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5.11 Tactical Rush72 Military Style Backpack Product Review

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For those of us who are somewhat into the more gun/tactical aspects of prepping, 5.11 is a common brand name. In the last 15 years or so, the “tactical” market has exploded into civilian products. Everyone seems to want that “tacticool” look of the cargo pants, Mil-Spec gear and all the other trimmings that make us feel like we are the bad asses we see in the action movies. I’ll go ahead and bum most of the readers out. With few exceptions, we will never be as bad ass as we would like and gear isn’t a substitute for skill.

What Should I Look For in a Bug Out Bag?

With the sobering truth that we are probably not elite operators out of the way, we can talk about gear with a clearer head and be more objective. The market has been flooded with gear and bags/packs are no exception. We can find all styles and prices of backpacks online and in stores, but the old adage still holds true, you get what you pay for. The quality of the material as well as the quality of the sewing, buckles, and zippers are huge limiting points on the usefulness of any fabric so look closely at the type of nylon used for the bags, they quality of the buckles used, and the brands of zippers sewn into the gear you buy. With that in mind, lets get to the review of the 5.11 Rush72

5.11 Rush72 Design

The 5.11 Rush72 pack is one of a series of Rush packs that the company makes. They also make a Rush12 and a Rush24. The number denotes the number of hours in the field the pack is designed to support. With the Rush72 designed as a 3 day pack, it seems the most fitting to use for a bug out or get home bag. If you are able to pack lighter or need a smaller pack, the other two options might be just what you are looking for. If you want to read about my thought process regarding bugout/go bags, you can take a look at my other post on bags here:

https://nickspreparedness.com/2020/07/25/what-should-i-have-in-my-bug-out-bag/

I have used this one as both my go bag, a hunting backpack, and a camping/hiking pack and it has served me well in all three aspects. One word of caution, though, for heavy pack loads, frame packs like those used by distance hikers or back country hunters are always going to be a better option. I don’t think backpacks without a built in frame would be the thing i would take on a through hike of the Appalachian Trail, or a back country elk hunt in Colorado.

5.11 Rush72 Features

With many of the product review I do, I realize that trying to recreate the level of detail that the manufacturer or sellers post online is nearly impossible. So I’ll start off with a link to the product and you can view the specific details after you read my review of the bag.

5.11 Rush72 Backpack Link

What I have found that makes this bag a very practical bug out or general purpose pack is the amount of storage as well as the room to add modular accessories and packs via the MOLLE attachment panels covering the outside of the pack. I’ll try to do a video soon on MOLLE systems, but, for practical purposes, it is an attachment method using the strips of webbing on the pack to interlock with other compatible pouches and accessories.

On the base of the pack are four web loops that I made use of to strap my stuff sack with my sleeping bag and tent with some paracord.

ALPS Stuff Sack for Camping Gear

The pack advertises 55L of capacity which is a lot of space so you can get a lot in there, but don’t forget, the more you put in, the heavier it will get. Proper load placement can make a big difference in how well and how far you can carry your pack. I took advantage of the tall side pouches to zip up my water bottle and filtration gear on one side and on the other I was able to put my Solo Stove camp stove and some cooking items. You could easily use this space for ready to eat items more practical for a bug out situation.

The main compartment of the bag is sectioned off nicely to separate your gear and make it easier to locate what you need without disturbing the rest of what you have packed. Several of the compartments are zippered mesh so you can see what’s in there, but tagging the zippers could prove helpful as well.

Between the main compartment and the front panel is a large stuff-it area that can easily accommodate a jacket, rain suit or other crushable gear and cinches up tight with a strap on either side.

The front of the pack has a small compartment up high and a pretty large compartment on the front that includes more zippered pouches as well as an admin panel where you have organizing pockets for pens, pads, and small tools. With all of these options, expect to go through several versions of your bag layout before you find the exact setup that is perfect for your needs.

At the top of the pack near the back are two more openings. One is a soft padded area large enough for a pair of sunglasses to go. The other is on the back panel under the shoulder strap attachment points. It opens up to provide room for a Camelbak hydration bladder if you chose to use one.

Camelbak Hydration Bladder for Rush72 Backpack

To Carry the load of the pack, it has padded shoulder straps with MOLLE webbing on them as well as a waist strap and sternum strap to keep the pack snug and in place.

Final Thoughts on the 5.11 Rush72 Backpack

This was my first “BugOut” bag and I found it to be roomy enough for more than I plan to carry in a “get home” situation. The fact that is is modular makes it even more appealing to those who have the survival skills to truly bug out in the wilderness for more extended periods. As a camping and hunting pack, it gives plenty of storage space for bulky coveralls and parkas that we wouldn’t want to wear while making a hike in to our stands and attachment points to add a dry bag or stuff sack to carry our tent and sleeping bag if we happen to fill up the main bag with other camping gear. The only drawback to this pack is the “tactical” appearance it has if you are wanting to go unnoticed while leaving a deteriorating situation or area.

If you think this pack might work for you, you can get it here:

Disclosure: I am an Amazon affiliate and make money on qualifying purchases.

Top Five First Time Handgun Buyer Mistakes

While having a beer with a good friend the other day, he suggested this topic. With that in mind, please feel free to comment on my Blog, Facebook, or YouTube posts and videos about anything you would like added or a topic you would for me to cover.

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What Should my First Self Defense Firearm Be?

Depending on your circumstances, you might find that a rifle or shotgun is a more practical self defense weapon than a handgun. While I completely agree with anyone who ranks long guns over handguns in accuracy and effectiveness, most of us are limited to handguns for concealment and practicality purposes. With that in mind, I’d like to offer the potential new buyer some basic advice that I have learned through my errors and those of others.

Also, please read my post about safe firearm storage at home here: https://nickspreparedness.com/2020/08/08/how-should-i-store-my-guns-at-home/

And my video on vehicle gun security here:

Top Five First Time Gun Gun Buyer Mistakes

As it happens, my friend who suggested this post and I both shop at a local outdoor and gun store where another good friend of mine works the gun counter. While I know the mistakes I have made, he gets to see the mistakes that everyone makes daily and attempts to intervene to the best of his ability while not insulting or offending the customer. I think I’ll defer to his experience for this list.

Mistake 1: Buying Too Much or Too Little Gun

Your first, second, and so on personal defense gun should be something that you will carry with you all the time. It should be something that you aren’t afraid of firing due to recoil or blast. It should be reliable and chambered in a caliber that has reasonable capability to stop an attacker. I say it that way because pistols are not the death rays that Hollywood portrays them to be. Don’t expect to blow someone backwards over a table or out the window because you carry a .44 magnum revolver or God’s own .45 ACP. The idea that you’ll only need to shoot once if you have a big enough gun just doesn’t hold water. That is why a defensive handgun should be controllable for quick followup shots as well as powerful enough to inflict enough damage to make your attacker stop whatever he or she is doing before you run out of ammunition. With that in mind, I personally recommend choosing a pistol in 9mm, .40 S&W, or .45 ACP. The quality and size of the micro pistols offered now, combined with the advances in bullet design and quality, make the 9mm more viable than it has ever been while still having a lighter recoil and higher capacity magazines than the larger diameter calibers. If you must carry a smaller size pistol than can be chambered in 9mm, the .380 ACP has made great strides as well, however I have found them to be more finicky about ammo so be prepared to find what it likes and feed it that specific load. For revolver shooters, the same advances in bullet design have also been implemented into the .38 Special and .357 Magnum loads. I would reserve the magnum chambering for revolvers with at least a 4 inch barrel, otherwise you get a lot of noise and flash without any additional performance. Beyond this, you may find you are comfortable and capable with larger cartridges. If so feel free to carry them, but remember that you may need to shoot and hit with precision several times in a fast sequence. Make sure you can do that comfortably and get back on target, if not, consider moving back to the more controllable .38.

Not only is the caliber of the gun important, so is the physical size of the pistol or revolver. If there were a perfect handgun for everyone, the shelves at the gun store would only need to be a foot wide. Purchasing a quality revolver or pistol that fits your hand and points somewhat instinctively when you raise it to eye level is easier now than ever. Many of the new pistols and newer versions of the long standing brands have ergonomic adjustments built in that you can change in just a few minutes.

Another size consideration is what you can conceal based on your carry situation. At times I am dressed in a way that allows me to discreetly carry a full size semi auto pistol. Other times I’m limited to a smaller gun that can be carried in a pocket or in an ankle holster. If you have to chose only one gun, make it the one you can have with you more of the time. Murphy’s law guarantees that you’ll most likely need it when you can’t carry it.

Mistake 2: Purchasing the Cheapest Gun Possible.

Just how much are you willing to pay to survive a life or death encounter? While many of us are frugal in these trying times and some folks are just down right cheap, remember that the gun purchase is a small investment in your defensive carry career. In the following mistakes, I’ll mention other mistakes that people make by going the cheap, or just the incorrect route on products, but consider that training and ammunition purchased to maintain a level of competence should easily outrun the cost of your firearm in a pretty short amount of time.

There are quality firearms available for as low as $300 now. I personally feel that adding another $100 to $300 to that amount places you in a great position to purchase a reliable gun from a major manufacturer who has a large enough market share that accessory companies readily supply holsters and ancillary items that fit the gun. Names like Glock, Smith & Wesson, SigSauer, and Heckler & Koch provide proven products with world class support. If your budget is limited to the $300 range, ask the sales person what they have that is serviceable and reliable. Often there will be a used firearm in stock that is closer to your budget but still has the benefits of a brand name.

Mistake 3: Cheap or Incorrect Carry Gear.

A defensive weapon is of no use in the glove box or top shelf of the closet when we need it so we will begin with the assumption that the pistol or revolver is on our person and being carried all the time. To be safe and effective, we must have at least a basic carry system and here is a list of parts to consider.

Gun Belt: To support a holster, magazine pouches, an other gear we may carry, a quality belt that is designed for the purpose is vital. If a leather belt is desired, there are several companies that make a double layered belt intended to stay durable and supportive under a load. If you are able to wear a web belt, I have found none better than the instructor belts made by The Wilderness. Choosing the instructor belt in the 5 stitch option 1.5 inches wide has been my go to for years. If you need more support, they offer one with a lining in between the layers for added stiffness. I don’t make a dime of of their products but I’m linking them here because they are the only web belts I will recommend. https://www.thewilderness.com/belts/original-instructor-belt/

For a Quality Leather Carry Belt Try the Magpul Tejas Lined Leather Gunbelt

Holster: Purchase a quality kydex (hard plastic) or leather holster that fits your firearm securely as well as your belt. There are so many quality holsters on the market now that I can’t even scratch the surface in this post, but expect to spend $50 to $100 on a quality holster and avoid the soft nylon holsters that fill the shelves at the box sporting goods stores. Chose your desired method of carry, (inside waistband, outside waistband, ankle, or one of the other choices), then search through the quality offerings to find one that fits your size and wardrobe appropriately. This is usually a trial and error process, but i can guarantee that the cheap ones will be the first holsters tossed in the “didn’t work out” box. I have found the same to be true for spare magazine pouches so consider ones manufactured by the holster company you choose.

The Bianchi Illusion Holster Linked below has served as one of my favorite IWB holsters for several years now (Make sure to change the make and model for your gun before ordering)

Mistake 4: Buying Only Cheap Ammo:

Bulk ammunition is one of the best values for your shooting dollar and for practice and plinking, the quality doesn’t have to be on par with your carry ammo. As long as it is safe and reliable, enjoy punching paper and running drills with budget bullets, but don’t forget that your firearm may function differently or have a different point of impact with your carry ammunition so running a bare minimum of 100 rounds of your chosen defensive ammo through the pistol with no failures is a must. I do this with every new pistol after i have run a mixture of several hundred rounds of target and defensive loads through the gun with no failures and I have found brand new guns to have issues that required repair or replacement right out of the box. Make sure your firearm will cycle your defensive ammo reliably before carrying it for self defense.

Defensive ammo is a topic in itself. The effort that has gone into the terminal ballistics and design of bullets and powders in the last 20 years has made handguns much more effective at stopping threats. Don’t let that work go to waste. Choose a quality defensive load from a well known manufacturer such as Speer, Hornady, or Federal and run at least 100 rounds through the gun to make sure it feeds and functions properly. This is another part of self defense that should not be taken on “as cheap as possible”

Mistake 5: Listening to Fan-Boys

Your buddy that’s a “gun guy” and wants to tell you exactly what you need and anything else is just junk is not the person you want to take gun shopping with you, nor should you take the same “advice” from a salesperson. As a first time gun buyers, we don’t usually know what all is available until we look. Sometimes we are fortunate enough to get to try someone else’s gun first to see how it feels. I encourage everyone that can do that to try. If they don’t have one you like, then you at least know the ones to avoid once you get to the store.

We need to find a quality weapon that we can carry, shoot, and maintain and what works for me will not necessarily work for you. Don’t let “that guy” talk you into something that doesn’t serve your personal needs.

Bonus Mistake!

Most semi auto pistols these days come with at least two magazines. If you spend any time at the range or in training, you’ll notice that you can’t shoot for loading if you don’t purchase extras. For most pistols, factory magazines are the only sure bet. Pay the extra up front to get the service and reliability you can count on. Like any rule, there are exceptions. If you carry a Colt 1911 style pistol or an AK or AR style rifle, most of the magazines are manufactured by other companies. Ask salespeople or research for yourself to make sure you get the best quality magazines available.

How to Avoid the Top 5 First Time Gun Buyer Mistakes

Sometimes we just don’t get it right the first time and it’s a fact of life, but the better we prepare, the luckier we seem to get. One of they key components to making a good purchase on a firearm as a first time buyer is an honest and knowledgeable salesperson. Be aware of how well he or she listens to your concerns and responds to them. Women are especially under served in many gun shops because the employee attitudes and biases tend to limit their ability to hear the customer’s needs and concerns. Make sure your abilities aren’t being discounted for any reason when you are looking. I have attended a training class in which a 13 year old girl who had no prior experience took a full size pistol and learned to manipulate the controls and to shoot as accurately and fast as anyone in the class, if not better. If you are being dismissed for any reason, you might want to speak with a different salesperson or visit a different shop.

Disclosure: I am an Amazon affiliate and make money on qualifying purchases.