5 Firearms to Survive Pt. 2

5 Firearms you need to survive a major event

Tactical Rifle:

  • Key Points: Oh God… it starts. Listen, let’s start this off with honesty: for any event that doesn’t involve a direct invasion by another country the AK or Type 56 is going to be a moot point. There, I said it. I think it’s a great rifle, I think it can be accurate and it definitely is dependable, but that’s about where its value ends in the world of a major event. The biggest problem you’re going to run into with this platform is if you do end up needing repairs or more ammo, the resources are going to be slim without an invading force that carries them too. The most prolific semi-automatic rifle in the United States is hands-down the AR platform. It ranges in price from $500 to $5,000+, can be chambered in a wide variety of rounds from the common 5.56/.223 to the specialized .300BLK and even in heavy hitters of the 7.62/.308 or 6.5 Creedmoor… even a .338 LM version exists. No, I don’t know why. With that being said, the AR is a solid go to and in my mind the question really only remains of which style/setup you should get. To start out, stick to the 5.56 or .223 Wylde caliber. It’s the most common so you’ll find ammo and mags, plus you’ll never have to worry about parts being interchangeable with a standard AR you might be scrapping off of. On these rifles I would recommend a 14.5” or 16” barrel for most people as it will give you the balance you need between range and close up, and either a red dot or a Low Power Variable Optic (LPVO) in the 1-8x or 1-10x range. So, let’s talk about it.
  • Budget: There’s some solid options in the budget tier for ARs, like the Palmetto State Armory or Anderson Manufacturing platforms. You can get a pretty basic AR setup for a few hundred bucks, plus some ammo and mags, a cleaning kit and a red dot sight and you’re in business. Is it the dreamiest setup to rock through a major event with? Nope, but it’ll provide you with security and be better than throwing stones! You can also buy a stripped receiver set and “roll your own” if you do the research, but I’d advise getting help from a skilled gunsmith learning how to do this. Don’t rely on cousin Bubba in his garage throwing it together. You’re dealing with a controlled explosion inches from your face every time you pull the trigger… maybe put a little emphasis on safety.
  • Mid-Tier: The mid-tier for ARs is basically anything that’s not Budget or Bougie. Smith & Wesson, Aero, Adams Arms, Stag, Spikes, DPMS… I’ll be honest, there’s a huge spectrum of pricing difference in ARs and not a huge performance difference. For the modern-day owner, you’ll likely never put your rifle through the abuse and neglect that it’s capable of, and it will get handed down to your children or sold in your old age with fewer rounds through it than some of us shoot in a busy weekend. You can get away with a LOT here. This is the area where you may want to consider going Budget and putting your extra funds into an optic upgrade and more rounds, maybe even a training course. If you are absolutely against the budget brands, then keep saving and step up to the Bougie tier.
  • Bougie: PWS, Sons of Liberty, Noveske, Daniel’s Defense, LWRC, etc. These are some of the “top tier” AR platforms out there. They are usually either piston driven or highly tuned and will perform flawlessly under even the worst conditions. Naturally, you’re going to spend a little more, but the fitment of parts and quality of production is a solid investment and will cut down on your need for finicky maintenance or replacement parts. It’s worth noting that the military and police departments that field the AR (which is almost all of them) use a “direct impingement” model, so the piston guns on this list (PWS/LWRC) are not going to be directly compatible with them for certain parts, even though they will take most. That being said, piston guns have been proven to run cleaner and cooler than direct guns (especially when suppressed), so it’s a trade-off.
  • Outliers: I’m going to throw some other options in this bucket that are amazing firearms in their own right, but they are only quasi-ARs, which means that you’ll get a lot of similar benefits but not the full spectrum of what you could with a regular AR. Weapons like a Sig MCX, Palmetto State JAKL, PWS UXR and even an FN SCAR 16S are very tempting for a primary rifle. They are more compact, take standard AR mags and add a level of flavor to survivability that seems very alluring. However, like many of the “Bougie” tier weapons on this list you’re going to need to stock your own repair parts and tool kits to work on them. You aren’t going to find JAKL and UXR bolt carrier groups in every prepper’s hoard and if a military unit is carrying the MCX or SCAR I highly recommend you leave them alone… those are Tier-1 units, you will lose. Spend the money on a mid-tier weapon, ammo, and training or be ready to self-repair and self-sustain your own kit.