A Survivalist Self Assessment

MDT Patches1-1

I was recently going through an old journal I kept when I was a young Survivalist (15 years old), and I came across a self assessment test that I apparently thought was important enough to write out verbatim in 1985 (I decided to re-write it in a Word format now). I have copied what I had written in the journal here for your own perusal and use. It was originally put out by a company called “Safety City” of Washington D.C.. I tried to find out if they still existed, but all attempts at googling that business showed nothing available. Some people think that if it’s not the latest and greatest info (this is 32 years old), it is “obviously” sub par. Think what you will, but I challenge you to come up with a more exhaustive generalized skills and equipment checklist. Enjoy.

On the Warpath

Taken about the same time that I wrote this assessment down.

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A: HOME MANAGEMENT/HANDICRAFTS

  1. Home Water Purification/Storage
  2. Food Processing/Canning/Dehydrating/Storage
  3. Hand Powered Home/Kitchen Appliances
  4. Nutrition/Home Economics
  5. Soaps/Candle Making
  6. Home Product Chemistry/Formulation Process
  7. Spinning/Weaving
  8. Sewing/Knitting/Crocheting
  9. Home Energy/Resource Conservation
  10. Other__________________________

 

B: HOME BACK-UP SYSTEMS 

  1. Back-Up Home heating Systems
  2. Back-Up Home Lighting Systems
  3. Back-Up Range/Cooking Systems
  4. Back-Up Home Water Heating/Pressure Systems
  5. Back-Up Food Refrigeration/Freezing Systems
  6. Back-Up Home Electrical Systems
  7. Back-Up Home Waste Disposal/Composting
  8. Back-Up Communication/Signaling Systems
  9. Other_______________________________

 

C: MEDICAL/DENTAL

  1. First Aid
  2. Non-Prescription Drugs/Medications
  3. Paramedical Skills
  4. Medicine/Surgery
  5. Pharmacology
  6. Nursing/Midwifery
  7. Medical Lab Technology
  8. Paradental Skills
  9. Dentistry/Oral Surgery
  10. Public Health/Epidemiology
  11. Medicinal Herbs/Plants
  12. Natural/Folk Medicine
  13. Other______________

 

D: FOOD PRODUCTION

  1. Gardening/Organic-Hydroponic
  2. Greenhouse Construction/Use
  3. Fruit Tree/Small Orchard Cultivation
  4. Beekeeping
  5. Small Animal Husbandry
  6. Aquaculture
  7. Farmstead Operation/Maintenance/Management
  8. Other______________

 

E: MECHANICS/BUILDING/FABRICATION/PROCESSING

  1. Hand Tools Use/Maintenance
  2. Wood Cutting Equipment/Skills
  3. Bicycle Maintenance/Repair
  4. Small Engine Maintenance/Repair
  5. Auto/Truck Maintenance/Repair
  6. Home Appliance Repair
  7. Home Electrical System Repair/Maintenance
  8. Plumbing
  9. Carpentry/Woodworking
  10. Masonry/Concrete
  11. Metalworking/Blacksmithing/Weld-Solder
  12. Wood/Coal Stove Design/Fabrication
  13. Rope/Cable/Rigging Skills
  14. Well Drilling/Pumping Systems
  15. Trailer/RV/Mobile Home/Design/Fabrication
  16. Construction/Cabins/Sheds/Domes/Field Expedient Structures
  17. Tanning/Leatherwork
  18. Shoemaking/Shoe Repair
  19. Other________________

 

F: ENERGY SYSTEMS

  1. Wood/Coal Energy Systems
  2. Solar Energy-Passive/Active Systems/Photovotaics
  3. Wind Energy/Voltaics
  4. Alcohol Fuel Production
  5. Liquid Propane Energy Systems
  6. Steam Power Systems
  7. Water Power Systems/Hydraulics
  8. Pedal Power Systems
  9. Other_________________

 

G: OUTDOOR LIVING/PIONEERING

  1. Backpacking/Camping Skills
  2. Foraging/Wilderness Survival
  3. Hunting Skills
  4. Fishing Skills
  5. Skiing/Mountaineering
  6. Swimming/Lifesaving
  7. Canoeing/Kayaking
  8. Open Water/Deep Sea Survival
  9. Search/Rescue Procedures
  10. Other__________________

 

H: SECURITY/SELF-/HOME-DEFENSE SKILLS

  1. Home Security/Defense Systems
  2. Individual/Small-Group Defensive Tactics
  3. Personal Protection/Combat Skills
  4. Rifle Skills
  5. Pistol/Revolver Skills
  6. Shotgun Skills
  7. Non-Lethal Weapons/Defensive Skills
  8. Scouting/Patrol Skills
  9. Improvised Fortification Systems
  10. Lethal Weapons/Firearms Safety/Discipline/Responsibility
  11. Firearms Marksmanship
  12. Ammunition/Handloading
  13. Gunsmithing/Firearms Repair
  14. Blackpowder Firearms Skills
  15. Crossbow/Tomahawk/Blowgun Skills
  16. Edged Weapon Skills/Knife Fighting
  17. Other_________________________

 

I: EVACUATION, MOBILE SURVIVAL/RETREAT SYSTEMS

  1. Backpack Systems
  2. Bicycle Systems
  3. Motorcycle Systems
  4. Canoe/Small Boat Systems
  5. Automobile/Truck Systems
  6. Four Wheel Drive Vehicle Systems
  7. Recreational Vehicle/Trailer Systems
  8. Sail/Powerboat Systems
  9. Aircraft Systems
  10. Individual/Family Retreat Planning/Design
  11. Group/Organization Retreat Planning/Design
  12. Other_______________________________

 

INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE:

There are four sections that you can complete for each topic within each category. “Interest Level”, the “Present Skill Level”, a “Desired Skill Level”, and finally the “Willing To Develop/Provide Training For Others” section.

Section One would be your “INTEREST LEVEL”.

Under “Interest Level” is three categories, “NONE”, “SOME”, and “HIGH”. These are self explanatory.

Section Two would be your “PRESENT SKILL LEVEL”. 

The four levels of skill are, “NONE”, “APPRENTICE”, “JOURNEYMAN”, and “MASTER”. Be honest with yourself, it is a self assessment. You will never get better if you aren’t honest with yourself about where you are presently at.

Section Three is “DESIRED SKILL LEVEL”.

If you indicated in the “Interest Level” section that your interest was high in a given area, fill out your “Desired Skill Level” for those areas. Those levels would be “APPRENTICE’, “JOURNEYMAN” and “MASTER”. This will give you something to strive for.

Last but not least is Section Four which is “WILLING TO DEVELOP/PROVIDE TRAINING FOR OTHERS” and consists of whether you are willing to teach any area that you have a “Master’s” level of skill in. This is just a simple “YES” or “NO”.

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Two things I added to my list years ago in the “Other” sections of two of the categories were as follows: in Category “G” I included “Trapping”, because if you are going to include “Hunting” and “Fishing’ as their own categories, “Trapping” deserves it’s own too. I also added “ATV Systems” to Category “I”, because they are not an automobile, and they have many more “Survivalist” oriented capabilities than a motorcycle.

Sometimes it is very hard to get an idea of what you need to learn or invest in, where you are at with skills and equipment, and where you want to be regarding skills and gear. Hopefully, this assessment will help you figure out some of those needs.

MDT Class 16-3-1-1

Still striving to complete the assessment 32 years later, but I’m a lot closer.

JCD

 

 

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A “Culture Of Preparedness”

Civil Defense Symbol

When I was a kid ( around 12) and became aware of the idea of preparedness and Survivalism, there were a number of agencies and organizations that were geared towards preparedness of one type or another. The American Civil Defense Association  and Live Free USA and are the two that come to mind as civilian organizations that have been around for a long time and have done a lot of training and education for civilians. The Fed agency in charge of disaster relief and civilian defense and training has gone by a number of names, starting in 1941 with the Office Of Civilian Defense, then the Office Of Civil Defense Mobilization, to the Office Of Civil Defense, after that the Defense Civil Preparedness Agency, and finally in 1979 with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (the home of CERT).

People might not think having a FEMA Director that voices an opinion of “Pro Preparedness” is a big deal, but it is because they are not assessing the ramifications of that vocal promotion by the Director correctly. Usually, there is only brief lip service by an agency head, and then it is gone with the hurricane winds. The message Director Long sends here is more than just lip service, it is about changing the mindset of people, and from a young age.

Preparedness goes against the grain of typical “Big Gov” thugs whose only desire is to keep control of it’s citizens. A tyrant will want his citizens to rely on him for everything. If you control the flow of goods and services, how hard is it to control the actions of the people simply by cutting those goods and services off when they get out of line?

Food post1

Got food?

How reassuring is it to have four months (or more) worth of food in your home? How reassuring is it to have a stocked medical chest of supplies THAT YOU KNOW HOW TO USE in case of injury during a natural or man made disaster? What about having the means to protect yourself and your family from thugs who would take advantage of something like a natural disaster to prey on the weak and unprepared?

MDSA Plans post1

Got first aid?

A simple thing like having a generator to run the well pump (to fill containers and the tubs) and freezers for an hour or two every day can make a huge difference (I won’t run the fridge, I’d freeze containers of ice in the freezer, then place some of them in the fridge and let it’s insulation keep that stuff cold. Heavy duty clorox bottles work good for this.).

Short guns2

Got protection?

Do you have the means (wood stove, kerosene heater, etc.) to heat your house if the power is out? Do you have the ability (an organizational plan with your neighbors) to protect your neighborhood? As part of that, do you have a commo plan that has redundancy (PACE) built into it?

Home Preps

Do you have non-grid electricity, heat, lighting and commo, along with storage for treated water. 

I have no problem praising a Federal agency when the Director gets it right, and in this case, Director Long “Got it right.” Here is one of the most important things he said in his message,

“Whether it’s in education and being ready, it’s not just saying, hey, have three days worth of supplies ready to go. It’s greater than that. It’s also people having the finances and the savings to be able to overcome simple emergencies. We have to hit the reset button and create a true culture of preparedness starting at a very young age and filtering all the way up.”

That’s it people, start ’em with the right mindset, and train ’em right skillsets, and when we are in need as a community, the youth will be a help, not a hindrance. They will know what to do and how to do it. For the most part, the youth of today are lost in a sea of “feelings”, always changing societal faux pas, and an attitude of entitlement. The youth are impressionable, and need an example that is realistic, rational, and organized. No one has an excuse to not teach the youth of today why we prepare. How many “In your face” recent examples of natural and man made disasters do you need to start that education with those that we can still make a difference with?

_____________________________________________________________FEMA Director Urges Americans To Develop “A True Culture Of Preparedness” But No One Is Listening

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Daisy Luther via The Organic Prepper blog,

It looks like preppers aren’t that crazy after all.

FEMA’s new director, Brock Long, has repeatedly said that Americans do not have a “culture of preparedness,” something that is much-needed with the startling uptick in natural disasters. Long has only been the director of FEMA since June 20 of this year and already has had to deal with a historic number of disastersin this short period of time.

It appears that Mr. Long has a mindset of self-reliance based on a couple of recent statements he has made to the media, but the MSM doesn’t seem too interested in his ideas about fostering a culture of preparedness, despite the practicality and essential nature of his suggestions.

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First, in an interview from Sept. 11 that I personally only heard about yesterday, FEMA’s new director, Brock Long, spoke with journalists to discuss the response to Hurricane Irma. In the interview, he said some things that vindicate all of us who have spent time and money working toward being prepared.

I really think that we have a long way to go to create a true culture of preparedness within our citizenry in America. No American, no citizen, no visitor to this country is immune to disaster. And we have a long way to go to get people to understand the hazards based on where they dwell, where they work, and how to be prepared financially, how to be prepared through insurance, how to have continuity of operations plans for their businesses, so that we can avoid the suffering, the strife, and the loss of life. It’s truly disappointing that people won’t heed the warnings.

Straight out of our favorite prepper handbooks, right?

Of course, the reporter quickly shifted from the actual useful information to start asking about climate change, because for some reason she felt that was far more essential than the practical advice Mr. Long was offering. You can watch the interview below.

Some of those numbers were shocking – FEMA is spending 200 million dollars a day in relief efforts and desperately-needed help has hardly even begun for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

In a more recent statement, Mr. Long re-emphasized the need to be prepared, and to start kids off young with this mindset.

I think that the last 35 days or so have been a gut check for Americans that we do not have a true culture of preparedness in this country. And we’ve got a lot of work to do.

Whether it’s in education and being ready, it’s not just saying, hey, have three days worth of supplies ready to go. It’s greater than that. It’s also people having the finances and the savings to be able to overcome simple emergencies.

We have to hit the reset button and create a true culture of preparedness starting at a very young age and filtering all the way up.

We in the preparedness community have been saying this for ages, Mr. Long, but thank you for attempting to put this front and center.

One thing that is different about Long’s approach is the practicality. Many government officials seem to forget about the financial end of emergencies.They can’t seem to wrap their brains around the fact that while they have 200 million dollars a day, most folks do not. This is why financial preparedness is of such massive importance. If you had to live away from home without access to a kitchen, the expenses would rack up pretty quickly. As well, think about how thinly those millions are spread.

FEMA is eventually going to run out of money.

As well, think about how thinly those millions are spread. One person I know who lost her rental home will receive $4000. That has to replace everything she owns: furniture, clothing, personal items, food, cleaning products…you get the idea…plus pay first and last month’s rent for a new apartment. People without flood insurance who lost their homes will be eligible for a maximum of only $21,000. But if their property wasn’t paid for, they’ll still owe the mortgage payments on a place that is uninhabitable.

Don’t forget that FEMA is also providing aid for those displaced by more than 2 million acres of wildfires throughout the Western US. (Although initially, they turned down requests for assistance, they reconsidered.)

When you look at the true cost of disasters on this scale, it’s hard to imagine that FEMA will have enough money should these emergencies continue, or even enough to cover our current tab.

There were reports that FEMA had run out of money shortly after Hurricane Harvey, but more appeared for Hurricane Irma.

One article blithely suggested that FEMA can never run out of money because Congress will just vote to give them more when addressing concerns that FEMA was down to its last billion dollars.

 But the U.S. Congress quickly put such worries to rest on Sept. 8, 2017, by hastily passing legislation that gave the DRF an infusion of cash.

“The emergency supplemental appropriation of $7.4 billion allows FEMA to continue to fully focus on the ongoing preparation, response, and recovery needs,” said an agency spokesperson via email.

While legislators may have cut it a bit close, there was little chance that FEMA actually would run out of cash. According to a Congressional Research Service analysis, Congress made 14 supplemental appropriations to the fund between 2004 and 2013, for a total of $89.6 billion. In one year alone — 2005, the year that Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and other areas in the Gulf Coast — legislators bolstered the fund with three extra appropriations amounting to $43 billion. (source)

This, of course, naively assumes that there will always be more money to give to FEMA. Eventually, we’re going to run out.

Is this the reason for the slow response to Puerto Rico?

Personally, I keep wondering if a lack of money is the reason for our slow response to the desperate situation in Puerto Rico. Add to this the logistical problems, and you have a recipe for chaos.

Another thing to keep in mind about Puerto Rico is that this is one of the rare situations in which stockpile preparedness may not have done any good. While some folks like to say that Puerto Ricans shouldn’t be out of food within 6 days after the disaster, what they aren’t considering is the totality of the destruction.

A man reacts as he walks through a debris-covered road in Fajardo, Puerto Rico.

What food people may have had stored was destroyed when homes were turned into piles of rubble. Other food spoiled soon after the power for the entire island was taken out. If you look at these photos, you will understand why few people have food.

I imagine in such a situation, my own carefully preserved jars of food would have been smashed to bits and my freeze-dried food would have been soaked in flood waters. In most situations, your stockpile will see you through, but in a disaster of this magnitude, even the most well-prepared person could be left with nothing.

Maybe money is why the director is urging a culture of preparedness

Perhaps this reality is why Mr. Long is so adamant that Americans need to get prepared to take care of themselves and that we need to raise our children to understand this too. That’s not the warm fuzzy thing that people who refuse to prepare want to hear, so the mainstream media gives his advice little attention. A culture of preparedness is indeed the answer, and preppers have known this for a very long time.

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JCD

Commentary On A Good Southern Prepper 1 Video About Training

I watched a video this morning from southernprepper1 that was pretty much what I’ve been telling students for years. Unless you have some serious, and long term training, you are not going to be doing any offensive operations from your base of operations, retreat/domicile. What will you be facing for the most part? Will it just be inexperienced looters and thugs? Will the experienced looters and thugs have experienced Infantry vets? Will the threat be experienced gov contractors or even the military? Obviously, we won’t know, but we can make some assumptions, based on what scenario (economic collapse, civil war, or limited nuclear exchange) takes place.

Inexperienced looters and thugs will be a problem, but most of them are all about the quick score (both now and after SHTF), and not “making a point” (continuing with the “raid”) when they hit resistance. When it comes to looters and thugs bent on raiding (home invasion) a dwelling, either before or after SHTF, their primary concern is the initial response of the home owner (security measures or armed personnel), and the response of outside support (whether that’s the police now, or a Neighborhood Protection Team after SHTF).

Inexperienced looters and thugs are easily stopped by layered security measures like security lighting, security cameras, locked chain link fence, heavy duty door and door frame, shrubs under all the ground level, first floor windows that make window breaches with a buddy or short ladder more difficult, loud, audibly piercing alarm, etc., but the experienced version of the looters and thugs have planned ahead and done their “Leaders Recon” before hitting a place.

An experienced group will know if they need bolt cutters, a door ram, and/or shotgun for a breach. An experienced group will know if you have security cameras, and will have ways of defeating it from a concealed location (accurate air rifle or suppressed .22LR) An experienced group will have a assault plan and special teams for different tasks. An experienced group will know how many exits there are to the dwelling, and either hit all at once, or at least have them covered once the assault kicks off.

Something to keep in mind when discussing this stuff (the defense), is that the defense is a Hell of a lot easier than offense (usually they are fixed positions and not much is required physically), and it requires a lower ratio of personnel (defense is usually a 3 to 1 ratio meaning the defense only needs one person for every three offensive/attacking personnel) than the offense usually does. Generally speaking, preppers and Survivalists need to make sure they have their defensive plan ready and able to be carried out (enough personnel just for that) before planning on conducting any form of offensive actions.

I’m not gonna bother covering what happens if you got hit by contractors or military, because if you do, you had better already have a squared away escape plan in place because it would be the “Experienced looters and thugs” on steroids (MG’s, AT-4’s, breaching charges that make their own doorway, etc.). You do what you can to fight something like that, but have no illusion that the probability leans towards getting rolled over, even though the possibility is that you could still win. This is why having someone who knows how to set up security of your site is so important. A knowledgeable individual (Like southernprepper1 said, not someone who read it in a book) can give you the layered security set up that gives you advanced warning and also helps channel attackers, and restrict a site breach for a short while.

Southernprepper1 mentioned needing to be in shape for patrolling, and having experience and solid training. This applies across the board, whether it’s a local “Presence Patrol” (defensive measure designed to keep track of what’s going on in your area), or a “Combat Patrol” (offensive patrol designed to look for trouble and proactively mitigate it before it becomes an “in your face” threat to your area or group.

When you are a patrol member, your physical fitness is not just about you. If your lazy out of shape ass gets shot and killed because you couldn’t put down the three times a day “Double frufur latte with extra caramel and whipped cream”, and never did an exercise that didn’t involve 12 ounce Bud Light curls, that’s on you, right? Here’s the other side of that situation. OK, you’re a lazy ass, but want to get in on the “Cool stuff” like patrols, right?

How many of your buddies (I’d imagine you are all close if you are spending the apocalypse with them) will try to extract you (either out of the direct fire that dropped you to begin with, or out of the area of the fight via casualty evac) and get killed in the process because your fat ass slowed them down long enough to get wacked by the original ambushers? How many guys that are in shape, but got hit and needed extracting will get killed because your lazy ass can’t even move them out of the line of fire, let alone out of the area of the fight?

Presence patrols are a necessity after SHTF, even if it’s just a patrol that doesn’t go out of sight of your retreat. Am I saying do it even if you’re not in shape or a physically capable of performing it effectively? Nope, not at all. Getting ambushed within sight of your retreat still has the same issues, the only difference might be the amount of support fire you might be able to get from the retreat personnel (standing guard posts) while you are trying to get out of the kill zone. What I’m saying is that you are going to be lacking in an effective layer of your defense (one of the outer rings) if you cannot perform that function. Your call, but this goes back to the question of “Are you just playing at it, or are you serious?”.

For the most part, prepper or Survivalist groups conducting “Combat Patrols” is ridiculous. You should always be defensive in nature ( you are not an infantryman without infantry, no matter how you appear, even if you were an Infantryman), and unless you are performing an operation to get someone of your group back from a group who took them as a hostage, you are asking for trouble. Even performing a hostage rescue is almost an exercise in futility unless you have some really squared away experienced (know how to plan and conduct the op) former Infantry type soldiers.

A while back, I wrote a post about Battle Drill 4 (this BD is for up to a platoon sized element, but as a civilian trainer, I have only taught it at the Squad/ 9-12 personnel or Heavy Squad/up to 18 personnel level) called “React To Ambush, “A WAY”, Not “THE WAY”. In it, I mentioned this, a 6 man recon team will probably do things a little different than a 9 man LI squad”. How would they do this, and why? A 4 man fire team or a 6 man reconnaissance team (LRS) will usually react to contact (in this case a “near ambush”) in a defensive way (break contact) whereas a 9 man Light Infantry Squad or 12 man ODA can use an offensive technique (attack the attackers) to mitigate their perilous “near ambush” position and destroy the ambushers in place through audacity and maneuver.

This technique (near ambush response) is difficult for a well trained, experienced military infantry squad to perform, let alone some “Fly by night” militia or Survivalist group to undertake. Although I teach Battle Drills 1A (squad attack) and Battle Drill 4 (react to ambush) in class 2 of the “Bushbastard” (RSF-SUTATS) course, I also present the caveat that breaking contact is the default for any enemy contact, and offensive operations are generally a “no-no” for any civilian group, simply due to a lack of competence, experience, and confidence.

Southernprepper1 talked about “No tactics are better than bad tactics”, and for the most part I agree. I also believe that people that are trying to figure something out by getting training, even if it’s wrong, will probably do better than the group who never tried to even get training. The untrained group will have a response based on “fight or flight”, not a plan, and their survival will be dumb luck. A bad plan (plans don’t usually survive contact, intact anyway) is better than dumb luck, and “No”, this is not the same as the “I’d rather have luck over skill any day.” line.

I have seen some pretty ridiculous training, done by people who have read a book and think they know what they’re talking about due to that info. Hell, I’ve had guys who received their “Bushbastard” tab tell me they want to start qualifying others for the tab, and I told them “Not just NO, but HELL NO!”, until they qualified for their “Bushmaster” tab. “The “Bushmaster” course is a five class course that teaches “Wilderness survival”, “Land Nav”, “Combat Leadership”, and “Train the Trainer”, and has a final weekend that tests all the applicable skills learned from “Bushbastard” and “Bushmaster”. The “Bushmaster” course is not even listed on the website because the only people who can take it are graduates of the “Bushbastard” course and I don’t want inquiries about it if you don’t qualify.

Regardless of what someone who has taken classes from another professional trainer or I can teach you, I have given people plenty of advice on how to find a competent trainer, even if you’re not going the “Professional Trainer” route. Look for a guy who is a prior service Non Commissioned Officer or Commissioned Officer of the Infantry (Airborne, LRS, Rangers and Special Forces are all different tier levels of Infantry).

If you think they are BSing you (there are a lot of them out there), ask to see their DD-214 and look at block 1 for their name (make sure it’s them), block 4a for their rank, and block 11 for their primary and secondary MOS’s (the infantry military occupational specialty is 11 series, and although SF used to be 11 series, it is now 18 series) and if they say they have combat experience as an infantryman, it will show up as a “Combat Infantry Badge” in block 13 (one caveat is if a guy was a Special Forces member in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, there’s a good chance he might not have a CIB even if he was in combat, due to the nature of their job and where they were doing it).

If the aforementioned guy who wanted to train you (especially if it’s for money) is saying he’s an experienced infantryman but responds with, “My DD-214 is none of your business.”, tell him to take a hike. He’s the one that says he can train you because he’s experienced, right? Make him show you he’s experienced. As to the professional trainers out there, I can’t speak for them, but I am more than willing to show my DD-214 (or any of my other applicable training certifications) to a student at a class that has doubts as to my credentials (just don’t be a dumbass and ask me to send it to you in an emails like some have done).

Be realistic when you are planning for SHTF. If you are like a few Vet friends of mine (they call themselves “mobility kills”. You’ll get it if you’re a former grunt LOL), you know you can no longer (or never could if you’re round) function as a patrol member, due to your lack of physical fitness shape (for this exercise, “round” is a shape, but not the shape we’re looking for) or physical condition (you’re physically broke). Either plan on having a defensive perimeter that is well thought out, multi layered and has serious defensive potential and always with a secured escape route, or plan on finding others who can perform the presence patrol function to become part of your group whether in your actual dwelling/retreat, or in your Neighborhood Protection Area.

Unless your patrol group is prior service infantry, you are not going to be able to function as the “Infantrymen of the 7-8”, no matter what some trainer tells you (no trainer has the time to teach the whole 7-8 in their classes, no matter how many weekends you attend, and as southernprepper1 said, you need to know more than a chapter from this one book to be effective as an Infantryman during Infantry operations). Applying the standards of CTT that I spoke about in this post is definitely within the realm of possibility for the average civilian (because everybody in the Army has to do it, whether support or not) that applies themselves to the training, and gets in shape.

I’ve said many times, “Be a Survivalist who is a “Jack of all Trades”, master of some (preferably the life saving and life protecting arts).”. We are not Infantry, and if you desire to be, don’t go to a Damned tactical course, go join the Army or the Marines. Survivalists glean the needed skills from many areas to better their chances of survival in the non permissive world we envision our neighborhood becoming.

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A game cart loaded with a ruck for a long walk evacuation

DSCN1516-2

Survivalists really don’t want to conduct a Bug Out on foot with a metric ton of crap on our backs or even on a game cart but we’d do it because we know we will never be coming back to our home. Hell, we don’t even want to have to walk around the farm with a basic compliment of a couple rifle mags, a pistol and a knife on a battle belt. What we know is that the lines between “what we want”, and “what is getting more and more likely to occur” are getting further and further away from intersecting, and it would be foolish to not face that reality.

Lightweight Gear Post5

Basic lightweight kit mentioned in this post. Pistol, pistol mags, three mag bandoleer and a full size fixed blade knife.

Load bearing post14

Another variation of the “Around the farm” rig that you can use. The one above this is more streamlined and less intrusive for doing chores than this one is, but this one has six rifle mags included instead of three.

Here’s the parting thought. When you are looking for a trainer, ask yourself, does this guy try to convince you that he will make me a grunt, or does he want to make me a Survivalist. A grunt plans for the day or the week, a Survivalist plans for the month or the year. Planning beyond that timeline is an exercise in operational (but not logistical) futility, considering the variables that could exist. That doesn’t mean don’t stock up on food, first aid supplies, bullets, etc., it means if you do, you should disperse them, but that is a topic for another post.

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Being able to live like this is necessary, but it is also worse case scenario, and hopefully you will be able to get by with the earlier lightweight kit options most of the time.

JCD

A Repost of “The Fighting/Survival Load for Mounted and Dismounted Operations” With A UW Gear Eval.

This is a post I wrote in March of 2014. I have pretty much stuck with the same system which is my two tiered H-Harness with vest for dismounted ops, or belt and drop holster with vest/body armor for vehicle/Static defense ops.  I’ve been using this system for 9 years now and have found no reason to change.

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Optimizing the carrying systems for fighting gear has been a science many have failed to master through the ages. It obviously didn’t start with the invention of the firearm, but one of the primary features of fighting gear for firearms, is the initial load-out, and the fact that you will expend some of the fighting load you carry with each engagement. This is the reason for carrying as much as you possibly can of those fighting expendables (unless you have a resupply operation going on as well. Yeah, sure you do…….), while still remaining light enough to be mobile, and not tiring yourself unnecessarily.

I have used multiple load bearing systems throughout the last 34 years, and of that 34 years, 29 were in a  professional context, and the items I am about to recommend are largely (but not exclusively) based upon my years of training and fighting as a grunt in mounted and dismounted operations. It’s also based on the experience I’ve had as a tactical/survival trainer, and being able to figure out the gear situation, without the Company, Battalion, or Brigade Powers That Be, dictating their dress right dress edicts from on high, but not taking into account that everyone is different, and only a few things should be standardized.

A Layered Approach

Layering makes sense, whether it’s your clothing for cold weather, or your fighting/survival load for the battlefield. The levels have been talk about enough, so we won’t go into detail, but the basics are these. Level 1 is your on person every day carry (EDC) items that are in your pockets for the most part. Level 2 is your fighting/survival load-out, consisting of an load bearing harness of some sort, Level 3 is your ruck. On the level 2 gear, first up is the Battle Belt setup, which, I use as a survival load (Survival gear, handgun, and a knife). Next up is the combat vest, which gives the user a higher more centralized center of gravity, and has the option of being opened in the front, if you happen to be needing to get just a little lower. Examples of this are the FLC like a number of us used in the military in various configurations, and it is a good economical way to go. This is the standard molle tactical vest, pictured here over an H harness rig. (this one is a Tactical Tailor vest), and there is a lot of space to put whatever you need on it, with the caveat of , don’t overload it.

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Last but not least is the chest rig. Chest rigs are wonderful for vehicle patrols, but not as much so if your trying to dig in to avoid incoming rounds in the prone. I used a modified chest rig in Iraq, and can tell you it works well for vehicle ops, but unless you go with a modified version (not as common), using it on foot patrol based field operation are not optimal because of the aforementioned avoidance of incoming fire issues. The modified version I used was a Tactical Tailor MAV 2 piece version with the cover adapter to make it function as a one piece. This modification allows the user to put it on like a tac vest, not over your head ( pain in the ass if you have a helmet on), and also allows you to put you navel in the dirt if your being shot at, and the only available cover is a downed 10 inch diameter tree.

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As you can see, it’s easy to take off, which as anyone knows with a one piece chest rig, that isn’t generally the case, unless you undo an emergency release buckle. You can raise or lower the harness to suite your preferences.

The modular system I use for dismounted operations is as follows I use a LCE H harness and belt (with pad) with basic survival supplies in it as the base layer. This harness contains survival gear in the buttpack (poncho, rain suit, casualty blanket, fist aid supplies, weather dependent warmth supplies, battery charger, etc.). It has a pistol in a Bianchi flap holster (yes a damn flap holster, but before you tacticool asshats get your thong knotted, I can slide the flap on the inside of the belt, and I have a thumb break release) with two extra magazines, a fixed blade knife (leatherman, and nav gear is on the pants belt or in pockets), two one quart canteens with two cups, one stove, and a thermal imager (day or night capability).

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Over this I wear a Molle Tac Vest that contains a rifle mag capacity of 8/M1A, 8/AKM, or 12/AR, with supplementary stripper clips in the bottom of each flapped pouch when the shorter AR, or M14 mags are used. It also contains a IR strobe, GI Lensatic compass, tac light, extra multi tool (what can I say, I like redundancy), two pistol mags, and a monocular, another fixed blade knife, an IFAK/BOK (different color so it stands out), radio pouch, and an admin/water bottle pouch (water bottle if the vest is worn for urban/vehicle ops). A minimag AA LED light (cuz 123 batts fail quickly) Last but not least is a roll up dump pouch behind the admin/bottle pouch (keep in mind, I’m a lefty, so everything is ass backwards from you “normal” people, except for the IFAK, this should be in the same place for every member of your group).

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If I will be conducting vehicle operations, I use a pistol belt with a drop leg (OH GOD NO!) holster and knife rig both up high (for a drop rig) on my strong side It also has two pistol mags, my thermal would go on the weak side like the H-Harness, a roll up dump pouch, and a tac light pouch (pretty damn Spartan ain’t it?). This is attached to my pants belt with standard belt keepers.

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One of the nice things about a drop rig, is its ability to clear the bottom of a coat or gear while being attached to the pants belt.

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When it comes to body armor, if I use it (urban or fixed position defensive ops, and vehicle ops only) , I go with a slick Interceptor Body Armor (IBA) vest, with level 3+ ceramic plates, or a plate carrier (slick or with gear) with level 3 line-X coated steel plates (these 6.5lb plates are no longer available, but they make a lot of sense for the Survivalist. No matter what the “Know It Alls” and “experts” say about steel plates causing issues with your compass, I have tested that theory, and have found that it causes no more issues with a compass than wearing a vest or chest rig full of ammo, a knife, a pistol, and support gear would). With this set up, I can wear it under the tac vest, or MAV (as I did in Iraq), and there is nothing to get in the way.

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So how does it all go together: Level 2A is as follows:

H-Harness first with your survival supplies (buckle extender is for cold weather clothing), or you can use the pistol belt/drop leg rig for vehicle ops.

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Level 2B would be your Tac vest, with the majority of your fighting supplies (keep the back clear for a ruck), which if need be, you can ditch to run, and still have survival supplies on you (H harness)

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Wearing this rig with a ruck is fine, as long as it’s not an extended (lower/bottom end) ruck like the mil issue Molle 2, CFP-90, or ILBE. I’ve used it with the US Large ALICE (Tac Tailor MALICE 2) and a Bergan and have had no issues.

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I have received a number of pieces of gear from John Ammons at UW Gear. I mentioned above the mag pouches on my Tac Tailor vest, but I have a few more I want to show you. First up is the bandoleers that I received last year. I have spoken about them in my “Lightweight, Modular ‘Basic Load’ Options” post , and don’t have anything but good things to say about them. They are well put together and make a great addition to your gear if you want an easy way to carry three extra mags, whether on your person, or on your ruck.

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Next up is UW Gear’s “Swamp Fox rigs. I’ve tried out two of his rigs, one for AR’s that carry 6 mags, and one that will carry 4 mags for my FAL or M1A. If you want a good, lightweight rig for wearing by itself, or over a plate carrier, this is the one.

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The individual 2 mag pouches made by UW Gear are pretty squared away. The two mag pouches (this includes the two mag pouches on the “Swamp Fox” rig) are designed to retain the two mags with tension using the “Tuck Tab” closure (all UWG mag pouches have this), and it does not need velcro, a snap, or a fastex buckle to stay closed and secure with two mags in it. Unlike the other securing systems I mentioned, this system will not wear out and/or break like they can (can you say “durable item”?). When only one mag is in the pouch and it doesn’t have tension due to the fit of only one mag, there is a piece of velcro that will keep the flap secured.

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Please keep something in mind, This is my way of doing it. I’ve been using load bearing gear for a little while now (over three decades), and have found something that works for me, and have been using this specific system (variations of this for decades) for nine years now. These are just some thoughts I had on load bearing equipment, from a users perspective, not a Modern Warfare 3 tacticool theorist.

I don’t claim to know it all, but what I do know is what I am planning for and have been for about 36 years. My experience is not only from many years in different types of infantry units (higher and lower tier), but being able to apply those lessons to things I have done during my lifetime (farming being one of them). There are many people out there giving advice without any experience other than being prior service, and while that is helpful, it is not very practical from a Survivalist stand point. Ask yourself, are you an infantryman, or are you a Survivalist. The difference is drastic in some instances.

I have my gear set up to use for four basic scenarios. 1) I have to leave my residence on foot with only the supplies on my back with no guarantee of a place to go. It’s a heavy load and a collapsible game cart might be used as well. 2) I have to leave my residence in a vehicle, but due to the threat I will need to be moderately armed and ready for hostilities. 3) I have to operate out of a retreat, and will be on a moderate or heightened state of alert when outside the retreat performing tasks (imagine farming tasks and what you could wear while doing them). 4) I am operating as a member of a Neighborhood Protection Team and need to be able to perform as a guard post sentry and “Presence Patrol” member.

Keep in mind that if someone is telling you your gear (mil issue gear that was used by soldiers of the past) is useless, you need to question their motivations. The biggest problem with ALICE gear these days is finding it at a good price. There’s not much you can’t do with some good old issued ALICE and mil issue MOLLE gear. You don’t need fancy, expensive not issue gear to get by, but if you do, I recommend you contact John Ammons at UW Gear to get some (BTW, he is also a Tactical Tailor dealer). Enjoy (any questions, comment here, or email me at masondixontactical@comcast.net  ).

JCD