Sometimes I go to training and see the guys with $3,000+ rifles, $1500+ handguns, and $1,000+ worth of accessories with the latest and greatest of everything Tactical; the latest 5.11 Tactical gear, hats, gloves, plate carrier, helmet, so on and so forth… Then I look up my gear and realize it’s a working man’s load out, I have maybe $1,000 into my rifle and then less than $500 in my hand gun. I am sometimes embarrassed by my “Poor Man’s” load out; then I realized, it’s not just about high-end gear, it is about a whole lot more…
America has become pretentious as a whole. Unless you have the latest car, nicest clothes, and biggest house you are somehow inferior to everyone else. This worldview carries over into the tactical world, believe that. Tactical is synonymous with macho/ego at times, only serving to exacerbate this problem. Some folks look down on people for not being able to afford the all the highest end gear, others may not want to spend that much even if they can.
I understand the feeling, most intimately I assure you. As and instructor I get people of all walks come through our courses. Often I have someone come in with everything nicer than me, and that is ok. Other folks have what some would call “cheap” gear, but that is all they can afford. I don’t understand this attitude of: “you suck unless you have nice gear”. This irritates me to no end. I have known a lot of folks who do not have much money, however, they are good at what they do for this reason: They buy a decent tool, and spend time with it…
Now, let me clarify something real quick: I am not saying that you cannot have nice things, not at all. If you can afford the high end gear, go for it! However, you should avoid at all costs judging others based on their gear! On a related note: worn out gear, of decent quality, is a sign of experience and time, don’t let worn out gear fool you. In my construction days we would joke about the guys who roll up on a site with all new tools; this was a dead give away to that guy not having a clue what he was doing. His tools were all new because he has never used them.
Back on topic now, what is most important is learning to use the tool. Say for example you have a $1000 budget for a new handgun. You could buy a $1000 dollar gun sure, OR you could buy a $5/600 gun, spend a hundred bucks on getting some professional instruction, and spend what ever you have left ($3/400) on ammo and time on the range. You will learn more about your gun in a week like this than most learn in years!
The cold hard reality is %95 of the population does not need the best gear, they need good gear and the best training! So, next time you are at the range or a training and you see “Tactical Tommy” over there, wearing his AR-500 plates and carrier, ballistic helmet, 14 AR mags, thigh holster and 12 inch “tactical” knife ask yourself this question: “Will any of those things help me defend myself and my family”? If you wake up in the middle of the night, are you gonna throw on all that gear, or when you are at a Gala, will you be wearing your plates? I highly doubt it… Train for the fight you are most likely to have. All of the tactical gear is fun, believe me, and it has its place, but don’t get to caught up in all of the flash and forget the substance…
What can we learn:
- Gear does not define a man, character does
- Do not get so caught up in the gear itself, you never bother become proficient with it
- Will all of the tactical gear equip you to better protect you and your family in the “real world”?
- Do not allow yourself to judge others based on equipment, not everyone has the ability to have the latest and greatest