Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Tacticool Gear

I was at the range the other day. My favorite, but applicable, start to any article. I noticed a guy in the next bay. My range has big “bays”. About 4 to 5 people can shoot in each bay so he wasn’t really close.
He had a gadget on his rifle that I just had to see close up. I won’t go into what it actually was because I would be forced to go on a page long tirade on how useless I think this product is. Suffice it to say that it was a product that is supposed to help aim the rifle. It will make someone a horrible shot because it emphasizes doing something that is wrong under any circumstances. I know what you’re thinking, “Burn you’re getting old, out with old, in with the new.” Normally I’d be right there with ya. I’ve changed my stance, grip, sights, and eye closing. I’ve found all of these new ideas extremely useful and I can actually see the results. But this, this monstrosity was something I tried to wrap my brain around. I watched my brother shooter use this item and I watched it and him, fail miserably. I tried to give the guy some encouragement, especially when he told me the crazy high price of the product. I went back to my bay and finished my workout. We stopped shooting about the same time and I called over to him asking him how he liked his new toy. “Junk!” he said. “Maybe I can get my money back…” I had to admire that he had the humility to be honest. Sometimes Tacticool is not cool.
When someone asks me what gun they should buy I tell them there is a whole world of different models to choose from, equipment that will augment these firearms and additional supplies you could purchase. It isn’t hard to start spending too much time, money and your focus on the latest gear or the proper outfit and instead of prepping we find ourselves falling into the Tacticool trap.
By tacticool, I mean that instead of focusing first on what you need for your families’ safety you focus on looking cool. I think some of this is simply part of being a man (or woman) in that we want on some level to live out our Navy Seal fantasies while we are living our Homer Simpson reality. Is tactical gear necessary? That is a great question and one that I ask myself anytime I want to purchase something new. None of this gear you see people running around in comes cheap. To answer the question though, it really depends on what you are preparing for and when it comes to self-defense what type of situation you foresee. Tactical gear intentionally mimics the gear soldiers wear into war. Actually, a lot of the suppliers to the military sell to the civilian market as well so you are able to purchase equipment that our soldiers actually use in conflicts. This is useful because you can be assured the gear has been tested. We know what works and what doesn’t and there aren’t many better options for their intended use. Now, the next question is what was it designed to be used for? That is simple. Tactical gear is designed to accompany a person into combat and carry the supplies you need to function as highly as possible so that you will have a better chance of coming out of combat alive.
Can you wear camouflage out hunting? Of course. (My favorite color is camouflage.) Can you take an IFAK (individual first aid kit) with you as part of your car survival kit? Sure. Would you ever take a plate carrier with 6 rifle magazines, 3 pistol magazines, a dump pouch, radio pouch and your IFAK to the grocery store? Probably not. Not unless you were picking up groceries during a Walking Dead zombie apocalypse. There is some gear that the average person can purchase that makes total sense when you are purchasing it with the idea of possibly going into combat. By combat, I don’t mean you are part of the military, enlisted for 4 years and shipping out overseas for a tour of Afghanistan. Have you ever seen riots? Have you watched the news of ethnic cleansing in Africa? Have you seen the footage of people being shot in the street or having their heads chopped off for believing in the wrong religion? Combat is not just for the military and history has shown that chaos and carnage can visit us. Possible but not probable.
I think some people just love gear. It may not be really practical for their use but they just like it. It’s like a fish to a shiny spoon. Don’t get caught like this. It can be expensive and time consuming. We are probably a thousand times more likely to go through a natural disaster or even a relatively minor weather event that disrupts your town than you are to go through a civil war. You are more likely to lose power than to have the government collapse and your family is much more likely to need food than they are to need you standing in the front yard in all your tactical gear shooting zombies.
There is nothing wrong with wanting gear as long as you are training with that gear and purchases are balanced with your other needs. Let your wife see you are thinking about her and the children by taking care of the needs they feel are important and think long and hard about your tactical purchases. I still think they have a place for those who can see a potential use, but judgment and moderation will make your choices wiser.
One of the most important things you can do is use what you buy. Whether it’s guns or gear you better use these things and test them for your needs. I have a box full of holsters. This is not really because I just bought a bunch of holsters, but I bought and tested holsters. Some of them did not work for me. I try to use them for other things (I’ve made my own bedside holster out of old holsters or one’s that I knew I would never use.) Tacticool is fun. Sometimes it’s practical but usually it amounts to an empty wallet and a box of stuff you’ll never use. I have taken gear I won’t use for self-defense and used it for paint ball. I hate to waste. There is always Letgo or E-Bay to sell your unused stuff to at least get back part of your investment.
Be honest and don’t over indulge in Tacticool gear. Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry Callahan in the movie “Magnum Force” said it best: “A man’s got to know his limitations.”
Semper Paratus
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