Survival With An Airgun – An Interview With Doug Rogers

Survival with an airgun is is a topic that is currently receiving much attention due to the introduction of the Black Bunker BM8. You see, this product is specifically positioned as a “survival tool” – rather than an “air rifle”.

HAM specialist PCP tester Doug Rogers is a vet with many years spent in the US Army. He’s also interested in survival: a very practical guy with the experience and knowledge to be a survivor.

So HAM Publisher Stephen Archer asked Doug for his thoughts on survival with an airgun – using an air rifle as a survival tool – with a focus on the BM8. Here’s how the conversation went…

Note that the BM8 is available in multiple configurations. The model being sold by Pyramyd does not have a threaded muzzle or include the survival knife. However this is available in other markets, so it’s included in this discussion..

HAM: Can you see the BM8 being a viable survival tool?

Doug Rogers: I see it as great for hunting and weekend wilderness trips. But I’m not so sure about it, or any airgun alone, in an apocalypse-type situation. Then – as an Army vet – I’d prefer an AR15! But I can see myself carrying both centerfire and air guns as each would be used for different purposes.

HAM: What caliber would you choose, .177 or .22?

Doug Rogers: No question about that. It’s .22 caliber for me because of the greater Muzzle Energy and downrange hitting power.

HAM: Would hunting be the main purpose for a survival airgun?

Doug Rogers: Yes, hunting small critters for food should be the main purpose. Although that bayonet could come in useful to defend against a larger hostile animal or dissuade the occasional bad person if necessary. But – talking of the knife – one thing I’m NOT going to do is to cock the gun with the knife mounted on the rifle. That looks like a sure-fire way to end-up with a pretty bad wound.

HAM: What would you expect to shoot with the BM8?

Doug Rogers: Squirrels, rabbits and similar small game. Anything that could be a meat source to survive.

HAM: What would be the typical range at which you would hunt with an airgun in a survival situation?

Doug Rogers: Probably 20 to 30 Yards, maximum.

HAM: Would you use the open sights or an optic?

Doug Rogers: I would prefer optics. For a weekend expedition, I’d probably take a red dot sight. It would easily fit into the BM8’s internal case. But – for longer-term use – open sights obviously do not need batteries and have nothing to go wrong.

HAM: Do you think the BM8’s survival knife is a good idea?

Doug Rogers: Yes. You’re going to need a knife in any survival situation. Being able to mount the knife on the BM8 for use as a bayonet could definitely be useful in some circumstances. But I would like to see it come with a sheath. And I haven’t tested the knife yet and don’t know how good it is.

HAM: Would you attach a silencer?

Doug Rogers: Dunno yet. I need to test the gun to find out how loud it is. A silencer is going to be more weight, more volume and will stick-out from the triangular BM8. The benefits would need to be big to compensate for this.

Survival With An Airgun

HAM: What is your opinion of the BM8’s form factor?

Doug Rogers: I think it’s great! The big benefit is that it doesn’t look like a gun. It’s obviously easy to carry, too. But I’ll need to see how long it takes to deploy and make a shot. That will be important.

Survival With An Airgun

HAM: What about the weight? (It’s about 7.5 Lbs).

Doug Rogers: That would be OK.

HAM: What about the size?

Doug Rogers: No problem. It’s compact enough.

HAM: Do you think Black Bunker’s proposed future back pack is a good idea?

Doug Rogers: Well, yes. It would definitely be a good idea to carry the BM8 in a back pack as it would leave my hands free for other things. But I would most likely have another – larger – backpack already to carry additional things and would prefer to put the BM8 in that.

HAM: Do you see utility in the BM8’s internal case?

Doug Rogers: Yes, it’s a good idea to make use of the space inside the collapsed gun. I would put a tin of pellets and the knife in there. Or maybe that red dot sight.

Survival With An Airgun


HAM: Would you choose the black or tan color?

Doug Rogers: Either will be fine…

HAM: Would the BM8 be preferable to a conventional (non-takedown) air rifle?

Doug Rogers: If you want to hide the fact that you are carrying a gun, definitely yes. And for carrying, too.

HAM: Would the BM8 be preferable to an air pistol for survival with an airgun?

Doug Rogers: Definitely. More power and accuracy.

HAM: I know we’ve not tested it yet, but what type of pellets would you hope to choose in the BM8 for survival with an airgun?

Doug Rogers: My choice would be JSB Hades or some other expanding, hollow-point pellets.

HAM: Do you have any other immediate comments about the BM8?

Doug Rogers: Mainly I shoot PCPs and firearms, rather than break barrels. So I’ll need to understand how fast the unpacking/cocking/shooting cycle is and how hard the gun is to cock. But we’ll be testing that soon…

Thanks to Doug for sharing his thoughts with us on survival with an airgun. HAM plans to test the Black Bunker BM8 in the near future.

Note that the BM8 configuration being sold by Pyramyd does not have a threaded muzzle or include the survival knife. However this is available in other markets.

Black Bunker BM8 Breakbarrel Air Rifle 0.22