There are a number of ways the world could end: nuclear terrorism, an asteroid strike, a massive natural disaster or even the zombie apocalypse -- hey, they're in the Bible. Regardless of how society crumbles, (there's been plenty of TV coverage lately on the subject) if civilization hits the fan you better be armed appropriately. Here are our top eight guns to survive the End of Days.
Remington 870 Special Purpose Marine Magnum
During a major disaster, you need guns for both defense and obtaining sustenance: The 12-gauge shotgun is arguably the best for each. Load it with 6's to kill birds for the pot, slugs to take down deer and elk, and buckshot to fend off would-be looters. Since you'll be too busy finding food and avoiding the undead to clean your gun, we've selected a reliable, anti-corrosive model: the 870 Marine Magnum. There's a reason Remington
has sold about 10 million 870s since 1950 -- they work -- and the nickel-plated Marine Magnum version is as rust-proof as it gets.
The PM9 is an intriguing little gun with a thin frame and 3-inch barrel. It's convenient and comfortable for daily carry, yet packs a sturdy wallop when its seven-round magazine is fed +P 9mm ammo. A polymer frame and stainless slide add durability. During the apocalypse, you need a gun you can keep on your person at all times, even if you go outside at night to relieve yourself (forget indoor plumbing). Kahr
makes just such a gun.
If you want any kind of security at your post-apocalyptic shelter, you'll need to set up a perimeter. And what better way to keep plunderers at bay than with the extended reach and terminal ballistics of the .50 BMG? The McMillan
TAC-50 is renowned for its accuracy, and weight-shaving measures such as barrel fluting reduce its heft to 26 pounds with optics and bipod. It's not exactly light, but it's less robust than other .50-caliber guns and mobile enough for transport in case you need to switch caves.
Bushmaster Carbon 15 M4 Carbine
Desperate human looters. Terrorist invaders. Herds of zombies. Post-apocalyptic Earth is not without its pitfalls. But with an M4 carbine and a few 30-round magazines, you are set for a lot of onslaughts. There was a time when many didn't consider semi-auto rifles a good choice for tight-quarters defense, but that changed when low-recoil rounds like Hornady Tap ammo
hit the market, enabling shooters to get back on target in a hurry. Add to that the medium- to long-range ballistics of the 5.56/.223, and Bushmaster's
AR-15 can be considered one of the most versatile rifles available.
Springfield M1A SOCOM II
When society falls, there will be two kinds of people: Those who starve to death a week after the last Whole Foods closes, and those who own deer rifles. So, if one day you wake up and discover that you're a doomsday sportsman, we suggest the Springfield
M1A SOCOM II. Chambered in .308 Win.
, it packs plenty of punch for practically any big-game animal in North America. And since safety traveling to and from the hunt has never been of greater concern, we picked a gun with a host of tactical features -- a 16-inch barrel, 10-round magazine, Tritium front sight and an extended optics rail, to name a few. Eat well and stay safe.
Smith & Wesson Model 629
Semi-autos are all the rage these days thanks to advantages such as fast magazine reloads and increased capacity, but revolvers may reclaim their dominance once gun cleaning supplies run short and gunsmiths close up shop. Their design is simple and reliable, with far fewer springs and moving parts to maintain. As the author's revolver-carrying, retired law-enforcement grandfather puts it, 'I carry a revolver because I know without question that it will go bang every time. ' After the world goes to hell, the last functional repeating firearms on the planet could very well be stainless steel revolvers such as Smith & Wesson's
One pervasive theme of this essay is a focus on reliability, and the AK-47 is arguably the most durable autoloader ever invented. You can practically pick up a handful of sand, throw it in the action and Kalashnikov's brilliantly simple design will keep on running. That's why Arab tribes are still able to use many of the AK-47s confiscated from Russian troops in the '80s. The AK and its many variants require little maintenance, and it seems even when their tolerances are a little off, the action's ability to cycle is not affected. With a 30-round magazine of 7.62x39 ammo, it will take a determined effort if anyone's going to steal your canned goods.
Holland and Holland Royal Side by Side Shotgun
We make this recommendation not as a gun to procure food or kill zombies, but because one day repopulated humans or our alien overlords will inherit the earth. Given that most of our written history will be wiped out during the disaster (on the bright side, this will include the '70s), we need at least one Holland and Holland
Royal to survive. How else will future peoples know that we were once a civilization that appreciated art, culture and fine scroll engraving? Sure, we went out as a bunch of stinky, toothless, knuckle-dragging looters, but dammit we invented the best-bespoke shotgun!