How Much Ammo For A Bug Out Scenario (TIPS)

Life under a catastrophic event is much different than you know. In fact, criminal behavior and looting come almost immediately after a natural disaster. And you might need your weapon to protect yourself and your supplies in these chaotic situations.

So, if you’re a prepper, you probably already have or are planning on having an emergency bag that will help you in every emergency situation, And thus you might be tempted to pack as much ammo as you can get your hands on to defend yourself. But is this the right approach? How much ammo do you need for a bug out situation? Does carrying hundreds of rounds give you the edge to survive the chaos? Let’s find out.

Why Carrying Too Much Ammo Might Be Detrimental

Carrying a gun or a knife for protection will surely help you in dangerous scenarios you might face. But although it seems like a great idea to pack every ammo you can afford in your survival backpack, carrying too much ammo may slim your chances of surviving the wild.

When it comes to bugging out, speed and stealth are your ultimate friends. Many preppers will argue that being prepared also means being able to defend themselves adequately, and that is true in most of the cases. However, protecting yourself doesn’t necessarily require a hell lot of ammo. In fact, carrying too much ammo can hurt your safety in the following ways:

Too Much Ammo Can Slow You Down

You see, a critical aspect when bugging out is to travel light. When you are in a SHTF situation, you’ll want to get to your bug out location as fast as possible. Speed is your ally, and a lighter load will assist you on that (as well as reducing your fatigue).

The bullets you use in your prefered gun may not weigh much on their own, but when in bulk, the ammo magazines can add quite a lot of weight to your backpack. In fact, 100 rounds of standard 9 mm ammunition will make your bug out bag heavier by approximately 2.63 lbs. Carrying too much ammo in your pack will eventually slow your pace, which can be a serious issue.

Being Stealthy Will Not Be An Option

During these types of events, you’ll want to stay hidden and unnoticed. Stealth is the best way to avoid any danger that might cross your path to a safe location. Too much ammo in your bag will cause a lot of noise when you move, which might give away your position.

Why Do People Think They Need A Lot Of Ammunition

The main reason people think that they need a lot of ammo in SHTF situations is the way gunfights are projected in our mainstream media. Hollywood movies give people an unrealistic view of how a gunfight looks like, with thousands of rounds flying all over the place. However, in real life, a gunfight is completely different than what is portrayed in the movies.

Real life gunfights don't last as long as you think, and the number of bullets fired is also strikingly less. In fact, according to police reports, less than three shots are fired in an average gunfight. On average, real gunfights last only 3 to 10 seconds. The number of used rounds is usually not even enough to require reloading. Moreover, according to one NYPD report, the single most important factor for survival during an armed confrontation is cover.

How Much Ammo Should You Pack For Your Bug Out Plan

Now that you know that you don’t need a lot of ammo to survive a real world gunfight, it’s time to answer the actual question. To decide how much ammo you should carry in your backpack when you bug out, consider the following things:

  • Make sure you have packed all the necessary things first. Supplies like food, water, clothing are essential for your survival. You’ll also need a temporary shelter if you plan to stay on the road for quite a while. Pack the most important things first, and then decide how much ammo you can pack depending on the space left in your backpack.
  • You need to be able to move fast in a stealthy manner. So the amount of ammo you pack will depend upon how much weight you can comfortably carry. Pack the necessary supplies, weigh your bag and carry it around for some time. Go for a walk with it, and sprint for about 30 seconds after each minute of walking. Then you can decide how much ammo you can fit in your bug out bag, without slowing yourself down.
  • The amount of ammunition that you carry also depends on where you plan on heading. If you have a safe location for SHTF situations, store most of your ammo in that place. Then you will only have to pack a few rounds, to ensure that you safely reach your destination.
  • The amount of ammo in your backpack will also depend on your choice for transportation. If you are travelling by foot, carry less ammo to make your load lighter. But if you'll be using a car or bike, you can pack much more ammo in your backpack as you won’t need to continuously carry it.


As you can see, you don't need to carry hundreds of rounds of ammo to survive. Carrying too much ammo in your bug out bag can affect you adversely. Stay light and stay hidden, and carry just as much ammo as you might need if the situation goes out of your hand, but only after you've packed the essential items first.

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