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So after a lot of research, evaluation, and field work, I believe I've come up with a list of categories that define what's required in a survival weapon, as well as what type of weapon scores best based on those requirements. For our purposes, an event that qualifies would be deemed a 'survival situation' when there's a major deviation from normalcy for an extended period of time (ex. Hurricane Katrina, week(s)-long blackouts, etc.) in your area of operation. Essentially, any regional or national event where state/federal resources aren't able to restore a state of normalcy for at least 2 weeks.

Here's my criteria for survival weapon evaluation:
1) hunting practicality
2) defense ability
3) ammo availability
4) maintenance level
5) cost

After considering the various options for primary weapons, my opinion is that the home defense shotgun (Mossberg 500/590/88, Remington 870, or similar) is the optimal survival weapon. For each category in the list, I ranked the HD shotgun using a 1-5 numbering system (5 being the best):
1) 4 2) 5 3) 5 4) 5 5) 4 Total = 23/25

As of current, this is what I'd grab in a 'survival situation', as you can hunt with it (I bagged an animal a few months ago with mine), is sufficient in virtually all defense-related situations, ammo is plentiful (even during a pandemic, at least in MS), maintenance is low, and the cost is reasonable on the OEM or reseller market. Any flaws to this logic? Would anything else rate higher in your opinion?

I made a video that reviews this list is slightly more depth, which includes some live fire:
 

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After considering the various options for primary weapons, my opinion is that the home defense shotgun (Mossberg 500/590/88, Remington 870, or similar) is the optimal survival weapon.
Very good video! I'd have to say that I have complete confidence in my 500's (and 590) over everything else I have. Another gun I have confidence in is a mini-14. I expect occasional hickups with an AR or the 930 spx. I like the guns but I wouldn't bet my life on them.

I'd much rather have the 500 over a 590 because I can have a slug barrel on it and a field barrel with me. Downside is the ammo one can carry.. maybe it would be comfortable to carry 20 slugs/20 OO and 20, or so, bird shot.

I agree with your thinking and matched up with a good sidearm a shotgun is hard to beat.
 

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Personally I rate them just above muzzle loaders and flintlocks. They fail on almost every criteria I use.

Big.

Heavy.

Short range.

Low ammo capacity.

Slow to reload.

Slow to fire (high recoil)

Bulky, heavy and expensive ammo (if slugs or buck), which makes it hard to stockpile in large quantities.

I do have a couple 870s....but they are tools, not weapons. I use them for trimming high tree branches and hazing bears with LTL rounds.

If I ever thought I was going to end up in a gun fight, they would only come into play if I broke or ran out of ammo for every other gun I had, save for the muzzleloaders.

When trying to determine the 'merit' of a weapon, its usually good to ask yourself if any military or police unit in the world uses it or something like it as a standard issue mainline weapon. If the answer is no, it's probably for a good reason.
 

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I'm going to have the disagree on this one, though I will preface by saying I think the shotgun is a very capable weapon in the right circumstances. But it does have some severe limitations.when it comes to survival applications.

Shotguns are great in the sense that they are versatile, powerful, inexpensive and the ammo is plentiful. They're also short range, low capacity and slow to reload. All things you don't want in a gunfight. I think you also have to choose the weapon based on the activity. If your objective is to bug out from one location to another, movement, not hunting, is your priority. It would be more effective to pack the proper amount of food you need for the operation, rather than messing around with skinning game and cooking it over a fire. I would rather pack a small .22 pistol for the off chance you see a squirrel or something, rather than carry a sub-par fighting weapon. Even if you do manage to score the occasional small game animal, it's not going to provide you with the needed calories that you'll need anyway. You'd have to be shooting dozens of animals to feed yourself properly and that would take way too much time as well as draw too much attention to yourself.

A lightweight fighting carbine would be a better option. More ammo, faster reloads, a lot more effective range and they're as reliable or even more reliable than a modern pump action. Even the AR, which some people still don't give it the credit it realistically deserves. I guess my main point is that when bugging out, a guns main purpose should be for defense, not hunting. Of course this is all situational dependent. Like if I was bugging out through grizzly country I would rather have a slug gun than an AR. But I'd also probably rather have a .375 ruger than a slug gun too.
 

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When trying to determine the 'merit' of a weapon, its usually good to ask yourself if any military or police unit in the world uses it or something like it as a standard issue mainline weapon. If the answer is no, it's probably for a good reason.
When I went through the Police Academy we trained on sidearms and shotguns. Rifle training was something an Officer may choose to take later. We were issued shotguns.
 

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When I went through the Police Academy we trained on sidearms and shotguns. Rifle training was something an Officer may choose to take later. We were issued shotguns.
And what year...(approx) was that?

I haven't seen a cop with a shotgun since the AWB expired.

Actually thats not true. In 2010 I saw one shoot a guy with a bean bag round. So there is that, but probably not a big draw for survivalism.
 

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Love a good shotty My 870 and 11/87 would be the 1st 2 guns I would grab on my way out.
1970's 870 Police with an extended tube and 18'' barrel not a lot to go wrong there.
11/87 Police with a 20'' barrel lot of people rag on the 11/87 for reliability issues but with a little tuning and such mine has been flawless
Shotguns are just so versatile, put a slug in it and take a deer at 100 yards, toss in some #7 and take out a bird at 40 yards. Easy to aim hard to miss.
 

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And what year...(approx) was that?
Pistol and shotgun training is still in the Ohio Peace Officers Training Academy curriculum to this day. An Officer may choose (or is sent) to take a State approved rifle certification course sometime after graduating the academy only if employed by a law enforcement agency. Employment by a L.E. agency is not required to take the academy.
 

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I think a pump shotgun is a bad choice. I would rather have a semi auto ( tube fed ) shotgun. But honestly i would not put any shotgun high on my list. I would rather have a rifle that any SG. And a handgun would cone first.

an pump SG has almost no advantage over a carbine or battle rifle. It is harder to carry ,holds less ammo , has 1/4 the range ( or less ), is less effective against ballistic armor , less accurate , less deadly ( esp compared to 308 ). The ONLY advantage it has is small game hunting and wing shooting. In the scenario outlined ( 2 weeks ) hunting is not a real issue. And in SHTF i am NOT going to be wing shooting birds. All fair chase rules are over when the balloon goes up. I would be shooting birds on water/ in trees or shooting deer at night with a flashlight.

while a pump SG is more lethal than a handgun and more accurate it is still an inferior choice. It has a lower capacity. It is slower to fire. It is much harder to carry and to Conceal.
The biggest argument in favor of the Hand Gun is the fact that it can be kept at hand in a gun in the hand is worth many more in the bush
 

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So after a lot of research, evaluation, and field work, I believe I've come up with a list of categories that define what's required in a survival weapon, as well as what type of weapon scores best based on those requirements. For our purposes, an event that qualifies would be deemed a 'survival situation' when there's a major deviation from normalcy for an extended period of time (ex. Hurricane Katrina, week(s)-long blackouts, etc.) in your area of operation. Essentially, any regional or national event where state/federal resources aren't able to restore a state of normalcy for at least 2 weeks.

Here's my criteria for survival weapon evaluation:
1) hunting practicality
2) defense ability
3) ammo availability
4) maintenance level
5) cost

After considering the various options for primary weapons, my opinion is that the home defense shotgun (Mossberg 500/590/88, Remington 870, or similar) is the optimal survival weapon. For each category in the list, I ranked the HD shotgun using a 1-5 numbering system (5 being the best):
1) 4 2) 5 3) 5 4) 5 5) 4 Total = 23/25

As of current, this is what I'd grab in a 'survival situation', as you can hunt with it (I bagged an animal a few months ago with mine), is sufficient in virtually all defense-related situations, ammo is plentiful (even during a pandemic, at least in MS), maintenance is low, and the cost is reasonable on the OEM or reseller market. Any flaws to this logic? Would anything else rate higher in your opinion?

I made a video that reviews this list is slightly more depth, which includes some live fire:
I'd rate the 870 ahead of the 500/590. My SPS Tactical 870 is threaded for chokes, my Mossberg is not, cylinder bore. If you need to hunt birds, the 870 is more versatile in that respect.
 

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In the scenario outlined ( 2 weeks ) hunting is not a real issue. And in SHTF i am NOT going to be wing shooting birds. All fair chase rules are over when the balloon goes up. I would be shooting birds on water/ in trees or shooting deer at night with a flashlight.
Yep. Lets face it, the only time a shotgun is a superior hunting tool for sport bird hunting.

There is nothing a shotgun can hunt that most other guns can hunt better, EXCEPT a bird on the wing....which is the very last kind of hunting I would consider in a survival situation. If you are hunting a bird for meat, rather than sport, you simply shoot them from 100 yards away on the ground or water, which you could do with any rifle, including rifles with much longer ranges, fire power and accuracy.

The list of things you CAN"T do with a shotgun is much much longer than the list of things you could. I don't know why anyone says it's versatile, it seems very specialized to me, only really good at a few things, breaching doors, shooting birds in flight or firing less than lethal projectiles.

This does not make it usless, but it does make it the very last gun I think of for survivalism.
 

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I'd rate the 870 ahead of the 500/590. My SPS Tactical 870 is threaded for chokes, my Mossberg is not, cylinder bore. If you need to hunt birds, the 870 is more versatile in that respect.
I learned shotgun on an 870. I never liked that safety so I gravitated to Mossbergs as soon as I could. As I stated above, I'd keep a cylinder bore barrel on it and carry a field barrel which is a lot longer and accepts chokes.
 

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Yep. Lets face it, the only time a shotgun is a superior hunting tool for sport bird hunting.

There is nothing a shotgun can hunt that most other guns can hunt better, EXCEPT a bird on the wing....which is the very last kind of hunting I would consider in a survival situation. If you are hunting a bird for meat, rather than sport, you simply shoot them from 100 yards away on the ground or water, which you could do with any rifle, including rifles with much longer ranges, fire power and accuracy.

The list of things you CAN"T do with a shotgun is much much longer than the list of things you could. I don't know why anyone says it's versatile, it seems very specialized to me, only really good at a few things, breaching doors, shooting birds in flight or firing less than lethal projectiles.

This does not make it usless, but it does make it the very last gun I think of for survivalism.
Plus pump shotguns are obsolete. Sure they still work, but so do flintlocks. Semi auto shotguns are reliable enough now. Heck you can even get a semi auto WITH a pump so you can cycle it if you want to shoot weaker ammo.

but really just get a rifle.
 

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Most of you are delusional when it comes to a "survival situation" fighting is the last thing you need to be doing in a survival situation foraging for food protection from animals and humans last. There is some merits to a single shot shotgun in a survival situation . It will feed ammo that pumps won't begin to feed . And I can cut apart other gauge shells and reload them into 12 gauge hulls with a big nail a dowel rod and a half inch hexnut . A Lee loadall press can keep you in ammo for a while loading 12 gauge shells to 20 gauge levels saves power and shot even slugs don't need to be loaded to the max ,an once of lead at 1000-1100 fps will kill deer size game stone cold dead at shotgun ranges . Pump shotguns will feed this kind of ammo
Actually in an extended survival situation big game will be hunted out quickly (my dad grew up in the Great Depression) an air rifle and a half dozen conibears will go farther than anything else in feeding you. An air rifle doesn't announce that you probably have food or give away your honey hole for small game. Traps hunt 24-7
 

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I see many reasons to have & use shotguns. But then I don't try to drive nails with a screwdriver.


I also don't limit myself to one handgun(or one caliber handgun for that matter) . One can also learn to load a tube fed shotgun pretty dang fast with some work fwiw. IMO in most cases IF someone is out of shotgun range; they're not likely a huge threat. Most folks are not trained snipers after all. There are exceptions to every rule of course and I have a "couple rifles" for obvious reasons but "I" see the need for shotguns why we own them, I load for them and train with 'em
 

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Terrain , situation and proficiency will dictate , Coastal plains, through Appalachian/Ozarks and big metro areas one would be fine with a shotgun. Western plains states rifle would be better. 90 % of people that have rifles do well to make 100 yard shots consistently. The further out one needs to engage a target , that percentage drops considerably across all spectrums and demographics.
 

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I see many reasons to have & use shotguns. But then I don't try to drive nails with a screwdriver.


I also don't limit myself to one handgun(or one caliber handgun for that matter) . One can also learn to load a tube fed shotgun pretty dang fast with some work fwiw. IMO in most cases IF someone is out of shotgun range; they're not likely a huge threat. Most folks are not trained snipers after all. There are exceptions to every rule of course and I have a "couple rifles" for obvious reasons but "I" see the need for shotguns why we own them, I load for them and train with 'em
You sound like you have a good head on your shoulders. Plus if you are prepared you don't "bug out " unless you have to . I am not against rifles there is an AR setting right beside my 870 . I also have 3k 177 pellets and 3k 22 pellets benjamin pellet rifles in both calibers. O-ring kits for both 1000 feet of aircraft cable and stuff to make real snares
 

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I run a retirement home for police shotguns 😁 and have spent several winter evenings getting them in top shape! In short I am a fan of shotguns and have more than 2 😳!

That being said my toolbox has room for several tools and several of those get used more often!

Inside or on my porch a shotgun or pistol/revolver are likely the answer! It’s good until the mailbox, but yard and fields are rifle/pistol territory. Shotguns are also great for close in fast moving targets specially in low light!

Pistols are the most useful since you can always have them with you! Yes they are less capable, but more useful!

Rifles are likely second most useful and have been my go to in any rural environment.

Shotguns I used when I live in town and would use inside the house! Shotguns are also a pretty good post disaster sitting on the porch weapon that is used often after disasters until things settle down!

For both city & rural pest removal a longer barreled shotgun (I use a single shot) and a .22LR in a rifle and a pistol are very useful!

Your toolbox should have all these tools and you will be very flexibly armed with a small, but well thought out toolbox!

SD
 
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