When it comes to selecting a projectile weapon for a survival situation, it's pretty hard to beat a modern rifle. Just take a look at our Ruger 10/22 takedown survival rifle build if you don't believe us. However, there are plenty of instances when a rifle is not practical, or simply is not available. Maybe you have a weapon but ran out of ammunition, or maybe your firearm was left behind, damaged, or destroyed during a survival scenario. What sort of projectile weapon can you build from everyday materials?

PVC pipe bow 3

There's an obvious choice, and that's a bow. This tried-and-true weapon has been used effectively for millennia, and it requires no complex materials or expensive tools. In fact, it's possible to construct a powerful bow with a piece of PVC pipe from a local hardware store, and you don't even need power tools or a heat source.

The following video from ZNA Productions on YouTube shows how it's done. You may recognize the host from another video we shared, where he improvises a karambit knife from an old wrench.

Here's a recap of the items used in the video to construct the basic PVC pipe bow:

  • 5 feet of 3/4-inch schedule 40 PVC pipe
  • 3 fiberglass driveway marker rods
  • 550 paracord
  • Duct tape
  • Basic tools: tape measure, permanent marker, rat tail file, small hacksaw, gloves (to protect against fiberglass dust)

Later in the video, the host shows some other PVC bow designs he has used, which range from larger straight bows, to recurve bows, to a compound bow with pulleys. As for arrows, you'll be best off using proper arrows from a sporting goods store. But, if those aren't available, not to worry—you can make your own arrows as well. Here's another video from ZNA Productions that shows how to do it:

Obviously, we're not saying that it's ideal to chuck all your firearms in the dumpster and adopt a bow for all your survival needs. But a DIY bow and arrows can provide an excellent backup weapon that's silent, reliable, and can even be fun to make.

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