My “Ultimate” Survival Shotgun

After a super busy year and a broken finger during a 3-gun match, I’ve finally gotten around to finalizing my “Ultimate” Survival Shotgun from the initial post earlier this year. I received a lot of interesting suggestions in the comments from that post, and I consulted with a survival friend of mine. His main advice was to not overload the shotgun with things not directly related to the shotgun. I had been considering installing things like a firestarter kit, compass, and multi-tool, but opted against it.

So looking back on the initial post, I mentioned how this shotgun would be for Northern California where we have a fair amount of pine trees. I had my friend Jordan from Schreyer Weapon Systems in Minnesota do the cerakote, and he did a brown paint job for the barrel. I chose brown since it would blend in well with pine trees. The other consideration was pine green. Go figure.


The Stoeger Double Defense shotgun has a picatinny rail, and so I naturally something had to be mounted to it. I decided on a Crimson Trace MVF-515 which has both a red laser and a 200 lumen light. Having a flashlight to see what I’m shooting at in the dark would be helpful, and a red laser would be useful for the dark, and for farther distances. I had thought about just putting on a red dot sight like a Leupold DeltaPoint reflex, but having a light and laser combo powered by one battery is better than having separate sight and flashlight requiring two batteries.

I also decided that Short Lane‘s shotgun inserts were a must. They have multiple inserts, and I chose the popular .22LR, 9mm, and .45ACP inserts since that would give me maximum flexibility as those are very popular handgun rounds. They are very accurate, as you can see in this video:

I then opted to hollow out the stock so I could store a few items. Yes, I know there are better tools than a drill for this job, but it’s all I had and I wanted to be scrappy. I had to be careful not to drill too close to the edge since I don’t want the stock to break when I shoot it, so I took my best guess and left a fair amount of material. Pictured here are batteries and condoms.




I received the condom suggestion from my survival friend, and also from this blog which mentions how you can put a condom over your muzzle to keep dirt/mud/sand out when not in use since you may be out in the elements for a long time in a survival situation. The condoms can also be used to store water and start a fire. I also have a small Otis cleaning kit in the buttstock (not pictured).

Finally, I really wanted to have a bayonet-style set-up in the event I needed to get up close and personal with an angry hog. In a pinch, I could also use the whole shotgun like a spear. Not that I would want to throw my shotgun, but just saying that it would be an option. I was looking at some pre-fab knife+mount options online, but I wanted to be hacky and do something more by hand instead of just throwing on a mounted accessory. So I took my Gerber LMF II Infantry 10″ knife, got some 550 paracord, and tied the knife to the underside of the barrel. I chose paracord since it’s universally useful gear to have, and the knife will be fine underneath the barrel when shooting.





So there’s my “Ultimate” survival shotgun. I’ll now reveal the fact that I sort of dislike articles that proclaim that this is the best or “ultimate” anything, but I wanted to play along and have some fun with it anyway. The main point is that you probably have some excellent ideas that suit your needs, wants, and desires with regards to a survival weapon. With the holidays in full swing, perhaps you can chat with your family and friends to see what you would do for your own survival shotgun. Have fun!

Chris Cheng

Chris Cheng is History Channel’s Top Shot Season 4 champion and author of “Shoot to Win,” a book for beginning shooters. A self-taught amateur turned pro through his Top Shot win, Cheng very much still considers himself an amateur who parachuted into this new career.

He is a professional marksman for Bass Pro Shops who shares his thoughts and experiences from the perspective of a newbie to the shooting community. He resides in San Francisco, CA and works in Silicon Valley.


  • Vhyrus

    So… you get a shotgun with a picatinny rail, and then immediately cover all of it up with paracord… not really following…

    Also curious why you went with a double barrel as opposed to a much more useful (and possibly lighter) pump.

    • Giolli Joker

      Your second question was most likely answered in the first post about this shotgun: it can be summarized in mechanical simplicity.

    • To answer the first question, I looked for picatinny knife mounts and didn’t find anything that would fit the specific knife I had. Like I alluded to in the post, the easy route was to find some rail mount and slap stuff on, and I guess I don’t prefer the easy route sometimes.

      I decided on mounting a knife because it seems like something I haven’t seen in other articles.

      • RickH

        You know, now that you’ve had to explain that this was all tongue in cheek, it’s not “fun” or satirical anymore.

  • bbmg

    Have you actually tried to stab something with that “bayonet”?

    I don’t think it will survive very long. Have you evaluated how heat from firing will affect it, especially as it is so close to the barrel porting?

    I appreciate the “hacky” nature of the attachment but if my life depended on it I would prefer a more solid mount.

  • verymiddleeuropean

    I would be affraid that blast from porting could scorch this paracord “mount”, thus compromising its strength.But otherwise, I like the idea of bayonet for hunting purposes. In XIX century these were quite popular in Europe for spiking the wounded game. These setups were often quite sophisticated, with folding or sliding, sometimes even spring loaded, blades on more pricey specimens.
    Back then similar side mounted bayonets were also popular on muzzleloading blunderbusses made for self defense. As this stoeger is just inexpensive utility piece, there is no economical sense in welding some tricky mechanism onto the barrel. Perhaps You would consider just using some modified cheap knife as a simple plug bayonet ? I mean, if its just meant for finishing previously shot animal.
    Personally, I dont care for the forward grip, its just adding weight and possibility of snagging onto something. But I understand, that it serves also as a flashlight mount and stops the movement of this improvised bayonet.

    • 11b

      The paracord will survive. My PEQ-2 is tied down with paracord to the rail of my M4. The rail gets pretty hot with sustained fire but the paracord has been holding strong for years.

  • Vitaly

    Why you Americans do such a stupid things?

    • bbmg

      Because they *can*! It’s a wonderful feeling, you should try it some time 😉

    • MOG

      It’s a gift.

    • Karina

      Move to a free country and experience having “rights”, instead of “restrictions”. Then you will learn why it’s “fun”, and not “stupid”.

      • iksnilol

        I could go into a lengthy debate about lack of rights in the USA but I will rather say this:

        It was meant for fun, sometimes you just got to do something stupidly hilarious.

    • It’s a bit of satire, joke take your pick. Not everything has to be serious but a lot of folks don’t seem to get it when it’s pretty obviously meant as the above.

  • JT

    I’ve been itching to experiment to see if those tubes would be efective in my model 500. As long as they fit and space and I don’t completely rack the slide back I wonder what’s to keep it from being a nifty single shot. When you want to load a new round, pull the old one out with a magnet, throw the new one in. When you want to convert back, just cock half way and remove the barrel like you normally would

    • Cymond

      umm … those adapters seem to have rims, so they will extract when you open the action. Or do you mean the long tubes?
      Also, how would you pull out the spent round with a magnet? Brass is non-magnetic. I guess it could work with steel-cased ammo.

  • LittleLebowski

    Is this a joke? I keep wanting to think that it’s a trolling attempt…..

    • RickH

      No kidding. This reminds me of 90% of the articles in the horrible “Pistolero” magazines of the late ’70’s.

  • Baendu

    If anything ever happened that forced the
    world into a survival situation I’m glad Chris will help me survive longer by keeping the bears fed for an extra day.

    • I’d barely fulfill one bear’s appetite for a few hours!

      • JaxD

        The bear would be hungry in a half hour.

      • Baendu

        Hi Chris, I just wanted to say that I ike your writing and the bear thing was just good natured ribbing. If your ever in the northwoods of wisconsin I invite you to come learn some survival skills and keep the bears at bay.

        • Thanks Baendu, as you can probably tell, I’m not taking any of this too seriously. Someone has to bring the gun and stir the pot, lol.

          I’d love to learn some ACTUAL survival skills!

  • RickH

    I don’t think you should be allowed to write any more articles. This is something I would expect from a 17 year old mall ninja.

  • allannon

    Based on his last paragraph, I think y’all got trolled. I don’t know if it was an intentional troll, or the article was intended as satire, though.

  • Jacqueshacques

    I enjoyed the post, but am enjoying people freaking out over an article that ends with the phrase “have fun!” for not being serious enough so much more.

  • iksnilol

    I would ditch the foregrip to make it easier to conceal.

    • BryanS

      I think the blood trail would negate that.

      • iksnilol

        I would keep a flashlight on but not a foregrip

    • Excellent idea. Next article: “How to Conceal a 34″ double trap O/U tacticool shotgun”

      • iksnilol

        LOL! Not a bad idea, when you need to shoot trap on the down-low.

        I meant with concealing it would be easier to handle in the action open position.

  • Dave

    I’m beginning to think that all you armchair commandos missed the dripping sarcasm and mockery in this article. It was hilarious.

    • RickH

      Really, somehow I missed the “dripping sarcasm”. Especially when it’s a follow up to an article almost a year ago. I guess I missed the sarcasm in that one also. If this is the case, he has too work on his humor.

  • BryanS

    Any thought to moisture absorbing paracord being left on steel? Better yet, covering porting?

    Soak it in oil, and give it a few test fires. Whoever you are shooing at would be pretty scared of the guy wielding a flaming shotgun spear.

    • MrSatyre

      Dammit, now I want a flaming shotgun spear!

    • Cymond

      I wouldn’t worry about the moisture on cerakote very much, and at least paracord is synthetic so it won’t hold moisture as badly as a natural fiber.

      Also, I want to see a flaming shotgun spear now, too. Somebody needs to put it on youtube!

  • MOG

    I am thinking satire.

    • M.M.D.C.

      Ditto. The tip-off is at the end of the video: “Next time I’m in a survival type situation…” One wonders how many survival situations Chris has been in.

      And the paracord bayonet. 😀

  • Superprepper

    My ultimate survival shotgun is a single shot H&R. I hollowed out the stock and can store enough supplies for 72 hours of survival. I can also take the barrel off and use it as a club. Mine has a laser beam on it for long range sniping and a light for short range close combat with bearsat night. It also has a bottle opener for tactical refreshment.

  • ColaBox

    Huh….well if he’s going to mount a knife at the end, he should at least make it a spear head and sharpen the faux edge so he can cut on both sides if he has to stab something.

  • Lance

    orry Chris you addition of a knife wont make this Biden approved. LOL

  • Rick

    only difference for mine is I’m getting the over/under.

  • Rick

    and no bayonets. 🙁

  • Risky

    I think instead of ‘survival’ Chris meant ‘gay zombie fantasy’.

  • Graham2

    This is a great article and I’m going to build something similar for when zombie bears and deer need to be dealt with! I’ve worked out a way to mount a Samurai sword, so that it flicks out when I press a button but I’ll have to ask my mum if I can have one, as they’re very sharp. I’ll probably fit a 20 power Chinese scope, so that I can engage targets at 300-400 yards (I’m obviously fitting a grip pod to mine) and I might even cover the entire weapon system with paracord, and have a shower curtain round the butt, so that I have enough materials to make a shelter with me at all times.
    My stock will be similarly hollowed out but I’ll probably store sausages instead of batteries as they taste better. Thank you thefirearmblog, you should have more articles like this.

    • wetcorps


  • wetcorps

    Ever considered picatinny bayonets? (seen here on a stoeger double defense with gangsta aimpoint)

    Also, make sure your condoms are either black or tan so you stay tactical in all circumstances. Heck, I’m sure if you looked it up you could find multicam or digital condoms 😀

    • ArcRoyale

      Camo condoms apparently exist. But i kinda love the “fork bayonet.” Its quite cruel looking.

  • OmegaDR

    Seriously, I’m a fan of the Walking Dead and all that, but I so freakin’ sick of Zombie references and Zombie product marketing. It was cool like 5 years ago, enough already, Dammit.

  • Chief

    This is NOT the kind of article i want to see on TFB.

  • I guess this article struck a cord with some readers, and perhaps I didn’t make it clear enough that this is just supposed to be some light hearted fun and exercise the creative sides of our brains. We all have gear that’s lying around collecting dust and so I figured why not have some fun and put it together in some meaningful way. I wasn’t trying to do an AR-15 frankenstein gun and just throw every single thing I could on it just to be tacticool.

    Also, this wasn’t a “zombie” scenario, this was a survival scenario like I mentioned in the initial post. Think like a large magnitude earthquake that causes a tsunami and floods the California coast. I have never been in the military or any true survival scenario, and this was part of the point of the article. I wanted to see what I could learn and share it. I’m sure there are plenty of other considerations and things I missed, so please feel free to add your two cents if you like.

    • My only critique is that there are not nearly enough condoms. All I have to do at the bar is mention I write for TFB and the babes flock to me.

      DISCLAIMER: Alex C. is a filthy liar.

      • Filthy, filthy liar.

      • DiverEngrSL17K

        Sorry to hear about the problems with the babes at the bar :)!

        Satire, counterpoint, argument and vitriol aside, the bit about using condoms as weatherproof muzzle covers is a practical one since they actually do provide adequate protection for the barrel against the elements. In an emergency, one can react immediately and simply shoot through the condom with no concerns about any negative impact on ballistics.

        Before anyone laughs too long and hard about this, using G.I.-issued condoms for this very purpose, and for the same reasons, was fairly commonplace among front-line soldiers during World War Two.

        Chris Cheng’s friend was therefore correct in his recommendation regarding this item.

        • jb27

          There are smaller rubber covers for finger bandages that work well for muzzle covers. Not good for alternate condom use tho’. Usually sold at drug stores as “finger cots”. Easy to carry more.

          • DiverEngrSL17K

            :). That’s a pretty good alternative — Thanks for sharing the idea!

    • Kowman Harsh

      Get a full time job. Forget this nonsense.

  • Scott

    This is NOT why I come to TFB either! Dagnabit!

  • MerryXmas

    Lighten up folks!

  • Lance

    Well, ya can’t say that you didn’t use what was at hand! Well done! You might consider taking a look at a kit by Bullpup Unlimited ( to transform ones everyday Remmy 870, 12 ga Tactical into something just this side of unique. It certainly fill a slot in the world Bullpup lineup. Excellent in cars, trucks, halls, rooms, allies and tight places where this level of firepower might be useful.

  • mirk

    Needs more cowbell.

  • Scott

    When I re-read the original article, the one in which Chris asked for suggestions on modifying his shotgun, there seemed to be a lot of support and interesting input. This time around when he actually implemented some of that input, well, look at the majority of the comments. Maybe TFB’s readership has changed? I’m a long time lurker and I’ve certainly noticed a trend toward negativity in the comments. It’s a shame. It seems like some of you are in a race to shout out “too expensive,” “ugly,” “serves no practical purpose,” “I don’t get it,” or some other reason why the featured firearm isn’t worth your time or money. What’s next? “2/10.Would not bang”? “Just look at those sharp knees”?

    • A lot of negative sometimes but then some don’t realize it’s meant to be a fun poke at those very suggestions you mentioned. I’ll give you a 10 out of 10 for seeing where it came from and what it is.

    • Spot on, Scott! Maybe folks are just stressed out with the holidays in full swing.

      I dunno, whatever. I’m going to continue having as much fun with this as I can 🙂

  • Sulaco

    “The condoms can also be used to…start a fire.” Wait, what?

  • Sulaco

    Ah, OK went to the link and I get it now. Not sure about the condom fire drill though…

  • Player_L

    Sounds cool for home defense. After you have expended both shells, you can lunge at your/s attacker/s with the bayonet.
    Personally, I’d choose a slimer, longer, double edged blade, with a central spine. If possible, it’d be nice to weld it to a rail clamp, so it’s removable.
    Also, I’d pick a hollow nylon stock, and place a pressurized fuel cannister inside. This, coupled with a thin copper tube running alongside the barrel, and a small wick, would make it a rather handy flamethrower.
    And to naysayers: would you fuck with a guy armed with a shotgun, with a lance on its end, spewing fire? Thought so.
    I rest my case.