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Guns for your Bugout Bag……

Note:Check your local laws to see if it is lawful to store a firearm in your bugout bag.

There are many circumstances where having survival kit/bugout bag proves very beneficial.

Several years ago my future wife and I were traveling during the winter months from New Hampshire to South Carolina. While going through New York we ran into a severe ice storm – roads were slick and traffic was at a stand still – and it was late at night. The radio really provided no information on the roads. I pulled out my survival kit and retrieved a portable CB radio. We pulled onto an exit ramp, placed the antenna on the roof – and listened to the truckers on the road. We soon heard that a sand truck was near the exit we were at – and sure enough we saw it drove by. We followed it to the next exit where there was a hotel and stopped to spend the night.

ice storm survival

My point is – between a breakdown in the middle of nowhere, winter storms, evacuation, and more – a survival kit/bugout bag is an insurance policy to help you through some difficult times. Along with that – within some of those same circumstances – there are also times when a firearm could prove useful.

The first thought that comes to mind when I think of a firearm in my survival kit – is to defend myself and my family. This world can be a dangerous place – and threats can come from many sources. If you are stuck on the side of the road – you never know who may stop to “help” you. Being able to meet a violent confrontation with appropriate force is critical. Evacuating to another location after TSHTF – being able to protect yourself against 2 legged threat may mean the difference between life and death. If you are stuck in the middle of nowhere – depending upon where you are – animals could become a threat. Of course – if you are truly in a deep woods survival situation – you may need to be able to get some small game to provide some nourishment.

So – when considering a firearm for a bug out bag – here are a few thoughts and examples:

Ruger Mk III – .22LR semi-auto pistol with a 10 shot magazine. Big advantage is lightweight and the ability to carry quite a bit of ammo without adding a lot of bulk. Main disadvantage is limited range and lower power of the cartridge.

Ruger Mk III

AR-7 Explorer  – One of the original survival rifles. The AR-7 is a .22LR semi-auto carbine that is fed by an 8-round magazine. The unique feature of the AR-7 is the action, barrel, and magazines can all be taken apart and stored in the buttstock. It even floats when in storage mode. Advantages are obvious – carbine in a very small area, along with ability to carry a decent ammunition supply without adding much weight. I used to own an old Charter Arms AR-7 and loved it. Same as with the Ruger – main disadvantage is low power of the .22LR cartridge and limited range.

AR-7 Survival Rifle


S&W M&P 9mm Polymer-Framed Semi-Auto Pistol- You can substitute any quality polymer framed centerfire pistol here – such as the Glock & Springfield XD. Reason for specified polymer frame? Lighter weight. The M&P9 fills the role as protection agsint 4 legged as well as 2 legged creatures. The louder report from a centerfire cartridge would also serve well as a signal to alert others if the need was there. By the way – compact version’s may be even better for greater weight reduction as well as less bulk.

S&W M&P 9 

So – that is about it. Of course – if your bugout bag is very large and you are strong enough – you could use a pistol gripped shotgun. They are short and powerful. For me – just not very realistic.

Let’s summarize my thoughts:

– .22LR semi-auto pistol

– .22LR take down carbine

– centerfire semi-auto pistol (a good .357 revolver as well)

Many people who have a survival kit or bugout bag have no plans to incorporate firearms. For me – firearms are just part of preparedness and being able to handle certain situations. By the way – I have a S&W M&P9 and love it. I plan to get another AR-7 and used to own a Ruger .22LR pistol – so these recommendations do not come without some experience.


Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

6 comments to Guns for your Bugout Bag……

  • JeSter

    My only comment has to do with the climate you live in. In the Mid-West we have cold winters and hot summers and you never know what will happen in the spring or fall. The point is, keeping a weapon packed in your BOB in your trunk year round will likely lead to a hunk of rust. I know, I know, you should maintain your weapons often, but I am not in Afghanistan anymore and actually get paid for doing things other than preparing for combat.

    I would suggest that you carry whatever hand gun you chose on a daily basis and add a .22, shotggun, or long rifle as the threat level dictates. It’s important to train yourself to think about probable threats and how to mitigate them on a daily basis.

  • Craig

    Good point on climate and rust…same issues if you live near salt water. Some sites recommend stainless steel which would eliminate your rust issue…just keep some gun wrap or spray paint handy in case you have to cammo it up to reduce your visibility.

    Bottom line, there’s no use preparing if you’re just going to have to turn all your preps over to the first bandit you see. Your preparations make you a target…make sure you’re not a ‘soft target.’

  • 'Jason'

    Good post. Utilizing one of the newer rust inhibitor bags to store your BOB firearm in is highly recommended also to keep said firearm rust-free. A couple friends of mine have vacuum sealed Ruger Mk2’s just for this purpose. Personally I have a Makarov vacuum sealed and kept in the car kit also with a old Charter AR7 that is just deadly with CCI Stingers or Mini-Mags.

    Watch out which AR7 you get. The ones from Henry are hit or miss, older Survival Arms were mostly a miss. The biggest issue were finding decent magazines that work and lack of quality control/machining. Most people I know who bought a Henry/Survival Arms AR7 had to use some JB paste and throat it for proper feeding or just sold it because it wouldn’t reliably feed.

  • If you do not include a firearm in any of your BugOut bags, your bugout bags will eventually belong to someone that does have a firearm!!!

  • I had a Ruger Mk III but found it was pure heck to take down. I literally had to use a large rubber mallet with all the force I could muster to get the barrel off/on. I decided that was too much of a hassle, sold that pistol (got what I paid for it), and picked up a Beretta U22 NEOS. The NEOS is ugly, but fits my wife’s hand better, is accurate and reliable, cost a little less, and can be field stripped in less than 30 seconds. The Ruger pistols are excellent from what I hear, but new ones are apt to be trouble cleaning.

  • last line of survival

    glock 22 in 40cal. down here in the south the g22 is carried by police ant other law enforcem etc. and plus its a glock need i say more.