Historical Military Survival Rifles: The Ultimate Backpack Guns
By Chris Eger
The basis for many of today’s best survival and trail guns, the U.S. military developed a series of compact, takedown, and foldable designs to give aircrew something just in case they had to hit the silk.
The Harrington & Richardson M4
Although nearly 30,000 M4s were made, they are rare today, as most were scrapped in the 1960s and 70s (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)
Designed by the Army’s Springfield Armory as the T38, the M4 was a 4-pound magazine-fed 5+1 rifle with no furniture. Chambered in .22 Hornet centerfire, the rifle was 32-inches long with a 14-inch barrel. A sliding metal buttstock collapsed to make the little bolt-action survival gun capable of being stowed under a pilot’s seat along with items such as matches, a compass, a knife, and emergency rations. H&R made 29,344 of the weapons in 1959 for the Pentagon’s contract.
The M6 weighed just 3.75-pounds and had storage for nine .22 Hornet cartridges and four .410 shells in the butt. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)
Dubbed the Aircrew Survival rifle, like the M4 this handy little gun was designed at Springfield Armory, apparently borrowing a lot from the Marble Game Getter of the 1920s and 30s. These combination guns used a .22 Hornet top barrel