What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

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Thread: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

  1. #1
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    What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    Disclaimer
    NOT A NEW PRODUCT THREAD! Just the facts here please! If you want to discuss the pros and cons of a specific figure over another, how your brand is better than another brand or how you found a picture on google which is definitive proof that Rangers wear slippers please take it to the new product threads and argue among the fanboys. Ground rule, be polite. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Opinions supported by facts have more weight than, ”Well, I “think” it should be this way because it’s cool.”

    Hi Guys;

    Been inundated with questions about what grunts are wearing in Afghanistan both here and on chat. Decided I would share for those interested in doing research. I make it a point not to comment in new product threads because of the negativity that often follows when I share what I've learned. So to avoid being banned or suspended for defending myself I’m starting this thread for guys to get and share info. If you want to stir the pot please take it to the new product threads. If you come here to start crap and drama it’s obvious to the mods who’s starting what.

    Everyone is welcome to share so the community has a source of info for accuracy for those interested in that. Encourage you to include your sources if you can so the reader can weigh the credibility of the info you are sharing.

    Now to answer the most common questions.

    What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan? (Grunts typically applies to CONVENTIONAL Infantry though I personally expand it to include those troops that make their living outside the wire in direct support of Infabtry units like combat engineers, medics, dog handlers etc.)

    Multicam in an ACU cut is what is issued along with a couple of combat shirts. The current issue is four uniforms and two shirts or at least it was according to SGM (Ret) House of the Army’s Rapid Fielding Initiative office as of Sep ’11. Soldiers augment issue with personally purchased gear. It’s few and far between where conventional troops will drop $300 on a crye battle uniform.

    MC helmet cover (just like the UCP version but in MC).

    Plate carrier vs. IOTV?

    Combat troops (those that typically leave the wire) are issued both as of sep’11 discussion I had with PEO Soldier reps. The plate carrier is much more popular according to my clients. Not everyone is infantry though or for one reason or another (shortages, chain of command, vehicle vs. foot patrol) you'll see the IOTV in use on occasion. Often it will be stripped to essentials (no throat or collar pads) and maybe just the groin pad which is a PAIN if you have to climb.

    ACU vs. MC kit in Afghanistan? When for what? Confusing!

    YES! Starting around Aug ’10 the Army started issuing OCP (Army acronym for MC) to conventional troops deploying to Afghanistan. If you were already there you were likely not to get a set. Venivicivici shared he didn’t get or see MC in OEF until he was relieved by the 101st. I had deploying troops to include the 48th BDE (Ga Nat’l Guard) in my shop that had been issued MC in Aug’10. Why the partial issue/confusion? Many just don’t realize how big the Army is at times. The decision to issue MC isn’t made in a vacuum. Decisions hadn’t been made on pouches, vests, manufacturers etc. When decisions were made quantities didn’t exist and so units were prioritized, some given partial issues, some got nothing etc. Bureaucracy at its best but in defense you have to centralize decisions for organizations as big as the Army. Like we saw when the Army switched to coffee stain kit and later UCP. Looks like It wasn’t until mid ’11 that there were enough MC and late ’11 until troops got issued both plate carriers and IOTVs. Before then the issue of plate carriers was haphazard and included four different types of plate carriers.

    Ammo pouch observation.

    Seems to be about a 50/50 mix between two mag ammo pouches and shingle/racks. Soldiers are issued both now. They weren’t always so you see a mix. Advantage to shingles is it’s easier to get in/out of vehicles/aircraft in shingles. Less profile. It also helps getting into the narrower doorways of Afghanistan. On the downside they suck up a lot of space on your vest. It’s a personal preference thing. Recent vets might have some more insight. I was told that the Rangers prefer the shingles for the reasons I describe so the thinking is sound and the conventional guys often mimic or learn the same lessons that the operators do.

    If this thread/post has been a help please say so. It’s not worth my typing this up if folks don’t care. It also demonstrates that there is an interest in this kind of info as folks participate in the hobby. I encourage any OSW member to PM me but if the mods allow this thread to exist separate from the new product threads this may be a way to share info without the drama of whose brand is better or” I just want to be different or cool” which is FINE. There’s no need to feel threatened if your search for “artistic expression” isn’t exactly the same as most ground truth.

    Additional input about weapons, sights (vvv shared some good info in chat last night about sights) is welcome especially if it's bsed on experience or discussions with those that have done it.

    Regards,

    Will

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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    CTRL+S.
    I'll second that I'm surprised that - before the presumptive release of the upcoming CD grunts - that the only times a manufacturer has done an ACU cut uniform in multicam were in VH releases and the SS 10th SFG. It makes me REALLY happy that two big name manufacturers are tackling grunts this year. Hopefully this is the start of a new trend, given the USMC grunts that SS released.
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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    Will GREAT INFORMATION! I think its a good idea to have this thread or threads like it when a new figure comes out to discuss accuracies and inaccuracies. I think it would be a great help. As I said before to you, I want to get one of these figures(actually both!) and send her one to her unit and I think it really helps when the figures is right on the money. Is the weapon and setup of the M-4 on the CD figure accurate? My friend uses the M-4 but I never asked her what her set up is. Also comms gear. Do they not have, I guess headsets? I dont know if thats the correct terms for it or not. The boots on the figure with the M-4 look off, the ones on the gunner look dead on to the real like Danners. I havent seen a grey set of Danners like that before. Anyways I am finished with my questions haha
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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    Will you just cleared up A LOT of questions I've had regarding gear. Pictures do not always cut it! Thank you!

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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    Personally I'm very interested in this kind of discussion and it's something I enjoy but it may not be for everyone and that's perfectly fine, there's plenty of room for everyone on this forum.
    I agree with MK-23 (I don't know you but you always come across as a cool guy) that it would be nice to see this kind of thread to accompany the (extremely important) new release threads so we can get down to the 'nitty gritty' (I don't know if that's a term used outside the UK but it basically means to get stuck into the detail)
    My only concern is that this kind of thread very quickly can become aggressive and harsh words are thrown around so it's important to acknowledge all opinions and nobody should be excluded from expressing opinions even if they are somewhat 'controversial'
    So basically what I'm saying is that this kind of thread is a great idea (and I would love to see more 1/1 military photo threads on this forum) but if an opinion or thought is shared that might not be accurate or 'well informed' than that person should not be chastised by other forum members.

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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    CC - Not going to weigh in on a specific figure release for all the reasons I already described.

    Multicam in an ACU cut is always welcome. Punisher might be able to weigh in but as I understand many SF guys use ACUs in MC because they don't get enough Crye combat uniforms.

    Mk23 - Like I said. Not going to weigh in on a specific manufacturers new release.

    Good question though. How are troops running their M4s? The M68 is going to be the most popular hands down for a conventional troop. There are two versions out. The newest has a longer battery tube. Someone mught know the specific nomenclature or post pics. Other sights one might see are ACOGs and Eo Techs. In reality that depends on the unit. Some commanders have discretionary funds that hey may dedicate to purchase additional sights for issue to leaders and designated marksman for instance or to give each squad some magification capability (speaking to the ACOG specifically). Its also not uncommon for troops to buy their own sight out of pocket. So one is going to see a lot of CCO, ACOGS and Eo Techs o the battlefield..

    The PEQ2 has pretty much gone by the wayside. PEQ 15 is the way to go. Some input from vets would help but from my clients the conventional guys in Afghanistan got the emphasis for PEQ15 issue late '09 around the time of the surge. By early '11 they were pretty much gone in OEF. Chatting back and forth with Matt is leading me to believe black PEQ15s are quite common now. Not so a year ago. Most operators seem to be sporting the tan PEQ15s though again. Punisher might be able to weigh in or I'll aask next time i chat with him.

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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    Good points Chris. I tried to keep the thread on track. Thanks for weighing in.

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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    I think this is a good thread idea and agree that this kind of discussion is best left out of the new product threads. For better or worse, the figure sets don't represent what (US) soldiers necessarily wear day-to-day.

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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    Nice! Awesome thread, sir. It cleared up alot of questions.


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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    The current issue is four uniforms and two shirts
    A buddy of mine was WIA in Afghanistan last month and is at BAMC. He got a pass and came out to stay with us this weekend and said they were issued four jackets and five trousers. They were told the trouser crotch area tears easily, thus the extra pair.

    He's with 4th Bde/4th ID.

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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    Quote Originally Posted by Longhorn92 View Post
    A buddy of mine was WIA in Afghanistan last month and is at BAMC. He stayed with us this weekend and said they were issued four jackets and five trousers. They were told the trouser crotch area tears easily, thus the extra pair.

    He's with 4th Bde/4th ID.
    That reminded me of a news story from last year. The Aussies had the same problem.
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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    Glad to see this thread, Major Rod! I have missed your posts and insight whenever there is a product announcement thread. I for one really appreciate someone with actually knowledge sharing what they know. Not that every figure need to be accurate or anything, but it was nice to have a little info so I could inject a little realism into my figures from time to time. Just having that option makes the hobby way more fun!

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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    Very interesting! I don't know much about US modern forces (and they change all the time) so it would be very convenient to perhaps list the different items for each kind of trooper (Army and USMC have different stuff, don't they?).

    I'll begin with the skeleton - feel free to copy and fill in anything new:

    US Army Infantry soldier 2012
    Boots:
    Uniform (pattern and type):
    Gloves:
    Vest:
    Helmet:
    Helmet attachments:
    Pouches:
    Grenades:
    Other equipment:
    Weapon(s):
    Holster:

    US Marine Corps Marine 2012
    Boots:
    Uniform (pattern and type):
    Gloves:
    Vest:
    Helmet:
    Helmet attachments:
    Pouches:
    Grenades:
    Other equipment:
    Weapon(s):
    Holster:

    Now, one thing I thought about but omitted was a column for brands supplying the items in question in 1/6. I think it might also be prudent to add a notes section for each type to add information about when changes were done, and how common certain types of equipment are (for its time of course). For example, someone told me it was very common that USMC used privately purchased gloves, pouches and all kinds of stuff which I think is important.

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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    To answer the blk vs tan LA5 or PEQ15 as some call it...
    The blk version was the older model which was replaced by the tan version. On the exterior there is no real difference, the differences are internally. Im going to place an assumption as to why the blk version may be common on the conventional side possibly due to SOF turning theirs in and it is then reissued to the regular grunts. SOF continues to be roughly 2 to 3 yrs ahead when it comes to equipment, and other higher budgeted tiers tend to be another year or so ahead of the green berets equipment wise. I hate giving assumptions but In lew of solid facts common sense weighs in more heavily.

    CRYE uniforms are now issued to army SF BTW, as is the opscore helmet.

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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    Doh! Sorry Will, I should have read your first post more clearly! Thanks for the info again. Really helps when you are trying to put together an accurate figure.
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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    Longhorn - nice tidbit. Was he issued any combat shirts?

    Warge - Good format. Now comes the work to fill it in!

    Punisher - Interesting! Just to clear up my confusion. I thought the LA5 and PEQ15 were different with the LA5 having a visible light. Am I confused? I do a lot of stuff for the Rangers and they've never asked me for black PEQ15s. Good nugget. Older SF Black, more current tan PEQ15.

    Ref the crye, I knew you guys were issued some sets but are you getting enough? My interface with Special Forcessoldiers left me with the impression that many augment their issue with ACUs in OCP. Are we past that point? Is it now more common for ODAs to be in Crye than in OCP ACUs?

    Thanks for taking the time to share. In the middle of it is always the best source.

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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    No visible light on either, both have a visible red laser option, the tan VBL light is what comes in the SOPMOD 2 kit with the tan LA5.

    CRYEs are going straight to teams on the rotation right now, and those refitting in the rear are getting sized and back filled. Same goes with the helmet. ACUs in OCP are just as bad as ACU just a much better pattern. The trouser crotch rips out, Velcro wears out, and the OCP version is more stiff due to the pesticide treatment, which makes it feel more hot in many guys opinion.

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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    When we CRYE are we talking about the "cool guy" multicam uniform?
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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    Quote Originally Posted by silent_05 View Post
    When we CRYE are we talking about the "cool guy" multicam uniform?
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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    Quote Originally Posted by Punisher2-2 View Post
    The one and only
    Ok just wanted to make sure i was tracking right.
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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    Great thread Will, and great replies (especially from Punisher as he has down range knowledge).

    I have a few questions myself.

    With guys wearing shingles for mobility inside of vehicles, what are they doing when they are dismounted and in a patrol situation? Are they donning a chest rig over the other kit, or is there some sort of backup ammo kit that they have? Most shingles carry three mags if I remember right, which seems a little light on ammo.

    What is the typical weapons load out/basic load for conventional troops now? I know it varies from unit to unit and I suspect mission to mission as well, but is there a basic standard still?

    Thanks for starting this up Will. This is the same reason I started that Comms thread up a while back...to educate those that wanted to learn a little bit.

    Jeff

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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    Jeff

    Basic load is still 7 mags. Most troops carry more (surprisingly the Rangers don't). Shingles can be stacked (which defeats the purpose) or you can place two end on end. Additional mags can be layered on those or placed on one's side or back.

    Heard of guys using racks in Iraq to don them as they left the vehicle (personally found that strange, rather be uncomfortable than have to don stuff out the door to a firefight).

    Molle is a pain in the ... to put together. Don't think many change their layout for every mission. A few adjustments sure but not a complete change. Also unlike the Marines vehicles in the Army are typically organic to the unit. You just don't link up and with them and say "today we're mounted". So the back and forth between mounted and dismounted isn't as dramatic a change as in Marine units. Guys that dismount find a happy median.

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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    Quote Originally Posted by goaltendah1 View Post
    Great thread Will, and great replies (especially from Punisher as he has down range knowledge).

    I have a few questions myself.

    With guys wearing shingles for mobility inside of vehicles, what are they doing when they are dismounted and in a patrol situation? Are they donning a chest rig over the other kit, or is there some sort of backup ammo kit that they have? Most shingles carry three mags if I remember right, which seems a little light on ammo.

    What is the typical weapons load out/basic load for conventional troops now? I know it varies from unit to unit and I suspect mission to mission as well, but is there a basic standard still?

    Thanks for starting this up Will. This is the same reason I started that Comms thread up a while back...to educate those that wanted to learn a little bit.

    Jeff
    I think I can help answer your question on the donning of chest rigs over body armor.... I'll keep it short so I don't bore anyone though.

    Personally, I chose this method when I was a rifleman and had to climb into the turret to be a gunner. I could slip out of the chest rig to have a slick IOTV which gave me a lot more work space in the turret. Yes, this meant that my med kit was not attached to my person, but I always kept an Isreali bandage and tourniquet in my pockets. Besides, If I were hit, I would be sure to try and climb DOWN the turret to where my med kit and safety is rather than UP and OUT of the turret.

    Reason two is that when I became a M240 Gunner, I wore a modded version of the blackhawk flotation gunners rig (IIRC). This rig gets VERY heavy when loaded with 7.62 linked ammo so donning heavy body armor with ammo attached to it would be a hassle and very bulky. It was simply easier to just don one after the other. The second pay off for this is when we had extended missions (ie:1-2weeks) in the middle of nowhere, I could drop the rig next to the 240, and be able to still have my armor on to "take a break" without giving up protection....Thats if I didn't remove my armor too though.

    And reason three is that in case of an emergency, (ie: being on the run/chased down) I would be able to drop my armor using the release cord yet keep my ammo and med kit with me. Now, I know this might seem to be irrational thinking, but it became a close reality during the elections.

    This is just how I ran things and there were others who did the same, but most guys just had all their gear mounted directly to their armor. Hope this helps

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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    Interesting replies all around. But much seems to stem from what they personally used, not what was issued as standard, correct? Now I understand customizing is very common, but there's a world of difference between customizing one's outfit and just throwing some sht together - the US has one of the world's largest supply organizations (not that it help apparently) so it must be possible to see how a 'starter kit' for any grunt would look like.

    US Army Infantry soldier 2012
    Boots:
    Uniform (pattern and type):
    Gloves:
    Vest:
    Helmet:
    Helmet attachments:
    Pouches:
    Grenades:
    Other equipment:
    Weapon(s): M240 MG,
    Weapon attachment:
    Holster:

    US Marine Corps Marine 2012
    Boots:
    Uniform (pattern and type):
    Gloves:
    Vest:
    Helmet:
    Helmet attachments:
    Pouches:
    Grenades:
    Other equipment:
    Weapon(s): M240 MG,
    Weapon attachment:
    Holster:

    Regarding this, I forgot the weapon attachments and added them. Also added the M240 for both army and USMC as a 'place-holder'.

    I sincerely doubt anyone brings their privately owned M240 to Afghanistan...

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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    Having been out of the loop for quite a while now, I don't have any current input :-(. I am, however glad to see a thread that seeks to educate and increase the accuracy of the figures bashed by our members. My Son is due home in Aug for block leave before a Fall deployment to this theater (yes, I'm "over here", but I have little to no contact with USMIL), so I hope to pick his brain when we get together.

    Evan, I'm glad to hear about the Crye and the Opscores.

    Are you carrying this IFAK by any chance, and if so, what do you think? I really like the low profile, ambidextrous design, but I would like some user feedback before I drop $80.00(+).



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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    Steve, that LoPro IFAK looks perfect for a blast belt, doesn't stick out, only drawback is the wider space taken up. I'd like to see it in person though first. My IFAK has a pull handle that makes it fall to my feet once the "rip chord" is pulled so that I can still access it even when it's molle'd to my back panel. It was a gift from a buddy across the fence so I'm not sure if it has a manufacturer etc.

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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    Warge - Started looking at your idea. It's good but hard to be thorough and not get complicated. A soldier's load out besides being personal preference is also impacted by weapon, position and unit. E.G. prior to the soon to be deployed NETT Warrior leaders down to the squad leader level are issued radios. A rifleman's pouches are different than a SAW gunner.

    Here's my straw man input to move the effort forward...


    US Army Infantry soldier 2012

    Boots: Varies. Right now (among many things) the regulation says the boot has to be over 8” tall and a non shine type material in the suede tan family (must be lighter than Marine issue boots). How they enforce this is beyond me I’m sure it causes confusion in the ranks. (Active duty guys chime in) An exception is the the Danner mountain boot in a dark brown leather. Authorized manufacturers for boots in use include Altama, Bates, Belleville, Rocky and Wellco.

    Uniform (pattern and type): ACUs inOCP pattern (Multicam)

    Gloves: OMG! The reg says they have to be a color that complements the uniform. Again, how this is enforced is beyond me. (Active duty guys chime in and give more details on the reg though we know enforcement is chain of command dependent). Manufacturers of gloves include hatch, mechanics, Oakley, wiley x but there’s easily a dozen I’m missing and most of these companies like the boots have multiple styles.

    Vest: IOTV and at last count four different plate carriers (eagle makes one but I don’t know the specific model). Issue items are in OCP

    Helmet: ACH w/helmet cover

    Helmet attachments: Besides the basic NVG mount (convention rectangular plate and hinge the troops refer to as a “Rhino” mount) very few are “issued” (I haven’t heard of any which doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened). Depends mostly on the individual. Bottom line is attachments are relatively rare. Never seen a norotos mount or rails though it’s not beyond reality that ONE grunt of a 100 might buy or scrounge them. Surefire lights are probably one or two per squad and more likely the higher the rank of the Soldier.
    Pouches: This is a book. I’ll try and get back to it later. You can pick up a catalog though from one of the better military suppliers and see what’s available. Most commonly issued are double mag pouches with a flap cover, three mag shingles, the IFAK. Soldiers augment as needed/desired. I believe one OCP rack has been issued but I have to confirm (guys do buy their own).

    Grenades: Definitely…

    Other equipment: Another catalog…

    Weapon(s): M3, M4, M9, M203, M240, M249, M320, AT4, Javelin, assorted knives (rarely issued outside the bayonet and even that is out of favor), tomahawk (personal purchase) and maybe a personally purchased club (I like the ASP… )

    Weapon attachment: depends on the weapon. M68s (Gen I & II), PEQ15s are always issued and most common on the M4. ACOGs and Eotecs I’ve discussed earlier. (Venivicivici can help with the M240 for sure). Never seen/heard a spectre issued but it may be and some guys actually buy their own $1000+ sights.

    Holster: Serpas are issued, (there may be other soft holsters issued but I don’t KNOW). Guys definitely supplement with purchase.

    Obviously a lot of holes but it’s a start…

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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    I want to add - I've heard that vest-mounted SERPA's are usually the preferential choice. Thigh-mounted rig tend to get discarded quickly. Speaking with VVV, he could recall only one fellow infantryman who ran with a rig that had two thigh-mounted pouches/holsters.
    VVV writes: "My other 240 team ran an elcan on theirs and we had PAS13 with us but rarely ever mounted those. We normally just used the PAS 13 as a spotting scope."
    Last edited by Casual_Collector; 06-29-2012 at 21:23.
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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    comming from an old 0300 USMC, 2 ammo pouches, 2 canteens, and a first aid pouch, all this new stuff that troops are using, WOW!, I was using the ole John WAYNE helmet. Call me ole fasion but im a early 80s guy, site allignment, site picture didnt need no scope.

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    Re: What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?

    Question: What would've been conventional issue for the Army back in '08, '09? AN/PRC-152's, correct?
    VVV writes: "148's on soldiers, 152's in vehicles"
    Last edited by Casual_Collector; 06-29-2012 at 23:06.
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What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?
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