Weapons gadgets, mods, add-ons, whatever you call them, they all have a weight that also adds to your weapon.
I am not against add-ons, they definitely have their place, and over my life time I had been sucked into trying many of them. Almost all of them are useful, just not all at once. They should be tailored to the mission. When your weapon starts to look like a prop from “Aliens”, you have gone too far. “Less is more” is always a good rule, especially after you have carried it all day, day after day.
I have been surprised at clips and pics of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, with their weapons loaded down with: ACOG , flashlight, laser, forward hand grip, IR illuminator, and bipod attached to a multi-rail fore end. Then go on to plug in two 30 round mags lashed together. In Vietnam we did not have any of these items, but we did have the immensely heavy Starlight Scope. Even though it was a force multiplier, they rarely left perimeters, and if they did, were to be destroyed if capture was imminent. I recall running patrols with an M-14, 5 20 round mags, a canteen and IFAK on my pistol belt, no vest and a soft cover, minimal gear. (I did also hump a PRC-25 radio; I liked the idea of being a mic squeeze away from supporting fire. Something we will not have.) New guys would take all manner of junk to the field and later jettison it when the load and heat got them. (Providing the Viet Cong a nice supply source)
D. Get to the point!!!
Some gear provides real advantage at very little weight gain. I like extended mag releases, charge handles and bolt releases, and most other mods that provide for easier, positive operation of the weapon under stress. Any item that facilitates keeping your trigger hand on the weapon as you perform other operations is desirable. Speed loading devices are also useful (I have a tube loader on two of my shotguns that loads 4 rounds each from two tubes in seconds, takes some practice but works. I haven’t seen them around in some time.) I like bipods, in the prone position, which you should use every chance you get. With a bipod you can get unparalleled accuracy. Carry a quickly attachable bipod in your cleaning gear pouch (you do carry minimal cleaning gear to the field, don’t you?) I have an old fully adjustable Stoner bipod that snaps and locks to the barrel of my SP1 at the front sight base, it does not reside there.
I like Holo dot sights as opposed to tube type dot sites, being an old fool shooting 3 gun IPSC for years with deteriorating vision; I liked the fast target acquisition and openness of the design that allows tracking multiple targets.
I do not like lasers. They are an arrow directing the way to your position. Even IR lasers if the opposition is using basic NVDs. Passive systems all the way. Lasers have their place as directors for heavier weapons and snipers that you wish to keep concealed, but you are still advertising your position.
I am not a fan of full auto. This said from the position of being the M2 “go to guy” in RVN as well as training a number of officers at a MACV compound in the M1917 .30, and having dealt with a great number of auto weapons.
Particularly in an austere environment, in unskilled hands they waste ammo and are inaccurate. I like the concept of a SAW (heavy barrel, bipod, dot sight, 100 round mags), but in a prepper context, I would build it up as semi-auto and use rapid aimed fire. I do not like the 90 rounder drum (you cannot go prone.) I do like the 100 round dual snail drum.
That being said I am about to test the Slide-fire stock, just to have the capability available. So far I do not like the construction, but that has little to do with its operation. (I also hate everything about the UZI, other than the way it shoots. All else goes by the wayside if it performs.)
I LOVE thermal, and really like Night Vision, particularly GEN 3. I am finding it difficult to integrate them into my tactical plans without spending a king’s ransom. My plans are: To use a thermal imaging device that also has HD video and a laser designator on a PTZ platform that will be operated and monitored from the radio shack. (The OD will have command, control and comms to the patrols, guard posts, IR illumination and NVDs) There are two GEN 1 NVDs on the perimeter, and a GEN 3 that will reside with the patrol group when not on the perimeter. All IR illuminators (IR floods on the perimeter edge) and lasers will remain passive until hostile intent is known and initiated. Lasers and tracers will then direct fire for other weapons. Use and integration of all this will require training, training, training, and familiarization. (I would really appreciate comments and other viewpoints on this)
I like small light weight illuminated low power scopes on select weapons. Try to set up your squad, fire-team to allow for all eventualities covered without loading each and every weapon down with add-ons. Keep it simple, keep it light.
Tailor your set ups to your member strong points, not everyone is a sniper or machine gunner, and train them in that position.
Here comes the Marine Corps indoctrination. AIMED FIRE and fire low. It was found in Vietnam that troops generally had an inclination to fire high (or not at all), sending their rounds into the trees. Low fire will still inflict casualties by grazing fire. Spray and pray does not work. They put those sites on there for a reason, use them.
OK, enough babble from me, hope this helps clear out some deadwood from your gear and tactics. D.