Man is still the first weapon of war and his training is the most important consideration in the fashioning of a fighting Army.

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.

Field Marshal Montgomery

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.

Don't worry about how good or bad the equipment is. The equipment has to be good in the sense that it functions reliably. Don't think you need to get the best most super-duper turbocharged gun.You don't.

Russ Miller, Episode 8

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.

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Matt is the primary author and owner of The Everyday Marksman. He's former military officer turned professional tech sector trainer. He's a lifelong learner, passionate outdoorsman, and steadfast supporter of firearms culture.

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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 showing off his two on the mantle.

There is no substitute for adequate equipment and LOTS of practice. When you can consistently shoot that off the shelf pistol or rifle to the limit of ITS performance, then is the time to consider if you really need to upgrade. In the meantime, shoot, shoot and then shoot some more.

Don from CT
Don from CT

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 when the shot broke, the shot was in the black. I had no reason to doubt it, but I also didn’t know what it could do.

So I bolted a 5-25 x 50 scope to the charging handle (it looked ridiculous.) taped some foam to the stock . I intentionally sighted in the gun to shoot 2 ft low. I’ve found this works great when sighting in a gun because you aren’t watching for the bullet hole to appear near the cross hairs.

Finally I loaded up my precision handloaded .223 ammo loaded with 69 gr SMKs.

My first 5 shot group was in the .8 inch range at 100 yards.
My second 5 shot group was about 1.25 inch with a called flyer. If you removed the flyer, it was .7″.
My 3rd 5 shot group was again .7″.

When you consider that the 10 ring is 7 inches wide, its more than accurate enough.

I did not buy a new gun, but rather spent time dry firing in my basement and learning the 1st and second stages of my adjustable Geissele.

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The Everyday Marksman is entirely funded by readers like you. For the price of a box of ammo, you can help keep the lights on and the content flowing.
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