Guns & Weapons

Best Survival Gun: Are You Prepared?

Best Survival Gun

Over the past ten or so years, a fascination with post-apocalyptic situations has taken the United States by storm. Zombie novel, after deadly virus movie, after cheap zombie show, people are entranced by the possibility of the world ending as we know it. But, of course, we know that one day the world will have similar problems to those faced in made-up movies or shows, but our descendants will most likely see that day.

Our world is full of survival enthusiasts who hope to become ready if there ever was a time when survival was unsure. They have picked out the perfect guns, shelters, supplies, and plans to put into action if a disaster were to happen. It doesn’t have to be on a post-apocalyptic level either; it could be as simple as getting lost in the woods or having to sleep in your car because it broke down in the middle of nowhere.

Being prepared can save your life and the lives of others. Although every gun on this survival list will deal deadly damage to foes, the Ruger 10/22 is the best survival gun money can buy.

Barrett .50 BMG

First on the list is the Barrett .50 caliber BMG sniper rifle. While there are so many disadvantages to carrying around such a loud and raucous gun, the Barrett will protect you without a doubt. However, if you are starting to build up an arsenal of survival weapons, I do not recommend purchasing the Barrett right off the bat for two main reasons. First, the Barrett is almost impossible to move quickly and useless in close quarters combat.

The Barrett is one of the top 10 survival weapons on the market, but it won’t be the most reliable or feasible. The Barrett could get you killed when you are on your own because it is ear piercing, reasonably easy to spot, and there isn’t a ton of ammo just lying around to load it with.

The massive upside to the Barrett .50 BMG is the diverse rounds available such as armor-piercing, incendiary, etc. Overall, the Barrett is a solid survival weapon but will run anywhere from $2,000 to $15,000 depending on the type of upgrades you desire.


Most survivalists would put the AR-15 near, if not at the top of the pack. The main reason for that is the pure devastation that this weapon can cause to anything in its path. However, it isn’t anywhere near the top of my survival list due to a couple of particular reasons. Perhaps the greatest downfall of the AR-15 as a top 10 survival gun is the AR-15’s gas firing system.

The gas system makes the AR-15 more challenging to clean than most rifles and thus, complicates the gun’s reliability. However, on the opposite side of that coin, the quick bullets, pinpoint accuracy, and commonality of the caliber of the rifle and parts make this AR-15 a great piece to keep in your survival arsenal for years to come. In terms of maintenance, this is a picky gun which is why we recommend you take a look at our reviews on the best gun cleaning kit.


Recent hostile domestic situations have limited this gun’s price and availability to the everyday consumer, but if you can find the AR-15, you will be pleased with its price tags. $1,000 will get you this deadly weapon, which is a bargain, considering it used to go for upwards of $2,000-$3,000.

We also discussed the AR-15 in our article on the best assault rifle, so you should take a look if you want to know more details.

Glock 19 (9mm)

Every survivalist needs a close-quarters firearm that can be pulled out quickly, with deadly force, and that’s why the Glock 19 is one of the top 10 survival guns. Not as viciously lethal as the .50 Caliber Barrett or the AR-15, the Glock 19 has a lot to offer when it comes to close combat. The Glock can easily be hidden beneath a waistband or even a well-placed holster, making it prime for attacking short notice. Another huge upside to the Glock 19 is that it is 9mm.

Glock 19

The 9mm is used by copious gun enthusiasts and is one of the most common calibers. However, if you want a handgun that you will always be able to find ammo and parts for, the Glock 19 is your best bet. The Glock 19 is a necessary upgrade to your arsenal, and it can be purchased in the range of $500-$700, a small price to pay for peace of mind.

Still, if the 19 is not something you would see yourself with, we reviewed a wide range of Glock guns in our article on the best Glock to buy.

Sig Sauer P226

Most police units use the Sig Sauer P226 these days, another ubiquitous piece that could be found almost anywhere. However, the Sig Sauer fits in perfectly when it comes to survival. A relatively small, concealable handgun, the Sig Sauer is devastatingly powerful and surprisingly accurate. You would be remised if this pistol didn’t cut your survival arsenal because it is one of the top 10 survival firearms in the world.

Even though the Sig Sauer isn’t the most reliable gun on this list, it does a good enough job to be used in a life or death situation. As previously stated, the Sig Sauer can be used by many police and military units, but the gun is also for sale to the public.

The P226 can be bought from most firearm dealers for about $1,000. This handgun is a little more expensive than the Glock 19, but if customization is a must-have, then the P226 is right for you.

It’s also a gun that accepts homemade bullets with ease if you’re out of ammo in the middle of a crisis. If you want to learn how to make your bullets, take a look at our tutorial on making your bullets.

Marlin Papoose

Don’t let the funky name fool you; the Marlin Papoose is a finely tuned survival machine. Weighing in at a mere 4 lbs., the Papoose is one of the most accessible weapons on this list to carry. It takes only a few seconds to disassemble the gun and has a nifty carrying case to put all the parts in. Forged with stainless steel, the Papoose is unlikely to fail or misfire due to its solid construction. What makes the Marlin Papoose one of the top 10 survival weapons to buy is its deadly accuracy and the fact that it is a .22 caliber rifle.

A .22 caliber rifle has a much greater chance of finding relevant parts and ammo than most other guns on this list, making it a must-own for survival arsenals. Maybe the most satisfying aspect of the Marline Papoose is its price; a mere $300 to have one of the best survival guns in your gun case.

Henry Arms AR-7

If there were a rifle that was the face of survival, it would be the Henry Arms AR-7. The Henry Arms was explicitly made to be a survival gun. This rifle has even been used as the standard-issue survival rifle for pilots worldwide in case of a crash behind enemy lines. The rifle breaks down into small parts that all fit into the buttstock to make carrying the rifle as easy as pie. The AR-7 comes waterproofed already and lightweight as well.

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The most intriguing part of the Henry Arms AR-7 is that it is a .22 caliber rifle that holds more ammo than usual in the magazine. You will immediately make this top 10 survival weapon part of your survival firearm family when you see that it only costs $300 to buy.

Ruger Redhawk

The Ruger Redhawk is a .44 Magnum revolver that can punch a vicious hole in anything that gets in the way. The Redhawk is notorious for destroying bears and stopping them in their tracks. The availability of the Redhawk in close quarters reveals why it is considered one of the top 10 survival weapons in use today.

The Ruger Redhawk was explicitly designed to handle more stress than usual due to its stainless steel build and lengthier cylinder. Although this revolver can’t be easily hidden, nothing will bother you if the Redhawk is in hand. Additionally, the Redhawk is highly reliable and can even be customized by a scope made for the revolver.

Ruger Redhawk

The scope is probably not something worth spending money on, but there’s no denying it would be fun to play with. For those worried about the price, the Ruger Redhawk can be found for around $1,000, not the worst price when you realize that you’re getting a survival death machine in the process.

Remington 870 (12 gauge)

Now, things are starting to get good with the first and only shotgun on the list. Without a doubt, when choosing a survival shotgun, the 12 gauge is the way to go. It will deal the most damage while slightly maintaining the accuracy one would expect from a gun. However, accuracy is not why the Remington 870 is one of the top 10 survival firearms civilians can buy, but rather, sheer destruction.

There are few animals or creatures that can outrun the spray of a shotgun. Regardless of what is trying to get to you, a well-placed warning shot will terrify most intruders on the spot. And if that doesn’t work, a devastating picture will halt any advances toward you. The Remington 870 is so high on the list because it is a pump-action shotgun.

Pump-action shotguns allow the shooter to have more than a couple of rounds ready to go at a moment’s notice, instead of having to break down the gun to reload, wasting valuable time in the process. The Remington 870 is pretty cheap, considering how handy the shotgun will be in survival time. It sells for about $400 from most dealers, a welcoming price compared to most other guns on the list.

If you want to know more about other shotguns we’d recommend in a survival situation, look at our reviews on the best survival shotgun.


Probably the single most recognizable weapon globally, the AK-47 is one of the top 10 survival guns available to the public. When the AK-47 comes to mind, most think of a war-torn country in Africa, where the AK-47 is the only gun that natives protect themselves with. But, unknown to some enthusiasts, the AK-47 is pretty much the perfect survival weapon.

While the accuracy is poor at best, the AK-47 more than makes up for its shortcomings with pure damage and durability. The AK-47 contains a 30 round magazine that shoots deadly projectiles at an alarmingly fast rate. Couple that with the AK’s ability to be fired in any condition, and you have a recipe for surviving.

Some say the AK could be dragged through the mud and still shoot the same after. Because of this unbelievable durability, the AK should be in everyone’s survival arsenal. Although the AK-47 is banned in certain places, most people can find an AK for approximately $500 or so, a welcoming price for such a potent weapon.


Ruger 10/22

Lastly, the Ruger 10/22 lists the top 10 survival weapons for purchase and is widely considered the best survival gun out there. This .22 caliber rifle is on everybody’s list of guns to have in a survival situation. The Ruger’s new accuracy deals increased mainly minor to medium games. Ruger’s most encouraging quality is how ubiquitous parts, accessories, and ammo are for this classic rifle.

No matter the attachment, the Ruger has a place to mount it. There is even a 50-round magazine that can be used with the Ruger if needed. Another cheap, reliable rifle, the Ruger 10/22, can be taken off the shelves for a measly $200. The Ruger 10/22 is the single best survival gun available in today’s world.

ruger 10-22

After careful consideration and research, the Ruger 10/22 is, without a doubt, the best survival gun enthusiasts can hope to save for a rainy day. However, while the Ruger may be the best, the rest of the guns on this list are forces to be reckoned with. Each weapon contains a specific specialty for survival tactics and will be reliable enough to use when in danger. In addition, most of the guns found here are a fraction of the price that other “better” weapons are.

When it comes to survival, price doesn’t affect consumers because they want simple, durable guns, not complicated firearms with useless attachments and features. Simple is the best way to go when building a survival arsenal. You might find that just because something is expensive doesn’t mean it will have your back when the time comes.

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you click on one of these links and make a purchase, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Also, as an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. If the information in this post has been helpful, please consider purchasing through one of the links in this article. Thank you.

About the author

David Dawson

David Dawson is a retired security specialist with over 20 years of experience. He worked for a secret manufacturing facilities and hospitals in Illinois. David's responsibility was to protect people in case of any disaster or cataclysm that might occur. Now he keeps on doing it through teaching others about how to prepare and survive flood, earthquake or even war.


  • Maybe change out the Redhawk for the .357 Blackhawk with the extra 9mm cylinder. With a long barrel and good accuracy this is a weapon that will take deer out to shotgun ranges with .357, is super reliable, and uses three common types of ammunition. It’s also a ridiculously strong weapon, so with some hot loads you might be able to stretch that range to 100yds, assuming you had a red dot or scope on board.

  • My Ruger 10/22 is my pride and joy. Its best feature for me would be the multiple rapid shots that stays powerful even at considerably long ranges. But in terms of survival, you can have a simple handgun or another kind of rifle for as long as you know how to use its best features to help you survive. Another good post on guns, David.

  • Even though every gun on this article will deal deadly damage to foes, you should know that the Ruger 10/22 is the best survival gun money can buy.

  • This article has made up my mind to get a Sig Sauer P226 for my emergency survival kit. I prefer not to resort to any sort of violence but a gun to use in dire situations is not a bad idea. You can never be 100% sure that apocalyptic situations will not happen so it is good to get a gun just in case.

  • The Sig Sauer P226 is definitely a good choice for a survival gun. Personally, I like the metal construction and individual features, such as the max velocity and double/single action.

  • A great read David! It is very informative and has a lot of great options to choose upon. I am new to guns and I want to buy one just for storage and use only for life and death situations. My only concern is do guns fail to work properly after storing them for long periods of time?

  • You should not wait and see what will happen to your gun as far as performance is concerned. If you will not be using it for a long time, then you need a high quality safe to store it. But you have to service it frequently to test detonation, ejection, and trigger pull pressures.

  • The Ruger 10/22 looks like a nice gun to have. Is it an easy gun to buy and maintain? I’ll look for a store that sells it and get one. It is good to have a gun and not need it than to need it and not have it.

  • There is always a debate surrounding the concept of the best survival gun, but the Ruger 10/22 has proven itself in more ways than one. With respect to its specifications and performance, the Ruger 10/22 stands out the best survival gun. Good choice, John.

  • I have been looking for that the Ruger that’s in the picture for a week and have not found it. I am new to guns, and I own a Glock gen 22. I am looking to have this as my first rifle the picture one looks absolutely comfy and amazing!

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