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Best Guns for Preppers

Most Preppers have a favorite topic. From my experience, when discussing Prepping with other guys, the subject of the best guns for Preppers always gets the most attention. The best guns for Preppers are those that the Prepper is best comfortable with. There are some guys who wouldn't know what to do with a Barrett M82A1 .50 cal. nor could they afford it.

We've researched this and the best way to start this topic is to give our opinion. Our goals in building our weapons cache was to have two of every weapon type (in case we have to cannibalize one for parts), with common calibers and that could be properly handled by men and women. With that said, here is our basic list of best guns for preppers.


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If you can only have one weapon in your arsenal, make it the versatile shotgun. For home defense or close quarters, a shotgun is very forgiving with respect to nervous aiming. By that I mean you don’t have to be very accurate with a shotgun to do some damage. Even the sound of racking the slide up and down can be an effective deterrent. In addition to home defense, a shotgun is perfectly suited for hunting both small game and larger animals with the right type of ammunition. Another plus is that shotguns are plentiful and the ammunition isn’t expensive compared to our rifles. For the tactical minded prepper, you can even augment your shotgun with lots of accessories similar to your pistol or AR-15. It is my first choice for close quarters defense.

Our choice: We have two Mossberg 590A1 Tactical Pump Shotguns. One is still in stock condition and the other has been modified for tactical use with weapons, grips, laser and a flashlight attachment. They hold nine shells which we stagger one bird, two .oo buckshot and so on.

mossberg shotgun for preppers

AR15: .223/NATO 5.56

There are several reasons for placing an AR-15 on your purchase list. The first is that this is the weapon you want to use in a variety of other solutions and its strengths lie outside of the shotgun’s sweet spot. The AR-15 chambered in .223 gives you a highly flexible weapon platform. The AR-15 holds a higher capacity of ammunition so you will need to reload less often. When would you possibly need 30 rounds of ammunition? What if your home was being overrun by 50 people who had wandered off the highway from the town 20 miles away and they were deadly intent on taking your home and your possessions away from you? The AR-15, unlike a shotgun is a medium distance hero. Where the shotgun is good for close quarters, you wouldn’t expect to hit anything with any real power above 30-40 yards. The AR-15, in a competent shooter’s hand is excellent up to 300 yards on any day. I would rather take care of the bad guys when they are very far away from me and my family.

Our choice: We actually researched this extensively to determine which AR15 was the best seller. Why? After TEOTWAWKI gun replacement parts or gunsmiths will be difficult to find. Although we are buying two of everything, the AR15 platform will be most critical to our defense. We looked for a medium price best seller and settled on the Bushmaster. We have two Bushmaster Super Light Carbon 15's. This rifle has been sold in most sporting goods outlets and can easily be handled by my wife due to its light weight. It is chambered in both .223 and NATO 5.56 ammo. We have a variety of magazine capacities including 30 round, 42 round and 60 round. In a battle scenario, we would carry 30 round mags filled with 28 rounds to limit jams. The last three rounds would be tracer ammo to warn of us the mag is being emptied.

ar15 for preppers

A side note on the AR15 platform. We also have one Kel-Tec PLR16. PLR stands for pistol, long range. I believe that this will be a fabulous tool post collapse because of it's concealable. Yet it has the same firepower as the mighty AR15 utilizing the same NATO 5.56 rounds. It hold the same magazine and has been outfitted with rails, light and foregrip. This is our choice for a bug out bag.

keltec plr16 for preppers

RIFLE: .308 / NATO 7.62

When it comes to a long-range rifle, I am talking about between 300 and 600 yards now and this is primarily for hunting. They can also be used to take over where your AR-15 begins to fall short. If you start going too far past 300 yards, your AR-15 will need a little help. Can you still hit targets at that range? Sure but I would rather have a caliber that isn’t slowing down already. My personal recommendation for a long-range rifle is a .308, also chambered in NATO 7.62.

For one reason, the .308 is capable of taking down any big game in North America. You won’t run into an animal that can’t be hunted successfully with a .308. Are there other calibers that can do the job? Of course, but in addition to being a great all around hunting weapon, the .308 is also a common sniper caliber for police forces. It is also a common caliber with my favorite battle rifle.

Our choice: For hunting, and sniping if TEOTWAWKI requires it, the best bolt action .308 for us is the Sig Sauer SSG 3000. That said, it is not what I would recommend for most preppers. I purchased this rifle because of it's high reviews, but it is very pricey at a $1500 retail.

As a recommendation for a good quality .308 that would be a reasonably priced option, look for a Remington 700. For over 50 years the 700 has offered the qualities of quality, accuracy and durability at a price every man can afford. Because it is so plentiful, replacement parts should be available. It can be purchased at all sporting goods stores at a decent price.

HANDGUNS: Full Size & Concealed Carry

Pistols are usually the first firearm people choose for a few reasons. They are easier to handle, easier to hide and less wieldy in general. Pistols definitely have their place, but they would come after an AR-15 and a shotgun in my opinion. Why is that? A wise man once said that “a pistol is what you use to get back to your rifle”. Pistols are for close quarters and you want that to be a last resort. You don’t want to be that close to any bad guys. However, it happens and pistols are an important aspect of your survival battery of arms. Run out of ammunition in your shotgun or AR-15 and then you grab the pistol. Bad guy kicks in the door while you are asleep then you reach for the pistol close to the bed.

For a full size pistol, we recommend .45 caliber. Why the .45 and not a .9mm? It comes down to stopping power really. We have both calibers, but if I could only buy one and I was buying this for home defense it would be a .45 caliber. That is also why I recommend a full-size in the .45 caliber. The kick is simply too strong to for women, and most men, to handle in a .45. What about the .9mm you ask? We use it for concealed carry purposes. It can hold up to 17 rounds. The .9mm does not have the kick and works very well as a concealed carry weapon. If you put a big freaked out marauder kicking in your door and you told me to pick one gun to use to take him down I would pick up the .45 before the .9mm. If I am going to the grocery store, I carry a .9mm.

Our choice: For a full sized handgun, we chose The Springfield 1911 MC Operator Model in .45 cal. It has tritium night sights and a rail for a laser light. The matte finish is low glare and not flashy.

For a concealed carry weapon, we have the Springfield xdm in .9mm. In fact we have several hidden throughout our property and available when needed. The extended magazine allows for 19 + 1 which is nice for a smaller weapon.

Practice, Small Game: .22lr

We won't spend too much time on this subject because most Preppers know that the .22 is the most common gun available. One type may have advantages over another but the primary purpose of your .22lr is to practice your weapons training without burning through expensive ammo. We have several .22's but my favorites are the Sig Sauer Mosquito in desert digital camo because of its 1911 style, threaded barrel and rail for attachments.


We chose the Mossberg Tactical .22 lr in an AR15 style. It is a close match to our Bushmasters which makes it excellent for training purposes.

So there you have it. Preppers with way more knowledge than we have will debate everyone of our choices. But having given it a lot of thought and research, the above worked best for us.

Happy Hunting!