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A Dose of SHTF Realism

Civilization has fallen. Marauders are everywhere. No one can be trusted. You are on your own to protect and feed your family. Necessity forces you to hunt for life continuing supplies on your own.   

 

The sun has just risen. You sling your AR-15 or AK-47 over your shoulder weighing in at between 8 to 10 pounds (‘cause you like add-ons). Your backpack of 60 to 100 lbs is loaded down with everything your research and experience dictate you will need. It is a little heavy but it is better to have something and not need it than need it and not have it. Then you heft your 9 pound ammunition pouch of 4 steel 30 round magazines and the thought occurs to you, “This is getting freakin’ heavy!”

 

Experience and opinions on how much ammunition should be carried are wildly varied. Hollywood never seems to think that anyone carrying an AK-47 needs more than the clip in their rifle. Some Vietnam veterans recall carrying more than 600 rounds on patrol. But how much is the right amount for you?

 

As we don’t have a real life SHTF situation to draw from, the closest comparison would be the infantryman’s basic combat load. Infantrymen are men trained to carry heavy loads while navigating the rigors of combat. Historically, the load varies from army to army, unit to unit and soldier’s purpose to mission. However, we can use some averages for this discussion. Various sources site the basic load of soldiers over the years:

 

Era

Weapon*

# of Round Carried**

WWI ‘Doughboy’ Infantryman    

Springfield

80 / 60

WWI ‘Tommy’ Infantryman    

Enfield

100 / 50

WWII ‘GI’ Infantryman    

M1 Garand

80

WWII ‘Wehrmacht’ Infantryman    

MP-40

224

WWII ‘Wehrmacht’ Infantryman    

Mauser

120

WWII Japanese Infantryman    

Arisaka Type 99

60 / 60

Vietnam Infantryman

M16

96

Falklands War Infantryman

FN-FAL

160

Current UK Infantryman

M-16 / M-4

180 / 300

Current US Infantryman – Light

M-16 / M-4

210

Current US Infantryman

SAW

200 / 800

 

‘*   These numbers do not represent personal side arms, other equipment and ammunition / grenades / etc. carried to support the squad.

‘**  The first number represents combat ready rounds in magazine or box and the second number represents loose rounds in the pack though this number is not always cited in sources.

 

One reference cites that seemingly low ammunition loads are not considered an issue as not everyone in the squad is utilizing their weapon in a firefight. The squad leader directs fire, radiomen call in support and report progress, security men protecting the flanks and rear may not fire their weapon at all. Ammunition may then be redistributed to those remaining combat effectives.

 

However, being alone in the SHTF situation changes the dynamic. You’ll need ammunition load sufficient to hunt and protect yourself. At a wholly unscientific weight of a loaded 30 round steel magazine with associated carry all webbing at 2.3 lbs, how much can you carry?

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