I have a serious gun addiction. In the last 35 years, I have owned or own just about every type of firearm out there. Not every make and model, but certainly pretty much every classification with the exception of destructive devices. I enjoy the aesthetics, and collecting aspect of guns as much as their functionality. Because of my affinity for things that go boom, I’m often asked “What would your choice be for your wilderness survival gun?” It’s important to preface this because for each different survival situation, there may be a different gun I would choose. Before anyone jumps off the cliff, and has a heart attack, I’m not saying this is the best and only choice. I am merely saying it’s my choice for long term wilderness survival, the double barrel shotgun.
Long term survival in the wilderness demands that one’s choice of weapons must be able to gather food from large game to small squirrels, and be a viable defense tool against large predators as well as the 2 legged kind. This means you should be able to take down a moose or a pheasant, and defend yourself against a bear or another person. That’s a wide variety of tasks, and difficult to do for any specific gun. A double barrel shot gun is as close as I can come to when narrowing the choice down to one. Uncle Joe might have been right just once in his life.
Why not a semi auto shotgun, a pump gun, or even a mag fed shotgun? All those guns are available today and offer higher capacity. While that is true, here are some reasons I believe the double barrel shotgun outshines the others in wilderness survival:
1. It has double the capacity of the single barrel shotgun, which is the ultimate survival gun in some circles.
2. It is mechanically simple and extremely easy to maintain. It has very few moving parts.
3. It is built solidly if you choose from a reputable manufacturer.
4. It is easy to load and unload . This is important if you need to change pay loads for changing conditions on the fly. Bird hunting with bird shot, and a bear shows up.
5. It can be loaded with different shells in each barrel, and you can choose to fire whichever load you desire.
6. It will reliably load and shoot home made shells, shells in rough condition, specialty shells, and any brand as long as they fit the chambering of the gun, and are the right caliber.
7. It is extremely easy to operate.
8. It can not be “short stroked” like a pump gun.
9. It is not sensitive to various shells like a semi auto.
10. It does not have a magazine to lose, or a tube magazine spring which could fail.
So if you are new to prepping, or if you haven’t thought of the double barrel as a viable tool for long term survival in the wilderness, you may want to take a look at the double barrel shotgun as an alternative to the usual choices. As always, if you are not an Armed Citizen, become one. If you already are, arm the rest
Video credit: Burning River Bushcraft