Etemology. Dictionarys were not common and the first American word book was 1806. context is what you are looking for.Ok. Please point out the specific writings that refer to "well regulated" meaning "equipped", and I'll give them a look.
If you're referring to Federalist 29, Hamilton does not equate those two phrases as Zimm has, and he also makes a point about the need for some basic organization of the "people at large":
"Little more can reasonably be aimed at, with respect to the people at large, than to have them properly armed and equipped; and in order to see that this be not neglected, it will be necessary to assemble them once or twice in the course of a year."
I wish such a basic requirement was in place, and that there was such a limited burden placed on the people at large that have chosen to bear arms. If Americans had spent over two hundred years doing so, maybe we wouldn't now find the subject to be such a polarizing topic.
Hamilton goes on to speak to the organization of militias at length, and the absolute need for the people at large to possess arms - they form the militias, after all. The legitimization of militias was at the core of keeping power in the hands of the people so that a despotic federal government would have little hope of turning itself against the citizens. It was a very wise decision made by people that had recently suffered at the hands of a government that saw things differently.
But I'm not seeing "well regulated" meaning "equipped".
Contemporary writings refer to the militia as any able bodied male. period. No training required. appreciated maybe, but not necessary.
to be "well regulated" by definition at the time, you had to have immediate access to the material needed at the time of mustering up.
while hamilton my have waxed poetic about regular turnouts, that was never the norm, he did not combine it with the word "regulated" and if that were to be a requirement in the final document, there would need to be a clause stating so, much like the "keep and bear arms" clause.
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed, and the militia shall muster twice a year".
but they didn't put that last part in, did they? If it was assumed "well regulated" meant equipped AND trained, there would be no need to for ANY descriptive clauses and the 2nd would read something like "For the security of a free state, there shall be a well regulated Militia". (training AND equipment assumed, AND contingent upon each other) Therefore, "well regulated" means simply what they took the time to say means. The "keep and bear arms" clause IS the definition.
youre not seeing hamilton use the term well regulated, because youre not seeing the term regulated at all.