Custom-built shotgun aims to be the complete survival tool


July 21, 2011

Creek Stewart has built a shotgun that makes for a pefect survival tool (Photo: Creek Stewart)

Creek Stewart has built a shotgun that makes for a pefect survival tool (Photo: Creek Stewart)

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Creek Stewart is a survival instructor whose main interest lies in building compact-sized and clever survival kits. One of his latest projects is to modify a pump-action shotgun and cram it full of survival stuff, essentially creating a combination of a weapon and survival tool ... perfect in case of a zombie apocalypse.

Stewart chose a Mossberg 500 pump-action shotgun as a platform and filled it with loads of clever modifications, utilizing lots of gun's details in quite surprising ways. Basic survival needs fall into five categories according to Stewart: water, fire, shelter, signaling and food. Thus a perfect survival kit must be able to meet the needs of each category.

The gun holds various kinds of ammunition that can be used to hunt different species of animals and for self-defense. With a full magazine and chamber, as well as a couple of side holders full of shells, Stewart's weaopon can carry 19 rounds in total including special rounds used as signal flares. There's a 5'' Ka-Bar knife mounted on a Picatinny rail and a bright flashlight and a compass installed on the gun barrel.

To enable the carrying of survival items, Stewart has managed to find extra storage areas inside the shotgun. Certain modifications resulted in three separate storage compartments, located in stock, pistol grip and pump hand grip. Stewart uses these compartments to store survival tools such as a multi-tool, fire starting materials (matches, striker, steel wool), foldable aluminum baking pan, thrash bag, fishing kit, non-lubricated condoms, water purification tablets, survival blanket, first aid supplies, whistle, lighter or 25 feet (7.62 m) of snare wire.

Besides using matches or lighter, starting fire is possible via a steel rod which is installed on the top of the stock - by swiping the Ka-Bar knife there you get a shower of sparks.

Another clever modification is a handheld folding saw that can be mounted between the back of the pistol grip and the butt stock sling stud. Stewart made the shotgun sling with 80 feet (24.3 m) of braided paracord which needs to be unraveled to be used. There's also a bandana attached to the sling, which Stewart finds as a handy survival tool, that can be used for instance as a filter for dirty water, first aid bandage, signal flag, dust mask, etc. With all modifications applied, the shotgun weighs 9.5 lbs (4.3 kg).

Stewart works as an instructor in Willow Haven Outdoor School for Survival, Preparedness & Bushcraft, Indiana, USA.

"If the zombies still eat your brains when you're carrying this thing, it's your own dang fault," Stewart says.

To see all Creek Stewart's instructions on building such a shotgun check the following YouTube videos: part 1 / part 2.

Source: Art of Manliness


OK, I get the survival tools. But why the shotgun ??Seems like a lot of useless weight and the carrier is more likely going to shoot his own foot or a bystander than an attacking bear or something edible, according to statistics.


Yeah, you're likely to shoot yourself if you don't bother learning about your new tool. I've been a lifelong firearms user/owner and firearms safety is simple: Don't aim at anything you're not going to shoot, keep your finger off the trigger unless you're about to shoot, and don't treat it as a toy.

Anyway. The compass is a stupid idea. Firearms are made out of steel. This includes Mossberg shotguns. That compass will never give you a reliable heading. You're basically better off buying yourself a quality pack and filling it with decent survival equipment, and then buying a pistol or shotgun for probably considerably less money than this probably costs.

Charles Gaines

Quote statistics when you need a gun and are wondering why you believed the pundits.

People like you can\'t handle guns,anyway, so I guess the rest of us are better off with you not having one.

As for those who know, I\'d guess we\'d all agree that a shotgun is the single most versatile firearm available and generally safer and more effective than pistols,depending on who\'s handling it- according to statistics,of course!


I saw the unlubricated condoms and thought, \"what the f*%#?, is this guy going to brokeback mountain?\" But then I looked it up and apparently the condoms are great light weight water containers. LOL

Paul Anthony

I guess I\'m going to be the first to ask: \"non-lubricated condoms\"??? If there\'s an apocalypse (zombie or otherwise) how are we going to repopulate the earth?


nothing remarkable about this, anyone can trick out a shotgun like this in their living room.

You\'d be better off having all the extra stuff in a backpack though, otherwise you\'ll get very tired lugging that shotgun around.

William Jolley

lol alcalde

Waiel Jibrail

Lubricated condoms will last longer, unlubricated condoms will need to be changed out every so often. There are better options out there, like the one at this site ( Qt. Emergency Water Bag.htm).

I got the idea most huntsmen carried a rifle rather than a shotgun, so the shot gun is an interesting choice, and one I don't completely understand.

Simon Fisher

TBH, there\'s less and less difference as far as hunting goes between rifles and shotguns these days. Remington released a new saboted shotgun slug a few years ago that offers exceptional accuracy at ranges that used to be rifle-only (3-400 meters).

Charles Gaines

I built my shotgun on the Remington 870 platform with the 20 inch slug barrel and integral iron sights, while my son opted for the Winchester Defender 1300. These two and the Mossberg are all good choices. A good round for self defense is the No.1 Buck . This shell contains 16 to 20 (depending on brand) .30 cal. pellets and is available in low, standard and magnum powder loads. Another interesting round is the Winchester PDX1, which contains three 000 Buck pellets atop a rifled slug in the same shell. I agree with Mr. Gaines, the Remington saboted slug is an excellent choice.

raoul fazool

@Simon Fisher, Shotguns can be used for large game and small game. Very hard to hit a moving rabbit with a rifle.

Much more flexibility with a shotgun, with shot, slugs, Arial flares, and sabot slugs (more accurate) all with the same sabot shotgun.

Too much weight in this version though. I am building my own in .410 with knife, compass, and all the ammo in my pack, not in my hands. I have found a ammo manufacturer who makes Arial flares in .410 including parachute flares!


Put the survival stuff in a backpack and get yourself one of those AA-12 combat shotguns. With the right loads, you can mow down every living thing in sight and still have a round or two left over.

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