Ideas on best bug out firearms?

Items to keep you alive in the event you must evacuate: discussions of basic Survival Kits commonly called "Bug Out Bags" or "Go Bags"

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Ideas on best bug out firearms?

Post by derf26 » Mon Dec 11, 2017 1:35 pm

If you were putting together a bug out bag (say for 3 days) all the way up to an INCH bag (say, a year), what firearms would you go for? It seems like there are so many considerations and constraints it's hard to make a good decision:

Functions:
1. Self-defense.
2. Hunting small game.
3. Hunting large game.

Constraints:
1. Size.
2. Weight.
3. Concealability (optional but might be a good idea).

22LR ammo is very light and small, so it satisfies all of the constraints, but it's only really good for hunting small game. Even though it could be used for self-defense in a pinch, the reliability of rimfire is so poor I'd rather not. A 22 takedown rifle would be much better for accuracy than a pistol, especially beyond 20 yards, but since the rifle is also going to be fairly inaccurate past 100 yards, and can't effectively harvest large game or be used for self-defense, is it better to go with a 22 pistol for small game and a bigger rifle for larger game and self-defense?

Or would you just stick to a semi-auto pistol in a common caliber like 9mm for self-defense?

I'm pretty much entirely excluding shotguns because the shells are just too big and heavy. You'd only be able to carry a few of them and that makes it a less viable proposition.

Remember: 1lb of 22LR is about 136 rounds. 1lb of 5.56 is about 37 rounds. 1lb of .308 is 19 rounds. 1lb of 12 GA averages just 10 shells.

What would you take, considering that you would have to carry it all (the firearm, the magazines, the ammo, the cleaning kit, etc.)?
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Re: Ideas on best bug out firearms?

Post by RickOShea » Mon Dec 11, 2017 1:52 pm

That's an easy one....
longy wrote:10.5" barreled AR15 in 223, with Ciener .22lr conversion unit and suppressor. M21 Beretta .22lr pocket gun, with suppressor.
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Re: Ideas on best bug out firearms?

Post by derf26 » Mon Dec 11, 2017 2:03 pm

You mean you'd do the conversion to 22LR on the rifle in the field on an as need basis? How long does that take?
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Re: Ideas on best bug out firearms?

Post by echo83 » Mon Dec 11, 2017 2:09 pm

Zombie Squad has to be the only forum where the dead "members" are brought back to life...HokiLongyZantra reposts make me laugh and cringe simultaneously.

OP, my current loadout would be a combination of 22 lr and 12 gauge. (Marlin Model 25 and Mossberg 500/930.) I know it doesn't necessarily answer your question, but it's what I currently own, and what I'm comfortable with.

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Re: Ideas on best bug out firearms?

Post by RickOShea » Mon Dec 11, 2017 2:31 pm

derf26 wrote:You mean you'd do the conversion to 22LR on the rifle in the field on an as need basis? How long does that take?
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Re: Ideas on best bug out firearms?

Post by JeeperCreeper » Mon Dec 11, 2017 3:24 pm

RickOShea wrote:That's an easy one....
longy wrote:10.5" barreled AR15 in 223, with Ciener .22lr conversion unit and suppressor. M21 Beretta .22lr pocket gun, with suppressor.
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Re: Ideas on best bug out firearms?

Post by JeeperCreeper » Mon Dec 11, 2017 4:17 pm

OP,

To answer you forum topic, I will say for me, it will depend on the day. I constantly change my mind about what gear I would bring if scenario A, B, C through X, Y, Z happened.

I think a consistent thought process for me is to break things down as this:
1. Will I realistically need this firearm depending on risk "analysis"?
2. Do I have the skills or currently do this?
3. Are there better options that are or aren't firearms?

So examples:
1. Do I need to lug around my decked-out-John-Wick-Tacticool AR15 when I am evacuating for a hurricane?
2. Do I need a rifle for large game when I have never hunted large game?
3. Should I use snares/traps for hunting as opposed to turning into a cast member of Duck Dynasty?

I like the idea of .22 handguns as they are extremely accurate for even new shooters. I think a 10/22 takedown is great too... but it still weighs 4.5 pounds when snares and traps (if skilled) weigh a fraction of that. I think air rifles and pistols are another great option for animals up to squirrel/rabbit, depending on weight.

If I'm bugging out with my vehicle, options also change. That super duper AR15 with gear will definitely be coming along. Still may if I'm going by foot.

Sometimes, I'll think of wildcard choices too that in my mind will work depending on scenarios for defense/hunting/pack-ability/reliability:
-pistol grip 12 gauge pump
-lever action 30-30
-full size 10/22
-surplus bolt action or used hunting carbine
-sks

They may not be the best at everything, but would make a decent primary weapon while keeping the greyman image on a budget.



But... if I had to pick just 1 system...
..It would be a 10mm high capacity handgun with various ammo. Defense, hunting, portability, reliability, concealability.
They can do everything decent.

You won't need much ammo in most situations: don't get in fire fights or gun fights (you'll run out of luck before ammo anyways) and pick your shots hunting.
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Re: Ideas on best bug out firearms?

Post by emclean » Mon Dec 11, 2017 4:28 pm

another major issue is where you are.
you are going to need a very different load out trekking through Gary IN, than you will for the back woods of Union Church GA, or the sands north of Las Vegas NM.

for me hunting isn't a good option with where I live, so I would be looking to a sidearm, and possibly an AR180. YMMV

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Re: Ideas on best bug out firearms?

Post by The Twizzler » Mon Dec 11, 2017 7:23 pm

I don't know about the AR-180. There was one for sale near here for about a year. It's a collectable and has some historical significance. If you want it for your collection I totally understand. I wouldn't bet my life on it for hard use. Talk about flimsy (and not just the stock) they also have rust problems. You get the only AR out there rusting from both the inside and outside. I guess it might be because they used steel stampings instead of aluminum, along with some terrible welding, and then covered it with some very poor paint. It does look cool in movies and from far away, but the closer you get to it the more defects you see.
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Re: Ideas on best bug out firearms?

Post by The Twizzler » Mon Dec 11, 2017 7:29 pm

Oh to answer your question, I think .223 would be a good round. It's light, common, and can be used to hunt small to medium size game. So, either an AR or Mini 14 would be fine.
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Re: Ideas on best bug out firearms?

Post by taipan821 » Mon Dec 11, 2017 7:39 pm

+1 on using .223 as your calibre

Pros:
- Easy to shoot
- common to find
- good for small to medium game
- accurate
- easy to reload (tons of reloading data on it)
- good reaching distance

Cons: not good against large game like feral pigs (200+ kg), water buffalo and crocs (not alligators, estuarine crocodile)...though you don't have any of those...i hope.

As for firearms, I'm limited to bolt action/lever/pump action guns, but choose something that is simple to maintain, accurate and as light as possible
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Re: Ideas on best bug out firearms?

Post by woodsghost » Mon Dec 11, 2017 8:27 pm

If my life was going to depend on a gun, I'd go with the Glock 17 or 19, or a SBRed AK.

Glock would be run with 124 or 147gr FMJ, and a suppressor. And a brace and hate sticks for very rough days. And of course a red dot.

AK would have a folding stock and red dot. I believe in the 7.62x39 for anything up to maybe 400 lbs. I just would not expect it to be instant. But 5.45 would be nice too.

That AR 18, or the R4, R5, and Galil would be fun to take into the ZPAW. Or as the Germans call it, Zee PAW...
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Re: Ideas on best bug out firearms?

Post by Halfapint » Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:28 pm

I just built a light weight AR that is a dream to shoot, I think that would be my main rifle if I needed one for some sort of mythical bug out where I'd have to be fighting. My side arm would be my G40 (10mm), I am absolutely in love with the 10mn cartridge.

I just don't see bugging out with guns as a very likely scenario. I mean how many people evac'd Houston and how many are under evac staging in Cali right now. I don't see anyone needing to fight protect themselves with guns in either case. I'd pack them up just like I would anything else if I had to bug out because they are expensive and I don't want to lose them.
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Re: Ideas on best bug out firearms?

Post by woodsghost » Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:42 pm

In Texas and Louisiana I see people responding to the disaster with pistols strapped on. But not many long guns.

I've read snippits referring to shooting by bad(?) people in Texas. Katrina has stories of bad looters. So gun fights are a possibility. But realistically a pistol is going to resolve them.
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Re: Ideas on best bug out firearms?

Post by Stercutus » Tue Dec 12, 2017 12:32 am

The Twizzler wrote:Oh to answer your question, I think .223 would be a good round. It's light, common, and can be used to hunt small to medium size game. So, either an AR or Mini 14 would be fine.
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Re: Ideas on best bug out firearms?

Post by emclean » Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:00 am

The Twizzler wrote:I don't know about the AR-180. There was one for sale near here for about a year. It's a collectable and has some historical significance. If you want it for your collection I totally understand. I wouldn't bet my life on it for hard use. Talk about flimsy (and not just the stock) they also have rust problems. You get the only AR out there rusting from both the inside and outside. I guess it might be because they used steel stampings instead of aluminum, along with some terrible welding, and then covered it with some very poor paint. It does look cool in movies and from far away, but the closer you get to it the more defects you see.
I have the B version, and I keep thinking about swapping the polymer lower for an aluminum one.
mine has a nice trigger, takes standard AR mags, a co-witnessed red dot, and I am accurate with it.
the only down side it the lack of repair parts around.

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Re: Ideas on best bug out firearms?

Post by RonnyRonin » Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:43 pm

I think a reliable semi-auto CCW pistol is the logical place to start.

It can be carried every day so you will always have it no matter where you are when/if something happens, a bird in the hand and all that. As you say, center fire cartridges are far more reliable then .22, as well as having more reliable results.

If you have a glock, or perhaps a few other handguns, you have an intermediate option alluded to by woodsghost, of getting an armbrace and hatesticks to make something of a PDW/SMG, especially with an optic this will increase your hunting capabilities as well as your defense. The appealing thing to me is that this adds very little weight over your base EDC, as well as being both fully concealable and fully accessible (no stopping to pull a broken-down AR from a bag and snapping it together).

My plan is to keep my G19/17 in my waistband or HPG kitbag, and keep an empty Endo/brace slung at my side, by itself it wouldn't draw too much attention and you have the option of drawing and immediately responding, or if time allows, snapping into the brace and responding more thoughtfully.


If you have a vehicle, which I think should be the default assumption, then a rifle or five is no burden at all, and bugging out with them regardless of their usefulness may be the responsible thing to do for both asset preservation and in case the area you are leaving is likely to be looted/ransacked/etc. In this case having an AR15 is the simple and best answer in todays market for a whole host of reasons.


As someone on ZS pointed out a while ago, 9mm and .223 actually weigh the same per round, and a full hatestick and a full p-mag are nearly identical. This hasn't dissuaded me from my glock PDW goals, but it does change the calculation on the break even point for upgrading to a carbine. The PDW saves a few pounds over a light carbine (2lbs? 3lbs?) but spending more then the difference on ammo may be false economy.

I had long assumed that buying a light weight .22 handgun for opportunity hunting to back up the CCW/PDW pistol would be wise, but I am starting to think that the weight and expense of the second gun would be better spent on ammunition and optics for the more important tool.


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Re: Ideas on best bug out firearms?

Post by JeeperCreeper » Tue Dec 12, 2017 9:05 pm

I've been on a KelTec 5.56mm firearm kick again lately, and I like the idea of an intermediate carbine or pistol option for issues up to a 100 yards.

The Keltec PLR-16 shoots .223/5.56 with a 9" barrel and weights 3.4 pounds with an OAL of 18.5"

For Comparison:
-The Sub2k weighs 4.25 pounds with a 16" bbl.
-A Rossi .357 lever weighs 4.8 pounds with a 16" bbl.
-A 357 magnum revolver is around 2.5-3.0 pounds.
-A Glock 17 is around 1.5 pounds.

I don't think a tiny rifle caliber pistol is a bad option. The AK pistols are awesome but still as heavy as their rifle counterparts (though much more concealable) and the AR pistols are fun but the buffer tubes might limit capability.
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Re: Ideas on best bug out firearms?

Post by flybynight » Tue Dec 12, 2017 10:46 pm

Attempting to choose which weapon is best is pointless without some form of context on the reason for bugging out. If it's fire, flood, storm or other natural disaster you're going to be the poster child for nutcase weekly magazine, if you come walking out of the disaster zone looking Rambo deluxe.
If it's war/mass civil unrest. Daddy's old Winchester 70 may not be your best bet.
But then again if I had to subsistence hunt for extended length of time Forget the AR/AK/ and give me that bolt action good loving and a revolver in magnum persuasion. But then again , as I've already stated I believe in most cases bugging out is jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire. Fleeing danger to travel to worse danger, just really doesn't make much sense to me. And I can defend myself much better in my home then from under some non-specific Pine tree on a hill somewhere out in the weather
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Re: Ideas on best bug out firearms?

Post by w3rdtoyamama » Wed Dec 13, 2017 12:27 am

No best option.

Depends on scenerio. Im a huge shotgun fan. So depending on scenerio, Id take one. But if I did not, itd be a 10/22 or an AK variant (SKS currently in NY).

But for sidearms, Id more likely bring a revolver. Not my huge 460, but more likely. 6" 357.

Just what Id use.
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Re: Ideas on best bug out firearms?

Post by yossarian » Wed Dec 13, 2017 1:21 am

"Best" depends on why you're leaving and where you're going, but in general I think whatever you CCW or keep by the bed is the best choice for nearly any realistic scenario. California gun laws aside, I wonder if the folks fleeing from the Thomas fire right now wish they had more magazines or more cash and bottled water.
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Re: Ideas on best bug out firearms?

Post by NamelessStain » Wed Dec 13, 2017 6:41 am

yossarian wrote:"Best" depends on why you're leaving and where you're going, but in general I think whatever you CCW or keep by the bed is the best choice for nearly any realistic scenario. California gun laws aside, I wonder if the folks fleeing from the Thomas fire right now wish they had more magazines or more cash and bottled water.
Pfft.. Magazines of course. Who couldn't use a good copy of Backpacker or Guns and Ammo right now?

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Re: Ideas on best bug out firearms?

Post by Asymetryczna » Wed Dec 13, 2017 7:25 am

RonnyRonin wrote:I think a reliable semi-auto CCW pistol is the logical place to start.
Brilliant. Note that well before 'that logical place' you see the words, "I think a reliable..."

My idea is that I would like to have choices and have 5 minutes to decide. Also RonnyRonin's patience in providing a balanced response to every post whether its his first response or 64th. He provides a logical place to start. My first thought was different: Surely this is not a new thread.

Something reliable. Depends on where you live or will move to, proximity to seawater, availability of resources, your regular practice with your firearms, not to lessen the importance of what you plan to use it for, etc., etc. Am I avoiding a catastrophic area or conditions? How far will I move? Humping, driving, snow sled? Rule 3c of the bug out guide says: Avoid all gun fights. So, for survival, living on the eastern side of the country, I like a .410/.22LR O/U. There are 00 and slugs for the .410 -heck- signaling flares, and the more you hear people talk poorly about smaller calibers the more you can count on the fact that they haven't shot many things with them. That, and because larger calibers are scarier. An argument could be made about the levels of humaneness but I'll let that slide for now. Nothing makes you concentrate on the terminal ballistics of your marksmanship more than the feeling that your bullet is too slow/small. Those are survival calibers to me. (If you read around a bit, especially with regard to guerilla/resistance movements, you'll find strategies, mostly economic-driven, where lesser weapons were fielded so that their one-time use could allow the transition to a superior rifle. Under normal circumstances this is against the laws of the land so it is not an acceptable topic on this forum although you can post freely about all of your proposed combat outpost you'll carry to go camp/stay in a hotel for 3 days or until the emergency has passed.)

Defense: A CCW frame and caliber by choice. P226. Whatever you handle and practice with regularly.

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Re: Ideas on best bug out firearms?

Post by woodsghost » Wed Dec 13, 2017 8:24 am

Speaking of people fleeing fires, and people who fled flooding, I wonder how many of them were preppers who vowed never to bug out because their home was the best place to survive? I have met a large number of preppers who say they will never bug out and become a refugee or leave their gear. I just feel nature gives too many great examples of why bugging out can be a brilliant idea.

[insert pictures of fires, floods, & earthquakes here]

As to people wishing they had a copy of Outdoor Life or more water I think people always want more of what they need at the moment. Somebody told a story about an old cop who ran out of ammo in a gunfight and afterwards always carried 6 mags on him whether on or off duty. When you don't need it at the moment you question it's necessity. When you need it you wish you had a million of it. It's better to have some than none.

Plus maybe getting away from the fires one does not need magazines, but once you get up at the hotel, or on the side of the road in your car, I think one would be comforted by having a few copies of Outdoor Life and Home & Garden. And 17 extra rounds of Go Away in case a fellow traveler got grabby.

As I understand, people in Katrina needed some weapons after the initial flooding to deal with looters and animals. I remember pictures as a child in National Geographic of people in hurricane and flooded areas sticking pistols in the face of looters (or wielding machetes) and trying to protect their little patch of leftover home. I get that most people do not need to roll out with 700 rounds of 5.56 and 200 of 9mm just to find a hotel in another state, but I think the need for protection is real, and when you need it you want ALL of it.
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