Arming Yourself for the Zombie Apocalypse: How to Build the Ultimate Survival Shotgun

by A Manly Guest Contributor on July 11, 2011 · 262 comments

in Gun Skills & Safety, Manly Skills, Survival, Tactical Skills

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Creek Stewart of Willow Haven Outdoor.

As a Survival and Preparedness instructor, I take my line of work very seriously–sometimes too seriously.  Occasionally, though, I like to take on survival projects that are just downright fun.  This article highlights one of those projects.

I’m fortunate in that I’ve been able to turn my passion into my profession–this being the study of Survival and Preparedness.  I’ve always enjoyed building survival kits of all shapes and sizes.  I enjoy the challenge of fitting lifesaving survival necessities into small compact containers.  I’ve built survival kits using film canisters, candy tins, key-rings, boxes, bottles, tubes, bags and everything in-between.  For this project, I decided to build a survival kit using a shotgun platform–creating the Ultimate Survival Shotgun.  My challenge was that everything had to be included in or on the gun itself–no extra pack items or containers.  Below is what I did as well as the survival logic behind each decision.

Ultimately your survival needs fall into five main categories.  Your situation dictates the order.  They are:

  • Water
  • Fire
  • Shelter
  • Signaling
  • Food

Every survival kit must include contents that directly or indirectly meet these five basic survival needs.  The shotgun platform I decided to use is the Mossberg 500 – PUMP.  I chose a pump action because it is easier for me to troubleshoot and work on in the field compared to other models.  I chose the Mossberg brand because it is a very popular gun, and there are literally hundreds of aftermarket modification pieces and parts designed to fit this gun.  I knew I would want to add on some of these extras to increase the gun’s survival value. Below is a photo of the shotgun “off the shelf”–before my survival modifications.

Mossberg 500 Pump Action Shotgun Before Survival/Zombie Modifications

I will now break down each survival modification and detail why it was included in the final build.


First things first: the gun itself.  A shotgun’s primary purpose is hunting.  Clearly, you can use this shotgun as a hunting weapon to “restock” on valuable calories.   Humans can go for three weeks without food, but it’s not fun.  Lack of food leads to light-headedness, weakness, and poor decisions.  In a survival situation, meat is the fastest and most effective way to replenish lost calories.  Meat comes in all shapes and sizes.  Carrying different shot shells designed for different applications increases your chances of a successful hunt.  For this reason, I chose to pack a variety of shotgun shells:

  • Bird Shot: Designed for birds and other small game such as rabbit and squirrel.
  • 00 Buck: Good for turkey and larger game such as deer.
  • Slug: Designed for large game such as deer, hog, or elk.

Your Arsenal: Bird Shot, Buck Shot, and Slugs

In addition to hunting, a shotgun is an excellent self-defense weapon.  It’s easy to imagine the need for a self-defense weapon in an urban or wilderness survival scenario–defending you or your family from man or animal.  Not only is a pump action shotgun a proven deterrent, but it also has some serious knockdown power.  Because of these 2 considerations (hunting & self defense), I wanted to carry as much ammo on the gun as I could.  I filled the magazine and the chamber which holds 7 + 1.  I also added a side saddle shell holder and a screw on stock mount shell holder which together extends my total capacity to 19 rounds of ammunition.  Not bad at all.

Side Saddle for Holding Shells

Side Saddle on the Stock

Signal Flares

Special shotgun shells allow you to fire signal flares.

You are probably wondering what the short orange rounds are on the stock side saddle.  These are specialty signaling flare rounds designed for 12 gauge shotguns.  These flares fire over 300 feet and can be seen for miles.  They are the perfect signaling solution for a shotgun survival kit.  Not only are these EXCELLENT rescue signals but they can also be fired into a prepared fire pit to start a fire.  In survival, multi-use products are key.


5” Ka-Bar Knife Mounted on a Picatinny Rail

I know from experience that one of the most important survival resources is a good quality knife.  It can assist in almost every survival related task.  I found a great 5” Ka-Bar brand knife designed to mount directly to a picatinny rail.  The stock Mossberg shotgun does not have picatinny mounts, so I purchased a barrel mount picatinny rail unit.  This makes the knife easily accessible for quick deployment.  A knife can perform thousands of survival tasks including dressing game, cutting wood and cordage, striking a fire steel, digging, scraping, prying, slicing, and the list goes on and on.  I prefer a larger survival knife, but this one will work just fine.  I sacrificed size for the seamless integrated mount option.


Another tool that assists in survival is a light source.  Without a flashlight, low-light work or travel can be very difficult & dangerous–sometimes impossible.  Not only can a flashlight allow you to be productive in low-light conditions, but it can also be used as a nighttime signaling device.  A good flashlight can also help prevent injuries in dark conditions.  I purchased a flashlight with a picatinny rail holder for the other side of my barrel.  The push button switch on this flashlight is also a compass.  Now, I have a means to confirm direction as well.  This can certainly be useful in any survival scenario.

Flashlight/Compass combo will ensure you never get lost.


At this point I need to be thinking about storage space to house several other crucial survival items.  After much consideration, I opted for 2 additional modifications which gave me 3 separate storage areas.  I first replaced the standard stock with an integrated pistol grip/stock combo unit.  The rubber butt plate unscrews and detaches, revealing a generously sized compartment inside of the stock.

In addition, the pistol grip is hollow which allows for more storage.

I went one step further and replaced the pump hand grip with a picatinny version mounted on a picatinny compatible vertical grip.


Fire kit that's stored in the vertical grip.

This particular grip is already designed to store extra batteries and has a water tight seal.  This makes an excellent area to store fire starting materials.  In here, I stored 6 waterproof matches and a striker.  I also stuffed in some steel wool and a package of WetFire brand fire starting material.  Both of these are excellent fire starting aids even in damp conditions.

Quick Access Fire and Steel Setup

Before I started assembling items to be stored inside of the stock, I carved a groove along the top of the stock to fit a blank fire steel rod.  I used epoxy to permanently secure this in place.  I like the idea of having quick access to the fire steel without taking the time to open a storage area.  Using the back side of the Ka-Bar, I can strike a shower of sparks into one of my fire starting materials to quickly ignite a fire.


Store your multi-tool in the hollow pistol grip.

In the hollow pistol grip I stored a small Gerber Multi-Tool with pliers, large flathead screwdriver, small flat head screwdriver, cross point screwdriver, small knife, nail file, and tweezers.  All of these tools can be useful in a survival situation.  I carved a custom rubber plug for the bottom of the pistol grip from a cheap rubber door stop and spray painted it black.  It is a perfect and secure fit.

Survival Kit

A survival kit that fits in the butt stock of your shotgun.

Next I assembled a variety of survival kit items to be stored in the butt stock compartment.  To remove the rubber butt plate, I use the cross point driver on the multi-tool.  Below are the items that I included in this kit and why.

  • 4”x6” Aluminum Baking Pan:  Available at any grocery store, this aluminum bread pan can be folded flat for compact storage.  A metal container is invaluable in any survival scenario.  It can be used to boil water which kills bacteria, virus, and cysts.  Boiling water is a 100% effective method of water purification.  This container can also be used for other cooking tasks as well as water collection.  The reflective metal also makes an excellent signaling device.
  • Trash Bag: A trash bag has a myriad of survival uses.  Some of the most practical are poncho, water collection, ground tarp, make-shift shelter, solar still, and flotation device.
  • Fishing Kit: This kit includes 20 feet of 30 lb test line, 5 assorted fish hooks and 3 sinkers.  Not only can these items be used for fishing but the line can also be used as cordage for shelter building, gear repairs, or animal snares.  Bank lines can be set at night to work while you rest.
  • 2 Non-Lubricated Condoms: By design, condoms are watertight.  They make amazing water containers–capable of holding about 1 liter of water each.  They are very lightweight and compact and make great back-up water collection and storage containers.  They can also be used to protect fire materials such as matches and dry tinder.  You can also fill these with clear (but not purified) water and leave them in the sun for 48 hours for UV purification.
  • Water Purification Tablets: Boiling water is not always possible or practical.  Chemical water treatment tablets are an excellent back-up water purification solution.  They weigh virtually nothing and take up very little space.  You can fill up a condom with water and use a tablet to purify it.  They also have a very long shelf life.  Chemical tablets are not very effective on cloudy or dirty water.  The water must be fairly clear.  You can pre-filter using clothing or a bandana.
  • Emergency Survival Blanket: These survival blankets are designed to reflect and trap your body heat in a cold weather survival scenario.  They also make excellent make-shift shelters, ground tarps, ponchos, rescue signals, and fire heat reflectors.
  • First Aid Supplies: (packed in zip lock bag): 3 adhesive bandages, 30 SPF sun block packet, 2 wound closure strips, 2 Ibuprofen pills, 2 Acetaminophen pills, 2 Calcium Carbonate pills.
  • Carmex Lip Balm: Not only for obvious reasons, but this petroleum based product can be mixed with natural fire tinder such as cattail down.  Doing so can extend burn-time up to 5 minutes which is very helpful in fire building.  This is an excellent multi-use product.
  • Whistle: Even though I have signal flares, a rescue whistle is always a good idea.
  • Small Bic Lighter: This is the easiest way to start a fire.
  • Snare Wire:  Snares can work for you while you are working on other tasks–such as sleep.  I’ve included 25 feet of snare wire for building traps.  This can also be used as cordage or binding for a variety of projects.

Emergency blanket in survival kit can be used for shelter.

I carefully wrapped most of the items inside of the trash bag for water proofing and then stored everything in the stock storage area.  All of the kit items only weigh a few ounces.

What the survival kit looks like in the butt stock.


Makeshift Survival Saw

One tool that I use extensively while on survival trips is a handheld folding saw.  It’s not practical to include one of these in this shotgun kit.  However, I did incorporate a suitable work-around.  A saw is an excellent tool for cutting larger fire wood or collecting limbs & trees for shelter building.  I purchased 2 replacement bow saw blades and cut them down to fit the span between the back of the pistol grip and the butt stock sling stud.  I added another sling stud to the bottom back of the pistol grip which allowed for 2 anchor points.  Using 2 small bolts which I keep in the stock, I can secure 1 of the saw blades on these sling studs–creating a perfect make-shift bow saw.  I chose to pack 1 blade designed for wood and 1 blade designed for metal to give me versatility in a variety of survival scenarios.  The blades easily tuck into the butt stock compartment when not in use.

Saw in action.


Make your gun sling from braided paracord.

At this point I am still lacking sufficient cordage.  Never underestimate how important cordage can be in a survival scenario.  My favorite cordage is 550 Parachute Cord.  I always like to keep as mush 550 paracord with me as possible.  It can be used for all kinds of survival functions from climbing ropes to shelter construction.  550 paracord is comprised of 7 inner strands which can be used independently as well.  These lines make excellent snares and fishing line.  For this reason, I also added a shotgun sling made from approximately 80 feet of braided paracord.  If necessary I can unravel the sling and use it accordingly.

Another view of the paracord gun sling


I finished off the sling by tying on a bandana.  I have used a bandana in more ways than I can count while camping and backpacking.  It is an incredible multi-use product that I know for a fact would be very useful in a survival situation.  Below are just 15 great bandana survival uses:

  1. Filter/Sieve for dirty water
  2. First Aid Bandage
  3. Dust/Sand Mask
  4. Hat
  5. Signal Flag
  6. Dew Rag for collecting dew as drinking water
  7. Container for collecting berries, fruit, nuts, etc…
  8. Cut/striped into emergency cordage
  9. Cleaning Rag
  10. Neck Gator – Cool Weather
  11. Evaporative cooling neck band – Hot Weather
  12. Filter for Bush Tea (filtering out seeds, leaves, bark, etc…)
  13. Eskimo sunglass to prevent sun blindness.  Cut eye slits in the bandana.
  14. Trail Markers – strip into pieces
  15. Last ditch toilet paper

Locked and Loaded

So there you have it, the Ultimate Survival Shotgun ready for even the worst scenario.  It offers multiple solutions for securing food.  It offers multiple solutions for collecting and purifying water.  It offers incredible signaling devices.  It includes shelter building materials and also several “fool-proof” fire building methods.  It also includes a knife, a flashlight, 80 feet of paracord, 2 saws, and a complete first aid kit. If the zombies still eat your brains when you’re carrying this thing, it’s your own dang fault.


However, it is still missing one very critical piece.  Survival is 90% mental.  Keeping your morale and spirits high is absolutely critical.  Finding your inspiration and motivation for staying alive can get you through even the worst of situations.  The will to live is more powerful than any skill or tool you can buy or improvise.  I always include something personal in every survival kit I build–an item that might keep my spirits lifted and remind me of what I’m fighting for.  It can be anything–a photo of your girlfriend or your family, a song lyric or a motivational quote.  It must be meaningful and inspirational to you.

So finally, for inspiration, I had one of my favorite passages engraved on a small metal plate which I affixed to the receiver of this survival shotgun:

Now…I’m all set.

Many of the lessons in this project apply to building any kind of preparedness kit for urban or wilderness survival.  Basic survival principles apply to almost all survival scenarios.  I hope you’ve enjoyed this article and have taken something away that you can use in your own preparedness efforts and projects.

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN.


Addendum: Many have asked about the weight of the gun and where you can get the modifications mentioned. Before the modifications, the gun weighed 7.5 pounds, after the modifications it weighs 9.5 lbs. For a list of where you can get the supplies, click here.


Creek Stewart is a Senior Instructor at the Willow Haven Outdoor School for Survival, Preparedness & Bushcraft.  Creek’s passion is teaching, sharing, and preserving outdoor living and survival skills. Creek is also the author of the book Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag: Your 72-Hour Disaster Survival Kit. For more information, visit Willowhaven Outdoor.

{ 262 comments… read them below or add one }

201 James July 31, 2011 at 12:44 am

I would like to point out to the author/customizer of that Mossberg 500 that that tri-rail mount is installed incorrectly.

The top half is supposed to clamp over the shot tube, and the bottom half is supposed to be what holds the flashlight (as can bee seen in this image of my own Mossberg Model 500

By clamping the rail-mount around both the barrel and the shot tube, you’ve made the removal of the barrel impossible without at least a hex key to disassemble one half of the mount. Ordinarily, all you would need to do is to loosen the knob at the end of the shot tube, and once free, the barrel should be easily removable.

If you, for example, needed to clear an obstruction from the barrel (a realistic possibility, considering the location of your knife mount and the different potential uses you described for it), you would be screwed if you didn’t have your hex key on you.

Just a heads up. Otherwise, a fantastic customization of a worthy firearm.

202 John July 31, 2011 at 11:48 am

Haha, nice! Which stock did you put on there, the Blackhawk? I installed it on mine (same model) but I never got the stock to attach to the back of the receiver(?) in a flush fashion. It has a gap of about 1/8th of an inch exposed. I’ll most likely remove it and replace it with the original stock or a shortened standard. Nice fun article though!

203 Lj August 4, 2011 at 12:28 am

Zip ties. Great utility for many situations.

204 Gordo August 6, 2011 at 8:49 am

Love the modified Mossberg, but…

Compass mounted on steel barrel?
Fire started mounted near primer end of shotgun shells?
Loaded shotgun leaning against tree?

205 Dalvin112 August 6, 2011 at 1:38 pm

Great article! Perhaps creating a survival belt as an accessory would be an idea.

206 James August 7, 2011 at 1:29 am

@ Gordo

1.A small amount of unmagnetized steel will not affect the compass accuracy in a noticeable way.
2. Matches do not make a shell primer fire. You would have to throw the shells into a large fire and even then the plastic on the shell would melt and burn the gun powder before the primer was affected.
3. A gun leaning against a tree is not dangerous if the safety is switched on. All Mossberg’s have them. Where would you suggest he store it? Over night on the wet ground?

207 Travis August 7, 2011 at 6:26 am

I’m in the Army myself, and have been to a number of military schools. One thing soldiers have plenty of is storage space . . . It’s amazing what you can carry on you with the right clips or a belt. This gun, however demonstrates ingenuity in storing vital tools and items without the advantage of modular equipment. Well done.

208 Chris August 7, 2011 at 5:31 pm

which exact model of the mossberg 500 did you use for this mod project and would just any 500 work?

209 simon August 8, 2011 at 8:21 am

When the Zombie Apocalypse comes, the only thing mankind needs to get out of trouble is the 1997 chuck norris and this shotgun.

Every kill will be a high-light

210 Derek September 20, 2012 at 7:42 pm

Is that 9.5lbs Including all the added ammo-weight though? I know that can certainly add up quickly, and I frankly don’t want to try to calculate the weight of 19 shells on the fly.
Amazing work regardless man! You’re ready for anything with that sucker.
One suggestion I had though, what about mounting the flashlight on the right side (assuming you’re right handed by the photo’s) instead of the left, to reduce any potential extra glare when in the firing position?
Additionally, during movement the weapon would be held left side to body in a potential threat movement, and this would help prevent potential clothing snags.

211 Kevin Griksas September 25, 2012 at 9:56 pm

First off does it have to be a mossberg or will any shotgun work? Second I like what the one guy said about zip ties why not also include small bungee cord or bits of rubber tubeing and a small roll of electrical tape all of these can be very handy in the woods.

212 B-ran October 2, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Any reliable shotgun should work. He just started with a moss 500, because it is like the civic of shotguns. Inexpensive, reliable, and highly customizable. Now with that being said, it isn’t the best hunting shotgun. Big recoil, pretty basic design, not a lot of bells and whistles.

I do own a mossberg 500, and love it. Great zombie getter, and plan on doing a bit of these mods myself. Great article!

213 Mike October 18, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Love it man. I have a new Mosberg 500 with both the 28″ ribbed barrel & the 18″. Which would you suggest adding the modifications to. You can probably tell by my questions I am a newby to all this but if I don’t ask I won’t learn. thx

214 Ben October 22, 2012 at 3:22 pm

@ Pedro (Comment 101) Dude.. Really think about the John Wayne quote at the end of your post. The zombie thing wasn’t meant to be taken seriously by anyone, where have you been the last 2-3 years if you’re not aware of what a huge thing pop culture has been making of the “zombie apocalypse”? Living under a rock? (I was going to guess prison, but even then you’d probably know that zombies are ridiculously popular for some reason) Oh, by the way.. I hate to be the one to tell you this, but the women who ask about your kindle are interested in exactly that- your kindle- not in you

215 andy king October 31, 2012 at 3:51 pm

thats one badass gun

216 Wout van R November 2, 2012 at 3:31 am

It was very entertaining to read this article. I hope you understand when I say ‘this is not exactly the first thing ‘to do’ that comes to your mind when a so called apocalypse.. happens.’

It is precisely this way of reasoning that will undermine your survival chance. People like this, in other words reasoning like a 12 year old boy, are not very likely to survive at all.

Nicely written but it could use some logical and substantiate reasoning. (Sorry for the bad grammar, I’m Dutch.:))

217 ben November 9, 2012 at 2:45 pm

The bird shoot you have is low brass target shot. You would want bird shot with more powder.

218 Fred November 14, 2012 at 4:47 pm

I think as a mental exercise brought to life, it’s fun. But as far as anyone actually doing this, there are much better ways of executing this. I feel like your kit should be your kit and your gun should be your gun.

219 DRbrtsn December 3, 2012 at 12:38 am

Where can this parachute cord sling be purchased? or
Can anyone show how to braid one?

220 Mike December 6, 2012 at 10:39 am

Other than an arts and crafts demo this is a lesson on what not to do with a gun.
1. As anyone who has used guns in actual tactical situations knows you keep the gun as light as possible and only modifiy it to improve comfort and accuracy. More weight reduces agility in manuever and if the weight is placed beyond the stock reduces your ability to keep the weapon steady. I have seen guys put so many gadgets on their guns in Iraq the weapon became usesless unless they were in a supported position and thats in close quarters situations.

2. Ammo should not be stored on the gun, but rather in a pocket or pouch your nontrigger hand can get to easily without interfering with your sight picture. Retrieving ammo from the stock will force you to use your trigger hand or cross your nontrigger hand over the gun. With ammo attached to the action section will interfer with your vision. A person who is properly trained on a Mossberg 500 can keep reloading from a pocket or pouch while maintaining the weapon on target and ready to fire.

3. Storing other non-gun stuff on the gun is just plain dumb. Using a gun for anything but shooting is even dumber. The more you use the gun for non shooting activities the more of a chance of shooting yourself or a friend. Get a fanny pack. If you have some illogical issue why all your survival stuff needs to be in one place you can just use the fanny pack straps to attach it to your sling. You can store more stuff in a pack then you could on and in a gun. Plus if the gun is damaged beyond repair it has become nothing more than an overweight cumbersome backpack. Even worse, if you lose your gun you lose everything.

The Art of Manliness website has been a great source of manly information. I am surprised to find this on their site, it has not been vetted by manly men. The picture of using flint and steel next to live ammo should have been enough not to post this on their site.

221 Tanner December 6, 2012 at 7:39 pm

You instead of putting the shell holder on the back put this it holds shells and a zippered compartment

222 Gene Hilton December 25, 2012 at 2:30 am

Oh man…Love it; if I could spend 8 hours learning survival from this [Real] Man of the 21st Century.

As men we should all possess these skills and knowledge -our families and our lives could be dependent on such.

Do you want to be the ‘Wimp in the Woods’? -or- the Man that takes charge, leads and survives?

223 John January 5, 2013 at 8:16 pm

I notice that among the survival supplies, you neglected weapon cleaning supplies. What happens once you use the shotgun enough that it needs to get cleaned?

224 David P January 9, 2013 at 9:00 pm

@Mike, @Tanner, @John

While you all raise very good points about survival in general, I think you are forgetting the author’s criteria for his survival weapon:

“My challenge was that everything had to be included in or on the gun itself–no extra pack items or containers.”

Considering the limited amount of space, I think this man did a great job and made some very creative and useful modifications.

Mike, I was glad to see this interesting manly project on AoM, and, maybe if you had read the words of the article instead of scrolling through the pictures, you would have found some value from it as well.

225 Bob January 10, 2013 at 1:11 am


The action of ‘pumping’ your shotgun with a vertical grip puts improper vertical stress on the parts of the pump. The design is to go straight back and then forward. The VG adds angular pressure and will bend the mechanism and cause a parts failure after repeated use.

226 Joe W. January 10, 2013 at 8:26 am

@ David P. The author says “First things first: the gun itself.” I read the entire article. James, Mike and John are spot-on with their comments. Considering the weapon’s primary purposes of hunting and self defense, their corrections may save a reader’s life. It’s hard to utilize other survival items if one’s weapon fails. I too am very impressed with, and regularily pass on, AoM website articles. I am however, surprised to find this misguided post. Try any of the Mossberg 590 models, as-is, and utilize other proven systems to carry survival items.

227 Jae January 13, 2013 at 12:59 pm

This seems like a great thought project, but it’s in no way something I would choose to carry around with me. A fully loaded shotgun is already pretty heavy, and adding two pounds to it at random points is only going to make it heavier and more unbalanced. I own a Mossberg 500 (Maverick 88), and the only things I have on it are a buttstock shell holder (5 shells), and a sling (which also holds 5 more shells). For hunting purposes, that’s more than plenty, and for self defense, if you need more than 18 shells, you’re probably screwed anyway.

I am not a fan of the way there are multiple types of shell in each storage area, either. In a high stress situation, you want to leave as little room for error as possible, so having only one type of ammo per location (slugs on the sidesaddle, shot on the buttstock, or what have you) would seem to be a better arrangement. Flares can be held in a 2 shell clip on the belt.

@Joe W. In my opinion, you might as well go straight for the top and get the 590A1 (the mil-spec version). All Mossberg’s are pretty mucyh interchangeable as far as mods go, but the action on the A1 is a bit more rugged.

228 John L. Collins January 25, 2013 at 5:03 pm

I just bought a Mossberg Maverick 88. I would love to trick it out. Could you tell me where you got theses accessories?

229 Allan February 1, 2013 at 9:29 pm

I agree. This was a fun article but may be taken seriously by some.

In other news, I thought the knife will be a bayonet? Extend that thing over the barrel!

230 Pepper February 20, 2013 at 7:26 am

I don’t really like his idea of packing everything possible inside small inaccessible compartments. One of the key elements of survival is being instantly mobile. What he has built also builds in the need to take unacceptable amounts of time getting to your gear in ways that keep you stationary, not to mention the noise you would create. Beyond that, you have to break down your weapon to get to this stuff, not acceptable. Finally, if you break down the weapon, pull out your gear and something happens, you can be mobile, but your gear is all staying behind and you lose it all.
Survival gear needs to be readily accessible without causing any noise, effort or disabling any other equipment. Yea, this would be good in your back yard, but for a real survival situation there are too many negatives associated with this toy. This weapon violates a ton of rules you learn in survival training.
What looks good on paper may not work in function. If you were in a survival situation your stalker can just track you (wouldn’t be hard, noise travels) until you felt comfortable enough to break down your weapon and get out your gear, then you’re had. Might as well include an electric screw driver attached to the side with Velcro.

231 Ians February 22, 2013 at 6:49 pm

Another mod would be to make the front of the shot tie spiked, as if it were used for breaching. It can then be used to break things, or for shtf situations stab and gouge.

232 Migg March 1, 2013 at 4:23 pm

@ mike
You’ve obviously misunderstood the whole point of this weapon. It wasn’t to create the ultimate tactical shotgun and charge into a gun battle, its supposed to be a multipurpose survival tool. obviously if you are looking for a purely tactical weapon for self defense you wouldn’t want to stuff your gun with unnecessary items, but if you ever need to “bug out” quickly then this is the one tool you would want with you. The author did an amazing job and obviously knows his stuff regarding survival. Also, if you’ve ever taken any specialized tactical shotgun training you would know that it is super important to carry your ammo with you on your rifle, you would also know that the location of his ammo on the action is ideal for a combat reload in a fire fight with a shotgun and it doesn’t interfer with sight at all.

233 Nobody March 8, 2013 at 10:20 pm

I got an idea:

Do yourself a favor and get a better semi-auto shotgun, like a Saiga, or a Benelli. The Mosssberg 500 is a good pump-action, but too Mall Ninja, all dressed-up like that.

Leaning it against a tree, when it should be either in, or near your hot little hands? Not good.

234 Tickfood March 9, 2013 at 8:22 am

It’s fine to add your own suggested improvements to the author’s project, but at least read the article so you know what he was going for: a grab-and-go, one-piece, wilderness survival kit. It’s a kit that, unlike most, includes a shotgun. Like all man-portable equipment, it’s a compromise between utility and portability. Also, I’m confident a Mossy will fire 19 shells without a malfunction due to fouling from carbon build-up — a cleaning kit is pointless here, though a tiny bottle of multi-use oil might come in handy.

235 Christian Gains March 27, 2013 at 10:52 pm

Beautiful! (spent 12 yrs. in S.A., as a FIELD MISSIONARY, {caps as emphasis that i didn’t sit in a P-U}. Learned the REALITY that EVERYTHING is a TOOL, and WEAPON…and SURVIVAL method! You’ve done well! I’m small framed, and so use a Mosberg 500 410…BUT! It’s ALL the same! Thanks Brother…Keep up the faithful work of helping others PREpare!

236 Marshall April 8, 2013 at 11:43 am

Not sure if you have carried that thing loaded down around much. I think you would find it interesting how fast your arms are gonna wear out lugging all that stuff on your gun. I would suggest getting a lower lumbar pack so everything is accessible. I would imagine in a survival situation you would want maneuverability with quickness not a cumbersome weapon. Love the creativity with the gear though.

237 Stephen April 11, 2013 at 10:19 am

Wow, the comments to this thread show many just don’t get the idea of a survival kit. Yi can pick apart the details but you’re missing the point. This is a grab and go kit which includes a shotgun.

Is it perfect, of course not, but it’s not meant to be. It’s an exercise in creating a grab and go with a shotgun, period. Personally I wouldn’t mind it sitting behind the seat in my truck. Take the idea, run with it and come up with your own. Just remember this, the only survival kit that matters is the one you have with you. The perfect one at home doesn’t do you any good.

238 HOREDOG April 13, 2013 at 4:19 am


239 Jay April 20, 2013 at 1:08 pm

MKA1919 semi auto shotgun, 10 round mags. You have to keep this gun clean though.

240 bryn May 12, 2013 at 1:32 am

a really cool gun but i would buy a bandolier sling so you can hold more ammo

241 Clark May 17, 2013 at 1:42 am

It looks very Hollywood, but practical? Your knife doesn’t stick past the muzzle, so it can’t be used as a bayonet (probably not your intended purpose anyway), plus i can think of a lot more useful places to put a knife than on the muzzle end of your weapon. Your compass isn’t going to work next to a giant hunk of metal, plus I didn’t see a map, so knowing that you’re headed north without knowing what is north of your position is pretty much worthless. Its a cool toy though, props for putting it together…

242 deadfred June 25, 2013 at 6:12 pm

opinions are like as$holes every one has one and some of the dumber ones have two… good project! like that you are thinking of grab and go. The arm chair enthusiasts are always the noisiest and the “safety coaches…. They are the ones who are dead and missing when this all comes down. God speed bro!

243 Lars July 11, 2013 at 1:35 pm

This is fantastic. I started doing something similar to my combat shotgun, but this is giving me good inspiration and ideas to take it further.

One thing I did instead of mounting everything to the shotgun, is get a scabbard with a MOLLE ladder system, and mount stuff to that (including a tactical tomahawk).

244 CARLOS July 11, 2013 at 7:28 pm

I have must of that stuff in my survival kit knapsack, plus a few high energy bars that are very helpful. Also, I have a small First Aid kit with high powered pain killer.
I also have a postage stamp size bible with the psalms. Can’t hurt. GPS transmitter radios are so small today, worthwhile putting in the knapsack.

Nicely done. Is the Mosburg now a five shot instead of a seven shot?

245 Dennis July 12, 2013 at 10:22 am

A lot of nit picking about specifics but I like what you’re trying to do. In an emergency you get to grab a couple of things. In a situation where there is a breakdown of authority you will want to be able to grab things quickly. Great work!!!

246 SK July 12, 2013 at 10:58 am

590 in Marine Coat would be gun choice.

I concur that you should have less on the gun and truly only for desperate emergencies. Most of that stuff you would use every day. A bivvy tube, a steri-pen, and a platy bottle would be sufficient stored in the firearm itself.

247 kyle July 12, 2013 at 11:24 am

I was always trained to put the ammo in the sidesaddle with the brass side down as that is the way you can re-load without taking the weapon away from your face.
This seems to be a tactical weakness, though it can be easily changed.

248 Craig July 12, 2013 at 11:46 am

Very cool. I would love to see what he could do with the SMR 1216.

249 Eric August 13, 2013 at 6:25 am

To all the negative comments. If you had 1shotgun in one direction fitted like this and one in the other with no kit, which way would you run?

250 Steve August 21, 2013 at 12:11 pm

You know instead of the folding saw blade have you thought about a survival chainsaw such as this one?:

251 joe September 26, 2013 at 10:21 pm

just want to know the brand and a source for the 12 guage flares?

252 Derek P. Jones October 5, 2013 at 6:39 pm

Try #2 steel shot awesome!!

253 J October 7, 2013 at 5:15 pm

the kit is not that bad but there are some major flaws.
Mossberg is a horrible choice for shotgun. the barrels get dented to easily like if your clearing a house and bump the door jamb hard or in a survival situation you are in close quarters combat and you have to use your shotgun as a blunt instrument. if the barrel gets dented it is a matter of time before the barrel will blow up in your face.
if you use this shotgun in the dark for self defense you will get killed quickly because the light gives away your position and will make it very easy to shoot you. in any situation you need to control you light and run your gun at the same time. on a shotgun this can not be done without have a foregrip mounted light on the gun (the draw back is that all quality tactical lights have a short battery life).
the saw was a waste of time.

shotgun ammunition is very heavy and bulky, so you cant carry much with you. This makes a shotgun a very short term weapon.

a .22 rifle and a collapsible bow and arrow would be a better thing to carry. you can comfortably carry enough .22 ammunition to last years. a bow never runs out of ammo if you know how to make arrows.

I dont know of any one who knows how to make black powder in the field, so taking enough ammo with you is nearly impossible.

the author did make great use of the but stock. I have liked the authors other articles but this one had too many holes.

254 Doubt_It October 19, 2013 at 3:24 pm

Overall pretty cool. Definitely not what I would do, but to each his own. My only question is how is that a complete first aid kit? Adhesive bandages are basically worthless, especially when there is nothing to disinfect with. Replace it with something along the lines of a cravat (muslin triangular bandage in military nomenclature), small tourniquet, or a pressure bandage. At least put some iodine or alcohol.

255 Zack Hopkins October 30, 2013 at 10:07 pm

great build i enjoyed reading this i only had one question why not carry all hugh brass bird shot then when you need a heavier hit cut the shell so it will fire like a shell or a double buck please get back to me on this i am thoroughly interested in this build

256 Bob the Eternal Flame December 3, 2013 at 10:58 pm

Not getting into all the ins and outs of survival and what’s right or wrong with this-mostly just responding to #255 Zack Hopkins:

Don’t cut shells prior to needing cut shells. If you carry ‘em whole (as above, although I prefer a heavier bird shot), you can cut them as needed (IF you need them cut).

PLUS, people in general screw up with cutting shells.

257 Ms. Doo December 12, 2013 at 12:50 am

What this guy has done is really clever. Granted there are a few things I would add/remove to fit my own needs. The fact that all of that can be stored in/on one device is fantastic for a grab and go scenario. His really focuses on lite weight, multipurposed items.

258 Medic66 January 24, 2014 at 2:30 am

While I think you guys have a point that attaching anything unnecessary to your weapon is going to make it additionally cumbersome & possibly increase risk for accidental discharge, I still think that this guy is on the right track. While I’d never attach a saw to my primary weapon, adding a few extra firestarters & miscellaneous tools in otherwise unused compartment space isn’t necessarily a bad idea to me. In a real SHTF type situation, redundancy can be a life-saver. I wouldn’t necessarily try to cram all of this gear in but a paracord sling, some more firestarters, & an extra compass are great additions/redundancies to your BOB! So don’t jump his case too hard fellas…

259 Cody February 24, 2014 at 10:51 am

Might I sugest adding tape of some sort. Electrical tape would work, but Duct Tape would work best. Over all, your gun is a great idea and I like it. It was very clever.

260 Bevin April 3, 2014 at 2:23 am

The advantages of a riot/trench style shotgun in close quarter combat are undeniable.
But one serious drawback of a shotgun as a SHTF survival weapon is the sheer bulk and weight of the ammo.
Compare the bulk and weight of a single 25 round box of 12 gauge shells to 500 rounds of .22 LR ammo to see what I mean.
Imagine trying to carry enough shotgun ammo to last any length of time on one’s person.
This is why many preppers talk about .22 rimfires as key component of a survival arsenal.

261 Matthew April 3, 2014 at 5:46 am

Great Idea, lots of people picking holes, which is good it is their opinion, I am not going to reiterate the point of the article, becuase people should have read it.

Amazing to see how much stuff you can fit on the thing. Might have to see if I can improve

262 Draco April 5, 2014 at 11:38 am

Here is my critique of this.
Bandana as a survival tool. You could think up any number of ways to use it.
Sling. A good sling is of great help.
Light on a SHTF weapon. Being able to determine a threat in darkness is a good thing. Don’t want to shoot your buddy walking into camp after answering a call of nature.
And of cource the BAD.
Ammo on stock. As shown are are to easily get it to load it compared to something on your belt?
The knife. Get a regular fixed blade or pocket knife or even a real bayonet. For survival uses that one is useless being on the weapon like that. Also the one selected is a pistol “tacti-cool” bayonet.
Storage space/Weight. I combine these two because the one leads to the other. The multitool in the grip ok. A small cleaning kit in the stock I could live with, barely. But with everything in and on this try shooting it in a QCC situation or try just carrying it, even with the sling will not be fun.
Saw. Get that off of there before you shoot someone.
The last items if you have a B.O.B. why do you need it weighing down your weapon? As a bit of a “geardo” I would put a grip-pod, sling, Magpul BAD lever, and a one point sling mount on my M4. Not much just enough to make things easier without much weight.
Also I am doing a shotgun project gun but, It will not be a SHTF gun unless that is the only one I can get of my guns. The ammo would be too heavy and bulky for such a senario. It could be useful maybe in a defensive senario were you “bugged in.”

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