We drive every day but that doesn’t mean we should be racing in the Indy 500. Consider the level of training and experience the average driver on the road has compared to paid drivers who compete in professional races. Who would you trust more to put in a formula one car and win a high profile race- the sixty year old average driver who has been driving for 45+ years who only took drivers ed last century or the under thirty year old professional driver who has had continual intense training for the past 10+ years?
What are the odds the sixty year old driver even understands (or is aware of) the multiple or adjustment of techniques for taking a turn effectively? What are the odds they understand how the capability of the vehicle, condition of tires, width of the track, moisture level of the pavement, angle of the turn, other vehicles, etc can affect how the turn is made? Did you know there are methods for more effectively turning? (It should be basic emergency vehicle operations training) Experience and years doing something alone is not enough to gain mastery.
If a seventeen year old airsofter is able to apply techniques on the fly as needed and adjust their methods according to what is presented to gain advantage of an opponent versus a paid police SWAT “operator” who is still looking at the ground as they pass through a threshold to only act as “Rockem’ Sockem’ Robots” (credit- Richard Mason, DARC)- robotic, scripted, single technique focused – who is closer to the professional grade user?
Having professional grade equipment does not make someone a professional grade user. The skillsets developed through years of dedicated training which gives the end user many methods of doing singular tasks which are applied as needed with fluidity are the foundations of a professional grade user. Do you need to be a professional grade user? That is up to you. The best part is it is something that almost anyone can attain, it just takes multiple levels of investment.
A simple example showing mere ownership does not grant understanding or skill is magazine orientation when worn on the body. Not everyone magically gets it.
Another example of this which it would seem to be common knowledge but really needs training to enable its understanding of nuance to master – is light use. I am still hearing people talk about how they intend on using a weak pistol mounted weaponlight to identify an unknown. I say identify to mean determine if it is an articulatable threat. When I tell them muzzling unknowns and people you don’t intend to shoot/kill/destroy/pay for is unacceptable, they snicker and laugh at my input. It seems to be a concept they never thought about, certainly never recognized the issues, and my comment has made it a little uncomfortable for them. Just having a light does not make you its master.
The solution isn’t a new gun, light, armor, combat pants, etc. The solution is you. Different tangible options can give various advantages and disadvantages, but ultimately unless you have a firm grasp of their scope of use and understand their application, it doesn’t matter – this all focuses back on you. Your mission is what dictates what your priorities should be. As a police officer and EDC person, training and proficiency with my duty and carry pistols SHOULD be my priority. Early in my career I let pistol skills slip and I focused almost solely on rifle skills. Pistol skill for me took more effort it seemed and shooting carbines was incredibly easy. I took the easy route. Cool Magpul videos helped reinforce my laziness to seek further carbine training which I didn’t necessarily need. Now, do I regret my excessive carbine training and weak pistol training? Yes and no. Looking back I should have established pistol skills first as my priority.
Before you buy your next “tactical” item, make a personal assessment of your mission. Do you have what you need to accomplish that mission within your personal skillsets? Do you need to invest more into yourself through relevant and valid training from a reputable instructor to gain needed skillsets? We can always buy items, we can’t buy skill.