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What Are the Best Guns for Emergency Preparedness?

by Shawn Barrington 02 Jan 2024

We often get asked about what type of gun we would recommend for emergency preparedness. The answer is a bit complicated. The short answer is that it depends on what you’re going to use the gun for. Is it for hunting food that you’d need in an emergency? Is it for self-defense? Each gun has different strengths and weaknesses and the gun you choose should be tailored to your specific needs.

Points to consider before you add a gun Before you choose a gun for your preparedness needs, you’ll want to consider a few points:

What Needs Will You Have? Will you be using this gun for protection? For hunting? Whatever gun you choose will depend on what you’re going to use it for. For example, a rifle would be better for hunting during an emergency while a shotgun would be better for self-defense.

Popularity/Availability of Ammo. You might not be able to buy more ammo in an emergency. As a rare commodity, you’d need ammo that would be popular enough to fit in your gun. You’d also need a gun that takes a very popular type of ammunition.

How Much Ammunition the Gun Holds. How many rounds does the gun hold? This might affect your decision of gun because of the needs that you have.

Interchangeable Choke and Barrel. For shotguns, the choke of the gun is the tapered build of the gun that helps determine how much the shot will spread. The choke will determine the accuracy and range of the gun. An interchangeable choke will allow you to change the use of your gun from a longer range to a shorter range weapon. The barrel length also makes an impact on the range but more importantly makes it easier or more difficult to handle in close quarter like turning around corners in your home. Handling a 4-foot gun for self-defense to protect yourself from a perpetrator in your home will be impractical.

Safe Storage. How are you going to store the weapon? Is it going to fit inside of your 72-hour kit or would it be something you keep under your bed or in the top of your closet? Will the gun break apart and store in a different space? Depending on what you’re using the gun for and how readily available you need the gun, the answers might change. But always keep your gun in a safe place away from children. If you are going to own a gun, treat it with the respect it deserves & get proper gun safety training.

Understand Your Weapon. No matter how many guns or how much ammunition you have, if you don’t understand how to use your gun and don’t have practice shooting it, it will be worthless. Or worse, your ignorance could cause injury or death for yourself, loved ones, or innocent people.

Which Gun Should I Own? Below we’ve listed the different types of guns you could consider acquiring for use in an emergency with some helpful details for each type of weapon. Please keep in mind a couple things: • Prices for ammunition can change. The prices listed below are on the cheaper end. High-grade ammunition can be much more expensive than the prices listed below. • *Range has many variables including: weather, specific ammo, specific gun, gun condition, visibility, and shooting experience to name a few. The best way to know the range of your gun is to use it.

High-Caliber Rifle (Price Range = $300 - $6,000 | Average Price = $800) These weapons are designed for use in hunting large game like deer or elk from a longer distance. The ammunition is large, heavy, and travels very fast in order to take down larger game from far away with a high level of precision and accuracy.

Common Ammunition Practical Range Availability Price/Round
.30-30 300 yards* Common $1.25 (Oct 2012 was $1.00)
.30-06 500 yards* Common $1.25 (Oct 2012 was $1.00)
.308/7.62x51mm 500 yards* Very Common $1.10 (Oct 2012 was $0.90)

Tactical Rifle (Price Range = $400 - $4,000 | Average Price = $1,000) These weapons are designed for self-defense and are typically semi-automatic (you can just keep pulling the trigger to fire without cocking or reloading). Usually these weapons will hold more rounds of ammunition than a typical hunting rifle and are commonly used with a high-capacity magazine. They are usually shorter than a hunting rifle and have a pistol grip and stock combo for easier handling in close quarters.

Common Ammunition Practical Range Availability Price/Round
7.62x39mm 500 yards* Very Common $0.40 (Oct 2012 was $0.25)
.223/5.56 300 yards* Very Common $1.00 (Oct 2012 was $0.25)

Low-Caliber Rifle (Price Range = $150 - $1,000 | Average Price = $300) These weapons are designed for hunting smaller animals like rabbits. They have a much shorter range, but the ammunition is significantly less expensive than other weapons. With a little digging you can find rounds for close to a penny each.

Common Ammunition Practical Range Availability Price/Round
.17 HMR 300 yards* Uncommon $0.30 (Oct 2012 was $0.20)
.22 LR (Long Rifle) 100 yards* Very Common $0.20 (Oct 2012 was $0.05)

 

Tactical Shotgun (Price Range = $200 - $2,000 | Average Price = $500) Tactical shotguns like tactical rifles are intended for short-range self-defense. They usually have a shorter barrel and a choke designed to spread the shot as much as possible. Typically these are pump action or semi-automatic weapons. Barrels shorter than 18” or weapons shorter than 26” are illegal in the USA without proper registration. Another thing to consider is shotguns are the easiest ammunition to load yourself.
Common Ammunition Practical Range Availability Price/Round
12 Gauge 3” #1 30 yards* Common $0.80 (Oct 2012 was $0.50)
20 Gauge 3” #2 30 yards* Common $0.80 (Oct 2012 was $0.50)

Hunting Shotgun (Price Range = $200 - $2,000 | Average Price = $500) Hunting shotguns are designed for shooting small game (especially birds). These weapons typically have a barrel 28” - 33” long. There are many choices for ammunition depending on your intended use.

Common Ammunition Practical Range Availability Price/Round
12 Gauge 3” Slug 75 yards* Uncommon $2.50 (Oct 2012 was $0.50)
12 Gauge 3” 00 Buckshot 50 yards* Common $1.30 (Oct 2012 was $0.80)
12 Gauge 3” #7 Birdshot 35 yards* Very Common $5.00 (Oct 2012 was $0.50)

 

 

Pistol/Handgun (Price Range = $150 - $3,000 | Average Price = $500) Pistols, like shotguns and tactical rifles are design for close-quarter self-defense. Handguns have the advantage that they can be legally concealed with a proper permit. Ammunition is cheaper than other weapons but still not as cheap as a low-caliber rifle.

Common Ammunition Practical Range Availability Price/Round
9mm 50 yards* Very Common $0.50 (Oct 2012 was $0.35)
.40 S&W 50 yards* Common $0.80 (Oct 2012 was $0.40)
.45 ACP 50 yards* Common $1.15 (Oct 2012 was $0.45)

 

What are you packing? So, what gun do you prefer? Comment below to tell us what kind of gun you prefer for emergency situations. Don't forget to complete your preparation with MRE meals and other emergency supplies.

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