In a bug-out or bug-home situation, the most important item you can carry for self-defense is a firearm. And if you’re going to have a firearm, then you need to have ammunition.
But how much ammo should you carry in your bug-out bag (BoB), get home bag (GHB) or I’m never coming home bag (Inch bag)?
This question has been argued time and time again in the prepper community, and it seems like everyone has a different answer.
And to be honest, there is no right or wrong answer in this situation. What might be the right amount of ammo for one person, could be way too little or way too much for someone else. It all depends on a variety of factors.
Here are 10 simple questions you can ask yourself that will help you decide how much ammo to have in your BoB, GHB, or INCH bag.
- How strong are you physically?
- How accurate are you with your firearm(s)?
- What kind of firearm(s) do you plan to carry?
- What type of ammunition do you plan to carry?
- Are you driving or walking to your bug out location?
- How dangerous is the route to your bug out location?
- How long will it take you to travel to your bug out location?
- Is anyone else in your group carrying firearms or ammunition?
- Do you have caches hidden on the way to your bug out location?
- Do you plan on carrying your weapons and ammo in a separate bag?
Simply answer the 10 questions above and you should be able to decide how much ammo to carry in your bug-out bag.
How Much Ammo to Carry In a BoB, GHB, or Inch Bag?
Before you decide how much ammo to carry in your BoB, GHB, or Inch bag, you first need to think about the different types of danger you could encounter
when traveling to your home or BoL.
After you’re done thinking, you then need to decide just how many bullets you’re going to need to keep you and your family or group from facing any type of actual harm.
Be honest with yourself too. While it might seem cool to imagine yourself defending your country from the (Chinese, Russian, Islamic, far-left liberal, alien) invaders, you’re most likely not going to encounter any actual danger on your way to your home or bug out location. At least none that you absolutely couldn’t avoid.
Remember, your main goal when faced with a disaster situation is to simply survive. Not to become a one-person army. Not to win WW3 all by yourself. But to simply survive.
And if you have a family, then your main goal is to keep all of your family members alive as well. But it’s going to be hard to do that if you’re firing off rounds at every armed thug that comes your way. So let’s avoid the unnecessary firefights and get to answering these questions so you can decide just how much ammo you need to have in your BoB
How Strong Are You Physically?
The stronger you are, the more you’re going to be able to carry. Plain and simple.
And if you’ve ever carried a bug-out bag over a long distance before, then you already know how heavy they can be. So if you plan on traveling miles and miles on foot with a giant bag strapped onto your shoulders, then you better be strong enough to carry it.
If not, then you may want to reduce the amount of ammo or other items that you’re carrying in your bag. Otherwise, you may have to ditch some items along the way, or at least pass some of the weight on to other members of your group.
How Accurate Are You With Your Firearm(s)?
The better your aim, the better your chance of hitting your target with fewer rounds.
And the fewer rounds it takes for you to hit your target, the fewer rounds you have to carry in your BoB. Fewer rounds = less weight, less weight = less strain, less strain = better mood, better mood = more likely to survive.
So if you want you and your family to be more likely to survive in a disaster scenario, then get out to the range and improve your accuracy with firearms!
Like you actually needed another excuse to go out to the range..
What Kind of Firearm(s) Do You Plan to Carry?
While a reliable handgun such as the Glock 19 might be suitable for some situations, others may find themselves in a situation that could benefit more from carrying a rifle such as an AR-15. Or you may find yourself in a situation that can benefit from carrying both!
Of course, one downside of carrying two firearms is that you also have to carry two types of ammunition. That is unless you’re carrying a handgun and a rifle that both use the same ammunition.
You also have to consider how fast a firearm can shoot. If you plan on using a semi-automatic rifle such as an AK-47, then you have to realize that you’re going to go through bullets much faster than you would with a bolt action rifle or a single-shot shotgun.
What Type of Ammunition Are You Going to Carry?
While it may seem cool to have a 50 caliber rifle strapped to your back in a world WROL (without rule of law), it’s definitely not the most practical type of firearm to lug around.
On the other end of the spectrum, you could use a 22 caliber rifle and carry far more ammunition than you could with other caliber firearms, but of course, you won’t have the takedown power that comes with using a bigger caliber round.
Sometimes it can be hard to find the sweet spot between size, weight, and damage capability, but you could always pack your bag with different caliber rounds and see what you like best in terms of weight and size. Although, sometimes you’re just going to have to suck it up and use what you have.
Are You Driving or Walking to Your Bug Out Location?
Do you plan on walking or driving to your bug-out location?
If you plan on walking, then you’re going to have to carry all of your weapons and ammunition in your bug-out bag. However, if you plan on driving to your BoL, then you may be better off storing your gun(s) and ammo in a separate bag or detachable pouch.
This way you can easily grab your bug-out gear and toss it in the back of your bug-out vehicle (BoV) whenever you’re ready to go. Or you can simply lock up your gun and ammo in the BoV and have one less thing to worry about.
How Dangerous Is the Route to Your Bug Out Location?
When disaster strikes, you’re either going to be heading to one of two places. Either to your home or to a designated bug-out location. A bug-out location (BoL) is either your home, your second home, or a relative or friend’s house that you plan to go to when SHTF.
If you’re unsure what your bug-out location should be, then you need to factor in how dangerous it’s going to be to travel to each location in the event of a disaster. You also have to consider the different types of disaster scenarios that could occur in your area and what the possible dangers could be when you’re heading to each location during that disaster.
For example, the dangers that could occur after an earthquake or tornado would be vastly different from the dangers that could occur if your country was taken over by civil unrest. Being knowledgeable of the different types of SHTF scenarios that could take place in your area will be greatly helpful when you’re choosing how much ammo you need to make it safely to your BoL.
You also need to consider the different routes you may have to take to make it to your BoL. Let’s say that disaster strikes when you’re at work. Will you be prepared to make it to your BoL with the guns and ammo that you have stored in your vehicle? If not, then you may want to increase the amount of ammunition that you’re carrying.
Sometimes this means carrying less food and water, but if you can’t survive the situation at hand, then all of the food and water in the world won’t make a difference.
How Long Will It Take You to Travel to Your Bug Out Location?
Knowing how long it will take you to travel to your bug-out location will help you determine how much ammo you need to carry in your bug-out bag. The longer it takes you to travel = the more ammo you may want to carry.
If you plan on driving to your BoL, then you also need to figure out how long it will take you to walk there. You never know when your vehicle is going to break down or you happen to run into a roadblock or something.
Personally, I always try to plan for the worst-case scenario. This may mean I’m forced to carry a little bit more weight than needed, but as long as my family and I are safe then I’m good to go.
After all, having a sore back and shoulders is better than being dead.
Is Anyone Else In Your Group Carrying Firearms or Ammunition?
This is a simple question to answer.
Is anyone else in your group carrying firearms or ammunition?
If not, then you’re going to have to carry enough guns and ammo to protect your whole group. However, if you do have other members in your group that are armed and ready to go, then you won’t have to carry such a heavy load.
Do You Have Caches Hidden On the Way to Your Bug Out Location?
A tactic commonly used by experienced preppers is to set up and hide caches on the route to your BoL.
A cache is a collection of items that are stored away and hidden for future use. Many caches are even buried in a specific location to ensure that nobody but you can ever find it.
The reason you may want to hide caches on the route to your BoL is so you can lighten the load of your BoB. Instead of storing 1000 rounds of ammo in your bug-out bag, you can just store a couple of loaded magazines and leave the box of ammo stored in a hidden cache on the way to your BoL.
Do You Plan On Carrying Your Weapons and Ammo In a Separate Bag?
An easy way to lighten the load of your bug-out bag is to carry your weapons and ammo in a separate bag.
I personally use a separate bag myself to carry my handgun and ammo, since this allows me to use all of the space in my BoB to carry other useful items. The type of bag that I prefer to use is a tactical sling bag that you can easily throw over your shoulder.
The only downside of using a bag such as this is it does make you look like more of a valuable target to looters. But if it’s worth the extra space in your bag and the less weight on your shoulders, then it may just be the right option for you.
Hopefully, now you have an idea of how much ammo you want to carry in your bug-out bag. Or maybe you’re more like me and have decided to get another bag solely for the purpose of carrying your handgun and ammo.
In all honesty, you shouldn’t need tons of ammunition just to make it safely to your bug-out location.
After all, it only takes one shot to take someone out. And if you find yourself needing 100 rounds for just one enemy, then you might need to head on down to the range and get some practice in. It may just save your family.