Choosing the Right Firearm and Ammo for Your Emergency Survival Kit

Choosing the Right Firearm and Ammo for Your Emergency Survival KitYou’ve finally made it! After months of planning escape routes and gathering supplies necessary for your family’s survival in a disastrous situation, you have your emergency kit! Now that you know you can keep your family alive in a SHFT situation with emergency food and water, first aid kits, and procedures, it’s time to think about how to protect them against the external threats. Time to buy a firearm and stock up on ammunition.

The Right Firearm

A firearm is by far the best way to protect your family during an emergency. But the big question is: What gun should I buy? Some might opt for a fully-loaded AR-15 with a laser sight, extended magazine, and a flash diffuser. If this is your jam, more power to you! After all, this gun can cut down the bad guys and also provide a delicious, freshly shot dinner!

But, consider how the extra weight might hinder you. Don’t forget that in a long-term situation, you’re going to want a hefty supply of bulk ammo and carrying around 500+ rounds of .223/5.56 bullets will weigh down your pack immensely, not to mention their larger size and the space it will take up within your bag!

The Right Handgun

Your next best option is a pistol. The best semi-auto pistols for self-defense range from .380 ACP to .45 calibers. With so many options, which one is right? In the long run, it’s really up to you. Some will say go with the light, easy to hide .380 ACP guns. Others will suggest stopping power is what matters, and none do a better job than the .45 hollow point. With all these opinions, how can you choose?

In reality, what do you want from a gun? Most people will probably say power, portability, and capacity. If this sounds like you, take a look at the 9mm and .40 caliber guns. These pistols have plenty of stopping power while still being concealable, along with larger capacities in the magazine without having to use an extended magazine. The Springfield XDM 4.5″ with 9mm ammo has a capacity of 19+1, meaning less time reloading and more time focusing on the bad guys.

The Right Ammunition

Now that you hopefully have a better understanding of what types of guns are available, what kind of ammo should you get? Aside from different guns requiring different ammunition, each ammo has varying characteristics and uses as well. For self-defense purposes, hollow point ammunition is the usual recommendation. Other bullet types can be used as well, but they’re not as efficient in quickly stopping an assailant.

Hollow points have a lot more stopping power by design versus FMJ ammo, but this power comes at the cost of a higher price point. These rounds are typically used for self-defense as they provide great knockdown power and can quickly disable a charging attacker. Another advantage of hollow point rounds is that they’re unlikely to penetrate a target, ensuring that bystanders won’t get shot and property won’t get damaged by a wayward bullet.

The Right Practice

Make sure you practice! Owning a gun does not automatically mean you know how to use it. This also involves proper maintenance and safe storage. Clean it regularly; keep it and the ammo in a cool, dry environment, especially away from children.

When buying handgun ammo for practice, it’s best to go with full metal jacket ammunition. These rounds are significantly cheaper than hollow point ammo, so they’re well-suited for target practice purposes.

Don’t forget to occasionally train with hollow point bullets as well, if you’re planning to use them for self-defense. Aside from making sure that the rounds work well with your firearm, you also get to hone your aim while using them. Gun accuracy is affected by ammo type, so it’s best to get familiarized with the rounds you’re planning to use.

Wrapping Up

A firearm is an indispensable part of a sensible emergency survival kit. Loaded with the proper ammo and regularly maintained, it can be wielded as a powerful tool to ensure safety and protection.

In the end, it’s up to you to decide what gun and ammo you want. Go to a range and rent different guns of all different sizes. Research the different types of ammo available for your gun. Doing this will give you an idea of what works for you and what doesn’t. This way, you’re not caught out in an emergency situation with a gun that isn’t a good fit for you.

Article written by Jeff Oxford for Prepper’s Will.

Other Useful Resources:

Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation

A Green Beret’s guide to combat and shooting

Learn how to Safeguard your Home against Looters

The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us



6 thoughts on “Choosing the Right Firearm and Ammo for Your Emergency Survival Kit”

  1. This is a really poor comparison. A standard 556/223 cartridge weighs around 0.4 ounces, whereas a standard 9mm cartridge weighs about 0.45 ounces. While perhaps not as bulky as the 556, 500 rounds of 9mm in your pack will weigh noticeably more than 500 round of 556. Meanwhile, you have sacrificed range, inherent accuracy, lethality, and stopping power, all by a considerable margin. While a 9mm pistol may be more concealable, in a SHTF situation its pretty obvious which gun/round any experienced combatant is going to choose. For EDC, the 9mm makes sense, for SHTF, not so much.

  2. Sorry, but a gun should not be an afterthought. It should be part of your planning all along. And included in that planning, is determining that you are willing to commit to learning how to use it safely and effectively (which means time and money), and examining your soul to see if you are sure you can use it in self defense. In an attack, if you cannot use your gun effectively, or hesitate, if may be worse than having no gun at all. And be aware of the consequences; revenge from friends and family of the bad guy, hassles from current or future law enforcement entities, and the likely self-flagellation. A gun can be either a life saver, or a disaster.

    .223 is not optimal for “cutting down bad guys”. With the more common FMJ ammunition, it is better at penetration than imparting energy to the target. A good soft point or hollow point can improve its stopping reliability significantly, but at least two or three times the cost per round. Oh, and it is not a top choice for hunting anything other than medium sized game, either.

    A handgun is a convenient form of short range defense. The .380 is unreliable at stopping an attacker. The 9mm CAN be relied on for stopping power with the new high tech ammunition, but the more common and reasonably priced “ball” (FMJ) ammunition will stop an attacker only about half the time.

  3. “The perfect gun” seems like a no-win debate. People have their favorites for their own reasons and tend to tune out anyone who disagrees. I’ve been told by “guy guys” that I’m not a “gun guy,” so I have no deep attachment to any particular brand, caliber, etc. I’m more of a guns-as-tools guy. Use what the task requires.

    A non-gun example: A hacksaw will cut through a bolt, but it’s slow. An angle-cutter can slice off a bolt in seconds. But, an angle cutter won’t fit between my tractor’s cylinder head and the frame. The hacksaw is THE tool for that job, even if it’s slower and not as sexy.

    Someone else said something like “a hit with a .22 is better than ten misses with a .45” Sure, hit-for-hit, the .45 has more stopping power, but not everyone can deliver the .45. That’s why I got my wife Hornady’s Critical Defense Lite (9mm). With less recoil, she can deliver a second or third shot with sufficient accuracy. Three hits with a “lite” 9 are better than misses with a .45.

    Also to keep in mind is your expected operations theater. Around here (old forest), you’d be hard-pressed to ever get a hundred yard shot at a bad guy. Far more likely, he’ll be very close. As such, a perfectly-scoped .308 sniper rifle with bi-pod won’t get a lot of use.

    Examine where and how you’ll have to use the tools. Fit the specs to the job, not the ego. And, as with hand tools, no one tool will do it all. Better to think toolbox than single multi-tool.

    — Mic


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