Survival weapons are built around the idea of making the most out of a relatively small or minimalistic package. Survival has everything to do with the bare necessities of human existence – shelter, water, food, and self-defense.

Some guns were designed to act as an all-in-one type of weapon, and the M6 X-Caliber by Chiappa Firearms is certainly one of them. Right off the bat, something sounds off. A firearm that is an all-in-one? Doesn’t sound too amazing, really. As they say, a jack of all trades is a master of none. Well, these guns are not meant to be amazing. They are simply meant to save your bacon.

Chiappa Firearms

Chiappa (pronounced kee-appa) traces its roots back to 1958, when Ezechiele Chiappa established the Armi Sport de Chiappa workshop, in Italy. Over the 60 years of its existence, the company has grown exponentially, and has branched out to other fields and territories. Mr. Chiappa had vision, that’s for sure, and this is part of why Chiappa Firearms is still family-owned and doing good business. Like many firearms manufacturers, it has had its share of ups and down, discontinued models, and consumer criticism.

Nowadays, Chiappa includes several divisions, and its headquarters can be found in northern Italy. The Chiappa group includes Chiappa Firearms S.r.l. and its U.S.-based Chiappa Firearms distribution center (located in Dayton, OH); KIMAR, which manufactures small arms, blanks, and signal guns; ACP, which produces laser training systems, primarily for law enforcement and military personnel; and Costa S.r.l., which is dedicated to the treatment of various metals. As of 2017 (if I am not mistaken), Chiappa’s U.S. facility also exclusively distributes Charles Daly systems. However, most shooters know them for their unique Rhino Revolver Series.

I actually wanted to learn more about Costa and its metal treatment methods, so I can share the knowledge with you, but didn’t really find anything online. The ACP training system website is also under renovation. I suppose we will have to get to those another time.

Survival Rifles

As mentioned earlier, the guiding principle behind the term “survival” is quite simple: getting out alive. It is about acquiring certain skills necessary for basic human survival.

To be clear, this isn’t some end-of-the-world, zombie-apocalypse, pirate-vampires-are-coming thing. It is as real as anything you could imagine or encounter in everyday life, except you usually wouldn’t encounter such things. But preparedness is key. The truth is, you never know what will happen.

Kel Tec Survival Rifle
Kel Tec Survival Rifle

The initial thought behind creating survival rifles was also pretty simple: the U.S. Air Force wished to provide downed aircraft crewmembers with the means of protecting themselves and providing for themselves, until such time as they are out of danger and back on friendly soil. And not just aircraft crew, but anyone who may lose contact and find themselves cut off and in hostile territory.

Over the years, military survival rifles have been produced, used, and discontinued. Famous models of survival rifles include the AR-5 (classified as MA-1, but never used), the USAF M4, and the USAF M6. Some survival rifles are more utilitarian than others. Some are a combination rifle/shotgun (like the X-Caliber).

Aero Survival Rifle
TNW Aero Survival Rifle

On the civilian end, you have the option of building your own makeshift slamfire-action bug-out-bag shotgun for under $50, if you want. I only mention that since Royal Nonesuch did it on YouTube. His channel was terminated by YouTube when their policies changed, but this clip is still around and so is he. Honestly, I feel uneasy about some of the things he’s done on video, safety-wise. But hey, the guy knows what he’s doing, and his guns are certainly unique.

Homemade Guns #18 Homemade 12 Gauge Slamfire Guns!!!
Royal Nonesuch Homemade Guns

The more popular civilians models have been the Henry Repeating Arms’ AR-7 and the Springfield Armory M6 Scout – both of which are replicas of their military counterparts. A new model joined the ranks about a decade ago: the M6 X-Caliber, by Chiappa Firearms.

Chiappa X Caliber

Chiappa introduced its M6 X-Caliber model in 2010. This combi gun is modeled after the M6 Aircrew Survival Weapon, a rifle which was designed and manufactured by Ithaca and Springfield armories, and which remained in service of the USAF since the early 1950’s through the 1970’s, before it was replaced by the AR-7.

The X-caliber is capable of firing 12 different calibers, and is one of the most popular bug-out-bag rifles out there. It is a double-trigger over/under weapon, featuring a 3”, 12-gauge shotgun on top, and a 22LR rifle 18.5” barrel under it. It is highly compact, more so when folded, and it has an overall length of 34.5”. The X-caliber weighs 5.6 lbs, making it easy to carry and handle.

Chiappa X Caliber
Chiappa Survival Rifle

The one deterring factor about this weapon is probably the price, which is currently $729 (MSRP). You can find it at lower prices online and in gun shops, so keep your eye out for any deals and bargains.

The ability to fire a multitude of calibers makes this a gun ready for a wide range of scenarios and conditions. Whether it is hunting, self-defense, or anything in between, the X-caliber can provide you with the tools for the job. The action is of the break-open variety, and with practice it can prove to be a powerful weapon, indeed.

With a fiber optic front sight and an adjustable rear sight, it is relatively accurate and on-point. The rails provide the option of adding accessories and optics, which can be quite useful, to say the least. Some would call it an “ugly” gun, but even they would agree that when in need, appearance hardly matters. A combo gun such as this, especially with a 1+1 capacity (which is admittedly low), will not appeal to everyone’s tastes, but it is a highly-functional piece of weaponry nonetheless.

Chiappa Survival Rifle
Chiappa X-Caliber Survival Rifle/Shotgun

Conclusion

Survival rifles are probably not for your everyday shooter. It’s not the type of weapon you would be carrying as an EDC. In a pinch, it could provide you with an advantage, and this is why it was designed in the first place for high-risk military personnel. Under difficult conditions, it could prove to be one of your greatest allies.

Not many firearms manufacturers produce survival weapons. They may call them survival weapons, but in many cases it is more of a marketing-related term. Not the X-caliber, though. It is a bonafide ass-saver, and is based on the successful M6 rifle.

You never know what will happen when your ‘fight or flight’ instinct kicks in. The rush of adrenaline, the uncertainty of your condition, and even the terrain – these can all be factors which will determine your ability to survive. Those who were given these rifles were usually highly-trained individuals who were well-versed in the various arts of survival, concealment, and warfare. Survival guns may not mean much in your everyday scenarios, but when the chips are down, they could mean the difference between life and death.

Sam M

Sam is an avid firearms enthusiast who loves sharing his knowledge and experience with fellow gunivores.

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