I love writing firearms related articles like this, because these types of articles always brings readers out of their silence because everyone who knows anything about guns (and some that don’t) has an opinion about what “the best guns” are and they will argue and defend their beliefs relentlessly, so we get plenty of comments and ideas that will, hopefully, help others make the best choices when purchasing firearms for self-defense and survival.
But, before we go farther I’d like to point out that even though this article is titled “Top 5 Handguns for Preppers” I’m not saying that you need all five handguns. No, of the five handguns listed here a combination of three is all that you really need…
For example, the Glock Model 19, Glock Model 43, and Browning Buckmark or the maybe the Smith and Wesson MP 9 Pro, Smith and Wesson MP .22, and the Glock Model 43. With either combination of three handguns you have a full-sized (or mid-sized as with the Glock 19) handgun, a smaller handgun for deep concealed carry that uses the same caliber ammo as your main handgun and a .22 for practice and small game hunting… if you’re a good enough shot.
Okay, with that out-of-the-way let’s get started with my top five handguns for preppers.
1. Glock Model 19
The Glock model 19 is one of my all-time favorite handguns and is a top choice for preppers. The Glock 19 is really a mid-sized handgun but with the magazine capacity of a full-sized handgun, offering a full 15 round magazine capacity plus one in the chamber.
When I carry my Glock 19 I do so with a full 15 rounds in the magazine plus a round in the chamber for a total of sixteen rounds. I also keep an extra 32 round Glock factory magazine in my truck and another in the nightstand beside my bed… just in case. The Glock 19 is my top choice for preppers or anyone looking for a mid to full-sized handgun and it has my top recommendation as a prepper handgun.
Recommend Accessories for the Glock 19
- Ameriglo Glock Ghost Ring Site
- Glock Disassembly Takedown Tool Punch
- Desantis Facilitator Holster
- CAS/C5S IWB Holster for Glock 19/23/32
2. Glock Model 43
When Glock came out with their model 42 in .380 I quickly bought the first one that I saw at my local sporting goods store (watch video of me shooting it here) and carried it concealed every time that I left my house and was happy enough with it, but as soon as Glock came out with the Model 43 in 9 millimeter, I quickly traded up.
If I remember correctly, I traded the used Glock .380 and gave $100 “to boot” before taking home my new Glock model 43.
The Glock Model 43 is my number one choice for a concealed carry gun. It’s nearly identical in size to a snub nose revolver but thinner holds size rounds of 9mm in the magazine plus a round in the chamber and is also easier to shoot and reload under stress than the aforementioned snub nose revolver.
The Glock 43 is the ideal size and weight for consistent concealed carry now and post-collapse where carrying a full-sized handgun would be impractical. Remember… the number one rule of a gunfight is to have a gun and this is a gun that you can have on you at all times.
Recommend Accessories for the Glock 43
- Blade-Tech Industries Total Eclipse Holster
- Multi Holsters Elite Single Magazine Holster
- Ameriglo Glock Ghost Ring Site
3. Browning Buckmark
In the past when asked what my top choice for a .22 caliber handgun for preppers was I’d have said a Ruger Mark III standard model with a 6 inch barrel, and while this is still a great choice, however, after owning a Browning Buckmark for over six years, it has now earned my top rating for a .22 caliber handgun for preppers.
I’ve used mine to put a good number of squirrels, rabbits, groundhogs and even a few pheasants in the pot. And I carried it nearly every day when I ran a trap-line and used it to dispatch of trapped raccoons, fox, and coyote. In my opinion, the Browning Buckmark is the best .22 semi-auto handgun available.
As with all .22’s it’s best to buy several brands and weights of ammo and test it in your chosen firearm to see what works the best because .22’s can be picky when it comes to different brands of ammo. With that being said, I’ve shot at least ten different types, weights and brands of .22 ammo in my Browning Buckmark and its all worked well, however my chosen .22 ammo (for both my handguns and rifles) is the CCI Mini Mag.
The CCI Mini Mag is an excellent round for hunting and to use on a trap line, however, because the hollow points are so destructive on small game and destroy a lot of the usable meat I use the solid round nose version when hunting game and on the trap line.
Recommend Accessories for the Browning Buckmark
4. Smith and Wesson MP .22
The Smith and Wesson MP .22 is another .22 caliber handgun that gets my top rating and is a close second to the Browning Buckmark. One major plus is that it’s lighter in weight than the Buckmark making it easier and less tiring to carry on a trap line (or anywhere else) where you can be gone all day checking your traps.
It’s also easier to find quality holsters because holsters for its big brother the Smith and Wesson MP 9 will work in most cases and if you have a Smith and Wesson MP 9 Pro series as recommended below then most holsters are interchangeable between the two and using the .22 version makes cheap (cheaper) practice when running drills or just plinking at empty soda cans.
5. Smith and Wesson MP 9 Pro Series
I have to admit that it would be a very difficult choice if I were forced to choose between the Glock 19 and the Smith and Wesson MP9 Pro series. While I love the Glock 19, the Smith and Wesson fit my hands better than any other handgun that I’ve held and shot. The grip design is wonderful and is a big help in control and quick and accurate follow-up shots.
I’ve owned the Smith and Wesson MP9 Pro series for over a year and have shot lots of cheap ammo and even some reloads and every time that I’ve pulled the trigger it’s fired with no stoppages of any kind. And I can shoot it more accurately than any other center-fire handgun that I currently own or have owned in the past including the Glock 19.
If you’re a prepper who has small hands (or big hands) and are looking for a full-sized handgun then the Smith and Wesson MP9 Pro series definitely worth taking a hard look at. You won’t be disappointed.
Recommended Accessories for the Smith and Wesson MP9
Tips to avoid getting ripped off or making bad choices when buying your first handgun
A few days spent doing research will help you avoid making mistakes. Know what guns to avoid and shotgun, handgun, rifle action types before you shopping. Learn about the different calibers and types of cartridges that are available.
Get a copy of “The Shooter’s Bible“, “Boston’s Gun Bible” and Guns 101. Avoid most of the “this is the best survival gun” type stuff posted on forums and the web, most of the information is dated, wrong and of little use.
Know what you want before you go shopping
Never walk into a gun shop without an idea of what you want, if you don’t have any idea what you want, you need to do more research until you do. Some salespeople can be pushy and you don’t want to be pushed into buying something you don’t want or need because some overzealous sales clerk needed a commission from your purchase.
What do you want it for
Before you can be sure of what you want, you have to know what you want it for. If your intention is concealed carry then your needs would be different than if you wanted a firearm for hunting or foraging. For example one of the best and most devastating close range weapons is the 12 gauge shotgun when properly loaded, but you would be at a distinct disadvantage if hunting on flat open terrain or needed concealment.
You can’t do it all
There is no one do everything firearm, so stop looking. If you want to cover all the bases, you’ll need a minimum of three different guns. A handgun, shotgun and centerfire rifle, and even with that three gun battery there are some gaping holes about what you can do. Of course, if you know you could not shoot someone in self-defense then guns for foraging may be all you will need.
Price doesn’t always mean quality
With firearms, price doesn’t always mean quality. Granted, some of the best firearms available are costly, but that doesn’t mean that they are the only quality choices available. For example, I would feel just as protected and well armed with a Smith and Wesson model 10 or Makarov as I would if armed with a custom 1911 or HK45. The key is diligent research before you buy (and skill with what you have).
Fit, feel, recoil and other considerations
Whatever firearm you buy, it should fit your body and grip. A gun that fits your body will be easier for you to use and more accurate than if you have to force your body to conform to the size and shape of the weapon. The gun should be an extension of your body and it should feel natural when held in a shooting position.
This can not be determined by anyone but you-you have to hold the firearm, point it and aim it to determine how well it fits your body. Guns and Ammo posted a great article that can be read here titled “The Right Fit” that everyone should read. The article is about handguns but many of the principles can be applied to long guns as well.
Take a class
Get training. Most areas offer hunter safety courses that are free to anyone wanting to take part. If you live in a state that issues handgun carry permits, sign up to take the required classes, most are great for learning basic care and safety rules. The NRA offers a number of low-cost training opportunities that you should look into.
Special considerations for women when buying a handgun
No doubt a few women know just as much about guns as I do. But on the one, the other hand most women (and a lot of men) tend to become rather unsure or even frightened when coming into contact with anything even resembling a firearm, and when faced with the prospect of choosing a handgun for self-defense they become lost within the maze of choices available.
For those with no experience with firearms, training becomes a necessity. Spending a week at Front Sight would be great but realistically out of reach for most. Most areas offer hunter safety courses that are free to anyone wanting to participate. If you live in a state that issues handgun carry permits, sign up to take the required classes, they are great for learning basic care and safety procedures.
If your husband, boyfriend, father, mother or someone else that you know has proficiency in this area this can be an excellent source of information, just be certain that the one doing the teaching knows more than the one doing the learning. You would be surprised at the number of people claiming to be an expert in this area that knows little or nothing of what they are talking about.
There are two books that I recommend for those new to handguns and shooting. “The Concealed Handgun Manual: How to Choose, Carry, and Shoot a Gun in Self Defense” and “Tactical Pistol Shooting“. Both books get my highest recommendation and lay a good foundation for beginning shooters.
Fit And Feel
How does the gun feel in your hand? Are you able to obtain a proper grip? Can you reach the trigger without twisting your hand and wrist to compensate for reach? Your index finger should extend at least ½ inch past the trigger when holding a shooting stance with the finger held straight along the side of the weapon. In this case, size does matter.
Revolver or Semi-Auto
The debate over Revolver vs Semi-Auto has been going on for years, for the most part, this has been a complete waste of time and effort. Both are effective and safe in competent hands, the important thing is to become proficient with whichever you choose.
Bring enough gun
As the saying goes; bring enough gun. If the intended use is self-defense choose at least a .38 special for revolvers and a .380 for semi-autos. Some of you will be tempted to get a .22lr or .25 auto, don’t do it. The .22lr is great for training, plinking and small game hunting but is not the best choice for defense. The .25 auto is worthless for just about everything. Yes; both can and will kill, just don’t bet your life on either to stop an attacker before he can kill you.
Weight and Size
If the primary intention is concealed carry, size and weight should be taken into consideration. Personally, I prefer a two-inch .38 special “snubbie” revolver with a concealed hammer for concealed carry. In the home where space and weight are of no consideration, I prefer a four or six-inch barrel for revolvers or a full-size semi-auto pistol.
Just because you are a woman doesn’t mean you need a man for protection, with training and the proper tools you can defend yourself. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
Well there you have it – my top five handguns for preppers and tips for buying your first handgun now over to you – what are YOUR top five handguns? Why?