Most Survivalists think about and prepare for scenarios that require a full blown SHTF response. Although it is not wrong to plan and prepare for that eventuality, there is a good possibility that there will be an “In-between” period where the typical tactical load-out will not only be uncomfortably conspicuous, it will bring unwanted attention from certain types that could cause you serious issues, the least of which might be arrest. Here is some recommendations for compact weapons that could be used in the “In-between” time that will give you the ability to respond with fire power (powerful and/or high capacity) while still remaining inconspicuous to the masses and authorities.
First up in the “Concealable Carbine” is the tried and true AKMS (under folder stock AK) in the 7.62x39S chambering. The AK is known for it’s reliability, the controls are not hard to learn how to run efficiently, and uses a cartridge that is effective and controllable. Lengths of the AKMS pictured are 26.5″ folded,35.75″ open, and with a loaded 30 round mag weighs 11 pounds.
Next in the “Concealable Carbine” class is the 5.56 caliber Keltec SU16C (mine has an optic). I have found the SU16C to be a very reliable, lightweight, ergonomic (safety is reversible for us lefties) accurate, and very slim carbine that lends itself well to being “Hidden in plain sight”. The overall length of the SU16C is 26.5″ folded, and 37″ open, and as pictured with a loaded 30 round GI mag, it weights 8 pounds.
One of the most popular carbines out there is the AR15. The M4 variation is probably the most popular of the lot, and that has a good bit to do with the compact nature of that particular model. The AR is lightweight, accurate, very ergonomic, reliable (more than some, less than others), and has more accessories available for it than probably any other rifle system, (and has the advantage of numerous military issue parts interchangeability, which can’t be said about many other rifles). The M4 variation (with the legal minimum barrel length of 16′) is 32″ long closed, and 37″ long open (six positions closed to open), and the spartan (no accessories) model shown weighs 10 pounds with a loaded 30 round GI issue mag, and a rail handguard.
Last, but not least, is my favorite rifle, and that’s the 7.62x51N caliber M1A SOCOM with collapsible Sage EBR stock. The M1A is reliable, accurate, and fires a cartridge that is double the power of the 5.56, but you pay for it in overall weight of the rifle. With the EBR stock, the SOCOM is 34″ collapsed, and 40.5″ in the full open position. The rifle pictured weighs 13.75 pounds with loaded 20 round mag, but that includes an optic, tac light, and DBAL IR laser (My M4 with the same accessories weighs 12 pounds). I chose not to bother showing the SOCOM under the vest. A note about this rifle, and my opinion of it’s use in the “Concealed Carbine” role. Although for a heavy battle rifle, the Sage SOCOM is compact, I feel it does not have a place in this role unless you have a specific need for heavy caliber firepower.
Being able to transport the carbine in a civilian setting, whether in a vehicle or on your person, is one of the more important aspects that need to be thought through before attempting it. Does your case appear “Tactical”? Probably not a good idea. I know that M4 type AR’s will fit in most guitar or racket cases, and they are as “civilian” as it gets. If you can’t get to your weapon in a timely manner, what is the point, right? Setting the cased rifle on the floorboards behind the front seat (maybe lashing it down [the underside] with some straps [to the floor] to make the case stay in place when you rip it open) , or in between your front seats will give you quick access to it, and replacing the zipper on the case with velcro for quick opening is one way to ensure quick access. This is just one method, and what you come up with is only limited to you imagination.
Next on the list of firepower options falls under what I would call a “Self defense first aid kit on steroids”. I’ve always referred to carrying a handgun as a “Self defense first aid kit” (I think I got that from Bruce Clayton when I was a kid). What I have pictured here is a stopgap measure between the standard handgun, and a high capacity rifle. I’m not big on pistol caliber carbines, because I feel if you can carry a compact long gun, it should be a full size rifle caliber (the exception might be the Keltec P2000). Extended magazines for pistols are usually something I don’t recommend (unless you’re a carpenter and need a tactical framing square), but there might be a situation where you need more than the typical round count of the average pistol magazine, and if so, here are a few recommendations. Extended mags for Glocks are readily available (usually from 33 rounds for 9mm, to 27 rounds for .45ACP). Others Brands have extended mags available, but make sure they are copied from an original mag designed to be extended. Generally, Glock and Beretta are the ones I know are designed for their full auto pistol models originally, not as an afterthought.
But I can’t conceal a pistol with the extended mag in place, right? Shoulder rigs come into there own when needing to conceal a longer than factory magazine.
So now to the “Is it appropriate” part of the post. Is it appropriate and correct for you to carry a long gun in close proximity while going about your daily travels? Of course it is. If you have the ability to effectively use your rifle (have you gone to the effort of getting training?), why wouldn’t you carry the most effective weapon available to you? Especially if the possibility is there to be confronted by an aggressor who has a rifle. Most of the mass shootings have been by guys with long guns, don’t be outmatched (yes, usually a rifleman will outperform the pistol armed individual due to power, penetration, and range) because you were too concerned about what you’re “allowed” to do, as opposed to what you “can” do. They want us unarmed or at the least, under-armed. Make your choice and live or die with it. It’s that simple.