THE NEW HENRY U.S. SURVIVAL PACK
Big advantages in a small package
Henry Repeating Arms, a proud American firearms manufacturer, recently released its reimagined survival pack. Henry kindly sent a U.S. Survival Pack to me for testing, and I gladly put everything through its paces. The kit starts with a stowable bag that holds the venerable Henry AR-7 Survival Rifle. There are also several pockets on the bag’s exterior that contain a number of survival essentials. When you see what was included with the kit, as well as what wasn’t, you quickly pick up the philosophy behind its creation.
ODE TO EUGENE STONER
To begin with, the rifle, itself, is a descendant of the original Armalite AR-7, which was issued to U.S. airmen as a survival tool as early as 1959. The AR-7 was the brainchild of famed weapon designer Eugene Stoner, who was more well-known for creating the AR-15. The platform is a .22 long rifle, straight blowback (semiauto) configuration. Most interestingly, the weapon breaks down into components (with no tools required), all of which can be stowed in the weapon’s buttstock. These consist of the stock, receiver, two eight-round magazines and barrel. When broken down, the watertight AR-7 can actually float. It offers good accuracy and weighs just 3.5 pounds. In 1997, Henry Repeating Arms Company bought the rights to the weapon and made some improvements. Rebranded as the U.S. Survival AR-7, the newer version comes in different colors (two camo patterns and black) and has a much-appreciated bright-orange front sight blade. The rifle is, without a doubt, the core element of the pack.
Besides the rifle, there are many great survival-minded items included in this kit. They can be broken down into the basic survival hierarchy so you can rate this assembly in your own mind and add to it later. Water. This is one of the most important items you can possibly procure, because you can’t go without it for more than a few days. To this end, Henry has included an Aquamira Frontier Straw. With this lightweight tool, you can pack it and forget it—knowing you’ll be able to consume around 30 gallons of clean water. The straw filters out cryptosporidium and giardia and reduces other chemicals. Fire. The ESEE brand is known far and wide for its great knives and other products. Included in the U.S. Survival Pack is ESEE'S Fire Steel Kit. It’s packed in a tin the size of an Altoids can and is a multipurpose fire tool. The tin can be used to create char cloth. The tool serves as a ferrocerium rod on its sides, can be used as a traditional flint and steel (Jeremiah Johnson style) with char cloth and has a divot in the middle designed to be used with a bow drill. There is nothing like redundancy in a critical tool such as this. If something isn’t working because of your particular environment, it’s good to have other options. Shelter. The U.S. Survival Pack includes a survival blanket from H&H Medical Corporation. It isn’t exactly a zero-degree sleeping bag, but it is maximum utility for minimum weight and size, opening up to 84x56 inches. Wrapped around you or tied up with cordage as a lean-to, this crucial, little item can make a huge difference in what you have to endure. Food. Having a rifle, particularly a .22 long rifle, is essential for being able to procure your own small game. Remember, the idea behind this kit is survival, not long-term thriving. You’re not looking to take down a moose for your dinner. That being said, Henry thought of a couple of crucial tools concerning the processing of game
WHEN YOU SEE WHAT WAS INCLUDED WITH THE KIT, AS WELL AS WHAT WASN’T, YOU QUICKLY PICK UP THE PHILOSOPHY BEHIND ITS CREATION.
and for a backup for the dreaded scenarios of no luck at hunting and/or running out of ammo. A small Buck knife comes with the kit. Called the Rival, its 2.75-inch-bladed lockback comes out of the box razor-sharp. It will skin small game all day long. This knife will also help you with other minor cutting tasks you might need to accomplish throughout your ordeal. If hunting fails for some reason, Henry provided a Datrex emergency ration. This vacuum-sealed, 1,000-calorie bar is not much bigger than a bar of soap, but it can help you carry through a little longer. Medical. Fewer things can threaten survivability greater than a bad bleed. Consequently, Henry included a SWAT-T tourniquet in the kit. While this is my least favorite option for stopping bleeding in a limb, I’d rather have it than not. One upside to this unit is that because of the tourniquet’s composition, it can be used for multiple medical purposes, perhaps as well as other uses outside this application. All categories. Henry includes 100 feet of green MIL-SPEC paracord in this kit. It is certified to support 550 pounds and can be used for innumerable purposes out in the wild. In addition, the cord can be broken down to the seven inner strands for smaller cordage purposes such as snares or fishing line. THE BAG The black, two-handled bag is made in America by Allen. Crafted of nylon, it has a long, clam-style, zippered opening and measures roughly 20.5 inches long and 9.5 inches tall. The interior is padded, and one side of the exterior of the bag has two zippered pockets for storing the bag’s other contents. Henry also hints on its website that one of these pockets is a perfect size for its survival tin, called the Henry Repeating Survival Kit. This item contains an even greater array of survival equipment.
Because the Survival Rifle is at the heart of this kit, I decided to spend more time testing it for a number of metrics. The gun I used weighed in at 3 pounds, 6.4 ounces. All stowed, it was 16.5 inches long. The barrel is 15.5 inches long, and fully assembled, the rifle measures a total of 35.13 inches. Using three different types of ammunition,
I tested for accuracy at 25 and 50 yards using five-round groups. I also tested velocities using a chronograph. The results were impressive for a semiauto rifle that was torn down and reassembled multiple times during two different trips to the range. I did not use optics. This is getting tougher as I age, but true to the intention of the designer, the AR-7 does not include a scope. I keep hoping someone will come up with a single lever mount for the 3/8 rail on top of the receiver—something that will keep zero once established. Fifty yards is a decent reach for the .22 long rifle, but accuracy at this distance would greatly improve with a viable optic that could be removed and packed away, along with the rifle. As it stands, the gun could not be broken down with a mounted optic, so I tested it accordingly. The first day was at an outdoor range. The wind was gusting out of the northwest anywhere from a steady 10 up to 25 mph. On tap for ammo were Winchester Super-x 40-grain, Armscor high-velocity hollow points coming in at 36 grains, and CCI hollow points in 36 grains. I later shot indoors to eliminate the wind as a factor and averaged my groups. I believe the rifle is incredibly accurate for its size, and I like that it breaks down and reassembles so easily. However, an optic would certainly help (some shooters) when
THE RESULTS WERE IMPRESSIVE FOR A SEMIAUTO RIFLE THAT WAS TORN DOWN AND REASSEMBLED MULTIPLE TIMES DURING TWO DIFFERENT TRIPS TO THE RANGE.
reaching out to greater distances. Considering this rifle is designed to take small game, 25 yards is a decent distance to hover around a group of 2 inches. The trigger, tested on a Lyman digital gauge provided by Brownells, broke evenly right at 3 pounds each time. There was approximately a millimeter of creep before it resisted and then snapped. Although the rifle is small, its ergonomics are quite good. The buttstock offers a comfortable cheek weld, allowing me the opportunity to easily pick up the bright-orange
BESIDES THE RIFLE, THERE ARE MANY GREAT SURVIVAL-MINDED ITEMS INCLUDED IN THIS KIT. THEY CAN BE BROKEN DOWN INTO THE BASIC SURVIVAL HIERARCHY SO YOU CAN RATE THIS ASSEMBLY IN YOUR OWN MIND AND ADD TO IT LATER.
front blade through the rear peep sight. Out of the box, the rifle shot high; however, the rear sight is adjustable.
AWESOME STARTER SURVIVAL KIT
Henry has a great product that approaches the survival mentality from a couple of different angles. First, this could be a go-to bag that is stuffed in the trunk of a car or stashed in a hidden spot in your cabin. Should things go awry, or if something happens that requires survival gear, the bag is ready to go and generally has you covered. The second approach is how I looked at the bag: It's a great jumping-off point. Those who have more knowledge and experience with prepping, hunting, medical and survival skill sets will note what is missing from this bag. For instance, not included are a large knife, compass, light and IFAK. And, when you get to a point at which you have enough training and knowledge within these categories, you have probably already formed preferences for specific brands or types. In addition, leaving out these items keeps the price point down— but it also creates a wonderful package for users to buy the pack and then build it up to their own specifications. Overall, the Henry U.S. Survival Pack is a winner. At a minimum, it will get you there. With some additions, it will get you there in style. (Author’s note: Special thanks to Liberty Firearms Institute for arranging transfers and allowing me to test this rifle indoors.)
Left: Henry also makes a U.S. Survival Kit that comes in a tin (not included in the Survival Pack). This fits perfectly into one of the U.S. Survival Pack’s exterior pockets and comes with enough gear to push it to excellent levels of preparation.
The provided paracord has seven inner strands that can be exposed and used individually for tasks such as snares and fishing. Bottom:
Top: Within the pack, you receive emergency rations, a water filter, fire-making tools, a knife, tourniquet, space blanket and 100 feet of paracord.
Left: The small Buck knife in the kit is a quality tool. It comes out of the box razor-sharp.
This ESEE multipurpose fire tool is included in the survival kit. Above:
All the rifle’s parts are shown deployed on the bag prior to assembly. Left: Near right: Simply slide the barrel (tab and slot indicated) into the receiver and then screw down the nut to assemble the top end.
Right:the author has tested a few Henry Survival Rifles. Some float better than others. The critical element is the seal on the cap of the buttstock.
Far right: All controls (except the mag release) are on the right side. The bolt pulls out from the receiver for working the action and then tucks in for storage.
Near left: Armscor gave adequate performance with groups such as this at 25 yards.
After removing the buttstock cover, you are faced with the barrel, two magazines and receiver.
Far left: Pushing the receiver into the buttstock and tightening the bolt at the bottom of the pistol grip completes assembly.
The Aquamira Frontier Straw is a great compromise of size and utility, allowing you to drink from raw water sources without fear of illness.
The SWAT-T Tourniquet is popular in individual first aid kits. The SWAT acronym stands for “stretch, wrap and tuck.”
The provided space blanket is great for keeping warm and can also be adapted for use as an emergency shelter.