We’re all familiar with the terms Metro-tactical, tacti-cool, tact-tard, or any number of similar descriptors for “that guy”. You know the one. Someone that takes their obsession over tactical gear to the next level. Gear, or “kit” as we super ninjas refer to it is a never ending topic of debate. Three primary reasons drive this obsession;
- As end users we are always looking for a better mouse trap that will make our lives easier.
- The gun industry is an INDUSTRY that needs consumers to purchase the latest whiz-bang in order for the cogs of commerce to continue to spin.
- We (the shooting public) lie to ourselves and purchase gear out of a perceived need based upon a self image that may or not be true.
Lets dive a little deeper.
As end users we are always looking for a better mouse trap…
If you have owned a pistol for more than three weeks you probably have box of holsters for your gun hidden in the back of your closet. Some of this is due to the learning curve of being a shooter. “You don’t know what you don’t know” and as such we buy gear that seems good in theory, but when actually pressed into service leaves you left wanting. In one way, shape, or form, this will continue for your entire shooting or operational career. A ton of guys that I know (including myself) have either cobbled together, or had made for them, custom gear that absolutely meets the criteria we need it to. A lot of industry designs come either from this process or contract submission, where someone said “we need X piece of kit that does W,Y,Z…show us what you got.”
The industry needs to be an INDUSTRY…
Never forget the job of the industry and the publications surrounding it. The gun/tactical industry’s job is to sell guns and gear. A publication’s job is to advertise that gear in one way or another. This is most often disguised as a review. I don’t know about you but I literally cannot think of one one time where a magazine article said “in light of everything we’ve experienced, this ________ is a piece of shit, don’t waste your money.” Also, define “review”. With the current state of manufacturing, even a HiPoint will probably go bang 1000 times in a row (ammo dependent). So despite your large printed cover or YouTube video talking about its “INSANE RELIABILITY” from your “1000 ROUND TORTURE TEST” I’m still probably never going to purposely take one into harms way. Last year, I was contacted by a company that had a long history as a contract manufacturer for a major Military weapons supplier. They were trying to bring an AR to market and wanted me to “test it”. They were literally floored when I told them that I was going to shoot 35,000 rounds through it (claimed service life) and measure groups every 500 rounds to see when the barrel gave up the ghost (accuracy opened up). Now, anyone can make a gun fail. Dragging it behind a truck for 500y is not really a test. Ask any scientist, a test must be specific, controlled, and repeatable. My point is, when does the weapon no longer do its job and what conditions will it perform in, not just “can you break it”. The truth is that companies that make a product for a Tier 1 Unit will make more money selling to civilians and cops telling them that said Unit uses that item, then they ever will actually selling that item to that Unit.
Lying to ourselves…
This is the culmination of 1&2 and is probably the biggest issue. MISSION DRIVES THE GEAR. What is YOUR mission? Yes you, the person reading this. Have you ever actually defined it? Thought about it? If you haven’t then do so now. Be honest. Are you an average American that works in an office and commutes to and from home everyday to your 1.5 kids and your golden retriever? Someone that fits in weekend trips to training events around little league games? If so, do you really need to have a plate carrier that holds 12 AR mags, 6 pistol mags, 2 dump pouches and a camelback?
I’m not going to tell you what you need, I just want you to seriously think about it. Personally, my day to day CONUS mission involves hanging out with my two year old, grocery shopping, the gym, sending emails, and occasionally if we aren’t too tired a date with my wife. Sound familiar?
My mission is to protect myself, my loved ones, and those in my immediate vicinity from death or serious bodily harm. I carry a pistol, two mags, a knife, and a flashlight on my immediate person. I DO NOT wear anything that screams gun. I blend in. I want you to see me, smile, file me under “non-threatening” and forget about me a second later. Low-vis is the name of the game. In summary, if you’re not doing direct action raids all day every day then why are you training and equipping for it?