Keeping it Real

Keeping it real is a concept that should color every decision you make when it comes to firearms, including cost, selection, equipment, training, and practice. It does not mean everything must be practical, or work in a fight, or any of the myriad of fortune cookie philosophy so prevalent in this industry. It just means keep it realistic for what you are doing, and realize that may change. For the average gun buyer, especially the huge number of new shooters it is important to keep expectations real from the beginning.

Why?

            This may be the single most important consideration most often skipped.  Why are you buying a firearm, or anything used with it. Buying a firearm for self-protection for a home, ranch, or other property has differing considerations than one you are planning to carry every all the time. Weight, concealability, light, no light, Red Dot or not, all those things carry different weight. Duty applications may add completely different requirements or needs. Competition, target shooting, longer range, they all are different. Be honest with yourself as to why you are buying up front then look at those things that fit the why. Not to say you may not try something different down the road, just be honest with yourself.  Is your “fight” across the room, yard, meadow, or canyon. Is it all about the games you play, or the game you feed your family? Does your real world threat have two legs or four, weigh 200 or 600 pounds? We constantly see students bring rifles and pistols to training that simply will not work, or work for the application. Save yourself time, grief, and money know why you are buying first and proceed accordingly.   

What are my limitations?

            This may be physical, mental,  environmental even legal.   Know what you are capable of up front and understand that may change. Too often we see students bring weapons they simply cannot operate. Too big, too small, too much recoil, sights that don’t work, slide tension that is just too stiff. Rifles that are so heavy they can’t hold them up and keep them pointed down range. Firearms that are so recoil intensive you flinch every time the trigger is pressed, assuming they can even press the trigger.  Red Dots are great, unless you can’t see the dot, or it is a starburst instead. Long range precision is fun stuff, unless of course the farthest you can shoot is 100 yards. If you are not capable of dropping to a knee (and getting back up) it may not be such a good idea to attend training that does that constantly.  Sure, they often accommodate, but why waste the money on cross fit firearms training when you just cannot perform any of it.  If capable, fine, even just for fun, but know your limitations up front. Please be certain of any legal restrictions, despite some of the bravado out there going to prison just to own a firearm is generally not a good thing for all involved, know what you can and cannot possess within the state you live. Want to gamble, buy a lottery ticket, your family will appreciate you are still at home to complain about losing.  

Cost?

Yep, this one is very important, not only the cost up front, but the cost to feed and maintain it. Money no object, then fine, but for most it is. Know exactly what you can spend, and what it will cost to keep and maintain what you buy.  Lots of new calibers out there, pretty useless if you can’t get it. Yes, I know, everything is hard to get right now, but that will change.  Buying a rifle that costs you five bucks a round to shoot may not be a good idea. New calibers often have zero ammunition selection requiring you to reload, assuming you can get the components.  That costs money to get started and more importantly takes time.  Frankly most people just don’t care to do it in the long run. Garages are littered with loading presses and dies that never made it out of the box. Start with something you can feed without requiring a second mortgage or have to roll at home.  Honestly, the differences between most of these calibers is largely meaningless to 99% of the shooters out there, keep it simple, keep it real, move on from there if needed. 

This industry makes a ton of money encouraging people to “keep up with the cool kids”, don’t get sucked in.  Best case you lose money, worse case you can’t get rid of it.  Be careful of panic buying, it seldom works out for the inexperienced. Buying before the ban (whatever that is) can be expensive, at least make sure you know why you bought it and understand it’s probably not an “investment’.  Banning scares are not new, been through all of them since the early 1990’s. More people lose then win, just know up front its gambling, make sure you have the money and can lose it. 

Bottom Line

So, the short of this is know why you are buying something, understand your limitations and know how much it will cost out the door and beyond. Do yourself a favor and be starkly realistic, lying to yourself is seldom a good thing.  Same is true for training, maybe more so, but that is an article in and of itself. I always encourage new shooters to keep equipment costs to a minimum and seek out quality training first. Just make sure it is practical and well, real. Enjoying your most desired video game or movie fantasy with a firearm is fun, just wait until you have the basics first that are real world for you. For now at least America remains relatively free, or at least more so than most places.  You can buy whatever you want, but keeping it real will make the process more enjoyable in the long run.  And here is the real bottom line, while it may save you money, more importantly it may save yours or a loved one’s life and that is a no brainer.

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