On Preparedness and Standardization

Every now and again, I get some really random thoughts on gear and decide to share them here. If they help, you’re welcome. If they don’t, I apologize in advance for wasting your time.

This time my thoughts were on standardization and the armed prepared citizen (APC). Now, in the military, standardization is a four-letter word. No one wants a visit from a standardization team, and no one likes being told exactly what loadout they have to carry, even if half the items have zero practical purpose to them and just add dead weight. But, there are some practical purposes to minimal standardization. I’m not trying to tell you that every prepared citizen needs to dress alike, nor am I attempting to dictate your exact loadout, but there are some things to consider.

First, if you’re an APC that plans on holing up by yourself in an emergency, you can pretty much do whatever you want. You’ll have your stock of ammo and food, your guns, and whatever form of pastime to get you through. Holing up might work for short duration events, especially if you are secluded from the general population.

If, however, you plan on linking up with like-minded individuals to share the load of protecting your home/neighborhood for a longer-term event, just bringing whatever you have to the fight may not be the best plan. And if you tell yourself that you are planning for a legitimate end of the world scenario, it’s really not the best plan.

So why is standardization something to think about? Because if an event becomes long-term, logistics is going to become an issue. And the more standardized you are, the easier logistics are to plan and execute. Take firearms, for example. Guns break. It happens, even in quality guns. AR-15 parts are childishly simple to find and are fairly standard. Your whiz-bang next-gen rifle parts most likely won’t be. And it’s also quite possible that it will be hard to find someone who can work on it if you don’t know how. And yes, it’s great that SOF unit X uses your whiz-bang rifle. SOF unit X also has a dedicated supply chain and trained armorers behind them. You probably don’t.

And in an additional insult, AK parts and trained armorers also aren’t nearly as easy to find as AR parts are. I know a lot of guys love them, and if your whole group is using them, then fine. But if you’re the only AK guy in an AR group, you’re on your own for parts, ammo, and know-how. Your long-term mileage may vary.

In the most extreme cases, if we start talking about having to use what’s laying around, there’s a very good chance it’s going to be some sort of AR platform, given its popularity with the military, police, and civilian sectors. Ammo is also going to be very plentiful, as will magazines and accessories.

On the ammo note, if we’re talking about standardization, 5.56 is probably your caliber for a rifle until another caliber actually becomes popular enough to have a ready supply without owning your own production plant. .300 BLK might be useful for very specific purposes, but it also requires no changes other than the barrel, so it preserves the vast majority of your supply chain with the exception of ammo. For pistol, 9mm is probably your go-to.

Anyway, that’s just some thoughts. And they’re only thoughts, not gospel, so I’m certainly open to debate in the comments section. Hope it was worth your time!

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