I’ve been doing some observing lately at the range and on a few of the forums that I frequent and one thing that I am noticing is that there is such a zeal to outfit ourselves with the latest and greatest gear from the most awesome manufacturer we can afford. Personally, I think this is a horrible idea.
Let me clarify, I’m not saying that you don’t need to buy gear; what I’m saying is that you don’t need to break the bank to look like a “cool guy” at the range when your skills may not be up to par with your look. I know that sounds harsh but stay with me here. What is important is training and meaningful trigger time at the range. Having the latest and greatest dump pouch and plate carrier aren’t going to reinforce your fundamentals or make you shoot more accurately. I liken this to those teenagers that slap all the aftermaket part stickers all over their Honda Civic they possibly can, all the while not having the parts or driving skill they’re advertising. I’m not saying that you won’t need any gear, that’s just silly. What I am saying is that you don’t need to drop the thousands of bucks on tactical nylon that all the Navy Seals are using these days. Just get the basic lightweight gear that will allow you to be operational. A holster for your sidearm, a quality sling for your carbine, a quality optic if you like those, maybe a “Battle Belt” or nylon “tac vest” to securely hold your magazines and other necessary gear while training.
What I feel is far more important than buying gear is that you take lessons at your local range if they’re offered, or seek out schools like Defensive Concepts North Carolina, Vickers Tactical, Haley Strategic, Costa Ludus or contact me. I attended a handgun class with Defensive Concepts a few years back after returning from my second tour to Iraq and was shocked to see how much I learned. There are schools all over the country and there are many that will fit your budget. Make sure you show up with the right attitude and be prepared for the class with everything you will need. Getting quality training can be a humbling experience so be prepared for that. Don’t let your ego take over, take the advice of the instructors and enjoy the great strides you will make in your abilities. Now that you’re all trained up, you can feel free to upgrade your gear to be more on par with your skills, just make sure to get what you will need and stay away from anything you don’t. Remember that the most important things to consider when selecting gear is utility, weight and simplicity. Big, heavy and complicated gear is gear that will hinder you not help. As for now stay safe, train and have a good ‘un.