In recent times, we’ve seen cities burn due to riots and violent protests, fights in stores over others wearing masks, increased crime in some of the major cities, all the while law enforcement across the country is vilified and constrained by their local leaders. Some cities have cut police budgets, which will reduce response times and necessary resources to solve crimes. Anymore, dialing ‘911’ may or may not bring help in time! Meanwhile, criminals continue unabated, secure in the knowledge that corrupt politicians will support them, and in many cases encourage their illicit activities.
More and more Americans have realized this and are becoming more self-reliant. Much like the original pioneers, the concept of being able to call for help is becoming a foreign concept. Having your necessary items ready at a moment’s notice is not new. The Mountain Men, the ‘Minutemen’ of the American colonies, all had a ‘possibles’ bag to carry along with their rifle. This would contain everything needed to fight with. The same thing is becoming a necessity today, and the smart individuals will have one with them.
The question then becomes, what to put in it? Remember this is not a bug out bag, which is what we have for when we’re not planning on coming back for a long period of time. Nor is it a dedicated rifle fighting bag that will have minimal extras outside of rifle magazines, a couple of pistol magazines, some medical gear, and that’s it. Your possible bag will have a variety of things that will allow us to get back home in a day or so, or hunker down in place for a little while.
We’re assuming that in this case you have your rifle with you. This could be an AR, an AK, an FAL, an M1 carbine, a PTR91, or whichever fighting rifle you choose. We’re also assuming you have your pistol with you, because if you have pants on, you should have your pistol on. I’ll tell you about my gear, and why I chose those items.
Rifle: this is a Wilson Combat SR Recon Tactical, with an Aimpoint CompM4 red dot sight, and a Surefire X300 600 lumen weaponlight. This was a gift from some dear friends, and is one of the best AR rifles I’ve had. The Aimpoint CompM4 was chosen because it uses common AA batteries, and has a battery life of 5 years. The Surefire light uses CR123 batteries, but isn’t used unless needed. Spare batteries for each are kept in the pistol grip.
Handgun: Glock 19 9mm semi auto. It’s pretty universal, magazines and parts are everywhere. Small enough to conceal all the time, large enough to be comfortable to shoot. It’s carried in a strongside Kydex hip holster from AAA Concealment, along with two magazines in a double magazine carrier from the same maker. The owner, Greg Yen, is a firearms instructor and successful competition shooter, and makes simple but solid gear.
My bag is called the Rifle Bug Out Bag from Hawkepak. I’ve used this off and on since 2007 when I was working out of the US Embassy in Baghdad, and in several classes since then. It has three adjustable rifle magazine pouches, three adjustable pistol magazine pouches, a large pocket for a water bottle or canteen, several inside pockets, an adjustable shoulder strap, waist strap and leg strap. The bag is packed with the following items:
Nalgene water bottle. Staying hydrated is of utmost importance. Dehydration leads to exhaustion and poor decision making, all of which can be deadly. You can also use a Sawyer water bottle with the filtration system in it, which is about the same size.
Six AR magazines. The rifle magazine pouches are adjustable and will hold six AR magazines or three AK/M1A magazines. In my case, each Magpul magazine is loaded with 28 rounds of Black Hills 77gr Match ammo, giving me 168 extra rounds on top of the 28 already in my rifle.
Three Glock 17 magazines. These supplement the two I carry on my belt already. They each hold 17 rounds of Speer Gold Dot 124gr +P jacketed hollowpoints.
Now someone may ask why all the ammunition? I’m not counting on anyone coming to my rescue, and I don’t know how long I’ll be on my own. Most of my work keeps me at least 70 miles from home, so I have to plan on walking at least that far. The cavalry showing up in the nick of time only happens in the movies!
550 cord. Parachute cord, or ‘550’ cord as it’s commonly called, can be used for a multitude of things.
Pen and notepad. Recording dates and times, writing notes to yourself, or keeping track of events is easier when you have pen and paper. I use a lot of the Rite In The Rain notepads and space pens for this task.
Medical gear. This includes a CAT tourniquet, several pressure dressings, gloves, surgical tape and band-aids. In the event of social unrest, police and EMS will be overwhelmed, and having the ability to take care of injuries yourself is paramount. This is especially true if you have family with you. Watching a loved one bleed out because you didn’t have the right gear is not something you want to go through.
Emergency Poncho. Staying dry, or as dry as possible, is not only important for your physical health, but your mental health. Being wet makes a bad situation makes it seem like it’s 100 times worse. Getting wet and staying wet over an extended period of time can lead to hypothermia.
Fire Starting material. I normally have a fire starter on my keychain, but using a lighter is much easier under stress. I also have a 4” ferro rod and striker that produces a massive amount of sparks, even when wet. My tinder is simple dryer lint, kept in a plastic bag. Everything is kept inside an Altoids cannister. I may not need to start a fire but having the ability to do so quickly is a huge comfort.
Survival Food Bar. These are available at Walmart for about $5. They’re not the best tasting in the world (they say ‘Apple Cinnamon’ but I’m not convinced,) but they offer 2400 calories total, and they have a good shelf life.
Star Kist Tuna Pack. Not only does it provide nutrition, but it’s easy to eat and can provide a little more comfort than a dry as sand survival bar.
Water Purification Tablets. These take up very little room, but I consider them extremely important. If I have any doubt about a water source, these could mean the difference between staying hydrated or getting sick. You can substitute a Sawyer water purifier for the tablets.
Electrician’s tape. This can be used to tape up injuries, tape down equipment, or any other numerous uses. It takes up little room, so it doesn’t make sense not to have some.
Compact binoculars. I consider these an essential item. I may need to scan an area or location for potential traps, roadblocks or riots. Or I may need to take a closer look at a building or open area. Binoculars provide me with vital information that will allow me to make better decisions. The ones I have in my bag are compact Bushnells.
Wind up flashlight. This may seem like a strange item, considering I have a powerful flashlight on me at all times, and I have one on my rifle. However, it doesn’t require batteries, and it’s not as powerful as my other lights. There are times where having a little less light might be important. Or I can leave it on and not worry about burning through batteries, I just crank it for another 30 seconds and carry on.
Headlamp. I missed out on the usefulness of these for a long time, then some of my medic friends talked about using them while working on patients. Being able to have my hands free while using my light is a huge advantage. You can think of any number of instances where that would come in handy. There are a lot of them on the market, I recommend getting one that offers low beam/high beam capability. Being able to turn the light down when I’m working on something up close is a good thing, I probably don’t need 1,000 lumens to stir my coffee!
In case you haven’t noticed yet, I’ve got a lot of light sources available to me. I’m a huge believer is having light, since we’re not nocturnal creatures. I don’t always need to most powerful light, but I like having it available.
Surefire Battery carrier. I would’ve never thought I’d appreciate this carrier as much as I do. It carries six CR123s, and even though more and more devices run on these, they are not always readily available. Having six of them handy is a nice feeling.
I may change things up, depending on the time of year. In late fall or early winter, I may include a stocking cap and gloves. Nothing is carved in stone, and your individual circumstances may dictate some changes. The magazine pouches can be used for other things, such as shotgun shells, a flashlight can go in one of the pistol magazine pouches, etc. Your location, distance from home, all these things will determine what you carry, and when.
Now, I will tell you: with six loaded AR magazines, three loaded Glock 17 magazines, water and everything inside the bag, it does get heavy. My recommendation? Throw it on and go walk with it. If you live where you can do so, grab your rifle and walk with it, too. Make it part of your weekly workout routine. I’ll tell you the same thing I tell my kids and grandkids: get stronger. Strong people are harder to kill.
The world isn’t getting any safer, and no one is coming to save you. Give some thought to what you would put in your bag, and then keep it with you all the time! If you are going to keep your rifle with you, which I heartily recommend, make sure you have some way to secure it inside your vehicle. Take it in the house with you when you get home. Train with your defensive gear regularly. Even dryfire training is better than not training. Don’t put gear in your bag that you’re not comfortable using.
I hope this helps, and if you have other suggestions, post them in the comments for. Take care, and good luck!