Aiki, I know it may sound a little harsh but, equipping agents to their maximum capacity is usually a Bad idea as it hinders movement quite greatly D:
Once you get disruptor its not a huge deal, but when you have much less weight on your agents you can use an out of the box rookie to do just about Anything.
Conservation of ammo in the battlefield is a must when using things like Marsec machine guns, but not a huge deal with Sniper Rifles or Plasma guns. x:
-strangely a huge fan of heavy launchers-
whatever equipment I find on the ground I utilize to its fullest extent, as it allows my agents to conserve their ammo which is often much more expensive than whatever the alien or enemy agent had just dropped.
When I was in the army, I remember how heavy the equipment was. I remember my first 10-mile timed march. People were fainting, and by the end I was carrying two extra webbing sets and two extra rifles, helping two women finish the march on their feet. I remember the kevlar vest was so heavy, it felt like a medieval chest plate. It practically was! Yep - I know only too well how too much gear hinders an agent in the game.
Thing is, I use a graduated loadout as agents improve. At first, I go for the minimum, or I should say, all that they can carry and still be able to run in battle. Some agents can only carry their armor, main weapon, a little ammo, medi-kit, and a grenade (for brainsuckers). If they can't handle this much, they stay in the gym until they can. As agents improve, their equipment increases to give them fighting power and versatility: more ammo, more grenades. Then comes more stuff as they get stronger: shields, proximity mines, power sword, side-arm. It's micro-managed, and done carefully. But I think the history of warfare is behind me when I saw that, for troops who tend to get into big firefights, they need all the ammo and other munitions they can carry to kill the enemy. Body armor for survivability is a must. Maybe to high-level bean-counters it's a painful expense. But to the individual out there in battle, it's a psychological as well as a physical safeguard. If an agent does arrive at a mission and can't run or is too weighed down, I'll have the agent dump stuff to create speed.
Of course, my agents have different tasks. For one, Recon agents are more lightly equipped to give them the best speed. Heavy Gunners are selected for strength and meant to do less running and more fire-superiority. Demolitions troopers are heavily weighed down, but are selected for strength so they can run with gear. As I've expostulated before, these specialist classes only arise when agents have much-improved attributes.
I'm very judicious with out-of-the-box rooks. When the game starts, it's necessary to throw them into the thick of it, and be ready to retreat. These ones usually matures to be the chiefs of the force at the end. But once my XCOM starts to grow, rookies are screened for adequate strength and stamina for battle, and prepped in the gym if necessary. Rookies are only deployed with veterans, and each fire team always has at least a strong corporal or sergeant leading it. This may or may not help a lot, but it's a matter of principle to me. It's got to be done right.
Anyway, I like to progress my agents and, while they start off simply and light, they progress with technology and skills, all in pursuit of that coveted Ultra-Commando designation. Sweet.