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.