Firearms can protect a family from hostile threats and starvation, so they are a vital tool for prepping. Emergency guns need to be light enough to carry for long distances, last a long time with minimal maintenance, and be powerful enough for hunting and defense.
What Makes for a Great Prepper Gun?
Certain factors influence whether a gun can be considered particularly ‘good’ or not. Naturally, a gun’s distinguishing characteristics can appeal to or repel enthusiasts for similarly valid reasons. It all ultimately depends on how the gun is intended to be used and whether it meets such expectations or not.
For example, a gun that is meant to be used for hunting will need to be highly accurate within its intended shooting range. However, a great gun for a prepper could sacrifice some accuracy at certain price points to emphasize rugged durability and longevity. After all, a highly complex, yet accurate gun runs a risk of breaking in the field and being essentially unusable to its owner at that point.
Thus, overwhelmingly, the best guns for preppers to consider are the simplest, lightest and least likely to misfire or otherwise break down from extended use in tough environmental conditions.
The best prepper guns are tailored to their environment and intended role, but there are also some that are so widely used that everyone should consider them.
We looked at the options to find the ten best choices based on their value, durability, and performance under adverse conditions.
10. Bushmaster Minimalist SD-300
The SD-300 from Bushmaster is one of the best AR-15 variants for preppers. The minimalist stock and frame make it lighter than most rifles, but it still resists damage well enough to be practical. It includes a flash hider, which makes it ideal for hunting or personal defense at night, and it can also accept a suppressor for noise reduction. This model is a fairly large investment, but it is a great choice for any shooter who is comfortable using an AR-style rifle.
9. Ruger Guide Gun
|Caliber||300 Win Mag|
Ruger’s Guide Gun is one of the best rifles for people that are comfortable with a bolt action weapon. Bolts are highly reliable, and this model has an excellent Mauser-type extractor that makes it even less likely to jam. The stock includes spacers that allow good ergonomics when wearing few or many layers of clothing, which helps in extreme weather. This rifle can take a scope and provides a stable platform for one, but a scope is not necessary for accuracy under most conditions. The gun’s low capacity is the main drawback, but it won’t come up too often while hunting, so this gun will be fine for most users.
8. Stoeger P3500 Pump
The P3500 Pump from Stoeger is an affordable and reliable shotgun. It has a chrome-lined barrel and a synthetic stock that both resist damage from the weather, which makes it a sturdy choice for wilderness use in spite of the price. The ergonomics are fairly good, although the barrel is a little longer than is ideal for defense in tight quarters. That means that this is primarily a hunting tool, although it can be a defensive weapon in an emergency. Consider it if you need to get an emergency shotgun on a tight budget. You can also look at our other 12-gauge shotgun recommendations.
7. Marlin 70PSS
The 70PSS is a small rifle that can be disassembled for easy transportation and storage. That makes it a great choice for storage in a car or boat, and a great general weapon for people who need to be mobile during a disaster. The gun is quite light, but recoil remains negligible due to the gun’s small caliber. It isn’t a very powerful weapon, but it is good enough for hunting small game, which is enough to give it a place in any emergency arsenal.
6. Howa Kuiu
The Kuiu rifle from Howa stands out for its excellent quality for its price. The moving parts hold up well to heavy use, but the stock is the best component. It is made from molded rubber over an aluminum frame, so it is light, comfortable to fire, and fairly rugged. This rifle is accurate over long ranges, and it does have enough power to be a viable hunting weapon. This is a great choice for people who want a rifle with a moderate price tag, or anyone who values comfort and reliability.
5. S&W Stealth Hunter
|Manufacturer||Smith & Wesson|
The Stealth Hunter is a highly accurate hunting revolver. The trigger pull is short and crisp to encourage accurate comfortable shooting. That works in combination with the gun’s excellent barrel to make one of the most precise revolvers available. It comes with a fairly standard red ramp sight, but the weapon can take additional optics if even more accuracy is necessary. This pistol’s construction is excellent, so it can take more of a beating than most and still work. It is extremely expensive, but it remains one of the best prepper guns in terms of accuracy and ruggedness.
4. Browning SA-22 Grade 1
The SA-22 from Browning is one of the best prepper guns because of its caliber. It has just enough power for hunting squirrels and other small game but is cheap and easy to stockpile in large quantities. It beats out other guns in that caliber due to its sturdy construction and reasonably low weight. This model breaks down into two parts for easy storage and transportation, which can be an asset when moving during a disaster. Most people will want to pair this with a more powerful weapon to cover all their bases, but this is an excellent survival rifle for most users.
3. Remington Tac-14
The Tac-14 is one of the most compact shotguns available, which makes it one of the best prepper guns for home defense or hunting in rough terrain. It has a distinctive pistol grip which is fairly comfortable, but it does take some practice to get used to the shape. It uses a pump action, which is fairly reliable and easy to maintain, but not quite to the extent of a break shotgun. This model’s downside is its low ammo capacity, but its small dimensions and high stopping power are more than enough to compensate.
2. Century Arms C9V2
The C9V2 from Century Arms is a civilian version of the AK-47 rifle. Like all guns in the AK-47 family, it is extremely reliable while still being powerful enough for most uses, which makes it one of the best prepper guns. This version has an enlarged magazine catch, which is an advantage in times of stress or poor visibility. It also comes with a fairly good muzzle brake for added accuracy and plenty of space for mounting specialized accessories. Stocking up on ammo will cost more for this than other rifles, but all shooters who need a rifle should still consider it.
1. Ruger Super Blackhawk Hunter
|Caliber||44 Rem Mag|
The Super Blackhawk Hunter is among the best prepper guns in terms of versatility. It has the power and accuracy necessary for hunting, while still being smaller and easier to carry than a full rifle. It is hard to conceal, but the ease of carrying the gun makes it appropriate as a defensive weapon. The combination of stainless steel construction and a revolver mechanism ensures reliability, and the gun’s ergonomics encourage accurate shooting. Any shooter that wants a powerful backup weapon or a convenient hunting tool should consider investing in this model.
Making The Right Choice
The best prepper guns are can perform well under adverse conditions, are easy to carry, and can pull double duty as defensive weapons and hunting tools. There are a lot of guns that can do the job, from relatively bulky shotguns and rifles to compact revolvers. If you find a good weapon that we missed, bring it up in the comment section so everyone else can take a look at it.