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Practical Rifles

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What Rifles We DO NOT ALLOW

  • Any pistol caliber "carbine" or "rifle" - they are NOT rifles
  • Any rifle caliber smaller than 5.56mm/.223 (no .22 caliber rifles)
  • Any rifle with a trigger press weight that is less than 4 lbs.
  • AR-type pistols with arm braces are not allowed. Due to the guidelines stated in the latest ATF letter, there is no way for us to tell if the arm brace has been modified from the original design. The letter also mentions 'incidental mounting' ("occurring merely by chance or without intention or calculation") of the weapon to the shoulder as being allowed. In order to be in the rifle course, the weapon must have a stock, as you will be mounting the gun to your shoulder throughout the course, (which is not incidental).
  • If it is configured with ANY type of wrist brace and not as a Short Barreled Rifle (SBR) with a stock, then it will not be allowed in the rifle course. NO EXCEPTIONS!


What We DO NOT Recommend for Rifles

  • Heavy barreled bench rest or precision rifles because they are way too heavy


Practical Rifle Recommendations


  • If you don’t own a weapon and are going to rent one of ours, then there is really no decision.  We will equip you with an appropriate, mainstream weapon which we know is a proper choice for your course.
  • If you only own one weapon that meets our minimum standards and want to train with it, bring it!  Throughout your course, you will learn all the strengths and weaknesses of that particular weapon.  In the end, that weapon may be perfect for you or you may want to go shopping.  Either way, the place to learn about your weapon is at PraireFire NV, not on the street in a time of need.
  • If you have been issued a weapon by your department, bring it.  We will train you to exceedingly high levels with whatever you have been issued.
  • If you are trying to decide from the dozens of weapons you already own or you are going to purchase a new weapon, then the following discussion is for you.


While it is true that “any gun will do if you will do”, there are definitely some choices which are more appropriate than others.  Below are a few things to consider when selecting a weapon.


The AR-15 rifle chambered in 5.56mm is by far the most popular and most appropriate practical rifle for defensive applications.  The AR-15 is produced by numerous manufacturers.  The trend in the last decade has been to put as much stuff on the rifle as it can possibly hold.  Such “stuff” includes vertical foregrips, flashlights, compensators, scopes of all kinds, collapsible stocks, wild tactical slings, etc.  Don’t get caught up in this hysteria.  Instead, keep it simple!  Learn to properly shoot a basic rifle with open sights and you will be miles ahead of the guy who purchased all the trinkets.


If you live in an area where you cannot own an AR-15, you might want to look into the Kel-Tec SU-16 which is a very light-weight yet robust practical rifle.  You could also look at the Ruger Mini-14 (5.56mm) or Mini-30 (7.62mm x 39) series of rifles.  (Note that the Ruger Mini-14 has had issues with some brands of ‘aftermarket’ magazines.)


If you are a hunter, you will likely prefer a bolt action rifle with a scope.  All the big-name manufacturers like Remington, Winchester, Savage, Steyr, Sako, etc. make excellent rifles.  A high-quality 4X scope is ideal.  Since you will be shooting lots of ammunition over four days, we suggest a fairly mild caliber such as .270, .308, and .30-06.


Regardless of which rifle you select, it will need a sling.  A simple carry strap will suffice, as will the more elaborate “tactical slings”.


  • Rifles must be bolt-action, pump-action, lever-action, or auto loading in 5.56mm/.223 caliber or larger with trigger guard intact and have an attached sling.
    • AR15, Mini14, Kel-Tec SU16, Marlin .30-30, Remington 700 or similar.
  • A trigger pull weight of at least four pounds
  • Ammunition and magazine pouches are recommended.  Large vest pockets or trouser cargo pockets will suffice. 
  • Knee and elbow pads are recommended. 
  • Attached (dedicated) flashlights are mandatory for the summer night courses and the specialized advanced-level courses.


recommended rifle types