SKILL LEVEL ONE:
Skill Level One is what we consider the minimum level of readiness necessary to be an active line member of a Militia. It is the position of the Militia that these requirements, when
met, will be sufficient to be considered “capable of bearing arms”. The Militia is defined as “all citizens capable of bearing arms”.
Level One required equipment:
- 100 rounds of ammunition for same rifle.
- Water container, one quart minimum.
- Cleaning kit for above rifle.
- Suitable carrying gear to transport personal equipment.
- Individual first-aid kit.
- Combat or hiking boots.
Level One required abilities:
- Complete a two-mile hike with all Level One equipment within 40 minutes.
- Field strip weapon for cleaning.
- Place 8 out of 10 shots into a 9″ target at 100 yards.
A DETAILED LOOK:
RIFLE: There are many choices available when choosing a primary weapon. Because military rifles have been subjected to extensive testing and have been designed to withstand tough battlefield conditions, we suggest that your rifle be of a type similar to that used by some military forces at some point within the last 100 years or so. Even a brief study of the history of military conflict, and a look at current events will reveal that this does not narrow your choice by any measurable degree. Any type of weapon can be used in a pinch.
For our purposes, we will rule out extremely rare and ancient weapons. Muskets, blunderbusses, and repeating crossbows are better than no weapon at all, but not very practical to discuss in this guide. Theoretically, you could carry a pistol or shotgun as a primary weapon. Indeed, there are many specific situations where a pistol or shotgun will be the best thing you can have, but for general purposes, a rifle is what is required.
We will look at some of the options available to the novice militia person. Military surplus bolt-action rifles. For the average citizen, the first consideration in acquiring that first
weapon will be cost. (One should also factor in how much value they place on the survival of themselves, their families, and their Nation.) Military surplus bolt-action rifles are among the most inexpensive weapons available. Many of them cost less than $100, and just because a rifle is inexpensive, that doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with it. Many of these old bolt-action rifles have served admirably in conflicts around the world.
With just a bit of effort, some of these old war-horses can be turned into impressively accurate sniper-rifles, which would be perfect for guerrilla-type, shoot-and-run operations.
One consideration when looking at military surplus bolt-action rifles is ammunition availability. They can come in some pretty obscure calibers, so ask around before buying one. Some fairly common, affordable rifles come in 7.62X54, .303, and various 8mm cartridges. The 6.5mm Swedish Mauser has been increasing in popularity recently, and it is still fairly affordable. Of course, any rifle is better than none, as long as you have ammunition for it.
Another relatively inexpensive option would be to purchase an SKS. These are 10-shot semi-automatic carbines, with either a 16- or 20-inch barrel. Made in China or Russia, these are chambered in 7.62X39, the same round as the AK47. You may still be able to find some with a built-in bayonet. This may, one day, be a useful feature. The fixed 10-round magazine may be seen by some to be an overly limiting feature, but beware of
after-market conversion kits intended to allow a detachable-magazine. Section 922R of the arbitrarily made-up federal regulations could make adding this item a felony. More importantly, most people who have tried these conversion kits have found them heavy and difficult to operate, and they have quickly returned to the stock, 10-round fixed magazine. Loading a fixed magazine with stripper clips is a completely acceptable method of operating this weapon, anyway. There are some SKS rifles that will accept the AK47 magazine. These are hard to find, and are certainly more expensive than a 10-round
SKS, but they are dependable weapons.
Also accepting the AK47 magazines are the many civilian versions of the AK47. The most commonly available version of these is the MAK90. They cost more than the SKS, and are just as reliable. The big improvement is their ability to accept larger capacity magazines. Since there are such large-capacity magazines available, you may wish to consider a heavy-barrel version of this rifle. Most of them will be designated as such. A heavy-barrel will allow a greater rate of fire, because the heavier barrel will be less likely to overheat. A drawback to a heavy-barrel is the additional weight. This is a personal decision, with no clear right or wrong way to go.
The AK47 is considered one of the most successful military rifles in the world. Its use by armies and others worldwide will attest to its worthiness as a militia weapon. The .30 Cal. M1 Carbine is another rifle to consider. These were originally designed to replace the .45
pistol. They are relatively lightweight, and fairly accurate. Chambered for the .30 cal. round, they do not possess overwhelming penetration power. Several million of these were produced, so there are plenty out there. If you can find one for under $300, that would probably not be a bad purchase. The .30 Carbine round is no longer used by any armed forces, so in the long run, it may become difficult to acquire more ammunition in the field.
Ruger manufactures both the Mini14, chambered in .223, and the Mini30, chambered in 7.62X39. These are both reliable and accurate, and not incredibly heavy. Either one would serve well as a militia weapon. They come in many variants, and many accessories are also available. The Korean-made Daewoo DR200 is a favorite among some of our militia friends. It uses the same ammunition as the AR15/M16, .223 cal., the round used by our military forces, and it also accepts the same magazine. It is accurate and dependable, and it costs much less than an AR15. They have that terrible “thumbhole” stock, but if you don’t mind that ugly bit of political correctness, these would make a fine choice. The L1A1, the civilian version of the FN/FAL, would be a good option. These weapons are chambered in
the popular .308 (7.62X51), these weapons offer possibly more range than the .223 selections. They are a bit heavier than many rifles, but they are made very well, and are dependable rifles.
The M1 Garand, chambered for .30-06, a very hard-hitting round, has been called the greatest infantry rifle ever made, in one publication. These rifles have a unique 8-round clip that pops out when empty. For a powerful rifle with long range capabilities, they would be excellent. For a spray-and-pray enthusiast (someone with less emphasis on accuracy, and more emphasis on large volumes of rounds), this would not be a good pick. The .30-06 round is widely available, as it is used by many hunters. The AR15 is the civilian version of the rifle used by the US armed forces, the M16. As it is possible that militia units will find it necessary to fight alongside US units in defending our country, this would be an
appropriate choice. These rifles come in so many barrel lengths, and with so many options and variants, that it would be very difficult to not find one that suits you. Most of the military surplus gear that is currently available is geared toward this weapon. It is a favorite of many militia types.
Keep in mind that the most commonly available rounds are .223, 7.62X39, and .308 (7.62X51). Availability of ammo is an important consideration, and we know of some people who have purchased a weapon merely because they came across a good deal on some ammo for that weapon. There are many other options to think about. A lever-action 30-30 will work, if that’s what you have. It would be a good idea to attend any militia range function, and see what they are carrying. Given that the right to keep and bear any arms is continually coming under attack, one should give serious thought to acquiring that first weapon as soon as possible; buy a rifle while you still can.
Ammunition: Your ammunition must be for your rifle. It is by far better to buy your ammo in bulk than to buy it a box or two at a time. Perhaps you can go in together with someone that uses the same rounds as you do. This is a common occurrence in the brigade. It would be great if you (or your fellow team-mates) could get into reloading, so you could save even more money. We suggest that you keep at least 1000 rounds of ammo at home, as it can become a high-value commodity overnight. Ammo can be ordered from wholesalers, and delivered directly to you, 100 rounds is an absolute minimum carried load. This ammo should be carried “hands-free” in ammo pouches or a bandolier. Carrying a bucket of ammo will not work. If your weapon is magazine-fed, you must carry at least one magazine, and we highly suggest that you have enough magazines to carry 100
rounds in. If you do not have a magazine-fed rifle, then try to keep your rounds on stripper clips. Loading single rounds one at a time can put you at a dire tactical disadvantage. You should make every effort to ensure that your ammo is easily accessible for quick and efficient reloading.
Armor piercing rounds, tracers, and such: These special purpose rounds are much more expensive than regular ball ammunition. If you can afford some, armor piercing rounds would be a bonus in the event that you are confronted by armor wearing foes (like the bank robbers in Los Angeles). If you are a small unit leader, you may wish to consider tracer rounds to help direct you unit’s fire.
Hollow point ammunition is not allowed in armed conflict under the Geneva Convention. It is acceptable for training or hunting.
WATER CONTAINER: This must be a sealable, non-glass container to carry water in. It must be able to carry at least one quart of water. You must be able to carry it “hands-free”, so some kind of carrying strap, belt, suspenders, or other means of transporting is necessary. An open pitcher of water will not fulfill this requirement. A military surplus or other type of outdoor type of canteen will be fine. A regular one-quart water bottle will work, if you have some way to carry it. Some people have started out with a plastic pop bottle carried in a shoulder bag, and that is acceptable.
WEAPON CLEANING KIT: This will vary, depending on the type of rifle that you carry, but
should include a cloth of some sort, a cleaning rod or pull through cord, a bore brush, cleaning patches, and some kind of lubricant. You may also wish to include a tooth brush type of brush, pipe cleaners, and Q-tips, and whatever specific items required to maintain your weapon. It would make sense to buy a cleaning kit at the same time that you buy your rifle. Cleaning equipment is very inexpensive, and there can be NO EXCUSE for failing to have a basic cleaning kit. As for types of lubricants, we will suggest Break Free CLP (cleaner, lubricant, protectant). It is what the military uses, it is commonly available, and relatively inexpensive. A small bottle will fit nicely in your cleaning kit. We realize that there are other, better (and more expensive), cleaning products available, but Break Free is a functional, general purpose item that will do the job. As you learn more, you will develop
your own favorite cleaning routine, with your own favorite products. But for now, start with the basics.
CARRYING GEAR: Web gear, TA-50, vest, kit, LBE (load bearing equipment), rig, set-up,
whatever you call it, some kind of carrying gear is necessary. The standard US military (and, consequently, many third-world allies) carrying gear consists of a web belt, suspenders, (we recommend “H”-type suspenders instead of the “Y”-type, as the “Y” suspenders may pinch and bind some of us in the neck and shoulder region. If you can find the older “H” suspenders, they will be inexpensive. The new manufactured “H” suspenders that are available through several mail order companies are somewhat
more expensive. “Y” suspenders are fairly common place.), ammo pouches (2), canteens (1 or 2), and a butt-pack. The butt pack can hold your cleaning kit and first-aid kit, or you can have a separate attachment for them.
There are many new, high-speed vests and carrying mechanisms available through US Cavalry, or other mail-order companies, but they are all very expensive. Some new, high-tech rigs can run close to, or even over, $200!! You would be much better off sticking with surplus military gear. If, however, you have your own unique way of carrying gear that works well for you, then stay with that. If you want ideas or suggestions on how to carry your stuff, please attend any militia training session and ask the people there for assistance. They will be more than willing to offer advice.
Please remember that later on, we will be adding some more equipment to the required list, so keep in mind ways of adding to and expanding your gear. It is also important, especially with older gear, to make sure that there are no shiny metal surfaces visible.
You can tape or paint over them. Also make sure that any straps are not excessively worn, and that all necessary clips are present and functional.
INDIVIDUAL BASIC FIRST-AID KIT: This should be considered as an absolute, bare-bones minimum first-aid kit. After much discussion, we decided on these items. You are free to add whatever personal medication or other items that you feel is necessary. Some kind of pain-killer/analgesic, anti-diarrhea medication, anti-histamine or other allergy medicine, and maybe some cough drops are possible considerations, but they are not requirements. Please be certain that your medications are completely LEGAL. The required items are:
- 1 pair of latex gloves. These will be needed if you ever have to work on someone who is bleeding. It is important to avoid contact with anyone else’s blood or other bodily fluids. These gloves take up almost no space, weigh next to nothing, and are usually available by the box at any drug store.
- 32″ triangular bandage (battle dressing). This is the type of bandage that can be tied around a wound, even a large, serious one. The military style battle dressing will work, but any 32″ triangular bandage will be fine. In a pinch, you can even cut your own triangular bandage from a clean sheet. Keep the bandage in its package, or if you cut your own, in a baggie by itself.
- 1-ounce tube of Triple Antibiotic. This is a good, general purpose ointment for minor cuts and scrapes. In a field environment, nobody can afford an infection. This ointment is available either with Lidocaine, a topical pain reliever, or without. It is less expensive without. You should be able to find a tube for $2 or less at your local large department stores. It may be more expensive at a drug store. This is an item that is very useful to have even if you have no militia inclinations whatsoever, so go pick up a tube or two the next time that you are out.
- 5 Band-aids, minimum. These should be the regular size adhesive strips. You may wish to have more, and of different sizes, but you must have at least 5 regular band-aids. You may want to consider the waterproof/sweatproof kind. Please avoid brightly-colored children’s band-aids.
- 1 roll of gauze. These are available by the box at any drug store. You must have at least one in your first-aid kit, and you should keep a box or two at home. These can also be used to wrap and/or tie around a wound.
- 1 4″X4″ gauze pad. You may actually wish to obtain several of these, as they are not usually available in single packages. They must be secured to a wound in some fashion, such as tying with a bandage, or securing with surgical tape. Surgical tape is not a requirement, but it is highly suggested that you obtain at least a small roll. (Note: Unit medics ARE required to carry surgical tape. Please refer to our “Guide to Team and Squad Operations” for further details.) All of your first-aid gear should fit in a baggie. You can carry this in your butt-pack, or it will fit in an AR15 ammo pouch nicely. There are also some military first-aid attachments for your web gear, available at a local surplus store, or through one of the several mail order companies. It is important that your fellow militia members know where your first-aid kit is, so inform them verbally, and use black electrical tape to mark the location of your kit with a cross. You may wish to trail a small, dark red ribbon from your kit, to further help your team-mates in finding your gear, should you become incapacitated. Your first-aid gear is for YOUR use. It should be maintained and updated on a regular basis. Do not allow your personal medication to expire, and check any sterile packaging periodically to make sure that it hasn’t ruptured. You may also wish to purchase a pre-assembled kit from Brigade Headquarters for $5. Your comments and suggestions in this matter, as in all others, are welcome.
COMBAT OR HIKING BOOTS: We almost didn’t make this a requirement, because some of us thought that everyone would automatically meet this requirement. An argument was made to the contrary, therefore, you must wear combat or hiking boots that fit your feet. Any boot issued regularly by the US military would be a good choice. The Army spend millions of your tax dollars testing and refining footgear for our troops. They will not issue boots that will harm its soldier’s feet. Some other boots that are good are the very expensive Danner Ft. Lewis Gore-tex boot. This boot has lasted for seven years for one individual that has worn them to work, and to the field regularly. They are expensive at around $200, but well worth it.
Herman Survivors are also good boots, and they cost a bit less. Jungle boots are very inexpensive, and they are excellent summer boots. When the weather turns cold,
however, they are fairly useless. You should have a pair on hand, for the warm months.
Even with a good, all-purpose boots, you will still want to acquire additional winter boots. You can get winter boots with removable inserts, most of these seem to work well. The US issued Mickey Mouse boots are excellent if you expect to spend extended time in a static position in extremely cold weather. For the price, they are hard to beat. Plan to buy your boots at the end of the day, after your feet have swollen just a bit from the day’s activities.
Avoid steel toe boots, especially in winter. They can become quite uncomfortable.
For a closer look at what many militia people consider to be good boots, just attend any training session, and ask around.
LEVEL ONE ABILITY REQUIREMENTS
Having looked at the equipment requirements for Level One, we will examine the three simple ability requirements. We feel that, after demonstrating these abilities, you can be considered “able-bodied and capable of bearing arms”.
- COMPLETE A TWO-MILE HIKE WITH ALL LEVEL ONE REQUIRED GEAR WITHIN 40 MINUTES. You will also be required to carry any shooting aid that you intend to use in your rifle qualification (requirement C). It is important to be able to get around on foot. It is possible that, under any number of circumstances, travel by other means will be difficult or impossible. A short, two-mile hike at a slow to moderate pace is a good measure of your mobility. Please do not be alarmed by the distance. Two miles is actually a very short walk. Most of us cover many more miles in our daily lives. You will be given as many attempts as you need to complete this walk. If, for some reason, you do not succeed the first time, additional attempts will be allowed after a brief rest period of not less than 15 minutes. It is very possible that persons who do not make it the first time could easily make it if they merely pick up the pace a bit. As there are few roads along which a militia march would fail to attract unwanted attention, the march will take place on a private road or trail. The march may occur in any weather or road condition. Please do not attempt this march if it may jeopardize your health.
- FIELD STRIP YOUR WEAPON FOR CLEANING. Since there are many types of weapons available, this guide cannot possibly cover even a fraction of them. There are several ways to learn how to break down your rifle. You can learn from the manual that will come with any new rifle. You can learn from instruction s published in some other sources, such as certain issues of “Guns & Ammo”, and the like. You can also ask someone who is already familiar with that type of firearm. Any gathering of friendly militia people is bound to be brimming over with firearms knowledge, and they will be more than willing to help you. Do not be embarrassed to ask someone for help- the only dumb question is the one that you don’t ask. You will need to break your weapon down so that the bore, bolt, and gas system (if it has one) may be properly cleaned. There will be additional items that it is possible to break down (buffer springs, extractor pins, hand guards, etc.), but for now, this simple field-stripping will suffice. In many instances, there will be a special tool or device required to break down a certain piece or aspect of a particular rifle. If you are aware of this, it is very important that you obtain this special tool, preferably when you buy the rifle. Sometimes, however, the requirement of a special tool is a warning that you should not remove that certain part at all, so any time a tool is required, exercise extreme caution. Consult your manual, or someone who is thoroughly knowledgeable about your weapon before using any “special tools”. VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: NEVER ATTEMPT TO DO ANYTHING WITH A WEAPON UNLESS YOU UNLOAD AND CLEAR IT FIRST! NEVER, EVER POINT YOUR WEAPON AT ANYONE! ALWAYS BE SAFETY CONSCIOUS!
- PLACE 8 OUT OF 10 SHOTS INTO A 9″ TARGET AT 100 YARDS. From a field expedient position, using any item that you carried on your two-mile hike, place 8 out of 10 shots into a 9″ target at 100 yards. No benchrests will be allowed, and there will be no coaching while you are firing your 10 round string. You will be required to complete this within 5 minutes. You may use a bipod, sleeping pad, rucksack, or whatever, as long as it was carried on your march. You are not required to use anything. If time permits, you will be allowed to sight in prior to actual qualifying. Multiple attempts will be allowed, after everyone has had a first attempt. Following your first attempt, you are free to request a critique of your shooting. In fact, such critiques are often provided without any request at all. Hitting a 9″ target at 100 yards should be relatively easy. (At higher levels, the target will get smaller.) Almost any militia person will help you accomplish this. If you just show up at any range training, we’ll be glad to help. (Some training sessions do not require firearms, so please check first.) The final word on shooting, and you will hear this repeated often, is “practice, practice, practice.”
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