The criteria for urban survival guns is a bit different than the criteria for rural or even suburban firearms. The urban environment is a unique and challenging one where the distances are often short, and the combat is usually quick and decisive. I was lucky enough to avoid ever fighting in a big city overseas, but in the realistic urban training we did was eye-opening.

Going to Want Lots of Ammo For Urban Survival

The urban environment is one that does appreciate speed and violence of action more than accuracy due to the close-quarters nature of any fighting you will do. Combat in an urban environment is a 360 degree battle with layers upon layers of heights to account for. Due to these conditions, the best urban survival guns and accessories are a little different than other firearms.


There isn’t a significant difference in the handguns you’d use for urban survival and the handguns you’d use for any other survival situation. My choice is a modern pistol with an excellent reputation. By pistol, I mean a semi-automatic handgun, not a revolver, derringer, AR pistol, or anything crazy like that. The modern revolver is a great gun, but in a combat situation when the choice between pistol and revolver are given the pistol is the superior option. I prefer 9mm, but there is indeed an argument for 40 S&W and 45 ACP. 9mm is my choice due to a higher capacity, and the fact the ammo is quite common.

A Wonderfully Modern Handgun Perfect for Urban Survival

Handguns of choice would be guns like the Glock series of full size or compact firearms, as well as the P series from SIG Sauer, the M&P series from S&W, the P09/P07/P10 from CZ, etc. There are lots and lots of options out there for modern, affordable, and well-made handguns.

My personal choice is the CZ P09 in 9mm. This gun offers 19 rounds of 9mm in the magazine, and with the included +2 extensions I have 21 rounds in the magazine. It features a DA/SA trigger, an accessory rail, and my current model comes with night sights.

You can’t engage if you can’t see your sights.

In an urban environment, I would heavily recommend both night sights and a handgun with a rail to attach a flashlight.

The reason being is an urban environment during a survival scenario is likely a place without power. You may be going indoors frequently in dark buildings, possibly through subway tunnels, and other dimly lit environments. The presence of a flashlight and night sights make it easy to spot, identify and eliminate threats.


Urban combat is quick and brutal, and when threats are at close range, you want to eliminate them as quickly as possible. At extreme close quarters, this is even more critical. A thug with a junk gun at 20 yards can be a serious threat due to the proximity, and you want to put the threat down as fast and as hard as possible.

The Shotgun is a Fight Stopper

A rifle or pistol can kill very efficiently, but even a well-placed shot can take 5 seconds to kill an opponent. Take a gun, put a timer on for 5 seconds and see how many shots you can put on target. You’ll be surprised how long 5 seconds is when someone is shooting at you.

A shotgun is a devastating weapon at close range and will put down an opponent with extreme prejudice. At close range, the likelihood of a shot causing instant incapacitation to an opponent is much higher than the probability of a handgun or rifle doing the same.

This is what makes the shotgun such a vital and essential weapon for close quarter’s fighting.

When it comes to an urban survival weapons shotgun, the best choice is a pump-action shotgun made by Remington or Mossberg. The Remington 870 and the Mossberg 500/590 series are both well-proven shotguns. They are used by both police and military forces around the world and are endlessly customizable.

Shotguns are Simple, but Effective

I suggest a dedicated tactical, security, or police models with a capacity of 4 to 7 rounds a barrel length of 18 to 20 inches. Shotguns do not need to be fancy, but a white light is a great addition and the only one I’d make. This gives you a compact and lightweight source of firepower that stops fights fast.


The rifle is the backbone of any fighting force, and every prepper should be a dedicated rifleman. When it comes to Urban survival the theme of smaller is better continuing. In this situation the AR 15 is the king of fighting rifles. While it long range, higher powered sniper rifles like the Remington 700 have their place, they don’t really fit neatly into a close quarters urban survival situation, and their use as an urban sniper is beyond the “scope” of this article.

The AR 15 is a light rifle, that’s widely available and comes in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. For urban combat, the standard 16-inch carbine is well suited. It has a long enough barrel for engagement out to 400 yards but is light and compact enough to be maneuverable.

AR’s come in all sizes

It’s also modular, and you can attach optics, lights, different stocks and more to keep the gun fitted to you and your needs. The AR 15 is a reliable weapon, and it fires a lightweight round from a common and affordable magazine. Lighter weight means more ammunition is carried with ease.

You want a high-quality rifle, and luckily there are tons of options out there for high quality, go to war ARs. The following manufacturers produce amazing AR 15s:

  • Daniel Defense
  • Spikes
  • Stag
  • Bravo Company
  • Colt
  • Aero Precision

Rifles And Optics

Speaking of optics, the urban environment rifle can still benefit from an optic. The Army preferred the M68 Aimpoint for close quarters fighting, and the Marine preferred the 4x Trijicon ACOG. Both have their place. As a Marine, I’m more accustom to the 4x power optic which I find more versatile.

I can see and engage man sized targets out to 500 yards in a stable position without much difficulty.

In an urban scenario making two to 400-yard shots could still happen, especially when aiming up or down from buildings. An optic with magnification makes it easier to scout locations and spot potential threats before they spot you.

A fixed power 4X optic is excellent, but a 1-4X or 1-6X optic is another solid option. These optics offer both close range shooting option as well as more extended range engagement distance option. With all that said a red dot still dominates the close quarters fighting world and could still be a solid choice, especially when paired with a magnifier.

  • Trijicon ACOG
  • Lucid Optics P7
  • Variable Options
  • Burris MTAC
  • SIG Tango6
  • Red Dot Options
  • Eotech XPS3
  • Aimpoint Comp M4
  • Fixed Power Optics


One final gun I’d suggest any prepper have is a rimfire rifle or handgun. A handgun is lightweight, but a rifle is more precise. A rimfire gun is an excellent utility weapon to have. Their ammo is super cheap you can carry 500 rounds in your cargo pocket  

A rimfire gun for urban survival can take care of pests, and even harvest small game that may be present in urban environments like squirrels for example. Also when your stomach is empty everything from dogs to cats and rats could help you survive. A rimfire makes it easy to dispatch pests and creatures without wasting your primary weapon’s ammo.

For rifles, the Ruger 10/22 is the way to go. The Ruger 10/22 comes in takedown models that are perfect for bugging out and offer you a semi-automatic platform that’s lightweight and reliable.

The Ruger 10/22 is an American Classic (Photo Courtesy of Author and

Additionally, the Chiappa Little Badger is about as lightweight and affordable as you can get. It’s a single shot rifle that folds in half for simple and easy storage.

Handgun wise you have lots of great choices, but the Ruger Mark series has long been the choice of those looking for something reliable and accurate.

Caching Additional Supplies

Ammo is heavy, and you can only carry so much of it. However, if your overall goal is to leave the city in a disaster, you may only be able to escape with so much. Part of bugging out is planning and having cached ammo outside the city, or even in legal, accessible areas in the city can be invaluable.

Additional ammunition, magazines, as well as cleaning gear should be carefully cached along your path out of the city and in a location where it’s accessible outside the municipality. Of course, when stashing supplies like this make sure it’s in a legal area where you aren’t trespassing.

Extra supplies and even guns can be a Godsend.

In a disaster scenario, people may be more likely to shoot first at intruders on their private property.

When caching ammo and supplies one of the most significant considerations is beating water. You need a moisture-proof container for one. Even then, you want to waterproof the items with plastic bags if possible with a healthy amount of silica gel packets to keep internal moisture down.

Make sure you choose a location that’s easy to find for you, but hard to find for others. Caching is a valuable skill to have and check out our caching articles for a little more information.

Urban Battleground

The Urban Battlefield is a dynamic and fluid one, and the urban survival situation isn’t much different. You have to be able to move, fight, and retreat fast. Choosing proper survival weapons for the urban environment is critical, as is knowing how to use them. When it comes to urban survival, you need to master not only shooting straight but shooting fast. However, before you can train you have to be armed and, of course, ready.