How To Prepare Your Guns For Survival

The time to prepare your guns for survival is long before a major crisis hits.

The replacement parts will be much easier to locate, be cheaper, better selection, and in most cases will be still legal to buy or have in your possession.

If you wait until just before or just after the crisis, any spare gun parts will either be unbelievably expensive or totally unavailable.

Gun Parts to Hoard to Keep Your Gun in Service for Life

To keep the firearms in good working condition a good firearms repair manual covering the firearms you own, several good quality cleaning kits, and a good quality shooter’s tool kit will be needed.

It is very important to know the estimated number of rounds the gun will fire before needing various types of servicing. From there, you can base purchases of spare parts and other times on the projected number of rounds you may wind up firing with each gun.

You should have at least enough kits on hand to cover all the ammo in your survival cache, and then double or triple based on what you may pick up after the crisis hits.

Each of the cleaning kits should have:

  • Cleaning rods that can be assembled to clean pistols, rifles, and shotguns.
  • Wire brushes and swabs for each caliber or gauge.
  • A good quantity of cleaning solvents and lubricants.

Shooter’s tool kit:

  • Hammers: Rubber hammer and a brass hammer.
  • Punch set: Different diameters and lengths will be needed to push out pins when doing cleaning, maintenance, or weapon repairing.
  • Screwdrivers with different tips.
  • Small metal files with different sizes of cutting edges.
  • Emery cloth with different size grit.
  • Other hand tools like pliers, wire cutters, and hex wrenches.

Gun Parts to Hoard

For every firearm you own there should be a spare parts kit available from the manufacturer. Keeping these on hand will ensure that all of firearms will last longer, maintain their accuracy, and be more dependable.

The following is a general listing of minimal spare parts to have on hand. Like all minimal lists this is just a starting point, add to it based on the manual for your gun and to satisfy your individual needs.

Parts kit for pellet rifles

  • Replacement piston, springs, and seals.

Parts kit for rifles

  • Firing pins and firing pin springs
  • Extractor, extractor pin, and extractor spring
  • Sear, hammer, trigger, springs, and other trigger parts if needed

Parts kit for shotguns

  • Extractor, extractor spring,
  • Firing pins and firing pin springs
  • Hammer, sear, trigger, springs, and other trigger parts if needed

Parts kit for handguns

Semi-auto pistol

  • Barrel
  • Recoil spring
  • Extractor and extractor spring
  • Firing pin and firing pin spring
  • Ejector and ejector spring
  • Trigger, hammer, sear, springs and other trigger parts if needed
  • Mainspring


  • Cylinder center pin spring
  • Cylinder latch spring
  • Cylinder release spring
  • Ejector rod
  • Ejector rod spring
  • Mainspring
  • Hammer, sear, trigger, and trigger spring

Where to Get Your Spare Parts

The manufacturer should always have spare parts or other aftermarket supplies. You can ask the company gunsmith about the pros and cons of buying and storing various parts for your specific gun model. They will be able to offer insights based on quality control after sales information as well as from other sources.

If the manufacturer is no longer in business, the gun is too old, or you are looking for cheaper prices, do not miss out on local gun shows. You can always find an experienced gunsmith and ask them about which parts to buy and why. Also you can see, touch, and inspect the parts before you buy them.

As a last resort, you can look online for information about which parts are most likely to fail, and focus on adding extra units to your parts kit.

The following internet sites I have used in the past to locate and purchase replacement or spare parts for the firearms that I own. I recommend them because the price and the quality of their goods are excellent.

For Handguns, rifles, and shotguns of all types I recommend

For AR-15 Parts: 

small guns

For AK-47/74 Parts

What to Do If What You Need Is Not Available

During and after a crisis there will be no authorized service, no guarantees, little or no spare parts, and maintenance kits for firearms will be a thing of the past. If a firearm breaks and is no longer serviceable, keep it and cannibalize it for parts that may be traded for spare parts for other usable firearms.

If you are attacked by other wandering groups and a firefight occurs, there is no wrong in fighting to the death and taking whatever supplies the other party had at the time of the skirmish. Take and keep captured firearms for replacement weapons or spare parts. Bury the dead respectfully from both sides and move on.

Improvised Solutions to Keep Your Firearms Working

Being a good gunsmith and a blacksmith can help keep your group’s firearms and other equipment in good working order. It can also be used as a trade to barter for food and other needs as society drifts towards reformation.

Be sure to appoint at least one person in your group to be proficient in this trade; and then have at least one or two apprentices. These students should be taught how to repair firearms by making and repairing stocks, how to make small metal parts, and how to heat treat them.

Because of the difficulty associated with making stamped steel products for firearms outside of a steel mill, there will be a return to older firearm designs that can be hand forged.

The time to prepare your firearms for a crisis is now, before the economy crashes for good and a crisis that seriously disrupts daily life starts. Obtain and make spare parts kits now before the parts and information become unattainable.

Now is the time to learn to become a gunsmith and a blacksmith. These trades can also be a lifesaver to your survival group.



This article has been written by Fred Tyrell for Survivopedia.

Written by

Fred Tyrrell is an Eagle Scout and retired police officer that loves to hunt, fish, hike, and camp with good friends and family. He is also a champion marksman (rifle, pistol, shotgun) and has direct experience with all of the major gun brands and their clones. Fred refers to himself as a "Southern gentleman" - the last of a dying way. He believes a man's word is his bond, and looks forward to teaching others what he has learned over the years. You can send Fred a message at editor [at]

Latest comments
  • on the pictures of the AK 47 and the AR 15 you have the labels incorrect the pic of the AK 47 is an AR 15 and visa verse.

    • Thank you, Melody, we’ve fixed the error.
      God bless and stay safe!

  • Article by Fred Tyrell on gun prep for survival is excellent. However, the ID for the AR15 and AK47 are reversed. Top rifle picture is the AK47 and the bottom rifle is the AR15. Enjoying the Labor Day weekend! /s/Vietnam Vet (1963-1965@TSN)

    • Thank you, Steve. We fixed it.
      Have a blessed day!

  • I enjoy your site but you need a reviewer/editor to properly identify things like the AK 47 being labeled as an AR 15 and vice versa and to check for typos and proper language usage. I will make it look professional versus useful but not well edited.

    • Rik, thank you for feedback.
      Have a blessed day!

  • About 25 years ago, when I first began my firearms business, I found that could build a decent stock of used parts by purchasing “junk” guns at gun shows and auctions. You can find guns that were fired very little, but had major imperfections (pitted barrels, badly scarred frames, etc) for a lot less than the price of parts. If you have an FFL, try the major “police” auctions in your area. You can still find service revolvers that have only been fired a couple dozen times for qualification, but with significant “holster wear”. At the major auctions, you can find an amazing variety of firearms. This only works in areas that don’t destroy seized and retired firearms. Check with the agencies in your area. Even if they have a policy against auctions, they may send their seizures and retirees to another county or state.

  • Fred, may I suggest that one does NOT leave brass cartridges in a genuine leather gun belt as you’re showing at the top? From personal experience of having a ‘grab and go’ in that configuration, I’ll tell you that BRASS cartridges will corrode from the salts or whatever is in real leather if left there for a few months or less. However, NICKEL plated will do just fine after months in the leather cartridge loops.

  • Great article on prep. I had forgot about some of these parts (the more expensive but the last comment from Silas, was a great source I had not thought of. While the price of parts have gone way up…junk guns have dropped allot. Thanks again from one eagle scout to another.

  • Just found your article, Good piece well written, concise and informative. Thank you. I need to get hot on the spare parts list now.