Long gun and movement considerations
There seems to be quite a bit of discussion about “bugging out” and what kit to carry. There are plenty of options out there but one question that continues to come up is how to stay “the grey man” and still carry a long gun. I think we need to take a hard look at our situation, the circumstances we might find ourselves in, and what to do about that long gun. Because we need to have some context to our situation we’ll try to paint in broad strokes, and add specifics as necessary. To be honest, if we keep things realistic I think we’ll find most decisions won’t be too different no matter the circumstances.
By definition “bugging out” means we are moving. We want to move from point A to point B. What are our points??? Our home?? Work? A vehicle? A public forum? A predetermined “safe” house or sight?? A hasty hide or building to occupy?? By definition we are trying to get somewhere of lesser advantage to a place of better advantage. The exception would be moving to SOMEONE, like our family or friends in need, someone in trouble or disabled, etc.
Regardless of why we are leaving we have determined that we need to be somewhere else. Inherently that means we have a purpose and to move accordingly. I can’t think of a single reason to move and not have a destination and not be highly motivated to get there. Even if you don’t have a specific location and only know the place you’re at is sucking, you still probably aren’t going to move like it’s a Sunday drive. Speed becomes a factor.
For this discussion we’re going to talk about moving on foot. If we have a vehicle then the point is almost moot. Believe me, if I’m "alamo’ing" up or moving in a vehicle then the gear I chose and the time and distance I can cover are a different discussion.
So if we’re moving on foot we need to be VERY conscious of what we carry. There are tons of discussions about what and how people will carry life saving equipment and comfort items. We can talk about that too, but the one item that continues to arise is that pesky long gun. Do we need it?? Should we take it?? How? What if we don’t take it?? What are we going to do with it??
Answering some of these questions and coming up with some solutions might help us in the rest of our load out. Determining what we carry and how we carry it also determines what we can accomplish. Things like where we can go and how far we can travel are directly related to the solutions above.
Simple math tells us we can go farther without a long gun. If I forgo a long gun (in this case an M4 carbine) that means I don’t have a 7-10 pound rifle and 3-10 pounds of ammo (one mag weighs approximately 1 pound). Can you move farther with 10-20 pounds less?? I think I can.
What do we consider in making that determination? Now things get somewhat tricky. Each person envisions different situations. I think the biggest consideration is the geographic location we find ourselves in as well as the circumstances that have made us move. Let’s run down a few somewhat generic situations and make some decisions from there.
Back to the topic. When do we need a long gun?? Do we need one if our vehicle broke down on a rural road and we’re trying to walk to help? Probably not, but are we comfortable leaving it in the vehicle? That also depends. It depends on if you have it in something like a Truck Safe, and what the overall situation is like. If we know it’s only about 10 miles back to somewhere we can get some help then it might be better to leave the rifle and haul ass to a known destination. It’s about probabilities and in this situation, stateside, it’s probably best to leave the long gun. Even with a longer distance (for you truly rural folks) I don't think it changes much.
If the exact same situation happened in Iraq or Afghanistan, you can bet the long gun is coming with. Talking to some coworkers last night we went over every situation we knew of where people had to un-ass a vehicle and most said that at the time they were worried about just getting out and grabbing ANYTHING was second on the priority list. Several made mention of grabbing their bags but burning everything else (including belt feds) in place. I’m not saying if any of these actions are right or wrong only that the situation dictates what we’re going to do.
Another situation might be some kind of natural disaster. For this situation let’s assume we’re ahead of the power curve and a disaster is pending, but hasn’t occurred yet. Some examples might be hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, etc. Often times the routes from a city to a more rural area become clogged. We might just need to make it from our home or business to another “better” location. In this situation we will probably encounter many more people, both good and bad.
Again, is the long gun necessary? Maybe not yet, but I probably wouldn’t want to leave all my guns to be burned in a fire. I’d like to think that even if I don’t need the rifle right now, it might be the only chance I have to keep possession of one.
The next logical “threat” would be the same situations above, but, for whatever reason, we’re in the thick of it or post disaster. Think hurricane Katrina or some of the looting I’ve seen in the Midwest post tornado. In this situation we can expect more social unrest, historically meaning people become more desperate and predatory. Do we need a long gun?? If I’m moving through an area full of people capable of horrible acts for their own self preservation I’m probably even more inclined to move as quickly as possible. I don’t think provoking any actions from people in this type of situation is advisable. What I mean by provoking is giving them any reason (in their eyes) to interact with you. Moving as quickly and quietly as possible seems to, again, be the best answer.
I’m going to stop there because any situations we come up with past this are probably not based on history and might seem a bit “far off” for some. I think the examples we’ve chosen are somewhat realistic and if we discuss these events we probably can get some decent ideas for “end of the world, social breakdown, zombies, et al."
So what are our choices?? Leave the long gun, hide the long gun, take the long gun but have it concealed, take the long gun and look like you’re ready for a fight? Anything else?
More on those choices in Part 3, coming next week.
Until then, stay full tilt and focused!