Meet Skip Lyttle. He is our beloved village armorer and MacGyver. He’s a self-described voluntaryist, Skip and I have been friends since near the beginning of the new millennium.
Skip has been a student of martial and other fighting arts, and dozens of weapon types, since a young age. He’s been to several survival schools, teaches survival arts, and was a serious prepper long before prepping was cool. He is a self-taught gun builder, and has attended numerous schools including Front Sight and Massad Ayoob Group (I don’t recommend it and neither foes he, we attended at the same time). If you ever visit him, he’s always working on a Kydex project, gun build, or modifying his Landcruiser. He’ll teach you how to throw a tomahawk or knife in his back yard. He is married to the most tolerant woman on the planet, with three teenagers who can probably out-shoot most of the people you know. At no time will he ever refer to himself as an expert because he is always expanding his knowledge. He enjoys bugging out to the mountains and his favorite color is Flat Dark Earth (FDE)… seriously. -BB
What is a home armory?
The home armory is whatever arms are needed to secure the home from besiegement by bad actors. It should include pistols on your person, so you can fight your way back to your rifle, which you shouldn’t have left behind in the first place (Thank-you, COL Jeff Cooper). It is recommended that arms access, training, and usage span the entire, capable/responsible family, should it occur while one or both parents are not home. The home armory is merely one layer of the security of a home, which should include a place to shelter, physical security barriers like locks, gates, a driveway alert, and an alarm system.
What is the recommended basic load for the concerned subject in America?
The basic load begins with your Every Day Carry (EDC) and extends based on the anticipated threat. A pistol, a spare magazine or two, a light, and a knife are the minimal for EDC, the pistol for sudden and close threats, a knife to back up that primary weapon system in the event of a failure. One or two spare magazines and knowledge of a tactical and combat reload procedure should be practiced often to include a realistic under-stress scenario to inculcate the importance.
Let’s do a gear check of what’s on me right now: Glock 22 and Streamlight TLR-1 in an OWB hand-made Kydex holster, 2 spare 15 round magazines in a hand-made, Kydex magazine pouch, Fenix E12 in front, left pocket, CRKT M21-04 front right pocket, Casio Pathfinder watch, 550 cord bracelet, GI-issue handkerchief, Firestarter, and a Space Pen. That’s pretty much standard for me every day.
What pistol platform and why?
I chose a Glock pistol for its simplicity, ubiquitous magazine availability, and proven reliability. I chose .40 S&W because it has commonality with nearly all local police agencies, which may provide me additional magazines if they were injured or killed during an active shooter/zombie apocalypse scenario. As a secondary capability, I use Storm Lake 9mm conversion barrels to double the calibers of common ammunition without doubling the number of pistols and it also saves money for practice sessions with the family. It did require additional Glock and MAGPUL magazines in 9mm, which are also ubiquitous, even during a periodic and typical gun-panic shortage.
There is nothing wrong with using 9mm, I just chose .40 for current interoperabilty reasons.
What rifle platform and why? Tell us about the evolution from the FAL MBR to the AR platform.
About the time that Bill and I met in 2001, we were both in the Army, there was a resurgence of FAL parts kits and .308 M-80 NATO available in the markets… so, over the course of a few years, I built over a dozen for myself, Bill, and other close friends… but eventually, I became slightly annoyed by their finicky gas tubes, high-carbon-producing pistons, and aged/weak magazines and looked back to the AR platform as soon as MAGPUL developed the .308 PMAG magazine.
One of the major forces behind moving to the AR platform was that I was getting remarried and having children that would all want to shoot something lighter than a .30 caliber battle rifle. I opted for the Stoner design in both 5.56mm and 7.62mm, however, I did lots of study and built the guns, part-by-part, based on a broad range of research and experimentation.
What I ended up with for the 5.56 fleet was a mid-length gas, Bravo Company upper, a standard Spikes lower, with MAGPUL and Troy furniture. I have yet to find a better rear Back Up Iron Sight (BUIS) than the Knight’s Armament rear sight, thanks to watching famed Chris Costa, and his opinion of them in Art of the Carbine.
When I built the 7.62 AR platform, I wanted a shorter barrel than the M110, so I opted for the 18.5” Criterion barrel sold by Fulton Armory because there was a balance between weight and accuracy, plus it was chrome-lined for longer-lasting durability. Since it was built off the DPMS platform, parts were fairly inexpensive leaving room in the budget for a decent optic, the Vortex 2.5-10×50. And other required items for shooting farther more accurately than the typical battle rifle, but for less money than a sniper rifle.
Should one be a gunsmith or have some of those skills?
Having gunsmith training, especially when you want to build or maintain your own pistols or rifles is certainly a plus. At some point, weapons maintenance and repair will be treated as an invaluable skill, so if you are handy with a Dremel and understand how to put things together after you’ve disassembled maybe something you shouldn’t have, you may have a shot at becoming a DIY gunsmith. The best trick I can share with the audience is always cut on the cheapest part when modifying something. It is also important to remember that every skillset learned is less you have to pay or barter for down the road. In a worst-case scenario, one may have to fix or modify non-functioning weapons or to cannibalize several non-functioning firearms as a last resort.
Tell us about EDC? What comprises an individual load and what are your mission profile variations? How about a vehicle load-out for both urban and off-road?