Sunday, January 5, 2014

Fighting Load Contest Entry #1 Prairie Patriot Part 1 of 2

Today I am pleased to bring you the first entry in our Fighting Load Contest. We'll be talking chest rigs and battle belts as well as guns and get home bags/ assault packs. Get yours together to win some great prizes including:

1st: Blackhawk 3 day Assault Pack ($90) AND a $50 gift certificate from ($50 value) plus 2 copies of The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
2nd: HERC stove from Titan Ready Water ($169 value) plus The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
Note: Prizes 1 and 2 are really closely matched. As such the overall winner can pick the Lucky Gunner stuff OR the HERC. 2nd place gets what is left. 2 books will go to #1 and 1 book to #2.
3rd Place: 3 Sport Berkey Water Bottles donated by LPC Survival ($69 value)
4th Place:  A Lifestraw donated by Camping Survival ($20 value)
5th Place: A pair of Gyver Gear survival tin's
6th Place: The Western Front (hardcopy) or 3x e books by Archer Garrett.
Wildcard: This one goes to whoever I want to give it to for whatever reason I feel like. It will be a grab bag donated by yours truly. The exact makeup is TBD depending on what I have lying around  and may include books, gear, medical stuff or even a couple silver dimes. ($30+  value).

For a good example of a post reference my EDC Contest entry or Max's  Battle Belt discussion. Those should give you a good idea what type of thing I'm looking for. I will probably do a full fighting load post some time after the new year.

The contest is going to run from today 16 December to 1 February. Voting will start after the last entry is shown on the blog. Voting will run for about a week and will decide the winner's who get the prizes.

Read all the details here.

Onto Entry #1 by Prairie Patriot. Note due to length this entry will be broken into 2 parts. The first will talk fighting gear and the second will be his get home bags.

Low Profile/Transition Loadout

So, I made it home or I was already at home when the SHTF.  It is time to run off and kick ass, right?  Not so fast.  This may just be a temporary crisis and not a full blown descent into anarchy.  If that is the case, then it would be best to keep a low profile for those times when you had no choice, but to leave your home.  A lot of folks will not have a place to bug out to.  Therefore, being as inconspicuous as possible is in order. 

I also envision this load out being used in a high threat environment that may be leading towards a darker path, but where it is still inappropriate for overt items such as cammies, battle belts and PCs.  In other words, this load out is for the transitional phase that could lead up to the “big show”:  Full blown armed resistance to tyranny.

This incorporates elements of the Get Home and EDC system as well as a few unique items to form what I call the Low Pro/Transitional Loadout.  For simplicity’s sake, I am only listing what is on my immediate person.  You can imagine that a small pack with additional items will depend on the particular situation.

The upside down photo is my fault (TOR)

On my person:

·         M&P9c in Crossbreed IWB holster – This has turned out to be my favorite carry pistol.  I upgraded the stock sights with Meprolight Night Sights (all 3 dots are green).  My only complaint is the trigger.  I want to eventually replace it with an Apex Level 2 trigger job plus the AEK Trigger.
·         Crossbreed Gunbelt – A good belt is a must when carrying.  Regular belts are just not stiff enough to support the weight of a holster, pistol and any additional magazines you might have on your person.
·         Spare Magazine in Safariland Mag Pouch – Nothing to write home about.  The mag holder does what it needs to do and has adjustable retention.
·         Emerson CQC-7 – This knife is my EDC knife.  I went with the tanto style plain edge.  Frankly, I like the look of the tanto.  I also have read that the tanto design allows a person to puncture an object easier than other designs.  I prefer a straight edge for a couple of reasons.  The first is that I think a straight edge can accomplish 95% of the tasks that a serrated edge can.  The second is simple.  I do not know how to sharpen a serrated edge and I have been told it can be a pain in the rear.
·         Victorinox Cadet – I carry this in order to open beer bottles.  Seriously.  I’ve used the bottle opener and, occasionally the screw driver, more often than I have the blade.  Still, it is nice to have a backup.
·         Paracord Bracelet
·         Suunto Vector
·         Fenix PD32 flashlight
·         Handkerchief
·         Blow Out Kit - Adventure Medical Kit with CAT Tourniquet
·         Mayflower Low Profile Armor Carrier with Velocity Systems Level IIIa Backers – This armor carrier is intended to be used with concealment cut soft armor from Velocity Systems.  However, it is fairly pricey and the carrier also has the ability to up armor to plates.  For now, I just use the level IIIa plate backers for both front and back in the plate pockets.  The carrier itself is designed to accept Mayflower chest rigs that clip into the Fastex female pieces and is held in place with hook and loop material on the outside of the armor/back of the chest rig.  The carrier is not very noticeable when wearing a button down shirt.  I would be fairly confident that I would go unnoticed unless someone was really paying attention and within a few feet of me.
·         Katadyn Micropur tablets
·         Butane lighter
·         Water bottles (not pictured)
·         Cliff Bars

Full Fighting/ Foot Patrol Loadout

This is reserved for a worst case scenario.  All of the items are geared towards true light infantry.  In other words, all of the gear an individual fighter would need to operate on their own without relying on vehicles and constant re-supply.  Of course, you would want to be part of a team, but that is a topic for another day.  I think of my fighting/patrol loadout as being divided up into a different levels (as many others do).  The first level is what is on my battle belt and my BDU pockets:

ATS Modular Padded Belt w/ ATS War Belt Insert Belt – This belt is well constructed with 3 rows of PALS webbing.  The bottom of the belt is open at the bottom for attachments that would normally go on a duty type belt.  For example, my drop leg holster hangs off of this portion of the belt.

·         TYR Suspenders – The suspenders do what they are meant to.  I will note that they lie nice and flat underneath my plate carrier.
·         PIG Alpha Gloves – These gloves are very form fitting so that you get a lot of tactile feedback while still having some minor protection for your hands.  I’m not sure how well they will hold up in field conditions, but I consider gloves to be a consumable item anyways.
·         Double Stack HSGI Taco Rifle Pouch x 3 – I chose the Taco pouches in the event I change my main weapon.  The Tacos are adjustable for different sized magazines.
·         Esstac Double Pistol Pouches – These are basically a type of Kydex magazine holder.  I am considering moving these over to my right hand side placing them where the IFAK is currently.  I would then move the IFAK to the face of the HSGI Nalgene Pouch.
·         HSGI 2QT/Utility Pouch – 3 MRE main entrees plus the heaters, water purification tablets and the PVS-14 with j-arm and TM-14 mount attached.  The PVS-14 in conjunction with an IR laser at night is a huge advantage.  99% of the time the PVS-14 is helmet mounted, but the TM-14 twist mount does let me have the option of weapon mounting it behind my NV compatible T-1.
·         HSGI P-Taco for Surefire G2 Flashlight – Originally I was using this for its intended purpose as a pistol mag holder.  However, I like the idea of having a spare flashlight.  The G2 is an 80 lumen light with a rubber body.
·         HSGI Nalgene Pouch – A stainless steel 40 oz wide mouth Klean Kanteen fits perfectly into this.  However, it is necessary to remove the metal zipper pull tabs.  They are loud!  I will be threading some paracord through to make them silent pull tabs.
·         ESEE-4 Knife – I have attached this to the side of the HSGI Nalgene Pouch via the PALS webbing.  It is easy to access with my right hand.  The Kydex sheath plus the Velcro handle retention strap keeps it securely in place.  The knife itself is tool steel.  It holds a good edge, but is prone to rusting if not properly cared for.  I use canola oil to keep the blade in good condition so that I can still use it to prepare food and not contaminate what I am eating.
·         FLIR Scout PS24 in dedicated pouch – The FLIR Scout PS24 is the lower end version of the Scout line.  What that means is that the resolution is not quite as good and it does not have a zoom capability.  Still, it really provides a huge advantage in the field.  I probably should rattle can the pouch a different shade of green to at least blend in a bit more with the multicam. 
·         Safariland Drop Leg Holster with Glock 22 – I waffle back and forth on the drop leg setup.  The negatives of a drop leg rig are that it gets hung up on other things.  It also rotates on a person’s thigh when moving.  You can imagine the problems this presents.  The advantage is that it is out of the way if you are wearing bulky armor or have items that would foul up a belt line draw stroke.  I keep my PC fairly slick, so if I can find a good holster for the belt, then I probably will move in that direction.

The Glock is minimally modified.  I did add Meprolight night sights to it.  I also installed an extended magazine release button.  A Surefire X300 weaponlight rides on the rail.  Otherwise, it’s a Glock.  Not much else to say about it.
·         Original SOE Mini Tear Away IFAK with SOFTT-W tourniquet – This kit is just big enough to hold the essentials for a blow out kit.  It is mounted on a panel of loop material and is secured with straps fastened by a Fastex clip.  I had some concerns with the kit ripping away unintentionally.  To date, I’ve been in and out of vehicles with the belt on (not very comfortable), but it hasn’t managed to work itself loose.  I’ve considered dummy cording it.  As I mentioned, I may make room for the pistol mags and move the kit further to the middle.
·         Assorted Energy Bars, BIC lighter and other small items in BDU pockets

Personally, I also consider my rifle as part of my first line.  My rifle of choice is the AR-15 platform:

Bravo Company Manufacturing Mid Length Carbine

·         TI-7 Buttstock – This buttstock locks up nice and tight.  It also has storage for smaller spare parts and batteries.
·         MOE Magpul Pistol Grip – I hate the stock pistol grip.  The bump on the middle of the stock grip drove me nuts.  This grip eliminates that and also has additional storage for more batteries, spare parts or even single use tubes of lube.
·         BCM Gunfighter Charging Handle Mod 4 (medium sized latch) – It’s kind of a spendy item.  The large latch is nice for weapons manipulation.
·         Troy Industries Back up Iron Sights – These are all metal construction and lie very flat.  Again, another pricey item, but you get what you pay for.
·         Aimpoint T-1 (4 MOA) in Larue Quick Release Mount – This is great for CQB distances.  However, I have been wanting to go down the path of a variable optic for quite a while now.  I want to be able to range and obviously more magnification helps with target identification.  For my price range, I’m thinking of the Vortex 1-6 x Razor Gen II.   If anyone has suggestions, then please comment.
·         Aimpoint 3x Magnifier in Larue Flip to Side Quick Release Mount – This does give me some flexibility in capability combined with the red dot.  However, see above for my reasons for wanting to move away from this setup.
·         Troy Alpha Rail 13 in. – Thin profile and lightweight without having excess rails.
·         Inforce WML (Haley Strategic 200 Lumen version) – Mounted at the 12 o’clock position on the rifle, the angle of the activation switch is perfect.  I have considered getting the Inforce with IR capability.
·         Laser Devices DBAL-I2 – This is practically a must if you are going to use night vision and aim your weapon at the same time.  The IR laser is not slaved to the visible laser.  This makes it a bit more challenging to sight in properly if you don’t have access to a range at night.
·         Magpul MS3 Sling – I like the capability to convert from a one point to two point sling.  My only very minor complaint is that the quick adjust on the length is a little harder to manipulate than on slings of similar design (i.e. Blue Force Gear’s VCAS).

What I consider as my second line includes my plate carrier, “assault” pack and helmet.  I carry mostly ammo, food and water in the pack.  I keep the plate carrier fairly “low profile” to more effectively go prone:

PIG Plate Carrier with Single Stack HSGI Taco Rifle Pouch x 4 – This carrier is well put together.  The front panel is divided for easier donning and doffing.  It is actually fairly comfortable as far as carriers go.  Velocity Systems Level III/ in conjunction with (ICW) Level IV plates ride in the front and back pockets.  This means that level IIIa soft backers are used to qualify the protection as level IV when placed behind plates.  The plates alone are considered level III.

Tactical Tailor Fight Light Removable Operator Pack – This was meant to be used with TT’s Operator Pack.  There are two compartments.  The main compartment holds another 6 magazines, food, water, spare batteries, and spare socks.  I also have been trying out putting my Motorola Talk About into the pack and then running the ear piece out the top of the pack.  I stuff another 3-4 magazines into the smaller outer compartment for easier access to spare ammunition.

MICH/ACH Helmet with Rhino Mount for NV – Honestly, this probably should be considered part of the first line.  However, I have not researched/figured out a way to attach this to my belt.  I like the idea of just being able to swipe the belt and run if I had to.  It’s a fairly minor qualifier.  If anyone has a suggestion for how to attach this to my belt, then I welcome the input.

This is just a snapshot of my current approach.  There are still refinements that will need to be made.  Some I am aware of and some will only become noticeable through practice runs.  I can only hope and pray that these systems will not be necessary in the future, but if the SHTF, then I would rather be prepared than not.  I would also note that the gear is secondary to your development of skills, prior training and mindset.  If anyone has suggestions for improvement, then please feel free to comment and thanks for taking the time to read my submission.

 End Entry-
Ryan here. First I would like to thank PP for taking the time to put this all together and share it with us. As to discussion. In no particular order here we go:
-Part of the reason I like a lot of this setup is probably that it is very similar to my own.
-I like the idea of an interim setup between normal life and full on military swag. A black out or hurricane may well merit a higher level of preparedness but not a full on rifle and belt kit setup. For the budget conscious this could be done with a stripped plate carrier (holding plates) that is also used in the full on setup. I favor this method as it gives a lot of modularity. Ditto it could use the same handgun.
-While the M&P 9 and Glock .40 are both fine weapons there are benefits to streamlined logistics. This would mean having compatible models of ONE PLATFORM such as a subcompact/ compact carry gun and a compact/ full sized duty gun that take the same leather/ ammo/ mags/ parts. The scenario where you have an M&P 9 and a belt full of Glock .40 mags is an ugly one.
-PP has FLIR, I can haz jealous.
-Since Prairie Patriot broke the ice it is time to take a picture of your stuff, do a quick write up and send it to me

Tomorrow you will see part 2 of this entry- Get Home Bags.


Prairie Patriot said...

Awesome, sorry for the posting trouble it gave you. I've considered going to at least the Glock 17 to streamline my caliber options. I had read somewhere there were some intermittent accuracy issues with the full size M & P 9's. Kind of made me hesitant on purchasing one.

Theother Ryan said...

PP, No worries man. Getting into the same caliber would be a solid step in the right direction towards said simplicity. Or swap the M&P 9 for a G23. I'd go Glock 9 but that's just me.

TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf said...

This is some top, top quality gear - well thought out investment.

Hard to top this.

'cept it needs more dirt on it :)

The Geeks said...

hi..Im college student, thanks for sharing :)good design

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