Drum roll please…… wait for it, Ok the best gun for a SHTF event is…..
The one that you have on you when the SHTF. Easy answer.
Seriously, too much controversy is stirred up on forums when someone says “I am going to use my XXX with xxx bullets on those bad Zombies”. A fire storm of comments back-up and tear-down the original posters choice. Now there is no doubt that there are very good choices depending on the situation. and having multiple types of guns for self protection, small game hunting, large game hunting, and home defense would be better. Preppers starting out should concentrate on the basic needs of food, water, shelter, etc. first. Right after those basic needs are met is when guns should start to become a priority.
Starting out with little experience (and possibly little money), I would suggest a shotgun as the first weapon for your future collection. The shotgun is the most versatile choice to meet the needs for hunting small game (with a light bird shot), medium game ( medium shot), and larger game (buckshot and slugs). A shotgun also make a formidable home defense weapon and will almost definitely stop a threat in your home (without the bullet going through multiple walls). The only weakness I see with shotguns would be there inability for long shots (over 75 yards). Shotguns can be bought very inexpensively ($250), and the ammunition for them was not constrained nearly as much as rifle and pistol ammunition was last year.
My second weapon choice would be a military style rifle like an SKS or an Mosin Nagant $100 – $300). Both of these rifles are very inexpensive as compared to the AR-15 and AK-47 varieties. There are many models of deer rifles that would fit into this category as well. I do not hunt big game, and would research some of these for good recommendations. A rifle will handle most problems at a distance over 100 yards (and your shotgun can handle the close problems).
Next I would look into a good quality larger caliber semi-automatic handgun (Glock, Smith & Wesson – $500 in 9mm, .40, or .45) are solid choices. I would suggest a semi-auto, as additional magazines can be bought, and the magazines can be readily available for reloading the pistol. The pistol serves us well at close distances.
With your arsenal almost complete, it is time to have a little fun, and possibly pick up a precision rifle for small game. A quality .22 rifle like the Ruger 10/22 or Remington 597. Both of these rifles are affordable, and ammunition is (or at least used to be) cheap when it is available. The .22 is great for hunting small game, or for practicing.
As you can see, other than the pistol, all the gun selections are budget minded, but also provide adequate quality. These are all popular guns, and finding parts for them will be easier than some more rare or expensive models. If you can only afford one gun now, the shotgun is hard to beat. Visit this thread again, as I am sure I will add additional recommendations, or more information about the shotgun ammunition varieties ( although this could be a whole new post). Please comment on you ideas for preppers starting their collection.