EQUIPMENT: This stuff is all in the handbook, but since everyone else seems to throw out equipment lists like they were candy, I thought that I would too. You may find it interesting as the KISS Commandos are "minimalists" when it comes to gear and equipment. My equipment list is not written in stone of course, and can be added to or modified. As minimal as it is, I doubt that anyone would reduce it further.
This is our REQUIRED equipment list that we give to a new person (MAGGOT) before the first time they go out on a day mission with us:
Approved weapon and at least 50 rounds ammunition.
Full cammo clothes, boonie hat and face paint.
Backpack/rucksack, ALICE pack, or web gear.
Two quarts water, food ration, bug juice, and any required prescription or over the counter medicines to ensure you remain comfortable and healthy all day.
FOLLOWING ITEMS ARE NOT REQUIRED, BUT HIGHLY SUGGESTED:
Flashlight and colored lens filters.
50 yards green parachite cord.
Combat knife or bayonet.
Map and compass.
I ALSO HIGHLY SUGGEST: A wool hat, BDU shirt or jacket, and gloves NO MATTER HOW NICE THE WEATHER in case of an unexpected/unplanned overniter.
Obviously this list does not include a lot of stuff that I would not go out without, but it will get a new person through the day, and keep them light. You don't want to discourage new people by giving them an endurance test. Keep it enjoyable, and watch for safe weapons handling, and the ability to remain quiet and follow orders. Not how much weight the new person can hump! This short list eliminates much stuff that I see on many lists, that I see no use for, such as a signal mirror, soap, toothpaste, extra T-shirts, fishing gear where there are no fish, etc. Among the team, as a whole, some additional items should be carried, which the more experienced members will have, like a GPS, water filter, "big eyes", and a cell phone. New members are also urged to aquire a two-way as soon as possible.
APPROVED WEAPONS: This is our "approved weapons" list that we give to new people to ensure that they do not show up with their Winchester Model 70, .22 Rimfire, or Remington 700 sporting rifles. Therefore, I may have missed some appropriate weapons. Don't get upset if your weapon is not included, such as many of the 9mm carbines, of which there are too many to list. Good deals can usually be found on surplus French rifles, because most have never been fired, and only dropped once. However, ammo can be hard to find for them so we would suggest American, German, British, Soviet bloc, Swiss, Swedish, or even Chi-com rifles over those used by the French.
Short, Magazine, Lee Enfield, and all variations of.
Mosin Nagant, and all variations of.
MAS Model 49
GEWEHR 42 and GERMAN G./K.43
KRAG, and all variations of.
HK-91,93, G3, CETME, etc.
M1 Garand, and M1 Carbine
AR-15, CAR, and all variations of.
Ruger Mini 14 and Mini 30
STVT38 and SVT40 Tokarev
AKM, all variations of. YEAH!
Springfield 03/03A3, etc.
Sidearms are optional.
And then we always warn everbody: DO NOT BRING ANY ILLEGAL WEAPON OR EXPLOSIVE DEVICE TO A KISS MISSION, OUTING, OR ANY OTHER KISSATA FUNCTION. DO NOT BRING A TACTICAL RIFLE UNLESS A SNIPING MISSION IS ALREADY PLANNED, AND YOU ARE THE DESIGNATED SNIPER. And PLEASE, be drug and alcohol free for at least 72 hours before any KISSATA mission or function.
FOOD RATIONS, NUTRITION, AND WATER: I believe that proper nutrition, and maximun physical condition, nutrition-wise, are VERY important but often overlooked factors. I have seen, over and over again, when fatigue sets in, how concentration, noise discipline, and alertness really take a dive. In a "real" situation I think that everyone would agree that this will get you killed. In a training situation, it "kills" the training. Therefore I cannot stress enough that whenever possible, you ensure that you are well hydrated and well fed with high energy and high calorie foods. Seek out information on nutrition and study it. Look at what the back-packers eat, you can learn a lot from a back-packer! High nutrition, high calorie foods will enable you to carry less weight, but more days worth of rations. I can go a long way, for a long time on a combination of high calorie nuts, pure dark chocolate, and a peanut butter sandwhich or two, a small amount of summer sausage and a hard boiled egg. The salt on the nuts, and some on the egg, will help your body hydrate properly also, the whole salt issue being an interesting subject in itself. Your physiology will differ, so experiment and study, and find out what works for you. A tired, fatigued, fagged out team member will be a liability, and be both literally and figuratively a "drag" on your team, as will someone who is too cold, has cold feet, or is being eaten alive by bugs. Pay attention to maintaining comfort! Comfort in the field, and concern with comfort is important for these reasons, and should not be considered weakness or lack of strength and toughness.
STANDARDIZATION OF WEAPONS: I have had people with much more experience and knowledge than I suggest that KISSATA should standardize weapons. In other words, EVERYBODY carries an AR15, or the SKS, FAL, AKM, etc. An "official" KISSATA weapon.
Obviously, in a large body of people, such as a formal military force, logistics dictate this. Even with small three person units, there are tactical advantages such as being able to share ammo in a pinch, that I cannot argue with.
My resistance to a standard weapon are for these reasons: First and foremost, KISSATA is a training vehicle, and I don't want to lose or discourage anyone's participation because they have to buy a certain type of weapon that they do not have before they can start training. Any appropriate military rifle will build the basic weapons handling and marksmanship skills. (or enable one to capture a "better" weapon)
Second, I find it valuable for members to be skilled in the use of many different types of small arms. With a variety of weapons in use, a "cross training" environment of weapons automatically exists, and one has the opportunity to fire different weapons at the range sessions or pre-mission weapons check. I think it adds to field survival skills to be familiar with any weapon you may scavange or capture. And KISS Commandos should be expert scavengers and field survivors. ESCAPE AND EVASION, to the extreme!
Third, I find you can combine different types of weapons within a team to create some interesting "diversity". For instance two FR8's, "escorting" a FAL can operate within a "mini" Squad Automatic Weapons concept and still utilize the same ammo. Why not just three FAL's you ask? Well, and this is admitedly spliting hairs, but the FR8's (or any miltary bolt rifle in or converted to .308) are way more affordable, they weigh less, meaning more ammo can be carried, and the slower rate of fire conserves that ammo even further.
On the same general theme, an AR15, Mini-14, or AK-74 "escorted" by a couple of powerful bolt rifles can really produce some good cover fire for up front and personal action or rear guard action, but the bolt rifles can reach out further, and penetrate some pretty serious hard cover such as trees. Or, somewhat like a sniping concept, two SKS's, AK's, or even M1 Carbines can escort an A3-03, SMLE, or Mosin-Nagant, which can be used for some serious sharpshooting when the action is not up close and personal, and can REALLY make your back trail a bad place to be. But up close, the AK's or whatever can really put out some firepower, and the heavy caliber bolt rifle can penetrate hard cover VERY well. With their open sights and stripper clip reloading a bolt rifle will work "o.k." in a close in fire fight, unlike a full on tactical or scoped rifle.
On the far extreme you can even have three completely different rifles on a three person team. I like the idea of using my AK74 on point because it and it's ammo is light, it is extremely dependable, and it can really pump out the lead. It is of light caliber, but if slack has a FAL, CETME, Garand, etc., I have some real firepower backing me up. Tail end Charlie can then be armed with just about any rifle, either another light semi-auto, or a good powerful bolt gun, again to penetrate hard cover or do some serious sharp shooting when needed or desired. In case I got too far off track here, the point is that with different weapons you can do more, or cover more "bases" than with one standard weapon, but the only thing you can't do is throw your buddy a magazine or clip of ammo when he runs out.
Fourth, when you standardize on one weapon, you standardize on it's shortcomings, such as light caliber with the AR, AK74, Mini 14, etc., heavy weight, as with the FAL, G3, Garand etc., or only fair accuracy with the AKM, plus the 7.62X39mm is still a somewhat light caliber. Weapons that come to mind that are light, powerful, and accurate lack the firepower of magazine fed semi autos, such as the FR8, No.5 SMLE, Mosin Nagant carbines, or the M95 Styer. (although the SMLE with it's ten round detachable magazine, and the Styer with its straight pull action and enbloc clips, kind of bridge the gap between the other bolt actions and a semi auto. The K31 Swiss is another straight pull rifle of powerful caliber and excellent accuracy, which uses detachable magazines which would or could, in the right hands, kick butt on a semi-auto in less than expert hands) The bottom line is that when you combine these weapons within a rifle team you can exploit the strong points of each type, and "cover" it's weak points with the other weapons. Again what you can't do is throw ammo back and forth.
I like the approach that the High Desert Militia of Southern California takes, if I understand it correctly, which is to designate an "official" rifle (the SKS in this case) but allow the use of other rifles as long as they are not illegal, or innapropriate.
Standardization on caliber might make the most sense, but there usually is not a wide variety as to type of weapon within a caliber designation. .308 Winchester or 7.62X51mm is probably the closest you can come as far as finding high capacity semi autos and small light bolt guns within the same caliber, in addition to tactical rifles. But again, if you dictate 7.62X51mm only, then you eliminate many other good rifles and calibers and exclude people who don't want to obtain a .308 because they can't afford the semi-auto versions, don't want a bolt gun as their primary weapon, or have much time, training and money invested in other rifles and ammunition.
My final comment would be that if you are going to standardize, and you are not a major military force, it might be best to standardize on the weapon of your anticipated enemy, whoever that might be, in order to use his ammo. But in this case just about any type of rifle, within reason, will enable you to capture your enemy's rifle, so why bother?. And who knows who the enemy will be five, ten, or twenty years from now, and what weapon he will use.
So, I may be right, or I may be wrong...if you think the Klickster is NUTZ, tell him so! He's NOT a baby! He CAN take it!
Last but not least don't forget to keep your pack or web gear handy, along with your rifle and ammo, ready to go out the door on a moment's notice. In this case keep your full combat load of ammo in the pack, whatever that is for you, usually around 200 rounds depending on caliber. Keep your camo clothes in the pack also, so that you don't have to change first. Bug out first, THEN change clothes. Don't forget to have your canteens already filled up, and some food rations that will keep such as a MRE or two. And remember that the best weapon is NOT the one that can blow the most rounds off into the air in the shortest amount of time. Hitting nothing means nothing, and a battle rifle is NOT a noise making device.