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Concealed Carry: Immersive Defensive Firearms Training

Concealed Carry: Immersive Defensive Firearms Training/* custom css */.td_uid_2_5f379d5dcd493_rand.td-a-rec-img { text-align: left; } .td_uid_2_5f379d5dcd493_rand.td-a-rec-img img { margin: 0 auto 0 0; } Defensive firearms training should go well past range time to realistic situations that prepare you for actual lethal force encounters. How immersive training sharpens you for the real thing: Until you train to respond to a deadly force encounter you won’t truly know how to respond. While range work is important, scenarios training injects realism and the adrenaline factor. Mistakes will be made in this sort of training, but in an environment where they can be corrected. This sort of training is wise, ensuring you are fully prepared and confident with your self-defense skills. In an article on active shooter response training that ran in Gun Digest the Magazine some time back, author Bob Whaley, a Gunsite-certified instructor and law enforcement veteran of more than 28 years, wrote with regard to training: “You don’t know what you don’t know until someone points it out.” Best Starter Kit for Concealed Carry: S&W M&P 9 SHIELD $394.96 guns.com Safariland IWB Holster $43.99 brownells.com Safariland Duty Belt $88.99 brownells.com SnagMag Ammo Pouch $LOW! gundigeststore.com Disclosure: Some of these links are affiliate links. Caribou Media Group may earn a commission from qualifying purchases. Thank you! I remember at the time thinking that it was an elegantly simple way of pointing out something that, in truth, was quite profound. Until you have trained in how to respond to a deadly force encounter, you truly will not know how to respond. Related GunDigest Articles Gun Review: Walther's Scaled Down PPQ SC Still Packs A Punch Gun Review: Shooting The Moon With The Smith & Wesson 929 Modern Shooter: Training In Split-Second Decision Making I received a great reminder of this when Walther invited a group of us writers and editors out to Utah to debut its new PPQ SC and send us through a training course the staff at Deliberate Dynamics had prepared. Among the two most striking exercises trainers had us do were a live-fire house clearing scenario and a night shoot in which we used flashlights in our support hand paired with a handgun in our dominant hand. The live-fire house-clearing scenario was designed to mimic what an armed citizen might face in a potential home defense event. Even in a controlled environment, which the shoot house was, the stress of decision-making in a dynamic setting, as opposed to training on paper or steel at a range, amped up the adrenaline factor. And even when trying to keep in mind the training you’d just received, mistakes were almost always inevitable. At the end of the scenario, one of the instructors would point out simple mistakes — not covering this corner or that or lingering within a field of fire too long — but mistakes that in a real event could prove deadly.

How-To: Properly Mounting a Scope on a Rifle

How-To: Properly Mounting a Scope on a Rifle

/* custom css */.td_uid_2_5f379d6ecc6e0_rand.td-a-rec-img { text-align: left; } .td_uid_2_5f379d6ecc6e0_rand.td-a-rec-img img { margin: 0 auto 0 0; } Mounting a scope on a rifle is one of those things that can seem fairly straightforward on the surface, but once you actually start doing it, it can go sideways very quickly. Steps to a precisely mount a scope: Cleaning the threads — so they are free of any oil, grease or residue — is key at the beginning of the process, ensuring the screws fit properly. Once the screw lengths are checked in the bases, the rings can be mounted, with a keen eye for alignment; there are nifty tools available that precisely line the rings up. Side-to-side or angular misalignment can be corrected with a lapping tool and lapping compound; the bottom ring should be worked until there's about 90-percent contact. Installing Mark 4 rings and bases, the rings should be torqued to 65 in.-lbs. to ensure a tight mount. When mounting a scope, you must make sure it’s securely mounted and installed on the rifle straight and level. It needs to be securely mounted because, obviously, you don’t want it coming off the rifle while shooting. Catching a scope in your lap, when it’s supposed to be on the rifle, is not conducive to good accuracy. Also, even slight looseness in the scope can cause huge shifts in the point of impact, especially when shooting past 100 yards . It may seem like you have the scope on tight, but looks can be deceiving — especially with sharp recoiling firearms. You must follow proper torque settings for each part of the mounting system to ensure rock-solid optics. Straight and level are critical because you want to have available the maximum click adjustments in all directions. If you mount a scope and have to use up almost all of your windage or elevation just to get the rifle zeroed , you’ll have little to no adjustment left to account for point of impact variations in different ammunition. The scope reticle must be as mechanically centered as possible to give you the widest range of adjustment. So for this article I’m going to focus on two types of mounting systems for a centerfire rifle, and the correct way to get the scope securely mounted so it can do its job when needed. Two-Piece Base and Rings The first application I’ll talk about is the standard, steel two-piece base with scope rings that utilize a dovetail mount. The dovetail ring fits into the base very snugly by rotating 90 degrees. Many manufacturers use this type of system because it’s strong. I prefer two-piece steel bases over one-piece, because with the latter, if the receiver’s mounting holes are not lined up with the screw holes machined into the base, tightening the base screws can induce stress into the scope mounting system. Granted, it won’t be much, but any stress is to be avoided for maximum accuracy. With the two-piece base, if the front set of screw holes are not aligned with the rear, you can correct that offset somewhat. Related GunDigest Articles How Does Barrel Bedding Affect Accuracy? What Are Your Options For AR Optics? New Rifle: Christensen Arms Mesa Long Range To get started, make sure the receiver threads are cleaned of any oil, grease or residue. If rebarreling the rifle, and you have the barrel off the receiver, go ahead and chase out the scope base mounting threads with a good, sharp thread tap. Often the threads have been damaged by attempts from other people to install a scope. Cross threading is a fairly common occurrence with people who are unfamiliar with firearm tools and techniques. The dovetail system is very strong, but the front and rear ring need to be matched up and aligned for stress-free scope mounting. If you are removing an old scope and can’t get the original screws out, they may have been screwed on too tight, or the wrong thread locking compound was used, probably the latter. Loctite makes various grades of thread adhesive. Blue is for small/fine threads that you want to be removable, red is for threads that you want to be permanent. Green is for larger threads like 1911 compensators that you don’t want to remove later. Always use blue Loctite for base screws, and never use any adhesive on the ring screws. If you can’t get the base screws off and you suspect someone used the wrong adhesive, remove the scope, and take the barreled action out of the stock. Place a wet towel around the receiver and you can carefully apply heat to the screws with a propane torch to break the bond of the adhesive. The next step is to degrease the screws and the threads in the receiver. One of the best degreasers I’ve found is Acetone, but it is highly flammable. Automotive brake cleaner works well, too, and has an additional benefit of being in aerosol form. Compressed air is very useful when mounting scopes, or anytime working on firearms around the home workshop. I have a small air compressor from Sears that I bought new for about $120.00 that works very well around the shop. Once the base screws are degreased, mount the front and rear bases without thread locker. Remove the front base screw and look down into the threads of the receiver and the tip of the screws to see if the screw has bottomed out on the barrel threads. If it has, shorten the screw on a bench grinder to make sure there is no contact between the front screws and the barrel extension. Don’t use a file on the screws — they are too hard and you will end up damaging the file. Screw the bases down onto the receiver and attach the rings to the base. The front and rear scope rings need to be centered with each other. The alignment tool is very useful to see if the rings are misaligned. With the Mark 4 mounting system explained later, always attach the rings with the large, keeper nuts to the left of the receiver, rather than on the right, as you don’t want anything interfering with the proper ejection of cases. However, with the dovetail mounting system, attach the top half of the ring of the front set and rotate the ring into the dovetail with a 1-inch piece of wooden dowel rod; a hammer handle works as well. Leupold makes a handy ring wrench for this purpose. The dovetail system causes the most frequent misalignment issues with regards to the front and rear rings, although you also want to check misalignment with the Mark 4 mounting system. The rear ring is adjustable for windage and you want to get that as centered as possible. When selecting the rings for your particular rifle, always try to get the correct height for your gun. Most scope manufacturers offer low, medium and high rings to accommodate various mounting situations. Choose the combination that mounts the rings at the lowest possible height.

Bug Out Bag List [Ultimate Guide]

Bug Out Bag List [Ultimate Guide]

Trending: Best Places to Buy Ammo Online and [Buyer's Guide] 7 Best AR-15s Supervolcanoes, solar flairs, terrorists, zombies, Boogaflu… oh my! The idea of “bugging out” is a hotly debated one in the survival, prepper, and gun owner communities. Potential Bug Out Bags While we each have our own reasons for wanting a bug out bag(s)…this list should get you started on the essentials . Man with the last roll of TP, unknown apocalyptic event, Philadelphia, 1976, colorized I’ll cover what scenarios require a bug out bag (BOB), different types of BOBs, the actual backpacks, and all the goodies to include. By the end you’ll have a great understanding (and shopping list) to create your own for your specific situation. Table of Contents Loading... What Is “Bugging Out”? The act of “bugging out” is leaving your home or other location as quickly as possible probably due to an emergency of some kind. What kind of emergency? While the tinfoil hat in all of us might want to prepare for zombies, terrorists, or Russians–the reality is that we’re far, far more likely to need a survival or bug out bag due to natural disasters . What kind though depends on where you live. California lyfe These bags are designed to sit waiting for when you need them. You don’t have time to pack, you don’t have time to grab one more item, you have exactly the amount of time it takes to get your family, your dog and your bag. What Disaster Do I Prepare for? This largely depends on where you live. Where I am in the desert of California, tornados are not on my list of things I need to worry about. But wildfires and earthquakes are VERY high on my list! Not sure what you should prep for? Check this out: US Disaster Map That map should at least give you an idea, I would highly recommend that you poke around the internet for your location and see what else might be in store for you. What you prep for changes how you prep! Flood Flooding rarely comes as a complete surprise. If you are in an area where flooding is a concern, the best thing you can do is be ready to leave when the evacuation notice comes. Since this normally comes before the flood, your bug out bag can be more orderly. Think of it as being packed for a wet vacation. Water water, everywhere, better have at least a gallon to drink. There are still some extras that you should consider including in your bags. Communications, ID, money, medications, and more. Something most other disasters won’t leave you time for is priceless items, family pictures, baby’s first teeth, rare heirloom firearms, and more. Knowing exactly what is important enough for you to take with you will save a lot of time when it comes time to leave. Earthquake While infrastructure design has improved over the last several decades, much of our nation’s infrastructure is in poor repair. Freeway interchanges, bridges, and overpasses are highly susceptible to an earthquake. Plan your bug out route or your route home with this in mind. Even if the freeway you normally take home is still intact, it might be massively overcrowded due to other failures and closed roads. Damage after the 6.7 Northridge quake, 1994, source CNN This might also force you on foot rather than driving. While this can free you from being reliant on roads, it does mean a radical change to your path. Dust and other particulates might be in the air due to buildings coming down, a respirator can come in handy! Wildfire Two major concerns when it comes to wildfires–speed and breathing. Fire can move unpredictably and it can move very quickly, the physics behind it is actually really cool but the point is that 15 mph or more is not impossible for fire. If you look out the window and see this, you should have left already. Speed in leaving the area is critical and so a well-stocked bag is a must. Don’t waste time trying to find one more item, just have it in the bag! With fire comes wind, again cool physics come into play, but the result is that wildfires can create winds in excess of 125mph. This throws a lot of ash, dust, and bad stuff into the air and can spread for miles outside of the fire itself. A great respirator and mask is a prime recommendation. Hurricane Hurricanes rarely pop up and surprise you, there are normally at least a few days for a hurricane to develop and then travel to make landfall in the USA. The best defense against a really bad hurricane is to not be there when it hits. But for more mild ones, it’s not unreasonable to just ride them out–as long as you’re prepared and do so safely. As totally badass as this gif is, don’t be this dude when a hurricane comes Listen to the weather service and follow their recommendations, when they say it’s time to leave then it’s time to leave . When they say that it’s too late to leave… well, I hope you’re already in a safe area. Keep a go-bag ready, but also keep a stock of supplies on hand for when you’re bugging in . Make sure you know how and where to go when the time comes to leave. Know the route, know alternate routes, have maps that cover those routes and more. Keep your vehicle in ready condition. If you’re going to use your day-to-day ride keeping it in good condition is easier–but if you have a dedicated bug-out vehicle, make sure you strictly adhere to a maintenance schedule. Wait, you don’t have a customized deuce and a half bug out truck? Pfft… casual. Please don’t forget to check your ego at the door. Just because you were born and raised on the coast of Florida doesn’t actually make you immune to a CAT 5 hurricane. Oh, and make sure you have copies of your insurance paperwork in a safe location outside of the normal areas hit by hurricanes. Physical or digital copies will come in handy once it is time to go home and rebuild. Tornado Unlike hurricanes, tornados can come out of nowhere and hit hard when they do. The only reasonable method of prepping for a tornado is to have a bug-in plan. They come too often and with too little warning to effectively plan and enact a bug-out. Oh my Have your space ready for use at a moment’s notice. Have supplies stored in place and secured safely–just imagine how embarrassing it would be to have a basement set up for a tornado just for you to be done in by a can of soup falling off the top shelf and hitting you in the head. Don’t be that guy! Read up on the warning signs of a tornado, sign up for your local weather alerts, and have a plan for if you are not at home (or wherever your safe location is) and a tornado hits. Weather.gov is a GREAT resource Make a plan with your family for communication if you’re in different locations. Where will you meet up after? How will you get in touch? Plan ahead. 24-Hours, 48-Hours, 72-Hours There are a lot of different kinds of survival or bug out bags. The very broad general categories we’re going to talk about mostly fall into three types. 24-Hour Bag 48-Hour Bag 72-Hour Bag There are a bunch of names for these bags, Get Home Bag, Bug Out Bag, Leave Home Bag, War Bag, etc. The problem with these names is that there is no real definition behind them. Some of my personal Bug Out Bags (top, left to right) 5.11 Range Maste r, High Peak Internal Frame, MidwayUSA 3-day assault pack, Ruger 10/22 takedown backpack, medical packs, 5.11 MOAB 10 What I call a Bug Out Bag you might call a Get Home Bag. Neither is wrong, but it does cause some communication issues. We’re keeping it simple and just calling the bag based on the number of hours it is designed for. This also makes it easy to understand and assess what your bag can and can’t do. A little old school, but a surplus Alice Pack makes for a great bug out bag. There are some things to consider with each bag type and we’ll share what our plan is for each type also. This will help you at least get an idea of what to do with each. But again, it’s going to be up to you to choose what is right for you. 24-Hour Bag Often stored at a secondary location, such as your vacation home, worksite/office, or mother-in-law’s home, etc. this bag is normally just enough to get you from point A to home. Generally speaking, these bags are meant for one person and to give you everything you might need for around 12- to 24-hours. 5.11 MOAB 10 You can bug out with it, but you’ll be really limited. Its main goal is to just hold you over long enough to reach a safe location. And that location needs to be fairly close by. It gives up longevity for mobility. Some questions to ask yourself while building this bag: Where am I storing it? How far from home am I? Can I get home in <24-hours? (keep in mind that depending on the event, roads, bridges, tunnels, etc. might be closed) Will I be alone or with someone? Personally, I keep my 24-Hour Bag simple and very portable. I built my bag for getting from the office back to home after a massive earthquake that has taken out bridges, roads, and cut communication. With that in mind, my bag is lightweight and holds stuff I need for about 24-hours of walking. 48-Hour Bag I normally don’t really consider the 48-Hour Bag to be a real Bug Out bag, for me it falls into a dead zone of time frames. If I need to bug out, I need longer than 48-hours of gear. If I need to just get somewhere safer, I can do it faster than 48-hours. Your situation might be different though, only you can decide. Vertx Commuter Bag, simple, understated, enough size to fit what you need for a couple of days. However, the 48-hour bag is perfect for the weekend or for responding to a situation that you know will have supplies on hand. Sometimes called a “War Bag” or a “Go Bag” this version of the 48-Hour bag is meant more for the professional than it is the survivor. Basically, this is a bag that you can grab and walk out of the house with to get on a plane/boat/train/camel to go to a location and do your job. Now if you’re an accountant, you might not have much use for that kind of bag. Tax season rarely involves needing to go across the country. Unless you’re The Accountant… who actually had a very impressive bug out set up! However, this isn’t just for duty work like police or military. Many firefighters I know keep a Go Bag, oil and gas workers, electricians, and more are often needed in large numbers and far away so keeping a Go Bag can be a handy thing. My first experience with Go Bags actually goes back to 9/11. While I was only a kid at the time, several members of my family were volunteer police chaplains in Southern California. The morning of 9/12, over 1,000 chaplains from around the nation started traveling to NYC to assist. More than 75 of those were from my local area and I personally knew most of them. Almost none of them had Go Bags. All of them built a Go Bag after they returned home several weeks later. Many of them used their Go Bag only a few years later when they responded to assist in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Flooded Superdome in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina For a Go Bag, I try to keep mine ready for at least 48-hours of self-reliance. This is a great middle-ground between the bare-bones and the overpacking and generally is lightweight and easy to fit in a carry-on size backpack. What Goes In My Go Bag? This is highly dependent on you and what it is you do. A firefighter needs different things than an oil and gas repairman. What do you use daily? What do you use during a workday when Murphy’s Law strikes? Put it in your Go Bag! Also consider that if you have a Go Bag, will you need to fly with it? And if so, will you have to get past TSA with it? If so, maybe don’t pack that 9″ knife or that Glock 17. Ka-Bar Potbelly , not TSA approved! 72-Hour Bag This is what most people think of when they think of a survival bag. A bag, or pack, that you can pick up and leave with and be self-sufficient for 48- to 72-hours. (left) My High Peak backpack I bought used off eBay 11 years ago. It’s my camping bag and one of my 72-hour bags. It has hundreds of miles of camping and hiking on it and is still going strong. Personally, I built mine on a 72-hour plan. I assume I’ll be on foot, so I keep it fairly lightweight, and I assume that I might need to defend myself. Consider your situation while you build a bag. Children, pets, other family members–their ages and ability all are things to consider when building not only your bag, but their bags also. However, a 72-hour bag is a bit large. FEMA recommends that you have at least 3 days worth of supplies in case of a major disaster and I would tend to agree. But some of us are just not able to pack that much gear and still walk. If you’re going out on patrol, it makes sense to carry everything . But make sure you have the physical ability to do it! If so, maybe a smaller 48-hour bag is more in line with what you can do. Non-Standard Bags I would recommend that most bug out bags be built using packs of some kind, but not all of them need to be. While I wouldn’t recommend keeping all of your gear in packs that are hard to carry on foot, keeping some of it in plastic containers or range bag style bags can make storage a lot easier. 5.11 Range Master Duffel bag being used to hold some emergency water, MREs, and LifeStraw This also works well for static bags that you might need in an emergency, even if that emergency doesn’t involve bugging out. One example of such is my Car Bag. “Car Bag” — Trauma Pak , Israeli Bandage , CAT tourniquet , EMT shears , Hokena Road Flares & Thermal Blankets This is a fairly simple bag that I keep next to my spare tire. Bright red, easy to use, one large compartment. In it, I have medical supplies, shears, and battery-powered road flares. Survival Bags (The Actual Bag Itself) There are several great bag manufactures out there and there are a lot more really crappy bag makers. There are good knock-offs and horrible knock-offs. MidwayUSA 3-Day Assault Pack (center), very similar to a half-dozen other bags. Did they copy Midway or did Midway copy them? You be the judge. And the prices range from “clearly a bad idea” to “oh my god, my first car was less than that” Look for a bag that is easy to use and really durable. Quality stitching, reinforced areas, and smooth zippers are critical. Always get a bag at least a little larger than you think you’ll need. These bags have a tendency to grow as you remember things to add and empty space is never a bad thing, but a bursting full bag is terrible. 5.11 LV10 Sling Pack loaded with a Glock 17, a half dozen spare mags, AR-15 mags, light, multitool, and a lot more. Plus room to spare! As a general guide, there are a few brands I really like: 5.11 Mystery Ranch Velocity Systems SOG Grey Ghost Gear All of these will serve you well, but I do have some favorites. 5.11 The RUSH series of bags are perfect for a range of Bug Out Bags. The MOAB 10 is my EDC work bag and my Get Home bag while the RUSH72 is one of my 72-hour bags. John with his 5.11 AMP12 They are well made, durable, and really handy. I highly recommend them. Mystery Ranch Super popular with hunters and backpackers, Mystery Ranch has been around making amazing bags for a long time. Most of these are fram-backpacks, either internal or external frames. Mystery Ranch Glacier Backpack 350 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 350 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing All of them are built like tanks, lightweight, and many of them have special holders for a rifle or bow. If you need a bag that you can hike 50 miles in while carrying everything you need to survive, Mystery Ranch is my go to pick. Survival Bag Items List These items are not the end-all, be-all. Some of them you need, some of them you don’t. Depending on what you prep for you might need things not on this list, my point is–this is to get you started. This is also all of the items we recommend. If you’re building a smaller bag, you won’t need a large portion of this list. Even if you are building a full bug out bag, you’ll want to pick and choose. Refine, plan, and prepare further after consulting this list! And… some of these won’t be in stock. That’s the nature of Amazon right now. Water/Hydration Canteen A hard water bottle gives you something to not only hold water in but also to purify water in. I like to have at least two so that I can be purifying water in one and drinking water in another. 2 Qt. Military Canteen 8 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 8 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing I like a standard US Military style canteen. They’re lightweight, hold a decent amount of water, cheap, and there are about 5,000 holders on the market for attaching them to a belt, pack, or anything else. Nalgene Water Bottle Alternatively, a Nalgene bottle is my runner-up since they are indestructible and have a much wider mouth. The wide mouth comes in handy for things like refilling, cooking, purification, and more. Nalgene Tritan Wide Mouth BPA-Free Water Bottle 15 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 15 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing But I’ve spent years trying to find a handy way of carrying my Nalgene and I still have yet to find a method that I actually like. Bottom line–I hate hiking with one, but I often have one clipped to my bag empty for use around camp. Potable Aqua Water Purification Treatment The gold standard for treating water. Water Purification Tablets 7 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 7 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing There are a lot of options when it comes to what exact model you get, but I use the single bottle kind–these do leave an aftertaste, but it’s simpler and lighter to pack than the two-bottle system that removes the aftertaste. Embrace the suck or use some drink mix to make the water taste better. LifeStraw Perfect for drinking water on the go, the LifeStraw filters out everything bad that might be in your water while you drink it. This means no weird aftertaste but does mean one more thingy to carry. Lifestraw in use… yum? LifeStraws filter at least 1,000gal of water each, so getting one per person is an easy way of making sure you’ll have water to drink almost no matter what. Best Personal Water Filter Lifestraw "Personal Water Filter" 18 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 18 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System If you plan on using this bag to provide for several people, you’ll need more water. Sawyer Mini Filtration System 25 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 25 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing Sawyer "Mini Water Filtration" will clean over 100,000gal of water! Working much like the LifeStraw this is easy to handle, quick to filter and makes everything clean and safe. Food/Food Prep S.O.S. Emergency Rations These are… well they will keep you alive and active . And they have a 5-year shelf life. And they taste… okay. They pack small, last a long time, are lightweight, and carrying enough to feed a family for a week is easy to do. But they don’t taste amazing and they aren’t super filling. SOS Emergency Food Bars 8 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 8 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing Emergency rations are meant to keep you alive, not to keep you happy. Still, a pack of these should be in every survival bag. Larabar Mini Everyone needs to snack, I love these because they taste good , they have a lot of flavor options, they last a long time, and they are surprisingly filling. I actually keep these in my EDC briefcase just for normal snacking also. Larabar Mini 5 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 5 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing Emergen-C Energy+ Drink mix is critical for a survival bag. It makes water taste better, especially if it tastes weird due to purification, it gives you some extra oomph, and it’s just a nice comfort sometimes to drink something tasty. There are a lot of options for this kind of thing, but Emergen-C Energy+ fills a lot of roles in one. It makes water taste good, it gives you a vitamin boost (something you’ll likely be running low on), and it gives you a solid dose of caffeine without overwhelming your system. Emergen-C Energy+ 13 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 13 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing Caffeine in survival is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it helps to keep you going. On the other hand, it can make sleeping and downtime harder. And you do need to sleep. MSR PocketRocket 2 A small stove is nice to have but not critical. Depending on your bag and what you pack for food, it might not be useful. But if you’re planning on keeping any kind of freeze-dried food in your bag, a backpacking stove is nice. It also is great for winter conditions where snow might need to be converted to water. MSR PocketRocket 2 45 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 45 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing MSR PocketRocket is a classic in the backpacking community, I’ve used one personally on a lot of trips. Simple, lightweight, and works. TOAKS Titanium Long Handle Spoon A spoon or spork is all you really need to eat with. Long handled spoon has the advantage of being perfect for MREs or other meals-in-a-bag, also nice for stirring things in a pot. TOAKS Titanium "Long Handle Spoon" 10 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 10 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing Light My Fire Titanium Spork A spork is a combo of a spoon and a fork , in case you didn’t know. Handy, useful, not a lot more to say. Light my "Fire Titanium Spork" 17 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 17 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing Oh, and a spork recently landed a starring role in Toy Story 4, good for him! MalloMe Camping Cookware Mess Kit Another item that is dependent on what you pack. Personally, I would keep most of this kit in another camping box for weekend use and only throw the plate/pot into the Survival Bag. This is the kit I use though, I have nothing bad to say about it and it’s held up well over the trips. If possible though, I would design my bag around not needing a mass kit of any kind. MalloMe "Camping Cookware Mess" Kit 27 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 27 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing However, if you’re bugging out in a more family-style way then the small amount of normalcy that comes from everyone eating together off of plates might be good for the kids and for morale in general. Clothing Merrell Men’s Moab 2 While these are the shoes I would recommend , the reality is that there are a LOT of options and what is best is going to be totally personalized for you. A great set of shoes is one of the most important things you can put in your bag, so choose wisely. Keep in mind that you might need these to travel over long distance, over bad ground, and very possibly over broken bits of anything and everything. Hiking shoes give you some ankle protection and support without adding too much weight to the shoe itself. Merrell Men's Moab 2 Waterproof Hiking Shoe 90 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 90 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing While things like combat boots will give you the most protection and support, actually hiking with them is a beast if you’re not conditioned to the extra weight. Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion Socks If you’ve never treated your feet to great socks, you’ve been missing out in life. A great sock can literally change your life . "Darn Tough Hiker" "Micro Crew Cushion" Socks 22 at Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion Socks Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 22 at Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion Socks Prices accurate at time of writing Darn Tough is one of the most respected names when it comes to socks and these are their finest offering for cushion and low weight. Tru-Spec 24-7 Tactical Softshell Jacket Like the shoes, there are a LOT of options when it comes to jackets. The Tru-Spec 24-7 is the one I personally use and I really like it. Tru-Spec Men's 24-7 "Tactical Softshell Jacket" 85 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 85 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing It’s warm, lightweight, resists water and wind well, and has so far served me very well in the two years or so I’ve used it. We have a full review of it in the Best Tactical Jackets along with some other great options for you to consider! 5.11 Taclite Cap Okay–it’s a ballcap. I know. Your favorite baseball team, a random hat you got at that one concert that one time, or this cap from 5.11 –all of them will fill this role about as well as the next. 5.11 Men's Taclite Uniform Cap 13 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 13 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing Just make sure it is well built, blocks the sun, and fits your head… like this one does! Columbia Bora Bora II Booney Hat More protection than a ballcap, but can be annoying to hike with depending on the bag you have. Columbia Unisex Bora Bora II Booney Hat 23 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 23 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing I like the booney over a ballcap though since it also gives you the ability to do the classic fly fisherman thing of using the hat to store things like fish hooks, sewing needle, and safety pins in it. PIG Full Dexterity Tactical (FDT) Alpha Gloves We cover these gloves in-depth in our Best Shooting Gloves review and I highly recommend you give it a read! SKD FDT Alpha The short story though is that these gloves rock. Superb dexterity, thick padding, tight-fitting, duel-joint fingers, and touch-screen compatible–these gloves are simply awesome. Almost the entire PPT team uses these gloves and we bought them ourselves, so that should tell you how much we approve of them. Editor's Choice Shooting Glove SKD PIG FDT Alpha Gloves 42 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 42 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing 5.11 Stryke Pants Once again, lots of great pants out there and many of them are covered in the Best Tactical Pants . But this is the one I pick. Well made, strong, lots of pockets, and a price that won’t horrify you–there is a lot to love about the Stryke pants . 5.11 Tactical Stryke Pants 75 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 75 at Amazon Compare prices (2 found) Amazon (See Price) 5.11 (See Price) Prices accurate at time of writing Wiley X Saber Glasses If you’re going to bring sunglasses, bring ones that are rated for more than your average drive around town. My overall favorite for style, coverage, and protection is the Wiley X Saber . It covers more angles and exceeds the military MIL-RF-31013 standards for impact resistance, UV protection, and optical clarity. With stuff in the air, possibly high winds, or you might need to use your weapon–it’s good to have proper eye protection. Editor's Pick Wiley X Saber Advanced Shooting Glasses 28 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 28 at Amazon Compare prices (4 found) Amazon (See Price) Cabelas (See Price) Brownells (See Price) Optics Planet (See Price) Prices accurate at time of writing Shelter/Bedding WildVenture Tent Tarp A good tarp and some rope are all you need to make a great shelter in a hurry. It’s also great for sleeping on, turning into a field stretcher, collecting water, and a whole lot more. There are two ways you can go with your tarp–easy to see and hard to see. If this is your bag that you want to use in case of natural disaster, then an easy to see shelter might help rescue workers find you. WildVenture Tent Tarp 45 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 45 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing And in that case, the WildVenture Tent Tarp is a great option for durability, visibility, and ease of use. Aqua Quest Defender Tarp On the other hand, if you are planning to use this bag in case of zombies, war, or other apocalyptic situations–maybe having your shelter be easy to see isn’t such a great thing. In that case, Aqua Quest has great tarps that come in neutral earth colors and camo patterns. Aqua "Quest Defender Tarp" 85 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 85 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing Coleman 0°F Mummy Sleeping Bag The first question you should ask yourself before picking a sleeping bag is: Do you really need one? Depending on how long you want to survive using your bug out bag, what the weather might be, and how much weight you want to carry–a sleeping bag might not be a great choice. However, if it might be very cold, or you want to live out of this bag for a longer period of time, then a sleeping bag can provide much-needed warmth and comfort. Coleman will always be near the top of our list for great bags on a budget. Coleman 0°F Mummy Sleeping Bag 40 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 40 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing However, this Coleman is rather heavy–not a great idea if you need to pack this a long distance. Hyke & Byke Quandary Sleeping Bag If you can expand your budget though, there are better options for sleeping bags–such as the Hyke & Byke Quandary . Rated for 15 degrees Fahrenheit this bag will keep you warm under most conditions. It also only weighs a little over 3 lbs! Hyke & Byke Quandary 15 Degree F 650 150 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 150 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing If you really want to trim weight, there are options that are in the 1lb range–but you can expect to shell out a huge amount of cash for those. Klymit Static V Sleeping Pad Unlike what most people think, a sleeping pad isn’t just for comfort. It’s mostly about keeping you off the ground and helping you to retain warmth. Also, it’s comfier. Another item that you might not really need but should at least consider is the ground pad/sleeping pad. I can say though from experience that a ground pad really makes a difference and that I would often choose to pack one even if I didn’t pack a tent and/or sleeping bag. Klymit Static V Sleeping Pad 68 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 68 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing Plus, it’s really lightweight at only 25oz. Trekology Ultralight Inflatable Camping Pillow Back in my day, I used a 99 cent beach ball and a pillowcase as a pillow on backpacking trips. Nowadays though, you can get this thing that actually lasts more than 1 night! Granted– do you really need it though ? Again that will be up to you, but it is super lightweight at only 3.4oz, it is fairly cheap, and a night of good sleep is an amazing thing when you’re dealing with the stress of bugging out. Trekology "Ultralight Inflatable Camping" Travel Pillow 16 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 16 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing If you have back or neck issues, you might want to seriously consider adding this to your bag since it is more adjustable and contoured than sleeping on your bag or a pile of clothes might be. ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 1-Person Tent A bugout bag based on natural disasters is likely going to be dealing with inhospitable weather. Even if your natural disaster is something like a wildfire or volcano, these can change weather patterns and cause some nasty events on top of what you’re already dealing with. In such cases, a tent might be preferred over just a tarp . ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 1-Person Tent 96 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 96 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing Sure, you can make do with just a tarp and your wits — but a tent is a lot easier and more reliable. Unimi Sleep Mask When you sleep might not always be at night in a bug out situation. Or you might be stuck in a group shelter with gym lights on all the time. Or maybe your campfire you need for warmth is a little too bright. "Unimi Sleep Mask" 10 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 10 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing In any case, a sleep mask can be nice . Again, depends on you if you want to spend the money and carry weight. Heat Source Zippo Typhoon Matches and Match Kit There are a lot of “waterproof” matches on the market, but in my experience. most of them don’t work. Zippo Typhoon matches have never let me down though and the small case they come in is outstanding. "Zippo Typhoon Matches" and Match Kit 10 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 10 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing The striking surface is protected so it won’t wear off in your bag, the whole case is waterproof and floats, and the matches themselves are coated in an extra thick layer of flammable material to help them burn hot and stay lit. Zippo Emergency Fire Kit One problem with matches is that they rely on your ability to find, have, or make dry tinder. This isn’t always possible, especially if you might be using your bag during a storm or after a flood. This fire kit solves that problem by including dry tinder right in the case–but you only have 5 rolls of tinder material so you’re limited on the number of fires you’ll be able to start. "Zippo Emergency Fire" Kit 10 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 10 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing Still, those 5 should get you through the first 72 hours at the very least. Bayite 4 Inch Survival Ferrocerium Drilled Flint Fire Starter Flint and steel –good enough for a caveman, good enough for us! You won’t run out,  it’s waterproof, it can work while wet, and you can even use it on moist tinder to help dry it out. bayite 4 "Inch Survival Ferrocerium" "Drilled Flint Fire" Starter 10 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 10 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing But it does take some practice and know-how. If you haven’t started a campfire before with flint and steel, please take a weekend to go camping and try it out before relying on it in your survival bag. Emergency Foil Mylar Thermal Blanket Mylar blankets keep you warm in the cold, keep you cool in the sun, they’re lightweight, cheap, and can work as a reflective surface for signaling. In short: you need them, period. Primacare HB-10 Emergency "Foil Mylar Thermal" Blanket 10 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 10 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing HotHands If you can spare the weight, having one or two hand warmers can go a long way in making you a bit more comfortable or in extreme situations stave off frostbite. If you’re in the cold, these are high on the list. HotHands Hand Warmers 28 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 28 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing First Aid IFAK The Best IFAKs article has a lot more information and detail, we recommend you take a look before choosing your IFAK. At the bare minimum, you’ll need a tourniquet, Quikclot, sterile bandages, sterile gloves, and EMT shears. Lifeline 30 Piece First Aid Emergency Kit A small “boo-boo” kit is nice for the small stuff. Do you need a dedicated kit though? Not really, a ziplock and some alcohol wipes and BandAids are good enough, but a kit like this is easier to carry and more secure if you have the room. Lifeline 30 Piece First Aid Emergency Kit 5 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 5 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing Repel Insect Repellent Bug spray isn’t just to keep the bugs away because you don’t want to swat at them–bugs spread disease and if scratched the bites can lead to open wounds that might become infected. And infection is at a higher chance since you’ll likely be dirty. "Repel Insect Repellent" 11 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 11 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing Especially in a situation where standing water and disease might be running rampant, bug spray moves from being mundane to being life-saving. Prescription and Non-Prescription Medications Ibuprofen to keep the aches and pains away and antacids to settle the stomach is high on my list. After that, just make sure you bring whatever it is you might need. Make sure to also replace them regularly–never take expired medication! If you’re not sure how you can store your prescription medication for a survival bag, consult your doctor. Hygiene Surviveware Biodegradable Wet Wipes Wet wipes keep you clean , can be used to clean off gear, and help just make your life a little nicer while you’re battling the elements. Surviveware Biodegradable Wet Wipes 9 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 9 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing Get some, you won’t regret it. Chewtab Toothpaste Tablets Teeth are important. Keep them clean. These tablets are cinnamon flavored and do an amazing job at covering up or removing bad tastes that might be leftover from purified water or MREs. Cinnamon Toothpaste Tablets 23 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 23 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing Sierra Dawn Campsuds Keeping things clean keeps you alive. Your dishes, yourself, your wounds, all of these need cleaning. Don’t be gross ! "Sierra Dawn Campsuds" 6 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 6 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing 4MONSTER Microfiber Towel Really any towel works , I just like these ones. 4MONSTER Microfiber Towel 13 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 13 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing Coleman Toilet Paper Normally I just take normal TP and remove the cardboard insert, but proper TP is nice also. Plus this stuff is easier on the environment . "Coleman Toilet Paper" 6 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 6 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing Purell Hand Sanitizer Again, stay clean, stay alive. "Purell Hand Sanitizer" 15 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 15 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing Travel Toothbrush Can’t brush your teeth with just paste. Other options are taking a normal toothbrush and cutting it down, but I like this better . Folding Travel Toothbrush 6 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 6 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing Tools Survival Knife There is a huge list of options, we go over some great ones in our Best Survival Knife article and you should definitely take a look. Personally, I like the Schrade SCHF9 with a Kukri Point. Schrade SCHF9 41 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 41 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing I love this knife because it has some meat to it, thick spine for strength, full tang, a grip that doesn’t slip, lanyard loop, and the Kukri point means there is more weight at the tip of the knife–perfect for chopping. Multitool Don’t worry–we have an article for Best Multitools also! Multitool Family Photo The problem with a multitool is they are heavy, but the tools might come in handy if you think you’ll need them. If you’re preparing for a flood and know you might be traveling by small boat then a multitool is a must. If you’re going to be bugging out walking across the desert, is it really needed? Leatherman Wave 79 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 79 at Amazon Compare prices (2 found) Amazon (See Price) Brownells (See Price) Prices accurate at time of writing Lighting Fenix PD25 For a flashlight, you want something that really pumps out the lumens, has a strobe setting for signaling but also has lower settings to conserve battery for when you don’t need to turn night into day. Editor's Choice (EDC Flashlight) Fenix PD25 58 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 58 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing Fenix PD25 is our pick–make sure to bring extra batteries! 5.11 Response XR1 Headlamp One downside to flashlights is that you need a spare hand to work it. Headlamp solves that problem! Choose what you think is best, but the same rules for flashlights apply to headlamps–get something with at least two power settings and bring extra batteries! I really like the Response XR1 from 5.11, it’s durable, useful, and with a ton of modes to choose from including flood, red light, and multiple power settings for the primary light. 5.11 Tactical Response XR1 Headlamp 64 at 5.11 Tactical Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 64 at 5.11 Tactical Prices accurate at time of writing It runs off of two CR123 or one 18650 battery, handy to have options in batteries. Emergency Light Sticks What is the difference between a light stick and a glow stick? Normally light sticks are brighter and last longer . These aren’t for making your dance moves look awesome, these are for giving a light source when nothing else will. "Emergency Light Sticks" 13 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 13 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing Chem lights glow passively for hours making them great for singling, marking an area, or leaving as bread crumbs. UCO 9-Hour White Candles Another one of the “is it worth the weight?” items but it is something you should consider. Candles are bright , last for hours, can be used to help light a campfire, provide some warmth if a campfire isn’t possible, and candlelight is comforting. Keeping morale up is important. UCO 9- "Hour White Candles" 26 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 26 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing Don’t use just any candle though–these are designed for the situation with a high melt point, low soot, and a larger wick than standard. Communications Baofeng UV5RA Ham Two Way Radio Ham radio is a complex topic , but of course, we have an article to break it down for you . The short version is that you should learn how to use one, and use it legally before you jump into it. Baofeng UV5RA Ham Two Way Radio 25 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 25 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing You never know when you’ll need to communicate with emergency services, other survivors, or other members of your group. Fox 40 Sonik Blast A whistle is great for signaling, getting attention, scaring off wildlife, and annoying your neighbors while you work out. These are super loud, cheap, and don’t have a pea so they won’t rattle. Perfect! Fox 40 Sonik Blast Whistle 7 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 7 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing BlueCosmo Inmarsat IsatPhone Can you hear me now? Yes, I can, when you call on a SatPhone . This is a pricey item and one that you really can go without, but if you want the best of the best–a SatPhone can’t be beaten. Make sure you bring extra minutes. BlueCosmo Inmarsat IsatPhone 569 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 569 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing TCL LX 4G LTE Prepaid Smartphone A much more economical option–a prepaid smartphone gives you an option not based on your normal phone. Grab one on a different carrier and you double the chances you’ll have phone access. Plus, you know it has a battery when you need it. You’ll need minutes though, get data and texting too. Total Wireless TCL LX 4G LTE Prepaid Smartphone 30 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 30 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing Fun fact: texting takes less reception than phone calls do. Even on zero bars when you can’t make a phone call, you can sometimes get a text out. So get texting too! Travel Personal ID and Pictures You need your ID. Hopefully, you’ll have your wallet and your normal ID with you already–but expired ID is decent for keeping in a survival bag so that you at least have something with your face and your name on it. Pictures of friends and family isn’t just so you can look at it at night and remember better times. If you’re separated from loved ones or looking for someone that is injured, a picture to show other people is a lot more effective than a description. Cash Maybe you need to buy snacks from a vending machine, maybe you need to bribe a guard, maybe you just want to play some poker after a long day of survival–cash is king. We recommend $200 at least if you can spare it. Don’t bring two 100-dollar bills though. A mix of 1s, 5s, 10s, and 20s is a lot more useful. In my opinion, this is a little on the tin foil hat side, but you might want to consider some gold or silver also. Silver American Eagle Coins 30 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 30 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing Apace Vision Reflective Vest If your bag is for when the Russians invade, maybe skip the reflective vest. But think back to any hurricane or wildfire or tornado you’ve watched on the news–visibility is often nil and if emergency services are looking for you then a reflective vest is critical . Apace "Vision Reflective Vest" 20 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 20 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing The nice thing about a vest like this is that it is hyper lightweight and easy to take on and off for when you do and don’t want to be seen. SUUNTO A-30 Compass Don’t cheap out on your compass. I know a $5 compass is tempting, but a good compass is worth it . Well made, easy to rotate, magnifier, and glows in the dark. Take some time and learn how to use a compass though, it’s more complex than “the red arrow points north.” SUUNTO A-30 Compass 21 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 21 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing Suunto M-3 G Compass If you really want to not take the cheap route, upgrade to the M-3 . The differences are a bit subtle and really won’t make a major impact for most people, but if you know what to do with a compass–this has some nice pluses. SUUNTO M-3 G Compass 51 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 51 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing 20-degree tilt margin, metric and imperial UTM scale, stronger, more options. Maps You have some options here. Topographical maps from the USGS (United States Geological Survey) can be found for most areas, these are great if you can get them since they show a huge amount of information such as terrain, water, hazards, etc. But they aren’t available for everywhere. A very general, but very handy, option is the National Geographic Road Atlas . If you don’t want to take that much weight, consider pulling out the relevant pages for your area and putting them in protective plastic or laminating them. National "Geographic Road Atlas" 2019 17 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 17 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing I strongly recommend this especially if you’re in an urban area. You cannot rely on your normal ways of getting from point A to point B and you should assume GPS will be down. A good map will assist you in navigating around traffic, hazards, downed freeway overpasses, etc. You… you do know how to read a map… right? Extras These are very much in the vein of “Is it worth it?” Depending on your preparations, what you want to use the bag for, and your capabilities–some of these are great, some of them aren’t. Take a look and think about it. RAVPower Solar Charger Recharging your batteries is really nice to have. While you can go for crank rechargers–those take a lot of effort. Try recharging your phone off one and you’re in for one helluva workout. RAVPower Solar Charger 60 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 60 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing Solar is passive but unreliable . You can set it on your bag while you walk, but if the sun isn’t out you might be in trouble. Duct Tape 2×50 Roll Duct tape is for binding wounds, fixing your pack, fixing your shoes, and a whole lot more. A couple of small rolls are lightweight and very handy. Duct Tape 2x50 Roll 8 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 8 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing Amazon Batteries Remember when I said to bring extra batteries? Yeah, DO IT! Heavy Duty Contractor Bags Contractor bags, in case you didn’t know, are basically trash bags but a lot stronger . "Heavy Duty Contractor" Bags 25 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 25 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing A whole lot stronger. Great for packing trash, carrying firewood, cutting and using for shelter, lots of options. Bringing 2 or 3 is a strong recommendation. OUTDOOR Paracord Planet Rope has proven to be critical to humanity’s survival and advancement for millennium. Paracord is right along with that same line. OUTDOOR Paracord Planet 11 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 11 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing Get the strong stuff so you can hoist food to safe levels, build shelter, set traps for game, the list goes on. 3M Particulate Mask In case of a tornado, dust storm, collapsed buildings, etc. there is going to be particulates in the air. Those can kill you outright or they can help kill you years later. Either way, breathing in bad stuff is bad. 3M Particulate Mask 8 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 8 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing If your bag is designed for events like these, a mask is a must . 3M Medium Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator Much like the other mask but better, lasts longer, filters more, and gives a lot of protection . 3M Medium Half "Facepiece Reusable Respirator" 20 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 20 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing Playing Cards, waterproof Morale really is important. A deck of cards is great for that. Waterproof is nice! Waterproof Playing Cards 5 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 5 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing Bicycle Dice 10 Pack Again–morale. Dice is great for all sorts of games and take a fraction of the weight as most options plus are almost indestructible. Bicycle Dice 10 Pack 3 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 3 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing Polyhedral 7-Die Dice Set Nothing like a nice game of D&D or 40k to pass the time while in an emergency shelter. Polyhedral 7-Die Dice Set 6 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 6 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing Self Defense We could write whole articles just on this section, but I’ll keep this as short as possible. There is a lot of good arguments to make for a huge range of firearms and less lethal self defense options, almost all of them are reasonable depending on what approach you use. What works for you and your situation is something you’ll have to decide–for me, I choose to carry lethal and less than lethal tools and to keep all of my choices 100% legal. Before you make your choice you need to consider what you are going to be defending yourself against. Red Dawn scenario? Being stuck in a crappy high school gym for 5 days with all of the other evacuees? 4-legged threats while you hike out to your secret bunker? Living off of small game for the next… forever? General civil unrest? All of these would or could alter what might be the best defense option for you. But here are some recommendations for you to consider. Less Lethal SABRE S-1005 Dual Stun Gun Perfect for if you want a simple and last-ditch tool to defend yourself with. Ergonomic, doubles as a flashlight, and simple to use. SABRE S- "1005 Dual Stun" Gun 17 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 17 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing Downside? You need to charge it. So if you’re thinking you’re going to be without a power source for weeks… maybe choose a defense tool of the chemical combustion variety. Take a look at a full review along with other options in the Best Stun Guns ! SABRE 3-in-1 Pepper Spray This is one I choose for almost all of my bags. No matter what situation my bag is designed for, some pepper spray isn’t a bad idea. It’s small, lightweight, easy to use, cheap, and legal everywhere I’ve ever been. Oh, and it has a safety so it doesn’t discharge in your bag. Trust me, that’s important. Best Pepper Spray Sabre 3-in-1 Pepper Spray 8 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 8 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing Handguns Beretta M9 / Glock 19 or 17 / Sig Sauer M17 Any of these four pistols are my absolute top recommendations. They are each totally reliable, super durable, accurate, high capacity firearms that will serve you very well. Newst Generation Glock Glock 17, Gen 5 628 at Brownells Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 628 at Brownells Compare prices (2 found) Brownells (See Price) Rainier Arms (See Price) Prices accurate at time of writing Major points to the M9 and M17 if your bag is designed for a Red Dawn type end of the world (think about it, what guns are you going to find laying on the ground? Yeah…) Beretta M9 548 at Brownells Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 548 at Brownells Compare prices (3 found) Brownells (See Price) Guns.Com (See Price) GunBroker.Com (See Price) Prices accurate at time of writing New Military Standard Sig Sauer M17 650 at Brownells Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 650 at Brownells Compare prices (3 found) Brownells (See Price) Palmetto State Armory (See Price) Rainier Arms (See Price) Prices accurate at time of writing The Glock 19 or 17 are great options if one of those is already your EDC. This makes it easy to stock up on magazines and extra parts plus cuts down training time. Plus they are a decent amount less weight than the M9 or M17. Glock 20 Worried about threats on four-legs? Get a Glock 20. Hands down the best option. Glock 20 with Trijicon RMR 10mm isn’t a super common cartridge, so finding resupplies after the end of the world won’t be easy. It’s also not cheap to train with and requires more training than anything 9mm. Glock G20 605 at Rainier Arms Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 605 at Rainier Arms Prices accurate at time of writing But for putting down bears, wolves, mountain lions, and more you simply cannot beat 10mm with 15 rounds on tap. Sig Sauer P365 We live in a post-P365 world . There are a lot of options now in this sub-compact high capacity role, but I still think the P365 is the best option. Choose the XL, SAS , or normal and you won’t be disappointed. They are small, handy, and can be used as your EDC to help with training. Most innovative CCW gun [2018] "Sig Sauer P365" 499 at Brownells Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 499 at Brownells Compare prices (3 found) Brownells (See Price) Cabelas (See Price) Rainier Arms (See Price) Prices accurate at time of writing Personally, I would choose the P365XL with a standard magazine plus two or three 15-round mags. P365 Upgrades Great Big Magazine! Rifles AR-15 This is the only rifle option, but there are dozens of manufactures and hundreds of configurations to choose from. RE Factor Tactical Advanced Slickster Desert Shooting AR-15 First–why the AR-15? Simple, it is by far the most versatile and “uniform” option you will find in the United States. Any end of the world situation you can think of, the AR-15 can be used for it. A good AR-15 will last you tens of thousands of rounds, be reliable in dust, rain, cold, hot, sand, mud, and be more durable than any of it’s users will be. No matter what AR-15 you get it should be in 5.56 NATO, have a white light, a sling, an optic, backup iron sights, and extra magazines. Ken’s 11.5” duty pistol AR If you have a secondary location to store supplies, consider some extra complete uppers and ammo for them. A suppressed .300 BLK upper is great for being quiet. A .22LR dedicated upper means an endless supply of small game. A 6.5 Grendel upper will take deer at further range than .300 BLK or 5.56 NATO. Please, don’t forget to train with your rifle. Having it means nothing if you can’t hit with it. Budget AR-15: "Palmetto State Armory" Duty Ready From The Box AR-15: BCM Recce-16 Build Your Own AR-15: Building a Duty/Patrol AR-15 BCM Recce-16 MCMR AR-15 1299 at Rainier Arms Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 1299 at Rainier Arms Prices accurate at time of writing Parting Shots Holy crap, you read all of that? You made it to the end? Dude, high-five yourself because that was… long. This article was a long time in the making, the idea was approved in late 2018 if we remember right. Even with over a year of research and writing, the collective input of a half-dozen people, more than 8,000 words, and a lot more–we’ve only scratched the surface of this topic. I strongly recommend that you do additional research, consider everything I’ve said, ask questions, and choose what is right for you. If you only learn one thing from this article I hope it is this: Gear cannot replace skills . Gear helps, but a $5,000 rifle means nothing if you miss. The best bag loaded with all of the best gear won’t keep you warm if you can’t make a fire. If you’re this excited by making a camp fire, you didn’t spend enough time learning how to do it! Enough medical equipment to start your own trauma room won’t save your life if you can’t clean and bind a cut before it gets infected. It doesn’t matter if you have the best kicks if you get lost on your way home because you can’t read a map. Train, learn, survive. I might come to regret asking this but: What would you add to a Bug Out Bag that isn’t on this list? How many hours per year of training do you seek out? Any hands-on classes you would recommend? Let us know in the comments! If you want a TON of info on Bugging In, take a look at the Prepping 101 Guide ! Prepping 101 with Allison

Ranking The 10 Best 9mm Pistols of 2020

Ranking The 10 Best 9mm Pistols of 2020

The 9mm pistol is one of the most commonly used pistols today. The 9mm was first introduced prior to World War I ( 1 ). It’s no exaggeration to say that it revolutionized the way Armed Forces around the world thought about sidearms.  It took a while longer for the 9mm to dethrone the revolver in the hearts and minds of the American public. But that worm finally turned during the 1980s. Today, the 9mm semiautomatic ( 2 ) is the standard issue sidearm of the US Army and is favored by law enforcement from the FBI on down. The fact that they’re compact, light, lethal and affordable also makes them an excellent choice for self-defense. Below we’ve brought together the 10 best 9mm pistols on the market today. 1. Glock 19 Gen 5 Click Here for Best Price Specs Finish – Black Barrel length – 4 inches Cartridge Type – 9 mm Luger Capacity – 15 + 1 Overall length – 6.85 inches Type of magazine – Removable It’s hard to find fault with the fifth generation Glock 19. It chambers a 9mm Luger round ( 3 ) with a capacity for 15 plus the chambered round. It’s a handsome, compact firearm with a 4 inch barrel, clean lines and a sure grip that’s been upgraded from earlier iterations. This is a very comfortable sidearm to wield, with very modest recoil and an equally modest weight of less than 1.5 pounds. The mag well is slightly flared, which makes loading magazines a painless process and the gun is completely ambidextrous. If you’re looking for the perfect concealed carry firearm this may just be it. Make sure you invest in a quality concealed carry holster as well. 2. SIG Sauer P365 Click Here for Best Price Specs Finish – Black Barrel length – 3.1 inches Cartridge Type – 9mm Luger Capacity – 10 + 1 Overall length – 5.8 inches Type of magazine – Removable The P365 from SIG Sauer pulls off the incredible trick of being thinner than most single stack pistols even though it has a double stack magazine. The double stack mag holds 10 rounds and there’s an extended magazine you can pick up that will hold 12. We’re not sure if its a function of the short, double stack but the balance of this pistol is outstanding. And light? You bet. Just 1.1 pounds. The P365 also comes with 3 dot tritium night sights. They’re good for target practice but won’t be much help when dealing with an aggressive intruder. Beyond that minor quibble though the P365 is a great choice for concealed carry, home defense or use as a backup weapon. 3. Walther PPQ M2 Click Here for Best Price Specs Finish – Black Barrel length – 4 inches Cartridge Type – 22 LR Capacity – 10 + 1 Overall length – 7.1 inches Type of magazine – Removable The Walther PPQ M2 is not necessarily a great concealed carry pistol. Little too big perhaps for that. But woe unto an intruder should you manage to pull this puppy before they get the better of you. That said, from a performance standpoint this is a very comfortable, well-balanced firearm with an agreeable grip. It’s light (1.19 lbs), has a 4 inch barrel (5 inch variant available) and is compatible with both right handers and left handers. But it’s the trigger that gets most of the press when it comes to the PPQ M2. Many consider it to be among the best ever offered for a striker-fired ( 4 ) pistol. You won’t find us arguing with that assessment. 4. Smith & Wesson M&P 2.0 Click Here for Best Price Specs Finish – Black Barrel length – 4.25 inches Cartridge Type – 9mm Luger Capacity – 17 + 1 Overall length – 7.4 inches Type of magazine – Removable If you’re new to pistols and you’re looking for a reliable and affordable personal defense sidearm you really can’t go wrong with the Smith & Wesson M&P 2.0. This is a little heavier (1.5 lbs) and a little longer (7.4 inches) than the other pistols we’ve looked at to this point. So concealed carry is not a realistic option. But it’s easy to get a firm, comfortable grip, action is smooth and reliable and the mag holds 17 rounds. If we have an issue with the M&P it’s that the trigger has an unusual look and feel to it. It doesn’t seem to impair performance. But it just doesn’t feel quite all there. That said, there are plenty of aftermarket triggers you can swap it out for. 5. Walther PPQ Q5 Match Click Here for Best Price Specs Finish – Black Barrel length – 5 inches Cartridge Type – 9 mm Luger Capacity – 15 + 1 Overall length – 7.1 inches Type of magazine – Removable With its ported slide the PPQ Q5 from Walther looks like something lifted from the drawing board of the late great H.R. Giger. That alone will be enough to send some folks reaching for the credit card. Fortunately, it’s got the brawn to back up its slightly surrealistic air. It features a 5 inch barrel, mounting plates for your choice of Trijicon, Leupold or Docter sites and it tips the scales at a fairly hefty 1.63 pounds. No doubt that weight contributes to the solid feel of the gun and also helps reduce recoil to some extent. This is a great range gun or home defense option. 6. SIG Sauer P320 Click Here for Best Price Specs Finish – Black Barrel length – 3.9 inches Cartridge Type – 9mm Luger Capacity – 15 + 1 Overall length – 7.2 inches Type of magazine – Removable After a $17 million search that took two years and involved a dozen companies the US Army in 2017 chose the SIG Sauer P320 to replace the Beretta M9 as its standard issue sidearm ( 5 ). That’s good news for the company, its employees and New Hampshire where the gun will be manufactured. It should also tell you something about the reliability and performance of this pistol. If $17 million in testing isn’t enough to convince you of the gun’s worthiness no argument we could make will. Suffice to say it’s an excellent choice for concealed carry. It’s accurate, easy on the recoil and comes with interchangeable polymer grips. 7. Springfield Armory XD-S Click Here for Best Price Specs Finish – Black Barrel length – 3.3 inches Cartridge Type – 9mm Luger Capacity – 7 + 1 Overall length – 6.3 inches Type of magazine – Removable The Springfield Armory XD-S 9mm is a compact tour de force that’s thin enough for effective concealed carry but still packs a significant punch. At just over 1.3 pounds it’s light. Which means it’s going to generate a bit more recoil than a heavier pistol like the P320. But the super comfortable grip enables a strong hold with minimal effort. And that will allow you to absorb any additional recoil pretty effectively. This striker-fired pistol is made in the US. The only real downside we see here is the 7 shot mag. Other than that it’s all good. 8. Beretta 92FS Click Here for Best Price Specs Finish – Stainless Barrel length – 4.9 inches Cartridge Type – 9mm Luger Capacity – 15 + 1 Overall length – 8.5 inches Type of magazine – Removable Beretta took a significant hit when they lost the contract to supply pistols for the Army. But they’re not sulking in the corner. They’re still pumping out some of the best 9mm pistols on the planet. We’re particularly fond of the 92FS. It’s a large (just over 2 pounds), take-no-prisoners pistol that’s 8.5 inches in overall length and features an open slide and a stainless steel finish that’s a nice change from standard black. There’s also the 15 round mag that just makes life that much easier. Much is made about its accuracy over distance. And it’s true that at 50-75 yards it may be the most accurate 9mm you’ll find. 9. CZ 75 SP-01 Click Here for Best Price Specs Finish – Black Polycoat Barrel length – 4.7 inches Cartridge Type – 9mm Luger Capacity – 10 + 1 Overall length – 8.1 inches Type of magazine – Removable At 8.1 inches in length and 2.4 pound the CZ 75 SP-01 Tactical is big pistol. Though it feels a little better balanced than earlier iterations and has a more comfortable handle. And there are other upgrades from the 75 B as well. Including fixed tritium night sights, a CHF barrel and a 1913 Picatinny accessory rail. The improved handle allows you to get firmer grip with little effort and this (along with the weight) helps absorb recoil, resulting (at least in theory) in more accurate shots. It’s an outstanding choice for a range pistol or home defense weapon. 10. Heckler & Koch VP9 Click Here for Best Price Specs Finish – Black Barrel length – 3.4 inches Cartridge Type – 9mm Luger Capacity – 10 + 1 Overall length – 6.6 inches Type of magazine – Removable The last of our best 9mm pistols is the H&K VP9. This is a pocket rocket of extraordinary quality and reliability. It weighs an agreeable 1.4 pounds, has a wee 3.4 inch barrel and is only 6.6 inches overall. That light weight means recoil. But the outstanding grip ensures that you can get a handle on that without much effort. This is a favorite in the law enforcement community who relish its build quality, reliability, light weight and accuracy. A very fine concealed carry weapon. FAQs What are the Advantages of a 9mm? The advantages of the 9mm are many and easy to appreciate. It’s light, inexpensive, has a large magazine capacity, low recoil ( 6 ) and is as effective as some larger caliber pistols. Let’s take a closer look at these advantages now. It’s Inexpensive While some pistols like the Kimber Classic Fury can set you back more than $1,500 a very serviceable, dependable 9mm can be had for less than half that. Which makes effective self-defense accessible to most individuals. The ammo is typically affordable as well. That’s because of the smaller, (not small) cartridge size. The less copper, zinc, tin etc that’s used to create the cartridge that less expensive the cartridge. So the 9mm is truly the people’s pistol. It Packs a Significant Punch Most contemporary bullets have undergone revisions that allow them to deliver a more impressive punch than before. And so it’s not like 9mm ammo has advanced while all others have stood still. Nonetheless today’s improved 9mm projectiles carry approximately the same authority as yesterdays .45 bullets. And yesterday’s .45’s could take down significant targets without having to ask nicely. There’s Less Recoil The purpose of firing your pistol is to hit the target, right? So any firearm that provides a better chance of doing that must be considered to have an advantage over wrist-busters that kick like a mule. There are those who would argue that dealing with recoil is primarily a mental exercise. And to a certain extent there’s something to that. But psychological arguments aside, you purchased your sidearm for a reason and you want it to fulfill its function as easily as possible. That way you don’t have to work on your technique while under assault. So the lower recoil of the 9mm is definitely a plus for those non-professionals who purchased the gun for self-defense purposes. Higher Capacity Magazine Glock, Beretta, CZ, S&W and most other manufacturers either provide a stock magazine that will accommodate 15+ rounds or have high capacity aftermarket magazine you can buy. Some go as high as 20 rounds, plus the one in the chamber. If you’re in a situation that requires more rounds than that you’ll need to call in air support. Either that or move to a safer neighborhood. Who Typically Uses a 9mm Pistol? Without a doubt the 9mm has become the gun of choice for those seeking a concealed carry self-defense sidearm. At the same time it’s also made significant headway into the realms of the armed forces and law enforcement. Here’s how that happened. Military Adoption of the 9mm In 1911 the Army switched from the Colt .38 revolver to the larger, semiautomatic M1911 pistol ( 7 ). The M1911 remained the standard issue sidearm for American military personnel ( 8 ) until 1985 when it was replaced by the Beretta M9. A lot of people questioned the move to the smaller 9mm. But the Army’s rationale for making the change came down to many of the same reasons the 9mm appeals to individuals intent on finding an effective self-defense weapon. That is, they’re lighter, have the aforementioned large magazine and they generate less recoil. So, if a soldier needs to draw their weapon they’re able to do so quicker and easier, they’re able to get off more shots before reloading and they’re able to carry more rounds to stay in the fight longer. Also, firing off 30 or 40 shots with a 9mm isn’t as tiring an exercise as firing an equivalent number of shots from the larger .45 caliber M1911. Military planners at the time also desired to bring all Allied sidearms into harmony with one another for practical purposes. Remember, it was 1985 when the switch was made. The Cold War was at its height and both Western Europeans and Americans expected the Soviets could come crashing through Checkpoint Charlie ( 9 ) at any time, igniting WWIII. So if American, French and West German soldiers found themselves manning the same barricades it would be better if they all used the same type of sidearm so they could share resources if necessary. Law Enforcement’s Embrace of The 9mm Although the Armed Forces adopted the 9mm in the mid-80s law enforcement was slower to come around to its many advantages. The Army’s embrace of the 9mm did get the FBI’s attention and in the late 80s there was movement toward the Glock S&W 40 caliber. It wasn’t until 2015 however, that the FBI finally embraced the 9mm (Glock 5). Making it their standard issue sidearm. The change came about after the agency had conducted exhaustive testing and determined that most agents were able to shoot quicker and more accurately with the 9mm. The agency determined that even those who had previously struggled with their control were able to achieve decent accuracy with the 9mm as opposed to the 40 cal. And with today’s high-tech rounds it will produce impact that is equal to or greater than .40 S&W rounds. The Affordability Factor Let’s not forget that both the Armed Forces and the FBI are taxpayer funded entities. As such they are required to at least try to keep costs down when at all possible. And since 9mm pistols are generally one of the more affordable sidearms and also feature less expensive ammo it makes sense for both of these arms of the government to embrace them, as long as they are reasonably effective. Things to Consider When Buying a Self-Defense Firearm Buying a 9mm or other firearm for self-defense is not as simple as closing your eyes and pointing at the pistols displayed on the computer screen. There are a number of factors you’ll want to consider before plunking down your hard-earned money. Here are the most important considerations: Are you committed to learning how to use it? – If you’re going to purchase a sidearm you need to learn how to use it properly. Just shoving it into the drawer of the nightstand to be used in case of emergency isn’t going to work. There’s a lot involved in employing a firearm safely and effectively ( 10 ). You need to know and practice these things or you’re likely to hurt yourself or a loved one and not the intruder. If you’re not committed to learning how to use the weapon properly we’d urge you to get a dog instead. Do you want a revolver or semiautomatic? – Maybe your mind is already made up and you want a 9mm. Good choice. But some folks just can’t get past the image in their head of Clint Eastwood brandishing that .44 Magnum S&W Model 29 revolver in Dirty Harry ( 11 ) and think anything else would be uncivilized. Or at the very least unmanly. Think again. Not even forward deployed forces in Afghanistan wield the .44 Magnum. Too big and clumsy. And while it’s true that, as the good Detective Callahan says, it will blow someone’s head “clean off”, it will only do that if you’re able to control the incredible recoil and actually hit the target. Which is pretty unlikely. Stick with the 9mm semi. How much can you afford to spend? – One of the many great things about the 9mm is that, on the whole, this type of pistol is very affordable. Still, as with most items you’ll find some are more expensive than others. Even on our humble list of best 9mms you’ll find some that range as high as $850. At the same time there are others that can be had for less than half that. In most cases the average person intending to use the firearm for self-defense purposes won’t notice much difference between the two. Try to preview the gun – A lot of pistol clubs in the US will allow visitors. This is a good way to meet others, get input and perhaps see some different 9mms in action during a match. If you get a chance to hold a few different models by all means do so. This will give you a sense of how the different guns feel in your hand. That’s important because some will accommodate your physiology better than others. Final Thoughts There are a lot of high-quality, affordable 9mm pistols on the market these days. In many ways it’s the golden age of pistols. There are so many that we had to leave some off our list that were certainly noteworthy. In the end though we’re certain you’ll be able to find the right 9mm for your purpose among our 10 choices. Just keep in mind the considerations listed above. And above all commit yourself to learning how to use, maintain and store the gun properly. For everyone’s sake.

Performance AR: Build a Mk12 Mod 0

/* custom css */.td_uid_2_5f379d6ea9bdc_rand.td-a-rec-img { text-align: left; } .td_uid_2_5f379d6ea9bdc_rand.td-a-rec-img img { margin: 0 auto 0 0; } After the original Mk 12, the government used Knight’s Armament handguards for the Mod 1 version of the Mk 12. If that’s the one you want, then go forth and find Knight’s hardware to build yours. The Mk12 Mod 0 is a heavily customized AR-15 for mid-range sniper use. Here’s how to build your own. What you need to build a Mk12 Mod 0: With parts from PRI, A.R.M.S., Knight’s Armament and Leupold you can build a Mk12 Mod 0. The Mk12 is a heavy AR-15, super-accurate and ideal for long-range shooting. If building isn’t your thing, complete Mk12 uppers can be had from PRI, Bravo Company and Brownell’s. The genesis of the Mk 12 was the desire in some quarters for an accurate but not heavy (these things are relative) sniper rifle. The Navy had just adopted the Mk 11, which was the Knight’s M110, a rifle chambered in .308, aka 7.62 NATO. But, not every job calls for a .308, and not every mission can take the weight. A loaded M110 has a “book” weight of 15.3 pounds. As if. You want a tight fit of the barrel extension in the upper receiver if you wish to wring all the accuracy out of your barrel. In addition to the optics and the loaded magazine, the already-bipodded rifle gets more gear. Add a sling . Add a laser targeting designator. Add a suppressor. The rifle is soon up to or even over 20 pounds, and that is before the end-user starts stuffing loaded magazines into his tac vest. All that gear will add to the full-up weight of a 5.56 rifle, but it will at least start at a lighter weight, and offer more shots per added pound of payload to the tac vest. It would seem obvious that rifles are tools used to shoot one’s enemies. And in order to do that, they must be accurate. The PRI Mk 12 Gen II handguard uses a proprietary nut and handguard locking assembly. Building a Mk12 Mod 0 This is involved, partly because so much of it is not like your normal AR-15 assembly, and partly because the desired end result is an accurate, reliable rifle, and if you cut corners you won’t get that. Start with a ready-to go lower, because that is not unusual. Ideally, you’d use a retro-style A1 lower, but since the Mk 12 was meant to go on whatever was available, you can get away with using an A2 and few will complain. (Oh, someone will, but ignore him.) The first thing you have to do is source a barrel. After all, the Mk12 is meant to be a really accurate rifle, so building one that won’t shoot well is kind of pointless. I opted to go with a BCM Mk12 barrel, because I have had good luck with BCM gear and in fitting and using their parts. The muzzle brake is also the suppressor thread part, and you need to get the brake aligned so the openings are to the sides. The barrel is a bull barrel, stainless steel, and with a 1/8 twist . To gain the most accuracy from it, it should be properly bedded into the upper receiver. You can do fine just bolting it in, but to wring the last few bits of accuracy out of it, go with the full-on barrel installation as described in the barrel chapter. Next up, the PRI handguard. The PRI handguard uses a proprietary barrel nut, so you’ll have to plan ahead and do a bit of juggling. The nut also includes a rear locking cap. Put the cap on, then the barrel nut, and tighten the barrel nut. You‘ll have to align the barrel nut for a perfect gas tube clearance, and then use the alignment studs on the rear of the handguard tube, inserting them into the front of the barrel nut. The PRI handguard assembly comes with an extra rail, the ARMS rail, which adds extra stiffness to the upper by bridging the receiver and handguard. Now, Gen I of the PRI handguard uses a larger-diameter nut than the handguard tube. The Gen II has a locking nut that is the same size as the tube, but the process is the same. You have to get the nuts precisely aligned, for gas tube clearance and to align the top rail and receiver with the handguard rail. This is where you want to be careful and precise. The handguard aligns on the barrel nut. The handguard also has to allow for the top rail to be bolted across he handguard rail and the upper receiver rail. Related GunDigest Articles AK-12: Is This The Final AK? Which Is The Right Choice?: AR-15 Vs. AK-47 Braced 9mm Pistols: CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1 Review If the handguard tube is the least bit mis-aligned, you will find the two rails and the top connector won’t play well with each other. If you try to get it “close enough,” you’ll have a situation where the tightened-down top rail is stressing the handguard, receiver or both. Keep adjusting and checking until there is no disagreement and the two rails (handguard and receiver) are in agreement that they are straight and will smoothly be clamped by the top rail. Use a strap wrench to tighten the barrel nut cap. Then install the top rail and clamp it down securely. If you want, you can use blue Loctite or paint-in the nuts once tightened. The Leupold 3.5-10 scope goes on top, in ARMS 22 medium-height rings. The rings are quick-detach, not that you’ll be taking the scope off and putting it back on much. You do it because that’s the way the military built it. The top rail uses five screws. Three of them go across the top, through the slots of the receiver rail. Two others go down from the top of the top rail and screw into the rail of the handguard. Install the rear sight and paint it in as well. Now we’re ready to get to the test-fire stage, once we get the gas block/front sight on. Once you have the barrel nut in the right place, slide on the gas block/front sight assembly, align the gas tube and tighten the clamping screws. Don’t Loctite them yet. Next up, range trip. Use common, inexpensive ammo, and if you are in favor of this process, use the opportunity to break in the barrel. Me, I don’t care. Ideally, you do this at the gun club, with the range to yourself, and on a nice, sunny, dry day. Make sure your rear sight is at the exact center of its adjustment range. Load one round, use the iron sights, an aim at an obvious mark on the hill. Fire. Where did it hit? It most likely was not on-center. If it hit left, your front sight is too-far right. And vice-versa. Loosen the screws, tip the sight a small amount in the correct direction and tighten the screws. Now take a moment to make sure your gas tube is still properly aligned. Fire again. Repeat this boring, detail-oriented process until your iron sights are hitting dead-center. Your front sight is now aligned and centered, and life is good. Here’s the upper receiver, ready to install on the lower of your choice. The originals were meant to be put onto M16 lowers, but they proved so useful and so popular that they ended up on top of pretty much any lower that got the job done. Back to the shop, to finish the rest of the build. Once there, loosen one of the two front sight screws, but do not remove it. Hose it and its recess in the sight assembly with wicking Loctite. Tighten and leave it alone. The next day, do the same to the other screw. Next up, fitting the muzzle brake and suppressor mount. The suppressor alignment collar slides over the barrel, down to the step in front of the gas block/front sight assembly. There is a small setscrew to hold it in place. In talking about this with my contact, I asked if they did anything more than tighten it. “We used a bit of Loctite to hold the setscrew in place. It held, even without the barrel being dimpled, as you suggested.” I don’t want to argue with real-world success, but I’d feel a lot better if the collar was more secure than that. But that’s for the end of this process. With the collar in place, use the setscrew to keep it there and not rattle around or spin. Screw the muzzle brake on, and get it more than hand-tight. Don’t worry if it isn’t timed properly, not yet. Now, spin off the knurled collar you see on the muzzle brake. That covers the threads for the suppressor. Of course, you check alignment during assembly. You don’t want to Loctite or Rocksett parts in place that don’t line up. And you use a Geissele tool to check alignment. Spin the suppressor on, bring it down to seat on the collar, and then use your Geissele alignment rod to check alignment. It should be just fine, everyone involved in this has worked hard to keep things correct. If not, you will have to adjust the fit until your suppressor is aligned and central on the bore axis. The suppressor, if a proper Mk 12 one, is now being made by Allen Engineering, and Ron Allen, the owner, was the guy who made them for the company who was making them for the government. The model is now called the AEM5, and it is a reflex suppressor.

Stockpile the Best: M1A Ammunition

These days we have become accustomed to guns made of space-age plastic materials and chambered in tiny sub-caliber ammo. The standard M1A is built of walnut and steel and uses a powerful 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge. Among the latest battle rifle designs is the U.S. Army M14 rifle, officially adopted in the later 1950s and intended for European warfare.  While the Soviets’ post-war infantry rifle development was aimed towards intermediate cartridges 7.62x39 dubbed M43, the U.S. military modified the .30-06 Springfield or .300 Savage (depending on your source) and accepted a new 7.62×51mm NATO round, a typical, full-power battle rifle cartridge. The M14 was used from the mid-1960s to the early 1970s, but it continued to exist as a civilian version, thanks to the Springfield Armory M1A rifle. At a Glance: Our Top Picks for Ammo For M1a OUR TOP PICK: Federal Premium Vital-Shok Nosler Partition Centerfire Rifle Cartridges - .308 Winchester - 150 Grain Remington Core-Lokt Centerfire Rifle Ammo Winchester® USA Rifle Ammunition BEST BUDGET OPTION: Federal® American Eagle® Tactical® Rifle Ammunition Comparison of the Best Ammo For M1A IMAGE PRODUCT Our Top Pick "Federal Premium Vital" - "Shok Nosler Partition" "Centerfire Rifle Cartridges" - .308 Winchester - 150 Grain Available in 150 and 180-grain variants for versatility Nosler partition bullets mushroom in the front upon impact Premium ammunition, great for competition and long-range View Latest PriceRead Customer Reviews Remington Core-Lokt "Centerfire Rifle Ammo" Core-Lokt soft-point ammunition with spinster-shaped bullet High muzzle velocity of 2820 fps for long-range impact Progressively taped copper jacket and controlled expansion bullet "View Latest Price" → "Read Customer Reviews" Winchester® USA Rifle Ammunition Premium 180-grain match-grade ammunition Lead core projectiles with copper-plated steel jackets for low fouling Good for shooting practice and varmint hunting View Latest PriceRead Customer Reviews Best Budget Option Federal® American Eagle® Tactical® Rifle Ammunition Reliable ammunition loaded to military specifications Very economical and offers good value for money The 149-gr. bullet weight is versatile for many applications View Latest PriceRead Customer Reviews M1A Ammo Considerations - Aspects to Keep in Mind Unlike a service select-fire M14, the M1A is a semi-automatic-only version, built for sport-shooting and hunting. If the basic purpose for your M1A is not recreational shooting and plinking, then the ammo type and quality are definitely factors that can make a difference regarding accuracy in the longevity of your firearm and your entire shooting experience. The Springfield Armory M1A is designed to shoot standard factory .308 Winchester or 7.62x51 NATO ammunition, since the two types are essentially the same. In fact, there are very small differences, so 7.62x51 and .308Win are not quite the same things. Size Shoulder to shoulder, the new sporting cartridge, the .308 Winchester, is nothing more than the future NATO 7.62x51mm military round. Featuring almost identical physical dimensions, the .308 and 7.62x51 are interchangeable, whereas both cartridges use an actual bullet diameter of .308 inches (7.82mm). The difference between them is inside the cartridges and refers to the case wall’s thickness and powder volume. .308 Winchester vs NATO 7.62x51mm ( Source ) Another more theoretical issue can often be found on the web and refers to a different specification for cartridge primers. Unlike harder military ammo primers, the civilian ammunition utilizes primers that are more sensitive with an increased risk of primer detonation when the bolt slams forward. However, this is a very remote possibility. If you have barrel discipline when loading the rifle, then all is well. Since the military rifles for 7.62x51mm NATO are designed to provide reliable feeding and operation by using ammo made all over the world, they usually have longer chamber headspace. This is the distance from the face of the bolt to a point on the chamber, which stops forward motion of the cartridge. For the 7.62x51mm NATO it is between 1.6355 and 1.6405 inches and for the sporting .308 ammunition chamber, the headspace is between 1.630 and 1.6340 inches. While the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute (SAAMI) does not consider it unsafe to fire the .308 ammo in weapons chambered for the NATO cartridge, to keep yourself ultra-safe, you should fire only 7.62x51m NATO in 7.62 chambered firearms and .308 Winchester in .308 rifles. Casing While both cartridges have similar exterior dimensions, thicker walls mean less powder capacity and lower pressure and velocity. Since the 7.62x51 round has thicker case walls than .308 Winchester cases, the commercial .308 brass can take more propellant, enabling them to be loaded to higher pressures than the military 7.62×51mm NATO. Casing Thickness ( Source ) Commercial hunting ammo can be loaded up to 62,000psi (427 MPa), whereas the 7.62 NATO rounds are loaded to a maximum average pressure of 50,000psi (344 MPa) and are proof-tested at 67,000psi (462 MPa). Grain A grain is an extremely small unit of measurement for mass. In the firearms niche, the grain (abbreviated "gr.") is used to measure bullet weight, and the propellant or gunpowder. Practically, it means the larger the grain, the heavier the bullet is. Ammo Weight Chart for reference ( Source ) While the bullets (projectiles) can weigh anywhere between 15 grains for the lightest calibers (17 HMR bullets) all the way up to 750 grains (.50 BMG), the most common type, .308 loads range from 147 to 180 grains. While general advice is to avoid steel-cased ammo in a semi-automatic M1A, the uniform bullet weight is not so strict, but you have to stay within the golden middle. It means you should stay under 180 gr. and not use anything smaller than 147 gr., or 168 gr. when shooting past 600 yards. Purpose As for the scope or any other gun accessory selection, the first thing to do before making a decision is to determine the purpose for your ammo. Choosing the right .308/7.62mm bullet weight depends on your intended use of M1A, but as rough guidelines, we break it down for you. For casual plinking, you can use whatever bullet weight you want, with a focus on small price and proper functioning in your M1A. However, shooting for maximum accuracy and heavier hunting, the .308 bullets may be a better solution since they are less susceptible to being blown off course by the wind. Since bullets that are too heavy are more affected by gravity, projectiles of 168 grain are recommended for best accuracy in long-range shooting. Cartridges for deer hunting purposes also demand the heavy 168-grain bullets, but a larger 175-grainer is better for bigger game, such as moose.  Rounds heavier than 175 gr. will damage your M1A operating rod. Springfield Armory M1A ( Source ) Besides weight, the bullet construction is very important in hunting, so many hunters also recommend hollow point and soft point rounds because they can cause quick and humane kills. On the other hand, some shooters don't advise using soft-tipped bullets, mostly because they do not always feed reliably from the magazine. The second reason is the soft bullet's parts that end up in the rifle's inner workings, and can then block the whole weapon. For target shooting, you will probably want to stick to using bullets that are a standard full metal jacket (FMJ), or "ballistic tip" type, cartridges topped with 168-grain bullets manufactured by a match grade ammo company. Some tracer and armor piercing ammunition produced in NATO specs can also be used. However, you should avoid using frangible loadings and any ammo type labeled "light magnum." Our final advice, though not as accurate as commercial ammo, is the military FMJ as the cheapest, best deal so you can keep a surplus of military ball ammo, though you should avoid using the surplus stuff labeled "loose" or "bulk". Quick Take - The Best Ammo for the M1A These are our recommendations for the best ammo for the M1A: Federal - Lake City 7.62x51mm Nato 149gr Xm80 FMJ Ammo Can Federal Premium Vital-Shok Nosler Partition Centerfire Rifle Cartridges - .308 Winchester - 150 Grain Remington Core-Lokt Centerfire Rifle Ammo Review of Best Ammo for the M1A The following list consists of commercially produced new 7.62x51mm/.308 caliber rounds that are our recommendations for your M1A rifle. These cartridges meet all previously mentioned requirements and provide with the ability to stockpile the best loadings for the broadest spectrum and scenarios using 7.62x51mm NATO and commercial .308 Winchester ammo. 1. Federal - Lake City 7.62x51mm "Nato 149gr Xm80" FMJ Ammo Can This bulk of affordable 7.62x51mm NATO ammunition comes from the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant (LCAAP), a U.S. Government-Owned, Contractor-Operated facility, or GOCO for short. Even though Lake City Ammunition has been loaded to exact NATO specifications, some production batches do not meet all military specifications and they may have very slight, (typically cosmetic), imperfections. This ammo, marked with an “XM” lot designation, comes packaged in a plastic MTM ammo can with a rubber seal for easy carry to the range and for protection during storage. Bulk-packed Federal XM80 7.62x51mm NATO features 149-grain copper-plated, full metal jacket bullets. Since this Federal Lake City 7.62 ammo is topped with steel core magnetic bullets, you wouldn't be allowed to use them at indoor ranges. The boxer-primed ammo is non-corrosive and has a reloadable brass case that can be reloaded up to seven times. The ammo also offers a muzzle velocity of over 2,700 feet per second, with a muzzle energy of 2,485 ft. lb. The ammunition plant at Lake City is related to Federal, so their case is head stamped with the Federal symbol and date of manufacture. Buy Now Pros Boxer-Primed Case Non-Corrosive Primers Bullet Weight 149 grains Muzzle Velocity  2,735 fps Muzzle Energy   2,485 ft. lbs Reloadable, Brass-Cased Ammo Bullet type is Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) Cons May Have Some Dark Coloring on Case Bi-Metal Jacketed Bullets do Attract Magnets Bottom Line "Federal Lake City" Mil-Spec ammunition is perfect for economic plinking and training at the open ranges, as well as long distance target shooting. As this cartridge uses the U.S. military's standard-issue 7.62x51 (.308) "Ball", FMJ bullet, it’s not suitable for hunting. 2. Federal Premium Vital-Shok Nosler Partition Centerfire Rifle Cartridges - .308 Winchester - 150 Grain Major ammunition companies like Federal manufacture many types and ammo calibers divided into a number of production lines each designed for different purposes. For hunters and medium to large game shooting, Federal Ammunition has introduced several line ammo products to the market. The popular Vital-Shok lineup in .308 Winchester is an excellent hunting option since it is loaded with some of the world's finest big game bullets, such as latest offerings from Nosler. The legendary Nosler Partition bullets for .308 Win are available in 150 and 180-grain bullet weights, efficiently covering the most North American game. The load using Partition 180-grain bullets achieves a muzzle velocity of 2,570 fps, whereas loads topped with 150-grain bullets reach 2,840 fps. The hard-hitting Federal Vital Shok 308 Win. Partition bullets have a fully tapered jacket that ruptures instantly at the thin jacket mouth. The partitioned copper jacket allows the upper half of the bullet to mushroom, while the bottom half remains intact. For some people, it can be inadequate due to the fact that the Vital-Shok Partition does not leave a big exit hole or even it can even lodge under the hide on the opposite side. The nickel plated .308 Winchester case uses boxer-type, non-corrosive primers and can be reloaded. Buy Now Pros Core Material: Lead Jacket Material: Copper Case Type: Nickel Plated Bullet Weight is 150 grains Bullet Type is Nosler Partition Primer Type: Boxer, reloadable Muzzle Energy: 2,686 Foot Pounds Muzzle Velocity: 2,840 Feet Per Second The Upper Half of the Bullet Mushrooms Base Remains Intact to Hammer the Bullet Home Cons Not Cheap Does Not Leave a Big Exit Hole Bottom Line From the entire line of Federal ammunition, we have singled out the premium Vital Shok series in .308 Winchester as your best option for medium to large game animals and a perfect combo of accuracy and lethality. Nosler's Integral Partition bullet jacket uniformly shoots out at high or low velocities, utilizing the expanded mushroom and retaining the rear lead alloy core for deep penetration. 3. Remington Core-Lokt Centerfire Rifle Ammo Next, the American classic, Remington offers its original controlled-expansion bullet design in .308 Winchester, dubbed the Core-Lokt. The Remington Arms Express ammunition line, also known as "Green-box", has loads that successfully meet market demand for more than six decades, primarily with hunting ammunition in a variety of caliber choices. Remington Express Core-Lokt ammo with code R308W1 for .308 Winchester is loaded with 150 grain pointed soft point bullets that blend the expansion capabilities of a traditional soft point bullet with the more extended range performance capabilities of the spitzer-shaped bullet. These effective PSP hunting bullets provide a perfectly controlled expansion and high weight retention after impact, due to the progressively tapered copper jacket which is locked to a solid lead core. Another highlight of the Remington Express .308 Winchester Core-Lokt PSP round is its sleek nose profile for a high ballistic coefficient and horizontal trajectory at long ranges. This Remington Core-Lokt 150 gr. load is launched from the M1A rifle at a muzzle velocity of 2,820 feet per second with a muzzle energy of 2,648-foot-pounds, making it an excellent round for deer-sized game hunting. The reloadable cases are made of premium brass and feature non-corrosive boxer primers. Buy Now Pros Reloadable Boxer Primed Non-Corrosive Premium Brass Cases Muzzle Velocity 2,820 fps Muzzle Energy 2,648 ft./lbs 150 grains Soft Point Projectile Bullet Type is Core-Lokt Pointed Soft Point Controlled Expansion and High Weight Retention Cons Quality control could be better Bottom Line The Core-Lokt series of ammo is designed with the hunter in mind, particularly for hunting medium to the large-sized game. While proven as big game hunting ammunition, the Remington Express .308 Winchester ammo is less expensive than its counterparts. 4. Winchester USA Rifle Ammunition Winchester USA ammunition is the ideal choice for training or extended sessions at the range without barrel leading. The 7.62x51mm NATO ammunition with Winchester item number Q3130 is topped with a 147-grain full metal jacket bullet that will not expand on impact. With something less than a .308Win muzzle velocity (2,750 fps vs 2,800 fps), it's the perfect round for semi-auto firearms, such as your M1A or AR-10. This Winchester USA ammunition, known as "White Box", uses typical lead core projectiles with copper-plated steel jackets that prevent against barrel leading and provide an acceptable level of accuracy for plinking. While this cheap Winchester 7.62x51mm ammo lacks the consistency, it is definitely not target ammo, but it is a fantastic practice round for shooters of all skill levels. Exact military 7.62x51mm Winchester ammo is packed into reloadable brass cases that are boxer primed and non-corrosive. Buy Now Pros No Barrel Leading Muzzle Velocity: 2,750 fps Caliber: 7.62x51mm NATO Muzzle Energy: 2,468 ft./lbs Noncorrosive Boxer Primers Best for Targets, Training or Plinking Bullet: 147-Gr. Lead-Core "Full Metal Jacket" New-Manufacture Reloadable Brass Cases Cons Inconsistent Accuracy Issues With Their Quality Control Bottom Line The 7.62x51mm NATO ammo with manufacturer number Q3130 is made to military standards, which means it features new reloadable brass cases and noncorrosive boxer primers. 5. Federal American Eagle Tactical Rifle Ammunition For budget conscious customers, Federal manufactures American Eagle brand ammunition designed specifically for target shooting, training, and practice. Federal "American Eagle Tactical" ammo has reasonable performance for short to medium range plinking but is not as accurate as Federal high-grade competition offerings. Though inexpensive target ammo, American Eagle Tactical Rifle Ammunition for your 7.62 x 51 M1A is loaded to military specifications for reliable and consistent functioning. This Federal 7.62x51mm NATO Mil-Spec 149 Grain FMJ ammo offers a muzzle velocity of 2,750 feet per second and muzzle energy of 2,437 ft./lbs. While the AE Tactical loads are great all-around FMJ cartridges, they feature a 149 gr. bullet with a metallic core that is attracted to magnets so won't be appropriate for indoor ranges. Since the Federal XM80CL ammo is non-corrosive and has a non-corrosive boxer primer, it is great for high volume shooters. Buy Now Pros Reloadable Brass Cases 149 Grain FMJ bullet Integrated Full-Length Sweat-Guard Muzzle Energy: 2,437 Ft./Lbs An Affordable Option for the Target Board 7.62x51mm NATO (Safe for Use in .308 Winchester Chambers) Cons Accuracy is Not as Good as Federal's Premium Loads The Steel Core Cartridge it is Not Allowed for Most Indoor Ranges Bottom Line The American Eagle XM80CL cartridge is the exact same round that was used in the M-14 and M-60 machine guns and you can now use it in your favorite M1A, any Sporter rifle, or other firearm chambered for .308 Winchester with no detrimental effects. Conclusion Even though the M1A is the latest gun in the world that is attributed to have “finicky” ammo, it should be treated as a mechanical system that relies on quality ammunition above all other considerations. With that in mind, you should not use cartridges that are dirty, wet, corroded, bent, or damaged. Additionally, you should not oil or spray aerosol-type lubricants or cleaners onto ammunition. Besides full metal jacket military ammunition, loads with hollow point or ballistic tip types of bullets work well in M1A rifles and will be suitable for relatively short-range shooting. However, for the best accuracy and ultimate real-world practice, you will probably want to stick with some of the match grade target rounds for the M1A.

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