Gun - there has been some debate as to what to get when the gettin' gets going. Basically, your life may depend on what you have in your hands.
AK-47 - The most durable of battle rifles has to be the AK47 (and all of it's variants including the SKS). It has been said that this gun has been buried in mud, rinsed off in a river, and functioned just fine. The 7.62x39 round is effective at short to medium ranges, and the supply or ammo is no problem.
M16/AR15 - there are many semi-automatic variants of this popular style rifle that are very effective out to considerable ranges. Chambered in the .223(Nato 5.56x45), these are probably the most widely used guns throughout the militia movements and the military in general. If you ever run short on ammo, somebody WILL have some. They are a little fussier when it comes to cleanliness, but otherwise work flawlessly.
FAL/L1A1 - there are many semi-automatic variants of this other popular hard hitting style rifle that too, chambered in a .308 (Nato 7.62x51), are very effective out to considerable ranges. These are another widely used guns throughout the militia movements and the military in general. The only drawback with this style rifle is the weight. You will have to carry it as well as the ammo. Hauling your gear, you will definitely notice the weight difference between 100 rounds of .308 and .223.
Others - being out in deer country, we have seen people bring .243's, 25-06's, .270's, 7mm, 8mm, 7.62x54R's, and 30-06's. If you can qualify with it and it shoots consistently and reliably, it's a good gun. Keep in mind that you will be responsible for getting your own ammo, and some of the caliber's above can get pricey and may be hard to get.
A lot of qualifying is done with guns that are scoped. There is good and bad with using them. The good is that it's easy to qualify with and makes you feel comfortable knowing that you can see your target at extended ranges. The best riflemen use scopes.
The drawback is that if your scope ever gets bumped or dropped, your accuracy is now unknown, until after you shoot it again. Iron sights pretty much stay put, but extended range shooting becomes much more difficult.
***** Note *****
Some of you wanted to know if you can qualify with a muzzleloader. Although it would be nostalgic, we must say no. Except under the most dire of emergencies, it would be totally useless.
Battle Dress Uniform (BDU's) - most of use use the old style woodland camo in the summer and the urban white in the winter. A lot of the newer ACU style can be found on Ebay and that can be used too. Make sure you get them roomy enough when new. Most are cotton and and will shrink when washed. A little loose is better than too tight. Get a minimum of a couple pair of pants, shirts, and a M65 field jacket with a button in liner. Unit name tag and patches can be purchased at a later date. Some individuals get (or make) an extra pair of snow camo. This stuff works pretty good....as long as there is snow. If the snow dissappears, you stick out REALLY well. Pack your woodland gear, just in case.
Warning - A lot of second hand stores sell uniforms from military personel that just got discharged. Make sure you take off all identification (patches, name tags, military branch) that may be still sewn on. Although you may think they look cool, you don't want to be tried for impersonating the military by them, and worse, you being misidentified by us.
Hats - Most of us use boonie hats for all the seasons except in the winter. Your going to have to get sized or fitted for one.
Boonie Hat Fatigue Cap
Boots - Nothing can be said about getting a good quality pair of boots. Spend a few extra bucks and get a good fitting pair. Being in Michigan, your going to want to get a least 3 different pair. A lightweight jungle boot for the summer, a medium weight waterproof all leather boot for the fall and spring, and a good waterproof cold weather boot for the winter. You can get the summer boot to fit with a regular pair of socks. Get the other two boots a little larger than normal in case you want to wear some heavier thermal socks.
Leather gloves - you WILL use these...even in the summer. Too many times training involved going through briars, thorns, and ivy, and mosquito's. Your hands will get warm, but they won't look like they just went through a meat grinder.
Web belt - this is what a lot of you gear will get attached to. Some are cut to length when you buy them. Don't cut it too short as you will adjust it from time to time. You will shorten it in the summer and lengthen it to go around your coat in the winter.
Load Bearing Suspenders - the bottom of these will attach to your belt. They will be adjustable to fit your size. Make sure you get USGI. There are a lot of cheap copies.
Canteen/Cover/Cup - these come in a variety of styles. A good USGI is a safe bet on getting a good one. You really only need one. The canteen itself can either be plastic, aluminum, or stainless. The only real drawback of the plastic is you can't heat it over a fire. There have been some bad things said about cooking with aluminum. The one in the picture below is aluminum. Your best bet is a stainless steel canteen, if you can find one. Otherwise, go with the plastic. The cup is almost always stainless steel. Don't use anything else. The cover is what will attach the canteen to the belt. Make sure you ask for the metal attaching clips when purchasing one. They should come with it.
Butt Pack - below are two 3-day butt packs. The one on the left is a good US issue pack. The one on the right is a cheap knock-off. This is where you'll keep what you want dry.....dry. This will be attached to your belt with the same style metal clips as the canteen.
Knife - You will definitely want to get a good knife. Below is a USGI Ka-bar. These are fantastic knives that will be somewhat pricey but will give you years of service.
Tent/Sleeping Bag -For our overnight training sessions, your going to need to get a good sleeping bag and tent. Optimally, you'll want to get 2 bags. A mild temperature bag for the spring, summer, and fall, and a extreme cold weather bag for the winter. Although you can get light weight bags at your local sporting goods store, they can be somewhat fragile and must be treated with care. A good army surplus extreme cold weather bag (ECW) will be heavier, but will be far more durable and last a lifetime.
A tent is optional in the summer, as your poncho can be used as a cover (in case of rain) and your poncho liner can be used as a blanket. The cheap nylon tents with the fiberglass poles are questionable for durability in the cold, and the nylon will degrade (dry out) if left out in the sun in the summer. You can get Eureka!® tents made for the Army that are designed that way, but you will pay top dollar.
Canvas 2 piece pup tent ($15) USMC Eureka!® tent ($200)
The ol' army canvas pup tents halves that snap together work really well, and knock the wind down a lot better than the nylon tents. The poles are 6 one foot wooden stakes. The intent is that 2 people carry a tent half and 3 poles. 2 people share the tent which would increase the area heated by one person. Drawback is there isn't a floor, and the canvas is heavy, especially if it gets wet.
Compass - there are a variety of compasses that will work for the land navigation courses that will be conducted. The only requirement is that the compass must have degrees displayed on the compass dial. Below are two good examples. The silva (on the left) compass can be purchased at all the big name stores as well as almost all sporting goods stores. The military style (on the right) can be purchased online or at most military surplus stores. Compasses can either be liquid filled or not. Although the liquid is alcohol, it's a good idea to keep these next to your body in the winter to keep it from freezing or gelling.
Poncho with Liner - you WILL definitely need to get a good military poncho with a liner. The liner is basically a blanket that can be attached to the inside of the poncho to make a sleeping bag or wet weather shelter. The poncho's can either be olive drab or woodland. It should be rip-stop nylon on the outside with a rubber coating on the inside.
Poncho Poncho Liner
Flashlight - You will also want to have a good flashlight. There are a multitude of designs and sizes that you can choose from, and personal preference will most likely determine what you'll get. Keep in mind that you will need to carry batteries, which can get heavy, and would make anything will "D" cells questionable. "AA" are probably the most common in the field, then "AAA", "C", and "D".
Flashlights can either be straight or necked, and can be aluminum (pen maglights are great) or plastic (careful in the cold). For batteries, stick with Ni-Cd (Nickel-Cadmium), Ni-MH (Nickel-Metal Hydride), or rechargeable lithium Ion. Althought a recharger is not practical in the field, these types of batteries can be recharged if they go dead. Make sure you get the colored len's to go with them. A piece of red colored plastic can also work.
Medic Kit - a fairly decent pre-packaged medic kit can be purchased at any of the big name stores. Get one big enough to have a good supply of materials, but not too large that it takes up a lot of room in your butt pack.
You will want to check the contents and add an extra roll of gauze tape and 3 inch square bandages.