My Choice for One Blade, One Pistol, One Long Gun

January 21, 2013

Hunting Weapons, Poll, Security


If you could have only one blade, one handgun, and one long gun, to survive an economic collapse where there was no electricity, no food on the shelves, no water in the faucet, etc, what would you choose? That’s the question that I posed to you last week. I wanted to hear your selection, your choices, your reasons before I shared mine.

You’ve done that. As of the time of this posting, there have been 51 comments to the post. Thank you! I’ve enjoyed reading your comments and many of them were quite enlightening and got me to thinking. They challenged by thoughts about it and I appreciate that. I never want to become complacent or reach a point where I think I know it all.  When that happens, I’m doomed.

Jarhead Survivor, my friend who runs SHTFBlog, was one of the commenters to the post. He also thought it’d be a good question to ask on his site. Head on over to his site and read the comments there. Good stuff.

So, what would I choose?

My Situation

Laura and I live in a rural community. It’s more of a wide spot in a seldom traveled road really. It’s about 3o miles from the nearest somewhat large city, but we’re not on the way to anywhere. So, while there will certainly be some people who flee the city in our direction in the event of TEOTWAWKI, I don’t expect a massive Golden Horde to come knocking.

Our largest concern will be from the “have nots” that live a few miles from us. There is a small community whose residents frequently appear in the local paper for crimes such as domestic assault, drunk driving, illegal drugs, and theft. When things turn south, they will be our biggest security threat.

We store food and have a garden each year. We have nut trees on our property as wells as some fruit trees. There are deer in the area and squirrels are currently plentiful. I know this will likely change during TEOTWAWKI, but for now it’s nice.

One Blade

If I could have only one blade for survival, what would it be? Some commenters advocated a small hatchet. Some a machete. Others, a good fixed blade.

Since my concerns will primarily be survival, I’d turn to the knife I currently use while on camping trips and weekend wilderness survival practices. Jarhead Survivor turned me on to this knife a year or two ago and I’ve got to say he was 100% right about it. It’s the Ka-Bar BK2 Campanion.

Whether it’s batoning wood for a fire or processing wild game for dinner, the knife is up for the task. It, of course, can be used for self-defense if it comes down to it.

Weighing in at a pound with it’s 1/4″ spine, it’s a bit heavy. But it’s girth has the benefit of making it nearly indestructible.

One Pistol

When the end of the world comes, I want a pistol that I can rely on. One that is dependable in it’s action. One that has enough stopping power to halt an intruder or aggressor with a single shot, yet holds enough ammunition to apply multiple rounds if necessary.

I like the simplicity of a dual action revolver. There’s not much to jam or break. But most only hold a maximum of 6 rounds whereas a semi-automatic can hold more than twice that number.

So, my choice for a pistol would be the Springfield Armory XD-40. The .40 caliber round has great ballistics and combines the best of the 9mm and the .45 caliber. Many may argue that the 9mm, 10mm, or .45 are better choices. And that may be for you. But for me, I’m going with the XD-40.

One Long Gun

Now for the final component of my choice: the long gun. The first two components really come down to personal preferences. Although there were exceptions, most people chose some kind of fixed blade knife and the differences were largely the size and manufacturer. For the pistol, the caliber was the primary distinguishing a factor since most commenters considered it a defensive weapon for close quarters combat.

But the choice of long gun really highlights the varying expectations of the situation. Some turned to the AR or AK variants citing their defensive capabilities. Others opted for a smaller caliber weapon that could be used for smaller game.

Me? I’m going with a 12-gauge pump shotgun such as the Remington 870 with 3.5″ shell capabilities. I like the flexibility that it affords me. I can use it to harvest small game such as squirrel, small birds, and rabbits. Yet, I can also bring down turkey, deer, and moose with it.

It can be used very effectively in combat situations. The pump action is extremely reliable and there aren’t many parts to break or malfunction. In short it’s flexible and reliable.

The only drawback I can see for the choice is that it doesn’t offer a long range use. This could be very important if you live in the plains of the midwest where hunting involves long-range shots. That’s not my situation, though. As for defense? My preference would be avoidance. If they are out of range, I’d rather avoid a conflict or engage only when I have the advantage. The shotgun supports that tactic.

It’s a Balancing Act

For me, the choice is not one of purely defense nor purely wilderness survival. For me, the choice is clear: I need a blade, a pistol, and a long gun that will help me hunt and survive while at the same time allow me to defend myself effectively. The fixed-blade, the handgun, and the 12-gauge seem to offer the most flexibility.

My choices also put a premium on reliability. I want a weapon that I can depend on, requires little maintenance, and is rugged.

But what do you think? Am I missing something? 

Related Posts

, ,

35 Comments on “My Choice for One Blade, One Pistol, One Long Gun”

  1. Tin Man Says:

    All good choices……. Well thought out and practical for your situation.
    i agree with the KaBar/ Becker… as a blade enthusiast… a sound choice
    Although I’m an avid fan of the .45 and shoot it proficiently, i just purchased a S&W .40 cal M&P compact for the Mrs. She said it’s what fits her. She’s comfortable with it , not too overwhelming with recoil and with some practice will be as proficient as i am with .45.
    The Rem 870 is another good choice. I like your reasoning that most defenxsive situations are at closer ranges. That’s where the 870 will shine.
    Excellent post. and a good question. It makes us think about things.


    • Joe Says:

      Thanks, Tin Man. I was pretty torn between the .40 and .45. I like them both.


    • Santiago Says:

      If you want a pump action 12 Gauge, get a Mossberg 500, if even just for the sake of having an interchangeable rifled slug barrel for long range. Heck, they even make a muzzleloader barrel! Google it.


  2. Dustin Says:

    BK2 is a good knife cursed with an absolutely terrible sheath system. I prefer the ESEE5, but they are about cousins in design and specifications (ESEE has a stellar warranty, though)

    Good call on the pistol and shotgun.


    • Joe Says:

      I’ve heard great things about the ESEE5, Dustin. It’s price point is typically over twice as much as the BK2. Is it worth the added cost since it’s specs are pretty much identical to the BK2?


  3. David Landro Says:

    I daily carry the CRKT M16-14ZSF liner lock folder. It locks into a fixed blade. Carried one for many years, Wouldn’t change. I daily carry an AMT Hardballer (1911) chambered in .45ACP. Doesn’t leave my hip. As for a long gun, I would opt for my Remington 700 chambered in 30.06. Good for the woods or the plains. Will take the largest game on the American continent. I could make due with a shotgun…but would choose the Rem.


  4. Sentient American Says:

    The Springfield XD 40 is a great handgun, But I’ll go with the Glock 22. Still .40 caliber, excellent stopping power, but has a greater magazine capacity, 15+1. And .40 hits hard, really hard.

    For a knife in a survival, SHTF, situation I have a 12″ Gurkha kukri, Indestructible. And its’ weight forward blade design makes processing wood for shelter, fire and pretty much anything else a snap.

    For a long gun, I’ll stick with my Mossberg 590 A1 SPX Nine plus 1. With slugs you can take large game and birdshot allows you the versatility of hunting fowl. As a self defense weapon, I’ll defer to “If you simply want to know the best defense load, go out and buy: 12 gauge, 2-3/4″ shell, 00 buckshot. You shall live happily ever after, as this is the most effective man-stopping firearm cartridge yet devised by man.”


  5. Michael Says:

    I believe that one of the often overlooked aspects of an EOTWAWKI situation is ammunition availablity. My choice would be my Bersa Thunder 9 for the reliability and 17 + 1 capability and my 9mm carbine. Shared ammo allows me to stock pile one ammo and the carbine is good enough for small to medium game.


    • Joe Says:

      Sharing ammo between the pistol and long gun is a great advantage. The trade-off is one of ballistics, but in an EOTWAWKI situation that may be a good trade-off.

      Thanks for mentioning it Michael.


  6. Jarhead Survivor Says:

    Hey Joe,

    Just wanted to say thanks for letting me post this question over on my site. It really got a lot of people thinking and some good conversation going.

    Thanks again!

    -Jarhead Survivor


  7. St. Anger Says:

    I would recommend a Glock .40 simply because they are more prevalent, parts and mags will be easier to find. As for a long gun, in your current situation the would seem ideal, but as things go on lacking a long range option could prove detrimental. As game becomes scarce, longer and longer shots may be necessary, and although the local miscreants will most likely die off, they may be replaced by more ambitious predators that you don’t want to get too close to.


  8. Gregg Says:

    Nice article………if you are interested in more knives, check out my reviews @


  9. Jay DC Says:

    ESEE5 no doubt about it. Glock 22 – indestructible, big punch, prevalence of ammo and mags. Long gun is where I divert from the rest: a .223 because of ample ammo supply. Mini 14 is foolproof, but I prefer an AR … mostly because I know it and can repair/disassemble if necessary. Have ample parts, especially springs, know the rifle and it won’t let you down.


  10. RC Says:

    I love to see every one’s perspective here. I for one am a Glock 17 guy, and I love my 5.56. But for this 1 knife, 1 gun, 1 rifle scenario, I would choose a .357 revolver, a .357 lever action, and as for a knife, I love the Ka-Bar Kukri. Part machete, part hatchet, and certainly can chop apart a 2 legged critter. Sure, it’s not a finesse type of knife, and I probably would hate it for skinning, but I would make it work. As for the gun/rifle selection, my only criteria for wanting that combination is ammo simplicity. I would hate to run out of handgun ammo, or rifle ammo, when I need one or the other the most. .357 will not be as common as say 9mm, .223, .308, or even .22lr but this is a fantasy question. 😀


    • Sentient American Says:

      Not really a fantasy question. In my opinion, it (shtf) could very well happen. Look up a guy called Ferfal in Argentina. He’s got a book out, available through Amazon, about how society regressed when the Argentinian economy collapsed in 2000 or 2001. When the SHTF here, things will regress rapidly and it will be deadly. Hell, ammo is getting hard to find RIGHT NOW! And if a tool isn’t capable of performing multiple tasks, it will gather dust.


    • WKH Says:

      RC, my brother and I have talked this through and we decided upon .44mag in a Taurus revolver and Marlin lever action. A little more punch for game and defense. And the compensator on the Taurus makes it easy to handle.


  11. flojo113 Says:

    I used to have the idea that 45acp was the superior round – it was either go big or go home. There have been a few studies done on the effectiveness of 9mm, 40, and 45acp. With the type of ammo that is available today, the ballistics of a 9mm is very close to that of 45acp, especially when gel tests were performed. So I would definitely keep my G17 with my 6round mag extension, bringing the total round count to 23 rounds in each mag plus 1 in the chamber. Now that’s firepower. It’s now how big the bullet is, it’s where the shot placement is. Shot placement is everything, hitting a non-vital part of the body with a 45acp or a magnum round for that matter, won’t bring the attacker down. Also, recoil on a 9mm is very low compared to other bigger calibers, allowing more accurate follow-up shots on target. 9mm is also a very popular round, so you’ll have a good chance finding more ammo (or reloading). The 9mm definitely takes #1 on my list (in a glock) – but the XD is a fine gun and probably just as reliable as the glock.


    • Joe Says:

      Shot placement and being comfortable with the weapon in your hand is very important, flojo113. Good point. For me, its the .40 XD. For someone else, that may be a terrible choice.

      Thanks for mentioning it.


  12. flojo113 Says:

    The Gerber LMF2 knife would be my choice in knives, but the Becker BK2 is also a great choice – I think I’ll get that one too! as for the long gun, my Remington Wingmaster 870 with a 12.5″ barrel is coming with me. Excellent quality, something you expect from Remington. If I one day find a Kel-Tec KSG where I live, that would be my first choice. 15 rounds of 2.75″ shells can be ready to go with this shotty, and it’s quite the compact firearm that fits in my bug-out bag. I’d also take along my Ruger 10/22 takedown model. easily takes apart with the push of a button, zero’s back perfectly, and you can hold 500-1000 rounds of 22 rimfire rounds on you very easily – which other firearm can you hold that many?! I wish I could take the many other firearms I have, but if I had my choice the big 3 would be: Gerber LMF2, Glock 17, Kel-Tec KSG (or Remington 870).


  13. Mike Says:

    I’m in New England in a town of less than 10,000 people. I’m less than 100 miles from dozens of cities, but I’m less than an hour from some very rural areas as well. I think that in northern areas the need for shelter and fire for much of the year makes an axe a very smart choice. In a 1 blade situation I would choose a Fiskars 23 inch chopping axe as part of my kit if I had to move on to a forested area. I might cheat a bit here and add a small swiss army knife that I carry on my keychain or a small paring knife in a neck sheath for finer work.

    I’m torn on the firearms, so instead of dreaming something up, I’ll go with what I have. My long gun would be my H&R 12 gauge pardner. It works for me. It is versatile, reliable, easy to carry and quick to point. At a time when ammunition will be hard to come by, making the most of each shot will be a necessity. I don’t feel that the single action would be that much of a disadvantage in the thickly vegetated and hilly terrain that I am used to.

    My hand gun is a ruger single six with both the 22lr and 22mag cylinders. It makes less noise than the shotgun especially when loaded with subsonic ammunition and should allow me to fill the pot without attracting too much attention. Most folks will find this fairly weak on self defense. I guess I would have to rely more on bushcraft than violence to see my way through.


  14. Patrick Wise Says:

    I would go with the Ruger 357/38/9mm convertible single action revolver because it could use 3 different calibers. I would go with my mossberg 500 persuader 12ga, and lastly, a standard Ka bar knife. It worked during war time, would work now.


  15. Says:

    However for everyone, the feeling of being mls in the nearby person can be a feeling of classy freedom.
    The perfect summer climate place is in the Upper Ocean, from Port Angeles
    completely around Vancouver Canada.


  16. Drewski Says:

    What type of people is it that live to the South of you that’s expected the case so which trouble?


  17. David Ruff Says:

    Found this article and found it useful. Its something I have thought about and made a choice long ago. My thought (being ex military) is the best way to survive a gun fight is to not get into one. Looking at all the calibers, “stopping power” etc gets me laughing. Most if not all modern calibers are limited, let me explain. They fire fast bullets using modern smokeless powder, they have small casings with not much volume. Ever try to make smokeless powder? Enter my thoughts… prior to 1870’s they used black powder very effectively. In a shtf event I feel things would go back to about 1890 to 1920’s. One pistol, one rifle choice is easy… the 44/40 was the bullet of choice, 45 colt (long) was a very effective round, though back then not offered in lever action, it is today. I slick lever action in the hands of a above average shooter is fierce, fast and very accurate. A six gun in the same hands is the same…. people got shot, people died from said getting shot. So with all that in mind it is simple… a .454 pistol (known for accurate fire out at 100 yards with iron sights) it can fire .45lc and scofield and is black powder capable. In fact 35 grains of black with a 300 grain lead bullet is flat scary! The rifle? Easy choice… .45lc or .454 in lever… same bullet, a tad more hit due to the longer barrel and again, in .45lc with 35gr of black with a 250 grain bullet… it hits hard I’m here to tell you. Old caliber, easy to make not only the bullet, but the powder too. Primers are easy to make.. a caliber that won the West, dropped humans, buffalo, deer. Simple, old and proven. Run those .40, .45, 9mm or your .223, .308, .30/06….. try running them with black power after smokless is dried up…. sure, you can out range me, but Im not planning on being in the gunfight to begin with and if I have to fight, I dont see being out gunned as and issue, its the smart and sneaky that survive. 🙂


  18. Don from CT Says:

    Your knife choice is something I know nothing about.

    But your gun choices are less than ideal.

    Your opportunities for scrounging will be much greater with a 9mm. 9mm is a better cartridge. And the ubiquitous Glock 17 or 19 is better gun. Proven better reliability and chambered in the most common center fire cartridge made. So simple a child could take it apart.

    Long gun choice makes no sense. Ammo is heavy and expensive. Each 12 ga cartridge weight 3x what a .223 cartridge weighs. Or put another way, you could carry 3 .223s for every 12 ga shell. A .223 can do pretty much everything a 12 ga pump can do except harvest flying birds. It will also leave a lot more squirrel on your squirrel if you shoot one of those tree rodents. An AR with a spare bolt and lower parts kit will run for tens of thousands of rounds.


    • Don from CT Says:

      Also, with a .22 LR conversion, you have something to harvest small game that uses ammo that is incredibly cheap and light. I can carry 2000 rounds of .22 in a day pack and it costs about $150.



  1. One Blade, One Pistol, One Long Gun: What’s Your Choice? | - January 21, 2013

    […] for the future. In short my answer will probably be different than your’s. So, before I share my answer, I would like to hear from you. What would you […]

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: