Max Velocity: Assessing Your Tactical Gear Needs


Max Velocity Tactical has an article up on assessing your tactical gear needs. In addition to the article text, there are several lengthy videos going into more detail and showing you various gear.

I have written extensively about gear, and made videos. I will post some general gear videos below. This is why I came up with the MVT Lite Fight concept which, I believe, goes a long way to covering the bases of a basic gear setup. Having said that I have written extensively about gear, and being spurred to write this because it is cropping up again on the MVT Forum, is not a criticism – it is going to come up for each one of you, and is a journey that never ends.

On that note, after some thought, I would like to introduce a new way of thinking about gear. This is because we are always talking about how our gear should suit the mission, but on the other hand we may be equipping ourselves because it is what others do, and we may be imitating; there are plenty of good reasons for that if we are imitating best practices. Also, we don’t have unlimited resources, so our standard gear is likely to follow a similar format. That is generally the idea behind the MVT Lite Fight concept, with a scaleable set of gear. Then we might get specialist missions, where we may have to carry more gear or stay out longer, or deal with a winter environment, etc.

One thing I would like to say is that you should strike a fine line between not having everything you need, and having too much. Many non-mission-essential things you can get away with not having, but if you carry things for every eventuality, you will make yourself a tactical no-go due to weight. Oh, did I mention PT?

So, what is this new way?

Perhaps what we should do is first consider the point or purpose of the mission. Then, build back from that purpose. Examples could be surveillance, security patrol, or raid. Consider what the purpose is, and then build back from the equipment to the man in order to sustain the reason we are on the mission.

Let’s take a security patrol as an example – and clearly we will be helped in this by Intel, which we may be able to get hold of due to conduct of an IPB, and continuing exposure (through patrolling) to the tactical environment.

Security patrolling – what is the purpose? To detect and react to threats? This will come down to mission, and what you expect to do once you discover a threat; engage, break contact, surveille if not seen? Because it is a security patrol, let’s build back from the rifle. If this was a surveillance patrol, we could equally build back from the surveillance equipment you will need to achieve this. You will also see that although we have a ‘Lite Fight’ concept, it isn’t really ‘Light’ once you include mission critical gear, it is just lighter than it could be if you took the kitchen sink.

So:

  • Rifle – this is our purpose, as security patrol riflemen, and thus we build the gear to feed this purpose.
  • Mags to feed it – how many? I always think 8 mags is a realistic first line scale.
  • Type of optic – terrain and engagement distances?
  • Night use? IR laser? IR Flood? NODs? White light?
  • Oil to keep it running.
  • Duration of patrol – rifle cleaning kit?
  • Solid rod in case of stuck case.
  • Spares? To what extent? Spare BCG?
  • Handgun? Applicable in the environment?

Thus, we build what we need to operate our rifle.

Next, mission specific gear based on threat and operational concept:

  • Threat level: ballistic plates or not? Helmet? Chest rig? Full battle belt?
  • Communications? Radio – to who? Do we have a QRF?
  • Vehicles or not? Foot or mounted?
  • Profile: type of clothing / uniform based on the tactical situation. Overt or low profile?
  • Maps, navigation equipment?
  • Notebooks, recording equipment of any type?

Next, we can look at other factors to keep the man who operates the weapon going, probably based on duration of patrol, threat, and weather considerations.

  • Water – quantity?
  • Food / energy?
  • First aid / medical?
  • Duration of patrol?
  • Summer or Winter?
  • Overnight / sleep or not?
  • Need to heat food / water or not?
  • Clothing and spares? Spare socks?
  • Weather appropriate clothing and survival gear?
  • Resupply? When and how?
  • Misc items such as bug spray, water purification (method?) etc.

If this had been a surveillance patrol, what we might have done was build back through the relevant surveillance equipment we were going to take on the mission with us, including how to operate and keep it running fit for purpose – in which case the rifle is secondary in a security or emergency role. If it were a raid or ambush, we might want to consider additional aspects such as more ammunition (how?), potential for QRF for support and / or casualty evacuation. Prisoner handling and equipment – the list goes on.

What is really happening here is that you are basing your mission equipment on the Intel picture, and building it based on your combat estimate as part of mission planning. What is likely is that you will have a basic set of gear with a couple of options – what type of patrol pack or larger ruck to take, for example. Plate carrier or chest rig? etc.

You can certainly have a reaction kit, or basic fighting kit, set up in case of bumps in the night or standard missions, but you will need to have the ability (probably through a couple of different load carriage systems / sizes) to pack for specific missions.

So based, on that, I haven’t really told you anything, because you are going to have to decide a lot of it for yourselves. Err on the side of less gear, so long as you have what is necessary for the mission. Too much “what if this happens” is going to weigh you down, and you simply can’t leave the wire ready for all conceivable circumstances and an endless duration of the operation.

Basic factors:

  • Type of mission, working back from the main equipment used to achieve the mission i.e. rifle, surveillance equipment etc.
  • Duration.
  • Size of team.
  • Terrain.
  • Weather.
  • Operating environment.
  • Mounted or dismounted.
  • Support available.

Continue reading “Max Velocity: Assessing Your Tactical Gear Needs”

MVT: AR Equipment Issues

Max Velocity Tactical has been compiling for some time lists of equipment/gear issues (and other observations) which commonly come up during their training classes for tactical rifle. Examples/excerpts below.

  • This is the second class that someone has over inserted a magazine during a drill. What happens is the magazine is shoved so far into the mag well during a combat reload that the bolt hits the back of the magazine when the bolt released is pushed. This time it was a Magpul Gen 2. Pay attention during reloads, there is no reason to put that much force into seating a mag.
  • Charging Handles- Get rid of the stock charging handles on your AR’s. Some of the ones that are being put on rifles are to easy to bind and the standard latch is to small. My recommendation is a BCM medium sized latch. It will make weapons manipulation easier.
  • Ammo- A student had an issue during the malfunction drills. The bullet was getting pushed back into the case allowing the powder to dump into the chamber. When that happens the rifle will not go into battery. You then have to clean the chamber to get rid of the powder, a toothbrush works best. The reason this is happening is due to the type of ammo, .223 Rem in this case. Most .223 doesn’t have a good crimp on the bullet when it is manufactured. 5.56 ammo will have a crimp that should prevent this from happening. I have not seen this with any 5.56 marked ammo, only with .223 Rem. I have some Federal .223 and it does the same thing. I know everyone is trying to save money when they buy ammo for class. The problem is that going cheap can bite you in the ass. Just like with going the cheapest route with a rifle, cheap ammo can cause issues. Spend a little more and buy 5.56 marked ammo.
  • Ambi-Safeties -We see this over and over. Students use the thumb to rotate the safety off and their trigger finger to rotate the safety on. This is an accident waiting to happen. When you get in a hurry your trigger finger can slip into the trigger guard and fire a round. That is not good. If you insist on having one on your rifle you have to ensure that your thumb rotates the safety on and off. My recommendation is to get rid of them.
  • Blue Loctite is your friend. BUIS, sight mounts, flashlight mounts etc. need to have blue loctite on them. This will keep them from working loose and falling off when you need it the most.
  • 80% lowers. I understand the attraction of these, especially for someone who is behind enemy lines. I have yet to see one at class that doesn’t have some sort of issue. The biggest problem I see is mag wells that aren’t to spec. A lot of times the jigs that come with them aren’t perfect either. Be aware of this.
  • Lube your rifles. Almost at the end of class one of the students rifles just quit running. Added lube and the rifle started running again. He said he didn’t put any lube on it that morning.
  • Not all charging handles are created equal. Especially doing malfunction drills. The standard CH that comes on AR’s are OK but are not the best. My recommendation is to get a BCM medium latch. It gives you more to grab when charging the rifle.
    Get a quick adjustable sling. One that you can change the length on the fly with your support hand. If you choose to attach it where the extension tube meets the lower, make sure that it cannot rotate up and get in the way of running the charging handle.

There is quite a list of equipment issues, so if you haven’t spent much time with your gear, or even if you have, it’s worth a read to see what you might be missing.

AmPart: Gear for Operating in Cold Weather

Baby, it’s cold outside. But cold and wet or cold and dry, you’ve got to away or at least outside and get some stuff done. JC Dodge at American Partisan discusses options, mostly from military surplus, that can keep your both warm and functional while you are out in the cold – Basic Strategies and Gear for Operating in Cold Weather.

The recent extreme cold weather has made survivalists all over the US realize that whether they’re in a “warm weather” state or not, having the gear and “know how” to operate in extreme cold weather is a necessary reality. I laughed when I got an alert that Tallahassee, FL had 21 deg. Fahrenheit (all temps listed in this port are Fahrenheit) and snow the other day. Why did I laugh? I laughed because I knew a guy in that area years ago who told me he didn’t have to worry about cold weather gear in the area he lived, as they never got real cold weather.

Cold weather has a number of categories that have to be addressed withing their own niche. I usually just go through them as such: “Cold/No Precip,” “Extreme Cold/No Precip,” “Cold/Wet,” “Extreme Cold/Wet.”

Staying warm starts with understanding what takes the warmth away when you are in any of the above environments. This starts with doing what you can to stay dry. Not sweating or staying out of the precipitation is your best bet to accomplishing that. Barring the ability to stay dry, having an out layer that is windproof, relatively waterproof and breathable (and with the ability to vent as much heat as possible) is your best bet. This is used in conjunction with under layers of clothing that either wicks away the moisture (like polypro and fleece) or retains its insulative qualities when wet (like wool)…

Click here to read the entire article at American Partisan.

Brushbeater: First Line Survival Kit

NC Scout at the Brushbeater blog has an article up about first line survival gear, i.e. the gear that you keep on your body to sustain you until you can be rescued or reach other gear or resupply.

Combat arms soldiers are taught the process of layering equipment- a first, second and third line– which support our mission both individually and as a team. The third line is our ruck sack with mission-specific equipment, the second, our fighting load. In dire straits these two are expendable. The first line gear is a set of items worn on the body always which keep us alive until we link up with friendly forces. It is a concept that serves anyone into wilderness and outdoors living quite well when the unexpected happens.

CSARIn training we first establish a baseline and then create standards to meet them. If it’s small unit tactics, that begins with individual skills including quiet movement, observation, land navigation and marksmanship graduating to team formations and battle drills. If it’s communications, we first create competent operating skills then move into basic radio theory. With survival, it’s focusing on individual sustainment skills to keep you alive and successfully rescued.  No matter what your fantasy is about ‘bugging out’ , the reality is you’re not going to last long in the wild without a prior skillset, a few basic items, and someone there to eventually recover you. If the world has become upside down and you find yourself in a real-deal survival situation, the first goal is rescue and everything you do between the time of the incident and getting rescued is geared towards keeping you alive.

Survival Rule of Threes

The general survival rule of thumb is the rule of threes:

  • 3 minutes without oxygen
  • 3 hours in a severe environment without shelter
  • 3 days without water
  • 3 weeks without food.

While its physiologically correct, the rule leaves out the psychological factors which cause the bad decisions ending up in a tragic story…

Click here to read the entire article at Brushbeater.