It seems like only yesterday that guns like the Ruger LCP were at peak popularity. People carried a pistol because they feared carjackers and muggers, and those people tend to only be a foot or two away. The “So anyways, I started blasting” approach seemed like the most likely needed response, and perhaps the only one seriously worth preparing for. A tiny pocket pistol could handle that job just fine with only minimal disruption to one’s daily life and wardrobe.
But, things have changed a lot. As better carry guns like the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield and later the P365 came out, many people realized that the tradeoff with a tiny pocket pistol wasn’t fantastic. Then, holster designs improved, making it easier for many people to conceal a full-sized pistol. While many people still carry traditional subcompact CCW guns today, it’s no longer the overwhelming norm.
And, a number of shootings in recent years have proven this approach to be the correct one. One big one was the West Freeway Church of Christ shooting in White Settlement, Texas. Volunteer church security guard Jack Wilson stopped the killing with one shot to the head at a distance of 12-15 yards. Another, even better example, was when Eli Dicken dropped a mass shooter armed with a rifle at a distance exceeding 40 yards, using a pistol. Neither of these life-saving uses of force would have been safely possible with a traditional subcompact carry gun.
But, some mass shooters are treating this like an arms race. Knowing that they will probably encounter armed resistance, shooters like the one who murdered grocery shoppers in Buffalo, New York are showing up with better guns and body armor, and they’re training for it, too. So, people who frequent public spaces or protect them may want to consider upping the ante.
Sadly, It’s often not socially acceptable to walk around with a rifle, even if you’re a police officer or a security guard. On the other hand, mass shooters are not deterred from showing up armed to the proverbial teeth, because they’re there to shoot innocent people, not hold down a job or be a contributing member of the community. This puts the good guys at a severe disadvantage, and it’s this disadvantage that mass shooters are increasingly counting on to rack up a shocking body count.
There are some innovative ways around this problem, though.
A number of manufacturers are now offering backpacks that can rapidly convert into a full ballistic vest. You simply grab a couple of pull-tabs on the top of the backpack, flip the front plate carrier over your head, and velcro the sides on. The Masada backpack in the video above offers IIIa protection (most pistol rounds), but can be upgraded to Level III+ protection to stop weaker rifle rounds like 5.56x45mm or 7.62x39mm. Other backpack designs can be upgraded to even higher ratings, but this comes at the expense of weight.
With this defensive capability in place, it’s time to turn our attention to some offense. After all, the goal is to not only survive a mass shooter, but stop them from killing other people. The great thing about these backpacks is that they have MOLLE webbing to attack all sorts of other gear. Most videos of these backpacks show somebody with a full-sized pistol or magazine pouches attached, but there’s nothing stopping one from integrating a braced pistol or SBR to the front plate, provided it’s small enough when folded to fit in the bag and deploy properly. This may require the use of a take-down design, like this one:
Another compelling option for this kind of setup would be to use something like a Flux Defense Raider. This wouldn’t give you the kind of power a 5.56 or .300 Blackout folding braced pistol does, but it folds down to a much more compact design. More importantly, though, the stock gives you much greater stability to take longer shots. From what I’ve read, Flux is working on a version that works with the Sig X-Ten, so you’d be able to get more power at distance.
Other, more exotic options would include a shortened PS90 (which might be legal to build without a tax stamp if you use a new stripped receiver and a tail hook brace as described in this video), other folding or take-down braced pistols, or simply going for that tax stamp.
Finally, there’s still some storage in the actual backpack part of the pack. That would be a great place to put first aid supplies, tourniquets, and seals as needed to help people once the action is over.
So, you could conceivably manage the emergency from beginning to end while being in discreet mode on a day-to-day basis. Depending on what risks you want to prepare for, this could be a good option.
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