Monthly Archives: April 2014

The Absolute Basic, But Much Ignored Skill for SHTF: Crawling

Originally posted on 13 April 2013

Everybody can crawl, right?  Sure.  For about 3 feet.  Until that ‘uber-chest rig’ or the self-carry beer supply (aka: out of shape abdomen) gets in the way, or the human attempting to crawl out of a bad situation doesn’t know how to use the terrain to his or her advantage (read extending life expectancy).  The truth of the matter (and why we beat the “Dead Horse of Fitness”) is that crawling is a very energy demanding exercise, especially when one is wearing, say, a plate carrier, a harness/LBV complete with various pouches and ‘x’ number of rifle magazines.

Add to the above our cultural indoctrination has taken a terrible toll on the desire to possess the skill to move stealthily and invisibly.  The movies and television shows demonstrate actors with scripted expertise in determining equipment choices and skills running silently with no gear jingle or rattle, humping chest rigs full of 30 round magazines, drop leg holsters, and many, many pouches rigged on their load bearing vests in the front across their chest and abdomen.

Granted, during urban close quarters operations, or special forces soldiers (all branches), this may have some merit, but when you’re the ‘regular guy’ preparing for any eventuality, one must set his equipment up so that he can, in fact, crawl if necessary, and learn to be stealthy in all of those eventualities.

To do that, one’s gear must be set up so that when crawling on the ground, the abdomen and lower chest area are as clear of pouches or other items prone to catching on “wait-a-minute” protrusions from the ground surface, whether man-made or natural.

Ask anyone who’s spent time in the field crawling around sneaking by someone looking for them or hiding from someone and forced to crawl and they’ll most likely back this statement up:  Anything on your LBV, LBE, belt, legs, or in front of you that’s not properly adjusted or snugged down will cause you pain in your abdomen and groin.  Canteens (for those who still use them) on loose belts have a nasty habit of becoming repositioned right in front of your groin, which raises your buttocks up and your crawl becomes more of an “inch worm” type movement.  Leg pouches and holsters, if not properly adjusted (very snugly or having two anchor straps) will move around, come undone, and leave their contents on your back trail.  Drop leg holsters are famous for turning just enough to have the hammer and ejection port area of your pistol become jammed up with dirt and/or mud.  Ammunition pouches directly in the front of your vest or harness and web belt will let you know immediately how soft your abdomen is and that you won’t be crawling silently for long.

The bottom line for configuring your equipment is this:  Keep as much of your abdomen and lower chest as clear as possible when setting your vest or harness up.  Adjust your web belt, harness or vest to fit snugly (but not tightly) so that it doesn’t move much when you crawl, but at the same time, does not restrict your freedom of movement, especially in your arms (crawling will have you reaching out as far as you can with your arms in some cases).

Speed:  Crawling is not necessarily a fast movement, thought it can be, depending on what you’ve gotten yourself into.  Crawling typically is a slow movement.  Sometimes, the speed with which you will crawl, by necessity, will not be visible with the human eye.  You may be moving fractions of an inch at a time.

When someone says they crawled “fast”, they don’t mean they sprinted; they just mean they crawled a distance in less than a few hours.  Remember the primary purpose for crawling:  stealth; the secondary purpose for crawling is to get lower than enemy rounds cracking just over your head.  And in that situation, stealth is not an issue, so speed becomes paramount.  Ask those who know how they know….

Stealth is essential because stealth allows a man to avoid detection, all other factors being equal.

Example:  A man is crawling in a depression in the ground trying to bypass an opposing force position, doesn’t have his gear adjusted properly, is moving too quickly, but is not visible by the people in the position.  They can hear him, though, which attracts their attention.  The attention brings investigation of the noise, whether human, reconnaissance by fire, or an explosive.  The sentry could even watch the end of the depression if visible and just shoot the crawler as he emerged.  So much for stealth, right?

Take the same scenario, get the gear adjusted correctly, slow the man down, and he will most likely get by unnoticed.

Technique: Technique is everything and is usually dictated by the immediate need of the man employing the technique.

Side Note:  Never, ever, EVER dictate to another man which technique to employ in crawling!  Why?  He’s the one doing it.  He’s the one that can see the danger better than you can!  Remember basic Maneuver Warfare concepts & principles:  We do not exercise centralized control of our people down to how they move!  Personal initiative, experience, and judgment are paramount to success.  The only exception is in training, when teaching the various techniques to new people or as part of a purposely exhaustive type of training designed to test stamina.

There are three primary crawling techniques taught to the ‘average’ armed civilian indigenous person:  The low crawl, high crawl, and ‘monkey’ crawl (hands & knees level).   Each of these techniques are slow, even when compared to slow walking.  Field manuals galore shored up by serious expertise at various sites around the net provide the graphics to demonstrate, but the best thing is to have one of your folks who knows how to do it demonstrate it.

Practice:  This is important, because believe it or not, not everyone really knows how to crawl!  That being the case, have everyone you train with practice the basic techniques in drills (a corollary technique needing practice is getting down on the ground without busting one’s ass or making a huge amount of noise and still having ones’ rifle able to be brought into action.…) at various speeds without a break (or much of one) to ensure the heart rate is brought up and fatigue sets in.  Then, have the men demonstrate and watch each other perform and see how quiet the man crawling can be.  Don’t give time limits or require major distances.  25 meters is more than enough for this training.  Something the trainer might consider is doing the exercise with the trainees as well.  Nothing says leadership like getting down in the mud with the rest of your friends and sweating when they sweat!  After all is said and done, have the folks critique each other, pointing out strengths and weaknesses of each person in such a way that pride is not hurt.  Remember, as 99.99% of all CIDG groups are volunteer, you want to ensure you don’t try to make people quit.  Keep stringent standards, don’t coddle, but don’t denigrate, either.

Continuous Skill Enhancement:  Once everyone has the basics of crawling down, then you can have some fun and blend this skill in with camouflaged movement in your field problems.  Make it a challenge so that it’s interesting and your people will get better at field craft, will look forward to attending, and gain more confidence.

This is by no means the ‘end all, be all’ outline for the skills above, but it should get you thinking, and beyond that, improving your training regimen.

UPDATE: In this piece, RITR underscores the importance of PT, crawling, and equipment, among other essentials.

Cohesion – The Cement Needed to Hold Your Group Together

Originally posted 2 November 2012 – Appropriate to various discussions on recent events.

Cohesion is talked about quite a bit these days in group circles among the Prepper/Patriot/Survivalist movement, and with good reason, for without cohesion, any group will most likely disintegrate at the first sign of trouble.  Once trouble begins, or the SHTF with either a natural or man-made disaster (check out what’s going on in the wake of Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey and New York to validate), cohesion will be the one characteristic that will help get you and your group through the trouble.

However, before we look at cohesion from the perspective of building and maintaining it, let’s define it. puts it this way:

co·he·sion [koh-hee-zhuhn] noun

1.   The act or state of cohering, uniting, or sticking together. 

In the thesaurus tab of, these descriptors are provided:

Main Entry:  Continuity noun

Definition:  Progression

Synonyms:  connection, constancy, continuance, continuousness, continuum, dovetailing, durability, duration, endurance, extension, flow, interrelationship, linking, perpetuity, persistence, prolongation, protraction, sequence, stability, stamina, succession, survival, train, uniting, unity, vitality, whole

Antonyms:  break, discontinuity, intermittence, interruption, stoppage

The inclusion of the synonyms and antonyms is important to the discussion when determining what concepts, principles, and behaviors (individual and group) best develops, increases, and maintains cohesion, and conversely, what would inhibit its development or destroy existing cohesion.

Taking the definition provided and measuring against the positive and negative terms associated with “cohesion,” a reasonable person could conclude that any group activity that reinforces or adds to the capability of ‘sticking together’ in pleasant or adverse situations should be encouraged.  Any activity that will lead to the discontinuity, interruption, stopped, or break in the group’s capability of ‘sticking together’ should be studiously avoided.

Simple enough, right?

Maybe not.

First, the leader has to acknowledge a simple fact:  The group is comprised of selfish individualists with egos.  That’s fact; if you want to meet the most selfish person in the world, just look in the mirror.  It’s part of our human nature, and we have to accept it and subordinate our own selfishness to navigate life in many aspects (think work, family, friends, etc).

Harsh description, but in most cases, very, very true.

Ego, undisciplined and unchecked, is, in fact, the worst enemy of cohesion that exists.  It’s because, “I know better!” or “I don’t have to do anything YOU say!” or “I don’t like the way you put that” or “I should be the leader here!” or worse, the festering of feelings unspoken coupled with personal jealousies or other negative emotions, and then, at a critical moment a member of your group goes against what has been agreed upon “just because” and endangers the group or worse.

The descriptions can go on and vary considerably, but at the root of the problem, there’s a specific constant in all the statements above:  “I”, “Me, and “My.”

To be sure, individuality is that which makes us who we are, personality wise.  However, as thinking beings, we must subordinate the “I”, “Me”, “My” to the intent of the group and encourage and demonstrate only those behaviors which best put the group in the position to achieve its goals as much as possible within our personal limitations.  In plain English, we must obey the agreed upon rules of conduct within the group and instructions given so long as we are able balanced against the morality and lawfulness of the rules and instructions.

The life cycle of dynamics encountered with any group cannot be ignored when considering building and maintaining cohesion, either.  Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Exclusion all occur; it can’t be helped.  The key is to negotiate those phases without damaging group cohesion.  The first and fourth phases are the easiest for the group leader and members to build, maintain, and strengthen cohesion.  Storming and Exclusion phases are the most difficult, because during the Storming phase, people will compete for various places in the psychological ‘pecking order’ and in the Exclusion phase, when someone leaves or is ejected from the group, people will seek to distance themselves from the person and may resort to the Storming phase again.  In the Norming phase, the leader and the members will find that they are starting to see the results from attempts to build cohesion, but there will still be some bumps, as people do not always accept their ‘place’ in the group without some sort of difficulty.

Unreliability is another factor that impacts cohesion.  When one or more members of a group cannot be counted on to participate in group activities (if they show up, it’s a surprise) or can’t be counted on to come prepared to group activities, or can’t be counted on to be making the required pantry preparations and use the group members as their ‘Plan B’, cohesion will most likely suffer as other group members start to form perceptions that the perpetually unprepared/late/no show member is depending on others to do his or her part.

Group leadership has a large part to play in the development, growth, and maintenance of cohesion to be sure, however, without the support and efforts of the group itself to assist the leader (whose only authority is moral, as given by the members), the leader will be significantly less effective or will fail outright in any attempts to develop cohesion.

Here are a few considerations for developing, increasing, and maintaining group cohesion:

  • Have a baseline belief statement and/or Oath:  This binds all members at the most basic level.  Everyone is subject to the same ‘conditions of employment’ so to speak.

The leader must:

  • Lead by example
  • Recognize what each member brings to the table in terms of skills and abilities
  • Recognize that each member has different task maturity (willingness and ability to perform tasks)
  • Recognize that people work for reward, whether intrinsic or extrinsic, and that a compliment or recognition of work well done when warranted can have significant impact on the membership.
  • Provide the framework for disciplining/correcting/modifying behavior that detracts from group cohesion.
  • Never be afraid to admit mistakes or lessons learned to the group.
  • Never take counsel of his or her own fears; reason, logic, and the input of group members will most likely provide the information with which the leader can make educated decisions best for the group.
  • Treat each member with respect; never remind the group, ‘who’s in charge’.
  • Provide the best instruction, or get the best instructors possible to present, on the tasks, skills and subjects the group members need to survive.
  • Ensure communications and instructions are understandable.
  • When asking for input, allow debate and discussion, and be willing to modify the objective provided the input gets the group to the desired outcome in a manner as thoroughly and efficiently as the concept being discussed.
  • Be decisive.
  • Delegate authority as necessary to members who’ve demonstrated they are capable of performing in the capacity under consideration.
  • Understand the position serves the membership and not the other way ‘round.

Group members must:

  • Understand their roles in developing their own skills and responsibility to not only themselves and their families, but to the group they’ve joined.
  • Understand ‘the commander’s intent’ of instructions, training classes, and gatherings.
  • Be willing to follow instructions, especially when the reasons behind them may not be understood, or the instructions conflict with the desires of one or more members, so long as the instructions are not unlawful or morally reprehensible.
  • Treat the leadership with respect; never make the leader remind the group, ‘who’s in charge’.
  • Understand and apply the knowledge that learning and skill improvement is the direct responsibility of the group member, and is directly proportionate to the amount of time and effort each group member puts into study and practice.
  • Ask for clarification on any instruction not completely understood.
  • Once a decision is made by the leader, follow it to the best of your own ability.
  • Know that what is put into the group is directly proportionate to what is received as benefit from group membership.

While the above considerations aren’t all inclusive, they do provide a general framework in which the group can work and begin to develop, grow, and maintain cohesion.

So, look at your group and try to identify those behaviors that are growing cohesion and those that are detracting from it.  Increase the former and remove the latter.

After a reasonable time, say 90 days, compare and contrast your group cohesion to what was and what is.

You might be pleasantly surprised.

Warmer Weather is Here….

There is no reason not to PAINT YOUR RIFLE!
Application product: Duracoat ( Krylon works, too, but Duracoat is a superb base coat….)
Application time (not including curing time between coats):
  • Base Coat: Less than 10 minutes.
  • Camo “slashes”: Less than 5 minutes.
 Dry time (for more applications) between coats: 1 hour
Done in ONE afternoon and ready for the range the next morning . . . (If I were using Krylon it would have cut the dry time down to 30 minutes)
The AI
AI Rifle

Do Something….TODAY!

Listen to the ‘old Sargeant’….



WHAT have you done today to increase your skills and capabilities or improve your preps?

This is the one question you should be asking yourself.   Every.  Single.  Day.

And, every day, you should be making sure you do it.

Things like:


Snap-Ins/Dry Fire


Gear checks.


Home preps.


Snap-Ins/Dry Fire

Small Unit Tactics study/pre-requisite reading.


AO Planning


Land Nav map work practice (the basics, plotting azimuths, back azimuths, grid coordinates, GM angle conversion, etc)

Ruck walks (unobtrusive pack around the neighborhood).

Knot work.


You get the picture.  The list is exhaustive and you should not get bored.  Remember what a wise man once said, “You ain’t gotta like it, slick, you just gotta do it.”

If you don’t, how are you going have even the slightest chance of keeping your ‘precious cargo’ safe, let alone fed?

Skull-Stomping More Sacred Cows: A Rant about Militia “Standards”

As is usual, Mosby speaks honestly to those who are delusional about their training standards.  If you, dear reader, are one of those he’s speaking to, take his sound advice to heart, and get with the program.  Unless, of course, you can live with the fact that your lack of training will get people killed needlessly….


And, for those who need it, here’s another post to help one sort through negativity while objectively evaluating the truth of his commentary.


Upcoming Product Review

DTG pays attention, close attention, to tools and equipment available to the public for use in SHTF scenarios, and you’ve seen us endorse various field related products including knives like the Bravo 1.5 (another fine knife) on the blog.  To that end, we’ve ordered a couple of Wall Hand Made ‘Randall Style Model 18’ survival knives with a Model 14 grind and a 7.5 inch blade length with rivited Sullivan sheaths.   It takes about a month and a half for Mr. Wall to make the knives, so in the meantime, please go and review his site here.  Looking at the photo below, you can see the obvious quality in his work.

Wall Non Standard Model 18 with a 5.5 inch Blade

Wall Non Standard Model 18 with a 5.5 inch Blade


The AI (also tasked with ‘R&D’) has been in discussions with Mr. Wall for a couple weeks on specifications and such, and is convinced (as I hope to be once the knives arrive and I can take my copy to the field to ‘play’) that they are every bit as high in quality as the knives they are modeled after, ‘Randall Made Knives’ and at a much more reasonable cost without the wait.  Currently, Randall Made Knives are scheduling knives ordered now for the second quarter of 2018.   Don’t anyone misunderstand; DTG staff holds Randall Made Knives in high regard, just as anyone who knows knives would do.  In fact, we collectively own a couple each.  However, unless one wishes to pay a significant premium to sellers at various auction sites, or doesn’t mind waiting the 4 pluse years, and wants a knife every bit as good as a Randall, one should consider the Wall knives.

We will be putting our Wall knives through some serious use to see what they can take, and when we do, we’ll post our reviews and pictures.

As they say, ‘you get what you pay for’ and we believe we are getting some very high quality knives that should equal Randall quality.  In addition, (and this really pleases us) Randall Made Knives doesn’t offer their Model 18 with a 14 grind anymore.  At one time, early in the Vietnam conflict, they did, to our understanding, but not anymore.  Wall knives offers the 14 grind as an option.  DTG believes the 14 grind, whether on a Model 14, 18, or 12-9 provides the best blade for the most uses possible.  Tastes and opinions vary, but that’s where we are.

For those that may not be familiar with the Randall 14 grind, the picture below is the Chief Instructor’s Randall 12-9 with a 14 Grind.  The false edge is just as sharp as the cutting edge.  As you can see, we use our knives.

My knife

So, check out Wall’s site and offerings.  You might find that spending the money on one of his blades might be a very prudent investment if your life might ever depend on your knife.  You might find you have a few bucks left over to buy more preps or ammo or something….




for the light posting as of late.  We’re busy getting ready for a few classes we’ve got on the books as well as meeting our own training requirements in the areas of PT (daily grind), marksmanship maintenance, etc.

We’ll do our best to get something interesting up in the next week or so, but until then, make sure you stop daily at the following sites:




Great Lake Survival Company

The Spec-Ops Medic

Kerodin’s Place

Max Velocity


These daily stops will provide you with more than enough material to keep your mind busy while you’re getting yourself in better shape, doing your snap-ins and dry fire, practicing your land nav skills, studying tactics, etc.


Remember:  discipline