In my last post, "Stuff for your bug out bag" I gave a list of items that should be in both a bug out bag and a separate list for a shorter term "go" bag.
I almost immediately got some comments asking question or challenging what I had. Instead of having some super long reply to comments, let me just answer the questions here now.
1) Should the pistol and rifle be in every bug out bag, or just in one bag if there are multiple people?
A) Every person should have their own firearms ... ASSUMING they are competent with their use. Giving a firearm to someone that doesn't really know how to use one is just asking for someone to get hurt and a bug out is the WORST time to be teaching firearms skills. Secondly, and this is totally personal opinion, a real "this is not a drill" bug out is stressful. For that reason I personally wouldn't give a firearm to anyone less than about 12 years old unless they are VERY skilled. My son didn't have firearms as part of his bug out or go bags until he was 15 (but settled down, got serious, and he's now sporting an AR-15 that he can reliably use at targets over 500 meters away). My youngest daughter however is like Annie Oakley and got hers recently at 13 (.22 for both the pistol and rifle). Again, this is just personal belief and you have to gauge it based on what you think your kids can handle.
My reason for saying each person old enough and skilled in their use should have their own firearms is two fold, first each person should be largely self-sufficient. Second, even if one or two members of your group are so overwhelmingly more skilled with a firearm than the other people in the group having everyone carry their own firearms and ammunition simply means a better "spread" of the weight being carried. It gives those people that will be doing any shooting much more ammunition than they could carry on their own.
As an example, myself and my son are likely to be the only two people actually doing any hunting in a bug out or using a firearm in self defense. However my wife and other children all have both a pistol and a rifle.
2) You list .22 for a rifle and a handgun ... why not a shotgun or something higher caliber for the rifle or the handgun?
A) Before I get started you should know that the kind and type of
firearms that should be carried for a bug out is a hotly debated topic
with the various experts both online and off. There are a lot of pros and cons to the various types and calibers of firearms so understand that I am just giving you my own opinions on the matter.
I really like to have both the handgun and the rifle to be the same caliber. This allows the ammunition you are carrying to server double duty which means you can carry less ... which means less weight carried.
Secondly, and this is largely probably a result of my military training, I am not a fan of shotguns. I know that birds are everywhere, are easy to find and make an easy and readily available food source, which means that a single shotgun can bring down several birds making feeding easier.
However, shotguns are LOUD. During a bug out I'd rather not announce my location. My goal is to hunker down, stay out of sight and quiet, and generally be left alone until some kind of normalcy has been returned.
.22 handguns and rifles are more than accurate enough to take out small "varmints" for food, I'm a good fisherman so there's food that way ... and .22 can be quieted very easily as it's a subsonic round.
Further, .22 ammo is so light that quite a lot of it can be carried.
Those things all equal up to using a .22 for both a handgun (self defense) and a rifle (dual purpose self defense and hunting).
Having said that, take note that my son is using a .223 AR-15 (he thought it was cool that I put the assault rifle as part of his bug out bag).
Also, and I haven't said this before, but I'm using a .45 for both my handgun and rifle to give us something with a bit more kick should it be needed. Now, the .45 ammo is probably three times heavier per round (okay, maybe twice) which means I can't carry as much.
However, there's 7 in my immediate family (including my oldest daughter's fiance) which means with that many people I have the ability to start varying the "weaponry" a bit.