Like the rest of the gunblogosphere, TTAG spends a lot of time and effort exploring relatively minute differences between weapon systems. We do so for fun and (eventually) profit. But is it important? Given that most modern firearms go bang when you pull the trigger, sending a piece of lead downrange with more than reasonable accuracy, isn’t the shooter’s skill the most important factor when considering the effectiveness of any given gun? FNH “gets it.” In a masterstroke of marketing, they recently held the Fall 2010 Alleghany Sniper Challenge, wherein every competitors used the exact same . . .

FN SPR A5 .308 long range precision rifles with standard 20-inch fluted barrels, McMillan stocks, and a MIL-STD optical rail with 20 MOA forward cant. Competitors were also issued identical scopes, rings, slings, and ammunition provided for by other manufacturers. Competitors were not allowed any other equipment including electronics or range finders (bipods were allowed) . . .

This event is the only one of its kind that offers all steel targets at distances up to 1,200 yards and at varying angles across mountain valleys . . . Shooters engage almost 50 targets and are allowed to fire up to 125 shots, but they only count misses, not hits. The shooter with the lowest score wins.

Time and time again, I’ve seen Wayne Buettner from The American Firearms School pick up a weapon he’s never fired before and shoot a group wherein three out of five bullet holes overlap. “This gun is more accurate than I am,” he often pronounces.

Perhaps we as shooters should concentrate more on our shooting skills than the weapons we use. Rivet counting and stat wars are an excellent way to pass the time, but when it’s hammer time it’s what’s between the ears that makes all the difference. Your thoughts?

4 Responses to Question of the Day: Does the Gun Really Matter?

  1. That contest sounds like NASCAR for long-range shooting. Not that that's a bad thing.

    As I have said previously, I think the presence of any gun is usually enough to resolve the situation. The difference between having a gun and not having a gun is like the difference between wearing pants vs. being naked. You might not wear boxers (e.g. .38 snubbie) to a job interview, a suit (e.g. an FN SPR A5) might be more appropriate, but at least you won't get arrested for indecent exposure. I think I beat my metaphor into the metaphorical ground.

  2. You’re spot-on. Sixty-something doctors and CPAs in Porsches regularly get their asses handed to them on the Nurburgring by well-practiced locals driving workaday Opels and VWs. Sometimes Sabina Schmitt (I think that’s her name) hands them their asses in a white delivery van.

    Mindset. Skillset. THEN toolset. Michelangelo didn’t need Autocad or diamond-tipped chisels to carve his David.

  3. One mind, any weapon?

    That said, the ergonomics of a particular arm, its features and characteristics, the build quality and any aberrations that may result in a click-no-bang need to be rooted out and that’s where resources like TTAG come in. Especially since a good number of firearms owners (enthusiasts?) can’t send 100’s of rounds downrange on every firearm they may consider buying.

    As far as training and skill goes, I agree – it’s always the person pulling the trigger that’s the biggest variable with most any modern, quality firearm. The same can be said of the person riding a modern sport motorcycle. Or driving a sportscar.

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