Huldra Arms Mark IV Tactical Evo: The 5.56mm Huldra Arms Mark IV Tactical Evo takes all that is good about the AR-15 rifle and optimizes it to modern standards. The Mark IV’s 14.5-inch, 1-in-7-inch-twist barrel is made from CrMoV 4150 steel and is Melonite treated both inside and out for long life and wear resistance. The gun runs off of a gas piston operating system for optimal reliability. The Huldra Arms Mark IV Tactical Evo comes standard with a Samson Evolution free-floating handguard that can be customized with rails. The most unusual aspect of the Tactical Evo is its 14.5-inch barrel length. A permanently attached, reduced-radius flash suppressor provides adequate overall length to avoid any tax stamp issues while still offering ready access to the gas piston for cleaning or servicing. The final package is one of the shortest, most maneuverable AR rifles available today.
IWI Galil ACE: Owing its origins to the combat-proven Israeli Galil infantry rifle that outfitted the Israeli Defense Forces for decades, the new Galil ACE is a modern upgrade to this classic design. The Galil was itself a melding of attributes from the M16, the AK-47 and the FN FAL. With this proven chassis as a foundation, IWI has improved upon what was an already superb gun. The new Galil ACE has an easy-to-use ambidextrous safety, a reciprocating left-sided charging handle and plenty of Picatinny rail space for accessories. A full-length top rail supports any imaginable optics.
Sig Sauer SIG556xi: Whether it is a pistol-caliber semi-automatic version of a submachine gun, a wide variety of rifle-caliber weapons or the extraordinary SB15 Stabilizing Brace that truly revolutionized short-barreled guns in America, Sig blazes the trail. The SIG556xi chassis evolved from the company’s original European military rifles and offers a reliable gas-piston operating system and the ability to swap out major parts to fire either 5.56mm NATO or 7.62x39mm ammunition. Offering a 16-inch barrel and a Swiss-style folding stock, the next-gen SIG556xi is a versatile design ready to be adapted to the shooter’s most critical needs.
Steyr AUG A3 M1: When it was introduced in 1977, the Steyr AUG was the most advanced infantry rifle ever devised. Making use of a revolutionary bullpup design (the action of the gun resides behind the pistol grip) and incorporating advanced polymers in the stock, the AUG turned the gun world on its ear. Now, nearly 40 years later, the AUG is still at the vanguard of tactical rifle design. The AUG A3 M1 balances wonderfully and its simple controls are easy to manage under stress. Magazine changes are fast and intuitive on the new models thanks to an automatic bolt-hold-open, and the reliability of the AUG’s adjustable piston system is well established.
Faxon Firearms ARAK-21: The Faxon Firearms ARAK-21 melds the best features of the AR-15 with the best attributes of the AK-47 to deliver a robust tactical rifle sporting modern ergonomics and old-school reliability. The long-stroke piston system of the Kalashnikov is one of the most reliable rifle action ever devised. Meanwhile, the advanced ergonomics of the AR-15 make for a rifle that is smooth in action and quick to feed. The ARAK-21 combines both into a sleek rifle that is both versatile and functional. The ARAK-21 upper receiver mounts to any mil-spec AR-15 lower and swaps calibers between 7.62x39mm, 5.56mm and 300 BLK in minutes. The reversible charging handle is easily accessed and fast in action.
Kel-Tec RFB: RFB stands for “Rifle, Forward-ejecting Bullpup,” and it is the absolute smallest platform available for launching full-sized .308 rounds. Brilliantly conceived and professionally executed, the RFB feeds from standard 20-round FN FAL magazines and ejects through a tube out in front of the weapon. The RFB weighs just over 8 pounds unloaded and has an overall length of only 26 inches. Because of its forward-ejecting design, the gun is fully ambidextrous and comparably amenable to either shoulder. For full-powered .30-caliber thump in the tiniest possible package, nobody else even comes close to the Kel-Tec RFB.
Cobalt Kinetics Black Tactical: Built with a .223 Wylde chamber to allow the use of either .223 Remington or 5.56mm ammo, this optimized rifle sports a dual-drop bolt release, a 45-degree safety selector and an extended mag catch. The mag well is beveled for fast magazine changes, and the fire control pins are threaded. The 16-inch, standard-profile, Melonite-coated barrel makes for a handy, lightweight package. For furniture, the rifle has an Archangel buttstock, a Hogue pistol grip and a 12.5-inch, free-floating Odin Works M-LOK handguard for mounting accessories like lights and lasers for quick targeting. The mid-length gas system balances maneuverability and reliability.
Henry U.S. Survival Rifle: Eugene Stoner designed the .22-caliber AR-7 survival rifle as a collapsible survival arm for American military aircrews. The receiver assembly, barrel and magazine all broke down and fit into the buttstock for storage. The modern-day iteration of the AR-7 is the Henry U.S. Survival Rifle. Made in the U.S.A. from rugged synthetic materials and aluminum alloys, the Henry U.S. Survival Rifle does everything the original did. It breaks down into an easy-to-pack profile that weighs about 3.5 pounds. If your circumstances demand a small-caliber, semi-automatic rifle suitable for general utility purposes, check out the Henry U.S. Survival Rifle.
Remington 700: If your survival scenario demands a rifle that can reach out a little farther, then the Remington 700 will fill that mission. Introduced in 1962, the Remington 700 has accounted for literally countless whitetail deer in the Deep South alone. Chambered for 30 different cartridges and available in a variety of configurations, the Remington 700 is America’s precision rifle. The standard Remington 700 has an internal magazine and a nice factory trigger. There are countless aftermarket stock options available, and the rifle remains remarkably inexpensive thanks to Remington’s modern industrial production techniques.
Ruger Mini-14: While the basic Mini-14 rifle has a more pedestrian look than the classic AR or AK, aftermarket parts abound for the gun that are sufficient to militarize it as much as might be desired. The Mini-14 has been around for quite a while and, as such, is available in a wide variety of styles and configurations. Available in 5.56mm NATO with either a wooden or synthetic stock, the Ruger Mini-14 offers a 16.25- or 18.5-inch barrel and a relatively light weight for better maneuverability. The Garand-style action is optimized for reliability in any environment.
Chiappa M6-22: The Chiappa M6-22 rifle is a modern-day rendition of the original military M6 survival rifle. The M6-22 is an over/under weapon that sports a shotgun tube in either 12 or 20 gauge above a rifled barrel launching either .22 LR or .22 WMR rounds. Twin triggers control each barrel separately. The M6-22 folds for storage and has enough rail space for lights, lasers or optics. When combined with the X-Caliber chamber insert system, the M6-22 will shoot literally any common centerfire handgun cartridge you might encounter as well as .410 shotshells. The M6-22 is a purpose-designed survival arm that takes up little space.
Colt AR15A4: The name Colt is synonymous with the AR-15, as Colt has made these rifles for decades. In a sea of AR rifle producers, Colt has remained consistently reliable. Colt AR rifles are available in a wide variety of configurations with long barrels, as well as short, fixed or collapsible stocks. The AR15A4 is chambered in 5.56mm and features a 20-inch barrel with a 1-in-7-inch, right-hand twist. Built with a direct gas system and locking bolt, the rifle weighs 7.71 pounds in hand. This is a top-grade AR from one of the best makers in the industry.
Springfield Armory M1A: Springfield Armory produces new versions of the venerable GI-issue M14 called the M1A. Chambered for the hard-hitting 7.62x51mm cartridge and feeding from 20-round box magazines, the M1A brings barrier-penetrating power to a nicely portable chassis. The new M1A SOCOM 16 CQB is designed for tight spaces. The rifle has a 16.25-inch barrel, a collapsible stock and an XS tritium front sight. Thusly configured, the SOCOM 16 CQB maneuvers indoors and within an automobile like a much smaller rifle while retaining .30-caliber punch. The SOCOM 16 CQB is a fast-handling, powerful rifle that is proven, versatile and effective for many tasks.
Ares Defense SCR: Chambered in 5.56mm NATO, the Ares Defense Sport Configurable Rifle (SCR) is a domesticated version of the classic AR-15 that eschews “scary” features like a pistol grip and flash suppressor. The SCR comes with polymer furniture and accepts standard STANAG M4 magazines. At 37 inches in length and 5.7 pounds in weight, the SCR is comparably effective as more common AR rifles without the military flavor. The Ares Defense SCR runs just like an AR rifle but is sedate enough to pass muster in the parts of the country that cling to excessive gun restrictions.
Century Arms RAS47: Made entirely in the U.S.A., the new RAS47 from Century Arms is a close facsimile of the stamped-receiver AKM rifles that have shaped the geopolitics of the planet since the Cold War. Unflinchingly reliable and firing a heavy .30-caliber round adequate to drop any reasonable North American game animal, the same attributes that make the Kalashnikov such a popular military rifle make this rifle a good survival choice as well. The newest versions of the rifle sport a proprietary return-to-zero scope mount riveted to the left side of the receiver that will accept any imaginable optical sight. The RAS47 is a reliable rifle that will protect you and your family under most any circumstances.
Archangel AA9130: The Mosin-Nagant 91/30 and M44 were the bolt-action infantry rifles that carried the Soviet Union through World War II. Antique bolt-action military rifles with loose tolerances may not seem particularly impressive by modern standards, but these old guns are no less lethal today than they were when they were used to beat the Nazis. The AA9130 stock updates any surplus Mosin-Nagant package with a carbon-fiber-filled polymer stock that’s pre-inletted for a Timney trigger. The stock is designed for comfort, control and superior weapon retention.
AirForce Texan: The Texan from Air Force is the most powerful production air rifle on the planet. Firing .45-caliber bullets ranging in weight from 143 to 450 grains, the pre-charged Texan air rifle is adequately powerful to hunt deer or wild pigs. Unlike traditional pellet guns, this is a legitimately serious air rifle. The Texan is powered by an onboard, pre-charged air tank that runs at 3,000 psi. While this tank could theoretically be powered by a hand pump, realistically the rifle requires a carbon-fiber parent tank or scuba tank as a pressure source. The Texan sports a Lothar Walther barrel and an incredibly precise target trigger.
With literally scads of firearms to choose from these days, the task of selecting the right ordnance for the right application — like home defense rifles — can be daunting.
- RELATED STORY: 8 Experts Pick Their Home Defense Weapon of Choice
The first step is to analyze the potential circumstances under which you might need to be armed.
Owning and using a gun is a tremendous responsibility, but in times of crisis a firearm can be your most critical possession. Scroll through the gallery above as we break down 17 different home defense rifles and help guide you through the process of finding the right one for you.
For more information about the home defense rifles featured here, check out the following sites.
Huldra Arms Mark IV Tactical Evo
IWI Galil ACE
Sig Sauer SIG556xi
Steyr AUG A3 M1
Faxon Firearms ARAK-21
Cobalt Kinetics Black Tactical
Henry U.S. Survival Rifle
Springfield Armory M1A
Ares Defense SCR
Century Arms RAS47
This article was original published in the summer 2016 issue of Survivor’s Edge magazine. To subscribe, please visit OutdoorGroupStore.com.
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