Smith & Wesson Model 66, Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 Pistols, Bug out
(Photo by Nick Jacobellis)

Selecting a backpack gun or two might seem an overwhelming task, as there are so many reliable guns out there to choose from. But as survivalists, we know that every ounce we choose to carry counts a hundredfold. So, let’s look at two modern 21st-century 9mm pistols and one revolver that saw front-line law enforcement service in the 20th century. The pistols that I am referring to are the full-sized 9mm Smith & Wesson M&P (Military & Police) M2.0 and the 9mm Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 Compact. The revolver is a stainless steel Smith & Wesson Model 66 chambered in .38 Special/.357 Magnum with a 2.5-inch barrel. The question is, why these handguns?

The Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0

S&W M&P M2.0 Pistol, magazines
(Photo by Nick Jacobellis)

During my law enforcement career, I carried no fewer than 10 personally owned or government-issued full-sized and compact, blue steel and stainless steel variants of the DA/SA 9mm Smith & Wesson Model 39 and Model 59 pistols. When the 21st century rolled around, I field tested and adopted the striker-fired S&W M&P pistols. I tested them in every caliber available, including .357 SIG. Once the M&P 2.0 models with the much improved triggers became available, that was a no-brainer. I purchased both a full-sized and a compact 9mm M&P M2.0 LE with tritium night sights.

One reason why I include Smith & Wesson M&P 2.0 pistols in my battery of personal-defense weapons is because these handguns have proven to be flawlessly reliable, easy to operate and incredibly comfortable to shoot when using all types of ammunition. In fact, at no time have I ever experienced a stoppage or malfunction with any Smith & Wesson handgun.

While I own other makes and models that have proven to be immaculately reliable, my full-sized M&P 2.0 happens to be the only 9mm pistol that my wife can comfortably operate. I’m specifically referring to her ability to manually operate the slide. This is an important detail because it makes sense to possess firearms that other family members or close friends can safely and comfortably operate. For more information, please visit

The Smith & Wesson Model 66

Smith & Wesson Model 66 revolver, Bug out
(Photo by Nick Jacobellis)

Ever since the early days of my law enforcement career, I carried various issued and personally owned blue steel and stainless steel Smith & Wesson five- and six-shot revolvers. As a result, I know from experience that in properly trained hands, a well-made revolver can be effectively used when you venture into harm’s way.

The S&W Model 66 with the 2.5-inch barrel is a medium-sized K-frame revolver. It features a six-round cylinder that can be fired using a single-action or double-action trigger pull. Smith & Wesson also fitted the Model 66 with a set of easy-to-acquire adjustable iron sights. Beyond that, there’s an orange insert in the front-sight blade that makes this revolver a very capable performer. A short-barreled S&W Model 66 is also easy to conceal. It can be comfortably fired using a wide variety of +P and standard-velocity .38 Special ammunition, as well as more snappy .357 Magnum ammo; this includes .38 Special wadcutters, FMJ and hollow-point ammunition.

Being able to use such a wide variety of bullet weights and types increases your ability to remain combat effective in an emergency. Using speedloaders also makes it possible to reload a revolver in a matter of seconds. If you’re recoil sensitive, I recommend shooting your revolver with different types of rubber grips until you find a product that works best for you. For more information, please visit

The Pack

Then it came time to select a backpack for this column. I decided to feature a Voodoo Tactical product I’ve used to store and carry all kinds of range gear and survival supplies for more years than I can remember. I’m talking about my black Voodoo Tactical Matrix Assault Pack. It has a 25-liter capacity and measures 20 inches long by 11 inches wide by 7 inches deep. The pack features a padded back with padded and adjustable shoulder straps, a chest strap, an adjustable padded waist belt, a very large main internal storage compartment with two additional zippered compartments on the front of the pack, zippered side, upper and lower compartments, an electronic equipment compartment, a drag/carry handle, and YKK reverse-coil zippers. The Matrix is hydration compatible and double stitched with bartack construction. Voodoo also updated it since its introduction. For more information, please visit

This article is from the November/December 2019 issue of Survivor’s Edge Magazine. You can grab digital and also print subscriptions at

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