Prepping with guns: 3 Best upgrades for your rifle, shotgun, and pistol
By Darnel Fernandez // Nov 17, 2019

The last thing any prepper wants is to get caught off guard during a disaster or emergency. Things can get really dangerous when things hit the fan, so having the right equipment can help you survive. One essential equipment any prepper should have in his emergency bag is a weapon, specifically a gun.


Having the right gun for certain situations is generally a good idea, but knowing how to upgrade your weaponry and which upgrade to use can further improve your chances of survival. These upgrades are key to better performance and can even improve on the weaknesses of your firearms that could put you at a disadvantage. (h/t to

You can always trust the gun at your side

The U.S. has the 2nd Amendment that guarantees American citizens the right to bear arms. This allows preppers to defend themselves from any danger that could threaten their lives and the lives of the people around them. Having the gear prepared before an emergency happens should be your number one priority, which includes getting the right guns and the right upgrades. (Related: Always ready: prepper gear for short- and long-term survival.)

One of the advantages of upgrading your firearms is that it promotes easier operation. When you find yourself in dangerous situations, you don't really have the time to fumble around with the mechanisms of your weapon. Timing is everything in any survival situation, and the faster you can get a bullet out, the better your chances of survival. This article explores the choices of firearms any prepper should have in their arsenal and some of the upgrades you should consider to make your shooting experience considerably easier.


Not only are rifles good for self-defense, but they are also useful in hunting wild game. In some survival situations, you might find your food supply running short and wild game like elk or deer may be your only option for sustenance. With its reliable accuracy, a good rifle can allow you to take out any target at a distance.

There are three important parts you need to look at when upgrading a rifle's performance:

  • Barrels. If you want to really take advantage of a rifle's range capabilities, get a longer barrel. The longer the barrel, the more velocity you can get out of every shot. Additionally, a longer barrel can make your shots more accurate. A barrel longer than 18 inches but not more than 24 inches is recommended for peak performance while retaining a low profile.
  • Stocks. A gun's stock is more than just for looks. A good stock can help you support the gun and the materials it was made of can make a huge difference in handling. There are two types of stock: wood and synthetic. If you ever get caught in a situation that calls for you to cross a body of water, having a water-resistant stock is absolutely necessary. Because wood is more susceptible to water damage, a synthetic stock is highly recommended to make the most out of your gun's durability.
  • Muzzle brakes. Rifles are a class of very powerful guns that come with quite a bit of recoil. The more recoil the gun has, the easier it is to miss a shot. And in any survival scenario, missing a shot could be a death sentence. A good quality muzzle brake can easily alleviate this problem by significantly reducing the recoil, thus giving you more control.


Similar to rifles, shotguns can be used for both self-defense and hunting. However, unlike rifles, these firearms are short-ranged powerhouses capable of blowing away any threat that comes way too close.

The shotgun is already a monster on its own, but it's even better with a full set of upgrades. Here are a few things you should consider upgrading:

  • Slings. This is one of the more important upgrades to consider. A shotgun isn't exactly a small firearm. Some models can weigh quite a lot, which could hinder your performance. Additionally, constantly keeping the shotgun in your hands could leave you open to other dangers. An adjustable sling is ideal to allow you to easily carry your shotgun. As a bonus, some slings even come with compartments for ammo, giving you more space in your bag for other items.
  • Sights. A lot of shotguns come with stock sights that are made of iron. While generally useful, these sights can be quite hard to spot in survival situations. Replace factory sights with brighter colored ones to make them easily distinguishable, even in the dark.
  • Grips. Much like a rifle's muzzle brake, having a quality grip can make it easier to control and support the gun. While shotguns do not have the recoil of the rifle, it can still cause you to miss shots if mishandled.


These reliable sidearms may be small, but they are deadly. Having a good pistol as a secondary weapon is ideal in case you can't use your primary weapon. Additionally, their small size can make them easier to conceal and carry.

To further improve the reliability of your pistol, consider these upgrade options:

  • Laser sights. Accuracy and aim are the main factors you need to consider when using a pistol for self-defense. Having a laser sight eliminates the problem altogether, making it easier to know where you're shooting.
  • Extended magazines. Some pistols already have a hefty magazine size, but other models aren't so lucky. If you do have one of those models, consider upgrading the magazine that allows around 12-16 rounds. This is more than enough to get you through any dangerous situations. However, you should still practice ammo conservation regardless of the magazine capacity.
  • Red dot/Reflex sight. As previously mentioned, accuracy is king when it comes to self-defense. Having more means to improve accuracy can significantly improve your survival rate.

As a prepper and responsible gun owner, getting the right upgrades for your self-defense weapon is essential for increasing your chances of survival.

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