Guns and Gear

CCW Weekend: A Backpack Gun Is Probably A Waste Of Time And Money


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By Sam Hoober, Alien Gear Holsters

A concept that has emerged in the past couple of years is that of a “backpack gun,” meaning a collapsing and highly compact firearm that can be stowed in a backpack for fast deployment in case a concealed pistol is no longer enough medicine, so to speak.

The concept has been around for a few years and some people are actually starting to take it seriously, which they shouldn’t. If you’ve been thinking about getting one, this is for you.

The typical form is an AR pistol with a very short barrel, typically 10 inches or less, with either a collapsible or folding stock. Granted, the AR platform isn’t the only one that people might use; you also get the odd Krink/AK-74U and compact pistol caliber carbines and other platforms too.

This is different, of course, from similar collapsing gun designs. Takedown rifles and shotguns have been a thing for quite some time for long overland hunting trips and as survival rifles, such as those issued to military pilots.

Granted, the survival rifle designs we’re used to today are garbage tier compared to the Sauer drilling guns issued to German fighter pilots back in the day, but that’s a conversation for another time.

Anyway, the concept is that you have something like a long gun that can be easily packed up and concealed, but can be deployed quickly if the crud hits the fan.

Like the “truck gun,” you should probably go ahead if you really want one, but ultimately a backpack gun is another in a long line of things designed to do one thing and one thing alone:

Separate fools from their money.

It’s one of those things that sound great in theory but doesn’t really work in practice, since the actual practical applications are incredibly limited.

Let’s run down why that is.

A “backpack gun” is a concealed, collapsed long gun that’s stored in a backpack in case of some sort of exigent circumstance that would require use of one.

Perhaps there is a scenario or two in which a backpack gun might be practicable. What if you walk up on an active shooter event taking place? You could get out the backpack gun and take out the active shooter.

Or what if you’re exploring the vibrant downtown space of a medium to large metro, browsing the shops or perhaps going into office buildings for meetings or something and a riot breaks out.

Or what if…some sort of natural disaster occurs and you have to venture home on foot, and need a “get home gun” to fend off roving gangs clad in BDSM gear that are after your gasoline.

I mean, how else can you battle Lord Humungus – he is, after all, the warrior of the wasteland and the ayatollah of rock and rollah – if you don’t have a backpack gun?

This, of course, isn’t to say that there aren’t active shooter situations that emerge or that – we’ll call it urban unrest – isn’t a real danger, and especially right now. Of course they are. Or, for that matter, road rage, which is also a very real problem.

The hitch with all of those scenarios, of course, is that they are for one very specific and for two, would have to occur in such a fashion to give you time and space to access a gun in a backpack, just as you’d have to have time to get to a car gun or truck gun.

Then you have the issue of when you’re out of your car. A backpack, in a parked and unattended vehicle, is easy pickings for thieves which is why leaving a gun in your car is idiotic.

The issue there, of course, is that there are very few circumstances in which that is actually going to happen.

The most common defensive uses of a gun in self-defense are in the home, in interchange areas such as parking lots, and in businesses that are common targets for robbery such as convenience stores, cell phone stores and so on.

In the event of an armed robbery or a mugging, getting a gun out of a backpack is not something you’re going to have time to do; the nature of these crimes is that they’re an ambush. A concealed handgun, in a holster, however, is far more accessible in such circumstances which is why people use them in such circumstances.

Now, this isn’t to say that a compact long gun has no application for anyone or anything. In fact, they do.

In a law enforcement or military context, a short-barreled rifle is sort of a no-brainer. Both work out of vehicles in many cases, so having a rifle that’s more compact than your typical carbine makes complete sense, and also works better in close quarters use.

In fact, that exact line of thinking led the Navy to create the Close Quarter Battle Receiver variant of the M4, aka the Daniel Defense Mk 18 and various clones of it. It was also one of the principle advantages of the submachine gun as an entire class of firearms, though the SMG has largely been supplanted by SBRs in a military context.

The uber-compact rifle is also, of course, ideal for home defense and for all the reasons mentioned above. If you wanted to get a gun for that purpose, it’s perfect. However, if you want to be armed when out and about you’re probably better off sticking to a setup that’s actually practical.

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Sam Hoober is a Contributing Editor to, a subsidiary of Hayden, ID, based Tedder Industries, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. Click here to visit