Top Survival Guns Every Prepper Should Own

This a guest post from author Norman Bobby. His site can be located at

When you look at the subject matter around preppers and firearms, you find some obvious pillars of importance. Preppers need continuity; reasonableness (which may not be a word) and efficacy.

In the grand scheme of things, that means more often than not, you go with tried and true firearms that are easy to maintain; built incredibly well and shoot a very popular caliber and that’s that.

In this article. We wanted to take a look at the market with a fresh set of eyes, not to overlook the obvious choices on purpose but to see if there are any additions that need to be considered by the prepper community in their quest for the perfect firearm.

A quick note: 15+ years ago, the author would not have included a 5.56 gun on this list, and instead opted for a .308 rifle either in bolt action or in semi auto, but with the proliferation of the 5.56 ammunition at low pricing; the obvious status of the AR clone as a mainstream firearm and the clear advantages of improvement in stopping power through understanding of ballistics and improvement in technology and engineering, that has changed.

It’s just not as ideal anymore to recommend a larger caliber weapon. When given the apocalyptic scenario most preppers envision as “worse case” can easily be handled by a more abundant, easier to handle caliber.


Remington 870 or substantially similar pump action shotgun in 12 gauge

Tough as nails; made to spec in the millions of volume; for decades; and relies on one of the most popular and readily available and inexpensive cartridges in the history of shooting. That is a pretty good place to start for the Remington 870. But that’s not all…it’s easy to handle; can be used for long-range hunting and can handle every game animal from birds to caribou if given the right ammunition; mindset and conditions.

The trick to succeeding in the Prepper market from a gun perspective is offering capability without compromise. You’d need to be judicious with your ammunition purchasing but it can be done without negatively affecting whatever type of animal you want to hunt.

It’s also a short-range winner and will stop any human threat.

The Remington was an arbitrary choice when looked at from a realistic perspective, but you could insert Mossberg 500/590 or Winchester or whoever you prefer there easily.

That also comes with some need for explanation: it wasn’t an ONLY arbitrary choice, choice. It was the best from a historical performance perspective that was still readily available to the public at good price points.

Remington 870 because of aftermarket support; historical performance and maintenance.


Ruger 10-22

The workhorse of the modern Prepper’s gun stash, the 10-22 is accurate; proven historically, amazingly timeless in its aesthetic and build quality and inexpensive. It also shoots .22 LR cartridges which have been proven in awkward scenarios that they can be used for all manner of needs.

Hundreds of thousands of rounds have been shot through most of the available 10-22’s that span more than a single decade of use from a manufactured date perspective.

It’s cheap to outfit; everyone makes parts for them and the maintenance is best in class.

The high capacity, but still accurate platform makes it a must have in your home.

Having a Ruger 10-22 in your possession during a major event means your heavier firepower won’t have to be used and you will be optimizing bullet/cartridge usage during times of need.

You can reasonably take small game to over 100 yards with it; it’s unbelievably easy to maintain and it won’t stop working if you shoot too many rounds through it. Literally thousands of aftermarket parts exist for it; and everyone and their brother owns one. Besides, aren’t .22’s the best way to dispatch zombies anyway?


Kel-Tec PMR 30 (or their new .22LR variant)

This is a bit of an odd inclusion here, but the utility and overall novelty of the gun thus far pushes this into an unconventional list and makes you maybe wonder if the author has lost his mind.

The Magnum variant is concealable, offers great stopping power and hunting capabilities and is inexpensive relative to other market offerings that give substantially similar results.

It’s innovative and fun to use and despite having had some difficulties at launch it seems to have those problems ironed out now. The option to have a magnum 22 on your side or for small game hunting is fantastic, and yet, the rounds aren’t hard to come by in an emergency and it’s relatively easy to expect that a decent chunk of the population might have guns chambered in .22Mag and that you can scavenge ammo somewhere in dire situations.

You can also single shot .22 LR with the gun.

Glock 19

It’s probably a generation 5 Glock 19 too. As blasphemous as that may be to the seasoned prepper type, it just makes sense. Yes, you will not have the proliferation of parts on the market given many of them have changed in Gen 5, and you probably don’t get the benefits of the previous generation’s mag well designs, but you do get a gun that’s built nearly perfectly from a functional perspective and the good far outweighs the bad.

Rather than the 17, get the smaller framed variant which still takes nearly all Glock 9mm mags; shoots the ubiquitous and readily available 9mm Luger and can be handled by basically anyone from child to adult.

Proven reliable; durable; and made into the millions of copies this is a gun that won’t easily be outdone in your arsenal. It is also easy to maintain; inexpensive and accurate; reliable, and beloved by millions, so finding a part or service for the gun will be easy.


An AR15 clone

We aren’t going to waste time telling you about a specific AR clone. That’s boring and unnecessary, when it’s already likely you own one or you are contemplating ownership. It’s a foregone conclusion that it’s the most popular gun in America, and the very reasons it makes sense is that predictable boringness that comes from the AR 15 marketplace.

  • Great caliber dynamics; readily available; cheap to shoot
  • Modular; customizable easy to work on as an amateur
  • Millions of parts floating around that bolt-on/drop-in
  • Shoots accurately to 350 yards and can easily stop human targets as well as slay game animals up to about 400 lbs. if done right

If you call yourself a prepper and you don’t have an AR-15 yet, you’re probably behind the curve. Catch up.


Honorable mentions:

A 308 rifle of some sort and a lever Action .45-70 of some type.

Both of these guns are not nearly as practical from an ongoing basis, but if you’re in the market for a group of prepper guns, these should probably occupy some time in your thought process if nothing else. Both offer moderate to intermediate shot stopping potential on targets that exceed the 350 lbs. range.

The rounds have been around for a very long time and you’ll be able to find them on the shelves of any sporting goods store, and 25% of American Gun owner’s closets.

They are understandable guns and built to endure heavy recoil and punishment over time, especially since they are both former U.S. Military calibers.

They aren’t ideal if you compare them to the above list, but they make sense of you want to cover the endpoints; or you’re looking for something else to spend your prepper gun dollars on. And by the way, stocking up ammunition and parts for these guns will run you a hefty premium, so those dollars would be spent quickly.


Buy guns that are easy to maintain and don’t suffer from ongoing problems; offer chamberings that are obvious and which can pull double duty as needed.

3 thoughts on “Top Survival Guns Every Prepper Should Own

  1. Remington 870 and Ruger 10/22? Check (or at least your favorite 12 ga pump and 22 LR rifle).

    Kel-Tec PMR 30? Umm, I wouldn’t kick one out of bed for eating crackers, but it would be nowhere near the top of my list. 22 WMR would be a step up from .22 LR for defense, but it still does not equal a “real” defensive caliber. It’s not better for hunting small game than .22 LR and really is not enough for big game, and the ammo availability will not be up to 22 LR standards. If they made a conversion kit from .22 WRM to .22 LR, now that would be really attractive. Otherwise, I’d replace it with a good .22 LR pistol. Or a .22LR/.22WRM kit.

    Glock 19? Yes, having something to shoot 9mm is important because of the commonality of ammo, and there is nothing wrong with the Glock. Or any of several competitors. If you are going to use it as your primary defensive firearm, make sure you spend the money for GOOD defensive ammunition, as the cheap and available ball rounds are not reliable at stopping an attacker. I’d prefer a .45, as even cheap ball will do the job. Or even a .357. There are better defensive rounds, but they don’t have the availability appropriate for SHTF survival.

    AR-15 clone? Again, it would be silly NOT to have one, due to the commonality of ammo. But again, the cheap, available ball ammo is not reliable for any purpose, and the “good stuff” is neither cheap or commonly available. I’d also have an additional upper in 7.62×39 which is a better short range round, and is still fairly cheap and available. There are other calibers of upper available, but the ammo for them is very expensive and very hard to find.

    My list might look like
    Rem 870, short and long barrels
    Ruger 10/22 takedown (with silencer, if practical)
    1911 clone .45 (or more modern .45)
    9mm (any one which fit me; in the day I was a big fan of the H&K P7/P13, but they don’t make them now)
    AR-308 (.308) or M14 (.308) or M1 Garand (30-06)
    AR-15 clone with .223 WYLDE and 7.62×39 uppers (Ruger Mini 14/Mini 30 as an alternative)

    Also useful:
    Target 22 LR rifle (Don’t know what is the best choice these days)
    22 LR pistol (The Ruger used to be a top choice, or a S&W kit gun with 22 LR and 22 WRM cylinders)
    Bolt action 308 or 30-06
    .357 revolver (S&W L frame, or possibly K frame, 6″ or 4″ or possibly 3″ barrel)

    The AR platform has a lot of advantages, but it also has a “rep” which could see it become hard to possess. The M14/Mini 14 platforms are “less scary looking” and might survive our legal system longer.


  2. Have my AR15, 10/22, Glock 30, ParaOrdnance P14.45 Expert (double stack mags), and a Maverick 88 in 12 gauge. Next on my list is the Ruger Gunsite Scout in .308 (model 6830). Good write up, btw.


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