Over the last few years we’ve watched social media start driving a train that few can keep up with. A train that many don’t understand that they should jump off. A decade ago the procurement of new gear came mostly from seeing magazines, going to gun shows and seeing what others were using in classes. Today’s abundance of networking, up to the minute media releases, Youtube and a multitude of cable tv shows has led way to a phenomenon not understood by those outside of the professional ranks of the industry.
“Keeping up with the Joneses” doesn’t even begin to explain what is happening when it comes to equipping yourself for the fight they may never come but will surprise the hell out of you when it does.
In the 1980′s Converse Shoe Company made a pair of white leather tennis shoes that were made on par with a pair of Danner Hunting Boots. A pair of tennis shoes that didn’t break down after 6 months or even a year. Converse sales plummeted in the coming year. Nobody needed another pair so they spent their money elsewhere. Converse took that shoe out of production and sales recovered the following years. They had made a durable good and suffered the consequence. Customers that were pleased but had no reason to return for more.
I relate this story for one reason… Guns and the equipment associated with them are durable goods and for gun companies to maintain sales they have to add new additions, make small changes, new accessories, etc. From there the marketers get to sell you on why you have to have this new version. When it comes to the tactical world it normally has something to do with you being a better bad ass, surviving a fight because of this new wiz-bang or just plain making it look cool. At what cost?
Gun companies and those companies that make gear that bolts onto guns or the custom shops that rework your $500 Glock into a $2000 work of art are counting on your naivety. They are counting on your desire to keep up with the cool guys and flashy photos that you will open your wallet and give them your hard earned dollars for the current trendy piece of kit.
Unless you have deep pockets and can do all of this you want and still train all you are doing is spinning your wheels and filling up gun safes so that one day your spouse can sell them all off for 1/5 of what you paid so she can bury your ass in a nice casket. If you don’t have deep pockets and unlimited disposable income then why the hell are you not training? No amount of time watching videos, hanging out at gun stores or reading blogs like this one will make you better prepared for the fight of your life.
What will prepare you for the fight is putting rounds down range in structured training through the guns you already have.
Here’s a prime example to state my point… The Springfield XD Series of pistols are great on the square range and have been the industry’s “Gun of the Year” for more years than I can count. But, come to class with one and you will soon find out that it has a lot of limitations when you start trying to fight with the XD, especially when trying to run the gun one handed. You know why? Because if the grip safety isn’t completely depressed the slide will not go to the rear. Something that owners of this particular pistol don’t find out until they are trying to clear a malfunction one handed when a Modern Warfare Medical Pack isn’t behind that door so your other hand can come back to life.
But, OMG there are tens of thousands of those pistols in private hands because of shiny ads and a price point a little better than a Glock. Just like every other major purchase you make you have to weigh your options carefully. When you buy a car you ask about safety, mileage, comfort, and much more. You have a home inspector check the foundation of a home before you buy it and you get second opinions before having surgery. So why the hell does everyone take an advertiser’s word for what will work and a salesman behind the counter to tell you what works every time?
I’m calling out the gun dealers here as well. If you go to a gun shop and the guys behind the counter don’t have an answer outside of the NRA when you ask them if they have ever been to a shooting school then you should turn your butt around and walk out. Or at least know what you need exactly before going in to the store and don’t allow them to provide input. Gun store clerks to this day believe that a new owner who wants something for personal defense should be sold a J-frame revolver. The absolute hardest handgun to shoot and learn.
So stop trying to keep up with the trends and start going to classes. Start buying ammo and shoot it, don’t hoard it. How much can you really carry during an end of the world scenario!
Till next time Train Hard and Train Smart.