A Prioritized Top 5 List of the Best Guns For Any Survival Situation

Some people have the money or resources to have an entire arsenal locked up in their gun safe.  Many others don’t have that same luxury.  We’ve gone ahead and listed out in priority how we feel you should start your collection based on practicality and budget if you are somewhat new to the firearms scene.

While all of what we have listed below should become part of any person’s collection, we will give you our approach on how you should build your collection (even if on a budget) and why.  Let’s jump in to our Top 5 list of the guns we recommend and why.

Survival Guns

We will also say that you could easily swap out #1 and #3 depending on your survival strategy, but for our purposes we plan on choosing what is the most economical first in order of budget if we were just building our firearms collection from scratch.

Again, these are placed in order of priority from our opinion so you can feel free to disagree, but it’s how we would build our own arsenal if we were starting from scratch.

1.  The Rimfire Rifle:  A Must Have

A rimfire rifle is an absolute must.  We’ve already covered what we feel are the best .22 rifles on the market in previous articles, and there are plenty of other rimfire rifle options to choose from.

We aren’t going to get into the ballistic differences of rimfire versus centerfire but we will tell you generally speaking rimfire ammunition is generally cheaper and more available depending on the caliber of gun you choose.


While there are plenty of choices to pick from, we feel that the .22 rifle, especially the Ruger 10/22 is one of the best choices you can make for a rimfire rifle.  You can usually find a brand new Ruger 10/22 for under 300.00 at any major retailer and .22 LR ammunition is extremely cheap if you live in an area where you can find it.

If we had only one gun to pick during any survival situation, the .22 rifle would be our absolute first choice as a go to weapon.

2.  The Semi-Auto Defensive Handgun:  Trust Your Sidearm

Let’s start off by saying we really aren’t going to dive too deep into the caliber arguments here.  The bottom line is that you need to test the caliber choices out there to find what’s right for you.  With that being said, owning a handgun for defensive purposes is an absolute must.

You want something that has enough stopping power to protect yourself and your family in a survival situation so we’d lean more towards a 9mm due to the larger magazine capacity over some of the other calibers.



The Glock 17 or Glock 19 are great economical buys in the 9mm Caliber and we’d recommend the CZ-SP -01 if you can afford to shell out 650.00 for a more expensive option that has a full metal frame.

You can find 40 caliber handguns with high capacity magazines, but there are several 9mm options that offer 30 round magazines in the states where it is legal to own.  30 round mags may not be entirely practical for everyone, but they are loads of fun to shoot and will serve well in a survival situation.

We’d also recommend you don’t overlook owning a .22 caliber handgun, especially if you are making the .22 rimfire rifle your first choice of firearm because the ammunition will be used in both guns making it extremely convenient in any survival situation.

3.  The Combat Rifle:  Great for Any Situation

The case could be made for a defensive handgun and a combat rifle to be exchanged here between our rankings at #1, #2 and #3.  If you already own a well equipped combat rifle like an AR-15, then you can easily swap this out in the number 1 slot and look at a defensive handgun next.

There are absolutely tons of choices here and the most economical and available guns will probably be the AR-15 with a .223 Caliber Round.  The AR-15 is a more expensive option than the .22 rimfire rifle which is why we don’t have this ranked higher on our list.


If you have the cash, you could easily make the argument that either an AR-15, AR-10 or AK-47 in this category.

We’d recommend looking at a .308 caliber AR-10 due to the fact it can be used in taking down larger game and can serve a dual purpose between hunting and survival.

4.  The Shotgun:  Great for Home Defense

The shotgun is a great gun for home defense.  Simply cycling your shotgun can send most intruders running for the hills.  It’s an integral part of every firearms collection but we’d never prioritize a shotgun over a good rifle if you are just starting your collection.

Some people might make the case that a shotgun is a good choice over a handgun, but from a survival perspective, you want to be able to actually carry your gun with you.  If you already own a rifle, you’d be strapping a rifle to your back while carrying a shotgun.


From our perspective, you should be carrying your rifle and a shotgun should only be used for close quarters unless it’s a hunting model.

A shotgun is a great gun to have and it may be the top choice for HOME DEFENSE, but it is not the first gun we’d pick in a go-to survival situation unless it was specifically built for survival.

5.  Surplus Guns:  Great On A Budget

Surplus guns are essentially cheaper guns that might be used as a backup weapon.  Usually these are used and you can find pretty good deals on them depending on where you shop.  These could serve as a primary weapon if you are on a budget because there’s a lot of surplus out there on the market.

You can generally find cheap Chinese SKS rifles at a local used gun store and if you don’t mind going the Russian route, there’s always the option of building a pretty well equipped Mosin Nagant rifle as well which can be great for any budget.


rifle 7.62 ammo munition

We’d prioritize other rifles over this category but these are definitely an option if you are on a tight budget and can’t afford to prioritize with a combat rifle after you’ve purchased your first rimfire rifle.

M1’s are more expensive and less available but they are also an option here.

Wrap Up & Thoughts:

While these are just the opinions of a couple of guys, you could argue that all of these guns should be in your arsenal.  While we’d definitely recommend you prioritize your shopping list according to our recommendations, if you have the cash go grab all of them because each and every gun will serve the intended purpose.

More than anything we recommend you go to a local gun range, shoot all different variations of guns safely and securely to find what works best for you.