Minuteman vs. Jäger: A Tale of Two Paradigms

In a previous article, I wrote about training paradigms. Basically, everybody has that one scenario in their mind that they are preparing themselves for with their gear and training. That paradigm is the lens through which we view all our tactical inputs, and shapes everything we do in training and preparation.

In my experience talking to the individuals that come to my training classes, most American patriots have a training paradigm that I can roughly classify into one of two categories. I’ll call these the “Minuteman” and the “Jäger” paradigms. Today I will discuss what these two paradigms are, how they are different, and why they are important.

The Minuteman

The “minuteman” paradigm is borne out of a mindset of community preparedness in times of hardship and danger, and stems back to the very early history of our nation. When threatened by raiding bands of Indians or bandits, frontier communities formed militias to protect themselves. These militias, however, consisted of men who had to ply their trades every day to support their families. This meant that they could not man permanent defensive positions and forts because they weren’t full-time soldiers. The solution was for every man to be ready to respond at a minute’s notice in case of a raid or other emergency. As time went on and the threat of raids lessened, the militias took on a more conventional military form. However, most counties retained a special company or so of minutemen, elite units formed from the most able-bodied men under age 30.

Throughout troubled times in history, variations of the “minuteman” model have been implemented all over the world. In Rhodesia, for example, some small farming communities had ways to alert each other when they were attacked by communist guerrillas, and all available men would respond to defend their neighbors. Similar arrangements are being used right now in South Africa, where coordinated raids on farmers are alarmingly commonplace.

The modern American version of a minuteman company is sometimes called a “Mutual Assistance Group” (MAG). Many other names are used, but the concept is by-and-large the same. People who live near each other making arrangements to come to each others’ aid during times of hardship and danger. If there is ever a time when state and local authorities cannot be counted on to “provide for the common defense”, the security of the citizenry will rest in their own hands. One need only look to the riots of 2020 for examples of just this. MAGs or similar groups will be our best solution to protect our families when that time comes again.

The Jäger

The other training paradigm I commonly encounter is more akin to that of a light infantryman. I call it the “Jäger” (pronounced YAY-ger) mindset. I have written on the history of Jägers in the past. In a nutshell, Jägers were historically a Germanic variant of light infantry with roots as far back as the 1600s. Through the 1700s and 1800s, Jägers were fielded by Prussia and Austria as elite units of skirmishers, skilled in fieldcraft and marksmanship. They were also the first conventional units to use rifles, a German invention.

Jäger regiments were often composed of civilians who had been foresters, game keepers, or some other profession that included a prior knowledge of fieldcraft skill. During the Napoleonic wars, several Prussian Jäger units were hastily formed to protect their homes from the invading French armies. Many of them brought their own weapons and equipment, hastily trained together for a few weeks, and then rushed off to ambush and harass Napoleon’s armies as they advanced Westward.

The people I’ve met with a Jäger mindset envision themselves fighting against an organized enemy some distance away from their homes and families. They plan to conduct patrols, set ambushes, and carry out reconnaissance missions to keep their enemy at arms reach. Whether that enemy is a roving gang of bandits, cartel gunmen, or Chinese “peacekeepers”, the basic tenets of this mindset are the same. Aggressively locate, observe, and destroy the enemy away from your home/security perimeter.


These two training paradigms have very different mission sets, and thus different doctrine and gear.

Doctrinal Differences

The Minuteman is essentially a Quick Reaction Force (QRF). At a minute’s notice he throws on his gear and rushes to aid his neighbors, sacrificing stealth for speed. The swiftness of his response will often require him to ride in a vehicle. His missions are short in duration, lasting only long enough to neutralize the immediate threat. As a reactionary force, he is forced to fight at a time and place of his enemy’s choosing, but makes up for it with speed, violence of action, and his prior knowledge of the terrain.

The Jäger is more of a hunter by nature. Since he operates well away from his home/base, every mission he conducts will involve infiltration into his objective area. Trading speed for stealth, he mostly works dismounted because vehicles are difficult to hide. His missions can be much longer in duration, lasting up to a week or so. Adopting a “combat hunter” mindset, the Jäger fights at a time and place of his own choosing, striking violently and then vanishing into the terrain.

Differences in Gear

Mission drives gear. Since these two training paradigms have very different mission sets, it follows that they have different requirements for combat equipment and weapons.

The Minuteman’s short mission duration means that he does not need to carry sustainment gear, and can stick with the rifleman’s essentials. Since he is often mounted and does not conduct lengthy foot patrols, he can afford the extra weight and bulk of wearing body armor for added protection. Finally, given that bad guys like to do their dirty deeds at night, he should have some kind of sights/optic that allows him to aim in the dark (red dots or illuminated reticles at a minimum).

The Jäger’s extended patrols necessitate sustainment gear to keep him fed, hydrated, and healthy. He relies heavily on stealth to surprise his enemy, and on mobility to make a swift exit. Thus, in order to remain light and mobile, he avoids wearing body armor which would add even more weight on top of everything else he must carry.

Which one is right?

At this point, you may be wondering which one of these paradigms is correct. The answer is that both of them are “correct”, and in fact they complement each other. Without the Minuteman, the Jäger cannot leave his home for fear of leaving his family vulnerable. Without the Jäger engaging the more organized and dangerous hostile groups away from home, the Minuteman will eventually find himself with big problems on his doorstep that he may not be able to handle.

In a WROL scenario, the Minutemen will be needed first to respond to sporadic attacks as they occur. If the disaster is prolonged and chaos is allowed to thrive, there will be more and more of a need for the Jägers to go forth and conduct reconnaissance, set up observation posts, and kill evil men in their holes.


It is my opinion that the patriot should understand and train to both of these paradigms. Since you are preparing for an uncertain future, you would be wise to maintain a flexible set of capabilities so that you are prepared for whatever situation befalls you and your community.

I take this a step further and have a two sets of kit prepared, one for each mission set. My “Minuteman Kit” consists of a plate carrier, ballistic helmet, and my belt with the rifleman’s essentials. My “Jäger Kit” is my belt, a chest rig, lightweight bump helmet/boonie hat, and my pack with 3-5 days sustainment.

My Minuteman kit (LEFT) and Jäger kit (RIGHT). Note that I have all the rifleman’s essentials of ammo, water, and medical gear on my belt, which is used for both loadouts.

If you are interested in learning more about either of these training paradigms, I now teach classes on both. The first Jäger Course is currently on the training schedule for May 2023, and I will be offering the 3-day Minuteman Class later this year.

Stay dangerous, gentlemen.

Published by vonsteubentraining

Mike is the owner and chief instructor of Von Steuben Training & Consulting (VSTAC). A self-described “Tactical Scholar,” he spent 6 years in the Marine Corps as a radio operator and small-unit tactics instructor. He has dedicated his life to honing the tactical prowess of himself and his fellow patriots, guided by the wisdom of his commanding officer, Jesus Christ. He can be contacted via email at vonsteubentraining@protonmail.com

5 thoughts on “Minuteman vs. Jäger: A Tale of Two Paradigms

  1. Thanks for sharing. Definitely interested in staring out with a minuteman course. Will watch for the announcement on a date.


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