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How To Build A Survival Gun Cache On A $500 Budget

How To Build A Survival Gun Cache On A $500 Budget

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Survivalists who find themselves on serious budgets always will be faced with the problem of accumulating the gear they want within a price point that they can afford. Putting together a survival armory of guns is no exception.

Let’s say that you only have $500 to spend on guns. Many would say that with this budget, it’s A) impossible to build a complete armory that covers your bases, and, B) the guns that you do buy for your armory will be cheaply made or of low quality.

Both of these are absolute nonsense. While $500 is certainly not going to buy you as many guns as a $2,000 or $3,000 budget will, it’s still not impossible to gather the guns you need for this amount.

In fact, you will be able to acquire the three most important guns that you need for just $500.  The specific models that you can buy may not be the fanciest examples on the market, but they are still reliable and will work well enough.

Let’s outline what the three most important categories of guns to have are, and then list an example of a make and model of gun that you can have in that category.

12 GA SHOTGUN – MAVERICK 88 ($180)

It’s hard to say no to a 12-gauge shotgun being the first gun that you own. The 12-gauge round is highly versatile. You can use buckshot for home defense, birdshot for target shooting and bird/small game hunting, and slugs for hunting bigger game such as deer or wild boar.

You also should ideally make your shotgun be a pump-action model over a single shot or semi-automatic, the reason being that you have more capacity than a single and greater reliability with feeding different types of rounds over the semi.

We’re going to cap off the price of a budget shotgun at $180, and the best model that you can buy for this price is going to be the Maverick 88 shotgun, which is the budget model of the world-renowned and highly popular Mossberg 500. While the Maverick doesn’t come with a lot of the same features as the 500, it is still highly reliable and more than adequate for defensive or hunting use.

The Self-Defense And Hunting Weapon That Doesn’t Require A Firearms License!

Although the Maverick 88 usually costs around $200 for a new model, you can very easily find used ones for $180 or even a little less on online auction sites such as


No gun collection of personal battery of arms is complete without a .22 rifle, even if you only have $500 in total to spend. .22 ammunition is very small, meaning you can store and carry lots of it on you. It’s also a perfect round for small game hunting, plinking, general homestead use, and for introducing new people to the sport of shooting. If necessary, it could be used for self-defense, as well.

Normally, the three .22 rifles that I would recommend first would be the Ruger 10/22, Marlin Model 60, or Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22. Unfortunately, none of these options is going to work, since I’m capping off the price for a .22 rifle at $100.

At this price point, your best option will be the Mossberg 702 Plinkster, which can be found used for even $80 or $90 if you look hard enough online. The Mossberg 702 is available in a wide variety of configurations and comes standard with a 10-round magazine, although higher capacity 25-round magazines also are available.

9MM PISTOL – TAURUS PT111 G2 ($220)

We’re now left with $220 to spend on our final firearm, which absolutely must be a pistol. The pistol is the gun you will have strapped to your side at all times during a disaster scenario. You want it to be easily concealed. I also recommend in this case that your pistol be a 9mm, simply because it’s the cheapest and most plentiful pistol caliber there is.

The specific pistol that I am going to recommend at this price point is going to be a pistol I wrote about recently, the Taurus PT111 G2. While it normally sells for around $250 new at most sporting goods stores, a quick perusal on Gunbroker shows that it can be purchased new or used in good condition for the $200-$220 range.

The PT111 G2 is a compact firearm, which makes concealment easy, but is also large enough so that you can get a full grip on the weapon. It holds 12 rounds in the magazine plus an additional round in the chamber, which is plenty of firepower for defending yourself against multiple attackers. Reviews of the PT111 G2 have been mostly very positive, and owners applaud its reliability, ergonomics and overall value. And besides, it looks much better than a Hi-Point.


So, there you have it. For $500, give or take a few dollars, you should easily be able to acquire a solid survival armory. And they cover your bases: target shooting, home defense/personal protection, and small-game or big-game hunting.

What do you think? What would be in your $500 survival gun armory? Share your thoughts in the section below:

If You Run Out Of Ammo, What Would You Do? Learn How To Make Your Own! Read More Here.

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  1. Thank you for the article. Some very good choices there.

    I have zero experience with Mossberg Plinkster, but why not go with a used bolt action rifle instead. Functions with many types of ammunition that semi-autos will not work with. I’ve owned a Marlin 81 tube magazined bolt gun and it has not let me down in over 40 years of use. Bonus – long barrels quiet the report quite a bit, not silencer quiet but considerably less than a carbine barrel. In the urbans, a very important need – you don’t want to advertise your location.

  2. Interesting choices, from reliable brands, though I wouldn’t expect the Maverick to stand up to the abuse a Mossberg or Remington can take. The list does lack a choice for threats/dinner beyond 100 yards, which I suppose isn’t an absolute necessity. However, the author’s picks wouldn’t work well for someone like me, as I am left handed. That last is a more important consideration than some might realize, both for safety and convenience.

    After some thought, I don’t think you can satisfy either of those needs and stay within the budget limit. For myself, I chose a Browning BPS Hi Cap ($400 right there). The other good choice would have been one of the new left handed Mossberg 500’s, which run close to the Browning in price. There are a lot of (somewhat expensive) left handed shotguns out there, for some weird reason, but for rifles, your go to company is Savage Arms. For .22, I already have the Ruger 10/22 my parents gave me for my 12th birthday (a very long time ago), but I may add a Savage 64 FL (MSRP $175), simply because the Ruger sometimes tosses empties at my forehead. Handgun? A revolver, of course, as all autos that cost less than a sports car eject to the right. Not a problem at arms length, but in a retention position, it’s easy for an ejected case to bounce back and jam the weapon, or come up and hit me in the eye, not good in a self defense situation. The least expensive revolver I’m aware of is the Rock Island Armory M200 (MSRP $275). fixed sights, 4″ barrel, .38 Special, a cartridge that is almost as common as the 9mm and ballistically similar.

    So, for the southpaw, we’re up to $850.

    As to a rifle, for something with more range than a top eject lever gun, which will can be over $500 by itself most of the time anyway, to stay under a grand it’ll be a left hand bolt action. The Savage Axis (MSRP $368) or the Ruger American (MSRP $489) are available in a range of calibers. Unfortunately, neither comes with iron sights, so a scope will have to be purchased. Savage actually has a custom shop, and they will put together anything you want within reason. Personally, I think I’ll be springing for a Scout rifle in .338 Federal, if they can do it (and assuming I can manage to save enough).

    I would suggest that, even for southpaws, going to the used market would provide more wiggle room for tight budgets.

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