The Midland Backpack: The Best Budget Survival Shotgun?
Is it worth your money?
The Midland Backpack Shotgun is a single-shot, lightweight firearm that offers customization and versatility at an affordable price. It comes with a blued finish and a synthetic, waterproof stock that’s checkered at the wrist and fore-end, protecting the firearm against the elements and making it perfect for all-season shooting.
I shot over forty Remington Ultimate Defense Managed Recoil #4 Buckshots from 10 and 15 yards. The result? All the pellets stayed in the center of the target. It also proved accurate when shooting clays, and the receiver does come equipped with a small notch to use with a front sight for more precise aiming.
The cool thing about the Backpack is that its design is based on an old Beretta—so it’s already stood the test of time despite Midland’s short record. My initial tests were enough to convince me that the shotgun will last for decades, as it was designed to. The simple single-shot, break-open design is about as indestructible as it gets, making it a great choice as a home defense firearm. And during testing, I’ve never experienced any malfunctions with the Backpack.
Here’s why this shotgun is golden: It folds in half for easy storage and carrying. It’s called the “Backpack” because it fits perfectly in… a standard backpack. The barrel and fore-end swing freely to nearly contact the heel, and there’s a cutout in the bottom of the forearm that nestles the unlocking lever inside when folded. The Backpack also features an ambidextrous cheek pad, making it perfect for right and left-handed shooters alike.There’s an extractor rather than an ejector, which pulls the spent case from the chamber walls. While an ejector would be easier, the shells are simple to remove manually. While this shotgun is incredibly light and has a short overall length, it still feels solid in your hands. It’s aesthetically pleasing, showing no rough cuts in the steel, and the large, gold colored front sight is easy to see for quick movements.
The trigger is probably one of the low points of the Backpack’s design. While there’s not much take-up and no grittiness, it is a bit stiff and averaged around 8 lbs. It’s not terribly consistent, either. Still, it gets the job done, and the trigger, lever, and safety all engage positively. The positive trigger-block, crossbolt safety is just behind the trigger guard. Despite a few issues, it still does a good job for such a low-priced shotgun.
Magazine & Reloading
The Backpack is a single-shot, 1 round capacity shotgun. There’s no magazine, and you use a hinged, break-action system to load one shell at a time into the 3-inch chamber. To load the gun, you just pull the lever in front of the trigger guard back, which simultaneously cocks the internal striker while opening the action. Another special feature of the Backpack is a small, silver button on the left side of the receiver that indicates the status by sight and touch, so you can be extra sure the gun is actually loaded before you shoot it.
Length & Weight
The 12 gauge is available with barrel lengths of 18.5” (overall length 35.5”), 24” (overall length 40.6”), and 26” (overall length 42.6”), with average weights ranging from 4.5-5 lbs. The length of the pull without spacers is 12.5”, but two spacers are included with the gun so it can grow along with younger shooters and be passed down through generations.
Since the gun is so lightweight, the recoil can be excessive. I would caution against shooting heavy loads with the Backpack. While birdshots weren’t too bad, buckshots were excessive and I did not even attempt any slugs. I would definitely recommend choosing low-recoil shells with this gun. The removable buttpad does help a bit with the recoil, but I do wish it was a bit softer.
The Midland Backpack MSRPs for $149.95, an incredibly low price for what you’re getting. It’s a well-made, reliable, and trustworthy option that offers affordability and versatility.
You’re gonna want a few accessories to go along with your new Midland Backpack Shotgun. Here’s what I’d recommend:
- Buttstock Shell Holder - Not only is great for holding additional ammo and accessories, but adds great comfort for cheek contact.
- Butler Creek Sling - Makes it easier to carry the shotgun.
The Backpack is designed for shooters of all types. It’s perfect for those who want affordability without sacrificing quality, and is ideal for survivalists, campers, backpackers, or truck gun enthusiasts. Here’s a recap of what makes this shotgun so great:
So if you’re looking for a well-made, affordable shotgun perfect for all occasions, look no further than the Midland Backpack. Despite a few aspects that leave something to be desired, you will not find a better value for the money.
Richard Douglas is a firearms expert and educator. His work has appeared in large publications like The Armory Life, Daily Caller, American Shooting Journal, and more. In his free time, he reviews optics on his Scopes Field blog.
Image: Creative Commons.