Irma replays, earthquake flurries, political unrest, and oh yes, zombies. These are perilous times. No longer are you the nutcase (you clicked on this article, didn't you?). You're the norm, the prudent solid citizen preparing for the time when the evening jaunt to the corner grocer may be fraught with peril that has little to do with the indigestion left by those heavenly spicy mini-tacos.
Now, the happy-in-their-iPad-bubble unprepared are the nutcases. Disaster looms, and whether it's via super volcano or a super virus, it pays to be prepared. The following will help you ensure that your bug-out-bag is not only properly equipped to feed and protect you and yours, but to maintain the tools that do so.
By now, we all have (or should have) our 72-hour kits packed and ready to go. Most of these kits include food and water, first aid, heat/light source and a change of clothing. In addition to these supplies, many people consider firearms to be an essential part of their kit; however, proper firearm supplies are often omitted from bug-out bag shakedown lists.
On the plus side, most shooters already know and own everything that they should include; for the most part, it's the same stuff we keep in our range bags - minus the melted Snickers bar and used ear plugs. Just remember, all items should be able to serve multiple purposes to be as space/weight efficient as possible.
Keep it together: A compact, tactical daypack helps contain all of the firearm related must-haves in one easily accessed location. The Rush Moab 10 from 5.11 Tactical
is a modular, compact, yet heavy-duty bag.
It's going to get dirty out there. When society falls apart and it all hits the fan, guns will get filthy, require cleaning and always perform better when properly lubed.
But you don't have to fill your bag with bottles of powder solvent, copper remover and a one-piece cleaning rod. You can look through your gear and assemble a travel-size kit from what you have on hand, or you can consider one of the compact cleaning kits on the market today. Most include everything needed to keep your firearms working properly and come in a variety of sizes, applications, calibers and prices. I opted for Otis's 3-Gun cleaning kit and Safariland's Break Free CLP Precision Shooter dispenser.
The 3-gun kit includes all the necessities needed to maintain your .223/5.56mm, 9mm, .40, .45, and even a 12-gauge shotgun. Plus, Otis supplies our folks out on the front line — if it's good enough for military pros, it is absolutely good enough for me.
Safariland's Precision Shooter is easy on space and weight, and the pen dispenser provides pinpoint placement of CLP exactly where it's needed. Plus, when it comes to lube, it's hard to find a more tried and tested product than Break Free CLP.
Price: Otis 3-Gun cleaning kit, $70; Safariland's Break Free CLP Precision Shooter dispenser, $7
Tapco sling (single or multi-point adaptable)
If nature has taught us anything, it is that survivors adapt. As conditions change, flexibility becomes increasingly important. This is especially true when it comes to how you carry your rifle. Having a sling in your bug-out bag that can quickly adapt from single to multi-point is especially helpful. This fully adaptable sling from Tapco
is great because it is solid and simple, yet versatile, and can be easily adjusted on the go.
Weapon Light and Laser
Gun-mounted flashlights improve two-way communication; the light shows you what you're aiming at and communicates the seriousness of your intentions to two-legged targets of villainous bent. In more ways than one, gun-mounted flashlights are a great way to illuminate your target.
Surefire's X400 WeaponLight is renowned for its ability to throw an exceptionally bright light, and for its laser that is bright enough to spot in daylight. Because the X400 is LED-based, there's no need to include extra bulbs, and it will burn fewer batteries — this saves on space, weight and cost. It can be quickly moved from a handgun to a long gun — eliminating the need to purchase and carry a second weapon light.
Note: There are many components of your BoB where you may be tempted to look for discount (read inferior) products. Saving on electronics that you and your family may rely on for safety may not be the best choice
As a general rule, if you are carrying a firearm, it is best kept in a safe, secure, yet easily accessible location. What good is a defensive tool if you have to dig through your bag to find it? Similarly, firearms can become a burden and a liability if you do not have a reliable way to keep them safe and secure. There is a balance between having your firearm in your hands at all times and keeping it buried in your pack. I looked at many retention options before deciding on Galco's Concealable Belt Holster for the Glock 19
. The Concealable Belt Holster holds my Glock 19 tight enough that it never budged in any of the shake-it-loose tests that I performed. Here it is uniquely mounted on the chest strap of a Rush Moab 10 pack by 5.11 Tactical. This configuration allows me to keep both hands free while also keeping the gun in a very secure, yet accessible location.
Another solid option that the author considered was Galco's Double Time OWB/IWB holster kit. This newer, adaptable model is attractive because it includes the hardware needed to convert it from an OWB to an IWB, depending on your concealment requirements.
Magpul PMag 30 Maglevel
It goes without saying, but packing extra magazines is a must. Bad guys don't wait for you to recharge mags, and you might even drop one during a mag change along the way. Having extra, loaded magazines is a must. Pack at least four loaded magazines for every firearm in your bug-out bag.
My personal preference for my super-accurate Rock River AR? Magpul's PMag 30 Maglevel magazines, due to the no-tilt follower and clear-view window.
The most you can carry will be barely enough in a truly apocalyptic world. A hundred rounds for your chosen rifle is a good minimum. Find out what works best in your particular rifle, and stock up.
Fusion's 62-grain, boat-tail round consistently shoots sub-moa, five-shot groups from my Rock River AR-15 with an 18-inch stainless, 1:8 twist barrel with a Wylde chamber.
The 62-grain Fusion round is also extremely versatile: Since the projectile was engineered for deer hunting, it serves well for both self-defense and putting food in your belly.
Price: $26 per box of 20 rounds
Due to the fact that Hornady's Critical Defense ammo
cycles flawlessly — not a single jam, misfire or feeding issue — in my very dirty Glock 19*, it's the load filling the spare magazines in the go-bag. This particular ammo uses 115-grain FTX bullets, and its stellar performance (even through bulky clothing) makes it a very capable 9mm load. The fact that it consistently shoots nice, tight groups doesn't hurt either.
Price: $26 per box of 25 rounds
* I make it a point to clean and lube my Glock 19 about every 5,000 rounds, whether it needs it or not.
Your guns will continue to require more attention than ever when in a harsh, no-warrantee-available environment. Having the right tools in your bug-out bag is important, but you don't have to drag around the whole toolbox. Two of the best-known multi-tool manufacturers, Leatherman
, both offer products to meet the needs of military and non-military shooters alike — including a bottle opener.
Price: Leatherman MUT Gun Tool, $150