IFAS | Militia Manual | Section 2.2

2.2 Equipping yourself for the Free Militia


".... millions of people armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us.... The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone: it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave." Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775

"To that end, I intend to arm myself." From the oath of office for the Free Militia

2.2.1 Choose your weapon!

As a minuteman in the Free Militia, you are responsible for arming and equipping yourself. Your first priority, of course, is to effectively arm yourself. All firearms have their place. Some are good for hunting, some for plinking and target shooting, some for self-defense. But only a few are really effective combat weapons.

When selecting a firearm, remember that you are a member of a team, not a loner. It is therefore to your advantage to select a weapon that is more or less standard in your unit. This will facilitate exchanging ammunition, magazines, and even spare parts when supplies are limited. You are also preparing for combat, not hunting or personal defense. Thus, hunting rifles, shotguns, and handguns are generally (but not always; see below) undesirable weapons. Ideally your weapon should be a medium- to high-power semi-automatic (automatic only if licensed) rifle with a detachable magazine. The following are suggested firearms with their pros and cons.

The weapon of choice

The Ruger Mini-14 is the ideal rifle for service in the Free Militia.

For a standard, inexpensive, effective, dependable, and versatile combat rifle, you will be hard-pressed to do much better than the Ruger Mini-14!

Of course, not everyone in the Militia will be able to find a Mini-14. Some diversification is both inevitable (since many recruits will already be armed) and useful. So, there are several alternatives to the Mini-14.

All-around combat rifles (in the order of my preference)

Specialized combat weapons (generally not recommended)

Remember, the potential enemy will be well-trained, heavily armed, and probably protected by Kevlar body armor. Single shot, bolt and lever action, and light caliber rifles are virtually useless against such a foe as is virtually any kind of handgun. Of course, being armed with a less-than-ideal firearm is many times better than being totally unarmed.

2.2.2 Outfitting yourself for combat

While your gun is important, it is useless without magazines and ammunition and virtually useless without other equipment. Consequently the minimum necessary equipment for a Free Militia minuteman is as follows.

QuantityDescriptionCost
1semi-automatic Mini-14 rifle (alternatives include the M-1 carbine, AR-15, or M-14 in that order).$500
430-round magazines (this is a minimum, 8 or 10 magazines would be better). Smaller capacity magazines need to be reloaded too often. Larger capacity magazines are more prone to jamming. You must be able to carry at least 100 to 120 rounds of ammunition ready to fire.$100
1000rounds of full metal jacket ammunition compatible with your rifle. The more ammunition the better. It will probably be the hardest thing to supply or replace in a pinch. Avoid hollow point and soft point cartridges since these are not permitted by the Geneva Accords.$250
1-2magazine pouches to carry your magazines conveniently. Be sure your pouches are compatible with your magazines and are green or camouflaged so they are inconspicuous.$10
1pistol belt for carrying your gear like magazines and a canteen.$7
1pair of combat suspenders (either the "Y"-load or "H"- load design). Without suspenders, the weight of all your gear loaded on your pistol belt will pull down your belt, especially when running and jumping.$8
1water canteen. Even if you stay close to home and never have to "rough it" in the woods, you will need to spend long periods of away from running water. A full canteen will keep you from thirsting while you work or fight.$10
1rifle cleaning kit with supplies for your rifle. Ideally, you should have a universal cleaning kit stored in a camouflaged field pouch.$20
1woodland camo M-65 field jacket. You need to be uniformed since we will need to identify each other and since clear identification and open carrying of weapons are two of the requirements for combatants recognized by the Geneva Accords. It is unlikely that the U.S. Army will be the primary enemy. Moreover, army uniforms are readily available and inexpensive at military surplus outlets. Thus an army field jacket is our choice. The woodland camouflage pattern is preferred since in buildings, no camouflage is needed while outside, there will be many trees, bushes, and grassy areas (even within our community) which will afford concealment.$55
1woodland camo trousers. Obviously the bottom half of the body needs to be uniformed and camouflaged as much as the top. The rationale for the woodland pattern is the same as that for the field jacket.$25
1pair of army boots or equivalent will protect your feet from the elements, mud, and sharp objects while providing a good footing.$50
Total approximate cost of necessary equipment as of 1994$1035

I know this may seem like a lot of money. But it is a small price to pay for your liberties and for your life!

The previous list is the bare minimum for outfitting yourself. With this equipment you can basically shoot, hide, move, and take care of your gun. Many desirable items are neglected. No provision is made for survival in the wilderness. Consequently, if you can afford it, the following items are desirable to have. They are listed in their rough order of importance considering the probable enemy and circumstances.

QuantityDescriptionCost
1set of spare parts for your rifle. A few dollars invested in the parts that are most likely to fail will extend the life of your gun almost forever! Parts for M-1s, M-14s, M-16s, and AR-15s are readily available at gun shows. For the typical rifle a spare firing pin, extractor, extractor plunger, extractor spring, ejector, ejector spring, recoil spring, and hammer spring are sufficient.$25
1G.I. kevlar flak jacket. The current issue military kevlar body armor will stop most knife and bayonet thrusts, all shotgun blasts, and most pistol and some submachinegun bullets (velocities under 1300 feet per second). They will also protect you from mortar and hand grenade fragments. In Vietnam, U.S. soldiers would have sustained 40% fewer casualties if they all wore their body armor and helmets (and this was before the advent of the kevlar helmet). Of course, blunt trauma from bullets will leave welts, bruises, and perhaps cracked bones, but this is better than a loss of blood or life! This body armor can even be upgraded to Type III, stopping even .308 rounds with improvised titanium or steel inserts.Small:
$75

Medium:
$100

Large:
$150

1G.I. kevlar "Fritz" helmet. The old "steel pot" helmets are better than nothing, but will not stop anything with significant velocity. The newer "Fritz" helmets look like the WWII German helmets in form and, accordingly, give better protection of the ears and neck. Best of all, they are fabricated with kevlar and are capable of stopping shell fragments and most pistol and submachine gun and even some long-range rifle rounds (velocities under 2000 feet per second). Concussion from some bullets might leave you a bit dazed and do some internal damage. But, again, this is better than having your brains blown out. And of course, neither kevlar body armor nor helmets can protect you from high-velocity (.223/.308) bullets from assault rifles.$75
1bayonet or knife for hand-to-hand combat. While bayonets are rarely used in modern combat, you will need some type of knife for hand-to-hand combat and utility. You might as well get a bayonet since these make good fighting knives anyway plus give you the option of fixing them on the end of your rifle for special situations that arise.$40
1ballistic goggles to protect your eyes from wind, dust, and dirt flying in poor weather or in the heat of combat.$12
1gas mask and extra filter. While chemical warfare is unlikely, tear gas is a real threat from various law enforcement agencies. Israeli gas masks are not too difficult to get a hold of.$25
1winter camo field jacket and trousers. Since you may need to operate in the snow of winter, this would afford good concealment.$85
1various light camping gear like backpacks, tents, sleeping bags, mess kits, flashlights, batteries, and so on would be useful if you must live in the country.$140
Total approximate cost for desirable equipment as of 1994$500

For $1000 to $1500 you can outfit yourself for combat fairly well. However, there are some things that your cell will need as a unit even if every cell member does not possess them. To outfit men accordingly, each cell will need the following equipment. The equipment can either be bought by the man assigned to use it or the cell can pool funds to buy cell it.

QuantityDescriptionCost
1hand-held CB radio for communication with other nearby cells.$65
1pair of binoculars (7x to 10x) for observation and spotting.$40
1rifle scope. Note: Scopes are undesirable and too costly for the average minuteman. They are cumbersome in brush and slow the acquisition of targets in quick combat. Contrary to popular belief, they do not make a rifle more accurate! But they are useful for clearly seeing distant targets while sniping.$200
1practice rifle. Ammunition is expensive, so the cell should have either a .22 rifle or an air rifle with iron sights (no scope) to use for inexpensive target practice.$100
1general first aid kit along with other selected medical supplies.$40
1set of gunsmithing tools. This would include a set of pin punches, hammer, screwdrivers, pliers, files, rasps, hacksaw, etc.$100
2-4tri-folding shovels for trenching and field fortifications.$40

Don't go out and buy these yourself. Coordinate purchases with your cell so you avoid unnecessary redundancy and expense.

Of course, there are also some kinds of equipment needed at the platoon, company, and battalion levels. Some examples include:

Again, don't go out and buy any of these things on your own. But if you already have any of them, let your cell leader know so they can be put to good use if and when they are ever needed during an actual mobilization.

What you must do is be sure that you are adequately equipped for combat and contribute (time, money, or things) to the equipment needs of your cell.

It is admittedly expensive to adequately equip an individual or team for effective combat. But your Constitutional liberties and life are worth it!

2.2.3 Be careful how you buy

It is just as important how you go about buying the things you need to equip yourself as it is what you equip yourself with for future combat.

The last thing you want to do is to draw attention to yourself when you buy or leave a "trail" after buying. Gun registration records will no doubt be used to track down and confiscate weapons. Even though those yellow forms you fill out for a gun dealer stay with him, they are subject to BATF inspection and also will compromise your guns. The mailing lists and invoices of suppliers for paramilitary books and gear might also be used to hunt down gun owners. And don't forget about your checking account: it is an open book to the government revealing what, when, and where you buy. Consequently, there are several guiding rules you should follow when you begin to outfit yourself for the Free Militia.

You might wonder how you can possibly be outfitted given these four constraints. Actually, it is not that difficult. It just takes some time and patience. You may not have the money to buy everything all at once anyway! Here are some tips on outfitting yourself in a confidential way.

2.2.4 Sources of equipment and supplies

In addition to area gun shows and classified ads in the newspaper, there are several sources of firearms, ammunition, and gear in the area.

Look up "gunsmiths and gun dealers," "sporting goods," "military surplus," etc. in the yellow pages of the phone book. Write down the addresses and phone numbers for each listing in the space provided on the next page. As time permits, check them out to get an idea of what they have available. Shop around since prices can vary quite a bit from store to store. Even if you can't afford something now, this shopping will pay off in the future when you can afford to buy.

In any event, buy the priorities first. Don't spend a lot of money on body armor and high-tech "toys" before you own a rifle and ammunition!

Area sources of equipment

Name:____________________________________________________________________

Address:________________________________________ Phone:____________________

Notes on supplies they stock:_________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________

Name:____________________________________________________________________

Address:________________________________________ Phone:____________________

Notes on supplies they stock:_________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________

Name:____________________________________________________________________

Address:________________________________________ Phone:____________________

Notes on supplies they stock:_________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________

2.2.5 Discussion questions

What, if any, experience have you had in gun safety, cleaning, or shooting (i.e., hunting, target shooting, etc.)? What type(s) of firearm(s) have you used in the past? What type(s) of firearms would you say that you are proficient in? How accurate are you?

What firearms do you own? Are any of them formally registered with a government agency? Informally registered using the yellow forms retained by gun dealers? (You may opt not to write down the answers.)

How familiar are you with the firearms discussed in this section? Are you planning to buy any of the firearms recommended in this section? If so, which one(s)? How do you plan to acquire it (them) without leaving a record of you as the buyer? (You may opt not to write the answers.)

Among the firearms that you currently own or intend to buy, which one is your "weapon of choice"? Why? (You may opt not to write the answers.)

How much of the necessary equipment, if any, do you already own?

Do you intend to buy the remaining necessary equipment in the future? If so, how quickly do you plan to do so? (List in the order of priority.)

How much of the desired equipment, if any, do you already own?

Do you intend to buy any of the remaining desired equipment in the future? Which items (list by priority)? How fast do you plan to get them?

Why is it very important that you be careful not to leave any records of sensitive purchases you make like guns, ammunition, and military gear?

Please list the four principles of outfitting yourself confidentially.

Do you agree to follow these principles in the future?

Personal inventory

Note: The following is intended to assist the Free Militia commanders in planning. If you have any of the following items, your sponsor will make a note of it and pass it through to his superiors without your name. Thus, the commanders will have an idea of what might be available in a crisis without having any central records of who has what. We trust that you will freely make these items available when the need arises.

Do you possess any binoculars, field glasses, hand-held CB radios, first aid kits, or gunsmithing tools that you would be willing to let your cell use?

Which of the following items do you both own and volunteer to loan to any Free Militia "war effort" in the event that we must mobilize?

ItemTypeQuantity
Electric generators  
Ham/short-wave radios  
Laptop computers/printers  
Photocopiers  
Printing presses  
Shovels/picks/spades  
Chain saws  
Vehicles (trucks and vans)  
Fire extinguishers  
Medical supplies  

Main ideas of this section

For a standard, inexpensive, effective, dependable, and versatile rifle, you will be hard-pressed to do much better than the Ruger Mini-14!

It is admittedly expensive to adequately equip an individual or team for effective combat. But your Constitutional liberties and life are worth it!

It is just as important how you go about buying the things you need to equip yourself as it is what you equipment yourself with for future combat.