In Building a Bug Out Bag Part I we discussed why building a Bug Out Bag is important and what type of bag to select. In Part II we discussed the Transportation Items to consider, in Part III we explored Water preparedness, in Part IV it was Food preparedness, in Part V we tackled Shelter, Clothing and Protection from the elements and in Part VI we considered Communications options. Today we’ll discuss Security preparedness and some Security elements to consider while building a Bug Out Bag. Remember, this is your last ditch, carry on your back, walk away from trouble Bug Out Bag…not what you hope you can get to your bug out location if your car, SUV, or gyrocopter makes it.
Deciding what security considerations to include is one of the toughest parts of Building a Bug Out Bag. I’ve seen Bug Out Bag setups that look more like a ‘go to war bag’ than a ‘get my family to safety bag.’ There is no way to know ahead of time to know if the rule of law will still be in force, break down or how bad it might get during your bug out. Making Security decisions are very tough and potentially have serious consequences. You must consider both the current legal environment and your potential self defense requirements. I feel that it is my responsibility to keep my family safe and trusting that everyone I come into contact with has good intentions towards my wife and children would be foolish. That said, I have thee rules:
Three Security Preparedness Rules:
- Keep it Legal: Know the laws in your state, neighboring states, and all states you might need to travel through. Municipal laws must be considered as well. You’d be surprised by how much you can get away with and stay legal in most states (sorry Illinois, New England, California and Hawaii readers this doesn’t apply so much to you). Make sure to check the laws for non-firearms options as well because some jurisdictions regulate defensive items you might not expect. Also, consider getting your Concealed Carry License (after you’ve been trained) to expand your options. Here are some websites to help you with your research:
- Keep it Safe: Only carry what you are trained and willing to use. A defensive weapon that you aren’t willing to use will be used offensively against you or others. Get training and practice with your weapon(s) or techniques of choice. Learn to store your defensive weapons safely and out of the hands of curious kids or the mentally ill.
- Keep it Sane: I know how to properly employ a machine gun, but that’s not a reasonable defensive weapon for a bug out situation…even if it is legal in your area. Be rational, not a Rambo wannabe.
After applying the three Security Preparedness rules above you may want to consider one or more of the following:
Less Lethal Options:
- Law enforcement has taken to calling ‘non lethal’ options by a more appropriate name…’less lethal’ because the unexpected happens:
- Walking Stick: A walking stick may be your only option if you live in a state that believes the best victim is the unarmed victim.
- ASP: An asp is a lightweight, telescoping club. They don’t look like much until a flip of the wrist extends them and then you have a weapon that can keep an assailant at a distance. There is even an Asp flashlight option that can be added to the tip.
- Spray: Pepper Spray is an up close and personal single use defensive item…but be ready to run after using it because the other guys is going to be pissed-off when he recovers. Bear Spray might be a better option as it also works on human predators and gives you more reach and more power. Bear spray is heavier than defensive pepper spray but if spray were my only self defense option I’d be willing to take on the extra weight.
- Electronic Defense: I don’t have enough experience with Tasers and Stun Guns to be comfortable recommending them and can only see using one if it was one of my only legal self defense options. Some of these items now have reusable cartridges or can be used several times.
- Knives: As mentioned previously, knives are not for defense unless you’re specifically and extensively trained.
- Pistol: Pistols are relatively lightweight and make a 100 lbs woman the equal of any 300 lbs hooligan. Pistols can provide you with a handful (stay away from derringers) or dozens of shots before it’s necessary to reload. Caliber is less important than competence but there are differences. Consider obtaining your Concealed Carry license if it’s an option in your state.
- Rifle: Rifles give you much more defense capability (you can control more territory around you with a rifle than with a pistol) and calibers matter but competence is still more important. What follows is a VERY brief introduction to some of the options and considerations of firearms for bugging out:
- Battle and Assault Rifles: Battle rifles and ‘assault rifles’ are built to fight with. The term ‘assault rifle’ is really a misnomer because the types of rifles we’re talking about look like selective fire, military assault rifles but aren’t because they’re only semi-automatic…not fully automatic or burst (usually 3 rounds per pull of the trigger) fire. These types of weapons are built for armies but can also fill the self defense role for individuals. These rifles provide massive firepower and the ability to reach out and touch someone if necessary. Do your research, seek training and practice if you decide a battle rifle or assault rifle is right for you. These rifles currently have limited availability and are very expensive because of the fear of a new ‘assault weapons’ ban.
- Takedown Rifle: While many rifles can be broken down for transport there is a class of (generally.22 cal) rifles that are specifically designed as ‘survival rifles’ and would stow easily in a Bug Out Bag. While we aren’t focused on ‘wilderness survival’ with our Bug Out Bag…keep in mind that the .22 cal is used primarily in a food procurement role as a survival rifle but is better than a sharp pointy stick for self defense. Here are three options:
- Ruger 10-22 Takedown: This is the new takedown adaptation of one of the most successful civilian rifle designs of all time. Lots of accessories available including 25 round factory original magazines (stay away from the aftermarket magazines as they don’t feed well).
- AR-7, U.S. Survival: The AR-7 breaks down into the smallest package of the three takedown rifles we’re looking at. There were quality issues with some runs from the former manufacturer but those made by Henry Arms receive good reviews. These come with two 8 round magazines but larger capacity magazines are also available, weigh just 3.5 pounds and float. Most of the gun actually stows inside it’s own stock. This was designed as an air crew survival rifle.
- M-6 Scout: The M-6 Scout was also designed as an aircrew survival rifle. This rifle also has a .410 shotgun barrel under the .22 cal rifle barrel which gives you additional capability but it’s essentially a double barreled firearm with one shotgun and one rifle barrel. The minimalist design stores the ammunition in the stock. This rifle/shotgun combo is no longer produced.
- Any Other Rifle: You’re not limited to battle rifles and takedown rifles of course…I just wanted to highlight those as options. Don’t be afraid to use what you already own and know how to use.
- Shotgun: A shotgun is the easiest weapon to learn to shoot but can be heavy…both the weapon itself and the ammunition. Keep in mind that a shotgun is only effective at relatively short ranges. There are a number of ammunition (shell) options for the shotgun…for defensive use I like the value presented by Rio Buckshot which I buy from LuckyGunner.
- Accessories & Ammunition:
- Sling: A sling (preferably one that lets you carry your weapon at the ready) is important if you are carrying your weapon ‘locked and cocked’ (not stowed in your bag).
- Ammunition: How much ammunition to carry depends on what you expect during your bug out, what weapon(s) you carry and how much weight you’re willing to carry. The weight of ammunition varies dramatically by caliber and type (pistol, rifle, rimfire, shotgun, etc.)
- Magazines: If your weapon takes external magazines buy quality magazines (factory originals are generally the safest but I have great experience with Mec-Gar brand as well) and carry them loaded if possible. I prefer to carry at least three magazines for my pistols and more than that for my rifle. A number of Prepography advertisers and affiliates carry magazines and Brownells and LuckyGunner even had some AR magazines available as of the writing of this article. If you don’t have all the magazines you’ll ever need, buy them now or at least backorder them. Brownells sold over three and a half years worth of AR magazines in a matter of weeks following the talk of limiting magazine capacity. Prices are up a little on some magazines with a capacity of 10 or more rounds, but I recommend that you buy anyway if they’re not crazy expensive…like Cheaperthandirt.com selling GI AR-15 Magazines that were selling for $14 last month for $120 this week.
Check back tomorrow for Building a Bug Out Bag – Part VIII when we’ll discuss Financial preparedness for your Bug Out Bag.