Guns, optics, and desert sand


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thefitzvh
July 6, 2006, 03:56 AM
Hey all... thought i'd share a couple of observations from "over here"

I'm sure Thin Black Line or one of the other guys have some of their own... please share 'em!

I heard so many damned horror stories about the M16/M4 and the dust over here, and when my weapon jammed tight in kuwait during a dust storm, I thought "Oh crap... here it goes"

Yes, it's a problem... but i've been able to mitigate it pretty well. I use a dry lube (Militec, though i've tried the stuff that the army issues as well, and it worked too.)

The key is, it seems, to keep that damned weapon dry. I put the militec on, and bake it as per recommendations... if i can feel any residue on my fingers, it's too much. I put a heavier buffer spring in mine too, and that seems to have cleared the problem up as well. I have no problems with the dust now, and have done some minor "torture tests" to ensure it'll function when fulla dust.

Optics: If you're going to the sandbox, and you can get your hands on an ACOG... DO IT. The m68 is pretty good, but the acog is, IMO, the best all around optic available. I can use it with both eyes open and get reasonably accurate "snap" shots, and it's great for accuracy when you're tryin... at least, as accurate as you can get with an M4.

Kewl guy gear (tacticool stuff...)

I have some tactical tailor gear, and I love it. But when mounted, the commo gear that crowds the TC seat makes it hard to fit. So when i'm mounted, I stick to ammo pouchs and first aid pouch. I have a bag in the back of the truck with extra pyro, extra magazines, and other goodies that i may need if the S hits the F

I love my tac tailor mag pouches... they're quick, hold 3 per, and the velcro doesnt seem to get too affected by dust.

Also, name doesnt seem to be everything... I have a no name drop leg rig for my sidearm that i like better than the previous 2 expensive name brand rigs... and it cost me 10 bucks from a local iraqi merchant. It also has a flap that can cover the pistol completely, keeping the dust off it when I don't need immediate access to it. The flap can be secured in the open position as well.

Mag-pul makes some self levelling followers that are AWESOME. you'll notice the difference. I also take apart my mags and clean em well periodically, and i seem to be the only guy i know (other than my soldiers, who do it) that does this... I figure i'm gonna give my weapon as few reasons to fail as possible.

The army also gave us a 3 point sling... but i ditched it. I'm using a simple strap with a quick release buckle, that connects the butt of my weapon to my body armor. it's attached securly, yet i can quickly take it off with no fuss.

Other gear that's served me well... I have an M6 laser/light combo that is supposed to be for a handgun. Mounted on my side rail, opposite the 203's release lever, it functions great. I don't use the laser part much, but the light is awesome. When we're out at night, i use it a lot when light discipline isn't required.

Now some not so great stuff:

Knee/elbow pads... the stuff might be great for IMTing, but it's a pain in the ass when you're mounted, and my chain of command made it required.

Body armor: great stuff, but the arm protectors and groin protector are cumbersome, and i figure they won't help me if the steel armor on the vehicle doesn't... SAPI plates make me feel secure... weenie protector does NOT. LOL

The extra thick sapi plates are not nearly as heavy as I expected, and i can't tell the difference between them and the regular ones, weightwise.

ACUs... crap. Absolute crap. Not as durable as BDUs/DCUs, the velcro is useless after a month or so, and they just feel cheaply made. I have holes in the crotch and knees of most of mine.

I'm using some Converse super-kewl-rad-awesome desert boots with side zippers... and these are so darn comfy, i might wear em at home too. The zippers make em easy to get on quick when something goes boom and i need to get my ass out of bed and into a truck real quick.

Anyways... i've been collecting this stuff for a while, little tidbits of info, cuz my sister just joined, and wants to volunteer to come over here. But i figured you guys would appreciate it too.

Anyone else, please add if ya feel like it.

James

P.S. If I had decided to bring a personal sidearm, say an XD 45ACP, I would have been extremely happy with it.

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Dave Markowitz
July 6, 2006, 09:17 AM
Thanks for the real world report, and thank you for your service!

Dbl0Kevin
July 6, 2006, 10:46 AM
Which ACOG do you have and do you have it mounted on a carry handle or flat top?

Travis McGee
July 6, 2006, 11:00 AM
What is the policy on bringing and carrying personal sidearms in country? Who sets the policy and at what level, do you know? Are some units allowed to bring personal sidearms?

Sheldon J
July 6, 2006, 11:46 AM
it to my Nephiew in IRAQ he's been there 4 months.

thefitzvh
July 6, 2006, 01:01 PM
the acog i have is the one with the tritium illumination, and the fiber optic.... mounted to a flat top. I think it's a TA31? does that sound right?

As for personal weapons... general order #1... and no, apparently it's no longer "I will guard everything within the limits of my post, and quit my post only when properly relieved"

Now it's no porn, no alcohol, no personally owned weapons, etc. Set by Centcom, i believe.

Travis McGee
July 7, 2006, 11:40 AM
Thanks.

Lebben-B
July 8, 2006, 07:14 AM
I started out using a drop-rig for my pistol when I was there. But there were a couple of times when it got hung up when I was exiting a vehicle. Eventually I wound up getting a holster that I could mount to the front of my rack - co-incidentally from TT - and that pretty much solved the issue for me.

As far as optics went, I pretty much stuck with the M68 because of it's simplicity. I got ACOGs for my DMRs, though.

Some of my guys used fastex buckles to attach their rifles to their IBA. I never had a problem with them doing so, but I've never liked it personally. I used a TAG single point sling with a Daniels Defense mount and quick release.

I'd recommend getting a hold of a shaving brush, if you haven't already done so. It'll make wiping down your weapons that much easier. In addition to cleaning your weapons and mags, don't overlook your ammo - periodically wipe the rounds down with a dry, oil free cloth.

"No porn, no alcohol..." Sadly the face of war has changed. It used to be, get into a firefight, come back, go to the club and have a beer. Now it's do a cordon and search, come back, go to the DFAC and have a smoothie.

Stay safe and bring all your hooahs back alive.

Mike

thefitzvh
July 9, 2006, 03:52 AM
I've known about the shaving brush trick for years... :-) The single most useful gun cleaning tool for an M4.

One thing i try not to do is force any of my gear preferences or setups on my guys... I know some NCOs that make an SOP for how their soldiers will set up their gear. Me? I have a list of required ****, of course, but how they wear/use it is up to them. And if they want additional stuff, that's fine too. A fastex buckle might work great for me, but might be uncomfortable or unwieldy on him. In this "war", it's important to be comfortable enought with your gear so that none of it interferes with your use of it.

Yeah it's pretty sad when the chain of command spends all kinds of time worrying about who has porn, and yet I can't get them to give my boys a new tent to live in with A/C, or at least a new tent with no holes and a floor that isnt infested with all kinds of creepy crawlies. They make us wear stupid ass knee pads for "safety", yet i have a soldier who had some serious necrosis going on because a bug got in to his substandard tent and bit him. Many soldiers over here have nice air conditioned trailers, but getting MORE of them so everyone can have one seems to be a low priority.

So I've also learned (and taught my soldiers) to expect no help, no support, and no recognition from "higher." If they need something, we try to barter for it with another unit or buy it from the locals, because our unit certainly doesn't get stuff for us. It's gotten so bad that many of us don't even wear our unit patches...

OK, so enough of my griping... it ain't gun related.

I'm gonna get some video today or tomorrow... we have some extra HE rounds for the 203, and we're gonna fire em off. :-D

Lebben-B
July 9, 2006, 06:39 AM
One thing i try not to do is force any of my gear preferences or setups on my guys... I know some NCOs that make an SOP for how their soldiers will set up their gear. Me? I have a list of required ****, of course, but how they wear/use it is up to them. And if they want additional stuff, that's fine too. A fastex buckle might work great for me, but might be uncomfortable or unwieldy on him. In this "war", it's important to be comfortable enought with your gear so that none of it interferes with your use of it.
Generally, I allowed my Soldiers to set up their battle rattle any way they wanted. The only ones who weren't allowed to use non-issue cool-guy gear in my PLT were my new Soldiers, so they could figure out what worked for them and what didn't. It kept new Soldiers from wasting what little pay they had on gear that wasn't right for the mission/environment. Once my TLs and SLs were satisfied with with their performance, they were allowed to modify their rigs the way they wanted.


Have fun making holes in the desert,

Mike

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