"Guns? Guns are easy." -- Robert 'Rob' Hawkins, Jericho, "Coalition of the Willing," 2007.
We've all thought about what to do for the large number of newbies who will likely show up at our door, when, as they say, the excrement hits the rotary oscillator. They will turn to us because we have thought things through and they haven't -- because we have made preparations and they haven't -- because we have seen things clearly and they will have just awakened to the fact, as Pete at WRSA says, "We're screwed, there's going to be a fight, let's win."
People need leadership in such a situation and you will be there to provide it. This is not to say that you should be responsible for equipping these folks. You cannot hope to. But I ran into a deal the other day that started me thinking about what minimal items a latecomer militiaman might require.
There is a tendency toward equipment lists in the constitutional militia -- has been since the 90s. To be a proper militia guy, you must have this set of first line gear, that set of secondary gear and so on. And the militia has "gear heads" just like the regular Army and Marines have.
But the folks who show up on our doorstep will not have spit for equipment. I rather suspect, given the number of firearms in this country, that, as Rob Hawkins told Jake Green, "Guns? Guns are easy."
What will be at a premium will be ammunition, so that those firearms do not become expensive clubs. We all, those of us who can afford it, buy more ammo than we think we will need for just this reason.
But what of the other stuff? For almost everything, expedients can be found.
Take camouflage clothing. Its purpose is two-fold: to conceal and to give a means of identifying friend from foe instantly. I doubt that the supply of camo, even of hunter's gear, will be sufficient and in any case there will be a proliferation of patterns. But cannot any subdued color of sturdy clothing also serve in a pinch?
And as far as "identification, friend or foe," even then the problem is not insoluble.
This can be overcome by armbands. It can be something as simple as the yellow ribbons we used at the RTC rallies, or something more formal such as those worn by the French Forces of the Interior (FFI), the French resistance.
Here is the design of one FFI armband.
Here is an original of another.
Here is an image of an FFI reenactor wearing an armband.
The FFI were haphazardly equipped with whatever they could scrounge. Some wore helmets picked up from the battlefields of 1940 ("Only dropped once!"). Some wore bits of military clothing mixed with civilian. The armbands were the best way to identify friend from foe at a distant glance.
So, clothing differences can be overcome with armbands.
What about canteens? The ubiquity of bottled water containers can overcome a shortage of canteens.
Boots? Any serviceable type will do.
Combat harnesses? Substitute belts, any kind of serviceable belts. In the end, there is only one necessity to my mind. There is one key item that cannot be easily scrounged or found at WalMart at midnight -- ammunition pouches.
But what kind? There will be as many different weapons as there are people, most likely.
Meet the lowly Vietnam-era M16 magazine pouch holding three 30-rounders.
I found 40 of these the other day at a local surplus store. They ranged in condition from barely serviceable to almost new. Each had the two ALICE clips on the back and thus can be attached to any belt. There is little demand for these pouches currently as everyone wants something MOLLE or better. You can therefore often dicker a bit on the price, especially if the shopkeeper hasn't sold many in awhile.
Another view, showing the ALICE clips on the back.
I got my 40 for a buck a piece. They will hold just about any kind of clipped ammo or magazines, especially the common 30 rounders for the M16/M4 series. They will also hold loose shotgun ammo.
Over the years, I have found and put back another hundred or so of these in waterproof cache buckets.
Thus, at two issued per newbie, that is enough for 70 folks.
In any case, you should start thinking now about how you are going to equip the latecomers.
They will need your help.
Did I mention that you will also need theirs?