February 15, 2013
I'm a firm believer of the "just in case" philosophy of life. It's why I carry a gun even though I live in a safe neighborhood and wear a seatbelt while driving even though I'm a good driver. It's also why I tell everyone they should own and know how to use a rifle — just in case.
The fact is that we now live in a world where the U.S. government is telling people they need to not just have an emergency preparedness plan but a kit to survive 72 hours, but what its preparation advice fails to mention is that one of the main problems most people encounter during a disaster is other people.
With all of these facts in mind, the people at Stag Arms have put together the 2012 Executive Survivors Kit. The heart of the kit is a Stag Model 2 AR-15 rifle with the company's Diamondhead Versa-Rail handguard. This is a modular aluminum fore-end that allows the user to bolt on rail sections wherever they see fit.
The Stag Model 2 is a direct-impingement AR-15 with a 16-inch barrel and six-position collapsible stock. Stag Arms has had great success making dependable rifles in a number of different configurations, including left-handed models. The Model 2 is a basic M4-style carbine, with a fixed front sight and a folding rear sight, but it also comes with an EOTech Model 517 Holosight.
I consider the EOTech holosight to have the best reticle of any non-magnified red dot sight, and the 517 takes standard AA batteries. This is important, as finding batteries of any kind in an emergency, much less the rare compact lithium types, can be problematic.
Stag's got that covered, not only by choosing a AA-powered red dot but by including in the kit a companion flashlight that takes AAs as well: the Gerber Omnivore. This bright LED flashlight is bright enough to do everything you need while being compact enough to fit in a pocket. To go along with these electronics, Stag includes four AAs to power them.
Also included is a Gerber Multi-Plier multi-tool (with belt pouch), which many people prefer because you can deploy it with one hand, an Otis AR-15 cleaning kit, a sling and a field repair/spare parts kit for the rifle.
Stag has thought of pretty much everything, right down to a supply of spare parts for the rifle — plus flashlight, multi-tool, MRE and more.
The kit includes two 30-rounders and 60 rounds of ammo. The author's kit came with brown-box Federal FMJs — maybe not the best defense choice, but you can place anything you want in the case's laser cutouts.
Stag includes two 30-round AR-15 magazines and 60 rounds of ammunition as well. I have seen a number of these kits, and the type of ammo included seems to vary. I've seen PMC as well as brown-box Federal. All the ammunition seems to be of the 55-grain full-metal-jacket variety, which is not the best choice for personal defense, but the ammunition you have with you is better than the ammo you don't. And it would be a simple matter of swapping out the ammo included in your ESK with something you like better.
Stag also includes a basic first aid kit in the ESK. This is billed as a dual purpose human/pet first aid kit. I grade the seriousness of a first aid kit by its ratio of Band-Aids to tourniquets. The first aid kit included in the ESK has lots of Band-Aids but no tourniquet, so it's not likely to help much if you have to patch up life-threatening injuries, but if you need to take care of cuts and scrapes it'll do fine.
Last but not least, in the kit you'll find an MRE. This military Meal Ready-To-Eat comes in a pouch and usually packs about 3,000 calories. The meal in the kit I received for this article was chicken fajitas, but I've also seen chicken enchiladas and meatloaf. Delicious? Um, well€¦.considering this is emergency survival food, which meal your ESK comes with and how tasty it is shouldn't really matter.
The kit is packed into laser cutouts in the foam padding of a Pelican Model 1700 case. This is an excellent case — lockable, waterproof and wheeled for easy transport. It is also tough enough to drive over without damaging the contents, although I wouldn't recommend that.
While the Stag Arms Executive Survivors Kit may not be exactly perfect for everyone, it features everything you'll need to survive a few days in a disaster area except water.
Considering just the EOTech and Pelican case together would retail for well over $800, the asking price of $2,012 for the Stag Arms 2012 Executive Survivors Kit is a bargain when you consider everything you get. If you always seem to be too busy to put together a kit for "just in case," maybe the Stag ESK is the answer for you.