Just One Disaster Gun: What Would You Choose?

Some of the editors and contributors at NRA Publications made their choices, which included the Springfield Armory SOCOM 16 (Mark Keefe, American Rifleman); the SRM Arms Model 1216 12 gauge (Shawn Skipper, Assistant Online Editor); and the M134 Minigun (Ed Friedman, Shooting Illustrated). What would you choose? Let us know in the comments section below.

 —Cheaper Than Dirt! Chronicle Staff

Ed Friedman, a contributor for the NRA publication Shooting Illustrated, chose the M134 Minigun as his
Ed Friedman, a contributor for the NRA publication Shooting Illustrated, chose the M134 Minigun as his “just one gun.”
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (127)

  1. General Patton said it best ” M1 Garand was the grestest battle rifle made”. I agree to this date in the hands of a skilled user it still is.

  2. My m1 carbine with 30 round clips . Worked for me in the army ,still works for me now. Oh yea I have hunted with it for a long time. I’m 71 years old and haven’t missed yet.

  3. I want to be realistic and look only among the firearms that I actually own. I DO own the combination that the # 1 commenter has and I carry the Kimber Ultra Carry all day, every day. But, if it was and “end of days” kind of deal, my Remington 1100 would be a better all-around weapon. More versatile and more useful in diverse situations.

  4. My choice: Springfield M1A set up in duct taped magazines that allow you to reload 3 times before empty. the 308 sized Cartridge does enough damage both close and farther away. You want to engage the enemy atlonger distances so they can not get close enough to you to inflict damage on your position. I’m old school Army and you can keep those 5.56 rounds. unless your doing CQB. 7.62 Ammo is very easy to get just like the 5.56 crowd.Shotgun Idea is perfect for any body who doesn’t have experience in simple point and shoot weapon for 50 yards or less with #4 buck or #00 buck. Slugs? not recommended for point and shoot. Find a Hardware store and get tons of boxes with #8 1/2″ screws and you duct tape those boxes to sticks of dynomite for Fragmentation explosives.

  5. Like some I would definitely opt for a 12GA pump – specifically in my preference a Remington 870. I would want an extended mag tube, a side-saddle (or comparable contraption) for additional ammo, ghost sights and a strip of picatinny for a scope. Given the range of ammo available, prey of any kind – man or animal – would be at risk.

  6. I agree with some of the other post it depends on what kind of disaster, If its an invasion war type scenario then I would opt for a full auto AK-47, now if its a survival type than my Ruger 10/22 would fit the bill perfectly…but in any case you will have your choice of weapons, there will be plenty of them lying on the ground.

  7. If you didn’t choose an AK for your doomsday gun, then don’t forget to grab your cleaning kit and stick it in your backpack as you walk out the door…your gonna need it. And, for all of you who used the word “clips” instead of magazines, I stopped reading because you showed your lack of gun experience. To me, your opinion doesn’t count.

  8. End of world, one firearm, only one choice… 12 gauge pump. A 12 ga can be configured to be a defensive weapon, an offensive weapon, a slug gun, a scatter gun, fire modified munitions (dragons breath, flechettes, etc). Think about this also, like many have mentioned in regards to the awsome 22 rounds, how many duck, squirrel, goose, rabbit (the list goes on and on) hunters are there out there? Plenty of replacement stock for ammunition. The rounds are heavier, true, but look at the knock-down power and the ability to modify a round without specialized equipment.

    So, a Mossberg in marine cote with a slug barrel and a regular barrel would be my choice. 😉

  9. My one gun is an sks with a resin stock adjustable length stock, hand grip that doubles a short pod. 7.62×39 ammo cheap and available anywhere

  10. The type of disaster is critical to your weapon selection. In a home defense scenario I would chose my AK47 reliable accurate at self defense range great penetration will shoot through an 8 inch railroad tie, tree, car ,side of a house etc. weight of ammo is not a concern in this scenario. In my bug out location a scoped Remington 700 in 06 would be my choice the added range would be beneficial a 800-1000 yard perimeter could be maintained and plenty of knock down power and weight of ammo not a problem if holding a location. In a scenario where we are walking or even driving my M&P9 would be my choice ease of carry large 17 round mag and relatively light ammo make it very portable. if things got soo bad (say a pandemic that decimates the world population) that I’m wandering the wastelands of what was America I would scavenge switch to a ruger 10/22 small light carry lots of ammo good for hunting and OK for self defense. The biggest problem is there really isn’t a gun that is ideal in every situation. The second problem is the people reading this post would probably trade their youngest child for more guns and ammo and the though of only having 1 gun is just C-R-A-Z-Y talk…

  11. I would prefer something that is light and easy to conceal. Also, it should be something that can be easily used indoors. Most rifles are neither of these. My choice would be my new M&P Shield in 9mm. I would also have a backup using my SR1911 in .45 ACP. Between the two, I think that I would be prepared for anything in my immediate sphere since my primary concern is protecting my family and my property.

  12. Hmmm…. common ammo.
    I LOVE my Kimber .45 but for the end of the world—
    Berreta CX4 Storm with my aim point allows me to nail targets (game of course!) and 92SF (M9) for close defense. Both use common 9mm ammo and interchangeable clips – I use 147 grain rounds for standard load in most clips, but some 147 or 124 grain JHP rounds for defense from 2 legged varmits. Ammo is lighter them most, I carry 200+ rounds in clips (5x 30 round clips and 5x 15 round clips) and can throw in some boxes in the rucksack. 147 grain rounds will stop a mean man… and with the CX4 I can do it in the head every time at 100 yards.

  13. Hmmm…. common ammo.
    I LOVE my Kimber .45 but for the end of the world—
    Berreta CX4 Storm with my aim point allows me to nail targets (game of course!) and 92SF (M9). Both use common 9mm ammo and interchangeable clips – I use 147 grain rounds for standard load in most clips, but some 147 or 124 grain JHP rounds for defense from 2 legged varmits. Ammo is lighter them most, I carry 200+ rounds in clips (5x 30 round clips and 5x 15 round clips) and can throw in some boxes in the rucksack. 147 grain rounds will stop a mean man… and with the CX4 I can do it in the head every time at 100 yards.

  14. EASY choice – the AK-47 in 7.62×39. This would be my number ONE choice, if I had to choose only one rifle. If I could have a full set-up, I’d STILL choose the AK-47, but add a 12 gauge pump shotgun, a .22LR rifle, like the Ruger 10/22, and a 9mm or 40s&w semi-auto pistol. A bolt gun would probably come in handy too – the dirt cheap but still killer after all these years Mosin Nagant comes to mind here.

  15. My choice, as many others, would be a .22lr capable weapon due to the availability of ammunition even in a post apocalyptic world. Although in a natural disaster scenario you may not necessarily want to kill any one, I do remember the article a few months back which attested to the stopping power of a .22 and it was way better than I thought. I think my 7 yr. old sons Marlin model 60 with the Muzzelite Bullpup conversion is probably the most versatile weapon in our house.

  16. i love my 2 AK’s and converted saiga .308. but id take my BCM m4 all day and out of my 8 pistols it would have to be my hk usp compact. there is no way i could ever leave my others behind tho.

  17. I too essentially base my disaster planning on a natural disaster situation requiring defense of my home base for 4-6 weeks. My one gun would be a Mossberg 590. It is presnetly configured with a pistol grip, but when the situation arose, I can easily reinstal the shoulder stock. Living in a heavy hard-wood forest, my fields of fire are not beyond 75 yards max. and are easily covered by the shotgun. Got plenty of 00, slugs, and birdshot shells. Hope I never have to put my plans in action, but ready if I do.

  18. Mossberg 500 with rifled and shot barrel. The 24″ Rifled barrel will fit in my backpack plus the shotgun is military proven.

  19. If I were wanting to grab a weapon based on self defense, I would grab my Taurus-Judge 45lc/410 due to the versatility of ammo choices. I have tested the 3″ PDX rounds on a 350lb hog at 18′, with a broadside shot. Instant take-down and no organ without a hole in it. Yes, I did do an autopsy, while preparing the hog for the freezer

  20. 22 cal in ANY emergency. You can carry all the ammo you would ever need until you can take another weapon from anyone stupid enough to try to take what is yours.
    A 22 (my choice would be my Ruger 10/22 with extended clips or my Marlin semi-auto 22lr) is easy to carry, due to weight and if you ‘know’ your weapons, this is a perfect choice, due to all of the reasons, posted, above. Carry 500rds in a back-pack, with no problem, versus, 500rds of 12g buckshot. You can always get another larger caliber weapon, if the need and time to do so, arises

  21. Who’s to say that the gun you grab out of your gun safe when it comes time to get the hell outta dodge is the only gun you can ever pick up again? If it came to a situation where i needed to get out of my house and out of town I would grab my Remington 870 without giving any other gun a glance. I dont need to defend myself from the guy 500 yards away I need to defend myself from the guy 5 yards away. I think you would do much better to worry about short term survival first, because having a plan to stay alive in the apocolypse for years on end doesn’t do you any good if your’e shot dead walking out your front door. I can find a Ruger 10/22 a few weeks after the sh*t hits the fan when most everyone else is dead.
    Now if it were a situation like Katrina and Martial Law was declared, then i would certainly not want to be running around with a shotgun for everyone to see. I would grab my 1911 .45 and conceal it.

  22. 7.62×51 metric FAL. .308 can kill anything on North America. The ammo is also extremely common. The FAL is a proven battle rifle. The piston driven action provides better reliability even if cleaning isn’t option. Parts are easy to find, though mags are slightly expensive for the category.

    Only an M14 could compare to the FAL. With no M14’s around anymore only M1A is an option. With the FAL’s international availability and it’s lower cost almost any one can get one. If it weren’t for that lack of affordability and access by the “common man” the M14 would be number 1.

  23. Well I would prefer to have the pmr-30 bc it would have 30 rounds in the magazine so u don’t have to reload a lot! Also u an have tons of ammo to carry with you! 🙂 another gun would be the fn5.7 20 rounds comes with 4 magazines and it’s very reliable!!!!! Also this guns are polymer made so it’s pretty light to carry them!!! But any gun would have to do if u are in danger!!

  24. A good bolt action in .308 winchester, a M-1 carbine with a s___ load of ammo and last but not least of all a good .22 LR.

  25. My Armalite AR-10. It’s the perfect marriage of the best, most efficient cartridge in the world(.308 Winchester/7.62x51mm),and the best platform in the world.
    Of course if I were left with absolutely no way to maintain my weapon and still needed it to work no matter what. You would have to be retarded not to pick the AK-47. It’s been keeping the turds of the world Militarily relevent for decades.

  26. Ruger Mini-14 stainless steel, Eotech EXPS3-0, twelve 30 rnd mags (carried in 2 rigs), OTIS clean kit with extra patches, bottle CLP. spare batts for Eotech.
    Colt Defender IWB holster, IWB 2 mag carrier, 4 mags in each rig.
    Two CREE LED flashlights – one multimode, one low light – 2 spares sets batts for each.
    BTW ENELOOP batts have incredible shelf life, rechargeable.
    First aid kit (booboos+)
    Collapsed water container with purification tabs.
    Food 3days+eergency shelter.

  27. I would settle on an M-4 in a 308 configuration backed up by a rock island 45 with the double stack configuration.

  28. So…the consensus seems to be when asked which weapon to choose in a SHTF situation the universal choice is two or three at least. This and a back up, this and this and a back up.

    How about, the weapon you have the most bullets for. It’s yours and you need to be able to use it and survive with it. As it was said before…a gun, perhaps any gun. The real key to survival in the long run is a cutting edge. Time for another this is my favorite forum?

  29. If i could pick from any gun, I would pick the German MG-42 belt fed machine gun. It belches death at the rate of 1200 rounds per minute. for a backup I would have to go with the tried and true Colt M1911 .45ACP

  30. It would depend on METT-TC and the projected terminus of events, but go-to for a shoulder arm is the LWRC M6A2 6.8 SPC, knowing that it highly reliable and very effective against two and four legged animals at close quarters and at medium range.

  31. 84 different ideas on tha same subject, we all agree on at least 5 standard calibars paired with a repeater. My Son and I both keep Glock 17’s and Sporticals(5.56nato) in our daily vehicles, along with responce bags. I am upgrading to a lr-308, we do have tha choise of M&P 15-22’s at our reach, I have put years of thought into what’s best and when it’s best… get to where my loved ones are, superior fire-power, cunning, and tha will to survive will achieve my goal……I will collect your gear if needed…

  32. I would have to go with my mossberg 500 12ga pump shotgun. I have three interchangeable barrels: a rifled slug barrel, a 30″ vented barrel with accu-choke system, and a .50 cal muzzle loader barrel. that’s three guns in one for maximum versatility. can’t beat that with stick.

  33. My Ruger 10/22.I can easly cary thousands on rounds on me.easy to clean&shoot.As far as all you guys.The 22lr has killed more humans than any outher round.
    very accurate for head shots.No body armor will protect you from a well placed head shot.
    also you can easly surpress the sound if needed.

  34. On the light but more than a pistol scale there’s always the M1 Carbine with a folding stock and 30rnd clips. I have one and it would be entirely suitable. Though finding ammo once your stocks run out would be problematic. It’s good to 300yds (ish) and much better than a pistol outside the immediate area.

    As I’m not in an urban environment controlling the avenues of approach is important and a .22 or shotgun are useless at range. The 5.56 is a varmint round also and as a user of many first generation M-16’s (which went off when you weren’t expecting it to and wouldn’t when you needed it to) I still can’t stand the bloody thing or any of its variants. I’d also be shooting in, and through, some woods so something that can chop brush is a plus.

    My AK would be fine for crowd control but the reliability of a bolt action can’t be beat. A bolt action probably won’t break no matter what and would end up being a hereditary gun. So, it’s back to my Mauser in .308 or Winchester 70 in -06. And yes I’ve shot squirrel and rabbit with them. If you can’t shoot good enough to keep them in one piece just make stew. And the -06 is also very versatile with everything in my ammo bin from .223 sabot accelerators (for varmints) to steel core armor piercing. The selection of bullets in 120-180 grains is wide and it’s commonly available.

    The problem of course, for many of us will be choosing just one. I wouldn’t choose anything a gang banger would be seen carrying. I would choose my battlefield much more carefully and ensure engaging them way outside their effective range. If they’re still coming after the first thousand rounds I’ll relocate. My shoulder too…

  35. Depends on the Catastrophe. Some have mentioned Hurricane Katrina. In a similar event, Id take my FNP 45 Tactical. We’re talking urban environment with mostly close range encounters against thugs not wearing body armor at best. Its small enough to carry in a holster enabling me to carry more things like food and water for my family, yet accurate enough to make that critical head shot if need be and big enough to put a big hole in a perp. I can also carry a hundred rounds of ammo for it quite easily.

    A Pandemic (bug in) situation, Im going for my Remington 870 12 guage. Im not fighting anyone outside my home as I’d be riding that one inside on my food and water stores, and I’ll most likely only have to defend my home from inside against looters.

    Military invasion of any sort or a nuclear event. I’ll take my M4 with my FNP as a side arm. In this scenario, I would need a carbine accurate enough to shoot a couple hundred yards. light enough to run and gun with or carry for distances if need be. Plus, I can scavenge ammo from my adversaries pretty easily. Its also decent enough to hunt with (not as good as my FN TSR in .308).

    In any of these events, my primary goal is to keep my family fed, and alive and avoid conflicts as much as possible.

  36. If that day came and the walls came tumbling down, and I was stuck with one gun, and one gun only, the gun that I would hope to have with me would probably be my colt 1911 and a nice variety of ammunition; i.e., heavy and light ball, AP copper and shot shells. The strength of the weapon (as demonstrated by its proven service life); it’s awesome knockdown power; it’s portability and versatility all make it the best gun for me to have when the fecal matter hits the whirling blades. It’s weakness, that being its lack of range, does give me cause for pause but as long as I’m not planning on sniping bad guys or even tasty critters out beyond 50 yards, I think it would do me just fine in the pinch.

    My motto remains: “Shoot what you know and know what you’re shooting at.”

  37. 1 gun o/u 30.06/12 ga savage
    good PB to 300+
    rail, 4x or red dot, + fold down red/green
    25 rds ea 12 ga slug, #7 1/2 BB
    40 rd 3006
    mini Bipod
    2 way over the shoulders sling

    lazer if you’re nite op.

  38. I have enjo(yed reading the posts and for a survival weapon with self defense capabilities I would grab the only rifle I have. My 5.56 Ar with top carry handle. It’s only a semi auto but feels just like the one I used in the service. I am trained extensively in it and can tear it down blindfolded in seconds. I have the bipod and scope for further than normal shots, and a front downgrip with a 1000 lumen tactical light that will blind you in the sunlight. This rifle is my choice because it’s what our military commonly carries and ammo should be easy to find on fallen soldiers. Put my m-9 bayonet on for sweeping houses to save ammo. Backed with my XDM 9mm also chosen for the caliber the ammo will be easy to find on fallen soldiers, by my hand or not, and having 19+1 I can shoot a keyhole with it at 10yds. I feel like surviving rite now.

  39. Oddly enough, I’d choose the Ruger Single Six. In an emergency lying low and exercising caution would mean far more than fireposer. “They” can outgun you, every time. The Single Six shoots .22 LR, .22 Short and .22 WMF, therefore I’d carry all three of these ammunitions, and the small size and light weight would allow me to carry a few thousand rounds all told. The single action forces caution and foresight onto the shooter: be sure of your target and shoot accordingly! The Single Six has adjustable sights and a switchable cylinder (.22 & .22 WMR) giving you a large range of power selection. I know lots of people will laugh at this, but I stand by my choice.

  40. Being from New Orleans but fortunately not in New Orleans during Hurricane KATRINA. I’d pick an SBR-11.5′ AR15 suppressed. Ammo is readily available and the N.O. is an urban city, not a country rural area like most people who’ve NEVER been to New Orleans think. If an AR15 wasn’t available then it would most definitely be an AK47. Again ammo is readily available and it’s a AK… Reliability is off the charts, requires little maintenance & will run forever.

  41. All of you that said shotgun win. Remember, they said ONE gun. All of you that said high velocity assault type rifles, ever shot a squrrel or rabbit with a 308? It isn’t pretty. The shotgun can carry some devastating payloads too. The guy who said the minigun, hope he likes eatin brass for dinner. Although I have a vast collection of military rifles at the grab, it would have to be my mossberg 590 military. Reliable double rail pump action, 9 round cap, cheap common ammo easily reloadable. It’s the logical choice, now live long and prosper.

  42. There’s lots of talk about .22’s being the best survival weapon. I understand the thought behind it and somewhat agree with the concept. I own 2 10/22’s myself. But think about this, how good is a .22 against a charging enemy, a feral pig, bear, etc? If you think your going to get head shots every time, your mistaken. Try shooting under stress and on the move sometime, not just at paper targets. 10/22’s are a great little gun and they have purpose, but they can be finicky. They jam with certain ammo and when their dirty. Thats what you don’t want to happen in a SHTF situation.

  43. Disaster is too non-specific.

    For natural disaster (Katrina) or social breakdown the only thing that makes sense is a concealable weapon. Openly walking around with a rifle will end up getting you shot (probably by a government sniper). For this I would go with a concealable pistol (Glock 26) and a Keltec Sub2000 9mm carbine in a back pack.

    For end of the world as we know it kind of disaster, reliability and versatility are key. For this I would use a Savage 24C Over/Under Rifle/Shotgun combo. .22 LR over 20 gauge means you can take anything from a bird to a bear. It is really hard to beat a single shot, break action weapon for reliability as well.

    P.S. I own all three of these weapons. The Keltec and Savage are vacuum sealed along with a reasonable amount of ammo and are stowed securely in my car as I post this.

  44. I would prefer any scout type 308.bolt action with a BIG magazine and Extra BIG magazines! 9mm pistol and 12G scatter gun.

  45. I would go for my Kel-Tec SU16 in 5.56 x 45 – only weighs 4.5 lbs and will fold in half for easy carry. Uses any standard AR magazine and can be pimped out to any extreme. My sidearm is the M&P 9mm from Smith & Wessson – if you haven’t shot it you need to. Has adjustable backstrap in the grip with 3 sizes to fit all hands and comes in three frame sizes, standard 4.5″, Compact 3.5″ and the new single stack compact just released. Match that with with my Mossberg 500 security and I’m good to go.

  46. Interesting question. I’d have to go with the Boer recommendation. Trust in God and Mauser. My 7.62NATO will do. I have bandoleers of stripper clips standing by.

    Of course there’s always the Marlin 1894CB 45-70. Go ahead, hide behind that tree. My nephew said he’d recommend gold for the fall. I said if the world collapsed and you had 200 lbs of gold and I had 200 rnds for my 45-70 who would own the gold the day after the world collapsed? He got my point.

    You’d better be good with that silenced .22 if you’re shooting at me.

    Then again there’s any of the high velocity air guns. If you run out of real ammo you can shoot nails…geeze, we gotta pick one? I plan on loading the RV and going all pokie-man…gotta take ’em all!

  47. i like my .22 /.410 rossi combo gun , with a scope and the rear sight in the carry bag , i have a but stock carrier for .6 .410 shells of various shot . and a belt bag with cci velocitors

  48. I do agree with people that a shotgun is great choice with compatibility of slugs,birdshot,&buckshot, but with survival comes woes cramps,worrying,dementia what can throw off a person with kick and also get you tired out quicker& from noise give up position quick.
    I also agree that .22lr is a great choice due to inexpensive&light weight of ammo but it doesn’t have much in lbs of energy over 100 yards,it’s good for close range but hardly effective, most outfitters don’t allow anything less then 6mm which is nice but loud.
    Stepping it up to .22 mag is good for long range but once again small bullet although both same diameter as as .223 and can do alot of bouncing around, just doesn’t have knockdown power at long range due to small light grained bullet.
    My choice would be 9mm with a 5x magnified red dot for long range 75-150 meters& a micro dot for close range. Ammo is cheap,small,lightweight,can be placed in magazines for easy reach usage,has a heavy bullet for more impact lbs of energy and a wide bullet 15 hundredths from a half of an inch which can cause massive bleeding, also bird shot is available and have conversions for .22lr if you have a shortage.

  49. I would choose my Ruger 10/22 and my S&W Model 13 .357 magnum. This combo could do anything or situation. One goes with the other.

  50. would have to go w/ a .44 mountain gun (S&W 4″ M29 w/ .44 special bbl, basically); can carry as concealed (fishing vest), as any .357 service revolver; shoots whatever reduced-recoil load you need, up to cattle-poaching load if SHTF; more gunsmiths ‘up’ on S&W than other revolvers; lasergrips+snap-caps to keep skills up; takes scope; can do contact-shot w/ revolver, if go to grappling; watermelon-sized muzzle-blast in face changes the 21ft-knife-charger-advantage a bit, over multiple 9s to the thoracic, pelvic-girdle, esp if side-step the runner-amok; if allowed one disaster knife, would take goorkha army kukri, GAK, 15″blade, battle-worthy short-sword

  51. i would take my 5.56 ar with 22 conversion so i could hunt and defend! my ar is my own build red dot quadrail really a good insurance plan for these days

  52. A disaster gun??…My Arsenal AK47. Nothing beats the reliability of an AK. Don’t buy into the hype that AK’s aren’t accurate too…if I can see it, I can hit it. As far as hunting, the caliber is fine for larger game. Small game can be trapped, snared or fished.
    If western civilization ever collapses, AK’s are the way to go.

  53. I would pick an AR-10 7.62 x 51 with 16″ barrel

    It is a high cap. mag with stopping power Well Beyond 300yds as with an AR-15. The ammo is Nato and easily found. With the 16″ barrel it is small/short enough for CQB with enough reach or barrel change to 20″ for more accurate long range.

    Armalite is quality. This is a quality pick

  54. If mobility is an issue then a semi-auto .22 rifle can’t be beat. It’s lethal to 100+ yards, and there is no other ammo that can compare for price and portability.
    If I’m going to have a steady base of operations, and it’s located east of Texas, a 12 guage pump is the weapon of choice. If it’s west of Arkansas I want a bolt action 30-06.

  55. An AK-47 type rifle, without doubt.
    Good for defense,
    Good for hunting,
    Good for the stupid to use,
    Ammo common.
    Probably I would want one with a muzzle break.

  56. I would carry my PolyTech M-14S and my S&W 10mm pisto. As a back up my Arsenal Century series AK-74 which is a real accurated rifle due to its forged receiver and drtachable Serbian Drakz scope.

  57. I am would be partial to my AR for a short term disaster (mainly for being a former marine) but a .22lr is the best idea in my opinion for a long term one. its what $20 for 555 rounds compared $20 for 100 9mm or $20 for 60 rounds of the 5.56. So prior stock holding is going to be way cheaper and carring bulk ammo in .22lr will be way lighter than the latter two.

  58. I would go with the AR in 5.56 and a .22lr conversion kit. The kit won’t add a lot of weight and then I would have options of 5.56, .223. or .22lr.
    Options are good

  59. Some have mentioned “a Katrina-like situation” then gone on to suggest some sort of long gun. Remember, it was the police who were going around taking people’s guns, not the thugs and looters. Wading around town with an AR strapped to your back will make you a target for the authoirities. WROL may mean “until the law finds you” – and to them you’re just another gun-toting thug.

  60. Ruger 10/22 is my choice. I do not like the factory magazines though. Butler Creek steel lip banana mags are a must for the 10/22.

  61. I would definetly choose a 12ga with 3 1/2″ chamber pump or auto any brand. This can be used with a wide variety of available ammo and can handle many different scenarios from point blank out to 200 yards with correct ammo. Just my 2 Cents.

  62. AR carbine in 5.56 with a bunch of mags full of 69grn soft tip or HP rounds. Also a CMMG .22lr conversion with a ton of ammo if you run out of the good stuff. At least you have a back up and if your mobile it does not take too much room to carry 500 rounds of .22lr. Also a 9mm side arm. Mags full of 147grn JHP. Ammo of .233, .22lr, and 9mm are common rounds to possibly scrounge if needed. They are light so you can stay moving. They also provide good all around capability for several distances and situations. I prefer my CZ P0-7; light, accurate, reliable, 16+1.

  63. My choice for a diaster gun would be the AK 47, almost nothing could make it stop working and being the most used weapon around the world, you know there would be a lot of ammo laying around. It’s also the only rifle I own that can take any type of 7.62 x 39 and spit it out without jamming. It may not be the best looking weapon system, but it will do it’s job.

  64. I have a bag made by Klein tools that I’ve packed nothing but mags in. So I guess I’d go with my Carbon-15 and that bag full of mags. Thing is though, in real life, I’d never choose just one. Hell I carry two pistols at all times…

  65. All-around disaster? I would instantly grab my Remington 870 12-gauge. A close second would be my Ruger 10-22. Both for all the reasons people have already listed. The likelihood of having to fight off hordes of people is next to nil, and that’s the only situation I see an AR/AK having an advantage. Either the 870 or 10-22 would be capable (though, not ideal) of self-defense, but would be ideal for hunting. For me, a big part of being prepared is being realistic about what to prepare for. Just my two cents…

  66. People over analyze everything. The choice of weapon is not the problem nor is it the cure. When you have a better have a plan and the menas to survive..short term or long. The firearm of choice is always a compromise. Large bore weapons are useless. They are heavy, , ammunition is heavy and their usefulness is limited…unless youthink you are going to tke on thin skinned armor etc or shoot at a 1000 yrds…which is generally bull…any small cal weapon will do, particularly a light one with readily available ammunition. A .22 ruger etc..that is suppressed is an idela choice for most situation. What you lack in firepower and brute force you make up for with light weight, ammo and stealth…Try and remember the prime directive…if it comes to using firearms…then the rules are gone..if you have one firearm can get you any other firearm you want or need. It is not about the weapon…it is about the willingness to do what ever is necessary to survive..and live with the consequences. An individual with a supressed .22 is a dangerous adversaary who will not fight fair…and will hit you when you least expect it. I have a ruger 10/22 take down and a 22/45…both suppressed…anything within 100yrds is fair game…and you won’t know what hit you until it is too late.

  67. It is all highly dependent on the type of disaster, and where I was at the time of the disaster. Social unrest where I am now? 12 gauge pump or my semi-auto AK47. End of civilization as we know it? 22/10 would be great for wide-availability of ammo. But one would be a fool to think that there is 1 gun that will get you through all disaster situations. One would also be a fool to think that only 1 gun is ideal to carry in a disaster-type situation.

  68. Ok, easy answer and agreeing with many above. My Ruger 10/22. Oh wait, change of mind to shamelessly plug my newest toy. My ultimate “only one gun answer” is going to be my new and awesome MPA1SST-XX!!! Holy crap this thing is unreal! It is a tactical .45 ACP carbine. It is a monster! Bad to the bone!

    Now some will say, but Dave, its for CQ and only good for short shots. Yes, I agree, so my plan is, let them come in close, then shoot and I don’t have to walk as far to get their stuff…..thus conserving my energy! Something that is vital in a survival situation….long or short term!

  69. For the one gun I would have to go with the Colt 1911A1. Easy to use, good defensive calibre, repair is easy and parts are available. It’s reliable and not hard to keep clean.

  70. My Ruger 10/22 with my several BX-25 mags loaded and ready. .22LR is small and lightweight and you can easily carry thousands of rounds and is also widely available so finding more ammo when you run out will be much easier than anything else. Also the light report and low recoil will be much better when it comes to stealth if needed and if shooting a lot of rounds you wont kill your shoulder and you’ll still be able to hear well since in a disaster scenario you likely wont be running around with your hearing protection on.

  71. Like George Filyaw I too am I ex Scout Sniper, I have a strong attachment to my M40A1 but in a SHTF situation I would have to go with the 22LR and my choice would be the Ruger 10/22 and my 1911 22LR. So many have already stated why and my reasons are the same, you can carry tons of ammo and if you do start to run out there’s a much better chance of finding more of the 22 short or long ammo then anything else.

  72. Wow, what a difficult choice to make. My first thought would have been a 12 gauge, but after further consideration I would grab my Saiga 7.62×39. Extemely realible, good fire power, easy to get ammo and built for action. Not too long a gun, and not too heavy. What kind of a disaster you talking about? I can’t imagine having anything else if anyone wishes to take what you have which would probably be the biggest threat in any disaster.

  73. I am a former Marine Scout Sniper,I have done a little studing on survival. This does not make me an expert, but my ruger 10/22 LR with sights, not a scope and my sig sauer 1911 22 LR will do everything that is required to survive any disaster.

  74. As Jon said before, there’s nothing that beats AK durability. Along with that is reliability in any environment. You sacrifice a bit of long range accuracy, but I think it’s worth it to have a weapon you can drag through the mud and still protect yourself with. 7.62×39 is fully capable of penetrating light to medium body armor (after all, it’s not just the good guys who wear it) and it’s a readily available ammo (Wal Mart sells it).

  75. The problem with a shotgun is that if you have an adversary who’s more than 100 yards away you’re out of luck.

    .223/5.56 NATO rifles are certainly an option, but if you’re limited to issue ball ammo their stopping power is very iffy (per Martin Fackler, the round has to be traveling fast enough when it hits for it to break at the cannelure and then for the back end to start disintegrating). Still, you’ll probably be able to more easily scrounge ammo for one in the US than most anything else; best make sure you have a true 5.56 NATO chamber (when reamed instead of hammer forged sometimes due to tool wear they come out close enough to .223 that you’ll have overpressure issues).

    I myself would go for a reliable rifle in .308/7.62 NATO, anything from a bolt action (preferably a Scout rifle; see below for why tactically a bolt action is worth thinking about) to any of the good semi-auto battle rifles (e.g. M14, FAL, and probably the FN SCAR; even the H&K 91/G3 if you can stand the poor ergonomics although I’d take a M1 Garand with a .308 barrel over it (actually did so in times past)).

    Plenty of not so accurate machine gun ball ammo to scrounge, which will be effective if it hits, and if at all possible, if you’re alone or in a party with small numbers and survival is of greatest importance, if in a fight you want to “shoot and scoot”, i.e. fire one round then move before firing again. In that case the round had better do the job.

  76. If it’s a Katrina type disaster (or any short term disaster) I would grab my Mossberg 464 in .30-30. A lethal round, easy to aim with iron sights, reasonable rate of fire and doesn’t have the EBR look about it (a concern for those of us who live in gun-unfriendly states). For long-term, end of the world as we know it type disaster, I agree with others; something in .22LR (still a lethal round, easy to carry 1000’s of rounds, good for bagging small game, easy to maintain).

  77. My Glock 20 with real 10mm rounds and carry a Lone Wolf coversion barrel to shoot .40’s,can use same mags.Sar 1 AK.

  78. If i had to choose one gun to survive with it would have to be my henry 22 mag -can carry a lot of ammo easily and very deadly with the right ammo and ammo is very easily found

  79. When in Iraq, we found an underfold AK47 on a hesco barrier that was literally rusted solid. After scrubbing it with a wire brush and WD40 for a week, I got the selector switch working, then the stock folded back, then the top cover off, then the trigger working. We got a round from the Iraqi sec forces, pulled the tip off and shoved the round in the chamber. Pop! Primer went off. Now we didn’t clean the barrel out to actually fire it, but we figured there was literally nothing stopping it from firing as designed (minus any chance of accuracy with a corroded barrel).
    When I got back from the deployment, first purchase was an AK. There is NOTHING I have ever seen that will match the durability.
    When disaster hits, you want to be able to defend whats yours with knock down/penetrating power. You want a weapon you don’t have to clean, can work after dropping it in the mud and still look intimidating for those that may wish to take what’s yours

    However, if you are talking medieval times like that “Revolution” show, get a multi barrel cross bow (M134 bolt launcher anyone?)

  80. If it’s an all general type disaster that you need to be prepaired for most situation and you had to get out of your home withint 10 minutes. If I had the chance to grab only one gun. I would grab a Remington 870 pump action 12 gauge. There are all sorts of 12 gauge ammo made for shotguns that make this gun very universal. You can provide food with it. You can shoot slugs for deer or larger size targets. Or shoot small bird shot and have bird for dinner. With practice it can be reloaded fairly quickly. Simple gun that can be used reliably in many situations. I feel that shotguns are allround most purpose type weapon.

  81. SKS, 59/66 or other. A bit heavier than the 10/22 (also a great choice), but more pop if needed, terminal reliability, good availability of ammo, etc.

  82. I would pick a Ruger 10-22 with banana clips for 50 rounds each. This rifle is light, accurate, and can kill any living thing in North America if the shot is properly placed and it is not expensive. The ammunition is readily available (.22 long rifle) and is light to carry. Try carrying 2500 rounds of high power ammo when on the run as opposed to the light weight .22 long rifle ammo. While this rifle can be altered with a folding stock, flash and sound suppressors, rail, and a lot of other goodies, right out of the box is good enough to get the job done. Two of these rifles can be mounted to make an effective Gattling gun!


  84. Hats off to Mark Keefe on the SOCOM 16 but I would probably go with the Sig Sauer 516. AK reliability in an AR type package.


  86. For me it would have to be my remington wingmaster 12 gauge. All the stopong power and versitility you need. And with a nice slug barrel I can reach out to about 150 yards or so. Plenty far for defencive and hunting pourposes. And ide back it up with my stainless 38 special snub nose in my pocket.

  87. I would chose my PS90-TR. It has good range and even though is only semi-auto, it stil fires follow up shots quickly. It is also very high capacity (50 rounds), but not very heavy. I even have the “Stargate”-style sling for it. It is also balanced nicely. For attachments I have the Burris 1-4×24 Xtreme Tactical XTR 30mm Rifle Scope (with reflex) and I plan to put a green laser and light on the side rails.

  88. I agree with a previous post; it depends on the disaster. A short-term disaster, such as Katrina, I’d hapily take an AR. Light-weight, accurate, and sufficient power at moderate ranges (you probably won’t need 600+ yard shots in a defensive situation). However, for a truly end of civilization, carry it the rest of your life scenario, a 22lr would get the nod. there’s a lot to be said for availability of ammo. You may be able to carry a lifetime supply of 22. But if you did run out, there will be 22 ammo available long after the centerfire weapons run dry. A 308 would be nice, but if you can’t find ammo, it simply makes an awkward club.

  89. I may be “old school here with my choice”. I highly like Springfield’s M-14’s and I pick that one as my “one and only” rifle to defend my self with. 223’s don’t have the range or impact energy needed. Yet an automatic rifle is essential for survival. Shotgun is good for about 70 yards. The man behind the scope on the M-14 is going to win.

  90. It depends on what type of “disaster” we’re talking about here. I assume a situation where it come down to going to ground to survive (at least for the short run). If this were the case, then, this is a no brainer for me. Hands down, without a doubt, I would choose my little Rossi, 22/.410 combo that breaks down small enough to fit in a back pack. I know it is small caliber, and single shot, but its advantages far outweigh its shortcomings, especialy in a survival situation. Consider that both the gun & its ammo are light weight. 50 rounds of .410 slugs/00, and 250 rounds of .22 high velocity hollow points, are reasonably light weight, easy to carry, and used judiciously, should last a long time. Also, the fiber optic sights make it easy to hit what I shoot at even at fairly long distances. I have the same gun in .22mag/12 gauge, which would also be an excellent choice.

  91. Got to go with wide range of use on this one so my 590A1 12 GA. can be use for hunting, defense, breaching. capable of use with different ammo types slugs, bird and buck shot even less than lethal. the shotgun is one of the most recognized and feared firearms know to man and you can double that when you toss on the M-9 bayonet!

  92. If it were really down to one gun, I’d have to go with my pump 12 gauge (I have a portable reloading setup for it) with a variety of different loads for different situations.

  93. When things get real bad, I would go with what I know the best, and that would be the Springfield Armory M-14. The civilian version, M-1A is so heavily parkerized it almost sounds like heavy sand in there. That ‘one weapon’ system to save your life and to sustain you for a long time must have staying power.

  94. I’m happy with my stainless Mini-14, with Hogue rubber, over-molded stock, flash suppressor, Allen sling, and Vortex Sparc, red-dot sight. Kimber Pro-Carry HD, in .38 Super Auto on my belt, and spare mags in every pocket of my cargo pants 🙂

  95. Scoped Ruger 10-22.

    Only ONE, right? Ok, a .22 rifle can do damn near anything from feeding the family (yes, a .22 LR WILL kill a whitetail, if you do your part), to self defense (10 stingers in the chest will wreck a bad guys day), to zombie eradication (one to the coconut, as is described in the literature . . .)

    Name anything more useful, if all you can have is ONE. Plus you can carry a years worth of ammo in your pockets.

    Now, if I am allowed TWO, then my Para-Ord P-12.45 in a shoulder holster, and the same Ruger 10-22.

    Three? The Para, a Ruger Gunsite Scout, and a Mossberg 500 in 12 guage. Why the Mossberg? Ever hear of anything that can make one quit other than physical destruction?

  96. Given that I don’t have (legal) access to an M134 and don’t want an AK or AR, I’d probably settle for my own Remington 1100 backed up by my Kimber Ultra Carry .45.

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