It never ceases to amaze me how many “experts” are out there talking about guns, ammo, and stopping power. It is my belief that the best gun you could have is the one you are the most proficient with. In a basic “survival” situation, a small caliber gun that is relatively quiet is better that that 30.06 in your closet. If WW III happens, almost nothing that a civilian has will be of any consequence when facing an armored personnel carrier or a tank. Most people have never seen any real war, most have no idea how they would react to any particular situation unless they have faced it before.
My question would be how can I learn the skills I need to survive if I can’t get my ass up off my chair and away from the computer to go out and test my skill? Where can I go to learn how to…? If you want to know how hard it is, turn off the power to your house for one week and see how that goes. Can you cook a meal or for that matter, even start a fire? Can you kill something with your rifle, bow or spear and then clean it and cook it? See where I’m going? You can have the best sniper rifle in the world, but if you can’t hit your target it’s just a big fancy club!
With all that being said; think .22LR, .38/.357, 9mm, and .45 long Colt. All these can be had in both pistol and carbine varieties, and all of these are quite adequate for most personal defense and small game hunting. The other factor here is, you are not just carrying around a gun, you are also carrying ammo. Think that’s no biggee? Try carrying an extra 15-20 lbs. of anything with you next time you go out for a walk or a hike! My only other suggestion is, again in my opinion, a good shotgun. With the proper application of ammo, from bird shot and buck shot to slugs, is great for hunting small to medium game as well as self defense scenerio.
Just my two and a half cents worth.