How to choose the right escape gun

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Getty: Jack F

Choosing the best weapon largely depends on where you live.

For many, an essential part of a good bug out bag is a good bug out gun. When someone talks about “letting off steam” they are referring to a reliable strategy for fleeing to safety for a number of reasons, which may be on foot or in a vehicle.

Other preppers have specific backpacks for specific scenarios like a natural disaster, civil unrest, power grid failure, or a simple company collapse. The one thing they all have in common is guns with enough spare ammo to last a while.

If people live in rural areas, an escape weapon tends to be something that serves any purpose, such as hunting or self-defense. For this purpose, a semi-automatic rifle is often the best choice. Some prefer a semi-automatic pistol that shoots a common caliber, either 5.56 for small game or .308 Win / 7.62 NATO for medium and large game.

Others will carry something like a standard AR and maybe a .22LR survival rifle or pistol for small game hunting.

Some like a pistol that falls somewhere in the middle, like a semi-automatic rifle chambered in a pistol caliber like 9mm, .45 ACP, or 10mm. Some even have the added convenience of using Glock magazines for the same caliber, which makes pairing a 9mm PCC with a Glock 19 an easy choice for your survival arsenal.

Survival rifles that can be easily assembled and disassembled without tools, or demountable pistols that can easily be disassembled into two pieces, are popular choices. If someone packs a revolver and rifle, a chambered action lever in the same caliber as the wheelgun is a Wild West era setup that still stands today.

Today, high quality lever action rifles with many modern features are available from Marlin and Henry Repeating Arms. A .44 Magnum lever pistol is extremely efficient and can also fire lighter .44 special charges. The same goes for the .357 Magnum and .38 Special.

For people living in many widely open countries, a long-range firearm might be more appropriate. A good telescopic bolt-action rifle is hard to beat for distant threats and big game, but something a little more nimble is needed for small game and defense as well.

For people living in more urban environments, a handgun is the best escape weapon. They don’t take up much space, are easy and light to transport and hide if needed, and most modern pistols come standard with 20-round magazines.

People who practice concealed carry will no doubt bring their CCW pistol and possibly an additional firearm.

The choice of caliber is important. Anyway, when SHTF, the first things to fly off the shelves, as we’ve learned, are toilet paper and ammo. Most people like their evacuation weapons to be chambered for the calibers used by local law enforcement and the military. The logic is that the spare ammunition that is most likely to be found in post-disaster circumstances will be scraps of police or military handguns and long guns.

Rifles and shotguns are versatile and capable of hitting targets at long range, while handguns are ideal for close encounters. Even though ammo is physically bigger and heavier, shotguns are also decent options. They offer a lot of firepower at close range and can be effective at longer ranges than most people realize – certainly farther than a 9mm pistol with accuracy. A simple Mossberg 500 can meet a multitude of needs and a Kel-Tec KS7 is easy to carry and has a seven-turn magnetic tube.

Whatever you choose to add to your survival kit, even a single shot rifle or shotgun and buckshot cartridge are better than none. If you can choose your escape weapon, smart survivalists focus on versatility, durability, hunting ability, and personal defense. And don’t forget to pack spare ammo and magazines with your survival weapons and survival gear.

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