Saturday, July 3, 2010

Differences between military survival and survival in the civilian world

One common mistake among people that are into survival and disaster preparedness is associating military operation procedures, the mental attitude, the gear involved and the tactics applies to tasks in the civil world during hard times. In some cases due to military backgrounds, in others because of the similarities when it comes to weapons, its easy to find lots of examples, cases where people clearly don’t understand the difference as well as they should.

From a mindset point of view you could say they are opposites: The military asks of you to follow orders, in many cases against your own preservation instinct, putting you in harms way. The main objective is completing the mission while the main objective from a civilian survival standpoint is keeping you and yours alive, avoiding dangerous encounters as much as possible. There’s a world of a difference between serving in the armed forces along with your brothers in arms and facing problems with a wife and a few kids to take care. In this case I think its better to look into several of the most noticeable differences. I’m just going to mention a few common points of conflict I often find in various survival forum discussions. You’ll soon see what I mean and learn to tell if some piece of advice works well for you in the civilian world or is better applied to military and/or law enforcement.

Firearms

This has been discussed to a degree in a previous post, when we talked about 7.62 battle rifles vs 5.56 rifles. From a military point of view, the ability to carry, and most important, manufacture and transport to the conflict zone two or three times as much 5.56 ammo for the price and volume of one 7.62, that’s a main strategic advantage. For the survivalist? If you are going to get one or two shots on target, you want them to be the best, most efficient shots you can put down range. Why does the military use 9mm FMJ? Because its again small and cheap to built, its easy to shoot, has little recoil, so it can be handled by the average enlisted person that has little or no firearm handling experience prior to his service. It penetrates barriers better, and has a greater chance of going through flak vests. One shot stops isn’t a main concern for the military. From their point of view, a wounded enemy is better than a dead one, since in average it will mean two other soldiers have to take care of him, and the one wounded soldier, screaming, bleeding, is more demoralizing than a solider that may drop dead and others may not even notice it until later on.

You, as an armed citizen, your main objective is to put the bad guy down, and you want that round to be the most efficient one you can put down range. You’re also less likely to have to face bad guys with flak vest. Military issued flak vests may or may not be penetrated by FMJ 9mm ammo. If they have body armor like the one used by civilians and police, average FMJ 9mm will not penetrate, so it wont make a difference either way, better to have hollow points that are much more effective against bad guys that aren’t using body armor. Also, the military simply cant issue JHP because of the Geneva convention.

Knives

While some military type blades are more than adequate, most of them are combat oriented with a bit of prybar thrown into it. That knife is mostly going to be used to open boxes, pry things, used for throwing around when the soldier is bored, maybe used in some very rare close combat fight as a last resort. You’re basically looking at a short bayonet of some sort. Military knife designs have improved and are more useful, with a more general purpose approach. The good old K-Bar is a good functional blade shape, the Cold Steel SRK is excellent, and both are used often for camping or survival purposes with good results. Now, are they the best? No. They are good but a survival purpose knife has to be able to chop wood, and build shelters too. You can do it with the previously mentioned knives, but there are others that are better at it. A larger bowie, or a short machete like the ones I often recommend here will serve better as all purpose survival knives, if one is all you can have.

Fighting/Confrontations

The civilian survivor will want to avoid fighting as much as possible, and very rarely find himself in offensive roles. Military missions may require purposefully going into harms way to achieve a mission, while your mission is always keeping you and yours safe. This not only changes the type of weapons used, it also influences the strategies implemented and gear carried.

A soldier is part of a bigger machinery, his role is pretty specific, as a survivor you have to be a jack of all trades and you lack the backup and the logistics police officers or military personnel have available. You will most certainly find yourself outnumbered during violent encounters, with the surprise factor turned against you. That’s why you have to train more both in firearms use and hand to hand combat if you want to have a chance at surviving such incidents.
The good news is that you also have the option to avoid combat, something LEO and military may not have an alternative. This is why awareness is paramount for the survivalist.

Distance of Engagement

Since we’re talking self defense for the armed survivalist, this means that distances of engagement will be short. Think “sidewalk” range most of the time. When you do detect threats before they get too close, your best tactic will be simply running away and avoiding the confrontation. When it comes to offensive military maneuvers, ranges increase some, but they are still much shorter than what most people think, specially in modern urban warfare. Ranges rarely exceed 100 meters, most often well within 50 yards, usually 20-30 meters. What does this tell you? Even in war, ranges are close and for the great majority of cases semi auto is the only logical way to go, even for designated marksmen. What does this mean for the armed survivalist? That even talking about a bolt action “sniper” rifle for survival clearly shows you don’t understand the realistic scenarios you are likely to face.

Target recognition

When wearing uniform, its easier to identify who the good guys are. The guy shooting at you or not obeying your orders is the threat that needs to get shot. You don’t have that advantage as an armed citizen or police officer. For you as a survivalist, you never know who the bad guys are until its too late. The two armed guys robbing the bank you are in, those are bad guys right? Would you fight them even if you have a chance, when you don’t know if one of the other “customers” all around you and to your back may pull a gun themselves and shoot you in the back?
When someone dies during a war without being involved directly in the conflict, its called collateral damage. When it happens in the civilian world its called murder and you go to jail for it, for a long time. Even worse than that you might end up shooting a loved one. During military operations you don’t have your wife or kids running around as bullets fly. Target recognition will therefore be the most important part of your training as an armed survivalist.

Personal equipment


How many times have you read that a person prefers to have a 223 caliber carbine instead of a 308 “because I can carry more ammo in my BOB (Bug out Bag)” If there’s a photo in the thread, you’ll usually see a bunch of other stuff, that closely resembles what a GI would carry. “Body Armor? Yeah right, I can’t carry that nonsense because I already have 100 lbs of gear on me” says the guy before pulling out 12 magazines, an entrenching tool, mess kit, NBC suit, axe… You even find people that put together a collection combining stuff carried by troops from WWII to Iraq and then another 20 lbs of every day carry ( which never gets carried, of course) and they’ve never even went backpacking with it. Rule of thumb, keep you bag at less than 10-15% of your body weight… IF you’re in good shape. If not, you probably can’t even carry that much. Try carrying it for some day trip and see for yourself.

A BOB meant to get form point A to B must be light. You’ll probably have friends or family to care for. Many of us have a freaking baby to carry on top of all that. A ton of guns and load bearing vest full of mags may be what you carry for warfare, but its not what you’ll carry when evacuating on foot, not unless you want to get shot or stopped by the police or national guard before you walk 100 yards. Lets not even get to the ton of stuff in these packs you just don’t need. If you are going from point A to point B during civil unrest, you better have a good reason to take such a risk. Staying put is the wiser choice. If there’s no option and you may end up doing the trip on food you’ll need some gear. Some food and water, spare change of clothes, a weapon and concealed armor. Maybe sleeping bags and a tent if you need a day or more to get where you’re going, other than that, leave infantry equipment for those that are in the military.

Team strategies


Since you have a family to take care of, your strategy will be pretty different. A wife and a few kids to protect will be your “team”, not many 18-40 able bodied guys trained to fight. Of course if you have an oldest son, wife, or other relatives that can handle weapons those are good assets, but most often its either kids that are too young or elder family members, or people that simply lack the skill and mindset to be of much use.

If you do have people, its wise to train together as a team. This involves more than plinking with them in the back yard and you should seek professional training to make the most of it. If you have neighbors, relatives or good friends near by, this could be a big asset for you, but in most cases the average survivalist family will be on its own and avoiding conflict as much as possible is recommended. As for the general strategy, you’re will be staying put. This typically means staying home until things calm down, not a shot fired. The military mindset type would be more inclined to get moving, patrol style. Big mistake, the most realistic thing to do is stay home unless you don’t have a choice.

Mindset… of the Third type

These are just a few examples of the difference between military mindset and civilian survival. There’s also a third kind, I’d call it the “Too much Call of Duty videogame” type, where as if from osmosis people think that what happen in combat videogames or action movies is the best course of action. This is not military thinking or wise civilian survival, its just stupid nonsense of course, but it never ceases to amaze me how often I come across it in the survival and disaster preparedness community.
Use your heads guys, and make both smart planning and decisions.

FerFAL

55 comments:

Serge Truth said...

I think you are onto something good here. How about these considerations also: water, food, energy, money.

These things are assumed to be squared away for the people in the military, but survivalists have to spend a lot of effort on getting them.

Anonymous said...

From the article:
"One shot stops isn’t a main concern for the military. From their point of view, a wounded enemy is better than a dead one, since in average it will mean two other soldiers have to take care of him, and the one wounded soldier, screaming, bleeding, is more demoralizing than a solider that may drop dead and others may not even notice it until later on."

The U.S. Army addressing the ineffectiveness of the 5.56 issued round to put down, instructs to double tap. I would imagine from extensive wound ballistics and real world studies of other medium power cartriges, that these are just as ineffective at 'putting down', that is stopping the threat. The Army developed the 6.8SPC that does a noticably better job as ballistic gellatin tests suggest. This is another and big reason why full powered 7.62x51 is desirable. While any FMJ is better at penetration, but worser (that's my word choice) than a SP or frangible at stopping the threat, penetrating cover or what you cannot see well, can be less of a concern than the crazed and unstoppable threat that's in your face.

Shortly after the enactment of the Genena Convention, British became famous for the developement of the field expedient .303 DUM-DUM bullet, an individually modified FMJ. Don't be a dumb-dumb and assume the restrictions placed upon armies by the Geneva Convention applies to you, especially if you are already shooting a pea shooter. Believe me, I would much rather get shot by your rifle than mine.

a

Anonymous said...

Excellent post! One of the "major" survival blogs has a lot of good information, but the owner seems to worship at the altar of "ex-military" as though everyone else is a bleating sheep. Several factors here:

1) Only a tiny fraction of current military men are "boots on the ground trigger pullers". The rest are either support or they operate "weapons systems" that no individual would ever even have access to. "Ex military" includes military lawyers and military cooks and submarine sonar techs.

2) Having the military mission of "take and hold territory" as a mind-set could easily be a major liability that could get you killed.

3) Military has a huge logistical supply chain backing them up - we don't. By definition, there is no resupply in a major meltdown.

4) Considering our mission of staying alive and protecting our families, the private training opportunities and materials available to us are far superior to the training received by those in the military or police.

I am all for gleaning whatever I can from wherever I can, and there is plenty of good information even on "that" site. Hey, I don't always agree with everything you say (largely because our circumstances are quite different), but you are absolutely right about the major differences between military and survival.

Bones said...

This post is why this blog rocks - commons sense rules! We aren't military and surviving is the absolute priority. Your choices for everything should be realistic - and should be tailored to your personal limitations. For instance, would you carry a Desert Eagle in .50AE because it's the biggest, baddest handgun out there? Or do you pack a 9mm because it's light, conceals well and has a bigger magazine capacity to help offset the likelihood that if you have to shoot under stress you will probably miss...a LOT. Or do you choose something in between?

FerFal has made his choices for his own reasons, which are good ones. However, HIS choices may not all be ideal for ME. The point is that people need to think very critically about their preparations...and be prepared to live with the consequences.

mama4x said...

I enjoyed this post. Thanks... I would be curious to read more about staying in place during unrest- ways to prevent the house from being a target. Not looking like you have anything to offer looters/other criminals, while assuming that before the unrest/ whatever situation occurred, that you were living life as normal. Where is the balance between "vacant and available for cover" and "nothing to offer vandals/ the hungry?" One of my husband's biggest concerns is the (sometimes called the "golden horde") local hungry people, the neighborhood association leaders who commandeer my supplies for the good of the "many."

Ryan said...

The thing with .223 is a moot point if you have good bullets. as a civilian you can buy basically whatever ammo you want. Something like the Mark 262 mod 1 (77 grain Black Hills "open tip" match load) SOF forces are using or another heavier 70+ grain open tip or hollow point will stop people in their tracks.

Conservative Scalawag said...

Good post,very rational and though out.

cryingfreeman said...

Excellent post FerFal and a huge dose of reality for all the Rawlesians out there.

Ryan said...

Coming back to this one. I think Serge Truth hit a big point when he talked about different considerations. Survivalism is a jack of all trades kind of thing.

It makes sense to learn about survivability from the military and some LEO's. If you want to learn about gun fighting go to people who fight with guns for a living.

If you want to learn about combatives go to a pro cage fighter, not a plumber. If you want to put a sink in the basement don't ask a cage fighter for advice.

I think men who have never been in the military but are part of the survival/ gun culture sometimes get drawn into buying camouflage military pattern stuff for no real reason.

Don Williams said...

1) I think one has to distinguish between several different disaster scenarios:

a) Small crash, High Crime Ghetto: Civil authority still exists but lacks the money to pay policemen well. With the high rate of unemployment and poverty, high rates of violent crime flourishes even in
middle class suburbs, although wealthy enclaves remain safe.

This is the situation Ferfal describes in Buenos Aires and which exists in many urban ghettos (but not middle class suburbs) within the USA.

Buenos Aires is a huge city --but while it has many violent sections, its overall homicide rate peaked at around 11 people per 100,000 in 2002 and has since declined to roughly 6 per 100,000.

In the USA, government is more fragmented --which let's some areas be neglected. In consequence, some towns and small cities in the USA have homicide rates far higher than Buenos Aires and even Rio Janerio.

Gary, Indiana; New Orleans; and Chester PA have had rates approaching 100 per 100,000.
Recently, Chester declared a state of emergency and imposed a nighttime curfew after 5 people were killed within a few days (in a city of about 35,000). One of the policemen sent in to flood the streets and impose order was shot within a day.

The US and Pennsylvania Governments, of course, ensure that such areas of lawlessness are kept quarantined. But their overall indifference to protecting the poor from violence --beyond a limited budget -- is evident even today.

In this environment, concealed weapons such as Ferfal recommends--
a folding knife and/or pistol -- are most useful with more powerful weapons (shotguns, rifles) used to protect fortified homes.

But there are other scenarios.

Don Williams said...

Disaster Scenarios (cont.)

b) A second disaster scenario is the 1970s Mel Tappan Mad Max Scenario -- collapse of the government and anarchy. As I noted in my Amazon review
of Ferfal's book -- Tappan didn't have a government security clearance and hence was unaware of the massive --but largely classified and concealed --
efforts by the US Government to ensure its control even in the worse disaster: Major Nuclear War. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Program_Office
and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continuity_of_Operations_Plan .

Hence, It is unlikely that the USA
would ever reach the Tappan Case.

c) However, there is a Third Scenario --midway between the First and Second Scenarios --
that could arise in the USA. I call it Village Militias/Tony Soprano. This occurs
when the degree of Federal US Government control greatly weakens and Local Governments --or local criminal gangs --hold greater sway --either because of national bankruptcy or because of a civil war between the elites who actually run the USA.

We in the USA fought a bloody Civil War to take power away from the State Governments and concentrate power into
a central Federal Government in Washington DC.

That was a war between two economic factions -- and that war could be undone. Either peacefully --via Constitutional
Amendment or violently: via civil war between a President/Army vs
US Congress/State Governors/National Guard. Look at how the old Roman Empire fractured.

Whatever the cause, the result is that towns become guarded by a local , part time militia/posse commanded by the local sheriff or local crime warlord. Again, this
is already the case in some US urban areas --where criminal gangs rule alongside the legal government.

The operations of such paramilitary groups need to be taken from the military:
patrols, ambushes, raids, mines/boobytraps, sabotage of enemy supply depots,etc.
Ineptitude or ignorance of such techniques means the gang will quickly perish when it comes up against a better qualified competitor.

In such an environment, the lone individual with his family will perish quickly. You choose a gang /town and accept its discipline or you die.

Today, the US military and law enforcement are the world's biggest, most powerful
gang. But that may not always be totally true for every area for prolonged time periods.

An example of this is the armed neighborhood militia that formed in a New Orleans neighborhood in the chaos after Hurricane Katrina:
http://www.oxfordpress.com/news/content/shared/news/nation/stories/09/10KATRINA_ALGIERS.html

Don Williams said...

Disaster Scenarios (cont.)

b) A second disaster scenario is the 1970s Mel Tappan Mad Max Scenario -- collapse of the government and anarchy. As I noted in my Amazon review
of Ferfal's book -- Tappan didn't have a government security clearance and hence was unaware of the massive --but largely classified and concealed --
efforts by the US Government to ensure its control even in the worse disaster: Major Nuclear War. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Program_Office
and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continuity_of_Operations_Plan .

Hence, It is unlikely that the USA
would ever reach the Tappan Case.

c) However, there is a Third Scenario --midway between the First and Second Scenarios --
that could arise in the USA. I call it Village Militias/Tony Soprano. This occurs
when the degree of Federal US Government control greatly weakens and Local Governments hold greater sway --either because of national bankruptcy or because of a civil war between the elites who actually run the USA. We in the USA fought a bloody Civil War
to take power away from the State Governments and concentrate power into a central Federal Government in Washington DC. That was a war between two economic factions -- and that war could be undone. Either peacefully --via Constitutional Amendment or violently: via civil war between a President/Army vs US Congress/State Governors/National Guard.

(continued)

Don Williams said...

Scenario Three (continued)

Whatever the cause, the result is that towns become guarded by a local , part time militia/posse commanded by the local sheriff or local crime warlord. Again, this
is already the case in some US urban areas --where criminal gangs rule alongside the legal government.

The operations of such paramilitary groups need to be taken from the military:
patrols, ambushes, raids, mines/boobytraps, sabotage of enemy supply depots,etc.
Ineptitude or ignorance of such techniques means the gang will quickly perish
when it comes up against a better qualified competitor.

In such an environment, the lone individual with his family will perish quickly. You choose a gang and accept its discipline or you die.

Today, the US military and law enforcement are the world's biggest, most powerful
gang. But that may not always be totally true for every area for prolonged time periods.

An example of this is the armed neighborhood militia that formed in a New Orleans neighborhood in the chaos after Hurricane Katrina:
http://www.oxfordpress.com/news/content/shared/news/nation/stories/09/10KATRINA_ALGIERS.html

And ,of course, Argentina herself saw a long war between armed factions of the Left and Right, with the official military throwing their support to the Right.

David said...

I agree with the comments here, and add one of my own: While I expect Big Changes here (USA) in the next 5 years, my goal is not survival (alone). My goal is for life to go on.

Simple survival (a la Mad Max or Dawn of the Dead) is far too narrow a focus. Look at life in Argentina as related by Fernando. Life Goes On. The focus, thus, is not "survival" per se, but continuing to pursue the best life possible under different and more challenging conditions. This is why I leaven my perusal of this blog with reading at http://www.theplacewithnoname.com/blogs/klessons/

There we find that, instead of a Bug Out Bag, we create a Life Goes On bag.

Nolan said...

Wikipedia, your source for classified government intel? I don't think so. Wikipedia is a source for nothing...nothing at all besides a jumping off point to do the most basic of real research.

With a real mountain hiking type backpack, I can carry about 50-60 pounds with little difficulty. However, I sure wouldn't want to carry that in anything besides a well-crafted pack that is specifically designed to carry a large amount of weight over a long period of time.

How much do your EDC bags typically weigh? Mine is around 6-7lbs depending on the requirements of the day. I find even that small weight drags on my shoulder as the day wears on if I have to walk for more than a few miles.

Don Williams said...

Re Nolan at 9:32 AM:
"Wikipedia, your source for classified government intel? I don't think so. Wikipedia is a source for nothing...nothing at all besides a jumping off point to do the most basic of real research."
--------------
Well, that's the thing about the Internet. Even if soneone had security clearances, they would get in a lot of trouble if they revealed classified info. And, of course, it does no good to point to classified documents if readers can't access them.

The alternative is to point to Wiki --which in turn has several citations of news articles which themselves cite other sources.

It may all be fantasy, of course.

That huge underground bunker under the Five Star Greenbriar Hotel in the wilds of West Virginia no doubt does not exist.

And those huge portal doors outside Berryville, VA and Emmittsburg, MD -- on the side of mountains with the barbed wire fences running around them?

Probably just a Hollywood set.
Why don't you go up, knock on them and ask when the tour starts?

http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/2007/05/fr052507.html

Don Williams said...

PS for Nolan:

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2004/07/20/undisclosed_location_disclosed/

DaShui said...

If I lived along the southern border paramilitary type training might be good.

http://borderviolenceanalysis.typepad.com/mexicos_drug_war/

I know a border patrol agent who told me from his post he can hear in Mexico- ratatattat....ratatattat.....ratatattat . Of machine gun fire.

Serge Truth said...

Where is the balance between "vacant and available for cover" and "nothing to offer vandals/ the hungry?"

There is no such thing - poor people still get robbed. That's why this is an article about guns.

Maldek said...

Military:
1) Follow orders
2) Complete mission
3) Losses are part of the job
4) Heroes get a medal

Survival
1) Avoid trouble
2) Try to escape
3) Fighting is the last option if you failed in everything else.
4) Heroes go to jail

Consequences:
If you focus on combat in war you are doing the right thing, because that is likely to happen.

If you focus on combat in survial you are doing something wrong. Combat happens only if you failed with your 2 primary goals. Think about it.

Don Williams said...

1) Where did people hide in Beirut, Lebanon? In Rwanda? In today's Afghanistan? Rural Vietnam in the 1960s?

2) ANY situation in which you actually make use of a battle rifle or assault rifle is a situation in which you had better be part of paramilitary organization and expert in military techniques.

3) Military techniques are not "spit and polish" CULTURE. They are not a lifestyle choice. They are the SKILLS needed to survive in a violent environment.

Don Williams said...

Re Maldek at 8:29pm: "If you focus on combat in survial you are doing something wrong. Combat happens only if you failed with your 2 primary goals. Think about it."
----------
I hope your wife and children can run as fast as you can. While carrying a month's supply of food and water plus shelter. Else life gets grim for refugees pretty quickly.

Sometime such refugees will even end up having to fight --on desperate terms not of their choosing --because they no longer have enough food to eat.

Nolan said...

Don, I have no doubt such a military installation exists or that the Gov't has plans for staying in power in various scenarios. My experience with Wikipedia tells me that it almost never gets it right when I look at the topics with which I am most familiar. When it is wrong about the stuff with which I am expert, I tend to also doubt the things with which I am not expert.

I imagine that as far as a SHTF scenario goes (not a TEOWAWKI scenario) that long range assault rifle exchanges would be virtually non-existant. If the police/courts are still semi-functional, then a 500 yard rifle engagement is probably a very very bad plan. If you win, you're screwed. If you lose, you're screwed.

I agree that the survivalist must prepare for most likely SHTF scenarios. For me the mentality of avoiding fights unless absolutely necessary is one of the key difference between a military and a survivalist. That and having to be your own logistics suppier.

If TEOTWAWKI happens, I may end up totally screwed because I don't have a full sized assault rifle or military explosives training, but I think the SHTF occurances in South America are much more likely.

Maldek said...

@Don Williams

You saying that it is wise to go in a gun fight when you have wife and (in my case) 5 and 7 year old kifd with you?

However the point is...you dont want to be in such a situation EVER. (Read FerFal type 3 mindset)

One question for you:
Where would you want to go with your months supply for the whole family in a backpack that is a better place than your (hopefully) somewhat secured house?

FerFAL said...

Hi Maldek, what Don is trying to say is that sometimes you dont have an option, that's why as a civilian you train to fight but also avoid it as much as possible, even if you practically never go into a pure offensive role as it sometimes happens in warfare.

Re Maldek at 8:29pm: "If you focus on combat in survial you are doing something wrong. Combat happens only if you failed with your 2 primary goals. Think about it."

Exactly, the point Don and myself are trying yo make, somtimes you DO fail at those two you mention, and end up having to defend yourself, and your family.

FerFAL

Don Williams said...

1) It is as Ferfal says. The last thing I would ever advocate is that anyone engage in violence if it is at all possible to avoid it.

2) But if the situation's become such that you have to USE an assault rifle, then you need to have a group of armed friends helping you -- e.g, possibly to evacuate a disaster area which has degenerate into lawlessness and in which armed gangs are robbing and raping people.

3) In such cases, it is essential that you and your friends know about such things as cover vs concealment, about personal camouflage, about V shaped patrol formation , how to do a recon patrol and about Immediate actions drills --i.e., how you will IMMEDATELY react AS A GROUP if fired upon from a distance, if you bump into a larger hostile, armed force at close range, or if you are ambushed.

You must know of the possible events and have your best response worked out in advance -- trying to have a committee meeting while under fire would not be a good idea.

4) For example, in some cases you probably want to hit a hostile force with a barrage of fire to deter them and then everyone in your group separates and flees -- to reassemble later at a predetermined Rally Point.

But if you didn't realize IN ADVANCE that you ALWAYS need to have a specified Rally Point, then you will end up with people bumbling around trying to find each other in a hostile environment.

5) Four people are a fire team -- one 2-man unit fires, the other manuevers around to attack from the flank.

Two fire teams and a leader make up a squad. Three squads make a platoon. Three platoons make a company.

6) The other thing is that you and your three buddies need to agree that you are under military rules. Everyone obeys the chosen leader without question and anyone who abandons the group under fire and tries to run to save himself gets shot in the back.

7) If you plan to actually USE that rifle -- instead of just rubbing oil on its long stiff barrel -- then you need to realize there's a lot to learn before you pick that rifle up.

8) Note that I am not urging people to play Army -- but most of the basic tactics I mentioned used to be known by almost every male US citizen -- because we had a citizen's army built by the draft. That changed in the 1970s.

russell1200 said...

NYPD Statistics from 1994-2000 (from Meditations on Violence by Sgt. Rory Miller)

Hit percentage at 0 to 2 yards: 38%.

Hit percentage at 3 to 7 yards: 17%.

When you come into a very quick deadly situation, your body gets a huge hormone dump and blood pools in the internal organs. Complex motor skills go to hell.

Generally the aggressor, who initiated the action is going through a script and will not generally suffer the effects as greatly. If you can preempt or knock the aggressor off their script with your own attack you can often turn the tables.

When people go into this psychological state, there motor skills go down, so bullets tend to fly all over the place. But at the same time, it can be very very difficult to put someone (yourself included) down when they have entered this state. Bigger bullets can help here.

In close fighting is extremely chaotic, and very unpredictable. It is a situation where all the skill in the world sometimes just won't help you.

As an aside, I thought the British home-made dum dums, were found to be ineffective when tested.

I am still leaning toward the shotgun as the most effective in-close defense weapon for the general public.

Serge Truth said...

Haha...a group of friends running around the city with battle rifles in a V-formation. There is that military mentality, bordering on the third type. What do you think would happen to a group of people with battle rifles doing military maneuvers around Buenos Aeres? I'll give you a hint, it is the opposite of survival.

Now how about the same group of friends with rifles running around New York? Boston? LA? Houston?

I can tell you where that idea came from, it came from the fictional world where a gang of bad guys in leather jackets is fighting a group of military-style survivalists in fatigues on a distant, but well-stocked retreat. The bad guys just keep coming from every direction, but the militias, err I mean survivalists, are fighting valiantly, and even though they are outnumbered, by using military maneuvers, team work based on military leadership and ranks, training together, and superior knowledge of cover and camouflage, the survivalists fend off the evil gang without any losses. At the end of the day, the survivalists together with their families watch the sunset reminiscing about their military days before waking up in their armchairs.

Anonymous said...

This brought to mind those guys who stood atop their stores holding their mean looking rifles during the L.A. riots in California.

I'll bet they were given a hard time about their choice of self-defense weapons beforehand

They weren't running around town in V-formation, that would be a misapplication.

No, the guys on the rooftop adjusted by blending military and survival tactics - imho.

Perhaps it all depends on what you want top try to protect, and not so much from whom.

Don Williams said...

Re Serge Truth at 12:27 PM:
"What do you think would happen to a group of people with battle rifles doing military maneuvers around Buenos Aeres? I'll give you a hint, it is the opposite of survival."
------------
1) So long as the rule of law prevails and the military backs the existing government 100 percent, I would agree.

2) But what about Afghanistan for any number of periods over the past 30 years? Rwanda in 1994? Iraq circa 2005? Areas in Columbia when they were partially controlled by the FARC?

3) Surrounding countries may not accept you as a refugee -- and you will probably have to fight along the evacuation route if you wait too long or are caught by surprise.

4) I am merely arguing that if you have a battle rifle because you think you might one day need to actually use it, then there are a lot of skills associated with using it properly.

If you wave it around ignorantly in a chaotic situation, you are asking to be killed --since Someone will likely mistake you for a fighter who knows what he is doing.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, this comment is off-topic for the current post, but relates to the recent post on the hot-button of religion and government. Several commentors made claims about the Founding Fathers' view of God. This blog post made today gives the opposite (more authoritative?) view:

http://treesforlunch.blogspot.com/2010/07/on-jesus-and-jefferson.html

Don Williams said...

PS Maybe Serge would like to ask the Bosniaks about how long the "Rule of Law" lasted when Yugoslavia broke up. Or maybe the people of Kosevo.

It seems to me that the Serbian government used ill-trained paramilitary militias to do much of the ethnic cleansing since use of the regular military would have tended to fix the guilt on the Serbian government leaders as war criminals. Informal militias/"bandits", in contrast , could be blamed on "rioting", chaos of the moment,etc and made deliberate intent harder to establish in the Hague.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bosnian_War

The Urban Survivalist said...

I agree with you completely. I'll play gray man until I [i]have[/i] to bug out. If that time ever comes then I just accept the fact that I'll be escaping, evading and trying to avoid contact with people as much as possible until I can get to where I need to go. Practice your bushcraft techniques. Learn about wild edibles. Know how to set traps and snares. If you actually have to bug out and you don't have a nearby retreat then you won't be able to play GI Joe. You need to know how to escape, evade and live off of the land.

50 miles doesn't seem very far when you can just hop in a car and go but if you actually do have to bug out then it will be a completely different ballgame. If you can make 10 miles a day through unconventional terrain then you're doing well. 20 miles a day on a nice, smooth road? I hope you have somewhere to rest for a few days afterwards. I see a lot of people talking about "relatives in the next state" or their "weekend BOL that's only 100 miles away". If you [i]have[/i] to bug out then you'll probably be walking. Either that or you hop in the car every time you think something might go wrong.

I was in the infantry. I know exactly what it means to not have to want for anything because the supply lines are taking care of everything. Even when they're "starving" they're still eating. They're trained to fight as part of a really big team. We as individuals do not have the same luxury. You're better off getting as far away as you can if you actually have to worry about them.

Anonymous said...

russel1200 said:

"As an aside, I thought the British home-made dum dums, were found to be ineffective when tested."

Making Dum-dums out of a rifle bullet by cutting of a portion of the tip almost to the o-give, making it a crude flat nosed soft point, the guys at the Box O'Truth found it does fragment. They gots pictures and everything...! Apparently the factory in Dum-dum, India produced these after field tests created a demand. These where later outlawed by the Hague Convention in 1899. These would be better than FMJ. (I used Dogpile instead of Google as too bad, Scroogle is now Screwed.) They also confirmed what Elemer Kieth dicovered, that an FMJ rifle bullet turn backwards does expand making a cheap substitute for a soft point hunting bullet. Cutting bullets is a tough job and accuracy will be effected. Handloaders should use caution. The Box O'Truth also shows us that their modifications to pistol bullets did not impove performance.

-Don Williams had some very interesting things to say. Thanks for sharing.

-The best way to win a fight is to avoid it.

a

Bones said...

One aspect of assault or military type rifles nobody has mentioned is the deterrence factor. Recall that during the LA riots, the business owners who were conspicuously carrying rifles and shotguns were not looted. Even a 10/22 will make people think twice. Would YOU deliberately screw with a guy packing a rifle? In certain situations deterrence can go a long way to defusing tensions and make the bad guy go somewhere that's less trouble.

Anonymous said...

Ferfal has already mentioned that argentina 99% (guess) of crimes are not reported (cause what's the point?) and the figures that are reported are government fictions to make tourists feel safer.

4) Heroes go to jail or worse.

Unlike in the u.s which will send anyone to prison at the drop of a hat, in a place like Argentina noone goes to jail. So that guy you just pepper sprayed, broke their jaw or shot outside your house, cause he tried to rob you, will be free the next day and may want some revenge and this time he'll come armed along with 5 of his gangbanger buddies. Or they may take a liking to your wife or kids.

Serge Truth said...

Sorry, Don, for the arrogant post on my part.

Yes, there are a lot of skills that are necessary for operating a rifle.

When the military doesn't back the government anymore and the police quit is a situation that probably happens on a civil war battlefield. Bosnia, Serbia, Rwanda and Yugoslavia are civil wars. Iraq and Afghanistan are full-on invasions. Fighting a civil war is not the same thing as survival. FerFAL's post outlines the differences.

Don Williams said...

1) Several people mentioned the storeowners who stood on their rooftops to defend their property during the LA riots.

2) I commend those storeowners for their courage -- but tactically, they were not in a great situation.

If they were dealing with a street gang with competent leadership, they would have been in trouble.

3) Some of you older readers may recall what a devastating weapon arson was during the racial riots in the USA during the 1960s.

4) What would those storeowners have done if --under cover of nightfall -- attackers had crept closer with Molotov cocktails? I.e, Wine or beer bottles filled with homemade napalm --gasoline with a thickener like Ivory soap added.
With maybe a two foot cord tied around the bottle so it can be thrown a longer distance.
( Or maybe a homemade trebuchet to throw the bottles 100 yards if the street gang has a classical scholar or two within its ranks. heh heh)

5) As I stated, a knowledge of military tactics tells you that if you let yourself be put under siege without outside forces, then you have lost the initiative -- and possibly the lives of your family.

6) Read Shakespeare's Henry V -- in which Henry can't conquer the fortified town by arms and so conquers it by intimidation. Riding under the walls and swearing that he will massacre every damm living person inside if they don't open the gates immediately.

If your merry band has any liberals, they will immediately crumble like cookies. The socialists will have more steel. :)

7) And I haven't even mentioned homemade poison gas dispersed from upwind.

Maldek said...

@Don

Trebuchet? Poison gas clouds?

Are we talking about mad max 2 here or was it Night of the living dead?

But back to reality - if you are starting to take such things into your preps...well...how shall I phrase it...

a) Leave the area and do i quickly if these things realy have even 5% chance to happen
b) We focus on things that are a bit closer to reality. Henry the 5th. come on - as much as I like W.SH. he is not exactly a reference for urban survival, is he?

Anonymous said...

The problem with the bottle throwers threat potential is that if they burn out the store owners or whatever, they burn the loot too.
An incentive not to do so, is all,... not factoring things like revenge. As a result, the threat seems low.

Gas... winds shift.
Some people have masks for that (I don't) but if it's down to gas attacks, it's Mad Max then, isn't it? A collapse of civilization and time to abandon the store, or whatever? Where's the line and how do you tell when it's been crossed?
And at that point a MBR is the order of the day. [Let's not go there.]

Bottom line, the store owners in the L.A. riots were successful.

Serge Truth said...

Speaking of shop owners with guns. There was a video of a shop owner from that So. American earthquake where a guy was sitting on the roof with a gun and just shooting 22s.

A 22 and a couple of bricks of ammo is probably a good idea just to pop them off as a warning every now and again. Maybe even give them to someone that sucks at shooting just to shoot from a safe location as a warning. Then if the police come to take away your gun, give them the 22 and send them on their way.

Nolan said...

If you're going to try to live off the land in the USA, then I think you will be seriously disappointed. FerFAL can correct this if I am wrong, but I believe he has stated something to the concept that Argentina's wild game was depleted very quickly after SHTF. The USA (except for just a few areas) can't support living off the land by more than a few people. There is a reason most states have game limits in the 1-4 per year per hunter range. The big game populations can't survive much more hunting pressure.

If I'm in a situation where a big assault rifle is an advantage, then my plan is to move to a different situation. If you're alone with several (intelligent and determined) people trying to kill you, then you're probably going to die if you don't get out of Dodge. Catapults of Molotov cocktails or poison gas clouds designed to kill me as so far down my list as to not merit attention unless I win the lottery. With that said, I think a good gas mask is advantageous with the abundance of factories and military installations with chemical weapons (I live close enough to a chemical weapons destruction facility that I have to worry about gas clouds for my EDC and home).

Loyalist said...

Don Williams said...
4) What would those storeowners have done if --under cover of nightfall -- attackers had crept closer with Molotov cocktails? I.e, Wine or beer bottles filled with homemade napalm --gasoline with a thickener like Ivory soap added.
With maybe a two foot cord tied around the bottle so it can be thrown a longer distance.
( Or maybe a homemade trebuchet to throw the bottles 100 yards if the street gang has a classical scholar or two within its ranks. heh heh)

Let's assume that they don't care about your home's contents or inhabitants...how do you deal with (and win) against arsonists and the threat of arson?

Don Williams said...

Re Serge at 11:06 am: "Sorry, Don, for the arrogant post on my part."
---------------
No worries --it didn't bother me. We are all just exchanging information, ideas and opinions.

I myself sometimes argue a point too strongly. It was not my intent to offend anyone -- if I did so inadvertently, I apologize.

Don Williams said...

1) Re trebuchets , some people use them to throw things other than Molotov cocktails:

http://collaborativepiano.blogspot.com/2008/07/another-insane-piano-flinging-trebuchet.html

Hey, you gotta admit-- it would have the element of surprise.

2) Re the question of how to defend against arson -- see

http://www.designsdelight.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/castle-burz.jpg

In a more prosaic approach, I would say you need an intel network -- you need to know a threat is approaching while it is still far away and deal with it
before it gets close to your main base. The best time to deal with a threat is before the threat even knows you exist.

3) Re the difference between a survivalist and the military, I agree that there is a difference.

We are not likely to encounter an enemy who can call in an artillery barrage on someone who has shot 500+ of them with a bolt action rifle:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simo_H%C3%A4yh%C3%A4

Anonymous said...

thwarting fire attack... it seems like metal roofing and siding might help.

Whatever works in wildfire areas.

Maybe some wire with flex to bounce things back and off? If you're really serious about it.

A moat to reduce the chance people can get close enough to do anything. A moat would be nice, maybe,... might be a mosquito magnet though and that could be bad. Thorn bushes might be better, I think they are difficult to catch on fire - verify.

Can metal houses be built cheap these days?

Were Alcoa houses of the 1960's (?) inexpensive?
I think so.

But then the midnight recyclers would be tempted to take the whole house?

And then there's earthen covered houses.

I myself tend to focus on being mobile... mobile... mobile... watch the police and the tax man and the thug criminal(s) pass me on by...
mobile... mobile... mobile...

Well, that's the idea anyway.

russell1200 said...

A moat?

Razor wire has to be a lot cheaper. I would keep it low and worked in below the shrub line though. If you start looking like a fort, people are going to think you have something worth taking.

Noise maker, trip wire flares, motion senor lights (if you can keep reliable power going) are probably as useful as the obstacles. If you no somebody is coming you may be able to do something. Any obstacle can be breached given sufficient time.

Loyalist said...

Don Williams said...
2) Re the question of how to defend against arson -- see
http://www.designsdelight.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/castle-burz.jpg
In a more prosaic approach, I would say you need an intel network -- you need to know a threat is approaching while it is still far away and deal with it
before it gets close to your main base. The best time to deal with a threat is before the threat even knows you exist.

Understood...but what are other things that you can do/prepare _prior to_ and _during_ an arson threat? Think about all of your home preparedness...yes, you might have to evacuate (bug out) for any reason (including fire) but what else can we do to minimize the risk that our home (and contents) burns to the ground due to people intent on destroying your home?

Maldek said...

@Don
"people intent on destroying your home?"

A real world example from south america 2010. Happened about 1 hour car drive from where I live.

An elderly couple decides to buy a rather big chunk of land and build their dream house with pool and everything on it for retirement.

After a few months a band of robbers comes, during daylight, while several workers are present finishing the pool. They beat them some and take money/valuables then leave.

So they buy dogs. Build a fence. Barb wire. Months pass. One day while the guy is (with a pumpgun at hand!) working on his field the 6 guys return, all armed. Before he even realizes whats going on he is surrounded and has to surrender. Again they get beaten and robbed, including the loaded pumpgun.

Security increased. Cautious behavior. 6 months pass.
One morning the wife opens the door to let the dog out (several dogs outside, one inside) - when the door is just a sliver opened the dog barks, she tries to close the door immediately but 2 guys on the other side (one hidden at each side of the door) are faster.

They are inside the house (all 6 again) within seconds.
Same procedure once more beaten, robbed...including the loaded 38er from the guy. He didnt even have time to draw it. Dogs outside had been neutralized silently during the night.

They left the country. House not sold. Investment lost. Dreams over.

Don Williams said...

Re Maldek at 12:13pm: "They left the country. House not sold. Investment lost. Dreams over."
---------------
1) Similar results were reported by white settlers who tried to defend their isolated farms in Rhodesia.

2) The issue is not just defense against arson. The issue is that if you allow a superior force to marshall outside your perimeter, then your "fortress" becomes a trap.

And if you are just an individual cowering behind your front door, it doesn't take much to form a superior force.

3) If you are part of a community, then the superior force has to be bigger --but you can also be screwed if your community lacks cohesion and organization.

4) Look at what happened to the Bosnians during the Serbian "ethnic cleansing " campaigns/ massacres. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fo%C4%8Da_massacre

"At the outset of the Bosnian war, Serb forces attacked the non-Serb civilian population in Eastern Bosnia. Once towns and villages were securely in their hands, Serb forces - i.e. the military, the police, the paramilitaries and, sometimes, even Serb villagers – applied the same pattern: Bosniak houses and apartments were systematically ransacked or burnt down while Bosniak civilians were rounded up or captured and, sometimes, beaten or killed in the process. Men and women were separated, with many of the men detained in local [concentration] camps....
Bosniak women were kept in various detention centres where they had to live in intolerably unhygienic conditions and were mistreated in many ways including being repeatedly raped. Serb soldiers or policemen would come to these detention centres, select one or more women, take them out and rape them. All this was done in full view, in complete knowledge and often with the direct involvement of the Serb local authorities, particularly the police forces. "

5) Somehow all the nice, law-abiding timid sheep end up on your side and all the vicious, ruthless, competent psychopaths end up on the bad guy's side. Strange how that works out.

Loyalist said...

Don Williams said...
2) The issue is not just defense against arson. The issue is that if you allow a superior force to marshall outside your perimeter, then your "fortress" becomes a trap.

And if you are just an individual cowering behind your front door, it doesn't take much to form a superior force.


So what are you saying? The best defense is a perimeter (around your house? neighborhood? community?)? What's the process of establishing this, in America, in 2010, where you live? Is this even possible? Convincing neighbors that this is a good idea before a problem starts would be perceived as alarmist and trying to convince them during a problem is too late, right?

Don Williams said...

Re Loyalist at 5:54 pm: "So what are you saying? The best defense is a perimeter (around your house?
neighborhood? community?)?"
------------------
1) What I was saying is that there is NO "best defense". Just as there is no "best investment" --you have to adapt to the situation. Some years gold is good, some years cash is king and 20 years ago the US stock market was good.
(In the last decade, not so much.)

2) It is one thing to invest some time and money into contingency plans and purchase of some equipment as insurance.
But it is usually unprofitable to adopt a lifestyle unsuited to the existing world.

30 years ago --during the high inflation of the US President
Jimmy Carter -- Mel Tappan urged people in the USA to move
400 miles from any large city and develop a self-sufficent farm.
Mel's arguments about the poor fiscal condition of the US
Government were true then -- they are even truer today, with
an increase in federal debt from $800 Billion to $13 Trillion.

Nevertheless, someone who ignored Mel Tappan 30 years ago and
went into investment banking in New York City probably is a lot
better off --and can buy a lot more assault rifles --than can
someone who built a log cabin in Rogue River Oregon and gathered
wild edibles.

The people who formed the militia in New Orleans that I cited a few days ago would have been better off just spending some money on a motel 200 miles inland --or not living in New Orleans to begin with. (continued)

Don Williams said...

Re Loyalist (continued)

3) But if you want to get into this, here is the US ARmy
field manual on physical security:
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/policy/army/fm/3-19-30/index.html

Note that you have to have more than just strong walls -- if someone attacks your village from without, it is bad. It is even worse if their buddies WITHIN your village set off bombs, start fires, or kill your leaders while the attack from without is in progress. heh heh

Also note that if you look outside your windows, you cannot see (or fire at) the areas around the corners of your house. And that the walls of most American homes are as thin as tissue paper when it comes to stopping rifle rounds.

The above manual has this note: "4-41. It is next to impossible
to build a protective barrier that cannot be penetrated by a human or heavy armor. Therefore, as opposed to protecting a facility using only one barrier, enhance security by using a combination of barriers to increase delay."

4) To understand this, look at the Army's manual on urban warfare --
both defense and offense:
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/policy/army/fm/3-06-11/

Especially look at Chapter 3. Also look at section 4-36: Assault of a Building and sections 5-24 and 5-25.

Obviously, you can discount attacks by tanks --but the above illustrates what groups armed with rifles, homemade incendaries and explosives, and homemade grenades could do.

Planning to have a battle rifle so that you can "stay and fight" is
not very good if you don't know what "fight" means.

Loyalist said...

Thanks for the info and links Don.

BTW, related to our recent discussions, if anyone is interested in reading about what life will most likely be like after an EMP attack and why it'll be nearly impossible to defend your home for an extended period of time check out http://www.survivalblog.com/2010/07/how_long_can_you_tread_water_b.html

Anonymous said...

Ferfal,

EXCELLENT POST!

Having had Infantry Officer training and been on a recon team in the 80's, I cannot agree more. Most folks dont realize that a small unit in a war gets resupply from the rear every three days.

When I ran recon with 4 men our job was to "observe and report" and on occasion create diversions, harass etc. For a 48 hour mission in non freezing weather we carried,

M16, 4 magazines, knife, compass, canteens, broken down mre parts, 2 claymores, couple flares, ponchos, and one radio that we took turns carrying. No ruck, no 200rnd ammo load etc. Sometimes for short missions, I carried rifle, knife, binoculars, 1 canteen, and mre crackers. BUT WE HAD RESUPPLY AVAILABLE.

Today I am older have a toddler and an older child and we are staying put and lying low. If we are absolutely forced out on foot We will be carrying FOOD, Tools for shelter building, Tools for gathering/growing more food and our armament will likely be airweight 38 revolvers and a .22lr youth size rifles.

Medical care will be non existent, as such a paper-cut can become septic much less a bullet wound of any kind!

Build communities for security and if that fails be prepared to:
Move/Evade/Hide/Survive