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5 Best Scout Rifles To Seriously Consider For Survival (2023)

The scout rifle needs to be short, lightweight, handy and chambered in .308 Win./7.62 NATO — a rifle to do just about anything needed from hunting to self-defense.

Updated 6/1/2023

What are five great do-all scout rifles?


What Are Scout Rifles?


The concept of the scout rifle was developed by recognized gun expert, the late Lt. Col Jeff Cooper. The rifle needed to be accurate with iron sights to 500 yards and powerful enough to take down large game animals for hunting or self-defense. For this, Cooper selected a bolt-action rifle (as these are far less restricted than semi-auto rifles) less than 40 inches long and weighing under 6.5 pounds.

He also chose the .308/7.62 caliber as an ideal all-purpose round and, as it is common with many militaries around the globe, easy to find.

There are many rifles that fit Cooper’s criteria but then he added one very distinctive feature — a forward-mounted magnified optic with extended eye relief. Extended eye relief scopes are more commonly seen on handguns but there was method to Cooper’s madness.

Speed and reliability were two of his concerns (another reason to opt for a bolt action) and he wanted to keep the area above the action free of any obstruction (like a scope). This allowed for scout rifles to be reloaded faster with stripper clips and ensured that ejection of empty cases was not engendered in any way.

Precision Shooting: Savage’s Accuracy Enhancing AccuFit System

Lastly, Cooper felt that having an extended eye relief scope prevented the development of tunnel vision and allowed the operator full peripheral vision and situational awareness. One drawback of extended eye relief scopes is that they lack the full magnification of larger rearward-mounted optics. Cooper felt that 2-3x magnification was sufficient.

There were some other less distinct features that Cooper insisted on, but they are not necessary to the core concept of the scout rifle. After all, he was building the rifle in his mind from scratch, so anything is possible. Only one company built Cooper his scout rifle while he was alive, the Steyr Scout. Since then, several more companies have come forward with their own Cooper-inspired scout rifles.

Steyr Scout Rifle

The Steyr Scout gives you the option of mounting an extended eye relief scope, and even has a built-in bipod that tucks up into the stock. - Scout Rifles - Steyr
The Steyr Scout gives you the option of mounting an extended eye relief scope, and even has a built-in bipod that tucks up into the stock.

The original Scout Rifle, the Steyr Scout has all the features Cooper wanted. It’s a lightweight rifle with backup ghost ring iron sights mounted on the receiver and not the barrel, a magazine cutoff device to be able to fire one shot only or with a 5-round detachable magazine. The polymer stock has a backup 5-round magazine in the buttstock. The fore-end of the stock sports an integral bipod that folds up completely into the stock, an accessory rail and five sling attachment points, another Cooper notion.

The Steyr Scout has a three-position safety with a fire option and two levels of safety, one locks the bolt and one does not. Of course, the rifle is available in different colors and calibers, as Cooper recognized that in some countries civilians are not allowed to own firearms that can function using military calibers. Extended capacity magazines (up to 20 rounds) are also available.

Steyr Scout
Caliber: .308 Win.
Barrel: 19 in.
Overall Length: 38.6 in.
Weight: 6.6 lbs. (without magazine)
Sights: Iron with rail
Stock: Plastic
Action: Bolt
Finish: Black, gray or green
Capacity: 5+1 rounds
Price: $1,889

Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle

The Ruger “Gunsite Scout Rifle” was developed in conjunction with the staff at the world famous shooting facility. - Scout Rifles - Ruger Gunsite
The Ruger “Gunsite Scout Rifle” was developed in conjunction with the staff at the world famous shooting facility.

Ruger developed their own scout concept and dubbed it appropriately the “Gunsite Scout Rifle.” Gunsite is, of course, the training facility established by Jeff Cooper.

These scout rifles feature a forward-mounted Picatinny rail for optics, ghost ring backup iron sights, a detachable 10-round box magazine (5 rounders are available), and a traditional scope mounting option. They are available in several different calibers.

The rifle was developed in conjunction with the Gunsite Academy and features their name engraved on the receiver. Interestingly, this rifle features a grey laminated wood stock that is weather resistant and includes rubber spacers that can be used to adjust the length of pull at the buttpad.

A synthetic stock model is also available, and in both stock types the barrel remains free floated. The barrel, available in two different lengths and in either stainless steel or blued, is cold hammer forged for improved accuracy and longer life. The barrel is topped off with a choice of different muzzle devices, a flash hider being the most common.

Ruger Gunsite Scout
Caliber: .308 Win.
Barrel: 16.1 in.
Overall Length: 38.5 in.
Weight: 7.1 lbs. (without magazine)
Sights: Iron with rail
Stock: Laminate
Action: Bolt
Finish: Black, gray or black
Capacity: 10+1 rounds
Price: Starts at $1,449

Savage Scout

The Savage Scout rifle is built on Savage’s legendary action and has the company’s excellent AccuTrigger. - Scout Rifles - Savage Scout
The Savage Scout rifle is built on Savage’s legendary action and has the company’s excellent AccuTrigger.

Savage is known for making very accurate rifles at reasonable prices. The Model 11 Scout is no exception.

They key to any modern Savage rifle is the AccuTrigger, which allows you to adjust the trigger pull for increased comfort and accuracy.

The Savage AccuStock provides a rigid interface between stock, action and barrel, and supports parts along the entire length rather than at just two points. This diminishes pressure on the barrel and improves accuracy.

Like other scout rifles, the Savage 11 Scout is a bolt action with a forward-mounted optics rail, backup iron ghost ring sights, and a synthetic stock. Savage adds a cheek riser to the stock for improved comfort, a detachable box magazine with 10-round capacity, and a muzzle brake, along with three sling swivel points. It is only available in one size and one caliber.

Savage 11 Scout
Caliber: .308 Win.
Barrel: 18 in.
Overall Length: 40.5 in.
Weight: 7.8 lbs. (without magazine)
Sights: Iron with rail
Stock: Synthetic
Action: Bolt
Finish: Flat dark earth
Capacity: 10+1 rounds
Price: $919

Mossberg MVP Scout

The handy little Mossberg MVP Scout can accept both M1A and AR-10 mags. - Scout Rifles MVP
The handy little Mossberg MVP Scout can accept both M1A and AR-10 mags.

Mossberg seems to be mostly known for its Model 500 shotgun, but the company makes plenty of popular rifles as well, including the Mossberg MVP Scout. One thing that sets the MVP Scout apart from other scout rifles is that it can accept both M1A and AR-10 magazines.

The longer length top Picatinny rail allows for more expansive options for optics while the backup iron ghost ring sights include a front fiber optic for improved visibility.

The short barrel is threaded so it can accept standard AR muzzle devices (Standard A2 flash hider is included) as well as a suppressor if so desired. The trigger pull is user adjustable from 3 to 7 pounds, the bolt handle is oversized for easier use, and the synthetic stock includes side rails for mounting accessories.

The rifle can be purchased with a Vortex scope and comes with a sling as well. It is only available in one size and caliber.

Mossberg MVP Scout
Caliber: .308 Win.
Barrel: 16.25 in.
Overall Length: 37.5 in.
Weight: 6.75 lbs. (without magazine)
Sights: Iron with rail
Stock: Synthetic
Action: Bolt
Finish: Black
Capacity: 10+1 rounds
Price: $711

Springfield M1A Scout Squad

The Springfield Armory Scout Squad is a hard-hitting .308 semi-auto that accepts a forward-mounted optic. - scout rifles m1a
The Springfield Armory Scout Squad is a hard-hitting .308 semi-auto that accepts a forward-mounted optic.

Jeff Cooper was asked about the possibility of scout rifles being semi-automatic and he was certainly not opposed but insisted on reliability.

There is hardly a more battle proven and reliable semi-auto rifle than the M1 Garand and the M1A. Springfield Armory has been churning out M1A rifles for some time and has developed a scout version as well.

The Springfield Armory M1A-A1 Scout Squad takes the standard M1A concept and turns it into a much smaller and handier rifle with forward-mounted Picatinny rail, synthetic stock, and a recoil-reducing muzzle brake.

The rifle sports an 18-inch barrel, two-stage trigger, aperture adjustable iron sights, a standard box magazine, and gas piston-operated reliability in 7.62 NATO.

Springfield M1A Scout Squad
Caliber: .308 Win.
Barrel: 18 in.
Overall Length: 40.33 in.
Weight: 8.8 lbs. (without magazine)
Sights: Iron with rail
Stock: Synthetic
Action: Semi-auto
Finish: Black, tan
Capacity: 10+1 rounds
Price: Starts at $1,945

Editor’s Note: This excerpt is from Modern Survival Guns: The Complete Preppers’ Guide to Dealing with Everyday Threats, available now at

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Concealed Carry

Customization and Concealment: How to Modify Holsters for Perfect Fit


Finding the right holster for your firearm is essential for comfortable and secure concealed carry. However, off-the-shelf holsters may not always provide the perfect fit for your specific needs and preferences. In this guide, we’ll explore the art of holster customization, offering tips and techniques to modify holsters for a personalized fit that ensures both comfort and concealment.

Understanding Your Needs: Identifying Areas for Improvement


Before diving into holster customization, take some time to evaluate your priorities when it comes to concealed carry. Consider factors such as comfort, concealability, retention, and accessibility. Determine whether your current holster meets your needs in these areas or if there are specific areas for improvement.

Examine your existing holster for any discomfort or issues that may arise during daily carry. Common pain points include pressure points, sharp edges, or inadequate retention. Take note of these areas as they will guide your customization efforts to improve overall comfort and functionality.

Holster Modification Techniques: Tips for Customization

One of the most common methods for holster customization is heat gun molding. This technique involves using a heat gun to soften the holster material, typically Kydex or polymer, and then molding it to fit your firearm more closely. Be cautious not to overheat the material, as it can lead to warping or damage.

If your holster lacks sufficient retention or is too tight, consider adjusting the retention screws or adding retention devices such as adjustable tension screws or retention straps. Experiment with different settings until you find the right balance between retention and ease of draw.

To address discomfort caused by pressure points or sharp edges, consider adding padding or cushioning to your holster. Options include foam padding, adhesive-backed fabric, or leather lining. Apply padding strategically to areas that come into contact with your body to improve overall comfort during extended carry.

Concealment Enhancements: Tips for Discreet Carry


Adjusting the cant and ride height of your holster can significantly impact concealment and comfort. Experiment with different cant angles and ride heights to find the optimal position for your body type and carry preference. A slight forward or reverse cant can help improve concealment and draw efficiency.

Consider adding concealment wings or clips to your holster to enhance concealment and stability. These accessories attach to the holster and help distribute weight more evenly, reducing printing and improving overall comfort. Choose options with adjustable angles and tension to customize the fit to your body shape and clothing style.

For added safety and concealment, consider modifying your holster to provide enhanced trigger guard coverage. This can help prevent accidental trigger access while ensuring a smooth and consistent drawstroke. Add-on trigger guard extensions or molded-in trigger guard covers are available for many holster models and can be easily installed.

Customizing your holster allows you to tailor it to your unique needs and preferences, ensuring a comfortable and secure carry experience. By identifying areas for improvement, exploring modification techniques, and enhancing concealment features, you can create a holster that fits you perfectly and provides reliable performance day in and day out. Remember to take your time, experiment with different adjustments, and prioritize safety throughout the customization process. With a little creativity and ingenuity, you can transform your holster into the ideal companion for concealed carry.

Has this guide helped you to pick a holster? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

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Holster Materials Demystified: Leather vs. Kydex vs. Hybrid Options


Choosing the right holster material is crucial for effective and comfortable concealed carry. Each material, whether it be leather, Kydex, or a hybrid of several materials, offers distinct advantages and disadvantages. This guide will help you understand the differences between these materials, aiding you in making an informed decision based on durability, comfort, maintenance, and functionality.

Leather Holsters: Traditional Comfort and Elegance


Leather has been used in holster manufacturing for centuries due to its durability and the unique way it conforms to the firearm and the wearer’s body over time. A well-made leather holster can last for many years if properly cared for. Leather’s natural give ensures that it doesn’t scratch or dent your firearm, protecting the finish over long periods.

One of the primary advantages of leather is its comfort. Leather holsters tend to be more flexible than Kydex, which allows them to mold to the body’s contours, providing a personalized fit after a break-in period. Aesthetically, leather also has a classic look that appeals to many gun owners who appreciate its traditional appearance and craftsmanship.

The main drawback of leather is its higher maintenance requirements. Leather needs to be regularly cleaned and conditioned to prevent drying out or cracking. It is also less resistant to moisture compared to synthetic materials, which can be a consideration in wet climates or for everyday carry.

Kydex Holsters: Modern, Durable, and Low Maintenance

Kydex is a lightweight, thermoplastic material that is both durable and maintenance-free. Unlike leather, Kydex does not warp, crack, or require regular conditioning. It is highly resistant to moisture, making it an excellent choice for humid environments or active individuals who might sweat during carry.

Kydex holsters offer a firm, secure fit that doesn’t change over time, which means consistent retention and a reliable draw every time. These holsters are generally designed to offer an audible click when the gun is properly holstered, providing additional security feedback. Kydex is also easier to clean; usually, a simple wipe-down is all that’s required to keep it in good condition.

The primary disadvantage of Kydex is that it can be less comfortable for extended wear, especially directly against the skin, as it does not conform to the body the same way leather does. Additionally, the rigid nature of Kydex can sometimes cause wear on the finish of the firearm with repeated drawing and holstering.

Hybrid Holsters: Combining the Best of Both Worlds

Hybrid holsters are designed to offer the best features of both leather and Kydex. Typically, these holsters use a backing of leather (or sometimes a breathable synthetic fabric) that rests against the body, providing the comfort and flexibility of leather, coupled with a Kydex shell that holds the firearm. This combination ensures that the holster is comfortable against the skin while maintaining the structural integrity and easy re-holstering benefits of Kydex.

The leather backing of a hybrid holster conforms to the body, similar to a full leather holster, improving comfort for daily wear. The rigid Kydex shell keeps the gun securely in place and allows for smooth, consistent drawing and reholstering without the holster collapsing.

While hybrid holsters attempt to offer the best of both materials, they may also inherit some disadvantages. The leather component may still require maintenance, and the overall bulk might be greater than a single-material holster. Additionally, depending on the design, the sweat protection for the firearm might not be as robust as with a full Kydex design.

Choosing the Right Material for Your Needs

When selecting a holster, consider your personal needs, daily activities, and the environments in which you will be carrying. Leather offers a traditional, comfortable fit at the expense of greater care and potentially less durability under extreme conditions. Kydex provides excellent security and low maintenance but may sacrifice comfort. Hybrid holsters balance these factors but check that the design fits your specific requirements and comfort preferences.

Ultimately, the best holster material depends on your unique situation and preferences. Testing different materials and types can provide firsthand experience and help you make the best choice for your concealed carry needs.

Do you have a preferred material for your holsters? Why? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

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Concealed Carry

Concealed Carry Essentials: Choosing the Right Holster for Your Firearm


When it comes to concealed carry, choosing the right holster is as crucial as selecting the firearm itself. A good holster not only secures your weapon but also ensures comfort, accessibility, and concealment. Whether you’re a seasoned carrier or new to the world of concealed carry, understanding the different types of holsters and what makes them suitable for certain situations can help you make the right choice for your needs.

Understanding Holster Types

Inside-the-Waistband (IWB) Holsters

IWB holsters are one of the most popular choices for concealed carry because they offer excellent concealment. Positioned inside the wearer’s pants, these holsters sit just behind the hip or at the appendix position. They are designed to conceal the gun effectively beneath a lightly draped shirt or jacket, making them ideal for those who wear casual or business attire regularly. The key is to find an IWB holster made from a comfortable material that minimizes discomfort against the skin.

Outside-the-Waistband (OWB) Holsters

While OWB holsters are less concealable than their IWB counterparts, they are often more comfortable for extended wear, especially if you spend a lot of time seated, such as driving or working at a desk. These holsters sit on the outside of the pants, held close to the body by a belt. OWB is a preferred choice for open carry, duty carry, or when using larger frame pistols that are harder to conceal inside the waistband.

Pocket Holsters

For those preferring to carry smaller handguns, pocket holsters are a viable option. These holsters protect the firearm from debris and lint while ensuring that it stays upright and accessible in your pocket. The holster’s design also masks the shape of the gun, helping to prevent ‘printing’ (when the outline of the gun is visible through clothing), thus maintaining concealment.

Material Matters: Selecting the Right Fabric


Leather Holsters

Leather is a traditional choice that combines durability with comfort. Over time, leather holsters can mold to the shape of your gun and body, offering a custom fit. However, leather requires maintenance to keep it supple and functional, and it might not perform as well in very wet conditions.

Kydex and Other Synthetics

Kydex, a type of thermoplastic, is a popular alternative to leather due to its robustness and low maintenance. Holsters made from Kydex are resistant to water and sweat, making them suitable for humid climates. They also retain their shape over time, which facilitates quicker re-holstering. However, they might be less comfortable against the skin than leather and can wear the finish of your firearm faster.

Hybrid Holsters

Hybrid holsters combine materials, usually leather or a soft fabric backing with a synthetic shell. This design aims to offer the best of both worlds: comfort from the backing material and durability and easy access from the synthetic shell. These are particularly popular among those who carry daily as they balance comfort and functionality.

Fit and Comfort: Ensuring a Proper Holster

Custom Fit

It’s crucial that your holster fits your firearm snugly. A good fit prevents the gun from shifting, falling, or being difficult to draw. Most holsters are built for specific models, which means a one-size-fits-all approach might not be the best when it comes to holsters.


Comfort is key, especially if you plan to carry your gun daily. A comfortable holster should distribute the weight of the gun evenly without chafing. Padding can be crucial, particularly for IWB carriers. Test different holsters to see how they feel when sitting, walking, or bending.

Retention and Accessibility

Good retention keeps the gun securely holstered but allows for quick drawing when necessary. Some holsters offer adjustable retention screws to tighten or loosen the hold on your firearm. Moreover, ensure the holster does not obstruct your grip; when drawing, you should be able to get a full grip on the handle.

Concealment and Practical Considerations

Pistol in the holster.


Choose a holster that keeps your firearm out of sight but within reach. The best concealed carry holster offers a balance between accessibility, comfort, and invisibility. Consider your daily activities and the type of clothing you wear when selecting a holster for optimal concealment.

Practical Considerations

Lastly, consider other practical aspects such as the ease of holstering and unholstering, the holster’s profile (does it add too much bulk?), and its compatibility with your wardrobe. Some holsters, especially those designed for deeper concealment, may require practice to achieve a smooth and quick draw.

Choosing the right holster is a personal journey and often a matter of trial and error. Don’t be afraid to test different types, materials, and positions until you find the perfect combination that offers safety, comfort, and confidence in your ability to carry concealed effectively.

Do you have any tips for people looking for holsters? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

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