People love talking about the LRRP loadout and how many mags they carried. I did some digging, and found a post on Sofrep regarding a LRRP/Ranger Loadout. Bob Sampson says that he carried:
- M-16 with 16-18 mags, 18 rounds in each
- Stevens 12 Gauge 100 rounds of 00 buck in a claymore bag, and 5 rounds in the -gun.
Note: I had my choice of weapon to carry, 95% of the time I went with the shotgun.
- Colt 1911 with 4 extra mags
- PRC-25 radio
- 10 x 50 Binoculars
- Code book
- Note book
- 2 grease pencils
- 2 Frags
- 2 Smoke
- 2-3 canteens of water
- 6 LRRP rations
- Ground cloth (section of a parachute panel)
- 2-3 Morphine syrettes
- Couple of field dressings
- Extra socks
- Iodine tabs
If we analyze this for modernized usage, we can assemble a list that looks something like this: - AR with 11 magazines total (same round count as 18 mags w/ 18 rounds)
- Glock 19/equivalent with 2 extra magazines (45 rounds compared to 35 .45 rounds)
- Decent fixed blade knife like an ESEE 3/4 or similar
- Your radio (moto, yaesu, etc) plus spare batteries
- 7x binos (going off current military standard M24 binos)
- Small 4x6 Rite in the Rain with brevity codes/freqs/sensitive info that you can dispose of easily
- 5x8 rite in the rain for note taking, range cards, terrain sketches, etc.
- 2 sets of map pen (black, blue, eraser pen)
- Mechanical pencil
- 2 pens (not gel, they don't work well with RITR paper)
- 3 smokes (can't have frags so we'll carry an extra smoke to compensate)
- 2 32oz bottles + 2-3L bladder
- Stripped MREs and protein bars/quick snacks that don't require water (bring 2x main rations for each day and snacks to fulfill lunch)
- IFAK with combat gauze, compression bandages, regular gauze, booboo kit
- Extra socks x2 per day
- Iodine tablets + water filter like Katyden BeFree or Sawyer Squeeze
- Military poncho (for shelter and for rain)
This being our combat loadout, can fit across a small pack and decently set up chest rig. I would also argue that depending on the duration and terrain of your AO, we could decrease magazine count as well. With modern optics, IR aiming devices, and every other tool we have at our disposal, the "spray and pray" method of fighting in a dense jungle isn't as applicable. We can also count for utilizing less ammunition since as civilians we're limited to semi automatic rifles versus the fully automatic M16s and CAR-15s that the men in Vietnam carried.
Here we can see a LRRP on the right with a Type 56 Chest Rig, designed to carry 6 magazines + 1 in the gun.
Another. It's very likely he still has magazines in his shirt/pants pockets, but depending on mission requirements, you may not always need to have an abundance of magazines.
If we decrease our magazine capacity from 11 magazines to 8, we're saving about 3 pounds that can be used to carry night vision and batteries. While we aren't Skyrim characters with the ability to carry a set weight limit, sacrificing 90 rounds to be able to see at night is something that I think is worth keeping the same weight, especially considering that under most circumstances and conditions, we will likely require less rounds per enemy killed.
The Vietnam era USGI 1911 with 7 round magazines is not "obsolete" as a handgun, but I'd much rather carry my VP9, or a Glock 19. Even a modern 1911 or HK45 with 10 round magazines will serve you better. Especially with the modern capability of adding lights and optics. Carrying a handgun that uses 15 round magazines allows you to carry 2 spare magazines to give you 45 rounds. This is a common configuration of 2 pistol mags and one rifle magazine on the belt. Nothing new or weird. It's commonplace where people will leave behind handguns for long range patrols or reconnaissance missions, but ultimately the weight is worth it to me, and the capabilities you get with carrying a handgun is useful to me. Finding caves, tunnels, buildings, utilizing equipment like drones, ATAK, or applying medical care to somebody, having a weapon you can quickly deploy with one hand for defense is worth it. Not to mention that if something happens to your main rifle you have a backup firearm. In addition to this, if you're working in a mix of rural and suburban/urban, having the ability to conceal a gun and leave your fighting load behind can also be very useful. Remember, we are not Vietnam LRRPs and we are doing different types of missions.
A good quality full tang fixed blade like an ESEE, Benchmade, etc. shouldn't need a justification for how useful they are. Not just as a potential defensive tool, but as a bushcraft and survival tool. I personally carry ESEE or Boxerblades, a custom knife maker out of Ohio.
The rest of the stuff is a no brainer. Having a small quick reference book for radio frequencies, brevity codes, etc. and keeping it separate from where you're actually drawing/jotting down info you get is easier to keep your quick reference book in a shoulder pocket, and then your main book in your pack or chest rig. This will allow you to not have to dig constantly to get a codeword for the day, and dispose of the documents after the operation. Keeping a redundancy of writing utensils is good due to potentially losing one, map pens for writing on laminated sheets or maps, pencil for writing on unlaminated sheets, or for anything that may change and you need to erase. Plus the eraser on a pencil can be used to clean metal contacts on radios and radio accessories.
Land navigation equipment I generally carry is a map, compass, protractor, map pens, pencil, and then a Garmin 401 or Instinct Tactical as a quick guide to get an azimuth or pull a grid to reference on the map.
One thing I did point out is carrying 3 smokes instead of 2 smokes and 2 frags. Finding fragmentation grenades as a civilian isn't applicable and I won't even discuss it here, but smoke grenades are common for filmmakers/photographers, airsofters, etc. and they're harmless. Even CS/tear gas grenades are readily available on the civilian market. Carrying some of those plus a gas mask will ultimately come down to mission. Smokes are a great thing to use for marking areas for other teams, SOS signals, and screening your movements from the enemy in the case that you come under contact.
Lastly, carrying some basic level survival gear on you should be practiced. Water filtration, some bic lighters and ferro rod jammed somewhere, emergency compass, dry tinder, etc. This stuff is very cheap, small, light, and can literally be the difference between life and death.
Here's a picture for reference of one of my setups. I have 3x 40 round PMAGs and 4x 30 rounders (one hidden behind the bottle) plus my 30 in the gun for a total of 270 rounds of 5.56, 45 rounds of 9mm, water, radio, Boxerblades knife, and then my observation and land nav equipment in the Spiritus Systems CCS pouch that I've attached to my MK5 chest rig. I utilized the Enamel Pie Cobbler wings to add 3x columns of molle on both sides with pockets for spare magazines or radios. That's where I store an additional magazine and radio. I've stuck tourniquets on both sides of the placard, and it isn't pictured but I use a Ferro Concepts Roll 1 on my belt at the 6 o clock for my medical.
You can see that the modern equivalency of the Vietnam LRRP loadout is nothing special, and is fairly standard among most now. I think it's a good baseline to ensure that your needs are covered, and that you have the ability to get to a site, observe the objective, take any further action required, and then go back to safety to report any information gathered and actions taken on the objective.