I recently went through my ASAP bag and took stock of the gear, replaced perishable stores, and made some weight-saving changes. Shaving off a few ounces here and there is important. I also thought of a specific bug-out bag for firearms. After all, the emergency supply bag is crowded enough with a bivy sack or two, hatchet, flare gun, a couple of knives and multi-tools, QuikClot, sealed water, and the rest.
The essentials of hygiene and health are important. Most emergencies are natural — a flood, tornado, hurricane, or fire. You will have some warning. I don’t expect a civil uprising or gang invasion, and I am certain we won’t see Zombies or aliens. (Although, zombies are at least based on the real-life plague.)
A firearm is a handy thing to have, providing you know how to use it. So, obtaining a gun bag and memorizing the contents of each pocket is a good idea. Think it through, load up what you need, and leave the rest somewhere else.
Many folks carry handguns that I would never trust my life to. In an emergency, pocket guns are useless. You may dream up a scenario in which they will save the day, but reality demands frontline gear. A firearm with enough accuracy and penetration to serve in personal defense is important. It must be reliable above all else.
Weapons selection is important. I would rather be lithe and fast, and have a .22, than terribly out of shape and well-armed. Just the same, well-trained, function, and to be reasonably well-armed is a good goal. If you intend on living off the land, it won’t be viable unless you have actually — at some point — taken game with that firearm. However, that is another concern. I will be discussing hardware today.
Filling the Emergency Bag
Every piece in the emergency bag has a purpose. As an example, I don’t want to be the old dude who slides down a ravine and is found two years later. So, I keep a signal gun in the ASAP bag just in case. When it comes to the gun bag, well, it is in addition to the emergency bag which holds the emergency medical stores. This reflects my life experience.
I have endured a few natural emergencies and have been involved in searches during bad weather. Most folks made a critical mistake; some just got caught in an unpredictable situation. On the other hand, some need a gun bag for their job. Folks called to quickly move to a trouble area, high-level security, and peace officers on call need a gun bag. So do we — if must bug out due to weather.
The humble Alice Pack is one choice. The Alice Pack separates ammunition and fighting supplies from existing supplies — things needed for life and hygiene. I don’t think most of us need this type of gear, but it is certainly an option for long-term use.
The gun bag may also be used as a pillow or a shooting rest in my world. The weight is important, and of course, the young and strong may carry more weight than the rest of us, but there is no good reason to do so.
There have been any number of studies on military men and pack weight. Back problems are common with those who served scout and recon roles carrying enough supplies to sustain long patrols. Just because you can pick it up and throw it over the shoulder, doesn’t mean you will be comfortable carrying the gun for hours and many miles.
Most of us carry a handgun as well as a spare gun load in daily life. That is more than adequate for foreseeable personal defense situations. Traveling cross country or taking a long hike is another matter.
The modern, high capacity 9mm is relatively light, and the magazines allow carrying a considerable reserve in the gun bag. 9mm ammunition is relatively light as well. On the other hand, dangerous animals are a concern, and a quality .357 Magnum is never a bad idea. A modern version that accepts moon clips is a good option for many.
I would include a minimalist cleaning kit and wipe-down rag, a few simple tools in a kit, and a rugged holster. If you store the handgun in the gun bag, it is a good idea to keep it with the chamber empty. I would choose an extended magazine when available, this simply makes carrying ammunition easier. A 20-round magazine for the SIG or Beretta simply makes sense.
The Alps Outdoorz Ghost 30 is my favorite gun bag. It is designed as a day pack that is capable of concealing a handgun. It does this well, features plenty of pockets, and even a hydration option. This is a backpack that is easily carried, well-padded, and designed from its inception for gun carry.
A bug-out bag may also be suited for vehicle storage. I like MTM products for vehicle storage. With segmented sections for magazines or ammunition, they make a lot of sense.
While the gun bug-out bag is gun specific, I like to drop a QuikClot in the gun bag — just in case. Take time when choosing your gear and obtain a quality bag or pack that suits your needs. Don’t overthink, and don’t go too heavy.