Showing posts with label gear porn. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gear porn. Show all posts

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Fighting Load Contest Official Results

To recap here is what the excellent prizes are:

1st: Blackhawk 3 day Assault Pack ($90) AND a $50 gift certificate from LuckyGunner.com ($50 value) plus 2 copies of The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
2nd: HERC stove from Titan Ready Water ($169 value) plus The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
Note: Prizes 1 and 2 are really closely matched. As such the overall winner can pick the Lucky Gunner stuff OR the HERC. 2nd place gets what is left. 2 books will go to #1 and 1 book to #2.
3rd Place: 3 Sport Berkey Water Bottles donated by LPC Survival ($69 value)
4th Place:  A Lifestraw donated by Camping Survival ($20 value)
5th Place: A pair of Gyver Gear survival tin's
6th Place: The Western Front (hardcopy) or 3x e books by Archer Garrett.

 The winners are:

Mike P-18
Kang-16
Carry Alert-15
Prairie Patriot-10
Meister-9
Jake-8
Max Velocity-6

If you won please contact me using the email your post was submitted from  and include your mailing address within 7 days. Note that #1 gets to pick between the Lucky Gunner stuff or the HERC so please specify. I realized I still need to figure out the wild card so I'll do that ASAP. 



Saturday, June 7, 2014

Fighting Load Contest Entry #21- Kang

Today I am proud to bring Entry #21 of our Fighting Load Contest by Kang

We'll be talking chest rigs and battle belts as well as guns and get home bags/ assault packs. Get yours together to win some great prizes including:
1st: Blackhawk 3 day Assault Pack ($90) AND a $50 gift certificate from LuckyGunner.com ($50 value) plus 2 copies of The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
2nd: HERC stove from Titan Ready Water ($169 value) plus The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
Note: Prizes 1 and 2 are really closely matched. As such the overall winner can pick the Lucky Gunner stuff OR the HERC. 2nd place gets what is left. 2 books will go to #1 and 1 book to #2.
3rd Place: 3 Sport Berkey Water Bottles donated by LPC Survival ($69 value)
4th Place:  A Lifestraw donated by Camping Survival ($20 value)
5th Place: A pair of Gyver Gear survival tin's
6th Place: The Western Front (hardcopy) or 3x e books by Archer Garrett.
Wildcard: This one goes to whoever I want to give it to for whatever reason I feel like. It will be a grab bag donated by yours truly. The exact makeup is TBD depending on what I have lying around  and may include books, gear, medical stuff or even a couple silver dimes. ($30+  value).
For a good example of a post reference my EDC Contest entry. Those should give you a good idea what type of thing I'm looking for. I will probably do a full fighting load post some time before the contest is over.


The contest is closed and this is the last entry that will be posted. Voting will start early next week. Voting will run for about a week and will decide the winner's who get the prizes. Onto the Entry.....


My Fighting Load  -- Kang














This is my complete fighting load, including chest rig, plate carrier, battle belt, rifle, and 'assault pack'. The rifle is a bushmaster/rock river AR mutt with an eotech 512 (because AAs are easier to find), a magpul STR stock for carrying replacement batteries, light, BUIs, single/double point sling and ready mag system that lets me carry 2 mags on board for extremely rapid reloads (excuse the pink tape...). To Be Done: the rifle is lined up to be painted once temperatures permit.

Chest Rig



  
   
The chest rig is an HSP D3 chest rig, it carries 4 rifle magazines, 2 pistol magazines, multitool, admin stuff (notepad, pencils, etc) and an Israeli bandage.  To be done: I need to purchase another tourniquet to go in/on my chest rig.

Battle Belt




The battle belt is an HSGI sure grip padded belt with riggers belt.  It carries 2 Esstac single mag pouches for quick reloads and 1 Esstac pistol pouch.  A dump pouch, tear away first aid pouch (with israeli bandages, tourniquet, gloves and other stuff), a 1 liter water bottle pouch that holds my 1st line survival gear (steel water bottle, cordage, firestarter, compass, water purification, folding knife, gun lube, etc) and has a giant Shadowtech bushcraft blade whose name I don't recall (I can't say enough good things about Shadowtech's blades, check them out).  Finally a G-code holster carries a Springfield XDM9 as my backup firearm. To Be Done: I need to replenish my stock of Datrex ration bars after I introduced them to my daughters.

Plate Carrier

       The plate carrier is a Mayflower from Velocity Systems.  I have ceramic front and rear plates, and steel side plates.  The D3 chest rig snaps directly onto the plate carrier, and additionally, I have two 3 magazine pouches in the side plate pockets (for a total of 14 AR magazines, if required and 4 pistol magazines), and a 'flat' style Source 3 liter hydration carrier attached to the rear (I've found it's really hard to carry packs with one of the standard cylinder style hydration pouches on your back).

Assault Pack

 


      Last is the 'assault pack', which is a Tactical Tailor bag whose name escapes me.  It carries a standard camelback 3 liter hydration bladder (total of 7 liters of water immediately available), enough ammo for 10 magazine reloads in bandoliers / stripper clips, a Striplula for rapid reloading, poncho, cordage, headlamp, spare batteries, food, and firearms cleaning kit. To Be Done: more food, I think. See Datrex bars above... Also, I just realized I carry no additional 9mm ammo.
The best aspect of the D3 chest rig is how modular it is.  I can carry just the rig on its own, strapped to the plate carrier, as in the above pictures, or I can even attach it directly to the assault pack.  I can wear just the chest rig under a jacket or even a sweater if I'm trying to be low profile.


 The assault pack even fits quite nicely on the back of my 3rd line gear pack.

Ryan here: As always thanks for the entry. I should note Kang used this setup at Max Velocity's 5 Day Combat Rifle and Contact Drill /Patrolling class and it worked well for him. As to the setup I like it a lot. Modular and good for a variety of situations. General notes:
1) Do not see a way to purify more water. He could have a little bottle of the purification pills someplace and have overlooked mentioning it. If not I'd add some and or a small filter like a Sawyer Mini.
2) The assault pack has plenty of ammo which is great but I would look at the clothing situation. At a minimum a set of spare socks would be prudent.
3) You mentioned an IFAK type kit but what about more common injuries? Some band aid's, asprin, moleskin, etc is a good idea.
4) You hit on it (think it got eaten) but incorporating some food into your fighting kit and more into the assault pack is a good idea.

With those modest additions (that can probably be found lying around in 20 min at home) this is an excellent setup.

Thoughts?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Fighting Load Contest Post #20 Chris's Go To War Rig

Today I am proud to bring Entry #20 of our Fighting Load Contest by Chris formerly of AK.

We'll be talking chest rigs and battle belts as well as guns and get home bags/ assault packs. Get yours together to win some great prizes including:
1st: Blackhawk 3 day Assault Pack ($90) AND a $50 gift certificate from LuckyGunner.com ($50 value) plus 2 copies of The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
2nd: HERC stove from Titan Ready Water ($169 value) plus The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
Note: Prizes 1 and 2 are really closely matched. As such the overall winner can pick the Lucky Gunner stuff OR the HERC. 2nd place gets what is left. 2 books will go to #1 and 1 book to #2.
3rd Place: 3 Sport Berkey Water Bottles donated by LPC Survival ($69 value)
4th Place:  A Lifestraw donated by Camping Survival ($20 value)
5th Place: A pair of Gyver Gear survival tin's
6th Place: The Western Front (hardcopy) or 3x e books by Archer Garrett.
Wildcard: This one goes to whoever I want to give it to for whatever reason I feel like. It will be a grab bag donated by yours truly. The exact makeup is TBD depending on what I have lying around  and may include books, gear, medical stuff or even a couple silver dimes. ($30+  value).
For a good example of a post reference my EDC Contest entry. Those should give you a good idea what type of thing I'm looking for. I will probably do a full fighting load post some time before the contest is over.


The contest is closed but we still have a few more posts to show due to my technological issues and some field time. Voting will start after the last entry is shown on the blog. Voting will run for about a week and will decide the winner's who get the prizes. Onto the Entry.....

 Awhile back Chris sent in a post on his budget travel rig. Now we get to look at his primary setup.  

Ryan,

The first submission I put in was my "on the road" low quality comblock kit that lives in the trunk as I was travelling.  Now that I'm home I figured I'd share my primary rig.  I'm not trying to game the system -- just figured I'd get some feedback and maybe give some ideas.

I have a flexible setup which revolves around a few key components:
- 3A Vest
- DBT "Victory Vest" slick plate carrier
- Tactical Tailor Mini Mav Chest Rack
- Eagle War Belt
- FLC
- LAPG "Zombie Hunter" bag

The idea is that you layer with whatever is needed so you can adjust your profile as needed.  Some examples:
- "Low Profile:"  Slick plate carrier or soft armor under sweatshirt or soft armor with LAPG Zombie Hunter bag close to hand, and normal CCW/duty belt.
- "Medium Profile:"  Slick plate carrier or soft armor with Tac Tailor MiniMav, plus LAPG zombie hunter bag close to hand.  I call this medium profile because even under a sweatshirt, a chest rack + PC is going to show.
- "High Profile" Vehicle Ops:  Slick PC with FLC
- "High Profile" Dismounted Ops:  Slick PC with War Belt and Chest Rack.  Option to ditch the PC and/or chest rack depending on METT-TC.

I'll walk through the contents of each of the key components next.

3A VEST
- Sourced from BulletProof Me.  Nothing fancy.  Just a basic NIJ 3A soft vest.  Pairs well with the mini mav or LAPG bag for a lower profile.

PLATE CARRIER
- Diamond Back Tactical Victory Vest.  DBT went out of business and sold off their gear at pennies on the dollar.  It is all made in the US, GI spec stuff.  I picked up a bunch of PCs (some slick, some with molle) for about $20 each.
- 3A inserts:  I repurposed NIJ inserts for the soft frag armor.  The vest is intended to take special SPEAR or BALCS cut armor but the NIJ stuff fits fine; I just get a little less coverage.
- Plates:  I run medium SAPIs and have steel as a spare/training set.  My wife runs 8x10 level IV ceramics with steel as a spare/training set.

MINI MAV
We each have similar mini-mav chest racks.  These are pretty low profile and can fit under a bulky sweatshirt as well.  The idea here is that I could run with nothing but my standard CCW stuff and a mini-mav and be able to fight.  From left to right as pictured:
-  Tactical Tailor small radio pouch with FRS/GMRS
- TT tourniquet pouch with CAT
- Velcro for ID/morale patch on triple shingle (20 rders)
- Single mag pouch:  Usually used for a Surefire G2X but will also fit a pistol mag or multitool

Future thoughts:  I am considering swapping out the 20-rd shingle for a full-size 30-rd shingle and putting an admin pouch on the front.  The admin pouch would let me store key documents as well as give one more flashlight/knife sized pouch at the cost of increased bulk in the front.  Right now the CAT is "squishy" so it isn't bad to get prone.


WAR BELT
This is a medium USMC surplus molle belt supported by a Tactical Tailor "fight light" harness which is super comfy, even under armor.  I have a total of 5xM4 mags and 1xpistol mag on here.  Combined with the minimav that's 8xM4 mags on board.  Otherwise I envision this as a dismounted patrol load suitable for a day or night out.  From left to right, as pictured:
- Tactical Tailor "kangaroo" magnapouch.  Holds an M4 mag and a pistol mag on top in "quick draw" fashion.  These are expensive so I just opted for one on the centerline.  I shoot pistols right handed and rifles left handed so there's no ideal place for the fast reload (my rifle reloads should be on the right, and pistol mags on the left) so I figured centerline with a bias towards the fast pistol reload was a compromise.
- Double M4 pouch (USGI surplus)
- USMC surplus canteen pouch.  Upgraded with nice Nalgene brand 1qt canteen.  Side pockets hold water purification tablets and matches.
- 100 round SAW pouch at small of back.  Currently empty.  I can stuff it with mission-specific gear.  As a default some snacks and maybe spare socks go in there.  As it is on the small of my back I don't like to put hard metal things there but you can fit 3xM4 mags easily.  My NVD would fit too.
- Surplus IFAK pouch.  Set up as a combined IFAK/patrol pouch.  The front subdivider has a compact TK4 tourniquet (not as good as the CAT but compact), an H&H Israeli-style compression bandage, triangular bandage, and an NPA.  All the stuff I'd want quick access to.  The large big compartment has a baggie with first aid "boo boo" stuff:
Sterile Gloves, 3xAspirin Doses, Medi-Lyte (electrolytes for dehydration), Diamode/Loperamide (diarrhea medication), Bug Sting Wipe, Antiseptic Pads, Alcohol Prep Pads, Two 2" gauze pads, 3" wide elastic wrap, 2x4" moleskin strips, EMT Shears

That won't sustain you long but should be good for a day or two until you can get to a bigger medic supply stash.

The IFAK pouch also has some misc "patrol" stuff:  Mylar blanket, Single-use poncho (green), 4 oz emergency water pouch, Water purification tabs, Uncle Ben's DEET Bugspray Wipe, SPF30 Sunscreen Wipe, Cyalume Milspec Glowstick, "Foamie" Ear Protection.

- Tactical Tailor MOLLE holster.  This is sized for a Beretta 92.  I do not like this holster in this application.  It rides way too high for an easy draw.  Additionally, our primary household sidearm is the S&W M&P, and TT doesn't make a pouch for that.  My wife just has a cruddy condor pouch on her belt for now until I find/finance a better solution.  There's some good low-ride MOLLE holsters out there but they seem pricey.
- Single grenade pouch riding on TT holster.  Currently I have a $10 NCStar 8x monocular in there.  It seems to work fine.  The location is easy to access.
- Double M4 mag pouch.  For mags, and my NVD will also fit in there.

My wife's rig is identical except her belt is smaller, so she is down two M4 mag pouches.  Her kangaroo pouch rides on top of a single M4 shingle though, so she has a total of 2xM4 mags and 1xpistol mag.  Given that her primary role is close escort for kiddo she doesn't need as much ammo anyways, so a self-protection load is sufficient.  With her mini-mav she's up to 5xM4 mags.

I can easily layer this with the minimav plus an assault pack (for more gear such as a woobie and poncho, or even goretex) or a simple camelbak carrier.

Future thoughts:  I am considering adding two double mag shingles, one on each side of the buckle.  This would either up the mag count by four, or let me replace a double M4 mag pouch with a double pistol mag pouch for a flashlight and multitool without losing AR mags.  Right now between the war belt and minimav I don't have a good way to carry a multitool or other knife.  I'm also a bit worried that if I lost the minimav and was down to just the belt I'd have no light source other than the glow stick.  So ditching a double M4 pouch for some utility pouches seems reasonable, especially if I offset the lost M4 pouch with some shingles.


FLC

The concept of the FLC is vehicle mounted ops which require something more robust than the minimav.  The war belt is just not super comfortable in the car when seated.  The pouches are empty as I currently only have enough gear (other than mags) to keep one set of LBE stocked.  I'd have to transfer the stuff off the mini-mav/war belt onto the FLC.  Total mag carriage is 10xM4 mags and 1xpistol mag.  

The detail photos show the left and right sides of the FLC.  The side on the wearer's left is equipped as follows:
- Double pistol mag pouch, for pistol mag and surefire
- Double M4 mag pouch x 2
- Canteen pouch (identical to battle belt)
- Up on the mesh vest:  Small radio pouch for GMRS, grenade pouch for monocular

The other half of the FLC on the wearer's right has, from centerline out:
- Double M4 mag pouch x 3
- IFAK pouch set up as on war belt
- Up on the mesh vest:  Multitool, CAT, grenade pouch for admin items (will fit a basic flip cell phone)

The FLC is paired with a thigh drop holster.  I have a Serpa drop leg left over from work which also carries a spare pistol mag, so currently use that until funds allow a nice Safariland.

I am considering dropping 2xM4 mag pouches and replacing with a 100 round SAW pouch for more utility storage space for stuff like nomex gloves and a stripped MRE.  That would drop the total M4 mag count to 6.

Finally, I had a bunch of ACU pouches laying around so I got two cheap ACU FLCs from ebay and set them up similarly as backups.  They will be stashed in cars soon, I think, unless I can think of a better cache setup.

NOT PICTURED:  "LAPG Zombie Hunter Bag"

LAPG has some neat bailout bags.  They are super simple but pretty handy.  Contents of mine:
- 3 x M4 mags
- IFAK pouch contents set up as on war belt
- Compartment for handgun (I don't like off-body carry but it is an option)
- Compartment for radio (CB handheld or GMRS) -- normally the CB lives in the car but it could move to the bag if the threat level increased
- Water bottle
- Cheapo "tactical" light
- Ear Pro

The zombie hunter bag can be used to keep a lower profile, or to supplement the FLC/mini-mav in a vehicle-ops mounted role.  If you have to dismount you can grab the bag on the way out for a few more reloads.  They also work great as range bags.


FINAL THOUGHTS

I feel like this gear lets me adjust profiles from low, to medium, to high.  I can be comfortable for dismounted ops or in the car with similar rigs.  Coyote brown is nice as it blends with lots of colors/environments, and it isn't camo pattern (any LBE will draw attention from onlookers; camo LBE doubly so).

Big picture I want to continue to get more gear to round out the FLCs so they are "grab and go" ready all the time, but surefires and leathermans are expensive.  I also need to continue to work towards fixing the pistol situation on the war belts, and ditching the SERPA for my FLC rig.  I also do not have a great way to carry a knife right now other than maybe a multitool.  I have some KABAR adapters for my mini-KBAR but no good place to attach them.

To keep costs low, I used USGI surplus where possible and supplemented with Tactical Tailor as needed, taking advantage of their annual 30% off sale to get the key gear that just couldn't be sourced with cheap surplus.  TT is not too bad if you stick to the smaller utility pouches and their "fight light" line.

Please feel free to weigh in with any questions, spears, or comments.

Cheers,
Chris


Ryan here: As always thanks to Chris for playing. He liked doing the first post so much he did a second one! Thoughts in no particular order.

Why the Mini Mav vs a rig that can hold more mags? Most folks will go lighter on the warbelt and heavier on the chest rig. If the rig held 2-3 more mags you could arguably eliminate the need for the FLC kit (except as a backup). 
On the subject of the Mini Mav I disagree with the 20 rounders and would replace them with 3x standard 30 round magazines post haste. That gives you 30 more rounds on the kit.  A small admin pouch would be a good idea. 

War Belt: Yeah I have that same holster. They are OK but sit pretty high. Personally I keep my mags on the off hand side so all my rifle mags are on the left side. The exception is my second pistol mag as it went where it could fit (the other option was not having it). 

You mentioned not having a place to put a more robust knife. Why not on the War Belt? You could Jerry Rig it so the knife was just below the belt (thus not taking MOLLE space) and held on my a couple of big zip ties or something. 

The bail out bag should have some food in it, probably some clothing too.

Agree with ditching 2 mags from the FLC to create an admin pouch for some food and various stuff. 

I love how your system is modular so it can work for a variety of situations. 

Thoughts?

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Fighting Load Contest #19 by John Dozier

Today I am proud to bring Entry #18 of our Fighting Load Contest by Crankjob.

We'll be talking chest rigs and battle belts as well as guns and get home bags/ assault packs. Get yours together to win some great prizes including:
1st: Blackhawk 3 day Assault Pack ($90) AND a $50 gift certificate from LuckyGunner.com ($50 value) plus 2 copies of The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
2nd: HERC stove from Titan Ready Water ($169 value) plus The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
Note: Prizes 1 and 2 are really closely matched. As such the overall winner can pick the Lucky Gunner stuff OR the HERC. 2nd place gets what is left. 2 books will go to #1 and 1 book to #2.
3rd Place: 3 Sport Berkey Water Bottles donated by LPC Survival ($69 value)
4th Place:  A Lifestraw donated by Camping Survival ($20 value)
5th Place: A pair of Gyver Gear survival tin's
6th Place: The Western Front (hardcopy) or 3x e books by Archer Garrett.
Wildcard: This one goes to whoever I want to give it to for whatever reason I feel like. It will be a grab bag donated by yours truly. The exact makeup is TBD depending on what I have lying around  and may include books, gear, medical stuff or even a couple silver dimes. ($30+  value).
For a good example of a post reference my EDC Contest entry. Those should give you a good idea what type of thing I'm looking for. I will probably do a full fighting load post some time before the contest is over.

The contest is closed and this is the second to last entry I am tracking. If you sent one in and have not seen it please get with me ASAP.  Voting will start later week. It will decide the winner's who get the prizes. Onto the Entry.....

 

 

In the attached image you will see my fighting load. It is a work in progress.
Starting with the weapons: my AR15 is a cmmg lower with a Palmetto State mid-length upper. For optics I have an Aimpoint comp m2 mounted with a LaRue QD mount, and mounted on the left side of the rifle I have a flashlight for illumination. My Coldsteel SRK and Gerber multi-tool I carry on my belt. My glock 17 is mounted on my plate carrier, but I am not sold on it staying there.
The plate carrier is Condor and holds front and back AR500 steel armor. These are heavy but durable and very affordable. Coupled with the hard armor is a level 2 soft armor wrap-around vest.
The chest rig is a Blackhawk low profile model, with 6 rifle mags, 2 pistol mags, and a small IFAK. I plan on adding additional mag pouches, a radio pouch, and improving the IFAK when possible.
This kit is very minimalist, and I am not including information on my clothing or pack. I chose to make this kit very modular, and easier to conceal if necessary. I can conceal both sets of armor under a fleece jacket or softshell easily. I am not sure about the weight, but I would estimate the armor, ammo, and plate carrier/chest rig combined are under 40 lbs easily. And before anyone asks, yes I exercise regularly, including lifting weights and hiking with 30-50 lb packs. I would also recommend running hills and a good diet for anyone looking for PT advice.
I would appreciate any constructive feedback, thank you.
Best regards,
John Dozer

 Ryan here: As always thanks for playing. Let's see. Like the rifle, everything you need and no silly stuff bolted on. Good call not going cheap on the optic. Personally I'd rather run iron's for an extra couple months and get something reliable than buy a $100 red dot that is sure to fail in some way or another. Yeah I am generally not a huge fan of PC mounted handguns though they do have a place. I'd want a small concealment belt type holster somewhere in there to give a low profile option. Also personally I would look at the soft armor and vest more as a this or that than a both option but that is just me. Otherwise not a lot to add.

Thoughts?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Last Call For Fighting Load Contest Entries

 Our Fighting Load Contest is wrapping up fast. Between field time and technical issues it went on longer than planned but now we are closing it out. This is my last call for alibi posts that were sent but have for whatever reason not been published. If you have not seen it on the blog I am not tracking it.

Also given that I was not exactly timely in this it isn't a big deal if you for whatever reason did not previously submit an entry and now want to do so. If you submit an entry between now and Friday at noon I will publish them. So if you wanted to play and didn't get to it here is a chance to do so. Any posts I get will be published rapid fire. Voting will start early next week.

To recap here are the prizes and details.

1st: Blackhawk 3 day Assault Pack ($90) AND a $50 gift certificate from LuckyGunner.com ($50 value) plus 2 copies of The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
2nd: HERC stove from Titan Ready Water ($169 value) plus The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
Note: Prizes 1 and 2 are really closely matched. As such the overall winner can pick the Lucky Gunner stuff OR the HERC. 2nd place gets what is left. 2 books will go to #1 and 1 book to #2.
3rd Place: 3 Sport Berkey Water Bottles donated by LPC Survival ($69 value)
4th Place:  A Lifestraw donated by Camping Survival ($20 value)
5th Place: A pair of Gyver Gear survival tin's
6th Place: The Western Front (hardcopy) or 3x e books by Archer Garrett.

Wildcard: This one goes to whoever I want to give it to for whatever reason I feel like. It will be a grab bag donated by yours truly. The exact makeup is TBD depending on what I have lying around  and may include books, gear, medical stuff or even a couple silver dimes. ($30+  value).

For a good example of a post reference my EDC Contest entry or Max's  Battle Belt discussion. Those should give you a good idea what type of thing I'm looking for. I will probably do a full fighting load post some time.

 Voting will start after the last entry is shown on the blog. Voting will run for about a week and will decide the winner's who get the prizes.

Disclaimer: As far as this contest is concerned I am a totalitarian dictator albeit a benevolent one. I reserve the right to remove, add or change prizes, edit entries, reject entries, scrap the results of voting or otherwise do whatever I want at any time with no advance notice. I will also retain rights to use all entries on the blog or in other way's. While I'm a reasonable guy and will listen to your concerns there is no appeals or arbitration process. Whatever I say goes so if you don't like it then don't play.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Fighting Load Contest Entry #18 by Crankjob


Today I am proud to bring Entry #18 of our Fighting Load Contest by Crankjob.

We'll be talking chest rigs and battle belts as well as guns and get home bags/ assault packs. Get yours together to win some great prizes including:
1st: Blackhawk 3 day Assault Pack ($90) AND a $50 gift certificate from LuckyGunner.com ($50 value) plus 2 copies of The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
2nd: HERC stove from Titan Ready Water ($169 value) plus The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
Note: Prizes 1 and 2 are really closely matched. As such the overall winner can pick the Lucky Gunner stuff OR the HERC. 2nd place gets what is left. 2 books will go to #1 and 1 book to #2.
3rd Place: 3 Sport Berkey Water Bottles donated by LPC Survival ($69 value)
4th Place:  A Lifestraw donated by Camping Survival ($20 value)
5th Place: A pair of Gyver Gear survival tin's
6th Place: The Western Front (hardcopy) or 3x e books by Archer Garrett.
Wildcard: This one goes to whoever I want to give it to for whatever reason I feel like. It will be a grab bag donated by yours truly. The exact makeup is TBD depending on what I have lying around  and may include books, gear, medical stuff or even a couple silver dimes. ($30+  value).
For a good example of a post reference my EDC Contest entry. Those should give you a good idea what type of thing I'm looking for. I will probably do a full fighting load post some time before the contest is over.


The contest is closed and this is the last entry I am tracking. If you sent one in and have not seen it please get with me ASAP.  Voting will start soon and run for about a week. It will decide the winner's who get the prizes. Onto the Entry.....


Hello Sir,
Here's my entry, also included some pics of the kit being worn, in case that helps.
So what we have here is a kit that is designed to be versatile, kinda cheap, kinda lightweight, legal in most states, and in 3 common calibers: 30-06, 12 gauge, and .357 magnum.

Here's the rundown:
Rifle- a used Savage 110 in 30-06 caliber with a Nikon 3-9x scope w/ flip up lens covers, leather Ching sling, and cheap-o bipod.  I made the cheek rest with closed cell foam, duct tape, and camo-wrap.  I've managed to put a couple sub-MOA groups onto paper with this setup, and it cost less than $400 for the whole shebang.  The 30-06 has alot of bullet drop, but carries enough energy to be dangerous out as far as 900 meters.  A BDC reticle is important to get the most out of this cartridge, and carry a ballistic table/BDC chart for your scope/cartridge combo!

Shotgun- a Mossberg 590 Mariner w/ choate Mark IV stock.  The safety location is kind of annoying now, but I treat it sorta like an AK safety (i keep my thumb wrapped around the pistol grip, and use my index finger or whole hand to flick the safety button forward and back).  There is a Streamlight Microstream AAA flashlight duct-taped to the magazine tube.  It's not especially bright, but it's better than nothing.  I used some closed cell foam as a shock absorber/ spacer and it's been working well for more than 100 rounds.

Sidearm- a Ruger LCR in .357 magnum, with Crimson trace laser grip.  (I also keep an empty pocket holster in my pocket in case I gotta ditch the battle belt).

Ancillary gear:
Water- behind the rifle is a mil-surplus Camelbak with 96 ounces of water

Backpack-  a Kelty, some discontinued model.  Inside I keep extra ammo, a cook pot, home-made MRE of 4,000 calories, along with basic supplies such as lighter, cordage, AAA batteries, wool socks, gloves, fleece hat, headlamp, tarp, extra clothing, sunblock, a whistle, binoculars, laser rangefinder, etc., while leaving room so I can stow the clothes I'm wearing.  it's just a little bit of the basics to keep me going.

Ear pro-  Howard Leight Impact Sport

Battle Belt- A Blackhawk molle belt. From left to right: shotshell pouch w/ buckshot, shotshell pouch w/ slugs, 5.11 6x6 pouch containing IFAK with zip-ties and a good quality glow stick attached externally, Camelbak pouch containing a metal nalgene style bottle, Glock field knife, nylon flap holster and a nylon shell pouch containing speed strips.


What I like: The guns are all California/ Massachusetts/ whatever-dumb-state legal, and use common ammunition. 30-06 and 12 gauge slugs can potentially penetrate many types of cover, body armor, and engine blocks. If needed the rifle and shell-belt can be ditched or handed off to a buddy and I'm still pretty well armed.



The entire rig, with ammo, 1 gal of water, food, clothes, boots, EVERYTHING weighs under 50 lbs, and the weight is spread out evenly. I could conceivably breach into a building with the 12 gauge, set up a fire position for the bolt gun, and still have a CQB weapon. It doesn't interfere with climbing, hiking, or going prone at all, and I can access all the equipment pretty easily.


What I don't like: Good at distance, good up close, not so good from 100-300 meters.
Limited capacity; If I shot all 3 guns dry It would be only 18 rounds, then I need to reload (and they all reload slowly) . The shotgun is slow to deploy from the scabbard, I'd have to draw my little 5-shot sidearm for a surprise close-encounterLimited suppressive-fire capability.
A little bit sloppy with all the straps and buckles, and the shotgun muzzle bumps around when I'm in tight spaces.

So that's my rig as of today, I should say that it takes about 15 minutes to go from my skivvies to full gear.  This gear setup is of course not as kick-ass as having an AR, but I'm sure many readers are in a similar situation, with a couple hunting weapons and looking for ways to integrate them.
Also, I keep all of the elastic shell-holders empty so they don't stretch out, with the shells kept in ziploc bags nearby and all the web gear is in one duffel together.   For the middle-of-night quick access, I have the shotgun locked in a wall-mount and a belt of shells hanging next to it.

Thanks Ryan, and good luck to the other contestants!

- Crankjob



 Ryan here: As always thanks for playing. I have a question and a thought
1) You mentioned legality in anti gun states. That can be a concern for folks who live in or near such areas. It lost me when you mention California AND Massachussets, given that they are well pretty far apart. Do you find yourself traveling in/ through anti gun states frequently?

2) Not entirely sure how I feel about the LCR (actually I am entirely ambivalent about it but I digress) or a comparable J framed type revolver in this role. On one hand the system could certainly support and arguably benefit from a larger hnadgun. On the other hand if an '06 and a shotgun won't solve it the negligible difference between a mid sized and small handgun probably won't. Also the smaller handgun would be handy for being discrete like going into a gas station or something, especially if CCW is not exactly legal in the area.

Edited to include 3) Generally speaking when I see a 2nd long gun as part of a load out it is for a specific purpose on an as needed type basis. Example a sniper would carry his sniper rifle and an M4 for personal protection, though the trend towards semi auto bolt guns on the AR platform is making that unnecessary. A breacher carrying a pistol grip 12 gauge is another example. However as a general rule a 2nd long gun is probably ovverkill for a man portable kit. 

Thoughts?

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Fighting Load Contest Entry #17 by Chris

Today I am proud to bring Entry #17 of our Fighting Load Contest by Chris formerly of AK.

We'll be talking chest rigs and battle belts as well as guns and get home bags/ assault packs. Get yours together to win some great prizes including:
1st: Blackhawk 3 day Assault Pack ($90) AND a $50 gift certificate from LuckyGunner.com ($50 value) plus 2 copies of The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
2nd: HERC stove from Titan Ready Water ($169 value) plus The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
Note: Prizes 1 and 2 are really closely matched. As such the overall winner can pick the Lucky Gunner stuff OR the HERC. 2nd place gets what is left. 2 books will go to #1 and 1 book to #2.
3rd Place: 3 Sport Berkey Water Bottles donated by LPC Survival ($69 value)
4th Place:  A Lifestraw donated by Camping Survival ($20 value)
5th Place: A pair of Gyver Gear survival tin's
6th Place: The Western Front (hardcopy) or 3x e books by Archer Garrett.
Wildcard: This one goes to whoever I want to give it to for whatever reason I feel like. It will be a grab bag donated by yours truly. The exact makeup is TBD depending on what I have lying around  and may include books, gear, medical stuff or even a couple silver dimes. ($30+  value).
For a good example of a post reference my EDC Contest entry. Those should give you a good idea what type of thing I'm looking for. I will probably do a full fighting load post some time before the contest is over.

The contest is closed but we still have a few more posts to show due to my technological issues and some field time. Voting will start after the last entry is shown on the blog. Voting will run for about a week and will decide the winner's who get the prizes. Onto the Entry.....

I am currently traveling, so I could not share my primary rig.  However, I did want to share the rig I keep in the trunk of the car.  It was designed to be inexpensive so I can have several copies:  I have a similar set of gear prepositioned in each car, at the office, and so on.  I think it could also serve as a suitable setup to leave in a cache or similar application.

NOT PICTURED:  CHANGE OF CLOTHES
I have a gym bag with an old pair of boots, good socks, a base layer, and cargo pants with each rig.  The idea of that is that if I get stranded somewhere and I am wearing impractical clothing I can immediately change into something more suitable. If I have to move on foot I don't want to be stuck with shorts and sandals.  So the assumption is for the rest of this gear that I'll have decent clothes on.

ARMOR (<$140)
Pictured is a police surplus carrier I got for ten bucks or so off EBAY and steel level 3 plates from TheTargetMan which have been RhinoLined to mitigate spall and frag.  The plates were $125 shipped.

I have ceramic plates at home, but the steel plates are ideal for the trunk/cache application.  They are inexpensive, temperature insensitive, and not fragile at all.  You can bang them around in the trunk of the car with no risk of cracks or damage.  I also use them for PT; they work great to do some basic cross-fit type workouts in a hotel room.  For example, throw on the plate carrier and do squats, lunges, push-ups, etc.

On the downside, you need to be aware of frag/spall issues with steel; the RhinoLiner seems to help a lot, but the testing that has been done is not full-up lab vetted.  Additionally, steel is generally only level 3 and can have issues with AP ammo or 5.56 green tip at close ranges/high velocities.

Not every car and cache has a set of steel plates, mainly due to expense.  The rigs in climate controlled environments just have a level 2 surplus soft vest with expired panels and a stab level 2 panel, which can be had very inexpensively if you buy in bulk.  I put together a few soft vest setups for about forty bucks each.  The expired panels are a bit questionable, and I have nice unexpired level 3A panels at home and for work, but for a cache I feel comfortable enough with an expired level 2 vest...  It certainly is better than nothing!
 
 
CHEST RIG ($20 + mags & ammo)
Pictured is a Type 56 Chinese chest rig.  They go for ten bucks or so.  Mine has three AK magazines in the main pockets.  The smaller pockets have an NPA, oral rehydration salts, gauze/bandage, an Israeli bandage, and a tourniquet.  My nice rig has CATs, and I usually carry a CAT in my level 1 gear, and these cache/travel rigs make use of the less expensive TK4; I bought a bunch in bulk and got them for ~$5 each.  I had the rest of the medical stuff laying around.

One small pocket is empty.  I usually use it for a monocular, small radio, flashlight, or cell phone once I get out to the field.  I guess I could preposition a ten dollar TracFone with each chest rig but haven't bothered to do so.

CANTEEN CARRIER (<$15)
The canteens cost me about ten bucks each.  They hold 2 liters and have the shoulder strap.  I've added some extra gear to each canteen carrier:  three glow sticks, a whistle, matches, and water purification tablets.

BACKPACK (~$25)
I got a set of East German field packs for about two dollars each, surplus.  I've stuffed them with all sorts of useful stuff:

Map: Copies of parts of USGS topo map.
Compass: I tossed in some coghlan brand cheapies I found at a big box store.  Is it a great compass? No. Will it find north? Probably. Cost: $2.
Sunglasses and Sunscreen: I picked up bottles of SPF 50 in travel size for <$1 each. Amazon has tinted safety glasses (Pyramex Alair Safety Eyewear) for $2.50 with free shipping. Cost: $3.50.
Extra Clothing: I went through the closet and pulled out some old clothes. Each ruck has two pairs of boot socks, two pairs of gym socks, and two undershirts/tshirts. The bad thing is that most of this gear is cotton. Cotton is bad. The good thing is that it was free, because I needed to clear the old stuff out of my closets anyways. I would also like to add some underoos in there but just cleared out the dresser, so those will have to wait. I threw in a ball cap for each bag too -- I have a bunch laying around. Cost: Free.
 
Bandanas: I also tossed in two orange bandanas (Bandanas by the Dozen (12 units per pack, 100% cotton) for about $1 each. Bandanas are super useful for lots of things, and the bright orange color is good in an emergency to draw attention. Cost: $2
 
Gloves: I threw in a pair of wool glove liners for each bag. Wool is good as it is non-flammable and warm. The bail out bags I keep in the car have leather work gloves, so you could use the liners to double up for extra warmth. Cost: $1.50.
 
Belt: Finally, a sturdy belt is not something we always wear but is something that has many uses. I shelled out for a new, basic rigger's belt for each bag. Cost: $2.50.
 
Headlamp/Flashlight: The Bailout Bags in my cars have good minimags and/or surefires. So, for the ruck, I am throwing in a handful of lightsticks (Cyalume SnapLight Industrial Grade Chemical Light Sticks, White, 6" Long, 8 Hour Duration (Pack of 10). They cost about a buck each. I am including 2xwhite, 2xgreen, and 2xred. I am also tossing in a mini-GI style light ($2.89). Cost: $9.
 
First Aid Supplies:  Each car has a $20 basic first aid kit.
 
Firestarter: I am including 2xemergency candles. Cost: <$1.
 
Matches: I tossed in a box of matches. Cost: About $0.30 per box.
 
Knife:  I am hesitant to include sharp objects in the rucks as they will be left unsupervised around kids. So, for the rucks, I'm including a set of blunt tip kid scissors. Cost: $1.
 
Extra Food: I tosses an MRE in each ruck. I also threw in some granola bars and instant oatmeal packets. Cost: Free, I had all this in the pantry already.
 
Soap & Shampoo:  I added some travel cleaning supplies from a hotel.  Cost:  Free.
 
Stickers, colored sharpies:  I added some stickers and sharpies.  The sharpies are good for entertaining kids (let them draw) and for many more practical uses.  The stickers are a good way to distract kids.  Cost:  Free, had stuff already.

FIREARMS
The rifle paired with all this is a beater AK-47 "trunk gun."  I keep it stashed with an additional four magazines for a total of seven mags (four with the rifle, three in the chest carrier).  I figure one of the four mags goes into the rifle, then the other three get stuffed into cargo pockets or into the ruck sack, as the chest carrier can only carry three mags.

I also assume that I'll have my CCW pistol on my person.

CONCLUSION
This is definitely not a perfect rig.  My "western" MOLLE gear at home is significantly nicer.  However, for well under a hundred bucks (plus armor/mags/ammo), you can have a serviceable fighting loadout stashed in your car or office.  Moreover, the gear is very compact and fits in a medium sized gym bag, so it doesn't take up much space in the trunk of my car.  I've used this rig on a few field days out in the woods and while not super high speed, it is serviceable.

Even if you have a "nice" setup, I think it is well worth having an extra set of gear stashed in the car or in a cache.  This setup is an example of a low cost setup that most people can put together and stash away without breaking the bank.
 
End Post:
 
Ryan here. As always a big thanks to Chris for participating.  I like this setup. Most of my back up rigs are either built from the surplus gear box or US MILSURP specifically ALICE stuff. Doesn't make the Combloc stuff any better or worse, though it has an obvious edge in supporting the AK platform,  I just don't have much of it. Incidentally it occurs to me I have that same backpack in my operational cache.

As to stuff to add, change, etc all. The only big thing I can think of is that depending on the type of holster used for carry potentially a second, more tactical type holster could be beneficial. Many IWB CCW type holsters do not work particularly well when a plate carrier, chest rig, etc are added. Also they aren't the best for long walks, etc. An outside the waistband holster with some element of retention might be handy to have. Aside from that hearing protection was not mentioned (though it would be easy to overlook) and that could come in handy.

All in all a good rig and one that anybody can afford. 

Thoughts?

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Hill People Gear Mountain Serape Other Peoples Impressions

Commander Zero asked some questions about my HPG Mountain Serape. While it is far too early for a full review I can give some initial thoughts to help answer his questions. In putting that post together I did some looking on the HPG forum to grab some stats then ended up finding some good stuff to bring over here. It turned out the stuff I got is lengthy enough that I thought it would be best to differentiate what others said from my thoughts. So you'll get this today and shortly I will follow up with my initial thoughts.

I should also note that Alexander Wolfe of TEOTWAWKI Blog reviewed the HPG Mountain Serape a couple years back. His favorable review was a considerable part of my decision in purchasing the Serape. [At the risk of muddling the waters between other peoples thoughts here and mine later I should add the later version, which some call the second generation, has a couple changes. First the quilting is only to the back (inner) side giving the stability of insulation but letting the outer fabric retain it's full moisture resistance. Also the changes in material quality when they moves to the US version reportedly upped the weight to closer to 2.5 pounds.]

Onto stuff snagged in their forum. I am alternating fonts to show different authors. 

What are the dimensions in sleeping bag mode?
33"x88" laid flat.

Conditions Tested- 40F, Cloudy, Light Drizzle, Wet & Soggy Ground, 10-15 mph Winds.
The 4 Modes:
  • Serape- no brainer, works awesome. Glassed some whitetail on my property and some squirrels panacking for winter. Stayed warm toasty and dry, cinching up the waist shock cord helped keep in core warmth from wind drafts. Felt no wet spots when sitting.

  • Blanket- my dog and I headed out to our ground blind for a few hours to check on activity. I laid out the MS like a blanket and he claimed it pretty quicky, we both enjoyed an afternoon siesta on it. I did not notice any appreciable conductive heat loss while sleeping on the gound in 40F weather.
  • Sleeping Bag- I am 6'3 around 210lbs and was pretty shocked that the MS actually had full overhead coverage for me as advertised. I have very broad shoulders so the top half was a bit snug, but the bag doesn't zip up all the way which makes things more comfortable for bigger guys. One thing that I never saw mentioned that I found out was the zipper ends at the foot area,  opening it a little allows you to use sleeping bag mode while keeping your boots on, which is a great no mess feature.
  • Great Coat- I think I have this down based on the photos posted, but would still like to see a video tutorial. To be honest it felt a bit awkward using the MS in this mode, that was until I dawned my Tara over it which cut the puffy bulkness down significantly. I overheated rather quickly in this configuration but I am anxious to try it when the temps drop here and in a open landscape exposed to the elements.

Craig Robertson wrote
Gentlemen - I have a Kifaru woobie, does anyone have one that they can offer a comparison between the mountain serape and K woobie?  I am talking about warmth and weight, I know the MS outclasses the woobie in terms of versatility.  I am a complete HPG convert.
  Someone replied:
    Well, I traded my Mountain Serape (thought the new ones would be available sooner - oops), but I had one and also have the Kifaru Woobie as well. They're not really comparable items in a lot of ways, but if you're looking strictly at warmth and weight:
    The M.S. is considerably heavier than the Woobie - by about 14oz IIRC, and doesn't pack near as small. I can fit either in a Kifaru Large 3-String stuff sack, but the Serape will be stuffed to brink whereas the Woobie fits pretty easily and compresses very small. I haven't slept with either item outside more than a handful of times (although I sleep with a Woobie/Doobie every night at home) so bear that in mind. That said, my impression is the Woobie is a little bit warmer, though not drastically so. I can't say for sure, but I think the quilting on the Serape might be a factor... it just seems to let cold leak in more than I've experienced with the Woobie. My understanding is the Serape v2.0 eliminates the quilting though so that may even things up a bit.
    If I just wanted a blanket that was relatively lightweight and warm and I wasn't bringing my down JRB quilt, the Woobie would be my choice. The strength of the Mountain Serape is the versatility and that it replaces a jacket AND adds a sleep insulation layer, either alone or to boost a sleeping bag rating. That's why I owned both and will in the future, when the M.S. is available for sale again 

     Consensus seems to be it works as a stand alone sleeping bag to 45 degrees F or so. 
    Ryan here. Hope you got some value out of that. 
     So to recap other peoples answers to Zero's questions are:
    Is it long enough to fold some material under your feet to keep them warm and still be long enough to cover your neck/head when used as a blanket? Yes if you are within the average height range there is plenty of room for that. How small can it compress? Roughly the size of a 2 liter soda bottle, How noisy? Quiet. How does it drape? Pictures probably answer this question best.
Here is Alexander Wolfe wearing his Serape in 'poncho mode' as part of it's product review.
     Evan Hill wearing an HPG Serape in 'greatcoat mode.'
     Coming soon are my initial thoughts on the Mountain Serape 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Fighting Load Contest Entry #16 by Meister

Today I am proud to bring Entry #16 of our Fighting Load Contest by Meister

We'll be talking chest rigs and battle belts as well as guns and get home bags/ assault packs. Get yours together to win some great prizes including:
1st: Blackhawk 3 day Assault Pack ($90) AND a $50 gift certificate from LuckyGunner.com ($50 value) plus 2 copies of The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
2nd: HERC stove from Titan Ready Water ($169 value) plus The Reluctant Partisan by John Mosby.
Note: Prizes 1 and 2 are really closely matched. As such the overall winner can pick the Lucky Gunner stuff OR the HERC. 2nd place gets what is left. 2 books will go to #1 and 1 book to #2.
3rd Place: 3 Sport Berkey Water Bottles donated by LPC Survival ($69 value)
4th Place:  A Lifestraw donated by Camping Survival ($20 value)
5th Place: A pair of Gyver Gear survival tin's
6th Place: The Western Front (hardcopy) or 3x e books by Archer Garrett.
Wildcard: This one goes to whoever I want to give it to for whatever reason I feel like. It will be a grab bag donated by yours truly. The exact makeup is TBD depending on what I have lying around  and may include books, gear, medical stuff or even a couple silver dimes. ($30+  value).
For a good example of a post reference my EDC Contest entry. Those should give you a good idea what type of thing I'm looking for. I will probably do a full fighting load post some time before the contest is over.


The contest is closed but we still have a few more posts to show due to my technological issues and some field time. Voting will start after the last entry is shown on the blog. Voting will run for about a week and will decide the winner's who get the prizes. Onto the Entry.....

Ok, here's my entry. I've gotten some new gear and revised some old gear. I've swapped from the Glock 17 back to the HK USP45 Tactical that I've used for years now. It's a slight change for my first line gear. The other major change is I'm 100% switched over to 7.62x51 for my main rifle and DMR rifle. It was a change that took years of consideration to decide it was worth it. The advancement in the AR10 style platform has made it possible to get a more robust weapon that is as reliable as the heavier 7.62 platforms such as the M1A without the rock in magazines that slow reloading.
Gear List:
Blackhawk duty belt with condor molle drop leg platform and Blackhawk mag pouch. Blade tech kydex mag pouch that is removable if I use the belt with the vest. Safariland OD holster, HSGI IFAK pouch with kit and shears, tourniquet holder and CAT tourniquet attached. The Ifak pouch also has a Gemtech multicam can holder attached.
HK USP Tactical with SOS-45 Can.

LWRCI REPR 16" spiral fluted barrel, Houge grip, Gemtech muzzle brake, Trijicon Tri Power sight (for now- Elcan specter DR soon), Streamlight TLR1s, Urban ERT sling, LWRCI BUIS with Trijicon insert, and Magpul LR20 Pmag. Also has Gemtech TPR-s fast attach 30 cal can.

Blackhawk STRIKE plate carrier with Rhino level IIIA soft armor and Ceradyn ESAPI plates. HSGI double TACO mag pouches, TAG pistol mag pouch, Maxpedition Admin panel, Maxpedition dump pouch, Streamlight red/blue/white/IR strobe and flashlight. 6 Pmags, 3 pistol mags. Admin pouch has a beofang radio with in ear speaker and ptt/vox mic, compass, lighter, multitool, tweezers (anyone who's trained within a half mile of plywood knows why). Blackhawk Kalista II knife, III% patch and name patch.
My pack is surplus MARPAT 3 day assault pack that attaches to my MARPAT ruck. It holds 120 rounds of various 7.62 ammo, 50 rounds of HST +p ammo, 2 MRE's, 10 clif bars, 3L water bladder, aquamira, Dopp kit, TP, ouchie kit, cordage, stainless canister, Fire stuff, note pad and pencil, US night optics NVG's, Batteries,  Area map, flash drive, Zipties, money, spare keys, tarp, gloves and beanie, IR Perimeter alarm. I have topo maps loaded onto my Kindle Fire HDX, so it can be useful as well, as long as I bring along the solar panel charger.

The kit is scalable and works well for my needs. I can and do use the belt  hunting and it works great. Not as comfy as a padded belt but allows more freedom of movement. The biggest drawback to the kit is weight. Fully loaded the plate carrier is bordering 25 pounds, the assault pack is 14, add in the rifle and drop leg mags and I'm pushing 50 pounds of gear fully loaded, without a ruck. Protection comes at a price. If distance was in mind, I'd drop the plate carrier all together and dump the mags and such in the pack and go. Lots of options.

Thanks for another great contest, It's been just the motivation I needed to get my stuff squared away. I really like the new TACO pouches, but they were a pain to install. I'd have struggled had it not been for the video on the HSGI website. Much of my gear has been inspired by things I've learned from blogs, training sites, downright imitation and a lot of failures at the range and on the trail. MY future plans include a clip on FLIR sight, Elcan Specter DR, some new kydex for the belt, and a bunch of PT and classes this year. First class Starts 2/10, hopefully it's a little warmer.

Ryan here: Thanks to Meister for entering. Cool setup! I think a .308 semi auto rifle brings a lot of capability to the fight though it is more expensive and has less logistical support than the conventional 5.56 AR. The silencer for the handgun is an excellent idea, like that a lot. I also sort of appreciate the REPR and HK USP combo scratching that 7.62x51 and .45acp nitch [I was going to say 'old school' here but our military widely used the 7.62 rifle cartridge in the form of the M14 for like a week and a half and has been using the AR in 5.56 since the mid to late 60's roughly 50 years ago. Also we've been using the 9mm for a long time though that is still an ongoing conversation about effectiveness, especially with ball ammo. In any case there are still some folks who prefer these cartridges.] but in a more modern format utilizing a handgun with decent capacity via a double stack mag and a very nice rifle.

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