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The issue of the best SHTF gun has been worked top to bottom, bottom to top and side to side and back again, it is nothing new.

Some will say a .22 rifle or shotgun, others will suggest an AR-15 or some other centerfire magazine fed rifle and a few will tell you a bolt, or lever action is the most logical choice.

While they aren’t wrong – at least under most circumstances, they fail to see the big picture, or fail to realize what really happens after a collapse.

It would seem many have been influenced by Hollywood or writers of fiction and can’t separate reality from fantasy. Leave make-believe to the armchair commandos and teenage video game boys.

Points to consider

  1. You won’t be engaging in constant combat after a disaster.

  2. Those wanting to do you harm will not announce the fact.

  3. Anyone wanting to rob, or steal from you will attack when you’re most vulnerable.

  4. If you’re attacked it will be up close, quick, and intensely violent.

After a collapse, violent crime, looting and frequent attacks will increase to levels never thought possible, theft, robbery, kidnappings and home invasion will be the norm. You’ll need to be armed at all times. Not following this rule will almost guarantee that you will be abused, robbed, raped, tortured and killed at some point.

Although a long gun is the best choice, keeping a rifle or shotgun on your person at all times is impossible. Working the garden, feeding the chickens, cutting firewood, setting traps etc. For all these and a thousand more chores you will constantly be preoccupied with, you simply can’t have a long gun in your hand. And don’t forget barter markets where going openly armed will likely be forbidden. Criminals will know this and will wait to attack when you leave the market area.

It’s been said before; the first rule of winning a gun fight is to have a gun, in this regard a handgun makes the most sense. I know many of you look to be attacked from a distance, you see yourself returning fire from 300 or more yards away.

It could happen – but it’s not likely. In war yes; but not in a SHTF situation – most preppers confuse the two. You’re more likely to need to defend yourself at arm’s length than from a distance of several hundred yards, if you’re attacked it will be fast, brutal and in your face close-up.

In a recent study it was found that 90% of police and citizen self-defense shooting occurred at ranges of less than 15 feet, with 34% being from contact to 3 feet.

I can’t find one civilian self-defense shooting taking place at 100 yards or beyond – if you know of a documented case please let us know.

Like any firearm, handguns are encumbered by a number of limitations; namely lower power and limited range compared to a rifle or shotgun – but a handgun can be there when you need it, and that is most important… Having a gun, ANY gun, is far more likely to serve your purpose than that $8,000 Barrett M82A1 sitting on the dining room table when you actually need it.

And no, I’m not saying that you should sell your shotguns and rifles and go buy handguns, what I’m saying is that a handgun will be your most useful and used self-defense tool now and after the SHTF.  If you have no defensive firearms add a good handgun to your short list (it’s hard to beat the Glock 19, or a 23 with a 9mm conversion barrel from LoneWolf, or something like it, or TWO Taurus PT111-G2’s for the same money as a Glock, or two S&W SD9VE’s for a little more) in a caliber that will be widely available, and learn how to use it/them, i.e.; get professional training. If you’re going to war, most definitely go for the long gun, but you may have to fight your way to it with your handgun. Revolvers are fine as well, as long as they’re chambered in common calibers (.38 Special/.357 Magnum, and .22LR are the most common). Then expand your self-defense “arsenal” and training to include shotguns and rifles.

I’m particularly fond of Pistol Caliber Carbines (PCC) since they share ammunition with your handguns if you chose well.  For instance a Ruger SR22, or LCR-22 and a Ruger 10/22 share caliber if not magazines, but a Glock 17/19, or 22/23 and a Keltec Sub-2000, or LoneWolf G9 will share both cartridges and magazines, as will a Beretta 92 or Px4 Storm pistol and a Beretta Cx4 Storm carbine. The Sub-2000 can be matched to a Sig 226, S&W M&P, and Beretta 92 as well as to the Glocks and quickly folds in half to fit in a standard book bag or backpack. A lever gun and matching double action, or single action handgun chambered in .357 Magnum/.38, .44 Magnum/.44 Special, or .45 Long Colt are equally useful and effective. These combinations represent the best of both worlds and offer maximum versatility. A handgun and long gun chambered for the same round and using the same magazines. It will never get better than that.


When choosing your handgun, plan on buying a second exactly like it in the same caliber as soon as you reasonably can. Redundancy is a good thing when it comes to handguns. One caliber, shared magazines or speed loaders, and a single manual of arms for everyone to learn. These are all thing that make life much simpler when she shows you her ugly side. And as you already know, two is one, and one is none.

Why A Handgun 
When The SHTF
Why A Handgun 
When The SHTF

Desert Eagle (Walther) MR9’s