The effects of prebuckling displacements on the buckling of laminated composite circular cylindrical shells are investigated. Both axial compression and pure torsion are considered for two shell geometries with length to thickness ratios usually associated with container vessels. A clamped prebuckling boundary condition is used for all analysis with four boundary conditions applied during the buckling process. The shell walls are made up of a 6 ply laminate with several symmetric ply orientations. The study was made using the STAGS computer code, utilizing the linear bifurcation branch with linear prebuckling displacements. The results are compared to the buckling loads determined when prebuckling displacements are neglected. It is shown that prebuckling deformations generally tend to decrease the buckling load of a composite shell. It is also shown that prebuckling displacements can cause shell buckling before failure of the fibers occurs.