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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

web gear 2 of 2


WEB GEAR 2

When I got out of the military I brought a set of ALICE gear with me.  Shortly thereafter I went hiking in the hills with one of those larger size flexible water canteens I after market purchased.  Within fifteen minutes the damn thing was leaking down my leg.  And the web gear was as uncomfortable as I remembered ( I had both used the gear as it was what I knew, and had no other substitute for ).  I had thought that perhaps without the sidearm and E-tool and gasmask and the gear competing with a backpack for space, with wearing only the ALICE in civilian clothes that the gear would not be as irritating.  But I was wrong.  When I next moved it was an easy decision to toss the web gear.  I’m sure someone trash picked it and thought they had won the lottery.  Poor bastard.  A bit later on when I bought my first Enfield arsenal ( the WWI model, the No. 1’s with the wicked cool bayonets but the dreadfully crappy leaf and post sites I couldn’t use even with the relatively youthful eyes of a thirty year old ) I acquired a Mauser leather bandoleer at some frightfully inexpensive price we all remember from the ‘90’s.  

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Unfortunately I got rid of the bandoleer along with the Enfield arsenal and most everything else I owned such as a paper copy of Unintended Consequences by Ross.  Both are really unaffordable to replace on my budget.  At the time it was a perfectly rational decision, chucking cheap gear so as to transport cheaply across the country-my old quest to find the perfect place to settle down in ( who knew it was rural Nevada-right next to my old home state, a place I had never considered ).  My next web gear was the Garand clip bandoleer in a reproduction from India.  I figured, hey, it ain’t Chinese so it can’t be too bad of quality.  Wrong!  Within less than a dozen uses, the snaps stayed snapped together as the upper flap snap tore out of its cloth.  Complete crap quality.  It is still useable, although I worry about the clips staying in place.  If you have only one clip in place ( the five round 303 clip, not the Garand clip ) it slips out easily.  With two clips in each pouch they stay in place easier although they can be a chore to dig out in a hurry.  You almost need two hands to do so, which makes me question the design of the belt originally. 

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Well, needless to say, I enjoy worrying about the next equipment need not being adequately met.  I worry by my nature.  I suppose it keeps my mind occupied.  Since I solved the knife sharpening issue, I moved back ( after a few years absence ) to the web gear problem.  What is a brother to do when carrying clips of bolt action ammo in ones pants pocket is sub-optimal?  I had the Garand belt, as crappy as it was.  I also had rifle slings ( I bought more than one, being of low price at Sportsman’s Guide for the set ) with the rifle cartridge loops if I decided to go that way with my scoped rifle ( one of my Enfields is sporterized with no bayonet lug.  If I scope one, that will be it.  With the Enfield scoped you can’t use stripper clips but must feed the mag with single rounds ).  I also had several web belts, another too-cheap-to-pass-on purchase although at the time I had few visions on it past a gun belt.  What would be the best web gear?  I ruled out bandoleer, not because it isn’t potentially promising but because the leather was too dear and the cloth was too low quality.

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I ruled out the ALICE, both because of past poor performances and because while not expensive in the extreme they are not a pocket change purchase.  I only found them at Amazon and just for the suspenders, one ammo pouch and one canteen with pouch ( NOT including the belt ) you are looking at about $35.  I don’t need that much web gear because to me carrying too much on your belt is counterproductive to mobility.  I don’t need a pistol, first aid pouch, butt pack or all the rest on my belt.  I need rifle ammo and a bayonet frog, period.  If I went without a patrol backpack ( small, containing not much more than canteen and light rations ) than the ALICE web gear would be better than nothing, but both for cost and simplicity sake I wanted to minimize.  The bandoleer is actually more along the lines of what I want, but I haven’t found a suitable one. 

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So now I’m back to just a regular pants belt ( thick leather, NOT fake leather or especially not fabric belts-the last military issue cloth dress belt I wore had the cross bar inside the buckle break in two [ the part that grips the belt and holds it taunt ]-never again.  I’m sticking with real leather belts from now on ) with a surplus leather ammo pouch,  or one I make myself.  Or, I’ll just buy the ALICE ammo pouch and attach it to one of my web belts.  I like those as they have a flap covering the contents, with a snap.  The new chest mag pouches that leave the top fifth of the magazine exposed for super duper fast Ninja draw seem retarded to me.  But then, not being a fast draw and fast shoot expert, what do I know?  The issue with the web belt and ALICE pouch is that the thing will not sit in place but will move off the hips and slid back and forth.  For this, I was thinking of the police utility belt fasteners, the strip that holds the outside wide belt to the pants belt. 

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So, either way, I have a not too cheap but not punishing expensive piece of gear to hold my ammunition in the field.  I’m leaning towards leather just for the longevity.  You have a leather pouch on your everyday pants belt, as well as your ever present knife, and you just need to grab your backpack and rifle and out you go in a seconds notice.  No web system to grab and hurriedly don somehow with one hand holding the rifle and the other arm trying to keep the backpack in place dangling from one shoulder.  And this also leaves you few options in case you succumb to the temptation of larding up your belt with too many items.  Simplicity is good.

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18 comments:

  1. So what do you want in this leather belt ?
    How wide ? What color ?
    I believe I know someone who'd be glad to fix ya up ha ha.

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    1. :) Believe it or not, some damn fool threw away a Sam Brown belt I now have ( I think it is called a S.B. I have the black police type for regular trousers and a dress belt with shoulder strap-kind of like the old fashion State Police type. I'm going with the black type here ). That plus yours and I'm hoping the leather belt supply is taken care of. I've ordered a bunch of Serbian surplus leather ammo pouches, awaiting them to be back in stock, see the dimensions and I'll go from there.

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  2. I have the bulk of my mid 70's TA50 including an Alice large and like you find most of ineffective for much of the same reasons.

    I have been searching for civilian alternatives, hell I have at least 50 packs on one of my Amazon wish lists, but due to extreme over pricing and wariness based in the across the board lack of quality control, my alice and several cheap pack purchased in haste in the past are the bulk of my tactical survivalist inventory.

    I recently found out a friends father was a rigger in the army way back when and has an industrial grade sewing machine and I'm playing with the idea of designing my own system sized for me and have him make it up. And then do adjustments to it after the fact as I test it and come up with better ideas, or make a whole nuther pack based on the learnings from the old one.

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    1. I'm not sure why it seems like rocket science to design a decent system-more than likely you'll do better than most nation states.

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    2. Just about everything out there now has been hijacked by this molle nonsense - where you hang stuff all over the outside of everything else.

      The last thing I want when I'm traveling at high speed through the forest is stuff that'll get hung up on branches, roots, and such.

      I don't need to carry the kitchen sink and what I do carry must be tight up against my body, like a second skin, and easily accessible.

      I'm gonna make this happen this year.

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    3. When I first heard of the system I just thought, just like the latest camo pattern fad, and ignored it. The Shotgun scabbard looks promising for bicycle rifle carry, however.

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  3. I'm guessing you have already checked out Sportsmans Guide, they have an assortment of surplus leather magazine pouches. Does the SKS horizontal pouch have enough height for your Enfield speed loaders ? The SKS pouch is designed for bullet tips to be down, strip on top.

    Might also want to check out some militaria forums, old school field expedients for this may be found. One tip for Garand users was to pinch one en bloc on the rifle's sling for faster access. To me, sounds like foreign materials could be picked up.

    Good luck with finding your pouches.

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    1. I found the pouches at that CH Kadels place I talked about before with the $2 stainless steel knives. But of course, a big "if", they were out of stock and said it SHOULD be in first of the year. The SKS unit is $20 and I hate to spend that much on cheap cotton.

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  4. Your hair is so shiny!
    You could go to the dark side like I did, age and spine trouble caused me to sell off all .30 cal stuff and replace with plastic poodle shooter. Several 20 rd mags are all I will need and I do have the self control to use aimed fire from a self loading rifle. Due to the above issues I have no plans to run anywhere much less with a lot of gear. I do have a narrow 2 wheel cart if I do happen to be forced out. If the ass falls out quickly we'll be dead shortly due to health problems but I do want the crackheads to pay for their crime of robbing my old cripple butt.

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    1. I pray I won't suffer health issues that compromise me in such a fashion. But, of course, The Fates laugh uproariously at my desires.

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  5. I think you are way off base here. Perhaps alice and molle do not fit YOUR needs, but neither is crap. I am a child of the modern age and military, but I use primarily alice type gear. Molle requires no clips for retainment, and I have some as well.
    Much of the fitment comes down to body type. A more athletic build will allow military gear to be carried easier, but it has NEVER been easy....embrace the suck and train. Carry your gear and get the kinks worn out BEFORE you need it.
    You may be disheartened to know that I also carry an ak74, and wear body armor. Again, personal choices that work for me. As I age that may change.
    I set up my gear in 3 tiers: 1st tier- an alice web gear belt with 2 leg panels and several pouches on the sides containing survival gear(canteen, water filtration, fire making & multi tool, compass, map, 24hr ration, poncho), 2 pws(primary weapons system) magson leg, 6 in a pouch, handgun and mags, bayonet, and a blowout kit(immediate trauma first aid).
    2nd tier- body armor, 3 pws mags and 3 handgun mags on offhand side, 3 pws mags on front, tourniquet.
    3rd tier- ruck containing e tool, food, woobie, clothes (socks!!!), 6 mags, water purifier, canteens.
    Use food and water from tier 3 while marching, because you will drop it at or before the beginning of a fight. You can come back for it if you survive. As much as possible use mags from tier 2 first, again so that you can drop it if need be, to be more mobile and exfiltrate (advance to the rear/retreat), while still being combat effective.
    Few men in firefights ever wished that they had less ammo. You may not like the effectiveness of a semiauto, but it is there. Train for speed and accuracy, and set benchmarks to meet. Even accurized (sniper) rifles are largely semiauto now. The supply train may be longer, but everything is a compromise.
    I understand your demographic, and I understand your position and opinion. I however think that these particular opinions are like armpits

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    1. I would argue that these arguments are in line with 4th gen-warfare, which is the future. Of course my arguments fail to carry any weight if judged through the lens of nation state warfare.

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  6. Well, much of this is predicated on a supply train, or supply points. I have read your blog for about a decade now, during which I went from being in the .mil, stocking a bolt action to being out with an AR, then to the AK. The largest point for me was to stock ammo and have a good rifle.
    The Mosin was trash. I owned 5 or 6 and had stocked 6 spam cans each before I moved on. I got into the AR game late, but got a few thousand rounds for ~$200/1000. Not enough for me, but prices were rising, so I sold and bought into 5.45 when it was still cheap cheap. Wifey was onboard...as a .mil herself, she also loves shooting (If I'd had the money, I would have bought a pallet).
    If I were doing it today, there are no real deals left. Maybe the 7.62x39 on the market, but I don't like its tactical envelope. Let's hope Trump brings back all the Ruskie surplus.
    Stack it cheap*, stack it deep* (*as finances allow, without neglecting other areas...5B)
    As to the loadout portion, that is a set of SF ideology that I picked up out in the interwebs that has done me good. If you do drop something and can come back for it, cover it with a poncho and some detritus, take a mental picture and hoof it. This whole concept iss able to be scaled up and down based on your needs and physical abilities, regardless of which you may need to GTFO. Less weight = speed. But this design allows you to be thoughtful in discarding gear and retain your combat effectiveness to whatever end.

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    1. If you've read me for a decade you are one of my first blog readers I didn't inherit from my e-mail newsletter. Thanks for sticking around so long! I think you are one of the few who wasn't impressed with the Mosin/Nagant. We agree for different reasons. I've always preferred the 7.62x39 over the 223, not least of which are their shooting platform.

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  7. Okay, much like some of the gun articles I don't see much help here.
    A sling for the rifle, a holster for the pistol, a pack and pockets for other essentials. Anything else and you will stick out like a sore thumb during the collapse (everyone will look at you and think - "military, lawman, or survivalist. If survivalist they got good stuff hidden, better capture and torture them to tell us where it all is."-

    Improvised post collapse 'webgear' alternatives won't stand out so much but still might get more notice than you want.

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    1. You have a point on sticking out. My only concern with this approach is, does effective camo hinder your effectiveness? If the ammo is well hidden, can you reach it. I would argue that a leather pouch would probably be considered homemade, anyway. Although I could be wrong there.

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  8. I believe my dearly departed father was on your email list. He turned me onto your website back when I was in the .mil. As a frugal and intelligent family, many of the ideas that you espouse made sense to us. I have diverged in some ways, as my means allow, but the basics of preparing for an ELE/black swan/catastrophic die-off are of an immutably logical nature. Thank you for what you do. The gravy train cannot run forever, and the more people prepared, the less marauders there will be in the golden horde...at least initially.

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    1. Right, less initially and then, well, marauding is just a way of life, second nature. But at least then we'll be back to our tribal selves and have the tools to better deal with it.

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