From the Heartland

This is my soap box, on these pages I publish my opinions on firearms and any other subject I feel like writing about.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Keeping it simple

Thanks to James Rummel who writes the Blog Hell in a Handbasket for the heads up on this one.

Xavier, who penns the Blog Xavier Thoughts recently wrote a post on home defense shotguns. His thoughts mirror mine as I have often expressed them, if not neccessarily on this site but to those that have sought to learn from me.

To lift a couple of quotes from Xavier;

I'm going to dispense with the crap and keep things simple.

What a person needs is a manuverable gun with a reasonable capacity, and some replenishment ammo. All else is superflurous. The olive drab coated picatinny railed bright light laser guided Walter Mitty guns are fine, but a person should not confuse function with glitz.

This has been my K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid) principal for most of my adult life. It is not that I disdain all of the doodads that the modern day Yuppie Warriors seeks to add to their armament, it is just that I find most of them are unneccesary for the task at hand and only get in the way.

From Xavier;

Finally, as in handgunnery, you cannot substitute plastic high-tech add-ons for technique.

For some reason people feel the need to add all kinds of accessories to their firearms. Flashlights, heat shields, laser beams and who knows what else. There are a multitude of reasons for this; The Military does it. It was written about in the gun rags. It looks cool.

The single most effective accessory that one can add to an out of the box firearm is experience. Learn how to use it properly (technique) in the form it arrived, then and only then can a person begin to understand which if any of the aftermarket "Walter Mitty devices" will be of any benefit. Chances are honest inner reflection will negate the addittion of many of those items.

Bear in mind gun rag writers have to say nice things about the products that are sent to them for evaluation. If they were to tell the truth in plain english about some of those products then their source of income would dry up and they would have to find real employment. When reading these articles learn to read between the lines.

In talking to some of these Yuppie Warriors about all the the lights, lasers, bells and whistles that they have added to their favorite firearm, I have been amazed at the pitifully few that have actually spent any time at all in the dark in an attempt to master the use these attachments. These people are only deluding themselves when they screw the lastest and greatest doodads on their gun and expect it to function with out field testing it under the proper conditions for themselves.

Flashlights? They take batteries. I would rather not depend on batteries to save my life. I long ago determined that there is enough ambient light in my house on any given night, especially if we leave a strategically placed night light burning that I do not need a 200 dollar flashlight bolted to my handgun. I suspect that is true of most other homes as well.

Laser sights? A laser is a pointer and in the dim of night it is a pointer in both directions. And as with flashlights I am not going to trust my families safety to a battery.

Heat shields? How much ammo does one expect to expend against a burglar that would require the need for a heat shield.

Also remember all of that stuff you bolt onto that firearm will be in the custody of the local Gendarmes for a very long time should you ever find the need to deploy that tactical monstrosity you call a home defense gun. If you build one you better build two.

Another thought from Xavier;

Of a concern as well is how that gun will appear when held up by a prosecuting attorney in front of a jury if must be used. A gun that looks like a duck gun rather than an evil black rifle will always influence a gun ignorant jury less.

When it comes to handguns I have a pretty rigid set of rules that I apply to myself as well. The handguns that I have chosen to depend on for personal protection are right out of the box.

I occassionally compete with a handgun. I generally see a wide variety of handguns with an even wider array of attachments, doodads and modifications at these competitions. Do they work? Sure they do for the people that have taken the time to be proficeint with them. For many competition is a hobby that they wish to excell at and I whole heartedly think they should add any attachment or make any modification they think is neccesary to help them win. That is why they are in the game. A game that is not life and death.

I compete to maintain a certain edge with the equipment that I choose to have for personal protection. The stress of a match will never duplicate the stress of a life threatening encounter but it is stress none the less. I compete with equipment that is right out of the box the manufacterer sent it in.

I firmly believe that one should compete with what they carry, especially if you are competing to hone your skills, should they ever be needed to save your life. For those that compete just to compete either for a hobby or income, add or modify what ever you need to to win, that is why your doing it.

Do I win against these guys that shoot these high dollar custom guns with all the doodads money can buy that shoot several hundred rounds a week in persuit of their hobby? Some times. But I will admit that I usually place just behind them and ahead of most everyone else in scoring. ( I seriously doubt that the thug that breaks into my house will be one of the current combat pistol competition masters) Although I can generally count on being in the top one third I have not fired more than a few hundred rounds outside of competition in the last year.

Time has just not let me get out and do the kind of practicing I need to do to win a competition. But hey I can grab an out of the box pistol off the night stand show up at a match and give a good showing of myself just about any day of the week.

Why? Becuase I keep my equipment simple, I am uniquely familiar with it AND I compete with what I carry. To me that is what competition is all about.

Xavier is right on when he advices to keep things simple. The bottom line is; Learning to use the equipment properly in the first place will negate the addittion of crutches to prop up faulty technique.

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