Home Survival Choosing the Best Rifle for Survival in the Woods

Choosing the Best Rifle for Survival in the Woods


Choosing the Best Rifle for Survival in the Woods


We’ve all seen many survival shows and documentaries, but what happens when you find yourself in a real life situation? Many have debated on the subject but most agree you should own at least one survival shotgun. So instead, the question becomes: which one? What is most important to understand from the beginning is that there is no such thing as the “perfect” or “ultimate” survival-in-the-woods rifle. Therefore, you should equip yourself with whatever seems appropriate to you (one you can easily and quickly handle) and makes you feel the safest and most in control. That feeling of confidence you get, coupled with the knowledge of how to use the weapon of your choice, is going to be the key in a high pressure survival scenario. Here are a few pointers along those lines, so that you can make the best choice for yourself, all things considered.

Making sure the gun is reliable

Probably the most important criteria to base your search for the perfect survival weapon on is reliability. You will be out there, in the woods, possibly alone or in a very unfriendly environment, an easy prey for bears, wolves or mountain lions. The last thing you need is for your gun to fail you. The degree of your shotgun’s reliability can clearly make the difference between life and death. You will also need it for providing food, not just protection, so it’s probably wise to choose practical over pretty.

Lots of fancy accessories, state of the art parts and bells and whistles don’t necessarily mean good or practical in the woods. Therefore, a more industrial, sturdy and proven shotgun, such as the famous Mossberg 500 or an AK 47 might do the trick better than a fancy one. As a general rule, if you’ve used a gun before and it has been able to go through water, muck, mud or after it has fallen from a height and still work, then it’s reliable. That’s probably the one you should be bringing with you to the great outdoors.

Picture_1_AK 47

Size and weight matter

This is a very straightforward piece of advice, simply because a heavier and bigger firearm will be less practical in a survival scene. Indeed, scoped bolt-action rifles and shotguns with a high gauge come with extreme firepower, but some are just too heavy to be used for self-defense. Think about if you had to run with it in your hand, climb a tree or swim through a river while holding it. It would slow you down and make you lose more energy than necessary.

A smaller gun is always better when we’re talking about survival. Remember you will also have to carry water, food and other supplies and a big, heavy gun complete with its heavy ammunition won’t make it any easier for you.

Versatility is your best friend

Why? Simply because out there, in the wilderness, you have no way of knowing exactly what dangers are coming your way. It could be a big predator, like a bear, or a smaller one but still potentially vicious, like a badger. Surviving in the woods is not like going hunting, where you know exactly what you’re going for. Therefore, your shotgun should reflect this. A perfect scenario would be if you could equip yourself with a trifecta of weapons fit for any occasion, such as a handgun, a shotgun and a rifle. But seeing as that is not particularly feasible in a surviving situation you will need a single versatile weapon.

Therefore, your ideal weapon should be able to shoot down targets at a close range as well as farther away, because you can’t always see what’s coming towards you in the woods until it’s too late. And speaking of seeing things, mounting a scope on your designated rifle is going to be huge. It will help you a lot when hunting for food. You may be going after a deer, a boar or rabbits while you’re out there, and a good scope will greatly enhance your accuracy.

Picture_2_rifle with scope

The best survival rifles

Here are a few practical examples of the best shotguns to purchase in order to prepare yourself for a survival situation in the woods. First of all, you have rifles that were designed with the specific purpose of survival in mind, such as the M4 survival rifle, developed during the second World War for pilots who might’ve crashed their planes and forcefully landed in an unfriendly landscape. You can also purchase the M6 Aircrew Survival Rifle, which replaced the M4 in the 1950s for the US Air Force. What’s important about it, and also an aspect you might want to take into consideration when buying your own, is the fact that it could fold in half, making it easier to carry or store, taking up less space.

Picture_3_M6 rifle

You could try the AR 5 as well, which is very light, seeing as it’s made of aluminum and plastic. This one too can be easily stored in small places. It also floats, seeing that all the moving parts of this gun can be taken apart and stored in the stock. A model that was developed from the AR 5, the AR 7, has always been a first choice among bikers, hitchhikers and backpackers.

If you were to take a cue from the professionals, you might want to go with the M16, the US armed forces’ current weapon. It was first used during the Vietnam War and is, since then, the US Army’s standard rifle. Taking into account the criteria mentioned above for choosing a rifle, the M16 can shoot both at long and short ranges, the latter as short as 15 meters. In the same way, various scopes can be added to it, including the ones that use radioactive materials for glow-in-the-dark vision. And it goes without saying that it’s also very important to know how to zero your scope.


Of course, when faced with a situation of having to survive in the woods, one’s immediate thoughts go to water, food supplies, a survival knife and the ability to make a fire. But keeping yourself safe is not an aspect you can overlook. With that in mind, weapons are not just for defending yourself but they can be multipurpose; used for hunting but also serving as your daily tool for survival. So don’t forget to make an informed decision when choosing which weapon is best suited for you in a survival-in-the-woods situation.

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