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Friday, April 12, 2013

What is the right firearm for your bug-out bag?


I will be a guest on a prepper radio show soon going over options for the right or best firearm to have in your bug-out bag.

Everyone is going to have some pretty strong views on this one.  That's good.  We all have to make decisions on this based on our own personal situations.  

Please feel free to share what you think.  Moving forward, please know that I always keep all firearms locked up in the home, especially with children around.  We always practice safe firearm use and believe that when it comes to children especially, that proper education and awareness are key.  Of course, we are not going to preach to what you should do, just letting you know my philosophy.  Quite frankly, my belief is as long as what you do doesn't harm me and mine, I just rather be left alone and leave you alone in the process.

Do you have kids?  That is a huge consideration and limitation concerning what one should leave in a bug-out bag for many reasons.  The main reason being safety of course.  Safety, so no one gets a hold of the firearm and also for reasons based on simple curiosity.  I don't want to draw attention to the bug-out bag too much.  I want to keep it somewhere that is accessible if it is ever needed, therefore, I need to make it look as boring as a possible.  

High Peak CampingI  like to use a simple heavy duty camping backpack as my bug-out bag. Military style packs are nice too of course.  I just like the backpack not to stick out too much. In many ways its perceived normalcy gives the camouflage I am seeking.  It's a good size and holds a bunch of stuff.  It weighs a lot, but better safe than sorry right?

Do we even need a firearm in a bug-out bag? My answer is yes!  Some would say it's not necessary or just a little paranoid that a bug-out bag wouldn't even be needed.  Perhaps those comments are not going to come from myself, or the intended audience of this article, but they will exist.  What's that saying?  "They stop calling you paranoid when it turns out your right"?  My feeling is that the little effort that goes into preparing a proper bug-out bag will be priceless if it is ever needed.  I like knowing it's there.  Period.

Let's get back to firearm choice.  My main goal with choosing a firearm in a bug-out bag is protection of my family and myself.  A secondary goal, in a very extreme situation is engaging in hunting for food. A balance of cost and reliability are big factors too.  

A-TACS Shotgun ScabbardI know that some people keep a shotgun with their bug-out bag.  If you have kids, or don't want to draw attention to it then a shotgun may not be a great choice.    Not only would it draw attention, but what if you like to travel with your bug-out bag?  I would want all items to be in the bag and easy to transport.  I don't want to have to carry a rifle bag or a shotgun in a scabbard.  That's out for me.  I see a bug-out bag as a warm security blanket for those times when a warm security blanket just won't cut it.

There are a couple serious rifle options for a bug-out bag. (I am sure there others beyond the couple I discuss, please share!) Keltec makes the Su-16 series of 5.56 semi-auto rifles.  The stock folds up to make it only about 16 inches in length which makes it easily concealable in many big backpacks or rucksacks.  I don't like this option for a number of reasons.  If I were ever to truly need the bag, I would want options beyond what the rifle would give me.  What if I need to conceal it?  How much ammo can I carry in the bag with it?  Even though it will fit in the bag, it's still going to take up a lot of room.  Plus, I know that I can put a trigger lock on it to make it safe, but do I really want a $600+ rifle just sitting around in a backpack?  

Ruger makes a take-down 22lr.  Those are cool and come with a nice carry bag of their own.  22lr is a classic versatile round.  I am sure many, including myself would consider almost the ultimate round and weapon to be a part of someone's proper preparation plans.  Should it be my one option?  Actually, I think a 22lr rifle is a great idea.  The ammo is super cheap and very lightweight compared to other rounds, therefore, I can store an awful lot of it in the bag without taking up too much room.  However, it's not an option for me for some of the same reasons why didn't want to put the 5.56 in my bag.  It will take up too much room and its not very concealable.  I know, I know I'll wish I had it if I had a to do some small game hunting if things really fell apart.  As a defensive option though, I wouldn't feel completely comfortable with.  

Let's see if I can get some people to say something on this one.  I actually think 22lr can be a viable defensive round option.  It is lethal. There's lots of great videos on Youtube to demonstrate the lethality and penetration of the 22lr round.    Rimfire used to be considered an unreliable round due to its tendency to have more fail to fires, etc.  However, with today's modern ammo that is becoming less and less of an issue.  I've fired perhaps a few hundred rounds of 22lr in the last few weeks and have never had a fail to fire. I wish I could practice more, but as many of you know, finding ammo is kind of like finding a unicorn nowadays.  It's almost at a mythical status for the recreational shooter.  My new Ruger 10/22 is still in the breaking in phase and I'm starting to figure out that it only likes high velocity rounds that are at least rated to move at 1250fps.  Therefore, some of the slower rounds are not allowing my new 10/22 to properly cycle through.  That's not the ammo's fault.

Eberlestock Blue Widow PackI would next look at some pistol options.  I would want something that I could count on as a defense weapon, and something small enough that I can put in a lockbox in the bag.  My interests there could be something in the size range of a Walther p22, Sig Sauerr Mosquito or Ruger SR22 which are all similarly sized semi-auto 22lr pistols.  I kind of like that idea. I can pack lots of ammo without taking up too much room and adding too much wait.  I know I said I would consider 22lr to be a viable defensive round, however, thinking about it sitting in the bag, when my main purpose of having it there would be for defense, I admit that doesn't give me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside.

There are some nice compact 9mm options.  Like the Keltec PF9 and the Ruger LC9.  I have shot both and they are both nice.  I'm a big fan of Ruger, and I really like the Keltec too.  The Keltec is pretty hard to find now but it could be had for around $249 and the Ruger LC9 is a little easier to find and usually run $400+.  I would probably like to the put the Keltect PF9 in the bag and save it for a rainy day so to speak.  The Keltec meets my need to balance cost and reliability.  I have put hundreds of rounds through one and have had zero issues.  Being so light (15 oz. unloaded) it has quite a kick when fired, however, you get used to that.  I know, 9mm ammo can be kind of heavy too, but 4 boxes wouldn't take up too much room and the weight would be acceptable from my standpoint.

If push came to shove you could hunt with 9mm, but obviously, especially when it came to small game, it wouldn't be the ideal choice, however, I would accept it.  How do you feel about that?

This is where my current evolution of ideas are.  When I do the radio show with our friends from The Prepper Project I know I will hear many different ideas that I've never heard of.  I read all I can online, however, a lot of people like ourselves don't usually get to air out their own ideas.  Please don't hesitate to share yours and get this discussion going.

Thanks for reading!

Timmy NoOne

This article received a lot of feedback and comments from reddit.com users.

Reddit user derrick81787 says:


It depends what's happening, why you are bugging out, where you are bugging out to, and what you plan on doing once you get there.
Am I anticipating needing to hunt for food? If so, then I want my 10/22 to hunt small game.
Am I defending myself during civil unrest or a civil war? If so, then I want my larger caliber rifle and/or handgun.
Do I not anticipate needing a gun at all, but thought that I'd bring one just in case? Then I might go with a .22lr pistol because it and it's ammo are small and light. However, unlike a .22lr rifle, it would be pretty hard to hunt small game with it. I might be able to shoot a squirrel out of a tree, but I'd have a pretty good chance of missing.
All of these uncertainties are some of the reasons why I generally dislike the idea of bugging out. Yeah, it's nice to have a plan to get away if you have to, but it would be an extreme last resort measure for me. I wouldn't leave my house unless it burnt down or something, and even in that case, I'd go to a relative's house or something. It would take a lot for me to just leave altogether.


[–]sometimesitworks 2 points ago
Ruger 10/22 is the only correct answer.
Go ahead and carry a handgun, but honestly, if you don't have a ruger 10/22 around as a part of your potential bugout scenarios, you are doing something wrong.

4 comments:

David Marshall said...

I think you need to separate the survival from the self defence class of firearm. I'm one that does not think the 22lr is a good choice for self defence. You can kill a man with a slingshot or pellet gun but that does not make it a good weapon for the job.
For self defence I carry Glock. Others have a favorite but thats the route I go. It's not in my BOB it's on my hip every day. I do have some spare ammo and mags in the BOB.
For the BOB I have a Henry survival AR-7. http://henryrepeating.com/rifle-survival-ar7.cfm
It's cheap to buy and cheap to shoot and rugged.

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