Part 5: The Best Survival Carbine (AR Style Rifle)

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

By Joel Jefferson •  5 min read

Part 5: (Commercially available DI/DGI Direct Gas Impingement Systems) There are more companies than we can list here who build DI/DGI AR-15 Type Survival Rifles, but if you start with these 8 manufacturers you can’t go wrong.

This article is Part 5 in a series of post.
Read Part 1: (A Little Background)
Read Part 2: (History)
Read Part 3: (Direct Gas Impingement (DI/DGI) vs. Gas Piston Operated)
Read Part 4: (Build Options)

8 Manufacturer Choices


This company is usually referred to as the standard for DI/DGI systems and their Noveske-AR-15-Survival-Rifleaccuracy and dependability enjoys the best reputation I have seen of any company currently in the market.

They also offer a switchblock option with some of their rifles, which is an interesting method to control the gas settings during different conditions a user may be required to shoot under (i.e. shorter barrels, suppressed, etc.). Noveske sets the standard for a Survival Carbine in Urban Survival and TEOTWAWKI situations –


This company gets mentioned twice (both in this section and the gas piston section) LMT-Survival-Carbine because they offer extremely high quality rifles that can operate as a gas piston system and then be “quickly” switched by the user to become a DI/DGI system or vice versa with the right parts.

Make sure you have gloves if you go the other direction or have been shooting a heavy rate of fire because that barrel is going to be extremely hot.


This is the company that has been the standard for DI systems since the 1960’s with Colt-AR15their introduction of the M16 and then the M4 in the 1990’s. This rifle is also the standard for the U.S. military and most U.S. law enforcement agencies as a patrol carbine. Their reputation and legacy speak for itself.

“Colt Defense LLC produces the M4 Carbine, M4 Commando®, and AR-15® series of semi-automatic rifles for use by US Armed Forces and US Law Enforcement agencies. As the exclusive supplier of the M4 Carbine to US military forces, the versatile M4 is built to strict US Government specifications. Furthermore, all of our rifles and carbines are built in our ISO 9001:2000 registered facility with the same high quality and reliability standards.” –


This is the company that started it all with the development of the AR10 and AR15armalite-survival-carbine carbine rifles. They rose to prominence in the late 1950’s and sold the rights to these rifle system designs to Colt who subsequently was able to make them the standard for the U.S. military where although slight changes have occurred over the years, the basic concept and design remain the same. –

Daniel Defense

Has received great reviews from consumers both civilian and Mil/LE.

“DanielSurvival-Carbine-Daniel-Defence Defense engineers and manufactures parts and accessories for Military Small Arms. We are intensely focused on providing top quality small arms product solutions to our Military and Law Enforcement community with innovative engineering and our state of the art manufacturing facility.”

Daniel Defense was recently awarded the sole source contract to produce the RIS II for the SOPMOD block II.” –

Sabre Defence

This company has had positive reviews from folks all over who’ve been Survival-Carbineexposed to their superior weapon systems. They also offer piston driven rifle variations.

“Every Sabre product is the sum of superior materials, precision engineering and painstaking quality control, fueled by uncompromising passion. No wonder our single largest client is also known as the industry’s most demanding: it is our honor and privilege to have been selected as a supplier to the United States government.”

If you see U.S. military personnel anywhere in the world using a Browning M2 caliber machine gun, 7.62 mm mini-gun or M16 rifle, chances are very good you’re seeing Sabre products in action –


A favorite of some state and local law enforcement agencies, Bushmaster has a long Survival-Carbinehistory of making the AR-15 style rifles. You can find a Bushmaster Rifle at almost any gun store across the country and they have the status of the Chevrolet of AR-15 style rifles.  Nothing fancy here but they work.

Bushmaster has recently launched a piston driven gun called the Bushmaster ACR which they licensed from Magpul, who called it the Magpul Masada.  This rifle will compete against rifles from Colt, HK, and FN to replace the Army’s M-4.

Smith & Wesson

Probably better known for making revolvers, Mr. Smith & Mr. Wesson can Survival-Carbine-AR15also make a pretty good Survival Carbine as well. Their M&P series (Military & Police) are well thought of by rifle enthusiasts as a quality product. This is definitely a rifle you can depend on.

Continue Reading: Part 6: Commercially available Gas Pistons Systems

You also might find this article interesting:
Survival Shotgun: 6 Reasons you need one

Joel Jefferson

Joel is one of the original founders of After college, he joined the USMC where he served as an (0302) Marine Infantry Officer. Joel is an avid outdoorsman and spends much of his free time in the mountains. Joel’s hobby is researching survival gear & weapons as well as prepping. Read his full interview here.