Posts Tagged ‘USMC’

Just a little test video with my newly acquired Canon 550D / Rebel T2i / Kiss X4

Special thanks to Knife for letting me use his guide on my blog

Author: Knife

This is a fairly indepth guide into creating a Marine Force Recon or semi related loadouts like MSOB or to a degree Recon Battalion guys. I’m also mostly going to be detailing a typical rifleman as evidence of SAW and DMR usage is limited and I don’t want to cloud what is known with guesses or conjecture by me. A lot of this is also based on and backed up by photographic evidence.This guide is going to be something along the lines of a post FSBE or 2002ish era when the move to FSBE II was enacted. What is FSBE you ask, FSBE stands for Full Spectrum Battle Equipment. FSBEII is mostly Eagle Industries and Allied Industries gear, with some equipment from CSM Gear. Towards the end I’ll post a short guide to knowing if you’re getting real FSBE2 pouches and gear versus the normal civilian knock off pouches. Nearly all of this is in Coyote Brown, but towards the beginning Coyote Brown wasn’t always available so MJKhaki has been seen in use. There will be pictures out there that show gear that isn’t typically used and is often private purchased, for the most part this guide will stick to what a guy in MFR would be issued rather than conjecture based on private purchase. I’ve been researching this for about 10 months now, and I’ve been putting together my loadout for upwards of eight months now. Comments, questions or anything is welcome and I’ll answer what I can. I’m by no means an expert but I’ve got a fair bit of knowledge on the subject.

Pictures in this guide will be sized 1024×768 to abide by MIA rules. Sometimes they will be smaller, and many times I’ll have a higher resolution. If you want the hires just PM me or post here and I will send it your way.

I’ll start this guide off with some cool/interesting pictures of these guys.
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I’ve got a ton more available if you’re interested. Many can be found in my photobucket and I’ve got many more on my computer. Currently I’ve got 214 photos that encompass Force Recon, MSOB/Marsoc and Recon guys.

Weaponry:
Standard Rifleman Weapon is the M4A1 with 14.5” barrel. It is very rarely seen that a 10.5” is in use and is by no means standard. Weapons are NOT painted. The Magpul 93B stock was seen for a period a few years back but mostly LE stocks are used. Crane stocks are very rarely seen. RIS is the standard KAC 7” RIS.

Optics

  • Aimpoint M68 with standard or cantilever mount or the “L mount”.
  • Eotech 552
  • Eotech 553 in FDE. Part of the recent SOPMOD Block II upgrade. Rarely seen in Black, stick to FDE if at all possible.
  • Elcan SpecterDR in FDE. Part of the SOPMOD Block II upgrade.
  • ACOG TA11E or TA11F

Lasers & Lights

  • Insight PEQ2
  • Insight PEQ15 in Black or FDE. Black was used pre Block II and FDE is now the norm.
  • Surefire G2s are carried as well, but not usually weapon mounted. They have been seen mounted. More on this later.
  • Surefire M951. Not as common as the M961 or M900.
  • Surefire M961
  • Surefire M900
  • Insight M3X
  • Insight SU-233

Silencers:

  • KAC QD Silencer. These aren’t used very often.

Saws:

  • FN M249 Para. There’s little photographic evidence of different types of SAWs being used. It seems that the Para was used for a time with the Eotech 551 or 552.
  • FN M240. Not commonly seen, but it is being used.

DMR:

  • MK11
  • MK12
  • M40

Side Arms

  • 1911 MEU(SOC) is the issued weapon to MFR. My understanding is that these are modified by the Quantico armorers specifically for MFR. These DO NOT have rails on them. The Pachmyr grips have the EGA embedded as the logo.

Lights:

  • Surefire 310R
  • Not commonly seen anymore. These are EXTREMELY rare these days and as far as I know there aren’t any replicas.

Shotguns:

  • M1014. Primary breaching shotgun in recent times. Sometimes seen with an Eotech 552. Often times secured to the person using the Slung Belt Catch and Lanyard.

Gear

Now onto the fairly lengthy and indepth portion. I’ll cover vests, clothing, helmets, gloves and accessories to some degree. I’ll be putting here what’s backed up with photographic evidence as well as from the FSBEII NSN Order sheets and related. More gear is used by these guys that we can know. Assume that all gear is in Coyote Brown unless otherwise stated. You can set it up just about however you like but be smart about it. Most of the time this is personal preference, but sometimes the location of the IFAK is set for a unit to ease in the treating of casualties. If you and some buddies are going to all do a similar loadout I suggest picking a similar spot. It’s worth noting that Allied Industries and Eagle Industries use different shades of Coyote Brown. Allied Industries is more brown while Eagle Industries has more of a green tint to it.

Fatigues:
Tru Spec and Propper ACU Cut MARPAT is incorrect for this loadout. The real MARPAT fatigues do not have velcro on the sleeves.

  • Woodland MARPAT MCCUU
  • Arid MARPAT MCCUU. Pet peeve of mine is those who call it DARPAT, that’s not what is called.
  • Arid MARPAT FROG MCCUU
  • Sage Flight Suit. CWU-27/P
  • Tan Flight Suit. CWU-27/P
  • Many Flightsuits are specially modified with velcro added on the upper sleaves.

Vests:

  • Allied Industries FSBEII MBSS. This item is not available to civilians along with all Allied Industries equipment. Replicas are available and are recommended, the real ones will sell for north of 500.
  • Eagle Industries Land CIRAS. Maritime CIRAS’s have been seen but are not standard. I would stay way from them if at all possible.
  • Eagle Industries MCAV. This vest saw use for a short time and was never very common. Quite rare these days, I’d just avoid this one.
  • Eagle Industries RRV-S. This is sometimes seen with a backplate, contrary to propular belief the Eagle RRV backplate is not used. Instead the rear half of the MBSS is used. You can either buy a full MBSS and use the back half, or the MBSS backplate is sold by itself.
  • Eagle Industries MBAV. This is pretty much the Eagle Industries Plate Carrier with Cummerbund. Main different is that the MBAV has sewn in soft armor. Not commonly used.
  • PACA Low Visibility Carrier. Used to carry Soft Armor when running a MBSS or RRV. Sometimes the SAPI plates are inserted into this as well.

Pouches:

  • Eagle Industries Single M4 Pouch. This holds two M4 mags. Double and triple M4 mag pouches have been seen but the Single M4 Pouch is the most common and the one that is issued via the FSBEII kit.
  • Eagle Industries Single M4 FB Pouch. This holds on M4 mag.
  • Eagle Industries Three Mag M4 Carrier. This is the mag pouch that fits three M4 mags across. It has MOLLE down the front of it.
  • Eagle Industries .45 FB Pouch. Single version only.
  • Eagle Industries Smoke Grenade Pouch
  • Eagle Industries Frag Grenade Pouch. Single only.
  • Eagle Industries 40MM Grenade Pouch. Single only.
  • Eagle Industries M249 Pouch
  • Eagle Industries 100 Round M249 Pouch
  • Eagle Industries M60 Pouch
  • Eagle Industries Flashbang Pouch
  • Eagle Industries IFAK/Med Pouch
  • Eagle Industries SEA MKII Pouch. Older versions are black, I believe the newer ones are CB.
  • Eagle Industries Gas Mask Pouch
  • Eagle Industries Pop Flare Pouch Up
  • Eagle Industries M9 Mag Pouch. Used for Multitools or knives.
  • Eagle Industries SABR Radio Pouch. These are rarely seen as the Saber radio isn’t often used anymore.
  • Eagle Industries Canteen Pouch. Often with the Soft Protective Insert as NVGs are stored within these.
  • Eagle Industries Admin Pouch with Light
  • Eagle Industries Admin Pouch Square Shaped
  • Eagle Industries Horizontal General Purpose Pouch
  • Eagle Industries Modular Assault Pack
  • Eagle Industries Hydration Carrier
  • Eagle Industries Slung Belt Catch
  • Allied Industries Modular Assault Pack
  • Allied Industries Admin with Light
  • Allied Industries Admin Square Shaped
  • Allied Industries Flashbang Pouch
  • Allied Industries MBITR pouch with Flap
  • CSM Gear Surefire Holster
  • Standard USMC IFAKs are also seen. I believe they are produced by Allied Industries, but I’m not 100% on this. They’re easy to find on eBay.

Belt Kit:

  • Eagle Industries MOLLE Warbelt. Best replica is the Flyee Right Angle belt with Suspenders.
  • Eagle Industries Duty Belt with Belt Pad
  • Eagle Industries Dive Belt Adaptor. Gives you MOLLE over the belt buckle I believe.
  • Allied Industries Suspenders. These are a Y design with a larger bit at the Y intersection.
  • Allied Industries Drop Leg. Square design, not available to civilians. Older version has OD mesh on the back, newer has CB. Real ones will go anywhere from $200-500.
  • Allied Industries Holster Adaptor. Connects to the Safariland strap to give a quick detach function as well as continuing to have the 2×2 spot of MOLLE on the belt.
  • Safariland 6004-56. Early on some were Black, 3 Color Desert. Most recently FDE is the most common. If you’re having trouble finding which one, choose the one for Colt 1911A1 without a Rail.
  • Serpas, I’d stray away from these. Yes, they are seen but they are less common and detract from the authenticity. If its all you’ve got and can afford, then go with it but it would be for more accurate to get a Safariland.
  • CSM Gear Roll Up Dump Pouch. This can be mounted on your vest but it’s more appropriate for your belt setup.
  • CSM Gear E & R Bag
  • Eagle Industries E & R Bag
  • A note on these fanny packs, both have been used. It seems that the Eagle Industries one has become more common as of late.
  • Pistol Lanyards are quite common. The issued and most common one is the Gemtech one in Black. More recently some Tan ones have been seen, but for a long time Black was issued.
  • Diamond Backtactical Entry Tool Holder.

Headgear:

  • MICH 2000. The 2001 or 2002 is VERY rarely seen. They do not use the standard USMC LWH.
  • Norotos Three Hole Mount. Chinstrap black or Coyote Brown. Goggle strap retainers in Coyote Brown. Sometimes tan and other times green.
  • Reversible Helmet Cover with hole for Norotos. Very rare, prices on eBay range from 150-200 for the helmet cover. I recommend getting a regular reversible and having it modified. In the second post I have more detailed pictures and info on these.
  • Oakley FSBEII A Frame Goggles in Tan. These have a fan, I’ve also heard that they blow for both airsoft and real use. They go for 150ish on eBay, not worth it.
  • ESS Profile NVG Goggles in Tan. I’ve got a pair of these, they’re alright.

Communication:

  • MSA Sordin Dual Communication Headset
  • Peltor Comtac 2s
  • TCI Liberator I and II depending on the era.
  • Radios are usually PRC 148 MBITRs with either blade or whip antennas.

Accessories:

  • SEA MKII HABD. This is only used on amphibious operations, its a mini bottle that holds around 2 or 3 minutes of air in it, giving the operator a chance to get to safety.
  • TFSS. This is a very rare item, it’s essentially an air bag. It uses a CO2 capsule to inflate a bag that will help keep a soldier afloat. Its usually OD or Black with a set of black beads along the top as a pull chord. This is another item that’s only used on amphibious operations.
  • Surefire G2 or other. G2s are definitely issued in Tan and are used in conjuction with the CSM Gear Holster. The other lights will be one of the ones listen that fit in this holster.
  • ASP Baton + Pouch. Pouch has been seen in Khaki or Coyote Brown. I believe its made by Eagle Industries but I’m not 100% on this.
  • Benchmade Knives. They’re issued in both a straight blade and folder version. Coyote Brown handle with black blade. The straightblade version is the Nivramus.
  • Inovo VIP Light. Seen semi often on the bits of MFR gear.
  • Chemlights. Used for marking cleared rooms, extraction points and other important things.
  • Flexcuffs
  • Gerber Multitool. These have been seen mounted on the straps on Safarilands or on belts. I believe the correct one is the Gerber DET 600 Model 07400. It’s kind of hard to know which is the exact one, but from what I’ve seen sold by the guys I’ve gotten FSBEII stuff from, that’s the one.
  • Allied Industries M4 3 Mag Bandoleer
  • CAT Tourniquet, pretty much every operator will have these. Even if not readily visible on their vest. It’s still quite common to see them strapped someplace on their gear, shoulders, MBITR pouches, extra MOLLE, wherever.
  • Carabiners
  • Patches
  • M40 Gas Mask. This is one of the issued ones, there are others.

Gloves:

  • Oakley SI Assault in Tan
  • Flight Gloves in Sage or Tan
  • Camelbak FROG Gloves
  • Hatch SOG L200 gloves in Tan
  • Outdoor Research Overlord Gloves. Short version seen in the fourth picture I posted up top on the first guy. Pricey gloves, haven’t heard much about them, they’re rare.
  • Operators choice quite a bit of the time, pick something that works for you.

FSBEII Items and Explanation
As I said earlier, FSBEII items are specifically marked by Eagle Industries and Allied Industries to differentiate them from civilian items and different contracts. They are worth more than a civilian item to collectors. Many collectors use these in impressions for the utmost realism. This is an Allied Industries FSBEII Drop Leg Panel.
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The tag is formatted like this:
Item Name
Contract Number
NSN Number
Company Name

Allied industries tags will either have The Resource Center or 7P200 on them signifying that it comes from them. They will often have a partially hand written date on them. This next tag is one from my Eagle Industries FSBEII Hydration Carrier.
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The tag is formatted like this:
Item Name
Item Designation
Contract Number
NSN Number
Date EI

For comparison, this is a picture of an Eagle Industries civilian tag from a Multicam MAP.
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When buying a suspected FSBEII item, make sure to get a picture of the tag. You want to make sure you’re not getting something that’s civilian or fake. Some EI items won’t have a tag on them, and you’ll just have to take the word of the seller. That said, when Eagle Industries doesn’t include a full tag, you’ll usually see a small tag with something like P4, B1104 or something along those lines. It will be small and kind of hanging loose most of the time. Its worth noting that 04/05 items have green labels and tags. These are generally worth more than later items, that may be the exact same, a couple of years later. The green label only applies to Eagle Industries gear, not Allied Industries gear. Allied FSBE2 Leg Panels from the 04/05 era will have green mesh on the backside, rather than the CB/tan seen now.

Picture of my green labeled gas mask pouch:
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NSN List
This is the NSN list of the FSBE A, B and C kits. These are updated from time to time and items are also issued along side of these kits. This list can generally be used to verify if an item with a tag is in fact FSBEII. If you’re still having issues, get a hold of me and I can help you out.

Quote:

KIT,FULL SPECTRUM BATTLE EQUIPMENT (FSBE), INDIVIDUAL CONFIGURATION “A” COMPLETE, CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING COMPONENTS:4220-01-517-6883 LPU-34 FLOTATION COLLAR P/N: 0103100-5;
4220-01-517-4157 FLOTATION COLLAR HARNESS;
4220-01-517-2925 AIR BOTTLE;
5965-01-517-4269 EAGLE HEADSET (LOW NOISE);
5935-01-517-5293 SORDIN HEADSET (HIGH NOISE) W/QUICK DISCONNECT;
5930-01-517-5400 PUSH-TO-TALK (PTT), P/N: E3-MK-REV3A;
6150-01-517-4963 CABLE, 27 IN, TO PTT;
5995-01-517-4231 CABLE, PRC 148 (MARITIME-10 PIN);
5995-01-517-4265 CABLE, PRC 148 & ICS (URBAN- 6 PIN);
5895-01-476-6124 MICH LAND COMMS HEADSET (LOW NOISE);
8465-01-516-7955 BAG, KIT;
8465-01-516-7959 PACK, PATROL;
8465-01-516-7960 HYDRATION SYSTEM;
8465-01-516-7961; POCKET, AMMUNITION MAGAZINE (BANDOLEER AMMO POUCH);
8470-01-516-7966 VEST, SMALL ARMS PROTECTIVE BODY ARMOR (RHODESIAN RECON VEST);
8465-01-516-7967 POUCH, FRAG GRENADE, SINGLE;
8465-01-516-7968 POCKET, RADIO, MBITR;
8465-01-516-7973 POUCH, SAW, W/DET TOP;
8465-01-521-3530: MC-MEDP-MS-KH POUCH, MEDICAL, INDIVIDUAL;
8465-01-516-7974 POCKET, AMMUNITION MAGAZINE (POUCH, AMMO, SHOTGUN, 24 RDS);
8465-01-516-7976 POCKET, GP MEDIUM;
8465-01-516-8368 LEG PANEL;
8465-01-516-8370 POCKET, AMMUNITION, MAGAZINE (POUCH, MAG, M-4, SINGLE/DOUBLE);
8465-01-516-8371 POCKET, AMMUNITION, MAGAZINE (POUCH, MAGAZINE, 45 SINGLE);
8465-01-516-8374 POCKET, FLASH BANG;
8465-01-516-8376 POCKET, SEA MKII;
8465-01-516-8377 ADAPTOR, MOLLE DIVE BELT;
8465-01-516-8380 BAG, E & R;
8465-01-516-8382 POUCH, SMOKE GRENADE;
8465-01-516-8383 CARRIER, CHEMICAL-BIOLOGICAL MASK;
8465-01-516-8384 POCKET, AMMUNITION, MAGAZINE (POUCH, M-60 AMMO);
8465-01-516-8385 BELT CATCH, SLUNG;
8465-01-516-8415 CARRIER, MODULAR, 3 MAG M-4A1;
8470-01-516-8453 POCKET GP MBSS W/LIGHT HOLDER;
8470-01-516-8454 POCKET GP MBSS W/O LIGHT HOLDER;
8470-01-516-8452 MODULAR ASSAULT PACK.

Quote:

KIT,FULL SPECTRUM BATTLE EQUIPMENT (FSBE), INDIVIDUAL CONFIGURATION “B” COMPLETE, CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING COMPONENTS:8465-01-516-7955 BAG, KIT;
8465-01-516-7960 HYDRATION SYSTEM;
8465-01-516-7961 POCKET, AMMUNITION MAGAZINE (BANDOLEER AMMO POUCH);
8465-01-516-7967 POUCH, FRAG GRENADE, SINGLE;
8465-01-516-7969 POCKET, RADIO (SABR);
8465-01-516-7973 POUCH, SAW, W/DET TOP;
8465-01-521-3530 POUCH, MEDICAL INDIVIDUAL;
8465-01-516-7974 POCKET, AMMUNITION MAGAZINE (POUCH, AMMO, SHOTGUN, 24 RDS);
8465-01-516-7976 POCKET, GP MEDIUM;
8465-01-516-8368 LEG PANEL;
8465-01-516-8370 POCKET, AMMUNITION MAGAZINE (POUCH, MAG, M-4 SINGLE/DOUBLE);
8465-01-516-8372 POCKET, AMMUNITION MAGAZINE (POUCH, MAGAZINE, 9MM);
8465-01-516-8374 POCKET, FLASH BANG;
8465-01-516-8377 ADAPTER, MOLLE DIVE BELT;
8465-01-516-8382 POUCH, SMOKE GRENADE;
8465-01-516-8383 CARRIER, CHEMICAL-BIOLOGICAL MASK;
8465-01-516-8384 POCKET, AMMUNITION MAGAZINE (POUCH, M-60 AMMO);
8465-01-516-8385 BELT CATCH, SLUNG.

Quote:

KIT,FULL SPECTRUM BATTLE EQUIPMENT (FSBE), INDIVIDUAL CONFIGURATION “C” COMPLETE, CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING COMPONENTS:8465-01-516-7955 BAG, KIT;
8465-01-516-7960 HYDRATION SYSTEM;
8465-01-516-7961 POCKET, AMMUNITION MAGAZINE (BANDOLEER AMMO POUCH);
8465-01-516-7967 POUCH, FRAG GRENADE, SINGLE;
8465-01-516-7976 POCKET, GP MEDIUM;
8465-01-516-8368 LEG PANEL;
8465-01-516-8370 POCKET, AMMUNITION MAGAZINE (POUCH, MAG, M-4 SINGLE/DOUBLE);
8465-01-521-3530 POUCH, MEDICAL INDIVIDUAL;
8465-01-516-8383 CARRIER, CHEMICAL-BIOLOGICAL MASK;
8465-01-516-8384 POCKET, AMMUNITION MAGAZINE (POUCH, M-60 AMMO);
8465-01-516-8385 BELT CATCH, SLUNG.

These are NSNs for the Commo gear used.

Quote:

FSBE (full spectrum battle equipment) headsets
FSBE eagle headset 8465-01-519-6918
FSBE eagle headset 5965-01-517-4269
FSBE sordin high noise headset 8465-01-519-6922
FSBE sordin high noise headset 8465-01-519-6876
maritime MICH headset with neck band 5965-01-549-1249
television equipment associates maritime MICH headset 5895-01-505-2108
FSBE parts and cables
television equipment associates pust to talk button 5930-01-517-5400
television equipment associates push to talk button for single MBITR 5895-01-505-2123
television equipment associates intercom 10in cable 5995-01-505-2121
television equipment associates PRC-148 single comm cable 5995-01-517-4231
television equipment associates PRC-148 dual comm cable 5995-01-517-4265
television equipment associates PRC 36in family cable 5995-01-517-4914

Finally, one of the more interesting bits I’ve found online is an AAR from a MFR group coming back from Afghanistan. This is is from the FSBE era, but lots of info still applies and on top of that is interesting.

Quote:

Force Recon in Afghanistan notesFrom: 2nd Platoon 1st Force Reconnaissance Company, 15th MEU (SOC)

To: Commanding Officer, 1st Force Reconnaissance Company

SUBJ: WEAPONS AND EQUIPMENT AFTER ACTION REPORT

1. The following after action report will discuss the arms and equipment issued to 2nd Plt., cover the good and bad points of each piece of gear and describe how each was used by the Plt. Learning points discovered during the course of 2nd Plt’s work up and deployment will also be discussed. The after action comments are broken down into the following sections:

(A) Weapons

(B)Optics

(C) Communications

(D) Equipment

(E) Equipment deficiencies

A. WEAPONS

1. M4-A1 CARBINE- This weapon proved more than mission capable. We replaced 3 cracked bolt faces out of 28 weapons. Two of the cracked bolt faces occurred during our CQB package. This is to be expected in weapons after firing in between 10,000-20,000 rounds due to higher chamber pressure experienced with the M-4A1 using the standard M-16 bolt. It is my understanding that Colt is producing a new bolt that will stand up to more abuse. Until this is corrected we must ensure all weapons are carefully checked prior to issuing, and during JLTI upon returning from the MEU. There is noticeable pitting on the surfaces of the bolt and firing pin in all weapons. One weapon had to be switched out due to its inability to maintain a zero. We were unable to determine the cause. The extended charging handle works very well, however, it needs to be reinforced. The repeated strain placed on the pin caused it to break in 5 of our carbines. These pins are easy to replace and are available through the MEU or BLT armomer’s

SOPMOD KIT

a. RAIL ADAPTER SYSTEM (RAS)- Worked very well. Generally optics attached, zeroed and then removed returned to within 1 MOA as promised when the optic was returned to the same location and tightened to the same degree. One tendency was for Marines to want to remove the RAS Assembly often for cleaning. This should not greatly affect the accuracy however, I advise against it. The lower portion of the RAS can be removed and the inside cleaned adequately with a cloth or compressed air. While no Marine should be found without a functionally clean weapon The Marine Corps attitude towards impeccably clean weapons leads to over-cleaning with improper solvents and shortens the life of the weapon. If we want to see spotless weapons, visit a unit that doesn’t use them.

b. VERTICLE FORE GRIP- While I was skeptical at first, this piece of gear is invaluable. It improves weapons controllability and because it is easy to grasp, it makes it easier to use the non-firing hand to give hand and arm signals while maintaining a fighting grip on the weapon with the strong hand.

c. VISIBLIE LIGHT ILLUMINATOR- This light works well when it works. The VLI provided an incredible advantage to the Plt. when conducting Highway Interdiction Operations. This light is extremely bulky and temperamental. Over half of the platoons VLI’s have needed replacement since the beginning of the training cycle a year ago. The problem with the light inadvertently being switched on has not been adequately solved. We experienced very few white light N.D.’s, however we taped both the lens as well as the light switch, and this takes time to undo.

d. BACK-UP IRON SIGHT- This sight works well as a back-up sight. We conducted drill in with it with little to no problems.

e. SLING- All Marines in the Plt. replaced the issued sling with a simple, single point sling. This proved a much better design. A commercially available sling from The Wilderness seems to work better than the homemade version. There are attachment points available that mount at the base of the receiver and are much more sturdy that the flex cuffs most of the Marines used.

f. SUPPRESSOR- Suppressors worked well with little affect on the weapons impact. They were used during some MSPF Operations and were carried during patrols should it become required to eliminate a guard or dog. One suppressor became rusted after apparently getting wet inside the rucksack. The suppressors must be lubricated on the outside and dried if used in rain or if water is used in them. These can be left in the sun to dry or placed in an oven to dry them out

2. M-203- Due to the rough terrain and the fine sand we had a few problems. The muzzle needs to be taped up, and regular cleanings were required to keep sand from getting into the working parts of the 203. During a vehicle patrol it is recommended that several cans of spray air be kept for this purpose. Due to the lack of weapons racks in the vehicles at times, in rough terrain, weapons would bounce around. On one M-203 the small pin in the front assembly was damaged. The M-203 functioned, however we were not certain if it was functionally safe. If the M-203’s are to be removed it is vital that the Marines understand that they must maintain accountability of the cam plate in the quick release assembly.

3. M-79- Very good for vehicle patrols. It proved to be easy to manipulate in the front and rear of the vehicle. The vehicle commander primarily used the weapon

4. MEU (SOC) .45- These weapons are notorious for stoppages caused by broken parts. The following replacement parts are essential for deploying Plt. armorer: buffer pads, spring guide rods, barrel bushings, springs, extractors, firing pins, firing pin springs, firing pin stop plates. The 15th MEU did not have an armorer qualified to work on our pistols. With these parts generally any problem that arose with the pistols could be fixed. The most likely problem that cannot be repaired by the Plt. armorer is broken barrel-locking lugs. This problem is caused in part by use of the hot TZZ ammunition and the fact that the slide lock pin used with the Sure-Fire light it not custom fit to the weapon. This creates play in the pin and places excessive strain on the barrel-locking lug.

Replacement of the buffer pad about every 300 rounds also significantly reduces wear on the extractors and spring/guide assembly. This prevents many of the malfunctions from occurring. Locktight on the rear sights was helpful as the adjustable rear sight has a tendency to vibrate itself loose. In the past we have sent Marines to LAPD SWAT to work with the armomers and learn how to repair common problems. We coated the front sight with a high visibility orange paint marker. This seemed to speed up sight acquisition especially during low visibility.

a. .45 SUREFIRE LIGHT-The Surefire light for the .45 was unreliable. The design of the pressure pad and wire causes them to easily break or short out. On several of the lights we used spare pressure pads from the AN/PEQ-2 that had more flexible wire, and had the Electricians on the ship replace the pressure switch. This more flexible wire was much more effective.

5. MP-5- These weapons were fired several times on ship in order to give a familiarization to the Marines who had not fired them, and in the shooting house in Darwin Australia where 5.56 ball is not authorized. They may also be useful in the event that the Plt. is tasked with conducting a PSD in which case the MP-5 may be preferred. We are rapidly running out of Marines who are experienced with the MP-5. I recommend that during the Weapons and Tactics package a familiarization of the MP-5 be conducted so that all Marines at least understand it function and have fired it before deploying.

6. 12 GAUGE SHOTGUN- We had little opportunity to use these due to unavailability of lockbuster ammunition. We experimented with Less Lethal baton and beanbag rounds, which will penetrate hollow core wooden doors however; I do not know it they could be reliably used. An unauthorized solution would be to make our own Lock buster rounds as LAPD SWAT does (or used to) with dental plaster.

7. M-40 A1- We had several opportunities to fire the M-40’s. One item noted was that the MEU has several lot numbers of Match and Special Ball ammunition. This should be checked with the MEU ammo tech. And ammo should be requested by lot number to insure continuity of ammunition. Our Plt. Deployed with no night vision capability for our sniper weapons, and without the dovetails required to mount the KN-200F SIMRAD. In a recent Night Vision Conference the subject of Sniper night vision was discussed. I sent a recommendation for the purchase of the AN/PVS-10. The AN/PVS-10 is a day/ night scope that allows the sniper to use a single aiming point, and transition from day to night observation with a turn of a switch. Currently the addition of a MILSTD 1913 rail is required to mount AN/PVS-10 on the M-40 A1. Additionally, a separate mount is required to achieve the proper angle. I don’t know if the M-40 A3 will have this requirement, but if we are going to purchase more AN-PVS-10’s we should ask Litton modify the optic so that it will mount to the weapon with out this requirement. Additionally, Litton is developing a new 3rd Gen+ tube that I believe is termed an Un-gated, Filtered tube which allows excellent observation even when looking into bright light (i.e., a man standing in front of a vehicle with its headlights on.) This should be required on any optics that we purchase.

8. M-82 A1- Was taken on the vehicle patrols, and carried in the Pelican case. The weapon was bounced around during transit. We were planning to use this weapon during road interdiction operations to stop fleeing vehicles, but did not have the opportunity. We were unable to fire the weapon to determine if it maintained its zero. The AN/PVS-12 should be purchased as a day/night optic for the SASR.

9. M-249- The Para–saw was used during patrolling and I.A. Drill training. It performed well and there were no complaints.

10. M-240G- The 240 was mounted for our vehicle patrols. The weapon preformed well. It is recommended that if it is to be employed the variant with butterfly trigger be used, as it gives the gunner more freedom of movement in the vehicle. This would create a problem if the vehicle had to be left behind and the weapon carried. The new weapons mount may solve this problem.

11. MK-19- We did not deploy with our own weapons and had to temp loan them from the MSSG. The MK-19 worked well as a vehicle mounted weapon’s system however, we had a few problems. When not in use the gun was covered by a desert pack cover to keep out as much dirt and sand as possible. Due to the fine sand the weapons were only lightly lubricated with LSA. Due to rough terrain and bouncing, the rounds became off center on the links. This caused numerous malfunctions. It is recommended that the Company acquire it’s own weapons and that a gun cover be produced that will be easily removable, but sill keep sand and dirt out of the weapon while vehicle mounted. Additionally, ammunition on the gun must be checked daily for serviceability.

12. HS .22 PISTOL- These were never used. We should consider doing away with these and purchasing several threaded 9mm Beretta barrels and suppressors.

13. SIMUNITIONS KIT- The training received during the CQB package with the simunitions kit was invaluable. Care must be taken to ensure plenty of live fire training is conducted as well because bad habits are easily developed. In the past we have experimented with their use during green side I.A. drills. This training is also effective however, it is limited to extremely close range due to the limitations of the round. Often a paint round will rupture inside the barrel. This effectively removes the weapon from the fight. The best method of clearing this is to run several patches coated in acetone through the barrel. The biggest complaint with the Simunitions was that the masks issued are in terrible shape. The lenses are badly scratched and fog so easily that it is difficult to see with them on. This is especially true during an extended movement to an Obj. This meant that SOTG would usually not allow contact prior to the LCC. It would definitely enhance the training of the MSPF if the game was on from insert to extract.

B. OPTICS

1. AIMPOINT- The Aimpoint performed well. They were frequently removed and replaced with very little loss of zero. The aimpoint seemed to be among the most durable of the optics. One was used during the road interdiction operation and was very easy to pick up even with fire burning in the background. Problems with the aimpoint included flimsy wire connecting battery cap and windage and elevation adjustments are prone to breaking which can lead to loss of the caps. The On/off switch has tendency to loosen, which causes Aimpoint to turn of and on or change intensity while firing. This can also easily be fixed by removing the switch cap, tightening the operating pieces of the switch and replacing the switch cap, all accomplished with standard size allen keys. Batteries should be removed after use. Zeroing was most often done on the target included in the SOPMOD manual. The newer version of the Aimpoint has better point of attachment for the caps and a much longer battery life. The lenses have a tendency to easily scratch. A clear sacrificial cap is needed for both the front and back lenses.

2. ACOG- The ACOG worked very well for patrolling and was easy to zero. One item to be noted is that when zeroing the ACOG at 25M the 300 M reticle line must be used. Several Marines accidentally used the center (100 M) reticle and obviously had problems when we moved to confirm the zero at range. Problems with the optic are that the smaller 200-600M reticle lines are difficult to pick up. The iron sights on top are not very useful. The optic must be removed before the BIS can be used. The ACOG should be tightened with a screwdriver instead of pliers. A hand-tightening knob should replace the current screws. There are several good BZO targets for the ACOG in the SOPMOD manual. The best are the ACOG specific targets designed to be used at various ranges.

3. REFLEX SIGHT- The only time that we used the reflex sight was as an optic for the simunitions kit. The dot is very hard to pick up rapidly, especially during dusk/dawn and upon leaving a lighted area before the eyes adjust to darkness.

4. AN/PEQ-2- The AN/PEQ-2’s worked very well with the helmet mounted AN/PVS-14’s. We conducted several night shoots on the ship with them. They seem to be easiest to zero when mounted on the left hand side of the RAS. The only time mounting on the right side might be advised is if the M-203 is used. The AN/PEQ-2 seems to loose several inches from zero if it is removed. Several were left on throughout the work up and deployment with no loss of zero. The blue high power limiter located on the function switch can be flipped to the black side with a small allen wrench. This allows the high power settings to be used. We switched ours prior to entering Pakistan. In the high settings the aiming point and illuminator worked very well, and seemed to have no affect on zero conducted on the lower settings. Again the zero target in the SOPMOD manual worked well. The dot should be zeroed first then the Illuminator adjusted to the center the beam on the dot. As with all of our watertight optics, batteries must be removed prior to storage, or the heat and humidity changes can cause the batteries to severely corrode the battery chamber. The waterproof plug that inserts in the pressure switch port is small and easily lost. These should be hard wired to the optic, or a large supply of spares sent with each Plt. These must be used in order to prevent damage to the optic. The port must be cleaned regularly as a small amount of moisture will quickly corrode the port. The illuminator became very useful in low illumination situations. It was used in Jakobabad, Pakistan while in security positions. Several filter straps broke, limiting their usefulness. These are very valuable because they block the beam from being seen from the sides.

5. AN/PVS-14- The AN/PVS-14’s were used extensively helmet mounted, head mounted and hand held. We did not use them mounted on the M-4. The modified helmet mount for the MICH helmet worked very well. The optic should be dummy corded to the helmet. In the hand held mode the 3&5 power magnifiers darken the picture somewhat, but they worked well. The magnifiers are to heavy to be used head mounted and the magnification obviously makes walking with them on difficult. The only problems we experienced were with the battery box covers which are flimsy and do not close securely. In cold weather the o-ring on the battery cover needs to be lubricated to allow it to close properly. A small tube of silicone would be useful, however, in lieu of that, carmex lip balm seemed to work well. The helmet mount swing arm is easily broken. The optic should not be left attached to the helmet when the helmet is not being worn, and spare swing arms should be given to each Plt.

6. AN/PVS-17- The AN/PVS-17’s worked well and was used by some Marines exclusively for patrolling both day and night. A report that I received stated that SEAL teams were experiencing a high failure rate with the PVS-17. This was blamed on using the optic during daylight. We frequently did this and experienced no problems. It is essential when zeroing this optic that it be mounted completely forward of the BIS. Failure to do this will cause serious deviations while attempting to zero the optic. As with all of our watertight optics, batteries must be removed prior to storage, or the heat and humidity changes can cause the batteries to corrode the battery chamber. The PVS-17 was used on the Highway interdiction Missions. The aiming dot remained visible with fire in the immediate background. Some Marines experienced problems during BMNT/EENT, because it was too bright for the daylight cover to be off and too dark for it to be on.

7. SOFIE- It proved incredibly useful in low light operations. The SOFIE was invaluable, as it allowed the Marines to see many kilometers ahead of the vehicle. Additional batteries and a more rugged / mobile battery charger is needed to efficiently charge batteries in the field and while on the move. We were able to make an adaptor for the IFAV to hook up the charger however; it was temperamental and could not take a lot of bouncing around.

8. SOFLAM- We did not have the opportunity to designate any targets with the SOFLAM in Afghanistan however, we did use it during training and it was used to accurately determine range. It performed well, but is too large to be pulled out constantly just to determine range. A smaller laser range finder (Like the Viper) is needed.

9. NIGHT STAR- We were not able to deploy with the Night Star. It would have been extremely handy.

10. KOWA SCOPE- These Scopes worked very well. In the desert the mirage makes observation difficult during the heat of the day especially on the higher power settings. In one of our scopes the 20x to 60x eyepiece stripped and the entire scope became inoperable.

11. M-49- First fielded in 1949. That is prior to the Korean War. Need I say more?

12. 7X50 BINOS- Experienced no problems

13. TASCO BINOS- Experienced no problems

14. GCP – This was carried on all patrols and worked well however, the ANPEQ-2 when used on the high power setting works almost as well.

15. AN/PEQ-4- This was used during amphib training as a signal to that scout swimmers were on the beach. If it is to be used as a signal instead of a radio it must be determined if the enemy has night vision capabilities and weather NOD’s or DF’ing is the biggest threat. When these are used in amphib ops, the pressure switch plug must be in place. If not the inside of the switch becomes badly corroded. The optic must be thoroughly rinsed and dried after use especially in the pressure switch connector. This can be dried and cleaned with q-tips. 2nd Plt. was issued several AN/PEQ-4’s that were unserviceable and had to be switched out.

C. COMMUNICATIONS

1. AN/PRC-119F- Used as needed for inter-vehicle comm.

2. AN/PRC-117- No problems

3. AN/PRC-138-No problems

4. AN/PRC-148- The AN-PRC 148 MBITR’s were carried as a survival radio only during patrol due to limited battery life. They were used on several occasions as inter-Plt comm. and worked well. It was noted that when used in the freq-hop mode they seemed to loose time frequently.

5. AN/PSN-11- The Garmin was primarily used for navigation, however the plugger was carried as a back up and used to in the slant/range/calc mode to determine distant positions.

6. SIDS- The SID’s was used very effectively during our MEU work up. Our R&S assets were able to send real time photos to the Assault Element.

D. EQUIPMENT

1. FSBE KIT

a. FSBE VEST- The vest was worn extensively by the Plt. during CQB operations as well as mounted patrolling. Over all, the vest was comfortable and is a vast improvement over the old Point Blank vest. The cut away system worked well. There were not sufficient quantities of large sizes available. The biggest complaint with the vest was the stitching that began to come loose after extended wear. The newer prototype that I saw prior to deployment had an external cummerbund that pouches could be attached to. This will probally improve the fit of the vest. The first version had an internal cummerbund. This worked very well but was removed when the cut away modification was made. If the current side closure system is to be maintained the fastening system should be reversed so that the individual Marine can cinch down the vest himself. There was talk of removing the insert from the shoulders that would allow for a more low profile fit. This is recommended. As we were deploying to a desert area we painted much of our equipment to match the terrain. We should have desert covers for the vest.

b. RAC SYSTEM- The rack system worked very well and was worn by many Marines during many different operations. The same stitching issues were present as with the vest. Again these should be made in desert material.

c. FSBE POUCHES- The pouch quality was probably the biggest problem. Stitching came loose and the thin material of the pouches wore through quickly especially when dragging a simulated causality. One problem with the FSBE system is that Marines have to frequently switch pockets back and forth. The modular system works well in that it allows the gear to be set up as needed by the individual Marine, however if more pouches were available, both the vest and RAC could be set up and pouches changed only when needed rather than each time it is required to wear one or the other. As with the Vest and RAC, desert camo pouches should be available. The types of pockets and pouches available worked well and many were useful during Green side OPs as well as CQB. Because of this the gear is used much more than the old gear was and many of the pouches will need to be surveyed more frequently. We should keep a large supply of replacement pouches on hand. The “Fag Bag” issued with the FSBE works well for some things, but because it has only one large pocket it is difficult when many small items are carried in it. An improved version should include several smaller pouches that would assist in organizing gear. Also the waist strap should be modified with MOLLE attachment points to allow small items like flash bangs to be attached. A breacher pouch designed to hold a firing system with elastic loops would be useful.

d. KNEE/ELBOW PADS- These worked well however, after extensive use the elastic and Velcro begins to wear out well before the pad itself. If replaceable straps were available we would save a lot of money in the long run.

e. HABD BOTTLE -We experienced no problems with the Long-Hose version.

f. DAY PACK- The daypack worked well for transporting radios and, breaches. The low profile made fast roping from the hell-hole easy. However we had to modify the attachment system to ensure that it would not restrict the ability to cut away the vest as per the HRST SOP. The MOLLE medical pack was superior for medical purposes and may work better for breachers.

g. LPU/34-P- The LPU is bulky and causes some problems with weapons manipulation. We wore the LPU only when required. If time was available after going feet dry, we removed the FSBE vest prior to boarding and used the A/C flotation and donned the FSBE after going feet dry. This also saved wear and tear on the LPU’s. When time was not available (VBSS, Obj close to shore) the LPU’s were worn. During training shoots should be conducted wearing the LPU. This will allow the Marine to become familiar with any difficulties he will experience. If the LPU’s were to be worn the buddy system was used for donning and each Marine received a HRST Master check developed by SSgt Pope. This was similar to a JMPI and checked to ensure that all equipment was worn properly and would not become fouled if the vest was ditched. The HABD bottle was also checked at this time. Although all Marines had received the required FSBE training we were not allowed to wear the equipment in the Helo dunker. We did however; conduct shipboard Helo egress training and ditching of the FSBE.

2.MICH HELMET- The helmet, like the vest was worn extensively during DA missions as well as vehicle patrols. It was comfortable however; a wider variety of pad thickness is required. The pads became hard during cold weather when the helmet was not worn. We were given a large package of spare plastic buckles. These came in handy as they break often.

a. MICH COMM SYSTEM- 2nd Plt. was the first to be issued the MICH COMM system and used it extensively during the work up. Our after action comments about the system were given to the designers and for the most part these remain unchanged. We used the MICH system during some of our shoots on the ship, flow-drills, and in the house in Darwin. The high noise works well as long as you don’t have to have it on for too long. It is far too uncomfortable to be worn during a long duration vehicle patrol. Additionally, the high noise picks up some of the noise from the vehicle. The low noise version was not used extensively. In my opinion in order to hear it the volume had to be turned up too loud during CQB operations, and in green side ops (when required) I preferred the MBITR swimmers head set although, this does not have the required connector to adapt to any other radio.

b. MICH MODIFIED AN/PVS-14 MOUNT-The modified AN/PVS-14 Mount worked very well however, when we mounted them, the proper screw and sleeve were not available so we used alluminum screws and sleeves purchased at Home Depot. These had a tendency to strip after repeated use. A helmet cover should be designed that does not require the mount to be removed in order to change the cover from woodland to desert camo

3. GOGGLES- The Company currently issues several types of goggles including Gentex, Oakley, two types of Bolle Goggles, and the high speed built in fan goggles. We will never make everyone happy with goggles. But in my opinion the Bolle Tactical goggles work the best and fog up the least. The only problem with these is that they are single lens and could not be worn during Simunitions training. We need to start purchasing cases for any goggles similar to dive mask cases. These are inexpensive and will greatly increase the life of the goggles. Additionally many companies produce peel off sacrificial lenses that are applied to the goggles and removed as needed. We should standardize our choice of goggles and send each Plt. out with peel offs, spare lenses and cases. The most problems were experienced with our Simunitions mask. These are required during training, but they quickly become fogged to the point of completely obscuring observation must be removed in order to see accomplish the mission.

4. GARMIN GPS- This was one of the best purchases the Company ever made. The Garmin was used during all operations, and while it will never replace ability to navigate, it is an invaluable piece of gear. It enabled teams under canopy to fly directly to the DZ, provided rapid navigation on the move during vehicle patrolling and boat movements and gives the Marine the ability rapidly convert from grid to Lat /Long which was often required in Afghanistan.

5. THREE-DAY RUCK- The Eagle three-day ruck worked incredibly well for short duration patrols and D.A. missions in which more equipment was required. The only problem experienced was the rusting of metal attachment points. These were supposed to be replaced with plastic.

6. INDIVIDUAL CAMO NETTING- Two each (woodland and desert camo) nets were issued per man. These were used extensively to conceal individuals and equipment as well as to provide backdrops for OP’s. These are essential pieces of gear and must continue to be provided to every man.

7. IFAV- Over all the IFAV’s performed well. The training received was instrumental in our success in accomplishing multiple patrols and over seven hundred kilometers of movement. Time must be available for maintenance/PM after each patrol. This means that two vehicles are not enough to support continuous vehicle patrolling. In a perfect world each platoon could deploy with 5 IFAV’s and 2 Trailers. This would allow two vehicle patrols to be run simultaneously with one vehicle in reserve. We were able to temp loan IFAV’s from the BLT however, theirs were in poor condition due to misuse and we were required to prep the vehicle’s (remove windshield’s etc) before each use and replace after. Our biggest complaint was the tires. Due to the terrain extremely hard rock to extremely soft sand we were required to air up/down tires often. This contributed to many flats with the cheap non-bead lock tires. During the platoons vehicle-patrolling package, a request for equipment was submitted. Most of this gear was not purchased. We determined that had it been, many of our maintenance problems could have been avoided. The complete list of this equipment is included in the Mounted Patrolling After Action attached to this report.

E. EQUIPMENT DEFICIENCIES

1. CHOW-During a reconnaissance patrol the amount that can be carried is based on the amount of space available. Usually chow is the first thing to be discarded for room. An energy bar called the HOOAH bar is available through the system that is similar to a power bar and should be made available to Marines to supplement MRE’s while on patrol. Additionally, LRRP rations, and Cold weather rations should be available upon request.

2. COLD WEATHER GEAR- While in Afghanistan we were issued cold- weather system items including a Polar Fleece jacket, Cold weather balaclava, neck gaiter and extreme cold weather gore-tex gloves with liners. Unfortunately this equipment arrived too late to be of much use. This equipment should be issued to all Plt. members in the Company.

3. VIPER LASER RANGE FINDER- We were able to use this borrow this piece of gear from the Air Force Para rescue teams in Jacobabad Pakistan. It is a small laser range finder similar in size to our 7×50 Binos. It has a range of over 3,000M and is adjustable for units of measure. I have heard that a newer version can be attached to the Plugger and provide an instant grid to the target. The Company has tested the Night-star binos that have a laser range finer but these were not available to us. Our only method of accurately determining range was with the SOFLAM and this is too bulky to be used rapidly.

4. LAAW 2- We were able to acquire 8 of these from JSOTF assets in Afghanistan. The reliability problems of the old LAAW’s have been fixed in this model and they are much more compact and are better suited for our purposes for both mounted and foot mobile patrolling.

5. GLOBAL CELL PHONE- During our deployment we had the opportunity to use the Iridium Global Cell phone The Motorola 9505 terminal without the tamper-proofing option (the upgrade is to allow for a data capability) is available now for $1400. The terminal can be used in the unclass mode indefinitely. The OSD policy will be that when the secure sleeves are available (Motorola is ramping up production now), the terminal with the sleeve must be purchased. When the ISM (Secure sleeves) become available we can send the terminal in to who can then perform the software upgrade and add the tamper-proofing, and also add the secure sleeve for about $2500 per terminal. The issue has not been worked out with MARCORSYSCOM yet however, these phones will allow the capability to transmit data and voice comm. From anywhere to any other iridium or secure phone.

6. ALLEN WRENCH SET- Our weapons and optics require a wide variety of Allen Wrenches to tighten. These are issued to the Plt. armorer loose. Small sets of inexpensive Allen wrenches which fold into a handle similar to a pocket knife are available at most hardware stores. These are easily dummy- corded to the individual Marine. A set of these wrenches should be included in the SOPMOD Kit.

7. GOGGLES/GLASSES- Due to the constant problems with our goggles, the 15th MEU purchased each Marine a set of Wiley-X glasses/goggles. These glasses had interchangeable arms/straps to allow them to be worn in either mode. The interchangeable lenses included clear lenses for nighttime shooting and driving as well as sunglass lenses. The ability to remove only one lens allowed the AN/PVS-14’s to be worn while still protecting the eyes from dust caused by mounted patrolling. These glasses are fog resistant and also worked well during MFF operations.

8. CONCEALED HOLSTERS- 2nd Plt. was called upon to perform Personal Security Detail (PSD) Operations in East Timor. The situation in the country required the Marines involved to remain relatively “low-key” and carry concealed weapons. Several Marines had brought personal concealed carry holsters otherwise this would not have been possible. Each Plt. must deploy with at least eight concealed carry holsters

9. LOW PROFILE BODY ARMOR- As with the holsters mentioned above it would greatly enhance the capabilities of the Plt. if low profile wrap-around vests were available for issue through the Company.

10. (deleted as sensitive)

11. FLEX CUFFS- During our work up and deployment we were required to use large zip ties instead of actual flex cuffs designed to be used as restraints. These zip ties do not possess the same tensile strength as those designed as restraints. Fortunately our only prisoner was physically weak and unable to escape the cuffs. We may not be as fortunate in the future. A number of better products are available, and should be purchased.

12. DESERT BALACLAVAS- The Navy damage control teams use these. We were able to obtain some from them. These worked very well in the desert environment

13. GARMIN ARM POUCH- Several members of the platoon had purchased these from SSgt J. before he left the Marine Corps. They allow the Garmin to be wrist mounted and worked exceptionally well during vehicle movement as well as during free fall operations. They may be produced locally or purchased from Eagle Industries.

I’ll call this Part 2 of my guide, I realize I’m double posting but all of this won’t fit into one post and more will be added over time I’m sure. This will be for things that don’t fall in the above regarding items, placement of pouches, things that are typically overlooked and other details.

Early on in the FSBEII more of the black gear was seen. Black belts, Safarilands, Surefire Holsters, 1911 Lights, Black ASP Baton Pouches and Black Pistol Lanyard. Items like the Recce Gear Dump Pouch were also seen in black or OD, before is a perfect picture of this.
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Another interesting item is the PVC holder that is seen on the backs of MFR guys. This is used to hold breeching tools like a sledgehammer. This is a specially manufactured pouch I believe and to be honest I’m not real sure of the manufacturer.

The FSBEII Drop Leg is also folded over sometimes. This allows your leg to remain a bit less encumbered, usually a shotgun pouch or .45 FB pouches are used when this is done. Not necessarily a common practice, but it happens as seen here.
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I’ve mentioned the TFSS and HABD SEA MKII previously. The TFSS is almost always placed on the belt, while the HABD can be seen either mounted on the back, or on the belt. These items are pretty much exclusively used on amphibious operations, there’s no real reason to be adding the extra weight when you’re in the desert. If you look closely in this picture, they can be seen.
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Another couple of items that are very often overlooked in completing a Force Recon loadout is the use of the CSM Gear Surefire Holster. I actually stumbled upon this by chance after seeing it in a picture and having trouble figuring out what it was. I hate to reuse a picture from above, but this really illustrates what I’m talking about. I don’t think its the Surefire G2 in this picture because of the length, it could be a G3 or similar but I’m not to up to date with Surefire lights.
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This is an fairly old picture that shows the usage of the Magpul stock. Nothing that was ever widely adopted and I’m not sure if it ever saw action outside of training and testing.
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The Safariland is utilized as somewhat of a modular carrier as well. Gerber multitools, knives, flashbang, .45 FB pouches and M9 Mag pouches have been seen mounted on the straps or in the case of knives, the knife’s sheath is screwed or ziptied onto the Safariland platform.
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Weapons are also seen marked with a blue or white paint pen. This is done by armorers to signify who each accessory belongs to and to make sure the rifle and accessories stay together. It’s an interesting tidbit that is often overlooked but adds an extra bit of detail to your impression. I’m only linking to this image because of it’s size. Other interesting things in this picture are the use of the ASP baton, items mounted on the Safariland and 1911 Lanyard.

Sometimes you’ll see painted stocks, pistol grips or Surefire M900s and I’m exactly sure why that is. I believe they’ve come from other weapons and the new owner has never bothered to repaint them. This is more commonly seen that fully painted weapons. Although painted weapons are cool, they don’t really fit this impression. The pricetag on your rifle also won’t be diminished by the paintjob.

The LE stock is the most common stock in recent times. The older M4 stock, Crane Stock and Magpul Stocks have been used. If you want to use the Magpul stock I strongly suggest you find as many pictures as you can and look at what gear and color of gear is being used. Those stocks fit a fairly specific timeline and never saw widespread use. They are also no longer seen today because they weren’t adopted and Magpul has since canceled production.

Generally the Land CIRAS is the most common vest. Obviously the MBSS and RRV are used but are seen a fair bit less. I say go with whatever you like best. In terms of which has the most MOLLE it goes from MBSS, RRV to CIRAS. A MOLLE belt and the correct dropleg add a lot of room with make MBSS or RRV rigs a fair bit easier to use in an airsoft setting.
For awhile it was standard for MFR guys to carry seven secondary mags, this includes the one in the gun. Its definitely a lot and I’m not sure if its still SOP. It’s definitely expensive though. You’re looking for silver mags with the Wilson Combat style bumpers. For impression purposes broken ones may be used as a cheap source for some of them.

As mentioned previously, glow sticks are worth adding to your loadout. These are used for various reasons. It’s not necessary to go overboard with them, just a few will do the job.

As for packs there are a few options. Any of the standard USMC ILBE packs work. Alternatively the Eagle Industries FSBE Pack works out.

Kneepads are an interesting thing, many of what are seen appear to be tan. In fact, most of them are 3Color Desert Alta kneepads. Its a minor detail, and you’d probably still be safe with the tan ones. There’s a pretty good chance that these days the ones that are seen are probably just tan. Black Alta kneepads have been used as well.

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If you look at the first guy in the stack, on his back he has an upside down pouch. This is a SAW Mag pouch, mounted upside down to hold a gasmask. This is used for the ease of retrieving it. There is an issues gasmask pouch that is mounted sideways.

As I stated above, a specific helmet cover is used, and it’s specifically designed to fit around a Norotos mount. These are quite rare, and I’ve had the lucky fortune of getting my hands on six of them. These are different from normal helmet covers in a few ways, at least the helmet cover I have that is meant for a LWH. First, the helmet cover is reversible, like the normal one. The FSBEII cover has a hole for the Norotos mount, while a normal cover does not. The FSBEII’s rear panel cover is some what of a triangle shape where as a LWH one is square. The FSBEII one also has a 2×2 of velcro on the center of the helmet on both sides. The Desert side is tan, while the Woodland side is OD. The velcro straps used for securing are OD on the FSBEII ones, while my regular ones straps are black. The tags and makers are obviously different, but I do believe that the group that made the FSBEII covers also makes regular covers as well. It is my understanding that these FSBEII covers are no longer being made, and for the most part, are unused now. They’re a great addition to 2005ish loadouts though. now for pictures!

Views of them on both sides, showing velcro, hole, triangle flap.
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Tag, all six of my covers have slightly different tags. I don’t know what is under the permanent marker, I suspect maker and the NSN. A couple don’t even have tags.
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Mounted, seen on the side is a Surefire Helmet Light.
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In use pictures:
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Another item that is unique item is a Halligan/Entry Tool holder. There are a couple of different options for this if you want one. There appear to be some homemade version that are just PVC + zipties held on to a vest. Alternatively, you can get a Diamond Back Tactical Entry Tool Holder. If you go for a DBT one, they usually have pretty long lead times on their pouches, so order ahead of time. (Thanks to Tex for finding the DBT one).

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Another small detail seen, on the side of the helmets is often an identifying number. Typically a letter and a number, maybe a couple of numbers. Spraypainted on using a stencil on the ear flaps of the MICH.

EMT sheers are sometimes seen tucked into the MOLLE behind pouches on the vest. Just another little detail that can be added.

I’ve been working on my loadout for a long time now. I actually got fairly lucky and when I ordered my vest + pouches a bunch of what came were legitimate FSBEII pouches. This isn’t the norm but the retailer had probably received some contract overrun kits. If you’re patient and a bit lucky, FSBE2 pouches can be found quite cheap. I’ve paid over retail on only one of my FSBE items, and that was the FSBEII Leg Panel, I paid all of 50 bucks and when I sell it I’m sure I’ll get more. If you’re using real Eagle and Allied gear, it will be a very expensive loadout. I suspect it costs anywhere from $1500-2000 depending on how many details you fulfill and if you get replica or real gear. Replica gear would drastically reduce the cost of this loadout, especially if you’re planning on running a CIRAS or MBSS. I’m nearing completion of mine and I don’t want to even know how much I’ve spent thus far. Force Recon loadouts are fairly rare too and are an excellent option here in Michigan. Both Sage and MARPAT fit in great in our forests. On the flip side, the Tan and Desert MARPAT are great for playing as the tan team. Both are not exactly common among players.

In a few months I should be just about done and I’ll finally get pictures up here of my final loadout, but I don’t think I’ll be doing any intentional pictures before I get it all completed. Currently, Relish is working on a MFR loadout alongside of mine. He’s doing a SAW based loadout and if anyone else is interested just send me a message. We’re currently working on a pre Block II upgrade.

I would encourage those that are interested to add personal details. Look at pictures and look for unique things, anything to set yourself apart.

Questions are encouraged, I may have missed things so any feedback is appreciated. If you want to use this for your website/forum, please PM me first.

Author: Knife

Original guide can be found at

http://miairsoft.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=gear&action=display&thread=28709

When I got this kit bag, it was full of dust and it smelled like cigarettes. It had been used, hard. Other people might dislike it, but I love it since it adds so much character to it.

2004 contract, made in 2005

coyote brown flyer kit bag vs. coyote brown fsbe II kit bag

fully loaded

all 3 rigs in

And luggage label of the original owner

Just got this for my FSBE loadout: a weapon retention lanyard, called Pistol Leash.

I only have some rather small and blurry pics of this in use. But I think it’s this one.

Here are some reference pictures that I found.

And finally here’s my more or less completed first line for my FSBE kit.

I could always use the old dump pouch that the Marines used, but I can’t seem to find them anywhere. Ordnance1980 made some replicas, but they don’t sell them anymore.

Got bored and decided to take some pics of the FSBE II setups and the Orc Industries PCU lvl 5 jacket combo.

FSBE II RRS-V
FSBE II CIRAS
FSBE II MBSS PC

Some woodland items came in the mail today.

SDS leg panel
SDS M4 mag pouch x 2
SDS .45 FB mag pouch x 2
SDS flash bang pouch

And here’s the end result…

Including first line kit…

Final kitlist:
front
  • Guarder replica AAV
  • SDS medical pouch x 1
  • SDS .45 FB mag pouch x2
  • SDS flash bang pouch x 1
  • SDS M4 mag pouch x 1
  • Allied Industries M4 mag pouch x 4
rear
  • SDS sustainment pouch x 1
  • SDS 200rd SAW ammo pouch x 1
  • SDS SABRE pouch x 1
first line
  • Bianchi duty belt
  • Eagle Industries belt mounted pistol triple mag pouch
  • LBT lanyard (might be replica, will be replaced in the future)
  • SDS leg panel
  • SDS M4 mag pouch x 2
  • SDS frag grenade pouch x 2
  • SDS sustainment pouch
  • Safariland 6004 (old style)

Another two pouches arrived today from the US. These are the Specialty Defense Systems sustainment pouches.

I have put one on the back of my Guarder replica Amphibious Assault Vest (AAV), replacing the Tactical Tailor hydration carrier. I opted for the sustainment pouch, because it has been seen more in reference pictures.

The other one has been put on my duty belt and will act as a dump pouch.