The 7 Ultimate Firearms for Survival & Their Costs

Spring is finally revving up, and with it, thoughts of how best to use the following months for prepping and tightening up survival plans in case SHTF. And no survival plan is complete without a suitable survival defense kit that includes sensible firearm choices.

On March 22nd and 23rd, I attended the Hampton Regional Gun and Knife Show. This is a quarterly gun show that draws only the best gun and knife traders in Virginia and surrounding states.  The complex used for the shows takes up about 2 football fields end to end. It has excellent interstate and road access, tons of free parking, and plenty of outlying food and lodging accommodations.

Let me begin my review by saying that advances in polymer and titanium alloy technologies are leading to some exciting changes in the firearms market.

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On the other hand, it is not practical for the average consumer to spend thousands of dollars on relatively untested weapons when other good weapons and ammo are available.  Nor does it make much sense to buy newer, more expensive, untested models of older style weapons just because they have a few minor changes to relatively cosmetic features.

Therefore, as I made my way through over 876 tables at the gun show, I found myself thinking that the following 7 weapons are still the best, and should be in every survival defense kit.

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1. Alpha / Echo

  • Gun Type: AR-15
  • Manufacturer: Del-Ton
  • Description/Features:
  • Caliber: 5.56mm
  • Barrel: 20“
  • Wt. 8Lbs.
  • Capacity: 30 rounds per magazine.
  • Stock: A-2 or M4- 6 position
  • Sights: A2 style
  • Ammo Type: – 5.56 mm
  • Projected Availability: Good.  This round is common for military and most police department SWAT Teams.
  • Maintenance Type: Regular rifle cleaning.
  • Required Accessories: Rear fold down sight and or a rifle scope.
  • Configuration Options: A2 or M4-6 position stock
  • Suitable for Youths? Yes low recoil, easy to point, aim, and shoot.
  • Suitable for Elderly? Yes light weight, low recoil, easy to point, aim, and shoot.
  • Suitable Handicapped or Disabled? Depends on condition and how it will change over time.

My Opinion: This is a well-built AR-15 that will give you years of good service, is built to GI specs, and any AR-15 part kit may be used to repair. Not recommended for large game hunting, but can be used for small game, and is also excellent for house defense.

2. SGL-21

  • Gun Type: AK-47
  • Manufacturer: Arsenal
  • Description/Features:
  • Caliber: 7.62×39
  • Barrel: 16.3“
  • Capacity: 10/20/30 round magazines, plus drums available
  • Wt: 7 Lbs.
  • Stock: Polymer
  • Ammo Type: 7.62×39 mm
  • Projected Availability: Good.  Plentiful surplus and new manufactured ammo available.
  • Maintenance Type: Regular rifle cleaning.
  • Required Accessories: None.
  • Configuration Options: Folding stock or straight stock.
  • Suitable for Youths? Suitable for 12 years old and up.
  • Suitable for Elderly? Yes, low recoil, easy pointing, well balanced.
  • Suitable Handicapped or Disabled? Depends on condition and how it will change over time.

My Opinion: This AK-47 is very rugged, well-built, and very dependable. It will give you years of service and low maintenance. May be used for small deer sized animals, but too large for small game.  Excellent for house defense.

3. Stoeger 3000

  • Gun Type: Auto loader shotgun   / Manufacturer: Stoeger
  • Description/Features:
  • Ga.: 12 (2 3/4“ and 3“ chamber)
  • Barrel: 24“ to 28“
  • Wt.: 7.5 lbs.
  • Ammo Type: 12 Ga. shotgun shell
  • Stocks: Synthetic
  • Sights: Red bar front.
  • Capacity: 5 shot
  • Projected Availability: Good.  Popular hunting, defense, and law enforcement round.
  • Maintenance Type: Regular shotgun cleaning.
  • Required Accessories: None.
  • Configuration Options: Folding or regular straight stocks.
  • Suitable for Youths? Over the age of 16 years old.
  • Suitable for Elderly? Good recoil control and pointing characteristics.
  • Suitable Handicapped or Disabled? Depends on condition and how it will change over time.

My Opinion: This is an easy to use and a dependable shotgun that will give you years good of service.  Good for all small game and hunting deer sized animals. This is excellent for house defense.

4. Remington 870 

  • Gun Type: Pump shotgun
  • Manufacturer: Remington
  • Description/Features:
  • Ga.: 12 (2 3/4“, 3” chamber)
  • Barrel 18.5“ to 30“
  • Wt. 8 Lbs.
  • Stocks: Wood or synthetic
  • Sights: Fixed or adjustable
  • Capacity: 3 to 6 shot
  • Ammo Type: 12 Ga. shotgun shell
  • Projected Availability Good.  Common hunting, protection, and used by law enforcement.
  • Maintenance Type: Regular shotgun cleaning.
  • Required Accessories: None
  • Configuration Options: Folding stocks, straight wood or synthetic stocks.
  • Suitable for Youths? Over the age of 16 years old.
  • Suitable for Elderly? Questionable.  Has moderate to heavy recoil.
  • Suitable Handicapped or Disabled?  Depends on condition and how it will change over time.

My Opinion: This is an easy to use and a dependable shotgun that will give you years of good service.  Good for hunting deer sized animals and small game.  Excellent for house defense.

5. Ruger American Rifle 

  • Gun Type: Bolt action rifle
  • Manufacturer: Ruger
  • Description/Features:
  • Caliber: 308 Win.
  • Barrel: 22“
  • Wt.: 7 lbs.
  • Stock: Black composite
  • Capacity: 4 rounds
  • Ammo: 308 Win.
  • Projected Availability: Good.  Widely used sporting, military, and police round.
  • Maintenance Type: Regular bolt action rifle cleaning.
  • Required Accessories:  Needs a good 3 x9 x 50mm multi-power power scope. A Nikon Pro-staff will cost about $219.95. Ruger supplies scope rings with the rifle.
  • Configuration Options: Standard straight rifle black composite stock.
  • Suitable for Youths? Over the age of 15 years old.
  • Suitable for Elderly?  Yes/questionable.  Easy pointing and sighting.  Light to moderate recoil.  Loud noise!
  • Suitable Handicapped or Disabled?  Depends on condition and how it will change over time.

My Opinion: This is a well-built bolt action rifle that will give you years of dependable service with minimal repairs.  Excellent for small and large game except bears.  Excellent for house defense.

6. Ruger 10-22

  • Gun Type: 22 Cal. semi-auto
  • Manufacturer: Ruger
  • Description/Features:
  • Caliber: 22lr.
  • Action: Semi-auto
  • Barrel: 18.5“
  • Wt.:5lbs.
  • Stock: Black synthetic
  • Capacity: 10 rounds
  • Sights: adjustable
  • Ammo Type: 22lr.
  • Projected Availability: Fair with some shortages, but getting better.
  • Maintenance Type: Regular semi-auto rifle cleaning.
  • Required Accessories: None
  • Configuration Options: Straight or folding stocks.
  • Suitable for Youths? Age 12 with adult supervision.
  • Suitable for Elderly?  Yes.  Low recoil, easy pointing and shooting.
  • Suitable Handicapped or Disabled?  Depends on condition and how it will change over time.

My Opinion: The 10-22 rifle is a time tested and true rifle. It will give you years of service without repairs. My Ruger 10 – 22 (that Ruger 10 – 22 from the picture above) has given me over 30 years of service and is still there when I need it. Ideal for small game hunting and household defense.

7. Glock 19 

  • Gun Type: 9mm semi-auto pistol
  • Manufacturer: Glock
  • Description/Features:
  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Barrel: 4“
  • Wt.: 20 Oz.
  • Grips: Polymer
  • Sights: Fixed
  • Features: Safe action in Gen.4 (new).
  • Capacity: 15 rounds per mag.
  • Ammo Type: 9mm
  • Projected Availability: Good used by military and police.
  • Maintenance Type: Standard semi-auto pistol cleaning.
  • Required Accessories: None
  • Configuration Options: Just standard configuration.
  • Suitable for Youths? Age 16 or older.
  • Suitable for Elderly?  Yes/questionable.  Mild/moderate recoil, loud, easy to point.
  • Suitable Handicapped or Disabled?  Depends on condition and how it will change over time.

My Opinion: The Glock 19 is a very dependable handgun with a long history of working when you need it and never letting the user down.  Excellent for defense in tight confined areas.  Also might be used for small game hunting in an emergency and at close range.

And now a few words about the costs and maintenance for those 7 perfect firearms for you survival defense kit:

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This article has been written by Fred Tyrell for Survivopedia.

Photo sources: 123RF (1), Liberty Firearms and Surplus (for Alpha/Echo, SGL-21 and Glock 19), Fred Tyrell (Stoeger 3000, Remington 870, Ruger American Rifle, Ruger 10 – 22).

About Fred Tyrell

Fred Tyrrell is an Eagle Scout and retired police officer that loves to hunt, fish, hike, and camp with good friends and family. He is also a champion marksman (rifle, pistol, shotgun) and has direct experience with all of the major gun brands and their clones. Fred refers to himself as a “southern gentleman” – the last of a dying way. He believes a man’s word is his bond, and looks forward to teaching others what he has learned over the years. You can send Fred a message at editor [at] survivopedia.com.

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One thought on “The 7 Ultimate Firearms for Survival & Their Costs

  1. All good choices, but the descriptions have some questionable statements.

    .22LR is nearly useless for any defensive purpose; it has minimal stopping power and stopping someone RIGHT NOW is the only valid reason to shoot them. Small game hunting and training is where this shines.

    A centerfire rifle is not “excellent” for home defense unless your home is several miles from every other person. Over penetration is the problem. Plus maneuvering a rifle in close quarters can be exciting. As for a bolt action, it is much too slow an action for close range defense.

    AR style rifles are not really really excellent for any purpose, except firing the common .223 round which is so-so for any purpose except predator control. Adequate for defense and medium (Javelina) sized hunting for those who cannot handle a more effective round; suggest a .22LR conversion kit for practice and small game.

    9mm with FMJ ammo is not very effective at either defense or hunting. If you are going to depend on the 9mm for anything, get effective (and more expensive) ammunition; FMJ is best suited only for practice.

    Remington 870 magazine capacity is 3 rounds only if the “legal hunting restricting plug” is installed. Can be increased with an extended magazine tube and spring.

    12ga is a superior round; have a variety of ammo – #4 Buck (optimal for defense), Slugs for medium game up to deer, and “bird shot” for birds and small game. At a minimum.

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