I’ve had a hypothetical scenario in my head for a few years, and I’d like to share it with anyone interested. Ok, it’s the middle of the night, and the “self-defense fairy” has popped into my bedroom and gently woken me up. She tells me that there is a maniac heading my way and I have a few seconds to make some pretty big decisions. However, because I donate to the 2nd Amendment groups, she is going to get me some help. I can choose one of the following people. Choice #1 is a nice guy named Pat. Pat comes equipped with a Daniel Defense AR-15 with a suppressor, high-powered light, and top-notch red dot sighting system with excellent flip up iron sights co-witnessed. Pat is a normal guy who isn’t afraid to buy the best gear when his life might be on the line. Choice #2 is Danny. Danny is accessorized with an old Smith and Wesson Model 10. That’s it. No drop leg holster, no integral laser, and it only has a 6 round capacity. Also, Danny was a Recon Marine who has seen real action in Iraq, Afghanistan, and even Libya. Choose now.
I may be wrong, but I think we all would want Danny. We know he has training, and we know he can stand and fight when needed. Pat, while geared like a pro, is just a guy who works in his office, and pops a few rounds at the range when the weather is nice. He could be an asset, but I think Danny is the clear winner. My point in this nonsensical scenario is that we must trust the person, not the tools. More directly, we must trust ourselves, and not OUR tools.
Look, I’m not opposed to cool gear and utilizing the latest technology. I like red dots and flashlights as much as the next guy. However, I think there is a trend out there that you can somehow spend enough money on the right brand name, and that will keep you prepared for whatever trouble is coming your way. I just don’t think that much trouble is actually out there, and frankly, if you don’t believe that you could defend yourself with a Ruger 10/22, you might need to rethink your stance on a few things. Yes. I said a 10/22, the 10 shot, .22 caliber rifle.
Is that what I have by the bed? No, I have better options, but the truth is, I believe I could if I had to. If trouble ever came knocking, I know that I’m the one in the fight. It’s my reaction time, my plan, and my willingness to make a stand. “Mr. Daniel” from Daniel Defense will not be there. Neither will Gaston Glock, nor Heinrich Heckler and Fräulein Koch come to my aide. I cannot hide behind the fact that the Military uses the Aimpoint I use, and I’m pretty sure that Surefire’s customer Service Department will not be of any use. Ultimately, the crisis will be mine to resolve. I think good tools can help, but my abilities (or lack thereof) will be the deciding factor.
To that end, I just got into an argument over the internet (shocking) about modifying triggers on carry guns. I think a stock trigger is a good idea, but I was in the minority. It seems that many shooters buy a gun and IMMEDIATLEY install aftermarket spring kits on their defensive firearms. The M&P series is far and away the biggest target, but most common guns seem to have “upgrade” kits available. Now, I like tinkering with guns, just ask Dale Hanna, who also blogs here. However, those guns basically become range toys or fodder for zombie apocalypse fantasy. Basically, I think most production guns have good triggers, and when the collective shout of “I need a new trigger to shoot well” crashed on me this morning, I could only stare at my screen in disbelief. Personally, if you have to modify a gun the second you purchase it, then maybe you just didn’t buy the right gun. Regardless, I was pummeled as a Massad Ayoob devotee, and my opinion was quickly discounted.
I suppose what this boils down to, is that I think something is lacking out in the shooting world. There is this overwhelming need to customize and enhance any gun out there, and I just see it as a mistake. The way I see it, you could spend $100 on some trigger or gizmo that makes one gun a little easier to shoot, or get 2 hours of personal coaching and training, and be a better shot with every gun you will ever touch. Frankly, I think investing in yourself is the better value.