3 weeks into the collapse, and you’re standing guard duty at the gate to your subdivision. You’re on watch with your next-door neighbor, AR-15s slung across your chests as you man the ECP (Entry Control Point). Suddenly you hear the “SNAP SNAP SNAP” of bullets flying past your heads, you’re under attack! The local gang chapter apparently wants the gardens and stockpiled supplies in your subdivision. You take cover and begin returning fire while your neighbor calls the QRF on his radio. You place a well-aimed controlled pair into one gang-banger’s chest and continue laying down enough accurate fire that the rest have to take cover behind trees.
As you pause to reload, your eye catches movement and you hear the growl of a diesel engine. You look up and see an up-armored military humvee approaching the ECP! Where the heck did that come from? Several gang-bangers are crouched behind it, using it as cover to get closer to your foxhole. Your neighbor panics and fires 7 shots at the vehicle which all ping harmlessly off the armor. Your stomach turns as you realize that it will reach your foxhole in less than a minute. You can’t destroy it, and you can’t leave your foxhole because you will be shot instantly.
BOOM! SMACK! Suddenly a large hole appears in the humvee’s windshield. You exhale in relief, the QRF has arrived and they brought the .50 Cal! Having lost its driver, the vehicle falters and rolls into a ditch. Demoralized at the loss of their biggest asset, the gang-bangers turn tail and retreat. The QRF cautiously bounds forward and inspects the abandoned humvee. Apart from its windshield, the vehicle is completely serviceable. Thanks to the accuracy of your Anti-Materiel sniper, you can now use it as part of your QRF.
This scenario was inspired by a news article I read yesterday. Earlier this week an up-armored HMMWV was stolen from a National Guard armory in California and it has NOT been recovered. Want to guess who has it and what they want with an armored vehicle?
The possibility of you encountering an armored vehicle during any sort of collapse are higher than you might think. Cartels in Mexico openly flaunt their fleet of armored vehicles as a show of force. National Guard, SWAT, and even private citizens have had their armored vehicles stolen from them in recent history. And it is not very hard to buy surplus MRAPS and APCs at auctions. Furthermore, you don’t know who is going to grab their welding tools and make Kildozer II. In every possible type of collapse scenario, it won’t take too long for whatever groups have these vehicles to become emboldened enough to start them up and use them.
Now that we’re aware of the threat, we have to consider how we can counter it. The most effective way to deal with armored vehicles is with a rocket launcher, but (sadly) they tend to be a little hard to come by. Enter the Anti-Materiel Rifle, or AMR.
An AMR is a large-caliber rifle that fires a powerful cartridge with a heavy projectile. Essentially, .338 Lapua, .50 BMG, and up. These rifles, with the right ammunition, provide a very potent counter to lightly armored vehicles in the hands of someone who knows what they’re doing. Just ask the YPG Kurds who are making these rifles out of captured heavy machine-gun barrels and using them right now.
For the American Partisan, the obvious choice is the 50 BMG, due largely to the fact that 50 BMG ammo is somewhat common and available in some rather spicy flavors. If you know where to look, you can even get API (Armor-Piercing Incendiary) ammo cheaper than standard ball ammo at about $2.80 a shot.
As far as the rifle itself, there are several options to choose from. At the most expensive end, you can drop 11k on a semi-automatic Barrett M82. At the other end you have the single-shot break action Serbu RN-50 for under $1200 (the downside being that it takes 13 seconds to reload). In the middle there are a couple dozen decent bolt-action options. Also consider the weight of the rifle, especially if you will have to carry it long distances. Figure out your budget and choose what’s best for your team, and don’t forget a rugged bipod and a good scope!
Once you get your AMR, get your entire team up to speed with it. Teach everyone how it works, how to maintain and clean it, and where to aim on armored vehicles to get the best use out of whatever ammunition you have. Familiarize everyone with the scope and the aiming reticle. Practice running drills with a spotter calling targets.
In summary, armored vehicles are a very real threat that you may have to face. If you run into one and find yourself caught without an effective way to counter it, you’ll be forced to withdraw or at least heavily modify your tactics to avoid it. However, if you have an AMR with armor-piercing ammunition, you greatly enhance your lethality and your options on the battlefield. You won’t be taking down tanks anytime soon, but at least your team won’t have to pop smoke at first sight of an MRAP.
In Part II of this article, I will briefly cover how to effectively employ an AMR against armored and unarmored vehicles. I will also include a few additional tips and tactics for using the AMR offensively. Stay tuned!
Heads on a swivel, boys.