This is a guest post from Sunshine Shooter, who runs the Pro-Gun Millenial Blog. I’ve been writing so much about how to carry gear for different situations, and I thought it would be valuable to get his lessons learned from a recent match. Desert Brutality is a physically intensive event, and a great way to test out your gear.
If you would like to have an article featured on The Everyday Marksman, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.
Enjoy the post!
Desert Brutality is an annual 2-gun (rifle & pistol) match in the American Southwest. It’s the brainchild of Karl Kasarda of InRangeTV fame. Unsatisfied with the modern state of 3-gun, namely how it has become a shotgun reloading match with rifle and pistol targets thrown in for variety.
Karl created a venue for people with real-world practical gear to come and put it to the test in as a realistic manner as possible. Events include running, jumping, crawling, mental challenges, and basically everything that modern ‘practical shooting’ matches have abandoned.
Karl has run a local club-level match in Tuscon every month for a few years that follows his “try to replicate real usage, not caters to gamers” philosophy. In 2018 he decided to spread the love and make a national-level match open to people from all over.
The inaugural Desert Brutality in Feb 2018 attracted almost 200 shooters from all over the nation and even some from Europe. It was so well-received that he ran it again in Feb of 2019. I happened to be at a place in my life that allowed me to attend. Enrollment was completely full for the 2019 match, so I’m expecting this to become a regular thing for the near future.
This post isn’t about the match, but about how I carried my gear during it.
This site has been doing a great series on different styles of load carriage and I was asked to contribute my experience at DB.
Desert Brutality Load Carriage
My load carriage for DB 2019 differed dramatically from what you’ve read on this site recently.
I only shot 144 rifle rounds and 98 pistol rounds over the course of 2 days. Loading up on ammunition wasn’t really a requirement. I kept a range bag with me between stages. That meant I didn’t even need to carry that ammo on me the whole time. However, if you wanted to, there is a division for that.
This really allowed me to set up my gear favoring freedom and mobility over firepower.
Basically, this setup allows a person to go hard for a
The gear shown is as follows:
- Belt: Blue Alpha Gear Hybrid EDC
- Holster: T-Rex Arms OWB/IWB convertible
- Rifle mag pouch: HSGI Belt Mount Taco
- Admin Pouch: probably Condor (received as gift)
- Pistol mag pouch: HSG Double Pistol Taco
The belt I ran is the same one I use for everyday carry (EDC): a Blue Alpha Gear Hybrid EDC belt. It’s a standard Cobra buckled belt made to fit through standard belt loops. It’s s
Now let me explain my holster.
If a gun falls out of a holster during a stage, it’s an automatic disqualification. I did not own a retention holster, so I made one. The white strip you see is Velcro I modified attached via screws through existing holes. The Velcro added maybe 5 or 6 extra seconds throughout the whole weekend and never snagged on anything the entire time I wore it. Calling it ‘cheap insurance’ would be an understatement.
I kept one rifle mag in a
The highest round count for the rifle on a single stage was 48 shots, so three mags was overkill. The only problem I encountered with the Taco happened on stage 4, which required staging ammo for a mid-stage resupply. After fumbling with it for a second I just jammed that mag in a front pocket and drove on.
The pistol is a similar story.
The most number of shots on a single stage was 40 rounds of 9mm. Now considering my pistol only holds 17, that means I reloaded twice. Knowing that pistol reloads are far more likely for a given stage, I always run a Double Pistol Taco from High Speed Gear, as opposed to a single rifle Taco.
Just like their rifle brethren, Pistol Tacos are ideal for this kind of usage. They have enough grip to keep your mags seated during running, crawling, and climbing, but are still open topped and allow for quick retrieval of the magazine when you need it.
If you’re in a jungle with a squad of guys who can give you cover fire, run a retention strap. If it’s just you against the clock, that strap is a liability.
Finally, let’s talk about my rifle sling. I run a Magpul 2-to-1-point convertible sling with a sliding retention adjuster. I’ve found that this allows me to cinch it tight to my body when I’m running and loosen it up on the fly mid-stride to actually use the rifle.
This setup is easy to build upon as needed.
I don’t use up a lot of space on the belt itself, and my back & chest are both open for a backpack or a chest rig/plate carrier. Adding additional load bearing equipment and customizing my loadout is a matter of just putting it on.
Each stage had cases of bottled water, so even bringing my own was unnecessary this time.
I would like to get into a plate carrier or chest rig in the future (Matt’s load carriage series has only made this worse!), but what I currently run fits my needs.
I never needed more ammo than I’ve got on me and I’m always near some sort of resupply from my range bag. My background is also 100% competition and video games, so you guys with mil/LEO backgrounds probably find my rig to be awfully sparse.
I found Desert Brutality to be a very valuable experience.
If you want to see what your strengths and weaknesses are, this is a really good event
Thanks for reading. -S_S
Matt is the primary author and owner of The Everyday Marksman. He’s former military officer turned professional tech sector trainer. He’s a lifelong learner, passionate outdoorsman, and steadfast supporter of firearms culture.