If you were charged with putting together a basic 3-gun set of weapons for prepping and survival use, how much money would you need to spend to get the job done. If you are new to this game, then this may be a perplexing question. It is one I highly recommend for some judicious research, reading, inquiry and shopping. After all, in a tight situation, your life may depend on the answer. There are a multitude of choices. Think of this guide as a baseline for your budget picks.
Let’s suppose we gave you $1000. Could you assemble a weapon’s set including a basic handgun, a rifle, and a shotgun with that amount? We’re talking good, serviceable guns, too, not rusted junk either. Let’s explore the options.
A Presumptive Assumption
Before we wrestle with the suggestion of a mere three gun weapons set, know we are simply laying out the most basic defensive weapons deployment for personal and property security, hunting, and other prepper uses. We know full well that most preppers will have many more options, but we have to start somewhere, then build on it. For the purposes of these recommendations, we are limiting our selection to one handgun, one rifle, and one shotgun. The idea is to suggest that such a cache could be acquired for at least $1000, possibly less. And we are not necessarily talking used guns either, but that option should be left open. There is nothing wrong with used guns in great condition.
Our choices may not be your choices, as there are many, many options in today’s gun market. Enough so as to be rather confusing to those just getting into prepping and deciding that some form of personal protection in the manner of firearms may be needed. To that end, our suggestions are focused to fit these restrictive budgetary limitations.
The Basic Prepper Handgun
For practical purposes here, we are not going to engage in a full or detailed dissertation on all the potential choices as to handgun type, brand, model or caliber. Thus we are not going to mince words either.
Read Also: The Katrina Pistol
The recommended choice for a first prepper handgun or rather pistol to be used primarily for self-defense is a semi-automatic pistol chambered for the highly common and widely available 9mm. Sure there are other choices, but this is a solid middle of the road choice between the .380 ACP and a .45 ACP. Sorry, but the .22 rimfire is not on the list for defensive purposes.
Why a pistol and not a revolver? For a one gun choice, the capacity to quickly change out loaded magazines is paramount. Indeed, revolvers may be easier to learn to handle and shoot, but they are too slow to reload under most conditions. A pistol is a better choice when used correctly.
With very careful shopping, a consumer can find a 9mm pistol in the $300-400 range, $500 tops. Among the list to inspect would be the SCCY (pronounced sky), Beretta Nano, Glock 43 (used), Hi-Point, Kel-Tec, Ruger LC9 (used), Ruger P-Series, Smith and Wesson (used), Stoeger, Taurus and perhaps some others. There is no evaluation of these models here, just cost considerations.
As with all gun purchases, a trustworthy gun dealer can steer you to a quality gun either new or used to suit your purposes. Just do your research, inquire of other shooters, and go into any gun deal with eyes and ears wide open.
The Survivalist Rifle
Now it gets a bit tougher. It would be easy to simply suggest getting an AR-15 platform rifle in 5.56/223 or even perhaps the .300 Blackout or 6.8 SPC for a bit more power. You make that choice, but know the AR-15 would be a good choice. For some, a bolt action rifle would be good, too. An AR could be used with basic open sights, but likely a bolt action will need a scope for an extra cost. Optics could be added later of course. Either can be used for hunting.
Right now AR prices have moderated especially since the election and the 2nd Amendment scare is over for now, we hope. Dealers overstocked thinking Hillary would win. Now they are trying to sell off their inventories. Right now is a good time to buy an AR.
Working gun shows regularly, I have seen new, in the box ARs selling for slightly under $500, $600 tops depending on the exact model. Check out these brands: DPMS or Bushmaster. They offer utility bare bones models. Used ARs can be found, but inspect them thoroughly before buying or get a return guarantee if possible. Avoid buying somebody else’s trouble.
As with the pistol, the AR rifle offers quick change magazines that can be pre-loaded and ready. Under dire circumstances sustained fire can be critical. The AR accessory aftermarket is loaded with options. For a basic first prepper rifle, the AR is hard to beat.
The Elementary Smoothbore
Buying a decent shotgun is probably the easiest of the triple threat. Recommendations are easier, too. Buy a pump action shotgun, either a classic Remington 870, a Mossberg 500 or Savage in 12 gauge. Get serious and forget the 20 gauge. Stick with a basic hardwood stock, but synthetic is OK if the price point is right. An ideal defense shotgun would have a barrel of 26-inches or less. The 20-inch tactical barrel is easier to handle indoors and around barriers. Make sure the barrel accepts screw in choke tubes so the shotgun can be used for multiple purposes such as hunting.
Related: Survival Shotgun Selection
Good, serviceable used pump shotguns can be found for less than $200. New ones can be found for $269-329 with some companies offering rebates as well. I just saw an H&R Partner Protection model at Academy for $179, new. There may be additional sales after the New Year begins.
If you work hard, shop smart, and have some luck, this 3-gun set can be bought for $1000 or close to it. Next as appropriations become available start stocking ammo. How much? At least 1000 rounds each of pistol and rifle ammo and 500 shotshell rounds. Again, these are starting places.
Undoubtedly, these recommendations will spark debate, criticism, and opinions. We welcome that. The ultimate goal here is to outfit new preppers with the basic gear they need to survive a host of SHTF scenarios.