Developing gear systems is an evolutionary endeavor…
Gear systems are multi-leveled/layered by necessity of purpose.
Your most important gear is you.
Get fit! (EVERYTHING IS BETTER WHEN YOU ARE FIT!)
Learn self defense skills!
You need to get a good handgun and a good rifle & learn to use them well.
In this article we are going to discuss the “tactical” gear that is important to the civilian. A lot of bandwidth gets spent on this, and it really gets far more thought than it deserves. The important thing is that you train with what you have and remember that the mission drives the gear. What does that mean? You probably shouldn’t try and look like you’re patrolling the streets of Baghdad in an up armored Humvee. The average citizen should probably concentrate on having a squared away concealed carry rig, then a rifle and a way to carry some more mags, food and water. After that you can think about the cool guy stuff.
The terminology is a little goofy here. Generally people talk about “lines” of gear or layers. First line is what you wear, second line is your fighting load and third line is your sustainment load or rucksack. That mostly applies to more “tactical” stuff, like what you would put on if you woke up to a red dawn situation… but there are other, maybe more logical things, like your every day carry or a get home bag.
We live in a time of war. This is a fact. Select a handgun that you like. There are many great choices regarding brands, models and calibers. Go to a firearms store with an indoor range that rents handguns and offers instruction. Tell the sales person that you want to buy a gun for carrying concealed and would like some re commendations. Rent these guns and shoot them, get instruction if needed… Do research online, etc. Then take a “Carry Concealed Weapons Class”. Then get your CCW Permit/license. CCW= (Carry Concealed Weapon..) You will need a good belt, holster, magazine carrier, etc. Now you need to take a basic shooting class. This will teach you safe gun handling skills. Then you need to practice regularly. Once you gain a reasonable level of competence, you would be very wise in attending a basic fighting handgun class. This is will help you immensely! As your skills increase you will need to take more advanced classes and keep practicing what was learned… Then teach others…
Note: The information noted below was sourced from everycitizenasoldier.org. After evaluating the information on the site, we decided not to re-create this information since it was adequately covered and served the purpose of presentation well enough…
An intro to EDC:
EDC- This is your every day carry (EDC). Your concealed carry gun and holster, belt, pocket knife and similar stuff. This is really the most important area for the citizen soldier, because it is most likely what you will have when the fight comes. It is important that your CCW pistol and gear be what you train with the most. I’ve seen loads of folks that have a standard pistol for competition, home defense or whatever, but carry some super compact mouse gun that they never practice with because it’s unpleasant to shoot. Not smart IMO unless you are absolutely limited by concealment needs, and in that case you still need to practice with it. On the other end of the spectrum, some folks go all out, carrying a trauma kits, multiple mags, flashlight etc. You know what you can get away with carrying. Personally I like to have a spare mag and flashlight, and I have a trauma kit close at hand.
- EDC (Every Day Carry)
- Handgun, 1 to 2 magazines loaded with defensive ammo. (Be sure to test the ammo & mags in your gun to make sure that everything functions reliably…) (A good gun belt, holster, mag carry holster is required as well.)
- Flashlight. (Get a good one.)
- Tourniquet (Bleeding out sucks…)
- Folding Knife (Get a good one.)
- Multi-tool (Lots of good choices here.)
- Basic First Aid Kit geared towards stopping bleeding. (Tourniquet, quick clot, bandages…)
- Dust Mask or handkerchief: (Study the street scene after the 911 terrorist attack. The air was full of dust and smoke.) (Breathing dust and smoke sucks…)
- Backpack (Medium Size) Contents may include but not limited to: Water, small amount of food, rain poncho, gloves, extra loaded magazines, eye protection, electronic hearing protection, hat, small amount of money, extra batteries, para cord, toilet paper, wet-wipes for hygiene, contractor size trash bag, a couple of plastic grocery bags, sharpie marker, small note book, radio, extra socks, bic lighter, tinder. You can research this online. youtube.com has tons of videos on this very subject.
EDC Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N45zNXRfs60
- 1st Line- This is pretty much the same as your EDC, but not “covert,” what you would put on first if you saw the bad guys swarming the streets. It includes clothes, boots pocket knife etc. But, what people are mostly talking about is some type of belt and the crap that goes on it. I like to have a belt that fits close to my body that carries my pistol holster, two spare pistol mags, a spare rifle mag and trauma kit or blow out kit (BOK) some folks are much more elaborate, with a separate padded war belt and more accoutrements. Clothes and boots are also important- you can spend hundreds of dollars trying to keep up with the latest cool guy pants, but I find that that is usually best spent on other stuff. Your clothes should be comfortable for training, durable and able to blend in to your environment… the Crye pants are gonna suck if you have to ditch your gear and blend in at WalMart.
1st. Line Gear Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIrMHj761GQ
- 2nd Line (light)- Also referred to as the “fighting load” this is primarily the way you carry spare rifle magazines. The light second line is for when you are trying to avoid a fight, but it’s possible. I prefer some type of simple chest rig, but there are other options like an over the shoulder bandoleer or the Army’s fighting load carrier. At a minimum it should carry three or more magazines… how many depends on how much you think you’ll be shooting. But, you should regularly try wearing it for a few hours at a time. I find that once people do that they tend to lighten it up. It should be small enough that it can be hidden with your rifle in the back of a car. Other stuff you might want with your second line are another BOK, smoke grenades and a radio. The radio and smoke grenades have the potential to get you out of a fight.
2nd. Line Light Gear Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xD7nNxfgjs
- 2nd Line (heavy)- This is the same as your light second line, but with armor, usually a plate carrier. We’ve got an entire article on armor so we’re not going to go to far in to that. For me the heavy second line is what I would wear if a fight was likely, or if I was traveling in a vehicle so that my mobility wasn’t limited. For that reason it is common to carry more magazines on your heavy second line. I spend most of my training days in my plate carrier and also exercise in it. This is because it is extremely hard to get used to, nothing like having 30 or so pounds wrapped around your body- you need to train in it. A heavy second line isn’t for everyone, at a minimum it costs as much as a pistol so if it’s not in your budget don’t sweat it. If you’re not in darned good physical condition it would slow you down more than help. Certainly don’t skimp in other areas just so you can have armor.
2nd Line Heavy Gear Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UDfnO96I6E
- 3rd Line- Your third line is your sustainment load, in prepper circles in can be compatible with the “Bug Out Bag.” This is the gear that will keep you alive and somewhat comfortable in the field. Basically a back pack, food and sleeping gear, spare socks, water filter etc. How much you need depends on your region and how long you plan to stay out. We regularly test our third line gear on hikes and camping trips, and this is critically important so that you know how much you can carry for how far and fast. Third line gear needs to be arranged for seasons, my winter ruck is bigger than my summer ruck.
3rd Line Gear Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsZNmBLeC3U
- Assault Bag- This is a very light backpack with minimum gear. Think, some water, snacks, first aid, maybe spare ammo. The idea is that you can still fight with it on (combined with your second line gear.) Even the most fit guys drop there rucksack to fight. I have seen second line gear fully integrated with an assault bag, if you think this is a good idea try it out. I have a hydration bladder that I keep all this stuff in. I like it because I can throw it in my ruck, carry it on a family hike or whatever…. crap should be multipurpose and modular…
Assault Bag Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=590cGa4YU3s
- Bug Out Bags (BOB) and Get Home Bags (GHB)- A “BOB” is what you keep packed and ready to go in case you have to leave very quickly. What is in it seems depends on where your going. I have seen anything from the gear people think they can survive in the woods for weeks – head for the hills to more logical stuff like important documents and meds. A “GHB” is something you keep at work or in the car with, the stuff you might need on a trip in case bad things go down. These things are generally more discrete than the average third line rucksack. Again, this is very dependent on your personal situation, if your wife wears high heels to work, her GHB needs to have a good pair of walking shoes and socks. Personally my camping/tactical is my “BOB” (if it requires leaving the house that fast it might involve some hiding and shooting.) and I keep a discreet “GHB” in the family car.
- “4th Line”- People often refer to their house or their car as the fourth line. Not a bad way to think about it. In a nutshell your 4th line is the gear you don’t carry with you. Our only input here is that suck gear should be modular and ready to go. For example, I like to keep my stored food in boxes that could be easily thrown in the truck and include the equipment needed to prepare them. They have a variety, so I am only able to grab one I’m still light years ahead.
- Conclusion- After ready all the above, you can see there is overlap in some of the layers… You could spend thousands of dollars on gear and still not have everything you need. If you are beginning to get prepared a good CCW rig and discreet BOB is a place to start. Think about what you are most likely to need and use and spend you money wisely. Test and train with everything, the best stuff in the world isn’t going to do much if you throw it in the closet and forget about it (after taking a couple of pics and posting them on the internet…)