What Happens If Your Bug Out Gun Breaks?

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 4 months ago

Guns.com:

Over the last few years, I’ve seen a lot of ink spilled about the one—that is the ultimate, end of the world, SHTF, need no other, bug out bag firearm that will carry you and yours at the end of days.  These articles usually go into great detail as to the how’s, what’s, and why’s of the caliber, model, and make for that ideal, one and done gun but I’ve seen precious little written about one very important issue that could turn your uber-pistol into a good looking paperweight.  What if it breaks?

Recently I had one of my Smith & Wesson revolvers put completely out of action by the tiniest of parts, a hand torsion spring. This spring is what keeps the hand engaging the ratchet on the rear of the cylinder. This little two-dollar part shut the gun down completely and it was eye opening for me because, if the bombs start dropping, I know I would want to have that wheelgun with on my hip.

So, if you are into buying a gun for one of those dreaded “what if” occasions, how do you guard against mechanical failure when ordering a replacement part from Brownell’s or another part is no longer an option?

Author David LaPell does a good job of discussing the need for some rudimentary Gunsmith skills, having spare parts and the right tools, buying reliable guns, and the virtue of purchasing in two’s (although this is an interesting option and one that I have thought about, it could get much more expensive than the average person’s bank account can sustain).

The article is worth the read time.  I have a number of guns, all of them reliable personal defense weapons except one, and that one will never go anywhere with me except to the range as a range toy.

I realize that your so-called bug out provisions are weight-limited.  You cannot carry unlimited water, freeze dried food, water filter, first aid and medical supplies, tactical lights and batteries, cordage, cover (like a tarp), electronic gear and ammunition (frankly, to me ammunition seems the most important of these provisions and yet the most weighty).

Here is a side bar comment about cover.  You can purchase a tarp covering from Lowe’s or similar store, but I constructed my own by using house wrap (used for vapor barrier) in 12′ X 12′, double-side-taped the edges with Gorilla Tape, and then used grommets (purchased from Lowe’s) to place holes in the corners and middle.  It makes a perfect covering in the absence of a weighty tent if you have cordage and trekking poles, and if you can find a housing contractor to give you a piece of house wrap, the supplies cost $15.  You can also use the hole in the middle and some cordage to lift the center of the tarp above the rest of it, making provision for water run off.

But even something like this isn’t weight-free.  So I understand that the premier concern is weight.  Hard decisions must be made.  But here is the crux of the issue.  Do not ever carry one bug out gun.  Have a bug out gun, and a backup, and a backup to that one if you can carry it.  And enough ammunition for all of them.



  • http://arcticpilgrim.com Justin

    There are some interesting resources on Scribd that can help a person fabricate a firearm in a dire emergency out of common plumbing components. Mind you, that would be more of a last-ditch, WROL situation. Replacement parts are easy and cheap for those.

    I know that it’s slightly off-topic, but it’s a contingency in a really bad situation if the bugout gun breaks.

    I’ve tried to get several family members the same pattern rifles, to allow for parts-changing in an emergency, even if it would mean someone being down a weapon and going to a backup. I was in the midst of arming the entire family, then this gun panic stuff happened. Now, we’ll see how it goes, I suppose.

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  • Julie Cochrane

    A few well-selected, well-hidden caches near rally points (done right) can be a less expensive way of dealing with high-weight but vital supplies. Bullets and once-fired brass for re-supply of ammo—heavy, *relatively* cheap, keep forever if coated with petroleum jelly and sealed in a seal-a-meal bag. For powder measurement, I’d plan on using simple balance scale with known weights–low tech, time consuming, but very accurate if done carefully and right. Bullets and brass are heavy. Powder and primers are light.

  • Julie Cochrane

    Best way I know of to learn to use a balance scale is to assemble a kid’s chemistry set like you used to be able to buy. Doing the experiments teaches accurate measurement of small amounts–there are a lot of little tricks nerds with chemistry sets used before everybody and his brother had an electronic scale accurate to the milligram.


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This article is filed under the category(s) Guns and was published February 25th, 2013 by Herschel Smith.

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