Gearing Up For Ironman

I get a lot of questions from people interested in Trooper division about what kind of gear I use or what I recommend taking.  The firearms and gear I use work well for me as a total system, and may not work as well for someone else based on their shooting techniques, stature, or physical fitness.  Consider the following as a guide for things to consider for your own Trooper gear.

Primary Guns

These are the guns I intend to use at Ironman 2012
Upper: 16″ Palmetto State Armory with Primary Weapons FSC556, Troy Alpha Rail, and Coyote Tactical Fore End Wrap
Lower: Quentin Defense with CMC match trigger, VLTOR A5 buffer system, Ergo Grip, CAV-MFG stock.
Sights: Leupold HAMR with Aimpoint Micro in Hahn Precision Mount. Troy front BUIS, Hahn rear BUIS

Saiga-12 DIY Conversion.  SGM Modified Choke, RS Regulate Mount with Aimpoint M2, Tapco stock set, King Armory Gas Piston.

Glock 34 with OST-TSD Trjicon RMR coversion.  Nickel Boron coating by WMD guns.

Back Up Guns

Unfortunately I did not have enough time on all my primary guns before Ironman this year.  I am taking all these as back ups in the event I have a problem with any of the primaries. I was fortunately able to diagnose an intermittent malfunction in my primary rifle and fix it by replacing a weak extractor spring before going to Ironman.   Because I am bringing these and carrying them with me from stage to stage, I probably won’t need to use any of them.  Every time I carry spares I never need them.  I am not superstitious about many things, but I am a firm believer in Murphy’s law.  It’s a good thing the farthest hike is only a half mile round trip.

Upper: CMMG 14.5″ midlength with permanent flash hider, Samson rail.
Lower: Stag Arms, CMC Trigger, Carbine H2 buffer, Ergo Grip, CAV-MFG stock
Optics: Trijicon TA11J and Aimpoint M4s in LaRue mounts.  The M4s is in my ruck.

Saiga-12 DIY Conversion.  SGM Modified Choke, RS Regulate Mount with Aimpoint M2, Tapco stock set, AGP Side Folder, King Armory Gas Piston.

Glock 34 with Warren Tactical/Sevigny sights.


Bring enough to shoot each stage, bring enough to be able to finish the match if a couple die or are damaged on the stages.

There are no restrictions on magazines capacity in Trooper.  30 round glock mags make for less reloads. I still bring standard capacity magazines to deal with stages where a 30 rounder is a liability; i.e. shooting prone.

Five 30s, One 20, two 44s, one set of mag cinched mags to use as is most advantageous based on stage design.

One 20 round drum, ten 10 round AGP magazines for the Saiga-12
The 20 round drum is ungainly to reload with, I only use it at the start of the stage.  The 10 round magazines I download to 9 rounds to make it easier to load on a closed bolt.  The mag bandolier is useful for the few occasions I need more mags than my vest carries.


Published round count minimums:
Rifle 300, Pistol 328, Shot 225, Slug 61, Long Rang Rifle 15
I don’t like worrying about running out of ammo, so between my vest, pack, and ammo can I’m bringing;
Rifle 800 (I dont take a separate long range rifle), Pistol 800, Shot 350, Slugs 100, 30 buck shot
I typically end up with 1/3 left over.


Cleaning supplies, tools, and spare parts.  The range in Parma, ID has fine moon dust like sand that can coat everything if the wind picks up.  One of the things many competitors overlook is brushes to clean magazines out after they get thrown on the ground.

Protective Gear

Arctyrex Knee Pads are lightweight, secure and effective.  I find knee pads let me get into shooting positions more aggressively.
Mechanix gloves with and without fingers.  I use the fingerless gloves for most stages, unless I need to hold onto a rope or carry something abbrassive.  Either way the amount of shooting at Ironman wears on your hands, and having gloves makes it easier to get into and out of pron positions faster.  In particular wearing gloves makes shooting the Saiga-12 less painful with all the sharp edges on the AK design.
Wiley X ROUT prescription sun glasses, and clear safety glasses.  Lighting conditions vary throughout the match and include some low light areas like killhouses and tunnels.  I really like these glasses because they have a large usable lens area which makes seeing clearly from different shooting positions a non-issue.
I wear calve supports to prevent strain.  The rapid acceleration and decelartion required by action shooting has caused me calve strain in the past.  Not only do I want to prevent injury, but I want to minimize soreness over the course of the match so I can do my best on each stage.
Peltor ear pro with mount for my POV cam


Spec Ops Brand organizer bags that go inside my ruck.  One for shotgun ammo, one for rifle and pistol ammo, one for maintenance.


The only food Troopers can eat aside from lunch, while on the range is whatever they carry with them.  Rehydration drinks and candy are a particularly good idea

(I have more to add later)

About SinistralRifleman

I've been competing in the action shooting sports since 2002. I believe competition shooting to be an excellent way to build gun handling and marksmanship skills and encourage all gun owners to seek out some form of competition shooting. Anyone can become reasonably good at it if they devote the time and resources to do so. Winning, while nice, need not be your goal; bettering yourself through the pursuit of excellence is something we all can achieve.
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