As a survivalist, you’re always loyal to your weapon. Regardless of your choice of weapon – whether it’s a gun or bow – you always believe that you’ve got the most efficient weapon to handle any SHTF situation that rolls before you.
But which one comes on top? A gun or a bow?
None is really better than other; each can kill efficiently. However, each of them has its strengths and weaknesses, and this can guide you into picking the right weapon that serves your short-term or long-term survival needs.
In this post, we’ll take a closer look at each weapon and their pros and cons to help you make a wiser decision on the right weapon for you.
Let’s do this:
Archery for SHTF Weapon
Now the survival bows have been there for centuries. The modern day bow, however, has undergone some transformations to make it even more efficient. Just like the guns, you’ll find bows of different sizes and shapes – depending on your needs.
An ideal survival bow can just be anything – from a simple twig and paracord to the high-end takedown bows with 80lbs plus draw in the bug out bag.
Before you can become a pro at using your bow, you’ll need to take some archery lessons. Otherwise, you’ll always fail whenever you try to shoot your target.
Proper training, practice and use of bow add-ons that enhance accuracy – such as the single pin bow sight – you’ll become a pro archer in no time!
– Bows are ideal weapons for long-term survivalists, given that even if you run out of ammo, you’ll still be ok. Even if a deer runs with your last arrow on its leg, you can still make new arrows from the surrounding materials – in either urban or wild environment – and get back to hunting.
– Another great attribute of the arrows is that they operate silently (more so when you use the string silencer correctly). This helps keep your location a secret and make it difficult for your enemy to track you.
– If your enemy is smart, he can easily track your location by using the direction they saw the arrow coming from. Luckily, you can take advantage of the slow speed of the arrow compared to the bullet to change your spot long before the arrow you fired hits the target.
– In case you want to set your target on fire, the bow is the easiest way to do so. By simply firing a flaming arrow, you can set your target on fire right from your spot.
– It’s possible to make a functional bow out of any stuff you find in the urban environment or woods. Though such a bow might not be as accurate as the commercial ones, it will still work in a SHTF scenario.
– For you to start using your bow and arrow appropriately and accurately, you’ll need to take some training which is not easy. All the professional archers you see took years to master archery skills. If you just grabbed your arrow for the first time, it will not work well on you without the basic archery skills.
– Unlike the rifle shots, bow shots ought to be done from a relatively closer range. This means you’ve to be as much careful as possible as you try to get closer without alerting your target of your presence. Most survival bows require you to stand around 30-50 yards from the target.
– Arrows usually occupy a lot of space – a typical quiver accommodates 6-10 arrows – and given that each bolt weighs around 20grams, it might be a bit cumbersome compared to your rifle.
Firearm for SHTF Weapon
A gun is probably the most powerful weapon. It’s capable of hitting a target 600 plus yards away accurately and effortlessly. The ammo can drop your target on the spot, taking away the need to track down the animal.
However, a firearm has one some top con that makes it an excellent choice for short-term survival situations only. And one of these cons is that they run out of ammo (and you can’t reuse the ammo), leaving you defenseless…
– The firearms ability to take down your target on the spot with less effort is incredible! This is something you’ll not be able to experience with your bow as you’ll still have to track down the target after successfully shooting it.
– Unlike the bows, rifles are incredibly easy to pick up and even learn how to stop a target in its tracks. You don’t need to attend anyone’s class to learn how to use your rifle; just a few basics and you’re ready to go.
– With firearms, you’ll enjoy a wider range that with the bow. Of course, this will depend on the type of gun you use, type of metal used to make the bullet, and the weight of the ammo powder grain. Nevertheless, you’ll still be able to enjoy a wider range than a bow – even with the simple .22LR round.
– Ammo shortages are the main drawback when it comes to the use of firearms. You ought to make every shot round count as you can’t reuse the ammo once it’s fired. This will not do well in your survival situation.
– Guns are pretty LOUD! This can present you with many challenges in a SHTF scenario, especially when you want to make your stand a secret.
– Guns require regular maintenance. If you fail to clean your weapon, you won’t be able to shoot with it in the long term. Rounds might get jammed mid-barrel, or they might blow apart your gun assembly. Such cases will damage your survival weapon beyond repair.
Final Verdict – Which Weapon Should You Pick?
For a long time now, the rifle has been regarded as the best SHTF weapon. However, bows are also viable SHTF weapons. The type of weapon you choose to go with really depends on the SHTF situation you’re in. For example, it would be wiser to use your bow for hunting for food as well as home defense.
Even when you’re using your gun, you would also want to have bow by your side to act as a backup weapon, just in case you run out of ammo.
So, start practicing archery skills since you never know the day you’ll desperately need to use a bow in a survival situation.
My simplest and shortest answer to this question would be that gun is better weapon than a bow when SHTF. My reasons are numerous, but most important is simply because gun’s are easily available to me, and a lot of ammunition too, and spare parts, and knowledge about it, more firepower etc etc. So simply it makes sense to me. Remembering I have „been there done that“, I am not discussing this in an academic way, I am reaching into my personal experiences…
But it is not the end of the story of course. A bow as a secondary weapon, or in some specific situations as a weapon of first choice might make sense too (for example matter of silence, matter of making point, psychological impact of finding man with arrow in chest… or similar)
So yes, it makes perfect sense to say „Yes. I want to know everything about bow hunting (not only animals)“ it makes much more sense then to say “ I have a gun, I do not want to know anything about bow making or bow hunting because I have gun“
Guns are much better weapon for SHTF, but it make sense to know and have a bow for sure. Why would we not think here in the in terms of“ two is one, and one is none“?
I have some doubts about making good and usable (urban SHTF settings ) bow, but again lot of people have doubts for example about usability (and value) of crowbar type tool (or weapon) in urban SHTF, because lack of real life experience, so it my be my case too.
Actually why we would not have and know everything about gun, bow, knife and spear too for example. It is not about „what is best“, it is about more options.
I definitely appreciate any good (and real life experience) data and review about any tool and weapon usable for SHTF.
What is most important here is that as a survivalist, and some experience in that survivalism, my loyalty to the weapon goes only to the extent how good it serves me, it needs to be loyal to ME, it needs to get the job done.
I do not have any kind of attachment to that weapon other than to perfectly know how to use it and to make it happen (to finish that „job“ ), if I find better weapon I will start to use that better weapon, if in particular situation some other weapon will do better job( knife? Piece of rock? Sling?) I will use it without thoughts and concerns about loyalty and attachment to previous weapon.
Firearm is best weapon for SHTF, most commonly used, with best results, but yes, if there is situation for usage of other kind of weapon then use it (and know how) without thinking about loyalty and attachments.
We are talking here about tools to get job done, nothing more. Thanks Jennifer for a great article to provoke some thoughts and discussion. I look forward to reading the comments on your article…
Jennifer is the founder of BuckWithBow, a great blog that focuses on helping you learn how to hunt deer with a bow. As an experienced bow hunter, she will guide you through the Do’s and Don’ts of the bowhunting world and transform you into a better hunter. Whether you are an experienced bow hunter or an absolute beginner, you will find BuckWithBow a gem!