Guest Article: The Practical Application of Tactical Gear, Load and Weight Considerations- Part 2, by Max

The intent of this continued post is to tie in the related, practical application concepts of tactical gear, fitness, teamwork, logistics, and tactical loading, in order to present a realistic and logical way to approach the subject. There are a number of related factors at play here. Part 1 covered the mission, logistics, tactical load, physical conditioning, transport, and ballistic plates along with a note urging people to avoid heavy steel plates.

Team

In order to be able to conduct any sort of patrolling/security operation, you are going to need a team. This means numbers of trained personnel. You cannot have that QRF if you do not have the trained bodies to man the operations center and the QRF team, while also running a security rotation on your home base. Thus, it goes without saying that you need trained people, in sufficient numbers, to provide an effective tactical team.

Combat Load

So what do you carry? The point is that you have to balance the logistics of what you carry on your body with what you can effectively maneuver around in. Thus, physical condition and strength must increase, while the load must come down to something that you can tactically maneuver in. You have to be able to be comfortable wearing this gear. Particularly if a collapse goes on for a time and complacency starts to rear its head, you have to have a practical plan that allows you to wear some gear. You also must have it ready and comfortable for long periods of time.

The MVT Gear Concept

Day-To-Day Currently- Concealed Carry Plus

Now, you are probably wearing some sort of concealed carry around your waistline. It is then not practical to rapidly don something over the top of that, such as a Battle Belt, without dismounting your IWB handgun setup. Thus, in semi-normality, when there is a sudden threat, once you can get to your rifle you pair it with either a chest rig or a plate carrier setup. I prefer to have a plate carrier. And for maneuverability, you need to keep the magazine load on that rig reasonable. So that is somewhere between three and six magazines on the chest rig/plate carrier, depending on what you are doing and the intersection of your conditioning and strength levels vs. the weight.

Beyond Normal Concealed Carry- Lite Battle Belt

Once we reach a situation where we have deteriorated beyond normal concealed carry, you want to be able to reasonably feed your rifle with magazines. This is where the concept of the “Lite Battle Belt” comes in. My version is a battle belt that goes on over my pants belt. I do not use suspenders. I never want the belt to become such a large, heavy object that it needs them. It is designed to be comfortable and wearable all day, while providing a decent level of basic logistics support. I can also sit in a chair or drive a vehicle comfortably while wearing it. From the left, it contains:

  • 2 x handgun magazines,
  • 2 x rifle magazines,
  • Rolled dump pouch,
  • IFAK pouch, center of back,
  • Bottle pouch (for small water bottles, for a short-term hydration capability, often used on the ranges),
  • Holster,
  • TQ pouch, and
  • Multitool pouch.

Thus, this belt provides a basic load that you can go walking around in, with your rifle, and have some reloads and logistical support available. I personally wear this on the ranges whenever doing “tactical stuff” and even recently for hikes with my rifle in Idaho while conducting range surveys. It provides the basic load with my plate carrier. Between the Lite Battle Belt and the Plate Carrier, they supply me with my basic load.

Hydration Small Pack

In the photo, this is a small Camelbak. It carries 2-3 liters of water and has a couple of pouches for some miscellaneous gear, some lunch, maybe my night vision gear, and a couple of additional mag pouches on the back. The idea of this is that you would grab it for anything out of sight of your home base. You can use any suitable small pack for this. The trick is to use a small pack that prevents you from packing too much but allows the basics to be carried.Tactical Gear

Above: Basic Fighting Load, at the upper end of a practical maneuverability weight.

  • Battle Belt as described.
  • Camelbak Hydration Pack
  • Crye JPC Plate Carrier.

Lite Patrol Pack

My favorite for this role of Lite Patrol Pack is the Karrimor SF Predator 30. (Note: Get the 30 liter, not the 45.) If your mission requires you to carry more of a load, then this is what you go to. I have no intention of going bigger than this to a full ruck. Reasons for a larger Patrol Pack include weather and duration considerations. I will, however, try to plan the heavy loads out of it.

Crucial Points to Note

Once we get to the point of wearing the Battle Belt, the Plate Carrier, and the Hydration Small Pack, we are reaching the limits of what most people, with some physical conditioning, can effectively tactically maneuver in. You want to try and keep load at this level and not above. Make your own choices with the specifics of what you carry, number of magazines, ballistic plates or not, et cetera.

You have to make the judgment, at the intersection of weight and physical capability, of what you can really do. Thus you have to get out and train in this gear, to really know your limits and capabilities. Ballistic Plates may not always be an option for you. As the collapse draws out in the heat of summer and you are conducting a local security patrol, you will have options. You could go in the Lite Battle Belt only. You could drop the Plate Carrier for a chest rig. All of this is possible, and it must be practical. This is also why it is useful to have a chest rig that will clip on and off a plate carrier, or simply go on over the top of it.

Crucially, if you are carrying too much of  a load, it will make you unwilling to make the right choices when you are out there. This is the intersection of physical fitness and load carried. You will avoid moving to that high ground for overwatch and you will not take a good fire position, or you will only go to a knee for cover when you should have gone prone. You have to balance the weight you carry with what you can operate in effectively without shortcuts.

Summary

  1. Plan operations intelligently.
  2. Utilize logistics to reduce the load that has to be carried on the man.
  3. For operations outside of your immediate home base footprint, utilize transport  for:
    • Ammo resupply,
    • Food, water, and logistics, and
    • Casualty evacuation.
  4. Stop overloading yourself with gear that you “may need”.
  5. Only wear a combat load that you have the physical ability to maneuver in.
  6. Do the PT to reach an intersection where you can carry a sufficient basic load that makes you effective in combat.
  7. Aspire to lightweight ballistic plates to increase your survivability, if you have the conditioning to ensure they do not reduce your survivability by impairing your maneuverability. It is an intersection of fitness, load, and judgment.
  8. If you find yourself with a requirement for larger loads, do everything you can by planning to move that load to transport.
  9. Try to keep the man only ever moving with the basic load that he can handle in combat, and work to bring resupply/casualty evacuation as needed.

 

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).

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4 Responses to Guest Article: The Practical Application of Tactical Gear, Load and Weight Considerations- Part 2, by Max

  1. Jefferson Franklin says:

    Excellent article. I have purchased all of your books over the years. Thank you.

  2. GrayMan says:

    Who did the paint on your rifle and what is the color?

  3. Jim says:

    Similar to what tactical rifleman suggests. Good selection.

    http://www.tacticalrifleman.com/how-to-set-up-your-war-belt/

  4. James Murray says:

    Great write up Max

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