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.
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.
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.
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.
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.