Let us admit something; as shooters or firearms enthusiasts, we like all other humans are full of opinions. We tend to fixate on ideas or observations that we interpret through our own experiences and formulate opinions based on our perceptions of these observations. At times these opinions are based on ideas or observations that were passed onto us by others in the firearms community. Many of us then formulate hard lined, black or white, hot or cold opinions that are a, “my way or the highway” line of reasoning. This I believe is often a detriment. I hope I have not lost you yet, bear with me.
Having been involved in the tactical community for nearly the last decade, and the firearms community nearly my entire life, I wanted to take a moment to pass on a valuable life lesson that I have learned after wading through countless mires of “black and white” ideology regarding the many topics we often discuss/debate among ourselves. The community of firearms, tactical or self defense applications, gear selection and so on is ever changing, growing and evolving. It only makes sense that we then change, grow and evolve. Take this as a warning to avoid the “cementing” of ideas/opinions and to rather be open to change, new techniques and new tools. I am positive that if you do learn from my mistakes in this area you will be better off for it. As it is said, “A smart man learns from his mistakes, a WISE man learns from the mistakes of others.”
You have been there. The local gun shop, the gun show, perhaps it was even a BBQ. You are having a friendly discussion about one of your favorite past times/hobbies/recreations – GUNS and all things firearms, when you get hit by the freight train of controversy and opinions. It may have been any one of the following; “The Great Caliber Debate (9mm vs. 45),” “DA vs SA,” “1911 vs Glock,” “AK vs M4,” “5.56 vs 7.62,” “Weaver vs Isosceles,” “Aimpoint vs Eotech vs ACOG,” this vs that vs this vs that… you get my point. Typically these debates produce nothing but tempers and inflammation of the ego self. This fervor, a zealotry of opinions surrounding our community spreads into not only the minutia of firearms, but also into training ideas, tactics, gear selection, techniques and so on. At times the opinions even become divisive. Don’t get me wrong. A healthy debate can at times produce a valuable exchange of ideas and information. I would imagine it has even led to the invention of new and improved ideas or products.
I am not going to bore you with the myriad of opinions that I once held onto that I sternly believed were canonized doctrine. That discussion would cause a major distraction from the point of this post. Just know that I once held onto many facets of firearm selection, caliber, gear, training, tactics and techniques as if they were immovable laws of the universe. My once myopic views handicapped my ability to learn new ideas, absorb information, and challenge me. As my exposure to new ideas and techniques grew, I began to realize I was being held back by my own opinions. As I opened up and allowed new ideas/observations into my head, as I gave other products a chance, as I attempted new techniques and training regimens I quickly realized improvements in what I do and became more adaptable because of it.
Let’s take a moment to think of how big the world of firearms shooting and training is. Think of CQB, home defense, concealed carry, modern small wars operations, three gun shooting, IPSC and the many products and training regimens that surround each of these worlds alone. Over the past decade, there have been tremendous leaps in gear designs, weapon configurations/enhancements, optics, new ideas and even training styles. New concepts arrive on the scene, new weapon enhancements, old ideas are recycled, some ideas are tabled and others debated ad nauseam.
Even in my other world, emergency medicine, there are new ideas and concepts that change the way we operate in that line of work. For a quick example, look at tourniquets; due to bad information passed on and taken as fact, tourniquets were a pariah for decades! Now they are a golden standard in emergency care for massive hemorrhage control.