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gagners
12-17-2008, 11:43
Here's my dilemma:

Prepping for A-stan and am looking for items to buy/replace. For example, I recently bought Tactical Tailor cases for our PVS-14s, because the issue bag doesn't mount (well) to kit nor does it protect the NVG. Also, I'm buying smoke grenade pouches, b/c the army doesn't issue any. Looking at a better carrier for our IFAK, as the issue one is huge and bulky and gets relegated out of the way (where I'd like to be able to reach it with both hands).

So my question is: If you were going to outfit your team/company/troop whatever, what would you buy and why? It kinda has to fall into one of these reasons:

-It's necessary and the Army doesn't issue it
-It's really, really good to have and the army doesn't issue it
-The army issues a vastly substandard version (like the NVG bags)
etc

I cannot use the "It's wicker cooler than the Army version" or "Dude, Multicam kicks ACU's ass" reasons - I'm using govt funds, after all.

I appreciate any and all suggestions.



I have thoroughly scoured the Equipment threads and haven't found a good list.

gits
12-18-2008, 02:54
I can't answer your question on what to buy, but from what I've learned is that your mission will dictate kit on what you use and buy. If you gave us an idea, without violating OPSEC, I'm sure it will give the others a better idea on what to suggest.

gagners
12-18-2008, 06:45
Let's say that it won't be guarding the wire. I can be more specific via PM => govt email.

Equipment upgrades, equipment that the army doesn't outright issue, etc. Anything?

LoneStar
12-22-2008, 18:08
I just got back from there a few months ago, and while I wasn't in any sort of SF unit, just a traditional maneuver role, there were a few things we ended up changing on our kits.
Like gits said, the mission really dictated how we set up our kits, we would even change our kits around for individual missions if it was needed.
The few major problems we had with the issued gear was:
1. Vest/Rack (or whatever term you'd like to use)
2. Smoke Grenades
3. 203 rounds
4. IFAC
5. Gloves
The rack issue really was just an individual thing, each person just decided to purchase one themselves, rather than worry about the unit trying to find a "one rack fits all" type deal.
For smoke, it may sound stupid, but the two magazine pouches that Army issues will actually fit an HC Smoke grenade perfectly, we used that quite a bit without any problems and it saved our unit some money.
The 203 rounds, the Army (or perhaps just our unit) doesn't issue any sort of 203 pouches that will hold the basic load for a standard 203 gunner. I believe it was tactical tailor that makes some that worked really well, for anything from HE to Star Parachutes (basically the size differences). I think they came in a 1, 3, or 4 round pouch.
As for the IFAC, this again fell on individuals who just decided to find something better than the issued IFAC, though our unit still dictated that we wear whatever replacement in the same location as the IFAC and with all the same identifying marks of the original IFAC.
Last, the gloves, the issued ones SUCK. Maybe they issued y'all something different, but the "aviator" gloves we had were shit. There are tons of companies that offer some very afordable gloves that are far better in functionality and quality. The Oakley's that everyone seems to like are nice, but I think they're a little slippery on the pistol grip of any M4 (or I'm assuming M16) as well. The best gloves that I used were the BlackHawk Hell Storm S.O.L.A.G., or something like that it's been a while since I ordered them, they were magnitudes better than the issued gloves.

Those were the main 'unit wide' issues we had from what I recall. But like we said, your mission is really going to dictate what you wear, and how you wear it. Above all though, it will really come down to personal preference. In my mind, a soldier should be able to set up his rig in a way that is comfortable to him, and allows him maximum effectiveness, as long as his rig isn't a safety concern or just down right retarded (which I have seen). I don't think we had any two people with the exact same setup, which makes purchasing with govt funds difficult. But best of luck to y'all, I hope this helped in some form or fashion.

kawika
12-22-2008, 21:53
Honestly it depends on what your doing. If it's truck stuff it doesn't really matter as you can just load up your kit to the high heavens. If your going to be doing alot of dismount stuff i'd try to make your kit as streamlined as possible. 99.99% of the time people have like 1.6 bajillion accessorie/grenade/smokegrenade/beef jerky pouches that are worthless and do you really need to have it strapped to your body armor weighing you down?

As far as purchases go garmin wrist gps's are pretty invaluable if your not next to a truck 24/7. Your own set of sights is nice to. I prefer the army EOTECH with my own flip to the side magnifier. And GOOOD magazines for the m9 are necessary. And don't use regular magazines, they nosedive and need to be changed out at least once a month. Buy your own H&K or P-Mags.

Thats a good place to start. Things you actually will use everyday. Dont worry to much about a smoke grenade pouch youll access twice during the deployment.

LawOfTheSea
01-17-2009, 15:04
Your mission drives your gear. I know several individuals who have different kit setups designed for specific missions. That being said, here are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Research. There are several individuals with extensive knowledge who have been / are in the fight who can, will, or already have weighed in on tactical subjects and based their kit around their experience. Take advantage of this. PMAGís are good. HK magazines I would do without. Paul Howe, Kyle Lamb, Mike Panonne and Pat Rogers write articles concerning equipment and gear selection.

2. Muscle memory is a hurdle to overcome. Switching your secondary weapon system from a drop-leg to a chest mount or MOLLE belt necessitates that you practice with it, drawing/presenting it, dry fire with it, extensively. Having your magazines all mounted to your left side and then distributing them in a different configuration will have your hands going to the previous set-up in a high stress situation. You wonít rise to the occasion, you will default to your level of training. 2,000-3,000 repetitions is the number thrown around for a basic task for muscle memory. Your mileage may vary, so find out for yourself. Your life may depend on it. Run your gear through drills to validate it. This must be done in training before employing it in combat.

3. Evaluate the need. Look, we donít have a lot of disposable income and it may very well be better to put that money earmarked for private purchases into a savings account / Roth IRA / et cetera in lieu of becoming the newest member of the Pouch Of The Month Club. Is the purchase necessary? You may even develop criteria for this to determine whether it is or is not.


4. Donít neglect upgrades to your rifle and helmet. Youíll be carrying one and have the other strapped to your head for extended periods of time. A padded 2-point tactical adjustable sling is a necessity for a rifle, and some of the products offered by Ops-Core (Enhanced ACH H-Harness) may make life a lot more comfortable. Also, rifle internals are more important than externals. All of the tactical lights, PEQ / DBALís, and VFGís in the world canít help you if your primary goes down. MAINTAIN IT. This is not the same as cleaning it. Itís a crime the Army does not overhaul their rifles yearly or in preparation for a deployment. I maintain my rifle personally. By this I mean I replace extractor, extractor pins, gas rings yearly or prior to a deployment, and I also carry a spare set of those and a mil-spec bolt around in a TAC PAC. If my primary goes down, I want every means at my disposal to bring it back up and to stay in the fight. If my rifle is seriously ate up, I will be having a talk with the armorer to identify the issue, see what his solution is, and then talk it back with him to gain a better understanding of my weapon system.

5. You need Knowledge Dominance in your arena. This tacks on to #4. It is pointless to carry all of this new gear and additions to your kit if you canít explain your weapon system or how body armor works or magazine malfunction cause and effects, immediate action and remedial action, and properly demonstrate it. You are going to be looked at through a different lens by people when they see non-standard gear on you. When people talk to you, they should see you as the go-to guy for questions to be answered or at least to be pointed in the right direction for them to do their own research. Donít be ďThat GuyĒ with all the Gucci Gear who doesnít understand MOA with his brand new high speed sight.

6. Develop the Mean Gene. A controlled, focused aggression and a combat mindset is going to help you more than a triple mag shingle. Donít neglect everything else because buying a piece of gear takes seconds whereas you have to work much harder for the other parts of the kanji.


In regards to your specific inquiry, TT and Blade-Tech make doog NVG containers. A suitable IFAK replacement would be Paraclete's Individual Aid Pouch. I like the fact that it is larger, features secure fasteners to place medical supplies in, and can be compartmentalized for ease of identification and use.

For the magazines - go with the PMAG's. They're hard to run by now - but get in contact with magpul and they will go out of their way to help Soldiers out. I don't like the HK mags due to their weight, user manual that advises against dropping the magazine when it was ostensibly developed for the military, and HK's reputation of not standing by their products or offering replacement parts, although Spartan Tactical's Jim Smith stated he carried them the last few years of his military career with no issues.

Your mileage may vary.

Hope this helps.

gagners
01-18-2009, 12:56
Thanks for the replies. I should have been more specific: I'm buying for a BN, not for me. And I'm not interested in being "Gucci-guy". Anyone else?

Law - how's KALSU treating you? I was there a couple years ago as a PL and it f*cking blew. Didn't know if times had changed. ;) Thanks for the thought you put into your post.

Razor
01-18-2009, 14:16
Very good points, LOTS. Just for accuracy's sake, though, we work on developing neural pathways rather than "muscle memory", since muscle fibers and bundles don't have a memory, per se.

LawOfTheSea
01-18-2009, 15:20
gagners,

Roger, Sir. It speaks well of you that you are actively seeking good kit for an entire BN.

Kalsu has shaped up pretty nice - CHU's are good, the DFAC is ridiculous, and I have some nice roads on the FOB to ruck. All in all, only bad part about is my job, but I'm treating it as a learning experience, and it gives me more than enough time to PT and finish my degree.

An alternative for the IFAK where it is accessable from both hands would be a fanny pack-esque rig. I know Emdom makes a waistpack that I had previously used jury-rigged to a MOLLE belt but has its own waist strap as well. A medic I knew used one in case he had a wound to one of his arms and needed to access the IFAK support side, which was the reason I adopted it.

Razor,

Thanks for the clarification. Is there anything you would recommend for reading up on the subject?

D9
01-18-2009, 17:07
My 0.02:

For smoke and similar items, I have frankly always used a GP pouch: one of those zippered blow-out kit sized pouches.

I use very good, comfortable magazine pouches that I can easily access without looking down at my kit, and I do not skimp on either magazines or pouches.

As for the rest: I use two Nalgene carriers, and GP pouches.

A GP pouch will fit 2 or more smoke grenades. And with a little electrical tape securing the grenades to the straps intended to hold Kerlix, they don't tumble out randomly when you unzip the pouch. If I've got to throw a smoke, I probably at least have time to look down at my LCE and work the zipper.

The good thing about those GP pouches is that they are "GP" pouches. 48 hrs later when the next FRAGO comes down, you've got to head back out, and you're carrying 2 smoke instead of 4, you will be able to grab a little more rack instead of re-tooling your LCE. You can put anything in those GP pouches.

IMHO, unless you are in a unit with a very specific and limited set of missions, keep your kit as flexible as your mission set.

That means pack the universal: ammo, water, blowout kit --- and make the rest GP carrying pouches. Adapt those to your purposes.

It's way easier and more practical downrange than retooling your kit every time your load-out changes.

Razor
01-18-2009, 23:38
Razor,

Thanks for the clarification. Is there anything you would recommend for reading up on the subject?


LOTS, there are a number of very bright and capable docs here that would do the subject far more justice than I could ever hope to provide.

Electron
01-19-2009, 15:15
If you have specific things in mind as far as pouches, carriers and things like that, there are several outfitters in town that can custom make things for you to your specifications. It all depends on how the teams will employ their gear.

Blitzzz (RIP)
01-19-2009, 18:33
that would be me. I last carried LBE and am not familiar withthe new systems,but we never wasted space on our LBE with smoke grenades. Smoke would be in the top of the ruck on carried on the side of the ruck. nothing but Frags and or WPs on the LBE. you can't fight with a smoke. Old style. Blitzzz

If I had to guess from what I'm reading I guess the GP pouches.

gagners
01-20-2009, 09:10
My 0.02:

The good thing about those GP pouches is that they are "GP" pouches. 48 hrs later when the next FRAGO comes down, you've got to head back out, and you're carrying 2 smoke instead of 4, you will be able to grab a little more rack instead of re-tooling your LCE. You can put anything in those GP pouches.

IMHO, unless you are in a unit with a very specific and limited set of missions, keep your kit as flexible as your mission set.


Ahhh, makes alot of sense. Thanks.

gagners
01-20-2009, 09:14
Kalsu has shaped up pretty nice - CHU's are good, the DFAC is ridiculous, and I have some nice roads on the FOB to ruck. All in all, only bad part about is my job, but I'm treating it as a learning experience, and it gives me more than enough time to PT and finish my degree.


Well, THAT's a big change. Kalsu's roads were all dirt (read: dust, especially out behind the DFAC) that made breathing next to impossible during the hot months. And the CHUs were tents ringed in sand-bags and the entire place was a mortar/rocket magnet. Part of chow hall was actually underground for that reason.

Stay safe and we'll talk about the FOB and other assorted lies when you get back! :lifter