This is a very difficult question and one of individual judgment. However it’s imperative that you make the right decision here for your family’s sake. So let’s talk about philosophy on this. This article is geared towards us city dwellers who aren’t at our first choice hold up location; if you are out in the country and bugging out from an attack we will discuss this at the end. First there are two ways of thinking, Get out before the SHTF/WROL or try to wait until the initial crazy calms down and slip out at night.
You first option is in my opinion the best. Now it’s very difficult to judge when that is or how long you have to get to your location before you get caught in the craziness. So the most important part is to develop your own red line and stick to it. For instance I would look at inflationary signs. When I start seeing the dollar going down significantly I’m in condition yellow.
When I start seeing store shelves consistently bare, I’m in condition Orange. And when I start hearing more and more stories of civil unrest, or rampant increase of break ins etc then that’s where my red line is. It’s time to head out. I probably at that time have 24-48 hours before SHTF or WROL. Now for the most part a false positive bug out isn’t going to hurt anything unless you plan to shoot your cats with a .22lr or something so they don’t have to become some marauders food or torment. Bugging out early allows you to move somewhere before everyone is “me first” mode and ready to pull you out of your car for your stuff.
The second option can be a good idea, but very dangerous. You may also lose the ability to bug out altogether if miscalculated. The key factors to making this decision is if you are able to hide or keep outside of the scope of the civil unrest or you are caught off guard and there isn’t enough time to get out before handle. Sometimes it’s best to avoid being caught out in “the storm.” Make sure when you slip out you do it at night and be careful. It’s possible that in this situation there is martial law in effect which means if seen you might be shot. You probably won’t have the luxury of taking your car or a lot of goods, just your bag and gone.
For those that are at their primary location and come under attack, your first best option would be to plan for this. Have some of your supplies cached around the area so you can resupply, make sure not all of your prep is easily accessible by bandits if they overrun your farm house and take everything they didn’t get everything. Then consider into your plans how you would engage your own home. Build weaknesses into your defenses and plan to exploit them. This could be tunnels, sniper positions, etc. Personally my plan if I were hit by a larger number of bandits would be to retreat to a wood line and then engage them with sniper fire and booby traps. Shoot, reposition, shoot. This would create a demoralizing situation and may cause them to leave in a panic, or they will come hunting you. At which time preplanned booby traps like conibear traps, pungie sticks, and more can be waiting to help funnel them into an ambush or reduce their numbers further.
After reading this article the most important thing is to figure out what your “red line” is. When do you bug out, what signs are you looking for? Then stick to it. Without predetermined criteria and signs you will end up stuck in your house until it’s too late and put yourself into additional danger. Don’t think because you have an AR-15 you can wait it out… There are 270 million other guns out there so the people you will face will be just as well armed, but maybe not as well prepared.