RE: Another Survival Gun Thought

[NOTE from Rourke: This post is related to my Video of the Week: Survival Guns back in October…… FYI]

Someone once told me that survival blogs are like old westerns, there hasn’t been a new idea in ages. That being the case I am going to expand on a thought I had a while back. The great thing about it is it ties in with both survival and old westerns. And since Rourke asked for some opinions I will toss this in the ring as it were.

I like to read a wide range of subjects and one I have enjoyed since I was a very young lad is reading about the old west. My Dad subscribed to True West and Frontier Times magazine for years. I still have all the old issues from the late 50s through the mid 70s we had mailed to the farm. True West is still published, but it is not the same type magazine it was back then, but I still pick up an issue every once in a while when it has an interesting article.

A few years back they ran a piece on the best cowboy guns of the old west. Now you have to think about that for a minute. Every one of us that grew up watching the 50s and 60s westerns already knows that the best gun is the Colt’s .45. No self respecting gunfighter would carry anything else. Of course that was not the answer. Neither was the much loved Winchester lever action. No, the choice of the best gun in the old west came down to what weapon could be used to defend the homestead from crime and Indians, drop a deer, a flying prairie hen or pot a jack rabbit, be ready at all times and easy enough for the women to use if need be.

While the Colt’s were an excellent handgun, easy to carry, available in a wide range of calibers, many that would match a saddle rifle, it was not widely used. It didn’t offer the user a good chance to down a deer or tumble a running jack rabbit. Even the rifle didn’t fill the needs of everyone. The actual old west lawman cared more about the rifle they carried than the handgun. Much like the philosophy of today, the handgun was back up to the rifle.

We however are talking about survival though, not a gunfight. We are talking about the ability to do several things well. Only one gun of that era allowed the owner to cover that wide range of needs, the lowly double barrel shotgun.

From the research I have done and from the article that TW published, I have noted that the shotgun was used in a lot of shootings of note. Billy the Kid shot Bob Olinger with his own shotgun as the Kid escaped the Lincoln County jail. Doc Holliday carried one into the gunfight of the OK corral, and the favorite stage stopper of the bandit Black Bart was a double twelve. Prison guards and stage guards carried the double over the other choices. There seems little doubt that the double barrel twelve had a secure place in the old west.

Let your mind wander back a hundred or hundred and fifty years back in time. Think about all the troubles that faced a homesteader. He would have to hunt a wide range of game to survive. He might be lucky enough to shoot at a prairie chicken or rabbit, or have to shot a rattler. With one barrel loaded with shot and the other either a slug or buckshot he could tackle a deer, antelope or larger game.

Today many prepper/survivalists speak of having an event that will revert us back to a time when a lot of our modern conveniences do not work. Maybe we should take a page from the old-timer’s book and think about the double barrel gun as our first choice of weapons. We could store a few ammo cans of different shot sizes and be able to shoot birds on the wing, ground running animals, take a deer, take out a wolf or fox, and make a MZB think twice about coming through our door.

A while back Mickey Creekmore did a post on the poor man’s arsenal. In that post he mentioned a single shot shotgun as a good cheap weapon to have. Rourke likes the AR-7, and my friend Charlie likes the .30-30 Winchester 94. I agree they are all ok, but think if you go ahead and make it a double you will have the same tried and true survival weapon that help found this nation. History can be a very good teacher if we are willing to listen to the lessons of the past.

Wolverine from the Michigan Preppers Network


20 survival items ebook cover

Like what you read?

Then you're gonna love my free PDF, 20 common survival items, 20 uncommon survival uses for each. That's 400 total uses for these innocent little items!

Just enter your primary e-mail below to get your link. This will also subscribe you to my newsletter so you stay up-to-date with everything: new articles, ebooks, products and more!

By entering your email, you agree to subscribe to the Modern Survival Online newsletter. We will not spam you.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. I love my double barrell {it was my grandfathers} everything you wrote is spot on . Now comes the but i perfer a 12ga pump it has more shots than 2 whitch is why a dbl was perferd over a single shot .I perfer a pump over the auto because WHEN YOU RACK A ROUND IN THE DARK IT MAKES ANY MAN HEARING IT DRAW UP. If you have to be a one gun arsonal make it a 12 ga.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.