With little to no law enforcement in place during a survival situation, or in a situation where the normal rules don’t apply and the authorities may be people you will want to avoid, the survival weapons you carry with you may be the only thing standing between you and complete disaster. The enemies you could face in a survival scenario include your neighbors, marauding gangs, and even opportunistic criminals. Regardless of the threat you actually encounter, you must be prepared for close quarters combat should your family or you be threatened with violence. One the best tools to meet that threat is the modern survival rifle, or what many call incorrectly “assault” rifles.
The survival rifle or assault rifle is the weapon many prepared citizens think of first when they consider their survival and home defense arsenals. Survival rifles offer excellent range and firepower. They are what the military carries, obviously (although civilians are limited to semi-automatic rifles that merely resemble military assault rifles). Having such a survival weapon offers certain very useful advantages in any close quarters combat situation.
Advantages of the Survival Rifle
The modern survival rifle is light enough to wield easily in combat, relatively simple to shoot, and quite accurate. With standard capacity magazines, the survival rifle has enough firepower to deal with mobs and crowds, as Korean shop owners demonstrated during the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles. And the survival rifle gives you good effective range, allowing you to keep your distance from other people. That’s definitely something you want in a survival situation, because you want to keep a low profile.
There’s another aspect to the modern survival rifle to consider, too. In a post-collapse scenario, there will be a lot of military hardware in play. That means that the ammunition you may be able to scavenge or scrounge will be what’s being used by military troops like the National Guard. Choosing a rifle that uses the same ammunition, such as 5.56 NATO standard, means you have a better chance of obtaining ammunition in the field. It is for this reason that insurgent troops typically use the same weapons as the forces they’re pitted against… because it is through close quarters combat with those forces that the insurgents get their survival weapons.
Disadvantages of the Survival Rifle
The survival rifle has certain disadvantages. It is harder to conceal, which means you will tip off others to the fact that you are armed and equipped. This can make you a target and also opens you up to the possibility of confiscation of your survival rifle by authorities. It has happened before during disasters, such as in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. If you're in a bug-out scenario where you have to perhaps travel long distances, the assault rifle gets heavier and heavier as the miles drag on. Lugging one around during an extended bugout is much more difficult than carrying a smaller weapon like a handgun.
In order to maximize the benefits of the survival rifle while minimizing its liabilities, consider caching it at your eventual bugout or survival location as a primary defense weapon. That way it will be available for long-term survival and close-quarters combat if you need it, but the disadvantages of carrying one while bugging out can be avoided.