Showing posts with label night vision. Show all posts
Showing posts with label night vision. Show all posts

Thursday, December 19, 2013

RE: Max Velocities Considerations on Night Operations

Read the original post here. My thoughts in no particular order:

Everything is harder at night, fighting is no different.

When patrolling at night you really need to tighten up distances and formations to the point you aren't losing folks. The groups skill level as well as the percentage of illumination and vegetation dictate but sometimes the only option is a very shallow wedge or even a file. Losing people at night is a real bloody mess.

Accountability at night needs to be done by physically touching people. Like walking down a line (or moving people through a release point) and touching each one of them. Otherwise you will think you see somebody and it is actually a clump of brush or a figment of your imagination.

At night, especially low tech you need really simple plans. Like basic suppress and flank type stuff. A 7 phase plan with multiple fire control measures and supplementary support by fire locations is not going to work. Keep it super simple.

White lights on weapons are good for up close work. I favor them for CQB and clearing buildings/ caves/ etc. On the other hand hitting one in a fight in the middle of a field would be bad.

Parachute flares are an old school way to illuminate an area. They are great for defense and can be used under the right conditions offensively. A person in a covered position lighting an area up with flares right before a complicated final assault on a small compound might be a good idea.

I've talked prioritizing night vision in the past. I won't fault folks who cannot afford gen III night vision, let alone an IR laser and FLIR. Personally I do not have FLIR. I'd like it but do not really have a plan to make that happen.Will hav to think on that and maybe over the next year or two make it work.

If you don't have the money well, you don't have the money. There are things that are really important which cost money, more than some folks have, so I do not see a point in beating them up about it. I'd love to have a 50 foot sailboat ready to go on the gulf and an isolated off grid cabin in the PNW but I don't have an extra few hundred grand to make it happen. On the other hand I think a person who is buying extra guns they don't use to squirrel them away in the safe instead of getting night vision to maximize their effectiveness as a combatant is making a real mistake.

Fighting people who have better technology is hard. It is an uneven fight from the get go. Like Max said you need to maneuver the same way you would during the day. When it comes to being seen use terrain to your advantage. Maneuver up to a hill from behind, launch an ambush then get terrain between you and the enemy quickly. Wrap that into a simple plan and you've got a chance at success.

The low tech underdog really needs to have their ducks in a row before choosing to fight.  I would find a situation where by location or poor operating procedures (weak walls, lazy guards, etc all) the enemy was vulnerable AND I was confident I would be able to get in, execute the attack AND GET OUT. An underdog is better off doing a thorough recon and deciding against 3 attacks to get to the right one then getting massacred by air power. Better to choose selectively and LIVE then be less selective and more successful till you die.

As a final thought I would be sure to do full rehearsals AT NIGHT in comparable terrain whenever possible. Get used to dealing with all of the problems of operating at night while still in the planning phase. So those are my thoughts on that.

Edited to include an email from B
I found an interesting article over at Hackaday that may be interesting to you and your readers looking to get an advantage at a cheaper price. The Flir E4 Thermal Camera ($1000) has the same guts as their Flir E8 ($6000) which can then have the firmware upgraded to create a really good camera at a large discount. Link to article http://hackaday.com/2013/11/04/manufacturer-crippled-flir-e4-thermal-camera-hacked-to-perform-as-high-end-model/
Have a happy holiday!

B



Quote of the Day- Max Velocity on Night Vision

I will say this, in my opinion, it would be better to have one battle rifle equipped with an IR laser, have a PVS 14 mounted on a ballistic helmet, and a handheld FLIR thermal imager, than a safe full of rifles and no night vision capability. (my emphasis-Ryan) You don’t have to use this stuff all of the time, but if you have it you have the choice of using it. For example, if you are hidden out someplace with your family after the SHTF, it’s going to be dark out there keeping watch at night. With a PVS 14 and a FLIR you have the excellent capability of being able to scan your perimeter and pick up threats. You can even use these devices on ground domination activity patrols (GDA). Yes, I’ve told you that you can work out there at night, but the flipside is that without the equipment your visibility is seriously impeded, and without electric light it is very dark out there.

-Max Velocity in Considering Night Operations

I will write more about this article later.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Southern Prepper 1 on the DBAL IR Laser


Interesting video that meshes with my thoughts on the matter. Yes they are really expensive. That being said if you can swing it they offer an immeasurable advantage in hours of darkness. If you can afford such a setup it would be prudent to acquire one while they are still available.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

DBAL I2 Initial Impressions and Night Vision Stuff

Night vision is not cheap. This PVS-14 and DBAL I2 in this picture cost as much as a nice enduro motorcycle or a decent used car. If you can afford it they are an excellent combination. If there is no way you can make that work I would not feel bad about it. You could rock trijicon night sights and surefire lights or consider cheaper Gen 1 night vision. They probably offer 20-25% of the capability (with IR illuminators) at roughly the similar fraction of cost. I can not in good conscience endorse Gen 1 night vision but it probably beats no night vision.

Shown aside the NOD is my DBAL I2 IR/ visible red laser. It showed up a week or so back. The laser also comes with a green vis option for about $200 more. I have heard green lasers can be seen much better/ further by a smart gal named Brigid. Honestly have no use for a vis laser on a fighting rifle so I saw no need to pay more money. For no particular reason put it on a shelf then left it there. Got to fiddling with it a bit today. Will do a brief version of the usual format.

Good: Seems like a quality piece of kit. It is a quality unit with a nice sturdy looking attachment method (though I would zip tie it in place to be safe). A few youtube videos showed that it returns to zero fairly well. I like that it comes in tan. Once the rail is on my rifle will be painted but taking a rattle can to a $800 laser isn't something I like the idea of. So tan is good enough for me.

As to effectiveness of the civilian legal class 1 lasers I can not yet say. A quick net search says dudes are smoking pigs past 200m with DBALs so I think it'll be good enough for me. 

The Bad: It runs on a CR-123 which isn't perfect but most lasers I have seen run on them. That battery is one we stock anyway so it's not a huge deal. Do need to pick up another dozen of them though.

Also getting the battery cap screwed on (to install the battery) was a hassle. Maybe mine is odd or it will break in a bit, however it took me 5 minutes to screw the darn cap on after putting the battery in.

The Ugly: I was under (in hindsight I'm not exactly sure why but I digress) the impression that the vis and IR lasers were slaved. Slaved lasers adjust together so zeroing the vis laser would zero the IR. This is not the case, the lasers definitely adjust separately. This makes for a big hassle in that I have to get out and zero the laser at night. Civilian ranges where you can shoot at night are few and far between. To zero an IR laser I'm going to need a fairly known distance and a very stable rest. A bit more complicated than just confirming a zero with a couple rounds shot at a rock way out in the desert. Granted this will be a one time hassle but it will be a hassle for sure.

In the next few days I will order a rail for the AR. If I wasn't mounting a laser I wouldn't bother with the rail. Well now I am so I need to. Personally I bought the laser first as rail's aren't going anywhere. A troy rail will soon be put on my rifle which will be shortly followed by painting and finally Project Upgrade AR will be finished. [Though I would like to get a BCM lower, for no particular reason, just so everything matches.]

When zeroing lasers there are a couple important things to remember. First the adjustments are opposite iron sights or a scope. Instead of moving the point of impact (the hole the bullet makes AKA POI ) to the point of aim (where your sights point AKA POA) you are moving the laser to meet the impact of the bullet. So adjustments are opposite. Example instead of adjusting right 10 clicks to make the bullet impact (POI) on the bullseye (POA) you are adjusting the laser left 10 clicks to make it meet the strike of the bullet.

There are two fundamental options when zeroing a laser. You can have it zeroed for a given distance or parallel. The plus side of a laser zeroed for a given distance is that it is dead on (perfect POA/POI) for that distance. The downside is that it is off to varying degrees at every other distance. Imagine two chop sticks, one is laid over the other at a gentle angle. The further you get away from the converging point the further the chop sticks get from each other. This options would make sense if for whatever reason you know you will shoot at a given distance. The other option is parallel. Think train tracks. If a laser is an inch above and 3/4's inch to the left of the muzzle it will stay there. So at 10 meters it will be an inch up and 3/4's inch left, same at 50 or 100 meters. This is the method used by our Army, at least in my experience. [Of course bullets do not fly strait. However at the ranges it would matter (past 300m for 5.56) you are probably not going to hit a whole lot at night anyway so I would argue that it doesn't matter.] I would rather have the laser consistently an inch up and 3/4 inch right all the time than perfect at one point and off an unknown distance for the rest.

Anyway that's my initial impression of the DBAL I2.


Sunday, June 9, 2013

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

Been eating my way through the garden which is good. Also got some nets put over the tomatoes so hopefully we can eat the second batch. Seam sealed the Swack Shack. Rotated half the gas cans and filled them back up. Will do the others next week.

My DBAL showed up which is cool. Will talk more about that later.

Meant to swap out some stuff in our bags for lighter items that are more suitable for summer down here. Didn't get to it so it'll happen next week.

Anyway that was my week. What did you do to prepare this week?


Friday, June 7, 2013

Excellent Linkeage

John Mosby continues the Combat Rifle Craft discussion

American Mercenary talks IED's

Chris reviews a Gen I night vision device

Teotwawki Blog's You Took Away Tomorrow series 

How to spot a concealed firearm. I see a lot of guns. If forced to unscientifically guess I see half to 2/3rds of the guns that are carried concealed in my immediate area. Bulges on the side of the waistline are an obvious one. Right or wrong I assume anybody wearing tactical garb (5.11 pants, Multicam hats with morale patches, etc all) is packing. Obviously folks wearing concealed carry/ photographer type vests who do not have a huge camera are packing. ANYBODY wearing a vest when it is 90 degrees outside is hiding a gun.

It isn't so much that these folks are doing anything wrong in terms of concealment. Just that folks know their own. Potheads can find potheads, gays can find gays, CCW folks can often spot their own. The guns I miss are 1) Particularly small and discretely carried. Hard to tell if somebody dressed normally has a little .22/.32/ .380 in their pocket or 2) The gun is on the side away from me or I just miss it thinking about other things or whatever.




Thursday, April 11, 2013

Project AR Upgrade: Troy Rail and DBAL I2?


So I am getting ready to complete Project AR Upgrade. Funding is about 70% in place and pending a transaction tomorrow will be complete. Here is what I am looking at.

Rail: Troy Battle Rail Delta. I want to keep the standard gas block/ front sight for a few reasons. First cuz I've got it and the gun is zeroed, second cuz I'm cheap and third they are IMO more rugged than any folding type sight that would go onto a rail. The minimalist type rail seems like the way to go giving me all the benefits of a free floating barrel but an easier and cheaper install. Honestly I wouldn't bother except wanting a solid place (to hold a zero) to mount an IR laser.

IR Laser: Looking at a DBAL I2. Would go with the red vis laser because I don't use the vis anyway.

Pending that sale and a little bit more research I should be able to pull the trigger this weekend or early next week. If you have any experience with this stuff or comparable products please let me know your thoughts.




Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Thermal Crossover

Definition: (DOD) The natural phenomenon which normally occurs twice daily when temperature conditions are such that there is a loss of contrast between two adjacent objects on infrared imagery.

In Laymens terms twice a day the optical technology gap between guys with iron sighted AK's and dudes with ten grand in cool technology is leveled. Folks who figured out when that time was and took advantage could take advantage of that situation. Some guys I know were regularly mortared at just the right time (thermal crossover) in Iraq. They never really figured out a good way to deal with it.

Figured that little tidbit might just interest a few of you.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving Thanks

My family has so many things to be thankful for. Our immediate little family is all healthy which is important. We have everything we need and a lot of things we want. Thanks to some food fortune and sound decision making we are financially stable.

I am also thankful for the unparallelled advantages being an American gives us survivalists.  We can  purchase state of the art night vision and body armor. We can build military pattern rifles to our goals and specifications like Project AR Upgrade. We can purchase enough 9mm, 12 gauge, .223 and .308 to fight a decent sized war. We can buy modern quality magazines for weapons such as Glock's at very affordable prices. Normal citizens (used intentionally instead of civilians) can get very high quality firearms and small unit training. For the cost of a pretty average long weekend get away we can store away a whole bunch of food for the long term. The cost of a casual dining dinner will allow us to purchase all manner of awesome survival tools and quality water filters. All of this stuff is readily available just waiting for you to take it home. While nothing is free the cost of much of this stuff, night vision being the real exception with higher end guns as a close second, is available at every man type prices.

Also I am thankful for coffee and all manner of delightful foods we will enjoy later today.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Hoss USMC Compares Gen I Night Vision to Gen III

We have talked about night vision and the Gen I vs Gen III debate and I think this video brings some value to the overall conversation.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Buy Once Cry Once?

I have heard this saying for a long time. Heck I have even said it a few times myself. It really came up in the recent discussion of night vision. I found that phrase coming up and got to thinking about it.

Generally speaking I like the idea. Buying something good that will last for a long time (or indefinitely) appeals to my frugal nature. Also it appeals to my survivalist tendencies. If things are moving along like normal and a tool or piece of equipment fails you go pick up a new one. However if things are not normal you have a problem. This also suits my minimalist nature. Aside from some key redundancy (don't like relying on a single anything) I am generally willing to have less stuff if I know it will not break. Instead of a whole box of $5 junk folders I can have a couple good backups.

The question of when this applies is what I have been thinking about the most. I suppose it comes down to three main questions:

-What is the price difference between the right answer and the more affordable (or convenient or whatever) alternative?

If it is a matter of a small amount of money like 10-25% to me the answer is easy. On the other hand if the difference between the two is more like 50-100% or even more (like night vision) the question is more complicated.

For example once I got a .22 rifle. The Remington 597 was a little bit cheaper than a Ruger 10/22. Being stupid I bought that piece of junk instead of saving another $40 or whatever. I ended up giving away the 597 and getting a 10/22 down the road but that is another story. The point is that I should have been smart and bought the much better but slightly more expensive tool and been done with it.

 -How urgently do you need the item?

If you are moving to Alaska and it is November you need a really warm coat right now. In this case you need to buy an old milsurp parka or something as you obviously cannot wait until you can afford the coolest big name outdoor parka. If Jimmy Crowbar is after you then saving up for a few months to buy a Glock is a bad idea. Instead you should scrape up enough cash to get a used S&W .38 today. On the other hand if you are upgrading a tool set or a firearms there really is not any sort of urgency. A nicer set of box end wrenches would be great but you are getting along fine now.

Project Upgrade AR falls into this category. I already have a functional long gun so there is no reason things must be rushed into buying less than what I want. I want to do it right and not have to mess with it again. If the right part(s) mean saving for an extra month that is not a huge deal.

-Does this item fit well with where you are in life?

 The whole debate is pointless if you cannot afford it. An XX dollar difference might be a deal maker for one guy and not an issue for another.  Should those dollars be put into savings or divided into a variety of areas?

Anyway those are my thoughts on that. 





Sunday, September 9, 2012

Reader Question- Night Vision

C sent me a note asking about night vision. "I am not ready to spend the coin on PVS-14s like you did but was wondering if you have any thoughts on gen 1 stuff.  My goals are modest-- (1) get familiar with the stuff, (2) check out activity in the back yard up to 50 meters or so, (3) move through terrain without visible light.  The ability to use with a weapon would be a plus.  Yukon has some positively rated gen 1 weapon sights for $400 (http://www.amazon.com/Yukon-Titanium-1-5x42-Night-Vision/dp/B001C74GM8/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top) but I don't love flagging everything I want to look at.  I also have an AIMPOINT PRO which is NVG compatible; in that case would a helmet-rig make more sense?"

TOR here: Sorry Man but to be honest I do not know. There is a picture comparison of the generations of night vision put out by a big manufacturer that you can see by going here and scrolling down about halfway. Somebody made a video comparing Gen 1 and Gen 3 that you can see here. I cannot personally vouch for these but they seem legit to me.

As to Gen 1 stuff. Broadly speaking you definitely get what you pay for. This is a great "buy once, cry once" candidate. That being said some folks are not able (or willing) to spend the equivalent of an OK used car on a NOD. Both the spend more and the 'but I can't' rabbit holes can be followed if you want. Personally I decided to suck it up and make the purchase of a NOD. I use them at work and know what they can do. The massive advantage they bring is worth the cost to me. What was right for me might not be right for others. I have used some older stuff on the .mil side, can't remember what exactly, it was a long time ago, but it was complete junk. I wish I could spend a night testing a dozen common models all the way from Gen 1-3 but the opportunity has not presented itself. It is almost certainly better than nothing but how much better and if it is worth the money I cannot say.

 You can probably get some or most of what you want done with the kind of model you mentioned, which I thought about getting myself but decided against it for reasons I cannot remember, though they will be degraded in relation to a more expensive set. I am trying my best to help but really don't know. [If anybody with experience using modern Gen 3 stuff also has experience with commercial off the shelf Gen 1 stuff like the model mentioned and is interested in writing about it please leave a comment or contact me at theotherryan@yahoo.com.]

Now we can go to something I know more about. Unless you are using night vision as a dedicated sniper setup for varmit hunting the right answer is to mount the night vision on your head, probably using some sort of helmet. The reason for this is that you are going to do a whole bunch of stuff with night vision that requires your eyes but doesn't need a gun pointed at it. Stuff from walking around to turning back to make sure a buddy is behind you or whatever.

When an optic is said to be "NVG compatible" what (I believe) they mean you will be able to use it in line with a NOD (by mounting the NOD behind the optic on the rifle). In plain English it means you can see the reticle/ dot through a NOD. If the NOD is on one eye and you try to aim the rifle with the other you would see with the night vision through one eye and with the other a lit optic on the ambient light surface. I have never done this but I suspect it would work badly.  The way to use a weapon in conjunction with a NOD is to have it on your face and aim the weapon via an IR laser. To do this you need a legit IR laser that is able to be zeroed and can hold said zero. A DBAL which is basically a civilian legal equivalent to a PEQ-15 costs about a grand. Yeah this sucks, I am knee deep in said suck right now. If anybody knows of a legitimately viable alternative I am interested. (Rednecking the cheapest IR laser you can find onto a gun won't cut it. It won't be able to get or hold a zero and thus will not be able to hit #*$* with it, sorry.)

Anyway I hope this helps our friend C and maybe a few other folks.  As always input is appreciated.
















Saturday, September 1, 2012

PVS 14 Sale and Purchase

I have been saving for a PVS 14 Monocle AKA a NOD for awhile. Stashing cash during the deployment let me put most of the needed cash away. I have been waiting until we were headed back home to pull the trigger on the whole thing. JRH Enterprises yearly Labor Day sale taking $300 off the price definitely helped me make the decision.

Also I have kind of been on the fence about the whole thing. It is a lot of money, literally the third most expensive purchase of my life. This money could be split between food, going a long way to squaring that up, and some other stuff we can really use. Or for that matter I could get a pretty nice starter motorcycle which would be really cool. The reason I decided to go with a NOD is twofold. First they are a big one shot purchase. In particular with food storage I can make regular medium sized ($200-350) purchases and rapidly work towards establishing a serious food storage program. The other stuff we are short generally falls into the same category. However large chunks of cash are few and far between. Secondly given our semi nomadic nature we cannot always have accumulated piles of stuff but it would be nice to have a few compact
items that bring real advantages. Lastly it might be dumb but I wanted a nice tangible preparedness toy tool as something good that came from a really crappy year. Maybe it isn't the perfect choice but it doesn't seem like a terrible one to me.

Night Vision is just so important. I know a lot of other stuff is important also. We need food, water and communications plans as well as weapons and gear. Also there are the usual expenses of keeping a roof over our heads, gas in the family car, the lights on and food in the pantry. Gen III night vision is ridiculously expensive. I certainly would not beat myself up if I couldn't go out and buy a NOD right now (or realistically any time in the foreseeable future). It probably is not viable for a family of 7 with a 25k household income. Maybe you could purchase something less expensive though unfortunately there is, at least in my estimation, a serious gap between cheap redneck poaching coyote hunting/ air soft qualify stuff and punitively expensive state of the art gear. I wish there was something almost as good for closer to a grand but I do not think that is the case.

You know your situation better than anybody else. If you can realistically afford quality night vision I would strongly recommend at least considering it. As John Mosby said (more or less) "If you have a half dozen semi automatic rifles but no night vision you are screwing yourself, your family and your buddies." The same could be said for a couple expensive sports cars or a toy jeep and a bike or boat or whatever other toys. We all might want to make the choice to get the right gear to be properly equipped.

It is difficult to overstate the advantage night vision gives in a fight (or at avoiding one!). They are a serious combat multiplies. I would say a guy with a NOD is equal to, or has an advantage on 2-3 guys with out them in anything but super close CQB ranges. For goodness sakes you can see at night with the damn things!

The fun of expensive stuff continues because to really use a NOD to maximum utility you need an IR laser like a PEQ 4/15/whatever or it's civilian legal equivalent the BDAL-12. Yeah you can mount a NOD to your rifle and use it in conjunction with most modern combat optics but that is not the way to go. You want the NOD on your head so you can look at stuff without flagging it. Surprise those cost about a grand, FML. That being said the combination is just an awesome way to bring hate down on people at night.

Anyway I wanted to let you know about the sale and have a little discussion on night vision. I hope everybody's Labor Day weekend is going well.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Life Update Redeployment

Wifey and Walker are back in Germany after spending the deployment home with her folks. Walker misses Amma (maternal Grandmother; no it isn't one of those weird family names it is how he pronounces Grandma) a lot and keeps asking for her. As he lived with her for a year and she was a big part of his life that makes sense. Wifey is getting settled back into our place. Apparantly I left us with no toiletpaper and forgot to take a block of cheese out of the fridge. Woopsy.

Well I am on my way out of Afghanistan. I have been done working for a couple days and have been finishing up little things, packing and getting some time to relax. Yesterday I got to sleep past 0620 for the first time since leave so that was pretty nice. Depending on weather and transportation I should be back in Germany between the next few days and a week and a half. I am looking forward to getting back to Wifey and Walker a lot. We will be taking leave shortly after I get back. Got some traveling planned but since dates are up in the air nothing is locked in yet.

I am going to resume administrative blog functions shortly. Please give Wifey some thanks because without her hard work and dedication this place would have shut down over the last year. She did a great job taking care of things even though she isn't the blogs biggest fan. I think she may have called it my mistress at least once. In any case she kept things going because it is important to me which really shows how awesome she is.

Along those lines I am pleased to say the blog faired pretty well over the last year. Aside from missing my family and the possibility of death or serious injury this place collapsing was one of my biggest worries. Things probably slipped a little in terms of readership and such but things are still going pretty well so I can't complain. I have some plans for the blog over the next couple months but will talk more about that later.

Anyway I just wanted to let you all know what is going on.

Take care of each other
Ryan

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My Kit

I wrote about chest rigs awhile back. That post got me thinking and then acting on something I had been wanting to do for some time. I use a standard issue MOLLE FLC. Money isn't an object I just like these a lot as a platform. I don't like conventional chest rigs for a couple reasons. The first reason is that unlike a conventional chest rig (they are generally a 6 inch or so panel with 2-3 rows of the modular strapping stuff) with these you can attach stuff basically anywhere on the front of your torso. Secondly in my experience chest rigs have all kinds of straps all over the place and getting them comfortable is pretty hard. Makes adjusting a shoulder holster seem easy. Also I like that the load is evenly distributed widely over your shoulders instead of on a 1 1/4 inch area.

However the FLC as issued has a serious flaw. In the back there is this big stupid strap in the back. You can rotate the biog dumb belt thing all the way around so there are just straps in the back. However doing that has the cost of not being able to open the FLC in the front. That wouldn't be a big issue except for the fact that we wear body armor. It is awful darn convenient to be able to put your FLC on and off with the IBA instead of having an extra step of pulling it over your head every single time. The picture below shows what I am talking about. (Yeah by the looks it is some Marine guys stuff but it's the first good picture which clearly shows what I was looking to show.)

Seriously the FLC is like we had a great idea and then somebody said it had to have a huge stupid thing going around the back. I think it was some old guy who just couldn't deal with the kit not being based around a big belt thing. I have tried the FLC as a rack/ chest rig with the big stupid pad rotated to the front and in its conventional way and found both setups to be wanting. Basically I prefer the FLC over a chest rig but I want it to not have the big stupid belt thing in the back and also be able to open in the front. Yeah I like to have my cake and eat it too.

So I had an idea. My idea was to replace the big stupid belt thing. You need to secure the back so it doesn't go flopping all over the place when you lean over or whatever so just having it open isn't an option. I considered a piece of 550 cord but decided against it because the Army is really anal about this stuff so it needs to look legit. Another consideration on my options was that if God forbid I am seriously injured and somebody grabs that strap to drag me I need the darn thing to hold. In full kit I probably weigh 230lbs and if you factor in momentum and someone pulling on a single point that requires a strong strap. I settled on simple 1 1/4 inch webbing with a buckle in the middle. There are hooks for webbing on the FLC right by the middle of the front (where the zipper is) so you hook it through them and it is attached. The webbing on the FLC's stupid belt thing is the same size so it is too easy. I then sat on the idea for some time.

The day I wrote the blog I decided to just do it and put my kit into the configuration I wanted. Since we are in Germany I ended up having to scavenge the webbing. I had a Tactical Tailor chest rig I never really got comfortable with sitting around and decided to scavenge from it. Unfortunately that meant  cutting straps but I left enough on the side I had to cut from (it went to a clip on the other side) that I can later just get some more webbing and hook it together with a buckle. Anyway I got it done and though I haven't used it much yet am quite happy with the results. 

As worn.

Left side has 4 double mag pouches. They can hold 8 M4 (or I guess others of comparable size) mags or 6 mags and a pistol or NVG monocle or whatever. Figure another in the rifle and possible on the butt stock and I am able to carry 270-300 rounds. Can't see carrying more on my kit though if need be I would bring a bandoleer or something.

Right side from center; medical pouch, radio pouch, 1 quart canteen pouch to hold night vision goggles with the Rino mount and J arm, on the top is a compass. The only addition I intend to make is a small random pouch to hold little stuff. Most likely my compass will move down between the radio pouch and the NVG pouch and said small random pouch will go where the compass pouch is. I carry water in a camelback and sometimes stuff a couple granola bars or whatever in a random pocket. This setup is sufficient for operations of at least several hours. If I was going out dismounted for longer it would require more water, more than a couple chewy bars and probably some sort of sleeping gear. In that case an assault pack with a 2 quart canteen or two would come along.

Well that is what I carry.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Fantasy vs Reality

It occurred to me just a minute ago how much of a role fantasy plays in survivalism/ preparedness.

Part of it is that while we don't want to admit it preparedness is in many ways a hobby. Yeah it could be real important some day but on a normal everyday basis it is a thing we allocate resources and time to because it gives us enjoyment/ entertainment in some form or another. In that respect it is not so different than being in a softball league or bass fishing or stamp collecting or any other hobby. Seriously you can sharp shoot that statement all day long but it has at least some truth.

We can also want to be vindicated and thus entertain very specific worst case scenarios that let what we like and prepare for shine. A guy with a super fancy tricked out rifle envisions it saving his life and whatever. A guy with a closet full of Mosin Nagants imagines arming/ forming a large neighborhood guard or a militia. An avid gardener imagines their massive crop feeding the whole neighborhood. A person with great preps envisions being able to be the neighborhood hero. Somebody who has an awesome "retreat" but debt up to their eyeballs sees things falling apart and them being in a great position.

More concerning is the inverse of this fantasy worst case scenario. Simply put by focusing too heavily on this tailor made scenario they ignore a variety of other scenarios, much to their detriment. The guy with a super fancy rifle who also doesn't have any food ignores the possibility that we will not be attacked by a bunch of thugs and will sit there bored and very hungry. Instead of another sweet mil spec wanna be accessory he should get some frickin food. The very nice friendly gardener lady (The ones who go whole hog preparedness but totally ignore defense tend to be women) ignores the distinct possibility that she could need to protect herself from violence or theft. Somebody might want all of her food instead of a basket full or they might even want her. Instead of another garden bed she should buy and learn to use a defensive firearm. The guy with a basement full of preps doesn't have any savings. He somehow sees complex and unlikely worst case scenarios playing out but not say an unexpected emergency car or home repair. I wonder how these guys plan to push a homeless guy cart around with a years worth of food and a dozen guns in it after a fairly normal life event leads to their financial situation falling apart. 

The guy with the awesomely setup and well stocked retreat but debt up to his eyeballs sees scenarios where his debt is almost magically washed away but he still has all the cool stuff and preps. This guy is probably the most idealistic and fantasy fueled of all. He is almost wishing for (a narrowly and conveniently defined) TEOTWAWKI. He talks about how the "sheeple" will get their due and he will finally get to live free and untroubled by money concerns. He really thinks it would be great to not have to pay back the guys who loaned him the money for the land and the house and all the stuff. He thinks about how his sucky money situation would be washed away but fails to see that in significant ways people who have never even heard of preparedness but just keep their financial houses in order are probably more likely in the long run to have good outcomes than he. Instead of looking at his massive mortgage (possible an ARM) he sees a wonderful "retreat" on a nice piece of productive land and instead of a huge visa bill he sees a pair of night vision goggles and a pair of cool rifles. 

When doing a final edit on this I  realized that in all but one of the above scenarios the individual was specifically identified as a man. This wasn't conscious but is definitely significant. Upon 5 seconds of reflection I realize something. Aside from the (predominantly liberal and pseudo environmentalist) woman who make great preparations in many ways but completely ignore protecting themselves; women tend to take a pragmatic and realistic stance toward preparedness. It is us guys who seem to fall into these at least partially fantasy fueled preparations.

I am certainly not going to claim perfection. I have fallen into a stereotype or two myself as I started with a pretty solid gun collection and went from there. However as time goes by I am allocating a majority of my resources in a more reasonable manner which is the goal.

It is fine to day dream now and then. Just don't take the next step and focus too heavily on scenarios that involve buying toys you like, hobbies you enjoy or happen to just work out real conveniently for you. At a minimum at least consider your vulnerability to scenarios that do not happen to be tailor made to your interests and position. I urge you to be realistic and prepare for a variety of scenarios, not just the one that happens to be convenient and ideal.
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