Here at SOFREP, we do a lot of talking about gear, training, and general preparedness. Pulling from our military, professional, and hobbyist backgrounds with firearms, we do our best to relate our experiences to you in an approachable way, and often, those experiences suggest that training, not equipment, is what will save your life in a bad situation. If you’re not a capable shooter, the best optics in the world won’t save you. If you’re not safe and responsible in how you use your firearms, it doesn’t matter how much you spent on them.

Good gear, in most cases, is only there to make your life a bit easier, not to compensate for a lack of range time or a technical deficiency but it’s important to note that while good quality gear may not make you a better shooter, bad gear can potentially make you a dead one.

A U.S. Navy veteran was killed in Portland, Oregon on Monday by Portland State University campus police officers. Jason Erik Washington had a permit to carry his weapon, but as he attempted to break up a fight outside a bar, the pistol slipped from its holster and fell to the ground. As Washington attempted to recover it, police closed in, firing their service weapons and killing Washington in the ordeal. Details regarding the incident remain sparse, and I’d like to avoid offering my own conjecture as to exactly what went wrong, but at first glance it isn’t difficult to see how police could make such a mistake.

As they approach the scene of a fight that seemingly involves multiple parties outside of a bar, they hear someone nearby shout, “Gun!” (as witnesses reported occurring as the pistol fell). They closed in to find a man in the thick of the scuffle, pistol in hand — so they shot him. In those circumstances, with fractions of a second to make a life or death decision, those officers decided that, in their minds, may have saved lives. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.