We’ve covered the first two components of the MVT Lite Fight Concept —Lite Hydration Pack (LHP) and plate carrier. However, I haven’t wrapped up my comments relating to plates. Here are my notes:
- There is a persistent tomfoolery about steel plates. These are heavy, suffer badly from spalling (ever shot a steel target; you are wearing one). You cannot navigate while wearing them (magnetic compass). In the winter it would be like wearing a refrigerator.
- Ceramic/hybrid plates are criticized for needing a little more care, like not throwing them off the back of your truck lest they crack (which in itself does not make them ineffective) and for not being as “multi-hit” as steel. I don’t throw my optics or night vision or radios off the back of my truck either.
- Ceramic/hybrid plates are in fact multi-hit and due to the weight savings are a considerable investment in protection and mobility versus steel.
- The idea that steel will take so many more hits is a silliness rooted in lack of combat experience. The idea of ballistic plates is to cover vital organs in the event that you are unfortunate enough to take hits. There are plenty of places outside of the plate coverage where you can also get hit and it will wound or kill you. Are you expecting to survive multiple contacts with rounds pinging off your steel plates? If you are lucky enough to defeat a round due to wearing ceramic plates, it does not make the plate suddenly ineffective, and you should consider yourself lucky to walk away. In terms of multiple hits on and near to the plate, if the plate allows you to survive wounded but not killed, consider yourself lucky.
- You will make your own decisions regarding ballistic plates. Given the whole thrust of this MVT Lite Fight concept, I do not recommend steel plates as an option.
- One of the reasons to keep a PC with mags on the front is part of the gear concept on the ramp up to full combat conditions – in terms of home invasion or similar scenario you can quickly put on the PC, which will give you ammo to feed your rifle and protection in a CQB environment. This also applies to emergency “stand-to” in the combat environment, where you roll out of bed, don the PC, and grab your rifle to defend the home base. Too much gear and strappage to deal with will slow you down.
The Ergonomics of Gear Wear:
- The Lite Battle Belt should be rigged so that it is minimalist and does not prevent you from sitting in a chair or vehicle. Large “ALICE” style LBE rigs are a mistake and will impede you, both for vehicle and CQB environments.
- Having mags chest mounted on a chest rig or PC such that you only have one layer of mags and the whole piece of gear is not too deep, is preferable for a couple of reasons:
- This is in fact easier to reload from the prone, contrary to another myth out there, than it is with hip mounted magazines.
- A single layer of magazines on your front will not impede crawling.
- Magazines/gear chest mounted lays within the triangle of your standing shooting position, within your arms carrying your rifle. This means that when in the standing position, they effectively take up no space (only dead space). A large LBE-type battle belt with large admin pouches will hinder you in a vehicle, home base, or CQB environment.
- The MVT Lite Fight Concept is optimized for moving in and out of vehicles and through doorways in a home base or CQB environment. On the CQBC classes students soon learn the disadvantages of large belt mounted pouches, even “two deep” magazine pouches on the hips, when they get hung up in doorways.
- Stay away from huge under-armpit pouches on the PC or Chest Rig.
- Do not attach your Lite Hydration Pack to the back of your PC, or alternatively have pouches on the back of your PC. You cannot access it. You need to be able to take the pack off to get at items within it. For example, you cannot fill your hydration bladder without taking off your PC or chest rig, if it is attached directly to it. You lose flexibility.
- You should only have the shoulder straps of the PC/chest rig, plus the straps of the hydration pack, to deal with. This is one reason to attach the chest rig directly to the PC, or to simply have mag pouches on the PC as in the photos here. Adding Battle Belt suspenders, plus a PC and a chest rig mounted by its own straps, plus the pack straps soon gets you into strap hell. If you are not wearing the PC, then you should only have the chest rig straps plus the pack straps to deal with: a maximum of two sets of straps over the shoulders.
- Wearing a ballistic helmet definitely puts your profile into that of a light infantryman. There are, however, plenty of good reasons to be wearing a helmet in a kinetic environment where you are conducting combat operations. No one wants to wear it, of course, because it is uncomfortable. But then again we are mostly playing right now, wearing our ball caps and boonie hats. I personally know someone who took a round to the side of the helmet, which stopped it, and he survived, although with a TBI, which he recovered from.
- I know most of the readership here does not plan on wearing a ballistic helmet. However, many plan to use a helmet for the mounting of a PVS14 for night vision capability. Instead use a Crye Nightcap, which will not give you the storage and extra weight problems of carrying the helmet strapped to your LHP during the day.
- If you do not like the Nightcap and want something more solid to mount night vision to, then consider a bump helmet, which is lighter but has no ballistic protection capability.
- If you carry a ballistic helmet for night vision, and consider it worthwhile protection, then wear it during the day also!
(4) Lite Battle Belt (LBB)
- This has been covered in detail in the linked previous posts including discussion of how it fits within the overall picture both currently in “normal times” and once you reach combat conditions and tactical operations.
- The idea of the LBB is to give you a comfortable basic load for handgun and rifle that compliments the rest of your gear and also allows you a day-to-day piece of equipment that carries that basic load. You have the handgun on you and the rifle close at hand.
- If you are using radios, and depending on your response to the rest of this article and what you plan on taking from this MVT Gear Concept, you may want to mount the radio on the LBB and run an earpiece and mike up from it. If you are unsure of what options you will wear at any one time with the PC/Chest Rig, then at least this way you have the radio on you at all times. Bottom line, consider where you will mount your radio depending on what gear you decide to put on.
- I have a bottle pouch on the LBB for the same reason, for convenience on the ranges during class. This way I have something to hydrate from even when just wearing the LBB.
- The IFAK is also on the belt. This is because I plan on wearing the LBB at all times as the basic item of gear. This means I have the IFAK on me.
- The folded dump pouch can easily be replaced with a radio pouch, if you wish to run comms gear on the LBB. Given that during combat reloads magazines will mostly get dumped on the ground, I am not concerned about the dump pouch. It can go if needed. Empty mags can also go in cargo pockets if there is time.
- Pictured is a rigged-out Colt 6920 OEM2. I cannot recommend it enough.
- Ensure you choose a reliable brand of carbine for combat operations. There is discussion and recommendation on this on the MVT Forum.
- Ensure that if you have a low profile gas block, it is pinned. Stay away from the “frankenguns”. Also, be aware that many popular manufacturers make rifles that are great for light use, plinking, 3-gunning, etc. but use a set screw with loctite rather than pinning the gas block. When run hard under combat conditions in training or operations, this will fail, and you will find yourself with a bolt gun.
- The pictured OEM2 is optimized for combat operations with:
- Trijicon MRO Patrol (with killflash, I took the caps off). Consider a magnified or variable optic, if you are primarily operating in wide open spaces. This sight is ideal for CQB and normal engagement ranges, which are typically within 100 yards.
- OTAL aiming laser. This version has an IR laser only, no visible laser, and is thus lighter and ideal for combining with a PVS-14 for night operations. A shout out to Robert at JRH Enterprises, where I get all my night vision, lasers and optics, and he is a multiple-alumni of MVT Training classes.
- InForce IR/white light.
- 5.56 is ideal as a combat carbine. The AR is the perfect ergonomic rifle. The only time I would recommend a heavier caliber would be to add .308/7.62 to a patrol in the form of a designated marksman buddy pair. The intent here is to make up for the absence of volume of fire from belt-fed weapons with precision from a .308 rifle. An AR10, rather than a bolt gun, would be ideal, because it is still capable of combat rates of fire.
- See the video below for remarks on the tactical employment of a designated marksman buddy pair within a squad attack:
For the Full Story
Remember to check out the two previous posts to be read in conjunction with this post for the full story:
- The Practical Application of Tactical Gear, Load, and Weight Considerations
- Gear System: Philosophy, Set Up, Use, Fitness, and Mindset.
There is active discussion on a number of these gear and weapon matters on the MVT Forum. There is a $25 per annum joining fee. This keeps the trolls away and the discussion civilized and rational.
About The Author
Max Alexander is a tactical trainer and author. He is a lifelong professional soldier with extensive military experience. He served with British Special Operations Forces, both enlisted and as a commissioned officer; a graduate of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. Max served on numerous operational deployments, and also served as a recruit instructor. Max spent five years serving as a paramilitary contractor in both Iraq and Afghanistan. This included working on contract for the U.S. Government in Iraq, a year of which was based out of Fallujah, and also two years working for the British Government in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. He operates Max Velocity Tactical (MVT).