In the last post, I shared my opinions about what I see as overrated weapons. This post will look at what I see as underrated tactical equipment.
1) Body Armor. A big part of my last post was about the limitations of many weapons against armor. I’ve heard several preppers say something I agree with: If you expect to be in a combat situation, by the time you own a defensive rifle, a pistol, and a shotgun, you should purchase body armor before you add more weapons. Body armor saves lives.
In way of honest disclosure: I don’t own body armor. If I had any armor left, I’d sell it because I have more pressing needs for the money. If you’re on a tight budget, don’t run out and purchase armor. If you can afford it and are concerned you’ll be in combat, then look into it.
2) Good Optics for your defensive rifle. This gets to shootability. How well can you shoot your weapons? Good rugged optics makes target acquisition faster. If you have great eyesight, you can get by with a good peep sight.
3) Binoculars. Fits in with the optical sight theme. In some areas these aren’t useful. In open terrain, good compact binoculars let you scout out an area. These are useful for spotting game. Is that a rock or a deer? The sooner you identify a threat, the more preparation you’ll have to deal with it or avoid it. The worst situation is where you’re suddenly taken by surprise. Stumbling into adversaries is deadly. Just don’t let a reflection from any optical device give your position away.
4) Camouflage. If you live in woodland areas, woodland camouflage makes you much harder to see. This could allow you to avoid inadvertent confrontations. Be sure your clothing doesn’t stand out in your environment. Woodland camouflage in the city sticks out like a sore thumb.
To remind you of the kind of freaky world we live in, I saw an article about experiments that successfully bent light around small objects, making the small object invisible to the eye. Invisibility cloaks are a long way off. In 20 years, it’s possible they’ll exist. They’d be exceptionally complex, calculating incident light from every direction and redirecting it around the object. If this comes to pass, somebody could be standing right in front of you and you’d never notice. How freaky would that be?
5) Ammo carriers. This is something that isn’t underrated by many preppers with military experience. They want a way to carry several magazines for their rifle. At a minimum, do you have a reliable way to carry two spare pistol magazines on your belt?
6) Stripper clubs. I mean clips. Many magazines are the fastest way to reload. The downside: Expensive. If you had to defend a position for an extended period, these little metal strips and an adapter allow you to reload magazines quickly. Important to save your fingers.
7) Night vision equipment. Liked by professional soldiers. Too expensive for the rest of us.
8) Silencers. These aren’t so much important for silencing sentries as they are to protect your hearing. The trend today is for weapons to have shorter barrels. The result: Without hearing protection, your ears are in trouble. The problem: If someone is skulking around inside your home at night, you don’t want to be wearing ear muffs. Your ears can alert you to the position of an intruder. Without ear protection, if you’re forced to fire, you can temporarily lose your hearing. There is ear protection designed to allow normal sounds to pass while cutting off loud sounds.
One issue with silencers is that they are illegal in many areas. Many of us will need to do without. Another big problem with silencers is the length and bulk they add, making weapons far less maneuverable. This is necessary for a traditional silencer, because of how they operate. Three sounds must be dealt with when you want to silence a weapon:
A) A sonic boom sound created when the speed of sound is broken by the bullet. This is why there is subsonic ammunition. Subsonic means lower-powered lower velocity, so shot placement becomes paramount. The bullets are usually heavier.
B) Hot expanding gasses under high pressure propel a bullet down the barrel. When the bullet leaves the barrel, these gases rapidly expand into the surrounding low-pressure air. This creates a powerful pressure wave, known as muzzle report.
Silencers operate on the simple principle of allowing the gasses inside the barrel to expand into a larger chamber before the bullet exits the silencer. This reduces the pressure difference between the outside air and the pressure directly behind the bullet as it leaves the weapon. This is why silencers are long and bulky. The longer and bulkier, the quieter the silencer.
C) This third sound isn’t usually dealt with and only applies when you have the very best silencers. It’s the clickidy-clackidy sound of the weapon’s action. Much less noisy than the two points above. In some situations even the cycling of a Ruger 10/22 action is too much noise.
Even if a silencer can’t completely reduce a gunshot, it changes the sound enough so it isn’t easily identified. Many cities have shot tracker technology today to locate the position of gunshots. This is an effective police tool. In the future, it’s possible if a gunshot is fired anywhere outdoors in a city, the police will instantly know. This is probably a good thing. It shows how technology can change policing and get us help sooner.
9) Reinforced doors and strong house locks. The above items are for combat situations. Most of us are at far more risk of being attacked in our home than needing to confront an army. Strong doors achieve two important purposes. It delays an intruder from getting in, giving you more time to prepare. It forces the intruder to make more noise, giving you more chance of being alerted to the break-in attempt.
10) Yappy dog. Dogs sense intruders sooner than we do. Not only are we alerted. Many burglars avoid houses with dogs. Downside: In a hard-core situation, it’s possible a yappy dog could alert somebody passing by to your well-concealed location.
11) Pens, toothbrushes, and everyday objects. Again, this isn’t for combat against an army. For personal self defense, a pen or toothbrush could be used to attack the eyes. When in a room, look around: What makeshift weapons are there? Just because you don’t have a gun doesn’t mean you’re defenseless.
Protestor Bonus Items. This Post has grown far too long. I’ll end with two bonus items for protestors.
12) Protective headgear to keep your skull from getting cracked.
13) Gas masks.