M1A Operator Bag

M1A Operator Bag Ready to be Stocked

M1A Operator Bag Ready to be Stocked

M1A Operator Bag is Well-padded for Bouncing Around the Boonies

M1A Operator Bag is Well-padded for Bouncing Around the Boonies

I’ve written in the past of about the logistics involved in supporting firearms; the provisioning of tools and spare parts necessary to keep a favorite firearm running. The M1A has provided me an excellent opportunity to talk about firearm logistics once again.

A Couple of Condor Pouches Round Out the Basic Bag

A Couple of Condor Pouches Round Out the Basic Bag

I believe that I need a means to support any major firearms platform that I own and for that reason I rely on what I call the “Operator’s Bag.” In the days of yore when folks had to carry around powder, caps and ball, they relied on powder horns and “satchels” to do so – a Possible Bag they were called, as they had to carry everything that you might need for a day of hunting or warfare. I don’t think that the need to do so today has diminished much from those days. Granted that we don’t need to carry a separate powder horn or pouches of percussion caps and balls, but one should be prepared to carry the essentials to the specific firearm.

The M1A has taken a little more effort to prepare than most of my long guns (and handguns, for that matter). I discovered that a few more tools than what I would normally establish for a long gun was needed to keep the M1A running.

The first consideration for the “Operator Bag” was what type of bag I would need. That was a quick decision, as the UTG Multi-functional Tactical Messenger Bag fits the bill nicely. The bag is augmented with two Condor Gadget Pouches that will hold an array of goodies. There is now a plethora of pockets-a-plenty and more than enough space for most things.

Of the list of important items were, of course, tools to support the M1A; the list kept growing. I needed enough tools to support the M1A should I and it be away from the home base; wherever the M1A goes, the Operator Bag goes. The first order of the day was, of course, an M14/M1A cleaning kit and one was quickly ordered from Amazon. The only addition that I made to the kit was to add a .30 bronze jag, which I prefer over the slotted rod section. Although the cleaning kit is intended to store in the butt stock, it will be relegated to the “Possible Bag” as I don’t want things rattling around when I’m handling the firearm. The cleaning kit also includes a chamber cleaning brush and a double-vial for holding lubricants.

The second item was a BoreSnake; an essential tool for any barrel. A zip-lock baggie holds everything and all is stored in the top pouch of the bag.

Now the search continued for “necessary” items, or items that I thought would be necessary. Necessary items included; a bolt assembly disassembly/assembly tool, a bolt roller lubrication tool, a gas-cylinder wrench, a 3/16-inch hex head wrench, a Sadlak Industries M14/M1A Gas Cylinder Plug Cleaning Drill – Letter “O” Drill (Dia .316), a #15 (.180 dia) & Letter ‘P’ (.323 dia.) drill for scraping the carbon deposits from the internal bores.

Rounding out the “essential” tools was a .308 Broken Shell Extractor. I have only had to use a broken shell extractor tool one time and it is a handy thing to have around, because one never knows when a case will just separate while chambered. This leads into the last crucial item, which is a multi-tool and the Gerber 01471 Suspension Butterfly Opening Multi-Plier has served me well in the past.

Lest I remiss, cleaning patches, cleaning brushes, and lubricants add to the mix. The ‘Lubricant Case” that comes with the M14/M1A tool kit is excellent for holding Lubriplate 130-A ‘bolt’ grease in the smaller compartment of the two-sided case. The larger compartment holds some of my favorite lubricant – Ballistol. Built in applicators allow me to ‘dab’ lubricant wherever I need it.

To go from necessity to nicety items, a sling for the M1A was ordered as was a Pacmyr Decelerator recoil pad. I keep neither on the rifle during storage, but these are mounted when prepping the gun for duty. The recoil pad is not necessarily needed for recoil but for length-of-pull (the LOP on the M1A is 13.25-inches and I like the additional inch that the recoil pad provides. The sling is a replica of the original M14 sling and serves me nicely for stabilizing my shooting platform.

Another “nicety” was a Lula loader for the M1A/M14 magazines. While the magazines are not hard to load, the Lula Loader does make the task easier. It is packed in one of the gadget pouches along with a Bushnell 16x Bushnell Powerview Compact Folding Roof Prism Binocular; a very handy item to have for indoor ranges and outdoor ‘scouting.’

Rounding out the “niceties” is the Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Outdoor Knife with Carbon Steel Blade, Military Green, 4.1-Inch, which easily slides into the webbing on the bag and is secured in place by a Velcro nylon belt keeper. But wait! A Gerber 22-47162 FAST Draw Spring-Assisted Stainless Steel Fine-Edge Knife slides nicely into one of the inner pockets. You can never have too many knives!

A pair of Harbinger fingerless gloves are stuffed in the front flap and a set of ear plugs are stuffed with them. A set of safety goggles loop within the carrying strap. Because I wear corrective eyewear, I wanted a set of safety goggles that would fit over the eyewear. With a whole lot of bolt action, flying extracted cases, and flying debris with the M1A, I needed to protect myself when shooting left-handed. The HDP-Heavy Duty Protection Goggles are Safety and Ballistic rated ANSI Z87.1 High impact MIL-STD 662, & MIL-PRF-31013 goggles.

Last, but not least, is the very thing that the M1A is noted for firing; the .308 cartridge. Five 20-round magazines and 100-rounds of Priv Partisan 308 Ball, 145 grain FMJ brass case, boxer primed, non-corrosive, newly made commercial quality ammo. I sighted-in the M1A using this ammunition.

There are also 20 rounds in two 10-round stripper clips, because I know that I may not have enough time to hand-load magazines. I keep an unloaded 10-round (Springfield provided) magazine in the rifle at all times during storage.

Finally, and if I chose to do so, the large rear zippered pocket can house the AC 1911 FS and several (loaded) magazines of .45 acp ammunition stored within an inner pouch or 200 of 3 ¾-inch Slim Jim snacks or my favorite jerky.

So, there you have it, the M1A Operator Bag for yours truly. The M1A is stored nicely in a Bore Store and ready to put in the Voodoo Tactical 46″ Protector Rifle Case Weapon 15-8749 Olive Drab for carrying – but that’s another story.

Possible (Operator) Bags are not new; they have been around for a long time. As with days old, these bags supported the firearm(s) carried by many in defense of family and country, and simply provided necessities while hunting. I have a number of them that are dedicated to various firearm platforms and needs when I need to grab-n-go or a compact means of support at the range.

I will be adding to the M1A Operator Bag a few other “support’ items at a later time; a new operating rod spring and guide, gas cylinder piston, Castle Nut Pliers, and Hand Guard Clip Pliers.


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About Taurian

Taurian is an Oath Keeper, veteran, former LEO and Defensive Tactics Instructor. Until retirement, Taurian had over forty-seven years of experience as a Technical Writer and Training Program Developer. After leaving home at the age of ten without any shoes, Taurian continues on with many years devoted to the keeping and bearing of arms.

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