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Whether weäó»re talking about fire extinguishers, condoms, or guns, those who know that being prepared is half the battle also know that äóìitäó»s better to have one and not need it than to need one and not have itäó.
And while itäó»s one thing to be prepared, itäó»s another thing to be adequately prepared. As such, reliability, accuracy, and power really matter when it comes to a life and death situation. In the spirit of fostering preparedness and furthering firearms knowledge, we present the top 5 rifles to have when SHTF.


And while itäó»s one thing to be prepared, itäó»s another thing to be adequately prepared. As such, reliability, accuracy, and power really matter when it comes to a life and death situation. In the spirit of fostering preparedness and furthering firearms knowledge, we present the top 5 rifles to have when SHTF.


The Top 5 Rifles to Have When SHTFBased upon the AR 10 model, the AR 15 rifle was designed by Eugene Stoner, Jim Sullivan, and Bob Fremont in 1957 and has since become a modern American classic. Built specifically for the U.S military by ArmaLite, this rifleäó»s design was purchased by Colt Manufacturing Company early on, and was produced as a fully automatic infantry rifle for the American military known as the äóìM 16äó. Despite its intimidating appearance, the rifle was plagued by jamming issues early on, thus causing major problems for American soldiers fighting in the Vietnam theater. Though more accurate than the AK 47 carried by the Viet Cong, the M 16 required constant maintenance to remain in working order unlike the AK 47. This along with other design flaws not only presented a challenge to soldiers in combat, but a challenge to the U.S. government in its justification of such a huge contract for a product that was for all practical purposes, not working as it should. In response to these challenges, design changes were made to the rifle to work out the initial bugs, and AR 15 platform rifles have since enjoyed great success and a worldwide fan base. With child variants like the M 4, the AR 15 design continues to be a staple rifle in not only the U.S. military, but in the civilian firearms market.
Caliber: .223 Remington/5.56mm NATO; other specialized caliber variants available
SHTF Score: 7/10 – if SHTF here in the States, you can bet that ammunition to feed this rifle will be readily available in mass quantities (assuming Uncle Sam doesnäó»t buy it all up). Its light weight means a high level of mobility and its accuracy in short to medium range engagements is unparalleled, making it a winner. While the rifle itself is easy to break down, constant cleaning is needed with extended use and the bolt carrier group has many small parts that can easily get lost if youäó»re cleaning in a hurry.


The Top 5 Rifles to Have When SHTFAR10 RifleConsidered to be the precursor to the AR 15, the AR 10 rifle was also developed by engineer Eugene Stoner under the ArmaLite brand. The initial prototypes of the 7.62mm AR 10 were built between AR 10, well past the prototype stage of development. In addition to this early setback, another potential government contract was lost in subsequent years when a Nicaraguan military official was almost hit in the head by a faulty bolt lug that flew off of the rifle during testing. Eventually, the design flaws were worked out, a small number of nations purchased the rifles, and the AR 10 enjoyed relative success as a lightweight, high capacity, powerful rifle. Today, the AR 10 is a dependable staple rifle, particularly for American riflemen and hunters who prefer its additional stopping power, high accuracy, long effective range, and high capacity.
1955 and 1956, and soon thereafter ArmaLite was in the running for a U.S. government contract to replace the M1 Garand. Unfortunately for ArmaLite, the rifle entered the competition late and was still in its early development stages as compared to those built by competitors. Ultimately, the U.S government chose the M 14 over the others in the competition as its design was more reliable and unlike the
Caliber: 7.62X51mm NATO/.308 Winchester
SHTF Score: 9/10 äóñ The AR 10 shares many of the same advantages and flaws as the AR 15, but because the AR 10 has substantially more stopping power and a longer effective range, it would be preferable not only for medium range engagements, but particularly in longer range ones. Its higher recoil may make it less preferable in short range situations depending on the strength of the shooter. While it doesnäó»t make much sense to fit an AR 15 with a scope, it makes plenty of sense to fit an AR 10 with one. These traits coupled with relatively high ammunition availability make it a solid medium-to-long-range contender when SHTF.


The Top 5 Rifles to Have When SHTFThe civilian version of the M 14, the M1A was designed by Springfield Armory in 1974. In an effort to consolidate caliber and rifle variations within the U.S. military, the M 14 was initially selected to replace four different rifles: the M1, the M1 carbine, the M3, and the M1918 BAR. However, the idea that the M 14 could replace all four was a foolhardy one as the semi-automatic M 14äó»s cartridges proved to be too powerful for a submachine gun and not powerful enough for a light machine gun role. It beat out the AR 10 and others in a government contract competition, but eventually had to make room for rifles like the M 16 in the military and elsewhere. Still known today as powerful, accurate, and reliable, the M1A is produced in many variants and serves a long and distinguish list of users including law enforcement, military, and civilians.
Caliber: 7.62X51mm NATO/.308 Winchester
SHTF Score: 8/10 äóñ Reliability, accuracy, power, and ammo availability make the M1A a great option when SHTF. It may not look as menacing as the AR 10 or AR 15, but it äóÖaint nothing to smirk at, either. Put it this way, if the Winchester .308 can handle a moose, bear, or elk, it can handle pretty much whatever else you need to kill. Also, itäó»s relatively old-school, and we think thatäó»s cool.


The Top 5 Rifles to Have When SHTFCalled äóìthe greatest battle implement ever devisedäó by historically badass American Army General George S. Patton, this powerful semi-automatic infantry rifle answered the call of duty to replace the U.S. militaryäó»s M1903 Springfield bolt-action rifle in 1936. Arriving just in time for the Second World War, the M1 Garand was inarguably a game changer with its high velocity rounds, semi-automatic operation, sturdiness, reliability, and accuracy. Fed by an internal box magazine, the M1 Garand offered a much needed replacement to the M1903, putting the Americans on par with the most technologically advanced of the Axis powers. A legend in its own right, the Garand is still considered both a sought-after collectoräó»s item and a functional modern day weapon, easily capable of competing with newer and younger rifles. Think about it like this: your grandfather could have kicked your ass in his prime, and this was his rifle. Whether for sport or when SHTF, the M1 Garand is deadly as hell at either close or long range, and it has the track record to prove it.
Caliber: .30-06 Springfield
SHTF Score: 10/10 äóñ Few rifles can hold their value for such a long time both in a functionally competitive sense and a historical one, and the M1 Garand is the standard when it comes to meeting expectations in those regards. Itäó»s heavy, hard hitting, solid, and reliable. It gets the endorsement from äóìOld Blood and Gutsäó himself, plus it was used to fight Naziäó»s, so you know it has to be badass.


The Top 5 Rifles to Have When SHTFBased on the design of the great American ranch rifle known as the Mini 14, the Mini 30 is its larger Mini 30 rifle caliber cousin. Sporting semi-automatic capability, a hard hitting 7.62X39mm round, and accuracy that the AK47 can only dream of, the Mini 30 is a rugged, dependable rifle platform that combines the technology of modern materials with throwback cosmetics. Primed for the addition of a scope, the Mini 30 makes a great deer hunting rifle as well as a nice option for when SHTF. Customization options for those who are more forward-thinking allow the rifle to be sporterized with accessories like telescopic stocks, pistol grips, and a variety of optics. A small number of American police departments and military units use the Mini 14 on a limited basis, and most of its popularity lies in the hearts and minds of the civilian market.
Caliber: 7.62X39mm
SHTF Score: 8/10 äóñ A rifle platform that can accurately fire a 7.62X39mm round time and again is arguably a better option than one that fires a .223 or 5.56mm round. High capacity capabilities, semi-auto operation, and customization options make the Mini 30 a great choice for hunting, sport shooting, or doing what needs to be done when SHTF.