“What do you need all those guns for, anyway?”
Many the gun nerd’s dreams have been crushed by that simple query. I have myself fielded that very question on numerous occasions. I like to think I’ve gotten fairly good at it.
Have you ever worked on a car? A box wrench is a lousy tool for removing screws, and a hammer renders suboptimal service cleaning your battery terminals. When it comes to automotive maintenance, there are different tools for different tasks. So it is in the gun world as well.
If you are scooting out to the local Shop-n-Grab to pick up a gallon of milk and some unmentionables for your wife, then you need a pocket gun you can drop into your cargo shorts. If you want to kill a lazy Saturday afternoon transforming .22 into noise then you need a handy rimfire and a bunch of empty Coke cans. If you’re securing your hacienda against bipedal predators, then a SAINT AR-15 is your go-to iron. But what if zombies show up driving cars?
It’s not as ludicrous as it sounds. The 5.56mm is a proven social cartridge, but it doesn’t pack a great deal of downrange horsepower. If you live way out in the sticks as do I then it might be half an hour between dialing 911 and having the cavalry roar up the drive. To help me pass those 30 long minutes I want something with some reach that will reliably punch deep. That means .30-caliber power and Springfield Armory awesome. I fill that niche with a tricked-out M1A SOCOM 16.
The 7.62x51mm M14 served on the front lines for about a decade. An interim design between John Cantius Garand’s World War II masterpiece and Gene Stoner’s space age wondergun, the M14 offered a proven reliable autoloading action fed by a detachable box magazine. The inimitable ergonomics and downrange horsepower made it a true rifleman’s rifle while keeping it in military service in one capacity or another for more than half a century.
Springfield Armory offers the basic M14 platform in a bewildering array of configurations as the semi-automatic M1A. The most advanced in my opinion is the SOCOM 16 CQB. Featuring John Garand’s classic action nestled within an optimized Archangel polymer stock, the SOCOM 16 CQB makes this venerable rifle competitive with any modern iron.
My SOCOM came with a Vortex Venom red dot sight and a flared magazine well for fast reloads. The safety is still a pivoting tab in the front of the trigger guard that doesn’t care which hand you favor. The charging handle reciprocates with the bolt so you can manhandle the thing in the profoundly unlikely event of a stoppage. M-LOK slots allow copious accessorizing, while generous sling sockets enhance portage. With this as a starting point, I took my SOCOM to the next level. You know, for those zombies in cars.
I have a Silent Legion Multi Caliber Suppressor Kit that includes a high-efficiency .30-caliber sound suppressor and four different mounts for both 5.56mm and 7.62mm weapons. Thread mounts affix directly, while proprietary flash suppressor mounts make quick attachment and detachment a snap. The problem is that the threads on the SOCOM muzzle are a bit non-standard.
The muzzle device on the SOCOM is a stubby little ventilated thing that does a splendid job of mitigating the chaos up front. However, I wanted to mount up my quick-detach flash suppressor. That took a little searching.
You can find most anything on GunBroker. A professionally executed muzzle adapter that fits painlessly onto my gas block and sports standard 5/8×24 threads set me back $60. Mounting the thing up took maybe 10 minutes, even swapping over the luminous front sight blade. Tighten it down and the gas plug keeps everything snug. A spot of thread locker and the flash suppressor mount is there for the duration.
I added a Magpul hand stop and a Streamlight TLR-8 combination light and laser to complete the ensemble. The hand stop puts my weak hand in the same spot every time, while the TLR-8 dispels the darkness and keeps me on target day or night. Thus equipped, I am ready for any reasonable threat as well as most of the unreasonable sorts as well.
My tricked out SOCOM 16 sits alongside my favorite 5.56mm black rifle as well as a 9mm carbine ready to defend the household, come what may. Just like car maintenance, I grab the best tool for the task. Keeping sharp on them all takes practice, but it’s not like that’s work. If you live in the sort of place where the zombies might wear soft body armor and show up in a caravan, a nicely accessorized SOCOM 16 is just the right tool — or just a really cool gun to own. I’ll leave it to you to decide.