Prepper Guns: Firearms, Ammo, Tools, and Techniques You Will Need to Survive the Coming Collapse (2016)


AR-15 and AK-47 Pistols

Godsends or gimmicks?


Eric Reynolds with an AK-47 and an AR-15 pistol.

Ihave to admit, when I first saw an AR-15 pistol the word “useless” came to mind.

What was the point?

But I am not one to form opinions without actually learning something about the topic, so I got a few of these guns and started using them. I must admit, my mind was changed.

Here’s why.

First off, the government.

Short-barreled rifles (SBR) are all the rage right now and a lot of people believe that they are much better for close-quarter battle (CQB.) There is no question that an SBR has some tactical advantages in a multitude of situations. The problem is that, due to the National Firearms Act, these guns are only allowed if you get permission from the government and pay them bribe money.

You must register the SBR and pay a $200 tax. In the times we live in I think each prepper must ask himself if he wants to do that. Having a registered NFA gun, no matter if it’s a short barrel rifle, machine gun, or even a suppressor, which is considered a firearm by the government, is not a good idea. It puts you on the radar with the government; and the bureaucrats in charge of that sort of thing often see people who own these guns as problem children and not law-abiding citizens with an interest in firearms.


Eric Reynolds exiting a truck with an AR-15 pistol. In some places it’s legal to have a loaded handgun in a vehicle, but not a long gun.

If things go bad, I think it’s safe to say that the government is going to go after gun owners. There is plenty of history to back up this assumption, so do you want to take that risk? It’s not just Obama. Citizens’ guns were confiscated under a Republican administration during Katrina. Yes I know, it was not the Feds; but they didn’t stop them, either.

If we are forced into a survival situation, you will not make it without your firearms. Do you really want to take the risk that the government will follow the law? Besides, if they declare martial law, there is no law except what they decide is the law. I seriously doubt that they will be bothered by the Second Amendment and I damn sure don’t want to be the test case who finds out.

Your other guns are not registered with the federal government—at least not if we can trust the government to follow the law. The 4473 form you filled out stays with the dealer and when he calls the NICS number for the FBI to run a background check on you, they are supposed to destroy the records of the gun you are buying. Many people don’t believe they do, as the government has blatantly broken the law for years without consequences. For now, we have no option except to believe they follow the law, which means you have not registered any guns with the federal government.


Eric Reynolds with a CMMG AR-15 pistol in .300 Blackout.

But if you register a NFA gun, you are on record with the government as a gun owner and they do have a track record under multiple administrations of attacking and arresting gun owners while confiscating their guns. Yes, there are plenty of other ways for them to track gun owners, and yes, they probably know you have guns, but why chance it? Why give the government a reason to come and search your house in a time of crisis?

An alternative to a SBR is an AR-15 pistol. It’s short and compact just like a SBR, but is legal to own on the federal level and does not require that it be registered with the federal government.


This is a full-auto AR-15 pistol chambered for .300 ACC Blackout. The author is using it to “clear” a shoot house during training at Gunsite Academy in AZ. Shooting well with this kind of firearm takes a lot of practice.

The BATF has made some bizarre rulings on the use of these guns recently, mostly around the Sig SB15 Pistol Stabilizing Brace, which is an attachment that goes on the buffer tube. First the BATF said it was fine. Then they decided it was fine unless it touched your shoulder; at that point it became a felony. That was important because they were no longer regulating the firearm; they were regulating the user of the firearm and how they used the firearm. Later there were reports that this was reversed. I honestly don’t know what’s what with this issue at this time. I doubt anybody is clear on it.

So what follows is strictly hypothetical and is something I have heard through the gun guy grapevine. I have no actual personal knowledge of it, only what I have heard. With AR-15 handguns, particularly those with the Sig Brace, you can place the buffer tube on your shoulder like a stock and control the guns pretty well. If you pick a sighting system with no eye relief issues like an Aimpoint red dot the gun is pretty easy to shoot fast and accurately. I have heard that they can manage CQB-type drills very well.

I will also note that if you install a laser sight, they are very easy to shoot. I have run the 2x2x2 drill with an AR-15 pistol and a laser sight and can do it in 1.6 seconds, which is very fast. That’s reacting to the buzzer and putting two shots on each of three targets in 1.6 seconds. That makes these guns a good choice for close defense work.


Windham Weaponry AR-15 pistol with a Meprolight Tru-Dot RDS sight.

Another issue, at least in my home state and probably other places as well, is carrying loaded firearms in a vehicle. In Vermont, and perhaps other states, we can carry a loaded handgun in a vehicle, but not a loaded long gun. The idea is that we are adults trusted to follow the law and should be able to have a self-defense handgun. But if Big Brother were to also allow us to have a loaded long gun, we would all instantly become poachers and would decimate the wildlife.

I believe that it’s very important to have a semiauto, magazine-fed rifle in your vehicle these days. You can’t predict the future and if the world crashes and burns while you are on the road you will need to get back to your home and family. Given the possibility of riots or terrorism, a handgun might not be enough.


Eric Reynolds with a Century Arms AK-47 pistol.


Eric Reynolds exiting a truck with a Century Arms AK-47 pistol.

It takes time to get an unloaded gun into action. A loaded AR-15 handgun is faster to get into the fight and is almost as effective.

The AK-47 handguns do not have the buffer tube in the back. This makes the guns shorter and more compact, but you lose that theoretical shooting technique. Hollywood loves this gun and you always see actors shooting from the hip. I suppose there might be somebody who can hit things that way, but it ain’t me or any of my shooting buddies. A full-auto with tracers can use the spray-and-pray technique, but for us mortals with semiautos, any handgun needs to be aimed.

The AK-47 handgun I have from Century Arms has four rails on the forend. It’s easy to mount a red dot or similar sight and/or a laser on the gun. Now you have a short, easy to carry, concealable firearm with a high-capacity magazine that is chambered for a high-powered cartridge. They are still tougher than a rifle to shoot well, but they are a lot easier to carry and conceal.

These handguns are no substitute for your battle rifle, but they do make some sense for certain applications. If you already have rifles that use the same ammo and magazines, it might be smart to pick up a handgun or two to supplement them.