5 Ideal Weapons for Survival Situations


Completing any project requires tools. Survival is no different. In fact, it is a project that your life depends on. It only makes sense to have the proper tools. Although there are many important aspects to a successful survival strategy, the tools you rely on are crucial. Firearms, knives, and other weapons serve many purposes. Food procurement is imperative in a survival situation. Self-defense is another consideration. Knives can also be used for everything from preparing a meal to aiding in a construction project on the survival homestead.

When selecting gear for your survival kit, the key trait should be versatility. Specialized tools are required for some jobs but the most valuable survival tools are those that can be used for many different purposes. The good news is that with a little bit of knowledge, selecting gear that is practical and versatile is not all that difficult.


Firearms are an essential part of a survival plan. There are a variety of different firearms available that have unique traits specific to one or two uses. For instance, a pistol is great for self-defense in close-quarters combat or for dispatching an animal caught in a trap.

Shotguns excel at hunting waterfowl and other flying prey and second as excellent self-defense weapons. Rifles are best suited for long range shooting duties such as when hunting large game. Ideally, you own all three types of weapons along with a sufficient ammunition supply for each.

That ensures that you are well-equipped no matter what situation you find yourself. At the very least, understanding the limitations of each weapon allows you to choose what option is best for you.

1. Pistols can provide exceptional stopping power while remaining compact and easily concealed. Especially in an urban survival setting, the ability to conceal your weapon allows you to avoid unnecessary confrontation. Like any survival tool, reliability is important.

As a result, the best pistols are usually single action revolvers. Although these pistols may not have the capacity of semi-automatic models, the presence of fewer moving parts translates to greater reliability in a world devoid of gunsmiths and spare part suppliers.

A pistol should be large caliber. Smaller calibers such as the .22 are simply not effective enough in a post-apocalyptic world. Staying with the theme of versatility, there is one pistol that stands out as a sure bet. The Taurus Judge is a compact revolver capable of shooting the .45 Colt cartridge.

This round is well-known for its stopping power and accuracy. What makes the Judge unique is that it can also shoot .410 gauge shotgun shells. Although the .410 cartridge isn’t suitable for large game hunting, it is perfect for small game and bird hunting. Accuracy of a handgun will never be as good as a long-barrel gun but the Judge gives you options as a survivor by allowing you to quickly change between ammunition types depending on the situation.

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2. A shotgun is versatile by design because the type of shell can be changed depending on the intended usage. When hunting large game, a shotgun is effective when loaded with slugs or buckshot. For shooting birds and small game animals, specialized shells with more pellets are used.

A good shotgun should offer reliability and few have proven this more than the Remington 870 Express. The pump-action design of this weapon lasts for years with minimal maintenance. It is effective as a hunting instrument while being an admirable self-defense tool as well.

Other considerations include the Mossberg 590 and the Weatherby PA-459. Whenever possible, stay away from semi-automatic shotguns. Although their reliability is often on par with pump-action designs, the complicated mechanisms are almost impossible to fix without the help of a trained gunsmith and specialized tools.

3. Rifles are required to hunt many species of large game. The heightened senses of these animals makes approaching within shotgun or pistol range nearly impossible. Bolt-action rifles tend to be the most reliable and easy to maintain although some semi-automatic models are adequate as survival weapons as well.

The .30-06 is one the most versatile calibers for a survival rifle. Although it is often too powerful to use against small animals, its range and accuracy make it a long range killing machine capable of taking down practically any game animal in North America.

As a defensive weapon, the .30-06 is an excellent choice for defending your position from distant enemies before they get too close. Fitted with a decent scope, these rifles have an effective range of nearly 1,000 yards. Hundreds of manufacturers produce rifles chambered for the .30-06 cartridge. Look for one with a history of reliability such the Remington 700 or Winchester Model 70 to ensure the longevity of your weapon.


A common misconception about survival knives is that they need to big “Rambo” style knives. In most cases, knives like that are not practical for survival situations.

  1. A smaller, fixed blade knife is better suited to most duties including field dressing animals, cutting rope, and many other tasks. Some newer model survival knives actually have a magnesium fire starter built into the handle. By striking the back of the blade against the magnesium bar, you are able to start a fire even in damp conditions. Gerber manufactures a knife like this under the Bear Grylls series of knives offered by the company.
  2. In addition to a fixed blade general purpose knife, a short blade machete is also useful to have. This blade can be used for heavier duty tasks such as clearing a path through dense foliage, cutting down small trees, and as a formidable self-defense weapon. Easily carried in a sheath on your belt, a short blade machete can prove to be a valuable asset in your quest for survival.

The tools you have available to you in a survival situation are an asset overshadowed only by your own will to survive. Having a versatile selection of survival weapons can provide a sustainable food source and protect you from the many unprepared people looking to capitalize on your preparedness.


This article has been written by Bryan Wilde for Survivopedia.

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