Survival Gear Review: AR-15 Rifle
Article by Chris Mandia
Let’s face it – you can stockpile a six month supply of MREs, 200 gallons of agua, non-GMO heirloom seeds, gold and silver and medical supplies galore, but if you’re not prepared to defend your cache of supplies, you’re treading on dangerous waters. The subsequent chaos that ensues post-catastrophe requires vigilant protection of said inventory. And we’re not talking pepper spray or fisticuffs – we’re talking firearms. The firearm, be it pistol, long rifle or shotgun, should be an essential component of your prepping stratagem. Accordingly, it
would behoove a Prepper to get his gun on. But not just any gun. A multi-purpose, easily maintained, ammo
friendly weapon that not only fills the void of Prepper protection, but can literally bring home the bacon.
They’re a common sight on the modern battlefield. The antithesis to the Iron Curtain’s AK-47. A black rifle
fielded in various configurations throughout its 50-year tenure. Yes, I’m speaking of the storied M-16 Service
Rifle. Employed since the early days of the Vietnam War – maligned by troops accustomed to the heft and
simplicity of their M14s, the “plastic” rifle was a tough sell. Ultimately earning its place among infantryman
and Special Forces alike, the M-16A1 and subsequent variants, would establish themselves as trusted man-
stoppers well into the 21st century. Currently marketed to civilians as the AR-15, the basic operating system
remains relatively true to Eugene B. Stoner’s initial creation. Gas-operated, chambered in 5.56 NATO, weighing
in at around 7.5 pounds, the AR is the obvious choice for a Survivalist seeking a dual-purpose rifle. There’s a
variety of ammo to feed this black beauty. From armor piercing, hollow points, tracers, to simple ball rounds,
the diversity of shot only adds to its multifaceted use. Not to mention it’s readily available and relatively
cheap. Unfortunately, the AR has been subject to some negative publicity as of late. It would be incumbent upon
those interested, to purchase one most ricky-tick. Like yesterday.
Nevertheless, lets talk specifics. You’ll find a bevy of manufacturers churning out AR variants. They range
from bare-bones cheapos, mid-level standard bearers, and ultra-high speed custom jobs that probably belong in a
safe rather than the field. As a Prepper, it’s all about real-life use. Speaking from experience – a Jarhead
with a couple tours in the Sunni Triangle, I found the Smith & Wesson M&P15 a quite capable rig. Coming in at
around $900, the M&P15 is one hell of a handsome rifle. A dull matte coat fabricated from 7071 T6 aluminum,
nearly mimics the Colt M4s issued in Iraq – albeit strictly semi-automatic. Equipped with a variety of
picatinny rail brackets, you can strap on a plethora of accessories. For Survivalists, I recommend an EOTech
holographic sight. Excellent in a CQB environment, yet capable of plugging a deer at 200 meters.
Ultimately, any AR-15 you choose requires range time. Some are tack drivers out the box; others can’t hit the
broadside of a barn. As the old axiom goes: practice makes perfect. Run drills with your friends,
disassemble/reassemble on the regular, keep her lubed, stock up on ammo, and above all, practice proper gun safety.
Article by Chris Mandia. Chris is a Southern California writer who writes on military issues.
Serving two tours in Iraq as a Marine Corps infantryman, you can find out more about him at www.chrismandia.com.