Back in the ’70s, Border Patrol shootist Bill Jordan and I were sitting around with some gun folks. The conversation, a popular topic of the time, centered around the fact that some people were packing AR’s, other repeating rifles and shotguns in PVC containers and burying them in their back yards, believing that confiscation was imminent.
While that’s an interesting exercise to consider, Jordan advocated a firearm that was familiar, that one was comfortable shooting and knew inside and out. The amount of time that firearm might be stashed could be measured in decades, and if you’re the type that simply has to have the latest and greatest every time a company releases a new gun, that’s probably not going to suit you well. On the other hand, if you’re proficient with a certain firearm, have a spare(s) you can practice with and you don’t see yourself changing over time, well, as long as you can shoot, you’ll be fine.
While Jordan was mostly just having fun with his questioner, it does point out the fact that, too often, we may focus on equipment when our main concern should be ability. And, what makes it worse is that we live in an era when some really neat and interesting guns and equipment are being introduced.
Just about the time you have made the commitment to increase your training and practice budget, here comes one of the gun companies with a new model so neat and interesting that only a fool would pass it up. You don’t have to tell me about it; I’ve been there and done that.
However, some time back I made the decision to cut back on acquisitions and put my focus on improving my ability with what I already have. In my case, that happens to be 1911 pistols, Browning Hi Powers, and Smith & Wesson K-frame revolvers. Having an adequate supply of all three products, the logical thing was to gather up ammo, book some schools, and arrange regular practice sessions. When you are serious about improving your ability, it doesn’t take long to begin to see some progress.
My personal goal has been to be able to make head shots at 25 yards and vital zone hits out to 50 yards. My choice of guns & ammo are selected with that goal in mind and I want the guns to have good triggers and good sights.
Very few of us have ever worn out a quality handgun to the point that it had to be replaced. But that should be our goal...putting enough lead downrange in serious practice. Thinking that the latest and greatest piece of equipment is going to make us more formidable is a whole lot like chasing unicorns. Ability trumps gear every time….and it’s okay to remind me of that when you see me at the gun counter ogling at the newest shooting irons.