Call Out: Avoiding Ego in the Gear Advice Game
EDIT: some of the comments on this post are excellent, really affirming the quality if the readership, and in many cases expressing what I was trying to say better than I originally did in the article below. My responses I think also clarify what I was getting at. So please, when you have read the article, read the comments, before commenting yourself. Thanks.
Follow Up Article HERE: The Citizen Insurgent
For those of you who read my blog, you will know that I have given out a lot of gear advice over time. I have not been shy about taking photos of my gear, and posting them, to give those of you who need a visual reference something to work off. The point is not to clone your gear off mine, but to give you options. This is why, after making so many recommendations about battle belts, I have recently turned my attention to chest rigs (The FLC), in order to talk about sensible ways to rig them up, and give you options. All gear and equipment carriage is a compromise of some sort.
I read the three recent posts over at Mosby’s site with a mixture of interest and also concern. Why the concern? Because there is a lot on there about how much better the US SF is than the Rangers, and how much better the US SF is than everyone else, and how much gear was carried, and all that. Basically, a lot of it comes from ego and is about ego. Now, it is my understanding that Mosby is a very good trainer. That is most definitely needed. But what is not needed is ego that leads to advice that will do the reader a disservice.
It’s also Mosby breaking cover and telling you that only he, as former SF, is qualified to teach tactics that are right for SHTF, because he is former SF.
Now, I know this post will upset some of those self-styled SF groupies out there. It may also upset some of the SF mafia, but I doubt that, because they will know that what I am saying is true, particularly the old-school ones, the quiet professionals without the ego. I do what I do to give you the best advice. I won’t tell you to go and do outlandish ruck marches with huge amounts of weight, because that’s what I used to do as a Green Beret (I was never a Green Beret). I also won’t tell you to carry huge amounts of weight and equipment because that’s the way we used to do it, and everyone else is shit compared to us. I won’t imply that, due to the UW role of US SF, that they are the only people that can advise preppers and Patriots for an SHTF situation!
What interests me about “Mr. FAGs” rig is that it clearly comes from an older time, as part of a personal journey. He found and started using the vest along with his LBV and liked it for what he was doing, with an SF unit in Germany during the Cold War. I guess it’s a little bit like my battle belt. Does everyone need to purchase an aviator survival vest to emulate that? Hell no. There are better ways to do that anyway, and I will give a pointer on that below. Will sales of aviator vests go up now? Pretty likely. I will be laughing. The other thing is that “Mr. FAG”, while carrying what Mosby describes as a huge amount of weight, injured his back on the WV class when he slipped on a log. My guess? He’s older now, was carrying too much weight, and one thing led to another.
And really, that is my point. It’s all very well to talk about how much weight people used to carry when they were on an SF team. But I am in the game of giving advice to armed citizens who are interested in running the spectrum from protecting the family post-SHTF, to potentially running as resistance fighters against enemies foreign and domestic.
In THIS POST I talked again about modifying your gear philosophy, and acting smart. Here are some points:
1) In an SHTF environment, you could say that we are all operating ‘behind enemy lines.’ This is why I push the need for a sustainment load on the body. What I mean by that is enough equipment to survive, on your body, if you lose your ruck, or are operating without it, with load bearing equipment and patrol pack. But the flip side to that is that I am discouraging you from trying to go ‘too heavy.’ We all know that today’s soldiers are carrying too much weight to be fully effective as infantrymen, and that applies equally to US SF, even if that is what they had to do in training.
2) The following are problems with going too heavy:
- PT levels
- Carriage of pre-existing injuries
- Lack of resupply (counter intuitive)
- Starvation/loss of physical condition SHTF
What this means is, rather than going all ego and going heavy, you need to go smart. However heavy you pack your ruck, you will need resupply in the end. You are not a US SF team (or any other SF unit) behind enemy lines. Some groups may be able to operate like that, but then they have no need to read this blog, right? You need to go smart and organize your resupply. I mean, you only have to look at historical examples such as the Chindits in Burma, one of the precursors to special operations forces, to see that they suffered from disease and starvation in the jungle. They used pack mules.
Above: Chindits in Burma, WWII
3) So, there is only so much gear that you will be able to fit on your body and remain effective. Even if you go huge and heavy, you still need resupply at some point. So plan for it, get smart, use ATVs/trucks/horses/mules/boats or whatever.
4) One the of the biggest realizations/recommendations on my classes is more PT. But for many, this comes at a junction of PT vs. Age. The ‘military aged male’ average age of the Patriot Movement is a little older! I mean, I have been successful at all sorts of high level selection courses in my time. Parachute Regiment selection, UKSF selection, really hard core classes. I can tell you about them for interest, as I have done on this blog, but for me to tell you that that is the level you have to operate at is pointless.
So I urge you, go read Mosby’s posts and learn what you can from them in terms of what gear he carries. What he is saying is not BS. But I implore you to apply judgment and perspective to it in terms of what you select to carry. I have attempted to do that with my numerous gear posts and advice on realistic PT etc. Don’t be an SF acolyte. If you injure yourself, blow out a knee or a back (break a hand!) then you are screwed come SHTF.
My training and advice is not about ego. Ego is one of the biggest problems in the movement to train the armed civilian in real tactics.
I strongly disagree with the relevance and intent of this quote from Mosby’s article:
“Ultimately, that is the difference between the SF, LRS, and other UW worlds and anyone else doing a conventional mission When you’re asshole deep in alligators, and your only hope of effective escape is self-extraction, you’d damned well better be able to carry everything your team needs, or you’re going to end up in a really bad spot……Ultimately, THIS is the difference between the paradigm of conventional force traditional light-infantry and the SF/LRS/UW paradigm, and why the UW paradigm is so important from the prepper standpoint: whether you’re at the 82nd Airborne Division, the 101st Airborne (AASLT), the 25th Infantry Division, or the 1st MarDiv, while you might be on your own for a little while, you KNOW that at some point, SOMEONE is trying to come get your ass and bring you more shit…and they’re not so far away that it is ever going to seem impossible……Drop an SF ODA 500 miles behind the Iron Curtain, or a SOG team on the wrong side of the Cambodian border, or dump a few ODAs into Afghanistan before any other US forces are even spooled up to go in-country…if shit gets hinky, they KNOW they are on their own, and for the foreseeable future, anything they need, they’d better be carrying with them, have in a pre-established cache location, or be able to beg, steal, or borrow from the local population…..We’re all light-infantry when we’re on the two-way range. Until we get to the range though, there are entirely different mindsets at work.”
Because the answer to the prepper/SHTF situation is not to simply carry huge amounts more of gear – “because I can and used to and all you fuckers are not up to the task…etc. .” It is to carry a realistic sustainment load and operate in a way that you can resupply yourself. Get smart, not go heavy. Yes, the gear that I wear is heavier than a tacticool guy wears on the square range, but I’m also not in a competition to carry the mostest. I mean, the criticism of more conventional units is BS. For example, even when serving in a more ‘conventional force’ Parachute Regiment unit, we trained and conducted long range missions, the role included parachuting in behind enemy lines with little chance of resupply or relief. That is partly why I carry a decent sustainment load in my gear. But that rig pictured from the “Team Sergeant” is all sorts of impractical for light infantry work – you know the bit where it counts on the “two-way” range! Fire and movement? Not so much. Too much weight!
Above: “Mr. FAGS” LBE/Aviator Vest
Whatever your prior service, or pure civilian background, if you are reading my site/blog you are doing so to get better at tactics and survival come SHTF. The big news flash is that no-one, whatever their background in the military, is getting resupply come SHTF, and thus you need to get smart and organize a method yourself. Advising people to lumber about overloaded is not the answer.
To put a little perspective on the whole “we were awesome look how much gear we carry” thing, I am going to re-post a video below. I have mentioned before the British assault vest. You can see these retired “old school” SAS guys wearing them in the video, either that or a battle belt. I have one of these vests. These can fit a full sustainment load around the upper body, and to get even more gear on your person you can wear a belt with some additional pouches around the butt area, as shown in the video. The video includes a full breakdown of gear for a 28 day operation (!) Is that going to work for you?
Above: Assault Vest
From 4:00 on the gear, and again in detail at 30:00. They are not taking body armor. It’s a covert OP mission, with a huge amount to carry. Assessment: bin it! Could they have done with it on the E&E? Yes, but everything is a compromise, right?
If you are interested in going heavy on the gear, you may also want to check out this very useful post by JC Dodge, showing the use of a tactical vest and battle belt combination. Be warned, all up it weights 70lbs!: The Fighting/Survival Load for Mounted and Dismounted Operations
Discuss on the forum article HERE