Thursday, March 24, 2011


Okay you got your rifle, you got your ammo, you even got at least ten spare magazines-how do you carry them?

In your pockets?  Kiss them good bye as they spill out.

Tactical vest?  They usually work, but are geared for mostly standing up.  Plus they're pricey or shoddily made.

Or you can get yourself a GI pistol belt, suspenders, some pouches for your magazines, a canteen, and call it done. 

Praxis: Militia Logistics -- Pistol Belts, Stainless Steel Drink Bottles and Multi-Use Pouches.

All-Purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment (ALICE) rig, circa 1973, with distinctive "Y" shoulder harness instead of the "H" style of the M1956.

Stopped by the thrift store this morning and scored a USGI ALICE LC-1 belt with metal buckle, size large, in excellent shape with near new plastic canteen, NBC cap, dated 1986, canteen cover OD, near new dated 1982 with side pouch for water purification tablets and a WWM-marked stainless steel cup with butterfly handle, new, dated 1989, all for $2.99.

Pistol belts have been around for a long, long time in the U.S. Military.

Doughboys in World War One had the M-1912 belt below.

The pistol belt was originally intended for soldiers who were not riflemen such as officers or crews of tanks or other equipment who were more often armed with pistols. The grommet holes in the belts allowed for holsters, first aid pouches and the like to be suspended from the belt. Riflemen had their own belts with pouches for .30-06 rifle ammunition clips, both for the World War One standard M1903 Springfield and M1917 Enfield and the World War Two standard, the M1 Garand.

The M1912 was superseded by the M1936 Pistol Belt.

The M-1936 was a slight modification of the M-1912 with a more secure buckle. This was the standard pistol belt of the World War Two and Korean War GI.

This basic belt went through modernization. With the advent of more magazine fed weapons in World War Two, such as the M-1 Carbine, the M-1 Thompson and M-3 "Grease Gun", etc., it was realized that pouches could be configured to fit on the existing M1936 belt. Thus, in World War II and Korea, every soldier armed with something other than the M-1 Garand or the BAR (which also had its own belt for magazines), used this "modularized" system.

After Korea, battlefield experience led to a better rifle with greater magazine capacity (the M-14), a new, lighter cartridge (the 7.62 NATO) and better load carrying equipment.

This was the M1956 system:

M1956 Canvas Pistol Belt.

The M1956 gear is canvas (which many prefer because it is quieter in the bush than nylon; and which equally many people don't like because canvas soaks up moisture and rots in hot, wet climates). The M1956 gear was the first to introduce what has become known as the "ALICE clip," a metal slide-lock retainer for attaching gear to the belt.

The M1956 gear also introduced the "butt back," which like the pistol belt has gone through many modifications over the years.

Early pattern M1956 "buttpack" showing ALICE attachment clips.

Because of the complaints about canvas gear in the climate of South Vietnam, the Army began to modify the M1956 canvas gear by making the design in rot-resistant nylon.

The M1967 "Davis Belt" kept the M1956 design with the exception of the material, nylon, and the "quick release Davis buckle." Unfortunately it had the tendency to come undone at the worst possible time.

The M1967 Individual Load Carrying Equipment was a modernized version of the M1956, designed specially for Vietnam. Even so, the M1967 gear did not entirely replace the M1956 equipment, and the canvas and nylon equipment were mixed together to form composite webbing, since both types were fully compatible with each other.

After Vietnam, the soldier's individual combat load was reconfigured again to the ALICE system, as you can see in the first photo at the top of the post. Throughout the years since, the belt has remained very similar, the biggest change being the search for the perfect buckle.

This early-pattern LC-2 is the type I picked up at the thrift store today.

Early Pattern LC-2 Belt with metal buckle.

Second Pattern LC-2 Belt with plastic buckle.

Late pattern LC-2 Belt with improved plastic buckle.

In the 1990s and on into the 21st Century the men and women of my unit, 1st Alabama Cavalry and other constitution militia formations, were most often accoutered with some combination of these largely interchangeable pieces of load bearing equipment. Often the ALICE clips were used only long enough for the trooper to determine the best arrangement of gear on their belt and then the clips would be substituted with nylon 550 cord, which is much quieter, never rusts and doesn't dig into your flesh when subjected to stress when worn.

Stainless Steel Drink Bottles and Thermos Containers

I also picked up a selection of stainless steel drinking bottles and thermos-type insulated containers. For example, I got three of this style (as above, except in unpainted stainless) for $.39 each.

They hold 13 oz of liquid and are made of # 304 food grade stainless steel and are guaranteed to be "Lead safe, Phthalate, and BPA free. Conforms to or exceeds U.S. and European safety standards."

I also scored 6 of these 750ml containers with the logo of a local bank on them. The logo will succumb to acetone, I have no fear. The cost? $.59 each.

Also picked up three of these stainless Thermos containers:

The price was $.99 each. They hold a liter of liquid, hot or cold.

I like all these because they are stainless and they have wide mouths making cleaning easy.

Finally, on my recent stop at A-A Surplus in Leeds, I picked up one of these in Woodland.

rest at link:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The M-1956 web gear was first used and issued for the M-1 Garand. Some units never used any other rifle before being issued the M-16. 1/22 of the forth
ID Drew its first M-14 in 1963-it NEVER finished the change over to the M-14. It drew M-16 rifles in June of '65 then shipped for Vietnam.