Some of us think that having a weapon available while bugging out is a definite must. I’m one of those people.
You should have at least two extra magazines for your primary defensive weapon in a bug out bag. You’re not looking to get into any firefights. Your best option is to avoid all confrontations, even in a bug out situation.
How Much Ammo Do You Really Need in Your Bug Out Bag
There’s some debate about how much ammo you should have in a bug out bag. Some people want to go really heavy and others want to tell you not to put any ammo in your bug out bag at all.
I come in on the light side, but I’d never say to not have a weapon with you!
In most situations, I would say you only need a little more ammo when you’re bugging out compared to your everyday carry. I usually don’t carry extra magazines for my everyday carry firearm. For me, having two extra magazines is way more ammo than I usually have.
I wouldn’t go with a lot more ammo than that but it’s really up to you. Just keep in mind, you’re trying to move from one area to another as safe as possible and a gunfight should be your very last option.
When you’re deciding how much ammo to take with you, keep in mind the typical combat load for troops in combat.
How Much Ammo is in a Combat Load
A typical combat load for most American troops is 7 magazines for a total of 210 rounds. There is no real cut and dry answer because it can vary based on the unit and the service but 7 magazines is a good rule of thumb. Other countries that I’ve worked with also carry about the same amount of ammo.
What Weapon Should You Have in Your Bug Out Bag
What weapon you should take with you is a much more important question in my mind than how much ammo should you have. Just like every other prepping question, there isn’t a clear cut and dry answer here. It’s going to depend on where you live and how dangerous the area is will dictate a lot.
If you live somewhere that carrying a rifle wouldn’t draw a lot of attention (especially during a disaster) then you should absolutely have a rifle. If the weight is your main concern then get an AR or AK pistol. A rifle (or pistol variant) is going to provide you with much more firepower than a pistol.
For those that live in a city or suburb where walking around with a rifle may be seen as threatening (or maybe even make you a target) you’re going to have to choose what’s more important. Do you want to have more defensive capabilities or draw less attention? I can personally see it either way to some degree.
You probably noticed that I didn’t mention a shotgun in here. That’s because I just don’t see a shotgun as a good bug out weapon. They’re normally heavier than AR-15s or AKs and the ammo is much heavier.
As a defensive weapon in the open, the shotgun is just not as effective as a rifle. I also didn’t mention .22s or hunting rifles. I’m thinking from a defensive standpoint and a .22 rifle or bolt action just doesn’t fit that bill for me.
If I was expecting to be on the road for weeks and have to hunt small game or some other scenario then a .22 would be a strong contender. I just don’t pack a bug out bag for that. My bug out bag is to keep me going to for 3 or 4 days until I can reach safety. It’s not an INCH bag.
Yes, if you have a .22 you can carry hundreds of rounds and they’ll weigh less than the couple magazines I suggest carrying. I just don’t think you’d need hundreds of rounds in a bug out bag. If I did, I’d suggest hundreds of rounds of 5.56 or 7.62, not 22.
How much ammo should you stockpile? A good general rule is to have 1000 rounds on hand for each caliber of weapon that you own. This is in addition to the amount of ammo that you have for practice. I would also suggest having an extra 1000 rounds for your primary defensive weapon.
How much ammo do I need to store for SHTF? You should have 1000 rounds for each caliber you own and an extra 1000 rounds for your primary defense weapon. This is on top of any practice ammo you have. If you expect other people to come to your location, you should consider storing ammo for them as well.