****This post originally appeared over at It can be seen in its original form HERE.



BY GREG RENTCHLER, Editor at Large


SHTF gun, survival gun, survival shotgun,


I’ve been spending a lot of time at my BOL ¬†thinking about a one-gun solution for defending the family in time of SHTF. After much discussion with my survival family and colleagues, we collectively concluded that there is no such thing as a one-gun solution to address the plethora of variations of circumstances involved in a SHTF scenario.


Because times are tough and getting tougher, I decided that I would attempt to create a simple, cheap, and versatile weapon system, consisting of just one gun. The accompanying photos should give you an idea of what I have put together in hopes that many will see the attributes and limitations to this problem.


Let’s be clear. I don’t have all the answers. But I do have a background that that should legitimize my conclusions. So, just consider these words from a guy that wants to share an idea, based on a lifetime of firearms use, study and instructing.


You’ll immediately see that I have chosen a shotgun for my “one-gun option” or (OGO). The gun is a 12 gauge Mossberg/Maverick HS-12 , over/under, 18.5 inch improved cylinder barrel chokes(size of opening at end of barrel or “muzzle”). The gun is equipped with two picatinny rails, one fixed under the bottom barrel and the other on the top rear of the receiver. This is a clever rail on the receiver. The rail is cut thru with a “V”, allowing a sighted picture thru the rail to the front sight, which is¬† fiber optic, thereby creating a very bright, clear, accurate sight picture!



My general premise here is that a shotgun is the most versatile type of firearm produced. Let me tell you why-

* a wide range and type of ammo available to shotguns make it capable of taking game from birds/rabbits/squirrels(with birdshot), to coyotes/2-4 legged(buckshot), to larger mammals as elk/ moose/bear (slugs, either solid or hollow point).

Author’s note– I once killed a Corvette with a shotgun using a slug. What a surprise to the driver dirtbag and unfortunate for the owner.

* ease of use- simple design, break open action, slide safety, manually activated triggers

* shotguns can be used as less than lethal devices (bean bag or rubber rounds)

* less expensive than assault rifles and many handguns.

* reliability+

* ammo available in every store and every farmhouse

* accuracy is very good to excellent with sabot slugs

* extreme foot pounds of energy at close distance and with slugs at distance

* most terminal firearm made- some restrictions( I know, how terminal does a firearm need to be)

* can launch line, signal device, fire starter, club, water portage!


Now for building this gun, I enhanced it considering my thoughts for its use as a SHTF weapon:

I immediately test fired the gun for reliability, accuracy(where it printed with shot and slugs). Then, I applied camo colors using wide shoelaces to break up the paint and outline. A 200 lumen tac light was attached to the forward rail. I felt this gun should remain simple and effective. The light gives the operator surprise to the target and a very quick sight picture for same. A side saddle type of ammo carrier was affixed the the stock(L or R side) for backup reloading and as important, the ammo is a mix of #4 buck, 00 buck and slugs. The gun is rugged and reliable. A sling could be attached easily but is not necessary on this 6.5 pound weapon. The butt stock is hollow reducing weight and allowing for emergency storage .


You could even put a bayonet on the muzzle using the fixed bottom rail! You might note from the photo that I keep two rounds secured by rubber band at the muzzle end of the barrels. Those two rounds are bird shot that I keep for quail egg eating crows in the area. The gun is fast to action, easy to lash down, safe, simple and powerful.


If you look very closely on the butt stock, you will see a distinctive “Z” painted in bright green.


I hope you have enjoyed this offering as much as I do reading and discussing yours!! Be safe and Train!


” be the victor not the victim”


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  1. very nice- my only thought is limited available fire. . .2 shots before reloading? Still, a well thought out gun plan. . . and more for me to mull over. . .

  2. There is an old saying that a pistol will protect your person and a rifle will protect your freedom. The reason behind this is that rifles project force over a greater distance. To my way of thinking, the shotgun lies closer to the pistol in that continuum. Rifles, shotguns, and pistols all have their uses but I would rather deal with a threat a thousand yards away than at 60.

    My thoughts,
    Panhandle Rancher

  3. I thought I posted this the other day, but I am not seeing it in the comments. Perhaps I typed it on the ReThinkSurvival site and those remarks did not carry over. Oh well, here we go:
    While I concur that the shotgun is the best all around survival weapon, I would not choose and over/under model in that the individual is limited to only 2 shots. I think a pump or semi-automatic, especially with and extended magazine tube, is the most versatile SHTF weapon. I would follow with my top 5 guns in a TEOTWAWKI arsenal: 1)Shotgun (.12 or .20 GA, to tolerance). 2) .22 LR (Ruger 10/22 or Marlin 60). 3) Handgun (.357 MAG – rural, .45 ACP – urban). 4) Modern Sporting Rifle in .223/5.56mm (M4/AR-15/Mini-14). 5) Bolt or Lever Action in .308 WIN, 30-06, 30-30.

  4. Nice ShotGun ! but the Ultimate OGO as you put it would have to be the Weapon found at this link !

    I beleive this is the Ultimate Weapon, & you’ll see why close to the end of the video it still Fires after being submerged in Water.


  5. Good post. I also prefer the pump. You can reload while still in battery. If you have to break it down and adversary knows your vulnerable. I wonder, is there much cost difference between a pump and over under? All else the same, brand, quality level, pretty close I would guess. Not being critical, you have a valid argument. Just my preference.

  6. Presumably, you live in neither the US or Mexico, as shooting crows for ANY reason is a serious federal offense. Around 1971, the Nixon administration signed the Migratory Bird Treaty with our smiling EBT card-using friends from south of the border. Mexico, unlike the US, doesn’t protect endangered “species” they protect the entire Family to which the “endangered” type belongs. In this case, it’s a type of bluejay. Bluejays belong to the family Corvidae–the same to which crows and ravens belong. The US imprisons people caught violating this law. Beware…

    • Leonard-

      Check the laws. Crows can be blasted anytime of the year in most states. Crow calls sell big up in New Hampshire and crows can be difficult to call in out in the country when they are not used to people.

      Nasty creatures.


  7. Why an O/U instead of a pump gun? Especially given that the stated goal is defensive I think that choice is less than ideal. A quick look a prices says this bird gun with a couple rails slapped on costs as much if not more than a quality pump shotgun.

    Pump gun wins hands down.

  8. Great post and 100 % agree… I have killed a few rather angry and cantankerous charging bears with 1.5 ounce rifled slugs from a REM 870. They work very well!

    What’s with the green “Z”??? Personal logo or a “zombie killing” designation???

  9. If this was a Mossberg pump gun gun I would say “way to go!”. But 2 shots is a little dicey, I think. Your idea is well thought out in all respects except the choice of gun. Then too, people laugh at my Winchester Model 1897, which is a “parts clean up gun”, made in 1954 when Winchester stopped production of the ’97. That is, until they see how fast it actually can be fired. The trigger design is such that as long as the trigger is held back, the gun fires when the forearm completes it’s forward movement, hence the term “slam-fire”. Just jack away and it’ll fire 5 rounds in about 4 seconds. Something I did not know until recently is that when the gun is loaded with a round in the chamber, the forearm arm has to be pushed forward until a slight click is heard, which is the release of some part that blocks the trigger. I’ve never had it apart-I’m told it has about 300 (???) parts and is a gunsmiths nightmare. I don’t know if that is true or not, but it isn’t like any other shotgun I’ve owned-little bitty parts all over the place from what I can see. Interestingly enough, Norinco, the big Chinese gun maker, offers it for sale in exactly the same configuration, slam fire and all. True?? I don’t know for certain.

    The only good use I’ve ever heard for an over and under is that in Viet Nam a lot of operators liked to carry 2 Ruger 20 guage shotguns with the barrels cut down to 9 nine inches. His words were that “it made a nasty mess” with anything you put in it. That was a new one to me-over and unders carried as pistols, but they are the pro’s, so who am I to argue?


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