What three firearms would you have for prepping?

If you could only have three firearms and cared about preparedness, what would you have? Don’t want to start a “the one true caliber” debate (let’s not open that can of worms just yet!), so this is more about platforms/types that work together well if things really get bad in the world.


  • Comments (59)

    • 8
      1. Full-sized pistol in 9 mm
      2. AR-15 in .223 Wylde
      3. Any decent longer-range rifle in a common caliber like .308

      The specifics can depend on your circumstances. But they generally fill these roles:

      1. Something small and concealable on your person (effective < 25 yards)
      2. Something you can defend yourself with in relatively-close settings (like civil unrest in a city) and can ride in a backpack (25-125 yds)
      3. Something you can get distance with for long-range self defense or hunting (> 100 yds)

      Not a big fan of shotguns in a core three-gun prep. They just don’t serve much of a role, IMHO, unless you know you’ll be hunting fowl. But if you were to add a fourth, then it would be a shotgun just for covering more of your bases after SHTF.

      An example variation:

      1. Compact CCW pistol in 9 mm
      2. An agile PCC/PDW in 9 mm or 300 blk, such as a Sig MPX-K or Q Honey Badger
      3. AR-15
      • 6

        Mine is;

        Compact semi auto whaterver caliber you prefer. I have both 9mm and .40 SW barrels and mags for my M&P Shield.

        Keltec SU-16CA, 4.7 pounds, folds to 24.9″, uses any AR-15 magazines, and holds two 10 round or one 30 round mag in the stock, and I like it better than any of my AR’s.

        Number three is my go big option. I like my Ruger M77 Hawkeye in .300 Winchester Mangnum zeroed at 300 yards.

      • 4

        The SU-16CA is a much underappreciated gem of utilitarian .223 firepower.  I’ve got three and wish I could find more to share with friends if the SHTF in the next few months.  CA-legal ARs are way more trouble than it’s worth, in my opinion.

    • 7

      1). Shotgun

      2). 9mm

      3). AR

    • 6

      I am going to keep this simple and not get crazy with the accessories unless asked. My picks…

      1. Glock 17, 9 mm pistol. Accurate, easy to support and maintain. You can squirrel away a ton of spare parts and you can buy 9mm in bulk.

      2. Ar-15 with a 16 inch barrel. 1/8 twist with a 1-8 powered scope. You can do everything with this rifle, including hunt large game 200 yards and in. The optics and accuracy of that platform will allow accurate shots into the cranium of any large game in North America, plus there is nothing better for home defense.  You can buy 5.56 in bulk.

      3. .22 rifle. Perfect for hunting small game, training, and you can buy a ton of .22 in bulk.

      Or….skip the third option and buy another upper receiver for your Ar-15. A precision 18-inch barreled upper  receiver with a legitimate 6-18 powered optic and a few cases of match grade ammunition. This would allow you to own everything in your prepper space out to 700 yards and double as a legit hunting rifle for medium sized game.

      Or…just buy spare parts for your Ar-15 and Glock 17. Magazines, barrels, bolts, bolt carrier grips, small parts etc.

    • 6

      Since we live in a more urban setting and do not have the experience to assume we can suddenly become wilderness hunters, we think more about violent scenarios than food ones. We also can’t legally conceal carry, which I know wouldn’t matter if SHTF but that means I avoid it now.

      So I’ve picked

      • Glock 19 pistol
      • 22 LR takedown that can go in a small bag
      • 12 gauge Mossberg shotgun
      • 6

        Has anyone been able to locate low-recoil 00 12 gauge ammunition?

      • 8

        Not in person, but have you tried the meta search engines like https://ammoseek.com/ammo/12-gauge ?

      • 4

        That’s a great site. But it seems low recoil 00 12 gauge is not available.

    • 5

      Just adding 2¢ worth of thoughts. I remember hearing after Katrina that Nat’l G. was confiscating firearms using the excuse of emergency powers. Just make sure you have something that can (legally) be concealed just in case your situation brings you into contact with them.

    • 5
      1. A single-shot shotgun with adapters for different rounds.
      2. AR-15
      3. Glock 19

      If I could add a fourth, it’d be a .22 rifle like a Ruger 10/22.

    • 8

      1. Any Pump Shotgun (Mossberg 500, Remington 870 etc)

      2. A Reliable rifle in 30.06 or 308

      3. 22.LR Revolver

      Shotguns can do just about anything you need them to out to 100 yards due to the versatility of different cartridges. You can carry rifled slugs, buckshot, 8 shot, 4 shot and T shot at the same time and be able to take down any game you encounter and deal with most defensive situations. Shotguns also have the advantage of being more user friendly than other firearms. It is easier to hit a rabbit with a shotgun than a .22. A scoped bolt action rifle gives you range and power if you need it, and if you practice regularly 8 inch groups at 500 yards should be no problem. Pistols have limited utility, but the 22lr is an easy round to find and carry, and can be used for food acquisition and limited defense. In most scenarios, firearms will be primarily for getting meat and defensive situations, and the above will do fine. Even urban areas tend to be full of pigeons, rabbits and squirrels, so its important not to discount the utility of hunting weapons. I`m not a huge fan of AR variants, as the 5.56 x 45 mm is not that useful in the woods, and any situation in which you are alone and need to engage in an extended fire fight necessitating multiple 30 round clips is probably going to end badly for you.

    • 6

      1. AR-15

      2. 9 mm pistol

      3. 12 ga shotgun

      I agree with M Tajbakhsh that the “Shotguns can do just about anything you need them to out to 100 yards due to the versatility of different cartridges.” I live in the PNW, the only shot that I could make more that 100 yards would be down a straight road.

    • 8

      We are simple people with limited resources for Prepping.  I offer my thoughts as they fit our needs and don’t profess to know all the answers for others.  Even after 22-years in the military a lot of firearms has never been our objective, but. . . .

      1 & 2.  Sig M17 with shoulder holster with two mag pockets and a Kel-Tec P11 with Sticky Holster for concealed carry.  We plan on defensive operations only.  Pistols are our primary weapon.  9mm ammo is inexpensive and as such,  we own a LOT of it.  Also a pistol is not obvious to the casual observer or ‘opportunist.’  If someone sees us without a weapon hanging off our shoulder, before we see them, we might appear to be an easy ‘objective.’  But a little surprise awaits anyone who would consider us so carelessly.

      3.  Marlin .22 rifle.  Quiet, small and useful for hunting small game and waterfowl.  There may come a time when we DON’T want to notify everyone in the area we found game.  Shoot as quietly as possible, fetch and return home.  The rifle is lightweight, concealable and promoted by experts as, “. . .boringly dependable. . . .”

      We don’t plan to buy another long rifle or an AR unless an AR16 becomes available.  No long range shooting in our surroundings unless we see a deer on the road.  We’re designed around a defensive posture in our brick home and surrounding woods with limited visibility.  Easier to shoot around corners while keeping most of our body behind walls.  Only one hand exposed. . . .  I expect we’ll pick up an AR for free if someone foolishly believes we’re an easy opportunity or enters our home without due diligence.

      NOTE:  After so many years, I find that I’m tired of cleaning a lot of multi-calibre firearms routinely – even though we didn’t fire them.  We concentrated our arms to 9mms and .22 cal.  The Marlin was purchased new for small game, never fired and vacuum sealed (using our FoodSaver) with its manual, cleaning kit and desiccant for the future.  The Marlin Factory thought that was pretty clever.  We vac seal the ammo too, but just enough air is removed to ensure the ammo is sealed watertight.  Too much vacuum sealing may remove oxygen from the shell casing over time and cause misfires, in our experience.  We did the same with other Sigs.

    • 6

      I think it’s about your situation and hazards. I like these three, because I can hunt with two and conceal the third.

      1 – Pump action shotgun for the stupid bear that decides to break into the house early in the morning. Also, turkey, goose. Unlike John, I also like it for home defense because the sound of chambering a round gets people’s attention and the gross motor skill of rack and aim in the general direction is something that can be done under extreme stress.

      2 – I like my moose rifle (Winchester + Leupold glass), my husband prefers his M1 – both are 30.06.

      3 – Full-sized semi-automatic pistol, 9mm. It’s my every day CCW. I don’t like compacts.

      • 6

        Regarding #3: How does one conceal a full-sized semi-auto pistol if one is not a very large person? (I did not ask how *you* conceal, as it is not my business, but more of a general question.) I am assuming not trying to conceal in a skimpy outfit but just “typical street clothes.”

      • 5

        Depends: are you a woman or man.  If a man, it can ride high and close, with an untucked shirt over it, is one way.  Maybe a full size weapon is not for you, or, maybe a midsize.

        If a woman, I understand that the are bra holsters.  either sex might consider a belly band.

      • 3

        I can only answer with what works for me. I found that a lot of regular holsters did not provide protection to my body from the top of the weapon (or for the weapon from my body sweat/oils). A standard IWB holster on jeans left me with terrible gouge marks even through a tank top.

        I wear a belly band and carry a smidge higher than my pants waistband but at my appendix – this works with my personal curves. If I am wearing work clothes (pencil skirt, cardigan) then I carry very high and center so my breasts provide cover. My third and least favorite option is putting it in my purse or bag. I have a dedicated pocket when I have to do that. I off-body carry when I am out fishing, which seems silly but my fishing clothes are super lightweight and I have a crossbody bag (a Maxpedition versapack) that I found at a thrift shop and it is the very best fishing bag.

    • 7
      1. 9mm Handgun
      2. 20ga Shotgun
      3. .223 Rifle
    • 9

      Glock 35

      M1A SOCOM 16 (wood)

      10/22 Takedown

    • 7

      For me, it’s the following, in order:

      1. High-capacity striker-fired semi-auto pistol in 9mm and an RDS or holographic sight
      2. AR-15 in 5.56, with a low-power magnified optic of some kind
      3. 12 gauge pump action shotgun (Remington 970 or Mossberg 590), with peep sights

      If I could add a fourth, it would definitely be some flavor of .22LR. The reason I don’t include it in a top 3 list is that I estimate my odds of a defensive gun use are way higher than my odds of having to live on squirrel or rabbit. So I’d prioritize defensive guns that I can hunt with.

      I also specify the optic in the list above, because that’s hugely important.

      • 5

        Ah! You answered my nagging question about why people are including .22 rifles! To me being able to shoot rabbit or squirrels is a waste of ammo when you can snare or trap. I live in an area that is just covered in snowshoe hare (who are most active at night) and turkey. I don’t want to shoot them when I can snare them much easier and quietly.

        I want a rifle for moose and bear, so that means I either have 2 (ugh) or I trap small game and shoot larger game. It’s a different skill set – for sure – for a different region and likely circumstances. 

    • 7

      Need to consider reliability, availability of parts and ammo, and use. Also depends on what you mean by “preparedness”.  If it means prepping for anything and everything, not sure there are just 3.  To decide which firearms, it would be helpful to know how many likely in your group. More people would expand your options somewhat.

      To me the starter is a reliable .22 rifle.  I have several 10/22s.  If just one .22 rifle it would probably be a Marlin lever action or Remington pump.  Can shoot short, long or long rifle, and not near as finnicky as a semi auto.

      An AR in 5.56 is a close to medium range weapon. Readily available parts and ammo.  Also shoots .223 rem but not other way.

      3rd choice to me is sort of a very personal choice.  I’d probably go with a reliable 9mm handgun. Sig, Ruger, Walther, Glock, are just a few. Go to local gun store and see what is comfortable to you.  Try to rent a similar model at a range and see how it shoots for you. Make selection accordingly.  I am told that there is a saying that a handgun is used to fight your way to your rifle.  Also takes more practice to become proficient.

      Just my $0.02 worth

      • 5

        You’re definitely right about the “anything and everything” conditions that kinda make it hard to dictate what’s appropriate. 👍

    • 6

      1.   A 22 rifle that shoots 22 and 410 and is the breakdown survival kind.  

      2.   45 acp for protecion.

      3.   On this one I am torned between having a compound bow or cross bow versus a 30.06

       Very rarly will you get a shot in the woods more that 50 yards without hitting a tree. Pluse what do you do when you run out of ammo. Arrows can be retrieved. Ar 15 which I have one to me is for a fire fight. In a survival mode for that to arise would be to rare to invest and the ammo you would need for it. Even if you reload eventually you will run out of powder, lead, and other item needed.  30.06 is a caliber that is in every store. But it is a hunting caliber and Im not planning on becoming a sniper. 

      22 rile ammo is the cheapest to get and amass.  It will bring down a deer, and small game. Just have to able to hit your target. 

      45 acp, will put you down, period.  Any bullet can put you down if its in the right place. I find the 45 acp a stopper. If I am using a gun in my hands its not play time and my life is in danger. I would not be out to just injury someone but to stop them from killing me. 

      Shot guns are great for short distances, but not for survival  long term. If shoot an amimal with will there be anything left over to eat. Deer, Pigs, and rabbits. One thing that is not mention here at all is snares. I have a hundred snares capitable of caputuring deer, pigs and rabbits. Great survival tool to have. The last forever. Easy to put together. 

      • 3

        never used a snare before but i like the idea a lot. is there one you’d recommend or do you make your own?

      • 4

        I have looked into those two options. I concluded that buying a kit limits you to amount of snare you can make. For 100 $ you can make 100 5ft snares. The snare shop is the web site I purchased. Therefore 100 snares equals a dollar a piece. Let’s face it having 5 or ten snares will not give enough of chance to get a caputure. The kit I bought was aimed at small game but will even hold a deer or hog. The kit package of I bought cam with one snare set up for you to copy. Heads up on one thing I had to buy a piece of steel to use to pound with 2 lb hammer steel nuts. If you pound on cement it will crack. There are many components to a snare but they are all included in the package and I put all the snares in a 5 gallon bucket for storage. 

      • 5

        Three guns!!!

        I guess for my place and skill set I would go with my Winchester 94 trapper in 357mag, a Ruger 357 mag revolver and a Ruger 10-22. If I could add another it would be my Mossberg 500 with a slug barrel and a regular barrel with adjustable chokes.

        Where I live about the biggest animals to hunt are white tail deer and hogs and in the heavy forest here you will get most shots at ranges that a 357 rifle can handle.

        I like the old school idea of having a rifle and handgun in the same caliber. With a few supplies, I can reload my ammo and not have to carry as much. A Lee loader, a bullet mold and sizer, a coupe thousand primers, and a couple of pounds of Unique powder can keep me in ammo for a long time. I can cast bullets from wheel weights.

        The 12 ga shotgun is so handy and a great stopper for defense but the ammo weighs too much if I am on the move.It is for sure a bad trade-off shooting small game with a 12 gauge. I can kill more birds with a pellet rifle or 22 that you will ever get with a shotgun. You have heard the expression about sitting ducks? There is a reason it more or less means helpless and vulnerable.

        I am not going to hunt if things get messed up. Hunting is a sport with too many rules. I will harvest game using techniques that are very illegal now but will make the harvest of game more of a sure thing than sport hunting can ever be. That is why I passed on the high powered rifle. If I am on the move it would be a waste to kill a deer. When I start to harvest deer I will already have a smokehouse built and ready.

        The choice of guns is very much dependent on where you live and what your skill set is. I have no bears or mountain lions to worry about. We also have no real winter here. There is no day in a year when the temperature stays below freezing and no day when it couldn’t get hot. I have gone swimming in the first week of the new year before and it was nice. Anything that i can’t eat or cure in a day will probably start to rot. that means that I will be killing a lot more small animals than deer. We don’t even have very big deer here. I will snare them more than shoot them anyway and then dispatch them with a spear.

        I have no use for an AR or AK. i will instead be sneaky and if I ever need one…well there will be a lot of people wandering around with them and acting like just having it makes them safe. I will do everything in my power to avoid shoot outs. Any wound other than a superficial flesh wound will probably get infected and kill you. No, No No I’m not going to be GI Joe. 

        Guns are tools and first you need to think hard and decide what you want to do and then pick the tools that allow you to do that. If you plan on spending a lot of time attacking people or being attacked by people them maybe assault weapons have a place. The thing to remember is that the old saying (If you live by the sword, you will die by the sword!” is not just a silly old saying. If a gun makes you feel safe and bad to the bone it will get you killed. There are always a lot more rabbits in the world than there are wolves.

    • 6

      As far of the question goes, I think people need to consider the most realistic scenarios and not imagine a situation akin to The Road. Accordingly, a 12 gauge shotgun and 9mm handgun would cover about 98 percent of the reasonable uses for self defense for most people in suburban or urban areas. An AR-style rifle might be swapped for the 12 gauge in a rural area. A scoped bolt-action rifle would be handy for hunting, but really, it is highly unlikely that you’re going to be walking down Interstate 70 with your worldly belongings in a shopping cart, shooting deer for sustenance (at least I won’t; I’ll be dead long before that).

      Bottom line: pick something realistic and practice with it. Hardware doesn’t matter nearly as much as software.

    • 5

      1. Glock 19 (or 17)

      2. AK-47 (or AR15)

      3. Bolt action .308

    • 5

      Hard to say without knowing what the specifics are, because base assumptions matter. Here are my assumptions: it’s a basic kit that’s designed to take advantage of regular available ammunition, and be accessible to the maximum number of people in your group. 

      The rules of engagement are going to be roughly what they are now. You can’t shoot anyone who isn’t an imminent threat to you. Using the 80/20 rule we are prepping for a temporary or non-complete collapse. Shooting someone at 500 yards is likely to be murder. You are trying to break action with an attacker, not definitively subdue a perpetrator or enemy combatant. Crimes of opportunity are the major threat.

      This is for an urban or suburban environment. Most people live there. Rural dwellers already have more guns. 

      Since you’re asking, you aren’t a gun person. If you were, you wouldn’t need this list (or if OP was just asking so the advice would be out there, then this is a generic “you”).

      1. .357 revolver with a 4″ barrel. As long as it’s from a reputable brand (including the major budget brands) any are fine. A .357 shoots .38 Special, which increases available ammo selection. 38 is soft shooting for novices, and .357 will stop anything short of a Bear (not sure why that autocorrected to capital “B,” but I like it!). Simple manual of arms (fancy way of saying the operation of the weapon) that anyone understands. Given the rules of engagemet, six rounds is enough (80/20 rule). Can be concealed on your person if you need to bring a firearm with you. The one to get for maximum flexibility of response.

      2. 5.56 NATO-chambered semi-auto rifle. This means AR-15, Mini-14, SU-16, or other. Major brand, and it will be fine. Best combination of effectiveness, capacity, availability and usability.  If you were sure you would only be in your house, and you were confident you weren’t leaving, this would be the one to get. But in the most likely scenarios, you can’t walk around with a rifle strapped to your back. It’s easier to shoot accurately than a handgun and any available carbine will be handy enough indoors. Not being enough to hunt medium and large game, but that doesn’t matter. You’re in the city. 

      3. Break-action 12-gauge shotgun. Either over/under or side by side. Not good for bugging out, but 12 gauge is the definitive stopping round at close range. A SxS has nearly the simplest manual of arms you can get (only a single shot is simpler), it’s tremendously reliable. Short versions are available (called “coach guns”) but because the action is so short (the mechanism that feeds the rounds into the chambers), even longer guns aren’t too unwieldy. The one to get for the balance of simplicity with effectiveness. 

      Honorable mentions. You could swap these out for their analog above.

      Any striker-fired 9mm. Frim High Point to FN and anything in between.  Not as intuitive or versatile as the revolver but close. 

      .22 semi-auto rifle. Any major brand. Easiest to shoot accurately for literally anyone. Cheapest, cheapest ammo, smallest lightest ammo. Not super effective but nobody wants to get shot with one.

      Pump-action 12-gauge shotgun. Most people’s choice over a break action. Has better capacity but can malfunction if someone is unfamiliar with it. 

    • 6

      I like that someone mentioned a bow and arrows, trapping instead of shooting, and using a .22lr because its quieter.   Let me mix it up some more by adding an old school slingshot.  A small handheld compound pistol bow with steel cable good for about 1000 shots.  Air rifles in .22 or .25 calibre for (break barrel or built in pump action) for the quietest kill and reduced ammo weight when going for small game.  

      Strictly guns, as a 20 years straight non-violent non-heinous felon, I am going with the Huben K1 .25 calibre 17 shot semi-auto air rifle at 100+ fpe for small game / self defense.  .45 calibre black powder new model army cap and ball revolver for up close self defense.  And a .357 benjamin bulldog bullpup air rifle at about 200 fpe for larger game.  Though you could switch out the last one for the Hatsan .50 caliber Piledriver pcp air rifle for 800+ fpe and enough stopping power for anything short of a bear in the U.S..

      • 2

        Question?   With out getting int the hundreds of dollar for a pellet gun. What would you recommend for longevity.

      • 3

        Seaech Pyramydair.com (two y’s) Hatsan brand pcp air guns listed low price to high.  If you aren’t going 220.00 on a .30 cal breakbarrel then factor in another 49 dollars for a 4500 psi hand pump off of ebay.  The breakbarrel .30 is around 24 fpe.   The cheapest Hatsan runs about 120.00 but will only put out about 17 to 20 fpe in .22 cal.  If you can go up to 350.00 you’d get the Hatsan flashpup in .25 cal that puts out a more respectable 37 fpe.   I would save your money and skip to that if at all possible as it is a much more useful tool on range, accuracy, and stopping power for small game.  Unfortunately, precharged pneumatic air rifles generally cost more than their powder burning counterparts. But I know of people that would actually prefer that flashpup to a .22lr powder burner in a shtf scenario because it would still put food over the fire with half the noise. 

      • 5

        I’ve got a .22 Benjamin variable pump that’s still working perfectly 40 years after I got it as a kid.  Never done anything to it besides a little lubrication.  It just works and they’re still making them.

        Can’t say that about my Benjamin Marauder.  Already had to replace all the seals on it 5 years after I got it.  Probably needs them again, by now.

    • 4

      HI. I’m 67, and enjoy the outdoors. I learned basic camping, hunting, fishing, and archery from my late husband. Both my daughters know these, and shoot as well.  

      I have a small Jack Russell Terrier that hunts and returns rabbits, squirrels, and snakes (if it is poisonous, she’ll stay away). I have also, a Pitbull Terrier that serves as protection for me, and for companionship. I know what mushrooms to eat, and can start a fire in bad weather when outdoors. I prefer silent hunting with my longbow and broad heads. I do like Ruger handguns, too. I can throw an axe, and knife well.  I’m just not too good a cook. Oh well… 😏.

       Nobody’s perfect.

      • 5

        Your the kind of person I like to go hunting with.

      • 5


    • 2

      When I consider firearms and prepping, my main concern is noise.  I live way out in the country in rural north Mississippi, so defending my farm from hordes of strangers is not my main concern.  Don’t get me wrong, I have the weapons and ammo for a firefight if needed.  I feel it is critical to stay as stealthy as possible and not attract attention.  That is why all my go to weapons have suppressors and are more for close in use than trying to be a long range sniper.   I’m too old for that type shooting.

      1) AR chambered in 300 Blackout, SBR and with Saker 762 suppressor.  I love this gun for close in home security.  Shooting subsonic ammo, it is rather quiet and has great knockdown ability.

      2) My 9mm Sig P226 with Octane 9 suppressor.  Granted, I find a suppressor on any handgun too long, too heavy & too unbalanced, I feel there are times it might be warranted.  IMO, 9mm using the proper modern ammo has plenty of knockdown.

      3) CZ 455 Varmint in 22LR with 22 Sparrow suppressor.  Now this gun is super accurate within 100 yards and whisper quiet.  Sounds like a pellet gun when shot.  As others have stated, I feel 22LR is important to keep for no other reason than the ammo is so cheap and that allows me to stock large quantities of ammo.  This gun can easily take down small game and could certainly be used to persuade intruders to get away.

    • 3
      1. A concealable semiauto pistol in a common caliber (any reputable brand of combat tupperware)
      2. A semi auto rifle in a common caliber (i.e. AR15, ruger mini-14, etc)
      3. Instead of a third firearm, buying ammo and training for #1 and #2
    • 4

      So I live in the northeast, and my house is in woodland, just outside a small city.  So I am not dealing with urban situations, nor am I dealing with wide open fields.  Even the roads are winding, so long range shots are not needed.  In that light my loadout is:

      1: cc weapon, m&p shield.  The reason for this one is it is small, and easy for me to deal with.  I am not a very large guy, so something smaller means I am more likely to have it around.

      2: G19.  This is the home defense pistol, setup with a light.  Easier to shoot, has a light all that jazz.  Also I can hand it to my wife (Ideally she would get her own favorite) but being able to put something in everyones hands matters. 

      3: mossberg 930 12ga semi auto.  With the distances around me this will do it all.  Rifled slug for further out, buckshot closer in, and then various loads for hunting.  The reason for semi auto vs pump for me is that the felt recoil is lower, so I will actually train hard with this gun.  Also for defense it can let a lot of lead fly very quickly.  As far as reliability modern semi auto is pretty darn reliable, and if it doesn’t cycle you cycle the action like on a rifle.  

      bonus: 22 air rifle.  I can easily (and cheaply) train with this every day, good for small game.  

      Obviously having a 22 pistol and rifle would be great additions for getting lots of training in, but not really core in my view.  Also for food I do agree that there are other tools that are even more important, such as fishing gear, snares, and archery.  

      • 5

        Thumbs up on snares/traps.  I only recommend you switch the .22 air rifle up to a .25 calibre Hatsan flashpup air rifle for about 350.00. It’s going to give u much greater accuracy at about twice the effective range and take you from maybe 17 to 20 fpe up to around 37 fpe… big enough for maybe fox and coyote.  There’s also a .30 calibre break barrel… but it’s got quite a bit of drop and only goes up to maybe 24 fpe.

    • 3

      I am trying to buy a Glock19 as my first gun and it’s out of stock everywhere I’ve looked. Any suggestions? Thanks.

      • 3

        I have had a lot of great luck with gunbroker.com. As long as the seller is highly rated, you can usually buy with confidence. I’ve bought a number of guns on there and been happy with every one.

      • 3

        Great choice! Make sure the seller actually has one for sale. Call BMC Tactical in Albuquerque and see if they have one, or if you can get on a waiting list. 

      • 4

        A Glock 19 is an excellent first gun.  A Sig Sauer P320 RXP Compact would be a very similar model to look at, I’d also recomend the Beretta 92X Compact. I’m assuming you’re in the market for a compact, but if not Glock 17 would be one to look at, or full size versions of any of the guns I’ve mentioned.

        Personally I’d advise towards the Berettas.  They are excellent guns and have many built-in safety features that the Glocks and other striker fire pistols lack.  But you really can’t go wrong with a Glock, Beretta, or Sig Sauer, they are all great brands.  

      • 2

        Hi Clare. I was at BMC Tactical this evening. They had a few Glock 19, Glock 19x and Glock 45 models (9mm) available. They will ship to your local FFL. 

    • 6

      If I was only limited to three I’d say a 9mm pistol, a twelve gauge shotgun and an AR likely the 223/556.  There’s a lot to be said for consolidation of ammo so a 9mm carbine is a good compliment to the 9mm pistol.  I also think an AR in 22 cal is wise both for protection and hunting.  There are so many options and opinions that there is not best choice, except the one you feel is best fit for you.

      • 6

        I think your location plays a big part in the decision.  No bears, moose or elk here in the MidWest so I really don’t need a large caliber.  My top three:

        1. I have a Remington 870 with three barrels.  A 28″ with RemChoke and 3 different chokes.  A rifled slug barrel and an 18 1/2″ home defense barrel.

        2.  A semi auto handgun with a fairly large capacity.  Brand and caliber is a matter of personal choice.

        3.  AR15.   Mine has a 22″ barrel and is scoped for predators.  The scope can be easily removed and a tactical optic added fairly quickly.  

        3.1   .22 rifle     Small game hunting.  Cheap to shoot and ammo is usually easy to find. 

      • 2

        Great suggestions! And I didn’t know that the Remington 870 had different barrels you could put on. How fast is it to swap out barrels? Do you have all of the barrels and the gun in a hard case? How do you store it?

      • 5

        1-2 minutes to swap barrels.   I keep the home defense barrel on it and the others in the safe. 

      • 4

        That’s super cool, i’m going to have to look into that now.

    • 6

      I’m going to clarify my earlier response. My choices are based on maximizing accessibility and convenience.

      1). 9mm for personal defense and EDC CCW. I know a lot of people don’t go for the whole 9mm -thing and will support whatever caliber they shoot. But consider this, in a SHTF situation, there’s likely to be more 9mm pistols and rounds floating around than some other calibers. So, if you need to barter, trade, or scavenge, your chances of getting 9mm are going to be slightly higher than those of other calibers.

      2). 5.56 NATO chambered AR-15. I have a 5.56[mm] AR and am fortunate enough that my particular chamber shoots both 5.56 AND .223 rounds. This means that (again, in a SHTF situation), I can utilize both 5.56 and .223 ammo. If you have an AR that cannot (and should not) take a 5.56 round and safely deliver it, then you’re technically limited to .223 and thus have hindered your ability to trade/barter/scrounge rounds.

      3). 12ga shotgun. In general, we’ve chosen this for inter-operability. If one of us is low on ammo, the others can cover. It has decent stopping power at closer ranges. Decent and flexible for defense (00 or slug) or for hunting with birdshot.

      • 5

        I agree with you Matt Black, I think those three are the most common and easily accessible calibers in each form factor and are smart choices for most preppers. 

        I’m not too familiar with AR’s though. I’d sure love to own and prep with one someday, but cost is the main thing holding me back from getting one, I need to cover other preps like food storage and buy a house first.

        Can you explain the 5.56 and .223 in the same rifle? I’ve heard what you are talking about before, but have forgotten they why behind. Is one a hotter round than the other? 

        Do you just need a barrel that can handle both? or are there multiple parts that are needed to be upgraded to handle both?

      • 5

        The 556/223 is a nice thing if you can do it safely and reliably. A 5.56 round is .125in longer than the .223 and that allows it to hold 1gr additional powder. Not a ton, but it amounts to a difference of roughly 10,000 psi  additional from the 5.56 upon firing. Too much pressure and your weapon maybe unhappy (if not immediately, increased stress over time) – too little pressure and the mechanism may not cycle correctly. As a safety nerd, I would feel better about putting a .223 in a weapon designed for a 5.56 rather than the other way around. Definitely something that comes down to knowing your weapon and what it can truly do/handle.

    • 5
      1. Glock 19 or 19x (concealable, common caliber)
      2. AR-15 in .223 Wylde (16″ barrel for versatility)
      3. .22LR rifle with threaded barrel and suppressor (hunting or stealth use)
      • 5

        Excellent choices. 

    • 4

      First, let me apologize to everyone who put a great deal of thought into this question.  My earlier answer was, well a weee bit witless (being kind to myself). . . .  I have learned a great deal from everyone’s postings and you all have my heart felt thanks!

      So I have revamped my selection.  I’m still in the defensive role but have cultivated a much more useful firearm portfolio for my location.  As such, in addition to my SIG M17, I have purchased the Beretta 1301 Tactical for home defense and a .22 Marlin for small game.

      1.  Regarding the .22 Marlin:  I’m in the middle of nowhere unless it’s hunting season and we’re bumper to bumper pickup trucks, hunters every few feet and dogs aplenty!  As such, I believe larger game will be dispatched quickly should food become scarce.  I figure there will be more varmints and migratory fowl remaining in my area.  The .22 report might not attract too much attention either and avoid alerting others that ‘chow is served.’  Rounds are cheap and I’ve plenty.  I’m no hunter, and I’m not overly enthusiastic about cleaning firearms that I don’t regularly use so I wrote to Marlin about longterm storage.  As such, and with their blessing, I have not fired the weapon, leaving it in its factory lubrication, vacuumed sealed with desiccants, instruction manual and a small amount of cleaning supplies (see pic).  I vacuum seal everything now a days.  I waterproof-seal ammo with desiccants but NEVER vacuum sealed.  I’ve heard that the vacuum sealing process might remove sufficient oxygen causing a misfire.  Can anyone confirm this?

      2.  The Beretta 1301 Tactical is a fine firearm.  FYI:  I’m a little bummed that Beretta does not have a functional manual for the model.  All the digital illustrations are missing past page 7.  The information on the Beretta website is ooooollllllllddddddd!  I got in a ‘heated discussion’ with my retailer regarding Tactical vs Competition.  I told them ‘this’ Tactical had a choke and only the Competition came with a choke.  I showed him the Beretta websites that confirmed this!  . . .well, once again I’m eating crow.  The factory confirmed that I own a 2d generation 1301.  Although all the Beretta website information indicates Tactical = smooth bore & Competitions = chokes, my 1301 2d generation Tactical and all newer 1301s now come with chokes.  Only the police and military are afforded a true Tactical without a choke.  It’s taken a bit of a pairing of two older manuals and forum comments to finally become fully familiar with this fine shotgun.  All things aside, I LOVE this shotgun!  Light weight, easy to maneuver in the home and heck, I’m glad it has a choke.  My wife would have a fit if I were shooting slugs in the house anyway.  . . .oh, and dead accurate with GREAT sights!

      3.  The SIG M17.  9mm ammo easy to come by and cheap.  I think everyone should have a sidearm.

      Any, thanks again EVERYONE for the insight and thoughtful postings.  I’m a better person for it.Vaced Marlin1301

    • 3

      22 LR Ruger 10/22 TDR,  Mossberg 12 gauge stainless pump action. Ruger bearcat 22LR revolver.