Look at the two pictures below. Which one are you?
In truth, many would be ‘guntoters’ tend to lean towards the left when, in actuality, they are far more prone to be like the picture on the right.
Now, before anyone gets offended (Lord knows we can’t do that anymore) let me explain.
Over the years I have had a number of students come to classes with the title, ‘Fundamental’ or ‘Basic’. But, when they show up, they are dressed/equipped like they are shipping out for war in Afghanistan. Chest rigs, thigh holsters, battle belts, you name it they have it. Most of our students are ‘normal’ folks - everyday people wanting to learn how to protect themselves and their family. While we have had many law enforcement officers (LEO) and military personnel in our classes, our main focus is on the civilian end of the spectrum.
That having been said, that sector is not immune from trying to be ‘tacti-cool’ either. Two illustrations here. Several years ago, we sponsored a ‘fun match’ that had a Halloween theme to it. One of the competitiors, who was also a student, introduced me to a friend of his (a dentist if I recall) who was also competing. He was retrieving his gear out of his trunk and was showing it to us. All I can say is the ‘upgrades’ he had made and all the ‘accessories’ he had on his guns (pistol, rifle and shotgun) were interesting – extended this, bigger that, high visibility, oversized – you get the picture. About an hour later I saw him loading the gear back in his trunk. Hmmm..
“How’d you do?” I asked.
“Well … My pistol took a crap on the first stage and I couldn’t get it working again. My shotgun wouldn’t work with the light loads and my magnifier and red dot sight on my carbine wouldn’t line up right.”
Everything that BROKE was a non-standard add-on. Read on …
I was in a shotgun level instructor class, being taught by Louis Awerbuck, with about twenty other students. Louis was lecturing about what he felt were the bare necessities needed on a defensive shotgun. When he was through, one of the students raised his hand.
“Question?” Louis asked.
“Yeah. If I put all that stuff on my shotgun, will it make me a better shot?” (They DO live among us).
“Do you want my advice?”
“Sure!” the tyro replied.
“Take all that S*** you have on the gun now, sell it, buy some ammunition and practice. That’ll make you better.”
Needless to say the young man was a bit chagrined and we had a chuckle at his expense. But, Louis was right – there are not many additions that will make you a better shot. Some may help with seeing the target better like a scope, or helping acquire a better grip. But, by and large, most accessories are just a malfunction waiting to happen. Especially with modern manufacturing methods, I have found that most guns, right out of the box, will shoot more accurately than the shooter will ever be able to.
In both of the above instances, the individuals believed – and spent their money – on ‘things’ they thought would make them better shots. Similarly, there are those folks who believe if they look like a Navy SEAL, they will perform like a Navy SEAL. Again, as mentioned, I have had students come to class ready for ‘war’. Within thirty minutes of doing drills and moving around in all their kit, all that extra stuff starts finding its way back to car or it’s lying on the ground!
In recent classes, I have had many more students arriving with their EDC (Everyday Carry), as well they should. It seems more folks are understanding the importance of training with the gear you will have with you and not trying to look ‘tacticool’ at the class. You probably won’t have all your ‘battle rattle’ with you when the balloon goes up.
As my friend John Farnam says, “Be uninteresting, blend in; be the ‘gray man’”.