Reality Survival What type of emergency are you preparing for (economic collapse, terrorist attack, Electro-Magnetic Pulse, natural disaster, hyper-inflation, etc)? Nobody knows what exactly the future holds; therefore nobody knows specifically how to prepare. When selecting a weapon, the shotgun seems to prove more versatile than most of the others. This jack of all trades weapon can do all things from put food on the table (bird shot) to defend against hostiles (buck shot) and put down wild predators (slugs).
I won’t attempt to argue that there are better weapons for some specific applications. Many law enforcement agencies across the US have moved away from the shotgun toward AR platforms due to increased accuracy, effective range, greater ammo capacity, lighter weight and reduced recoil. That said the specific mission of a law enforcement carbine is limited to tactical applications (not so great at shooting birds). The shotgun is sufficient for combat engagements greater than 100 yards with slugs and is superior at ranges under 35 yards with Buck shot. The vast majority of tactical engagements one would expect to encounter in an emergency SHTF situation would be within those ranges (beyond that a tactical retreat should be considered if practical).
A Shotgun Offers Variety!
The variety of ammunition is what makes the shotgun so versatile. The ability to switch types of ammo depending on the application is equivalent to having several different weapons. Loading a slug is ideal for hunting big game, engaging hostile threats at distances (or through barriers), and protection from wild animals (bear). Loading a round of 00 Buck is equivalent to approximately 8 or 9 rounds of 9mm. A round of birdshot is great for hunting small game (bird, snake, and squirrel) and also pretty good for breaching door locks at contact distance. A 12 gauge flare round is a great way to signal people well over a mile away. Additionally there are several variations of “less than lethal” 12 gauge shot gun rounds that offer you an opportunity to incapacitate an individual (rather than kill them) if the situation presents itself. These rounds include bean bag rounds, rubber slugs, pepper rounds, etc. The latter option (less lethal) may prove practical for many potential scenarios when you actually think about it (only having a “deadly force” option can really limit you both tactically and strategically).
Of all the types of shotguns available I prefer a good pump shotgun for a survival platform. I feel a pump offers the best compromise of capacity, simplicity and durability. Obviously a double or single barrel shotgun is simpler to operate and has less to malfunction; however, it is less ideal as a defensive arm due to limited capacity and slow reloads. A semi auto would be faster to operate as a defensive weapon, however, they have many more parts to break, more prone to malfunction, and many do no reliably cycle low powered ammo (like less lethal rounds).
I think the Remington 870 is probably the best choice for a SHTF shotgun
Of the pump shotguns available, my personal preference is the Remington 870 with the Mossberg 590 (and 500) being a close second. Take a look here to see the specification of the Remington 870. Both of these shotguns have seen military and law enforcement duty. Also there is a huge aftermarket for accessories for them. Common aftermarket accessories include side saddle shell holders (carry extra rounds), tactical lights (identify a threat in the dark), ghost ring sights, folding and recoil reducing stocks, rifled barrels, tube extensions and much more. If at all possible I would stick to the12 gauge platform for thesurvival shotgun with the 20 gauge being a suitable substitute for recoil sensitive individuals.
As I said, the shotgun may not be the “best” weapon for every situation, but for the “Jack of All Trades” weapon that will do most jobs reasonably well (and some of them best of all), the shotgun is hard to beat.
What are your thoughts on a shotgun for a survival weapon?
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