So Now We Need To Dress You?

Charlottesville and all the other recent or upcoming protests are not combat ops into Mogadishu,

How to dress for a protest1

“Blackhawk Down”

It was/is walking into a non-permissive environment which still has a number of the appearances of civil society.

How to dress for a protest2

“13 Hours”

You should dress accordingly.

JCD

American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE

Advertisements

Short And Sweet. The AR Pistol, And The Mossberg Shockwave, A Raison d’etre

Short guns2

Mossberg 590 Shockwave on top, 11.5″ inch barreled SIG M400 AR pistol with SB Tactical PDW collapsible brace and Spec Ops buttstock mag pouch with an AR 20 rounder in it. The Brace is in the collapsed position.

Recently, the BATFE has “ruled” that it is now (for now) legal to shoulder rifle type (AR, AK, etc.) pistols that have what is termed an arm brace on the rear of the weapon. From what I read, the ruling originally made by the BATFE back in 2015 said that shouldering the brace was considered a “redesign” of the weapon, and thus made it into a “Short Barreled Rifle” (SBR). The BATFE has now reversed that opinion, and you can read about it here.

Short guns1

Here the SB Tactical brace is in the fully extended position. The Shockwave is 26.5″ for scale.

On the shotgun front, we now have 14″ barreled shotguns with a birdhead grip, that are not classified as “Short Barreled Shotguns” (SBS) or “Any Other Weapon” (AOW). This is apparently because Mossberg figured out that if you start with a brand new receiver and register it as a “Firearm” instead of a “Shotgun”, the only length restriction for it was an overall minimum length of 26″ instead of that plus a minimum barrel length of 18″ (requirement for a standard shotgun) as long as it never had a buttstock or regular 18″ or longer barrel on it when built.

Regardless, I have been watching this for a while now. I have owned an AR pistol for almost two years, and recently purchased a Mossberg 590 Shockwave. Although I thought the original ruling on the illegality of AR pistols being shouldered was ridiculous, I’m also was not foolish enough to get pinched by doing it. My AR pistol was plenty accurate by shooting it with other methods that were not shouldered, but just as stable.

Why concern yourself with getting something like an AR pistol, when you can have a 16′ rifle. True, you can have a 16″ rifle, but can you legally carry that rifle loaded in your vehicle like you can a pistol. I don’t know about you, but I know of a few people that had something that was considered illegal (firearms wise) in their vehicle, and ended up in an accident which revealed that illegal item, and that ended up causing even more problems than just the accident would have. If you don’t plan on having any accidents, let me know, cuz………yeah, whatever.

Short guns7.jpg

Standard 16.5″ barreled M-4 on top, the Sig 11.5″ barreled M400 below for comparison.

If given the option, you always choose to have a rifle for self defense if at all possible. Anyone who does not agree with that, does not understand the realities of self defense and the degree to which a rifle user can dominate a handgun opponent in a fight. Here’s another example. In my state of PA, you cannot legally carry a loaded rifle in the state forest unless it is hunting season, and you have a license. Guess who can LEGALLY carry his AR “pistol” in the woods….. Yup, ME.

Guys who talk about having their “Minuteman Kit” in their vehicle, but are using a rifle aren’t really what I’d call a “Minuteman” since they have to dig out their rifle and load it. It’s not instant access, is it? I already mentioned PA’s rifle requirement in the state forest, but here’s another requirement. If you have a long gun in your vehicle, it must be unloaded and cased. Guess what doesn’t need to be unloaded and cased in your vehicle in PA? Yup, you guessed it, a rifle type “pistol”. The brand and model you get isn’t as important as understanding the advantages to having a rifle type pistol, especially if you have a carry permit.

SBR

SBR’s are a lot of fun, but the initial paperwork, and the administrative paperwork required for transport is a PITA. Also, you can’t carry an SBR for protection like you can an AR or AK type pistol.

As to the Mossberg 590 Shockwave. When I found out about them last year, I started doing some research and determined that they were not just a gimmick, but had some legitimate uses besides that of door breaching. I have owned a Mossberg 590 (20″ barrel, 9 shot) since 1988 when they were adopted by the military. Over the last 29 years it has had thousands of rounds through it, and never had one issue. I carried a 590 in Iraq (18.5″ barrel, 6 shot), and it’s function was flawless when in use.

Shotgun.JPG

Military issue Mossberg 590 with an 18.5″ barrel and 5 shot magazine (5+1)

One of the reasons I am partial to Mossberg’s pump shotguns is because of the placement of their safety. It is completely ambidextrous, and having not only hunted with, but also qualified with and carried an Rem 870 as a duty weapon ( and it’s “less than optimal” placement of the safety for a lefty), I appreciate the convenience and accessibility of the Mossberg safety by either hand.

Short guns5

Top is pictured a Condor shotgun scabbard for up to a 20″ barrel. I modified its length to fit the Shockwave exactly, and the Condor ammo pouch on the front of it holds up to 25 rounds. The Shockwave can either be carried in the scabbard on the side of a rucksack or back of a vest (it has molle attachment points), it can be slung while in the scabbard, or it can be carried via a sling attached to the QD sling points on the pistol grip and the magazine nut.

Short guns6

The 590 Shockwave is a 14″ barreled, birds head gripped, 6 shot (5+1), 12 gauge with an overall length of 26.5″. What are some of the uses I’ve come up with for the Shockwave? Well, let’s see, can you think of a better gun to have in a tent when you’ve been woken up at 0130hrs by a bear intent on getting those krispy creme donuts you left sitting on your pack? Would you rather have a pistol or a short shotgun in that instance considering you are half asleep, it is dark, and a bear moves pretty fast, unlike you.

Short guns3

A Shockwave or AR pistol would easily fit in one of these weapon concealment shelves by Tactical Walls.

What about you guys who have those nifty mantle or shelf gun holders near your front door. Look up the penetration levels of 00 Buckshot, or even better yet, #6 birdshot, compared to a 9mm. Read those, then tell me whether you think a shotgun is better than an average pistol (9mm) for an apartment. When I went out and shot it the first time, I took some birdshot hunting loads with me to see if it was at all viable as a small game gun.

Short guns4

The difference in length between a typical 18.5″ barreled, pistol gripped shotgun and the Shockwave is about two inches.

Both at 10 and 15 yards the pattern on an 8 inch target with #6 high brass was in the 80% range for shot on target. This target was over another bigger target to see approximately how many shot missed it. Would I chose it as my primary small game gun? Of course not. Would it work in a pinch for small game? Absolutely! Of course it would be easily maneuverable in a vehicle, due to it’s short overall length, and as already mentioned, people, especially military and LEO’s, automatically think of this as a door breaching gun, and it definitely would excel at it.

If you have a need for a very compact “Long gun”, and are able to buy either one of these types of guns, I highly recommend them. Are they a necessity? Generally not, but that is situationally dependent. What they are is convenient, and a lot of fun to shoot, even after what they can do for you in a defensive situation.

I know some of you get pissed off when people discuss legalities, and the laws pertaining to guns, but here is how I look at it. Can you get SBR’s and AOW’s in most states? Yes. Are they highly restricted concerning their transportation? Yes. You can either try to comply with what is on the books so you don’t have to worry about getting caught with a National Firearms Act (NFA) weapon and catch a Federal charge, or you can use what is legally available and make it work for you.

It’s easy to say things like “I don’t give a shit what is legal, the second amendment gives me the authority to Fill in the blank (carry concealed, own a unregistered SBR or AOW, etc.)”. Although I agree with your premise, when the reality of that statement hits you in the face with jail time (loss of freedom, probable loss of your job, and hefty fines, not to mention how it will effect your family economically and emotionally) simply because you wanted to violate a law you thought didn’t “apply to you”. In hindsight, you will feel like three kinds of a fool, and wish you had the opportunity to change what you did. Is what the Gov does to people in these instances wrong? You bet it is, but it doesn’t change the “real time reality” for the individual that gets caught one bit, does it?

JCD

American by BIRTH Infidel by CHOICE

 

 

Preconceived Notions: “The Bugout”

Since there are a few out there just now giving their impressions of whether you should or should not “Bugout”, I figured I’d post some oldies but goodies.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

3 October, 2015

When I was new to Survivalism, I believed that “The Bugout” was the only way to go. I have had a backpack ready to go since I was twelve, and the only things that have really changed were techniques of how I’d “Bugout”, and where “Bugout”it stands in the order of precedence. I use P.A.C.E. planning in all activities related to survival. It was something I was taught when I first went into the military, and continue to this day. “P” is primary, “A” is alternate, “C” is contingency, “E” is emergent or emergency.

Bergmann Rock

Through the years, my thought on “Bugout” have evolved, simply because it makes sense to not put yourself into that type of situational risk unless all other options are denied to you. Keep in mind, a “Bugout” is not the same as a “Bug to”. A “Bugout” is when you’re headed out of your primary home with no clear home/retreat to go to. Most say “We’ll set up in the national/state forest.” These types generally have never “Set up” for an extended period (most not longer than a week, some maybe two weeks of camping at most, but it’s all good training). A “Bug To” is when you are headed to a clearly defined home or retreat that has been planned out (if someone lives there, they know you’re coming) and prepared by you ahead of time, and has supplies already laid in for your stay because it was part of the “plan”. Although “Bugout” and “Bug To” are primary residence evacuations, one (Bugout) is way too open ended to not be the last option available to you.

Let’s talk about “Bugout”, and why it should be the “E” in PACE planning. First off, how is the “Bugout” going to take place? In other words, what event will trigger your “Bugout”? Are you leaving on foot? Are you leaving by vehicle, and what is the load capacity of the vehicle (impending “Survival Vehicle” post coming up) . Are you taking a trailer? Do you have more than one vehicle (Convoy op)? Do you have a fixed location, even if it’s an area in the state forest you’ve reconned prior? How many routes have you created to get there, since one is most assuredly closed? Have you acquired detailed maps of the area? Do you already have a cache of supplies hidden there? We’ll cover some of these in order.

Bergmann Shelter

What will trigger your “Bugout”? House to house searches by fedgoons in your town? If you wait that long, you’ll definitely need to go by foot, because vehicle traffic will be stopped through the “Cordon and Search” process. A plant accident or natural disaster (Katrina) with poisonous chemicals or severe weather headed your way? Well that’s a “no brainer” vehicle “Bugout” if there ever was one, but I’m fairly certain you won’t be headed to a state forest, right? Is it from a man made incident like what happened in Baltimoredore this year? Once again, even though leaving on foot might have to happen if it went off the charts insane (B-More was nothing compared to what’s coming when the EBT’s go down), but more than likely it’s a vehicle escape, and you’ll be headed to another home for temporary housing (an acquaintance had to do that with his mother during that incident, that was her CVS that burned down).

Crazies1

I doubt you will perform a “Bugout” for an economic disaster situation. What good would that do to go to the forest because the economy collapsed. One scenario that sticks in my mind, especially due to my NBC (nuclear Biological Chemical) military background is a pandemic. Of course timing in this (like many other evacs) is crucial. Better a day early than a minute too late.  They will drop the hammer of blockade hard when they decide to do it (a good example is the movie “The Crazies”).

Crazies2

If you’re planning a “Bugout” after a nuke strike, you might want to do more research. If you’re still alive, but in a dangerous area (high radiation on site or in the path of impending fallout which usually goes downwind of the target, but winds aloft are tricky), you probably should shelter in place (hopefully you have a basement), because exposure outside will kill you quickly if caught in the fallout. This is one time when a “Bugout” would be a good option, considering living in the forest for a couple weeks away from the radiation zone would definitely be the optimal choice.  OK, so we’ve talked about what will set the “Bugout” plan in motion, now to the “means” of “Bugout”.

DSCN0948

Are you planning to “Bugout” on foot? Did you read the account of the couple that was ambushed in “Patriots, Survive the Coming Collapse”? Although they were “Bugging To” a retreat, it was across the country (Chicago to Idaho), and took them forever because they lost their vehicles in the city. How much food can you effectively carry with your other supplies in your rucksack? I’ve found two weeks is about it, and that makes for a heavy ruck. Have you tried carrying your ruck with the actual load you’ve placed in it? You know, the one sitting in the corner of your spare room? What happens after the food runs out? Although you can extend what you’ve got with you by using game carts, you still will run out of the expendable items rather quickly. Wait, don’t tell me….you’re gonna live off the land, right? I know very few that could do this in reality (military SERE prepares you to exist and/or do without till they can recover you), and two things to note about them. One, they would never plan it as anything but a “last ditch” option. Two, they would tell you it would be existing, not living.

Jeremiah Johnson with a kill

 

Jeremiah Johnson's Friend

Wanna live like Jeremiah Johnson (watchin’ it right now to get me in the proper mindset)? If you’ll take note, first, he was assisted by Chris Laughty (I believe that is the spelling), and probably would have died like so many others that went to be “Mountain Men” if it hadn’t been for his help. Are you gonna go to “Rendezvous” each spring and pick up the hundred pounds or so of supplies with your pack animals? Tell you what, ask my friend Bergmann what he thinks of that kind of never ending existence. On another note concerning the food and supplies thing. Do you have small (unable to carry their own supplies) children? Guess what? you just effectively halved your total “Per Individual” food carrying capacity.

043

Are you “Bugging out” by vehicle? It’s definitely the better option, but still, if you you are headed to a remote undeveloped location with no other supplies on site. You’ll get by longer, but you had better figure how to extend what you have for a long period. The good thing about a vehicle, especially if it’s of decent size, is it’s ability to carry you, at least three of your loved ones, all your personal “Bugout” gear, and some extras (a 12×12 tent with woodstove comes to mind. Oh wait, that’s right, I forgot you’re “Bugging Out” during the summer, right?). What’s the range of a tank of gas in your “Survival Vehicle”? Do you have extra fuel ( I keep enough spare TREATED gas cans for one extra tankful)?

Are you using a trailer? If so, this needs to contain the “nice to have” survival supplies, but not the absolute, survival “Have to’s”, because you need to be able to ditch it in an emergency. What’s the trailer do to your vehicle’s fuel economy when you have the survival gear loaded up? Don’t know? How can you say “I have a plan” without knowing basic info about your “Survival Conveyance”, whether it’s your feet (how far, how fast, how much weight) or your vehicle (distance, capacity of personnel and equipment, etc)? A big downside to a vehicle is being required to at least stay of passable trails, and more than likely semi improved roads. Oh, I forgot, you have a Monster that will eat up cross country and make it’s own trail, right? The upside is that it makes a “Bug out” more palatable as an option when you do the math, as compared to “bugging out” on foot.

Might a “Bugout” be necessary? Yes. Should you plan on it being anything but the last ditch option? No. The figures just don’t add up to success and long term survival. When it comes to PACE for me, I organize this way. PRIMARY: “Bug In” at my home with all the supplies I’ve prepared over the years. ALTERNATE: “Bug To”, and am headed to a property that has prepositioned supplies and family, and I’m taking my vehicle and trailer. CONTINGENCY: Longer route “Bug To” same as above, but to property of friends, and using two vehicles (convoy op) for security. EXIGENT/EMERGENCY 1: “Bug Out” to a secure, private, semi improved property site with vehicle. EXIGENT/EMERGENCY 2: “Bugout” on foot to a State forest within 10 miles of home (some prepositioned supplies, with an alternate another 5 miles away.

100_0285

I read a lot of Ragnar Benson’s (among others) stuff when I was a kid. Some of it was BS, and some had some real pearls of wisdom in it. One of the most important things I ever gleaned from his writing is something to keep in mind when planning any of your options. NEVER BECOME A REFUGEE! In most instances ( a few are not) primarily planning to “Bugout” without weighing and prioritizing other options first is planning to be a refugee, whether you like it or not. Read some of what Selco has to say, or better yet, look at the refugees walking across Europe and tell me that is something you consider as a viable option if others are available.

What’s the bottom line? If you have no options to “Bug To” after your “Bug In” option is expended, by all means plan a “Bugout”. Hopefully it will be with a vehicle, but if not, go to my buddy Bergmann’s site (you have to sign up, but it’s free) and get some advice on planning and prepositioning for the eventual “Bugout” operation  implementation. Prior Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance (7P’s), right? Being a Survivalist has been a rewarding, but at times daunting, task throughout my life from a youngster till now. In the end though, it’s more about those we care about than what it does for us that’s important. That’s why realistic assessments of the facts, not fantasy, is crucial to your survival.

YoungsterDSCN1525-1

JCD

American by BIRTH Infidel by CHOICE

Brushbeater Talks “Survivalist Commo”

Here is some good advice from a guy who knows his commo.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

6 Meters: Survivalist Magic

1005161506These days, nearly exclusively, when someone brings up survivalist communications, the default always resigns to some sort of chinese dual bander with the added justification “because its cheap!” Nevermind the fact that the build quality is junk and the thing will likely fail the person using it sooner rather than later, they keep being bought because the personality cults of the Internet tell them to…only because they’re cheap. But if one thought critically, all those folks having the ability to listen to hi band VHF and UHF might be a bad thing- especially if you’re looking for any sort of security.

bandplan_vhf.jpg
The VHF/UHF Basic Bandplan. Note the pink sections are for CW operation on 6 and 2 (50-50.1 and 144-144.1 MC, respectively). Although a bit dated, the diagram gives a good breakdown of the frequency ranges. Consider what your equipment is capable of, the potential OPFOR, and how to maximize capability to both effectively communicate and intercept.

Your area may be different, but around here there’s next to no activity on some of the other bands…you know, the ones Baofeng doesn’t make a radio for. Especially interesting for Survivalists is the capability the 6M band offers- with little to no overall traffic, great capability in rural terrain and many older repeaters sitting idle, 6M really needs more consideration for those actually concerned with creating a capable net versus those just cosplaying. Also nicknamed the “magic band” for it’s unpredictable long range qualities especially on SSB, 6m is just below the FM radio broadcast band (88-108mc) and the VHF television broadcast band (54-88mc); 6m occupies 50-54mc, with 51-54mc supporting FM mode. The band’s properties make it a very good performer in the hills with simplex use, and with repeaters can cover a broad area networking Survivalists spread near and far. The best part? Little traffic and well built equipment.

Here in central NC, many of the 6m machines were built by the same great group of folks, mostly retired engineers, and emergency communications was a significant

Ge-master-ii-2-uhf-repeater-base-station-photo
Most 6m repeaters are robustly built from older equipment. Even a motivated newcomer with a Tech license can garner the good graces of an older owner of such a machine, adding a huge capability to both your skills and your area of influence.

focus when the systems were designed. Favoring converted GE Mastr II  and other converted commercial mobiles, these have been hardened and are designed to function when everything else fails. Although our 2m and some 70cm machines are similarly constructed, those operators on 6m are likely to be more proficient and not of the Baofeng-bandit category. Making it work in the field with simplex and not relying on repeaters, 6m has lots of options for those looking to embrace it. The old Cherokee AH-50 handhelds are a great find for those browsing local hamfest fleamarkets, as are the excellent Yaesu VX-5R and 7R, the later being a strong candidate for the most versatile and durable Survivalist radio ever made. All of these sets mentioned are incredibly well built and durable units; for those more serious about having great capability for years to come, these are excellent choices. Since they’re usually much higher priced, even a decade old, than their chinese imitations, many dabblers get scared away in lieu of the material satisfaction of buying junk…er, inexpensive stuff. Mobile and base options are plentiful but curiously underutilized; three of the most popular Survivalist radios, the Yaesu 817, its bigger brother the 857d and the old workhorse the Icom 706,

IMG_0362
Even an inefficient antenna such as this Maldol 50/145/440 duck have their advantages. Keeping a signal within a mile or so in the terrain as well as on a band not in common use is a good, cheap way to keep things somewhat bubba-proof.

each include all-mode 6m support providing a built-in capability for an excellent all-mode 6m station. Keep in mind that every operating option you have on HF, be it CW, Phone or Digital, you can do on 6m base to base.

Working the “magic band” is not without its issues however- there are drawbacks despite all the positives. For one, efficient antennas are large. Carrying a much higher signature than their hi band VHF or UHF counterparts, the antennas can be more visible to onlookers or get snagged up while moving through the bush due to size. Compact antennas can be found for the handhelds while moving or working, but are severely limited in the efficiency department. Not to say they don’t perform, they simply are a compromise between size and efficiency that some brands accomplish better than others. In certain situations this is not a bad thing. Another drawback is the positioning of the band itself. 50-54mc sits right within the military ground VHF band, as any user of the PRC-77 to SINCGARS can attest, and may be prone to interference from those users. Good gear and experience can both mitigate and turn this into an asset.

VeeAntenna.jpeg
One cool thing about 6m being sandwiched right in the military VHF low-band is that all of those cool diagrams from FM 7-92 and 93 all work perfectly. Those are two Army FMs that serve potential irregulars a good bit better than just thumbing through SH 21-76.

Although looked upon as a fun band by experimenters, 6m signals sometimes, especially in summer mornings, can be heard at incredibly long distances due to sporadic-E propagation, tropo scatter and meteor scatter reflection. This might get confusing especially if you’re hearing stations from several states away randomly, even on FM. Because there aren’t that many users, often people will lose interest unless there’s an active net, and encouraging activity locally can be tough. It’s also tough to convince newer operators to jump on board with new equipment, especially if they took the advice of a few and bought a boatload of cheap 2m/70cm handhelds simply because…they were cheap. But that being said some of the radios previously mentioned are not going to break the bank used, quality gear is worth paying for, and great deals can be found for those actively looking.

Despite a few minor drawbacks, 6m presents an option off the beaten path for the Survivalist group looking for something different; it’s cool to do something others ain’t. While low-band VHF might not solve all your issues, it’s versatility definitely goes a long way. Anyone in your group can take advantage of it with only a Technician license and it doesn’t parallel any of the license-free paths others are likely to be trafficking along. Between much better quality equipment and better operators on the band itself with limited users and great rural coverage, it might just be a Survivalist’s “magic” option.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

JCD

American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE

A Repost of “The Fighting/Survival Load for Mounted and Dismounted Operations” With A UW Gear Eval.

This is a post I wrote in March of 2014. I have pretty much stuck with the same system which is my two tiered H-Harness with vest for dismounted ops, or belt and drop holster with vest/body armor for vehicle/Static defense ops.  I’ve been using this system for 9 years now and have found no reason to change.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Optimizing the carrying systems for fighting gear has been a science many have failed to master through the ages. It obviously didn’t start with the invention of the firearm, but one of the primary features of fighting gear for firearms, is the initial load-out, and the fact that you will expend some of the fighting load you carry with each engagement. This is the reason for carrying as much as you possibly can of those fighting expendables (unless you have a resupply operation going on as well. Yeah, sure you do…….), while still remaining light enough to be mobile, and not tiring yourself unnecessarily.

I have used multiple load bearing systems throughout the last 34 years, and of that 34 years, 29 were in a  professional context, and the items I am about to recommend are largely (but not exclusively) based upon my years of training and fighting as a grunt in mounted and dismounted operations. It’s also based on the experience I’ve had as a tactical/survival trainer, and being able to figure out the gear situation, without the Company, Battalion, or Brigade Powers That Be, dictating their dress right dress edicts from on high, but not taking into account that everyone is different, and only a few things should be standardized.

A Layered Approach

Layering makes sense, whether it’s your clothing for cold weather, or your fighting/survival load for the battlefield. The levels have been talked about enough, so we won’t go into detail, but the basics are these. Level 1 is your on person every day carry (EDC) items that are in your pockets for the most part. Level 2 is your fighting/survival load-out, consisting of an load bearing harness of some sort, Level 3 is your ruck. On the level 2 gear, first up is the Battle Belt setup, which, I use as a survival load (Survival gear, handgun, and a knife). Next up is the combat vest, which gives the user a higher more centralized center of gravity, and has the option of being opened in the front, if you happen to be needing to get just a little lower. Examples of this are the FLC like a number of us used in the military in various configurations, and it is a good economical way to go. This is the standard molle tactical vest, pictured here over an H harness rig. (this one is a Tactical Tailor vest), and there is a lot of space to put whatever you need on it, with the caveat of , don’t overload it.

Image

DSCN1567-1

Last but not least is the chest rig. Chest rigs are wonderful for vehicle patrols, but not as much so if your trying to dig in to avoid incoming rounds in the prone. I used a modified chest rig in Iraq, and can tell you it works well for vehicle ops, but unless you go with a modified version (not as common), using it on foot patrol based field operation are not optimal because of the aforementioned avoidance of incoming fire issues. The modified version I used was a Tactical Tailor MAV 2 piece version with the cover adapter to make it function as a one piece. This modification allows the user to put it on like a tac vest, not over your head ( pain in the ass if you have a helmet on), and also allows you to put you navel in the dirt if your being shot at, and the only available cover is a downed 10 inch diameter tree.

It is sitting just a little lower than it normal would because the straps are set for wearing over my Interceptor Body Armor. See Army pic

Image

Image

As you can see, it’s easy to take off, which as anyone knows with a one piece chest rig, that isn’t generally the case, unless you undo an emergency release buckle. You can raise or lower the harness to suite your preferences.

The modular system I use for dismounted operations is as follows I use a LCE H harness and belt (with pad) with basic survival supplies in it as the base layer. This harness contains survival gear in the buttpack (poncho, rain suit, casualty blanket, fist aid supplies, weather dependent warmth supplies, battery charger, etc.). It has a pistol in a Bianchi flap holster (yes a damn flap holster, but before you tacticool asshats get your thong knotted, I can slide the flap on the inside of the belt, and I have a thumb break release) with two extra magazines, a fixed blade knife (leatherman, and nav gear is on the pants belt or in pockets), two one quart canteens with two cups, one stove, and a thermal imager (day or night capability).

Load bearing post16

 

Over this I wear a Molle Tac Vest that contains a rifle mag capacity of 8/M1A, 8/AKM, or 12/AR, with supplementary stripper clips in the bottom of each flapped pouch when the shorter AR, or M14 mags are used. It also contains a IR strobe, GI Lensatic compass, tac light, extra multi tool (what can I say, I like redundancy), two pistol mags, and a monocular, another fixed blade knife, an IFAK/BOK (different color so it stands out), radio pouch, and an admin/water bottle pouch (water bottle if the vest is worn for urban/vehicle ops). A minimag AA LED light (cuz 123 batts fail quickly) Last but not least is a roll up dump pouch behind the admin/bottle pouch (keep in mind, I’m a lefty, so everything is ass backwards from you “normal” people, except for the IFAK, this should be in the same place for every member of your group).

Image

If I will be conducting vehicle operations, I use a pistol belt with a drop leg (OH GOD NO!) holster and knife rig both up high (for a drop rig) on my strong side It also has two pistol mags, my thermal would go on the weak side like the H-Harness, a roll up dump pouch, and a tac light pouch (pretty damn Spartan ain’t it?). This is attached to my pants belt with standard belt keepers.

Image

One of the nice things about a drop rig, is its ability to clear the bottom of a coat or gear while being attached to the pants belt.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

When it comes to body armor, if I use it (urban or fixed position defensive ops, and vehicle ops only) , I go with a slick Interceptor Body Armor (IBA) vest, with level 3+ ceramic plates, or a plate carrier (slick or with gear) with level 3 line-X coated steel plates (these 6.5lb plates are no longer available, but they make a lot of sense for the Survivalist. No matter what the “Know It Alls” and “experts” say about steel plates causing issues with your compass, I have tested that theory, and have found that it causes no more issues with a compass than wearing a vest or chest rig full of ammo, a knife, a pistol, and support gear would). With this set up, I can wear it under the tac vest, or MAV (as I did in Iraq), and there is nothing to get in the way.

Image

DSCN1571-1

So how does it all go together: Level 2A is as follows:

H-Harness first with your survival supplies (buckle extender is for cold weather clothing), or you can use the pistol belt/drop leg rig for vehicle ops.

Load bearing post7

Load bearing post19

 

 

Level 2B would be your Tac vest, with the majority of your fighting supplies (keep the back clear for a ruck), which if need be, you can ditch to run, and still have survival supplies on you (H harness)

Load bearing post4

The mag pouches on this vest are for my FAL or M1A (.308Win) mags. The far left is a “Double Taco” pouch from HSG. The middle coyote and the O.D. one on the right are double .308 mag pouches from UW Gear.

 

 

Wearing this rig with a ruck is fine, as long as it’s not an extended (lower/bottom end) ruck like the mil issue Molle 2, CFP-90, or ILBE. I’ve used it with the US Large ALICE (Tac Tailor MALICE 2) and a Bergan and have had no issues.

Load bearing post5

Load bearing post3

Load bearing post17.jpg

For a lightweight pack I use a medium ALICE (left) if I am leaving my base camp/retreat with it on, and the CFP-90 patrol pack (on the top of the Large Malice2 ruck) if it is from a temporary camp I am operating out of.

Load bearing post18

CFP-90 assault pack attached to the top of my Malice2 Large ruck.

I have received a number of pieces of gear from John Ammons at UW Gear. I mentioned above the mag pouches on my Tac Tailor vest, but I have a few more I want to show you. First up is the bandoleers that I received last year. I have spoken about them in my “Lightweight, Modular ‘Basic Load’ Options” post , and don’t have anything but good things to say about them. They are well put together and make a great addition to your gear if you want an easy way to carry three extra mags, whether on your person, or on your ruck.

Load bearing post20

The O.D. bandoleer on the top is for 5.56 thirty rounders, and the woodland one on the bottom is for 3 twenty round mags in 7.62Nato.

First Aid post2.jpg

The top rig is for 6 AR mags and holds two mags in each of the outside pockets, and one in the inside pockets. The bottom rig holds one twenty round .308 mags in each pocket for a total of four. That’s six pounds of mags for either rig.

 

Next up is UW Gear’s “Swamp Fox rigs. I’ve tried out two of his rigs, one for AR’s that carry 6 mags, and one that will carry 4 mags for my FAL or M1A. If you want a good, lightweight rig for wearing by itself, or over a plate carrier, this is the one.

Load bearing post14

Lightweight .308 rig with the drop rig belt and two “Taco” pouches which hold one pistol mag and one rifle mag each. This setup is very lightweight, but yet still carries a “basic load” for rifle and pistol, a knife and an IFAK.

Load bearing post11

UW Gear .308 rig over a plate carrier.

The individual 2 mag pouches made by UW Gear are pretty squared away. The two mag pouches (this includes the two mag pouches on the “Swamp Fox” rig) are designed to retain the two mags with tension using the “Tuck Tab” closure (all UWG mag pouches have this), and it does not need velcro, a snap, or a fastex buckle to stay closed and secure with two mags in it. Unlike the other securing systems I mentioned, this system will not wear out and/or break like they can (can you say “durable item”?). When only one mag is in the pouch and it doesn’t have tension due to the fit of only one mag, there is a piece of velcro that will keep the flap secured.

Load bearing post8.jpg

Please keep something in mind, This is my way of doing it. I’ve been using load bearing gear for a little while now (over three decades), and have found something that works for me, and have been using this specific system (variations of this for decades) for nine years now. These are just some thoughts I had on load bearing equipment, from a users perspective, not a Modern Warfare 3 tacticool theorist.

I don’t claim to know it all, but what I do know is what I am planning for and have been for about 36 years. My experience is not only from many years in different types of infantry units (higher and lower tier), but being able to apply those lessons to things I have done during my lifetime (farming being one of them). There are many people out there giving advice without any experience other than being prior service, and while that is helpful, it is not very practical from a Survivalist stand point. Ask yourself, are you an infantryman, or are you a Survivalist. The difference is drastic in some instances.

I have my gear set up to use for four basic scenarios. 1) I have to leave my residence on foot with only the supplies on my back with no guarantee of a place to go. It’s a heavy load and a collapsible game cart might be used as well. 2) I have to leave my residence in a vehicle, but due to the threat I will need to be moderately armed and ready for hostilities. 3) I have to operate out of a retreat, and will be on a moderate or heightened state of alert when outside the retreat performing tasks (imagine farming tasks and what you could wear while doing them). 4) I am operating as a member of a Neighborhood Protection Team and need to be able to perform as a guard post sentry and “Presence Patrol” member.

Keep in mind that if someone is telling you your gear (mil issue gear that was used by soldiers of the past) is useless, you need to question their motivations. The biggest problem with ALICE gear these days is finding it at a good price. There’s not much you can’t do with some good old issued ALICE and mil issue MOLLE gear. You don’t need fancy, expensive not issue gear to get by, but if you do, I recommend you contact John Ammons at UW Gear to get some (BTW, he is also a Tactical Tailor dealer). Enjoy (any questions, comment here, or email me at masondixontactical@comcast.net  ).

JCD

American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE