Good article overall.
One little reminder about the scope is that you will also need a good supply of commonly available ammunition that you have already zeroed your rifle’s scope and iron sights to.
AR-15 for SHTF
When the crap hits the fan, what accessories would you want on your AR-15? For OPSEC and to keep our names off extra paperwork, let’s ignore silencers and short barreled rifles.
Silencers may play an important role in surviving a post-SHTF world, but paperwork is also an OPSEC issue. Anyone having access to the right paperwork will know exactly who has a silencer and who has a short barreled rifle. There are also the local, state, and federal laws and restrictions to consider.
For the sake of discussion and to keep things simple, lets just exclude anything that requires paperwork.
The art of shooting with open sights is a dying pastime. In today’s world. With so many relfex and red dot optics on the market, who needs to use old fashioned iron sights?
Todays optics are rock solid, military grade, and should last for years. With a few spare batteries you should be able to use an Aimpoint for years after SHTF. But, like everything else made by man, things break, go wrong, or stop working. Nothing lasts forever, and this is especially true with electronics.
A good ole iron sight does not require batteries, and unless you drop the sight on a rock or hit it with a hammer, chances are that sight will last as long as your rifle.
Ah yes, the sling. Nothing fancy needed here, just something so you can sling the rifle across your shoulder when checking on the livestock, filling water buckets, feeding the animals, collecting eggs, or whatever else needs to be done around the farm.
If you opt for a 3 point or 1 point sling, you might be over thinking this subject. During a long term SHTF situation, chances are there are not going to be wave after wave of zombies coming after you. Because of this, we want a sling that keeps the weapon close at hand, but out of the way. This means 1 point slings will probably cause the weapon to get in the way.
Any sling that causes the rifle to be carried in the front of the body will probably be getting in the way of everyday duties. The farm/bug out location is not a combat zone.How are you supposed to pick corn, okra, peas, beans, or squash when the rifle is in front of your body and digs into the ground when you bend over?
Here are some things I look for in a sling: quickly detachable from the rifle, quick adjustment, comfortable, two point, and cost.
The slings I currently have on my rifles are Magpul MS3, Ultimate Arms 2 point sling, and a Troy Industries Two Point Battle Sling. Of the three, the Troy Industries Two Point Battle Sling is probably my least favorite. The Troy does not have snaps to quickly attach/detach the sling from the rifle.
I like the Magpul MS3, but I like the simplicity of the Ultimate Arms 2 point sling. Both the Magpul and the Ultimate Arms have snaps for attaching the sling to the rifle.
You don’t want a tactical red dot optic that requires batteries, but something like a basic 3×9-40 scope for hunting.
A lot of survivalists plan on using the AR-15 for hunting after SHTF, and there is nothing wrong with that. Having a scope will allow for better shots and will allow the hunter to better gauge the age, size, and health of the animal before harvesting.
The .223 Remington or 5.56mm is not only effective at close ranges, it is very accurate at ranges in excess of 200 yards. So why not use that accuracy along with a scope and good hunting rounds to harvest something like a hog? The AR-15 coupled with a scope is effective, accurate, and reliable.
Combine a scope with either a .300 Blackout or 6.8 upper, and you have an effective weapon for deer and hog sized game. But to take game in a humane manner, it helps to have a scope.
Good Quality Magazines
I’m not talking about the gun show magazines where you get 3 mags for $15, or 4 mags for $12, nor the magazines that have been through hell and back, run over by a Hummer, dropped on the floor one too many times, and especially not ones with bent feed lips. If you are stockpiling AR-15 magazines for SHTF, let’s pick some good quality, brand new magazines. There is no need to bet your life, or the life of your family, on used, low quality junk.
We are a year after the Sandy Hook shooting, panic buying has passed, and the gun haters have largely given up on gun control (at least at the federal level), so now is the time to buy. P-mags are at their lowest price in years, and aluminum magazines are plentiful and prices are coming down.
What magazine brand names are we looking for?
NHMTG 30 round – around $11.
D&H 30 round – around $10.
Magpul Pmag 30 round gen 2 – $10 for non-windowed and $12 for windowed.
Troy Battlemag 30 round – around $9 – $10, 3 pack for around $27 – $30. If you can not find Troy battlemags for those prices just keep looking. There are a lot of places out there still trying to price gouge.
Lancer Systems L5 AWM 30 round – around $14.
As of December 12, 2013, those are the going prices. The market is not going to get much better than that.
Spare Parts, Cleaner and Lubricant
Let’s be honest, the AR-15 has a bunch of small parts and springs that are easily bent and/or lost.
While changing out a pistol grip, the safety detent spring slipped out. I did not see it, and when the grip was tightened down the spring was bent. While changing out a receiver extension, I forgot to press down on the buffer retaining pin. When the receiver extension was removed, the retaining pin and spring went flying across the room. The pin bounced off a wall and landed where I could find it. Good thing I was in a room with walls and carpet and not out in the woods. My point is that if you’re going to run an AR in a long-term SHTF scenario, then you’ll need a supply of springs, detents, and other spare parts.
You’ll also need gun lube. Lubrication is one of the key factors in making sure the AR-15 rifle preforms at optimal levels. The AR platform runs best when well lubricated and clean. It can run wet and dirty, but not dirty and dry.
So no AR-15 kit is complete without a full set of spare parts, cleaner, and lubricant.