Overlooked Survival Tool: Pellet Gun

November 28, 2012 by | 8 Comments

God knows (and I’m pretty sure my wife has realized by now) that I love guns. Handguns, rifles, shotguns, you name it; I’m enthralled by pretty much anything that goes bang and launches a projectile at a high rate of speed. I’ve played with all sorts of toy guns as a kid, including pellet guns, but as I got older my taste in firepower evolved. When I joined the Marine Corps, it mutated into a monstrous beast while I “played” with M16s, various machine guns, and even belt-fed, fully automatic grenade launchers! After that I didn’t look back.

But due to a squirrel problem, which has since been eliminated, I recently had a reason to dust off an pellet gun. It got me thinking that while we clearly need to have suitable weapons to defend ourselves and possibly put food on the table, every one of us should also own a pellet gun.

You might be thinking “that’s just silly, I have plenty of real guns—I don’t need a toy,” but hear me out.

One of the best reasons is to keep our skills sharp. I get to the range as often as I can, but since Uncle Sam isn’t footing the bill for my training these days, I don’t go nearly as often as I should. That’s a problem, but there is a solution. If you want to hit your target, you must practice the fundamentals of marksmanship regardless of what you’re shooting, and while a pellet gun lacks the recoil and report of a real weapon, everything else is the same; shooting stance, sight alignment and sight picture, trigger control, etc. Compared to your AR 15, it might be a pain in the ass to pump (10 pumps) in between shots, but when you can’t find the time or money to make it to the range, a pellet gun gives you the perfect opportunity to maintain your shooting proficiency.

If you haven’t already, it’s likely that you’ll have to train your spouse, kids, and/or other family members how to safely shoot a weapon. I know plenty of women love to shoot—my wife is not one of them. However, when I took her and my son into the backyard with the pellet gun, I actually saw a smile on her face as she squeezed the trigger. Baby steps. A little time behind a pellet gun will ease the transition to a real weapon for those skittish folks, whether they’re men, women or children. Plus, it ensures that the 4 rules of weapons safety are embedded deeply in their mind before moving on to a lethal weapon.

Let’s not forget putting food on the table. In an all out collapse, meat is going to be hard to come by. In the country, you can grab your trusty .30-06 and bag a deer, but folks in suburban areas don’t have that option, at least not without drawing a lot of unwanted attention both from law enforcement and gangs of looters. A simple .177 caliber pellet gun, however, allows you to gather all the small game you can find. Its powerful enough to cleanly kill squirrels, birds, and even rabbits and other small game, yet quiet enough that it won’t even draw your neighbor’s attention.

There are plenty of great reasons to own a pellet gun, and often at less than $100, it’s one hell of a bargain.

Melanie Swick (a.k.a. Survival Chick) grew up wanting to be a rocket scientist, but when she realized she that required way too much math, she took to her second dream—spending time in the wilderness. Today, when she's not hiking, camping, or hunting, she's blogging about it. You can connect with Melanie on Facebook.

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  • Dave Whitting says:

    Hello, I just wanted to say I liked this article—it was helpful. Keep on posting!

  • Doug says:

    Just be sure to get a pump. I have no problem killing squirrels…..even with just BBs.

  • Jeremy Knauff says:

    That’s a good point Doug. CO2 cartridges may become unavailable if the SHTF.

  • Rex says:

    I have several .177 both pellet and BB however after much research I have learned that the .22cal pellet rifle being just a bit more expensive has a greater punch the the .177 and range is equal. A .22cal pellet rifle could even detour any human if you really had to, it will punch a hole cleanly thru 3/8 and 1/2 plywood, yes real plywood not that cheap OSB JUNK. Just my .02 cents. BTW SEMPER FI BROTHER 22MEU.

  • bonzaisteve says:


  • David says:

    I have a “ruger” (rws built) magnum .22 pellet gun, break barrel spring, and its not variable just one pump. Lead 1000 FPS alloy 1200 fps and reports like a gun because of the sound barrier being broken. Even smokes after a shot with alloy. Actually hurts after shooting a mosin at the range for a while LOL

  • Eric says:

    I never thought of BB/pellet gun for survival. Make sense. Light-weight and cheaper ammo. Stay away from CO2. Pump is good, but shop around and read reviews. Make sure you get a good one. My money is on the break-barrel.

  • Deborah Penn says:

    I have a .177 pistol, CO2 …and a break barrel interchangeable .22/.177 Beeman Grizzly rifle. When ammo cost rose out of control, I stocked up on all of the pellets. That Grizzly is dead on accurate at 50 yards (all the room I have right now for practice) out of the box, has recoil, smokes a bit…and it’s my favorite in the “collection”. And my protection collection runs the gamut…

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