There is, of course, a limit to this, but overall it is something that should be followed. There are many reasons for this, some of which may not be apparent to everyone:
• Ease of training
• Ease of maintenance and repairs
• Bulk purchase savings
• Life saving
This is a short list of the dozens of reasons, but they are the reasons I want to address.
EASE OF TRAINING
When the trainer only needs to focus on a single platform, it streamlines and accelerates the learning curve of everyone involved. It also allows the for individuals being trained to become trainers later, exponentially increasing the learning curve across the spectrum of potential allies.
EASE OF MAINTENANCE AND REPAIRS
Anytime there are only a few items to keep and maintain, it allows those in charge of the various logistics to keep a smaller assortment of parts, utilize broken/damaged equipment for parts, and streamline the maintenance of every item in inventory. Those who maintain the equipment become highly specialized in those items and can, in effect, be masters of every idiosyncracy of the equipment.
BULK PURCHASE SAVINGS
When your group needs new gear, bulk purchasing allows for deep discounts. Most people are not wealthy, so purchasing items one at a time is more expensive than purchasing ten or one hundred at a time. In fact, it is possible to save so much money with bulk purchasing that a group can actually afford better equipment, than what they originally intended to purchase.
This topic is much more in-depth, as it spreads over a range of equipment. If you are in a squad of irregulars, and everyone is running different equipment, it is possible to lose people because of it. Something as simple as the difference between one person wearing a battle belt and suspenders, and another wearing a HSGI WEESATCH, and another wearing an Vietnam era LBV, while one is wearing a homemade set-up. When one person takes a round, do you know how to get the injured and dying person out of their gear to get to the wound? Do you know how to open up a WEESATCH?
"Hey new guy! Can you get fat bastard out of that LBV and treat that sucking chest wound?"
Maybe you can quickly get beyond a different person's web gear, but do you know where on that gear they keep their bleeder kit? Is it like yours? Does it have the same or similar equipment, or surplus Russian stuff with foreign instructions?
Maybe you are in a running firefight, and you get low on ammunition. Can your buddies spare some ammo? Is it the same as yours? Do their platforms use the same magazines as yours? Your AR, his AK, and the SDM's Remington 700 are not compatible in any manner. Maybe everyone carries the same rifle, but everyone has run out of ammunition for those and you are down to a close quarters pistol battle. Maybe your group even settled on .45 ACP caliber, but you have a 1911, one has a Springfield XD, and the other has a Glock 21. You couldn't help each other if you wanted.
Maybe your group didn't invest in similar standards of uniform and when the squad split into buddy pairs, one pair could not identify the other pair because their uniforms were similar to the enemy: you know, jeans and T-shirts, with dissimilar web gear and weapons systems.
It could be that you were ambushed and everyone in your squad was killed, and your rifle shit the bed. You grab your dead buddy's rifle, which is like yours, except that it has a different optic than yours, and it is not something you trained with. You trained with a red dot, and he always used a fixed 6x scope with a BDC reticle. Adjusting from both eyes open to 6x magnification during battle is not that easy unless you train to do it.
As a friend of mine says quite often,"you can get used to anything." You can. The military standardizes for the reasons above and many more. It is one of the reasons it is so powerful. Don't knock it. (And yes, I know that special forces do not necessarily follow these guidelines, but unless you are as highly trained, then stick with getting everyone in your group similarly equipped and trained.)
For a long time I have fought with my role and my mentality. I finally broke down and disgorged myself of my super accurate SDM rifle, which was in an odd caliber and moved on to an AR-10 so that I would be compatible with my group. It is not my first .308 rifle, but is the one that falls in line with what I have been saying above. For the last month, I have been building it to my specifications to get near the accuracy I had with my previous SDM.
It was a painful divorce, and my new marriage is tenuous. We will need to build a relationship over the coming months. So far, it has been sub-MOA, but I have not yet stretched it out to see how it performs at longer ranges.
All of that being said, I am still the odd man out. As the SDM, I carry a different caliber than everyone else, but I am highly trained on their weapons, and we all wear/carry the same gear otherwise. Now they all need to be trained on my new weapon, so that if I pass on, they can carry on the fight.
I followed my own advice. Now that my group is all on the same page, and we stay within a narrow range of equipment, and take the time to train/cross train, what about the group in the next town or county? What if we need to link up with them for some mutual purpose? Are they similarly equipped (and trained?) What about the groups in the neighboring regions and states?
Maybe I am asking too much, but at a minimum, when it comes to uniformity of equipment, if our communications, in all forms, are not similar and compatible, we may have a very difficult time getting anything done. And if you agree with the importance of uniformity in communications, then there is no reason not to believe in the uniformity of other equipment, both for your group, and for those around you.
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