It doesn't have to cost a lot of money to prepare
yourself for militia duty.
Many militia participants have fabricated their
own gear, adapted other gear for militia use, or found a good source for inexpensive
This dedicated militiaman has an inexpensive
bolt-action rifle, low-cost surplus camouflage,
and other gear adapted for militia use.
The best thing you can start
with is a firm, dedicated commitment to defending yourself, your family, your
community, and your country. There are good militia people who are very
willing to help you find or assemble low-cost, functional gear. Contact your local militia people,
or attend a training session,
and ask around. We want you to be geared up and ready...
Military Surplus bolt-action
There is an excellent web site called, conveniently,
It is worth reading for more information about these fine old weapons.
These old warhorses have been around for awhile, and many may have seen
action. Some countries still use these rifles in limited roles. For example,
in Israel, old
98k Mausers may still be used by
"Civilian Guard" snipers/countersnipers.
There is nothing wrong with buying a
military surplus rifle. Many militia
people that we know have several, and some of us keep buying them. They are
inexpensive, durable, and if you happen across a decent one, and do a little bit of work they can be very
One of the first considerations that someone usually has when thinking about
getting involved in militia training is the cost of a rifle. You can find some
old surplus bolt-action rifles today (March 2003) for right around fifty
dollars. Sometimes, you can even find them for less. Currently,
M44 carbines in 7.62X54R are very affordable, and you may still be able to find an 8mm
Turkish Mauser for under fifty dollars as well. You may have some luck with
online gun auctions. Check the gun shows or talk to some of your friendly local
militia people for ideas on where to look.
If cost is truly an issue, then an old military bolt-action may also help by
being chambered for very inexpensive ammunition. (WARNING! This is not always
the case...for example, even though the
Swiss K31 Schmidt-Rubin rifle has been
coming down in price, ammo for it is currently priced rather high.) Commonly
available cheap ammunition is 7.62X54R and 8mm. For those wishing to use a
somewhat more modern caliber, you might look for an old Indian Ishapore
Enfield chambered in .308. These .308 Enfields may be more expensive, but they
use more modern ammunition.
A great deal of military surplus ammo is
CORROSIVE, especially 8mm and 7.62X54. Please
be certain to use water or a water/ammonia mixture to remove any salt from
your weapon, then clean as normal. Ask some of your local militia people.
We want to
stress that many of us have these rifles, and nobody, nobody, nobody in the
militia will look down upon you for having one. If you want to try one of
these, come on out to the next training session, and we will let you shoot one
what you can afford, and learn how to use it to the best of your ability. An
accurate bolt-action shooter will always be a good asset for the militia.
Adapting Gear for Militia
The types and amount of gear that you can use for militia-related purposes is
pretty vast. If you can carry something with it, wear it, strap it, tape it,
or tie it to some kind of gear or rig, then it can be made "militia-worthy".
Hunting gear, of course, probably does not require any type of adaptation.
Blaze orange hunting gear is out of the question. Most hunting gear
is set up to carry guns, ammo, game, food, or other gear. These all can serve
well as militia gear.
Most camping gear can be used as militia gear. Bear in mind that some camping
gear is set toward comfort instead of tactical functionality. Camping gear may
require additional camouflage, and may also require strengthening at certain
stress points. Check your stitching and any type of fasteners, if these seem
weak, add more stitching, buttons, snaps, or whatever you may need. Keep a
roll of 100 mile an hour tape (or duct tape) to fix your gear, if necessary.
of gear that is used by students today can be applied to militia use.
Backpacks, belt-pouches, and water bottle carriers that today's students carry
with them can become tomorrow's militia gear. You can avoid the cost of these
probably expensive school items by finding military surplus gear, but if you
have them already (if, for example, you are a student), then use them for
are handy with a (heavy duty) needle and (heavy duty) thread, then you can
fabricate your own militia gear out of just about anything. Any type of heavy
duty cloth, such as denim, can be dyed, folded, and stitched to make straps,
suspenders, or other types of harnesses. (We admit that only a few militia
people have done such a thing, as the regular surplus gear is very, very
inexpensive, but we have seen this type of thing done.)
have seen militia persons use fishing tackle boxes to carry their medical gear
in, and small backpacks would work well for this, also.
your jacket/coat/shirt has enough pockets, then you can carry most of your
gear along in those.
one-liter pop bottle carried with a strap has served as a canteen.
type of gear you can adapt for militia use is really only limited by your
imagination. It would be a good idea to observe militia people at training and
get some thoughts on how to make or adapt your gear. Again, in most cases,
military surplus gear is so inexpensive that it is not necessary to make or
adapt your own, but it is nice to be able to, should the need arise.
Cheap Mail Order Suppliers
There are other suppliers out there, but these are the three that I always
order stuff from.
Cheaper Than Dirt
2524 NE Loop 820 Fort Worth, TX 76106-1809
Surplus and Survival 435
W. Alondra, Gardena, CA, 90248
The Sportsman's Guide
411 Farwell Avenue, So. St. Paul, MN 55075-0239
Looking for Gear?
In addition to the excellent suppliers above, there are other places you can
look for low-cost militia gear.
Gun Shows and military surplus stores are good places to
look. The camping/hunting section of sporting good stores and even department
stores can all be good places to look for gear.
But you can also find good usable militia gear at garage/yard sales, thrift
stores, such as those operated by The Salvation Army, and you can even find
some decent stuff at your local "dollar store".
Thrift stores can be good sources for used sleeping bags, blankets (to make
your own sleeping bag?), clothing that may be useful (some of it may require
being dyed), and used pots and pans that you wouldn't mind taking to
the field. In one recent trip, a militia member found several good insulated
bottles (thermos type and other), replacement globes for an oil lamp, "beater"
cookware, and several sleeping bags. All of these were very cheap. Even if you
are not interested in using any of this as your primary gear, it may serve
well as "car gear" for your trunk, back-up gear, or gear to keep on hand for
your neighbors/fellow militia people/Uncle Frank.
The dollar store may be a good place to find inexpensive medical gear, and
possibly other useful stuff. In one recent excursion, we found dollar tarps
(for covering your gear or making a field-expedient shelter),
rope, foot powder, band-aids, and various useful medication, like triple
we would be remiss in our duties if we failed to mention that most experienced
militia people have accrued a vast soiree of gear, some of which they may be
willing to part with cheaply, or in exchange for something else.
Low Budget Field Rations
MRE's can be expensive, and certain prepared, dehydrated camping food can
cost even more. You don't really need either. The quickest and least costly of
field rations might be
Ramen Noodles. They are very cheap in bulk,
and also at Aldi's.
dehydrate your own food using just your oven on a very low setting.
This will be much cheaper than buying dehydrated food, you can make all you
want, you don't need an expensive dehydrator, and as a bonus, your house will
You can also fall back on a tried-and-true, time tested field ration staple:
2 c Flour
1/2 tb Salt (optional)
1/2 tb Sugar (optional)
1/2 c Water
Mix flour, salt (optional), sugar (optional), and water.
Using hands or rolling pin, flatten dough on floured cloth until 1/4-inch
thick. Score with a knife if desired. Bake on cookie sheet in 350-degree oven
for 30 minutes. Break into pieces as needed. You may have to soak this in
water or other liquid to be able to chew it. Some have even soaked hardtack in
coffee, or fried it in some kind of grease. But, it will last a long time, and
can keep you going if necessary.
You can also assemble your own MRE-type
of meal out of regular grocery store components, as seen below. This meal
contains a small can of stew, a fruit cup, a juice box, raisins, crackers, and
other assorted stuff like napkins and plastic ware. These cost less than MREs
to assemble, especially when components are purchased in bulk.
Low Budget Sleeping Bags
The first thing to do here would be to check at your local Salvation Army or
other thrift store. One militia member found a five dollar sleeping bag at one
of these stores that he carried and used for a couple of years. If there are
no sleeping bags there, then pick up whatever blankets that you can find, with
wool being the best option. (Sometimes, the mail order suppliers listed
elsewhere on this page have military surplus wool blankets for a very
reasonable price. They also sometimes have fairly inexpensive bags, too.) A
couple of good heavy blankets should do the trick, get a third if the weather
is really cold. You can even fold your blankets over and stitch them partially
up the open side.
Now, pick up a couple of dollar store tarps, and tie these together for use as
the shell of your sleeping bag. Be careful, however, to not have a completely
airtight seal between your tarps, because you will not want to trap any of
your body's moisture. If you cannot find a cheap sleeping pad, then an
extra blanket may help as cushioning, or if it is available, you can always
use straw or grass. (Don't knock it, this works.)
If it would be less costly, consider surplus cold weather garments to keep you
warm, and then keep your bag light. You may be able to find real bargains on
surplus parkas, and a good one of these will reduce your need for a heavier
Home Made Camouflage
Used, military surplus clothing is among the cheapest you can find, especially
if you are size medium or smaller. However, if you are not on the smallish
side, or if your money is really too tight, you can easily make your own camo
with some cheap dye and a magic marker or two.
Just twist and dip some parts of some durable clothing into a bucket with dye
in it, and alternate green, black, or brown. Add a few strokes or blotches
with magic marker, and you will have passable camo clothing. This same can be
applied to your gear, blankets, and whatever.
Try to use tough, loose-fitting clothes, and hopefully these will have a good
amount of pockets.