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Guest Post: The Modern Minute Man and Other Standards – Bill Rapier of AMTAC Shooting Instruction LLC

Today’s guest post is penned by Bill Rapier of American Tactical Shooting Instruction LLC (AMTAC Shooting). Bill is “retired after twenty years in the Navy, where his duty assignments included several years at SEAL Team 3 and over 14 years at Naval Special Warfare Development Group. Positions held include assaulter, breacher, sniper, team leader, troop chief and military working dog department senior enlisted adviser. He has always been an avid shooter and is heavily involved in combatives.” Now he is lead instructor at AMTAC Shooting and designer of the AMTAC Blades Northman.


For the last two years I have done the Sniper Adventure Challenge Race.  It has been a great way for me to have a goal to train for and to keep pushing the boundaries with training, fitness, shooting and gear.  New for this year, one of my local friends (Jake Hoback) and another local buddy were going to team up and do the race.  This was great for me as it gave me other dedicated training partners.

Eventually one of the guys had to drop out so I started trying to find my buddy Jake a partner for the race.  As I started going down the rolodex of guys to call as potential race partners for him the conversation would usually go something like this: “So, are you up for doing a race next month?  You need to be prepared to walk 40-50 miles, carry a 40-50lbs ruck, shoot out to 1500 yards, be proficient with pistol, navigate with map and compass (no GPS) and be prepared to perform a wide variety of other tasks.”

Usually what followed was a long pause, a “maybe”, a “next year” or a “no” with laughing.  As I was talking with my friend and race teammate “Chainsaw” about my frustration with the lack of guys that have the willingness, ability, time, and resources to do the race he said, “Yeah, that is modern minute man stuff”.  That got me thinking.

The term “minute man” comes from the time just prior to the American revolution.  Basically, the minute man was someone skilled at arms with a base of physical/ martial prowess, able to be “ready to go” in a minute.  This is what the National Parks Service has to say about the minute man:

Old school minute man

Minute men were different from the militia in the following ways:

  1. While service in the militia was required by law, minute men were volunteers.
  2. The minute men trained far more frequently than the militia. Two or three times per week was common. Because of this serious commitment of time, they were paid. One shilling per drill was average. Militia only trained once every few months (on average) and were paid only if they were called out beyond their town, or formed part of an expedition.
  3. Minute men were expected to keep their arms and equipment with them at all times, and in the event of an alarm, be ready to march at a minute’s warning – hence they were called “minute men.”

What does a “modern minute man” look like?  What would the standard be?  Should all American men be able to to meet the “modern minute man” standard or are there different levels, standards or roles that we are called to fill?

As I started digging deeper with this concept and discussing it with friends and mentors, it started to make sense that it should be broken up in to different levels with the “modern minute man” just being one of them.  Here is a breakdown of the different levels and the standards that should be associated with them:

Responsible Armed Citizen (RAC)

This is the baseline that every American man should be at.  The RAC standard is:

  • A high level of situational awareness
  • A foundational ability to fight/ use a blade,
  • A baseline level of competency with a pistol (perform the Amtac Shooting Pistol RMD or similar task)
  • A commitment to carry your tools.
Controlling hands and feeding with a blade
Framing
Spear elbow, weapons retention shooting position

Follow Me (FM) :

Still working on a better name for this as the infantry has been using this term for a long time.

  • Be proficient with a carbine (Amtac Shooting Carbine RMD or KD4 Carbine hat qual)
  • Have the ability to follow someone, walking for 6 miles while carrying your carbine, 6 mags and water (10-15 lbs)
  • Be physically in shape enough to run your carbine after the walk
Working carbine drills with plate carrier
High kneeling shooting position
Roll over prone shooting position

Modern Minute Man (MMM): 

  • Be able to navigate 20 miles while carrying a 25-30lbs load
  • Have a base level of bushcrafting skills
  • Have a base (line of sight) comms ability
  • Be able to shoot out to 600-700 yards.
Hill People Gear Umlindi Pack with heavy Recce strapped to back
Improvised shooting position, sling wrapped around the tree, engaging target at ~800 yards.
Working yard lines with a hybrid carbine

Jedi Modern Minute Man (JMMM): 

  • Be able to navigate/ walk 40-60 miles
  • Carry 40-60lbs
  • Shoot out past a mile
  • Make your own ammunition
  • HF comms ability
  • Ability to work/ travel/ live in the winter in the mountains
Snowmobile supported kneeling, shooting BC steel around 500 yards with a Recce rifle.
Medium ruck day (50 lbs) running a BPT Outback chest holster to ensure a fast draw stroke while wearing a ruck waistband.
Amtac Shooting Fall Course 2018. Guys working land nav and field shooting positions. Terrain was challenging.

Where do you fall out in these standards?  Where do you want to fall out? None of these standards are easy and none of the standards once achieved do not require continued training to maintain.  Regardless of if you are just starting this journey and want to achieve the RAC standard or if you have been doing this for years and have your sights set on the JMMM standard the only way you will get there is by deliberate intensive training.  More to follow on training and gear as it relates to the MMM concept.

Amtac Shooting Fall Course 2018. Improvised shooting positions, men honing modern minute man skills.

Wilde Custom Gear Redesigns Active Shooter Bag

Wilde Custom Gear’s updated Active Shooter Bag boasts a number of features including:

  • Three adjustable flap magazine pouches that can fit two rifle magazines in each pouch
  • Rear slit pocket covered with laser cut MOLLE loop Velcro that can fit most pistols with interior loop velcro lining for attachment of velcro backed pistol holsters
  • Laser Cut MOLLE webbing on each end
  • Full Laser Cut MOLLE loop velcro interior lining for attachment of velcro backed and MOLLE accessories
  • Full-length heavy-duty adjustable webbing strap with quick detach buckles for easy grab and go deployment

The redesigned Active Shooter Bag is available now at WildeCustomGear.com.

Evernew Cross Stand 2 for the Trangia Spirit Burner

I’ve been using my Trangia Spirit Burner (alcohol stove) for a while now based on the recommendation of the folks at Hill People Gear. In the time I have used it, I have tried several pot stands and haven’t really been over the moon about any of them. The biggest problem is that they are often too large for use with a small pot. They also often too bulky or inefficient due to placing the pot too close to the jets.

A friend recommended the Evernew Cross Stand which is an “X” shaped stand made from titanium that is designed to sit on top of the Trangia (or Evernew Alcohol Burner). However, I found that it sat too low on the Trangia. Fortunately, Evernew makes a second version, the Cross Stand 2, that sits higher and places the bottom of the pot about 1″ above the jets.

My experience with the Cross Stand 2 has been excellent. It weighs less than an ounce as you might expect for something made of thin titanium with plenty of skeletonization cuts. It packs completely flat and should fit inside just about any mess kit. It’s height allows for a very efficient burn and it is really optimized for solo cook pots or nesting cups. I pair it with a simple aluminum foil wind screen to further optimize efficiency.

The Cross Stand 2 is marvel of simplicity and it has been a great solution for me. If you carry a Trangia in your hiking gear or preparedness gear, this could be a good solution for you toon. They are available on Amazon: Evernew Cross Stand 2 on Amazon

You are like to find even lower prices if you shop around.

Sneak Peek: Hill People Gear Snubby Recon Kit Bag

Hill People Gear gave a sneak peek of their upcoming Snubby Recon Kit Bag.

Just in case you don’t speak Kit Bag… “Snubby” refers to Hill People Gear’s smaller pattern Kit Bags for more compact handguns (up to a Glock 19 or similar in size). The “Recon” moniker means that it has PALS webbing on the front for attaching additional pouches.

This particular iteration of the Kit Bag fits the Bino Pouch so well that it will likely serve as a popular base for building a bino harness.

The Snubby Recon Kit Bag will be available soon. Check out the rest of the Kit Bag line at HillPeopleGear.com in the mean time.

New Colors and Fabrics at Hill People Gear

Hill People Gear just added three new color and fabric options to their product line. The Recon Kit Bag, Umlindi, and Palspocket are all sporting some new options.


Pine Needle Tea with Kit Badger and JTT

Pine needle tea is easy to make, tastes great, is good for you, and it might be growing all around you. It is one my favorite hot drinks on the trail when it is too late for coffee (if that is even a thing).

You can make it from a number of conifers but Douglas Fir is my favorite. There are some needles that should be avoided like Ponderosa Pine but it is really up to you to know your area and which trees are safe.

It is easy to make. Just gather your needles. You may need to trim the bases off if they are extra sticky or woody at the base. Bring water to a boil and then take it off the heat. Add your needles and steep to taste. I always advise not boiling the needles because it can bring out a sort of turpentine taste.

Arm yourself with a bit of knowledge and then give it a try.

KitBadger.com

Kit Badger on YouTube

WoodKnot Gear 750ml Titanium Cup with Press

Even if you aren’t a coffee snob, you’ll probably appreciate the WoodKnot Gear 750ml Titanium Cup with Press. A lot of people carry a lightweight cup to serve as their cook pot and cup when they are in the back country. A lot of those same people also carry some method of preparing coffee. The WoodKnot Gear Cup with Press can fill both of those roles!

The kit consists of 4 parts that can be mixed and matched to suit your needs: Titanium Cup, Titanium Lid with Press (the lid and press can be separated), Plastic Drinking Lid, and Mesh Stuff Sack. The total weight for everything is 10.1 ounces.

The titanium cup looks very well designed on its own. It has the three features that I consider necessary for a cup like this: graduated volume markings, ability to nest on a water bottle, and folding handles. It also has two features that are just really nice to have and harder to find on cups like this: a bail and a pour spout.

If all that isn’t interesting enough, you have the built in (removeable) French Press. Having this built in saves weight and pack space over many other ways of making coffee on the trail.

WoodKnotGear.com

New from Lynx Defense – Goby IFAK

Lynx Defense has released a new vehicle based IFAK. The new Goby IFAK is an 8″ x 6″ x 3″ IFAK pouch with internal elastic organization and a PALS webbing face. It comes with a universal headrest mount that allows the pouch to be mounted on most vehicle headrests. The pouch portion of the Goby is affixed to the mount via hook and loop so that it can be quickly removed should you need to access the contents of the pouch or hand it off to someone.

Check out LynxDefense.com.

Hill People Gear Decker Pack Frame

Hill People Gear (HPG) has released the details of their new Decker Pack Frame. The Decker is built on the same proven frame used in the Ute and qui-Ya backpacks but with the adaptability of a pack frame.

The Decker features an array of 8 compression straps (3 on each side and 2 on top) and a central compression yoke that serves as a hub for attaching the side compression straps. This yoke is easily replaced with an HPG pocket or pack like the Tarahumara, Tarapocket, Palspocket, and similar. The Decker Pack Frame also features a hypalon capture flap/shelf that can be tied into the frame in multiple locations.

The applications for a relatively lightweight but still very robust pack frame like this are many and varied. HPG states that it can handle everything from awkward loads like jerry cans to multi-day loadouts. It can also be coupled with something like a large ultra-light dry bag to create a very lightweight pack system (less than 4 pounds).

You can expect to see HPG continue to develop the Decker Pack Frame into an entire load carriage system by introducing other accessories designed to work with the frame. One accessory already in the works is a Decker Pocket that will be a large capacity pocket with a sewn in hypalon yoke that docks in place of the Decker Pack Frame’s included yoke.

The Decker Pack Frame will be available soon (it is already listed on the website but not available to purchase). You can sign up for email notifications at Hill People Gear.

HillPeopleGear.com

Review: Olicamp Hard Anodized Aluminum Space Saver Mug

What if I told you there was an aluminum mug/cook pot that rivaled titanium cups for weight, performed better than Ti for cooking, and costs less than half of a similarly sized Ti cup? That cup is the Olicamp Hard Anodized Aluminum Space Saver Cup and it is one of my favorite pieces of gear.

Olicamp’s Space Saver mug has been around for a long time in various forms. It is so called because of its ability to nest on the bottom of wide mouth Nalgene bottles (and other bottles of similar size). I have used (and still use) a stainless steel version for years. Olicamp also offers a bare aluminum version but the pick of the litter is the Hard Anodized Aluminum version.

Most 24oz/750ml single wall Ti mugs weigh in at around 3.2 – 3.3 ounces and cost $35 or more. The Olicamp Hard Anodized Aluminum Space Saver Mugs weighs in at 3.6 ounces and costs less than $15. Best of all, you actually get some functionality for that extra 3/10ths of an ounce so the slight weight increase can be justified.

Aluminum cookware transfers heat more readily and heats more evenly than Ti cookware. The hard anodized finish is durable and relatively non-stick (not quite like a true non-stick finish but better than bare metal). Finally, the Olicamp Space Saver has longer and larger butterfly handles than most Ti cups. These handles are handy when you are heating with a fuel source like wood or solid fuel tablets that often allow the flame to lick up around the sides of the cup.

This cup can obviously serve as well… a cup, but it is actually an excellent cook pot complete with volume markings which are handy for cook dehydrated foods. It can be paired with lightweight stoves or solid fuel burners to make a truly compact and lightweight hiking mess kit. I can fit my ultralight Esbit burner, foil for a windscreen and ground sheet, and few solid fuel tabs inside the cup for a sub 7 ounce 3 season cookset.

You’ll want a lid to maximize the usefulness of this cup for cooking. Olicamp offers a lid for this cup at a reasonably price but you can also pick up aftermarket lids. One very reasonable option is the lid from the Stanley Adventure Camp Cookset (on Amazon) which is another great bargain in its own right. Finally, you can easily make your own lid with heavy duty aluminum foil, a pie tin, or any other suitable material.

This is an excellent piece of gear. Check out the Olicamp Hard Anodized Aluminum Space Saver Cup on Amazon.


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