The R&D guy is always all over the net doing his R&D, and he sent me this picture of someone’s LBE.
This isn’t’ the only picture like this; we’ve seen this more often than we’d like because the owner is at a distinct disadvantage, and by extension, so is his or her NPT. Yes, we understand that it’s nobody’s business how one sets up his LBE when the person in question is a ‘rugged individualist,’ and really, really, really has worked hard to achieve a certain, “tacticoolness,” but what happens when the person can no longer do his task effectively because he’s out of ammunition, doesn’t have any survival gear to speak of on his set up, doesn’t have any food, etc? What does that mean to his or her NPT members who now have to either carry this member’s responsibilities or be his or her personal resupply? Why didn’t the owner paint his rifle and magazines? Why is the dump pouch unrolled (we’re not huge fans of dump pounces except for specific missions when they’d be necessary)?
All in all, not good for a general purpose set up for an extended tasking as a NPT member.
That said, it’s fairly clear we’re focused on NPT training and ensuring the trained NPT is able to stay on a security patrol or other task for as long as the task takes, and to do that, one must have a fair amount of basic equipment that’s always, ALWAYS on your person at the start of the task/mission. (This leads to the secondary component of carrying what you need – the physical strength and endurance to ‘charlie mike’ (continue the mission) without becoming exhausted after a couple hours or a few thousand meters.
So, first up, PT. Get on it. There are about a billion posts and as many programs to get you into good NPT shape. Pick one. Then go do it.
Ok, on to our suggestions for general purpose LBE set ups. Here’s a picture to start: This is the R&D guy’s LBE. He’s not a giant, either. Weighs in at about a buck and a half or so soaking wet. His gear weighs about 30 pounds. He’s a PT’ing fool, though, and he’s got the strength and endurance to do whatever needs doing.
Yeah, it’s kind of a Hollywood picture for demonstration purposes with the Wall knife and all, but we have very similar set ups on our NPT, and everyone carries similar loads. Minimum of 7 mags (plus 6 in a bandoleer, mission dependent), IFAK, food (small butt pack), water, radio, compass, survival kit, multi-tool (in the knife sheath) Mforgery, AO map, protractor, etc.
Here’s what it looks like on our training aid, “Bob.”
You’ll have to excuse the way we’ve balanced the carbine, but as you can see, “Bob” doesn’t have any arms, so we improvised. And, yes, the hydration carrier is set up for above freezing temperatures. See the previous post on our Winter Hydration Carrier Set Up.
Notice we keep the chest and abdomen clear as possible to allow for low prone positions. Sure, if you’re vehicle borne or doing a lot of running and just don’t get on the ground much, you can certainly wear chest rigs and so forth. “Bob” also doesn’t have his battle belt snug (not tight), but as this is the R&D guy’s real-world set up, I thought it would be cruel and unusual punishment to require him to fit it to “Bob” just for these photos.
Everything is balanced on the hips so a ruck or patrol pack can ride properly. Everything is pretty much on the battle belt leaving the wearer’s shooting shoulder open for the butt of the rifle. “Bob” even has a FILBE II sternum strap to keep the ‘H’ harness in place, which helps distribute the load more evenly.
Here’s another view demonstrating more clearly the wear of a 3 color, 6 magazine bandoleer if it was needed. You can also see his Suunto M-9 wrist compass and 550 cord bracelet temporarily attached to the harness for storage. Notice how the hydration carrier doesn’t interfere with the small butt pack.
You’ll find that the weight in this particular set up, when worn properly, is very evenly distributed and doesn’t detract from personal dexterity. In fact, sometimes we forget we’re wearing it. Then again, if you wear it often, it becomes a part of you.
So, there you have it: DTG’s New Year’s Suggestion on setting your LBE up for extended field use. Remember, this set up can be, and should be, adapted to the requirements of the task given to the NPT.
Happy New Year!