Best Survival Rifle: A Look at the Top 10 Best Products

If you watch the popular show “Doomsday Preppers,” you are aware there are a lot of theories out there of what could happen. No matter what you believe is coming in the future, selecting the best survival rifle for your family should be on the top of your priority list.

Owning a survival rifle (or two) is a great investment. Our world is going crazy, and people all over are scrambling to prepare themselves for the unknown.

In today’s article we have selected 10 rifles to review. It is important to remember, not every gun is going to be perfect for every scenario. Owning two or three survival rifles may be the best choice, but at the same time, owning ten survival rifles won’t help your family either unless you have someone to carry each rifle or a way to store them.

Product NameWeightFeaturesBest Use Price
AR-15 Rifle 5.5 – 8.5 pounds (depends on accessories)Semi-automatic, customizability, reliablePersonal defenseCheck price on Amazon
AK-47 Rifle 6.8 poundsDurability, ease of maintenance, firepowerPerimeter defenseCheck price on Amazon
M1 Carbine6.1 pounds when loadedCompact, lightweight, great accuracyGreat all-purpose rifleCheck price on Amazon
Ruger 10/22 5 poundsLightweight, cheap ammunition, easy for beginners, accuracyHunting small gameCheck price on Amazon
Marlin 1985 GS 7 poundsCompact, strong firepower, easy to carryHunting gameCheck price on Amazon
Henry Arms AR-7 3.5 poundsCompact, easy to concealHunting small game and self-defenseCheck price on Amazon
Barrett .50 BMG 27 poundsArmor penetration, customizable, extreme powerPerimeter defenseCheck price on Amazon
Remington 8707 pounds (empty)Reliable, available ammunition, PowerAll-purpose – hunting and defenseCheck price on Amazon
Mossberg 590 Mariner 7 pounds (empty)Easy to use, customizable, and durableDefense and huntingCheck price on Amazon
Springfield Armory M6 Scout4.7 poundsCombination of rifle and shotgun, easy to useAll-purpose – hunting and defenseCheck price on Amazon

Things to Consider Before Buying

As fellow survivalists, we have made my rifle choices based on the tasks we believe are most important for a family. These tasks may differ for you, but here is what we know you need to consider when you are purchasing rifles for survival.


In a survival scenario, hunting is going to be necessary to feed my family of 5. This is going to include large and small game. You need a firearm for both otherwise we will be hunting small game each day. Taking down large game will be necessary.

Perimeter Defense

Defending your property is an important task. During a survival scenario, people can and will try to take what is yours. This is natural to expect. Having a firearm to defend at a distance is vital.


Sometimes, people are going to sneak pass your perimeter defenses. In these scenarios, you need something for inside of 200 yards or less.


One of the things to consider in a survival scenario is the weight of the firearm you are carrying. Not all survival situations requirement movement, but for those that do, you have to decide if you want to carry around a heavy firearm.

backpackers on the trail


Clearly, an important factor to consider is your price point. Set a reasonable budget and do your best to stay within the set amount. High caliber weapons tend to cost more, so this is a consideration to decide prior to purchase.


If you are a complete beginner with firearms, you don’t want to jump with both feet in and by a very complex rifle. The best option for you would be to purchase a smaller caliber, such as a .22, and a rifle that is lightweight. These are easier to gain experience while practicing.


In a survival scenario, a complex care process may not be an ideal choice to make. Your rifle will be one of the most important items you own. The ideal rifle, especially for novices, doesn’t need a different care process.

handgun scope adjustments


What are allof you planning to use this survival rife for? For things such as hunting, you may want to purchase a bigger caliber. In a survival situation, you are going to need to hunt game at some point. Having a firearm to do so with is going to be a really smart purchase, and it can save your life.

Top 10 Rifles Worthy Of A Closer Look

You know the features to look for and without further ado, the products we strongly recommend are as follow.

AR-15 Rifle

AR-15 Rifle

Weight: 5.5 – 8.5 lbs

Dimensions: 6.5 in – 24 in

Specific features: Semi-automatic, customizability, reliable

Best use: Personal defense

One of the best features about the AR-15 Rifle is that it can fire different calibers and sizes of ammunition. All it takes is a barrel and receiver switch. This is such an important feature for survival! Many people opt for the AR-15 because it is such a customizable firearm. You can add a scope to the rifle and make it a sniper rifle or use it in closer quarters.

Maintenance is easy for the AR-15 as well. A lot of their parts are compatible with the M16 and M4 carbines. So, chances are you will find a way to fix whatever issue may pop up. These are some of the reasons why it is often the first choice for the military and law enforcement.

There is a huge variety of accessories available for this gun. People love the AR-15. It has a high level of accuracy, which is an important feature for self-defense. The AR-15 is reliable. It is a great choice for the best rifle for survival. Millions of people own this firearm for the same purpose. Most AR-15 rifles will cost above $400, plus the cost of any accessories.


  • Can fire different calibers
  • Can fire different ammunition size
  • It is customizable
  • It fires with high accuracy


  • The design of its venting mechanism can lead to delays when firing
  • It works best with high quality or expensive ammo

Related: You won’t be using your AR 15 rifle all the time hence having a Flambeau AR Rifle Case is highly recommended. This AR 15 rifle case comes with molded magazine dividers and gives corrosion protection. The case is made of polypropylene material hence you can use it for years to come.

Check the price on Amazon

AK-47 Rifle

AK-47 Rifle

Weight: 6.8 lbs

Dimensions: 16.3 in

Specific features: Durability, ease of maintenance, firepower

Best use: Perimeter defense

The AK-47 Rifle is one of those iconic rifles; nearly everyone can identify it in photos. It is a famous weapon used around the world. It often has a bad reputation, but one of the best reasons to own an AK-47 as your best survival rifle is its durability. These rifles can withstand heavy abuse and nearly any scenario, conditions or terrain. You can submerge it or drop it in mud, and it will still function just as well.

There aren’t many objects that an AK-47 cannot penetrate, including walls and cinder blocks. It requires very little maintenance. The reliability of ammunition is great; this is an important factor because you are going to want to make sure you have plenty stored for whatever firearm you pick.

Something to mention is the accuracy. All of the parts fit loosely; this is why it is so durable. However, the accuracy is more mediocre. This may not be a concern for you, especially if you are using with a 30-round magazine. At a distance, there is still a great chance you will hit your target.

Despite the reputation, the AK-47 has some great reasons to be concerned as your survival rifle of choice. The cost can start around $500 and go up from there. This may be a factor for you, if you are searching for a budget friendly option.


  • Very durable
  • Highly effective
  • Highly accurate when fired


  • A bit expensive at $500 for the basic AK-47
  • Not recommended to left handed shooters

Related: For your AK-47, having this Waterproof Rifle Case from Case Club can be an advantage. This case is pre-cut to hold AK-47, some magazines, optics and other attachments like scopes. In addition, this case is Airline Approved hence if you will be travelling with your AK-47 via air, you can easily transport it with you in this case.

Check the price on Amazon

M1 Carbine

M1 Carbine

Weight: 6.1 lbs when loaded

Dimensions: 35.58 in

Specific features: Compact, lightweight, great accuracy

Best use: Great all-purpose rifle

For years, the M1 Carbine was considered one of the best combat rifles. It is no longer used in those circumstances, but it is still a great choice for a survival rifle. The design is lightweight and compact in comparison to other rifles. This is an important feature if you feel you will be on the move. Lightweight is also good for small-statured people. The M1 is easy to shoot, for everyone, despite their size.

There are some other reasons the M1 makes a great bug out rifle. Extra ammunition is easily found, along with replaceable parts for easy fixes in case of damage or breakage. This gun was used during World War II, but highly recognized for its usage during the Korean War.

The M1 has an accuracy range of around 300 yards. It wouldn’t make a good perimeter defense weapon, if your perimeter is larger than that. However, inside of the perimeter, it would prove itself well. Mounted with a scope, this gun would be an awesome addition for your arsenal.

As for hunting, this gun can take down a variety of game. It can easily defeat a deer. If you are up against a grizzly bear, this gun may not be what you want to be carrying. Overall, this is a great all-purpose gun. You can do a lot with this underrated firearm.


  • It is lightweight
  • It is compact
  • It is easy to use and shoot
  • Easy to find replaceable parts


  • Not a good perimeter rifle

Related: This 35.58 inches long M1 Carbine can fit in a 37 inches Carbine Carry Case. The design of this carry case fits US M1 Carbine and it comes with shoulder strap to make carrying easier.

Check the price on Amazon

Ruger 10/22

Ruger 10-22

Weight: 5 lbs

Dimensions: Total length – 37 in. Barrel length – 18.5 in

Specific features: Lightweight, cheap ammunition, easy for beginners, accuracy

Best use: Hunting small game

The Ruger 10/22 is a common and popular firearm. Something to consider when purchasing a .22 is the difficulty in obtaining ammunition. The .22 LR is hard to find in stock. People love to hoard this ammunition and will buy thousands of rounds because it is affordable. However, if you can obtain .22 LR easily, it is one of the lightest rounds to carry. In fact, you could carry a whole bag full and barely notice it.

Ruger 10/22 is by far one of the best rifles on the market. It has surpassed other .22 LR because of its durability for the long run. This is an important feature to consider when making a purchase. There is even a newer version that is able to be broken down in pieces for easy transportation.

If you are new to shooting, a .22 LR is a great starter rifle, and it’s even easy for children to use. There is hardly any kickback or recoil. However, it can hit a target at 100 yards with precision. Adding a scope to your Ruger will increase the accuracy.

Just because it is a .22 doesn’t mean it can’t hit and kill its mark. Most magazines can stock 10 rounds and are easy to reload. If you want a gun that will kill small game and help keep inside your perimeter safe, the Ruger 10/22 is a wonderful, budget friendly option, coming in at less than $300.


  • Ammunition is cheap
  • Highly durable
  • Newer versions can be taken into parts for easier transportation
  • Affordable


  • It is hard to find a Ruger 10/22 ammunition
  • Not a good perimeter rifle

Related: Increase your chance of hitting your target using your RUGER 10/22 with by attacking a scope to it. Add a scope easily on your rifle with the use of a Dual Scope Base Mount Adapter Dual (for Weaver and Dovertail rails).

Check the price on Amazon

Marlin 1985 Gs

Marlin 1985 Gs

Weight: 7 lbs

Dimensions: 37 in

Specific features: Compact, strong firepower, easy to carry

Best use: Hunting game

The design of the Marlin is different and it is appealing for survivalists. The barrel is very compact, but this doesn’t take away from the strength. The Marlin 1985 GS is a lever-action, .45/70 carbine and has even firepower to stop nearly any game or person coming your way.

Most people wouldn’t consider the Marlin a big game hunting rifle, because of its lack in size. However, the 18.5 inch long barrel is a wonderful option if you have large game, such as bears, in your area. If it can stop a bear, it surely can stop a human trying to take from your property. While it is superb for hunting, it can handle nearly any situation thrown your way.

The average price of a Marlin runs around $600, making it a steeper selection. However, it will prove itself useful in many conditions. It is a weatherproof gun, so you can take it out whenever needed. If you want a firearm that is compact, but packs a big punch, the Marlin is the perfect choice.


  • Ergonomic design
  • Compact barrel
  • Powerful in close encounters


  • Not powerful enough for big games
  • Not a good perimeter rifle
  • A bit expensive for an average Joe

Related: The Marlin Scoped Rifle Case would be a great case to keep your Marlin free from dust and scratch when not in use.

Check the price on Amazon

Henry Arms Ar-7

Henry Arms Ar-7

Weight: 3.5 lbs

Dimensions: 16.5 in if broken down.

Specific features: Compact, easy to conceal

Best use: Hunting small game and self-defense

If you want a rifle that is easy to conceal, the Henry Arms Ar-7 may be your best bet. The AR-7 breaks down and comes with two 8-round magazines for the .22 LR chamber. The .22 LR is one of the most widely used firearms in the world. The ammunition is bought and used by millions; some survivalists tend to hoard .22 because of its affordable price tag.

What makes the Henry Arms so popular is the clever way this gun breaks down. All of the parts are stored in the butt stock; this makes it easy to store in your bug out bag. Another attractive feature is the price tag. You can easily find this rifle for under $300. For those on a budget, the AR-7 is a great option.


  • Easy to conceal
  • Easy to find ammo
  • Very affordable for a survival rifle


  • Not a high power survival rifle
  • Not a good perimeter rifle

Related: The HENRY ARMS AR-7 is not a high-powered survival rifle hence adding a Cooocheer Rifle Scope would make it more powerful as a perimeter rifle.

Check the price on Amazon

Barrett .50 Bmg

Barrett .50 Bmg

Weight: 27 lbs

Dimension: 48 in

Specific features: Armor penetration, customizable, extreme power

Best use: Perimeter defense

The price tag of the Barrett .50 Bmg is able to knock your breath away; it easily retails for over $3,000. However, once you see the sheer power it punches, you will simply be in awe. It is banned in some states, such as California as of 2004. This is because it can take down nearly anything in its path.

Paired with a sniper scope, this gun was used to take down the longest range confirmed sniper kill in history – an awe-inspiring 1.5 miles away! So what makes this gun one of the best rifle for survival? It can penetrate nearly anything, including light armor. Your perimeter will be defended at all points.

Something to consider is the price and the limited amount of ammunition available. You need military grade ammunition for this rifle’s capacity. This can mean you may not have enough bullets available for a long term, survival scenario.


  • Very powerful survival rifle
  • Can get more powerful with a sniper scope
  • It can get through about anything in its way
  • Great perimeter survival rifle


  • Very expensive
  • Very powerful that some states have banned it

Related: Make yourpowerfulBARRETT .50 BMG more powerful by adding a Leopold Mark Scope. This top of the line scope will surely help you take down your target even from a mile away!

Check the price on Amazon

Remington 870

Remington 870

Weight: 7 lbs empty

Dimension: 37 – 50 in

Specific features: Reliable, available ammunition, power

Best use: All-purpose – hunting and defense

If you like options, the Remington 870 has a dozen or so different models to pick from. This means you can select the ones fitting your scenarios the best. They have models designed more for hunting and those designed more for tactical use.

The 870 is a pump action, but it is known for its smooth and reliable design. This is important for a pump action. The sound of a pump action is typically enough to send looters running for the hills. It is an iconic sound.

If you want the firearm to carry extra shells, there is an extension available allowing the 870 to hold 7 shells total. The 870 uses 12 gauge shells, which are easy to find. You can use 12 gauge shells for hunting as well; they sell 12 gauge birdshot. Whether you want to take down a pheasant or a burglar, the 870 will serve you well.


  • It comes in different models (hunting or tactical rifle)
  • Ergonomic design
  • Can be used for hunting and defense


  • It only hold 7 shells

Related: Although the REMINGTON 870 has been an all-time favorite among hunters, it still works best with a Buttstock. This buttstock can reduce the recoil when the rifle is fired.

Check the price on Amazon

Mossberg 590 Mariner

Mossberg 590 Mariner

Weight: 7 lbs empty

Dimension: 4 in

Specific features: Easy to Use, customizable, and durable

Best use: Defense and hunting

The Mossberg 590 Mariner is a 12 gauge with an extended tube holding 9 shots. One of the cool features of the Mariner is it comes with a pistol grip to replace the stock. This is great for those tighter situations. Mossberg firearms are known for their ability to be customized with plenty of accessories. The 590 is no exception to this.

The barrel is stainless steel, which can be beneficial in harsher environments. If you live near the coast or drive a boat, the Mariner would stand up well to the conditions. The U.S. Marine Corps selects the Mossberg as one of their shotguns. It is more than capable of taking down an enemy.

Selecting a 12 gauge is a smart choice; this ammunition is readily available. The Mariner should take down most game you would need to hunt, including fowl if using birdshots. Most importantly, the power punch behind the 590 would stop any looter coming your way. At a mere 7lbs, it wouldn’t break your back to carry.


  • The stock is replaceable with a pistol grip
  • It is easy to customize
  • Ammunition is easy to find
  • Liightweight


  • Not a high power survival rifle
  • Not a good perimeter rifle

Related: For your MOSSBERG 590 MARINER, get your own Shell Carrier Kit to keep your ammo accessible.

Check the price on Amazon

Springfield Armory M6 Scout

Springfield Armory M6 Scout

Weight: 4.7 lbs

Dimension: 15 in (folded), 32 in extended

Specific features: Combination of rifle and shotgun, easy to use

Best use: All-Purpose – hunting and defense

The Springfield Armory M6 Scout is a unique firearm; it is a combined rifle and shotgun. They were originally designed as a survival rifle for pilots and have been out of production since the late 1970s. The M6 is made with all steel and two barrels. You may be wondering, why two barrels? The top barrel shoots a .22 LR and the bottom shoots a .410 shotgun round. This makes it perfect for a lot of situations.

You can store these rounds in the butt of the rifle. The butt can be removed to help store the firearm. The one thing to consider is the hinge pin. If it is lost, the firearm is basically non-functional. The M6 has a simple design; besides the hinge pin, little things can go wrong with this firearm.

Unfortunately, the Springfield isn’t made anymore so you will have to go to a gun show or find a gun dealer to purchase this firearm. Typically, you can find them for sale from $400 to $900. The versatility of the M6 makes it an appealing option for a survival rifle.


  • A rifle and a shotgun in one
  • It has two barrels for different ammos
  • Ergonomic design


  • The life of this rifle rely on its hinge pin (once lost, the rifle becomes useless)
  • It is now rare to find

Related: Make your SPRINGFIELD ARMORY M6 SCOUT by attaching aCVLIFE Red Dot Gun Sight on it. Hunt and defend your territory with amore accurate view of your target this red dot sight attached on your M6 Rifle.

Check the price on Amazon

Are You Ready to Take Action?

As you can see, there are many options but, finding the best firearm for you is going to depend on your budget and your desired features. There is a firearm for everyone.

Man with rifle

If you are looking for a compact survival firearm, the Springfield M6 or Henry Arms AR-7 would fit the bill perfectly. If you want to place fear in the heart of intruders, there is absolutely no doubt the AK-47 and Barrett .50 BMG would do just that. Not to mention that a number of these listed firearms will serve well to put thegame on your table.

We hope this was helpful to narrow your search down. Your first step should be to determine what purpose you want your new gun to serve. From there, you can make the appropriate selection. Do you think we left out an awesome firearm option? If so, let us know in the comment section!


Dennis Owens

Dennis Owens is a graduate of National Camping School and REI Outdoor School. He knows everything about what gear to take with you, how to plan your trip to stay safe and what to do if you get lost in the mountains. We are lucky to have Dennis with us as he is a ‘walking encyclopedia’ when it comes to the wilderness.


  • Surprisingly good design of the AK-47 allowed him to gain huge popularity in the world. The Kalashnikov is one of the best examples of individual automatic weapons. It is in service in more than 55 countries, many countries began the production of the rifle. The basic principles of the structural arrangement and operation of mechanisms embodied in the AK-47 formed the basis of the numerous family of rifles and machine guns, later developed by M. T. Kalashnikov. Of course, as for me, AK-47 is the best choice in this list.

    • The AK-47 is one of the most popular rifles in the world. It is an effective rifle, without the accompanying high price tag. It has been around for decades, yet its reliability has been widespread and has been the optimal choice for civilian and military offense.

  • Technically, Remington 870 is a “pump action” rifle, rechargeable with a distortion of the movable forearm. Ammo with a capacity for four cartridges (in the base case). The trunks are interchangeable, with different length and drill. The bedding can be made of wood and from shockproof plastic. An important advantage of the 870 Remington is the fact that its receiver is made from steel, unlike many analogs of other companies using for these purposes the alloy metals.

    • The things that you’ve mentioned are some of the key features of this Remington model. Considering the fact that it is made under the Remington standards, and is constructed with the finest materials, the Remington 870 is a great choice for a survival firearm.