It's time to start naming names.
We've gone over the features of the best survival guns should sport: reliability, ruggedness, portability, simplicity and effectiveness. We've told you how the .22 is arguably the best survival ammunition. We've debated revolvers versus semi-automatics. We've explained that the best survival guns fill multiple roles, including defense, hunting, predator control, livestock harvesting and more. We've even talked about layered defense and choosing firearms that function well at a variety of distances.
It's time to get to the heart of the matter. Whether conducting research, talking with experts or visiting with prepared people, there are a handful of firearms that stick out. Living Ready isn't necessarily giving each the full stamp of approval, but it is telling when these models show up again and again.
Does that mean they're the best survival guns? You be the judge. Leave a comment below with your comments and suggestions. Let's make a list.
Are these The Best Survival Guns?
*Best Survival Rifle: Any pump-action .22 rifle – Let's start with a no-brainer. Capacity. Reliability. Cheap, lightweight ammo. Versatility. Save that Ruger 10/22 semi-auto for the fun stuff. When it comes to SHTF, a pump-action .22 rifle is the do-it-all workhorse. Go with a pump and take advantage of a magazine tube full of .22 long rifle rounds.
* Honorable Mention: AR-15 – This one should also come as no surprise. AR-15s offer tremendous versatility to fill a variety of roles, from hunting to defense. The customization options are limited only by imagination. Despite the hype, these modern sporting rifles have more in common with grandpa's favorite hunting gun from yesteryear than the military.
* Best Survival Shotgun: Ithaca Model 37 – And now for the controversial pick. While I'm a big fan of the Mossberg 500 (it's my primary shotgun), I have to yield to the Model 37. Even proponents of the Remington 870 have to admit, the Model 37 has the smile of a sporting gun but the heart of a tactical firearm. That it manages to balance both themes so effortlessly speaks to its usefulness during SHTF. There are many flavors of the Model 37 on the market. Choose one that fits your tastes the best.
* Best Survival Pistol: Beretta 92FS – There's a line in the sand between this model and Glock‘s legendary simplicity. What pushes the 92FS above and beyond is its ruggedness. There are models functioning just as well today as they were 30 years ago. Some will (rightly) question the effectiveness of 9mm rounds in survival scenarios. They will point out that a 1911‘s .45s will pack that critical extra punch. Keep in mind, though, that the 92FS can carry 15 rounds per magazine. It's a tough call, but capacity beats stopping power for SHTF.
* Best Survival Revolver: Taurus Judge – Here's another controversial pick. This iconoclastic .45/.410 comes up time and again with prepared folks. Shooting shotshells is nice, but it's how the Judge works in tandem with a high-capacity, semi-automatic survival pistol (like the Beretta 92FS) that really pushes it over the edge. Need to put a lot of lead out in a hurry? Use the pistol. Need to lay down the law with a .45? Use the Judge. Need a close-range shotshell for varmints, predators and other lowlifes that won't knock your hat off like a shotgun? Use the Judge.
Your Turn: What are the Best Survival Guns?
This list will certainly bring out some strong opinions. Let's hear them. Post comments below and let us know the best survival guns from your POV.
Learn More About Survival Guns
Choosing firearms that will see you through the clear side of danger isn't to be taken lightly. The Gun Digest Book of Survival Guns will explain what's important and what's just hype.