March 2015 Notes

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March FTX will commence at 1700 on the 27th at Training Area North.  We will be doing a little scenario overnight and need to get a head start before last light, so get on the field early.  Saturday morning we’ll hold the AAR and then  repeat the exercise Saturday night so you can see the difference. Prior to this exercise, you should go over FM 3-55.93 Long Range Surveillance Unit Operations (over on the side-bar).  Also a recent post at SOCO will help get your minds in gear:  Beginning Reconnaissance Operations.

And, if you have a copy of this little book, it could be handy too.


Reconnaissance Handbook

Reconnaissance Handbook

A sudden spike in ammo prices is once again upon us.  The mere rumor that future sales of XM855 to the little people will be banned  has made the price of all .223/5.56 ammo nearly double in some places in just a few weeks.  Supply is getting drawn down also as everyone goes into that buying cycle all over again.  Just keep in mind that once again, the government is yanking you around because they can, and they’ve been doing that for years.  It distracts you from thinking about how weak the government  is perceived around the world.  And you might start getting that itch because you’re voting more but enjoying it less.  There is no justification for banning ammo that has had an exemption for several decades.  There aren’t any L.E.O. types that are getting shot at with this type of ammo in a $1000 AR style pistol.  When there aren’t any good reasons, then what you have left are only the bad reasons.  To make things better though, the BATFE did invite everyone to send in their comments.  Funny how they forgot to tell you that in January, they published their new regulations removing the exemption for XM855 thereby banning it.  You are now all felons in possession of banned  ammunition.   Yes, this violates the Administrative Procedures Act and goes around Congress.  How long have we been in a WROL situation?  “But your opinion does matter.”  Just not to them.

You can get your copy from the ATF’s website here.


Lastly, something that makes me feel good about being just a hayseed out in the sticks is this Army report about fighting in mega-cities.   Our little town of 55,000 is ten miles end to end with way too many little side roads and wooded areas to make sealing it off a practical endeavor, but somebody has probably already  looked into it.  Even at a ratio of one soldier for every 10 civilians it would just not be practical.  Or sustainable.   And, the Army guys know that their worse nightmare is Urban Ops.  It’s a walk in the park for them to load up all their fun toys and drive out into the country and settle in for a spell.  They’ve been doing that for the past century and they’ve wrote several good books based on their successes.  But fighting in cities is all just crap waiting to happen.  In their study they explain  how big cities, with populations in the  millions, can just suck up an entire army.  Mexico City today has 21 million people in 600 square miles.  Istanbul is a city of  14 million.  Tehran 12 million.  Bagdad has only 5.5 million packed into 150 square miles.  And yes, there are planning scenarios for combat operations in those cities.  Not a popular option these days to  bomb major cities into rubble like back in WWII.   Imagine the projected losses from kicking in just one million doors.  The locals will know you’re coming to their neighborhood.  How many UAV’s would that take?  Where would your close air support be staged?  Or artillery, or field hospitals, or resupply depots?  Plus it would be a small war itself to protect those assets on the ground .  If only the Army could develop something like robots…. yeah, robots that can haul stuff around in urban settings and do some of the door kicking.  Thousands of them.  Just like in a movie or a video game.  Now that would be a real game changer.  Good thing nobody will have XM855 then when that happens.  And  that’s why we need good, common-sense gun control laws.


Pet Man Robot

Army Pack Mule Robot

Second Squad

Population Control


Downtown Overwatch



50 Shades Of …..

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So….. all the BATFE has to do is say they’re thinking of changing the classification of this cartridge, based on some made-up, flimsy, unsupportable excuse, to get everybody to start running around in little circles and crying like little girls that didn’t get that pony for their birthday?  Yes, there currently is an exemption for this cartridge.  Yes, it’s not actually armor-piercing, but is called a penetrator.  Something like the difference between “Open Tip Match” and “Hollow Point” ammo classifications.  Yes, it is an obvious twisted contradiction of the regulations already on the books.  And a blatant violation of our Second Amendment Rights.  But really, I’ve got more than one box of bullets because I do more than one kind of shooting.  How many screwdrivers do you have right now in your toolbox?  One?  Yeah, that’s what I thought. 

XM855 FMJSCBT 62 gr Green Tip

Here’s a short collection of YouTube videos to help you sort this out.  First, a few different classic presentations of projectile deceleration in clear ballistics gel.  Good to see what goes on exactly when those little thingies careen through something that is functionally equivalent to man-sized slabs of living flesh.  Or in the case of Zombie attack, un-living flesh.

556 XM855 in Ballistic Gel

5.56 x 45 NATO M855 Slow Motion Ballistic Gel by Brass Fetcher


762 x 39 PowerPoint in Ballistic Gel

7.62 x 39 Federal 123 gr Soft Point


308 M80 147 gr in Ballistic Gel

7.62 x 51 M80 147 gr FMJ in Ballistic Gel also by Brass Fetcher


And it would seem a lot of people have the scenario in mind where they might have to shoot at Zombies in serious armor plate ballistic vests.  Maybe.  You never know.

Ballistics TestingBallistic Penetration Testing by Sootch00


There might even be the odd time when you need to shoot through something in order to hit a zombie that thinks it’s hiding.  And there are some suitable rounds for that.

MK 318

Mk 318 OTM 62 gr  5.56 SOST


MK 262

MK 262 OTM 77 gr 5.56


Mosin Nagant 1000 yds

Even a $200 Mosin-Nagant can shoot way out to 1000 yards and leave a nasty bruise.



300 wsm canyon

You might also consider solving the problem a little further out with the ever popular long-range solution in .300 Winchester Mag.  My favorite variation is in .300 WSM.  Not cheap to shoot but you get what you pay for.


And something with perspective and entertainment value, here’s a video so you can share in my comedic and slightly sadistic anticipation of the Zombie attack, without the recurring nightmares that comes with actually having to do this.


Pumpkin vs 300 WSM300WSM vs Pumpkin

 Just one more, because you can’t see enough ballistek gel blocks getting shot up.  And I mean about two feet straight up.  Again with my round of choice:


Two Blocks

So.  There you have it.  As much as XM855 is suddenly all the rage because it might be on the way to becoming unobtainium, there are reasonably viable alternatives for you to consider.  Besides, you are supposed to be training on a variety of weapons platforms and need to know how they perform under differing conditions.   Don’t get hung-up on doing your one favorite thing over and over the same way all the time.  Remember, there are 50 shades of red.


Additional video here:

xm855 purple tip

Great explanation of why this is not an armor piercing round, but just an “enhanced penetration” round.  The “X”  in XM855 means “seconds”, rejects for some reason or another.  Not good enough for the military to use to shoot zombies.  But they might be good enough for you.

February 2015 Notes

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February FTX will commence at 17:00 on 20 FEB at Training Area North.  We will continue Land-Nav training with some map work and also some field craft training. Weather is projected to be cold and dry, but tolerable.  Prior to the 20th, a list of recommended gear will be sent out in email.  We do have some Team Gear that we will break out for this exercise.  Review the Land-Nav pdf from ESEE in preparation for this exercise.


The January FTX faithfully, by tradition, changed as soon as it began. The weather projected by the Aerographers was supposed to be like this:

Jan FTX Camp Not


Instead, the weather warmed up a few degrees and we ended up with something more like this:


swamp training 14


But we’re about to finalize the training schedule for the rest of the year along with a list of team gear for acquisition.  One of those items is the MVT Shield made by Max.  It’s a two-man thermal tarp that would prove invaluable when operating in areas covered by FLIR equipped drone surveillance, for example.


One area we need to invest more time with is emergency medicine.  And to that end, a website with detailed information is Hogwarts.  This month they have some real goodies and if you like blood and guts, then this is the site for you.



When your leg gets to looking like this after “your little accident”, and you’re starting to think, “Wow, that really hurts.  I should get someone to look at that soon.” maybe you’ll start to remember that good article at Hogwarts on this very thing.  Might not be able to fix this yourself, and the little bit of Lidocaine I carry won’t be much help.  Along this vein (ha ha) Rockwell Tactical has a short article under the heading of “TIPS” that talks about Massive Bleeding.  More good reading on blood and guts.  There is always the option to treat you like a horse.  You just never know what excitement the day will hold when civility fails.  Take a peek at DTG.






January 2015 Notes

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Happy New Year.  January FTX will commence at 1700 on the 23rd and run thru noonish on the 25th up at Training Area North.  Maybe we’ll have snow, maybe not.  Will do my best with the weatherman to make it good and cold.  Nothing like wet and cold to make you appreciate your bushcraft skills that will hopefully keep you from dying over the weekend. 


This is the first of the year FTX and  we will be filling out our schedule for the rest of the year.  We will review Land-Nav for the umpteenth time so bring your compass.  We may have some new maps. 

Silva Ranger CL

Will also start with some Patrol work and squad movements to keep everybody warmed up.  And if you all remember from NRA Pistol class, that stack of paper plates won’t be for enhancing your dining experience. 

Whats wrong with your sight picture

There will be a laptop on hand for programming radios.  Haven’t looked all month but the list might have changed.    If there is a new subject you’d like to give a short lecture on, we’ll squeeze that in too.  There is a good chance we’ll have guests dropping in for a little while over the weekend, so bring something interesting for show and tell. 

German Snow Poncho

Also got a middling sized box of German issue snow pattern camo ponchos so if nothing else, come on out for the new group photo.

Year End Reflections


Winter Camp Fire

2014 has been a good year for us.  We went to a mostly FTX schedule, thereby covering a lot more basic skills than usual.  2015 hopefully will be even better.  While working on my speech on “Why We Join Militias” for the Spring 2015 PATCON, this article from Forward Observer came out today and makes my point.


In a conflict where the human terrain plays a factor, as with most low intensity conflicts, security elements or militias may have to be more than riflemen.  Although they may fight in wars, the militia’s mission is to protect the populous and community.  It would, therefore, behoove them to build a strong relationship with the populace, so the populace will offer them unbridled support.  Sometimes, they’re going to have to offer their knowledge to the populace and fix things and make life better for the populace.  In one sentence: the more you do for the community, the more they will do for you and the more they will do to keep you aroundWhat can you do for your community to make them want to keep you around?  Answer that question and then start winning some Hearts & Minds.  Because if you don’t win their Hearts & Minds, then the State will turn them against you (though coercion or benefits, not that it matters), and you will lose.


Go read the rest and get ready for next year. 



We do Land-Nav pretty regularly and most of you have the hang of it by now.  But how opportune!  Both Max and DanMorgan have short articles on Land-Nav this month,  so go look at them to see if there is something we’ve missed.



Doc Grouch wrote over at WRSA of the developing “Hogwarts School of Grid-Down Medicine and Wizardry” coming soon.  This isn’t TCCC but medical training is one of those things we need to practice more often so this will be a welcome addition.


And something else we don’t do enough of is PT.  This will additionally get worked into our training cycle in 2015.  For a preview, you can look at the program Max has just developed, possibly because of all the out of shape guys in those other units around us complaining about his well-defined Rifleman Training Standards that he put up last month.  Wish we could count on the possibility that quickly moving two miles would let us shake off any pursuers, but it’s probably more like that story about outrunning the bear.  You just have to be faster than that last guy at the back of the line.



Finally, Georgia Force on Force is holding their Winter Muster  at Red Top Mountain State Park the weekend of  14 FEB.  In our neck of the woods we will be having the same winter storm we had last Valentine’s Day according to those same weathermen that failed to predict it correctly back then.  Whether we get out in it and play in it  we’ll have to see when the time comes. 

Snowed last night


But we will get our preliminary winter outing underway before that.

January FTX is scheduled for  25th and 26th.  Dress up in green and lets turn blue.


2015 ACR Unit Training

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Training Standards

Over the past twenty years, there have been various proposed Militia Training Standards.  Each Militia unit has always been free to adopt or create their own training standards and for the most part, very few militias have talked with each other, like we do now, to share their ideas and activities.  Some units would recreate the very best of their U. S. Army experience from memory, complete with a library of FM – whatever manuals, while others would just create as much as they could from watching too much television.  We try to stay in that niche third category, which is to say, neither of those.

Over on the SideBar, under the heading of “Guides and Manuals”, you’ll find a copy of the Swiss Army Manual “Total Resistance” and a copy of the Guerrilla Warfare Manual from the early period of the Vietnam War.  Both of those contain instructions  meant for a general population with no prior military training but needing to cause maximum havoc and inconvenience for any occupying forces, without having to engage those forces in direct combat.  While it is all good and well to be familiar with how things are done in the “Big Army” way of doing things, resistance forces made from “the locals” will be doing a great many things other than trying to out-perform the “Big Army” at those things the “Big Army” does day-in and day-out to perfection.  This is where I’ll just mention that there are certain specialists from the “Big Army” who usually get stuck with the job of going into third world hell-holes to find those pockets of “the locals” and train them in the art of becoming “The Resistance”.  There are also certain specialists, not specifically of the “Big Army”,  that do pretty much the same job, for much higher pay, but with the stipulation that they are completely expendable to both the government that will deny sending them there and the government that writes their checks.  But I digress.

As for training, Chris Sajnog of Center Mass Group, likes to say, “If you’re not measuring your training, what you’re doing is called playing”.  Measuring our training is something we will be doing more of this year.  The capability that comes from the Land-Nav skills, campcraft skills, and communications skills form the  basic foundation for small unit movement and tactics.  But the ability for any such small unit to actually accomplish their anticipated goals will largely depend on both their physical and mental skills to see each mission through.  Measuring  the mental aspects may be a bit iffy because combat changes everything.  Measuring the physical aspects is a good bit easier.  You just have to decide what those aspects are and determine what the acceptable performance goals will be.  The bar must be set fairly high for those acceptable goals because nearly everything a Militiaman might be expected to do will tend towards the “exceeding worst-case scenario” end of the scale.   No one ever wants to see  “ODT  —  Or Die Trying” listed among the mission parameters.   (Insert Gen. Patton speech here).  Assessing where each individual is right now will determine how much they will have to work to eventually reach these goals.  Hence, measuring your training progress.

And how opportune!  Our buddy Max, just to the north of us, has already thrown down the gauntlet on what may quickly become the new training program for the new unorganized militia. Under the categories of “Shoot, Move, Communicate and Fight”, there are  detailed objectives for a solid training program that can be implemented at the local level to meet those standards. Starting next year, there will eventually be three-day qualification trial events at Max’s training facility where you can demonstrate your proficiency and earn that III% Rifleman Patch.


Go look it over.  It may evolve a little over the winter.  Max is focusing on more than just the significance of this set of  goals.  It’s more the implication of what a good percentage of Militiamen meeting these standards could mean.  Figure out where you are in your abilities to meet these goals.  We’ll figure out some way to work towards meeting these goals in 2015.  It will give us something to grouse about while we’re freezing our little behinds off at the January FTX.  The Almanac says last half of January will be colder than normal with a good chance for snow.  Might want to bring a hat.


Training Opportunities


21 – 22 MAR 2015  3% Grid-Down Communications Course conducted by Sparks31 at Mason-Dixon Tactical,  Mercersburg/Waynesboro, PA.  Waiting to hear specifics on what gear we need to take.  Other than some mittens.


25 – 30April 2015, 6-Day Border Scout School, Death Valley Training Center, Tucson, ArizonaSpend a week with those Professional Adventurers and Interesting People .   For those of you that have talked about going to the southern border with the Minutemen in May, this school will get you three days of class prep and three days on the ground with the Arizona Border Recon guys.  And just before the Minutemen plan to deploy.  A little pricey, with a high probability of seeing something and a small risk of getting killed, or worse.





November Supplemental

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Winter Patrol Gear

Great minds think alike.  We will be doing WinterOPS  for the first time this January and Georgia Force on Force will be conducting their WinterOPS  in February.


“Training in small unit Communications, land navigation, and patrol methods. Event will culminate in an ftx that will utilize all of the skills covered in the instruction.”

You can get simple snow pattern, uninsulated coverall suits from Cabelas for around $100.  Not quite as fancy as those German issue suits, but good enough for us country bumpkins.


 Last year, in February and March, we had our big snow storms so this should be a great test of your equipment.  Remember?  Roads impassable and 300,000 people out of power for several days.  Expect more of  the same this year.

Snowstorm Valentines B


Wade Ave March 2014 SnowStorm B


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