I had something a little different in mind for this post, but there seems to have been some confusion about an element of the BZO post below.  Some individuals seem to have thought that I was creating, in one FB commenter’s words, “a trumped-up version of ‘I don’t want to wear my kit.'”  Nothing could be further from the truth.  You have to train in your kit.  You should get to the point where you can perform any task you may have to in the field in kit, as though it wasn’t even there.

The point I was making in the BZO post is that zeroing a rifle is not training.  It is maintenance.  Zeroing in kit is simply counterproductive.  Once the rifle is zeroed, then you should do all your shooting in your kit.

There’s a little more to it, and I’ve seen examples of this.  Somebody sets SOP for gear, even knowing the requirements in the AO, and you train for several months with that SOP.  However, the SOP isn’t the same as the requirements in the AO.  In the last month, you start training with all the stuff you are required to have in the AO, and discover that it’s actually quite a bit heavier than the basic stuff you’ve been working with.  Your movement speed is cut in half, and you can’t cover nearly the ground that you are used to covering in the course of an operation.  You now have to adjust your planning process as well, because your gear SOP wasn’t up to snuff from the get-go.

The Roman Army trained with shields and wooden swords, or rudii, that were twice the weight of their fighting weapons.  This way, when they got to the field, things were easier.  But our guys are training with empty magazines, no demo, etc.  They are training with less weight than they will carry in combat.  This creates problems downrange.

There are two things that need to be done in this case.  One, find equivalents to the weight of the ordnance you will be carrying downrange, or a little heavier.  Make training magazines for your rig.  Everybody finds bad mags; the ones that don’t feed right, that you have to rip out of the mag well every reload.  Instead of crushing them the way we used to, to make sure they didn’t get put back in the usable rotation, mark them, and use them as training mags.  I’ve seen a couple of ideas for how to weight them; concrete was one, another was to fill them with lead shot, then seal the feed lips.  Either way, find a way to make them as heavy, or a little heavier than, a loaded magazine.  Demo, extra MG ammo, 40mm, etc, can usually be simulated by various size sandbags in a pack.

Training heavy is generally a good thing, but it’s going to break you down after a while.  That’s why you need to closely examine what you really need in the field.  If it’s nonessential, lose it.  Water, ammo, and comm are more important.  Fight as light as you can, train as heavy as you have to.  I’ll get into weight and armor versus maneuver in a later post.

Train hard, fight easy.

Train As You Fight
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Peter Nealen

Peter Nealen is a former Reconnaissance Marine and veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan. He deployed to Iraq in 2005-2006, and again in 2007, with 1st Platoon, Bravo Company, 1st Recon Bn. After two years of schools and workups, including Scout/Sniper Basic and Team Leader's Courses, he deployed to Afghanistan with 4th Platoon, Force Reconnaissance Company, I MEF. Works by Peter include: The American Praetorians Series Task Force Desperate (October 2012) - ebook , paperback and audiobook Hunting in the Shadows (June 2013) - ebook and paperback Alone and Unafraid (August 2014) - ebook and paperback The Devil You Don't Know (June 2015) - ebook and paperback Lex Talionis (June 2017) - ebook and paperback The Jed Horn Series A Silver Cross and a Winchester (October 2013) - ebook and paperback Nightmares (January 2015)- ebook and paperback The Walker on the Hills (December 2015) - ebook and paperback Older and Fouler Things (September 2017) - ebook and paperback The Brannigan's Blackhearts Series/Universe Kill Yuan (Spring 2016) - ebook and paperback Fury in the Gulf (November 2017) - ebook and paperback Burmese Crossfire (January 2018) - ebook and paperback Enemy Unidentified (March 2018) - ebook and paperback Frozen Conflict (May 2018) - ebook and paperback High Desert Vengeance (August 2018) - ebook and paperback Doctors of Death (December 2018) - ebook and paperback The Unity Wars Series (P.L. Nealen) The Fall of Valdek (July 2018) - ebook and paperback The Defense of Provenia (August 2018) - ebook and paperback The Alliance Rises (September 2018) - ebook and paperback Short Stories Rock Meet Hard Place (Part I) - Baen Books Blog Non-Fiction Operation Redwings: The Rescue Story Behind Lone Survivor (December 2013) - ebook only The ISIS Solution: How Unconventional Thinking and Special Operations Can Eliminate Radical Islam (SOFREP) (November 2014) - ebook only

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