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7 Best Do-It-All Guns for Survival, Defense, Hunting, & More

From hunting to the zombie apocalypse, we've gathered a list of guns that can do it all and handle like champs.

Can one gun really do it all?

I guess the real question is…how do you define do-it-all?

15. Henry Big Boy X MW2 Moving

If you define all as shooting deer, protecting the home, and being a weapon you can carry in the zombie apocalypse…then yes.

In fact, so much yes, we’ve found seven solid firearms you can use as do-it-all guns for various situations.

So, keep reading to find out which models we recommend!

Summary of Our Top Picks

  1. Best Do-It-All AR-15

    Colt Enhanced Patrol Rifle

    Reliable AR-15, 5.56 NATO

  2. Best for Ban States

    Henry Big Boy X

    Lever action design, .357 Magnum

  3. Best Do-It-All Handgun

    Glock G20

    Good hunting or self defense handgun, 10mm

  4. Best Do-It-All Revolver

    Smith & Wesson Model 60

    J-frame revolver, .357 Mag/.38 SPL

  5. Best Intermediate Rifle

    M1 Carbine

    Lightweight, reliable, .30

  6. Best Do-It-All AK

    PSA AK-47 GF3

    Versatile and durable rifle, 7.62x39

Table of Contents

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Best Do-It-All Guns

1. Mossberg 500 Combo Field/Security

A good shotgun might be the most versatile firearm on the market, and they certainly make fantastic do-it-all guns.

Different loads allow you to hunt different animals and defend yourself effectively.

Benelli M4 Shotgun Ammo
Benelli M4 Shotgun Ammo

In North America, a 12-gauge shotgun can hunt anything. Birdshot can be used to take birds, squirrels, and similar small game. Large birdshot loads can take ducks, geese, and turkeys. Buckshot and slugs can take medium and even some large game effectively.

For self-defense, buckshot and slugs function brilliantly to stop the threat.

Winchester 12ga 00 Buckshot
Winchester 12ga 00 Buckshot

A lot of shotgun models exist, but the Mossberg Combo Field/Security model of the 500 provides you with an extremely versatile shotgun.

We get an 18.5-inch barrel for self and home defense and a 28-inch vent rib barrel for traditional hunting tasks.

The Model 500 offers you a customizable platform that allows for adding a red dot, a light, and more with ease. It’s a very easy-to-use pump-action shotgun that offers 5 in the tube and a plus one in the chamber.

Pump-action shotguns can handle a wide variety of ammunition without issue, and the 500 series, in particular, uses the Opsol adapter to use mini shells. This takes the versatility of the gun over the top!

Plus, the Mossberg 500 is a basic shotgun that’s not banned in any state.

Best Do-It-All Shotgun
389
at Sportsman's Warehouse

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

2. Colt EPR AR-15

Yep, Stoner’s favorite child makes the list.

There are lots and lots of different AR-15s out there, and you’d likely be served well with a wide variety of other options.

Modded AR-15s
We love ARs!

I suggest the Colt EPR because it provides you with a high-quality, reliable rifle chock full of features at a great price point.

ARs give shooters a lightweight, easy-to-handle semi-automatic rifle chambered in a common cartridge that’s found everywhere.

The 5.56 provides a suitable amount of power for dealing with medium game like deer and hogs and a suitable fight-stopping cartridge. Plus, you can get magazines ranging from 5 to 100 rounds depending on locale.

PMC X-TAC 5.56
PMC X-TAC 5.56

It’s the most common platform available in the United States, and you can very easily accessorize the rifle.

Tossing an optic on and a light takes no effort at all. The commonality makes finding spare parts, tools, and guidance on using the rifle very easy.

The Colt EPR offers an M-LOK rail, a set of MBUS Pro iron sights, BCM furniture, and weighs only 6.6-pounds.

It’s a great example of a modern AR-15 that won’t break the bank — accurate, easy to handle, and capable of a wide variety of roles.

Anyone can handle the AR-15 too.

I can teach a new shooter how to be relatively effective with an AR-15 in just a few hours. In a week, they can be incredibly competent. In a month, they can be capable of hitting targets at hundreds of yards, doing fast reloads, and effectively using the weapon quickly at close range. 

Best Do-It-All AR-15
1398
at Guns.com

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

3. Henry Big Boy X Model .357 Magnum

Another excellent rifle that’s a bit friendlier in ban states? A lever-action rifle.

Lever guns use a manual action and integral magazine. That makes them friendly in ban states, but also handy and simple in general.

4. Henry Big Boy X with EOTech Running Lever Shell Ejection
Henry Big Boy X with EOTech Running Lever Shell Ejection

Manual actions are tough to jam up, and integral magazines mean the gun always has one on it.

And the Big Boy X Model from Henry brings some tacticality to the lever gun platform.

This includes fiber optic sights, a small rail for adding a light, polymer furniture, and you can easily add an optic.

7. Henry Big Boy X with EOTech Surefire Scout Light
Henry Big Boy X with EOTech Surefire Scout Light

The 357 model offers eight rounds with seven in the tube and one in the pipe. That’s a potent and powerful caliber, and it’s in a rifle that’s very easy to control. .357 Magnum also allows you to safely cycle .38 Special, making practice ammo cheap.

Henry’s large loop lever makes it easy to cycle the action quickly and maintain control over the gun.

18. Henry Big Boy X Vortex Viper

A side-loading gate gives you the shotgun-like ability to constantly top your ammunition off and keep the integral magazine loaded and ready to go. This caliber allows you to defend yourself and take game out to about a hundred yards.

It’s a very effective rifle that’s well made and versatile. Plus, playing cowboy is always cool.

We reviewed the Henry Big Boy X, so be sure to check that out for more deets.

Best for Ban States
876
at Kentucky Gun Co.

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

What do you think of the Henry Big Boy X? Give it a rating below!

Readers' Ratings

5.00/5 (151)

Your Rating?

4. Glock G20

When we get into the do-it-all guns, you are often best served by long guns when you think home defense, hunting, and survival.

But what happens when we introduce concealed carry into the equation? Well, some handguns tend to do it all and do it all well.

Glock 20 and lots of ammo

The Glock G20 offers a very modern pistol design chambered in the stout and capable 10mm cartridge.

As far as cartridges go for automatic pistols, the 10mm maintains the most versatility. It can be loaded quite hot and powerful enough to kill a bear in a pinch.

That said, I wouldn’t hunt bear with a 10mm. But I would hunt deer, hogs, coyotes, and similar-sized game confidently.

10mm Round
10mm Round

Self-defense loads make it plenty controllable and still retain its potency as a man stopper. The Glock G20 offers 15 rounds of 10mm — impressive when you consider the power of the 10mm.

Glock makes the AR-15 of pistols in terms of aftermarket accessories.

Glock 20 Target and Ammo

It’s easy to accessorize, easy to find magazines for, and heck, you can even add a brace to improve its overall range and stability. Plus, spare parts are easy to find, and the Glock is remarkably simple.

Yes, it’s a big gun, and carrying it concealed will take a quality holster, belt, and some imagination. I’d stick to an appendix holster to conceal it, or you might need a bigger cover garment if you’re a smaller person.

Best Do-It-All Handgun
579
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

5. Smith & Wesson Model 60

On the other side of the technology spectrum sits the Smith & Wesson Model 60 revolver. This .357 Magnum revolver brings plenty of power for taking down deer, hogs, etc.

Admittedly, this gun’s 3-inch barrel and short sight radius don’t give you the most range, and you will have a skills gap to overcome.

The ability to cock the hammer into single action will certainly help with accuracy, but skills pay the bills. That’s the good thing about a do-it-all gun; you have plenty of time to learn it!

This gun is a bit of an odd bird as a J-frame revolver that offers you five shots of .357 Magnum. Most J-frames fall into the snub nose category, but the Model 60 stands out.

.38 Special vs .357 Magnum
.38 Special vs .357 Magnum

A little extra barrel makes those magnum loads easier to control and much more comfortable to shoot.

The slightly smaller size will make this do-it-all gun easier to conceal than the Glock G20, at the cost of ammunition capacity, barrel length, and accessorizing.

.357 Magnum offers plenty of versatile load selections that allow you to pick softer recoiling options for self-defense and harder-hitting loads for hunting.

.357 Magnum, anyone
.357 Magnum, anyone

Outside of just the velocity and speed, projectile types matter, and plenty of .357 Magnum projectiles exist for different purposes.

Plus, you can always use .38 Special in the gun to reduce cost when training and practicing. .38 Special also offers lower recoil self-defense loads should .357 Magnum feel a bit much.

Best Do-It-All Revolver
699
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

6. M1 Carbine

My grandfather on my mom’s side was a massive fan of the old M1 Carbine. He swore by it, and it was his do-it-all rifle. He killed many a deer and hog with the ole M1 Carbine, kept it by the bed for home defense, and he’d likely turn to it if the world collapsed.

The 30 Carbine isn’t quite an intermediate rifle caliber and isn’t a pistol caliber. It’s best described as a light rifle round.

M1 Carbine
M1 Carbine

As a light rifle round, the range is limited, but it’s a solid performing cartridge inside of 200 yards or so. Against deer, hogs, and human threats, it’s a decent round with a lot of oomph.

The M1 Carbine delivers a lightweight, handy, and accurate little gun for various purposes. It’s super easy to control and features light recoil for fast follow-up shots on multiple animals or self-defense purposes.

Gosh, this gun is also just fun to shoot!

M1 Carbine
M1 Carbine

Size and weight wise it’s light and short, especially with the old M1 Carbine folding stocks. It’s the OG of light and short rifles in U.S. service and predates the more traditional intermediate rifle a good bit.

Reliability depends largely on your magazines, don’t cheap out on your mags!

The big downside will be the cost of the gun and the ammunition. Neither are affordable, and neither are all that common. Luckily, Inland still makes replicas if you can’t find an original.

Best Intermediate Rifle
1439
at Guns.com

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

7. Palmetto State Armory AK-47 GF3

Good AKs can feel more challenging to find at an affordable price point.

I chose the PSAK-47 because it’s available and passed testing done by Rob Ski from the AK Operators Union. Plus, it’s relatively cheap and comes in a ton of different configurations.

The PSAK-47 GF3 provides you with one of the world’s most issued rifles.

AKs are guns that can take abuse and deal it out. The simplistic design might appeal to you more than the AR, and if so, I get it.

The 7.62x39mm round hits hard and dominates within 300 yards. Like the vaunted .30-30 cartridge, the 7.62×39 will quickly take down deer and hogs. As an intermediate caliber, it recoils softly and makes follow-up shots easy.

.300 BLK vs 7.62x39mm
.300 BLK vs 7.62x39mm

Its ammo is ridiculously cheap, or at least most of the time it is. AK magazines are widely available and come in nearly every capacity you could ever want.

It’s an affordable rifle platform that does pack a heck of a punch at close range.

A proven man stopper, it will work wonders in a survival scenario where you need a simple, reliable, and easy-to-use rifle.

Best Do-It-All AK
909
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Why A Do It All Gun

There are lots of reasons to consider a do-it-all gun. One of the biggest reasons comes down to budget.

Some gun owners aren’t into the hobby, sports, or collecting aspect, seeing firearms as a utilitarian tool.

Why buy a dozen different guns to accomplish various tasks if one gun can do it all?

RDS Glock 20

Having one firearm for multiple roles allows you to become extremely proficient with one tool.

Proficiency is valuable, and that goes beyond just being able to shoot it well. You can focus on learning the weapon inside and out — including how to repair it, customize it, and use it for multiple roles.

From a prepping or survival perspective, having one firearm is practical. If forced to move on foot, you can’t carry a dozen firearms on you.

Having one gun that can do it all can be extremely valuable.

Conclusion

For many of us, gun nerds choosing one gun to do it all is tough.

9. Henry Big Boy X Magazine Loading Tube Thing

We have so many loves, and we often make excuses to buy new guns. However, if you just need one gun that can do it all, so to speak, the above firearms will get it done.

What’s your do-it-all rifle, shotgun, or handgun? Let me know below! Want some more suggestions for our fave weapons and gear? Check out our top recs in our Editor’s Picks.

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8 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    eric miranda

    thank you for the interesting comprisons. i happen to have both the AR7 and Sub2k. love them. easy to clean and as you mentioned, sooo light and fits in my 3 day survival pack perfectly . because its so light( sub 2k), i have tested carrying it with 4 30 rd mags in my 3 day survival pack and it was still comfortable to carry( total of approx 30 lbs with a 1.5 liter bladder )for a 2 mile hike.

    March 20, 2022 9:30 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Zman

    Thanks for this interesting and thoughtful review. The standout for me was the Henry Big Boy X. I really like the multiple use nature of the rifle. It will be a good compliment to my current collection and extend my hunting and predator control needs. I have a Henry 22 Golden Boy and have enjoyed shooting it with my family over the years. Lever actions are efficient and versatile.

    March 20, 2022 4:44 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Scott

    I think the perfect combination is the Henery and a wheel gun in .357.

    March 20, 2022 4:18 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      LazrBeam

      My combination is the Henry Big Boy and Ruger SP101 (or my LCR/LCRx) in .327 Federal Magnum.

      March 22, 2022 7:10 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Alan Carnell

    I practice weekly with two Ruger 9mm pistols, a bolt action Lee Enfield .303 calibre, an AR-15 .223 and on occasion a .22 henry lever action.
    Pistols are fired with one hand only, either hand; practice entails grabbing from the dresser and slow firing for 15 rounds each then fast firing another 15 rounds of each Ruger.
    I practice for defense only, pistols at 5 yards indoors and rifles at 25 yards outdoors
    I have measured every part of my house and yard.
    I rely on lasers at night, intruders don't wait on red dots to be aligned nor do they wait for two handed isosceles/ weaver stances to be set up.
    Having had two break ins gave me a great picture of overall response time and actions.
    I always hit the 8" X 11" paper target, many times dead center. But all in the meat as some say.

    March 20, 2022 3:20 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Old Dude Knows Stuff

    .22lr, .45ACP. 12ga Shotgun. I have taken deer with all three.

    March 20, 2022 2:45 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Some Guy

      What distance was the deer when you used the .22lr?

      March 22, 2022 7:58 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Old Dude Knows Stuff

        60 yard head shot

        March 22, 2022 8:54 pm
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