The Premise: For decades, the go-to book for prepper or survivalist type firearms was Mel Tappan's Survival Guns. This classic book was written in 1979 and still makes for interesting reading, even if it's a bit dated. Veteran hunting and shooting author Bryce M. Towsley seeks to bring those same concepts into the modern era with Prepper Guns.

The foreword is written by Nancy Tappan, Mel Tappan's widow. This important link between the two books could not get more definitive than that.

The 411: The focus is more on fighting firearms as opposed to those used for foraging and hunting, which isn't necessarily what you'd want should you become stranded, shipwrecked, or lost in the mountains. Nor is it what an off-the-grid family or individual would need with regards to pest/varmint control, hunting, or self-defense versus dangerous animals. The firearms described within are intended for a straight-up foreign invasion or societal collapse type of scenario.


The Verdict: Towsley communicates in an easy-to-read, matter-of-fact tone reminiscent of some of the survivalist how-to books and magazines from the late 1970s and early 1980s. He is definitely a right-wing type of guy and seems to have more “liberal friends” who cannot get their acts together than I have loose rounds of .45 ACP rolling around in the back of my truck.

There's good information within, but the real staples of prepping such as .22 long rifle are glossed over and barely get mentioned, while a chapter on .410 handguns is included. For the price of one of those niche handguns, a prepper could purchase a few quality rimfires that would suit a multitude of purposes above and beyond what a Taurus Judge, S&W Governor, or a Bond Arms Derringer could bring to the table.

The chapters read more like a series of magazine articles or blogs written independently from each other. There's nothing wrong with that, as the author's written work in other media spans three decades and the insight from all of his experience is invaluable.

With “prepper” often being used interchangeably with “survivalist” these days, we can see why he came up with the title; this is written as a fulfillment of Tappan's book in more modern times. Thus the title makes sense in that regard.

Yet, we believe that today's prepper is a different breed than the survivalist of yesteryear, not only in the demographics, but on the types of threats each group viewed as the potential for catastrophe.

Overall, Prepper Guns makes for a decent book for people new to prepping or even self-defense in a disaster or period of civil unrest. It provides a great deal of useful information with regard to defensive firearms. Towsley is an engaging writer with lots of information to share from his long background as a hunter and shooter. Those of us who still collect physical copies of firearms, prepping, survivalist, hunting, and military books will probably want to keep a copy on hand to add to our library.

However, if you're an intermediate to advanced user of firearms, you'll probably walk away with very little new information from this book. That could have been changed with the inclusion of a few more ballistic tables for comparison, and less anecdotes from the neighbors. We also would've appreciated a chapter or two about maintenance, repair, and what tools and spare parts to keep on hand in order to maintain an arsenal after the sort of collapse that the author warns about. As this book is geared more toward the novice, it would have been simpler and more approachable to focus on the ballistic, financial, and practical aspects of the calibers described.

Novel & Author:Prepper Guns: Firearms, Ammo, Tools, and Techniques You Will Need to Survive the Coming Collapse
by Bryce M. Towsley
Publisher:Skyhorse Publishing

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