Militia members should be lightly equipped and highly mobile with just the essential equipment they need for a particular mission. Your equipment is there to facilitate your task, not complicate it. Ballistic helmets and hard body armor are more trouble than they are worth in most situations due to their bulk and weight. The weight you save will allow you to carry more useful equipment such as compact binoculars and a thermal imaging monocular which are invaluable for locating people (both for tactical use and search & rescue).
The primary purpose of the militia is as a military reserve, so it is appropriate to have BDUs like you nation's soldiers and the same type of rifle and pistol used by said soldiers. That said, one should not wear such BDUs in public unless authorized to do so by your government. One should have an armband to readily distinguish you from regular soldiers when wearing the same BDUs, with the letter 'M' on it to denote 'militia'. One would ideally have both muted and unmuted armbands (black on a white and black on olive drab).
The gear listed below is recommended in addition to a watch with an alarm (e.g., Casio DW5600E-1V "G-Shock"), a waterproof notebook and pen (e.g., Rite-in-the-Rain No. 935-Kit), multi-tool (e.g., SOG PowerLock EOD Scissors), fixed blade utility knife (e.g., Glock FM 81 Survival Knife), flashlight (e.g., Gerber Recon-M), waterproofed topo map and compass (e.g., Silva 4-6400/360), green light sticks (Cyalume), green duct tape, green 7 strand 550 paracord (100 ft.), heat resistant clothing and gloves that cannot melt, boonie hat and baseball cap, poncho/shelter half, spare batteries (ideally Lithium), fire starter (e.g., Zippo lighter), flares, water purification tablets/straw filter, at least one canteen (stored water is desirable even in an urban area), sanitation kit and hydrophilic towel.
Aimpoint 'Micro H-1'
[ red dot sight ]
A small red dog sight like the H-1 is ideal for use on assault rifles and SMGs for CQB use as they facilitate rapid sight alignment and help keep the weapon light. Such weapons may already be fitted with a laser sight like the DBAL-I2 from Laser Devices, a white light like the M300C from SureFire, and a sound suppressor. The CR2032 watch battery provides 50,000 hours of continuous illumination (best left on). Aimpoint
AR500 Armor 'Level III Lightweight UHMWPE Body Armor'
[ armor plate ]
These affordable level III ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) plates weigh a mere 3.3 lbs each in 10" x 12" (standard shooters cut). These stand-alone NIJ 0101.06 certified plates have positive buoyancy and are multi-hit capable. These ergonomic single curve plates are also wrapped in a Nylon cover with edge impact padding to increase durability and comfort. These 10" x 12" plates are 1.3" thick and carry a 5-year shelf life. They will fit most common plate carriers, though we recommend the 'Assaulter Lite Plate Carrier' from Ronin Tactics
. AR500 Armor
ARMASIGHT by FLIR 'MNVD-51'
[ night vision monocular ]
A NVD like the 40° version of the MNVD-51 night vision monocular from ARMASIGHT by FLIR (10.9 oz, 1x AA or CR123) can be attached to a bump helmet via the L4-G24 mount from Wilcox Industries (the wide angle 51° version is not suitable for CQB). It is essentially a smaller/lighter version of the AN/PVS-14 night vision monocular (12 oz, 1x AA) adopted by the US military in 2000. It is best mounted to a helmet and used in conjunction with an IR laser/illuminator weapon sight like the DBAL-I2 from Steiner
British 'Pattern 58 Webbing'
[ assault vest ]
Pattern 58 Webbing is made of rugged cotton canvas that will not melt/drip when subject to a flame like Nylon equipment does, and can (unlike Nylon) be dyed black. As you cannot use a load bearing back pack waist belt with webbing a back pack was designed for the Pattern 58 Webbing that is attached to the shoulder straps, but as the load therein is carried on the shoulders it is not suited to heavy loads (a conventional back pack is best for heavy loads). They were made in enormous quantities for decades so are still readily available from companies like Silvermans in the UK. Silvermans
British 'Waistcoat Mans General Purpose Ops'
[ assault vest ]
This large Nylon mesh assault vest is well suited to use in vehicles and back packs as they have don't have rear storage pouches, though their bulk makes them less suited to moving through small spaces than low profile chest rigs. They have eight assorted pouches, two of which are dedicated ammunition pouches which each accept three 30 round AR magazines, and two huge zipped map/storage pockets with a pistol holster inside of the left one. This one-size vest has three adjustable quick-release front buckles and an adjustable back. This very popular vest was adopted by the British military in 1995 and is still made by the original contractor and available from Silvermans as the 'Assault Combat Vest 95' in the original British temperate DPM, British desert DPM, US 3-color desert, black and green. Silvermans
Bushnell '8x32 Prime Binocular'
[ binoculars ]
Compact binoculars (16.9 oz) like this are ideal for general purpose use as they are light and compact enough to be carried without undo discomfort. Sometimes less is more, as bigger binoculars like the 7x50 size commonly stored on boats will often not be carried even though they are technically superior. It is waterproof and has the superb water shedding EXO Barrier lens coating. Bushnell also offer the Fusion series binoculars (1x CR123 battery) with a built-in laser rangefinder - 8x32 (30.8 oz), 10x42 (31 oz) and 12x50 (32.7 oz) - which appear to be the only laser rangefinding binoculars made today that do not use a CR2 battery. Bushnell
Bushnell 'Elite 1 Mile ARC'
[ laser rangefinder monocular ]
This 12.1 oz laser rangefinder (7x26mm) can be invaluable when taking long range shots with a rifle or grenade launcher. They can also be invaluable for scouts and spotters to help locate the exact position of targets. It is waterproof and has the superb water shedding Rainguard HD lens coating. The 'CONX' variant can be connected with the Kestral device (bundled with the CONX in the 'Combo' package) to provide wind hold values, and allows users to input custom bullet trajectories via Bluetooth. It uses a readily available CR123 battery. Bushnell
Chinese 'AK47 Chest Pouch'
[ assault vest ]
These military surplus chest rigs typically have three double magazine pouches for 30 round AK magazines and four small pockets for a variety of gear including hand grenades. They are made of olive drab cotton canvas. The toggle pouch flap retention system is simple and effective, though some replace the toggles with Fastex buckles on adjustable length straps. Some may prefer the Chinese military surplus Type 63 Chest Pouch (also cotton canvas), which typically have five ammunition pouches designed to accept two 10 round stripper clips for an SKS rifle, but will accept one 30 round AR magazine or 20 round AK magazine. They have two shorter pouches that can be used for other gear like grenades and will accept one 20 round AR magazine or 15 round AK magazine. Locklode
Combined Tactical Systems '5210JL Jet-Lite White Smoke'
[ smoke grenade ]
The lightweight 5210JL discharges in just 8-10 seconds (compared to 30-40 seconds for conventional smoke grenades like the 5210) so is ideal for rapidly creating a smokescreen for offensive or defensive purposes. If military type smoke grenades are unavailable in your area we recommend a marine distress signal like the Lifesmoke MK9 from Pains Wessex
. Combined Tactical Systems
Criss Optical 'MAG-1 Spectacles'
[ eyeglasses ]
These tough spectacles are used by the armed forces of the United States and many other nations. They were designed to be worn under gas masks by people who need eyeglasses with prescription lenses, with the temple area of the retaining strap, where a facemask seals, being paper thin. They are also an excellent choice for general tactical use and protecting the eyes of people with normal vision when fitted with non-prescription lenses. They come in three eye sizes (46, 48 and 50 millimeter), two strap lengths (short or regular) and two frame colors (black or tan). Use polycarbonate lenses with a hard scratch resistant coating and an anti-reflection coating. SafeVision
Duram Mask 'CHEMBAYO Chemical/Biological Escape Mask'
[ smoke hood ]
This smoke hood weighs about four ounces, comes in a 5"x 4.25"x 0.5" sealed bag and provides users with an excellent field of view that facilitates the use of rifles. This single use device protects users from most airborne hazards (not carbon monoxide) for at least 15 minutes. This product is available with a black hood and filter for tactical use. Duram Mask
[ thermal imager ]
This waterproof thermal imager (30Hz, 320x240 pixels sensor) weighs 13 oz and is ideal for finding people in total darkness or when vision is compromised by foliage, smoke, dust, bright lights, glare, fog, rain or shadows. It is powered by two AA batteries (ideally Lithium) which can last up to five hours, or a DC mains adaptor (it can be connected to a monitor for use as a remote surveillance camera). EOTech Inc
Fuglies 'ADF4 Ballistics'
[ protective eyewear ]
The ADF4 Ballistics are perhaps the best general purpose protective eyewear, which can be fitted with vision corrected polycarbonate lenses (clear, UV 400 tinted, polarized, photochromic) and have a removable 4mm vented closed cell EVA foam gasket. Fuglies
Garmin 'eTrex 30'
[ GPS navigator ]
A GPS navigation aid is very useful in unfamiliar terrain but should only be used in conjunction with a map and compass, never used to replace them as all battery powered devices are inherently failure prone. The eTrex 30 has an electronic compass, altimeter, can transfer data wirelessly with other units (waypoints/routes/tracks), is waterproof and uses two readily available AA batteries (ideally Lithium). Garmin
Hagor 'Combat Harness for Infantry / Paratroops' (402000)
[ load carrying harness ]
This Nylon load carrying harness will carry all the essential equipment needed for combat operations. It is adjustable, has 4 rifle magazine pouches that will hold 2 AK-47 magazines each, 2 hand-grenade pouches, 1 smoke grenade pouch, 2 detachable canteen pouches, and 1 binocular / night vision gear pouch. Zahal
Israeli 'M15 Military Gas Mask'
[ gas mask ]
The M15 is an IDF government issued gas mask for the Israeli defense forces. It has large eyepieces provide a very good field of view while its integrated voice meter facilitates verbal communication. It also contains an upgraded exhalation valve for easier breathing, offers compatibility with a drinking tube assembly, and accepts any standard 40 mm NATO filter. The goggles are made from scratch-resistant polycarbonate lens while the easily adjustable straps make it a 'one-size-fits-all' option for adults and juveniles. The simpler Israeli Rubber Respirator Mask is available in a small size to suit children. Army Navy Sales
Leonardo 'Personal Role Radio' (H4855, AN/PRC-343)
[ UHF handheld transceiver ]
This heavy duty 50 mW handheld military transceiver is waterproof, has a short 500 meter range (reducing the chances of detection/intercept), is superb at allowing communication through structures due to its high frequency (2.4 GHz). Options include encryption, extended range and data enablement. It has 256 radio channels (16 directly available to the user without tools), and operates for more than 24 hours with two AA batteries (1:7:16 Tx/Rx/Standby). The headset securely and comfortably places the speaker over the left ear while the vented earcup enables peripheral hearing and prevents heat buildup. Some turn up on the military surplus market and can be serviced by businesses that deal with commercial/amateur transceivers. Most are issued with a carry case, antenna, detachable one button PTT switch (there is a two button variant) and a headset. Leonardo
Leupold 'LTO Tracker'
[ thermal imager ]
This waterproof thermal imager (30 Hz, 206x156 pixels sensor) is ideal for finding people in total darkness or when vision is compromised by foliage, smoke, dust, bright lights, glare, fog, rain or shadows. A HD version (25 Hz, 320x240 pixels) is also available but lacks the versatility of the more expensive EOTech X320, while Leupold also make 15 Hz rechargeable mobile phone style thermal imagers (LTO Quest and LTO Quest HD). It uses a readily available CR123 battery which provides more than 10 hours of operation. Leupold
[ UHF handheld transceiver ]
This simple and durable 4 W handheld 16-channel transceiver is water resistant (IP54/55), has a scrambler feature and can use AA batteries (ideally Lithium) when necessary (the RLN6306 Alkaline Battery Frame is not listed in some manuals and uses five AA batteries). The factory default channels are in the 162 MHz (1 channel) and 461-464 MHz (15 channels) bands. They are set up for simplex use by the factory as they were primarily designed for on-site use in work sites like factories, but can be programmed for duplex use with repeater stations (contact Motorola Solutions for more info). For covert use Motorola's HKLN4477A Surveillance Earpiece is ideal. We recommend the TACK 1 headset and the PATROL-II Tactical Single Comm Headset with the Tactical PTT for High Impedance Headsets switch (Motorola Spirit 2-Pin Interface - SPIR) from Tactical Command Industries
for overt tactical use, and the Motorola HKLN4606 Remote Speaker Microphone for overt non-tactical use. Motorola Solutions
Ops-Core 'FAST Bump High Cut Helmet'
[ lightweight bump helmet ]
This vented lightweight non-ballistic bump helmet was designed for recce operations, search and rescue, fast roping and climbing, and has an excellent chinstrap suspension system that does a great job in stabilizing NVDs. It can be fitted with a range of night vision aids via the Velcro panels, plastic ARC rails and the metal MARSOC/WARCOM mount, such as the AN/PVS-14 night vision monocular (use an Ops-Core Counterweight to balance the helmet), Mantra Strobe from S&S Precision
, and the Charge MPLS light from Princeton Tech
. Unvented ballistic helmets are heavy and trap heat (causing fatigue) and will not stop rifle bullets at normal engagement ranges thus are best avoided. If you must have a ballistic helmet a military surplus MICH/ACH will serve and can be fitted with an upgraded Ops-Core chinstrap (Gentex make them with Ops-Core chinstraps), but we believe they are already too heavy without being fitted with an NVD. Ops-Core
Revision 'Desert Locust'
[ goggles ]
If you want large goggles that can fit over prescription eyeglasses then we recommend the Revision Desert Locust (with clear and tinted lenses) which can also be fitted with prescription lenses via the optional Rx Carrier, and is available in black, foliage green and tan frames/straps (U.S. Military Kit). The Rx Carrier will also fit Revision's Sawfly series protective eyewear. Revision
Ronin Tactics 'Assaulter Lite Plate Carrier'
[ plate carrier ]
When fitted with level III or level IV plates this plate carrier provides protection against many rifle rounds. UHMWPE plates like those from AR500 are best despite their bulk as they trap bullets (which tend to ricochet off hard steel or ceramic plates despite the application of bullet fragment trapping coatings) and are lighter than water by volume so will help you float rather than drag you under if you are in deep water. Though their weight, bulk and heat trapping nature make plate carriers unsuited to hit-and-run guerilla tactics, they can be very useful in some situations. Ronin Tactics
Second Chance 'Monarch'
[ soft body armor ]
Monarch soft body armor provides protection against most pistol/SMG bullets and may stop a rifle bullet slowed and fragmented by cover. The Monarch is readily concealable in the SPA carrier and comfortable under a load carrying vest or harness (unlike bulky plate carriers with level III or level IV hard body armor). Second Chance
Steiner 'M830r' (formerly the 'M830R')
[ binocular ]
This high grade 8x30mm military binocular weighs 18.7 oz, has a rangefinding reticule, and has been used for decades by the armed forces of many nations. The discontinued 6x30mm variant (Steiner now uses a lower case "r" to identify models with a rangefinding reticle) has a wider field of view, larger exit pupil (5mm vs. 3.75mm) and more eye relief. Steiner also make the M830r LRF (33 oz, 1x CR2 battery) which has a built-in laser rangefinder and a rangefinding reticule for backup use. Steiner
Strike Hard Gear 'AK 47 Chest Rig'
[ chest harness ]
This Nylon chest rig (unlike the Hagor harness) allows one to discreetly carry a combat load. It has four 6" deep pouches to accommodate AK-47 magazines with shock cord retention. The rear panel contains one 12" x 7-1/2" pocket and two 4-1/2" x 7-1/2" pockets with Velcro closure that will hold pistols, radios, maps or other gear. Strike Hard Gear
SureFire 'M300C Compact LED Scout Light'
[ chest harness ]
This compact and rugged white light was designed for attaching to rifles and SMGs. It uses a single CR123A battery which generates 500 lumens, weighs 4.1 oz with a battery, and is available in black or tan. It comes with an integral thumbscrew clamp so it can be attached to Picatinny rails, but we prefer the optional RM45 low-profile mount to keep the light as low-profile as possible as we believe white lights should be permanently mounted. It is activated by clicking its pushbutton tailcap switch or pressing an optional pressure-activated remote tape switch like the DS07 (on/off) and ST07 (momentary-on). We don't like remote tape switches which are prone to damage. A low cost alternative is the 600 lumens G2X (4.4 oz with two CR123 batteries). SureFire
SureFire 'EP4 Sonic Defenders'
[ chest harness ]
EP4 Sonic Defenders protect your hearing without interfering with your ability to hear routine sounds or conversations. Their triple-flanged-stem design fits most people and provides a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of 24 dB. Sounds, at safe levels, are allowed to pass through into the ear canal, while potentially harmful noises (above 85 dB) are reduced via a proprietary design that incorporates a special noise-reducing filter. The EP7 variant has a foam-tipped (Comply Canal) stem design (28 dB rating) which some may find more comfortable to wear. They come in three sizes and can serve as earpieces for compatible radio systems. SureFire
Tactical Medical Solutions 'TacMed Operator IFAK'
[ individual first aid kit ]
The TacMed Operator IFAK should compliment a basic first aid kit like the Pro 1 from EQUIP
with the addition of a small plastic mirror and 10 Leukostrip wound closure strips. Complete an advanced first aid course and know how to deal with bullet wounds and punctured lungs. Tactical Medical Solutions
Tactical Scorpion Gear 'Level III+ PE Polyethylene Body Armor'
[ armor plate ]
These affordable level III UHMWPE plates weigh a mere 3 lbs each in 10" x 12" Modified shape (Swimmers Shooters cut) or 3.3 lbs each in the standard shape (SAPI cut). These stand-alone NIJ 0101.06 certified plates have positive buoyancy, are multi-hit capable, are wrapped in a Nylon cover with edge padding. The 10" x 12" plates (flat, single-curved and multi-curved in SAPI and Swimmers Shooters cut styles) are 1" thick and carry a 5-year shelf life. They will fit most common plate carriers, though we recommend the 'Assaulter Lite Plate Carrier' from Ronin Tactics
. Tactical Scorpion Gear
Torrey Pines Logic 'T10-M'
[ thermal imager ]
This small thermal imager (30 Hz, 80x60 pixels sensor) can be fitted to a Picatinny rail and used as a weapon sight with the [coarse] reticle function activated or used in front of a red dot sight like the Aimpoint Micro H-1. The 50° viewing angle gives it an effective recognition range of 30 meters on a boar sized animal with its low-resolution 60x80 pixels sensor. It uses a readily available CR123 battery which provides more than 8 hours of operation, and weighs 3.8 oz (w/o battery) with the quick release Picatinny rail mount. Torrey Pines Logic
Trijicon '3x24 Compact ACOG'
[ riflescope ]
This compact, light but tough 3x telescopic sight is ideal for use on assault rifles and is best attached via a quick detach mount. The Ballistic Reticule is the most versatile reticule option (green is best). Tritium is used to illuminate the reticle in low light environment, while the fiber optic tube on top boosts the illumination in bright light. Trijicon's RMR reflex sight can be fitted on the top rear of this scope. It has much better eye relief than the 4x32 ACOGs used by the US military. Trijicon
Trijicon 'REAP-IR IRMS-20-2 Mini-Thermal Riflescope'
[ thermal riflescope ]
This thermal riflescope (60 Hz, 640x480 pixels sensor) is far better than the T10-M but far more expensive. The 22° viewing angle gives it an effective recognition range of around 300 meters on a boar sized animal with its larger sensor. It weighs 16 oz (w/o batteries) and uses two readily available CR123 batteries (two hours of operation). It has three viewing modes (black hot, white hot and edge detect) as well as simple and complex reticules which include a stadiametic rangefinder feature which works at any magnification as they work like first focal plane reticules in conventional telescopic sights. It has a 19mm f/1.2 lens and a fixed optical magnification of 1.5x (8x digital). Trijicon
Tru Flare 'Thumb Launcher'
[ flare launcher ]
MK-79 style thumb operated pen flare launchers like the Thumb Launcher from Tru Flare can be operated with one hand and are invaluable for signaling purposes in some situations. They are best used with the red and white MK-80 type flares marketed by Tru Flare which reach a height of 150 feet and burn out before hitting the ground in order to prevent fires. Tru Flare USA
[ UHF handheld transceiver ]
This sophisticated heavy duty 5 W handheld multi-band 900 channel transceiver is waterproof and can use AA batteries (ideally Lithium) for emergencies with a power output of 0.3 W or 0.05 W (FB-23 2 x "AA" Cell Battery Case). It transmits on the 144 MHz and 430 MHz bands at up to 5W (the US version - VX-6R - also transmits on the 222 MHz band at up to 1.5 W) and has a scanner (0.5 - 999 MHz). It also has DCS which alerts users to incoming calls which have the tone code they have programmed the DCS system to react to while ignoring other transmissions without the tone code at the beginning of the transmission (the squelch will not open so you won't hear anything). The EAI feature allows other people with CTCSS/EAI enabled transceivers to locate an injured person who cannot operate their radio by transmitting a CTCSS tone pair that causes the injured person's radio to transmit so they can locate them using direction finding.
We also recommend the TACK 1 headset and the Patrol II Single Comm Headset with the Tactical PTT for High Impedance Headsets switch from Tactical Command Industries
(Vertex/Yaesu 1-Pin Threaded/Waterproof Interface - VXWTR) for overt tactical use. These two TCI headsets leave the ear canals free to use mechanical earplug type hearing protection (like the SureFire EP4 Sonic Defenders) or electronic earplug type hearing protection (like the rechargeable 3M Peltor TEP-100 Tactical Earplug) that protect the ears while allowing near normal or enhanced hearing. Electronic earmuff style headsets are bulky, heavy, tend not to give a reliable seal during rigorous activity and trap heat, so are not recommended. We also recommend the CMP460A Waterproof Speaker/Microphone for overt non-tactical use, and the VC-27 Ear piece/Microphone for covert use of this transceiver. Yaesu
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