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Author Topic: The Practical Application of Tactical Gear
ConSigCor
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I consider anything by Max to be essential reading. This is a guest article he wrote for Survival Blog.

quote:
Guest Article: The Practical Application of Tactical Gear, Load and Weight Considerations - Part 1, by Max

By SurvivalBlog Contributor | June 15, 2017 |

The intent of this post is to tie in the related, practical application concepts of tactical gear, fitness, teamwork, logistics, and tactical loading, in order to present a realistic and logical way to approach the subject. There are a number of related factors at play here.

Mission

We often utilize the military terminology of “METT-TC” in order to analyze our mission and thus apply it to the gear that we may carry. Factors such as weather, duration, and the specific mission that you are conducting play into considerations of what to carry. We must be realistic in what we plan and train for now, and thus pack for. Base it around what we think we realistically might be doing in a collapse situation. I put it to you that most people will be engaged in local defense and security patrolling. They may also deal with presence/ground domination activity (GDA). People will be patrolling in and around their homestead and perhaps local community. They will thus not be engaging in multi-day ruck-missions out into the boondocks. This has relevance as we examine the other factors.

Logistics

However much you pack, you will ultimately need a resupply. Many people with a “prepper” mindset want to pack too much “just in case” they need it. I would advise a different approach. I recommend you plan for that resupply and set up a logistics chain. If it allows you the ability to maneuver under fire, it would be better to have to temporarily make do without something than carry a huge load. Thus, you could consider something along the lines of planning to utilize existing vehicles. Trucks, ATVs/UTVs, and even perhaps horses or mules can support any mission that you plan that you suspect will go beyond one day’s rations. This would be one first line ammunition scale (i.e. what is realistically carried on the person as part of a deployed load-out).

This also ties in very well with casualty evacuation. I tell people at class that the hardest thing they will do is evacuate a casualty under fire. It is so much the case that I propose that with today’s typical weight of person measured against poor levels of physical fitness, factoring in the exhaustion of being under fire, many casualties will not be evacuated. Or, they at least will not be evacuated far. Thus, in a break contact drill, this means they will be left. The team may be forced to strongpoint, in order to call for QRF/casualty evacuation. For this, you need communications, an actual QRF (trained and rehearsed team), and suitable transport for them to deploy to you and extract you.

Tactical Load

You should only carry what you can fight in. By this I mean what you can maneuver under fire. Much has been said about 55 pounds being the maximum that a person can carry into combat. However, we must remember that:

The person must be fit and robust in the first place to manage this, and
This refers to weight that can be carried in on an approach march, not actually fought in.

In order for the individual to be able to maneuver tactically under fire, this load must be reduced. For example, I would consider 35lbs. as a much more practical load weight that 55lbs. This, however, may not include the weight of the rifle. Your mileage may vary. This goes directly against carrying all that stuff that you want to carry because “two is one and one is none”. And it relates to the concept of logistics. An individual should not be loaded out with, for example, 16 magazines on the person, plus whatever else. They should be loaded with something more like 6-8 mags. Depending on the mission, a support team can move resupply up in an ATV. “No man is an island.” And you cannot fight everyone forever on your own. You can only carry a limited amount and still remain effective, and then you need resupply.

Physical Conditioning

None of these factors mean anything without the physical conditioning to carry your load and maneuver under fire. Given that many suffer from age, obesity, lack of training, injuries, and medical conditions, it really does reap benefits to take a more “light fighter” approach and plan to be without rather than be with too much. You probably do not need all those widgets and extras. There are some things that it is really sensible to carry, and that is detail beyond this article. (See the MVT Forum.) But you cannot carry all that water, ammo, and food. So you need to balance the needs of realistic short-term missions with arranging resupply. The activity of “rucking” is tied to this.

I really do not think that anyone should be planning to do anything while carrying a ruck. Get away from the idea of “bug out rucks” and all that. It is possible that you may have to carry a ruck on an approach march to set up a patrol base, but how likely is that given the missions that you may be conducting? You will also have to drop that ruck at the first contact and may likely never see it again. I posit that you are more likely to have relatively short-term missions, if you go anywhere at all outside of an envelope of more than a mile or so from your home base. Thus, get away from heavy “rucking” as training.

A Reasonable Load Weight

I would advise that you train where possible with your actual tactical load-out gear, weighing around 35lb. The training value of carrying a ruck is more relevant to situations where for profile purposes you cannot, or do not want to, go out wearing tactical gear. So then you pack a ruck to replace that for training purposes. But carry no more than 35lb in that ruck. This is a realistic combat load weight that you can use for training purposes. Alternatively, use a weighted vest, which is ergonomically similar to your plate carrier load weight.

Transport

As part of logistics, you need to consider the use of vehicles, such as ATVs. I was recently in Idaho, where I ran classes and we used ATVs as resupply logistics vehicles out on the open range. Rather than plan to carry a large ruck or patrol pack, simply wear the load that you can maneuver and fight in, and put the rest on the ATV. The ATV can actually move with the patrol, particularly in large open spaces, with low engine noise, caused by low revs, and simply stay a terrain feature away from the objective. Then, when called for, the support vehicles(s) move up to the objective and trade ammo and water resupply for any casualties.

This in itself gets into a mobility question with the use of tactically suitable vehicles, such as off-road trucks, ATV/UTV, and other transport to provide tactical mobility. So you can either move transport with dismounts, or mount the dismounts to get them closer to the objective area. Transport stays at the Objective Rally Point (ORP) until called for. (Use Mission Support Site (MSS) for those who want to be really contemporary.)

Ballistic Plates

Though plates add weight, we all realize that although we want to be light, we will never be totally free of carried weight if we are going to carry a combat load. Thus, we plan to be as light as practicable. We have to carry a certain amount of ammo, water, IFAK, basic rations, et cetera. In my opinion, ballistic plates are worth the added weight, in the balance. Reducing the chances of penetrating trauma to the torso or thoracic cavity is important in my mind, particularly given what I said above about casualty evacuation. However, you cannot carry plates if you have not achieved the conditioning to allow you to do so and cannot move tactically with them on.

The flip side is that if you have a logistics plan, you can dump some of those widgets and extra magazines you wanted to carry and allow yourself plates. It is all a balance of firepower, protection, and mobility. The key thing with plates is to buy “Level 3+” ceramic/dyneema hybrids that are light but will stop M855 Green Tip. 3+ is not an official NIJ standard but they are sold. My plates weight 4.6 lb each. That to me is a trade-off that is worth it. If you do not have the conditioning, and if you have super heavy plates, you will not wear them anyway, not beyond 24 hours after the collapse happens.

A Note on Plates

Please get away from steel. More accurately, please get away from the concept of only having plates, such as heavy steel plates, for defensive purposes. You may want to buy heavy, cheap plates, but you do not want to invest in the physical training to be able to maneuver with them on. In fact argumentatively, defensively, you are less likely to need plates if you are using prepared fighting positions. You are more likely to need them if you come under fire while on patrol or in an offensive dynamic operation. Thus, when considering plates, consider ones that you can practically wear and fight in. (Continued tomorrow.)

Part 2, by Max

The intent of this continued post is to tie in the related, practical application concepts of tactical gear, fitness, teamwork, logistics, and tactical loading, in order to present a realistic and logical way to approach the subject. There are a number of related factors at play here. Part 1 covered the mission, logistics, tactical load, physical conditioning, transport, and ballistic plates along with a note urging people to avoid heavy steel plates.

Team

In order to be able to conduct any sort of patrolling/security operation, you are going to need a team. This means numbers of trained personnel. You cannot have that QRF if you do not have the trained bodies to man the operations center and the QRF team, while also running a security rotation on your home base. Thus, it goes without saying that you need trained people, in sufficient numbers, to provide an effective tactical team.

Combat Load

So what do you carry? The point is that you have to balance the logistics of what you carry on your body with what you can effectively maneuver around in. Thus, physical condition and strength must increase, while the load must come down to something that you can tactically maneuver in. You have to be able to be comfortable wearing this gear. Particularly if a collapse goes on for a time and complacency starts to rear its head, you have to have a practical plan that allows you to wear some gear. You also must have it ready and comfortable for long periods of time.

The MVT Gear Concept
Day-To-Day Currently- Concealed Carry Plus


Now, you are probably wearing some sort of concealed carry around your waistline. It is then not practical to rapidly don something over the top of that, such as a Battle Belt, without dismounting your IWB handgun setup. Thus, in semi-normality, when there is a sudden threat, once you can get to your rifle you pair it with either a chest rig or a plate carrier setup. I prefer to have a plate carrier. And for maneuverability, you need to keep the magazine load on that rig reasonable. So that is somewhere between three and six magazines on the chest rig/plate carrier, depending on what you are doing and the intersection of your conditioning and strength levels vs. the weight.

Beyond Normal Concealed Carry- Lite Battle Belt

Once we reach a situation where we have deteriorated beyond normal concealed carry, you want to be able to reasonably feed your rifle with magazines. This is where the concept of the “Lite Battle Belt” comes in. My version is a battle belt that goes on over my pants belt. I do not use suspenders. I never want the belt to become such a large, heavy object that it needs them. It is designed to be comfortable and wearable all day, while providing a decent level of basic logistics support. I can also sit in a chair or drive a vehicle comfortably while wearing it. From the left, it contains:

2 x handgun magazines,
2 x rifle magazines,
Rolled dump pouch,
IFAK pouch, center of back,
Bottle pouch (for small water bottles, for a short-term hydration capability, often used on the ranges),
Holster,
TQ pouch, and
Multitool pouch.

Thus, this belt provides a basic load that you can go walking around in, with your rifle, and have some reloads and logistical support available. I personally wear this on the ranges whenever doing “tactical stuff” and even recently for hikes with my rifle in Idaho while conducting range surveys. It provides the basic load with my plate carrier. Between the Lite Battle Belt and the Plate Carrier, they supply me with my basic load.

Hydration Small Pack

 -

In the photo, this is a small Camelbak. It carries 2-3 liters of water and has a couple of pouches for some miscellaneous gear, some lunch, maybe my night vision gear, and a couple of additional mag pouches on the back. The idea of this is that you would grab it for anything out of sight of your home base. You can use any suitable small pack for this. The trick is to use a small pack that prevents you from packing too much but allows the basics to be carried.Tactical Gear

Above: Basic Fighting Load, at the upper end of a practical maneuverability weight.

Battle Belt as described.
Camelbak Hydration Pack
Crye JPC Plate Carrier.

Lite Patrol Pack

My favorite for this role of Lite Patrol Pack is the Karrimor SF Predator 30. (Note: Get the 30 liter, not the 45.) If your mission requires you to carry more of a load, then this is what you go to. I have no intention of going bigger than this to a full ruck. Reasons for a larger Patrol Pack include weather and duration considerations. I will, however, try to plan the heavy loads out of it.

Crucial Points to Note

Once we get to the point of wearing the Battle Belt, the Plate Carrier, and the Hydration Small Pack, we are reaching the limits of what most people, with some physical conditioning, can effectively tactically maneuver in. You want to try and keep load at this level and not above. Make your own choices with the specifics of what you carry, number of magazines, ballistic plates or not, et cetera.

You have to make the judgment, at the intersection of weight and physical capability, of what you can really do. Thus you have to get out and train in this gear, to really know your limits and capabilities. Ballistic Plates may not always be an option for you. As the collapse draws out in the heat of summer and you are conducting a local security patrol, you will have options. You could go in the Lite Battle Belt only. You could drop the Plate Carrier for a chest rig. All of this is possible, and it must be practical. This is also why it is useful to have a chest rig that will clip on and off a plate carrier, or simply go on over the top of it.

Crucially, if you are carrying too much of a load, it will make you unwilling to make the right choices when you are out there. This is the intersection of physical fitness and load carried. You will avoid moving to that high ground for overwatch and you will not take a good fire position, or you will only go to a knee for cover when you should have gone prone. You have to balance the weight you carry with what you can operate in effectively without shortcuts.

Summary

Plan operations intelligently.

Utilize logistics to reduce the load that has to be carried on the man.

For operations outside of your immediate home base footprint, utilize transport for:
Ammo resupply,
Food, water, and logistics, and
Casualty evacuation.

Stop overloading yourself with gear that you “may need”.

Only wear a combat load that you have the physical ability to maneuver in.

Do the PT to reach an intersection where you can carry a sufficient basic load that makes you effective in combat.

Aspire to lightweight ballistic plates to increase your survivability, if you have the conditioning to ensure they do not reduce your survivability by impairing your maneuverability. It is an intersection of fitness, load, and judgment.

If you find yourself with a requirement for larger loads, do everything you can by planning to move that load to transport.

Try to keep the man only ever moving with the basic load that he can handle in combat, and work to bring resupply/casualty evacuation as needed.




About The Author

Max Alexander is a tactical trainer and author. He is a lifelong professional soldier with extensive military experience. He served with British Special Operations Forces, both enlisted and as a commissioned officer; a graduate of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. Max served on numerous operational deployments, and also served as a recruit instructor. Max spent five years serving as a paramilitary contractor in both Iraq and Afghanistan. This included working on contract for the U.S. Government in Iraq, a year of which was based out of Fallujah, and also two years working for the British Government in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. He operates Max Velocity Tactical (MVT).



[ 06-21-2017, 09:39 AM: Message edited by: ConSigCor ]

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"The time for war has not yet come, but it will come and that soon, and when it does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." Gen. T.J. Jackson, March 1861

Posts: 14997 | From: A 059 Btn 16 FF MSC | Registered: Oct 2001  | Report this post to a Moderator
ConSigCor
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quote:
Guest Article: Gear System- Philosophy, Set Up, Use, Fitness & Mindset- Part 1, by Max

This article is a follow-up to the recent “The Practical Application of Tactical Gear, Load, and Weight Considerations”.
Questions

I get many questions about gear setup. It is also a perennial topic on the MVT Forum, and of course across the Internet. It’s an important subject. Many people ask me specific questions about my gear setup and make/brand of equipment items. And so here I will attempt to give some guidance, but not in terms of specific brands of gear. This is what I am trying to do when I set up my equipment. It is also important to note that gear is no use without training, and the focus by so many on gear is often either 1) part of the process of getting ready for training, or 2) a dead end pursuit that has limited purpose.

Be in the first group. You must actually use your gear, and see what works for you, and not fall for that common mindset that gear can be bought, tried on, and then left on the shelf for a rainy day. I will therefore talk a little about physical readiness and actual use of gear, as part of this article.
Gear Discussions

For questions on gear brands and specific examples, there are plenty of experts on the MVT Forum. I urge you to start discussions there. Why this post? Because I want to help those who are genuinely attempting to set up a gear system as part of a training and readiness program. And on the flip side, I will attempt to wake up those who are simply bluffing themselves in terms of their physical and training readiness and their ability to even function in their chosen gear when necessary.

I must also add that my gear setup changes, as I evolve, find new products, and adjust. I was asked recently about suspenders on my Lite Battle Belt. (We’ll have more about that in detail later.) But yes, I had added pouches and suspenders to my Lite BB, and now I have removed them. Just like in tactical training, I don’t look for absolutes but principles and ideas. Take what you see others do and what works for you, and evolve it into a system that is best for you. This article is merely guidance and the passing on of experience that I have learned through many years deployed on operations, and subsequently, my thoughts as to how I should adapt that to a role as an armed citizen.

There are no absolutes in this article, and the gear system itself is designed to be modular and adaptable to varying situations.

So let’s look at a basic summary of the system. Below, for reference, are gear examples showing:

Plate carrier, Lite Battle Belt, Lite Hydration Pack

Tactical Gear
BLUF:

MY recommended system is made up of the following components:

Lite Battle Belt
Chest Rig or Chest Rig / Plate Carrier Combo
Lite Hydration Pack / Daypack
For emergencies now, IEmergency now: concealed carry handgun on belt, throw on Chest Rig to run the rifle.

Basics:

What is the framework for employing the gear items listed above?

Day-to-day you are probably / should be carrying a handgun. Thus, you have options to run a handgun set up, either concealed or overt, on your pants belt. If you have an immediate emergency situation, your go-to in this situation is your handgun.
If you have time / access (due to location / planning) you then have the option of grabbing your rifle. When you grab your rifle, you need the ability to feed it rifle ammo, which is not contained on your everyday carry belt.
Your option to carry rifle magazines should be some combination of chest rig (CR) / plate carrier (PC).
Note that the Lite Battle Belt (BB) concept does not work well in a short notice emergency scenario, simply due to the logistical factor of getting a Lite BB on over an already existing pants-belt EDC handgun load. Thus you skip the Lite BB in this situation, and go straight to the CR/PC rifle option.
Don’t try and carry too much on your CR/PC / Lite BB combination. This is where the Lite daypack concept comes in. (There is more on this later.)
You want to avoid a situation where your gear concept involves a full Battle Belt, a full Chest Rig, and a Plate Carrier, all with big chunky straps, and with too much gear all up. The Lite Battle Belt is deliberately a fairly light piece of equipment, with the CR/PC being the main support item for your rifle. Sustainment and admin items then go in some kind of patrol pack, sized for the situation.

So what does this mean?

If you are currently carrying concealed day-to-day, you cannot fit a Lite Battle Belt on over top of this. At least, you can’t without unrigging your carry belt. So If something comes up that needs gearing up for a rifle at short notice, you are going to throw on your Chest Rig or Plate Carrier.
If you are in a situation where you want to have rifle magazines on you at all times, at least a basic load (i.e. post-collapse, or even around and about in the back country), then go to a Lite Battle Belt. This carries your handgun, some basic items, and probably a couple of rifle magazines. Keep it light, so that it does not interfere with sitting and day-to-day activities. It’s best to keep no pouches forward of the hips, and keep the back of the belt low profile for the same reasons. Personal preference applies.
When wearing the Lite Battle Belt, you have the option of adding your Chest Rig or Plate Carrier (or combination) to fully feed your rifle. This is a versatile system that does not interfere with sitting. You can be in a vehicle or waiting on standby as a quick reaction force, or sentry, et cetera. It also allows you to easily carry any kind of ruck or backpack. If you don’t want the Lite Battle Belt, and just want to carry a basic pants-belt handgun load along with the CR/PC, it is up to you.
Gear that would have perhaps gone into the large rear pouches on a classic War Belt (think old-school ALICE web gear) will now go into a Lite Hydration Pack / Day Pack. This is not a ruck and should be kept as light as practical. If you go out of sight of your home base, you throw this on. It contains water, basics, lunch, night vision etc.
There is a persistent piece of tomfoolery that a Chest Rig will keep you too high off the ground in the prone position, and it also prevents you from reloading. Nope. In fact, it is easier to reload from the prone with a chest rig (not belly rig), especially from kydex mag inserts, than it is from hip mounted pouches. With a chest rig, the mags are right there. With hip mounted, you have to roll onto your side a bit and reach right back. BTDT. Of course, your Chest Rig should not be too deep, and should be of a fairly low profile, probably a single row of mags across your chest, to facilitate this.
If you like to run a PC, or have the option of doing so, then you should consider the versatility of a Chest Rig. The Chest Rig allows you flexibility. You can wear it over the PC with the harness, or wear it without the PC in “recce mode”. You can use PC attachment kit straps to directly attach the Chest Rig to the PC. This would allow you to unclip and remove it while retaining the ballistic protection of your plates. Thus, on more low key missions, you may decide to forego the plates and just run the rig. Or you may do an Infil with the plates in your ruck, wearing your Rig. Put the plates on in the ORP. The possibilities are endless with such flexibility.
You need to avoid having everything and the kitchen sink on your gear. This is with the exception of the basics, which is ammunition, water, basic medical, and energy. I would rather do without, and be lighter and faster, than be loaded down for every possible contingency.
Understand that “lighter and faster” isn’t when you have the right amount of ammo on your person. The solution there is PT. The bottom line is that if you can’t be bothered to do the required PT, you are kidding yourself. You shouldn’t even be bothering to look into tactical gear. Related to this is the fact that you need to get out and move and train in this gear, and then you will soon find out what works and what does not.

THE DETAIL
Lite Battle Belt (BB):

This is really any set up you want. Unlike a basic pants belt / concealed carry load, the Lite BB also contains rifle ammo. You can therefore decide to skip the Lite BB concept all together and simply carry a handgun and mag load concealed / overt on your pants belt, and rifle mags / gear only on your CR/PC. This is default the situation you are probably running now for day-to-day emergencies, and works well for gray collapse and emergency attack scenarios.

Although the original MVT Battle Belt concept that I put out four or five years ago has a lot of validity to dismounted operations, I try and steer people away from the full Battle Belt concept (i.e. a full belt with large admin pouches all the way round and yoke/suspenders). It is not very flexible and hard to operate in conjunction with vehicles and everyday life. It is also not ideal with ballistic plates, and as per above, does not translate well from an everyday to an emergency situation, whereas a CR/PC can go straight on and not interfere with what you already carry around your waist.

The Lite BB functions as an overt item that allows for easy everyday carry of a handgun, plus handgun and rifle mags, plus miscellaneous items. In a “tactical scenario” where you have no worry about overt carry, then this provides a great solution for everyday (i.e. all the time) carry of handgun and also a couple of reloads for rifle and handgun. It is not designed for patrolling out of sight of home base, where you will add the CR/PC plus the Daypack / Hydration Pack. Tending the tomatoes? Yes. Lounging on the porch? Yes. Walking round the backyard? Yes. I also wear mine all the time at training, and I have the option of adding the CR/PC as necessary.
Suggested Lite BB configuration: (see photo above)

Run the pouches on the belt mainly at 3 and 9 o’clock on your hips. Place nothing on the front forward of your hip bones, unless they are just small pouches, because this will interfere with prone and crawling.

Left or Right side:

Multitool pouch
TQ Pouch.
Handgun: in a decent kydex holster (Safariland in the photo).
Knife

Left or Right side:

2 x kydex handgun mag pouches (open top)
2 x kydex rifle / carbine mag pouches (open top)

Back options:

Small IFAK pouch
Rolled dump pouch
Hydration Pouch or
Admin pouch
Ensure that what you put on the back is low profile and does not interfere with sitting in a chair or vehicle.

Suspenders? If the belt is truly light, you won’t need them. If you have rear pouches on the belt and wear a ruck, then you need the suspenders so that you can hang the belt on them without having to do it up too tight. Also, consider a patrol base: suspenders on the BB usually run under your CR/PC. Thus, you have to take off your CR/PC to take off your belt, which you may have to do to be able to sleep i.e. get into your sleeping bag.

You may want to keep your PC on while in the patrol base if you consider you need that level of readiness, and thus being able to easily take off the BB to sleep is a bonus (note: sleeping on your back due to a Lite BB on your hips makes it more likely you will snore, and thus be woken up). You may also not want to take off your PC if it is held together by velcro, because if it is, it may be too noisy! Not having suspenders also reduces the strap junk running over your shoulders.



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"The time for war has not yet come, but it will come and that soon, and when it does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." Gen. T.J. Jackson, March 1861

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ConSigCor
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quote:
Gear System: Philosophy, Set Up, Use, Fitness & Mindset- Part 2, by Max


Today, we are concluding this article, which is a follow-up to the recent “The Practical Application of Tactical Gear, Load, and Weight Considerations”. Part 1 disclosed the basics of the gear system and began detailing them. We are continuing with the details, and then covering the practical use of our gear and the importance of physical conditioning.
THE DETAIL (continued)
Chest Rig / Plate Carrier:

You must avoid the temptation to “go large” with this item. With the available huge admin pouches and the like, this is particularly something you want to avoid below your armpits or right on the front. However, you will need sufficient ammunition, which is why light and fast is never really light and fast unless you can balance it with light enough, and sufficient PT ability to be fast.

In the photo at top, there are three mags on the PC. (It has room to go up to five or seven, if you feel so inclined.) There can be two in the Lite Belt, one on the rifle, and two on the back of the Lite Hydration carrier. I use the figure of six to eight mags as a good basic rifle load-out, with a possible resupply for a potential contact situation on your back or in your vehicle. See the recent article “The Practical Application of Tactical Gear, Load, and Weight Considerations” for more on that.

Other than the magazines, keep the amount of admin gear and huge pouches that you put on your CR/PC to the minimum. The rest go in a Lite Hydration Pack / Daypack. You want the CR/PC to be relatively close to the body and comfortable. You also want to be able to wear it in any number of profile / posture relevant situations.
Test Your Ability to Move in Your Rig / Plates

You need to be able to move and fight in your Lite BB / CR/PC combination. It will have weight, due to the plates and the ammo load, but you can limit it as required. You should train in the gear and do PT to ensure that the load is something you can handle and that it is comfortable, with no hidden chaffing or surprises. If you can’t wear the plates and move, then you either need to do more PT or ditch the plates. Ditch ammo if you have to, because it is not good to be unable to move.
Assault/Day/3-Day Packs:

This is really very much overlooked. It is, again, a balance. Stop throwing stuff in there because “two is one and one is none.” How about instead considering “My gear weighs so much I am too exhausted to patrol professionally and effectively.”?

You need a light Daypack or Hydration Pack that will be worn in conjunction with your Lite BB and CR/PC combination. A Daypack is comfortable and versatile; thus, this is where excess gear should go. It will also work as your vehicle grab-bag. You must still work very hard not to put excess gear in this. This is what is worn for any type of patrol away from your base or vehicles. It still has to be, overall, a combination that you can move and fight in.

The Patrol Pack is what is worn if you are ever planning on going out overnight, or for any extended (short) period of time where you may have to sleep out in the bush. Avoid this unless mission essential. Stay light. Avoid the massive ruck scenario like the plague! You may plan to do it, but you probably don’t have the fitness in reality to remain alert and agile enough and not give in to the temptations of complacency, and even if you do have the fitness level, if you come under contact you will have to dump the whole load, never to be seen again.

What goes in the Daypack (or light Patrol Pack, if you will)? Some suggestions follow (but keep it light):

Spare mags – maybe x 4.
Hydration bladder 3L This is why we don’t attach a bladder to the back of our CR/PC.
Energy- Something in terms of a “packed lunch” plus emergency energy rations.
Night vision gear/batteries.
Means to purify water – puri-tabs, a straw, or a ***pump.
Small IFAK.
Wet/cold weather clothing – limited.
Miscellaneous items, such as basic rifle kit/rod.
Kitchen sink x 2 because one is none and two is….STOP! Be ruthless.

As you can see you have to carefully balance an effective load with what can be carried by you “light and fast”. You have to be ruthless and stop putting things in “just in case”, because everything is a calculated risk and the most important thing is your effectiveness on the ground. If you can only carry four mags and remain effective, then that is your solution.
PRACTICAL GEAR USE & PHYSICAL CONDITIONING:

Your gear is designed to support your tactical operations, and thus it should support you defeating the enemy and staying alive. If your gear is a hindrance, then it will not support your effective conduct of operations.

You will not be able to move around effectively, alert, and without falling into complacency and exhaustion, unless you have the basic PT level to do so. You will not be able to fight if your gear is too heavy for your PT level. Factors:

Your gear is too heavy.
Your gear is badly rigged / put together / organized.
You lack fitness.

Testing Your Gear And Fitness

This is what you need to do with your gear:

Once you have put it together, you need to train in it. This is everything from shooting on the range in various positions to moving in it.

This is what I do with my gear, which is separate from any specific rucking or other PT training. I have some backwoods behind my house that I have a number of hilly trails on. I put on my:

Lite BB.
Plate Carrier with full magazine load.
Daypack.
(No rifle required at this point)

I suggest you go out there at a fast walk for 30-45 minutes. Drive hard up the hills and walk down, at a fast walk but there is no need to run. As you do this more and improve, you can add shuffle running if you wish on the downhill.
Making Adjustments

If this is too much for you, then you know your gear plan was not right for you at that point. So you can work up to it. Consider re-rigging or purchasing better gear if the issue is one of comfort and how the gear works with you on the move. Mags bumping into the plate carrier/rig are all things you will discover. Consider temporarily or permanently reducing the weight of the gear. If temporary, you can drop items like the number of magazines you carry and add them back in as your fitness increases. If you realize this is all a step too far, you may take decisions such as deciding not to wear plates.

I realize that some may have difficulty finding a suitable area for this. A hilly area is best, because you can use the hills to get the heart rate up without having to run. If you have to do this in public, you may have an issue with what you look like. This is partially why rucking with just a pack is a useful activity. However, if you replace the PC with a weight vest, that may be viable, but it does not give you the opportunity to actually test the PC itself.

I suggest the above because it is an easy activity that can be progressed as hard and far as you want. It is not a PT program. Rather, it is designed to both test your gear and your ability to move in that specific gear. It will also inoculate you to the sweatiness of working out in gear, such as a PC. At the most simple, I am saying that you have to get out and move about in whatever gear you plan on wearing. You have to use it, test it, see what works and does not work. You also need to improve your fitness.
A Note On Ballistic Plates

I am referring to investing in ceramic / dyneema hybrid standalone plates that are usually designated “Level 3+” and will stop M855 Green Tip. These plates can weigh as little as 4.6 lbs and are an investment in mobility and protection. I do not advocate the use of steel plates for a number of reasons.
Gauging Physical Preparedness

I post the following on my website as a gauge for people to use to see if they are physically prepared for tactical training. You can use it also to give you some idea if you are ready for maneuver while in contact with the enemy:

In order to be ready for class, you need to be able to do a minimum level of fitness. Part of this is a basic cardio level, and then there is the ability to get up and down from both kneeling and prone positions. That is, while holding your rifle safely muzzle down to the front, and without using excessive force or leverage to push yourself up from kneeling, perhaps by pushing on a knee while unsafely waving your muzzle around. You also need to be mentally alert. This is not an age thing, because we have had spry 67 year olds run the classes, better than not-so-spry 30-somethings. It’s about the individual, not the age. The better your physical and mental fitness and alertness, the better able you will be to maintain the rigorous safety standards we set on the ranges and to learn more from the training experience.
The Standard

So here is a simple standard. It’s not a training plan to get you to it but a simple standard to gauge if you are ready for a class:

Find a 100 yard stretch of ground. “Enemy” is beyond the 100 yard line.
Carry a rifle, or something to simulate one.
Carry the rifle in the “patrol ready” position to your front, butt stock between mid-chest and the pocket of your shoulder, muzzle straight down to your front.
Begin:
Dash 5-7 yards, kneel, bring the “weapon” up to the firing position, wait 5 seconds.
Dash 5-7 yards, go prone, wait 5 seconds.
Repeat, alternating kneeling and prone, to 100 yards.
Come back from 100 yards to the start, same deal as going forwards, but running to the rear (not running backwards) and each time you kneel or go prone, face back to the original enemy direction.
Wait 30 seconds.
Repeat.
Note: The “dash” needs to be a rush, perhaps adding a zig-zag.

Can you do that without excessive fatigue? Then you are ready for class. You can’t? Do some PT.

You want to consider the need to get up from prone to kneeling, and from kneeling to standing. This incorporates upper body strength (push-ups) with thigh strength (squats/lunges). This is not an exhaustive list, but it is simply a guide to help you determine your practical fitness level. It is a bare minimum.

For specific gear questions, I recommend the MVT Forum. Also, a number of potential questions may have been addressed in the previous article: “The Practical Application of Tactical Gear, Load, and Weight Considerations”.



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"The time for war has not yet come, but it will come and that soon, and when it does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." Gen. T.J. Jackson, March 1861

Posts: 14997 | From: A 059 Btn 16 FF MSC | Registered: Oct 2001  | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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