Podcast: Play in new window
I have used this quote in my signature block for years. The context of the statement is interesting because he made it in reference to the importance of physical fitness and high morale, both things that I also prioritize, but I’ve always thought it spoke to something a little deeper.
Today’s episode is about the tactics of AR-15 marketing in particular, but what I’m saying applies just as much to all firearms and tactical marketing in general. The simple truth, albeit a harsh one, is that you are best served by ignoring the ads and influencers out there.
Getting lost in the noise will only serve to harm your efforts to become a better marksman and follow the marksman’s path.
The Hard Truth
Put simply, gun companies aren’t interested in helping you become a better shooter. There’s no money to be made in telling you to keep shooting what you already own configured as it is. So rather than encouraging you to get out there and practice, they want to sell you another solution to make things “easier.”
It’s a lot like the medical industry in that way. There’s not a lot of money to be made with healthy people, so all of the emphasis goes towards developing ongoing treatments that keep sick people under the care of physicians and buying drugs. In many circumstances, switching to a healthy lifestyle would deliver the same results.
But I digress.
The hard part about this is that people have truly come to believe that “success” is always right around the corner if they could only afford the next widget.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a custom action, a special barrel, optic, trigger, or something else. They just know that it’s the ticket to reaching a new level of ability and they will finally be happy.
So here’s my advice, and it’s the same advice given to me by many experts: stop.
Stay out of the caliber wars. Buy something that’s good enough to be reliable and shoot it so much that it becomes second nature. Buying a gun capable of 1/4 MOA does you absolutely no good if you are an 8 MOA shooter. All the accuracy in the world doesn’t amount to a hill of beans if you can’t make a wind call to save your life.
Take the time to truly master your basic weapon. Ignore the influencers, gatekeepers, and the ads trying to tell you that you just aren’t going to be happy or competitive otherwise.
So true. I’ve seen dozens of shooters who spent thousands of dollars on Clark .45’s, etc. (this was “back in the day”) when they couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with a government issue 1911. The tendency to blame a lack of proficiency/technique on the equipment is powerful. (After all, didn’t I put 200 rounds through that p.o.s. without getting one center hit?) Those of us who spent the cost of that fancy shootin’ arn on reloading equipment, linotype metal, brass, primers and powder tended to be sticking another trophy in the garage while our buddy was still… Read more »
Hey Bill, thanks for coming by and commenting! I think you pretty much nailed it. There’s a lot to be said for investing the time and practice to build real skills. I know I’m just one voice out there, but the message needs to be said: invest in yourself first, gear later.
I have an AR that I shoot in a couple of service rifle leagues. The course of fire is only offhand, so even the best shooters are shooting 4 MOA at best. Its an old pre-Remington Bushmaster CMP model. I replaced the flakey original but very nice trigger years ago with a Geissele. A couple of years ago I got the itch to replace the rifle with a White Oak. Then a friend asked me if I had ever actually shot the thing for group. I hadn’t. All I knew was that if the front sight was in the black… Read more »
Don, thanks for commenting. That’s a great example of what I’m talking about.
One thing I notice is the tactical market’s ability to sell people the same thing over and over again. 1.93 and other tall optics mounts are all the rage with claims they allow better visibility and less stress on the neck. I watch these videos thinking, “I cannot possibly imagine raising my head half an inch making the huge difference they’re talking about. My neck has never hurt when I’m shooting and I’m pretty sure these higher mounts were just designed for night vision use.” The shooting community would have figured out by now if 1.5 mounts were too low.… Read more »
In general, I think there’s a lot of pressure to try and get people to buy the latest thing regardless of whether it’s actually an improvement. For as much smack as people talk about Army weapons procurement programs, I do think they have done a good job asking the question, “Is this enough of an improvement over our existing system to warrant such an expense?”
A lot of people buy the marketing hype and say, “Yes! of course it is!” but reality may not match up.