Firearms have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, and my family used them as many people do. We used them for hunting to add meat in the freezer. We spent long days at the target range honing skills, swapping stories, and overall, just having fun. And in a worst-case scenario we had the comfort of knowing those tools were available to protect the family.

However, due to the rise and popularity of what I call fantasy survival leagues, I believe many people have fallen a little too far from the tree.

In my experience chatting with people, the idea of firearms in a survival situation has become a bit romanticized. People seem to want to load up with exotic calibers, complex platforms, and every accessory, site, and scope under the Sun to hit long range targets or to act as though they are the next John Wick. While all these calibers and accessories are fun to play with and to use during normal times, I believe they will lose their position in a true, long term survival situation. That is why my unpopular truth is to stick to the absolute basics when it comes to platforms and calibers when TSHTF.

I have known many gun owners over the years who have graciously shown me their collections. And just like a snowflake, no two collections were identical. But there was one thing they did have in common and It did not matter if I was looking into the gun safe of a farmer, hunter, prepper, military veteran, collector, or target shooter. Every single one of them had a simple, plain 12-gauge shotgun and a .22 caliber rifle or handgun. The models I most commonly saw were Remington 870 shotguns, Ruger 10/22 rifles and a handgun such as the Browning Buck Mark or the Heritage Rough Rider.

In my mind, these two calibers cover a lot of bases in a world gone haywire.

1. They are incredibly common. That means the likelihood of coming by ammunition or spare parts is particularly good.

2. Again, because of how common they are, being able to barter with them or ammunition will be easier.

3. The knowledge of the platform’s operation is simple and fairly universal. This makes them very user friendly.

4. They do not require complex or unique tools to clean and maintain

5. Between the variety of shotgun ammunition and the .22, I believe most realistic hunting and defensive needs can be fulfilled.

6. If need be, a lot of .22 ammunition can be easily carried.

7. They are great platforms for training new firearm users.

8. Reloading supplies are common

9. They are easy and accurate to shoot, even for inexperienced users.

10. Typically, they are not picky and will chew through most ammunition.

11. These types of firearms are some of the most affordable on the market. This means multiple firearms and more ammunition can be bought.

Do not get me wrong. I will continue to enjoy the endless models, calibers, and accessories available. But at the end of the day I will hold to my unpopular truth as it pertains to long term survival scenarios. At the end of your day you must make the best firearm decision for you and yours. Need a little help in choosing your next firearm? Check out the great resources at


Bryan Lynch is an outdoor and emergency preparedness enthusiast. Additionally, he is the author of Swiss Army Knife Camping and Outdoor Survival Guide as well as a content creator for various websites including
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