Home Training & Technique Tactical Tomfoolery: Our Dangerous Obsession With Gear

Tactical Tomfoolery: Our Dangerous Obsession With Gear

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  1. Capitalism loves gear because it makes money.

    Gear heads love gear because gear.

    The “LEFT” loves gear because, working with their pals in big data, have bread crumbs to follow even after private sales.

    Do your best to make cash only purchases.

    • America has never been capitalist since long before independence even to form a corporation required a charter approved by the State. Look up history of corporate law, no corporation can exist in a capitalistic system. A Corporation is any legal entity incorporated through a legislative or registration process, either of which is attained via the State. True Capitalists hate the very concept and existence of Corporations.

      THIS IS NOT CAPITALISM. It is Corporatism/Mercantilism, and always has been.

      None alive today have ever experienced true, unbridled capitalism. Those who have ever done dealings within the black market or operated in trade-and-barter flea markets have the closest idea to how true capitalism functions: which is the act of engaging in trade and business of the selling or buying of private property and/or the means of production without any State interference, subsidies, sanctioning or permission.

      There is no private property, not really. You lease it from the state, county and/or municipal government under the threat of violence. Don’t believe me? Try not paying your t̶r̶i̶b̶u̶t̶e̶ property taxes to the ̶l̶o̶c̶a̶l̶ ̶l̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶b̶a̶r̶o̶n̶ county and/or city government. They’ll evict you and auction y̶o̶u̶r̶ their property off for failure to pay property taxes, and if you refuse to leave, they will use the threat of lethal force and send in jack-booted thugs to remove you from said property…if you resist with violence to defend what you rightfully own, they will kill you.

      “bUt mAh RoAdS!” Fuel sales taxes and tolls pay for roads, not property taxes.

      • “There is no private property, not really. You lease it from the state, county and/or municipal government under the threat of violence. Don’t believe me? Try not paying your t̶r̶i̶b̶u̶t̶e̶ property taxes to the ̶l̶o̶c̶a̶l̶ ̶l̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶b̶a̶r̶o̶n̶ county and/or city government. They’ll evict you and auction y̶o̶u̶r̶ their property off for failure to pay property taxes,…”

        Not in Florida. Well, to a point, anyways.

        Florida has their ‘Homestead Exemption”, and an over age 65 exemption, meaning, with a modest house, you can live tax-free in Florida…

        • Which part of Florida is this in? I live in SW FL and I pay the same amount of property tax as my younger neighbors. We both get the regular homestead exception.

          The county allows an addition $5000 IF the total household adjusted gross income limit is $ 32,561 for 2022.

          It depends on where you live, Longboat key with its million dollar plus homes allows $50,000 and other areas have their own requirements. But all aim it more at seniors who are at the lower end of minimum income mostly. Not sure if anyone on Longboat Key gets the exception since a shack there could cost 1/2 million dollars.


    • Lost, I agree. I love gear, but I try to restrain myself. First, I’m getting too old to hump it. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have support gear. A couple of extra mags with a rifle in the truck in a pouch you can grab quick should be plenty. (I don’t always carry a rifle in the truck.) A handgun on your person with 1-2 spare magazines. Again, should be plenty. Second, you can’t buy skill. I don’t care how much you spend, unless you spend it on quality training. There are people out there that know more than us. Seek them out. I do every chance I get. I know I’ve learned things. Body armor. I don’t wear it anymore, but I do own a couple of soft vests. They stay home, but at hand. Not going to deal with plates. Oh, on the cash thing. Remember that old line, “We deal in lead, friend”. I deal in Franklins, too.

    • Went right over your head. But you Walter Mitty the f*ck out of your life and believe you’re living the life.

    • I like gear, but I lean toward keeping my gats simple and streamlined. As I progressed thru Advanced Tactical Handgun courses, I was in the minority, as literally 75% of the 35+ students in the most recent class had all the goodies…red dots, ported/lightened slides, flared magwells, custom Cerakoted gats, body armor, MOLLE gear, T-Rex battle belts, head-to-toe camo clothing, etc.

      When I advanced past those to Combat Master prep, all the gear fell away because it’s prohibited. CMP classes require you to show proficiency in handling a “factory level” EDC gunn. Iron sights, standard mags and magwells, standard belts, etc.

      I like the gear and have some fun stuff, but I train as EDC-minded. Because if I’m out with Mrs. Haz and things go sideways, my EDC is what I’ll have with me in the moment.

    • Brian, FUDD. Two “D”. I know. I’ve been called one so often I went to the the Clerk of the Courts Office and changed my middle name.

      • Have trouble picturing you as a fudd, now an firm AR apathist sure but you don’t have the “I support the second amendment but”, or gatekeeping “I got mine” behavior of a typical fudd.

        • “an firm AR apathist”

          You forgot shotguns as combat weapons, railed against them at length repeatedly. Ain’t mad, I simply don’t agree with Gadsden on that particular point.

          As for gear whoring, it’s fine as long as you are proficient in the use of, and I firmly believe in fundamentals first.

          Thinking your going to survive long in a modernistic CW or RW 2.0 engagement without armor is mouth breathing stupid. Same with NODS & thermal capability. Something this writer cannot seemingly fathom coming, but appears increasingly inevitable.

        • With you on the last two paragraphs but background on the first re shotgun (don’t follow/remember a lot of caliber/gear/weapon measuring arguments unless there was something interesting learned despite being involved in more than a few)

        • Well not to beleaguer the point and certainly not to harangue Gadsden, because I like the guy. But he used to make it a point to comment in each and every article about shotguns, most often with the ‘Shotguns are for birds’ and other dissenting diatribes. Far more oft than the AR platform negative commentary.

          Meh, being a combat shotgun aficionado, I just may have taken notice more than most.

        • Kinda remember that now and had a 870 for a long time before I was able to get a pistol (NY problems) so can understand the frustration. Still have a bunch of #4 buck close at hand for additional options in the home.

        • Precursor edit: Now you’ve gone and done it. Lol, you’ll see what I mean.

          I minimized and prioritized about 10 years, only have two shotguns these days. A 1301 and my pride and joy, a Vepr 12 (of sorts). Not much Vepr left under the hood I’m afraid, she’s similar to what you’d see running in open div. in action shotgun or 3 gun, and built mostly by myself, and tuned up by the same world class builders that built the guns you see running in the aforementioned competition environments.

          Word of advice, their services aren’t even remotely inexpensive. Last round of service (only, no parts) work done had a hefty price tag just shy of $1.6k, almost an entire Benelli M4 by itself. Play around with their competition gun configurator yourself for an equally appalling price tag:


          Anyway, the black ones lowest in the pictures at the bottom of the page are more or less the basic idea what mine looks like aside from the chop job on my barrel + some significant improvements over what they offer there. All focused on maximum reliability, light weight, and performance, with only the cream of the crop parts employed.

          She will bump fire at the drop of a hat, you only need ride the reset and off you go. Origin 12 is slightly faster in cyclic rate, though also a good deal less controllable (nothing beats these GK-03++ brakes, best in class for shotgun. 2.75″ 1 1/4oz 1600fps feels like shooting non-braked 5.56, and flatter firing), and the Origin is much heavier. But you can have larger drums which cost a lot less than the only good drums available for Vepr & Saigas.

          Tbh, you could’ve bought the top end off the shelf Vepr 12 models once upon a time for what a pair of MaxRounds drums cost for the gun. Literally $750 a pair, with the only true advantage being you can use them prone whereas you can forget that with even a 8rd unless you dig a mini-trench for clearance. Offset RDS is a necessity there otherwise.

          It’s both exciting and terrifying depending on your point of view watching these things run full song.

          Difficult to find a clean break point in the conversation. It’s my favored child, you might have guessed. Not one you shoot normal home invaders with, that is 1301’s job there. You will of course have noticed how it almost didn’t even enter into the conversation. The contrast is vast, and it elicits no where near the visceral response. Pedestrian is a good word to use, and it’s very, very good. But, the yardstick it is measured against leaves it wanting…

          I know your NYS pain, only through people posting online though. Some detailing years worth of struggle to get what they wanted (sort of, I would call them neutered).

        • William I will likely never pursue a shotgun that is a hair under bump fire but I am very happy it exists and is being further developed. Honestly didn’t know such things existed but overbuilt (read awesome but so far away from the home budget they are written in Cyrillic) firearms do have a tendency for some their functions to slowly trickle down to less expensive options as they become more known and interesting.

        • As to the point of being further developed, alas it’s really not. In this country with the import ban in place since 2016, leaves prices on the base guns, well, obtusely expensive. Further, since the RU/UA conflict, parts availability is nearing nil and what is left of OEM parts has doubled in price, treble truth of the good competition parts, which likewise have mostly dried up. Shipments inbound seized by customs and whatnot.

          If you didn’t get started years back a lot of what I built this one from simply cannot be acquired anymore. And I do not foresee them backing down from sanctions for a very long time, if ever.

          I hear you on the money pit. Were it not for having acquired this one 6 years ago and tinkering with it ever since, I would never have been able to afford it myself, given the current state of affairs for the last couple of years.

          This was a bucket list gun, and I got in at the literal last minute of getting while the getting was good. That and a little bit here, a little there, and the next thing you know you have a rare unicorn some years down the line.

          Bears mentioning re: bump fire, it’s only a change of springs away from 4lb’s (from 1.75#). Competitors don’t like the ALG Ultimate in stock form for the same reason, prone to bump firing, though not overly so, and I find it perfectly controllable. Mine is the Tromix modified one, hand fitted by yours truly.

          Like anything though, it’s something you get used to, and with enough reps suddenly it becomes routine, and embedded in muscle memory. I also take precautions & don’t let just anyone shoot it either. Recommend the ALG Enhanced group over it for almost everyone else.

          As to the guns not really within most’s reach, there is a more viable option. Kalashnikov USA has the KS-12 which is the only decent alternate in the states today, and it is a domestically owned company and produced.

          Although you might think of it as Cadillac versus Ferrari compared to the Vepr, and the price difference is accordingly suited. It’s AKM based and kin to the Saiga 12, whereas the Vepr is RPK LMG based and built like a tank. Dissident has one of the KL-12 Vepr’s with 100k rounds on it for example and have said to me personally they only replaced springs over that lifespan.

          If you looked around Dissident’s site btw, you might have noticed they have specialized in the KS-12 as well, since the gov declared Molot persona non grata, and they’re less than 1/2 the cost of the Vepr’s. Food for thought.

    • Shorten the article to: “Missing that much (and that badly) with a red dot-equipped pistol makes you look like an idiot.”

      • Any time I begin to consider a red dot I end up hitting the budget cap on ammo, reloading components/equipment or a new gun.

  2. It might a good idea to take some of the extra money and spend it on ammunition and range time.
    Practice may be more productive in the long term.

    • False assumption.
      Going to the range regularly does NOT guarantee good fundamentals.

      Example: at the range yesterday; saw two guys geared up doing double taps from OWB. One was missing first shot ‘A’ targets at about 5 yards and the second was generally worse. Looked again and his support hand wasn’t touching the frame (thumbs were overlapped).

      To the articles point: this guy was spending money on a OWB belt and holster, doing tactical reloads and doing double taps with good splits. But couldn’t hit a 5” circle at 7 yards because his fundamentals sucked.

      Spend the money on good training courses. Then on ammo.

      • 300, “thumbs overlapped” is not a bad technique. Just a different technique. I never liked thumbs aligned because I’ve had it interfere with the slide stop in less than range conditions. Besides, I know one thumb over gives me a more stable grip. Just me.

  3. PJ’s? Da fuk? Break into my house in the dark hours and you will face a naked, fish belly white Santa with an attitude. I hope you’re up to that dance.

    • Bored so went looking to see what fish belly white and a tactical onion are.

      In Caucasians, the color of the skin under a bathing suit or underwear waistband. Skin which hasn’t seen direct sunlight recently (if ever).

      Did not find anything about tactical onions in the previous post.
      Drop your weapon or Ima gonna slice this onion atcha. ??

    • “Break into my house in the dark hours and you will face a naked, fish belly white Santa with an attitude.”

      If there’s *anything* guaranteed to make someone blind for life from the sheer horror of a vision like that, a nekkid JWM would be it… 🙂

        • Because, JWM, any advantage is a good advantage. I’m thinkin’ you might be my neighbor a few doors down. That guy goes out at 6am to get his newspaper wearing NOTHING but a revolver sitting in an old leather holster with a rat chewed dress belt.
          The description of yourself kinda fits my neighbor. How he has a really good looking wife is beyond me.

        • It ain’t me, Dave. Print is dead. As for the wife. I have a younger and I think good looking wife.

          Treat them right and you’re golden.

    • @jwm

      If the image fits…wear it proudly.

      Thank you for the best “belly” laugh in two weeks!!

    • Scare’s me jus’ thinkin’ ’bout it! Santa better call ahead to your residence before he attempts a chimney drop this year. I think the aforementioned site of you may just give him a cardiac episode, who needs any gun.z ….

    • Tell it to young Elijah Dicken…I’m somewhat certain the author would state ” shooting an AR wielding murderer with yer glock 19 at 40-50 yards is not tactically sound” or some such drivel. I believe the willingness to confront evil is 90%. Whether criminal scum or Dim scum…I’m with you Cruzo 1981.

      • No formal training. Engaged a moving target who had a rifle at 40 yards with a Glock 19. 10 shots with 8 hits 15 seconds.

        Just like the 17 cops running from the slaughter in Uvalde as kids were screaming and gun shots were going off, RIGHT???

        How about Parkland when the Deputy hid outside behind a concrete pillar for 45 minutes.

        COPS claim they are like the military. NOTHING like the men I served with.

        I have absolutely no respect for LE.

        • You reminded me of the scene in “The Chase” where a newscrew is doing a ride-along with one of the pursuing cops, and that cop refers to himself as a “standard issue street soldier!”.

      • “I’m somewhat certain the author would state ” shooting an AR wielding murderer with yer glock 19 at 40-50 yards is not tactically sound” or some such drivel.”

        The author isn’t saying that at all. He’s basically saying practice and proficiency and development with the fundamentals for being prepared will serve a person better in everyday life against a living threat than trying to ‘achieve tactical’ through gear.

    • That is an excellent summary and good advice. Everything else is pay attention and avoid stupid people places times and activities. I am a gear nerd for a few areas but basics come first and weight plates come before ballistic plates. With all that said there are a few places I will not go without a kevlar vest.

      • *unless you live in NY and want hard rifle plates in which case for the ballistic plates as this is the last month you can order and have it delivered to your door legally.

  4. It’s a result of our extensive Middle East adventures. Retired veterans found a way to make money by teaching what they learned in the military. Retailers noticed the increase in popularity.

    • “It’s a result of our extensive Middle East adventures.”

      That’s something that the Leftist Scum ™ seem to fail to realize –

      20+ years straight in ‘The Sandbox’ means several hundred *thousand* folks who know what end of the gun the bullet comes out of, and how to place it accurately at several hundred yards of range under the pressure of someone shooting back at them, doing their best to kill them.

      Why would you want to piss them off to the point where they would want to pick up a rifle again?

    • First. Training and practice are a good thing. Safe handling of a firearm is a must and the training should push that.

      Second. I’ve pointed this out before. “Military style’ training in the civilian world just isn’t possible. The lawyers and the insurance companies simply won’t allow it. If you haven’t been in service then you haven’t gotten the training no matter what Instructor Earl is telling you.

      • Room clearing with rifles/armor you can do most of what we got. Involving flash bangs, full auto, and anything 40mm yeah not a chance. Not a lot of teachers that will teach shooting through 2 rings for “urban” shooting either.

        • Intermediate to advanced rifle skill beyond my training and current skill set. My knowledge of it is PowerPoint/Google deep so probably better off researching on your own. And if it applies:
          Nice try FBI

      • I got my tactical gun use training from a retired navy seal. He owns one of the local ranges (and gun stores), will give the training to anyone for free but he prefers groups of 5 and generally waits until there’s a group of 5. Two weeks, 14 days straight (holidays included except thanksgiving and Christmas eve/day, rain or shine, heat or cold, light or dark, 6 hours a session, a lot of practice-practice-practice what has already been taught, rifle and hand gun. Gotta sign waivers releasing him, his company, and the insurance from any liability. Saved my wife’s life and mine.

  5. but but but ..tacti-kewl and all that so buy buy buy ’cause its needed ’cause and here is a review so buy buy buy…


    • Oh yeah, the beard, need a beard, don’t forget to grow a beard and in case you don’t already have a beard you can get the new ‘tacti-beard’ which will increase your tacti-kewl status to tacti-kewl operator status. buy buy buy now!

      • Tried a beard. Let it grow for a year. Got a bit longer (grew faster) than I expected. Mrs Haz didn’t like the beard. Removed the beard.

      • Beards are tactically sound, you ever try to cut the carotid through a mass of beard? Stab yes, slash impossible. Razor blades are also unnecessarily expensive and cost about the same as a box of Lawman. Rather spend the money on boolits for training. XD

        Bonus points, grow the beard out long enough and it mostly covers up your flashy glow in the dark bright neck.

        • Except that my beard is mostly white. Hence the Santa reference. That and my high drag low speed bod.

  6. “Equipment-based solutions can’t mitigate a lack of fundamental skills”

    You realize that the entirety of human technological development happened precisely because equipment based solutions CAN mitigate a lack of fundamental skills.

    I’m a low speed high drag kind of guy with a penchant for old guns and I don’t even own most of the gear you are talking about. A gun belt and good holsters are about as far as I go. But I see it’s usefulness IF you train with, which you also bemoaned. Yes people need to work on the fundamentals first. That’s true of every skill tree. But we also live in a (supposedly) free country where a person can spend their hard earned money of higher level LARPing, er, I mean training, if that is what they want to spend it on.

    I’m glad some people do that for the same reason I am glad there is an Ethiopian/Eritrean restaurant in Lancaster. I have zero interest in it now, but I may wake up one day in the distant future and feel like giving it a try.

    • “You realize that the entirety of human technological development happened precisely because equipment based solutions CAN mitigate a lack of fundamental skills.”

      Very well said! I’m not much of a “gear head” as described in the article, although I am an insatiable home gunsmith (mostly because I love guns as engineering marvels / challenges). A few additional points along similar lines:

      “the same people who really ought to be directing their resources towards prioritizing some serious range time are instead chasing after “tactical” equipment.” – assumes time and money are directly fungible, which is true only in one very narrow (and uncommon) situation: How many people are actually volunteering to work overtime for gear money during time they’d otherwise be training?

      On a similar note, time is priceless and irreplaceable. Money for gear can be found, often in positive ways (controlling spending on useless or even harmful impulses).

      So many (both gearheads and anti-gearheads) congratulate themselves on the “cleverness” of developing intricate workarounds for their own stupid choices. “A is just as good as B if you’re willing to put in the extra effort (or buy C, D, and E)” is just a roundabout way of saying “A is not as good as B”.

      • Umm…
        Same here and agree 100%!
        If I could afford more gear, I’d for sure buy it. I try to make up the difference with knowledge for now. I build and repair my own guns and what limited other gear I have. I built my own kydex press and keep some around. I have to carefully plan my purchases, so I save up to get as good as I can with an eye for longevity, durability, practicality and quality. I get good boots and clothes, thinking you never know when those things will be unavailable. I doubt I’ll ever have to or need to be a door-kicker or house clearer, my thinking is more towards keeping space between me and any adversary if I can. I plan on reloading equipment before plates and carriers if that makes sense. My pistol practice is 5″ steel targets at 25yds, and I’m more concerned with shot placement than speed. I’m not that easily rattled and try to play to my strengths.

        • Eric Weisz,
          Very well said across the board!

          Regarding shot placement vs. speed, I’ve read a lot about this (including a recent cartoon here) since the Greenville Mall shooting. As a Navy man, I was always taught “Attack effectively first.” That doesn’t mean be the aggressor or attack before deadly force criteria are met. It just means a prompt effective attack almost always beats a perfect (but slow and deliberate) attack.

        • Being forced into retirement by disability and forced to live on a fixed income I agree completely. If I could buy more, I would. The reality is though, I have to plan and save for purchases over $100. Belonging in the “He Who Dies With the Most Ammo, Wins” camp, and being a reloader means the bulk of spare cash gets spent on components. It’s a conundrum.

    • The military sphere emphasizes repeatability and reliability. The civilian sphere has the breathing room to innovate. The most disciplined army in the world won’t amount to much if it’s always stuck fighting the last war. The most innovative civilian manufacturer in the world won’t amount to much if the exacting quality control standards aren’t there. The two spheres feed off and support each other.

    • Ethiopian is tasty. As with all food, it has to be done right, of course, but if it is, it’s delicious.

      The base, literally, is injera, a fluffy, tangy flat, crepe-like bread. That gets piled with your entrées, meat and vegetable dishes with various spices. That gets scooped up with more injera.

      Anyway, the great thing about America is you can have a burger shack, Vietnamese place, an Ethiopian place, and an Irish pub, and more, all in a row on the same block. It’s probably all adjusted a bit for the American palate, but it’s nice to be able to try new things if you want to.

  7. Go to an apple seed sometime. They start with 13 shots on an old army style target. Oftentimes many of the people there who have no training have a hard time scoring three hits at the hundred yard equivalent Target.

    Oh, they’ll have plenty of reasons why they can’t make the heads. Rifles not sighted in or haven’t shot it for a long time. The problem isn’t the rifle for the accuracy potential of the barrel, is the person behind the rifle and their lack of fundamental skill sets.

  8. What gear?

    A small pile of handguns, one rifle (so far), one shotgun, a few dozen magazines, a few holsters, and gobs of ammo. Oh yeah, some metal gongs for plinking, a range bag, and a rifle bag. Right. And a couple pair of ears. Mag loaders, also. Snap! Binoculars and a staple gun. OK, OK….a gun cleaning kit. Does a first aid kit count? Do knives count? Everybody has knives. How about hand-held flashlights?

    Gun belts? Thay don’t count. All guys need belts (at least the real men).

    No scopes, no red dots. No molle nets with strapped in pockets, bags, and holders. No armor.

    What gear is he talking about?

    Treadmill, Total Gym, free weights. Almost daily

    Lots of training guides.

    Not much gear, here.

    • I do use red dots and LPVO’s on some of my rifles, a few hand guns with red dots. I don’t use red dots on my EDC. But out of 58 guns, its only 5 red dots and 3 LPVO’s.

      I did just buy two more red dots, two Sig Romeo 5’s for $75.00 each. I think I’ll use one of them on a new PCC I’m almost done building (waiting for a couple of parts to arrive), and the other may end up being a gift for someone else.

      But that’s about as far as I go with tact-kewl.

    • I have red dot + 3x magnifier,a cheapo 3-9×40 scope & a LPVO 1-6×24. It helps at 68 to see my enemies. And I dropped 25 lbs & got in better shape the last 3 months. IF it comes to that I want a fighting chance against my enemies wishing harm against me & mine. Foreign & domestic! Tacticool? No just cool😎

      • FWW,

        “…dropped 25 lbs & got in better shape the last 3 months. IF it comes dropped 25 lbs & got in better shape the last 3 months.”

        EXCELLENT!!!!! Way to go!!!!

  9. Then there’s the obese guys with neckbeards and visible a$$cracks wearing tactical vests so tight they can’t breathe. They’ve got all the whizbangs and doodads on their rifles, vests loaded with fifteen 30 round magazines, helmets, goggles, a Glock in the chest holster … and they get winded walking fifty yards to change the targets.

    Pure cosplay. It’s f*ing hilarious.

      • If and when the SHTF, the fatties are going first, no matter how well they’re kitted out. Better to be fit and have a single rifle with iron sights than to be obese with all the gear in the world. Ergo, the fatties cosplaying is humorous.

  10. I once saw a video about a self-declared “militia,” I think in Pennsylvania, that spent their weekends kitting up in all the gear and walking patrols on someone’s land. My immediate thought was, if I was an unscrupulous Fed, these LARPers are making my job way too easy.

    Wouldn’t it be better to learn to blend in with the population? Forgo the camouflage and tactical vest for everyday clothes with decent inside pockets? Ensure you DON’T stick out like a tacticool idi0t?? I dunno, just spitballin’ here, but wouldn’t it be better NOT to draw attention to yourselves?? Kinda like when you concealed carry; try not to tip off everyone that you’re carrying by wearing tactical gear?

    Just sayin’.

    • Pop culture ninja versus historical ninja. The historical ninja were the quintessential “grey men”. You wouldn’t know one was on the street until he struck.

    • “…Wouldn’t it be better to learn to blend in with the population? Forgo the camouflage and tactical vest for everyday clothes with decent inside pockets?..

      Yes. That would be correct.

  11. Former, “tactically sound” is what it is at the time. The only person that can decide what to do is the guy standing on the ground at the time. I do agree that 90% is that willingness to act. Just doing something can often throw any adversary off balance. They usually don’t expect it.

  12. From the Other Side of the Pond.

    Overall I could not agree more> Back in nthe day [in the late 6t0’s early 70’s] whilst a Smallarms Instrutor/Armourer in the ROYAL AIR FORCE. I ran ranges for the SAS at RAF Station CREDENHILL, HEREFORD [and I do not give Cat’s Cojones if you believe me or not] simply because I had several 25yard Ranges and a couple of 50 yard one under my control. [incidently Royal Air Force Credenhill is now the Home Station for the SAS. These guys were the definite professionals and they had to practice with hand guns [at the time mainly 9mm Browning Hi-Powers and S&w .38’s] two or three times a week to maintain standards under observation including KILLING ROOM EXERCISES [which by the way I was not allowed to witness or participate in]. They would tell you that REAL hand-gun expertise is the hardest of ALL shooting to master and few ever do. In fact as a real ‘Combat Tool’ the handgun is pretty much a last resort. Unless you are prepared to have a handgun in-hand the whole time they are pretty much useless as a self defence tool as well. That’s why the Police and other security Forces have them in-hand when faced with a situation where a hand-gun is an opoerational imperative’
    Whilst as a Small arms Instructior the hand-gun was well down the list of nessessary skills compared to Rifle the .303 Lee Enfield, 7.62SLR and the SA80. SMG inm my case the Sterling 9mm and of course the Light Machine Gun-the Bren. Even with the Sterling 75% of the training was ‘Single Shot’ or ‘Double-Tap’ exercises. When the SA80 was introduced the Sterling was gradulay withdrawn

    • 👍

      Just remember, better a worrior in a garden then a gardener in a war.

      Train and kit accordingly.

  13. Keeping something like an IFAK and some kind of BOB in your vehicle isn’t a bad idea though. If you live in the country you’re miles from help, and if you live in the city, cities can descend into anarchy in mere hours without warning. In some of the many 2020 riots, cities would go from normal to full on riots in the time between you left for work in the morning and the time you left for home.

  14. Great article. I’ve bemoaned that word “tactical” for years. Let me step back in time a little further. In 1974 I graduated high school. I had every intention of enlisting in the Navy, and going to Vietnam – but you all know that Vietnam closed down before a 1974 high school grad could get to it. Strange, half the country hated the military in 1974. People would quite literally spit on a man in uniform. But, at the same time, much of the country was suddenly wearing fatigues, and assorted paraphernalia. Draft dodgers were now wearing military awards and medals, cargo pockets were becoming a thing, everyone wanted to look like a Viet Vet. All the “tactical” tripe just builds on top of that sudden interest in looking like a vet.

    As I was leading up to, I served. Two destroyers and 5 years of sea duty, a year of isolated duty on a remote island with year-round foul weather, and two more years at a cushy, if isolated, naval activity.

    Guess what? I seldom wore my uniform, or any sort of gear associated with the military, when I was off duty.

    I preferred to be the Gray Man. Unobtrusive, quiet, unremarkable, forgettable. There have been times when I escaped notice, when notice might have been hazardous to a person’s health.

    Oh yeah. Small unit tactics. It’s impossible to forget how you acquire those skills. Hour after hour under the hot sun, drilling, drilling, and drilling. No, we didn’t do urban warfare, ours was the more traditional small unit tactics from – ohhhh – 1000 BC? To be honest, we used those tactics more for crowd control than anything else.

    The next time you see a military honor guard, you might ask yourself, “Aren’t those real rifles? Real bayonets? Oh, crap, THEY HAVE LIVE AMMUNITION!!” Drill team, boarding party, landing party, all that pomp and ceremony is for reals, folks, it ain’t play acting.

    I want to see a bunch of these modern day tactical nuts confront and control a riot. As Gideon Joubert seems to suggest, 90% or more of them are totally unprepared for such an action. They sure as hell aren’t prepared for real combat!

    The word “cosplay” comes to mind. Bunch of pretending wannabes.

  15. The future is now, old man. We aspire to more than shooting B8s with handguns at 7 yards on the fudd range while the RSO yells about rapid fire rules.

    Get on board with the new gun culture or get left behind.

  16. The author criticizes mall ninjas and then tells us what we need to do to become actual South African ninjas like him.

    Frankly, I don’t need to be a ninja, mall or otherwise. I’m satisfied just to be able to defend myself in a pinch, which I can do. But if people want to be pretend ninjas and can afford the gear, good for them. It’s their money. They should use it when and how they want to.

    This is America, not South Africa. Condescension does not play well here.

  17. Unfortunately, as long as RSOs that would stroke out and die at the sight of someone drawing from concealment and firing at a range are still around (those who actually “balk” as the author put it) you will have a reluctance for the public to train as the author recommends.
    Sorry, but the culture has to change but in a different way first. Looking at you, Gadsden, and your dinosaur ilk.
    I avoid such ranges at all costs, due to their hamstringing approach to actual training.

    • Very true. Our Municipal range is ruled by Fudds, and every move you make is on candid camera. Just about every recommended drill is a No Can Do. For me, the nearest range that allows those drills is a 2+ hour drive one way. Not something I can do very often, especially with Biden’s gas prices.

  18. Meanwhile, show me anybody who doesn’t have a big box of holsters they don’t like. It isn’t like you’re allowed to take it for a test run before buying it.

    • I used to have that very box. I took them all to the range I’m a member of, and we stuck them in a box marked “Free to a Good Home” a few years back. It proved a pretty popular idea as many others have followed suit. I even picked up a nice leather and nylon case for my Win Model 94 out of the box (big improvement over the old vinyl case Grandpa kept it in).
      Another thing one can do, is donate them to
      Salvation Army or Goodwill. Keep track, and you can claim up to $400 as a donation on your taxes without needing a receipt. I did that with a bunch of Prepper Gear I’d bought that was of questionable worth.

  19. Buying gear for the sake of gear isn’t helping you.
    But if you ever got out and trained, took your stuff on a hike, played airsoft to see if your gear works in almost real conditions, you’ll know how annoying bad gear is. If it’s too heavy, slow, rubs you in the wrong spot or breaks, you will become obsessed with gear that does more and sucks less. Because that shit actually works.

  20. I’m a 75 year old man in reasonably good health but have lost a couple of steps. If a bigger, younger, stronger man wants my stuff I might make a game of it for about 30 seconds. I must rely on situational awareness, for which I have training, and my firearm. My goal, my priority is to maintain and improve my ability to perceive a threat before it’s on me and take appropriate actions.

    • My days of rolling around in the toolies are over. It’s a hard fact to accept, but once you come to it, it allows you to focus more on what you can do.
      I won’t be Ninjaing my way into the FEMA camp, but put me on a hill within a 1,000 yards with a good rifle and a 12 pack, and I can cover the withdrawal.

  21. Tactical option…… bring a gun.

    Elisjsha Dicken had a Glock. Nothing tactical with no formal training. No military and no LE.

    Actually with no LE training he was able to accomplish the mission. If you think the police are going to save you you’re a fool.

    How many school shootings have we seen the COWARDS do NOTHING. No wait they set up a perimeter and hide, I’m mean take cover.

    • In some ways there can be too much emphasis on training, and not enough thought and effort put into just getting the job done as quickly as possible. Uvalde’s a good example of that mindset in my mind. Nearly an hour and a half dicking around about how they’re going to do the job.
      Sometimes, the tactical advantage of immediately retaliating against a threat is not emphasized enough, and E. Dicken proved that.

  22. One must wonder how much training, and practicing firearms fundamentals, the average Afghan farmer gets every year?

    I like to see videos of ‘tacticool’ stuff, but sometimes being on a fixed income is helpful; so few opportunities to spend money on ‘gear’.

  23. There are plenty of stuff I’d like to say here but I’ll leave it with this:

    I might own red dots but I see no reason to run one on my EDC.

    Owning one or two vests/plates might be a good idea for general purposes but there is a problem if they are worn as general attire.

    Open carry might be legal in Texas but I don’t recommend a drop leg holster in the local mall.

    Generally speaking, I don’t see much point in night vision outside of hunting or atleast hog hunting.

    I’ve owned camo in the past but I find it less than appealing as a general rule.

    Do as you will. So much of this stuff is just over-the-top ridiculousness for most people in most settings.

  24. Just like automotive gearheads like to modify 4x4s, so do gun gearheads.

    A competitive solution to the gearing up first method, which is what I think is what is being criticized in this article, is to promote hard and long realistic training, make it seem cool, important and essential without getting silly.

    It needs to be inclusive to help bring all mindsets out there into some, if not lots of training.

    The other part of this solution is make it widely and easily available to all walks of life. Maybe even a foundation to help poorer people to take all the classes they deem important. With this economy especially it could be a game changer.

    And then sell the essential gear after the class is over.

    But don’t shame the gear heads, just let them figure out what they will leave in their closets to collect dust.

    It wouldn’t hurt when these classes work up to intermediate and advanced level, to offer at the end a SHTF class of essential gear and supplies, if you want to spend the money to be prepared (doesn’t mean you wear or carry it around with you 24/7).

    • I remember scuba diving classes. Some gear, at least, is essential to even take the classes. The instructor pointed to products available through the store. Basically, “These three are high dollar, you don’t need them unless you’re going to become a serious diver. These three are junk, avoid them like the plague. The rest of these are reasonably priced, and reliable, choose among them.” There was also equipment rental, you really didn’t need to invest $1000 in equipment before you had a chance to try it out.

      Maybe ranges need to do something like that.

    • Ive done the automotive thing (professionally). Still have most of my tools. It was fun and I learned quite alot. I just don’t miss it. Even today though, it’s nothing to rip an engine out of something and replace it. There simply is no reason to live life with a wrench and a dirty rag in your back pocket just because those experiences are there. Understanding the math of doing a front end alignment wouldn’t change the fact that at this point, I would have to go through extensive training again to do the work I used to do. My role in life has changed so some things just don’t make sense.

      I do consider it important (especially these last few years) to understand the whole SHTF type of scenario and prepare accordingly (where it makes sense). But to spend all kinds of money on taking things to unneeded extremes is nothing short of waste. It’s better to spend the money on ammo and more time at the range.

  25. Can’t speak for anyone but myself. I, like many of us who are in the gun owner community, have a bunch of crap I bought thinking it was the holster, belt, CC cover, etc. that would make EDC more comfortable or practical. You will end up with a lot of stuff that didn’t fit, didn’t work as advertised, or was just uncomfortable to wear/use. I’ve found a couple IWB holsters I like. I wear a good sturdy belt with very little stuff attached to it. first aid kit is in the vehicle with a small Trauma ouch pouch in my pocket. I have always carried a knife of some sort on the belt. I like the liner lock 3 1/2 inch with the thumb stud I can open one handed. And of course, the ball and chain/cell phone.
    As for training, train like you will fight. Chances are you will not be able to don a vest, helmet, and assorted gear when some jughead decides he wants what you have. Or thinks you are an easy mark. Most likely you will be in a situation where dropping into a proper stance, and setting up your shot will be difficult if not impossible. Learn to shoot from odd angles, from around or under cover, single handed from the hip, or seated in a car.
    Tommy Troll will not make an appointment to kick in the back door, or crawl through the window. Chances are you will be startled awake, naked or in your drawers, or whatever you sleep in, with a flashlight or phone in 1 hand and your weapon in the other. Or you will be coming out of a store or other business with an arm full of stuff, or a child by the hand or on your arm, or otherwise restricted in your ability to move or fight.

      • Actually that sign would work… then don’t include any contact information for setting an appointment.

        Problem solved!

    • The problem on those stinking holsters is that you have to try out a dozen that you “like” before finding one you actually like.

      But the article might be addressed to the mallrat crowd… ie, one guy down the road here who owns a ranch courtesy of his dead but embarrassed grandparents got himself an AR15 that was good to go out of the box… then swapped out about 50% of his parts for “better parts”… then on his rails he bolted on a scope and a laser and a flashlight and I forgot what else but you couldn’t fit all that stuff in a garbage truck. And if you didn’t do this with your guns, he thinks you’re a FUDD. Meanwhile, he’s shot this gun basically one afternoon during the past 5 years.

  26. Democratic tomfoolery and the obsession with voting results from the completely irrational and unrealistic notion that we aren’t living in a keptocracy and being fleeced 24 hours a day by theives who are above the law. You have your fantasy. I have mine.

  27. I guess my limited contribution to this thread is – know your gear. Read up on it, tear it down, field strip it if applicable and reassemble and clean. Doesn’t matter if it’s a firearm, EDC bag, edged weapon, compass, night vision, etc. Just know it (strengths, limitations, etc.).

    Know your gear.

  28. Because getting out to the range is a pain in the butt, I’ve renewed my commitment to dry fire. My goal is every day, at least 50 presses. I’ve been enjoying it, though, so it’s been more like 200. I’m hoping that when I do get back to the range, it will show some results, because last time there was some major rust.

  29. I understood the “tomfoolery” angle, but why is the “tomfoolery” dangerous? Because people will try to go beyond their capability based on collecting gadgets?

    If that is the answer, we have another example of someone trying to protect people from themselves. The article, however, doesn’t clearly articulate the “danger” rising to/from “tomfoolery” of gear collecting.

    • @Sam I Am

      “I understood the “tomfoolery” angle, but why is the “tomfoolery” dangerous?”

      “tomfoolery” is dangerous because some people adopt their ‘tactical’ gear as giving them, or believing they have, a sense of ‘confidence’ and ‘ability’ they don’t really have or will not have when that moment comes, and that makes them a possible or actual danger to them selves and those around them. The most common example of this is among those that ‘kit up’ in all that gear (plate carrier, helmet, etc…) to parade around in public.

      I’ll give you a small example that I personally know of. About a year ago one of our local new gun owners had gotten into reading all this stuff about how you gotta have a plate carrier and helmet and first aid kit and a drop-leg holster and all sorts of stuff to ‘be prepared’. He of course started showing up at the range with this stuff on and it was ‘train like you fight’ with all this stuff on for him. The range owner, a now retired navy seal, mentioned to him he should work on his reaction and shooting and engagement fundamentals more and forget training around all that gear and offered to put him in one of the free tactical gun use training sessions the range owner runs. But nope, he was going to ‘train like you fight’ he said so he went on. And he got looking pretty good at doing that, he was ‘invincible’ in his mind. One day while en-route to the range with all this stuff on he encountered a gang of armed car jackers, they blocked him in with two cars so he could not get away. They drag him out of the car before he can draw, he froze, then when on the pavement he comes back up and freezes again long enough for one of them to shoot him.

      He survived. The next time he showed up at the range he didn’t have that gear with him. He said that he thought he had gotten pretty good with all that gear on and was ‘prepared’, when the time came though he wasn’t. The gear had given him a false sense of confidence and ability that he did not really have. He took the range owners course after that, its free, passed with flying colors, none of that gear, and a week later stopped two active shooters before either one got off a second shot without any of that gear because he was then actually ‘prepared’

      • Getting a full bore punch in the face sucks but it’s a good learning experience.

        On the order of 95% of living Americans have never experienced anything like it.

      • Thanx for the illustration.

        From the article, I was looking for a new danger resulting from tacticool.

        Isn’t any person who thinks owning a gun makes them “armed” subject to the same false assessment of capability?

  30. A few things:

    First, pardon the sarcasm, but these seems like an advertisement for training. Don’t buy gear, pay someone! Sorry, that’s just the way it comes off.

    Second, let’s look at the definition of this rather overused word; “tactical”.

    3. of or relating to a maneuver or plan of action designed as an expedient toward gaining a desired end or temporary advantage.


    That pretty well covers it. The answer is somewhere in the middle ground. No, you can’t buy skills but in some cases you can buy advantages. A combination of the two is preferable but not always possible. This is a set of questions only individual people can answer because only they know their situation. Going all the way in one direction is probably a bad idea no matter who you are.

    Some people will go overboard on gear that they don’t really know how to use. Others will go overboard on training they’ll never be able to employ. Others will watch YouTube videos and think that it somehow earned them a tab, trident or other bling.

    Let’s be real. Tricking out your gear for nighttime use but not knowing what you’re doing is pointless. But so is borrowing your buddy’s gear and taking every night course you can and then not being able to afford your own stuff.

    Hey, it’s your money and your time, so you do you. I’d tend to advise that you not go too far down any one rabbit hole and that you actually think critically about your needs and capabilities but it’s really up to you to decide what the right combination is.

    The fact that all the high speed gear in the world doesn’t make you perfect sucks for the gearbros. But OTOH how many times do we see a story about some granny who blasts the BGs into the hereafter with her dead husband’s pistol that she hasn’t even looked at in a decade? Guns are referred to as a “point and kill interface” for a reason. They’re not actually that hard to use, so do you REALLY need $20K in training? Maybe, maybe not.

    The hard truth is that lots of people have done everything right and still died because some dipshit got lucky. Ultimately, life’s not fair and everyone dies. Get the fuck over this fact and try to actually enjoy your time.

  31. “Let’s start with a basic handgun fundamental skill benchmark. You have to hit a 5-inch target at 7 yards with two shots from concealment. And your time limit is 2.5 seconds.”

    I’d offer yet another learned/acquired skill one needs to consider in the entire self protection arena:

    Being able to identify a threat more quickly so that one can react in time. Even LEOs sometimes have problems believing that there is an imminent danger, or that they will (not may) have to press that trigger against another human being.

    Mind set, and brutal reality, need to be developed along side of the actual, physical practice of putting little holes in a piece of paper, or onto steel discs. Mastering the mind first usually helps in the resolution to shoot and actually hit the intended mark. Read, and rehearse scenarios while in public places.

  32. Compete. The level of competence most shooters believe they have is pathetic and readily apparent once they compete.

    The average shooter is literally a muggle compared to your lowly C-ranked USPSA shooter; who will absolutely dunk on a casual concealed carrier.

  33. Simply awsome! Just as you can’t buy happiness, you can’t buy defensive proficiency either. These gear driven detriments follow the list of defaulting to the use of lasers and now RDS instead of mastering the use of iron sights, buying/continuing use of a gun/caliber you can’t master. We’ve all seen varaitions of tactical tommy in full dress at his first IDPA/other match with a too dry gun and fumbling skills trying to clear malfunctions.

    I wonder if any Headstones read “Better dead than look bad”, some would probably ring true.

  34. sure buying gear can’t replace good training and fundamentals but i don’t understand why the author is grinding this ax so hard. plate carriers and body armor are great investments for a situation where rule of law breaks down. (has author already forgot the insanity of the early covid lockdowns and how easily society could have tipped into bedlam?) edc has its place in a rule of law situation. but again when rule of law breaks down you can be damn sure you’ll be glad to have invested some cash in as much “tactical gear” as you can carry for you and your neighbors. i really think this author is missing the point of why people buy this type of gear.

  35. Red dot sights are helpful for cross eye dominant indivduals such as myself, through I can still use iron sights well enough. Good recoil pads are also good pieces of gear to have.

  36. Excellent and timely article!

    We have the same thing with cameras and even flashlights. Camera fondlers and flashlight fondlers…just as we have gun fondlers. Fondlers like to dream.

    Well, one bonus to my inactive lifestyle is I have a 50-pound back-up supply of lard to help me out if the food chain blows up.

    I started to do some walking – light hiking. I got lots of weights, but they don’t do any good while sitting. Exercise is especially important if you are old as I am. You can really go downhill fast when you are nearing 70. You need to train hard to ‘try’ and stay put.

    I don’t do much shooting any longer. Ammo is stupendous $$, plus all my bulk ammo is pre-covid era. (In general, I think they made the ammo better pre-covid.). I do some dry fire once in a while, but nothing like was mentioned here. Nor do I spend any time on “the draw” and timed shoots.

    “A proper defensive skillset encompasses a large variety of aspects. This includes your level of physical strength and fitness, your proficiency in unarmed combat and with other defensive tools, and your level of situational awareness. All of these attributes are vital to the development of a proper defensive skillset. And I would argue some are significantly more important than your firearm skills.”

    Yep…that about sums things up. A good piece to print out and read every day as a reminder. Thanks again for the survival blueprint!

  37. Capitalism just doing it’s thing. That’s why you don’t see ugly women in Maybelline commercials. Unfortunately, the act of self-defense is literally a life-or-death matter. If you don’t get it right the first time, you usually don’t get a second chance. Years ago, I had the privilege of participating in advanced combat tactical training with IDF operators. That was about the time when a lot of these ‘gadgets’ started hitting the marketplace. Several in our training class had some of these on their weapons and person. To the ire of the IDF instructors, almost none of the trainees had practiced with their ‘gadgets’ beforehand and failed numerous drills because they couldn’t get their add-ons to work properly or spent too much time fiddling with them during timed and force-on-force scenarios. The instructors were constantly yelling: “Just shoot your damned weapon!” These were experienced shooters but failed to practice with their new ‘gadgets’ before actually using them in real-world scenarios. Technology is nice, but don’t let your life depend on it.

  38. Gideon, thank you for a very good article. If you can’t start from a low ready and put 2 shots on target at 5 yards in under 2 seconds, your training is lacking. All the red dots, night sights, lasers, flash lights, extended slide releases, and other accessories, will not help you.


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