The Survival Series pt 2: Origins

The Survival lacks the rapid-fire features of the other AR-6 Stingers. There is an inspiration and reason that goes back decades.

The notion of a portable, easily stowed weapon – one you can leave until needed without worrying it will suffer at the hands of the elements – has been around for a number of decades.

Possibly the best-known example, and the inspiration for Steambow’s AR-6 Stinger II Survival, was the ArmaLite Inc. AR-7.

What makes a survival weapon?

This was (and still is) a semi-automatic rifle designed in a way that the barrel, receiver, magazine all fit inside its wooden stock, and that bundle was stowed in a canvas bag and kept in the cockpit of US Air Force planes in case the pilot ever needed to make an emergency landing in an isolated area where self-reliance would be paramount.

Chambered in 22LR (same caliber as the Olympic Biathlons), the rifle is not meant to be a means of defense, but rather a means of hunting the types of small game that could keep a pilot fed while either trekking to safety or waiting for rescue.

So there it was: a rifle that could be packed down to a convenient shape and packaged away, only to be pulled out and assembled if the need arose.

Giving you an edge in a bad situation

For an unlucky pilot in the USAF, having the AR-7 afforded some peace of mind. Training and well-chosen equipment would give that pilot a solid chance of surviving in moderate comfort with the means of making a shelter with a survival knife and getting food with the ArmaLite. At a push, even defending themselves would be feasible, if not ideal.

That, in a nutshell is what the Survival also achieves. It can be disassembled. It can be carried easily. It can be left untouched until needed.

With the dimensions and weight of a pistol crossbow and proven potential as a hunting crossbow (a YouTube video shows a previous Stinger crossbow successfully bringing down two boars), the Survival shares some of the abilities of the ArmaLite, without the red-tape of a firearm.

The design means you are not reliant on any external factors to assemble the Survival. Any tools needed are integral to the crossbow, and its sight rail provides adjustable open sights with a red, hi-viz fiber optic front sight post.

Unlike the magazine-fed Tactical and Compact, whose magazine lids would interfere with a scope, there is no such restriction regarding what you can mount on the Survival. Fitting a scope is perfectly possible and, with that, gaining the benefit of greater accuracy. It also gives you an enhanced aiming option that is not dependent on batteries. So whether you leave your Survival for a week or a decade, you can be confident it will still work as intended if stored correctly.

Different needs, same crossbow

In truth, those who buy one expecting to be stranded in the middle of nowhere are probably a minority. Nevertheless, some may still buy a Survival because they are going places where it can pay to have a back-up plan. At around a kilo (a fraction over 2 pounds), the AR-6 Stinger II Survival is not a great burden and, much like a bushcraft knife, can make a world of difference to a situation gone bad.

Others still will like having something that can be taken apart with relative ease to leave in a drawer or cupboard without being a storage inconvenience.

Whatever the reason, the Survival is a crossbow that can deliver effective force on its target, and can disappear into furniture, storage or a backpack until needed. It is a self-contained unit for fun or food, and could arguably make the difference between a good day and a very bad one!

To find out more, or to order yours, visit the Steambow shop.

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