Random Thoughts on Bug Out Bag Firearms

bug out bag and gunMost people will suggest a .22 caliber rifle, such as the Ruger 10/22 and this is a great choice. A .22 caliber rifle can take small game as well as larger game such as deer with proper shot placement.

Another advantage for having a .22 Long rifle is the relatively low-report especially when using CB caps and the ability to be effectively silenced with a commercial or homemade sound suppressor aka “silencer”. Just remembered that such a device is illegal without proper government approval and will land you behind bars if you’re caught, and is suggested here for a worst case scenario only or after you have went through all of the legal hoops.

The downside of the .22 Long rifle round is limited range, penetration and stopping power all of which limit the rounds effectiveness when used for self-defense. I suggest a backup handgun chambered for a cartridge suitable for self-defense. I would not go below a 9mm or 38 special and then us good expanding ammo.

Even with a 9mm and 38 special, you should seriously consider using only the +P rounds such as the 115 or 124 grain JHP +P in the 9 mm or 158-grain lead semi-wadcutter hollow point .38 Special +P for defensive purposes .

Your location would also determine weapons choice. For example those bugging-out in grizzly country should definitely consider something more powerful than the aforementioned 9 mm or 38 special.

My first choice for protection against such large game would be a center-fire rifle chambered for 308 or larger. My second choice would be a magnum revolver with a 5.5″ to 7.5″ barrel chambered for .44 magnum or larger.

It is wise to avoid any armed confrontation if possible. Trust me you are not a coward if you avoid the possibility of being shot or having to shoot someone else. You are not expendable – neither are the lives of your family or those in your bug out group. Those with the macho kill ‘em all attitudes will not last very long after the poop hit’s the fan.

With that being said, a semi-auto military style rifle should be considered especially if you are trying to get from an urban area to the country, where facing organized gangs or other threats attempting to block your exit could be a possibility.

An AR-15 with collapsible buttstock or folding stocked AK-47 (for compactness and concealability) could help get you out of a dangerous situation if you’re forced into one, while taking up little space and not adding significant weight to your overall survival gear.

1000 Round Glock 19 Torture Test

Rifles for Home Defense

Why a handgun should be your first SHTF weapon purchase for self-defense

pic of Glock 19 Gen4

Glock 19

The issue of the best SHTF gun has been worked top to bottom, bottom to top and side to side and back again, it is nothing new.

Some will say a .22 rifle or shotgun, others will suggest an AR-15 or some other centerfire magazine fed rifle and a few will tell you a bolt-action is the most logical choice.

While they aren’t wrong – at least under certain circumstances, they fail to see the big picture or fail to realize what really happens after a collapse.

It would seem many survivalist have been influenced by Hollywood or writers of fiction and can’t separate reality from fantasy. Leave make-believe to the armchair commandos and teenage boys.

Points to consider

  • You won’t be engaging constant combat after a disaster.
  • Those wanting to do you harm will not announce the fact.
  • Anyone wanting to rob or steal from you will attack when you’re most vulnerable.
  • If you’re attacked it will be up close, quick and violent.

After a collapse, violent crime will increase to levels never thought possible, theft, robbery, kidnappings and home invasion will be the norm. You’ll need to be armed at all times. Not following this rule will almost guarantee that you will be abused, robbed, raped, tortured and killed at some point.

Keeping a rifle or shotgun on your person at all times is impossible. Working the garden, feeding the chickens, cutting firewood, setting traps etc. And don’t forget barter markets where going armed will likely be forbidden. Criminals will know this and will wait to attack when you leave the market area.

It’s been said before; the first rule of winning a fight is to have a gun, in this regard a handgun makes the most sense. I know many of you look to be attacked from a distance, you see yourself returning fire from 300 or more yards away.

It could happen – but it’s not likely. In war yes; but not in a SHTF situation – most survivalist confuse the two. You’re more likely to need to defend yourself at arm’s length than from a distance of several hundred yards, if you’re attacked it will be fast, brutal and in your face close-up.

In a recent study it was found that 90% of police and civilian self-defense shooting occurred at ranges of less than 15 feet, with 34% being from contact to 3 feet.

I can’t find one justifiable civilian self-defense shooting taking place at 100 yards or beyond – if you know of a documented case please let us know.

Like any firearm, handguns are encumbered by a number of limitations; namely low power and limited range compared to a rifle or shotgun – but a handgun can be there when you need it and that is most important…

And no, I’m not saying that you should sell your shotguns and rifles and go buy handguns, what I’m saying is that a handgun will be your most useful and used self-defense tool now and after the SHTF.  If you have no defensive firearms get a good handgun first (it’s hard to beat the Glock 19), and learn how to use it, IE get professional training. Then expand your self-defense “arsenal” and training to include shotguns and rifles.

The Bedside Home Defense Kit

The first kit that we will look at in this chapter is what I refer to as “the bedside kit” and as the reference implies, this kit is kept beside your bed in a drawer or under the bed in a small box with a lid such as a plastic storage box with a snap on lid, you could of course just toss the kit under your bed, but that would allow dust, dirt and grim to accumulate and the items to be more likely to be scattered and difficult to find, especially in the dark, when you’re most likely to need them.

Of course, if you have small children living at home, you won’t be able to do this, you’ll need to secure your handgun from being assessed by them while still being available to you. There are a number of ways to do this, but I like the Gunvault MV500-STD Microvault Pistol Gun Safe for this.

My bedside kit - The kit includes a handgun, extra loaded magazines, weapon mounted and hand-held flashlights, a phone and a blood control kit.

My bedside kit – The kit includes a handgun, extra loaded magazines, weapon mounted and hand-held flashlights, a phone and a blood control kit.

The kit above is good for most home owners that are concerned about crime, theft or home invasion, but my readers aren’t usual nor typical and most (as I do) see it necessary, to be even better prepared and armed with an extended bedside kit, because you never know what, or who is going to burst through your door in the middle of the night.

The photo below shows my extended bedside kit…

My bedside kit

The extended kit includes a Mossberg 590 pump-action shotgun, extra buckshot, body armor, and gas mask.

After Argentina’s economic collapse home invasions by well-armed gangs was common place. According to the accounts of people who were there, the gangs would invade the homes, (they targeted rural secluded homes and farms mostly), and then tortured and rape the inhabitants for days… I see this also being the case in the U.S. (or any other country) after a major long-term social upheaval. Have your bedside kit ready because you never know when they are going to come through the door at 3:00 AM.

How to Shoot a Gun – U.S. Marine Corps Rifle Training – USMC Training Video AR-15 / M16

How to Shoot a Gun – U.S. Marine Corps Rifle Training – USMC Training Video [FULL] | AR15 – How to correctly shoot a gun – Shooting Lessons from the United States Marine Corps – Official Military Firearms Training Video! Fire a gun with precision & accuracy. Learn how to hit your target every time. Fundamentals of Rifle Marksmanship 1999 U.S. Marine Corps – U.S. Marine Corps – Fundamentals of Rifle Marksmanship – This program explains and demonstrates the proper fundamentals of aiming, breath control, and trigger control in rifle markmanship.

Why I hate the Glock and the .40 caliber round–or do I?

Today we present another article for this round in our non-fiction writing contest – by B Wilson.

I recently found myself reading an informative article on this site about purchasing a Glock, even though the writer admittedly was not a Glock fan. The article had several very valid reasons for the purchase. I found myself reading the article looking for some vindication of why I was sitting here with my new Glock 17.

I have been around firearms all my life and have true appreciation of shooting and collecting. I want to emphasize shooting. If I cannot fire a fine collectable it’s not for me. For me that is the joy of ownership. I am an avid marksman and enjoy fine wheel guns, automatics, and long guns. There is not much out there I have not had the pleasure of shooting, as my aging eyes will attest to!

Until I moved to a large urban area in Florida twenty years ago I never saw a need to carry a firearm or prep for whatever may come my way. Well hurricanes, topical storms, and crime soon changed all of that! But carry a Glock? Nope never will, hate that gun.

You don’t have to go far to read all the Glock haters and lovers out there. This is a conversation that gets way to much time on the Internet. Glocks are fine firearms, tough, reasonably cheap, something I find very interesting on this blog, affordable! But for me save your peanuts and buy Sig, (So the door opens for the sig haters!) a quality Smith Performance center wheel gun, or one of many fine firearms out there. Just not a Glock they are not safe (M.D. adds : Glocks are as safe as any firearm – if you can’t handle a Glock safely, then you need to get training before buying ANY firearm.)

For me a Glock was a plastic firearm with a horrible grip angle and a trigger that to this DA/SA shooter found just damn horrible (M.D. adds: I love the grip angle and the trigger pull is just fine, remember we are talking about self-defense and not competition target shooting)! I felt the same way about the Sig P250 line and Sigs DAK triggers. My neighbor once proudly called me over to show me his new toy a Glock 27 which he proceeded to accidentally discharge, damn near killing me while taking out the mailbox! Yep Glocks not safe? No– gun owners that do not practice safety are not safe. The only safety as said by many is between your ears!

Yes, I have owned a Glock before, sold it within two months. I am a person that hates what many folks love. Low bore axis, consistent trigger that is to light for carry and to heavy for quick follow up for me. After I started prepping several years ago, and looking at all variables, I never considered firearms.

I am well trained, shoot weekly, have a safe full of firearms of numerous calibers and I buy bulk ammo. My get home bag has a quality firearm in it, not a cheap hope it fires gun, and I shoot it often. Its not ideal, anything not on my person is useless to me, but my carry is always there so a good back up is available.

If I truly needed to leave my home, I already know what firearms I am taking, or do I? Since I began prepping I have made every mistake out there, so “what did you do this week” rings very true to me.

So I began to reexamine my firearm choices just like everything else. All the police officers here carry 40 caliber Glocks as their primary duty gun. The Glock website claims that they supply 68% of law enforcement. There are a lot of fans of the Glock in general. Many of my friends carry the Glock in 40 and 9. I love .45, 45 colt, 357, 357sig, and 9s, but never cottoned to the 40.

In my opinion the 40 is a round that was driven by an unfortunate event and a rush to find something different. I don’t own one round. For me the 45 and the 357sig are better shooting rounds. If I were in my home state a large part of law enforcement carry a Sig in 357 sig and I might not have this on my list of preps.

But given if I have to scavenge for magazines and parts, at least in these parts Glocks parts will be everywhere as well as the 5.56, even though my choice would be an Arsenal AK (still is). So my new weekly prep will be to get to love the Glock and the 40. Yes my new Glock is in 9mm, but not a 10mm, which I doubt I can find on the side of the road! So practice starts tomorrow.

Prizes for this round (ends July 10 2015 ) in our non fiction writing contest include…

  1. First place winner will receive –  A case of Yoder’s Canned Bacon (12 cans, $169.95), a case of Future Essentials Canned Green Coffee Beans (12 cans, $143.30 value), and a case of our Future Essentials Canned Breakfast/Cold Cereal Variety with Milk (12 cans; a can each of Raisin Bran, Rice Krispies, Corn Flakes, Apple O’s, Whole Grain Frosted Wheat’s, Cocoa Rice Krispies, Honey & Nut O’s, Fruity O’s and Frosted Flakes, as well as three (3) Cans of Powdered Milk Substitute (18 oz. each) – (a value of $62.90) all courtesy MRE Depot and a  WonderMix Bread Mixer courtesy of FoodPrepper.com a $300 value. Total first place prize value over$674.
  2. Second Place Winner will receive – A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $283 value) and an autographed copy of 31 Days to Survival
  3. Third place winner will receive –  A gift certificate for $150 off of Hornady Ammo courtesy of LuckyGunner Ammo.

Weapons and tools for foraging and self-defense

In this article I’ll be talking about choosing the right firearms for self-defense, and for foraging. I’ll try to keep this as short and to the point as possible while still covering everything that you really need to know, in order to make an informed decision when buying and learning how-to use those tools to feed yourself and your family.


No foraging arsenal would be complete without at least one shotgun. By simply changing shot loads or moving up to slugs the shotgun can be used to take every game and predatory animal in North America out to 100 yards. And let’s not forget that a pump-action or semi-auto shotgun loaded with buckshot or slugs makes an excellent self-defense tool, especially if the shooter knows how to use it to its maximum effectiveness.

The shotgun that you choose for foraging purposes need not be expensive; the simple single-shot break-action shotgun is an excellent tool when foraging for food, and best of all they can be bought new for under $200 in most areas, are light-weight and extremely rugged and reliable.

Add a carry sling and a way to carry some extra ammo (I like the Voodoo Tactical Shotgun Shell Ammo Pouch) and you’re ready to go foraging for small game, foul or even larger game if the opportunity should present itself.

Ammo selection will of course depend on what you’re hunting for; I like to keep several different types in my sling loops, where I can quickly get to it and change out one round for another, if needed. Say for example; that I’m hunting rabbit, and happen to spot a deer in the distance, it’s a simple matter to quietly and quickly, switch from a chambered shot-shell (I like #6 shot for small game) to a rifled slug and effectively and humanly take the deer.

For self-defense purposes I suggest a pump-action or semi-auto (I prefer the pump-action but there are also some good semi-autos available) shotgun in 12 gauge, however for smaller shooters a 20 gauge will suffice.  There are so many great brands and models available that it would take several chapters to go into any detail on each, so I won’t waste your time doing that here.

Two of my favorite pump-action shotgun manufactures are Remington and Mossberg, with my personal home-defense shotgun being a Mossberg model 590 with ghost ring sights and speed fed stock. In my opinion the Mossberg 590 is the best “out of the box” pump-action defensive shotgun available today.

.22 Rifles

No survival “arsenal” would be complete without at least one high-quality .22lr caliber rifle. Because there are literally, hundreds of quality brands and models available, I won’t take up your time by trying to go over the details of each one here, but I will instead mention several of my personal favorites.

My first choice for a semiauto .22lr would be the Ruger 10/22 takedown model; this is essentially the same rifle as the super trusted and reliable standard 10/22 but with the ability to be taken apart for transport and storage.

My first choice for a bolt-action .22lr is the Ruger American .22lr with 18 inch barrel. It’s well made with fewer parts to break than a semi auto, and I’ve found it to be more accurate out-of-the-box than any standard our-of-the-box semi auto .22lr that I’ve tested it against.

Another one of my favorite .22lr rifles is the Smith and Wesson MP 15/22, mine has been ultra-reliable after thousands of rounds, and is a perfect training tool for new shooters or for cheap live-fire practice for AR-15 owners. However it’s not my first choice when small game hunting, the .22lr that most often accompanies me on small game hunts is the Ruger American .22lr mentioned above.

My first choice when adding an optical sight (scope) to a .22lr is the Nikon ProStaff Rimfire 4 x 32 Black Matte Riflescope. I’ve tried other cheaper (and a few more expensive) alternatives when scoping .22lr rifles and found the Nikon ProStaff to be the best option.

Centerfire Rifles

Here again I’ll not waste your time by trying to cover 101 different manufactures and models of centerfire rifles, but will instead elaborate on my two of my personal favorites.

For hunting larger game in my area (Tennessee) I don’t need anything more powerful than a .308 win, however if you live in grizzly and moose country then you may want to move up to something like a .338 magnum or similar to be sure of a clean and humane kill.

My first choice for a .308 semi auto is the Smith and Wesson M&P 10. The M&P 10 is built on an AR type platform with a standard 20 round magazine. I’ve found it to be a well-made, accurate and reliable rifle. It can be used for both hunting large game and as a main battle rifle, however the current, 2015 price tag of over $1,600 will no doubt be a road block for many (I had to save for almost a year to afford it).

My first choice for a bolt-action .308 is the Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle, but with a standard rear mounted optic sight instead of the forward mounted “scout” configuration.

All of my .308’s are topped with the Nikon ProStaff 3-9 x 40 Black Matte Riflescope (BDC) optics and also have backup standard iron sights, and a sling. If you’re serious about using a rifle for defense of your property and for hunting then please get a copy of “The Art of the Rifle” by the late Jeff Cooper, it’s a great book that is full of tips and advice that will help to increase your on target accuracy.


This is one of those subjects that I hate to even get into here and that I purposely, avoid discussing in public, because it never ends well, because nearly everyone has their favorite and are unwilling to consider anything else. I too have my own personal favorites, but I’m not like some and unwell to consider other alternatives if something was proven to be better, or just as good but at a better price.

So like we’ve already done above, instead of going into a hundred different manufactures and models, I’ll simply, tell you my favorites that have proven to work for me after years of shooting, hunting, plinking and competition.

Well start with the .22lr – of which my favorite is the Browning Buckmark.  This is the top .22lr handgun made today, period. I’ve carried mine all over the forests of Appalachia, and can shoot it accurately enough to make head-shots on cotton-tail rabbits at 50 yards.

I have no idea how many rounds that I’ve put through mine but it has to be ten-thousand or more and I’ve never had a failure that was not ammo related.

Another excellent .22lr handgun is the Beretta 21A Bobcat. The Bobcat isn’t ideal for small game hunting or self-defense, but it’s weight and compact size will allow you to have it on you at all times, and any handgun that you have with you is better that the one you left at home or back at camp because it was too large, heavy and inconvenient to carry.

I carry mine when I’m on the river fishing, camping, hunting ginseng or just working around the homestead, it’s weight and size make it easy to go armed at all times. The Israeli Mossad has proven the effectiveness of the .22lr as an offensive / defensive tool with its use of the Beretta 70 in .22lr. The Beretta 70 is also carried by Israeli Sky Marshals.

By far my favorite center fire handguns are made by Glock, however they’re not the only quality choice on the market, there are many different handgun manufactures that products worth considering. The most important consideration is to purchase the handgun that fits your hand best. If the handgun fits your hand correctly, you’ll naturally shoot it more accurately.

Out of the Glock line up my favorite model is the Glock model 19. The Glock 19 is a medium-sized 9mm handgun that is the perfect size for open carry, in a belt-holster, yet small enough to be carried comfortably concealed under summer cloths. Another plus is that the Glock 19 has a 15 round magazine capacity, which is comparable with other, larger and heavier 9mm handguns such as the Berretta 92.

When it comes to ammo choices and “stopping power” there are just as many opinions as there are for handgun choices, but my personal carry load in a 9mm round is the Corbon 115 grain +p. Ballistics for this round is close to those produced by the 357 magnum and it is a proven stopper according to both ballistic research and actual real-life use.

Air Rifles

Air rifles are often overlooked by survival planners and this is unfortunate because they have a lot to offer, with the most notable being the ability to quietly take small game out to approximately 35 yards.

However to get this kind of performance from an air rifle you’re going to have to look past the $45 models like those often seen at Walmart, these don’t produce the energy or velocity that is needed to cleanly take small-game. You’ll probably have to spend over $150 at current prices before getting one that will do take small game effectively.

My personal choice and the one that I’ve taken the most small-game with is the Benjamin Titan GP Nitro Piston .22 caliber air rifle. I’ve found the .22 caliber air rifles to provide much better on target effectiveness i.e. dropping small-game in their tracks, than those in .177.

The Benjamin Titan GP .22 caliber air rifle features a 19 inch fully rifled barrel and a muzzle brake, both with a nice looking deep blued-steel finish. I also have a Ruger .177 caliber air rifle and comparatively the finish on both the metal and stock is much nicer on the Titan GP.

As with most air rifles of this type, the Titan GP has no iron sights but the rifle is grooved for mounting an optical sight. The addition of a good set of metal sights would greatly add to the overall functionality and dependability of the rifle.

But as a rule, I prefer all of my rifles to have the choice of iron sights as well as scope-mounting with see through mounts. Scopes can break, become fogged, lose zero etc., and the ability to quickly change from one sighting option to the other without losing the target aids greatly to the utility of any rifle.

The Titan GP features an ambidextrous thumb-hole stock with dual raised cheek-pieces, and while well designed, I found the reach from the grip to the trigger to be a bit long. But, this would not be a problem for shooters with larger hands or longer fingers. Even with the longer reach to the trigger from the grip, I have no problem pulling the trigger or shooting the rifle.

The rifle also has a 2-stage adjustable trigger for fine tuning to the needs of each shooter; however I found the factory setting to be very good for my needs so I left the settings as is. But, adjustment is an option and a welcome addition that I’m sure many will find very useful.

One of the main selling points of the Benjamin Titan is the Nitro Piston system and a velocity of up to 950 FPS. The Nitro Piston offers a several advantages over rifles with a metal mainspring system, such as smoother cocking, no spring fatigue, reduced vibration, functions well in cold weather and the Nitro Piston system is also much quieter.

In fact, the Titan is noticeably quieter than my other air rifles, and is much quieter than my Ruger air rifle which is the loudest of the lot.

Bows, Arrows and Blow Guns

I’ve used blowguns for small game since I was in my early teens, and I can assure you that there’re not toys, far from it. In practiced hands (and lungs) the blowgun can be used very effectively, to take small game and are much more accurate and deadly than the slingshot.

There are currently three sizes of mass marketed blowguns in the U.S. one in .40 caliber, .50 caliber and .625 caliber diameters.  Each has different advantages over the other, but I personally prefer the .40 caliber versions, because I’ve found that I can shoot them further with more accurately, and haven’t noted any difference in effectiveness when taking small game.

Fortunately, blowguns are priced so cheaply that you can buy several (or make your own) to see what works best for you. If you’re interested in finding out a wealth of information on blowguns, and how to make your own Michael Janich has an excellent book available to help you with that it’s called “Blowguns: The Breath Of Death” and covers everything blowgun related.

Another favorite weapon for foraging is the bow and arrow. In skilled hands the bow and arrow can be used to take both large and small game and like with the blowgun you can make your own. However it’s likely that nothing that you can make in the home workshop will compare to the power and velocity of commercially manufactured compound and crossbows.

Bows are like handguns in that you should try out several before deciding what works best for you. Personally, I prefer a more traditional recurve bow with a 45 pound draw weight over a compound, but that’s a personal choice and only one that you can make after gaining experience.

How to Carry a Gun

Hunting and Gun Safety – Facts You Might Not Know

By Scott M

Hunting and firearms go hand-in-hand. That is the reality of the sport. While there are people who are avid bow hunters, guns provide hunters a more humane way to kill game effectively and at a distance. Unfortunately, far too many people assume that hunters are trigger-happy fools just waiting to shoot anything that moves. Reality says otherwise. Hunters are among the safest gun owners around.

Below we have listed some facts about hunting and gun safety you may not know. However, before we discuss them, we want to talk about hunting lease liability insurance. As safe as hunting is, statistically speaking, the presence of firearms always carries with it a measure of risk. Hunting insurance protects you against liability in the event of an accident. It also covers intentional or unintentional property damage, slip and fall accidents, and liability issues that may arise from disputes with neighboring landowners.

With hunting insurance out of the way, here are those facts we mentioned:

Hunting Is a Safe

Hunters know their sport is safe despite what non-hunters may believe. Statistics show that more people are injured every year playing baseball or riding bikes than hunting. Furthermore, approximately 100 hunting-related deaths are recorded in the U.S. every year as opposed to 1,500 related to swimming accidents.

The fact is that hunting is statistically safer than most recreational sports. The problem we have in America is one of perception. It is no different from those who possess an unhealthy fear of flying despite statistical proof that one is more likely to die in a car accident than a plane crash.

Hunters Are Trained

The vast majority of avid hunters do not just pick up a rifle at age 25 and head out to shoot at deer. Most are exposed to the sport at a very young age and, as a result, they undergo extensive firearms training. Most states make training of younger hunters mandatory as a matter of licensing. Minnesota is just one example. Their mandatory training program enlists 4,000 volunteer firearms instructors to train some 20,000 hunters annually.

In states where firearms training is not mandatory, it is not uncommon for hunters to take safety courses anyway. The average hunter is fully aware that it is better to be safe than to be sorry.

Hunting Methods Are Specific

Hunters dispatch various types of game using specific methods. What does this have to do with gun safety? A lot, actually. In order to quickly and safely kill a deer, for example, a hunter has to know the best position to place a shot. Then it all comes down to practice. This is why hunters spend so much time at the gun range shooting targets and practicing with clays. The result of all that practice is a level of accuracy that reduces wayward shots. This makes hunting even safer still.

Adding to the practice hunters get is new firearms technology that make weapons more accurate and more reliable. As technology advances, hunting becomes a safer sport all the way around.

There is no arguing that the sport of hunting does have its rogues with a tendency to do things unsafely. Nevertheless, the same principle is applicable to any sport. Statistics show that hunting is very safe. It is safe enough that children can participate as regular hunters.

As part of your safety mindset, never go hunting with firearms without proper hunting insurance in place. Whether you lease land, belong to a hunting club or use your own land, hunting insurance is a great asset to have should something unfortunate happen.


  1. Minnesota Department of Natural Resourceshttp://www.dnr.state.mn.us/hunting/tips/myths.html
  2. American Hunting Lease Associationhttp://ahuntinglease.org/hunting-lease-insurance