Practical Personal Protection in a Backpack

With pandemics, civil unrest, and a wave of violent crime sweeping through American's major cities, a lot of people have been taking their personal protection more seriously. The result is there are more armed Americans than at any point in our nation's history, and the trend doesn't seem to be slowing down. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, 6.5 million new guns were sold in the first four months of 2020 and 40 percent of those were first-time gun owners. 

I know this is true, for the last several weeks, friends have been messaging me on Facebook or sending me a text asking "What gun should I buy?" For most of them, the answer was "none until you get some actual training and time at a range." But many simply went out and bought an inexpensive pump-action shotgun, making me instantly think of Dave Chappel's story about Buck Shot vs Bird Shot. 

But gun ownership is far more than simply buying a gun and sticking in the nightstand, there is learning about how safely use and store your firearm, how you can legally carry your gun, and how to properly transport your firearm in your vehicle. As someone who grew up in the Boy Scouts and on a small ranch shooting and shooting sports was just part of my way of life. While I have my license to carry, and my Walther PPK is my part of my everyday carry, the popularity of a bugout bag to keep nearby or in the trunk when you travel has become more and more popular, I have had one for years with a small Henry AR7, an excellent survival tool and one of my favorite .22 rifles, but it's not a great personal defense weapon.

Enter the CMMG Banshee 300, MK4 chambered in 5.7X28mm, super compact with a 40 round magazine, under 20" and just over 4lbs, it is the perfect firearm for your grab-and-go backpack. I outfitted mine with a Holosun shake-awake green dot sight. I have been very impressed with the accuracy and compactness of this AR-based pistol platform. The fact that CMMG has been able to pack great capability and accuracy in a package that fits in a standard laptop backpack is impressive.

But personal protection is far more than just having a firearm, most survival situations aren't going to be about a shootout, but getting home or to a safe location. Your more likely need other emergency gear before you need your firearm, so my backpack includes a couple of bottles of water, an emergency blanket, paper map, flashlight, small travel toiletries, PowerBars, extra battery for my phone, small first aid kit, a change of clothing, and my BulletSafe backpack insert. 

The BulletSafe backpack insert is a practical way to have NIJ level IIIA protection, which means it will stop almost all handgun rounds. The bulletproof backpack panel measures 10 inches by 14 inches and weighs just 1.5 lbs. It is flexible and lightweight. The backpack insert slides in the laptop slot and gives you added peace of mind. While the hope is you would never need any of the items in the backpack, it is always better to be prepared and not need it, than be in a situation and be left helpless.

While I am always optimistic, I also like to know that in an emergency, when the police aren't coming, and everything that could go wrong has gone wrong, I will at least have the tools to protect myself and my loved ones. So far, I have only ever had to pull the first aid kit out of my bag, to help at the scene of a car accident, let's hope it stays that way.

BulletSafe also makes affordable bulletproof vests, panels, hats, and other protective gear, they sent me one of their vests to test. It is surprisingly comfortable and is hundreds less than similar vests. My press patches are ordered for it and I will definitely be bringing it with me on at least one upcoming story that we are working on for this fall.

This story does feature products that were sent to me to test, however, all opinions are my own and this is not paid product placement or a sponsored advertisement. 


  1. CMMG makes a great gun, love the idea of the Bulletsafe backpack insert

  2. Love the idea of the Bulletproof sleeve.

  3. This is a great gun, do you plan on doing a video review?