Best Survival Weapons for SHTF

Best Survival Weapons: Weapons You Can Buy, Make or Find in your Home!

In these times, it is crucial to have means to defend yourself and your family.

There are plenty of survival weapons which you can easily buy in stores or on the internet.

This guide will introduce many types of essential survival weapons, some you will know, others you may not have even heard of.

These will include the weapons you may already own, some you can purchase, weapons you can make and those you can find! It will include both lethal and non-lethal weapons to suit everyone.

Survival Weapons You Can Purchase

Starting with the most important - survival weapons which you can buy. There are plenty of weapons available on the market. Everyone should own survival weapons. There is a chance you will be forced to defend yourself and you want to be able to do so effectively.

The best survival weapons you can purchase include firearms, knives, axes, clubs, slingshots and tomahawks. The best weapons for you to own will depend upon the situation and your skill level.

Having a good set of survival weapons on hand will make you immediately able to defend yourself without scrambling to find or make a weapon.


Beginning with the obvious choice of weapon to arm yourself with - firearms.

Firearms are America’s go-to self defense weapon. In most states they are pretty easy to purchase legally and are highly effective for defense. 

There are a plethora of firearms available and as a beginner it can be difficult to know which one is the best for survival.

The most common type of guns for survival are shotguns and rifles.

Best Types of Firearms to Own


Rifles send projectiles through the air with great velocity and greater accuracy than a shotgun or handgun.

The AR-15 is America’s rifle. 

They have high magazine capacity with a standard AR-15 having a 30 round magazine capacity. 

An AR-15 chambered in .223 / 5.56mm is the gold standard. It is easy to use and has light recoil. 

AR-15s are highly customizable. You can add lasers and lights to help with survival/self-defense.

Most importantly, they are easier to shoot. As a rifle, it has lots of contact points to your body helping you to control it far better.

More so, these semi-automatic rifles can also double for hunting. They are ideal for hunting medium sized game like wild hogs and deer.

The only downsides is they can be a little more on the expensive side, but it is well worth the extra cost. Another downside is over-penetration. If a rifle round is discharged inside there is also the possibility that it could penetrate through drywall and strike an unintended target. 

Also keep in mind, as a rifle there are restrictions on length so make sure you check with the regulations and laws. 


Shotguns can be very good self-defense weapons particularly a twelve or twenty gauge pump action shotgun. 

They are generally pretty affordable, easy to use and have ample knockdown ability. It is extremely versatile and can handle anything with the right ammunition.

The sound of the pump action shotgun loading the next round is often enough intimidation in itself!

A good choice is the Remington 870 if you are looking for a lighter shotgun.

The Mossberg 500 is a popular choice. It is easy to use and highly reliable. It is also priced reasonably, starting at around $200.

The Beretta 1301 is an effective semi-automatic shotgun for self-defense. If you don’t know what semi-automatic means, it is that the second round automatically loads after the first round is fired.

 It has a moderate length barrel which makes it easier to wield indoors. You won’t have to worry about hitting it into walls or doors.


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A handgun is also a good option. They have great concealability which is important if you will be taking it with you.

The most popular brand is Glock known for its reliability and they have many models to choose from. 

The highest rated is the Glock 19 and Glock 43 - both chambered in 9mm.

Glock 19 is our personal go-to handgun. It has a shorter barrel than other Glocks like the original Glock 17. They are easy to grip and manipulate, and 9mm is an ideal round for magazine capacity.

The size also makes it easier to store in a gun safe. The 9mm pistol recoil is manageable too.

Using a Glock 19 with a self-defense round like the 147 grain federal HST along with a flashlight attachment will suitably down any threats.


Knives are one of the most versatile weapons for survival.

They can double as a weapon and a tool, and can do anything from everyday tasks to cutting through anything in the wilderness to self-defense.

Knives have other benefits that if firearms are illegal or restricted in your state or country, knives are legal.

On top of this, they are inexpensive to purchase, you can find great options at any price range and they are also very concealable. They are small, thin and you can even purchase folding blade knives.

Whilst knives are a necessity in our opinion, there are some tricks to best using a knife for self-defense. They are not as straightforward as firearms and it helps to know the best ways to defend yourself. Check out how to defend yourself with a knife here.

A fixed blade knife is a reliable choice. It is very strong and choosing a good brand will guarantee you quality steel and durability. It will be able to handle abuse and not break. 

When choosing a good fixed blade knife the blade should be at least 4” in length and the thickness should be a minimum of .12”.

A longer blade is better in self defense situations. Whilst a thicker blade will give it better stability. 


Bow’s can get a bad wrap for being associated with medieval times. But against popular belief, bows are still great survival weapons nowadays. The benefits of a bow is that they make no sound and are great for shooting at a range.

If you are handy with crafting you can also craft your own arrows out of wood!

There are three types of bows: crossbow, recurve and compound boys.

Benefits include they are inexpensive to purchase and do not require any maintenance. They are great for shooting at a distance to down an enemy before they get too close. 

Shooting with a bow makes no noise to not draw attention to yourself. This makes them an ideal survival weapon for both hunting and self-defense.

The only downside is that they are not as easy to use as a firearm. They do require practise, but once you have mastered it they will be one of the best weapons you own. 

Axes and Machetes

Both axes and machetes may be tools you already have in your survival kit. 

Axes can be used for chopping wood, but also if you need to defend yourself. They can also be used for cutting through thick branches and foliage and breaking ice. 

Downside is that they are usually heavy. 

Machetes on the other hand, are more lightweight. They are typically more utilitarian,

commonly used for chopping wood and hacking through anything in your way. The long blade also makes it good for self-defense as it allows distance from you and an attakcer. Not to mention it can cause some damage!


Hatchets are similar to tomahawks and are another frequent inclusion in any bug out bag. They usually hang on the outside of your kits so are easy to draw upon incase you need to attack.

Tomahawk and hatchets are both small single blade tools and weapons. The difference between a tomahawk and a hatchet is that the hatchet has a curved shaft.

Non Lethal Weapons

Pepper spray is great for a small discrete and easy to use self defense weapon. 

If anyone or maybe you, have been pepper sprayed before you will know it is a more than unpleasant experience. The pepper spray blinds assailants for up to 2 hours!

Pepper spray is made up of natural oils from extremely hot peppers. When sprayed it causes the capillaries to expand. Any area of skin sprayed will feel as though it is on fire. This brings about many other side effects including the victim having trouble to get their breath. 

Pepper spray is great because anyone can use it. There is no training required and all that is needed is just to point and shoot in the direction. It is non-lethal and non toxic too.

A person pepper sprayed will be incapacitiated for a minimum of 15 minutes providing plenty of time to escape. It is so good that military and police forces often use it for its great benefits. Not to mention it is very inexpensive.

It is an extremely good weapon and one that everyone should own.

Stun Guns 

A stun gun is another popular non-lethal weapon. It basically is a box fitted with a battery and stun prongs at the end.

Don’t confuse stun guns with TASERS. A TASER is actually the name of the brand and it has distinct differences from stun guns. A TASER has prongs that shoot out that give an electric shock when they make contact. These prongs shoot up to 30 feet away.

In contrast a stun gun doesn’t shoot anything out. In order to deliver the shock, the prongs must make direct contact.

It incapacitates the victim by providing an electric shock to muscles, which enables muscle spasms, a loss of motor function along with pain. The voltage is high enough to immobilize and incapacitate without causing permanent damage.

Stun guns ideally work best when made contact with the largest muscle groups - i.e. back, chest, legs muscles.

Just keep in mind there are some legalities surrounding stun guns. As of now, they are illegal in New York, New Jersey, DC, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Michigan and Massachusetts. 


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TASER the brand has numerous products so we will set the word straight on which of their products are the best. TASER’s are obviously more expensive, but for a good reason. They are one of the most reputable brands and used by law enforcement and the military. The price guarantees an exceptional product.

TASER’s as mentioned, give an electric shock through the two electrodes. The device sends a wave of high frequency electricity into the electrodes and when they make contact with skin. This electricity will immediately impact the nervous system causing muscle spasms, incapacitation of muscles, decrease in motor function as well as significant pain, nausea and disorientation. 

They are highly effective at immobilizing an enemy. However they are not intended to be lethal. 

A further consideration with TASERS is that they require cartridges to work. After use they will need to be replaced. Always keep a few extra on hand and be aware that different TASER devices need different cartridges - so ensure you purchase the correct one.

TASERS are battery powered and will need battery replacements too. Unfortunately the battery is not rechargeable but will have enough power for up to 50 discharges. Having one battery is fine for self defense as you will rarely be using it. 

TASER Pulse Plus

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This is TASER’s most renowned product. Used by law enforcement and military it is a top notch device. The electrodes shoot up to 15 feet away and this particular device causes a muscle convulsion that lasts 30 seconds, not to mention the after effects felt by the victim.

If you don’t have firearm training don’t let this deter you from getting the TASER pulse plus. The device is fitted with laser sight integration that makes aiming easy for beginners to advanced users alike. 

A great feature of this TASER is the moonlight application. Pair your mobile phone with your taser and when you fire the taser it automatically calls law enforcement with your location to send for help. This all happens itself, so you won’t have to make any calls! 

When you purchase this device you will receive two cartridges and a lithium-ion battery.

Batons and Stun Batons

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Batons are simply clubs. They come in a variety of sizes and functions and are usually made from steel with a rubber handle. Batons are used by law enforcement for self-defense and compliance.

They can be used to fight and defend but also as a shield, to restrict airways or arm lock.

A stun baton combines the design of a baton with the functionality of a stun gun! If there is anything worse than the impact of a baton, it is being electrically shocked too.

Often the electric arc that discharges from the baton is enough to send an attacker running.

Like a stun gun a strike from a stun baton will send an electric shock to the nervous system, temporarily stopping muscle and motor functions and causing a lot of pain. You won’t have to worry about prolonged contact with the stun baton to the assailant and even a half a second contact will debilitate them.

It may be said that if the attacker is making contact with you, the law of physics says that you will be hit with the current too. This is false and the electric shock is only exclusive to the point of contact.

Stun batons are fitted with rechargeable batteries


Slingshots are generally not bought for self-defense but are an item you may already have if you are into hunting. They can be used for self-defense and have a number of benefits. Benefits include they are cheap to purchase and you can use many different items you can scavenge such as small rocks as ammo.

These are harder to use and will take some practise to nail your aim.


A tomahawk is a weapon that can be compared to a hatchet like axe. It has been made primarily for fighting but can also be used for other purposes such as chopping.

Tomahawks are extremely sharp weapons. They have a sharp knife-like end which essentially creates two weapons in one. 


If everything else fails, you will always have yourself.

That is why we highly recommend everyone has some form of self-defense training. Learn the tips and tactics on how to fight properly.

This way if you are properly trained, you will already have an advantage.

Baseball Bat

Chances are you may already own a baseball bat, which means you already have an item in your home that can double as a self-defense weapon. Baseball bats are obviously very hard and can deal a huge blow if you swing with enough force.

The best sorts of bats are metal bats but wooden bats are still effective.


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On the topic of household items other than can double as a weapon is the trusty ol’ umbrella. There are actually umbrellas sold specifically for self-defense. 

The purpose of these is that they are a discrete weapon. They give off the appearance of a harmless umbrella but are very strong. These are usually made from fibreglass and when using it for self-defense, it won’t break on impact.

Brass Knuckles

Brass knuckles are not a self-defense weapon that is preferred by everyone but if you are comfortable with combat and self-defense using your fists there are many benefits to owning one.

They are designed to increase fighting effectiveness when using your fits. Using brass knuckles is going to do more damage to an assailant than just using your bare fists. In fact if you give them enough of a blow it can do damage to one’s jaw.

Another benefit is ease of carry. They are small and lightweight which makes them an easy addition to any bag so they can be carried around at all times.

DIY Weapons


Slingshots are as easy to make as they are to purchase. All you need to make one is:

  • A branch shaped as a Y
  • Thick elastic to use for drawing the ammo
  • Leather piece

Check out this video to show you have to make one in only a few minutes


A Spear is an ideal weapon to keep enemies at a distance and attack from afar. 

You can quite easily DIY a spear.

Making your own spear can be done in a few different ways.

The first way is a bit more comprehensive but all you need to do is tie a knife at the end of a pole or long stick. Tie the knife on with some paracord and you have a deadly spear for self defense.

Say you do not have a knife on hand. The second way to make your own spear is to simply take the end of a long pole or stick and sharpen it. Then fire hardens the end and you have a DIY self-defense spear.

Parting Words

Having a strong survival weapon artillery will serve you and your family well if you ever find yourself in a self-defense situation.

It is an integral part of the prepping process. First and foremost, you cannot look further than the First Amendment. 

Having firearms will give you the most peace and mind and strongest level of protection in defending yourself, family and property. 

Then looking at expanding your weapon collection with secondary survival weapons. These can be both lethal and non-lethal weapons. We highly recommend you own a few tactical knives as these can have great self-defense and utility uses. 

Other options include: axes, hatchets, bow and arrow, machetes etc.

Then there are non-lethal weapons you should always carry around with you at ALL times. 

These include pepper spray, stun guns, tasers. Items like this can easily fit inside your bag or pocket to be used at any time.

Ultimately the weapons you choose come down to what you feel MOST comfortable using. 

Weapons do require practise (firearms, bows) so it is best to get down to your local range to work on your aim!

Best of luck in defending yourself.