What is the Ultimate SHTF Weapon?

By CTD Rob published on in Camping & Survival, Firearms

First, let me start with a disclaimer. I love the AR platform. I carried one in the military and it served me well. It put rounds downrange perfectly every single time. A well-maintained AR is without a doubt the ultimate combat weapon. Its accuracy and durability are legendary and it has proven itself in combat all over the world. Now that you know that I’m not some AR hating heretic, let’s move on to the issue.

Looters

You Loot We Shoot

We had a debate here in the CTD office recently. Let’s take a step into a world where you can only have one gun. Let’s say that western civilization fell and you only had room in your pack for one weapon. What would that gun be? To answer this question, we would have to come up with the most flexible, all-purpose firearm for every possible situation. There are many schools of thought on the subject, but for my money, the pump 12 gauge shotgun is the best all around, one gun to rule them all butt-kicking, hole-punching piece of hardware a person can own. Many people in the office chose the AR-15. While I have absolutely nothing against the AR platform, I still would rather have a shotgun if I could only have one gun. I know it sounds blasphemous, but bear with me here. Let me explain some of the reason why I think that a shotgun is better for this scenario.

Food

Mossberg 500 Special Purpose

Mossberg 500 Special Purpose

In a post apocalyptic society, food is sure to be a scarce commodity. I like to eat. I’m a good size guy and I love steak. I grew up hunting and I’m pretty good at it. Whenever I go out to the family ranch to hunt deer with my rifle, I always throw my shotgun in the truck too, just in case. Being an avid hunter, I’ve learned that often times it is easier to kill small game for food rather than bigger game, such as deer. A dove flying overhead is a much more likely breakfast than a large buck crossing your path. Hitting a flying dove with an AR-15 is just a bit above my skill level. I might be able to score a hit occasionally, but I wouldn’t bet my food supply on it. Have you ever seen what a .223 Remington does to a squirrel? Unless you are good enough to get a head shot every time, then you can bet there won’t be much meat left on the little guy. You might end up with cream of critter instead of a tasty meal. Oh and yes, I occasionally eat squirrel, but only fried. Therefore, in my most humble opinion, a shotgun is a far more versatile hunting weapon than an AR-15, while I agree that you can indeed hunt with an AR, I feel that in a post apocalyptic society, you are far more likely to encounter smaller critters to eat, rather than larger ones.

Flexibility

The shotgun can fire just about any type of ammunition imaginable. About the only thing a shotgun can’t do is engage a target outside of 100 yards. Oh wait, yes it can, all you need is a rifled barrel, which takes a whole 20 seconds to change out, some sabot rounds, and you have yourself an effective firearm that can hit and kill targets well outside of 100 yards. Therefore, that less than common deer that you may run into is no problem for your trusty little shotgun. Inside of 100 yards, no barrel change is necessary, as a slug can bring down most large wild game, including deer with about a three-inch group, depending on your gun. That is good enough.

Combat

Shotgun Shells

Shotgun Shell

Okay, here comes the tough part. I’m not sure how common person-to-person combat would be after western civilization falls, but I’m betting it would be more common than it is now. If you are trying to defend a small area such as an abandoned building or home, a shotgun is an excellent weapon. Engaging a target with one round of buckshot from a 12 gauge is like engaging it with several .38 special rounds simultaneously. The U.S. military has used shotguns in combat since the First World War, and with great effect. The German military tried to outlaw shotguns during WWI because they felt they caused undue harm to soldiers. Therefore, the freaking Germans think that a shotgun is too deadly to use in combat. That scores a few points in my book. I must, however, concede to the fact that I would not want to get into a sniper competition with some guy with an AR-type weapon. The AR has greater range and accuracy, and at very long distances, it is clearly a far more effective weapon. Most real combat however, takes place at very close range, where the shotgun really shines.

If our society were to collapse under its own stupidity, what type of weapon would you carry? If hordes of gun-toting assailants came to take your supplies away, would you go with the AR or the shotgun? Comment below and let us know!

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Comments (29)

  • Mirage

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    I disagree… A Shotgun is versatile weapon in some circumstances. But riddle me this shotgun lovers, why have armies all over the world been armed with RIFLES? Answer: It is a far better combat weapon than a shotgun can ever hope to be. Forget the shotgun as a primary SHTF weapon, unless you want to be dead. Your first choice MUST be a good rifle. One that you know hoe to use, clean and repair. A shotgun has some uses, but a reliable rifle should be your first choice.

    Reply

  • Ron

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    One of the largest brown bears ever killed in Canada back in the 1950’s was a head shot with a .22LR by a lady grouse hunter. Not a forehead shot, but behind the base of the ear side head shot. It’s all about shot placement, not “spray and pray that you hit something.”. If you buy 500 round bricks, you can shrink wrap them in lots of 100 with a vacuum sealer then store them in a 5 gal bucket with snap on o ring lid. I get buckets for free from grocery stores and restaurants. It will be easier to grab as many 100 packs as you can carry in a real bug out situation. Ammo will be water proof for crossing rivers. Plus .22LR ammo could be used for currency or barter/trade. Remember in shtf situations not everyone will turn into your enemy or a zombie. That is movie stuff. There will be a lot of good people out there also that you can barter or trade with. I like tube fed .22’s marlin mod 60 micro groove is pretty accurate, but so is an old remington bolt/tube fed model 35. The Spee-D-Loader is a good 120 round accessory for rapid reload on tube fed rifles. It’s faster than thumb busting clips. But I like Ruger 10/22’s also. I live in Colorado and an old trapper friend of mine told me if he had but one gun to take with him if he had to walk to Alaska would be a .22 mag rifle. Food for thought. Back in the 1930’s depression my dad, as a young lad, was sent out with his rifle and only a few .22 bullets to fetch supper. Town was too far away and besides nobody had any money to buy a 50 cent box of shells once you got there. Practice not to shoot the kitchen match in two, but perfect lighting it. Squeeze every round off as if it were your last. Learn to conserve your resources not waste them. Learn to sharpen your knife on any old rock. No disrespect for AR’s, AK’s and 12 gages as they are fine weapons. But if shtf, I can use my .22 rifle to capture any weapon I need to win the war with. Parting thought from a saying on a T shirt. “You can trust the Govt., just ask any indian.”

    Reply

  • Bigmag47

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    In reguards to DixieBulls comment about “picking them off” from a half a mile to a mile away…at that distance how do you know they`re even heading for your house? You may very well be killing someone who could be an ally. But back to the question- I love my Saiga .223 conversion with the sight, but for defending the home in undoubtably close range, front to back 25-35 yards at most, I`d have to stick with my 12 guage pump. It`s just amazing when you fire it! The power behind it feels awesome. Whatever you shoot at disappears! POW, that`s it, good night. Enough said.

    Reply

  • Jon

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    I have this discussion with some of my friends who also like to be prepared for “jic”. Many say the AR, but if I could carry only one firearm it would be my Mossberg 500 (however, this also has to due with the physical environment I live in which is dense woods with not much open terrain). Unfortunately you cant carry as much ammo and capacity is down, but for the same reasons you listed chances are myself and my family would be eating squirrel and bird far more often than deer and bear. Although, the way I see it I will always have at least 2 firearms due to carrying a side arm since its small, out of the way, and wont hinder my ability to pack or carry a long gun, and other necessities.

    Reply

  • Mirage

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    Sorry, I don’t agree. A shotgun is fine in an urban environment. So is the AR. However, if you can only have one weapon, I think it needs to be in .308. The ability to bring down a deer sized target is key. In open terrain, a shotgun is not too useful.

    I would prefer a G3/HK91 to any AR-15 platform. I’ll also take a Ruger Gunsite scout over any AR platform/shotgun as well. Once again, I’d prefer your solution in a city, but in a rural area, you may as well be unarmed.

    Reply

  • mario

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    Shotguns are by far one of the best weapons ever created the reliability on these weapons are incredible the power they possess the damage they will cause to any threat make them my weapon of choice

    Reply

  • Survivalist

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    A shotgun seems like a good plan – you can holed up in an apartment and protect a small are with it easily, and once everything blows over, you can get out quickly and survive in the wild. Food will be the primary issue after the preliminary chaos “settles” down a little. In addition, most things that a 12 gauge can’t do, a .22 rifle can – and a 10/22 TakeDown is so lightweight and easy to store you can just stuff one in your backpack and be ready to go. The only disadvantage I can see to shotguns are the size of the ammo – but you don’t need as many shells as you would rifle rounds, and you can compensate for the size of the ammo by carry a few compact bricks of .22 just to be safe.

    Reply

  • Totally Disgusted

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    If an AR’s .223 round obliterates a squirrel.
    What happens when you hit the small fry with a 12 gauge?

    Reply

  • Jake

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    AR all the way 1. more rounds 2. longer range 3. lighter round= more rounds I can carry 4. faster reload

    Reply

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