I have garnered some hate from quite a few of the carbine enthusiasts out there due to my repeated declarations that the armed citizen will fight with the handgun, especially outside of the home, and the truck gun and other such notions are worth little more than a means of arming car thieves. I stand by this. Violence happens fast and you won’t get to your truck gun. Even if you do, you will likely get shot by police or other concealed carriers as you will quickly become the bad guy on scene carrying a long gun. Practice with your handgun, it is what you will actually use for citizen-based interpersonal violence.
With that said, I think myself, and those who have expressed similar opinion, are sometimes written off as anti-rifle. That is hardly the case.
If you are an American who values individual liberty, you should have a battle rifle, or three. You should also have a plate carrier with armor and extra rifle magazines affixed to it. And, you should certainly be trained in the use of this gear. No, you will not use this gear to interdict an active shooter at the mall. You may, however, in your lifetime, use this gear for the reason the Second Amendment was drafted in the first place: to defend your freedom.
The invasion of Ukraine by historically-aggressive Russia dominates the current news cycle. Many of the folks who are younger than me and missed the cold war think this is something new. It is not. We are all watching the irony of anti-gun leftist fools call for the arming of Ukrainian civilians. Hypocrite much? For those of us who don’t have our head up our ass, we are witnessing one of many reasons for the Second Amendment. Seeing what small countries can actually do to withstand superpowers should re-enforce just how powerful 100+ million armed Americans could be, if necessary, against a threat, foreign or domestic.
Therefore, I am a firm believer in having a battle rifle and full battle kit ready at all times (even though I don’t believe in keeping it in the trunk of your car) so that you can be the American minuteman of the contemporary age, should the time come.
With that established, let’s analyze the realistic application of such gear. Should the worst come to pass, and we must protect our freedom from an enemy that would seek to take it, we would fight in what is still a civilian capacity. Guerilla warfare is successfully waged by forces that can quickly blend in with the civilian population. Dressing in camo and wearing openly visible armor and helmets will probably be very limited in application. Thus, I come back to an argument I have written before:
Battle kit for the civilian should be scale-able and discreet. You should be able to quickly scale up from only your EDC weaponry, the center of which is a concealed handgun, to a rifle and support gear, but still in a discreet way. I believe the best solution for this is a plate carrier that is kept fairly slick, perhaps with only a single layer of spare rifle magazines on it, so that it can be hidden under a coat or even a button up shirt. The EDC handgun should be maintained as a baseline, so that even when the plate carrier and rifle come off, the handgun remains. Consider the advantages of such an approach.
Therefore, certain gear that seems to be all the rage at weekend shooting classes, conducted by ex-special operations guys, is a fantasy as it applies to civilian application:
The battle belt is not applicable to any civilian oriented role. Think about it; to gear up in such kit would mean the need to remove your EDC handgun and other gear, then put on this different setup. That is not efficient or realistic. Walking around with a battle belt means you cannot, in any way, be low profile. To go low profile again you would need to remove the battle belt and put your concealed EDC setup back on. Not realistic. Even in times of chaos and social collapse, the concealed handgun will remain the lifeline for the citizen. The gun you carry daily should be on your person at all times, concealed, for immediate self-defense. Using a battle belt, that would need to be removed to go discreet, compromises this principle.
I can’t get past the battle belt. I see people come to concealed carry focused classes wearing battle belts, a piece of kit that is totally unrelated to what they are doing and completely worthless for anything in their real life. The battle belt is not worn in public, and will not be donned even for home defense, as there are more realistic tools for home defense. Skip the battle belt, it is not applicable to you unless you need it for a job in a uniform of some kind. The concealed handgun is the foundation on which everything else should be built for the citizen. If you would switch to a battle belt to accommodate a larger handgun, consider going with a larger handgun to begin with and carry it concealed, at least during times of heightened threat.
Helmets have a purpose, they protect the head, obviously, but also hold night vision goggles. Can this be a huge advantage? Yes. But, again, the helmet is likely to be kept hidden in a pack until actually needed, as walking around within sight of anyone with a helmet on declares you a combatant, not just a civilian. Unlike the battle belt, which I find useless to the point of being annoying, the helmet does, indeed, have purpose, but limited.
Consider things that would go on the battle belt and/or on a fully-stocked plate carrier, and divert them to a pack or elsewhere on the body. For example, a fairly complete trauma kit can be carried, concealed and discreetly, on the ankle. More magazines, beyond those kept on a slick plate carrier, can be put in a backpack. And, finally:
Stick to the minute man philosophy. Just like the colonial era minute man, keep all your gear ready to go at a moments notice. Rather than taking your EDC pistol off to put something else on, your kit should be able to go on in addition to your EDC gear, and you should be able to suit up within a minute. My suggestion remains a minimal plate carrier that hides under a jacket, the rifle, and a packed backpack always at the ready with further loaded magazines and other needed supplies.
We do live in scary times, so let’s act accordingly. Having a rifle and body armor in the vehicle to interdict active shooters does not make sense, but having a rifle and battle kit in the home so that you can act in defensive of your family, your community, your nation, and certainly of your liberty, has always been the way of the true American patriot.