View Full Version : "Go Gear" for guys that want to set something up to train with (armor related)

08-06-22, 21:45
I'll wait for the original idea man for this thread to post, and we can go from there.....

08-06-22, 22:43
Thanks, Stick, I'll go first.

Application: As I've alluded to before, I'm an aspiring History prof once I get back to work on my degree, though with the politics of academia today I'm now thinking I might be a better fit for exhibit development in the museum sector. Either way, I'm a big fan of what we call "constructive learning," basically hands-on learning by doing like when Grandpa would occasionally try to show me the ropes of his backyard-shed machine shop as a kid.

So, one of my lesson-plan ideas for WWII PTO is to have the student strap into the gear a Devil Dog would have worn on Guadalcanal and fire a representative course with a 1903 Springfield, then re-kit with the gear that Marine's grandson would have used in OEF/OIF and fire a similar "typical patrol" course with a semi-only M4 and finish with a compare-contrast paper about the two experiences. First problem is figuring out which PC's work for the "Typical 0311" with the current USMC Chest Rig for mags etc. I know Eagle's Maritime CIRAS was favored by Force Recon, and the BAE RBAV was also used, somewhere between the CIRAS and the IOTV on the scale of "protection vs mobility." Rub is, I'm also a believer in "be your own guinea pig," which means before I even THINK about asking anyone else to go through such a course of fire I have to kit up in the same gear, lace up my boots and prove the concept on the range myself.

My question is, if you guys were building a Teaching Kit around this concept (nothing special like Recon or MARSOC, just a basic line rifleman, whether Issue or unauthorized Private Purchase) and on a "squeeze every quarter til the eagle craps nickels" budget, which of the various issue PC's from 2001 to now would you build it around?

This could be an interesting form of "applied study" in other areas too, I know some hobby parachutists who like to jump with the full gear of WWII aircrewmen or paratroopers as their own way to similarly pay tribute to those who came before and experience their "day at the office" as close as possible firsthand.

08-07-22, 01:00
Sinister, I had seen things about guys using historical gear and current MILPERS using their duty gear at Camp Perry and other matches on CMP Forum... the problem is finding info and commercial sources on current gear for us not "plugged in" inside the system between current/former service or contractor. (Main reason I picked USMC for a first "Then vs Now" is the Corps was more helpful in supplying info about training/qualification course-of-fire than Big Green was.)

If the Springfield kicks your ass I can only imagine the beating it would give me at 5-6, 190lb and no pecs--but this is a good thing, gives us a better appreciation of how tough our forebears had to be.

08-07-22, 17:44
If your primary thing is having them do a course of fire with gear, there are a few things I would do.

1. Safety check/ background check all persons. Even if that is as simple as hitting up Google. The last thing you want is sex offenders or career burglars, or meth cooks getting any knowledge of you having weapons and equipment. You also don't want some Officer coming out there after a guy is arrested with a stolen weapon and him dropping your name, or spinning the info you provide as a hate group or militia to try and get off. The ATF is another concern, finding out that you were providing a firearm to a felon is not a seat you want to be sitting in. Do your due diligence, then do it again.

2. I think the easiest thing for you to do is getting a old school LBE, load it up with two full canteens, 6 loaded mags, and an old school Alice pack with 40lbs to throw in it. Assuming you have a group of 3 people, you have them take turns putting it on, and walking around for ten minutes. During that ten minutes, tell them you will yell out stop, at which point they take a knee, or yell out prone, and which time they go prone. You aren't looking for injuries, so there is no speed involved. Just trying to get them a tiny little sliver of what its like to walk patrol from the Vietnam through Desert Storm era. That encompasses a pretty large block of time frame for the military equipment period. If you can get a helmet cheap, have them wear that as well. It can be Kevlar or steel and it will serve the purpose. You can do this without a weapon, then when they are all done sit down and talk to them about what they thought. Probe them with questions that aren't yes or no. Since the gear won't be properly sized for them, they will have a valid complaint, but FNGs rarely have their gear dialed in tight right away. The weight is an issue, the chafing is an issue, the restricted movement is an issue, and it goes on and on. Make sure they are wearing boots with ankle support, no sneakers.

3. Lots of places have the older gear, some of it if new will be made overseas, but much of everything is. Milsurplus shops have lots of this stuff. Online vendors do as well. Amazon has much of it, and ebay can be a wealth of equipment. If I were looking for this era gear, ebay would be my first stop, and I would low ball everything with my offers. Some will take the lower offers, and some will not. Watch for the shipping costs. Places near Military bases will have lots of stuff, outside Ft Lewis (JBLM) they always had a mamasan shop or three who bought and sold gear.

4. Even after a talking and walking course like this, have a safety plan for someone getting injured. Have some med stuff on hand. Have everyone know what to do if a stray hunters bullet hits someone (always a good excuse to get people serious). Make sure guys check their concealed pieces into their vehicles. No weapons makes it harder for accidents to happen. Emphasis it is a non firing event.

5. Lastly, check that everyone is ok, and there are no injuries. Ask if anyone has any questions about what you guys talked about. This gives you a better legal defense if someone does something stupid and drags you into it.

6. Personally, I would have a "rough lesson plan". A lesson plan keeps you on track, and you can refer to it later on to add or subtract portions as needed. However, keep your lesson plan that you went over for that group (don't make changes on that page). If you are ever asked what you did or didn't teach, being able to pull out a lesson plan makes you look professional.

Questions on this part before we get to any shooting portions?

Side note- If you are asking guys to write something up, let them know HOW TO WRITE IT. Give them an example. The field of people who are involved will probably vary widely. A guy who can't write well, or at all if going to be feeling like the big poo poo. Make yourself available after your class to aid anyone who has addition questions or things they want clarified but didn't want to ask.

08-07-22, 18:25
You could go with an Interceptor. I believe that's what all branches were using in the early GWOT. For the old stuff, you might check and see if there are any reenactors in your area. Instead of an M4, though, seems more historically accurate to use an M1 carbine for that part.

08-07-22, 19:01
Dang -- I deleted a double-tap and both posts went away.

This youngster won the 2017 Talladega D-Day Match:


I agree, if you want to replicate a GWOT Soldier or Marine's load-out with stuff you can find at a surplus store it would be desert BDUs, Interceptor body armor, Kevlar or MICH helmet, and an M16A2 or A4. IOTVs, plate carriers, and M4s were current toward the end, and that was after nearly 15 to 20 years of combat.

Typical early-mid GWOT infantrymen:


08-08-22, 00:18
Excellent points, Stick--as a bonus, mis-fit gear would amp up the realism because of the "you can't always get the right gear in the field and sometimes have to make what you CAN get work and Deal With It" factor. I don't have a lot of details fleshed out beyond a "top-level concept" here, but you've given me a lot of things that I need to fill in before turning that concept into a framework that I can then build a more concrete "lesson plan" around. To use a Rumsfeld-ism, you've moved me from "unconscious incompetence" to "semi-conscious incompetence." Not only do I not know how much I need to know to achieve my goal, I don't even know what questions to ask to start out of the driveway on this roadtrip. (Another part of my insistence on being my own guinea-pig, that way I have a sample--and for students who just aren't paper-writers, and not all of us are, maybe allow oral dissertation as an option since I'm a fan of allowing choice of method to accomplish goals wherever possible, "Task" is less important than "Purpose."*)
*Inspired by a junior-high science teacher--when we were covering optics his lesson plan called for dissecting cow eyes but since I have an exceedingly weak stomach where even supermarket liver makes me nauseous, he let me build a plastic model kit of the human eye instead, demonstrating the same knowledge of how things work and accomplishing the purpose via an alternate task that didn't require a bucket for me to puke in every two minutes.

Definitely a good idea to have first-aid gear there, I need to start looking for ingredients-lists on an RO/Instructor FAK--ideally, I'd want someone with medical training out there supervising and assisting too. BGC on anyone opting for this component of the class would be a must--assuming both that I could find a connection to run checks for me, and I can find a college that will let me do Mil History this way, which I doubt will ever be in WA. (Specialization is usually past the 2-year level whose institutional culture I prefer, while a 4-year institution that would have the faculty and catalog space for a course solely on WWII would also be culturally hostile--hence part of my thinking of trying to pivot to the museum sector and see if I could adapt the concept for someplace like the Nimitz Museum or a service-sponsored similar institution.) Again ideally, I'd want to see if I could get the local VFW, AMVETS or American Legion looped in to help with coaching and vetting.

Okie, the M1 Carbine would be a good counterpoint to the M4 as a direct technical comparison, but then I'd need to shift the "Then" half of "Then vs Now" to one of the later Pacific Islands... an M16A4 is to-do, and eventually I want to do a build modeled after the very last USMC A4 to leave combat, but the M4 was finished first because it had the biggest head-start thanks to a fallen friend who'd intended to replicate his Over There work guns and I found myself taking over the project in his memory.

08-16-22, 21:25
Well, here we go... some "battlefield improv-inspired" MacGyvering here, and of course the weak link in the gear is the potato stuffed inside it.

Carrier: Eagle Industries Maritime CIRAS - a surplus wholesaler I've dealt with before. Missing plates/soft armor and crotch protector, all I have here is the basic carrier itself. Question: What all other components do I need to bring it back up to issue config?
TAP: Ibiley USMC Chest Rig, MacGyvered to CIRAS with its own suspenders. I have the plate-carrier adapters somewhere around here but no idea where, so this seemed like the kind of "Improvise Adapt Overcome" a grunt might do in the field. Right shoulder strap is exposed to allow MOLLE access for TQ carrier. Equipment/canteen pouch weak-side (my right), 2 frag pouches (one with Streamlight Sidewinder light), IFAK strongside.
Belt: USMC MOLLE Padded Warbelt, some MacGyvering using top-row MOLLE to secure suspenders. OKC-3S sheath not attached since bayonet stays with my rifle. Dump pouch on weakside has one MOLLE strap MacGyvered to hold it on--this is deliberate for testing people. "There is one component in this kit that fails inspection and should be returned to the quartermaster for replacement. What is it and what is the defect?"

Damn heavy, and not even any armor in it yet--really need to find more info about how the CIRAS emergency release separates so I can make sure it still works with all the crap hung off it.


Yes, I know I need a haircut--I'm stating to feel like I'm turning into a hippie and my barber's out on vacation.

08-17-22, 00:55
Don't forget, either way (WWII or GWOT) you should be wearing "The Dome of Obedience."

WWII would have at least a single canteen on the cartridge belt. GWOT either canteen or Camelbak. At the least a plastic water bottle in a trouser pocket, or Nalgene on your gear.

Modern is going to need a SAPI plate front-and-back, with appropriate soft armor.

08-17-22, 12:05
Camelbak is on the rear already, but thanks for the reminder. Brain bucket is awaiting further research and cost intersecting with cashflow--I'm only THIS far because a few folks who like the idea have cut me breaks for an "educator discount." (Admittedly it doesn't help that there's 190lb of never-shed baby fat, overdeep ribcage and a few extra feet of intestine stuffed inside that thing and it's a Medium... the CIRAS is NOT something you just quickly throw on, I actually had to ask Her Bedridden-ness to help with adjusting some straps to great rolling-of-eyeballs.)

One other thing I should note re curriculum, ANY "hands-on-gear" exercise session would be only one to three students per session with myself and at least one other person, preferably a BTDT with combat experience, supervising and coaching.

08-19-22, 15:44
Just to add an update, Marjie H. at Eagle was kind enough to hook me up with the instructions on the CIRAS--sadly they're a PDF email attachment so I don't know how to upload them.

Lesson here is don't be afraid to reach out to OEM's for help no matter how big they may be or how small you are--all you need is for one person to see your email who sympathizes with your situation and they can seemingly move mountains you would have never expected.

08-21-22, 18:05
Bump with a dumb question... since this application doesn't require ballistic protection, any suggestions on ballasting a plastic faux-MICH (I'm looking at Rothco as a "representational") up to proper weight? I'm assuming color doesn't matter once I have the helmet cover slapped on, and maybe I can hide some weights between cover and helmet and/or between helmet and liner.

08-23-22, 09:58
Wear a steel helmet for both uniforms. Weight difference isn't much. You don't have to spend a lot.

You're going for Dome of Obedience ass-pain.