Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Praxis: Minimalist Preparedness for Latecomers.

"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?



Taylor H said...

Interesting thoughts.

Add this one:

Ever bought a multi-tool? Did it come new in the box with a nylon pouch that can be worn on a belt?

Remove multi-tool and insert pistol mag!

Dennis308 said...

Bought a Binocular pouch/bag a couple of weeks ago holds TEN 20Rnd
Mags for the M1-A1.Also has shoulder strap AND belt loop.Works fine.

p.s.Dutchman check yor E-Mail please

Anonymous said...

And for you FU&$ers who cant read without an optical aid, buy plenty of reading Spectacles and Cache them......Seriously. NO JOKE!


John Robert Mallernee said...

One of the lessons learned in Viet Nam was that your most essential items were your rifle, a really good knife, all the water you can carry, and all the ammunition you can carry.

Everything else is secondary, and if required, can be ignored, discarded, or abandoned.

Loren said...

A good thing to think about, and also for those of us just getting into the game.

I found these the other day, and your post here reminded me that I was going to ask for a PRAXIS on older stuff like this:

Essentially glorified fanny packs, I've been hesitating getting one to go with my FAL. It would carry more than just a belt, but mixing it in with a rucksack and stuff is iffy, since it'll be hard to find everything, and it's probably not compatible with more modern, available stuff.

Anonymous said...

As a "newbie", I have often wondered about one of the points you raise about ammunition. Is there / should there be one standard round that all militia should focus on having?

Witchwood said...

Not to start a gear free-for-all, but for those who favor Russian rifles, quality vests and such can be found here. I got a 9-pouch TARZAN tac vest from these folks and am very happy with it (brand new, made in Russia). It's great (obviously) for AK mags but I'm not sure if 5.56x45 mags will fit.

1911A1 said...

Any and all military calibers are preferred because they are the most plentiful and most likely to be found left behind by your adversary. 9mm, .308, 7.62x39, .223, .45ACP, etc. Ideally you should have weapons in several of these calibers and if possible multiple weapons in the most popular ones-.223 and 7.62x39.

Dave B III said...


FWIW, I found at the few milsurps I outfit from that if you ask, the owner will invariably pull out a tub of ALICE clips they've "collected" over the years. I bought 50 at 10 cents each once, and can damn near attach anything I want to either standard LBE or a regular ol' belt.

I keep a couple spares in the rig as well. Never know if you'll have to attach that carcass to something...

game animal carcass that is...

Anonymous said...

"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."

Perhaps the most obvious answer is that the civilian camouflage WILL be hunters cammo and NOT military cammo and THATS how you'll identify friends. Think about it - the majority of the non prepping, but gun wielding society are hunters. They have commercial "hunting" cammo. The military, and preppers all have milspec cammo. Perhaps it would make sense for all preppers/militia to switch to hunting cammo and leave the military in milspec.

Perfect? No. But it does have its merits.

Anonymous said...

Anyone can afford a Mosin Nagant Model 91/30 or 44 Carbine, and a 440 round can of ammo. It's dependable, accurate, hard hitting, and virtually unbreakable, and won't allow newbies to waste a lot of ammo.

Anonymous said...

Ammo and food.

Everything else is easily made with the materials at hand. A scissor and needle and thread can be used to repair or create the field equipment needed.

Ammo and Food, will help you survive the first die off.


Brutus said...

Lets also keep in mind that in the initial stage of hostilities, deciding who is who ... friend or foe ... will not just be determined by, "Are they government?"

You can count on pro-government militias just as you can count on bands of criminal opportunists ... who may be dressed just like you.

Just keep your nose in the wind and you eyes and ears open.

I hope this all goes without saying for you newbies.

Anonymous said...

I bought extra Russian Mossin Nagant bolt action rifles and 2000 rds of ammo specifically for this purpose - to equip unprepared neighbors and friends. At ~$100 each, they are cheap insurance that will be worth a lot more in the future just with inflation. The $100 SKS rifles of 15 years ago were an excellent financial investment then (wish I bought some at that time to store).

John Robert Mallernee said...

In Viet Nam, our LRRP unit preferred using canteen covers as ammunition pouches, because they could securely hold a greater number of twenty round magazines.

Anonymous said...

A good quality tactical vest for $30 can be found at link below. Although designed for airsoft it works great with "real" equipment. I ordered 3 more after personally testing it with a Ruger P89 pistol and mags, plus AK rifle mags.


Back to topic though... A bandana-sized Gadsen flag can serve numerous functional purposes (face mask, skullcap, camp flag, alert signal, pouch, filter for straining debris from water, bandage, gag, handcuffs, etc). It could also serve as an armband and the yellow color would be clearly visible against all types of camo clothing. It's widely available and affordable so it would not be hard for them to become the acceptable standard for all. Get extras while you're at it.

PioneerPreppy said...

I picked up a few sets of the old British web gear for newbies about a year ago. Haven't had to give any out but got two deep ammo pouches, two butt pouches and a knapsack for about 10 bucks each I couldn't resist. They work well I even turned one set into emergency bug out gear for my car.

The Trainer said...

FWIW, just don't 'give' your stuff away to the late comers, either. Show them how to make a 'liberator' and make them go get their own weapon.

It'll show you real quick if they're worth your time....

Like I said, FWIW.

Anonymous said...

Why would you not have multiple identifiers (armbands)??? If you telegraph the code to the enemy prior to the event then everybody has the same symbol. These could be switched at a moments notice.

Newark, Ohio

JoeFromSidney said...

My book, RESISTANCE TO TYRANNY, has just come out. It's available from Amazon. It includes a chapter on personal equipment: clothing, rain gear, footwear, drinking water, sleeping gear, cooking & rations, compasses & maps, load-bearing equipment, medical & hygiene, cutting tools, digging tools, and flashlights.

It also lists sources for items of personal equipment. Stop up now before the rush.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't this contradict the 'three percent in the field' prediction? If ten newcomers appeared for every current three percenter, that thirty percent of the population could more easily effect change with a vote, marching in the streets peacefully, seceding, or stopping paying taxes.

Middle class liberals will get into boxcars before they will fight. I think that most newbie combatants who show up at your door will be hungry and trying to vote themselves a bailout from your preps.

Anonymous said...

I have bought many useful "pouches" from the Goodwill / Salvation Army type stores.. An excellent case for many things is a case for a tennis racquet..(!).
As Suzannah Gratia Hupp once told me "Keep up the fight!".

Anonymous said...

"And the militia has "gear heads" just like the regular Army and Marines have".

Put a smile on my face, my grunt Marine son says the Marine lexicon is "Gear queer".

Agree with John Robert Mallernee - rifle, ammo, knife, lots of water.


Tombstone Charlie said...

On the issue of camo-
During WWII, Airborne Pathfinders often modified their (khaki) jump uniforms with applied paint, browns and greens, simply brushed on in a random pattern. This would work well for any tan, green or "earth tone" clothing.

Anonymous said...

If you cut the inside straps on a standard M-16 mag. pouch, you can put two M-14, LR 308 mags in side-ways. Some foam in the bottom will hold them up handy.
I use them for extra ammo also. By putting 7.62 ammo in garand,en bloc clips, you can stack nine en blocs in the pouch and one on top. Thats an extra 80 rounds in nice tight package.
It works out 'cause my LR 308 mags. don't like being chock full.I run 16 rnds. a mag.. Which is two en blocs, x the 5 mags. i carry is one full reload. I hook them to my pack so there easy to get to.
Hope it helps.......mthead III

Walter said...

In my travels, I have seen guerrillas in the former Yugoslavia, in southeast Asia and in a couple of other places best left untold. Uniforms are the mark of soldiers, not guerrillas. In SE Asia, they wore black pajamas, or Au Dai's or loin cloths, it didn't matter to them. In Yugoslavia, they wore whatever they had -mix n match camo, jeans, rubber boots and tennies. It didn't matter. Most non-military types with a rifle carried only a few rounds of ammunition. Fact is, that very, very few rounds were fired by guerrillas compared to regulars. Guerrillas are most often badly overmatched in terms of firepower. Yeah, I've got enough (is there aver really enough?) ammo, but the fact is, the rest will sort itself out. Personally, I won't be wearing anything that will identify me as a combatant. I don't want them to know that I'm a threat until it's too late. The police deal with armed and un-uniformed people with guns all the time. Trust me on this: If someone is cammo'd up, he/she will be the first target in a guerrilla war.

Anonymous said...

3 per arm band sounds good.

Friends in MI

Pericles said...

True - you need a weapon and ammunition. A canteen and a way to carry more ammunition are really useful.

After that, we are talking about gear for a camping trip or protection, which can help you fight longer, but is not absolutely required to put up a fight.

Anonymous said...

I just feel the need to point out to ya'll that if you dress in your uniform (chamo) you're real easy to spot in any crowd.

Intelligencia folks dress like homeless people when they are trying to blend in the US in metro areas. They know that people will not look at them twice because seeing the homeless brings shame and it's like looking or staring at folks with disabilities; it's rude. So if you want to blend, either blend in with the crowd or dress as someone who people won't want to look like.

I thought it was interesting the other day when my son mentioned that he saw a homeless person with an iPhone. It gave me a real start because how on earth does a homeless person pay the $80 per month for an iPhone? The answer is he doesn't. It wasn't really a homeless person. He only looked like a homeless person. hmm

I'd hold up on wearing chamo unless you want to announce yourselves. In a business center, wear business attire or look like a homeless person. blend, look inconspicuous.


ScottJ said...

Make sure you include plenty of .22LR in your preps.

When I first became a guncrank I worked with a guy who was a kid during the depression.

He told me his dad used to send him into the woods with a rifle and box of rounds and he better return home with a squirrel or rabbit for each round missing from the box.

I've had a thing about .22s ever since.

The story keeps coming to mind these days as we seem headed for another depression.

Anonymous said...

I prefer the mil spec clothing to hunting grade stuff. The mil spec is much tougher and designed for combat. Get the combat trouser in whatever pattern you prefer. It has built in pockets for knee pads and is all button. Also that rip stop fabric dries very quickly and doesn't cling to you when it is wet. It is absolutely superior to the all cotton stuff.

Carl said...

It is an excellent idea to have goodies to give away to curry favor and gain support. I'd rather make a friend that will help defend me than make an enemy that will try to kill me. A little can go a long way, and while it is a good idea to be skeptical of those that come calling, it's also a good idea to keep an open mind and let them talk enough to either vindicate themselves or hang themselves.

CorbinKale said...

One consideration for the latecomers is the need to integrate them, quickly. This will be difficult due to their lack of training. While the folks in my group all have firearms of military utility that they are proficient with, outfitting newbies with the same equipment is not only cost prohibitive, but wasteful in the execution.

Our solution to this dilemmea was to collect a few extra .22LR repeaters, each. The ammo is still cheap, tiny and universal. The gun, itself, is not too 'scary', heavy or loud to prevent getting them trained up fast. Out to 100m it can still be effective for suppessive fire, at least. It might not be a reliable killer, but no one I know is willing to take one to the face at 100m to prove a point. :)

Toaster 802 said...

"One of the lessons learned in Viet Nam was that your most essential items were your rifle, a really good knife, all the water you can carry, and all the ammunition you can carry.

Everything else is secondary, and if required, can be ignored, discarded, or abandoned."

Wise words...first spoken to me from my ww2 uncles and Vietnam era cousins. The only thing I would add would be an E-tool and a poncho. (Liner also for cool weather). Light fightin, at its best...

Second, I have switched out of my milspec clothes for the most part to hunting camo. It is not as durable for sure, but far less expensive, far more choices and types of clothes and gear for all weather. And my woodland gear (US, Dutch, Brit) is not so far off to be un-useful. or the 3 color desert pattern for that matter.

Thanks for the article Mike, time to go to the surplus store and shake out the LC-1/ Alice/ 782 gear bins...

Allen said...

in my group we had a "mental exercise" of equipping someone with basic levels of equipment from trash and/or natural materials. 2 liter soda bottles and gym bags were popular starting points. one thing we figured out..LEARN TO SEW! if you can make your own equipment you can FIX your own equipment!

clothing can be easily camouflaged if it isn't neon colored..use flat and gloss black paint in stripes. latex paint has the bonus of waterproofing, but it does add weight.

(I know you're thinking "gloss??" yes, gloss. it adds depth and helps break up your outline. they painted night fighters in WW2 gloss black for a reason)

how many people know how to take a stick of wood and make a usable bow out of it? probably not many...but it would be a good thing to learn!


what about other improvised support equipment?


no, it's not as portable as the "golf-ball-launchers" the govt uses. nor does it have as much range. but devices on this principle can be built from bicycle parts, and you can pick it up and move it and it only needs a crew of 3 or so. lop off a sapling or whack a stake into the ground and you're ready to go. we use ours to throw lines across small rivers to get rope bridges put in for emergency crossings..I'm sure there are other purposes it could be put that I don't have to explain LOL.

Jimmy the Saint said...

Actually, there are some pretty good things to make improvised ammo pouches out of. There are all manner of little travel bags for tech stuff (iPhones, laptops, etc.) that can be pretty easily modified to hold ammunition. They might not be ideal, but in a pinch, they would be good enough.

"Good enough is good enough."
-probably said by the designer of the M-4 Sherman

Anonymous said...

It would take about a day to train a squad or two of newbies how to carry, load, aim, fire, and maintain an old bolt gun, and about another day to teach the minimal basics of combat tactics such as how to move tactically, take cover, form a perimeter, withdraw, etc., and about a week total of constant drilling to get them to working as a unit, then you've got a fine little sentry force as long as they've got competent leadership. The only reason the Army takes so long to teach recruits is that they have to be taught to conform to the standard and mindlessly obey any orders. When people are motivated to learn, the process goes much quicker, and we'll have the option of instantly weeding out any slackers.

Jimmy the Saint said...

@Anonymous: "I thought it was interesting the other day when my son mentioned that he saw a homeless person with an iPhone. It gave me a real start because how on earth does a homeless person pay the $80 per month for an iPhone? The answer is he doesn't. It wasn't really a homeless person. He only looked like a homeless person."

Depends on where you live. In some areas, the gummint gives out free phones to the poor. So how does the homeless guy pay $80/mo.? He doesn't, you and I pay it for him.

Anonymous said...

I wanted to add the Ak47/74 pouches are cheap and work great also any old east German back packs / canteens are real cheap and work too .. also checkout goodwill and salvation army stores plus thrif shops lots of stuff to be found there ... cheap too...

Anonymous said...

You want to checkout your local gun shops they all have a bin or box of pouches, slings, hunting gear,holsters,military surplus you name it...also lots of military surplus items are found at yard sales,and go to local news/book stand and get copy of (SHOTGUN NEWS) gun parts, mags, and military surplus items to no end and cheap too..

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Jimmy the Saint said, ""Good enough is good enough."
-probably said by the designer of the M-4 Sherman"

Here's another one:

"The perfect is the enemy of the good."

General George S. Patton, Jr.

Seems like a lot of common sense came out of WW2 - because the objective was to prevail, any way possible, over strong and determined enemies. Being the last guy to fire a shot is all that counts, not looking pretty.