How To Choose A Gun For Your Bug Out Bag 

Having a bug out bag is an absolute must if you want to be truly prepared for an emergency SHTF scenario. Even though bugging in during a disaster is usually the safer option, in certain situations bugging out onto the open road will be literally your only option.

For example, the authorities may order you to bug out, or staying home may simply not be feasible in the event of a major natural disaster striking your city. 

The purpose of a bug out bag is to keep you alive as you move from your home to your bug out location or a safer area. In certain scenarios, you may even be forced to bug out on foot without the comfort or speed of a vehicle.

One major priority for your survival in this scenario will be defense, and this is why it’s smart to include a gun as part of your bug out.

But which gun, or guns, should you bring with you in the event that you’re forced to bug out of town on foot? That’s what we’re going to talk about today.

Why Should You Include A Firearm In Your Bug Out Bag?

Why Should You Include A Firearm In Your Bug Out Bag?

If you’re reading this article, chances are you already have a bug out bag. You likely chose the items for the bug out bag based on the disaster scenario(s) that you believe you are the most likely to find yourself in. 

The process for a gun for your bug out bag will be akin to how you chose the other items in your bag. You need to think about what kind of disaster scenario that forces you to bug out that you are most likely to find yourself in, and which gun (or guns) would be most ideal for that scenario. 

You may think that you don’t need to keep a firearm in your bug out bag because you can just grab one of your guns out of your safe before you bug out. That’s certainly one option, but I would highly suggest you do keep a gun stored in your bug out bag amongst your other items for one very simple reason: you never know when you’ll have to bug out and it could happen on a moment’s notice.

It’s possible that you’ll just literally have to grab your bug out bag and run. By keeping a gun in your bug out bag at all times, you can guarantee that you’ll be armed when you bug out. 

If you do have the time to run to your safe and grab an additional gun or two, by all means do so. I’m just saying that I would keep at least one firearm in your bug out bag at all times.

If you’re still on the fence about whether including a gun in your bug out bag is smart, there are two very smart reasons why it is very smart to do so:


As mentioned above, self-defense is the number one reason to have a firearm with you when you bug out. One reason why bugging out is so dangerous is because you and the other members of your group will be vulnerable and exposed out on the open road, where you could be targeted by looters, raiding parties, and anyone else who’s desperate and willing to commit violent things for their survival.


The second reason you’ll want to bug out with a gun is so you can hunt. If you find yourself on the move out in the woods while you’re bugging out, chances are high that you’ll be primarily hunting small game such as rabbits and squirrels versus larger game like deer and elk.

The Best Guns To Consider Keeping In Your Bug Out Bag 

The Best Guns To Consider Keeping In Your Bug Out Bag 

Only you can decide which firearm to ultimately keep in your bug out bag, but the following would be my top suggestions: 

.22 Rifle or Pistol 

The venerable .22 LR round is perhaps the most underestimated cartridge in existence, despite the fact that it’s so widely in use. What makes the .22 a good choice for bugging out is the fact that it’s a small and lightweight cartridge. As a result, you can include a fairly significant amount of ammunition for it in your bug out bag, and certainly more than you could for a larger cartridge.

The .22 will prove its use for you many times over in a survival situation. It’s the perfect round for small game hunting, which you’re likely to be doing a lot of in your bug out travels like I mentioned above. It can be used for hunting bigger game such as deer, but only with a very well-placed thought. 

The .22 is also more effective for self-defense than you may think as well. That’s why it could be useful in an urban bug out scenario where you’re not likely to w

In regards to a specific .22 for including in your bug out bag, I would recommend a .22 rifle such as the Ruger 10/22 or the Marlin Model 60. Some bug out bags come with the ability to lash a long gun to the side.

Ruger also makes a Takedown model of the 10/22 that can be easily disassembled into two parts for more compact storage. This model of the 10/22 also ships with its own bag, which can be either lashed to the outside of your bug out bag or stored inside of it. 

Alternatively, a .22 handgun would work as well. While lacking the range of a rifle, a pistol would take up a lot less space and weight in your bag. If you go the pistol route, I’d suggest the Ruger SR22, Ruger Mark IV, Smith & Wesson Victory, or the Browning Buckmark.

.357 Magnum Revolver

The traditional revolver is another good option for a ‘survivalist’s’ weapon. It’s simple, reliable, easy-to-operate, and can be used for both hunting and personal defense. On top of that, a revolver is unlikely to take up a significant amount of space in your bug out bag. 

If you opt to carry a revolver in your bug out bag, I highly recommend that you go with a .357 Magnum version. This way, you can shoot both .357 as well as .38 Special, greatly increasing the weapon’s versatility. The .357 Magnum is a solid hunting round as well, and can be used to bring down deer with well-placed shots within short ranges. 

I’d suggest a double action .357 Magnum revolver such as the Ruger GP100 or the Smith & Wesson 686. Both are very durable and known for quality. I’d go one with a 6-inch barrel so it would be 

Semi-Automatic Pistol

A simple semi-automatic 9mm or .45 pistol will afford you greater capacity and faster reloading times than a revolver while still being small and compact, and therefore won’t take up a significant amount of space in your bug out bag. 

The only limitation with a pistol, like the revolver, is the more limited range. Furthermore, if you happen to be conceal carrying when you bug out, you’ll already have a pistol on your person, in which case having another pistol in your bug out bag may seem redundant.

Lever Action Rifle 

A lever action rifle may sound like it’s too bulky and heavy to be carried in a bug out bag. But what makes the lever action unique amongst other kinds of rifles, and especially semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines that stick out such as the AR-15 or Ruger Mini-14, is how slim and narrow it is. 

A lever action rifle would also be ideal for both hunting and defense, and could tap targets at longer distances than a handgun. 

Like I mentioned above, certain kinds of bug out bags come with the ability to lash a rifle or a shotgun to the side. A lever action carbine, being very narrow and lightewight, would be an ideal choice to strap to the side of your pack. 

I’d suggest a .30-30 lever action such as a WInchester 1894 or Marlin 336. Alternatively, you could opt to go with a .357 Magnum lever action (such as a Winchester 1892 reproduction or a Marlin 1894) strapped to the outside of your backpack and then a .357 Magnum revolver stashed away in your bag as well. This would afford you both a rifle and a handgun with a common caliber, which would be immensely practical in a defensive scenario. 



Ultimately, the gun you choose to keep in your bug out bag is your choice. The above options I have listed are what I believe are the most ideal to consider stashing away inside your bag or otherwise lashing to the outside of it.  

What’s important, again, is that you keep a handgun in your bug out bag at all times. You never know when you will have to bug out, and chances are that you’ll be forced to bug out far faster than you may have expected. In that case, you may not even have the time to run to your gun safe to pick out a gun to take with you…which is precisely why it will be to your benefit to keep a gun in your bug out bag at all times, 

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