The AR-15 vs. The .22 LR – What’s the Best Rifle For Survival?

When it comes to survival preparation, the more planning you do, the better. Tightening up your survival plans now is much better than being left defenseless and out in the cold later. And no good survival defense kit is complete without a smart and sensible firearm.

While many people choose to stock up on several firearms for their survival kits, others just don’t have that kind of money or the resources. That’s why we’ve tried to help you narrow down the rifle debate by taking on one of the largest firearms debates below. We are talking about the debate of the two most popular survival rifles, the AR-15 and the .22 Long Rifle.

So which gun is better for survival, the AR-15 or the .22?

The pitch for the AR-15 as a top choice:

The AR-15 is one of the most popular survival guns on the planet. Essentially a semi-automatic version of the M-16, this gun is a great choice whether you select the classic Colt AR-15 or a variant model by a different brand.

One of the biggest things that the AR-15 has going for it is its ease of use and accuracy. It is a powerful gun but this does nothing to take away from its handling. It is a gun that almost anyone can learn to use and use well. Increased firepower is nothing if you don’t know how to use it.

Furthermore, the AR-15 is more than powerful enough to get the job done. Instead of standard cartridges, it is best to use metal-jacketed, lead alloy core bullets with a 10 grain hardened steel penetrator tip inside. Though more expensive, these bullets are far heavier duty and greatly improve the AR-15’s ability to puncture hard targets such as a steel helmet.

Finally, the AR-15 is a reasonably affordable option when it comes to a semi-auto rifle. The gun itself can be found for a reasonable price. Stocking up on the ammo is economical as well.

Check out the video below for a great breakdown on why some other survival experts feel this is a great option.

Now that we’ve given you the basic run down on the AR-15, let’s take a look at the other side of the coin with the 22.

The pitch for why the .22 is your best bet:

The .22 has been gaining steam in survival and self-defense circles as of late. Though it is very different than that AR-15, many people have made the claim that it is the best survival gun on the market.

Part of the reason that the .22 is such a popular survival pistol/rifle is that is just so versatile. It can be used for anything from self-defense to hunting large game to primary offense. In addition, numerous advancements have been made in the past few years including higher velocity bullets and higher quality .22 rifles and pistols.

Another excellent benefit of the .22 for survival is that almost anyone can use it. Despite being a powerful gun, it has very little recoil. Anyone, even a small child, can shoot the gun accurately and reload quickly. Better yet, ammunition for a .22 is very cheap and compact. This allows you to stock up on a whole lot of it without breaking the bank.

Checkout the video below for more information on why one of our favorite youtube channel hosts feels that the 22 can be a perfect survival caliber.

So Which is Best?

As far as these things go, both the AR-15 and the .22 are great survival options. It all depends on your personal preference and individual needs. Each gun will better suit different people.  Let’s break it down depending on the category and also what we feel if we had to choose the only rifle we could grab one from our safe.

Winner on Cost:

The .22 Long Rifle wins on cost, as long as you can actually find ammunition. Picking up a rifle like the Ruger .22 can be a great option and will usually run you under 300.00 at any major retailer.Some stores will actually offer the Ruger 10/22 under 200.00.

The 22 rifle is one of the best choices around cost, availability of parts and ammunition (everyone has one) and mobility (easy to carry and store large amounts of ammunition).

Winner based on stopping power:

The AR 15 wins here as the caliber itself has a much higher velocity than the 22 LR. It’s used by most law enforcement agencies and the military for a reason.

Most people just starting out don’t realize that the bullet size of an AR-15 (.223 or .556 caliber) is actually about the same size as a 22 LR bullet. It has a lot more powder in the shell and packs a much bigger punch than the 22 LR, but it also costs significantly more than a .22 rifle both in the actual cost of the gun and the cost of ammunition to go along with it.

Wrap Up:

If you are looking for something that can act as not only a rifle that has stopping power for survival in an urban warfare position, the AR-15 is a great choice.  It can be a little more expensive to equip with accessories like red or green dot sights, but it’s a great option for anyone with some experience shooting a gun.

If you are looking for something to take down small game and just need an entry level gun, the 22 rifle is an outstanding choice. Beginners should always start with a .22 rifle in our opinion but working up to an AR-15 is always a good choice if you have both the money and experience to handle one.

Bottom line is that there are dual rifle cases out there for a reason, and if you can afford both, you should have each in your arsenal readily available. But if you only gave me the option to pick one, I’m taking my Ruger 10/22 and I’m never looking back.