience with the AR platforms go back to 1977. I’ve also had an M4 with a M-203 40 MIKE MIKE attached. They have to be cleaned and lubed after each mission or range qualifying. I’ve had broken firing pins, bolt not seating, FTF, Double feeds and seizure do to heat and no lube. So Far my AK has been flawless but it’s a pre ban, well made weapon. It’s just as accurate up to 300 meters as any AR I’ve fired. I clean it when i want to. NEVER fails to go BANG! These usa made AK’S; I.O. and Century Arms are not the best to buy but can be made better by fixing canted sites, new trigger groups Etc. The Izmash/SAIGA will last forever but not an AR. I would challenge my EastCom AK to any AR using my standars of dust, water, sand, mud bath, one more water dunk and see which one fails first. Rick, I agree AK is a .30 cal and AR is a .22 cal on steroids. The 7.62X39mm has more kinetic energy at 300 meters than that .222, .223, .224/5.56. My 2 cents! U.S. Army 1977 to 1991.

  3. OffGrid FL Prepper

    My 5 Choices.
    9 MM Beretta Nano for concealed Carry.
    12g. Mossberg Riot pistol grip shotgun with a toggle laser light mounted on the foregrip for nighttime light up the night with laser pinpoint target acquisition.
    30-06 Browning semi Automatic for big game or sniping long range.
    5.56 Sig Sauer Swat foldable stock and plenty of high capicity magazines for laying down mass fire supression using Green Tip steal penitrator rounds @ 3200 FPS.
    .22 Survival rifle. Small game and fun planking.
    And a non gun but very effective and quiet is a .177 pelet rifle delivering a fast 1200 FPS pellet to a target. Extremely accurate within 30 yards.
    And also a crossbow for deadly stealth taking of Game or looters.

    • OffGrid FL Prepper

      But hey this is America so why limit it to just 5 guns. Plenty more favs like an AR-5.56 Keltec PLR 16 pistol truck gun, and plenty more Pistols and rifles and shotguns. Every need has a weapon of choice if it be for self defense in public, or home defense, or offense or hunting small or large game. And get your carry license. There are those who carry and those who are victims.. I choose not to be a victim nor a slave.

  4. Question: are cc licenses from one state now recognized reciprocally in another state> Is my FL license recognized as valid in New York? I thought I read somewhere that they are as valid as driver’s licenses are.

    • lonestarlizard (@lonestarlizard1)

      No alf, CCW licenses are not automatically reciprocal in all states. Just think of all the Marxist-democrat controlled states: CA, NY, NJ, HI and others do not recognize any other state’s CCW license. Your FL license is recognized here in TX and most other “shall issue” states. But do not, under any circumstances, take your gun into those gun-hating, liberal states; you will end up in jail. Just do a web search on concealed carry reciprocity and you will find all the information you need.

  5. Great list! I have all of these calibers (including the .177 pellet) in my arsenal! Mini 14, 30-06, Mossberg 12ga., 2 Ruger 10/22’s, & a .177 air rifle with optics.

    I recently added a Browning .22 pistol w/ a red-dot to my stock… MOST FUN PLINKING EVER!!! That damn thing is a tack-driver folks! I highly recommend that! It’s accurate enough at short distances it could be used for taking game.

  6. Carbine.

    MINI 14 .223/.556 (STAINLESS) (RANCH)

    MINI 14 Will out last any AR built, u can fill it up with, mud, water, sand, grime and anything else you can
    think of and the gun will still fire.

    MINI 14 Will work dirty, in freezing cold weather, rain, snow, frozen bitter weather it will work.

    MINI 14 Will work in hot dry arid deserts.

    MINI 14 STAINLESS will work in salt water, swamps, humid wet lakes and rivers areas.

    MINI 14 STAINLESS in a wet areas where there a high risk of gun rusting, the STAINLESS STEEL
    will be able to stand the most nasty, weather in the world, that AR and most blued steel
    guns will fail, do to rust.

    MINI 14 Do not require special expensive tools or special expansive knowledge to maintain the gun.

    MINI 14 Only requires screwdriver stick or even one bullet to pull the trigger guard towards the rear of gun
    and the trigger guard pops back out of its holder slot, then rotate the trigger guard forward
    till it stops, then pull down and out on the trigger group till it comes out of the gun, at this
    rest of the gun up and out of its stock, and from this point you can completely strip all of
    the major parts off and maintain the gun without ONE TOOL. (TRY THAT WITH AN AR)

    MINI 14 Can put be cleaned, maintained and put all the way back together without the need of one TOOL.
    The parts that you need a tools to take them off the gun, are not needed to clean and maintain
    the gun, and dont need to come off. (TRY THAT WITH AN AR)

    MINI 14 Dont have tiny tinny, gas tube (AR) that are prone to fail, and clog up, bend, break and
    will melt completely under rapid around 800 rounds, and blows you and the gun up.

    MINI 14 Dont have a weak (AR) sight that moves, or gets hit hard and bends the gas tube and shuts the
    and special and know how to fix this problem.

    MINI 14 Dont have a (AR) recoil buffer tube that is prone to fail, under heavy use, or fail for no reason,
    at when the is not used for a while, this requires the AR tools ans know how to fix again.

    MINI 14 Use a very strong gas trap system mounted under the barrel, and hidden inside the stock,
    protected from the dust, dirt, water and weather that does not fail much.

    MINI 14 Uses a gas system that was first built in 1936 for the M1 Garand and M14 and it still works till
    today in the old guns, what does that say for how well the MINI will work.

    To many problems with any AR gun for me.

    The latest greatest new AR toy that you will to have to make happy,
    is a good way to die when they fail.

    AR will Fail they have to many moving, small parts and o rings to go bad.

    What I Know

    • What I know….the number of US Armed Forces using the Mini 14…..ZERO! Enough said.

    • lonestarlizard (@lonestarlizard1)

      The Mini-14 is a good rifle; I used to own one. Your obvious bias toward the Mini-14 and your obvious disdain toward the AR is evident. Your diatribe on the ARs is based on either anecdotal evidence or ignorance of the AR. I, and others, would like to know where those ‘o rings’ are in our ARs. Gas piston rifles do keep the bolt and chamber cleaner but they also come with their own set of gas system issues. Do you even know that there are quite a few piston ARs available to those that want one? I have one and several direct impingement types. They do not fail from “to [sic] many moving, small parts and o rings to go bad”. As for your “special expensive tools or special expansive knowledge to maintain the gun.” statement, I can only smile and understand that you are totally ignorant of the AR platform and its long term demonstrated reliability under any and all conditions.

      • Bravo, lonestarlizard, and well put!
        Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go get rich. I intend to corner the market on AR o-rings. I’ll store them next to my coils of gig line, barrels of rotor wash, and buckets of steam. After that, I’m due on mail-buoy watch.

      • I think he is referring to the three gas rings, which do wear.
        Aftermarket carriers with unground bores will effect the life cycle of the rings.
        Further, the rings need to be made in what is referred to as fine tooling, a method of eliminating die break, a lot of cheap ring out there suffer from that die break and wear quickly.

        I don’t care for the Ruger, all cast parts and mags are overpriced.
        Try getting spare parts from Ruger, IF the SHTF where do you send it, not.
        I will stay with my AR’s or my IMI Galil’s.

        On another note, I carry a series 80 Colt Commander whenever I go out.
        I do have Glock 17 & 23’s but prefer my Sig 228.

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