2019, M249 Loadout/Battle Belt

Frosty_Bear

Regular Member
#1
Hey guys,
A very close friend of mine is deploying to Afghanistan in a few months. I'm getting him a birthday/deployment present in the form of a battle belt, but I also want to get him a lot of insight on how to run this thing really well. Will you help me help my brother out?

I didn't post this in https://primaryandsecondary.com/forum/index.php?threads/warbelt-setups.75/ thread because I wanted this to be more in depth and specific to some one running a crew served weapon, specifically the 249/240. I couldn't find too much information online, though I haven't finished reading through
TC 3 - 22.68, TC 3 - 22.249 & TC 3 - 22.240 yet. I'll be checking litefighter later also and sharing anything useful here.
Crew Weapons TC: http://www.combatindex.com/store/field_man/sample/fm_3-22_68.pdf
249 TC: https://armypubs.army.mil/epubs/DR_pubs/DR_a/pdf/web/ARN3242_TC 3-22x249 FINAL WEB.pdf
240 TC: https://armypubs.army.mil/epubs/DR_pubs/DR_a/pdf/web/ARN3182_TC 3-22x240 FINAL WEB 1.pdf

Heads up, I have minimal experience with these weapon systems and their employment. I am aware of their operating system and manual of arms, but I wouldn't say I'm familiar with it either. I'm coming here with a very open, but inexperienced mind. So, break it down barney style please. AROTC units usually never get these, unless they borrow it from a NG unit nearby and that's generally only a 249 with a single 200 round drum because of the cost of ammunition. I don't want to this thread to become too focused on employment though. More specifically about the belt/ammo carry system and methodology during vehicles, dismounted patrols, comfort and, of course, combat. There are a few reasons for this specific thread:

1. Most AR aren't running a pistol. This immediately changes the weight balance and perspective of most stuff you'll see being advised for battle belts.
2. Their ammunition carriers aren't magazines, so it's again rather unique from normal setups, requiring unique resources.
3. I wanted a dedicated place on the internet for unit SMEs to find and use on this specific subject.


Goals in no particular order:
1. Narrow down the belt choices to a definitive 1-3 gun belts as the best. Maybe: Lighweight, Hot weather, Padded/ballistic. Potentially consolidate to 2 belts.
2. Narrow down the suspender/PC attachment choices to 1-2 as the best.
3. Preference ammo to be carried by the AR to consolidate it allowing better freedom of maneuver within teams without taking away from their capability either. Freedom of maneuver, i.e. the AG/Rifleman doesn't have to take cover as close to the AR or stay there as long if actions can be better executed or must be executed from a different location. Such as, maybe not dragging someone for TCCC to the AR's chosen cover, but one closer to the casualty because the AR has the ammo necessary already on them. Again, this is without detracting from the ARs capability.

I can potentially see how the 3rd point is controversial. Please be patient with me, again, I'm very inexperienced with the employment of these specific systems. I mean... crew based weapons....it's in the name. I can absolutely see the potential that I'm dead wrong on that point. Please be detailed and deliberate in your description as to why. This is where and how I see employment of the systems coming into this thread: When it directly affects how ammunition/belt and so forth is set up.

4. Establish a few excellent standard set ups for a 249/240B battle belt/PC combo.
A. Maximum capacity, within reason, with currently available kit. Listed below is a set up for ~1750 rounds of 5.56 link. A MOLLE Ruck stuffed full of nothing, but 200 round drums just isn't reasonable.
B. Good Middle ground, how to carry 1000 - 1200 rounds of 5.56 link.
C. Maximum Maneuverability with 600 - 800 rounds of 5.56 link.

If the round counts to achieve A, B & C should be adjusted or improved, please mention it below. Provide a solution as well please.

Principles in no particular order:
1. Keep it lightweight. Obligatory "Ounces = lbs" statement.
2. No movement of the belt in fast, sharp movement over time if possible. Keep the placement of attached items repeatable and comfortable.
3. Maximize comfort to reduce fatigue and distraction.
4. Inner/Outer belt.
5. Blast protection provided.....maybe....more on that later. Looking at that Crye blast belt and Tyr tactical MAB series specifically. If it can be had with no detriment... then it's a no brainer.
6. Combine with Suspenders. Looking for that best combination here to maximize the effect of weight distribution.
7. The belt shouldn't be too tall. This will interfere with a PC and thus lead to discomfort and distraction.
8. The inner belt will not have a buckle to avoid "double buckling" and causing discomfort and unnecessary noise.


Principles to be sorted in no particular order:
1. Does lumbar support/taller in the center back help? If so, at what general weight? I know this will be a range depending on body type.
2. At what general weight range is solid padding necessary? Again, will depend on body type.
3. Does attaching the belt to the PC work better than having suspenders run underneath? It's less weight, but idk. I have no experience with it. Worried it could reduce the torso's lateral or rotational maneuverability. That could make vehicle operations suck more.


Acronyms explained for lurkers:
PC - Plate Carrier
AR - Automatic Rifleman.
AG - Assistant Gunner.
TCCC - Tactical Combat Casualty Care.
Side plug: This was a fantastic modcast, much watch.
RSTA - Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition. You're generally very outnumbered and working in small groups. May not have indirect fire priority with coordinating missions, so you can have a really bad day, very quickly if you're decisively engaged. Generally, these missions are assigned to Cav Scout units as their training is specifically geared towards it.

Different Belts to discuss. Sorted from general shorter to taller / who makes it / non ballistic to some ballistic rating:
Shuto from Ronin Tactics
https://www.ronintactics.com/store/p181/Shūto_Belt_.html

Assault Belt System from AWS
https://awsin.com/products.asp?id=164
God this website sucks. At least it's secured...looking at you STI and Tyr. It's 2019, grow up.
Apparently, AWS manufactures the Ronin Belts also, but with a greater lead time.
This was mentioned in this thread: https://primaryandsecondary.com/forum/index.php?threads/warbelt-setups.75/page-4
I believe it may have been in the video by @Joe _K, I just don't want to rewatch to make sure.

Ares Gear Belt, used by Roland currently per his last video/discussion on the topic available outside of Patreon.
https://www.aresgear.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=100_116_120
That's reason enough to give it a good look.

Storm Rider. Again, never heard of it before the Show Off Thread.
https://www.stormridergear.com/collections/tactical
The Megindjord gets cool points for having the medieval-like extra belt hanging, even if it's less useful than a cobra buckle. Brings "old school" and "Respect the classics" to a whole new level.

Brokos Belt from Viking Tactics
https://www.skdtac.com/Viking-Tactics-Battle-Belt-VTAC-Brokos-Belt-p/vkg.510.htm
Some specific info from Ivan at Kit Badger talking about his Caped Crusader days:
Ivan mentions it moves around, but is much more breathable then our next item.

Not sure which specific item Ivan is referring to here.
https://www.attackpak.com/collections/belts-and-frames
Breathability should matter a lot. In cold weather, a more or less breathable belt wouldn't make too much difference I humbly think. In the heat however, it could really make a difference in comfort.

Direct Action Gear
https://us.directactiongear.com/mosquito-modular-belt-sleeve#AGR
Never heard of them before, but were mentioned in the Show Off Thread.

HSGI's
https://www.highspeedgear.com/hsgi/33SLB-33SLB.html
I think the laser-grip is more sticky than the duty-grip or sure-grip. I don't know though, I'm not too familiar with their line. If someone could help here, that would be awesome.

Ballistic Belts:
Tyr Tactical - Warning, this site is unsecure. Grow up Tyr, it's 2019. It's pathetic, honestly.
http://www.tyrtactical.com/products/list/Accessories-protective-equipment/
http://www.tyrtactical.com/products/list/Accessories-protective-equipment/

Crye Precision
https://www.cryeprecision.com/armor-equipment/belts
Their blast belts, low and high as well as their other options of course.

If you know of a different belt that should be mentioned, please link it and discuss. I tried to capture all the big ones, but I probably missed a few.


Suspender systems:
I did not include the condor outdoors suspender for being excessively bulky. If a suspender system is otherwise not mentioned, I'm just not aware of it atm.

Crye Precision
Suspenders - https://www.cryeprecision.com/ProductDetail/accb4s22000_suspenders
PC attachment - https://www.cryeprecision.com/ProductDetail/blc03902000_chassis-stkss-adapter

HSGI's high speed, low drag
https://www.highspeedgear.com/hsgi/high-speed-low-drag-suspenders-95HSS0.html

VTAC Suspenders
https://www.vikingtactics.com/product-p/vtac-ss.htm
I was at first turned away from these with the lack of padding. But, I realized a user can 1. add padding. 2. keeping it so low profile could make it much more comfortable under a PC.

If someone has an additional suspender solution, please mention it.


Drag Handle:
I, humbly, think drag handles are very important and should be attached to the belt to grab as low on the body as possible to make extraction faster and safer for everyone involved. Multiple Options listed below.
This is a DIY version from DARCI.
https://www.lightfighter.net/fileSe...358/fodoid/61551397560078353/DARC CASEVAC.pdf

Spiritus made version with DARCI input.
https://www.spiritussystems.com/recovery-handle/
Some forum members have noted that it is subpar to the DIY version.

Uses and reasoning behind a drag handle discussed on pages 2, 3 and 4 in between other discussions.
https://primaryandsecondary.com/for...-lightweight-plate-carrier-set-up.6114/page-2
Mention of Spiritus option being subpar on page 3.


If someone has additional input on the drag handle, please share it.


Reference/Inspiration:
https://www.quora.com/How-much-ammo-does-automatic-rifleman-equiped-with-M249-carry
This was the smartest thing I have found so far, as well the best reference that directly addressed the issue.
The follow on comments were meh, general and not too intriguing. Below the set up is quoted

"I carried a 200 round drum in the gun and one on each hip. On my chest I had four pouches for the soft canvas 100 round “nut sacks” and if loaded meticulously they could hold 126 rounds in the pouch and an additional 10 rounds from the pouch draped over the top (its 10 rounds from the pouch opening to being properly seated on the feed tray of the m249, so I maximized my space and ammo capacity.) This brings my round count to 1144 between the rounds on my armor and in the gun… Add 3 more drums and a spare barrel in an assault pack and it brought me to 1744 (rounds)" - John Grasso, Jan 27, 2017 on Quora.

This is a pretty high round count set up if you include the assault pack's 3 drums. Mr. Grassos later details that he was involved in RSTA work in a platoon of ~18ish people. Not a normal situation for everyone employing the 249, but not unheard of either. This is the reason behind there being multiple excellent load outs. To achieve different mission tasks.

S/O to:
@2000XJclassic
@runningwolf
@user12358
@BooneGA
@Wake27
@chasnojm
@TerminalEffect
For helping me on the 2019 Lightweight Plate Carrier set up:
https://primaryandsecondary.com/forum/index.php?threads/2019-lightweight-plate-carrier-set-up.6114/

I did tell you all I was gonna ask your help on a battle belt set up and thank you in advance for your help, even if it's only just a view. If you know of anyone else on the forum that could contribute, please "@" them here. I'd love for this get a lot of good discussion to produce a good final idea that we can hear feedback on before the end of the year. From there, hopefully it goes on to be shared and help people better run the 249 and 240 systems moving forward.
 
#2
I spent a little (weeks not months) time as a AG so not a ton of experience but my squad is set up a little weird. 11 man squad (12 but was down one this whole rotation) in the squad we have 2 249s and 1 240. SAWs had no dedicated AG and had to carry there own gear. No tripods but did have spare barrels. The SAW dude in my team has been with me for 3 years and knows how to run a belt fed fairly well, he absolutely hates the SAW, but we’ve beat our heads on the thing enough coming up with ways to carry gear that we’ve found what works for HIM. Mounting 200 round drums on armor sucks, you can kinda make it work if it’s on the side but on the front is a no go. He keeps the front slick save for TQs, and if I can ever get his cheap ass yo buy one there’s room for a multi tool up front.

A belt with good suspenders and no more then 400 rounds on it with issue IFAK small of back works well, but he preferred to keep the bulk of the ammo in a pack. The idea was 1 of us just grab him a couple drums if needed out or the pack. Issue 100 and 200 round pouches work and he likes the 200 round nut sacks. The 100 round pouches rode better on the hips then the 200 rounders. We had talked about the idea of him mounting a couple BFG 10 speeds on his plate carrier so he had the option of picking up a M4 if the SAW shit the bed (it did....a lot)

For 240 we had a 2-3 man team depending on manning. Same dude who was my SAW was 240 for a couple years and switched back to it towards the end of the rotation. 240 is very much a team event with the gunner carrying 300-400 rounds on him. The AG with spare barrel, tripod, and another 300-400 and the rest of the ammo spread among the rest of us. Each dude couple have between 100 and 600 rounds (When we went into Iraq for our baby sitting mission I Had ASIP, two batteries, 200 rounds for the SAW and 600 for the 240, poor AG had close to 2000 between ruck and assault pack). What we found work for the 7.62 link was the High Ground Gear 300 round drum. You may not be able to pack it as tight as just stuffing link in a pack or ruck but it made it a lot easier to pass off ammo and kept the links from getting twisted or dirty. Gunner tended to like wearing one of those like a messenger bag then having link on his belt or armor
 
#3
Time limit ran out before I could fix spelling errors. Autocorrect on this phone has me looking like a illiterate hick.

Slip 2000 EWL is a must have on the gunner and if there’s a AG he carries it to. 4oz bottle will fit in a flapped mag pouch easily. Keep it close to the multitool.

Also for both gunner and AG, wear gloves. You shouldn’t be touching the barrel itself but accidents happen, me and nearly every member of my squad have cut our hands open breaking link, wear gloves.
 

user12358

Regular Member
#4
I don't have anything super insightful to add for the 249/240 portion of this post as that isn't really my wheel house but the people who I have talked to have relayed the same information as your quote about drum in the gun, nutsacks on your body, and drums in your pack. Also, throwing in a +1 on @runningwolf advice on gloves. I certainly don't wear them all the time but I keep them on me.

However, I do have some significant time with a Ronin Task Force which I believe is the same thing as the Shuto with just a D-Ring. Overall I really like the belt for an inner/outer concept, while I am still a believer in the battle pants philosophy of having a dedicated belt like a Arcteryx E220 running through your belt loops with all the gear on it, the Ronin is about as close to that as I have found while still being a two piece outside the loop system. For a combat role I have a hard time justifying not having on your first line kit on you when you have pants on and battle pants gives you the lightest weight and lowest profile option available. Much like with mounting comms to helmets vs running comms under helmets, I am firmly in the camp of making it comfortable enough that I don't need to take it off instead of finding ways to make it so I don't lose as much capability when I take my helmet off because the garbage EPP pads have given me a crushing headache.

That being said the Ronin does have the advantage of quick don/doff and if you purchase the smaller 1.5" inner belt you will have absolutely no problem fitting it through the loops of any discreet clothing and in about 15 seconds you can get into a full battle belt, PC, and helmet. Obviously, this is a requirement for very few people.

I have found the Ronin to be very light weight and rigid which when combined with the MOLLE mounting system holds pouches in place wonderfully. The system retains much less heat than the battle belts of yesteryear like the HSGI Suregrips while also being much more secure to the body. That being said I don't have any idea how it would fair for a 249 gunner as I don't have to wear suspenders because it is light enough and a 249 gunner isn't going to have a pistol, pistol mags, and a rifle mag like I have on mine. Different kit for different goals.
 
#5
For infantry side of the house I prefer a belt I can take off. The SOF cats may like running kit direct attached to pants belt, and I like it to for my “party” pants on the LE side but for infantry work I’m constantly in and out or gear and when we decide to sleep in the middle of no where for the night I like to be able to just take off the belt instead of having to take off my pants. Micro belts like the Tyr Gunfighter with the HSGI slim grip pad or a Velcro inner belt are good for my loads, for a gunner, get a beefier model like a HSGI sure grip, the extra padding will be nice with the weight.
 

user12358

Regular Member
#6
The SOF cats may like running kit direct attached to pants belt, and I like it to for my “party” pants on the LE side but for infantry work I’m constantly in and out or gear and when we decide to sleep in the middle of no where for the night I like to be able to just take off the belt instead of having to take off my pants.
Out of curiosity, how much gear do you have on your belt? I have a Nalgene at my 7:30 which I pop out of the pouch to get my side sleeper on with no discomfort. That being said, I can definitely see how people that have much heavier and bulkier belt carriage requirements would need or even just want the ability to take it off. Obviously, my belt setup is different than the one being discussed here and I should have probably just stuck to my experiences with the Ronin instead of getting into my belt philosophy for an off topic setup.
 

Frosty_Bear

Regular Member
#8
@user12358
I don't think talking about the philosophy of your belt is a bad thing. I think it's great. In that process we can figure out what principles carry over from both and what has to be modified. So, absolutely try to connect it to what you know. That's all anyone can do at anything: connect what they know to what they're trying to know.
 

Frosty_Bear

Regular Member
#9
Also, my friend's unit requires their IFAK be placed on their cummerbund. So, while he might have something smaller like a dark angel medical or similar sized IFAK on his belt, it's not going to be his dedicated IFAK. I haven't gone into the details about his PLTs SOPs on # of frags, smoke, etc.

So, whatever we come up with from here will likely be slightly alter to fit his unit's requirements. Albeit, I think he'll be able to do at least 80% of what we cook up exactly the same.
 
#10
I hate battle belts. If something can not be attached to the riggers belt then get rid of it... unless it's a fany pouch.
Some things I put on my belt are a drop pouch (not generally necessary for an M249 gunner unless they plan to use mags that are hopefully GenM3), their standard issued IFAK on the unit SOP side (generally strong side), multitools, survival kit, pistol (crew serve weapons need to argue to get a pistol and mags/pouches/quals)

Ammo load out should be a nutsack clipped on gun (let me know if you want one for cost of shipping), (2) full belts on front sides of flack in pouches. From there the rest has been debated but it should be in a backpack between the gunner and A-gunner. Do NOT put spare ammo in a nutsack in a pack, it WILL turn into a mess and not function when you need it the most.

Employment honestly depends on the situation and the terrain, but that gun needs to get down and lay some hate ASAP then move to a better position that will allow the maneuver element to push without cutting off the automatic fires until the last minute. Best scenario is a 90* offset from the maneuver element, but obviously that is not obtainable, and that distance gap should be filled by the DM providing accurate fire.
 
#11
For infantry side of the house I prefer a belt I can take off. The SOF cats may like running kit direct attached to pants belt, and I like it to for my “party” pants on the LE side but for infantry work I’m constantly in and out or gear and when we decide to sleep in the middle of no where for the night I like to be able to just take off the belt instead of having to take off my pants. Micro belts like the Tyr Gunfighter with the HSGI slim grip pad or a Velcro inner belt are good for my loads, for a gunner, get a beefier model like a HSGI sure grip, the extra padding will be nice with the weight.
One of the few belts I have ever owned was an OG HSGI suregrip whatever belt and the grippy side ate through due to bending against my hips after a few training events. Unless it is a 40mm belt, I kinda hate belts.
 

Fatboy

Established
#12
I spent a few years long ago under a ruck while carrying web gear and a SAW. Some thoughts from that time period that may or may not apply to the battle belt discussion, since its basically an upgrade. At the time I carried one, 600 rounds was a basicload but we were routinely issued 800-1000 because as a paratrooper that jumped in somewhere, you never exactly when resupply would get there.

First off, with weight like a belt ammo, suspenders are recommended. You won't want padded ones. Thin flat ones to ride under armor. They also will allow you to unbuckle the belt for comfort instead of having it clinched down all the time restricting hip mobility.

Load on the belt- use big saw pouches, one on each hip. Put the 100 round nut sacks in those. Use the smaller saw pouches in the front near the buckles, again with nut sacks in them. That will give you up to 600 rounds on your belt. 100 in the gun, and another nut sack or two on your armor is plenty of on body ammo.

As far as armor carry, pouches across the front are best for access but will keep you off the ground when in the prone, so it's a personal preference trade off.

In the ruck or assault pack, carry the the ammo in the factory plastic drums. Easier to find and reload from. Also with the plastic drums, take some MRE cardboard from a main meal box, trace the outline of the drum side, cut it out and place it in the drum between the plastic wall and bullets. It will eliminate most of the rattle. You can also reinforce the flimsy pin that holds the drum onto the gun with a safety pin pushed into it. That will keep a drum in place in case he's forced to bound/ IMT with a drum instead of the assault sacks.
 

Joe _K

Established
#13
I was a USMC Infantry TL and oversaw, (Pun intended), the employment of the Teams SAW with 3 different SAW gunners, as well as encouraging the gunners to experiment with how to best carry ammo, as well as the spare barrel.

Questions for you:
1) What barrels will he be running? Long? Short?
2) Is he required to carry a minimum number of rounds?
3) Is he issued 100-ish round nut sacks? Or will he?

My guys never humped less than 600 rounds, but your friends unit may have a different SOP.

My recommendations are going to be based off the AR carrying 600 rounds +, along with a spare barrel.

1) Keep the drums OFF the belt as much as possible, if he must, then keep it to two nut sacks, his hips and back will thank you.

2) Nut sack or 200 round drum on the SAW depending on unit SOP, mission, availability, and his preference. Etc.

3) A drum pouch mounted on each side that is capable of carrying either 1x 200 round drum each, OR, 2x 100 round nutsack’s each.

4) Carry up to 3x 200 round drums in a pack that is integrated into his PC, but can be removed easily and laid along the side of the gun for easy feeding of the SAW by the AR/AG, and does not add bulk or additional straps to the AR’s shoulders. https://arborarmsusa.com/product/tradesmen-adaptable-assault-pack/

98612C64-94F0-47B8-8175-74B5A5D10FFC.jpeg 98612C64-94F0-47B8-8175-74B5A5D10FFC.jpeg
C2EE421F-8844-4D42-8088-14B8246AED5A.jpeg
124D7BC2-F32A-4D4F-85AD-76483B79AF77.jpeg
474E420B-2A7E-42FC-93A2-E4DC9131A66A.png
5) Carry the spare barrel, (if required) down the center of the pack, muzzle down.

6) Wear gloves, carry a spare.

7) Even if the SAW is brand new and fun issue, get a complete set of all small parts and springs necessary to keep the gun running.

8) Using bailing wire or something similar, ensure that the pistol grip/fire control unit cannot inadvertently fall off the bottom of the gun.

9) A cleaning rod long enough to clear stuck cases in the longest barrel issued as well as a good multi tool.

10) SLIP 2000 EWL or an equal lubricant. Carry at least 2 bottles.

11) If not issued and if possible attach vertical grip to the Picatinny forend of the SAW. Due to the added bulk of the SAW it must be something fairly sturdy.

12) with religious zeal and dedication inspect every single link before and after omission/patrol, The SAW will not think twice about using any excuse to give up and die on its users, don’t give it any extra chances to do so.

13) Do not use any optic in a SAW top cover if possible. Doing so should be punishable under the UCMJ for criminal negligence. IF your friend faces court martial over refusal to mount an optic, well an optic CAN be used as a SAW mounted observational monocular, and that’s about it.

14) As has been previously been mentioned, carry at least one 30-40 round GEN3 PMAG in the very real likelihood that he has to use a M4 when his SAW gives up the ghost.
 
#14
Spent good amount of time as a Gunner and a AG in the light infantry side of the house. While I do love battle belts, they can tire your hips out if you have too much weight. My gunner was a stud, but he started to suck hard with 200 rounds of 7.62 on his hip within a few days of moving up and down hills non stop. We rearranged his kit, so he carried 150 (75 rounds each side of his battle belt), 50 round starter in the m240 and loose ammo in his pack (200). A gun team has 2 (3 if you are lucky) to carry a combat load, unfortunately your buddy has to carry it all by himself (unless his TL is not a dick and carries some of that ammo too) as a M249 AR.

While I prefer the 2 piece battle belt set ups (CRYE MRB, RONIN), if he has to have to alot of ammo quickly accessible (2x 200 round boxes) on his belt, get a belt that can take suspenders. If he has the freedom, I would go with a 2 piece battle belt set up and carry 2x 100 round nut on the battle belt.
With the heavier set up, that is 400 -600 (depends on what box you got in the m249) ready to go.
With the lighter set up, that is 300-400 ready to go.
I personally believe that the lighter set up is good to go for most situations and if they know they are gonna have to be on a SBF, the TL can prep a 200 box mag out of the AR's pack.

That said, you don't always have alot of freedom and its dictated most of the time by how much the TL or SQL wants to run his AR. So a battle belt with suspenders is gonna be the safer bet and be more comfortable with heavier loads, just a little slower to get on in a hurry.

Also external drum pouches for his pack would be helpful, for him and his TL
 
#15
I was a USMC Infantry TL and oversaw, (Pun intended), the employment of the Teams SAW with 3 different SAW gunners, as well as encouraging the gunners to experiment with how to best carry ammo, as well as the spare barrel.

Questions for you:
1) What barrels will he be running? Long? Short?
2) Is he required to carry a minimum number of rounds?
3) Is he issued 100-ish round nut sacks? Or will he?

My guys never humped less than 600 rounds, but your friends unit may have a different SOP.

My recommendations are going to be based off the AR carrying 600 rounds +, along with a spare barrel.

1) Keep the drums OFF the belt as much as possible, if he must, then keep it to two nut sacks, his hips and back will thank you.

2) Nut sack or 200 round drum on the SAW depending on unit SOP, mission, availability, and his preference. Etc.

3) A drum pouch mounted on each side that is capable of carrying either 1x 200 round drum each, OR, 2x 100 round nutsack’s each.

4) Carry up to 3x 200 round drums in a pack that is integrated into his PC, but can be removed easily and laid along the side of the gun for easy feeding of the SAW by the AR/AG, and does not add bulk or additional straps to the AR’s shoulders. https://arborarmsusa.com/product/tradesmen-adaptable-assault-pack/

View attachment 4099 View attachment 4099
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5) Carry the spare barrel, (if required) down the center of the pack, muzzle down.

6) Wear gloves, carry a spare.

7) Even if the SAW is brand new and fun issue, get a complete set of all small parts and springs necessary to keep the gun running.

8) Using bailing wire or something similar, ensure that the pistol grip/fire control unit cannot inadvertently fall off the bottom of the gun.

9) A cleaning rod long enough to clear stuck cases in the longest barrel issued as well as a good multi tool.

10) SLIP 2000 EWL or an equal lubricant. Carry at least 2 bottles.

11) If not issued and if possible attach vertical grip to the Picatinny forend of the SAW. Due to the added bulk of the SAW it must be something fairly sturdy.

12) with religious zeal and dedication inspect every single link before and after omission/patrol, The SAW will not think twice about using any excuse to give up and die on its users, don’t give it any extra chances to do so.

13) Do not use any optic in a SAW top cover if possible. Doing so should be punishable under the UCMJ for criminal negligence. IF your friend faces court martial over refusal to mount an optic, well an optic CAN be used as a SAW mounted observational monocular, and that’s about it.

14) As has been previously been mentioned, carry at least one 30-40 round GEN3 PMAG in the very real likelihood that he has to use a M4 when his SAW gives up the ghost.

Excellent post, minus the optic advice. Been using SDO on the 249 for a while now and I would suggest the same to anyone using a belt fed in support of a maneuver element. Use an optic with magnification.
 

Frosty_Bear

Regular Member
#16
Ok, sorry for the delay as I had a final. Crushed it like Crush City. Props to anyone who gets the reference.

Few points for discussion. I think if we "solve" it for the 249, it's only a matter of adjusting the round count for the 240 system.

1. @runningwolf mentioned the very real concern of the 249/240 going down. I think the thread will be more productive if we assume the weapon system is performing as it should. Obviously, rocking at least two 30 or 40 pmags is probably a good idea. That could be in a ten speed pouch on the cummerbund. That way it's very out of the way and it's not likely to have to be "captured" to store in the pouch for replacement. Bear in mind, on my friend's weak side cummerbund he has to carry his IFAK. Neither of us like that because of how it messes with his sling, the sling can be in the way of someone getting into the IFAK and that if he takes a sucking chest wound on his left side....he's gonna follow current TCCC and be laying literally on top of it. Also, we thought it more likely that if we he was nonresponsive, he would probably be on his back or chest. Extra time and energy spent turning him over to get access to the IFAK. We spent a good 10 minutes talking it over and didn't like it in the end, but there's no way to change that SOP as it's set at the division level.......yay.

2. The HSGI was mention as being a bit outdated and very hot. What's a similar alternative that doesn't have these issues as the larger, padded belt? There's the Brokos, but it's noted that this shifts under more movement.

3. Ballistic rated belts from Tyr and Crye: They both seem to borrow from the HSGI heavily. Does anyone have any experience with them? More protection is more protection. If the shooter needs a bigger belt and the weight is only slightly more, then it would only make sense to preference that. But, I'd feel much better about saying that with some feedback on the Tyr and Crye ballistic belts.

4. For those that have run the bigger belts, was having a higher lumbar support good, indifferent or bad?

5. Suspenders: It seems the VTAC is the current front runner because they will run under a PC better. Does anyone have experience with attaching a belt to the PC with, say, the Crye options? I want make sure we touch that base before kind of settling on the VTAC. I suspect this will reduce lateral torso maneuverability, but also have the weight pulling on padded straps. It would also take longer to undo them, which the 2 belt system is designed to offer that capability without any detriment.

6. In terms of party belts, they're absolutely a better option. However, I have some concerns. If those pants aren't FR rated....not a good idea to go patrolling in a vehicle waiting for an IED attack. Don't need pants shrink wrapping on someone and burning them down to the bone before they can even react. Graphic, but so is my source: skip to 3:40
Given the vast majority of people who this could help due to subpar SOPs, I humbly think we shouldn't suggest stuff isn't FR as a precaution for those that just aren't gonna do the hw, don't know any better and don't have that good mentorship from their unit in that regard.

7. I love that we've gone more in depth: carry 2 gloves, multitool, carry 2 CLP bottles(Slip EWL seems to be the favorite atm). I'm totally down to getting into the full kit system(assault pack, Ammo on PC, Belt). Let's break it down barney style, not blues clues.

In the next reply, I'll break down the different load outs(light, medium, heavy) based on the consolidation of the above feedback.
Light: 600-800 rounds
Medium: 1000-1200 rounds
Heavy: Maximum within reason

@runningwolf
https://highgroundgear.com/products/300rd-7-62-drum
This does look promising. Could be slung up similar to a CLS bag I'd think.

@user12358
Rereading your first post, I saw the bit about the smaller inner belt and wearing it discreetly. I think a discreet option could be a thing for SF, 75th Rangers or another SOF group that's doing some sort of recon in plain clothes. Not their normal mission for not so normal units, but it does happen and I think that smaller belt is a good option for that.

@runningwolf
Why do you like a small inner belt with the larger outer belts? I can understand the weight and padding for sure. Just want to dive a little deeper there.

@Fatboy
You mentioned six 100 rd nut sacks in pouches along the belt, similar to the TAP vest.
https://www.fortbraggsurplus.us/TAP-Tactical-Assault-Panel-Multi-Cam-p/tactical-assault-panel.htm
I definitely share your concern with how low they lie in the prone. A drum can be the same as double stacking m4 stanags up front and that's just dumb. I'm wondering if he can attach it halfway on the PC front and half on the cummerbund to the side. If so, that could shift it enough to the side and allow for him to get pretty low to the ground. I'll ask him about it.
Thank you for the tip on the cardboard. Did you duct tape it help keep it in place in the drum? The safety pin thing could be huge during IMTs, thank you very much.

@Joe _K , I'mma address your questions in the next reply.
 

Frosty_Bear

Regular Member
#17
@Joe _K

1. Short Barrel, carries 1 spare.
2. 1200 rds.
3. He is only issued 200 rd drums. So, he has 6 to work with...Yeah.


8) The baling wire was a big surprise, but a welcome one. Wow, they just fall the fuck off sometimes...yay.

9) That's a good, didn't think of that.

13) Could you elaborate further?

@MoySan617
Saw a lot of great points on the weight when it comes to the 240, don't want to forget about it and the added weight.
The idea with the suspenders is that he could quickly take them on or off with the belt. That way, SHTF: get the belt on and worry about the damn suspenders later. I got some time: Suspenders have been pinned by the PC and just chilling, I clip them on real quick.
 
#18
The High Ground drums are very nice, I believe they even made some kinda adapter at one point for attaching them to the outside of the issue assault pack, not sure how that works and never used it. The drum will fit in the beavertail of my AWS Yote as well as being able to fit one in the main pack itself, wouldn’t want to carry two of those with a yote. Got a company called Bulldog tactical I think that was making a AG kit that was a metal external frame pack with 1 or 2 500 round ammo pouches kinda like the high ground attached to the frame for the AG to drop next to the gun and feed from. They were working on getting a NSN, not sure how it went.

Not sure what you mean by different size inner and outer belts, with the exception of my duty belt and just regular pants belt all my belts are 1.75, two are Tyr Gunfighters, one with a HSGI slim grip pad, the other direct weaved onto my pants staged up for call outs. I’ll occasionally wear a Velcro inner instead of my HSGI pad when I just want it more secure or I don’t have a holster with the leg strap to anchor my belt in place.
 

Frosty_Bear

Regular Member
#19
General loadouts for the 249 are as follows so far:
At the end of the thread, we'll adjust it for the 240 due to weight. Again, these are ideal set ups.


https://www.quora.com/How-much-ammo-does-automatic-rifleman-equiped-with-M249-carry
Per this thread, you can get an extra 36 rds out of 100 rd nutsacks….36% increase in efficiency? Yes please!
I make the assumption that the same 36 rounds can be had from a 200 rd nutsack. It may be more or less.

Light(600-800 rds):

Ares Gear or Ronin Tactics Shuto belt:
https://www.ronintactics.com/store/p181/Shūto_Belt_.html
https://www.aresgear.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=100_116_120
VTAC Suspenders:
https://www.vikingtactics.com/product-p/vtac-ss.htm

Belt:
Each hip has one 100 rd nutsack in a pouch. 272 rds

IFAK - Small of back, leaning toward strong side.

Glove hook with spare gloves. Other gloves are worn.

BFG Ten speed dump pouch: https://www.blueforcegear.com/ten-speed-ultralight-dump-pouch.html
Place at the back, left side

BFG Boo Boo pouch for Slip EWL bottles
https://www.blueforcegear.com/boo-boo-pouch.html
Place at the front, right side for the right arm to grab while the left hand holds open the top cover.

249: Depending on strength of the shooter,
1x 100 rd nutsack or 1x 200 rd nutsack. 136 - 236 rds.

Vertical foregrip of choice. No picatinny handguard for my buddy, but this is ideal.

Vickers 249/240 Sling:
https://www.blueforcegear.com/vickers-combat-applications-sling-m249-saw-sling.html
https://www.blueforcegear.com/vickers-combat-applications-sling-m249-saw-sling.html

PC:
Admin pouch, front and center.
Multitool, front and right for access with right arm while left arm holds open the top cover.

Assault Pack:
1 or 2x 200 rd drums. 100-200 rds.
G.I. Assault pack or preferably:
https://arborarmsusa.com/product/tradesmen-adaptable-assault-pack/
For compartmentalization.
1 spare barrel, aligned to the center.

Total w/o assault pack: 272(belt) + 136 to 236(m249):
408 - 508 rds.

Total w/ assault pack: 408 to 508 + 200 to400:
608 - 908 rds.




Medium(1000 - 1200 rds):

Crye MRB belt or Tyr Ballistic. Tentatively including ballistic belts, until further discussed due to ballistic protection:
http://www.tyrtactical.com/products/list/Accessories-protective-equipment/
WARNING - TYR SITE IS UNSECURE
https://www.cryeprecision.com/armor-equipment/belts

VTAC Suspenders:
https://www.vikingtactics.com/product-p/vtac-ss.htm

Belt:
Each hip has one 100 rd nutsack in a pouch. 272 rds.

IFAK - Small of back, leaning toward strong side.

Glove hook with spare gloves. Other gloves are worn.

BFG Ten speed dump pouch: https://www.blueforcegear.com/ten-speed-ultralight-dump-pouch.html
Place at the back, left side

BFG Boo Boo pouch for Slip EWL bottles
https://www.blueforcegear.com/boo-boo-pouch.html
Place at the front, right side for the right arm to grab while the left hand holds open the top cover.

249: Depending on strength of the shooter,
1x 200 rd nutsack. 236 rds.

Vertical foregrip of choice. No picatinny handguard for my buddy, but this is ideal.

Vickers 249/240 Sling:
https://www.blueforcegear.com/vickers-combat-applications-sling-m249-saw-sling.html
https://www.blueforcegear.com/vickers-combat-applications-sling-m249-saw-sling.html

PC:
Optional 2x 100 rd nutsacks in pouches. 272 rds.
Place them on Assault pack sides instead if desired.
Admin pouch, front and center.
Multitool, front and right for access with right arm while left arm holds open the top cover.



Assault Pack:
2x 200 rd drums. 400 rds.
1 to 2 spare barrels, aligned to the center.

Add to get to 1200:
1x 100 rd nutsack attached on either side of the assault pack, so 2x 100 rds nutsacks. 272 rds.
G.I. Assault pack or preferably:
https://arborarmsusa.com/product/tradesmen-adaptable-assault-pack/
For compartmentalization.

Total w/o assault pack: 272(belt) + 236(m249) + 272(PC)
508 to 780 rds. Difference from PC route chosen.

Total w/ assault pack: 508 to 708(PC) + 400 to 672(side of assault)
1,180 to 1,380 rds.
1,380 rds is achieved by having on 100 rd nutsacks on Assault pack and PC.




Heavy(Maximum rds within reason): 1600 rounds currently. Additional could be had with meticulous link adding and folding to each pouch.

Crye MRB belt or Tyr Ballistic. Tentatively including ballistic belts, until further discussed due to ballistic protection:
http://www.tyrtactical.com/products/list/Accessories-protective-equipment/
WARNING - TYR SITE IS UNSECURE
https://www.cryeprecision.com/armor-equipment/belts

VTAC Suspenders:
https://www.vikingtactics.com/product-p/vtac-ss.htm

Belt:
Each hip has one 200 rd nutsack in a pouch. 472 rds.

IFAK - Small of back, leaning toward strong side.

Glove hook with spare gloves. Other gloves are worn.

BFG Ten speed dump pouch: https://www.blueforcegear.com/ten-speed-ultralight-dump-pouch.html
Place at the back, left side

BFG Boo Boo pouch for Slip EWL bottles
https://www.blueforcegear.com/boo-boo-pouch.html
Place at the front, right side for the right arm to grab while the left hand holds open the top cover.

249: Depending on strength of the shooter,
1x 200 rd nutsack. 236 rds.

Vertical foregrip of choice. No picatinny handguard for my buddy, but this is ideal.

Vickers 249/240 Sling:
https://www.blueforcegear.com/vickers-combat-applications-sling-m249-saw-sling.html
https://www.blueforcegear.com/vickers-combat-applications-sling-m249-saw-sling.html

PC:
2 - 4x 100 rd nutsacks in pouches. 272 to 544 rds.
Admin pouch, front and center.
Multitool, front and right for access with right arm while left arm holds open the top cover.
Don't know yet if the 4 pouches are stacked in a square or squeezed into a rectangle at the bottom of the PC.


Assault Pack:
2x 200 rd drums. 400 rds.
2 spare barrels.

1x 100 rd nutsack attached on either side of the assault pack. 272 rds.
G.I. Assault pack or preferably:
https://arborarmsusa.com/product/tradesmen-adaptable-assault-pack/
For compartmentalization.


Total w/o assault pack: 236(m249) + 472(belt) + 272 to 544(PC):
980 to 1,252 rds

Total w/ assault pack: 980 to 1,252 + 672:
1,652 - 1,924 rds


I haven't done any weight or cost evaluations on the above yet, but I will soon. That way someone can do a quick check for a mission or be given an OPORD with the stated 249 load out being light or heavy, etc. The cost evaluations will be added for those that have to buy all these nutsacks, pouches and shit on their own because they only have 200 rd drums like my friend.

Each of the 3 different loadouts: light, medium and heavy are given a range with heavy being just 1,600+ rds. I exceeded the amount on light's upper range by just naturally following it's flow. I think light should be changed from 600 - 800 to 600 - 1000.


What do you all think? I think Heavy would be giving a spare barrel to someone else and maybe some ammo.

Sorry in advance for any typos, I just don't want to comb through it for a 20th time.
 

Joe _K

Established
#20
Excellent post, minus the optic advice. Been using SDO on the 249 for a while now and I would suggest the same to anyone using a belt fed in support of a maneuver element. Use an optic with magnification.
This was based off of my experience, along with others that never witnessed an SDO actually stay zeroed in a top cover Picatinny Rail, every time you open the cover, shake the gun, your zero is gone. On all the 249’s we had, you could close the cover, and grab the attached SDO and move the optic side to side and up and down by a few millimeters in each direction. Its a less stable optics mounting point than any other design I’ve ever messed with on any firearm. Maybe that experience shared by so many Marines in the 2009-2012 “era” got FN, MARCOSYSCOM, etc to get that problem fixed.



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