Landscape, Scenic, Porphyry Mountain

We were designed to thrive in the wilderness. We’ve come a long way from the era of cavemen, moving from pointy sticks to boomsticks. While we enjoy more comfortable lifestyles today, it’s always best to stay as close to nature as possible. Part of our well-designed nature is creating well-designed tools to help us out.

There are a lot of firearms that are useful in different situations, so you need to know what you’re getting yourself into. We’re gonna give a rundown of choices for different purposes.

All Around Survival Gun

The Ar-7 was designed with survival in the wilderness in mind. It was created in 1959 by Eugene Stoner who also designed the legendary AR-15. It was originally created for Air Force pilots who needed a great survival tool in case they ever found themselves stranded in the wild. It’s still used today by bushfire pilots and outdoor enthusiasts.

One of its greatest features is compactness. The rifle breaks down into a few parts. The barrel, firing mechanism, and two magazines are stored in the butt of the rifle. It can be broken down and reassembled with ease. This allows it to be snuggly stored in whatever bag you’re bringing, adding only a few pounds to your pack. If you’ve been on long trips in the wild before, then you know how valuable this can be.

Today, Henry manufactures an updated version of this rifle. It uses .22 ammunition which means its perfect for small game hunting. It’s also robust enough to handle some dirt and moisture.

While the AR-7 is a personal favorite of mine, there are many .22 rifles that will be your best friend in survival situations. The semi-automatic Marlin 10-22 is one of the most popular and wallet friendly models today.


There’s a reason that shotguns are so popular among people living on the frontier. That reason is versatility.

Much of its versatility comes from the different types of shotgun shells on the market. Bird shot can be used for birds and other small animals. Buck shot is great for deer and other larger animals. You can load slugs if you need to shoot at longer ranges. It packs enough power to defend you against bears, wolves, or whatever the woods send your way.

There are different types of shotguns to choose from. The first gun I was given by my father was a Remington 1170. It has beautiful wood furnishing and makes for both nice shooting and a nice art piece. However, I wouldn’t want it in the brush with me. The Mossberg 930 is a great all-around semi-auto shotgun. It comes with synthetic furnishing and a mid-length (22”) barrel. Its tubular magazine, holding up to 9 shells, was a major upgrade involved in my choice of it. Its well roundedness makes it useful for competition, self-defense, and especially the wilderness.

.357s and .44s

Bears, Grizzly, Mother, Cubs, Young

If you’re carrying for safety, you need something big. Many of the most beautiful places in the world are also home to some of the most dangerous animals. Grizzlies, black bears, cougars and more are real threats in many woods. While these are beautiful animals, they can also rip your head off.

You need a caliber as big as them, which is where .44 and .357 revolvers come into play. If there are large animals like grizzly bears where you’re at, you need the .44. If you’ll be somewhere where you’re worried about smaller beasts such as black bears, the .357 may suffice.

When hunting, you generally have time to set up your blinds, stands, equipment and whatever else you need. However, when it comes to defending yourself, you need something that is always at the ready. You won’t have your rifle or shotgun seconds from firing while collecting wood, setting up camp, or sitting by the fire, but you can always have a revolver on your side. You may feel that a handgun is not powerful enough to stop as ferocious an animal as a bear, but they are actually effective roughly 95% of the time.

A side benefit of buying a .357 is that many of them can also shoot .38 caliber rounds. .38 rounds are preferable for target practice and new shooters. Of course, that’s only a benefit if you don’t need the increased firepower of a .44.

Big Bore Rifles

If you want to hunt large game at long distances, big bore rifles are generally a necessity. They pack enough punch to put game down with one well placed shot. They can also be outfitted with scopes and range finders to shoot over incredibly long distances.

Like shotguns, lever action 30/30s are a staple of the American woodsman’s arsenal. Marlin and Henry make versions that call back to the American west. Bolt action rifles tend to be preferred for accuracy over the longest of distances. The exact caliber you need will depend on what you’re hunting and your personal preferences.

Hopefully you have an idea of what you need now. As a closing note, make sure your weapon of choice is reliable. You don’t want to be stuck in the wilds with a jammed or broken-down gun. Review the area you’ll be in and what you’ll be doing, and pick firearms appropriate for the situation.