Prepper Book Festival 9: Shotguns: A Comprehensive Guide

Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: November 24, 2020
Prepper Book Festival 9: Shotguns: A Comprehensive Guide

When it comes to firearms, I admit to being a rank novice.  Even though I have had quite a bit of training, it has not been enough and I am smart enough to know it.  That being said, I do make an attempt to practice at the range whenever I can and in between I read and study.

Currently I am learning about shotguns. I have never used a shotgun so this next book in Backdoor Survival Prepper Book Festival 9 is quickly bringing me up to speed.  Shotguns: A Comprehensive Guide is the third volume in the PrepSmart series and like the others, it is a well written manual designed to educate and teach.  It is geared toward survival which makes it perfect for preppers.

Shotguns A Comprehensive Guide | Backdoor Survival

The author, Steve Markwith has a knack for explaining the more technical aspects of shotguns in a language that even a novice (like me) can understand.    Almost every page of Shotguns has photos which I consider a real bonus.

Steve is here today for his first Backdoor Survival interview.  In addition I have a copy of the print version of Shotguns: A Comprehensive Guide up for grabs in a giveaway.  Enjoy the interview and then check in below to learn about the giveaway.

Interview with Steve Markwith, Author of SHOTGUNS A Comprehensive Guide

Tell me about your book. What is it about?

“The book” is really a series of Prepper-based firearms publications.

The first edition; “Survival Guns: A Beginner’s Guide” lays groundwork related to a practical assemblage of firearms. Guiding principles include reliability, availability of parts and ammunition, ease of maintenance, simplicity, common function, and affordability. This book starts with a hard look at safety and storage methods.

The various firearm types are also explored, ammunition is examined, and a ballistic tutorial helps clear up many misconceptions. Emphasis is placed on a survival mindset, tempered by reality.

While personal limits play a role, Murphy’s Law and KISS are two key principles relevant to everyone. Bottom line: anything that can go wrong will, so simple is good when things turn ugly. A “systems” approach is espoused whereby, as much as is possible, all firearms share similar function. The combination of familiar equipment, relevant training and ongoing practice translate to true competency.

Subsequent editions focus on specific weapon types in a prioritized sequence. The second edition, “Shotguns: A Comprehensive Guide” is dedicated to a versatile defensive and subsistence tool, which few folks fully understand.

The third edition covers a useful training tool/provider: the rimfire rifle. The fourth examines the intriguing world of quiet, precision airguns. Upcoming books will address centerfire rifles; and last but not least, handguns.

Each type is part of a coordinated procurement strategy. Remember; the actual firearm constitutes only some of its overall cost, which also encompasses accessories, ammunition and gear. By sorting through the key pieces, an affordable inventory can be developed to meet our practical needs.

While a well thought out firearms collection can cover many bases, readers needn’t feel any obligation to go this route. Not all folks are gun people and some, whether out of choice or necessity, may opt for a bare-bones approach. In fact, one carefully chosen firearm can cover many needs without breaking the bank. The first two editions should help point such people in the right direction. The other books will be useful if future expansion is desired.

What type of research did you have to do while writing your book?

Although I did my fair share, much of what the readers will see is based on experience managing firearms operations. Constant range time involves lots of shooters; along with firearms and equipment. It provides a great opportunity to see what works – and also what doesn’t. However, I have definitely spent time researching the availability of products, including their variations and costs.

How long did it take to write?

Well, right now two books are out; two more are in final composition; and another two are nearing completion. Besides lots of information, they contain plenty of photos. In other words, the process has been quite time-consuming. At this point (July, 2015), I’ve been on it for around a year and a half.

Every book, fiction and non-fiction, includes a message. What message do you hope my readers will take with them after reading your book?

First, that firearms ownership requires relentless attention to safe handling, as well as secure storage.

Second, since we’re probably not Rambo, “tacti-cool” choices aren’t necessarily our best ones. A dose of adrenaline, when mixed in with a complex system and marginal training, can result in a situation that ends badly. Many of us would be much better off with simpler designs, in deference to realities like limited practice opportunities.

Third, by believing in Murphy’s Law, we’ll understand that anything which can go wrong will go wrong – at the worst possible moment. Solid skill-sets are good insurance. Like an experienced driver in the midst of a skid, complete attention can be directed towards the hazard. Manipulation of any controls must be second nature so, like brake and gas pedals; it helps if they’re in familiar locations.

Bottom line: extra bells and whistles are spiffy but, when it comes down to practical firearm choices, much like prune juice, moderation helps. In either case your comfort level will be better.

Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?

I started shooting in my pre-teen years, on a junior rifle team. I was reloading shotgun shells by the time I was fourteen, at which point I was actively hunting. A couple of Army combat tours provided much insight on how to get killed – or nearly so – by unpleasant people.

Eventually, I assumed control of firearms operations for a large state agency, a position I held for more than twenty-five years. That profession, as well as constant sport shooting, provided valuable opportunities to evaluate firearms; equipment; training; and tactics. Having a number of great industry contacts and cadre didn’t hurt.

Eventually, I started writing on the side when opportunity permitted. Not too surprisingly, all of the published work has been related to hunting or shooting. Besides defensive topics, black-powder; arrows; and airgun pellets make the list. The freezer is normally full and it’s a rare day when something doesn’t go bang.

As an author in the survival, prepping and/or homesteading niche, what are you personally preparing for?

Given our global uncertainty it could be just about anything, natural disasters aside.

Shelter will always be important, and mobility could be necessary. Beyond water, three new standard forms of currency could be food, fuel, and ammo. The latter is my niche.

What would be your first prep-step if you were just getting started?

I’d hit the Prepper sites, invest in some books, and do a personal assessment.

Concerning defense and subsistence, the firearms series should help. From there try connecting to a local gun club. Most offer firearms safety courses that will cover the basics. From there, establish the goal of traveling to formalized training.

Do you have plans for another book?

The last two in the six-book series are keeping me busy at the moment, but time will tell…

Is there anything else you would like to share with my readers?

Thanks very much for the opportunity to share a few thoughts. As for the firearms subject, please commit to doing things right. As we all know, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

Be responsible and plan ahead…

The Giveaway

Steve Markwith has reserved a copy of Shotguns: A Comprehensive Guide for this Book Festival Giveaway.  In addition, he has provided today’s giveaway question.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The deadline is 6:00 PM Pacific Tuesday with the winner notified by email and announced on the Rafflecopter in the article.  Please note that the winner must claim their book within 48 hours or an alternate will be selected.

Note:  If you are having difficulty with the Rafflecopter, attempt to clear your browser cache to see if that helps.  Instructions are here:  //  If that does not work, contact support at

The Final Word

As much as I would like to say I am well prepped when it comes to both home and personal defensive weapons, the truth is that I am not.  Sure, I have the gear, but my knowledge and skills have a long way to go before I can label myself “proficient”.

Steve’s first two books, including Shotguns: A Comprehensive Guide, and Survival Guns, A Beginners Guide are valuable additions to the prepper library and I am honored to be able to present them for your consideration.

In closing, let us all take a cue from Steve and be responsible, plan ahead, and continue to keep the door of knowledge open.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

If you enjoyed this article, consider voting for Backdoor Survival daily at Top Prepper Websites!  In addition, SUBSCRIBE to email updates  and receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-book The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.


Spotlight:  Shotguns: A Comprehensive Guide (PrepSmart Volume 3)

Shotguns: A Comprehensive Guide is the second firearms book in the PrepSmart series. This book covers the details of buying, owning, and shooting a shotgun.


Steve takes the reader from understanding the many differences between various models, old and new, to detailing chokes, barrels, and shot patterns. He covers essential topics such as cleaning, safety, and training. The information contained within is detailed, covering far more than just the firearm itself, leaving the reader confident in his/her plan to learn about the gun in a reasoned, logical way. Steve’s decades of experience and no-nonsense writing style makes this book a joy to read.

Complemented with many photographs, this is a must-have on the bookshelf of any firearms enthusiast.

For your convenience, here is a list of all of the books in the current Backdoor Survival Prepper Book Festival.

Prepper Book Festival 9 – Non-Fiction

Chickens from Scratch: Raising Your Own Chickens from Hatch to Egg Laying and Beyond
Prepper’s Natural Medicine: Life-Saving Herbs, Essential Oils and Natural Remedies
Shotguns: A Comprehensive Guide (PrepSmart Volume 3)
The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide: Harvest, Treat, and Store Your Most Vital Resource
The Pantry Primer: A Prepper’s Guide to Whole Food on a Half-Price Budget

Prepper Book Festival 9 – Fiction

Cascadia’s Curse
Apocalypse by Government
New Recruits (The Shadow Patriots Volume 2)
The Line of Departure: A Postapocalyptic Novel
Holding Their Own: The Toymaker

Plus: The Preppers Guide to Food Storage

No list of books would be complete without my own book, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage.  The eBook  print version is available.


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46 Responses to “Prepper Book Festival 9: Shotguns: A Comprehensive Guide”

  1. The book on shotguns sounds like a very useful summary account – I would very much enjoy winning a copy, to read, and to share with special friends, as a way to prepare myself for the future . . . I know the contest has yet to start, but I am ready now . . and hope my submission will be acceptable . . .thanks.

    • The “Shotguns” giveaway has started. If you tried to get in and saw the “Starting Soon” message, please try again. This was my goof.

      Bob – what you need to do is go back to the article and mark “I Commented” in the Rafflecopter.

  2. That was a good interview. I like that he writes from his experience and that he started handling weapons at a young age.

    Thanks for the contest.

  3. I remember going to my Uncle’s every summer and target practising with my cousins 12 gauge and the 22 rifle. My dad had a 22 pistol he brought back from Germany and we’d go out and shoot Tin cans in the back forty. Most of the rules I remember but this would be an awesome thing to win. Hope the log in is up soon 😉 Thank you

  4. If I had but one gun to choose, it would be shot gun. While handguns are easy to carry and effective, the shot gun is a very versatile weapon. You can hunt with it or provide defense. The biggest drawback, is of course the range of the ammo. I love my 20 gauge. We shotgunned up after an attempted home invasion. Have never regretted it.

  5. Just getting into Shotguns myself, so this sounds like a perfect book for me to get my hands on. Thanks for the wonderful reviews and bringing such useful resources to our attention.

  6. I’d pick an over/under Savage. 20 Ga. and .22lr. It could be rounded out using chamber inserts in the sg barrel for firing other calibers. Makes a more rounded package for survival.

  7. It’s tough to ever have too much information about your firearms…….most instruction is verbal and hands-on…..and it is easy to have the information fade away……

  8. If you had to choose only one gun for survival needs, what would it be? A Shotgun,

    Or, if you choose not to use a gun, what would you choose instead? Bow and Arrows

  9. My husband has a shotgun and a rifle, I have a Sig Sauer P238 (I just love that little rascal and carry concealed everywhere unless there’s a metal detector) and an AR15 I’m still getting used to because it’s a bit big for me.

  10. If I can only choose one then I would say a rifle in .270 or 30-06. Can be used for hunting and to stop intruders at the perimeter.

  11. I don’t know anything about guns except how to handle a patient with a GSW in surgery! I have a taser but that’s about the strongest weapon. I’d like one that shoots the taser but those are expensive.

  12. If a shotgun was my only gun it would be a semi-auto.

    On another note, does anyone have trouble using the raffle copter? Sometimes when I try to sign-up using the email option, the name and email boxes don’t allow me to input any text.

    • Chris – if the tips in the article do not help, please do contact Rafflecopter support. They are committed to helping track down the problem.

      “If you are having difficulty with the Rafflecopter, attempt to clear your browser cache to see if that helps. Instructions are here: // If that does not work, contact support at”

  13. I only have a single shot shotgun ( and if they are all single-shot… that is how little I know) it is my goal to get a shotgun…I think for hunting…and a handgun. I could use a book to help enlighten me

  14. Picking just one gun is a tough thing to do, and really should be expanded to two. A shotgun would be fine for close-in defense, and with slugs would reach a bit further, but it would probably be a good idea to have something along the lines of an AR15 for backup.

    On the other hand, if you found yourself needing to bug out shotguns and shotgun ammo are heavy. For home, shotgun. For defense on the run, I’d have to opt for an AR15, preferably with a red dot or other similar sighting system. Lighter weight weapon, much less recoil than most shotguns, and much more portable ammo. Backup weapon on the run would be a good semiauto pistol of some sort. My preference there would be a 1911.

  15. My gun safe is full of many weapons. I have about any popular gun that is made. If I had to go down to just one, it would have to be the AR-15. I learned along time ago to buy a caliber that is very popular. The AR-15 is a .223 and that is what the US Army uses. This ammo would be easier to acquire in hard times. The AK-47 uses the 7.62X39, and they are very popular. The SKS also used this same ammo.
    Each weapon is made for a different purpose. Study what you want a weapon for and make your choice accordingly.

  16. Most people think a handgun is best but I feel that because I’m not proficient a shot gun would be a better fit for me. Less need to be accurate puts less stress on me. I could and would pull the trigger.

  17. My gun would be a ar7 Survival rifle by Henry in 22lr. It is a takedown fit in the stock light weight 7 shot rifle that the Air Force used to issue.

  18. I really don’t know. I have gone to the range with my husband a few times but I would rather try to avoid/get away than have to use a gun. I know this is something I need to be more comfortable with this.

  19. Michele – There is no shame at all in your preference to avoid/get away rather than have to use a gun. I feel the same way most likely because I am STILL not comfortable with my ability to handle a firearm.

    One thing I like about a shotgun is that it is more or a point and shoot than other weapons. I hope I never have to put this to the test.

  20. If I could choose only one, I would say a shotgun. Gives you same choices in ammo and even though it doesn’t have the range of some it is very versatile.

  21. If I had to have just one weapon for protection it would definitely be a shotgun. It can be used for protection and hunting.

  22. If I could only have one gun it would be a Glock handgun. I am more experienced with handguns than rifles or shotguns.

  23. I like several types of guns, and they all have their uses. But a shotgun for hunting and security. If not using a gun, a power bow would be my choice.

  24. I am comfortable with handguns, but a shotgun is next on my list. I think it makes the most sense for home defense. Thanks for the chance to win this book.

    By the way, just finished “Cascadia’s Curse”; thanks for the recommendation.

  25. I grew up in a household with multiple guns, but only used a 22 rifle. I think a shotgun would be best for me, because when tshtf I won’t shoot until someone with evil intent crosses the threshold.

  26. The gun I would keep would be a shotgun. I think each of us need to keep the gun your most comfortable with to use and not choose one because its the most popular.

  27. The guns I’ve had any practice shooting are a 32mm and a 9 mm. I would like to have a shotgun and learn to shoot it.

  28. everyone should, when the situation dictates, make the best of use of what you have be it firearm or otherwise

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