Wednesday, January 22, 2014

SHOT Show 2014: First Impression Review- Chiappa M6 and X-Caliber Folding Survival Rifles- Release date planned for April

(Photo credits: Rocky Mountain Bushcraft, ©2014)

Come April, Chiappa Firearms plans to release what could be two of the hottest survival firearms in years-- the Chiappa M6 and X-Caliber folding survival guns. Both guns feature either a 20 gauge or 12 gauge shotgun barrel over a .22 Long Rifle Barrel, and both fold in half to a very compact length of 18.5" by simply pulling down on the extended trigger guard:

Since they are able to be folded in half, these guns can be carried inside a backpack or stowed in tight spaces, such as the cockpit of a small aircraft or the utility box of an off-road vehicle, should a survival situation happen in a remote area. It also allows the guns to be easily cleaned without having to disassemble them.

Both guns are loosely based on the US Air Force's famed M6 Aircrew Survival Weapon which, during the 1950s and 1960s, was issued to air crews to help them forage for food in the event of a plane crash.

The original US Air Force M6 Aircrew Survival Weapon 
(photo credit: Wikpedia)

When the Air Force was conducting research for a new survival weapon, they found that a shotgun, paired with a .22 caliber rifle, was more effective than a typical single barreled rifle for an aircrew facing a wilderness survival situation. The shotgun gave a wider margin of marksmanship error when hunting birds or small game. This was especially important considering that crew members could be injured, hypothermic, or under severe stress. Meanwhile the rifle allowed more precise, long range shots in open territory, giving the M6 great flexibility.

Chiappa M6 (20 Gauge over .22LR)

The Chiappa M6, aptly named after the aforementioned Air Force survival weapon, features an 18.5" long, 20 Gauge shotgun barrel over a .22 Long Rifle rimfire barrel. It is constructed of blued steel, and the shotgun barrel will come chambered for up to 3" shells. The rear sight is fully adjustable, and the front sight is a high visibility fiber optic sight. The M6 also has a Picatinny rail system for easy mounting of optics or lighting systems.

(click to enlarge)

The shotgun bore will have either a fixed improved choke or open cylinder bore choke, allowing it to safely shoot shotgun slugs.

The skeletonized metal butt stock is filled with what Chiappa touts as a super tough, yet lighweight polypropylene foam. This foam is supposed to reduce recoil when shooting the shotgun barrel, and also provides a place to store extra ammunition as well as a cleaning kit, which is included with the gun.

The M6 comes with an internal hammer/double trigger system, an inherently more reliable setup than a single trigger. Should one of the triggers malfunction, the gun still has another hammer/trigger that can shoot the remaining barrel. Definitely a good feature to have in a worst case scenario.


Chiappa X-Caliber (12 Gauge over .22 Long Rifle)

The X-Caliber model is identical to the M6 except that it has a 12 gauge barrel, and most notably, a set of 8 caliber adapters that allow the gun to shoot a remarkably wide range of ammo, including 20 Gauge, 410 Gauge/45 Colt, 45ACP, 44 Magnum, .40S&W, .357 Magnum/.38 Special, 9mm and .380ACP. When you count all the types of ammo this gun can handle, it comes out to a whopping 12 different calibers.

(The production model X-Caliber will come with a total of 8 adapters instead of the 6 shown in the SHOT Show sample below)


To give a better perspective on how small the M6 and X-Caliber are when folded, here is the X-Caliber next to my diminutive Kelty Redtail 30 Daypack:

MSRP for the 20 Gauge M6 is expected to be around $375.00, and the 12 Gauge X-Caliber w/ Adapters is expected to retail for $749.00.

Will the Chiappa M6 and X-Caliber be the ultimate survival/camping/prepper guns? Find out! Check back here in April when we post a full field review of these cool new guns!

About the author
Jason Schwartz is the founder and senior editor of Rocky Mountain Bushcraft. He is a former Red Cross certified Wilderness & Remote First Aid Instructor and has taught bushcraft and wilderness survival techniques to the Boy Scouts of America, interned with the US Forest Service, and studied wilderness survival, forestry and wildland firefighting at Colorado Mountain College in Leadville, Colorado. In addition, Jason has written for magazines such as The New Pioneer and Backpacker, including writing the "Tinder Finder" portion of Backpacker's "Complete Guide to Fire," which won a 2015 National Magazine Award (NMA), the magazine equivalent to a Pulitzer Prize. Email him at rockymountainbushcraft @ (without spaces)

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