—“Basic combat load is 7, 30 round magazines. It has been for a very long time. “—

But when you state it as “200 rounds” people get a better idea of how few rounds that is. And Americans still too frequently run down on ammunition in a defensive firefight.

—“Ignoring the basic correct answer is 210 rounds for the M4, here is a real combat load after 18 months before, during and after the surge in Iraq. I was a combat medic in an infantry unit deployed to a high tempo battlezone. We rolled outside the wire at least 5 days a week and often multiple times a day. About 1/4 of those would see some degree of combat. I carried a 30lb lite aid bag in addition to 10 magazines on my rack and drop pouches. Additionally my hot mag was a double and my main aid bag stayed on our vehicle with another 4 mags along with 65 lbs of medical gear. Long range patrols and extended ops were a bitch for me but after running out of ammo in one fight everything changed. I started dropping other gear from my load and replacing everything I could with composite material. I carried more than anyone but the squad gunner but it came in handy for others as well.I can function for 2 days without water. I can survive almost a week without food. My life expectancy in a firefight while out of ammo isn’t shit. In combat every bullet is a chance to save a life.”— Anon.

In other words, he carried, 60 round hot mag, 10 30 round mags and 4 spare 30 round mags. 60 + 300 + 120 = 480. (My estimate of defensive ammo reserve from everything I’ve read is 600 rounds per man), and also from what I’ve read, no less than double that for a light machine gunner.

Patrol is very dangerous. It’s searching for the enemy by presenting yourself as a target (bullet magnet). I prefer the Russian method: saturate the ground with artillery, roll in with equipment, destroy anything standing, kill everything that moves, and mop up the remainder on foot. The best way to hold territory is when everything other than you is pebbles, soot, splinters, or dead.

–“Seven (7) mags was your “naked walking around load” and at no time was I more than a short distance away from an additional 10 mags. Point being, historically, I’m sure there was a prescribed basic load for the Italian military of the time but nobody ever says they had too much ammo in a firefight.”– Will Harm

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