Everywhere on the net, on forums and blogs, people are arguing about what the best survival gun is. Evidence points to the conclusion that there is no one gun that is the best survival gun. But people still hunt for it like it’s the holy grail.
The concept of the survival gun is in fact a very loose concept. For the sake of our argument … all guns are designed to propel a projectile with lethal force.
So essentially all guns are designed with the same intent in mind.
Where it gets complicated is that they all do it in a different way. Some of the differences may be easily quantifiable, while the small differences make the final choice of the elusive ‘perfect survival gun’ very difficult.
Also of consequence to the argument is the person behind the trigger. I don’t think I’d give 90-pound granny a short barrel pump action with a pistol grip and a chainsaw pump grip for a survival gun! It likely wouldn’t do her much good.
It’s important that your perfect survival gun fits you and it’s something that you’re comfortable shooting. You don’t want results like this …
The first thing we want to talk consider when picking your ideal survival gun is what type of gun fits your needs best.
Three Types of Guns
There are essentially three categories of ‘modern’ firearms, The Pistol, The Shogun, and The Rifle.
1. The Pistol
A pistol does make a great self-defense weapon. It’s easy to conceal because of it’s size, it can fire extremely lethal ammunition and it’s very effective in properly trained hands. It’s also a great weapon for close quarters use because it’s short and easy to deploy. It’s also super fast on target because of it’s size and light weight.
Drawbacks of the pistol are limited effective range due to the shorter barrel and lower velocity pistol ammunition. Most pistols are comprised of many complex moving parts, even though they are usually reliable they can be more difficult to repair and more prone to breaking.
A pistol would not be my personal choice if I could only choose one gun as my survival gun. However if I was in a close in urban setting during a survival situation I might choose a pistol as my best choice for a survival gun.
2. The Shotgun
Also known as ‘the scattergun’ the shotgun is a very effective and versatile weapon. In fact the sound of a pump shotgun racking a shell is usually enough to send the most hardened criminals into panicked flight.
Some say that you can’t really miss with a shotgun, and a shotgun with a short barrel makes the finest home defense weapon available in my humble opinion. One pull of the trigger can send a multitude of projectiles onto the path of major destruction.
But when we’re talking about the best all-around survival gun the shotgun does have some drawbacks. Like the pistol it has a highly limited effective range. When using ‘shot’ multiple BB style projectiles they loose downrange energy quickly. Also the farther away the target is the less projectiles will likely hit the target because the pattern spreads out over distance.
When using slugs – and rifled adapters – accuracy can be respectable. However the range for accurate shots is limited. According to NRA instructors you’ll be hard pressed to make decent shots past 100 yards, the trajectory will start plummeting at that distance. In an urban setting a shotgun may be just what you need, but due to it’s limitations on accuracy and range it’s not the best all-around survival gun for most people.
For our analysis of firearms the rifle is a long gun fired from the shoulder with a rifled barrel of 16 inches or longer that fires a rifle cartridge.
A rifle is going to be the most accurate of the three gun categories. If you want to argue this point please stop reading and go be zombie bait!
The proper rifle is also extremely reliable; choosing the right one basically guarantees you’ll have a working firearm no matter how much you abuse it.
When set up right you can quickly and easily switch between making relatively close shots and long distance shots. The rifle is also equally suited for protection and hunting. In the wilderness or rural area, there is no other gun I’d carry as a survival weapon. And the goal when SHTF is to get the heck out of dodge!
For the large majority, the rifle will be the best survival gun.
Choosing your optimal survival rifle
There’s a lot of hubbub on the internet about the best survival rifle.
Some will argue the merits of a semi-auto AR style rifle vs. a bolt action. I’ll take reliability and simplicity … that’s the bolt action. The AR has it’s place, but as my ONE and only survival rifle I will always choose the bolt action!
Many agree that the scout rifle – a general purpose rifle – that was first defined and proposed be Jeff Cooper to be the perfect survival rifle. I am inclined to agree … however there is no reason to be stuck on every single defining characteristic he laid out.
Jeff Cooper’s Scout Rifle Specs:
- Weight of 7.7 pounds maximum – 6.6 pounds preferred.
- Overall length of 39 inches or less.
- Forward mounted telescopic sight of low magnification.
- Ghost ring auxiliary (backup) sights.
- A “Ching” or “CW” sling.
- Standard caliber of .308/7.62×51.
- Accuracy of 2 minutes of angle or better.
And preferences don’t just stop there … It needed to be able to be loaded from a stripper clip, be bolt action, wood stocked, etc…
There are many ‘scout’ rifles on the market. Some of them are a little pricey. The point is to find one that fits you. Do your research and pick them up at the gun shop.
I’ve picked out mine and it’s on order now. Made by Mossberg I’ve chosen the MVP in .308/7.62×51. I had to clear some room in the safe and sell a couple of unused firearms prior to ordering.
Here is a list of reasons I chose the Mossberg as my survival gun:
- Value: at just over $500 at my local gun shop it provided a great value.
- Proven and reliable: Mossberg makes great rifles and based off their 4×4 platform it has already been well proven.
- Great reviews: Reviews for this rifle are overwhelmingly positive. I found many more complaints for the Ruger Gunsite Scout.
- Durable laminate stock: That’s a pretty stock! And it’s durable too. Heavy enough to use as a club if need be.
- 18.5” Barrel: A true scout gun should have a barrel of 16 or 16.5 inches. I like it just a bit longer to take advantage of a fuller powder burn slightly increasing the velocity and range. But short enough to keep the rifle close to carbine length.
- Detachable Magazines. This rifle will accept many variants of .308 magazines. Factory Mossberg, M1A, M14, and both AR10 pattern mags are reported to all work.
- It weighs in at 7.5 lbs. While a bit hefty it will help keep recoil down.
- Regular relief scope mount. I’ve tried the forward mounted optics and they don’t fit my shooting style well. Maybe I’ll try again and get some training in the future because the merits are all there. I’m sure I could adapt a mount to move the optics forward on this rifle.
As soon as the rifle comes in and I mount my scope I’ll do a little shooting and give y’all an in-depth review of the Mossberg MVP rifle.
Do you have a survival rifle that fits you perfect? Tell us about your choice and why you chose it.
Would you have chosen a different survival rifle than me? Tell me what it would be and why!