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Friday, March 22, 2013

On-Gun Storage

If you've seen a long gun recently, you've probably noticed that shooters are adding more and more gear, ammo, and coffee makers to their guns, whether its an AR or a shotgun.  A lot of bolt guns are sporting storage saddles and spare rounds on their stocks.

I took a look at my AR and the changes it's gone through, and I realized I had three separate storage areas without adding an external pouch, ready-mag, or anything like that.  But really, I was only using the stock to store a bore snake, keepers for my glasses, and a small parts kit.  Another stock held batteries for my optics, but that stock was on a different gun that day.  Looking at my buddy Damian's gun, a 10/22, he had a basic survival kit, an extra 50 plus rounds, ear plugs, a spare ten round magazine, and some tools, all in an incredibly light survival rifle with the aid of internal stock storage and a cheek rest/pouch.

Now, a .22 is never going to be my first choice in a shooting situation, but it is damn high on my list. If I need a gun for a serious situation, I'm going to pick the nastiest piece of hardware I have at my disposal.  I'm not going to fart around with anything less.  But that's a situation the vast majority of gun owners are never going to face in real life.  Really, think about that.  We spend time, money and effort to train for the worst that life can throw at us, because in those seconds we can't afford to fail.  The other 99% of the time we are carrying or owning guns for sport, security, and self defense reasons.

If you're heading to the range, you should have all the support gear that you need to run your gun.  Do you need to bring a vice block?  You'd better not.  But you should have all the kit needed to lube, clean, and do light work on your gun.  Whatever you need to adjust your scope or sight.  Whatever you need to keep that thing up and running.  Some accessories for rifles allow you to do that without over-stuffing your shooters bag, at the cost of adding weight and bulk to your weapon.  Sometimes, it's worth it.  If you plan on grabbing your rifle in a shtf situation, you might need to throw those extra batteries and firing pin on board.  If you're using the rifle to plink or compete, leave the weight in the bag; you're not replacing that extractor spring during a course of fire.

When I was a kid, we had first aid kits everywhere.  In the car.  In the garage, on the boat, etc.  We knew that if something bad happened, a first aid kit was cheap insurance.  I think a lot of people have moved away from that.  If you really think about it, you can pick up theoretical knowledge from the internet on just about anything. Do you know how to properly deal with a puncture wound?  You can at least see how it's done at the click of a button.  But nothing will prepare you for when things go bad.  At that point, what you have available and what you can do with it is all that matters.

On a similar note, I recommend that any gun owner puts together a go-rifle.  Something that you can pick up and go out the door with.  While my preference would be to grab a 5.56 carbine with extra batteries and ammo, that can become a heavy package.  A 12-gauge with a shell caddy would be another great choice in my eyes, especially since you can run so many different kinds of ammo through it.  Another great choice would be a .22 rifle. .22 caliber rifles tend to weigh significantly less than any other long guns, are accurate, and can carry a huge amount of ammo on board, and be used by most people due to their light weight, low recoil, and relatively low noise.

The AR-7 is a perfect example of this.  It is designed to take small game and to be a last-ditch defensive weapon.  It also breaks down and is about half the size when disassembled.   The large hollow stock allows the user to break down and secure the rifle for travel, or allow the user to carry a sizable load of extra ammo, medical supplies, and survival gear.  As with Damian's 10/22, the stock is a great place to store those little necessities for when you're in the wilderness, all without adding external storage.  Most AR storage additions function the same way, allowing the shooter to carry small items without much of an increase in the rifle's footprint.

Take a look at what you have on hand and ask if you would go out the door with it in its current configuration.  Look at what you can do with that platform.  Think about what you would want with you if that was the only weapon you could bring with you and you didn't know if you were going to get back home anytime soon.

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