So I did a loadout video when I was with the Peshmerga in Kurdistan and thought it would be interesting to do another one on the kit I used while I was in Ukraine. While much of the kit was pretty synonymous with my previous gear, a lot of it was different in brand and style as well as the mission-essential equipment that was used. It was also considerably more modernized in many areas, while with the Peshmerga we kind of had to take a “take what we could get approach,” getting quality gear in Ukraine was an easy day since there was an abundance of gear to go around.
My plate carrier was an Eagle Industries Scalable Plate Carrier (SPC) that was the exact model I was issued in the Marine Corps. This was chosen for its proven rugged reliability but also for the built-in level 3A soft armor. The majority of the injuries in Ukraine are from shrapenel wounds so soft armor was a perceived necessity in this conflict. Paired with the plate carrier were Eagle Industries magazine and grenade pouches plus a dump pouch, these are all incredibly rugged and affordable options that can be found all over Ebay. The magazine pouches while designed to fit 2 M4 magazines, accommodated a single AK74 magazine nicely and the M67 pouches worked adequately with the F1 and RGBD grenades; 4 grenades total, 2 on the rig and 2 on my belt. I kept a Northwest American Rescue tourniquet pouch on my left shoulder strap for easy access to my primary TQ plus a black sharpie for marking. My individual first aid kit (IFAK), was produced by BDS Tactical, and contained a secondary tourniquet to include 2 blow out kits and other immediate TCCC items; I also stashed spare batteries, tape and a sewing kit inside.
My rifle was a Russian made AKM-74, I carried 4 magazines on my rig and 1 in my cargo pocket or belt for it plus 1 in the gun. An Ultimak gas tube rail was used to mount a Primary Arms micro red dot and a Surefire G2X flashlight paired with a VLTOR offset mount. The standard pistol grip was replaced with one from Magpul and I fashioned a sling mount out of 550 cord around the stock. I would use a suppressor or standard muzzle brake depending on the task at hand. The sling was a 2-point that I had modified to go into 1-point mode on the fly and I kept the gun running with good old Frog Lube. A rattle can paint job was applied, but to be honest it needed more green and that was not immediately available so I said screw it and left it as is.
My uniform was a pair of Patagonia multicam pants and blouse combo. I have to say that was a godsend, probably the most comfortable pair of cammies I’ve ever owned. Mechanix gloves and a Arcteryx knee pad brought a level of comfort to taking a knee and crawling/climbing around debris laden blown up houses. Probably the most important item, my boots were Gore Tex lined Merrel MOAB Ventilaters; incredibly comfortable boots but difficult to dry out the sweat, they definitely held up to hard use though. Underwear and skivvy shirt were optional but merino wool socks were mandatory.
My helmet was a Ukraine produced Ops-Core replica with level 3A properties, NVG shroud and ARC rails. Later I mounted my Peltor Comtac 2’s to the ARC rails, this was epic because it gave me the option to slam them down when hearing protection was required but pop them up when I needed to rely on my natural hearing abilities as opposed to the artificial electronic hearing the Comtacs could provide. My chosen eye protection was polarized Spy Bowie’s because they looked cool as fuck and that’s probably the most important thing.
Some other miscellaneous items I routinely carried were a pair of Gerber multi-tools for whatever random task was required of them. A Garmin 401 Foretrex wrist mounted GPS was useful for marking positions and navigation. A Haider Pro 20-60 power spotting scope and high-powered SLR Camera for reconnaissance and observation. A roll of electrical tape found its way on a belt mounted carabiner for mounting detonators to explosive charges plus other random tasks. A bottle of water was attached on a belt pouch because I don’t believe in Camelback bladders (had way too many blow out mid mission). A handheld Motorola radio, head set had push-to-talk for internal team communication. My watch was a matte black digital G-Shock because whipping out your phone to check the time is not really an option when snooping about. My knife was a Blade Brothers fixed blade variant but more often not the Vendetta model, a straight dagger design. There was also a single Soviet era smoke grenade that damned near required you to rub two sticks together for it to work, but our Team Leader required us to carry it. Some mission specific equipment was required at times but only on rare occasions, this would include de-mining kits, RPG’s, claymores, and a breaching kit with bolt cutters, engineers tomahawk/pry bar and spare det-cord. Explosive breaching charges of various types were carried occasionally too; water displacement charges, linear flex charges and linear shaped charges were the most common.
Originally published on SOFREP and written by