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M1A: Too Outdated for Self-Defense, or Best Bug-Out Gun Ever?

The debate of what's the best Bug Out Gun, an M14 or an AR15 is ongoing and will never be resolved. Two schools of thought, each having their Pros and Cons. People tend to forget that the roll out of the M14 had just as many issues as the roll out of the M16 (most of which were due to the Military's Ordinance Department screw ups). The issues with both were addressed and resolved for the most part, but the fact that there were issues in the first place has influenced opinions.

Personally, the underlying problem with one's Bug Out gear will be weight in my opinion. To me,, Bugging Out means getting the Hell out of Dodge as quickly as possible. It's not a leisurely stroll through the toolies, but a concerted effort to get to a more secure and defendable location as quickly and safely as possible, therefore, the weight of one's gear is a critical factor. Too much weight will slow your progress, and that could prove deadly very quickly. One will need a rifle and enough ammunition for planned needs and unanticipated problems, and 7.62 X 51 NATO is considerably heavier than 5.56 X 45 NATO, thus it stands to reason one can't carry as much of the former versus the latter. Same goes for the rifles themselves. The M14, even polymer stocked is still heavier than an AR. For individuals with smaller stature, lugging an M14 over hill and Dale will be burdensome.

Others will tout the virtues of the M14. In the end one must make an informed choice, and be honest with themselves about their capabilities and limitations. The answer of which gun is better for their Bug Out, depends upon one's honest analysis of one's strengths and handicaps.
 

greywolf1961

Operator
Founding Member
Too bad you didn't do a similar article for the SOCOM 16. The only advantage the Scout has over the SOCOM 16 is 2 inches on the barrel, but, as result, the SOCOM 16 is even more maneuverable due to the 16 inch barrel instead of the 18 inch barrel. In addition, the SOCOM 16 also has a wonderful shoulder rest built into the but plate and a storage area for your cleaning kit.

I have both and both are wonderful shooters, both are more accurate than I am, and both are built to last.

I think in a bugout situation, when it comes to the M1A, I would go with the SOCOM 16 as a result of the slightly shorter and more maneuverable size.
 
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Blackfeather

Master Class

Too Outdated for Self-Defense?​

No.

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greywolf1961

Operator
Founding Member
The debate of what's the best Bug Out Gun, an M14 or an AR15 is ongoing and will never be resolved. Two schools of thought, each having their Pros and Cons. People tend to forget that the roll out of the M14 had just as many issues as the roll out of the M16 (most of which were due to the Military's Ordinance Department screw ups). The issues with both were addressed and resolved for the most part, but the fact that there were issues in the first place has influenced opinions.

Personally, the underlying problem with one's Bug Out gear will be weight in my opinion. To me,, Bugging Out means getting the Hell out of Dodge as quickly as possible. It's not a leisurely stroll through the toolies, but a concerted effort to get to a more secure and defendable location as quickly and safely as possible, therefore, the weight of one's gear is a critical factor. Too much weight will slow your progress, and that could prove deadly very quickly. One will need a rifle and enough ammunition for planned needs and unanticipated problems, and 7.62 X 51 NATO is considerably heavier than 5.56 X 45 NATO, thus it stands to reason one can't carry as much of the former versus the latter. Same goes for the rifles themselves. The M14, even polymer stocked is still heavier than an AR. For individuals with smaller stature, lugging an M14 over hill and Dale will be burdensome.

Others will tout the virtues of the M14. In the end one must make an informed choice, and be honest with themselves about their capabilities and limitations. The answer of which gun is better for their Bug Out, depends upon one's honest analysis of one's strengths and handicaps.
I love both, the AR15 and the M1A. Come to think of it, I love most rifles.

I agree on the thoughts that you have concerning weight, which was part of the reason the services went from the M14 to the M16. Lighter weight rifle, greater maneuverability, easier to control, and the ability of the average soldier/marine to carry more rounds.

Another win for the AR15 platform in that you can change the cartridge by changing the upper assembly. If you are wanting a heavier caliber but still want to maintain the lighter weight of the AR15 you can swap the top for a 7.62x39 or 300 Blackout. You will not gain much in weight, still have the lower recoil, and have a larger caliber to put bigger holes where needed. Add to that, the fact that you can swap out parts very easily and make the rifle even lighter than it already is.

Chambered in the .223 Rem/5.56 NATO cartridge, I would hesitate to take big game, but change that to a heavier caliber cartridge and game on!

On 2 legged predators, most any cartridge will work but, again, I would prefer a larger caliber.
 

greywolf1961

Operator
Founding Member
I carried the M16-A1 for 4 yrs in the mid 70s I like that platform with carry handle put a sling on it and it would serve me well and the weight of ammo is not as much as others.

For me AR platform is the best choice between that and the M14.
A1 and A2 for me 80 - 89. The only drawback is the 20"-barrel length. The 16" is much more manageable and lighter. Put a good red dot on it and you can hit 6" targets at 300 - 400 yards all day. I put a Holosun on my SAINT and was hitting an 8" plate at 500 yards so consistently that I had to turn it off and use the iron sights to be challenged.

I do have an A1 clone that replaced the front sight post and it prints 1.5" groups at 100 yards.

Whatever your choice, you need to practice and maintain your proficiency with that rifle. Otherwise, it's just a boom stick making lots of noise.
 
I carried the M16-A1 for 4 yrs in the mid 70s I like that platform with carry handle put a sling on it and it would serve me well and the weight of ammo is not as much as others.

For me AR platform is the best choice between that and the M14.
Though I've no Military experience, we've chosen ARs for our Bug Out weapons for the reasons you mention. They are lighter, easier for my wife to control, and we're able to carry twice as much ammo in 5.56 over 7.62.
In my opinion, weight is the biggest issue if one needs to Bug Out on foot. Getting out of the area of conflict to a safer and more secure location as fast as possible is the main reason to Bug Out.
Another reason for the AR is it's ability to be easily converted to .22LR with the Adaptors like the CMMG Bravo. While not quite as accurate as a dedicated .22 rifle, our Adaptors keep a 2" group at 50 yards, which is acceptable accuraty for small game hunting. I've fired a couple of thousand .22's out of the adaptor with zero fails at the range, so we keep one adaptor in our BOB and the other is cached at our cabin along with our stockpile.
 

neil0311

Master Class
The M1A/M14 is a great rifle and a part of history. But no way would I rather have one as a “bugout” rifle over an AR-15.

Many of the same reasons that led the military to switch would apply. Size and weight of the rifle and ammo (impacting number of rounds carried), ease of cleaning the AR platform over the M1A, optics and accessories on AR vs M1A, etc.
 
Since the M1A/SOCOM are battle rifles and the situation is bug out, I'd go with as much 2 legged predator stopping power as possible, and the .308 certainly does that. 20 round box mags. Yes, the weight may be greater, but these rifles were made to 'go to war'.

Make sure you have a bayonet lug too. The ability to mount a red dot is probably a good idea, but this has great iron sights which have mechanical optics for older eyes. Remember, you want robust, not high tech. Appreciate the comments and the article.
 

fordag

Elite
I always find the topic of "Bug Out Guns" amusing to consider. The idea that the choice is between the M1A or the AR-15 is, to me, bizarre. Neither would be going with me. I'll be taking a bolt gun or lever gun.

Bugging out is an absolute worst case scenario. I find most people planning to bug out do not plan for actual worst case.

People have their bug out 4x4s, that's great for as far as your gas tank will get you. You won't be getting gas anywhere because there won't be power for the pumps. So your gear needs to all be portable by you and anyone coming with you. I have a bug out mountain bike. That limits your ammo load greatly.

You need your primary gun to be multipurpose. You need to be able to defend yourself with it and hunt with it and you need to be able to hump it everywhere. For that a bolt gun or lever gun is preferred. they are lighter and simply less prone to malfunction and simpler to maintain. As for caliber, 5.56 would absolutely not be my hunting round of choice. It's fine for varmints and some small predators, but once you start looking at bigger game it's just not up to it.

For hunting (and self defense) I'd want a .30-30, .308 or .30-06. All proven game killing rounds and also extremely common. They are standard stock in every gunshop and sporting goods store that sells ammunition. One round of any of those is worth three 5.556 rounds.

Also not all ammo is made for automatics. You won't have any choice when scrounging for ammunition, you'll take what you get and like it. Your auto rifle however might not like it. Your bolt gun or lever gun won't care what it is.

Self defense in a bug out situation is something you need to avoid at all costs, you have to act as a lone scout, you need to use stealth and avoid confrontation. You will not have the ammunition to get into a firefight and you won't have resupply or medics coming to patch you up.

So my bug out rifle of choice is either my 1903 Springfield, my Winchester Model 94 Trapper in .30-30 or my Ruger Gunsite Scout in .308.
 

Talyn

Ronin
Founding Member
I always find the topic of "Bug Out Guns" amusing to consider.

Bugging out is an absolute worst case scenario. I find most people planning to bug out do not plan for actual worst case.

People have their bug out 4x4s, that's great for as far as your gas tank will get you. You won't be getting gas anywhere because there won't be power for the pumps. So your gear needs to all be portable by you and anyone coming with you.

You need your primary gun to be multipurpose. You need to be able to defend yourself with it and hunt with it and you need to be able to hump it everywhere. For that a bolt gun or lever gun is preferred. they are lighter and simply less prone to malfunction and simpler to maintain.

Self defense in a bug out situation is something you need to avoid at all costs, you have to act as a lone scout, you need to use stealth and avoid confrontation. You will not have the ammunition to get into a firefight and you won't have resupply or medics coming to patch you up.
Agree with the above
 
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