PSA for the DTG Readership – The Definition of ‘Free Speech’ Applied to Blog Commentary

With my motivation to save myself, as well as others, time when they might be inclined to ‘flame’ any post here or any member of the DTG staff, I offer this Public Service Announcement:

I have noticed that many proponents of ‘free speech’ conflate that to mean ‘license to say anything anywhere without consequence.’   That is a patently false perspective on the part of those who like to take license and spew venom in the comments section of any blog while claiming, “First Amendment, free speech!”

For the slow ones, the First Amendment applies to a citizen’s right to speak freely on or about political subjects with no interference from the federal government.  It does not mean ‘free rein’ to say anything that comes to mind without having oneself bounced from a site.

So, here’s the cornerstone of the rules here:  This is my blog.  It is not a government entity.  Therefore, I have no obligation to allow rude, denigrating statements by any commenter on any subject.  And, I won’t.

The requirements for comments to be posted are in plain sight at the comment block.

Anyone who violates those rules are blocked from further comment.  In fact, I reserve the right to not give ‘do overs.’  This ain’t kindergarten.  Let your conscience be your guide.

Have a very DTG day.

Addendum:  I truly appreciate those who provide thoughtful commentary even when disagreeing, most especially when it’s done with objectivity, lack of rancor, and mutual respect and courtesy.  Most commenters do that – it’s the small percentage that this post is aimed at, simply because I don’t want to waste the time bouncing them or deleting their comments.

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What Specific Goals has the Communist Party NOT Achieved in the USA?

Posted at AP on 15 May 18.

Here’s a list compiled in 1958 by W. Cleon Skousen, in his book, “The Naked Communist”  and revisited in the book, “The Naked Truth: The Naked Communist – Revisited,” by James C. Bowers, of 45 communist goals that must be accomplished before the US government could be overthrown from a free state and transfigured into a communist state.

Examine it.  And once done, please describe any of these that have not yet been accomplished.  Then judge as where we are as a people and nation. I’ll be interested to read any comments on this post.

  1.  U.S. acceptance of co-existence as the only alternative to atomic war.
  2. U.S. willingness to capitulate in preference to engaging in atomic war.
  3. Develop the illusion that total disarmament by the United States would be a demonstration of moral strength.
  4. Permit free trade between all nations regardless of Communist affiliation and regardless of whether or not items could be used for war.
  5. Extension of long-term loans to Russia and Soviet satellites.
  6. Provide American aid to all nations regardless of Communist domination.
  7. Grant recognition of Red China.  Admission of Red China to the UN.
  8. Set up East and West Germany as separate states in spite of Khrushchev’s promise in 1955 to settle the Germany question by free elections under supervision of the UN.
  9. Prolong the Conferences to ban atomic tests, because the U.S. has agreed to suspend tests as long as negotiations are in progress.
  10. Allow all Soviet satellites individual representation in the UN.
  11. Promote the UN as the only hope for mankind. If its charter is rewritten, demand that it be set up as one-world government with its own independent armed forces. (Some Communist leaders believe the world can be taken over as easily by the UN as by Moscow. Sometimes these two centers compete with each other.)
  12. Resist any attempt to outlaw the Communist Party.
  13. Do away with all loyalty oaths.
  14. Continue giving Russia access to the U.S. Patent Office.
  15. Capture one or both of the political parties in the U.S.
  16. Use technical decisions of the courts to weaken basic American institutions by claiming their activities violate civil rights.
  17. Get control of the schools. Use them as transmission belts for socialism and current Communist propaganda. Soften the curriculum.  Get control of teachers’ associations. Put the party line in text-books.
  18. Gain control of all student newspapers.
  19. Use student riots to foment public protests against programs or organizations which are under Communist attack.
  20. Infiltrate the press.  Get control of book-review assignments, editorial writing, policy-making positions.
  21. Gain control of key positions in radio, TV, and motion pictures.
  22. Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all forms of artistic expression. An American Communist cell was told to “eliminate all good sculpture from parks and buildings; substitute shapeless, awkward, and meaningless forms.”
  23. Control art critics and directors of art museums. “Our plan is to promote ugliness, repulsive, meaning-less art.”
  24. Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them “censorship” and a violation of free speech and free press.
  25. Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV.
  26. Present homo-sexuality, degeneracy, and promiscuity as “normal, natural, healthy.”
  27. Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with “social religion.”  Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity which does not need a “religious crutch.”
  28. Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principle of “separation of church and state.”
  29. Discredit the American Constitution by calling it inadequate, old-fashioned, out of step with modern needs, a hindrance to co-operation between nations on a worldwide basis.
  30. Discredit the American founding fathers. Present them as selfish aristocrats who had no concern for the “common man.”
  31. Belittle all forms of American culture and discourage the teaching of American history on the ground that it was only a minor part of “the big picture.”   Give more emphasis to Russian history since the Communists took over.
  32. Support any Socialist movement to give centralized control over any part of the culture — education, social agencies, welfare programs, mental health clinics, etc.
  33. Eliminate all laws or procedures which interfere with the operation of the Communist apparatus.
  34. Eliminate the House Committee on Un-American Activities.
  35. Discredit and eventually dismantle the FBI.
  36. Infiltrate and gain control of more unions.
  37. Infiltrate and gain control of big business.
  38. Transfer some of the powers of arrest from the police to social agencies.   Treat all behavioral problems as psychiatric disorders which no one but psychiatrists can understand or treat.
  39. Dominate the psychiatric profession and use mental health laws as a means of gaining coercive control over those who oppose Communist goals.
  40. Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce.
  41. Emphasize the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents.   Attribute prejudices, mental blocks, and retarding of children to suppressive influence of parents.
  42. Create the impression that violence and insurrection are legitimate aspects of the American tradition; that students and special-interest groups should rise up and use “united force” to solve economic, political or social problems.
  43. Overthrow all colonial governments before native populations are ready for self-government.
  44. Internationalize the Panama Canal.
  45. Repeal the Connally Reservation so the United States cannot prevent the World Court from seizing jurisdiction over domestic problems.  Give the World Court jurisdiction over nations and individuals alike.

Happy Wednesday….

 

Comparision / Contrast: Old v New AR Platforms – Pt 2

Posted at AP on 11 Oct 18.

Before we get into this installment, I freely acknowledge that there are as many people out there who simply loathe the M16/AR15/M4/M4gery platform and would rather throw rocks at an enemy than use one, as recently evidenced by comments not making the cut here (I don’t do vitriol) or seen at other sites posting the first installment of the series.

There are also those who really, ‘don’t know what they don’t know’ about continuous product improvement, and honestly don’t care to compare/contrast older versions with newer versions of anything, and operate on what is known as, “The Law of Primacy,” which basically means, “first learned, longest remembered, revered, trusted, etc (put in your own descriptor..)  I actually was in this category for 20 years after retiring from active duty, so much so that I moved to the 7.62NATO round in a M14 type rifle and didn’t consider an AR until about 6 or 7 years ago.  Of course, a lot has changed for the better since even then.

 

 

So, if you’re one of those who reacts in an unhealthy way at the mention of ‘AR’, don’t bother reading on, as all this will most likely do is raise your BP, your ire, and possibly cause you to violate our comment standards when/if you comment.

For the rest of the readership, as you saw in Part 1, the M-16 and its civilian cousin, the AR15 (exception to the designation was the fully automatic USAF AR15) started out with a whimper instead of a bang.  It took some time for Colt to clear up the problems being faced on the battle field due to poor powder replacements in the round, no cleaning equipment, no solvents, and extreme malfunctions solely due to those reasons.

However, once Colt got on the ball, the problems were fixed and the rifle and carbine kept being put through Continuous Product Improvement evolutions to became the most loved/hated platform in the US.  I was weaned on the USAF AR15 slab side (my first issue rifle had the 3 prong flash suppressor on it).  We had no forward assist available, but the thing was, we didn’t need it.  Colt had fixed the issue, so we were fine with what we were given, not that we actually knew what had been improved (E-2’s and 3’s aren’t the most informed people in the military….just sayin’), we just knew it fired when we pulled the trigger and hit what we were aiming at to the maximum range we were allowed to shoot (usually 200 meters or less, most often 100 meters).  Most of us, including me, hated it though, because we were trained by men who’d used the first generation in Vietnam that had problems.  We all lusted for the M-14, which we would NEVER see as a general issue rifle.

My personal dislike for the AR carried over throughout my career, even though I used another variant or two, specifically, the GAU-5A and the ‘Colt Commando.’  Those were, at least, more maneuverable and as we were always getting in and out of vehicles (trucks, jeeps, cars (armored and standard), a lot easier to use and control, especially if you were a dog handler (like I was for 3 years) or were working a support weapons crew, such as the 81mm Mortar (also like I was for 5 years).  Great also for vehicle patrols and other tasks.  The pic below also shows how we adapted the slings in order to carry in more of a ready position.  We taped our unused sling swivels, though….noise and all that.

When I retired from active service, I decided to go with .30 caliber weapons for my personal use and for competition.  So, in a short time, I had an ’03A3, a nice Garand, and a really nice pre-ban Springfield M1A (later sold and replaced with a Fulton Armory refurbed Norinco with all TRW parts except for the receiver).  Used them for 20 years.  Below photo of yours truly with his Fulton Armory reworked Norinco.

Then, age started to catch up to me, and I knew my days of running around with a 10 pound rifle and 13 magazines of 7.62NATO were numbered.  So, all the .30’s eventually got sold, and I listened to some folks talk about how much more improved the AR was.  I was hearing things about 600 meter capabilities, super-stiff barrels in 16, 18 & 20 inch lengths, double-chrome lining, Nickel Boron coated BCG’s, and some superb triggers.

Usually, what sounds to good to be true actually is too good to be true.

In this case, the upgrades and improvements were, in fact, true, and the AR’s I own now run circles around what I was issued, and, in the case of the Colt SP-1 still out there for sale for collectors when they can find one.  I like the SP-1 for nostalgia’s sake; the one I’ve fired hits where it should hit, but it is limited by the barrel twist, the sights, bullet weight, and issue trigger.  But it is the closest thing to what I used during my first couple tours on active duty, save for the lack of select fire.  In comparison, the AR below is an earlier iteration I had for a couple years; bought it right before the first panic in ’09 for about $1300 and watched it go up in value to over $3,000 almost over night.  I decided to go with the ‘Canadian’ influence of a retractable stock but a full length 20 inch barrel.  I wanted to squeeze the most performance possible out of the 5.56NATO round.  It had a Nickel Boron upper, NiB BCG and bolt, 20 in chrome lined FN barrel in a 1:8 twist (it ate everything pretty well), Gisele trigger, Magpul everything, Vortex flash suppressor, fold down BUIS, and an ACOG.  I regret selling that one.  That particular rifle is shown in the feature image at the top of this post.

What’s available for purchase now?  Almost endless accouterments as well as configurations.  I’ll list just a few of the improvements.  Yes, some of them are expensive, but I figure you get what you pay for, and I know my AR’s are pretty much bomb proof.  They also fall into the definition of ‘practical combat carbine.’  Also available is the very popular AR ‘pistol.’  They’re kinda neat for carry in a car, so long as you have a CPL.  Most states won’t allow a rifle to be carried loaded in your vehicle, but, and AR pistol may be, so long as you have your CPL.  Laws vary, so check out your own state’s requirements.

Here’s some of the upgrades available that I’ve chosen for my latest iteration, one that I’ve had for about 3 years:

  • FN manufactured, double chrome lined barrel.  Very stiff; basically a cut down machine gun barrel.  Able to stay very rigid during long firing periods (equates to a smaller cone of fire).
  • Barrel Twist – 1:7 takes the 62gr, both OTM and M855.  Personally, I’d prefer a 1:8, as it’ll eat everything ranging from 55gr to 77 gr, but I’m not quite ready to re-barrel my ‘go to.’
  • Vortex Flash Suppressor – Nothing says ‘no flash signature’ like a Vortex.  You can still see flash signature with the ‘Bird Cage,’ let alone the 3 prong.
  • Folding BUIS w/chevron sight post to replace the standard – Great for snap shooting and back up should my optics go Tango Uniform.
  • Battery Assist Device (BAD) by MagPul – HUGE debate out there in ‘subject matter expert’ land as to what one might do if they train with a BAD and have to use a ‘battlefield pick up.’  I am not in that camp.  I’ve been using the AR system long enough that if a BAD isn’t there, it’ll take about 3 nano-seconds to revert back to activating the standard bolt release.
  • Nickel Boron Bolt and Bolt Carrier Group – Carbon doesn’t adhere nearly as bad as it does on the standard issue or chrome BCG or bolts.
  • Bravo Company Bolt Upgrades – Rubber donuts, stronger ejector springs, and superb gas rings that last longer.
  • Better ergonomics on the pistol grip, adjustable stock, and fore-grip.
  • 200 lumen mounted light on foregrip; safety bail operated.
  • Geissele trigger.  ‘Nuff said.
  • Vortex Strike Eagle variable scope.  Not top line, but is superb and takes enough of a beating to make it balance out on the ROI scale.
  • American Defense Industries quick release scope base – If the vortex goes ‘kaput,’ I can remove it with a flip of the levers and employ my back up iron sights that are pre-zeroed.
  • Heavier buffer/stronger buffer spring – It’s for the carbine, of course, but it does help keep things non-maniacal during follow up shots.
  • Magazines – Mix between MagPul window and stainless steel magazines.  I like both; both take rattle can camo very well.  The MagPuls are thicker at the base, and therefore don’t fit as well into USGI type double mag bandoleers (which I like for ‘extra comfort’).

All in all, the newest iteration I own, and the ones available from quality manufacturers have long outdistanced what was originally issued and available to the civilian market.

Are there better platforms out there?  Sure, but you’d be hard pressed to find a more versatile platform with as many different configurations, optics, furniture, ammo choices, not to mention cost reductions and availability.  Nicely appointed AR’s are going for $500, sometimes less, and the quality isn’t half bad.

Well, that about does it.  Hope you enjoyed the series.

Comparision / Contrast: Old v New AR Platforms – Pt 1

Posted at AP on 2 Oct 18.

“Ch-ch-ch-changes…..Time May Change Me, but I can’t Change Time…”

Interesting start to a new post, huh?  Kinda sorta ‘Bowie-like’ but different….as you can see by the featured photo, this is going to be a comparison contrast with some history thrown in regarding the quintessential American, ‘Go-To’ rifle, the AR-15.

Let’s start out with a little known trivia fact:  Which US military branch had a fully automatic version of the M16 actually designated as the AR-15?

Drum roll:  The US Air Force. The USAF chose Colt’s Model 604 and had it designated the AR-15.  Same thing as the M16 feature image above (not A1), complete with select fire capability but with all the wonderful improvements (to that time) that Colt had made to ensure reliability in combat conditions.

Colt Model 604 was the AR-15/M-16 model developed primarily for the US Air Force. It differed from the XM16E1 and M16A1 in that it did not have the forward assist feature. The “early” models were built with a Partial Fence Lower and 3-Prong Flashhider, and the “late” models were built with Full Fence Lowers and A1 Birdcage Flashhiders.

From what the records indicate, once powder issue had been resolved and fouling was no longer a killer in the field, and the buffer spring had been strengthened, the forward assist was no longer necessary.  We always thought we were being short changed with the AR-15 version, but in all the time I was in the field in swampy, wet, winter, and dry conditions, never once did my issued AR-15 fail to go into battery when firing, so apparently, Colt did fix things.  They even got rid of the three prong flash suppressor that could, but didn’t normally, get caught on local vegetation.  More often it was used to pop open ‘C Rats’ or ammo cases (the violator getting caught became miserable for a few weeks), and then, ‘poof,’ all our rifles were either retrofitted with ‘jungle tips’ (original reference by USAF Security Forces in the 70’s) properly known as ‘bird cage’ flash suppressors or returned to Depot after new ones had arrived.

    USAF Air Base Ground Defense troop with a M16

Then there’s the ‘forward assist’.  The originals on the M16A1 actually fit the thumb as opposed to the ‘push button’ type seen today.  And, it was necessary, from both a physical point of view (the buffer springs weren’t quite strong enough to deal with the crap encountered in the bush) and there was a more important psychological perspective to deal with:  way too many GI’s were afraid of having to break down their rifle because it wouldn’t go into battery during a fire fight.  Even with the problem fixed, the ‘A1’ was a good idea if only for confidence and a ‘make sure’ tool.  So now, everyone who’s anyone won’t buy a M-forgery or full length rifle without a forward assist.  Every single upper I’ve purchased has one ‘De Rigueur.’  You simply cannot find an AR lower without one (which is kind of ironic, in that buffer springs now are available that when compared to the older ones are on steroids!)  At least I haven’t been able to do so.  Basically, it’s an unnecessary feature that will never be used in earnest, which is to ensure that a gunky, muddy, debris encumbered bolt carrier group will seat so the weapon may fire.  All one needs for this rifle to be reliable is a good, strong buffer spring, and routine cleaning, and it won’t fail.  Maybe your mileage has varried/will vary, but I’m pretty confident in what my AR’s have that makes the Forward Assist obsolete.  Colt had fixed that , too, in the USAF’s AR15, and that’s why the USAF didn’t see them for quite a long time (from what I understand, current issue has them – most likely an economy of scale thing….cheaper to make them with them, than make a separate run without them).

Ok…on to basic history:

Military problems with the AR (M-series) in Vietnam:

  • Original powder used to achieve 3K feet per second velocity produced excessive (and I mean excessive) fouling that caused the rifle to jam very quickly (propellants used in today’s 5.56NATO doesn’t foul the chamber or barrel nearly at all).
  • Fouling led to ‘failure to extract’ spent casings, and that got a lot of people hurt/killed.
  • Barrel and chamber were chromoly, not chrome-lined, and were subject to rust/corrosion if not cleaned often.
  • Cleaning kits were in short supply.  REALLY short supply.  Rifles were supposed to be delivered with them, but Colt and the Army got caught short. Troops wrote home begging for .22 cleaning kits from their families.
  • Colt originally claimed the rifle was ‘self-cleaning,’ (which is why they didn’t worry about the cleaning kits) which obviously was not the case.

By 1967, the M16A1 was issued.  Improvements included:

  • Chrome Lined chamber & barrel:  One of the best things they EVER did.  To this day, until Nitride barrels, a good AR has had a single or double chrome lining for increased barrel life and reduced corrosion and failure to extract (dirty chambers can still cause an occasional problem if ignored, so it’s a good idea when cleaning to clean the chamber and not just the bore).
  • Lubricants – LSA, that wonderful, white, gooey lubricant also known as a something to do with elephants that is not mentioned in polite company.  This is where we all learned it ran better when wet.
  • Cleaning Solvents – Worked like a charm (with a lot of scrubbing – nothing like the wonder solvents of today) compared to letting it clean itself.
  • Cleaning Kits & Training in how to clean the weapon:  Go figure.  Who knew?
  • Charging Handle changed out from the ‘triangle,’ which was hard to grip and pull with wet hands, to the more user-friendly version seen today as ‘standard issue.’

The powder wasn’t changed, though, until 1970, to one that was much less prone to foul the weapon to the point of despair.

The rest, as they say, is history.  I was asked on the range one day not long ago if I was using the civilian version of what I used on active duty.  My answer was something along the lines of:  “Not hardly.  This thing is a ‘space gun’ compared to what we had.”  And it’s true.  There have been so many improvements to the basic AR platform that comparison can be likened to a World War II Thunderbolt compared to a F-16 fighter.

When one compares even the improved version of the civilian model, the Colt SP-1 (the one I owned for a short time was made in 1976), is almost prehistoric compared to my 16″, Nitiride 1:8 twist, NiB Bolt & BCG, flat top, 6 position Magpul stock, Gisele trigger, Primary Amrs optic mounted, 62gr shooting, MOA capable/performing (depending on the ammo…) carbine.  Not. The. Same. Animal.

I like the SP-1 a lot, generally for nostalgia, and if I find another example reasonably priced, will buy it again.  It shoots well, and is a great collector’s piece as most are still in great shape and made by “Colt Patented Firearms”, while sporting the ‘prancing pony’ logo.  If there wasn’t anything else for me to grab, I’d take one and have confidence in its performance within its limitations.  On the other hand, if I have my ‘druthers on grabbing something for a problem, I’m reaching for my modern carbine that has every possible improvement to the platform in the way of reliability, accuracy, and durability.  No question.

Next installment:  Comparison of the current practical combat carbine.

 

 

General Purpose Load Outs – Pt III

Updated at AP on 21 Sep 18.

Parts 1 & II

On this installment, we’ll look at what would be Level III, or the ‘Existence Load.’  Please note that brands are not what is being recommended here (everyone seems to have their own favorites); only the category/type of item.  For purposes of this post, a pistol is a pistol, a fixed blade knife is a fixed blade knife, etc.  Most importantly, your mileage may vary on what you need as Level 1 in your own AO.  Remember to not over do on item selection for any of the levels.  You have to carry it all….that said, this is what we recommend for baseline gear/equipment leveling:

Level 1 Contents in no particular order (and some are not included in the pictures):

  • Presume you have AO/Season appropriate clothing on your person, so we won’t go into that.
  • Cotton Balls or some other very light fire starter
  • Signalling Whistle
  • Stabilized Oxygen (water purification)
  • AO Map – Usually a state map showing major roads, cities, etc, (this would be in addition to any topographical or aerial photograph maps you have in your level 2 or 3 list.
  • Water proof bag to keep small L1 items together (should fit in a cargo or pants pocket)
  • ‘Space’ Blanket’
  • Magnesium or Ferro Rod fire starter (I prefer the ferro rod; others like the magnesium – I keep my ferro rod on a piece of 550 cord around my neck…works for me.)
  • 12 inches of 100 mph tape
  • 1 unlubricated prophylactic – relax – it’s an emergency water container
  • Fixed blade knife of 6 to 8 inches
  • Small sharpening stone – in the picture below, that is kept in the snow sealed, riveted sheath
  • Compass – As seen, this one is in the knife cap
  • Small, individual survival kit – in the knife handle; can include a few fish hooks, a few matches, etc.
  • Side arm & one magazine
  • Holster – in this case, the owner is using a simple trigger guard with belt attachment for IWB carry.  I prefer either a belt or should holster.  In any event, the pistol is on your person 24/7, even when you’re sleeping – never out of reach, always ready in an instant.
  • Small bag with a couple packets of MRE toilet paper and a couple disinfectant wipes (even in dire straights, keeping yourself clean as possible will keep you going longer as your body won’t have to fight an illness while using its energy reserves you’re counting on).
  • A high quality multi-tool in a pouch on your knife sheath or belt or in a pocket.  This is just as important as your fixed blade knife and pistol.  This item, really, depending on what’s chosen, one of those things you’ll find you really need.  DTG actually carries two; one affixed to the knife sheath and one in my accessory pouch.  One is a Leatherman MUT, and the other a Gerber 600 one hand opening needle nose.  In. De. Spensible.
  • One quart size plastic bag to keep things in (can also double as another water container).
  • Other items can be easily added, such as
    • 10X monocular, kept in a shirt pocket
    • Lighter (highly recommended)
    • Wrist Watch – On your wrist, obviously, and one might consider a self-winder or manual wind (EMP, you know).

As you can see from the second picture below, it all goes very nicely in the dry bag, and its scale/weight will do very nicely in a cargo or even a large shirt pocket.  Knife goes on the belt, and the pistol goes into an appendix carry in this case.  If you use a belt holster for your pistol, make sure to balance your belt with the pistol on one side and the knife on the other.

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Level 2 Contents in no particular order:

  • Carbine & primary magazine – the carbine should be set up as a practical combat carbine w/optics and possibly a weapon mounted light, depending on product.  Remember, a ‘negligent light up’ in the dark could get you killed.
  • H-Harness or LBV – Remember DTG does not recommend chest rigs as ‘general purpose’ gear.  They’re great for specific applications, but, at least in our opinion, don’t fit the definition used for selection as general purpose.  As always, your mileage may vary.
  • Ammo pouches to hold six standard capacity (30 rounds) magazines with appropriate ammunition.
  • Compass pouch w/primary compass.
  • Accessory pouch with those accessories a NPT member might need for security operations.  Could contain things like:  Headlamp, earplugs, 3 or 4 inch blade folding knife (for small chores like opening food packets), eating utensil, spare batteries, small bottle of CLP, 4 way spigot key (can turn on a lot of faucets if needed in an urban/suburban environment, etc.  Your call, as it’s what you believe you’ll need and will be on your harness/LBE.
  • CAT (Combat Application Tourniquet) –  DTG carries an additional one taped to the outboard side of the carbine stock in order to have two; one of which is immediately available,  DO NOT use 100 mph tape!!  You’ll never get your CAT off the rifle in time to use it.  1.5 wraps of electrical tape on each end of the CAT will do it.
  • BOK – AKA, ‘Blow Out Kit’ or Traumatic Hemorrhage Kit complete with coagulants, chest seals, etc.  It all depends on what kind of care you think you can get post use of the BOK.
  • Mini-IFAK – Includes band aids, triangular bandages, snake bit kits, etc, again, depending on your AO  (if you’re narrow waisted, and don’t have a lot of ‘real estate’ on your LBE, you might consider a cargo pocket or a shirt/jacket pocket.  In cooler weather, a British Windproof Smock or similar jacket with many pockets would help on this.  DTG uses a smock for L1 add ons and L2 items that won’t fit on the LBE, and it works – make sure you test what you come up with).
  • Radio – Make sure you check out Brushbeater’s radio series if you’re not quite sure what you should have or how you’d use what you do have.

Level 3 Contents:

These are what old-schooler’s refer to as ‘Existence Load’ items.  Again, in no particular order:

  • Entrenching tool
  • 6 additional loaded standard capacity magazines in bandoleer
  • Water bladder (additional or primary – depends on what you can carry)
  • Lean to (tarp, poncho, etc) – The USMC field tarp, British Basha, Aqua Quest Defender, Noah’s Tarp, etc, seem to be very popular and work well.  DTG has used all the listed examples.
  • Sleeping bag/poncho liner & additional tarp (depending on season/AO)
  • 30 ft 1/2 inch rope
  • Carabiners
  • 3 Duke 110 traps
  • 3 ‘Yo Yo’ reels
  • Naglene water container
  • Utility pot (canteen cup – DTG prefers the WWII/Korea models with the solid handle vice the ‘butterfly grips’)
  • 1 spare set of pants/shirt
  • 3 spare sets of socks
  • 1 pair thermal underwear
  • Spare batteries
  • Spare compass
  • Four 50 ft hanks of 550 cord
  • Tinder packet
  • Sharpening stone
  • 3 day pack
  • “MAC” sacks (one way valve waterproofing bags)
  • Kukri or Machete (not pictured) – personally, DTG likes the Kukri – it can take a LOT of use/abuse for survival situations
  • Equipment Repair Kit – Heavy Material Stitcher, Goo, 100mph tape, or whatever you think you’ll use to repair gear that becomes damaged in the field
  • 6 full meals (that doesn’t mean MRE’s, either, unless you ‘field strip’ them.  DTG does a mix of Mountain House vacuum packed, field stripped MRE’s, and other small items that equate to 4 days of meals.

Add what you need, but the trick here is to have what you really need in the Existence Load, but not over pack, and BE ABLE TO CARRY FOR AT LEAST 5 MILES what you have without falling over, and then still being able to set up a RON (Remain Over Night) location when you get to your way point.

20140713-214023-78023861.jpg

And there you have it.  The image below shows a NPT member with all Levels mounted.  Again, these photos are for demonstration, and therefore, no field clothing is being used by the model.

Instant Response Set Up – A Suggestion

We’ve all got our SHTF set ups and they most likely include, our harness, our multitude of ammo and mags, and the kitchen sink.  And, if we’ve done it right, we’ve bought the highest quality we can afford, meaning it might not be ‘Top Shelf’ equipment, but it’s not going to fall apart with rough use, either.

One thing that many don’t have is an “instant Response Kit” that might entail basic NPT* member requirements for, say, 24 to 48 hours in the event of an imminent threat or actual attack.  In essence, a ‘grab and go’ set up that will see you through the initial stages of a ‘bad thing’ until you can either get your standard SHTF existence load and equipment.  Necessarily so, this equipment won’t be at the top line of expenditures, either, and surplus equipment might be the way to go.

So, for discussion, what might that look like?

Again, this set up should be of reasonable quality to be used in scenario based training and the real McCoy if necessary, but would only have an expected life that would be much more protracted than the really good stuff you’ve made your ‘SHTF I’m not coming back’ set up from.

This example is for an AR set up because it’s ubiquitous, and these days, really inexpensive to get a decent copy.  So….you 7.62NATO fans are going to have to find something similar that takes your mags and spare ammo, if you decide to go with the concept.

Now nothing says your ‘instant response’ or “IR” set up can’t actually BE your SHTF set up, so long as it meets the criteria.  If you’ve got your current SHTF set up in modules, where you can easily pick up something and leave some other thing behind instantly, than you may be good to go.  That means what you might consider  ‘Line 1’ items must be contained in the set up.  Pistol, spare mags, knife, mini-survival kit have to be on it, unless you actually have them already in your pants/on your person when you grab the IR kit.

Remember, the definition I’m going to use here for an ‘IR Kit’ means exactly that:  INSTANT RESPONSE.  No sorting, no digging through stuff, no anything save grabbing your AR and your IR Kit and going out the door.

The IR Kit is comprised of 2 modules that include anything determined to be necessary to operate independently of a support base/group for up to 72 hours maximum that when donned, needs nothing added to complete the set up.

Module 1:  Zero’d AR with one full magazine – it should be painted to break up the shape and outline, with a pallet of colors that match most conditions of your area.

Example of camouflaged AR – outline broken up; does not stand out

Module 2:  IR Kit consisting of the following components:

 

  • Harness:  Suggested is the USGI Gen II LBV.  Why a surplus USGI 2nd Gen?  Because A: it’s cheap.  Mine cost me $13 shipped.  B:  Because it is versatile enough to haul your required gear/weapons/support with the addition of a USGI web belt that’s also ‘soooper cheep,’ and C: because it’ll hold 8 mags or 6 mags if you use one pouch for ‘stuff’ (jury’s out on that right now due to balance – time will tell).  To keep costs down, I’m also using spares I’ve got on hand so the dollar outlay is as little as possible.  For those of you who might not have spares, remember your local garage sales and flea markets.  New isn’t what you’re after – ‘serviceable’ is what you need.  In fact, a bit faded is good.  So, look for the belts and, while you’re at it, if you don’t have one, get a USGI M84 or M12 Holster to go on your belt for your service pistol.  These holsters really protect your service pistol from a lot of things, including mud, debris, and other items that can impact your successful employment of the pistol when necessary.

  • Fixed blade knife:  One suggestion if you don’t have a spare to throw on your IR Kit, is a Camillus ‘combat’ knife or similar.  Used is also good here, so long as the edge looks serviceable, and the sheath is ok, too.  You can always improve the edge as well as sno-seal or beeswax the sheath,  You could also get a ‘Glock Field Knife’ or other similar knife that meets your preferences. The important thing is to have a good fixed blade knife.

  • Spare Magazines: Determine whether you want 6 or 8 on your person and pre-load them to be stored in the harness.  Not to worry, you can leave mags loaded for years without damaging the magazine spring, contrary to conventional wisdom – metallurgy will tell you that over compression of the spring is what damages mags, not leaving fully loaded for years.   Personally, I like 6 on the vest, because with one mag in the AR, you’ve got a total of 210 rounds which is a basic load taken right from my super old school training.  Unless you’re dealing with a human wave style attack, 210 rounds ought to be good to go for 48 hours, especially if you’re an, ‘aimed, deliberate, accurate, deadly fire’ proponent.  If there’s a chance you might not get back to your primary SHTF equipment for a couple more days, you can always load 6 more magazines (180 rounds) in a bandoleer to provide an added measure of ‘peace of mind.’  The USGI surplus is better than the aftermarket hook and loop closure models – the USGI version has hardcore snaps on it.

  • Support Items:  Then we need to add to the mix some sundry items like water, food, map, compass (even if you’re only going to the end of your block, you should ALWAYS have a map & compass to plot out where the bad guys are or have come from), space blanket, fire kit, canteen cup (universal use pot), fire starter, These might be kept in a small ruck, an accessory pouch, or an old school ‘butt pack.’   A cleaning kit is purposely not included, as you would not necessarily be a position to take down your piece/pistol for cleaning.

The primary objective is to have the harness set up so that everything you need to ‘go now’ for anything extremely short term up to a 48 hour stint away from your primary existence and fighting load is at your fingertips.  This could also serve as a superb ‘mobile’ set up that one might put in his/her vehicle prior to going on a long trip.  2 items:  Rifle & IR Kit.  Not bad.

Once I get mine together, I’ll be doing some experimenting on wearing it and see how the basic idea seems to fit.

 

General Purpose Gear Load Outs – Pt II

Updated at AP on 21 July 18.

Gear Layering

What is gear layering? As described in other posts here and on other sites, such as Mason Dixon Tactical, American Partisan, and WRSA, gear layering is arranging equipment in lines, layers, and levels, to achieve the same thing. It is a technique for prioritizing the carriage of the most essential gear for the specific job over gear that may still be important, but not as high on the priority list as other items. Many sources divided their levels of gear into 3 or 4 layers. DTG recommends and uses the 3 layer approach.  Why address it again?  Because it works!

A quick description:

Level 1: Gear that is essential to survival and ALWAYS on your person, even when you’re sleeping (remember, you will fight like you train, and if a SHTF situation presents itself, you no longer have the luxury of ‘total comfort’.) If all else fails and an individual loses their harness and ruck, they still will have their level one items with them to help them survive until they can reach support.

Level 2: Gear is for NPT security tasks and is on your person the significant majority of the time. Only items that are needed for conducting continuing security tasks are carried on this level with respect to the SMOLES packing concept. Following this methodology, the NPT member stays light and has the freedom of movement essential to do their job.

Level 3: Gear is comprised of sustainment items, which serves as one’s “home away from home.” Usually, this is a “patrol pack”, ruck or combination of both. Items at this level are needed for task completion while on a job, or for long term survivability in the field. If in contact with a threat, more than likely this level is shed so that the NPT member can maneuver more easily to counteract the threat. So, there is a possibility that items in this layer may be lost in contact. On the other hand, if the NPT is successful in its task, the NPT members can always retrieve their Level 3 gear.

Here are a few visual examples of gear that layered for an NPT member:

Example Level 1: Here you can see a NPT member wearing a big knife, a pistol, (and the bulge in the pocket is a survival kit).  He’s always got these on.

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Example Level 2: Here you can see a NPT team member’s Load Bearing Harness. It contains all the necessary items to conduct security tasks in a SHTF/WROL situation. The harness weighs about 25 pounds complete with all equipment.

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Example Level 3: Option 1: As you can see here, the level 3 gear is a “patrol pack” or small ruck, dedicated to sustainment items for a short trip in the field. The pack weighs about 22 lbs loaded with the items we recommend for general purpose carry.

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Example Level 3 – Option 2: And lastly we have a large ruck in combination with the small ruck as the full load out for one’s home away from home in the field. Together they weigh about 65 lbs.

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So there you have it, an overview for gear layering. It’s not a complicated concept, but it does help one prioritize their gear for the purpose it was intended. The layer concept also makes sure you have your “oh crap” tools always on hand.

In the next post we will take a look at general NPT security member kit contents in each layer.

General Purpose Gear Load Outs

Updated at AP on 9 July 18.

Part 1: Load Bearing Equipment (LBE) Selection

There are many gear options out there today for one’s fighting load and sustainment ruck. As our overall goal is to show the NPT how to protect their neighborhood in the event of disaster, we want to do this as efficiently as possible.  One way to achieve efficiency is to provide information that equates to much less time needs to be spent worrying over which LBE set up or ruck is better and using that time instead for training and study.

As you most likely know,  a person can spend anywhere from a few hundred bucks setting up LBE and rucks with military surplus items to upwards of several thousand on the latest and greatest ‘special-ops’ equipment in the latest and greatest camouflage pattern.  It’s safe to say that American preppers virtually have the greatest availability and choices of military/paramilitary gear in the world, and as neat as that is, it does tend to complicate gear selection for people who are new to the point of becoming overwhelming.  Even when asking, “expert” advice, the tendency is to see the advice given based upon personal tastes versus objective analysis based upon the specified purpose for the selection.

So, when you’re helping the new NPT member to get equipped, you, as the NPT leader, must be able to quickly outline the best return on investment of potential gear selections so the new member can get focused on training as soon as possible.

With that said, DTG recommends a “general purpose” approach when selecting gear.  The definition is offered for clarity, as we try to stick to the definition closely in 98% of all circumstances.

gen•er•al-pur•pose / adjective
general-purpose

1. Having a range of potential uses; not specialized in function or design.  “a general-purpose detergent”

For the requirements of the NPT, general purpose load bearing equipment should facilitate “normal” (that is, ‘routine’) NPT security tasks.   To be considered ‘General Purpose, the LBE you choose should have the following attributes:

  • Capable of mounting all necessary pouches/equipment holders without being so front loaded so that one cannot get very low to the ground, (think H-harness / Battle-belt).  Chest rigs are great for the right circumstances, but they really don’t fit the GP parameters.
  • Comfortable enough to be worn to complete daily grid down chores without extra fatigue.
  • Capable of being put on and taken off without any discernable noise (think of the loud “SKWAAAAP!!!” sound that some Velcro pouches, plate carriers or chest rigs make).  Buckles and snaps are your friend when it comes to quiet.
  • Capable of being put on with or without the use of a low profile plate carrier (the H-harness/battle belt set up work very well in this regard), should that be one of your choices to augment your equipment.

Remember, what works for elite soldiers doing specialized missions might be different than the day to day gear needs of Mom and Pop providing security in their NPA while going about daily chores.  Available cash may also be a constraining factor when it comes to choosing gear.  To preclude the loss of precious time and money when NPT members experiment through trial and error what works best in most situations, and for what cost, the NPT leader should provide all the lessons learned possible so the ‘noobs’ don’t have to go through all the things the veteran NPT leader or member did.   Remember, unless Mom and Pop are in superb physical shape, they might have a hard time with 12 mags hanging off their tummy trying to get into a prone firing position, or low crawling to cover after being encouraged to get a chest rig or plate carrier set up.  (An aside, helping Mom and Pop do reasonable PT helps, too, but you, NPT Leader, need to be busting your ass on PT.)

How do you get the ‘most bang for your buck’ in relation to time saved when learning about gear?

Have new NPT members get some training in SUT with one of the trainers or schools offered by writers on this site.  Their courses are structured to show students, through the performance, if gear is incorrectly set up or can be tweaked a bit.

When you’re home, if appropriate to your AO (meaning you won’t bring a stack down on you after a terrified neighbor calls the local PD on 911) wear your LBE around the house doing normal tasks, yard work, etc. Nothing teaches you how to wear your gear like performing daily chores or the occasional SUT drill!

Any time you attend the training, check out how the instructors set up their gear.  If it seems to work, and it’s possible for you to mimic their set up, test it when you train with your group or family.  If you don’t understand why something is set up a particular way, ask!  Remember, the instructors have tailored their LBE set ups used during their experience in the military to that of citizens training to defend their families. Pick their brains; they know what works and what doesn’t work so well. If you have a question, drop them a line.

DTG’s LBE and Ruck Suggestions:

General Purpose Option 1: “I have an extremely limited budget, but need all the quality I can find!”:

Get an ALICE H-harness/web belt and an Enhanced ALICE Large Ruck. My good friend JC Dodge provides some great advice on modernizing the ALICE:  Get a CFP-90 patrol pack to add to the top of the ruck. With mag pouches and canteen’s, etc, you’re looking at about $200 give or take, maybe less depending on what you find or where you shop. Example: In the not too distant past, I was at a flea market and found 4 M1956 canvas M-14 pouches for a buck each. ALICE frames for $20 (US, not knock offs.)  Below you can see two typical ‘old school’ examples that still work very, very well.

LBE

ALICE Pack

General Purpose Option 2: “I’ve got some cash” option:

Get an Eagle Industries RLCS harness (ebay $100 new, $50 to $75 used) with molle pouches ($15 ea) and a USMC FILBE ruck with attachable small patrol pack ($325 new). You’re looking at about $400 to $600 after pouches for your LBE, if you want to go the surplus route.  I’ve had a set up very similar to the one below for the last 5 years – haven’t had an issue with it, and I routinely ruck.  The harness is bomb proof, and it will accommodate flotation pads if you think you’ll need to cross a river.

Eagle Ind. H Harness

Eagle Industries H Harness

 

USMC FILBE Pack

USMC FILBE Pack

*Note these estimations do not include the cost to fill your LBE or Ruck with actual field gear.

The next post will be on gear layering. The idea is not to get into all the supporting theory behind layering as much as it is to give a good example for general purpose gear placement so that (if you like it), you can show an example to new people how/where to wear their gear for security tasks.

The Foxfire Series – An Introduction

Posted at AP on 8 June 18.

While many in the prepper world have heard of this amazing book series, many times more folks have not!  In fact, I’d venture that there are literally hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people who are concerned about possible hard times on the horizon who haven’t heard about this treasure trove of information!  This post is offered in that light – to raise awareness of what treasure of knowledge can be obtained for small cost in dollars.

These wonderful books contain priceless information that anyone, of any age, anywhere, can use to increase their knowledge of, ‘the old ways’ for that will see them through harsh times, off-grid living, or learning and teaching the ‘old’ traditions.

The book began as an English class project published in a magazine, and eventually morphed into a series of encyclopedic paper bound ‘manuals’ with it’s own website and organization, which, if you have a mind, you can become a member.  Foxfire’s mission is to preserve the traditions and practices of Southern Appalachia, however virtually all the information can be adapted to anywhere in the world, as the practices are time tested and proven and will work anywhere.

The history below is taken directly from the foxfire website:

“In 1966, a new teacher at the Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School was struggling to engage students in his high school English class. In frustration, he asked them what they thought would make the curriculum interesting. They decided to create a magazine, honing their writing skills on stories gathered from their families and neighbors, and producing articles about the pioneer era of southern Appalachia as well as living traditions still thriving in the region.

They called it “Foxfire” after the glowing fungus that clings to rotted wood in the local hills. This spark of an idea, and the work that followed, has turned into a phenomenon of education and living history, teaching readers, writers, visitors, and students how our past contributes to who we are and what we can become – how the past illuminates our present and inspires imagination.”

The good news is that for those who bargain hunt, older copies can be found for almost the original price (about $4 per volume) at flea markets, old book stores, and, of course, on line auction sites, such as ebay.   The older the copy and the better shape it’s in, the price will be higher of course.  You can also go to on-line sellers such as Amazon and buy single copies, partial sets, and the entire set if you prefer.  It’s all there for you.   I started with the single book, and after reading a few chapters, quickly went out hunting the other volumes!  My first is an original 1972 copy in ‘like new’ shape (at least it was when I bought it – now it’s well-read and a bit worn).

The first volume covers many subjects.  This is from the front overleaf, but is also on the cover as the image at the top of the post shows:  “The Foxfire Book – Hog dressing; log cabin building; mountain crafts and foods; planting by the signs; snake lore; hunting tales; faith healing; moon shining; and other affairs of plain living.”

The books are not dry, either.  They’re written exactly as the words were spoken and/or written by the people being interviewed, and keep your attention, and transport your mind into their world.  Plain speaking; they tell you why and wherefore with no pretense:  “this is the way I was raised up.”

Get the first volume, “The Foxfire Book,” and judge from there.  As you increase your interest, and decide to buy the second, third, and subsequent volumes, consider passing the ones you’ve read to someone who is of like mind….but you’ll want to make sure they return it and get their own!

 

Re-Post: Shelter – Why Tents Suck

Originally posted on 1 June 2016.

Bottom line first:  As the title indicates, DTG is no fan of tents for survivalist or mobile NPT scenarios that may require sheltering from weather.  Look at the graphic above:  Do you think the occupants saw/heard this guest coming into their camp?  Of course, the photo indicates this was a ‘simple’ camping trip, and other factors are sure to be present that drew the uninvited guest in to check things out, but the main point is the apparent haste in which the occupants left the tent….and all their belongings because they were blind to their environment.

Another reason we don’t recommend any tent, to include individual ‘bivy’ shelters are due to the logistics involved:  Shelter is hauled on your back.  Any shelter that has rigid support structure (poles or springs, such as ‘instant’ pop-up shelters/tents) tend to make the load being carried unbalanced (more or less), and once set up, blocks vision, restricts movement, or retains moisture from condensation, or all of the foregoing.  Don’t agree?  Try your small signature tactical tent in deep winter, and when you settle in for the night, turn on a flashlight and watch your breath rise to the ceiling, freeze, and begin to drift down as micro-snow.  You may find in the morning that your sleeping cap is covered with a thin layer of “snow”, as well as the top of your bag.  This is not speculation – yours truly has had this happen.

Additionally, this post is not about hiding one’s IR signature, either.  Different subject; different tools; different employment of the tools available for an entirely different purpose.  I’m sure you can find plenty of other sites available that will provide more than enough justification necessary to validate the purchase of their $200 tarp with a reflective liner.  Most likely with various camouflage patterns to meet your specific needs.  If that’s what you’re after, this is not the post for you.

This post is also not about sheltering when you know or have reason to believe you’re being actively hunted.  Another entirely different subject where different tools and methods are employed for an entirely different purpose.  The frame of reference here is simply sheltering in the elements to (in no particular order) rest, dry out, eat, hydrate, perform hygiene, etc.

The focus will simply be:

  • Tarp Shelter Purpose
  • Optimum Size & Weight
  • Shelter Siting
  • Knots to use
  • Setting it Up
  • And whatever else crosses our minds on the subject.

Tarp Shelter purpose:  Simply put, a shelter is to get you out of the sun/wind and rain/snow.  As most know, that’s where the debilitation of your physical condition occurs is in the elements.  You can stay cooler or warmer, dehydrate less, and become much more comfortable if you have a tarp shelter big enough to get you out of the elements.  Here’s what you need:

Tarp Shelter, 550 cord, basic knot knoweldge (trucker’s hitch, figure 8, and Prusik will do nicely), your field knife or tomahawk (to make stakes), bungee cords (if you’re going 1st class), and wind consciousness.

Optimum Size & Weight:  Again, bottom line:  Ideally, no more than 3 pounds and size should be 7 X 8 feet, and completely waterproof.  It has to be large enough, ideally, to shelter you, your personal defense carbine, and your ruck.  If your ruck is guaranteed to be waterproof, you can leave it out if needs be, but if not, you don’t want to carry the extra weight from the material becoming saturated.  If you’re alone, or each in your group has their own, you can use your poncho if you have one.  Below is a picture of a student shelter with a standard issue Woodland pattern poncho.  Note the mandatory ‘goose neck’ to keep out water.  And yes, the ruck, hawk and carbine belongs to the student, who wanted to show them in the photo.

DTG Student Hootch

As to size, there are a group of newer shelters, such as the Aqua Quest Defender (shown below) that are about 10X7 feet, and have all sorts of great innovations like up to 20 loops around the perimeter and even one or more loops on the center spine.  They are a bit spendy, but you get what you pay for.  This one weighs in at just over 2 pounds, but has the tried and true woodland pattern.  So far, I really like mine – it works very very well!aqua questAnother great one, if you’re traveling in a team of two or three at most, and distribute the shelter building load among yourselves, is any 10X10 ft waterproof tarp, such as the Snugpak All Weather Shelter, as sold here by Great Lake Survival and weighs about 2 pounds.  I’ve got one and used it regularly until it was edged out by the Aqua Quest. So much so that each time I hit the bush on a training run, it was ‘home.’  Very nice, and when not with a partner, it’s like having a mansion.  I can make my fire right at the edge without endangering the tarp so long as I keep the fire at a reasonable level to heat my food or water for coffee.  The image below is only one configuration possible.

GLSC shelter

If you like MARPAT, and you shop around, you can get almost new USMC Field Tarps, with Coyote Brown on one side and MARPAT on the other.  It’s bigger than a poncho, has no hood, and is solid.  It’s a bit heavier at about 3 pounds, but some folks swear by it.  I have one of these as well, and have used it with no complaints, other than the additional weight.  Here’s one set up in the ubiquitous ‘shelter half’ configuration.

shelter USMC field tarp

One feature you want to look for, especially if you’re going to get an individual sized tarp, is the ability to snap them together (did we mention that your team needs to have standardized equipment?  Here’s one more reason why) in order to make a larger shelter when appropriate.  It’s a nice capability to have available, but not essential for efficient sheltering.

Next time: Shelter Siting, cordage, and knots that lend themselves to efficient set up and tear down.