I am an unabashed geardo. Gear queer, gear whore, gear nerd, whatever you want to call it. I wear that moniker like a badge. I get my hands on a quality 500 Cordura with triple stitching and a clever mounting attachment and suddenly I am 8 years old with a mail in only limited edition Star Wars figure. It makes me smile every time. I wear quality gear because I know that good gear does not grant magical powers of strength or speed. It will not make you fake it until you make it. It is not a replacement for real, honest-to-God training. It should be common knowledge that you generally get the results from the quality of what you pay for. Sadly, I see a trend on certain forums that gear made for the airsoft/cosplay community is perfectly acceptable. Or that you can take on the entire Chinese army and bring down large game with the .22 Marlin you bring out a couple of times a year for squirrels. I am sure you have seen it. Just like any other idea that people become completely invested in, telling folks anything different will likely crush their world. I do not want to be the guy to curse that darkness. For public record, please allow me to light a candle instead.
The “Sorry, Bruh. I can’t hear you over how awesome this Rothco Ninja SWAT vest makes my butt look.” Guy
From what I have seen, the people that extol the virtues of substandard gear are never people who have had to trust their lives to the equipment. Curious, that. This mindset is generally from people that are too ignorant of the harsh environment of what they are training for to know that the UTG vest with the cool cross draw holder will absolutely let them down. Notice my word of ignorant and not stupid. These are not stupid people but simply people who do not understand how hard you have to be on certain equipment. Without a frame of reference brought on by experience (either through training or other life experience), they have lulled themselves into a false sense of security that just because they have SOMETHING that something is somehow enough. It is a similar mentality from the person who takes their Mosin/M4gery/whatever out of the box once and thinks they have this whole defense thing in the bag.
Cool guy widgets of whatever stripe are awesome if you have the money. I do not put things like weapon mounted lights on weapons or helmet mounted night vision in the category of superfluous impedimenta. Things that give you a huge margin of difference between people that do not have them are generally worth every damn penny. Most things can be bought on secondary markets like Facebook private selling groups or internet auction sites for fractions of what they cost new. Never pay full price for anything. Peer reviews are a great way to filter out the garbage as is asking the question “why do I want this and do I really need it”. Leave vanity for date night.
The “But the guy on the internet said I could take down a deer with this 10-22.” Guy
Deliberately not having enough or the correct equipment for a task is misconception can easily be remedied by the simple equation of having the right tool for the right job. Can you take down a deer through the eye at 50 feet with an air rifle? How should I know because I would never be crazy enough to trust my future food supply to a one-in-a-million shot? Living things do not sit perfectly still generally. Fun fact for those that doubt it, people move around a lot too if they know they are in danger. Can you face a mutant biker gang with a HiPoint? I suppose, but why would you want to? This argument most always boils down to available cash. I get it. As a guy who has had a family and lived off of an Enlisted mans salary for pretty much his entire adult life, I really do get it. Just like everything else in life, it all comes down to how much you want it. If you have the money to spend on takeout pizza but not enough to save up for something that will actually keep you and your family and your friends safe, I would ask that you think about the quality of life you and yours will have when the S hits the F and it really matters. You are a leader to someone, whether you know it or not. Don’t let them down with a false sense of security that you have enough gun. And again, don’t pay full price for anything.
The “I have played play Call of Duty a lot for like, 10 years man, so that pretty much makes me a Spetznaz Super Sniper God. Or something.” Guy
Playing video games does not approximate any type of training. Ever. It may be good to give you ideas on how to clear a building or defend a compound. Humans are a pretty crafty bunch when they really are trying to kill each other. It is scary as shit to actively have people who want to kill you. On that same note, In the past few years, the Army has had to initiate a service wide physical training program to assist Millennials in building up their atrophied bone structure because they were having too many hip and leg injuries. Get off the couch. That thing will get you killed quick.
Poor training habits, however frequent, is also a recipe for failure. If you are using a computer you have probably seen by now videos from opportunists that try and capitalize on new shooters that want to train by are too ignorant to know what right training looks like. By providing newcomers with substandard to criminally dangerous training, they are building habits that are very difficult to fix assuming there is retaining. We know who these people are and the community has been pretty good about giving them the derision that they deserve. Good training is a lifelong event so get out when you can and do quality training from vetted trainers. The best martial artists of whatever stripe out there, whether it is 3 gun, cowboy action shooting, precision rifle, or Greco-boxing-Krav-Ju-Sumo-whatever, are doing nothing but the fundamentals. If you spend time to perfect the fundamentals you become both quicker and more accurate. There will be time enough to learn the difference between the Judy Chop and the Ninjy Chop when the fundamentals are mastered.
When a carpenter reaches for his hammer, he knows that it is going to do what it needs to do. He is trained on it and knows its limitations. It is not to be used for as task when a saw would do. You do not expect the hammer to drive in a screw. A hammer does the task of pounding flat objects. If we all understand this then why is there always a clamor to use an inferior product in an inappropriate way for tasks whose failure would be life altering and expect anything other than failure?
Get good gear. Get it out of the packaging. Get trained on that gear. Repeat as often as you still draw breath.