7 Collapsible Weapons for Your Bug Out Bag

This is an updated article on collapsible weapons. Our first article was several years ago, and we will continue to update this article as we discover more weapons that can fold or dissassemble to a smaller profile.

The best collapsible weapons balance portability with functionality. Having a weapon that is effective and collapsible can make your chances of survival higher when SHTF. Anything that is collapsible is usually a homerun for a survival-oriented bug out bag. Collapsible containers, tents, bags- they all make better use of the limited space a bug out bag offers.

While you may sacrifice some immediate usefulness by having to reassemble or expand these items, the space savings are usually worth it. Collapsible weapons are no different. Being able to store a packable weapon in a relatively small space is a big advantage. Below, we will take a look at firearms, hunting weapons, close-quarters weapons, and even an opportunity weapon- all of which are collapsible.

1. Telescopic Baton

An LEO favorite, the baton is quick to deploy even though it is collapsible down to a very small size. A telescopic baton can give you even more leverage in a close-quarter encounter. The baton is very inconspicuous when not extended. Deploying the baton with a flick of your wrist is a quick way to show you mean business and gives you much better reach.

As with any weapon or fighting technique, you can’t just go throwing one into your bug out bag and then call it a day. You will need basic training at the very least. A baton is well worth the time you spend training with one, due to its portability, packability, and the element of surprise.

The Cold Steel Expanding Baton is 26″ extended and topped out our baton review: Best Expandable Baton for Self Defense

Cold Steel 26 Baton

2. Takedown Recurve Bow

The odds that you will need a recurve bow immediately for hunting is fairly small, so having to put it together and string it is not a big deal. The huge amount of space savings more than makes up for the hassle. Takedown bows also have the benefit of being able to swap out limbs if they are damaged, or if you need to change resistance. The Samick Sage Takedown Recurve is 62″ long but is 25″ when disassembled. Each limb pops on and off easily with a single, sturdy threaded knob. It is also very light at less than four pounds.

Simic Sage Takedown Box

3. Slingshot

Simply unfold, and you are ready to sling away. While most do not envision a slingshot as the ideal weapon, you cannot deny its simple-to-use functionality and portability. Besides using it for defense and hunting small game, you can use it to shoot string or line over tall limbs. This helps you stow packs and food out of the reach of predators, string up tarps, or even climb a tree with a safety line. It is a silent weapon for the most part too.

The Marksman Laserhawk Folding Slingshot comes with a folding wrist brace, which helps with accuracy. It also comes with a price tag of under $12, which is always nice. It has no frills, which may not make it the slingshot of choice for experts, but it makes it perfect for survival. All of these strengths make it worth the tiny amount of space it takes up in a bag.

Marksman Folding Slingshot

4. 10/22 Takedown Rifle

A solid .22 takedown rifle has become a survival kit and bug out bag staple. The collapsible nature of the rifle makes it a great choice for a semi-automatic weapon for when SHTF.

While the length can vary by model, most disassemble to less than 23″ long. This makes them extremely easy to store. When taken apart and stowed away, the small outline lets you move much less noticeably and does not bring attention to you as a traditional long rifle would.

Ruger 10/22 Takedown Rifle

5. Entrenching Tool

Most camp shovels are collapsible. Most camp shovels make a great impromptu defense weapon as well. This SOG Entrenching Tool makes an intimidating defense weapon and doubles as an even more useful tool, all by adding a sharp serrated edge to the camp shovel. 

The one drawback is the very thing that makes it so versatile- the sharpened edge. If you are not used to using one, you could possibly hurt yourself when chopping. Survival situations can make us have more accidents, just from stress and fatigue. 

The SOG topped our recent survival shovel review as the clear choice.

SOG Entrenching Tool Folding Shovel

6. AR-15

While not typically referred to as a collapsible weapon, the AR comes apart by pushing two pins and detaching the upper receiver. Stowing it in two separate pieces may not make you as ready for any situation you could encounter, but it takes up much less space. The reduced length is really where detaching the upper receiver comes in handy.

Most rifles have to stick out beyond the edges of a pack and make you easily identified as someone carrying a firearm. This is not the case with the AR when disassembled. You can easily bug out quietly and unnoticed with an AR disassembled in your pack.

PSA AR-15 5.56 Rifle

7. Folding Knife

We know: folders are not as good as full-tang knives for survival situations. But they do take up less space and are easily packable. We prefer using folding knives as part of our EDC for utility purposes rather than self-defense, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth considering for a bug out bag. While you don’t want it to be your only blade in a survival scenario, they make great utility knives or backups.

If your folding knife is Swiss army or part of a multitool, you trade much more versatility for a little less functionality. I, for one, keep a multitool in all of my kits and would definitely use the folding knife portion as a weapon, if needed.

OKC Rat 1 Folding Knife

The Final Word

The trade-off between convenience and portability is always a challenge when developing a bug out bag. The weapons cover the range of non-lethal to lethal and quick deployment to long setup times. All of them are worth considering adding to your pack if you can find the time to train on them properly. Here are some other reads our followers found useful:

The multi-functional collapsible tools really shine since redundancy in survival situations is never a bad thing. The old adage that “two is one and one is none” is great to remember when you are selecting items for when SHTF. 

Keep exploring, stay prepared, and be safe.

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7 Collapsible Weapons for Your Bug Out Bag

Rusty Collins

I am an engineer, Air Force veteran, emergency manager, husband, dad, and experienced prepper. I developed emergency and disaster plans around the globe and responded to many attacks and accidents as a HAZMAT technician. I have been exposed to deadly chemical agents, responded to biological incidents, and dealt with natural disasters. Check out my full story here: Rusty's Story

7 thoughts on “7 Collapsible Weapons for Your Bug Out Bag

  • You didn’t mention the Henry AR7, a .22 rifle that comes apart and stores in the stock and will float if dropped in water, originally made by Armalite and reintroduced by Henry, Armalite made a .22 and a .25 version and as far as I know Henry only makes the .22 version, there are other compact folding .22 rifles available but most are single shot while the AR7 is a semi auto and I believe holds 7 rounds in its removable magazine, there are others that have a rifle and shotgun combo again only in single shot, while a .22 may not be best suited for defense it has put food on the table for many years and for a survival situation it would be a welcome addition.

    • Good catch, Jerry. We were holding off on talking about the AR7 because it is truly designed around survival and deserves its own discussion. It disassembles into such a small package, is really versatile as you pointed out, and had been in service for so long- there is plenty to talk about on its own.

    • just so you know,, .22 only.. the .25 was a “movie mistake.”

    • I have the earlier Armalite model and it really feeds well. No jamming issues for mine.

  • There is also the Sub-2000. Ready to fire in a few seconds and its a 9mm.

    • +1 for the sub2000, it is a PCC that can use the same magazines as your daily carry. It can also be fitted with a red dot to extend range.

  • first, great post.! and for every body else this article is ( basically) for the new guy… non newbs look at an say well i carry this or that..((” oh I’ve added my baton too my bag now :) “)) ..slingshots ,, check the bands every so often, mine last bout 2 years before they break.. bows and ARROWS,, bows, there are at least 6 take down/survival back pack bows soo. arrows, they also have take down arrows ,, most pack bows offer 3 take down arrows.. ( i recommend at least 6.) …
    now that’s said… we prepers will argue this is better that that.. we all can name 3 better than that… so lets not…


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