The Ultimate Firearms Destination for the Gun Lifestyle

Five rifles every American should own

One of the questions we're often asked when it comes to firearms is, “How does my arsenal look?”  This is not a reference to safe queens on display, but rather is mostly from people new to the gun culture. They typically want all of their bases covered from a home defense point of view. My typical advice is that you should have,

•a defensive handgun.

•a concealable handgun.

•a shotgun, a carbine in a rifle caliber.

•a 22 handgun and rifle.

You can build from there, eventually including long range rifles, silencers, revolvers, lever action rifles, etc.

For someone who is dedicated to a shooting sport like SASS or 3-gun, the answers will be different. Then it got us thinking: What 5 rifles should every American own? So, we put this together. Oh, and if you disagree, relax. There are alternates for every one of them.

Five rifles every American should own

Mike Searson

1. The AR-15. 

Mega Arms AR-15 MKM

It's called America's Rifle for a reason. hey are the semiautomatic versions of the service rifle that has protected our freedoms for over 50 years, and there are vast numbers of them.

Although it seems hard to believe, it is the longest serving rifle ever used in US inventory.

A reproduction of the Colt GAU-5A/A carbine used in Operation Ivory Coast, the Son Tay raid.

We expect to see it hold that title for at least the next 50, unless someone comes up with something better in the future. You know, like the Phased Plasma Rifle in the 40 Watt Range.

If you don't own an AR by this time (or aren't at least filled with longing for one), you must be a commie-loving pinko.



2. M1 Garand

It has been described as the world's finest battle implement. The M1 Garand is probably the most iconic rifle of World War II. So beloved was this rifle that thousands of GIs took them home from overseas. The Civilian Marksmanship Program continues to sell them to qualified citizens, who can receive them directly on their doorstep.

John-Garand 8

Nothing screams “America” from the rooftops like loading a 10-round em-bloc clip of 30-06 into one of these rifles, especially when that bolt slams home upon loading. #truth

M1 M2 7

Fears about the dreaded “M1 Thumb” are blown wel out of proportion, but like most surplus rifles, there are a finite number of operable Garands. Certainly not enough to give one to every man, woman and child in the country(which is a pity), so you get a pass if you can't find one.

Alternates include: the M1A or M14, Springfield M1903 and perhaps the M1 Carbine.

3. Winchester 94

Fifty years ago, hell maybe just 15 years ago, we might have had the Winchester 94 at the very top of this list. While it has declined in popularity, there are still over a million of them out there. Like the AR platform, it has numerous clones and knock-offs.

Winchester Yellow Boy 4

Whether used as a brush gun in pursuit of Whitetail in the popular 30-30 loading, or in defense of home in a pistol caliber like hte 44 Magnum or 45 Colt, this ubiquitous rifle always feels right in the hand.

Remember, you don't have to have an actual Winchester Model 94. A Model 73 or 92 is equally as cool, as are the lever actions built bu Marlin, Rossi, Uberti, Chiappa and Pietta.


Just don't try to spin cock an older model like you're John Wayne or the T-800. You can damage the action.


4. Ruger 10-22


Most often a boy's or girl's first rifle is a 22 rimfire. This may not be the Ruger 10-22 in every youth's case, but the joys of shooting a rimfire usually never goes away; and even if it does, it will likely return in adulthood. The rifle of this type most Americans seem to be clamoring for is the Ruger 10-22.

Like the AR-15, it has been compared to the “Chevy small block engine” with regard to versatility and function. You can have a cheap, bare bones plinker or customize it up Gucci-fashion with target barrels, thumbhole stocks, or even kits to make it resemble another firearm. You can do about anything with it. Whatever melts your butter.

Ruger 10-22 Survival Rifle


They even offer it in a “pistol format.” That might seem out of place here, but it offers a nice stepping stone to an SBR pocket rifle.

Ruger Chargers

Ruger Chargers

Marlin Model 60s or a Savage rimfire of some sort may work here, if you are still holding grudges against the company for the founder's ill-advised comments back in the early 90s. We felt the same way, but the Ruger of today is definitely not the company it was in those dark days of gun ownership.

5. Bolt Action based on the Mauser action

For our last entry we didn't go with a particular manufacturer, as the results are neck in neck. We're looking at bolt-action rifles based on the 98 Mauser: Winchester Model 70, Remington 700, Ruger 77, Savage Model 10, etc.


As accurate as a finely tuned AR, 10-22 or M1 can be, there is really nothing like reaching out past 500 yards with a well-built bolt-action rifle chambered in 308, 30-06 or 6.5 Creedmoor; not to mention the Magnum and Ultra-Magnum calibers out there. If you don't want to give up your pistol grip, you can always go with a chassis.


You don't have to go the tactical sharpshooter or military sniper route, but you would be missing out without trying to squeeze every last bit of accuracy out of that long range shooting stick.


There are other rifles out there, some may be better than what we listed, but anything else might damn well be un-American.

What are your thoughts on the rundown? Where would you take it if we went all the way to ten?

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