This section could be a bit uncomfortable for some, but we are asking you to stick with us as it is an absolutely critical part of your Bug Out Bag planning.
We would love to belive that in the midst of societal collapse that everybody would band together and work hard for the greater good. And while you can often see parts of the country pulling together to help those that have recently experienced a natural disaster like a flood or earthquake, this help usually comes from those not directly affected by the situation.
For the people that are located right in the midst of the chaos, their experience is quite different. The news doesn’t much time reporting the extreme rise in violent crime, looting, rape and the like that goes on when society breaks down for even a short period of time, but it is ever present.
If the entire country goes into crisis mode, it will be every man, woman and child for themselves. Yes, the disaster will bring out the best in some people, but it will bring out the worst in others as well.
With that said, it’s important to pack a way that you and your family can defend yourselves should trouble rear it’s ugly head.
First of all, self-preservation is going to require that you check your ego at the door. Your best defense is to avoid confrontation at all costs.
No matter how well armed you are, entering into conflict in a survival situation poses way too many unknowns to be a first choice option. You don’t know who else is out there. You don’t know how your potential assailant is armed.
Your best bet is to conserve your valuable resources (ammo), stay under the radar and avoid any unlucky circumstance where you could get injured. Trust your instincts and follow them. If a situation feels uncomfortable, then get out of dodge as quickly as possible.
That said, in a disaster situation some people will make the choice for you and you’ll have no option but to defend yourself. Now we are lawyers by any stretch, but the law typically says you can only resond to an attack with an equal amount of force. But in a “without rule of law” (WROL) scenario, most rules will be out the window.
We know the measures we would be willing to take to protect our family and friends, but you have to decide for yourself how far you will go to guard what is important to you. In the rest of this section, we will show you both lethal and non-lethal options that you could consider for your Bug Out Bag.
It’s important that these items be readily accessible to you. Should a dangerous confrontation arise, you won’t have time to go digging through your pack to find a weapon.
Since you should have your bag as the ready at home or in the car, be mindful of local laws regarding what you can and can’t have in your possession. Again, we aren’t lawyers here and nothing we say should be construed as legal advice. So with that disclaimer out of the way, let’s move on to…
No every dangerous situation you encounter will require lethal force like a firearm or knife. It is wise to carry some form of non-lethal protection in your Bug Out Bag. The good news is that today’s non-lethal options pack a pretty strong punch and can put down would be attackers in a hurry.
Pepper spray in a great first option to have in your non-lethal arsenal. It is available in many sizes…from a roll of quarters size that can fit on a key chaing to a larger can that can take down a bear while hiking in the wild.
Pepper spray is also an effective deterrent for crowd control. If you find yourself in a situation where you are facing mutliple attackers, a large can of pepper spray can engage a wide area quickly.
As opposed to a knife or other close quarters weapon, pepper spray has a range of up to 25 feet so you don’t need to engage with your target to defend yourself. Be careful though, wind is not your friend. Shooting pepper spray into a heavy wind can incapacitate you as well as your opponent.
NOTE: Don’t hang around once you fire off your pepper spray. It will diorient and immobilize your assailant for a short period of time, but won’t last forever. Once you see that the spray has taken effect, get moving.
Pepper spray can be carried IN MOST states with fewer regulations then firearms. You will need to check on your local laws regarding what types and amounts you can carry legally.
You want to purchase a pepper spray with Oleoresin Capsicum as the main ingredient. That’s why you will often hear pepper spray refered to as “OC.”
Now, you will see lots of pepper spray companies boasting of a high OC percentage or off the chart Schoville Heat Unit (SHU) rating. There’s a lot of very fuzzy math here so don’t trust these numers.
The true measure that you want to look at is the Major Capsaicinoids (MC) rating. This rating will identify the exact hear of the liquid being depoloyed from your spray. Look for sprays that are backed up by High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) laboratory testing or at least have an MC rating for their product.
There are four main types of pepper spray delivery systems:
- Spray – Easy to see the stream and aim after you have started spraying. However, a single stream makes it hard to hit your target.
- Cone or Fogger – Creates a wider spray pattern than the stream…but in a windy envrinment, the pepper mist can easily blow back in your face.
- Foam – Will continue to spread even more once the attacker tries to wipe the spray off. Does not have as much reach as a stream.
- Gel – Disperses in a sticky gel and sticks to an assailant’s face or body. Eliminates the possibility of having it thrown back at you like with foam patterns.
We recommend getting pepper spray from either SABRE Red or Fox Labs.
Another non-lethal option to consider is carrying a taser or stun gun. Many people use these terms interchangeably, but there is a significant difference between the two.
A taser releases electrodes that look like tiny darts. These darts embed in the skin of the attackers and remain connected to the body of the taser which delivers the electrical charge. You can defend yourself at range with a taser, but you must be accurate and there is a risk of missing your target.
You’ll have to practice to be proficient…the brain tends to do wonky things when in survival modes so there is a risk when it comes to using a taser.
A stun gun merely requires you to make contact with your target. There are of course pros and cons to those. On the positive side, it’s pretty hard to miss, but you also have to get right up close and personaly with the enemy to use it,
Because of their nature, stun guns are easier to conceal and disguise than tasers. Again, be sure to check your local laws before purchasing.
The ugly truth is that in a collapsed society without rule of law, lethal self-defense may very well be required to protect you, your family and your supplies from ill-intentioned people.
In a wilderness environment, the danger might come from a large animal instead of your fellow man. Bear spray might be an option to deter an angry grizzly, but you can forget about using a taser. A grizzly bear’s fur and skin seriously limits the ability of the taser probes to penetrate to deliver the needed shock. And we don’t know about you, but we don’t want to get close enough to use a stun gun even if it would work.
Whether in an urban setting or in the wild, you want to have your lethal options available for quick access should the need arise.
Knives are especially useful in a survial situation because they can be used as a tool in addition to self-defense. You can use it to hunt or skin small game, you can use it to prepare wood for a fire, and you can use it for protection.
If you were to find yourself in confined space or locked in a up close and personal battle with someone, a knife can be deployed quicker than a firearm can. Knives are easy to carry and don’re require much special attention…and they never run out of ammo. Just keep them sharp!
When is comes to a blade for self defense, not all knives are the same. You want a blade that is made for fighting, not for cutting boxes or wood. You also want a knife that is quick to deploy and ready to get into the fight.
A fixed blade is the easiest type of knife to defend yourself with. Blades like the Benchmade Dagger or a Karambit style blade are great for close in combat.
With a fixed blade knife you do not have to mess with trying to find a thumb stud to button to get the blade out in a life or death scenario.
If you are set on going with a folding knife instead look for an Out of the Front (OTF) activation like the Microtech OTF, or one with the “Wave” feature like knives from Emerson, Kershaw or Spiderco.
These two types of activation will give you faster deployment if you need to get your knife into combat. You want to stick with blade shapes like the Tanto, Karambit or Wharncliffe. If you are carrying a machete or hatchet as in your But Out Bag, these can be very effective close quarters combat weapons as well. They also give you more reach than a folding knife or most fixed blades.
Carrying a gun is a very personal decision. Some folks just aren’t comfortable carrying a firearm. And that’s certainly their perogative. Give the potential societal unrest that could occur if a national emergency is triggered in some way, it just makes sense to arm yourself.
If you are a concelealed carry permit holder, and carry a firearm every day, then just adding some additional magazines to your bag might be all that you need to do.
Truck or bag guns are also increasing in popularity. AR or AK style pistols can give you more power than the average handgun, yet still are small enough to fit in your bag.
There are many firearms that you can carry in your BOB. If you are a CCW holder, and carry a firearm everyday, then you might opt for just carrying a few more magazines for your CCW pistol.
Truck guns or bag guns are becoming more popular. AR or AK style pistols are a great way to carry more power over a handgun, and still fit in a bag.
If you decide you want to pack more of a punch, these two items can help make it easier to store your rifle or rifle caliber pistol in your bag:
Make sure that you have a magazine carrier or chest rig style holder so you can carry additional magazines and make quick mag changes when you need to reload.
Here are a couple other must haves for your Bug Out Bag firearm:
- A holster if you are carrying a pistol
- A magazine carrier for your pistol or rifle
- A sling if you are carrying a rifle
- A weapon light help identify threats in low light/no light conditions
- After market night sights if you are carrying a pistol
- Extra ammo – preferable loading in spare mags
- Gun oil for cleaning/lubrication
If you work in an area were you are unable to carry a firearm, then having a dedicated firearm in your BOB is a must. We urge you to leave this firearm in your bag at all times. Don’t let this pistol or rifle be one that you use in your rotation of firearms. You never want to forget to put it back in your bag, and not have it when you need it.
Here are a few of our favorite concealable pistol options:
- M&P Bodyguard .380
- Smith & Wesson J-Frame Revolver
- Ruger LCP
- M&P Shield
- Glock 42
- Glock 43
- Ruger LCR
If you want more firepower, then you can also carry a full-sized pistol in your Bug Out Bag. You’ll have more rounds per magazine, and be more accurate. The tradeoff is more weight and less concealability.
Here are a few of our favorite full-sized pistol options:
- Glock 17/19
- M&P 9mm
- Walther PPQ
- Sig Sauer P226
- Springfield XD9
- H&K VP9
The amount of extra ammo you carry is dependent on how far you have to travel. We refer to carry loaded spare magazines instead of boxes of ammo. Remember ammo can get very heavy, so pack spare ammo in conjunction with where you have to travel through or how far you have to travel.
Every Day Carry Items
Additional Items in Bag
Remember that your body is a weapon too. Part of your survival planning should be to keep your body in top condition. Hand-to-hand combat is absolutely a last resort when it comes to protecting yourself…but if it comes down to it you want to be as effective as possible.
No matter whether you decide to carry only non-lethal defense items, or arm yourself to the teeth for the apocalypse, it’s important that you train. Practice with your gear, maintain your gear, and get training!