Practice Noise, Light, and Litter Discipline – The Army Way

A Prepper should know how to move through dangerous territory without being noticed or leaving evidence of your presence behind.  The Army does this pretty well when it wants to…but we leave a mess when we don’t.  Something else the Army does will is breaking down complex procedures into digestible tasks so let’s not reinvent the wheel and learn from our men and women in uniform.  Here’s Practice Noise, Light and Litter Discipline – The Army Way.  Links have been added to facilitate further reading or research.

Task Number: 071-COM-0815
Task Title: Practice Noise, Light, and Litter Discipline
Task Type: Individual
Task Data
Conditions: You are member of a mounted or dismounted element conducting a tactical mission and have been directed to comply with noise, light and litter discipline. Enemy elements are in your area of operation.
Standards: Prevent enemy from locating your element by exercising noise, light, and litter discipline at all times.
Safety Notes: In a training environment, leaders must perform a risk assessment in accordance with FM 5-19, Composite Risk Management. Leaders will complete a DA Form 7566 COMPOSITE RISK MANAGEMENT WORKSHEET during the planning and completion of each task and sub-task by assessing mission, enemy, terrain and weather, troops and support available-time available and civil considerations, (METT-TC). Note: During MOPP training, leaders must ensure personnel are monitored for potential heat injury. Local policies and procedures must be followed during times of increased heat category in order to avoid heat related injury. Consider the MOPP work/rest cycles and water replacement guidelines IAW FM 3-11.4, NBC Protection, FM 3-11.5, CBRN Decontamination.
1Exercise noise discipline.
aAvoid all unnecessary vehicular and foot movement.
bSecure (with tape [usually 100 MPH Tape] or other materials[ranger bands for example…buy them or make your own from inner tubes]) metal parts (for example, weapon slings, canteen cups, identification [ID] tags) to prevent them from making noise during movement.
NOTE: Do not obstruct the moving parts of weapons or vehicles.
cAvoid all unnecessary talk.
dUse radio only when necessary.
eSet radio volume low so that only you can hear.
fUse visual [hand & arm signals] techniques to communicate.
2Exercise light discipline.
aDo not smoke.
NOTE: The smoking of cigarettes, cigars, etc., can be seen and smelled by the enemy.
bConceal flashlights and other light sources so that the light is filtered (for example, under a poncho).
cCover or blacken anything that reflects light (for example, metal surfaces, vehicles, glass).
dConceal vehicles and equipment with available natural camouflage.
f. Use visual techniques to communicate.
3. Exercise litter discipline.
aEstablish a litter collection point (empty food containers, empty ammunition cans or boxes, old camouflage) when occupying a position.
bVerify all litter has been collected in preparation to leaving a position.
cTake all litter with you when leaving a position.

How To Build A Panic Room Infographic

I built a panic room in our old house and got a lot of use out of it…luckily only as secure, discrete storage and as a tornado shelter…you can build a panic room too and it doesn’t have to be as elaborate as the one in the How To Build A Panic Room infographic below:

How To Build A Panic Room Infographic

10 Ways Your Ghillie Suit Will Get You Killed

Recently I talked with a fellow Prepper who was positively giddy over the purchase of his new ghillie suit.  I held my tongue, for once, but all I could think of was the “10 Ways Your Ghillie Suit Will Get You Killed” if you try to play sniper.

Now, there’s no doubt that in the right hands a Ghillie suit is a phenomenal piece of kit but like many types of military tech, this particular piece of kit is better suited to use within a military campaign than a Preppers storehouse or bug out bag.  That may seem like a strange thing for me to say…as I often talk about the use of or adaptation of military techniques or technology to the Prepper’s use, but this is one piece of kit that you should carefully before including in your preparations.  Now, if your reason for wanting a Ghillie suit is to improve your hunting odds and that’s all you’re going to do with it than only some of these cautionary statements will apply to you and you can probably safely look like a big bush while out hunting.

If you’re not familiar with the term ‘Ghillie Suit’ it’s used to describe a type of camouflage over-garment designed to make a person blend in with heavy foliage.  These suits were reportedly first used by Scottish units in British service during the Second Boer War and have earned their place on the battlefield, in the hands of highly trained and specialized soldiers.

Depending on the situation, environment and wearer I find Ghillie suits amazing, cool, ridiculous or comical…and sometimes the wearer just looks like some kind of sasquatch wanna-be.  Now if you’re a school trained sniper with a trusty spotter and the discipline to take a half day moving fifty feet while adapting your suit on the move to match the foliage you travel through… keep in mind that this article isn’t meant for you…it’s meant for the rest of us… the amateurs who haven’t developed the skills, discipline and team that it takes to properly use this particular military tool.

Top 10 Ways Your Ghillie Suit Will Get You Killed

  1. Make You Stand Out:  It takes skill to build and modify a Ghillie suit to match the terrain, season and exact location that you intend to use it and merely moving a few dozen feet in any direction may require that the entire suit be modified to match its new surroundings.  Professional snipers spend weeks learning and entire careers refining this skill so that they don’t stand out like a sore thumb.
  2. Ghillie SuitTelegraphs Movement:  Professional snipers are taught the discipline to hold still for long periods of time and continue to practice that skill as long as they are operational.  If you’re like me and have a hard time holding still you’re much better off behind a ‘blind’ that will hide, rather than telegraph your movements…bushes don’t move unless there’s wind…and if they move in the wind they move the same way the surrounding vegetation does… if you’re trying to look like a bush, you better move like one.
  3. No Cover:  Wearing that Ghillie suit, which you know isn’t a magical cloak of invisibility, might still tempt you take up a position that’s more exposed than necessary.  That exposed position won’t offer you the benefits of cover to stop incoming rounds.  Remember that ‘cover’ and ‘concealment’ are both your friends but that cover stops or slows down bullets.  A well built and maintained Ghillie suit may help conceal you…but it won’t provide any protection.
  4. Live Stuff:  If you add live vegetation to your suit remember to replace it frequently as it will soon die and change color and texture which makes you more noticeable.
  5. Dead Stuff:  Conversely, if you add dead vegetation to your suit you might make a great deal of noise when you move…think about walking on dried leaves stalks, etc.
  6. They Can’t See You But Can You See Them:  Ghillie suits are meant to be a part of a sniper system that includes the sniper, his weapons and equipment and a spotter who helps provide security as well as a second set of eyes for the sniper.  Many of the commercial Ghillie suits sold and patterns used to make custom suits limit the shooter’s field of view which is just one of the reasons to have a trained spotter.
  7. Time To Move:  Ghillie suits can be heavy (especially when wet), bulky, awkward and can catch on the surrounding vegetation.  This is not the outfit you want to be wearing if you have to run for your life and running for your life is a great survival skill when used at the appropriate time.
  8. Fire:  Many of the commercially available Ghillie suits that are treated with a fire retardant but even if you get lucky and can buy one that matches the exact terrain, season and location where you need to use it…you’re going to need to add textures and colors from the surrounding environment so at least part of your suit will be vulnerable to fire.  I can imagine few things worse than being caught in a Ghillie suit that catches fire and its scary how easy fires can start in the field from weapons fire, pyro & simulators or even a careless smoker.  Flame retardant sprays are available for treating your suit back at your base or retreat but if you are properly using your Ghillie suit you will constantly be adding and removing items from the environment.
  9. Heat:  Ghillie suits are very good insulation.  That’s a good thing if you’re dealing with arctic temperatures but if it’s 105 in the shade then that extra insulation will aggravate your body’s ability to cool itself and potentially lead to life threatening dehydration or worse.
  10. Like An Anchor:  Ghillie suits should never ever be worn over or near lakes, ponds, rivers, streams or ditches.  There’s no swimming in a Ghillie suit because of the weight of the thing when it gets wet as well as the way it can entangle your limbs or become entangled with obstacles in the water.

A Ghillie suit is a great piece of military tech in the right hands but there are much better ways to spend time and money for the typical Prepper.  If you want to dress up like a bush and go hunting…more power to you…that’s what the Scots used their Ghillie suits for before they headed to South Africa but leave the military/security use of the Ghillie suit to the trained professionals.  I imagine there are more than 10 ways your ghillie suit will get you killed but these are the ones that came to mind.  If you decide not to take my advice and want to get giddy over your own Ghillie suit… at least make your own!

Prepography‘s Firearms Editor, Infidel was kind enough to comment on an advanced draft of this article:

You are spot on. As you change environments, you need to change the suit and whatever vegitation you put on it. Just going 100 yards may make you stand out. I almost took first place in stalking at the FBI sniper course.  60% of the class had brand new ghillie suits. The others had standard military bdu, or marine corp stuff. Not me. I had a badly faded bdu top, bdu bottom, desert boots, a turkey hunting face mask and mesh gloves. All the guys that had ghillies, got busted because they came out of woods into a field and stuck out like a sore thumb. Using the terrain to mask myself instead of going straight in and using the previous paths of other snipers let me get within 60 yards of the objective…an easy shot but that would have neen dangerous in real life. So my point is be a sneeky mother*****r and you’ll be successful without the suit. Use terrain masking, bushes and large clumps of weeds instead.


M16 Maintenance Infographic Comic

Long before the term Infographic came into widespread use the military learned the value of using images to teach skills to young recruits.  Many of these manuals, like this M16 Maintenance Infographic (The M16A1 Rifle, Operation & Preventive Maintenance DA Pam 750-30) were written as comic books complete with well endowed women and full on innuendo.  Click on the image below to page through the comic/manual.  This particular example of Military Pedagogy was published in 1969, long before the military became more preoccupied with political correctness than warfighting but it does have some good information even if a few of the tools described are a little dated.  Additionally, check out the list below the graphics for a selection of current AR maintenance tools and supplies… some haven’t changed a lot…some are huge improvements over what we had 45 years ago.

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GI Cleaning Kit:

Better Cleaning Kit:

This is the one I carried in Iraq…

Good Carrying Case:

Armored Carrying Case:


Front Sight Tool:

Rails & Rail Covers:

Armorer’s Tools:

Old School GI Magazine Pouch:

AR15/M16 Speedloader Kit:

Cleaning Supplies:

AR Magazine:
TAPCO® 30-rd. AR-15 Magazine

 Ammunition Suppliers:

Explosive Threats Infographics

One of the things that I found really annoying in Iraq was when people tried to blow me up.  It seems that you couldn’t go more than twenty or thirty minutes without hearing or feeling an explosion…except during the call to prayer of course.  There are few experiences more disconcerting than the feeling of a blast wave passing through your body and experiencing that explosive threat.

While I was fortunate enough not to experience any explosions so up close and personal that I caught shrapnel or had my innards scrambled the power of these experiences…both kinetically and emotionally still amazes me.  Few who haven’t experienced the unpleasantness of having another human being try to blow you up can imagine that power but the tables below might give you an idea.  The two types of explosions I hated the most in Iraq were Katyusha Rockets (due to several close encounters) and Dump Truck IED’s due to the unbelievable destructive power they unleashed even when felt from over 5 miles away.  Incidentally, the Katyusha Rockets that were always being fired at us were care of the Iraqi Insurgents but were provided by the Iranian leadership through their Quods Force…remember that the next time the White House wants to cozy up to Iran, let them off the hook and trust that they won’t use the Nukes they’re developing on their neighbors and yours truly!

God forbid that we should have the same explosive hazards and Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attacks in the U.S. that are common in the Middle East but I fear that it’s only a matter of time.

These tables should also serve as a warning to those preppers who feel that playing with explosives and explosive gasses is a good idea…those who do so without professional training and licensing where required will be lucky if the only problems they create for themselves and their families are legal.

Click on each table to see a better quality image.

Safe Evacuation Distances From Explosives

Safe Evacuation Distances LP Bombs

Source:  Risk Management Series, Design Guidance for Shelters and Safe Rooms, FEMA 453 / May 2006

Dry Run Your Gun!

Andrew’s Note: Today Prepography is pleased to offer Infidel’s latest article, Dry Run Your Gun.

Pop quiz folks, what are the two marksmanship principles you cannot do away without? Don’t remember? Well, they are trigger manipulation and sight alignment and there’s a way to practice these fundamentals without spending a dime or even going to the range.

Everything else tends to go out the window when normal folks are thrown into a stressful situation but if you can properly put your sights on the target and manipulate the trigger you will most likely prevail. I say normal folks because there are some people who can just naturally remain cool under stressful situations and then there are others that have survived numerous gunfights in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan or even the mean streets of some of our own cities. So how do normal folks maintain their firearms skills when ammo is short supply or too expensive to shoot? By dry firing of course. Dry firing can be used to train your body and your mind for proper trigger manipulation and sight alignment even when you can’t get to the range.

Safety When You Dry Run Your Gun

So, how do you get started? The first thing is SAFETY! Remembering the four rules of gun safety is a good place to start:

1. Always treat the Gun as if it’s loaded
2. Never point the gun at anything that you are not prepared to destroy
3. Always be sure of your target and what is behind it
4. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target and you’re ready to shoot

Now let’s add a couple of safety rules specific to dry firing:

1. Select a room that can provide a proper backstop in case you forget the rest of the rules. A proper backstop is one that will not allow your weapon’s caliber to penetrate and damage anyone or anything on the other side. Think brick, concrete or a basement wall with soil on the other side.
2. Unload your gun in another room before you enter the room where you will be dry firing. Leave your ammunition in the room where you unload and do not bring any ammunition into your dry fire room or location.

Dry FireDry FireDry FireDry FireSteps for Proper Dry Firing

The goal of dry firing is to practice your marksmanship principals in order to maintain your muscle memory between trips to the range. Follow these tips after you’ve followed the safety steps above to get the most out of the dry run of your gun.

1. Select your target. You can use anything as a target from a spot on your wall that you forgot to paint to a sticker…just make sure that it has that backstop behind it.

2. Practice slowly pulling the trigger back until the sear breaks.

3. Continue slowly pulling the trigger while maintaining your front sight focus. As the sear breaks, watch what the front sight does. This is where you can start calling your shots.

4. Continue steps 2 and 3 until you can watch the front sight and it stays on target. Let me caution you not to spend too much time on this task without resting for a few minutes. Practice for several minutes and then rest.

Safety After Dry Firing

Now SAFETY on the back side. If you keep your gun loaded take it into your ‘ammo room’ before loading it. Once you leave your dry fire room or location you are DONE dry firing. You must not shortcut the process to get in one more round of practice or you might accidentally discharge a round. Safely store your weapon or re-holster it but don’t begin dry firing again until you go through the entire pre-practice safety routine. These safety rules are important so that you don’t unthinkingly pick up a loaded firearm and shoot, possibly shooting someone or something.


Dry run your gun to maintain those important trigger manipulation and sight alignment skills. Elite warriors and firearms competitors do this all the time to improve their shooting skills. It does work. Try it. Let me know using our contact form.

Andrew’s Note: Before running dry fire drills with any firearm make sure to read the weapon’s manual and make sure that it’s safe for that particular firearm. Dry firing is safe for most centerfire firearms, and not safe form most rimfire weapons but there are exceptions like Kel-Tec’s P3AT which, while certerfire is not designed to dry fire.

Choosing a Flashlight For Night Fighting

I was very fortunate to attend one of the Strategoes Low Light Instructor courses while I was employed as a police officer.  That particular Strategoes course was a week long course that trained me to become my department’s trainer and subject matter expert on low light engagements…in other words, night fighting for the police officer.  While I am now retired I’m fortunate to have decades worth of training to fall back on when times are tough and I thought I’d share some of what I learned about choosing a flashlight for night fighting both during that week and through my dual law enforcement and military careers. (more…)

The Prepper Protection Process – Integrating Prepper Protection Into the Preparedness Process

Today’s article is the final in a four article series on the Prepper Protection process is based upon and adapted from the military concept of protection as described in U.S. Army publication  ADP 3-37, Protection.  Today’s article focuses on Integrating Prepper Protection Into the Preparedness Process.  Previous articles in this series examined the Role of Prepper ProtectionPrepper Protection Principles, and the Prepper Protection Functions.

Prepper Protection: A deliberate process and collection of tactics, techniques and procedures synchronized and integrated to create a secure environment (or retreat), preserve life as well as conserve and safeguard the resources necessary for survival.

Integrating Prepper Protection into the Preparedness Process (more…)

We Decent Law-Abiding Citizens – Today’s Quote

Because criminals carry guns, we decent law-abiding citizens should also have guns. Otherwise they will win and the decent people will lose.

Actor and former U.S. Army First Lieutenant James Earl Jones

The Prepper Protection Process – Prepper Protection Principles

Today’s article is the second in this four article series on the Prepper Protection process is based upon and adapted from the military concept of protection as described in U.S. Army publication  ADP 3-37, Protection.  Today’s article focuses on the role of the Prepper Protection Principles ion in the Prepper Protection Process and will be followed every other day by another entry including articles on the Prepper Protection Function, and Integrating Prepper Protection Into the Preparedness Process.  The first article in this series was on The Role of Prepper Protection.

Prepper Protection: A deliberate process and collection of tactics, techniques and procedures synchronized and integrated to create a secure environment (or retreat), preserve life as well as conserve and safeguard the resources necessary for survival.

Prepper Protection Principals (more…)

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