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Gear: Old School vs New School


wquon

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Money, weight, efficiency, and modularity – this is generally what people compare when looking at gear. Another is standardization when working in groups, but I won’t be diving deep into that one on this chat.

 

Money – Everyone has heard it by now “Buy once, cry once” and, in large, its true. If you invest in good gear, you have less to worry about in the long run, but those with disposable income may feel the urge to buy their way past a learning curve… which isn’t a thing. So be careful not to be chasing the latest fad in hopes of being better. Gear, like anything, can be a money pit.

 

There is good value gear out there. It’s still more than most want to pay, but if you’re betting your life on it you may want to ponder about how much of a cheapskate you want to be.

 

There’s a plethora of crap gear out there, and I’ve seen many stores promote junk. Your local gun shop is essentially the barber shop of the gun world. Everyone “knows what they’re talking about”, especially when the bottom line is involved. Are they going to feed your family if the crap they recommended fails you? I don’t think so.

 

 

 

Efficiency – This is where the old vs new starts to weigh in. Surplus gear…

Survivalist for decades have bought and swear by army surplus gear. Decades ago this was good, and one could make the case to have some on hand for extra people that need something, but that’s where it ends.

We have been at war for over a decade and have made great strides in observation of gear usage. For a time it seamed every other door kicker that got out of the military started a business to solve a problem with gear they had in the field. For those that had to work with what they were issued you would often see zip ties, duct tape, and ranger bands to make the gear work better for them, some would even sew their own personal modifications. Military buy stuff from the lowest bidder that can be distributed to the wide range of “jobs” they have, so the gear usually doesn’t do a specific task well. It tends to be overly bulky as well.

Old school gear (Vietnam to early middle east) is usually cheap, but it is lacking in the efficiency and ergonomic department. If your an older vet and that’s what you’re proficient with, go for it. If you are new, I would advise not going this route and selecting mission specific gear. If you don’t know what that means, or you need to be flexible, start with modular gear.

 

 

 

 

Modularity – SF change their load out to be mission specific, we need to have the same concept. If you have the funds, get mission specific gear. If you do not, get modular gear.

 

Examples of “missions” (short and long) are the following;

 

Urban (pending on population density and buildings)

Suburban (communities usually on the outskirts of a city with little vegetation)

Rural

Wilderness

 

The last two can vary wildly depending on terrain, demographics, and climate. Another thing to consider is types of expected threats, but I’m not going into that here.

 

Work routes can add more complexity to the above. If you don’t know what you don’t know, modularity is your friend that’s why I recommend AR500’s Veritas, Spiritus Systems micro chest rig, and Haily Strategic’s flatpack. The chest rig alone is capable of meeting most mission demands, the flatpack adds longevity, and the veritas for protection.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p18O90KcnJc&t=302s

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NVgiBNPME0&t=509s

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOlu9mbCrxY&t=6s

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PcY1HZXb1DA&t=316s

 

 

These will allow you to play around and not spend a lot of money on gear that was for the ‘wrong’ mission. You could even take the route of buying clones/knock-offs to train with and invest in the name brands later on (because usually their quality is better), just check ebay (Tip: check if they have products in stock state side as opposed to shipping from out of country. If so, it will get to you much faster. Sometime it says this directly on the picture).

 

 

 

Weight – gear on the civilian side usually weighs less because there has been a minimalist movement. Soldiers were tired of carrying all that weight, so they made products that were usually lighter (skeletonized products started showing up). Gear that is highly modular usually weighs more than gear that is mission specific because extra fabric is used for attachment systems, and it adds up.

 

Shoulders are typically where all the weight is carried. Battle belts can shift some weight to the hips.

I recommend this style of belt, a few brands make them; https://www.bluealphabelts.com/product-category/range-and-duty-belts/

There are a few that still carry stuff on a drop leg, but this is very mission dependent and I wouldn’t in most cases.

 

 

If you’re looking for newer surplus gear, I would tell you to stop and just buy civilian market gear that meets the above intentions, It’s about the same price.

 

The only area that I would be open to old school gear, is ruck sacks and the like. A bag is a bag after it gets over a certain load point. However; I know there is an argument for load distribution, but thats another discussion.

 

 

Thanks again readers for your support. Stay hopeful.

 

And if you didn’t know, I do have another blog full of references;

 

 

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There are just a few disagreements I have with this blog. It's just my opinion and mine alone. There will never be one size fits all. No matter what door kicker manufactured it. The gear the door kickers are making is only good if you are a door kicker.

Really, how many slings, triggers, sights, optics, pouches, etc. do you need? Most door kickers get out and create a business because they don't know anything else and it's a good payday.  

As far as the today's gear is concerned it is lighter because the material is thinner, which lessens to longevity. It heavily relies on a supply lines and repair kits. Look at the Crye Precision plate carriers. The straps were breaking from the plate bag, even with those being one of the top end plate carriers. You can see the current packs that are in the surplus market now, have holes in the bottom of them because the backs are made of 500 D instead of 1000 D. This was to save weight and it ends up causes longevity issues. You look at the Marine Corps mag pouches in the surplus market that saw deployment. They have holes in the mag pouches where the mags were rubbing. 

I'm not saying there isn't good gear out there. But, people are paying way too much money for less longevity and with no resupply available too them. They are going to be in trouble. Just think all those people that bought a Crye plate carrier and just left it sit in their closet unused. Then the time arises and the the strap breaks, after you paid all that money and you can't get it warrantied.

I also know that everybody (including me) has said "it's made by the lowest bidder." But, there is a lot of awesome gear out there the military has been issued. My sleep system is one of them. I was issued the modular sleep system and that was awesome. It was a far cry from the sleeping bags that I was issued in boot camp. In Boot camp we were still using the old sleeping bag with down feathers in the late 90's. Those were heavy. Then when I got to the Fleet Marine Force, I was issued the modular sleep system and it was like carrying nothing at all.

In the Fleet Marine Force I was issued an old beat up medium ALICE pack and a CPF-90 (brand new in the bag). We went to the field and those CPF-90 pack strap adjustment system failed. The plastic teeth would break.  It couldn't handle the weight we were carrying. We used the old beat up medium ALICE packs the rest of the time I was in the Marines. We knew the ALICE pack would work. 

My last thought is, some of this gear is overpriced and anyone that pays that kind of money is getting taken to the cleaners.

Anyway, good blog. I look forward to reading more. 

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I am still using my Alice gear as well, packs web belt and harness.  I'll carry an extra pound or two rather than have my gear break when I can not resupply.  I am more worried about living than looking cool.

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If your going to be in the woods or mountain area you really don't need or want a plate carrier. I have one for if I go into an urban area but otherwise I have a Molly chest rig so I can move faster around the woods and mountains in my area. I think the biggest thing about you and your gear is where you will be using it, How many other things can you use it for besides its main purpose and how well you know to use it. If you have a bunch of the best stuff but haven't used it you may not know its downsides or even how to use it to its full potential. (like getting a Velcro mag pouch. don't do it unless you don't care about making noise every time you grab a fresh mag.) <- still stands for any other Velcro pouch. as for backpacks, if it doesn't break and carries what you need. Its good enough. In a conflict you can always take better gear as you go.

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3 hours ago, Nat flag carrier said:

If your going to be in the woods or mountain area you really don't need or want a plate carrier. I have one for if I go into an urban area but otherwise I have a Molly chest rig so I can move faster around the woods and mountains in my area. I think the biggest thing about you and your gear is where you will be using it, How many other things can you use it for besides its main purpose and how well you know to use it. If you have a bunch of the best stuff but haven't used it you may not know its downsides or even how to use it to its full potential. (like getting a Velcro mag pouch. don't do it unless you don't care about making noise every time you grab a fresh mag.) <- still stands for any other Velcro pouch. as for backpacks, if it doesn't break and carries what you need. Its good enough. In a conflict you can always take better gear as you go.

If you're grabbing a fresh mag, noise is no longer an issue...

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Gear is like Beer, everyone has a favorite flavor and an opinion. Some people may swear by Alice, others by her sexy sister Molle. I see people spend a small fortune on gear without really putting any creative thinking in it. I always tell guys if you think you need something ask yourself do I already have something that does what it does? Is it as durable? Does the cost of it justify the return on your investment?

 

We have a guy that put together his rig for under 50 bucks using NOS Alice gear with a little ingenuity and the usual hacks. It works great for him. We have another guy that has the ultra highspeed HSGI suregrip belt with the latest pouches and he loves it. I run a NOS BW LKS rig and it does what I need, no complaints.  I.D. the need, do your research, read every review you can find, ask questions, and do the rest of your due diligence before you spend money.  

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4 hours ago, wquon said:

If you're grabbing a fresh mag, noise is no longer an issue...

The point was that Velcro can create a lot of noise. We all know it can. But, we have went away from buttons and snaps in favor of Velcro. I found that when I was wet and sandy and/or muddy the Velcro stopped working. The snaps didn't fair much better but I could clean them out and get them working. The Velcro would have to dry out and then brush all the debris and dirt out. 

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Also another options for those interested. "Nat Flag Carrier" touched on it. You don't always need a plate carrier. In the Marines we would ditch our armor in favor of our LBV's depending on the distance and mission we were performing. I have multiple chest rigs and they are a very good options. Also if you don't have the coin, for a good chest rig and armor plates, it's the best option. 

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12 hours ago, Austin895 said:

The point was that Velcro can create a lot of noise. We all know it can. But, we have went away from buttons and snaps in favor of Velcro. I found that when I was wet and sandy and/or muddy the Velcro stopped working. The snaps didn't fair much better but I could clean them out and get them working. The Velcro would have to dry out and then brush all the debris and dirt out. 

yes, and this reiterates the point of old and new because of products like the gcode scorpion or esstac mag holders have better solutions.

 

this blog, in general, is not for combat military guys or guys that have it all figured out. this is to guide people that are new and don't have people around to help guide them. I'm trying to clarify general "rules" and people come in here with all the "exceptions". One could talk about jungle stuff and some desert guy would be in here objecting, I get it...

 

to be blunt; this is my blog, not a forum. If people have legit questions I invite asking them. If your coming in here just to nitpick, this isnt the place for it.

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