April 21, 2020
By J. Scott Rupp
I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a prepper or survivalist, but I do keep a grab-n-go bag filled with ammo, spare mags, flashlights, batteries and the like, so I can appreciate the utility of Smith & Wesson’s survival kit.
At the heart of the kit is a Model 360 Airweight in .357 Magnum, a handy, dependable and fairly versatile revolver. But that’s just the start of what you’ll find inside the lockable, foam-lined hard-plastic case. Let’s go through them one by one.
Watertight Survival Kit
The water-resistant case holds a four-inch weatherproof light stick, providing soft area illumination for tents and vehicles. Also included are a synthetic survival towel (hello, fans of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) and a compact, lightweight, waterproof survival blanket. There’s also a small liquid-filled compass.
First Aid Kit
The watertight case includes various bandages, gauze pads and tape. But perhaps more importantly, it includes a reference guide for treating a variety of injuries.
I’d never seen one of these before, and it’s really quite the multitool: line cutter, saw blade, measuring marks, cutting blade and a tent-peg plyer. The shovel has a black oxide finish to resist corrosion, and the handle is wrapped in paracord. You can use the paracord for tying stuff, and the core can be ignited to build a fire. The shovel comes with a fire starter; simply scrape the shovel against the starter, directing sparks into the paracord core or other fire-starting material. Inner paracord strands can also be used for sutures, sewing, fishing line and more. An emergency whistle is incorporated into the fire starter.
Other Critical Gear
Also included are a minimalist headlamp, instructional cards on building a shelter, waterproof notebook and pencil (an important item I hadn’t thought of for my own survival kit) and a signal mirror.
I mentioned there was a gun, right? The Airweight 360 is built on a scandium frame and sports your basic J-frame snubby 1.875-inch barrel. Sights are a fixed-notch rear and a red ramp front. To set it apart from its stablemates, the polymer grip on this revolver is bright orange. Aesthetics aside, the color has a practical side in that it’s easy to find if you stashed it in a bag or set it down on, say, a leafy forest floor.
The scandium construction makes it extremely light. On the plus side, it’s nice to carry on your person or in a pack. On the downside, while it’s fine when you’re shooting .38s and even .38 +P, shooting full-power .357 Magnums is a bit much. Still, having that magnum capability can be important in survival situations.
The kit carries a suggested retail price of $770. I think that’s a reasonable price for all that you get, although I do wish the orange case had at least some rudimentary moisture seal. The kit is a great option for home, boat, cabin or as something you throw in the car before heading out on your next adventure.