I just finished historian David Hackett Fischer’s Paul Revere’s Ride, one of the most highly-recommended books about the day our national identity was born. It revolves around the events of April 19, 1775. It is arguably both the most important day in the history of our land, and one most poorly taught in our liberal school systems… perhaps by design.
The battles at Lexington Green and the North Bridge were not fought by minutemen, but by well-trained colonial militiamen using both standard and advanced military strategies alien to the Regulars. The war was not triggered by a “shot heard round the world,” but three separate events over the course of a day.
The British on both sides—they all thought of themselves as British at this point, even as blood soaked the ground—hoped for peace, but there had been a feeling brewing in the years before that first ragged British volley into Parker’s dispersing militiamen that a war was coming. They knew well in advance.
And so the citizens began to prepare.
Five years of ever-increasing firearms and ammunition sales in this nation leading to our present day are no accident. They are subtle “tells” of history repeating. Millions of guns have been purchased, along with billions of rounds of ammunition. Almost without a word, Americans gird for a conflict modern-day Americans can feel in their bones.
Barack Obama is as alien to the spirit of America as was British General Gage. It wasn’t that there was a debate over the right way to answer a given issue; it was that Gage’s entire way of thinking was fundamentally different than that of the colonial Whigs saw the world in an entirely different way. The British didn’t speak the language of the Founders, any more than a man raised in Indonesia and Hawaii, who then bounced from the protected liberal halls of Columbia to Harvard and then the machine politics of Chicago, speaks the language of a midwestern farmer, a southern technologist, or a western doctor.
Obama no more grasp of the American spirit than a clueless continental general that miscalculated his way into triggering the Revolutionary War, and history suggests this arrogant and effete pseudo-intellectual is precisely the kind of incompetent to plunge this nation into another soul-searing conflict about the basic direction of our country.
There will be a time and a place for discussion of politics, but today I speak of preparations for a coming war, specifically, the basic kit required to defend home and hearth from tyranny. As Jason Russell said as he barricaded himself in his home in Menotomy (now Arlington) against the advancing Regulars, “an Englishman’s home is his castle.”
The basic weapons of the colonial militias that battered the Regulars into retreat on April 19 were rough analogues of their British adversaries, smooth-bore muskets with the occasional fowling piece. Today, the AR-15 rifle and it’s slightly smaller carbine variant represent that same sort of relationship to our military’s rifles. While M1A and M1 Garand battle rifles, AK-pattern rifles and other weapons have military utility, the commonality between the military ubiquity and widespread public acceptance of Eugene Stoner’s design cements the Ar-15 rifle and carbine as the preferred firearm of the modern American citizen who may be called upon to defend his home, community, state, or nation.
A rifle, no matter how inherently accurate, is useless if the shooter cannot bring his bullets to effect on a target. The single most useful tool in a shooter’s possession is a simple cotton military web or loop sling, of the kind used so successfully in the Second World War and Korea. Many new shooters (and sadly, many shooters who should know better) view the sling as something used to carry a rifle. It is not.
A properly utilized “hasty” or “loop” sling functions with the shooter and the weapon to form a stable shooting platform capable of far more impressive accuracy than an unslung shooter can perform. The “tactical” single-point slings so popular today are, in so many words, crap.
The standard-capacity magazine issued to American servicemen armed with the M16 rifle and M-4 carbine is a 30-round magazine. Typical basic load-out in many situations is 6 30-round magazines, plus one in the gun, for 210-rounds. Soldiers anticipating combat will often carry more loaded magazines, additional ammunition, and dump pouches in which they drop partially expended or expended magazines to reload.
Most AR-15 shooters own at least a dozen magazines per weapon, as they are considered “consumables” and can be damaged relatively easily compared to the rest of the weapon system.
The AR-15 was originally issued with a 20-round magazine, before the military decided it should be deployed with 30-round magazines comparable in capacity to the Soviet AK-47. Military shooters still generally prefer the issued 30-round magazines, while many civilians prefer the shorter and more compact 20-round magazine, especially if shooting prone.
They are hundreds of ways to carry full magazines, from various kinds of web gear to pouches attached to body armor and drop-leg platforms. these are typically far more cumbersome, complex, and complicated than they need to be. A basic chest rig or magazine bandolier is simple, light and effective.
There are no hard and fast rules for weapon chambering between various flavors of the AR-15. The military uses the 5.56 NATO chambering (a higher pressure loading) while many civilian rifles are chambered in either the 5.56 NATO, .223 Remington, and a few are chambered in the .223 Wylde, which offers the best of both worlds.
ARs chambered for .223 Remington (which it will say upon the barrel) are only safe to use with .223 Remington, while rifles chambered in .223 Wylde or .5.56 NATO can shoot .223 Remington or 5.56 NATO without a problem. Ideally, a citizen will purchase a 5.56 NATO or .223 Wylde rifle, ensuring the greatest ammunition commonality.
As for bullet weight and construction, the original military loading was a full-metal jacket 55-grain bullet, which was replaced by a 62-grain loading. Some military and special operations, and hunting calibers are far different, but if you zero your weapon to fire the 55-grain or 62-grain loads, you’ll be able to be effective with most ammunition.
When it comes to quantity, an AR shooter should never have less than 1,000 rounds on hand. A weekend shooting can easily cut that in half, and you cannot count on resupply if the situation was ever dire enough that you actually need it for it’s designed purpose.
I caution that this is a very basic kit. Citizens will need cleaning gear for their firearm and a case, and many will chose to mount optics (lower power is better in most situations), aftermarket grips and stocks, and various other gadgets. Ge the basics first, and learn how to shoot from someone who can properly teach you how to shoot standing, sitting or kneeling, and prone.
A person with a rifle, who knows how to use it, its a citizen.
A person without is a subject.