A Short Introduction to Firearms From a Survivalist Perspective

By James Barton โ€ข  Updated: 12/01/18 โ€ข  6 min read

Perhaps you have been carefully considering what you need to be a successful survivalist. You have been looking for information regarding firearms from a survivalist perspective. This article, which is aimed at true beginners, is a basic introduction to firearms as appertains to preppers.

The subject of firearms is sensitive because it is a matter of life and death and involves logic as well as legal considerations. Thus to have a gun or any other firearm, you initially require a high degree of planning as well as discipline.

You need to ask yourself a few questions that will help you make the right decision of whether or not to buy a firearm. For instance, you need to think about storage, cost, weapon choice, ammunition supply as well as legal restrictions. We will check out a few factors worth considering before you buy a firearm.

Why Do You Need A Firearm?

You will need a firearm in two main areas in a SHTF scenario. The first area is in self-defense. The second area is hunting.


Self-defense is a rather obvious use of a firearm in a survival situation. In ideal conditions, weapons should act only as deterrents to stop criminals or dangerous animals from attacking you and harming you. However, you cannot miss using with the aim to kill if your opponent is prepared to take your life.

In any of these cases, you first need thorough training. It would be inconceivable for you to wait until the SHTF scenario to start training to use your weapon. Shooting ranges are commonplace. You can prepare on your own if you have a property with enough space to enable you to create an improvised shooting range.


Hunting with a gun is an effective way to get high-quality, protein-rich food in a survival scenario. Almost all handguns and shotguns have an inherent hunting capability. Nevertheless, you can buy specific hunting guns. They are fitted with numerous accessories to help boost the shooting accuracy.

Before using your gun for hunting, you will need thorough training not only for accuracy but also for your safety. Targeting a prey in its wild habitat can be the most challenging thing.

Finally, as a slight side point, guns will have an unusually high perceived value so can be useful for bartering. One possible cause for concern is their potential theft if you alert others to your presence using them (this may be pertinent for hunters), so bear this in mind too.

The Different Types of Guns

Different Types of Guns

It is impossible for this article to delve on proper and nuanced introduction to all the specific models of guns currently available for civilian and professional use. But, we will discuss three different types of guns as relevant to a survivorโ€™s perspective.

A good recommendation is to have a combination of two categories of guns: a pump-action shotgun as a semi-automatic pistol. The aim is for you to have a weapon that other family members can use.

Generally, three types of guns are suitable for survivalists. They include shotguns, handguns, and rifles. The following information should act as a valuable springboard into more research.

1. Shotguns

A shotgun is a type of firearm design to be fired from the shoulder. It makes use of the energy from a fixed shell to shoot many round pellets (shots) or solid projectile (slug). They range in size from 5.5 mm bore up to 5 cm bore. They also use a number of firing mechanisms including single barreled, breech loading, pump-action, dual or combination gun, semi-automatic, revolver and even fully automatic.

In general, the12- pump-action models are the best choice for a survivalist. They are more readily available, their ammunition is cheaper, and they are also more comfortable to use. With the right bullets, shotguns are perfect for use in a home environment. Many gun enthusiasts believe that pump-action types show more reliability than semi-automatic models. Shotguns are highly efficient when it comes to hunting.

2. Handguns

A handgun is essentially a short-barreled firearm specifically design to be fired with one hand. Handguns are available as either revolvers or semi-automatic pistols. They are perhaps the best weapons for self-defense. They are small in size, lightweight and sturdy. In fact, it is the gun of choice for self-defense among the law enforcement agents.

The two sub-types of handguns differ in how they work. Semi-automatic pistols automatically reload to draw a bulled up from its magazine into the barrel. Revolvers feature a six-bullet barrel and have either automatic or manual cocking mechanism. A small category of handguns called single-shot guns are firearms capable of firing only one bullet at a time.

3. Rifles

A rifle is a type of a long-barreled firearm made explicitly for precision shooting. Its design requires you to hold it with both hands with its butt braced against your shoulders to ensure stability when firing. The name comes from the fact that its barrel helical pattern of grooving (rifling) cut into the walls of the bore.

Rifles are heavy-duty weapons best exemplified by the infamous AK-47. Because of their sheer power, they are not suitable for self-defense except in the most extreme of the disasters. However, they are incredibly accurate as hunting firearms.

The use of firearms is legally regulated because many unscrupulous people see it as a means to hurt or attack innocents. To be on the right side of the law, obtain a license for any firearm you intend to buy. The law allows you to use a gun for self-defense in precise circumstances. Use it only in immediate and life-threatening danger where there is no way out for you except by using a deadly force.

Take time to research the particular gun laws that govern your state or jurisdiction. Some States are incredibly tight on their gun laws. In all you do, ensure you comply fully with the regulations, or you could end up with a life-sentence unnecessarily.  Only use a deadly force if there is no other way to escape.

Proper Firearm Storage

In crises following disasters, guns are precious trading commodities. Burglars, thieves and home invaders would specifically look for your gun to trade with other items they need for survival. This is why proper storage of your firearm should be a priority.

Lock them somewhere you can access them with ease but out of sight of people who would wish to steal it. A safe would be an excellent place for gun storage, but an adequately locked cupboard can also work.

Final Verdict

The information here is not complete because the article is rightly titled โ€œa short introduction to firearms from a survivalist perspective.โ€ You may have to conduct further research to get more in-depth information. Consider checking out SHTFPlan; they offer a great detailed introduction for the beginner.

James Barton

James Barton

Hi, I'm James. I am the founder and main editor for The Survival Corps. I have been a part of the survival and prepping community since my mid 30's as I downsized and started to prepare to be self sufficient in a time of crisis.