Preppers take note: A full-size handgun is a mandatory piece of gear for the inevitable end of the world. A full-size handgun is easier to control, aim and shoot more accurately. Getting a secure, two-handed grip in wet and dry environments means the weapon can be used with greater precision. This means more hits and less wasted ammunition.

A full-size pistol also carries a maximum payload of ammunition. Magazine capacity is important, and higher-capacity magazines allow you to shoot more between reloads. Easy-to- acquire ammunition should be your next criteria in a survival pistol. The .22 LR, 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP are excellent choices because they are the most popular with law enforcement officers and civilians. If members of your family have an aversion to recoil, stick with a light-recoiling .22 LR or a 9mm. If you plan on packing a second gun, make it a larger caliber like a .40 S&W or a .45 ACP. These calibers have more recoil and are better suited for experienced shooters.

Gear is only valuable if you know how to use it. Train often and train with a purpose. All mechanical equipment can fail, so understand how to clear a jam. Maintenance is important, too. You don’t need to be able to take down a pistol blindfolded, but the ability to field strip and keep a weapon clean and operating can mean the difference between life and death.

A weapon may get wet with saltwater, caked in mud or frozen in ice. You will need to be able to maintain your pistol whatever the conditions. Here are some of the handguns to consider for survival scenarios.

For more information contact:

Beretta; 800-962-2658

Bushmaster Firearms; 800-998-7928

Colt Firearms; 800-962-2658

CZ-USA; 800-955-4486

Glock; 770-432-1202

European American Armory (EAA Corps); 321-639-4842

Kahr Arms; 508-795-3919

Kel-Tec; 321-631-0068


Sig Sauer; 603- 610-300

Smith & Wesson; 800-331-0852

Springfield Armory; 800-680-6866

DoubleStar; 859-745-1757

STI International; 512-819-0656

Taurus; 800-327-3776

Wilson Combat; 800-955-4856

This article was originally published in SURVIVOR’S EDGE ™ Winter 2015 magazine. Print and Digital Subscriptions available here.

  • Michael Mitchell

    Some very odd picks in that list. Also odd no revolvers at all made the list.

    • GTP

      Yeah. I don’t think much thought went into this beyond “let’s put together a bunch of pistol pictures.”

      If this list had been legit – where’s the CZ P-09? I’m happy one of the 75(85) series made it – those guns are amazing. But CZ’s P-09 is affordable, accurate, has the option to switch between safety or decocker, and has a 19+1 capacity. With two magazines and just a bit of hyperbole, you have enough ammo to defend yourself and half the neighborhood.

  • christina schultz

    Same as the other 2..can’t figure out how you come up with this list because the CZ P-09 & P-07 Duty should no doubt be on this.

  • Wicked93

    Are you kidding me? .22’s in the list. What a joke.

    • downshift

      if the shtf 22 lr should be on the list if ur loading a bug out bag would u rather carry few thousand rounds of 22 or 45 if your in a hurry and weight makes a dif.. 2000 rounds of 22lr is about 15lbs 45 acp is about 100lbs what would you rather carry in a hurry

      • Wicked93

        They are NOT talking about SHTF or bugout situations. They ARE talking about home defense. In a home defense situation using a .22 is completely insane. If it’s all I had… sure. But they PICKED these models and calibers from every handgun out there. Very poor choice and I wouldn’t take advise from anyone who said so.


  • Trevor Chadwick

    what a terrible list. Yes, I could do much better. Maybe I should. These things are always just awful.

  • Max Roberts

    I agree with the others here. Bunch of 22’s and 1911’s, both have serious drawbacks for home defense. Sure, the 1911’s hit hard, but an 8 round limitation is a deal breaker for me for this purpose. I would prefer my Sig P229 in 9mm with light and supressor for this application.

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  • allen

    what no s&w sd40 or 9mm ve taurus millenium 40 or 9mm,beretta nano 9mm

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  • allessior

    I like my .357 Magnum & 44 Magnum for self defense, backed up by my Tanfoglio Witness, with which I can fire 17+1 rounds in 5secs. So I would start with my two revolvers, then finish with the Tanfoglio, which is a competition-grafe semi-auto handgun, with exceptional accuracy and very smooth recoil.