Author Topic: YOUR “RIFLE” FIGHTING GEAR- How encumbered are you?  (Read 3775 times)

Offline swanson

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YOUR “RIFLE” FIGHTING GEAR- How encumbered are you?
« on: November 07, 2008, 01:41:31 PM »
YOUR “RIFLE” FIGHTING GEAR- How encumbered are you?

Now that you have your rifle, and a few other odds and ends, you need to take a hard look at what you need to support yourself and your weapon system(s) if a collision with violence is a possibility in your world.

Between 04’ and 06’ I spent many, many months “touring” Iraq as a DOD security contractor. I spent most of my time active in the red zone and learned and relearned quite a few lessons on gear, what’s useful, and what’s not amongst other fine things about life in the field in a high risk environment.

Here’s some thoughts I wanted to bring to the table from experience…

While your approach, skill sets, and the tactics you employ are crucial to any endeavor, don’t over look the essential tools and equipment you need to make it all happen either.

The basic sets of questions I pose are these-

What do you expect to encounter when out and about, and what would you like to have along to manage what you might find?

Do you have the right tools to manage your risks?

Given your mission, the time of year, and the expected length of time you’ll spend “out there”, what gear do you need to accomplish what you set out to do and what tools do you carry with you to make it all happen and return to your chosen safe haven in the end?

It will be different for all of us depending on our circumstances, lifestyles, and professions, but we can use a common framework to review and organize of thoughts concerning our equipment needs.


This concept is nothing new, but it is fundamental to anyone needing to carry a load of equipment to accomplish a desired goal.

Here’s a simple way to break it all down and make sense of how to carry what you need effectively.

The line gear concept is about layering your mission essential equipment into useful tiers that can be accessed or removed with a semblance of reason and order when called upon for use and/or consumption.

The more accessible and easily located a piece of gear is, the more often it can be brought to bear, at speed, when called for.

Here’s a basic rule to live by- “if it’s not on your body or in your hand, it’s not in the fight.”


First line gear keeps you alive.

The First Line of gear is comprised of your choice of primary weapon (rifle), work/seasonal clothing, and the things you have located in your pockets that you would generally would carry on your person and deem essential. Look at your first line carry as “every day carry” items.

A generic First Line list might include some or more of the following in addition to your primary weapon:

•   A hat and gloves
•   Needed credentials (I.D.’s, etc.,)
•   A pocket/clip knife and/or multi-tool
•   Cash and/or credit cards
•   An address book, a pen and paper, and/or a PDA
•   A phone card
•   A key-chain style LED light or small flashlight


The second line gets a bit more complex and “mission” oriented.

This line is composed of your “war-fighting” gear that will support your primary weapons system(s) and fighting in general such as:

•   Spare ammunition in magazines for your rifle and secondary weapon
•   Your secondary weapon (pistol) on a belt or leg rig
•   A water bladder or set of canteens
•   A fixed blade knife
•   An individual 1st AID kit
•   A small survival kit, as well as water
•   Communications equipment- 2 way radio and cell phone(s)
•   GPS and/or compass and map
•   A suitable flashlight
•   Signals devices- an IR strobe, pen flares, and/or VS-17 panel
•   A small survival kit in a tin

If it seems like a lot that’s because it is.

Everyone will tailor their Second Line gear to fit their mission needs, but I can tell you from experience- If you carry everything you “think” you need, it will weigh next to 100+lbs in no time.

Guard against strapping on the “kitchen sink” by focusing on the basics that constitute what you really need to “have” if you are having to exercise appropriate force or get your way out of a bind.

If I was to pack more of something the my expected needs- It would be water followed closely by additional ammo.

All this secondary gear will be found on your Load bearing Vest (LBV), belt, or a leg sub-load.


Third Line gear encompasses all the rest of the things you will “need’ to sustain yourself when in the field. Think of it as what you might want to have on an “over-nighter” in a real bad place where the environment is as unforgiving as the populace.

Here’s a short list of handy Third Line gear:
•   An ALICE/Day/Assault pack at better than 2000+ Cu. Inches
•   (MOLLE) Accessory pouches and internal gear organizers
•   Thermo-regulation: Sleeping gear- bag, poncho liner, bivvy sack, and/or your favorite “war-woobie”
•   Field hygiene/sanitation gear – What’s needed to keep relatively “clean”
•   A well-stocked E&E kit, plus more food and more water
•   And sparingly, MWR items- an IPOD, PSP, etc. (but never for use in danger areas)

Once you have amassed this small fortune in equipment. Make sure you don’t just throw it all in a wall locker or closet, but put it all on and see if you can manage it all. Wear it all for an extended period and see what works for you and what does not.

I can almost guarantee some of what you have will be shedded or rearranged because it hinders you due to its common weight or placement, and/or restricts your movement far more than you anticipated.

While you might own all of this and think you are “prepared” because of it, if you don’t train with it, you won’t be “READY”.

Don’t take my word for any of this.

Go out and see what encumbers you…

And, please, share your lessons learned…

Offline wbo3

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Re: YOUR “RIFLE” FIGHTING GEAR- How encumbered are you?
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2008, 08:24:00 PM »
+1  I had never thought about ANY of that.  Of course I am not from a military background.  I have begun recently closely examining my survival plans.  Previously it has been to store as much food, guns and ammo that I could acquire.  Now I am trying to organize and actually have a real plan.  Over the last few months, I have been mostly working on my weaponry.  Consolidating calibers and paring it down to my most basic needs.  Filling in where necessary, I am shooting for redundancy.  I would hate to have my only pistol break and not have anything to back it up, same for my rifles.  My only "non-sporting" calibers now are 9mm and .223/5.56, and I think both of them would be able to fill a hunting role in a pinch.  I am just not quite willing to give up my .357 revolvers or my .30-30 lever gun.  I am really not sure where I should begin on preparing to outfit myself like you mentioned, should the need arise.  My preps have always focused on either "bugging in" or bugging out to the family farm a couple hours away.  Either way, I have not really considered a defensive/combative role, other than my concealed weapons course and other self defense courses.  Great advice.

Offline sardog

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Re: YOUR “RIFLE” FIGHTING GEAR- How encumbered are you?
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2008, 06:21:28 PM »
You can always tell the "newbees" buy all the stuff hanging off them. As they get "aquainted" with their environment, they tend to shed a remarkable amount of unneeded equipment.

The older you get the more "cumbered" you get with everything.  ;D

Offline recoil4015

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Re: YOUR “RIFLE” FIGHTING GEAR- How encumbered are you?
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2008, 04:02:33 AM »
++1 to firetoad.  cuff case and glove case have migrated forward.  Was off for 2 days a couple of years ago due to my duty belt during an "encounter" with a stellar citizen of my county.  In fact, all items are from mid front to just in front of kidneys.  I can't even sit in the car with gear on the small of my back,  it makes my leg go numb.


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Re: YOUR “RIFLE” FIGHTING GEAR- How encumbered are you?
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2008, 07:01:40 PM »
Here's one lesson learned:

I recently attended a carbine course with an AK-47 and one triple magazine pouch.  This pouch includes velcro attachment plus a plastic clip.  Accessing the magazines was difficult with just the velcro.  it was nearly impossible to get at the mags with any sort of speed with both the clip and velcro engaged.  Furthermore, placing all three magazines in the pouch resulted in rattling.

The pouch is good for secure storage of magazines on the belt, but not much else.