5 Firearms to Survive Pt. 5

5 Firearms you need to survive a major event


  • Key Points: The classic “scattergun” is always a fan favorite. From stories of the trenches of WWII to the Biden Anthem of “buy a shotgun” no collection seems to be complete without one. Unlike the other weapons on this list, a shotgun can fire a wide variety of loads, from hunting rounds like birdshot or buckshot to tactical rounds like dragon’s breath and flechettes. This is one of the most diverse firearms in existence, but often at the sacrifice of range. A solid pump-action shotgun will work in pretty much any weather and deliver a devastating wound to any target, while a semi-auto may be more finicky at the exchange for delivering insane amounts of projectiles down range rapidly. The balance is a thin line, but even with sabot-style slugs you should never view a shotgun as even a mid-range solution. These are for up-close-and-personal action or survival hunting ONLY. As for which chamber to get? Well, I’m going to swear by the 12 gauge. You will find rounds for it more easily than any of the other options, not to mention the fact that all of the cool “tactical” rounds come almost exclusively in 12.
  • Budget: Two of the most common models in the world of shotguns are the Remington 870 and Mossberg 500. While not exact clones of one another, they are incredibly similar, and these two pump-actions come chambered in 12, 20, 28, and even .410 gauge. They can be had in a standard 2½ inch chamber, the 3 inch specialty chamber, or the 3½ or even 4 inch magnum chambers. All of that is to say that they will eat damn near anything you’ll feed them if they're setup right. The 870 has enjoyed a number of years as the breaching tool of choice for infantry units in the military and SWAT teams across the world, only recently seeing their numbers decline in favor of other platforms. There are plenty of other options out there, like the Maverick 88 or the Ithaca Model 37, but generally speaking your pump-action shotguns are going to make up your budget tier and with a little bit of training and patience you can create a formidable defense weapon out of them. Now, during the COVID gun-rush a number of Turkish built “tactical” shotguns flooded the market, flaunting removable magazines and semi-auto actions. They gained popularity due to placement in movies and video games, but by and large they are nothing more than jam-tastic hot garbage. They can currently be found for $200 or so at gun shows and on the used rack of gun stores and are best left there to collect dust. Avoid them, and their temptation, at all costs.
  • Mid-Tier: The Beretta A300 and 1301 are solid options for a mid-tier shotgun. They are semi-auto, reliable, and as durable as a shotgun can get. You can add space to the tube-style magazine to take the factory 7+1 capacity all the way up to a 10+1 if you like. Trigger packages, red dots, recoil springs and more, “Oh-My!” Like most mid-tier options, you’ll spend a bit more out the gate, but you’ll get what you pay for. Some less common options would be something like the Franchi SPAS 12 of Jurassic Park fame or the Chiappa lever action shotguns, but these should be avoided for similar reasons to the “bougie” tiers of other platforms. They simply don’t have the parts floating around to do a field expedient repair or customization options for performance. The SPAS12 is cool in that it can switch between being pump-action or semi-auto, but the reality of that is more specialty moving parts that can break and be impossible to replace.Bougie: Top tier for tactical shotguns really has to be some configuration of the Benelli M3/M4. Extremely popular with the 3-gun crowd and known for being more reliable than a sunrise, this shotgun has won contracts with military and law enforcement units around the world. When legal, the M4 allows for a collapsible stock that makes it easier to handle in tight spaces. Both platforms are semi-automatic and use the Benelli “Inertia Driven System” which means you will never have to worry about whether or not the spent shell is kicked out or the next one is being chambered properly. These shotguns eat anything you’ll feed them, plain and simple, and just keep asking for more. Now, nothing is perfect, and the downfall to the Inertia Driven system is that you’re going to feel every ounce of that recoil, whether you're shooting a target load or a 3½ inch Magnum, be ready for the punch! If you’re not worried about recoil and you’re more concerned with customizability and reliability, this might actually be worth stepping up to, because unlike the other “Bougie-tier” weapons, you might actually find parts for these floating around squad cars, HMMWVs or armories.