Believe me when I say this is a hard article for me to write as I am one who believed there is never too much ammo. In reality there is. The one thing that many of us last minute beginner preppers thinks is that we will have to fight a horde of zombies, or a rioting mob. So we plan buy the biggest bag possible and fit as many guns and ammo in it as we can. Then think “Food? I can find some in the wild!” I read some really good articles that set me straight and sai to say the new Sony Playstation 3 game “The Last of Us” also changed my perception. First off Ammo is heavy. Keep in mind this equation. Pounds = pain + slowness + higher food consumption. In reality your goal is to avoid using the ammo. Escape and evade, don’t engage. If you engage you have a much higher chance of coming out either dead or seriously injured then if you avoid trouble.
It’s not to say you won’t ever engage in combat chances are you will have a run in, but you need to have sniper accuracy and make the shots count. Keep in mind the first shot alerts people the second shot tells them where you are. So if you can make that first shot count you are better off. That game really brought it into perspective for me as well. I know a video game isn’t a good depiction of the life and death choices you will make but they can still shape your thinking if applied right. When I went through the last of Us on survivor mode (hardest difficultly) I found my ammo as insanely low. I have more ammo on my chest rig then I got the entire game. However some how I did fine. I found myself sneaking avoiding conflict, only engaging when I had to typically from stealth, and most importantly using my brain and wits. This brought home the point that every interaction is a risk of things going bad. Moving fast and moving quiet is far more important. If you are homesteading out in the country then by all means load up on ammo. So I have decided to cut my carry ammo and use more of it for training. As well it’s time to get back to the dojo, it’s been close to 10 years since I studied martial arts. Learning how to fight without a weapon is an essential skill when ammo is scarce.
The next myth is the military looking bag making you a greater target. I have talked about this before and chances are any big or stuffed bag will make you a target, doesn’t matter if it’s military or civilian. As well if you have a chest rig, and long gun and full camo you will be a greater target by outlaws and deemed a threat to police or military if martial law is enacted. So dress down the camo for flat tan and olive colored clothing stow your long gun and chest rig inside the pack. this means consider folding stocks or other ways to reduce length. Keep your side arm on you and accessible. Remember a hand gun is supposed to be used to fight your way to your rifle. So if you have to draw it you should then use it to get to cover and unearth your rifle. Personally I changed bags to a USMC ILBE, it’s an amazing bag and worth it. I expect you will see a lot of people with surplus military bags during your bug out as they are cheaper then civilian bags and more durable.
The “I’m bugging out plan” in general may be flawed. Ideally you are far better off moving to a location in a rural area and becoming a homesteader. However for some this isn’t possible. So if bug out is you plan you need a place to head to other then “a forest.” Chances are that is the same plan thousands of other unprepared people will have. So as a result you will risk unnecessary contact and be fighting for scarce resources. It’s estimated that it takes 10 acres of dense untouched forest to support 1 adult. There isn’t that much forest to go around. As well you will be living hand to mouth and something as simple as a cold could end you. So it’s important to have a destination in mind. Buy some land either individually or as a group, plan ahead to go to a family member or friend who has a retreat, cache supplies where you plan to go. These are the key to a successful bug out. Not just “hit the road and hope for the best.”