Compilation of Observations on Gear / Classes by Scott (First Sergeant)

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        This was put together by William and sent to me. Awesome. I have a little hint for you – listen to Scott. Your tactical experience will be a lot better if you take this advice.


        Observations from First Sergeant

        • Colt 6920 OEM as basic rifle
        • BCM Charging handles
        • Ammo – 5.56 (crimped). M193 for training, M855 for war
        • Ambi-safety – NO! (safety issue, index finger too easily slips off and onto the trigger)
        • Gas blocks – pinned, NO adjustables
        • AR barrel life span ~ 20K rounds
        • Blue Loctite everything
        • Slings – quick adjustable, 1-handed
        • Gas rings – life span ~ 5k rounds
        • Multi-tool – have one on your person
        • Spare parts – complete BCG
        • Mags – consumables, numbered, throw away when having problems with

        HEAT I – Aug 2019

        Magazines- This is the second class that someone has over inserted a magazine during a drill. What happens is the magazine is shoved so far into the mag well during a combat reload that the bolt hits the back of the magazine when the bolt released is pushed. This time it was a Magpul Gen 2. Pay attention during reloads, there is no reason to put that much force into seating a mag.
        Charging Handles- Get rid of the stock charging handles on your AR’s. Some of the ones that are being put on rifles are to easy to bind and the standard latch is to small. My recommendation is a BCM medium sized latch. It will make weapons manipulation easier.
        Ammo- A student had an issue during the malfunction drills. The bullet was getting pushed back into the case allowing the powder to dump into the chamber. When that happens the rifle will not go into battery. You then have to clean the chamber to get rid of the powder, a toothbrush works best.
        The reason this is happening is due to the type of ammo, .223 Rem in this case. Most .223 doesn’t have a good crimp on the bullet when it is manufactured. 5.56 ammo will have a crimp that should prevent this from happening. I have not seen this with any 5.56 marked ammo, only with .223 Rem. I have some Federal .223 and it does the same thing.
        I know everyone is trying to save money when they buy ammo for class. The problem is that going cheap can bite you in the ass. Just like with going the cheapest route with a rifle, cheap ammo can cause issues. Spend a little more and buy 5.56 marked ammo.
        Ambi-Safeties -We see this over and over. Students use the thumb to rotate the safety off and their trigger finger to rotate the safety on. This is an accident waiting to happen. When you get in a hurry your trigger finger can slip into the trigger guard and fire a round. That is not good. If you insist on having one on your rifle you have to ensure that your thumb rotates the safety on and off. My recommendation is to get rid of them.

        HEAT I – Jun 2019
        Another class done and some different things happened this go round.
        There were two different rifles that had bent charging handles. One on day 1 and another on day 2. Neither student knew the manufacturer of the charging handles. They both had spare rifles and were able to swap CH’s and continue with the class. This is another reason that I recommend BCM CH’s. Although anything can happen, I have yet to see one get bent.
        If you are going to attach a flashlight to a rail ensure that the mount is a good one and is tightened up like it supposed to be. Otherwise it will work itself loose.
        Morning of day 4 a student is running one of the lanes when his rifle turned into a bolt action. He had to run the CH after every shot. After the drill we started to diagnose what the issue was. Found that the adjustment knob for the adjustable gas block was gone. It was letting all of the gas escape out the front of the gas block. He had bought the upper complete so it came with it. Another student had a spare rifle and allowed this student to use it for the remainder of day 4.
        There is no quick fix for this. This is one of the reasons that I am not a fan of adjustable gas blocks.
        If you are going to change gas blocks it needs to installed with tapered pins and not screws. Care to guess why?
        Hex Mags. Had one student using them and was consistently over inserting them causing the BCG to not be able to go forward into battery, it was stopping against the magazine. The first time it took two if us to get it out. This is an issue that I have heard of and seen numerous times with this brand. They are not better than PMags and the price is no better.
        End of day 4 as Max was putting the pop up targets away he noticed numerous key holes in the targets. Someones rifle bbl was shot out. We had no way of knowing whose it was so I briefed everyone that they needed to test their rifles when they got home.
        AR bbl’s have a life span of about 20,000 rounds. Some may go less, others more. They can go from shooting good to crappy pretty quickly. Usually you will notice a drop off in accuracy first. In this case we saw no issues when looking at the targets on the square range on days 1 and 2 and no issues on the pop ups at the end of day 3.

        HEAT 0.5 – May 2019
        Again, seeing some reoccurring themes.
        Blue Loctite is your friend. BUIS, sight mounts, flashlight mounts etc. need to have blue loctite on them. This will keep them from working loose and falling off when you need it the most.
        80% lowers. I understand the attraction of these, especially for someone who is behind enemy lines. I have yet to see one at class that doesn’t have some sort of issue. The biggest problem I see is mag wells that aren’t to spec. A lot of times the jigs that come with them aren’t perfect either. Be aware of this.
        Lube your rifles. Almost at the end of class one of the students rifles just quit running. Added lube and the rifle started running again. He said he didn’t put any lube on it that morning.
        Not all charging handles are created equal. Especially doing malfunction drills. The standard CH that comes on AR’s are OK but are not the best. My recommendation is to get a BCM medium latch. It gives you more to grab when charging the rifle.
        Get a quick adjustable sling. One that you can change the length on the fly with your support hand. If you choose to attach it where the extension tube meets the lower, make sure that it cannot rotate up and get in the way of running the charging handle.
        Older Eotechs that have the batteries in line with the bore still have the problem of randomly cutting off while firing.
        I will talk about ammo choices in a post tomorrow. It needs to be it’s own separate post.
        I used a new rifle this class. A Colt 6920 OEM2, Midwest Industries free float extended rail, Trijicon MRO and a BCM medium latch CH. The only thing I did to the rifle was paint it. Guess what? Everything worked right out of the box. I had one issue that was ammo related. I will cover that in the ammo post tomorrow.
        Good class with a good group of students, only one alumni.

        Had a couple of malfunctions at class that I wanted to cover.
        The first one happened during the bolt over ride malfunction drill. What happened is that the bullet gets pushed into the case and the powder dumps out into the chamber. When that happens the bolt will not go in to battery. To clear it you need a chamber brush, cleaning rods and a toothbrush. This is the malfunction that I had with my new rifle.
        This can be prevented with proper ammo selection. Buying ammo that is crimped. That means using some variation of M193. That is why I had the malfunction happen to me. I was using Federal .223 which is not crimped.
        The second malfunction was a bolt over ride on a students rifle.
        The malfunction drills we teach are designed to get your rifle back in action as quick as possible. You still have to use your head because Murphy gets a vote. If the drill doesn’t fix it right away you need to evaluate why.
        The pictures attached show what the round looked like when I finally got it out. I had to use a multi tool to clear the malfunction. That is one of the main reasons that I carry one on my battle belt.
        This also shows why you don’t use steel cased ammo. If this had been steel I could not have bent and crushed the round to get it clear.
        I normally use M193 for training and keep the M855 for SHTF. I zero my rifles with M855. The zero shift with M193 is not enough to make a difference.

        HEAT 1 – August 2018
        Seeing some recurring themes at class.
        Lube – Stop using Frog Lube. We don’t call it Frog Glue for nothing. Anything that requires you to do some hocus pocus crap to get the lube to work isn’t worth the time or aggravation. Don’t use grease either.
        Blue Loctite is your friend. The were several instances of either BUIS or magnifiers falling off of rifles. This not only happened on the square range but on the tactical ranges also. Anything that you have mounted on your rifle that has screws need to have blue Loctite to keep them in place.
        Broken Redot’s- There was a SIG Romeo5 in class. It decided to stop working on the morning of Day 1 on the square range. I told the student that I was not surprised. SIG’s redot’s are made in China. I don’t think SIG has admitted that yet. While it may seem like a good deal for the price, don’t. Especially on a gun that you are going to bet your life on. Another student had a spare Aimpoint T1. No issues with that.
        Gas Rings- Another PSA rifle showed it’s true colors during the class. With less than 1400 rounds through the rifle, it became a bolt action. The gas rings were completely worn. It failed the gas ring test very quickly. The book answer on gas rings is that they should last about 5000 rounds. I have AR’s that have way more than that and the gas rings are still good. Contrary to popular belief, not all parts are created equal and there is no such thing as “just as good as”. What is your life worth?

        DCH – July 2018
        Wanted to cover some things that I observed during this past weekends DCH class.
        Glocks – The small controls that come stock on Glocks are still an issue. Specifically the slide stop(as Glock calls it, every other manufacturer calls it the slide release) and the mag release. They will continue to be an issue until Glock gets its head out of it’s 4th point of contact and joins the 21st century and current trends. Get aftermarket parts to replace these.
        Also the cheap plastic sights that they install at the factory.
        Small guns are harder to run. It’s a trade off, you want a small gun that you can conceal easier, but with that comes smaller controls and a shorter sight radius. You should be carrying the largest gun you can conceal. Sometimes we don’t have choice due to the way we have to dress or because of the need for deep concealment(NPE). Smaller guns also means less ammo in the gun.
        Steel cased ammo. You hear us talk about it with AR’s all of the time. I’ll bet most of you don’t know that there are several pistols out there that don’t like it. Some manufacturers flat out say in the manuals not to use it. My suggestion is don’t use it. You are going to run into the same issues that you do with AR’s, premature wear.
        Speaking of ammo, Winchester White box. This is some of the dirtiest shooting ammo on the market. It has been that way for years. If you are going to shoot a lot of it, like at a class, you may run into some issues of your pistol slowing down or choking because of it.
        Magazines – I don’t remember if I have talked about why you need to have training mags and carry mags for concealed carry, I will cover that in a stand alone post. What you need to do is vet your mags. Make sure that they will drop free when you hit the mag release. I have seen OEM mags and after market mags hang up in the gun. cough/Glock/cough. If they do, get rid of the mags, or get a different gun.
        Paddle holsters – I understand why some would think these are a good idea. Easy on and off. Until you start drawing the pistol and the holster comes with it and stays on the gun. That could be very detrimental if you ever have to draw your gun in a defensive situation.
        Sights – If you have sights on your pistol that don’t have a flat front edge to them, get a new set that does. This is imperative if you ever have to do anything one handed with your pistol i.e. malfunctions. If you have sights that have a flat front edge but they are plastic, change them for metal sights, Glock owners.
        The size of the pistol in comparison to the shooters hands. This is in conjunction with the first part of this post. Make sure that you can reach all of the controls while maintaining a firing grip. Not all pistols are one size fits all, no matter what the idiot behind the gun counter says, the article in the magazine says, the crap written on the internet, what your brother in laws cousins husband says because he was a cop or was in the military. You need to figure out what works for your hands. If you are married, I am specifically looking at you guys, just because it works for you doesn’t mean that it is going to work for your wife, girlfriend, sons or daughters.

        DCH – May 2018
        I get it. I understand the allure of small pistols. Less weight and easier to conceal.
        Hey, I’m just running to the store to grab some milk or I’m just going to walk the dog real quick. Nothing happens around here, but I’ve got this super nifty small gun in my pocket, I’ll be good. I don’t need a reload either, the 5, 6 or 7 rounds in the gun is enough.
        The safety on this thing is kinda small but I wont have any problem taking the safety off under an adrenaline dump. I don’t need to worry about the size of the slide release either because I’m not carrying a spare mag.
        It is kinda hard to get a good grip on this pistol because the grip is so small, but it disappears in my pocket or is completely covered by my shirt. I wont screw up the grip when I draw, even though I only put a couple of mags through the gun. The guy at the gun store, the online review, the magazine article said it was the bestest pistol for concealed carry.
        This holster that I got really cheap works great, except it keeps me from getting a good grip on the pistol when I draw.
        Small pistols have a place. Sometimes we don’t have a choice. Due to the way we have to dress or because we are going into a NPE. But for most, it’s an excuse. What’s the max effective range of an excuse?
        All the issues that I outlined above I have seen at class or have had people ask me why they are having issues with their smaller pistol.
        Failing to disengage the safety after the draw, even though they attempted to. Can’t get a good grip because the grip is so small. Harder to shoot accurately because of the short sight radius. If, and it’s a big if, they are carrying a spare mag and attempt a reload, they can’t hit the slide release(or slide stop if you are carrying a Glock). Can’t hit the mag release due to the size of it or due to the size of the grip.
        Carrying a gun is not supposed to be comfortable, it’s supposed to comforting. You need to be carrying the largest pistol that you can conceal. Sometimes that means you have to change the way you dress. You wont be able to conceal one in your skinny jeans and your Affliction t-shirt.
        The guns that are the biggest offenders of the above are in no particular order: Ruger, S&W, Taurus and Glock(all models).
        Some of these can be fixed with aftermarket parts, especially Glock. You can send off your Shield to get a bunch of custom work done.
        You wont know about any of the issues above unless you spend some quality time with the gun and I don’t mean just punching holes in paper.
        In today’s world, you have no idea when things may go sideways. Could be that quick run to the store to grab some milk, getting car jacked while stopped at a red light, going to church, going to the movies, just sitting on your couch at home or because somebody doesn’t like the way you look or your political views.
        You don’t get a say as to when, although you can mitigate some of the circumstances.
        You are carrying everyday, right?

        HEAT 1 – March 2018
        A few things happened this past weekend that I wanted to touch on for everyone not at class.
        One rifle became a single shot, you had to manually extract the empty case off of the bolt face. The extractor spring broke and the insert was completely flattened. The bolt didn’t have very many rounds through it. The student had a spare BCG and was able to get the rifle running again.
        On Friday I showed the students how to test the gas rings on the bolt. One student checked his that night and it failed. One ring was broke and the others were worn. I had a spare set of rings and we replaced the next morning.
        Another student had a double feed. The rounds were stuck bad enough that it took the use of a fixed blade knife and three bounds to get it clear. He was using GI aluminum mags. The feed lips on that mag were probably worn. His mags were not numbered so there was no way to determine witch mag it was.
        How many of you keep a spare BCG on hand? Spare bolt? Spare extractor spring and insert? Spare gas rings? Any spare parts?
        Do you have your mags numbered with a paint pen so that when you have an issue you can get rid of the mag? Or do you just blow it off and putt that mag back in rotation?
        Parts can break in relatively new guns. Gas rings wear out. Do you know how to test them?
        Magazines area a disposable item. You should have a fuckload of them. Don’t get attached to them. Number them so you can get rid of the ones that go bad.
        Get your ass to class.

        At the last HEAT1 class a student had an issue with his extractor.
        The first sign of a problem was an extracted case staying on the bolt face. That happened once and the rifle continued to function without issue.
        Later on it started doing double feeds. He would fire a round, get a double feed, conduct a malfunction drill, fire a round and start the whole process over again. The double feed was the fired round staying on the bolt face and trying to pick up a new round when the bolt cycled.
        He had a spare extractor, so it was replaced and the rifle functioned without issue the rest of the class.
        Examining the extractor that caused the issues, there was nothing noticeable. The spring and insert looked good. But the spring had failed. It did not have a high round count.
        This was on Friday, on Thursday I had given my talk about cleaning, lubrication and what spare parts that I recommend to have on hand.
        While replacing the extractor the student realized why I recommend a spare BCG for each AR you own. That would have been a lot faster to get the rifle running again. At the least if he would have had a spare bolt, that would have been quicker than having to disassemble the entire BCG to replace the extractor.
        This the the second extractor to go bad in two different HEAT1 classes, both with low round counts. Not a trend, just an observation that things can break when you least expect it to.
        Keep spare parts on hand.

        DCH – Nov 2017

        I haven’t done one of these in a while.
        There has been a trend in small single stack pistols for concealed carry. It is not a good trend. Why? Small pistols, while easier to conceal, are harder to control when firing, conducting malfunction drills and reloading. I see this at class all the time.
        The majority of people are still not carrying a spare magazine. Or if they do, it is carried in a pocket and not in a dedicated mag pouch. Carrying it in a pocket will substantially slow you down if you need that spare magazine.
        And don’t tell me you wont need that spare magazine. That’s as bad as someone saying that I only carry a gun when I am going to a bad part of town. Then why in the hell are you going there in the first place?
        When it comes to carrying, most people are lazy. Pure and simple. You start out carrying everyday. Then you start missing a day or so here and there. Then you start thinking that I don’t need that double stack pistol or that spare mag. Then you stop carrying the mag. Now you are looking for a smaller gun. Now you are thinking that nothing has ever happened, why do I need to carry it all.
        I understand that some have to make decisions based on the where you work or the way you have to dress. I get that.
        Glocks still have BTF(brass to face) issues. Guess what, that is never going away because Glock doesn’t care about fixing it. It has been an issue for years and they still haven’t addressed it. It takes the owner knowing what is going on and spending the money on the parts to fix the issue. Perfection my ass.
        To paraphrase someone from one of my classes, “I had no idea.” Most people have no idea.
        You are responsible for your own safety. No one else is.
        Get to class and learn how to run your pistol. You life may depend on it one day.

        CRS – Apr 2017
        Last weekend Combat Rifle Skills was held at the VTC. I have some observations from that class.
        On Saturday it rained, a lot. While most of the class had wet weather pants and jackets there were still a couple of students that had ponchos.
        Stop using ponchos as rain gear.
        They do not help keep you dry and they interfere with running a rifle. Especially during reloads. Military issue ponchos are good for one thing, building a hooch, that’s it.
        Get yourself a good set of rain gear, pants and jacket. Get a set of Gen III Goretex. It works. If you are complaining that you get hot while moving in rain gear here is a tip, you are not supposed to wear it while moving. When I say “moving”, I mean patrolling. You are going to get wet, deal with it.
        A.L.I.C.E. gear-STOP FUCKING USING IT. Gear has come a long way. There is no reason to still be using it. Especially the ammo pouches, you can’t effectively fight from them.
        Weapons lube-A couple of students found out that there lube of choice sucks when it rains. The rain caused the lube to displace very quickly and caused some issues with reloading. The two types that didn’t work very well were Wilson Combat lube and Hoppe’s Gun Oil.
        I don’t care what lube you use but you better make sure it works in all conditions. Heat, cold, snow, rain or shine.
        The students also found out that their rifles wouldn’t automatically stop working because it got wet.
        Stop buying cheap RDS’s. They will stop working or wont work at all when you need them.
        Rifle disassembly-If you take your rifle apart, make sure you put it back together properly. If you don’t you could have a rifle that doesn’t shoot and then takes some time to get it disassembled so you can fix it.
        We hold classes in all types of weather. The weather is not going to be perfect every time you get in a fight. Gear gets wet and slippery, hands get cold, gloves get wet, sights fog up or get water on the lenses, rear iron sights get water in the aperture, etc.
        If you are only going to the range or training when the weather is nice, you are failing. You have no idea how you or your gear is going to work.

        CRS – Nov 2016
        Stay with me, this is going to take a little bit to answer all of the questions.
        RDS-My recommendation is the new Trijicon MRO. Hands down one of the best out there. Better field of view.
        Trijicon and Aimpoint are both good to go.
        While there are some out there that still like the Eotech, I wouldn’t trust them. Not after the lawsuit that proved they were knowingly shipping sub-standard products. They knew it and didn’t give a damn. I posted all of the information about it here on the forum.
        Red dots are good out to about 150 meters. After that you start running into the dot being larger than the target. You have to figure out what your engagement distances are probably going to be and then decide if a RDS or a magnified optic is best for you. I know the Eotech magnifier works with the MRO. You can flip it out if the way when not needed.
        I can’t recommend an “entry level” AR as they don’t exist. PSA was the last on the list of AR’s that I had recommended for people to buy.
        Several people have had good luck with PSA. The MVT rental rifles, as Max mentioned above, are PSA’s. Never had an issue with them. There are members of the forum that swear by them. But based on what is coming out of their factory now and the other stuff mentioned above, no way.
        Anyone recommend a specific LPK package? Not from PSA, I guess.
        In no particular order, Colt, Daniel Defense, BCM. You may have to shop around to find them in stock. Before the election LPK’s started drying up so it may take a little bit for them to come back in stock.
        If you have PSA parts go ahead and use them. Don’t just take them and throw them in the trash. Just be aware that you might have some issues.
        I have a stock S&W m&p 15 and it runs flawlessly, I have had over a thousands rounds through it before cleaning with no issues. I have even run it recently suppressed with no isssues. At 800 or so I think it is a good bargain.
        Glad yours works. It is not a company that I recommend. You can buy a BCM for the same price. You can find Colt’s cheaper.
        For you guys in restricted states, your gonna have to roll the dice. The companies that I recommend are Colt, BCM, LMT, Daniel Defense, Larue and Noveske. Most, if not all, sell LPK’s, BCG’s, uppers and lowers. If the company is not on this list, stay away from it. Parts included.
        The way things are now, you can buy a complete rifle cheaper than you can put one together from parts that you buy.
        First Sergeant,
        Any observations on how non ARs performed?
        All AR’s in the class.
        I want to make sure you have the best possible rifle in your hands in case you ever have to use it when lead starts flying. I am very particular when I recommend something. It is based of off experience, classes taken, classes taught, talking with others that I know and trust and studying. If something changes, I will let you know. Just like with PSA.
        Just like with all gear, you can find something cheaper. It may work with no issues. But it will fail you faster than if you spend the money up front and do it right. Buy once, cry once. Buy cheap, buy twice.
        How much is your life worth?
        How much is your families life worth?

        CRS – Nov 2016
        As the title says, observations from the CRS class from last weekend.
        Sub-standard AR’s are still an issue. Castle nuts not staked, installed backwards and not slotted for standard AR tools. Magazine wells not to spec.
        Lack of lubrication. How many times do we have to say it?
        Chinese made chest rigs. Had a couple of students running them on Saturday. That night after the cook out, they bought rigs from Max. All of them said that it made a “YUGE” difference on Sunday.
        Slings, Get a good 2 point sling. One that you can adjust the size on the the go. G.I. web slings are out dated.
        Spare parts. At a minimum you need to have at least one LPK for each AR you own. Also a spare BCG per AR.
        Had some Hex-Mags in this class. No issues.
        One students rifle turned into a bolt action towards the end of the day Sunday. When he got home, he did the test on the gas rings that I teach during the course. He found out that his gas rings were shot. That’s why his rifle was short stroking. You have to inspect your weapons and gear to make sure that it is still serviceable.
        Red dots. Had another Vortex crap out. Student had BUIS so he was able to finish the class. That is why you need to be running BUIS on your rifles.
        As noted above this is not the first Vortex that has died at classes. They are good for a rifle that someone is just gonna plink with. They are not worth putting your money into for a hard use fighting rifle. Spare me the tales of how all of yours are just fine. No, they ain’t. Spend the money and get a good RDS.
        Magazines-Had two students that just bought a bunch of magazines from PSA during the sales they were running prior to the election. Both of them had issues with the mags. Double feeds and not dropping free were the two major issues. If you bought some of these mags, you need to be aware of this issue and check your mags.
        This leads to another point about PSA. In the last 8 months or so I have seen a noticeable downward slide in their QA/QC. From their BCG’s with screwed up roll pins to FSB you are able to twist with your hand. And now the magazine issue. Yeah, I know they have a great CS. That’s bullshit. These issues shouldn’t be happening to begin with.
        Some of their business practices have shown me that at his point they car about one thing, money. This comes from the dealings we have had at the shop I work at. We steadily bought complete rifles, uppers, complete lowers, stripped lowers, LPK’s and BCG’s from them. They were always payed on time and we never had an issue. They then stopped taking orders from us and would not return our phone calls. We later found out that they decided we didn’t order enough. They wanted us to buy 250 stripped lowers at a time. If we didn’t, they would no longer do business with us. They are free to do whatever they wish, it’s their company.
        Based on the issues above I will no longer be recommending PSA. No, you wont change my mind. If you are happy with them, drive on. Buyer beware.

        CRS/CCT. Jul 2015
        After the combined CTT/CP class, I am going to pass on some advice and tips on some things I observed and some things I was asked about. DiznNC has hit on some of these before, but some of them need to be repeated.
        Get rid of the damn ball caps. This applies specifically to field work. Ball caps are great for the range as they integrate well with earpro. They are also great for proclaiming your message with patches or as an advertisement for gear that you use. They stand out like a strobe light when you wear them for field work. I was able to show that pretty quickly on Day 2 of the CP class when the class moved into the hasty ambush.
        Camo-Everybody has their personal preference for camo patterns based on where they live or the group that they work with. Pick one and go with it. Just be aware that some patterns work better than others. The one pattern that I will tell you to stay away from is UCP. Unless you are going to be in a rock quarry or a gravel pit, it sucks. It stands out like a neon sign. Some people may decide not to use a pattern because they don’t want to stand out, especially if you live in an urban or suburban area. That’s fine and logical. Go with earth tones. Stay away from bright colors on everything to include your gloves, stuff sacks and t-shirts.
        Buy clothing that fits. The uniforms that you are buying either new or surplus were designed to be loose fitting. Makes for ease of movement, better air flow and layering during cold weather. You don’t want the pants baggy to the point that the crotch is in the vicinity of your knees nor do you want them so tight that it cuts off blood flow to everything below the waist. You definitely don’t want to look like a hipster in skinny jeans. Tops, either standard shirts or combat shirts, again personal preference. I like the standard ACU cut tops. Combat shirts, there are different choices out there, I like the ones like Max wears. Gives you more flexibility with the zipper and being able to roll your sleeves up. Stay away from long sleeve tight fitting t-shirts. They will cause you to overheat as your body can’t regulate it’s temperature. Going commando or not. That is definitely a personal choice. Find out what works for you. Several will recommend some type of compression shorts. I recommend going commando. But for it to work right, your pants have to fit properly. These are thing you have to test out now and see what works. Waiting for an event to happen and then trying to figure it out will put you behind the power curve.
        Socks. Stop wearing standard athletic socks you buy in bulk. They will destroy your feet in the long run. Get socks made out of merino wool. Your feet will thank you for it. I have used Smartwools for years, even in the heat in Afghanistan. The reason I like Smartwools is that they have different styles depending on how much cushion you want, even thick ones for winter.
        Boots. I was asked about this during class. This is one thing you can’t skimp on. You need to find boots that fit you well and will take abuse and last. You also want something that has ankle support. I use Lowa boots exclusively and have for the past 15 years. Even while deployed. You pay a little more for them, but they are worth every penny. They have several different styles, to include a duty line, some with goretex lining. Depending on where you live you may need different pairs for winter and summer. Think about that now. If you live in a marshy environment, you may want to think about jungle boots. The old school issue ones work great in this type of environment. Two other brands that I can recommend is Meindl and Asolo. If you have never been fitted for a good outdoor boot, go to REI or a good outdoor store and get fitted properly. I t will make a all the difference in the world.
        Velcro-It is loud as hell and you might as well be wearing bells. If you use a riggers belt, get one with a cobra buckle, takes care of the velcro sound. If you have pants and shirts that have velcro on the pockets, check out this link for a fix for that
        Shemaghs-great piece of kit with all kinds of uses. Don’t wear it like a wild west desperado who is about to hold up a stage coach. Unless you are in a sand storm or dust storm.
        Gaiters-I recommended these to someone in another thread. For cold weather and snow I use them religiously. I use the ones made by Outdoor Research. They also come in handy for wet weather. OR also makes short ones for hot weather use.
        Cotton, stay the hell away from it. Especially during cold weather. Cotton kills. It holds moisture and does not dry out quick.
        These are just some observations. Others will have a different opinion or even disagree with what I listed here. That’s fine. I am not claiming to be the guru on this stuff, just passing on some experience with kit that I know that works.

      • #134903

          Damn it is like a broken record..

        • #134913
          First Sergeant

            William, thanks for this.

            Signal Out, Can You Identify
            Je ne regrette rien
            In Orbe Terrum Non Visi

          • #134950

              Just to dogpile on per Palmetto’s lack of quality; for a bit of history, in case people visiting the site here never noticed, it started going downhill a few years before even the dates tagged here. And it has NOT improved in recent years either.

              Remember Sandy Hook back in ’13? Biggest run on guns ever so far? Yeah, that’s when everything started to go to shit for them.
              I won’t say they were the only company doing it at the time (Cheaper Than Dirt and Remington can still EAD over their shenanigans during that event), but it was clear toward the end of that panic-buying spree that they (like some others) were throwing literally ANYTHING out the door as fast as possible because prices were up and demand was ungodly high.
              BEFORE ’13, quality was acceptable. Mid/Post ’13 panic, problems started appearing.
              Their previous quality never recovered; I guess they realized people really WILL buy anything if ‘such a deal they make you’ and decided to quit bothering to source decent parts… :wacko:
              Apparently their “freedom” line is even worse than the regular parts. Ironic.

              The sad part is, due to their pre-’13 rep, people STILL think they are getting a good deal, even going on 6 years later now of WELL documented issues.
              It never ends; EVERY time someone gets into AR’s they inevitably discover the “wonders” of PSA, and then I have to try to explain to them that the ol’ mare ain’t what she used to be…
              They almost never listen…. I think it’s because PSA’s current product has settled into such a consistent level of mediocrity, most people will never notice the issues (especially if buying a pre-assembled rifle) UNTIL they shoot a lot, and since most people are plinkers…therefore PSA is still “good quality, never failed me yet” blah blah blah.

              The only GOOD thing about their pervasive lack of QC is that it is the BEST ambassador ever for stubborn people to learn a sharp lesson about quality, without losing to much money.

              A couple years back a friend bought an Anderson lower and PSA LPKs. I warned them there would be problems…they bought the parts anyway…and behold, the day of the install there were problems. Springs cut to differing lengths, safety selectors with shallow detent divots that were incredibly tight when installed and ground horribly on the brass detents, disconnectors with odd bits of metal sticking off them, or poorly machined so that it looked likely to have one of the corners snap off in short order, etc.

              Further, some of the parts also did not fit in the lower, so we tried them in a different, better lower I was assembling at the time, and they STILL did not fit, but the LPK parts I had from a better manufacturer were having none of the QC issues and fit perfectly; the install on MY lower was a breeze while they struggled for a couple hours with craptastic parts.

              The buyer, needless to say, was annoyed, complained to PSA; PSA sent new parts…. replacement parts were of EXACT same “quality”. I have never felt better busting out a good “I told you so!” :yahoo:
              Needless to say after that they saw the light.

              And that’s not even getting into the “Poverty Pony” lower that had to be hand-filed in some places by the buyer to get some of the higher quality LPK parts to fit AT ALL (we did a test fit for sanity check). And this was supposed to be one of Anderson’s higher-end Billet lowers too… :wacko:

              So yeah… in case anyone dropping by here thinks the problems with low-tier manufacturers are something you’ll only see if you attend a “hard” training class and it will be “ok” for a training or backup rifle, OR WORSE, for a stock of reserve spare parts for a rainy day… THINK AGAIN!

              And that’s before you even get into some of their other outlier issues, like 9mm PCC magazines that you may need to re-profile the feed lips with a file/sander to get them running right…

            • #134995

                Thank you for posting this.

              • #135006
                Mike Q

                  good job. I’ve sent this link to a few friends already.

                • #135023

                    This is a great compilation. I think building rifles, like running marathons, and a few other things, has been stretched beyond the group of people who are competent at these things, and the consequences become apparent when you run your gear hard in realistic training.

                    Based on observations from MVT and other training venues, I’d say most folks should stick to a reputable factory built rifle. And then have a good gunsmith go over it and make sure. Coming to class is a guaranteed way of finding any flaws in your kit, but it also slows down your learning as well. Either way works, and coming to class is the priority, but you will save everybody headaches if your shit is already tight.

                    Rifle QC is a moving target for sure. Seems I can’t recommend a vendor before they fuck up and prove me wrong. So I’m gonna have to say, I’m tired of getting kicked in the ass with this stuff. Stick to the main line vendors. As the 1st Sgt says, they will run right out of the box.

                    If you do have a home build rifle, take it to a competent individual and get it completely checked out. I’d go as far as to say put in new extractor and ejector assemblies, as well as new gas rings, from a known quality vendor. Also new springs on the LPK, especially hammer and disconnector. And a new buffer spring while we’re at it. I do this on an annual basis just for shits n giggles.

                    If you have mag issues, besides numbering and shit-canning bad mags, check the spring tension on your mag catch. Lots of guys have this too tight. Back off a few turns and mags will insert easier. (The screw base does not need to be flush with the button top.) Also I still down-load to 28 rds for this reason. If it won’t lock up, one-handed, on a closed bolt, without tapping the shit out of it, try some of these things.

                    Plus one on the blue locktite. You should apply and re-toruque all your shit on an annual basis, especially before showing up for training. Little paint “tell” lines don’t hurt either. Tells you in a glance if anything has moved.

                    I used to use the cheapest ammo I could find. No more. I shoot M193 for training with M855/Mk262 for war rounds. Cheap ammo, with weak springs is the perfect storm for home builds.

                    I use good synthetic oil, like Slip 2,000 or whatever is at hand (Break Free, EWL, etc.). Point is, use it.

                    I have tried cheap optics, and generally concur to stay away. However, Holosun optics have proven to be an exception for me. If you buy their top tier, mil-grade stuff (Elite series), it actually works pretty well. But to get there, the price point is a lot closer to main brands, so there is no longer any huge savings. But if you have several rifles you need to set up, it is an option. I have also gone back to EOTech. The new units are now factory sealed and work very well. The new transverse 123 batts eliminate the batt bounce issue. The Vortex Razor HD series also works quite well. Optics is another thing that seems to be a moving target.

                    On gear, hoo boy. I have spent a life time improving on this stuff. I think the chest rigs n pouches built for MVT were about as close as you could get. Until a vendor can be found to produce these again, go with a reputable vendor (is this becoming a trend?), such as Velocity/Mayflower, Crye, TT, etc. Figure out your basic load. Then figure out how to carry it. Max has written extensively on the subject. Find a good balance between retention and quick draw. Train in it, tweak it, repeat.

                    On clothing. Unless it’s a special mission requirement, I’m going more with every-day wear stuff these days. Wrangler 20 buck khaki cargo pants work well. Darn Tough socks. Lowa TF Zephr (non-gtx) boots. Still rocking PCU level 1 base layers. Insulation and shells of choice. Still like PCU L2 gridded fleece. And ECWS Gen III hard and soft shells.

                    But the most important gear is the one between your ears. Get the MVT SUT handbook. Put it on a string in the outhouse. Read and re-read.

                  • #135044

                      This is FANTASTIC. Great information. Thank you to William and 1st Sgt.

                    • #135107

                        @First Sergeant ;

                        Forgot to ask before, but since there’s some DCH topics covered in the post, what are your thoughts on 9mm ammunition brands for deep-stocking “go to war” use?
                        Let’s say in 124gr since that seems to be most common after 115gr range fodder.
                        There doesn’t seem to be an “easy answer” on this like m193/m855 for rifles…
                        Anything you’ve found with consistent issues (aside from steel) that should be avoided at all costs?

                        For myself personally, I refuse to use Federal red box bulk-pack ammo (usually found in walmart) even for training, after having some that was so underpowered it was not penetrating through a half rotten wooden log at 5 feet (seriously, I pried the bullet out and still have it).

                      • #135110
                        First Sergeant

                          @First Sergeant ;

                          Forgot to ask before, but since there’s some DCH topics covered in the post, what are your thoughts on 9mm ammunition brands for deep-stocking “go to war” use?
                          Let’s say in 124gr since that seems to be most common after 115gr range fodder.
                          There doesn’t seem to be an “easy answer” on this like m193/m855 for rifles…

                          For myself personally, I refuse to use Federal red box bulk-pack ammo (usually found in walmart) even for training, after having some that was so underpowered it was not penetrating through a half rotten wooden log at 5 feet (seriously, I pried the bullet out and still have it).

                          Winchester Ranger T 147gr is what I use for carry ammo. I have a lot of it.

                          MEN 124gr FMJ. That is what I use for practice and for classes. I have a lot of it also.

                          I have had good luck with Magtec in the past.

                          Geco is also good stuff. I have shot several cases of their 124gr FMJ.

                          Signal Out, Can You Identify
                          Je ne regrette rien
                          In Orbe Terrum Non Visi

                        • #135120

                            If you can find it (last bought from the IMI 115 grain di-cut hollowpoint from IMI is very good stuff. Hot, +P type zippy fast with hollow point terminal characteristics. Never had a round not go boom. Feeds perfectly in a Glock. Accurate. Great deal at .25/round

                          • #135171
                            Robert Henry

                              Great stuff, thanks!

                              I was having trouble finding a Colt and First Sgt. said BCM was good to go. Y’all know I’ve had the worst experiences ever with AR’s. That being said, about 2000 rounds through this Bravo Company Mod O model so far without an issue. And Primary Arms has (or had) them on sale again in the last day or so. I think I paid $833. or so for this one- so similar to the Colt in price and maybe a better chance of finding one.

                              I will say this, this is the smoothest feeling AR I’ve ever shot in my life.

                              A good option if you can’t find the Colt.


                              Lost my MVT class list- been here a time or two :)
                              Team Coyote. Rifleman Challenge- Vanguard

                            • #135184

                                Yeah the 6920’s are thin on the ground these days, so yeah, a good BCM build would be an excellent option. I’m glad to see you finally got a good one, brother. After seeing all those low-end POS’s take a shit in your training. The recent Recoil article on low-end AR’s basically describes the deal. The market is currently flooded with low-end AR crap. Hard for some guys to resist the temptation.

                              • #135191

                                  This is a GREAT post filled with some of the best takeaway information available!!! Thanks for sharing. I’ve shared the link with all of my Idaho guys. Why chance you’re life when it really matters??? All the greatest gear won’t mean shit if your go to war rifle fails out of the gait. Thanks again!!!

                                • #135219

                                    Yeah the 6920’s are thin on the ground these days…

                                    Not only thin, but starting to command unrealistic prices on the re-sale market.
                                    Almost makes me wish I had an extra 6920 or such laying around right now… haha

                                  • #135307

                                      There are a few on the EE @ arfcom for 950-ish. I’ve always had good luck buying/selling there.

                                    • #135320

                               has 6920’s for $975. Base models with round hand guards.

                                      • #136557

                                          Regarding the ambi-safety: clearly this got out of hand quick, without proper understanding of what Scott is telling you.

                                          It doesn’t matter whether you are left or right handed. If you are running an ambi-safety, you always manipulate it on and off with the thumb. What we have seen, and has been reported elsewhere, is the tendency to take the safety off with the thumb, but put it back on with the finger / base of finger. This WILL put you at risk for negligent discharge.

                                          We prefer you don’t run an ambi-safety.

                                          What do left-handers do with a standard set-up AR, with the safety on the left? They bring the thumb over the pistol grip and manipulate it with the thumb. This is also what you do if you are shooting support side as a righty.

                                          We could probably do with less misunderstandings such as this, given the wealth of experience that has been put down here for you to learn from.

                                        • #136614
                                          First Sergeant

                                            It means the conclusion is wrong because it needs more thought. A left handed shooter using an AR-15 without an ambidextrous safety is in the same position as a right handed shooter with an ambidextrous safety. Both shooters have the same opportunity to mess up in the manner described. A left handed shooter needs an ambidextrous safety to operate it with the thumb rather than breaking the grip, using the trigger finger, using the right hand somehow (not sure why) or not using it at all. It is a training issue.

                                            The conclusion isn’t wrong and doesn’t need more thought. We see this at every single class.

                                            I damn well know it’s a training issue. Most people will not put in the reps required to break the habit. Until then they are an accident waiting to happen.

                                            Most are putting these on their rifles because they have been convinced that it is the cool guy thing to have. It is not necessary for a left handed or right handed shooter to have an ambi safety unless they are willing to put the amount of work into it that is needed to learn the right way. Students show up at class with the habit ingrained already and it is something that Max and I constantly have to watch out for and correct.

                                            But you’re right, I obviously have no clue what I talking about.

                                            Signal Out, Can You Identify
                                            Je ne regrette rien
                                            In Orbe Terrum Non Visi

                                          • #136615
                                            First Sergeant

                                              Why m855 for war? Thats the one thing i dont agree with here. Its shown to be very inconsistent with its performance. Wouldnt people be better served by just staying with m193 or going with another type of ammunition that has good history and testing results behind it?

                                              If you ever had to use this training for real and went up against someone, odds are they were to fucking cheap to buy level 4 plates. They most likely bought level 3. The majority of level 3 plates wont stop M855 but will stop m193. If they are wearing steel plates then it wont matter.

                                              I have seen quite of few human beings hit with M855. I have heard of no complaints.

                                              I have read all of the reports on 855.

                                              I recommend 855 because right now you can get it in bulk pretty cheap. When you start getting into the other rounds the price goes up pretty quick and you can’t easily find it in bulk.

                                              But hey, these are just my recommendations. I obviously have no clue what I am talking about.

                                              Signal Out, Can You Identify
                                              Je ne regrette rien
                                              In Orbe Terrum Non Visi

                                            • #136669

                                                Regarding the ambi-safety: clearly this got out of hand quick, without proper understanding of what Scott is telling you.

                                                It doesn’t matter whether you are left or right handed. If you are running an ambi-safety, you always manipulate it on and off with the thumb. What we have seen, and has been reported elsewhere, is the tendency to take the safety off with the thumb, but put it back on with the finger / base of finger. This WILL put you at risk for negligent discharge.

                                                We prefer you don’t run an ambi-safety.

                                                What do left-handers do with a standard set-up AR, with the safety on the left? They bring the thumb over the pistol grip and manipulate it with the thumb. This is also what you do if you are shooting support side as a righty.

                                                We could probably do with less misunderstandings such as this, given the wealth of experience that has been put down here for you to learn from.

                                                I brought up the dedicated left handed safety because two of my three students were lefties and had ambidextrous levers. One thing we pointed out to them in addition to the bad operating habits was that one side or the other of the safety will hang on your glove or hand when they manipulate it. That’s why I was asking about a dedicated one sided left hand lever if they were committed to using it.

                                                However, our recommendation to them was to learn how to use a normal right hand one because if you have to do a battlefield pickup or borrow a spare, guess where the safety will be. That gained more mental traction. I mean how many left handed rifles does the military issue? :negative:

                                                I won’t go into the Knife guy with the Hubble telescope on his rifle, his ambi rotated 45 degrees vs 90 to fire. :wacko:

                                                • This reply was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by trailman.
                                              • #136694
                                                Joe (G.W.N.S.)

                                                  …listen to Scott. Your tactical experience will be a lot better if you take this advice.


                                                  I considered addressing various discussion points, but unless you have extensive experience actually killing “bad guys” I suggest following Max’s above advice.

                                                  First Sergeant’s advice is based on real world experience to include training both military and citizens.

                                                  Of course ultimately the choice is yours to make.

                                                  Choose wisely as it’s only your life and those you care about lives on the line. ;-)

                                                • #137381

                                                    I have posted this excellent post from Scott in various places, including Culpeper Volunteers, for people to get some good advice right out of the gate. Yet now looking through it, it seems to have devolved into a bunch of opinions at odds with what Scott wrote. Not helpful. I am going to give it a couple hours, then delete the unhelpful stuff. If you have specific questions or issues, start a thread. Not in this educational post.

                                                    If you want to start stating from experience, than give us a bio of what experience you are talking from. Opinions amd questions are fine, but we can have seperate threads specifically for example about M855 etc.

                                                  • #137397

                                                      Hi, I’m Billy, about me…. I have about 10 years experience mixed between LE/Military, LE qualified sniper, Colt armorer, never shot someone with M855 (on purpose) or been shot with 855. Now that that’s out of the way, the only reputable “issue” with 855 I have ever seen that wasn’t just some dude talking, was a few years back there were a bunch of lots of the 855 out of Lake City that apparently had some issues with accuracy, not reliability or safety, but accuracy. Just like anyone that handloads, sometimes a batch will come out and not fall into the proposed buyers MOA standards. On top of that, these rounds aren’t exactly match loaded in the first place, so people expecting sub MOA accuracy in a bulk produced round are bound to be disappointed and leave vaguely worded diatribes on online forums. I question Scott on one thing and one thing only, breakfast sandwich choice-biscuits are far tastier than muffins…. hands down!!! But other than that i have never seen an instance where his direction was not 100% on point. The 855 was probably more intended to be sprayed out of a saw pointing towards targets of flesh, metal, earth, and glass than used to snipe paper targets in a back yard. The penetrator and more than acceptable accuracy gives you a lot of options at $0.27/round (pre-packed in an ammo can) And just like Scott said, when it comes to armor, the green tip is the boogey man, i held in my hand last week a plate that stopped a 285gr .338 Lapua dead cold, but a measly 62g green tip went through like it was butter. There’s always a counter-point but I put a lot of stock in Scott’s advice and I see no reason to pick and choose which lines from his teachings to listen too, it’s all far more valid and tested than anything else put forward.

                                                    • #137415

                                                        Ok, mostly cleaned up. All I had time for right now. If you have specific concerns or questions about items in this thread, please start another one in the appropriate forum. This is posted in the essential information forum because it is essential information for students on MVT Classes.

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