My Situation Is Likely Not Yours
First off, my situation is not yours. What works for me may not necessarily work for you. Seeing as that I am yet another guy on the Internet with an opinion, I strongly recommend you read what I have written and then make an informed decision about whether this information applies to your circumstances. If it does not, please disregard it. If it does, I am glad I could be of service.
Intro To Bug Out Firearms and Ammunition
This essay refers to the firearms and ammunition load I would take along with me if my wife and I were to bug out. I am personally not a fan of the bug out philosophy. If you leave with nowhere to go, you are a refugee and will have a slim chance of survival. If you already have a retreat, you are either close enough to it where you could live there full time (with considerable inconvenience perhaps), or it is so far away that you would be unlikely to reach it before someone else does. In my opinion, the vast majority of the time a bug-in strategy is more suitable.
Plan For Bugging Out As Contingency
With all that said, I also plan for bugging out as a contingency. There are any number of scenarios where staying at my house would be untenable. I am not so wedded to a piece of soil that I am willing to die upon it. While becoming a refugee is a nightmarish prospect, a slim chance of survival is infinitely better than certain death. I’m not the type to lay down and die without making a try for life.
A Mission To Stay Alive
As survivalists, we have exactly one mission: to stay alive. You also cannot protect and provide for those you love if you are dead. All other concerns are secondary to this goal.
General Bug-out Plans
As a slightly off topic side note, if I were to bug out I would not carry the bulk of my belongings in a backpack. I have devised a system that I think works much better, with the caveat that it is less suitable for challenging terrain.
- Obtain a high quality garden wagon.
- Obtain a well-made, well-fitted battle belt with suspenders.
- Run a strap from the handle of the wagon to the lumbar portion of the belt.
- In my experience, unless the terrain is very difficult, you can move 150 pounds of cargo with this method with no more effort than a 50-pound backpack.
Now, we can get to the meat of the article.
Firearm Selection For Bugging Out
My bug out “team” would likely consist of my wife, me, and our two dogs. In my opinion, you are less likely than you think to use a firearm while bugging out, for one very important reason: it is not your job to get into a fight. Post-SHTF, you are not a solider, crusader, mercenary, LEO, or any other type of person who needs to engage hostiles in order to fulfill the mission. Your only mission is to stay alive. To that end, avoiding a fight is a much more viable strategy than engaging other people in battle. To illustrate my point, let’s conduct a brief thought experiment.
A Thought Experiment
In our experiment, let’s say it’s been three months since the balloon went up. You are trying to walk from Florida to west Texas. Somewhere along the way, you spot a man carrying a rifle approximately 300 yards from you. You know nothing about this man, but here are some possible situations:
- He is the advance scout of a vicious gang bent on doing unspeakably brutal things to you,
- The man is a desperate loner who may or may not try to kill you for your stuff,
- He is a relatively decent person taking a leak while his wife prepares breakfast, or
- He could be anything in between.
The point is, you have no idea who he is or what his intentions are. If he has not spotted you, withdrawing quietly and circling around him is by far the best strategy. In a post apocalyptic situation, there is also nothing cowardly about avoiding a fight. The best way to survive a fight is not to be in one.
How does this relate to my firearm selection? It means that the purpose of your guns is personal defense, not active combat. This means that you do not need specialized firearms, nor do you need as much ammunition as you think. Of course, a fight is still possible and perhaps likely, depending on the circumstances. Given this, you will need weapons that can adequately protect you.
The primary firearm my wife and I would carry for personal defense is the Keltec sub 2000, specifically ones chambered in 9mm and accepting Glock magazines. My rationale for this is as follows:
- They are extremely light, with an unloaded weight of only four pounds. This means they can be carried slung all day with minimal fatigue. They are also extremely handy.
- These gun accept not only the same ammo but the same magazines as our pistols (Glock 17s), which is a fabulous thing. That means any loaded mag we have can be put into any of our defensive arms. It also means we only need to carry one type of defensive ammo, which allows us to carry more of it than if we were trying to manage several calibers.
- They have an effective range of 100-150 yards. This is more than sufficient for personal defense. Some may argue that more range is always better. That’s true in a vacuum, but that requires a rifle in a rifle caliber, which is one more cartridge to carry. Carrying additional cartridges limits how much can be carried.
- As far as reliability, I have never had a malfunction with any of mine. A caveat to that is I have also not tried to make one fail. However, other people have done so and have put videos of the tests on the Internet. My analysis shows that while the sub2k is not the most reliable firearm, it is certainly reliable enough.
- The sub2000 can be folded in half for easy concealment inside a backpack, which may be useful if hiding your weapons becomes an issue.
- Some will argue that an “assault” rifle is a better tool for protecting yourself. It indisputably is. However, one AR-15 or similar with a moderate amount of accessories weighs more than two Keltec sub2000’s. It also requires packing another caliber, which is logistically cumbersome.
- Lastly, it does not look as threatening as other guns, which could actually be a huge plus. Someone wearing a plate carrier, a dozen mags, and a massive tricked out rifle is also going to be perceived by literally everyone as a threat. A dirty, tired, less well armed couple may go unnoticed. Bugging out is one situation where going grey is your friend. Remember, most of the people you encounter won’t be looking for a fight either.
We will be carrying Glock 17s as our sidearms. This allows us to use the same ammunition and magazines as our primary arms, which is logistical perfection. I am going to assume that the reader is familiar enough with Glocks that no further explanation of them is required, except to say that I trust their reliability with my life. They are by no means our favorite pistols, but if we can only have one they’re what we would pick. As one of the most popular pistols ever made, there is a small chance we’d be able to scavenge replacement parts.
Defensive Ammunition Load
9mm was selected for two reasons:
- It is the most common centerfire pistol cartridge, and one of the most common cartridges over all. While I personally do not think much ammunition can be gained by scavenging, it makes sense to maximize one’s chances.
- My wife is unable to shoot .40 or .45, and obviously she and I need to use the same ammunition.
Carrying in Magazines, Not Loose Rounds
We will be carrying our ammunition entirely in magazines. No loose rounds will be packed. All rounds will be jacketed hollow points. To that end, we will be carrying the following:
- Six 33-round magazines to feed the Keltecs. This also provides a good amount of firepower.
- Sixteen 17-round magazines to feed our pistols and act as backups to our primary defensive arms.
- This provides 470 rounds of ammunition. While this might seem to be critically low, it is important to note that even with a cart, weight is a consideration here, and we will be avoiding a fight at all costs. Survival is about more than sending large amounts of lead downrange.
In my opinion, hunting will be a relatively rare event during a bug-out situation. With tens of millions of desperate people, large game will likely go extinct, and small game will become extremely secretive and wary. With that said, it is possible a tasty looking small animal may be encountered. Therefore, it makes sense to have some method of dispatching it.
The firearm chosen for this purpose is the Smith and Wesson Governor. It has several advantages over other firearms:
- The Governor is lightweight, certainly much more so than a comparable long gun. It is also concealable.
- It can fire .410 shells, .45LC, and .45 ACP, although the latter requires moon clips. This means that it can use birdshot for very small game, buckshot for medium-sized game, as well as being able to fire legitimate self-defense rounds, allowing it to be used as a backup defensive weapon. Being a revolver, it is quite reliable.
- As a revolver, loads can be organized according to need. My standard loading, to be fired in order, is three birdshot, two buckshot, and one .45LC. This allows me to cover nearly any situation.
Hunting Ammunition Load
- 125 birdshot. The primary purpose of this firearm is to take small game.
- 55 buckshot, for medium-sized game or emergency self defense.
- 25 .45LC for self defense or larger game. This particular cartridge is quite powerful.
- No .45ACP will be carried, but it will be an option. It is possible this ammunition can be scavenged. 50 moon clips weigh almost nothing and take up almost no space, giving me a third option if the opportunity presents itself.
- This ammunition will be arranged on three 65-round bandoliers for convenience.
Finally, an 8 shot S&W revolver chambered in .22lr will be carried. This gun and 300 rounds of ammunition does not weigh much, and it’s useful for taking small game or even self defense if all other options were exhausted.
There you have it. In my usual long-winded way, I have outlined my opinions on bugging out, what the goal of doing so is, and what firearms I would need to carry to achieve my goal. If you have found this information to be helpful, I am glad I could be of service.
SurvivalBlog Writing Contest
This has been another entry for Round 73 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:
- A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
- A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
- A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
- DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
- Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
- A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
- Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value), and
- American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.
- A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
- A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
- A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
- A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
- A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
- A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
- A pre-selected assortment of military surplus gear from CJL Enterprize (a $300 value), and
- RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.
- A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
- A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
- Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
- Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
- Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances, and
- Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).
Round 73 ends on November 30th, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.