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How To Build A Survival Arsenal For $500

Image source: sheridanpress.smugmug

Image source: sheridanpress.smugmug

“Survival arsenals” are a mainstay of those in the preparedness community, but the cost of building one can quickly get out of hand. Sure, for a couple thousand dollars, you could buy a high-quality semi-automatic rifle, a dependable pump or semi shotgun, and a good pistol.

But not everyone has $2,000 to spend. In fact, not everyone has even $1,000 to spend on an arsenal of firearms. So how are you to build a quality survival arsenal for only a few hundred dollars?

Believe it or not, it can be done – although of course it won’t be as impressive as that $2,000 batch.

How To Hide Your Guns, And Other Off-Grid Caches…

Here is how you can build a quality survival arsenal for $500, give or take just a few bucks:

1. Mosin Nagant OR .22 Rifle ($200).

You need a good rifle to put lead at a far distance down range. A good rifle is both a valuable hunting and anti-personnel weapon. AK-47s, SKSs, Mini-14s, and AR-15s are obviously out for this price range. Your two best options here will either be a used Mosin-Nagant rifle or a .22 rifle. Search around for sales and pay attention to gun auction sites. You will eventually find a used .22 semi-automatic rifle (Ruger 10/22, Savage 64 or Marlin 60), or a Mosin-Nagant in good shape for around $200. If you are unable to find a good semi-auto .22 rifle for $200, you should at least be able to find a used bolt-action model.

2. Single Shot 12-Gauge OR 20-Gauge Shotgun ($100).

It certainly doesn’t have the capacity of a pump action or a semi-auto, but a single-shot, breech-loading shotgun will work for a cost-efficient survival arsenal. Again, search for sales or used offerings on gun auction sites. A single shot 12 or 20 gauge in good condition will pop up sooner or later for around $100. A shotgun is a very versatile weapon: You can shoot game birds and have a suitable home defense weapon. Also, 12-gauge and 20-gauge rounds are very easy to find.

3. Hi-Point Pistol OR Cheap Revolver ($200).

Finally, you’ll want a trusty sidearm that you can keep strapped to your side as you work around the homestead. You are extremely limited with what you can buy here, but for around $200, you will be able to pick up a new Hi-Point pistol or a well-used Taurus or Rossi revolver for around $200. Yes, Hi-Point pistols could win the nomination for ugliest pistol on the planet, and yes, a $200 used revolver is going to be extremely well-worn and perhaps even rusted on the finish and grip. But both will work when you need them, and remember, you only have $500 to spend for your arsenal.

Of course, if you can afford an AR-15 rifle, a Mossberg shotgun and a Glock pistol in place of these, then purchase those instead. But if you’re on a budget and in need of some survival weapons, these options will work.

How would you build a survival arsenal for $500? Share your suggestions in the section below:   

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9 comments

  1. I’d spend another $70 and get a pistol that actually works AND doens’t look ugly. CDNN Sports has an EAA 9MM Witness for 289 shipped.

    • Most people building a $500 arsenal can’t afford to be a gun snob. Hi Point pistols are very reliable, not finicky, and have the best warranty in the industry. Also, they can be picked up used for about 2/3 their cost new. Clean them and check them out. If there is a problem that famous warranty is there to fix it. Also, someone putting together a $500 arsenal doesn’t have the money to burn many hundreds of rounds at a range.

    • Nothing wrong with Hi-Point firearms… American Made LIFE TIME WARRANTY! and affordable. I own two and love them both

  2. I really like the article for the budget friendly buyer. I would like to put my 2 cents in. Me personally i would hold off on getting 3 different guns with 3 different calibers you have to worry about and carry. I say for the budget friendly just go with a Hi-point pistol and carbine, in 9mm or 45. i personally have the 9mm in both and love them. i like the interchangeably of the magazines from carbine to pistol but not the other way around. Unless you get the 45 then the magazine goes both ways no matter what. Plus the 45 is a multi purpose round that can be used multiple ways, like hunting, home protection, and self defense.

    • Yep, I agree, less variety sure, but I’d say on a 500$ budget, go 9mm. Cheaper. I believe it’s kel tech, or some other cheap company that makes it, but it’s a 9mm carbine for 300?. And shop for a over/under double barrel shotgun.

      Side by side types make me feel like I should say things like “them thar varmits” and play some washboard guitar thing.

  3. Marlin has a.22 tube fed you can get at Walmart for under $200. 14 rounds plus one in the tube and they are deadly accurate. Hi Point .45 are a very accurate weapon and I agree about the single shot 12 gauge. I keep two of those for backup if others fail. Another good weapon is a Rossi 20 gauge/.223 with interchangeable barrels. If all I had was $500 I would go with the Marlin .22 and spend the rest on ammo for that! Guns can’t do much without it. Stay prepared my friends!

  4. A Rossi Trifecta comes as a package with 3 barrels, .22, 20 gauge and .243 or .308 for around $300. Then I would check pawn shops, garage sales and websites like J& G sales for police or military trade in handguns. I saw some decent .38 revolvers for under $150.
    Other surplus rifles like Turkish 8 mm mausers or .303 Enfields that need some tlc would work too.

  5. i heard they were taking 22 bullets off the market does anyone know if this is true???

  6. How to build a survival arsenal for $420:
    22LR – Mossberg Plinkster 702 $100
    12GA – Savage Stevens 320 $120
    9mm – Taurus PT111 G2 $200

    I own all three and haven’t found anything better for the $$$

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