INDIVIDUAL READINESS: AN INTRODUCTION
This guide was developed after much discussion and field experimentation. Many, MANY, hours were spent arguing over what to consider "necessary", and to what degree of skill militia persons should aspire. This guide is for the completely uninitiated, though others will also find it useful. It is by no means all-inclusive. There will be many items left out that you may personally feel are absolutely necessary, and there may be skills left out that you may believe to be absolutely essential as well.
This guide is for beginners. We'll explain what we're doing here. Take your average American, and thrust him into a position where he must defend his way of life against terrorism, tyranny, crime, invasion, or any other threat or emergency. To what degree should he train? What kind of gear should he have? Add to these the facts that he is working a steady job, has a great deal of family commitments, and would still like to see a hockey game or a movie now and then. You will find that he has very little time to train, very little money to spend on gear, and very little energy left to pursue the causes of freedom.
That's a fairly decent picture of your average militia person today. Only the most determined dedication can overcome these obstacles.
So we have developed this guide, in the hopes that it will help smooth over the rough road to readiness. Perhaps with this minimal direction that we have set forth, a few more motivated patriots will now seek to develop the skills necessary to defend our great Republic.
We consider Level 1 the absolute minimum level of preparedness necessary to be an active line member of the Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia as well as vote in SMVM activities. These, when met, will be sufficient to be considered "capable of bearing arms"; the militia being defined as "all citizens capable of bearing arms". Once you have started testing for Level One, you will have 60 days to complete it, though it can easily be achieved in a single training session. This will give everyone at least two sessions in which to try it. You can always start again if necessary.
Level One qualification will last until the end of the following calendar year, so if you qualify at any time during 2004, for example, you will be considered an active member until December 31st, 2005.
1) Rifle. Note: To be eligible for The Advanced Marksmanship Program, this must be .30 cal or larger, excluding 7.62X39, .30 carbine, and .30-30.
2) 100 rounds of ammunition for same rifle.
3) Water container, one quart minimum.
4) Cleaning kit for above rifle.
5) Suitable carrying gear to transport personal equipment.
6) Individual first-aid kit.
7) Combat or hiking boots.
8) Copy of the US Constitution (the document, not the boat) and Declaration of Independence.
A) Complete a two-mile hike with all basic equipment within 48 minutes. Note: To be eligible for The Scout Program, this time MUST be less than 40 minutes.
B) Field strip weapon for cleaning.
C) Place 8 out of 10 shots into a 9" target at 100 yards. Note: To be eligible for The Advanced Marksmanship Program, you must hit 10/10 within your first three attempts.
D) Execute a series of three to five second rushes using cover and/or concealment.
Appendix I - Notes on Uniforms and Headgear
Appendix II - Suppliers in Metro Detroit
Appendix III - Selected Local Gun Shops
Appendix IV - Mail Order Suppliers
1) RIFLE: There are many choices available when choosing a primary weapon. Because military rifles have been subjected to extensive testing and have been designed to withstand tough battlefield conditions, we suggest that your rifle be of a type similar to that used by some military forces at some point within the last 100 years or so. Even a brief study of the history of military conflict, and a look at current events will reveal that this does not narrow your choice by any measurable degree. Any type of weapon can be used in a pinch.
For our purposes, we will rule out extremely rare and ancient weapons. Muskets, blunderbusses, and repeating crossbows are better than no weapon at all, but not very practical to discuss in this guide.
Theoretically, you could carry a pistol or shotgun as a primary weapon. Indeed, there are many specific situations where a pistol or shotgun will be the best thing you can have, but for general purposes, a rifle is what is required.
We will look at some of the options available to the novice militia person.
Military surplus bolt-action rifles. For the average citizen, the first consideration in acquiring that first weapon will be cost. (One should also factor in how much value they place on the survival of themselves, their families, and their Nation.) Military surplus bolt-action rifles are among the most inexpensive weapons available. Just because a rifle is inexpensive, that doesn't mean that there is anything wrong with it. Many of these old bolt-action rifles have served admirably in conflicts around the world.
With just a bit of effort, some of these old war-horses can be turned into impressively accurate sniper-rifles, which would be perfect for guerrilla-type, shoot-and-run operations.
One consideration when looking at military surplus bolt-action rifles is ammunition availability. They can come in some pretty obscure calibers, so ask around before buying one. Some fairly common, affordable rifles come in 7.62X54, .303, and various 8mm cartridges. The 6.5mm Swedish Mauser has been increasing in popularity recently, and it is still fairly affordable. Of course, any rifle is better than none, as long as you have ammunition for it. The M44 Carbine chambered in 7.62X54, and the Turkish 8MM Mauser are very affordable options, and would serve well as militia weapons.
Check at the next gun show, talk to your local dealer, or spend some time reading "The Shotgun News" (available at any good bookstore or newsstand), to get some ideas on what you can afford.
Another relatively inexpensive option would be to purchase an SKS. These are 10-shot semi-automatic carbines, with either a 16- or 20-inch barrel. Made in China or Russia, these are chambered in 7.62X39, the same round as the AK47. You may still be able to find some with a built-in bayonet. This may, one day, be a useful feature.
The fixed 10-round magazine may be seen by some to be an overly limiting feature, but beware of after-market conversion kits intended to allow a detachable-magazine. Section 922R of the arbitrarily made-up federal regulations could make adding this item a felony. More importantly, most people who have tried these conversion kits have found them heavy and difficult to operate, and they have quickly returned to the stock, 10-round fixed magazine. Loading a fixed magazine with stripper clips is a completely acceptable method of operating this weapon, anyway. There are some SKS rifles that will accept the AK47 magazine. These are hard to find, and are certainly more expensive than a 10-round SKS, but they are dependable weapons.
The AK47 is considered one of the most successful military rifles in the world. Its use by armies and others worldwide will attest to its worthiness as a militia weapon. In our experience, however, the typical AK is not very accurate. The most accurate AK variants are the newer VEPR rifles, and some of the older ones with longer, heavier barrels.
The .30 Cal. M1 Carbine is another rifle to consider. These were originally designed to replace the .45 pistol. They are relatively lightweight, and fairly accurate. Chambered for the .30 cal. round, they do not possess overwhelming penetration power. Several million of these were produced, so there are plenty out there. The .30 Carbine round is no longer used by any armed forces, so in the long run, it may become difficult to acquire more ammunition in the field.
Ruger manufactures both the Mini14, chambered in .223, and the Mini30, chambered in 7.62X39. These are both reliable and accurate, and not incredibly heavy. Either one would serve well as a militia weapon. They come in many variants, and many accessories are also available. They may be, however, a bit more difficult to break down, clean, and reassemble in a field environment.
The L1A1, the civilian version of the FN/FAL, would be a good option. These weapons are chambered in the popular .308 (7.62X51), these weapons offer possibly more range than the .223 selections. They are a bit heavier than many rifles, but they are made very well, and are dependable rifles.
The .308 CETME, a predecessor to the German G3 and similar rifles is one of the recent favorites among militia members. They are relatively inexpensive. Field testing of the rifles at militia training has proven them to be excellent rifles. 20-round magazines for these rifles are fairly inexpensive, and ammo and accessories seem to be reasonably priced.
The M1 Garand, chambered for .30-06, a very hard-hitting round, has been called the greatest infantry rifle ever made, in one publication. These rifles have a unique 8-round clip that pops out when empty. For a powerful rifle with long range capabilities, they would be excellent. For a spray-and-pray enthusiast (someone with less emphasis on accuracy, and more emphasis on large volumes of rounds), this would not be a good pick. The .30-06 round is widely available, as it is used by many hunters.
Many people consider the M1A to be the ultimate rifleman's weapon ever developed. Chambered in .308, rugged, durable, and incredibly accurate, these will make excellent choices for militia riflemen. If you can afford these somewhat expensive masterpieces, then you should strongly consider it. For more on becoming a dedicated rifleman, and more about the M1A/M14, please visit http://www.fredsm14stocks.com/, or read "Fred's Column" in "The Shotgun News".
The AR15 is the civilian version of the rifle used by the US armed forces, the M16. As it is possible that militia units will find it necessary to fight alongside US units in defending our country, this would be an appropriate choice. These rifles come in so many barrel lengths, and with so many options and variants, that it would be very difficult to not find one that suits you. The AR is a precision made, close tolerance machine. This provides more accuracy than nearly any other standard military semi-auto rifle, but it requires fastidious cleaning to ensure reliability. Some loose tolerance rifle types, like the AK series, are famous for being subjected to mud and rust by illiterate rural peasants anywhere in the world, and still come up shooting every time. The AR is more suitable for Americans, who use machinery every day (cars, phones, computers, doorknobs, flushing toilets), and are much more likely to be capable of maintaining it. Most of the US military surplus gear that is currently available is geared toward this weapon. It is a favorite of many militia types.
Keep in mind that the most commonly available rounds are .223, 7.62X39, and .308 (7.62X51). Availability of ammo is an important consideration, and we know of some people who have purchased a weapon merely because they came across a good deal on some ammo for that weapon.
There are many other options to think about. A lever-action 30-30 will work, if that's what you have. It would be a good idea to attend any militia range function, and see what they are carrying. We have even seen a 9mm Carbine used to qualify Level One with, so one of these would be acceptable, as well.
Given that the right to keep and bear any arms is continually coming under attack, one should give serious thought to acquiring that first weapon as soon as possible; buy a rifle while you still can.
2) AMMUNITION: Your ammunition must be for your rifle. It is by far better to buy your ammo in bulk than to buy it a box or two at a time. Perhaps you can go in together with someone that uses the same rounds as you do. This is a common occurrence in the unit. It would be great if you (or your fellow team-mates) could get into reloading, so you could save even more money. We suggest that you keep at least 1000 rounds of ammo at home, as it can become a high-value commodity overnight. Ammo can be ordered from wholesalers, and delivered directly to you,
100 rounds is an absolute minimum carried load. This ammo should be carried "hands-free" in ammo pouches or a bandoleer. Carrying a bucket of ammo will not work. If your weapon is magazine-fed, you must carry at least one magazine, and we highly suggest that you have enough magazines to carry 100 rounds in. If you do not have a magazine-fed rifle, then try to keep your rounds on stripper clips. Loading single rounds one at a time can put you at a dire tactical disadvantage. You should make every effort to ensure that your ammo is easily accessible for quick and efficient reloading. It is a good idea to bring an ammo can full of your favorite rounds to training.
Armor piercing rounds, tracers, and such: These special purpose rounds are much more expensive than regular ball ammunition. If you can afford some, armor piercing rounds would be a bonus in the event that you are confronted by armor wearing foes (like the bank robbers in Los Angeles). If you are a small unit leader, you may wish to consider tracer rounds to help direct your unit's fire.
Hollow point ammunition is not allowed in armed conflict under the Geneva Convention. It is, however, acceptable for training or hunting. Please be aware that recent policy statements made by The US Department of Defense seem to express the position that in certain instances, hollow point type ammo is acceptable. The Hague protocols seem to apply to armed conflict between regular uniformed armed forces of a nation, and not to anti-terrorist operations.
3) WATER CONTAINER: This must be a sealable, non-glass container to carry water in. It must be able to carry at least one quart of water. You must be able to carry it "hands-free", so some kind of carrying strap, belt, suspenders, or other means of transporting is necessary. An open pitcher of water will not fulfill this requirement. A military surplus or other type of outdoor type of canteen will be fine. A regular one-quart water bottle will work, if you have some way to carry it. Some people have started out with a plastic pop bottle carried in a shoulder bag, and that is acceptable. In the winter, however, it is much riskier to try to thaw frozen water in a plastic canteen than in a metal one. We have seen too many plastic canteens melt in an effort to thaw frozen water. If you can find a metal canteen to use, especially in the winter, get one.
4) WEAPON CLEANING KIT: This will vary, depending on the type of rifle that you carry, but should include a cloth of some sort, a cleaning rod or pull through cord, a bore brush, cleaning patches, a rag or two, and some kind of lubricant. The cans of spray lubricant that are available can serve as a quick fix in certain situations. You may also wish to include a tooth brush type of brush, pipe cleaners, and Q-tips, and whatever specific items required to maintain your weapon. These items are all available at the next gun show, at any local gun shop, or through "The Shotgun News", or other similar publications. It would make sense to buy a cleaning kit at the same time that you buy your rifle. Cleaning equipment is very inexpensive, and there can be NO EXCUSE for failing to have a basic cleaning kit.
As for types of lubricants, we will suggest Break Free CLP (cleaner, lubricant, protectant). It is what the military uses, it is commonly available, and relatively inexpensive. A small bottle will fit nicely in your cleaning kit. We realize that there are other, better (and more expensive), cleaning products available, but Break Free is a functional, general purpose item that will do the job. Regular military issue "Cleaning Compound, Rifle Bore" is available at gun shows, and cheap. You can buy it by the quart for $8-9. It is just as good as the commercially sold bore cleaners in stores. Pour some into a small portable squirt bottle for field use, and you will never be tempted to contaminate your supply by dipping a dirty patch in it. As you learn more, you will develop your own favorite cleaning routine, with your own favorite products. But for now, start with the basics.
5) CARRYING GEAR: Web gear, TA-50, vest, kit, LBE (load bearing equipment), rig, set-up, whatever you call it, some kind of carrying gear is necessary. The standard US military (and, consequently, many third-world allies) carrying gear consists of a web belt, suspenders, (we recommend "H"-type suspenders instead of the "Y"-type, as the "Y" suspenders may pinch and bind some of us in the neck and shoulder region. If you can find the older "H" suspenders, they will be inexpensive. The new manufactured "H" suspenders that are available through several mail order companies are somewhat more expensive. "Y" suspenders are fairly common place.), ammo pouches (2), canteens (1 or 2), and a butt-pack. The butt pack can hold your cleaning kit and first-aid kit, or you can have a separate attachment for them.
There are many new, high-speed vests and carrying mechanisms available through US Cavalry, or other mail-order companies, but they are all very expensive. Some new, high-tech rigs can run close to, or even over, $200!! You would be much better off sticking with surplus military gear. If, however, you have your own unique way of carrying gear that works well for you, then stay with that.
There are many configurations of carrying gear at any militia training. Feel free to come and see, or look through the pictures in our Field Reports to see what the folks are carrying. A lot of rigs are amalgamations of mixed gear from many countries.
If you want ideas or suggestions on how to carry your stuff, please attend any militia training session and ask the people there for assistance. They will be more than willing to offer advice.
It is also important, especially with older gear, to make sure that there are no shiny metal surfaces visible. You can tape or paint over them. Also make sure that any straps are not excessively worn, and that all necessary clips are present and functional.
6) INDIVIDUAL BASIC FIRST-AID KIT: This should be considered as an absolute, bare-bones minimum first-aid kit. After much discussion, we decided on these items. You are free to add whatever personal medication or other items that you feel is necessary. Some kind of pain-killer/analgesic, anti-diarrhea medication, anti-histamine or other allergy medicine, and maybe some cough drops are possible considerations, but they are not requirements. Please be certain that your medications are completely LEGAL. The required items are:
a) BATTLE DRESSING. This is, typically, a military-style compress dressing, with attached cloth "tie-downs" used to tie the dressing around a wound. The location of the item, usually on your non-firing shoulder, or in your upper left pocket, must be known to all of your team-mates. In a pinch, a feminine sanitary napkin or even an infant diaper may be used, along with a gauze roll.
b) 32" TRIANGULAR BANDAGE This is the type of bandage that can be tied around a wound, even a large, serious one. These may also be used as a sling. Any 32" triangular bandage will be fine. In a pinch, you can even cut your own triangular bandage from a clean sheet. Keep the bandage in its package, or if you cut your own, in a baggie by itself.
c) TRIPLE ANTIBIOTIC. This is a good, general purpose ointment for minor cuts and scrapes. In a field environment, nobody can afford an infection. This ointment is available either with Lidocaine, a topical pain reliever, or without. This is available in small packets, and you should carry five or more of these small packets in your first aid kit. If you want, you may also buy a large tube to carry with you. This is an item that is very useful to have even if you have no militia inclinations whatsoever, so go pick up a tube or box the next time that you are out.
d) 5 BAND-AIDS, minimum. These should be the regular size adhesive strips. You may wish to have more, and of different sizes, but you must have at least 5 regular band-aids. You may want to consider the waterproof/ sweat proof kind. Please avoid brightly-colored children's band-aids. You might want to add a handful of butterfly bandages as well, to help close more serious cuts.
e) 1 ROLL OF GAUZE. These are available by the box at any drug store. You must have at least one in your first-aid kit, and you should keep a box or two at home. These can also be used to wrap and/or tie around a wound.
f) 1 4"X4" GAUZE PAD. You may actually wish to obtain several of these, as they are not usually available in single packages. They must be secured to a wound in some fashion, such as tying with a bandage, or securing with surgical tape. Surgical tape is not a requirement, but it is highly suggested that you obtain at least a small roll.
g) 1 PAIR OF LATEX GLOVES. These will be needed if you ever have to work on someone who is bleeding. It is important to avoid contact with anyone else's blood or other bodily fluids. These gloves take up almost no space, weigh next to nothing, and are usually available by the box at any drug store.
h) Either one additional battle dressing, or one additional 4x4 (or larger) gauze pad.
i) Tourniquet. Have one. It's a requirement now.
All of your first-aid gear should fit in a small pouch. You can carry this in your butt-pack, or it attach it to your web gear. There are also some military first-aid attachments for your web gear, available at a local surplus store, or through one of the several mail order companies.
It is important that your fellow militia members know where your first-aid kit is, so inform them verbally, and use black electrical tape to mark the location of your kit with a cross. You may wish to trail a small, dark red ribbon from your kit, to further help your team-mates in finding your gear, should you become incapacitated.
Your first-aid gear is for YOUR use. It should be maintained and updated on a regular basis. Do not allow your personal medication to expire, and check any sterile packaging periodically to make sure that it hasn't ruptured.
You may also wish to purchase a pre-assembled kit from the unit for a small fee.
7) COMBAT OR HIKING BOOTS: We almost didn't make this a requirement, because some of us thought that everyone would automatically meet this requirement. An argument was made to the contrary, therefore, you must wear combat or hiking boots that fit your feet.
Any boot issued regularly by the US military would be a good choice. The Army spend millions of your tax dollars testing and refining footgear for our troops. They will not issue boots that will harm its soldier's feet.
Some other boots that are good are the very expensive Danner Ft. Lewis Gore-Tex boot. One individual owned a pair for over 10 years. They are expensive at around $200, but well worth it.
Herman Survivors are also good boots, and they cost a bit less.
Jungle boots are very inexpensive, and they are excellent summer boots. When the weather turns cold, however, they are fairly useless. You should have a pair on hand, for the warm months.
Even with a good, all-purpose boots, you will still want to acquire additional winter boots. You can get winter boots with removable inserts, most of these seem to work well. The US issued Mickey Mouse boots are excellent if you expect to spend extended time in a static position in extremely cold weather. For the price, they are hard to beat.
Plan to buy your boots at the end of the day, after your feet have swollen just a bit from the day's activities.
Avoid steel toe boots, especially in winter. They can become quite uncomfortable.
For a closer look at what many militia people consider to be good boots, just attend any training session, and ask around.
8) COPY OF THE US CONSTITUTION AND DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE: Neither of these grant us any rights. It is far beyond the scope of a written document to bestow (or remove) a naturally occurring right. Instead, they seek to clarify and preserve our natural, fundamental human rights, none of which are dependent upon any mere document.
IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO CARRY THESE DOCUMENTS INTO THE FIELD, BUT MERELY TO HAVE THEM AVAILABLE TO YOU.
A thorough understanding of how the Constitution was designed only to limit the government will lead you to better grasp the nature of some of the threats that loom over our country today. We suggest that you become quite familiar with your Constitutions. There are many who would deny its validity: they are your enemy.
If, for some reason, you do not have a copy of these important documents available, please contact your nearest militia unit, and they can furnish you with one. You can also contact your Congressman or Senator and request a copy.
This concludes the basic equipment list. We feel that these items will be relatively easy to acquire, and the total cost of "gearing up" will not be overwhelming. If you still have difficulty in finding some items, or if you need help selecting something, feel free to contact your local militia unit for assistance.
Please remember that this guide is only intended to serve as a starting point, and that there will always be some other items that you will discover to be necessary later on. We will publish guidelines for additional levels as we develop them. Your input on these further publications will be very much welcomed.
Having looked at the basic equipment, we will examine three simple abilities. We feel that, after demonstrating these abilities, you can be considered "able-bodied and capable of bearing arms".
A) COMPLETE A TWO-MILE HIKE WITH ALL BASIC EQUIPMENT WITHIN 48 MINUTES. You will also be required to carry any shooting aid that you intend to use in your rifle qualification. To be eligible for Scout Training, this must be completed in 40 minutes or less.
It is important to be able to get around on foot. It is possible that, under any number of circumstances, travel by other means will be difficult or impossible. A short, two-mile hike at a slow to moderate pace is a good measure of your mobility.
Please do not be alarmed by the distance. Two miles is actually a very short walk. Most of us cover many more miles in our daily lives.
You will be given as many attempts as you need to complete this walk. If, for some reason, you do not succeed the first time, additional attempts will be allowed after a brief rest period of not less than 15 minutes. It is very possible that persons who do not make it the first time could easily make it if they merely pick up the pace a bit.
As there are few roads along which a militia hike would fail to attract unwanted attention, the hike will take place on a private road or trail.
The hike may occur in any weather or road condition.
Please do not attempt this hike if it may jeopardize your health.
B) FIELD STRIP YOUR WEAPON FOR CLEANING. Since there are many types of weapons available, this guide cannot possibly cover even a fraction of them.
There are several ways to learn how to break down your rifle. You can learn from the manual that will come with any new rifle. You can learn from instructions published in some other sources, such as certain issues of "Guns & Ammo", and the like. You can also ask someone who is already familiar with that type of firearm. Any gathering of friendly militia people is bound to be brimming over with firearms knowledge, and they will be more than willing to help you. Do not be embarrassed to ask someone for help- the only dumb question is the one that you don't ask.
You will need to break your weapon down so that the bore, bolt, and gas system (if it has one) may be properly cleaned. There will be additional items that it is possible to break down (buffer springs, extractor pins, hand guards, etc.), but for now, this simple field-stripping will suffice.
YOU WILL ALSO NEED TO PUT YOUR RIFLE BACK TOGETHER.
In many instances, there will be a special tool or device required to break down a certain piece or aspect of a particular rifle. If you are aware of this, it is very important that you obtain this special tool, preferably when you buy the rifle. Sometimes, however, the requirement of a special tool is a warning that you should not remove that certain part at all, so any time a tool is required, exercise extreme caution. Consult your manual, or someone who is thoroughly knowledgeable about your weapon before using any "special tools".
VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: NEVER ATTEMPT TO DO ANYTHING WITH A WEAPON UNLESS YOU UNLOAD AND CLEAR IT FIRST! NEVER, EVER POINT YOUR WEAPON AT ANYONE! ALWAYS BE SAFETY CONSCIOUS!
C) PLACE 8 OUT OF 10 SHOTS INTO A 9" TARGET AT 100 YARDS. From a field expedient position, using any item that you carried on your two-mile hike, place 8 out of 10 shots into a 9" target at 100 yards. There will be no coaching while you are firing your 10 round string. You will be required to complete this within 5 minutes. You may use a bipod, sleeping pad, rucksack, or whatever, as long as it was carried on your hike. You are not required to use anything. If time permits, you will be allowed to sight in prior to actual qualifying.
Multiple attempts will be allowed, after everyone has had a first attempt. Following your first attempt, you are free to request a critique of your shooting. In fact, such critiques are often provided without any request at all.
Hitting a 9" target at 100 yards should be relatively easy. (At higher levels, the target will get smaller.) Almost any militia person will help you accomplish this. If you just show up at any range training, we'll be glad to help. (Some training sessions do not require firearms, so please check first.) The final word on shooting, and you will hear this repeated often, is "practice, practice, practice."
D) Conduct a series of 3-5 second rushes using cover and/or concealment over not less than fifty yards. This is the most basic, important individual tactical movement technique.
This completes what you need for Level 1. Upon fulfilling these, providing contact information of some sort, and being issued an ID, one may be considered an active line member of the Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia. That is, we will count you as "able-bodied and capable of bearing arms", and you are now able to vote in SMVM activities.
You may also become a member by passing The Level One Medic qualification, or The Level One Radio Operator qualification. There is an option for Support Membership for those who wish to dedicate themselves to a certain amount of support functions. Details on these are available elsewhere on this site, or from SMVM Staff.
If you do not complete any of these, for whatever reason, but are still interested in helping out and participating as much as you can, we we still welcome you as reserve or support participants. Some of our most dedicated participants have been unable, due to illness or injury, to fully complete Level One. They do as much as they can when they are out there, and more than most in other areas.
There is no time requirement to begin Level 1, other than those dictated by outside events. It makes sense of course, to get it done as quickly as possible.
Persons achieving Level 1 are eligible to join a team, can vote in SMVM scheduled meetings, can be placed on the phone tree, will be issued a "Militia" patch, and can be issued a "Michigan Militia" ID card (which is required by the Geneva convention for militias and other volunteer corps).
We welcome your comments and suggestions regarding these simple requirements.
One of the most frequently asked questions that we hear is, "What kind of uniform should I get?" Since there seems to be a large non-conformity streak running through our unit, we won't issue a specific uniform requirement, although some units do have a uniform requirement, wherein you would speak to the Team Leader of that Unit you wish to join. We will, however, feature a brief discussion on the matter.
Most militia persons tend to wear US Army style BDUs (battle dress uniforms) in the woodland camouflage pattern. As with other things, the government has spent a lot of time and money on testing for its equipment, this includes camouflage patterns. For Michigan, the woodland pattern is fine, and it works most of the time being that Michigan is primarily covered by trees. This would be the preferred option.
NOTE: 10 USC 771 and AR 670-1 (look them up) prohibit civilians from impersonating federal military persons, while international law (Hague Protocols and the Law of Land Warfare) requires persons in militias or other volunteer corps to be identified as such. So we need to be clearly identified as "militia", while not running afoul of Federal law and military regulations. It is discourteous to active duty military people to dress like them or even vaguely appear to impersonate them. Every effort should be made to avoid angering our active duty military friends.
There are also large numbers of foreign military surplus camouflage clothing available. Most of this will work for our purposes, as long as you wear some kind of patches or insignia that identifies you as a militia person (you DO NOT want to be mistaken for a foreign soldier if things get screwy). Remove any foreign insignia from any uniforms that you may have.
Other commercially available camouflage patterns look cool, but may have very limited applications. The desert, urban, or black patterns are exceptional under their specific situations, but you probably don't want to wear them into the woods, at least not in daylight.
Left Side Breast Pocket:
Right Side Breast Pocket:
Unit patch or Minuteman Patch
American or State Flag or Gadsden Flag
Marksman Expert Badge
Militia Warrior badge
As far as headgear goes, we haven't made helmets a requirement. You can purchase one, if you wish. Many of our comrades have bought Kevlar helmets, and some of them have the old steel pot helmets. If you can afford the Kevlar, that's great; that's what our regular military uses, so you know it should be of good quality. The steel pot helmets served well for many decades, so they deserve some consideration, also. A helmet is also very useful for attaching "rag top" style camouflage, as seen throughout our field reports.
Many militia people wear berets. Nothing will prevent you from wearing a beret, but remember, it is the most useless thing that you can wear on your head. They do not shade your eyes from sun, wind, or rain, and they can become incredibly hot. Unless you just want to look good (we will admit that berets do look good), there is no reason to wear a beret.
The military type soft cap (the one that looks kind of like a baseball hat) at least shades your eyes. The ones with the fold under ear-flaps can keep your ears from freezing.
The watch caps that you can find anywhere work well at night, but they can get warm in the summer months. Still, they would be a good choice for the "commando" look.
One of the best types of headgear would have to be the "boonie" hat. They offer shade and protection from the weather, they do not overheat your brain, and they look cool. If you need to pick up some type of headgear to complete your uniform, you should give strong consideration to the "boonie" hat. They are available in woodland, tiger-stripe, desert, and possibly other camouflage patterns; get one in a pattern that matches the rest of your uniform.
Locally, there are several suppliers of military surplus goods. In addition, some sporting goods stores, and even large department stores may carry useful equipment.
GI SURPLUS OF WAYNE - 34932 W Michigan, Wayne, MI 48184 (East of Wayne Road) (734) 326-4434
(We highly recommend that you visit GI Surplus. They even have sizes to fit us big fellas.)
HARRY'S ARMY SURPLUS - 2050 N Telegraph Road at Ford Road
METROPOLITAN (formerly Surplus City) - 1900 N Wayne Road at Ford Road
JOE'S ARMY NAVY SURPLUS 32302 Woodward Ave Royal Oak, Michigan 48073-0945 Business: (248) 549-2692.
Plan to visit Cabela's massive and spectacular omniplex dedicated to wildlife
conservation and outdoor sportsmen and women worldwide! 225,000 square feet of The World's
Foremost Outfitter's quality merchandise.
Store Address: 110 Cabela Blvd. East, Dundee, MI 48131
Store Hours: Mon-Sat 8:00 A.M.-9:00 P.M.; Sun 10:00 A.M.-6:00 P.M.(EST)
Store Hours: (Holiday hours are subject to change. Call for specific times.)
GPS Coordinates: N 41° 57.850" W 83° 40.500"
There are additional suppliers throughout the state. Check your local yellow pages.
There are several local gun shops. Be advised that sporting good stores, especially any Gander Mountain, will have some selection of firearms. There are also regular gun shows that may offer exceptional deals.
SHOOTER'S SERVICE - 29419 6 mile Road In Livonia
ACTION IMPACT 25992 West 8 Mile Rd, Southfield, MI 48033 248-799-7300
30482 Woodward Avenue
Royal Oak, MI 48073 USA
Phone: +1 (248) 549-2122
3240 Orchard Lake Rd
Orchard Lake, MI 48324
Phone: +1 (248) 683-3333
WOLVERINE SHOOTING SPORTS
JAY'S SPORTING GOODS - 8800 S. Clare Avenue In Clare, Michigan North Of Mt Pleasant, worth stopping at if you're up north.
The following is a partial listing of some of the many mail-order suppliers that you may wish to contact. Many sporting good catalogs, such as Cabela's and Gander Mountain, will also contain useful gear.
US CAVALRY - 2855 Centennial Avenue, Radcliff, KY 40160
RANGER JOE'S - 4030 Victory Drive, Columbus, GA 31903
BRIGADE QUARTERMASTERS - 1025 Cobb Intl Blvd, Kennesaw, GA 30152
SPORTSMAN'S GUIDE - 411 Farwell Ave, So. St Paul, MN 55075
MAJOR SURPLUS AND SURVIVAL 435 W Alondra, Gardena, CA 90248
By far, Sportsman's Guide, and Major Surplus are the cheapest sources of used military surplus that we have found. Ranger Joes, US Cavalry, and Brigade Quartermasters all have the newest, high speed (and thusly, more expensive) gear. There are many more suppliers out there, you just have to look around.
Write to any of these companies and request to be put on their mailing list, or ask them for a current catalog. Sometimes there will be a small charge for this, but it is usually worth it.
Also, we regularly take delight in reading "The Shotgun News", and it's entirely possible that you will as well. We recommend that you, or someone in your group, subscribe. A one-year subscription, 36 issues, should cost you around $30. It is well worth it. Contact them at:
THE SHOTGUN NEWS PO Box 669 Hastings, NE 68902
To subscribe by phone, call them at 1-800-345-6923.
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