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The 1 gun you'd never expect to need

The one essential you might never think of until it’s too late is a gun worthy of more respect than it gets: a pellet gun.

You read that correct – I said, “pellet gun.” Yes, the kind powered by air – just one step above a BB gun.

I own many guns in many calibers for many different purposes. Among these is a good quality pellet air gun, and it’s not just because I still have it from when I was a kid. I have intentionally added this gun to my arsenal for very specific reasons. In between my Bushmaster AR-15 and my Ruger 10-22 sits a very cool and collected Benjamin Sheridan 392 .22 caliber multi-pump pellet gun, and I treat it with the same respect as any other rifle I own. It is a very specialized soldier in my cabinet. If you’ve never considered a pellet gun as a survival rifle option, here are four reasons that might change your mind.

Survival reason No. 1: Excellent small game hunter

A pellet gun, especially .22 caliber, is an excellent weapon to take down small game. While people have taken larger game such as wild boars with air guns, they are best suited for smaller targets. Hunting small game is practical for any survivalist. Rabbit, squirrel, dove, quail, duck and the like are excellent food sources and are readily available in most of the world. With practice, hunting small game with a pellet gun is absolutely no problem.

I have taken many small game animals with my .22 cal pellet gun. It requires better stalking skills, but that is a good skill to learn anyway. It requires better shooting skills, but that is also a good skill to master. Hunting with a pellet gun will force you to be a better hunter and it will also put dinner on the table.

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Survival reason No. 2: The ammunition

Pellet gun ammunition is one of the more convincing reasons to have one on hand. Pellets, no matter the caliber, are very cheap. You can buy hundreds of pellets for just a few bucks. Spend $50 and you’ve got enough to last a lifetime of small game hunting.

Pellet-gun ammunition

We are just now seeing a taste of how difficult ammunition can be to find and purchase. Traditional ammunition will become increasingly hard to buy and ridiculously expensive. Using inexpensive pellets for small game hunting can help you to preserve the traditional ammunition you have in stock.

Not only are pellets dirt cheap, they are very small. You can carry 500 in your shirt pocket with no problem. You can store tens of thousands in just one shoe box. Compared to other types of ammo, they take up almost zero storage space.

To top it off, pellets have a shelf life of pretty much forever. Traditional ammunition can go bad over time, especially if not stored properly.

Survival reason No. 3: Silent shooter

Forget the earplugs. These guns are silent. In many survival scenarios, a silent weapon is a good thing. Not only can you hunt without drawing attention to yourself or your family, but shooting a silent weapon often means you can get off more than one shot if there are multiple targets. Both of these are positive. People pay thousands of dollars to make their guns silent. No extra charge for the pellet gun.

Survival reason No. 4: Powered by air

You don’t have to buy air. And it’s never going to be out of stock, though I’m sure at some point the government will try to regulate or tax its use. When it comes to air-powered pellet guns, I prefer either a multi-pump or break-barrel pellet air gun.

Break-barrel pellet gun

I have opted not to purchase a CO2 or pneumatic powered air gun. Needing to refill canisters or tanks doesn’t make any sense in a survival situation. You want to keep it as old fashioned as possible. It’s hand pump all the way for this survivalist.

There are tons of options when it comes to hand-pump or break-barrel guns. They both come in .177 and .22 calibers. The feet per second (fps) varies depending on the gun. My multi-pump Sheridan shoots 850 fps but there are models out there that shoot upwards of 1250 fps, which rivals some rim-fire cartridges. Like anything, the details are personal choices. However, I definitely suggest a pump or break-barrel so that you can manually charge your air chamber rather than being dependent on other air-supply products. This is about reducing dependency.

Guns are tools. Whether for self-defense, hunting or sport, each gun has a specific purpose. A pellet gun offers a unique set of advantages that no other type of gun can match. Think pellet guns are exempt from government grabbers? Think again. Many states already have restrictions on what color, size and type of pellet gun that can be owned. Soon they will want your pellet gun too.

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN.