Nearly everyone into prepping have a bug out bag (BOB) the contents vary from person to person, but mainly they allow the carrier to have what they think they will need to survive at least 72 hours. If needed they will provide food, water, shelter, perhaps some medical items, and maybe some self defense items, in the interim of waiting for help or getting to another location.
The BOB is usually limited to a limited armed response, and anyone that has to Get Out Of Dodge (G.O.O.D.) would be better served in getting loaded and moving, rather than finishing the preparations such as loading magazines, finding spare batteries for tactical lights, and so forth. Also if you are bailing out with only your BOB you are pretty limited in responding to a threat, and rather than try to fit everything in one big bag, it is easier to move with two smaller bags.
While avoiding any type of confrontation is the best bet that cannot be guaranteed if one is in a situation that means they have to bail now, they have no time to pack or load a vehicle, and that everything has gotten pretty far out of hand, pretty fast. It is no longer the brown stuff is about to hit the fan, but it is coming like a cyclone right at you. It is you ether were not paying attention, or something delayed your departure.
About a year ago, I realized that for me to field a loaded rifle against a threat would take 5-to-15 minutes. The rifles were in the safe downstairs, and all of the magazines and ammunition were upstairs, pretty much the same story for the shotguns. I would have to get the safe open grab a rifle, run upstairs find magazines and the ammo and load the magazines. Everything was organized and secure in case I needed it, or so I thought. It was in fact too secure.
I first got the idea of an Armed Response Kit (ARK) from retired Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, during one of his Bulletproof Mind seminars. In responding to school killers (He refuses to use the term shooters) officers were responding with only three magazines for their service weapon, and in a stand up confrontation would be forced to leave the engagement, due to running out of ammunition, The school resource officer at Columbine had to disengage as he had no reloads for his J-frame revolver, and as another officer inside kept the killers penned in the library, firing approx. 40 rounds before he had to pull out. As the Colonel says one man with a rifle in the first five minutes has more value than 100 men with rifles two hours later.
He suggested a small “go” bag that officers could grab from their cruisers on the way in, loaded with extra magazines and ammo. In other words a go to war bag, no
fumbling trying to find or load magazines, it s pre loaded and ready to go.
So this year I began working on my ARK, and looking at others, even semi commercial units being sold on the internet. I have set up in my opinion the ultimate ARK.
The mission of the Armed Response Kit is nothing more than being prepared for sustained battle, it is in fact a war bag, and nothing else, if you want something else put that in your BOB. Mine is modeled after those designed for going after active shooter killers. The key here is to have two bags set up, one the BOB to sustain life for a period of time from 3 to perhaps 7 days, and the ARK to defend that life with.
The first item to consider was the bag, and I looked at a lot of them, Maxpedition, 5:11 etc, and settled on the Drago Ambidextrous Shoulder bag, the reason I choose this bag is twofold the first being the bag has a number of MOLLE straps to add extra items, and second when I open the main compartment the lid opens away from my body, which mean it does not get in the way when accessing items from the bag., such as reloads. My second choice was the NC Star First Responder Bag, it is a bit smaller, and does not appear to be as robust as the Drago. On the outside of the bag using the MOLLE system I attached two pistol magazine pouches, one AR-15 magazine pouch with a 30 round AR-15 magazine and a Condor Rip away EMT bag, filled with trauma care items, If people are encountered and are wounded I can literally tear the bag off and give it to them to perform Point of Wound Care, or someone else to provide care. On the shoulder strap itself I affixed a Blackhawk Flashlight carrier, and carry a Hellfighter X-15 Light, This light puts out 150 lumens, and has carbide spikes to break windows, or faces. The last item on the outside is a mini Ka-Bar resting under the EMT bag. Now, moving into the interior of the bag, there is a Pistol pocket at the rear, inside rests a spare 1911, Colt Commander in 9mm, my carry gun is an Wilson Combat CQB 1911 in 9mm. So the same magazines work in both guns, as a note my back up gun is a Para-USA Carry 9, so the larger magazines also fit this gun–they just stick out a bit.
In regards to carry, my primary is the Wilson Combat CQB 1911, 2 spare magazines, 2 Boker knives, one on the right side, and one on the left, a Surefire Defender flashlight, and a mini baton, when going to town the Para Carry 9 is added to front left pants pocket. When I go to the city I add two magazines, the ARK and the Colt Carbine.
Moving to the main compartment I have 6 additional 30 round AR magazines, one Dyna Stopper compression bandage, one Military compression bandage, one Israeli Combat Bandage, and a CAT, a pair of 5:11 gloves, and a Surefire flashlight.
The lid compartment holds two 20-round AR-15 magazines, the front pouch hold two carabineers, and a 10 foot nylon drag strap. (If someone is wounded, and in the danger zone, I use the strap to drag them to safety.) The front pouch also holds 25 feet of paracord, a Gerber FAST knife, a multi-tool, and a spring-loaded center punch, and a Sharpie marker. In the water carrier is bottled water.
The carabineers and drag strap can be used to pull a wounded person to safety, or used to secure a door, the para cord can be used to open a door you think might be booby trapped, the center punch can be used to break glass, and the sharpie can be used to mark cleared areas. Now fully loaded it does weigh nearly 20 lbs, but I have nearly 250 rounds of rifle ammo and 30 rounds of pistol ammo, and a spare gun, when going to battle you will near regret having too much ammo.
I keep this bag loaded and ready to go at all times, along with a Colt 6520 LE lightweight carbine, it has a 16 inch barrel, and that is the shortest I recommend. Due to the requirements of the NFA, 16 inches is the shortest legal length for civilian rifle barrels. And while 14.5 and even 11 inch barrels are out there, [except as registered SBRs in the United Sates] they have flash hiders welded to them, so you have the same length, with lower performance, as powder is still burning after the bullet exits the barrel.
I can be ready to roll in less than 30 seconds, even in the middle of the night I can simply grab this bag and be ready to respond. When I go to change out the ammo, I load another set of magazines and replace the ones in the bag with a fresh load.
Of course in setting up an ARK, like a BOB you can customize it to fit your needs, in mine you may see redundancy, but I’m a true believer in Murray on the battlefield, guns break and malfunction, knives break , or are lost. Again I find the weight to be comforting rather than a burden.
If a shotgun is your preference you could dump shells in the main compartment, but to me the Condor Shotgun Pouch makes more sense, it holds 25 rounds in loops, so there would be no fumbling with shells., and can be loaded in such a way you could have your pick of slugs or buckshot, and will attach via the MOLLE system.
The same setup could be done with a tactical vest, and would be more comfortable to carry, but the vest might take time to adjust depending on the season, weather it is summer or winter I simply throw the strap of the bag over my should and go.
You may have to stand and fight before, or during a G.O.O.D. trip be ready, with an ARK.