22 vs. Shotgun for Survival

The world has gone a little bit crazy lately, and it’s time to start thinking about how you’ll protect yourself and your family if it ever comes to that. One of the most effective survival tools available is the one government is constantly trying to take away: the firearm. Though some people seem to think they’re all equally dangerous, the truth is that some firearms are more lethal than others. And no, it generally has nothing to do with how “scary” the firearm looks.

Those who have real-world experience with guns know that the .22 and the shotgun are both highly desirable for home-defense purposes. But what about survival in general? Which one is the better choice for your overall survival needs, including staving off predators (both the human and animal varieties) and obtaining food? It turns out the answer isn’t obvious at first glance, so let’s break down the pros and cons of each gun in detail.

Range

When it comes to your survival, the shooting range of your gun is very important. In this category, the .22 is the clear winner. The average .22 long rifle is effective at 150 yards. A shotgun, on the other hand, is meant for close-range targets. The estimated effective range of the average shotgun is just 25-40 yards with birdshot, approximately 50-75 yards with smoothbore slug, and closer to 100-125 yards with a rifled slug. So, in the category of range, the .22 wins if you’re planning to shoot targets far away from you. Of course, accuracy also depends on the skills of the person doing the shooting, as well.

Weight

It’s not unusual for shotguns to weigh as much as 12 pounds, though there are lighter-weight options available. The average .22, on the other hand, weighs just 5-7 pounds fully loaded and scoped. When it comes to survival purposes, even a few pounds makes a big difference. The lighter the gun, the less energy you’ll expend lugging it around. So in terms of weight, the .22 comes out on top.

Versatility

The more versatile a gun is, the better it generally is for survival purposes. A .22 can only use one type of ammunition, while a shotgun can take a variety of ammunition options. This can make it easier for you to choose the right variety for the type of food you’re trying to take down. In terms of versatility alone, the shotgun has the upper hand.

Damage

In a real-life survival situation, you’ll probably care more about the damage your gun can inflict than how much it weighs. You’ve probably already guessed which gun is the winner when it comes to mortal damage, and it’s the shotgun. For up-close encounters, such as if a robber is trying to kill you or make off with your supplies, a shotgun is more desirable than a .22. It also requires less accuracy, which is important when your adrenaline is pumping and your arms are shaking.

You’ll also want a shotgun at your side if you encounter large predators in the wild. A shotgun will probably take down an attacking bear quicker than a .22.

The bottom line is that both of these guns are great to have for survival purposes. However, out of the four categories listed above, the .22 wins two and the shotgun wins two. We hate to decide the outcome of a tie-breaker (though we’re leaning toward the shotgun), so we want you to let us know which one you’d rather have by your side in a survival situation. Have you had to use either of these guns for self-defense? If so, how did it turn out? Let us know in the comments section below!