To answer the question in the title of this article, you can never truly have enough guns.
This is true for most everything that you stockpile for survival. Since an apocalyptic disaster is always a possibility, you can never truly have enough food, water, medicine, ammunition, or guns. So don’t think that there’s a limit to what you should store.
And that’s exactly what we’re going to talk about today, the bare minimum number of guns that you need to own, and why you need to own them.
The Bare Minimum You Need
If you have just one make and model of firearm that fits under each of these seven categories (so seven guns minimum, with one gun in each category), you will have a sufficient armory to get you through any major disaster scenario.
1. .22 Rifle
Is any gun collection complete without a .22 caliber firearm of at least some kind? Not really.
The .22 rifle is one of the most ubiquitous, and yet also one of the most underestimated, firearms in existence. But no survival armory is truly complete without a .22 rifle, because it does things that no other gun can do.
You would be best served by a .22 semi-automatic rifle with a fairly large capacity. With this weapon, you will be able to do many things, including target shooting, training new people how to shoot, controlling pests around your property, and going small game hunting.
The .22 has the added benefit of being a low-cost round (the .22 ammo shortage that began around 2013 is starting at long last to come to an end and prices are dropping) that can be stored in bulk packs with minimal amounts of space taken up. It also produces extremely low noise and recoil, at least in comparison to other guns, and it can be used in a defensive tactical scenario if need be.
Examples of the best .22 semi-automatic rifles on the market include, but are by no means limited to:
- Marlin Model 60
- Ruger 10/22
- Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 (this can be a great complement to an AR-15 in 5.56)
The next gun you will need to have is a pump action shotgun, chambered for either the 12 gauge or 20 gauge round.
A pump action shotgun just might win the award for being the most versatile firearm on the planet. No, it can’t do everything, but it can do a lot of things. Range may be limited, yes, but a shotgun can be used very effectively for home defense with buckshot loads, bird and small game hunting with birdshot rounds, and even big game hunting (within moderate distances) when loaded with slugs.
The 20 gauge is also severely underestimated. This is unfortunate because it produces plenty of stopping power, and so long as the gun itself has not been lightened, produces considerably less ‘kick’ than the 12 gauge. This makes the 20 gauge a much easier weapon to fire, which means for general family use, it could be a superior option than the 12 gauge.
Examples of pump action 12 or 20 gauge shotguns that you can use include:
- Maverick 88
- Mossberg 500 series
- Remington 870
- Winchester 1300 (no longer in production, but excellent quality if you can find them)
- Winchester SXP
3. Duty Semi-Automatic Pistol
The next firearm that you will need is a duty-sized semi-automatic pistol. This is the pistol that you wouldn’t necessarily use for concealed carry (as it could be too big to be used effectively in that role), but it would be used as a general purpose sidearm that you can keep strapped to your hip. This way, you can easily access your gun in emergencies.
The best caliber choice for this pistol would, undoubtedly, be the 9mm Luger. The 9mm is the most plentiful, abundant, and cost-effective pistol round that you can buy, plus it’s effective for self-defense with the right loads and it can have a large magazine capacity if you live in of the free (or at least freer) states.
Examples of suitable 9mm pistols to consider include:
- Beretta APX
- Beretta 92FS
- Beretta PX4
- Canik TP9
- Glock 17/19
- HK P30
- HK USP
- HK VP9
- SIG Sauer P226/P229
- SIG Sauer P320
- Smith & Wesson M&P
- Springfield XD
- Taurus PT92
- Walther P99/PPQ
4. Concealed Handgun
Since your duty sized handgun may be too big for you to conceal carry on your person comfortably, you may also want to have a smaller and more concealable handgun that you can truly keep concealed on your person at all times, or at least use as a backup gun to your duty pistol.
Examples of classes of concealable handguns include the .380 pocket pistol, .38 snubnose revolver, and the 9mm single stack pistol. These kinds of guns may be harder to shoot than a more full sized handgun, but they are easy to conceal and that’s what matters.
Examples of .380 pocket pistols you could go with are:
- Glock 42
- Kel-Tec P3AT
- Ruger LCP/LCP III
- Smith & Wesson Bodyguard
- Taurus TCP
- Colt Cobra
- Smith & Wesson J-Frame
- Taurus 85
- Taurus CIA
- Beretta Nano
- Glock 43
- Ruger LC9S
- Smith & Wesson Shield
- Taurus PT709
- Walther PPS/PPS M2
While having a revolver may not be truly necessary if you already have a duty semi-automatic pistol, revolvers have the benefit of being drop-dead simple, meaning that members of your family who don’t know how to use guns would still be able to pick up a revolver and fire it if necessary.
Plus, if your revolver is chambered for the .357 Magnum round, it can also chamber and fire the .38 Special round as well, which makes it incredibly versatile.
A double action .357 Magnum revolver with a 4-inch barrel and stainless steel finish would be the best kind of duty sized revolver to own.
Examples of handguns that fulfill this criterion include:
- Smith & Wesson 686
- Ruger GP100
- Taurus Model 65
6. Defensive Semi-Automatic Rifle
While the shotgun is commonly thought of as being the ‘ultimate’ home defense gun, the truth is a semi-automatic rifle will be a better choice if you need to defend your house and property against multiple attackers.
With a rifle, you have greater range than a shotgun or a handgun, with greater controllability than a shotgun and improved stopping power over a handgun.
As far as which specific rifle you should consider for your defensive rifle, there’s really no question that an AR-15 is the right way to go. Spare magazines are easy to find, the 5.56x45mm NATO round is plentiful and cheap, and the AR-15 is also incredibly accurate, reliable, and ergonomic.
You can also easily buy a quality AR-15 without breaking your bank. The following manufacturers produce high-quality AR-15s on a budget:
- Smith & Wesson
7. Long Range Rifle
Last but not least, you’ll need a long range rifle that you can use to tap targets at extended distances and that has enough power to bring down large game so you can put food on the table.
The .308 Winchester is arguably the best caliber for this task, as it is the most popular centerfire rifle round in the world (and has been for many decades), is incredibly easy to find, and will drop virtually anything in North America.
Your long range rifle can be a semi-automatic, in which case you have choices such as:
- Century Arms C308
- Springfield M1A
While you could go with a nice hunting rifle such as a Remington 700, Ruger 77, or Winchester 70, if money is an issue, there are a plethora of budget hunting rifles as well, such as the Mossberg Patriot, Ruger American, and the Savage Axis. Some of these budget rifles also come with scopes as part of a combo, which can help you save money.
Maybe you have some of the guns listed above already, or maybe you don’t. But regardless, the ideal survival armory would have at least one of each type of gun in the above list.
Of course, don’t feel that not having each of the guns in those above categories makes you totally unprepared or makes survival in a post-apocalyptic world impossible, because it doesn’t. Having just one gun, regardless of its type, would be vastly preferable to having no guns at all.