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If you were forced to evacuate your home and hit road the following a major grid down disaster, what guns would you want to bring with you?
Bugging out presents its own unique set of dangers. You’re naturally exposed out on the road, you can’t bring all of your supplies with you, and you may not even know where you’re going (especially if you don’t have a bug out location in mind, or if you’re forced to take an alternate route).
But should the guns you bring with you when bugging out be the same guns you’d use if you were to bug in at home instead? While you may not be able to bring as many firearms with you (due to there naturally being less space in your vehicle than your home), it’s still important to bring a number of different firearms that cover different roles.
So what should these guns be? That’s up to you to decide, but we’ll provide you with a few suggestions in this article. With that said, here are the best bug out guns to survive out on the road.
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1. AR-15 5.56x45mm NATO
There’s a reason the AR-15 is the bestselling rifle in the United States today. It’s highly ergonomic, produces minimal recoil, is easily customizable, an excellent choice for both hunting and self-defense, and magazines are affordable and fairly easy to find.
The AR-15 also offers many practical purposes when bugging out. The 5.56x45mm NATO/.223 Remington round is suitable for bringing down game such as deer or wild boar, and it’s also a round that’s very suitable for self-defense.
Beyond that, AR-15s (assuming you’re buying a complete rifle or individual parts from reputable manufacturers) are known for accuracy and reliability. The vast plethora of customization options means that you can make them as ergonomic and comfortable for your liking as possible. An AR-15 equipped with a red dot sight, flashlight, and a sling makes for an excellent primary weapon while bugging out on the road.
Additionally, 30-round AR-15 magazines are also among the easiest and affordable to find on the marketplace, so stocking up on mags now while you still can won’t be that big of a problem (for now, at least).
2. Beretta Cx4 Carbine and Beretta 92FS 9mm Luger
The idea of having a pistol caliber carbine (or a PCC) and a handgun that accept both the same ammunition and magazines is hardly original, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t practical.
The Beretta 92FS (along with its many variations like the 92A1 and the M9A3) holds the distinction of being one of the most iconic but also reliable and long lasting duty pistols in history. Besides their inherent reliability, Beretta 92 pistols are noted for their slick actions and fixed barrel design that aids in accuracy.
Beretta 92 magazines are also fairly easy to find and affordable, and come in many different capacities including 15, 17, 18, 20, and 30 rounds.
The Beretta Cx4 is a futuristic-looking and highly ergonomic pistol caliber carbine that’s been manufactured by Beretta since 2003. It features controls that can be easily swapped between sides to accommodate both right handed and left handed shooters, and comes with sling mounts and accessory rails on the top and sides to accept scopes, red dot sights, lasers, or flashlights.
The magazines are loaded behind the trigger in order to mimic the operation of a pistol. Thanks to its shorter length, the Cx4 is a highly maneuverable weapon, which makes it ideal for tight corners or as a truck gun (hence it’s worth considering as a bug out carbine). Recoil is also very light and controllable.
The primary benefit to having a PCC and handgun that share commonality in magazines is obvious: you only need to have one type of magazine on your person that can be used to reload either weapon. Furthermore, the 9mm round will experience superior velocity and ballistics when shot out of the 16-inch barrel of your Cx4 vs. the 4.9 inch barrel of your 92.
All in all, having a Beretta 92FS holstered on your hip and with a Cx4 slung across your chest will represent a formidable defensive combo for any SHTF scenario.
NOTE: Besides the primary model designed to accept 92FS 9mm magazines, the Cx4 is also available in models designed to accept Beretta Px4 9mm or .40 S&W magazines as well. I’d just suggest you go with the 92-variant since 92 magazines are far more common and affordable than Px4 magazines.
3. Glock 19 9mm Luger
Like the AR-15 is to centerfire rifles, the Glock 19 in 9mm Luger is the most popular centerfire pistol sold in the United States today. A solid argument can be made that the Glock 19 is the most practical defensive pistol that you can own today.
It’s dead simple, reliable, requires minimal maintenance, and is fairly lightweight. It’s compact and easy keep concealed on your person while bugging out, and yet large enough to use as a duty-sized pistol if need be.
Besides its standard 15-round capacity magazines that are commonly available on the market, the Glock 19 will also accept longer 17 and 33 round magazines as well.
4. Mossberg 590A1 12 Gauge
The 12 gauge pump action shotgun is one of the most versatile weapons you can bug out with because of its ammunition: buckshot rounds are devastating for self-defense at close ranges, birdshot can be used for bird and small game hunting, and slugs can be used for big game hunting within moderate distances if need be.
The Mossberg 590A1 is essentially a Mossberg 590 with a few crucial upgrades designed to boost its durability and combat effectiveness. To this end, it comes with a thickened barrel, a parkerized finish, a metal trigger group and safety on the rear of the receiver, and even a bayonet lug at the end of the barrel.
As a testament to its durability, the 590A1 is notable for being the only shotgun to pass the US Army’s grueling pump action shotgun torture test back in the 1980s, and is still seeing service to this day.
5. Ruger 10/22 .22 LR
The .22 LR is a round that should never be underestimated for its practicality. Thanks to its small size, .22 LR can be stored in much greater quantities and take up less space than larger cartridges. This means that when bugging out in your vehicle, you’ll be able to bring a large amount of .22 LR ammunition with you.
In terms of versatility and use, a Ruger 10/22 produces minimal recoil and significantly less noise than the larger caliber guns we have listed here (the latter of which can especially be an advantage in an SHTF scenario). The .22 LR is also an excellent choice for small game hunting.
That’s also not to mention that 10/22 magazines are also among the most plentiful on the marketplace as well. Standard capacity magazines hold 10 rounds, but 15 and 25 round magazines from both Ruger and reputable third party manufacturers like Butler Creek are widely available as well.
6. Ruger GP100 .357 Magnum
Another good idea for a handgun to have in your arsenal while bugging out is the .357 Magnum revolver. There are many advantages to doing so: not only are revolvers simple and easier to operate for those unfamiliar with semi-automatics, they’re very versatile because they can accept both .357 and .38 ammunition.
Virtually any quality .357 Magnum revolver will do the trick, but one worth serious mention is the Ruger GP100. The GP100 is built like a tank, and was specifically manufactured by Ruger to be able to handle an unlimited number of .357 Magnum rounds without the action overheating and seizing up.
Go with a stainless steel model (which will offer greater resistance to rust and corrosion than standard bluing) and with a 4 to 6 inch barrel. The GP100 is a hefty gun, but the benefit here is that the extra weight helps to absorb a significant amount of the recoil generated by the .357 Magnum. Shooting .38 Specials out of the GP100, meanwhile, produces very minimal recoil to begin with.
The security of you and your loved ones needs to be one of your top priorities when bugging out. Bugging out in an emergency scenario will never be safe, but it will be even less safe if you aren’t properly armed. Be prepared to bring a number of different firearms with you that will cover different purposes. The above makes and models of firearms collectively are designed to cover many uses to ensure your bases are covered.
And remember, being armed and ready to defend yourself needs to be only one component of a much larger plan to defend yourself when bugging out on the road.
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