Friday, January 27, 2017

Per the Militia Act of 1792, essential gear to defend home and community

So, assuming you haven't run off to report me to the NSA after my last article in which I fleshed out the Militia Act of 1792, and you buy into the idea that each of us is intended to act as a component of the armed citizenry to defend our properties and communities....what exactly do you need?

Prices vary wildly, I'll try to give some realistic numbers along the way and point everyone in the direction of some vendors.  A lot of the gear I use is available on Amazon (just about everything is these days) and I will be posting links as I go. 

A.  Rifle - A rifle, in my mind, is an absolute starting point for preparedness.  Some may think that an odd choice that I didn't default to a handgun, but a rifle presents much greater combat/defensive capability than a handgun.  Greater power, more magazine capacity, greater range, etc.  My preference is for a magazine fed, semi automatic rifle of fairly common design in the interest of attaining parts and ammunition.  What exactly you choose beyond that is a personal decision.  Personally, I prefer AK designs, while much of the community prefers AR's.  In either case, I recommend a minimum of 5 magazines, preferably 10 (they are wear items, and require occasional replacement), 1000 rounds of ammunition (more is better, but not so much that you can not effectively transport or carry it), and a minimum of spare parts you may require for normal operation.  One could also opt for either a lever action, or even a bolt action rifle if preferred, though I would recommend you plan for a cartridge that makes sense for your situation.  Longer ranges/flatter country may favor a bolt action in a full power cartridge like 308 Win, while swamp or brush may favor a lever action chambered in a heavier caliber less likely to be disrupted by brush and foliage.  Whatever your chosen weapon, plan on having at a minimum a good cleaning kit, cleaning rods, and lubrication.  A decent rifle can survive and operate with minimal cleaning (get the carbon and grit out, the barrel shouldn't require constant cleaning) but will not tolerate a lack of lube for very long.  Price: Realistically, expect to spend $700+ just for the rifle, perhaps slightly less used (but prices have been very robust), factor another $300-$500 for magazines and ammunition.

B.  Sidearm/secondary weapon - Why have a handgun if you have a rifle?  The military has said time and again that the handgun exists to fight your way to your rifle.  It is not unheard of, much less uncommon, that you may have to temporarily drop or sling your rifle, and in that instance an immediate attack can be responded to with a handgun until your primary weapon system is available again.  Also, I have seen tests done that demonstrated conclusively it is certainly more timely to drop your rifle and transition to your sidearm rather than reload if under fire and cover does not present itself.  Also, if in a situation where carrying a rifle would draw unnecessary attention to one's self, a concealed handgun is a definite option. Price:  $350 is about the lowest I can recommend you budget, as that is where the reliability and price lines tend to intersect.  $500 budget for a good sidearm would be better, factor another $200-$300 for magazines and ammo.

C.  Personal gear - I lump everything but the above into this broad topic.  Anything you need to support yourself, or your weapon system, is personal gear.  I hesitate to call it anything else because, depending on your unique situation or environment, it is drastically subject to change.

  1. Plate carrier w/ armor plates - If survivability is high on your list, mobility is lower, and stealth is non-existent, a plate carrier with armor plates should be on your list.  A minimum of Level 3 plates (level 4 offers protection from armor piercing rounds, something uncommon in most situations, and it is heavier) would be my recommendation to provide protection from all common handgun rounds and rifle rounds up to 308 Winchester. CATI Armor Sentry Package
  2. Tactical Vest/Chest Rig - Sacrificing the armor plates allows you to drop down to a smaller, lighter, more flexible chest rig or tactical vest.  You gain mobility, especially useful if you are on a long range patrol or bugout, at the expense of extra protection.  Let the situation and environment dictate this choice, and do not discount the fact that you can shed almost half the weight of a typical armor system by taking the steel plates out. Amazon: Chinese milsurp chest rig
  3. Magazine pouches - Whether you keep just your primary ammo on your vest, or secondary as well, having extra magazines is a given.  More retention will mitigate the possibility of a magazine becoming dislodged and lost, but slow down reloads. Amazon: Condor Mag Pouches
  4. First Aid - My Medical 101 podcast went through a lot of the items I recommended for a "blowout kit" or individual aid pouch.  Tourniquets, chest seals, abdominal pads, etc. should all be considered. Amazon: R.A.T.S. Tourniquet
  5. Hydration - Either a hydration bladder, or a couple of military surplus canteens on a pistol belt, would be a consideration again if you are planning to be on patrol.  Even an hour wearing full armor and carrying a rifle is going to encourage perspiration, especially in a hot climate.
  6. Amazon: Condor Tidepool Hydration Carrier Olive Drab
  7. Belt/War Belt/Pistol Belt - Personally, I prefer for my sidearm and secondary ammo to be on my belt, while my hydration bladder is on the back of my plate carrier.  In the future, I may move my med kit to my belt as well.  The idea is to put the essential equipment you CAN NOT live without on your belt that is not coming off ever, and to have your armor vest be something you can shed quickly with your primary weapon if you are out of ammo OR speed becomes your primary consideration.  Think about a hot extraction or evacuation where you are abandoning a fight and speed and mobility is your only consideration.  You want to keep the bare minimum on your person, and ditch all the weight you can.  A belt allows you to set up a two tiered layer of equipment that is much more difficult if EVERYTHING is on your plate carrier.  Also, your lower back will thank you if you are able to shift weight from your shoulders to your hips.
  8. Amazon: Elite CO Shooters Belt with Cobra Buckle, 1.5", Black, Medium
  9. Knapsack/Pack - An old military surplus ruck sack, your leftover Jansport from high school, or any rugged and reliable pack with padded shoulder straps would be a welcome addition if you are on an extended patrol.  Food, water bottles, extra ammo, maps, admin, communication gear, any and everything not immediately necessary to render individual aid or fight should be in here.  Extra points if the pack has some sort of quick release straps so that you can immediately drop the pack on engagement to shed weight.  Note, I do not recommend you put ALL of your water or ammo in this pack.  People can live for days without food, you are going to be in severe trouble very quickly without water and ammo.
  10. Amazon: Condor Compact Assault Pack (Black, 1362-Cubic Inch)

In the near future, please keep an eye on the YouTube channel for upcoming content where I discuss and provide a visual for a lot of these items and concepts.  Also, I'll be having an audio podcast with a like-minded acquaintance of mine to discuss the merits of the militia, and it's application in today's age.  Please subscribe and consider supporting the channel to help me keep this content coming.

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