Book Review: Survival Guns – A Beginner’s Guide

If you are a reader of Survival Cache or SHTFBlog then you have probably spent some time thinking about survival guns.  Like you, I have How to buy a survival riflespent more time than I care to admit reading comments and forums with people arguing about the best firearms for survival or the best caliber for a pistol or rifle if the SHTF.   Sometimes the arguments can grow old but I do respect everyone’s opinion and the reality is the best survival gun is the one you have and the one you can afford.  My best advice to people regarding survival guns is that “Perfect is the enemy of good.”  You can literally “what if” your choice of survival gun to death if you really want to, for example “I like the AR-15 but .22LR ammo is cheaper, it is easier to find 9mm ammo but .45 ACP has more knock down power, etc. etc. etc.”  Not only are these arguments happening on the internet but also in your mind and sometimes it is hard to quiet those demons.  I recently read through a book that I found interesting on the topic called Survival Guns: A Beginner’s Guide by Steve Markwith.

By Jimmy C, a contributing author to Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

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About The Author

Steve Markwith began formal training at age 11 during NRA-sanctioned small-bore target rifle how to buy a survival gunevents, and became an active hunter by the age of 12. He began reloading at age 14, starting with shotgun shells and a handheld Lee-Loader.  Steve joined the U.S. Army, serving two combat tours while acquiring experience on numerous military firearms systems during helicopter and ground-based operations.  Returning to civilian shooting, he gained further experience during NRA Bullseye, combat pistol, and shotgun competitions.  He became an NRA-Certified Pistol, Rifle & Shotgun Instructor, and served as a certifying authority for concealed-carry permit applicants in several states.  He joined the firearms industry, working with a gunsmith who was a disciple of the well-known wildcat cartridge designer, PO Ackley.

Also Read: Survival Shotgun Part 1

Eventually, Steve assumed control of all firearms operations for a major state agency, which included training, range operations, and equipment procurement.  His credentials include federal, state, and manufacturer’s certifications related to various firearm systems and intermediate force technologies.  He has 25-plus years of full-time firearms training experience and enjoys direct contact with many industry sources.

Survival Guns: A Beginner’s Guide is the first firearms guide in Prepper Press’s PrepSmart book series, which provides information on personal preparedness.  Survival Guns focuses on “building a basic firearm battery,” from selecting firearms appropriate for the readers’ skill level, needs, and budget.  While the guide focuses on starting with a “clean slate,” it’s also highly recommended for readers already familiar to the topics, not just because there’s useful information essential to all audiences, but gun owners might have a “less than ideal” battery for “planned and practical protection” that serves an array of needs.  The guide also contains detailed information that goes beyond the firearm itself, such as an ammunition tutorial, examples of accessories and modifications, and developing the “Coyote Mindset” ideal for aspiring home protectors.


Each topic is organized in a Chapter, listed in the Table of Contents.  Lists provide most of the structure for this guide and break down the topics quite easily, which makes it user-friendly.  One example is the section titled “VIGILANCE,” in which Markwith skips the “do’s” and straight to the “don’t(s)” of gun cleaning.  Other lists are replicated in this book for reference, such as the NRA’s gun safety rules and general range safety rules.  Concepts enthusiasts need to find and ammo types are listed and described.  The lists provide a sense of simplicity, a theme that Markwith heavily promotes throughout the guide.  He emphasizes that even your battery can be simple, as “simple is good.”

Also Read: Survival Carbine Part 1

The author also incorporates his personal experiences as an expert in both civilian and combat shooting, which is useful for all skill levels, as sharing personal experiences and even mistakes with weapons reminds us the basics, what to and not to do.  However, he keeps the language and tone of the prose authoritative yet succinct, further establishing our attention and interest and going back to the theme of simplicity.


The images are in black-and-white, some more high-res than others, but you still get a general idea of the details of each firearm, ammunition, safes, and many other demonstrations.  Some advanced and intermediate enthusiasts might feel disappointed regarding the lack of specifics for each aspect of a battery, such as details regarding rifles.

Perfect Is The Enemy Of Good

Overall, Survival Guns is directed to a wide audience of both survivalists and enthusiasts, regardless of whether the reader is new to either movement.  It’s useful for those totally unfamiliar to the territory, since the guide is a simple starting point.  Survival Guns also makes a good addition to collectors of firearm guides and other interesting literature.  It has also helped me quiet the demons in my head that say that I need the perfect firearm for every situation.  It is never going to happen, keep it simple.

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4 thoughts on “Book Review: Survival Guns – A Beginner’s Guide”

  1. Lance is correct. I've got a sibling that falls "prey" to What-Iffing, all the time. He constantly is switching out his self-defense "platform" for the latest and greatest he thinks he has found.
    Guess I'm too old school. I chose(a long time ago) to stick with what I am most familiar with and what was most cost effective for our family situation, and have not looked back at all. There are FAR too many excellent choices out there now for me to try and wrap my mind around. Yes indeed, there is a lot of tacti-cool stuff hanging off of long guns now, most of which I am probably too illiterate to "understand" and to slow to operate. So, I keep it simple for me.

  2. I love tacticool it marks people that fail to understand that we are not in the military don't want to be seen as
    militaristic or marshal in any way shape or form.

    I can defend hunt and take care od business with a 22 pistol.
    It is not that I would like to but it is better than a non firing weapon or a single shot or some alternative.

    I never had a problem transitioning from one to another people post this and it leaves me wondering
    if you have a Beretta 92 and a AR neither are clones of the other and have slight differences in operation.

    no one I know has a problem trading from a pump 12 to a AR AK or M14 system or any hand gun
    we have all fired owned and have extensive use and experience with their flaws and know when they
    crap out to grab another.

    weapons can get trashed in the field so I am not married to any of them I do not think others should be so
    vested in one as it may be a shortcoming later.

    I think there should be a basics class for bolt Garand M14 AR AK and H&K platforms
    shotguns mossberg Remington and Benneli and maybe a Browning A5
    then another for Beretta Colt Glock and revolvers.

    these are the in broadest terms the most used designs and gives a overall knowledge base for
    fieldstripping and assembly of most weapons systems out there.

    I like any decently well made arm but there are no magic guns no perfect bullet or optics.

  3. with all the grabbers out there it seems as if they concentrate on magazine fed or semi auto
    so to have a single shot, a bolt or lever in calibers you already have as a second line of ownership may be
    a good thing.

    Personally I do not care I like them all but it comes down to what they will let us keep we have bent over and grabbed our ankles to a point where you cannot have any weapons on school grounds banks fed reservations and I heard some niny wanted to prevent people in subsidized housing to not have firearms.
    If we keep allowing them to strangle our rights you get neither freedom or security.

    recently a woman and her child were driving and saw a person with their feet sticking out the window if something was said I do not know but she felt threatened and stopped next to a police car/ officer and was shot dead the police officer shot the suspect but that shows you the police cannot save you or protect or defend.
    in fact the government states you have the right to self defense but makes no distinction on what with.
    you have the right to make a citizens arrest but you cannot use deadly force in same WTF.

    we are going to need to understand that if your not in prison on parole or nuts there is no reason to restrict ownership the powers that be want to drive wedges between all of us and have us argue who should or should not have arms.
    remember divided we fall that is their plan eventually a speeding ticket will keep you from ownership in fact it does if you have a pending ticket or a unpaid one your not allowed to purchase until your obligation is taken care of.

    Government is out of control if your land taxes are not paid you cannot register your vehicle here ???
    one right is not tied to another if we allow this to continue none of us will be safe from blanket
    scarlet letter tattooing like the affordable care act if your not in your in or paid up your illegal — period.
    how many ways can power separate you from your rights thousands like 40,000 Irs rules how many laws?
    "inalienable" what part of that do people not understand.


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