I keep a bag packed with 24-48 hours of essential supplies. In fact, I keep a couple of them, one for me and one for my wife. I keep mine in the car because up until last year I spent most of my day either travelling to and from work or working at a job that was a good forty miles across town. For me that bag was a get home bag tat would provide essential tools and supplies for me to either wait out an event at work or in my car without worry. This has happened to me before and happened to friends and co-workers several times. Tropical Storm Allison resulted in several people I know being stuck at work and having to scavenge food from vending machines and rifling through peoples’ desks. The contents of the get home bag (along with my everyday carry gear) will help keep me fed, hydrated, warm and dry for at least a day or two. In a worst case scenario, the contents can help me with make it home on foot if need be.
One thing I have never kept in my get home bag was a firearm. The bag will sit in my car for months on end suffering through the heat and humidity of the gulf coast and essentially being ignored except for a quick check and rotation of perishables once or twice a year. Putting a $500-600 Glock or SIG into a bag and leaving it in the trunk for months on end was a pretty expensive investment and unless they were cleaned and lubricated on a regular bases would probably be fairly useless one should I need to use it. Even gun grease tends to flow out of the gun like water in the Texas sun where interior car temperatures can reach 150+ degrees.
Last night a thought hit me out of the blue. How about a cheap revolver? Revolvers, by there very nature (design), are far less sensitive and more reliable when ignored for long periods of time even in harsh conditions. There is no need to worry about magazine problems nor are they ammo sensitive. For the most part, if it can fit in the cylinder it will feed. From an investment point of view, the revolver and a box of inexpensive self-defense ammo can be had for under $350, in some cases way under. Here are a few options:
Rock Island/Armsor M200 – One of the cheapest options is this Colt clone from the Philippines with a street price of $216-226. There is an option for either a 4 inch barrel or a snubbie both of which hold six rounds in the cylinder instead of the more common five. On the downside the M200 is not rated for +P ammunition and the finish is fairly easily scratched leaving parts of the gun unprotected against the elements.
Charter Arms Undercover – The Charter Arms Undercover is not the cheapest option on the list but it is made in the US, if that matters to you. Actually, with a street price of $330-330 it is the most expensive option. This little five shot snubbie does accept +P ammunition and the finish seems to be a good bit more durable than the Rock Island/Armscor revolvers. Then again, for another $70-100 you could buy a Ruger LCR or Smith & Wesson Airweight.
Rossi R Series Revolvers – The Rossi revolvers can be had in either four inch, six-shot or snub-nosed, five shot versions. They are also rated for +P ammunition. Like the Charter Arms, the street price on these little revolvers is a little on the steep side of this group coming in around $300-330 dollars.
Taurus 85 – Depending on the price the Taurus Model 85 may be the best option on the list. I have seen street prices as low as $250, almost as low as the Rock Island/Armscor, for this little five shot snubbie. It is rated for +P ammunition and comes in various finishes including a stainless steel model. However, I have also seen street prices from normally low cost sources that were around $300. At that price I would go with either the Rock Island/Armscor or the Charter Arms. The RIA based strictly on price. The Charter Arms because for the same money I would buy made in the USA. One more thing to consider, like the Rossi, it comes with an integrated locking mechanism like many Smith & Wesson’s. Whether that is a positive or a negative I leave up to you to decide.
If you don’t mind spending a little more, $400-450, the Smith & Wesson Airweight or the Ruger LCR are great options as well. In fact I have one of each and both have been excellent daily carry guns.