Recently a piece on shooting incidents was doing the rounds. An experienced individual listed his observations on what is likely to really take place in a defensive shooting. Most of the community received the information well. An interesting point the author made, was that while practising reloading and malfunction drills is undoubtedly important, they are not as likely to happen in real life as many believe.
As such, it would be better to train marksmanship over malfunction clearance. Again, the larger community generally received this well and approved.
On the same day, another meme was going around stating people who advocate for certain brands are idiots and should be made fun of. This too caused much mirth in the larger community.
It struck me as being a fine example of the gun snobs at work.
Brand-obsession and Formula Un malarkey
If you don’t have a “Tier One” gun in a “Tier One” holster with same again ammo, you have no chance of stopping an attack. And if you do, it’s somehow blind luck (and perhaps even a little unfair) that you managed to survive.
[I have always been irritated by the term “Tier One” – most people who use it don’t know what it means. – Ed.]
While this is going on, we are all aware of the likely increase in crime and other societal problems arising from extended lockdown. We are all urging friends and family (and even strangers) to legally arm themselves and get training, and not be content with being just another victim.
But only if you buy the best handgun and the best gear.
“Friends don’t let friends buy Taurus”. But the thing is, how many people can now afford to spend in excess of R10 000 on equipment, and then wait a year for any return on that investment? And that is over and above the cost of training.
If you only have R5000, what do you do?
Everyone has to start somewhere
Yes, I’d rather buy a ball-peen hammer than a Lorcin. But if someone can’t afford anything better than a Taurus, then why ridicule that person? They took what steps they could to improve their position. They are trying. And yes, they will realise the faults in their equipment and upgrade.
Chances are, if you have been shooting for more than about ten years, you probably have a discarded leather holster shoved into a closet somewhere. You probably carried either cheap JHPs or even FMJs. Remember when the only ammo reasonably obtainable was PMP 115gr JHPs?
Sure, you can tell them to save until they can afford a Glock. But then you can tell them to save until they can afford something better, like a S&W or a H&K. Where do you draw the line? And during all that time, the person is no closer to being able to defend themselves with a gun. They’re just another harmless subject.
I’d rather have an armed neighbour who tries to train as often as possible, than the guy with a R30 000 handgun in a R4000 holster, carrying two magazines holding R3000 worth of carry ammo, but practises less than the guy with the Taurus. Despite of what others claim on internet forums.
So, what we are saying is, we must prepare for the fight we are likely to face. But we should equip for an amphibious deployment, from a torpedo tube of a submarine, to go fight off the attackers. We probably won’t have to do a reload, but if your gun isn’t tested beyond 10 000 rounds without malfunctions, you aren’t taking this seriously.
The truth is there are far more people with a .38 snubbies than there are Glocks, Sigs, M&Ps and CZs put together. When bad people attack you on the farm and you have a .38 snubby, a .410, and a .303, the new Glock waiting for another month or two of saving up means nothing. It may as well be at the bottom of the sea.
Even more so when you have nothing. Good luck with the cricket bat or golf clubs.
Snobs evolves with time and technology
Carry optics have come a long way in the last five years. Or those who now carry them have had to upgrade glasses and contact lenses in the past five years. I know I have. Either way, they are now becoming common place. And in record time we went from “plain steel sights are bad, you have to mount the Trijicon HDs” to now hearing “irons are slow and optics are so much more accurate, you have to get this brand micro red dot”. Very true. No doubt.
But if I do not have R950 for a holster, where would I get R5000 for the dot? And then however much it will cost to mount? I can buy a second Taurus for that much. Sure, the wife needs to be involved in buying her own gun. But one heavily-upgraded handgun is worth less in a fight than two handguns, each used by someone who spends the time in doing the practice.
Because two is one and one is none right?
But we probably won’t be in an extended fight anyway, so one handgun should be enough. As long as its not made anywhere except Europe or the USA.
Some years ago we all came down heavily on the shop assistant telling a woman the best gun for her is a .38 Special snubby. Now the pendulum has swung completely to the opposite end, and the shop assistant is telling the woman only the latest subcompact Sig or Glock will do. “Just trust me and give me your money. And buy this holster. Don’t worry about trying it on, you will get used to it.”
See the similarity?
The Gun Community really isn’t as friendly as it thinks it is
The effect this has, is to discourage many people. They change their minds about buying a gun, and go home empty-handed. One of the most common complaints I hear is that “buying a gun is too expensive for me”, and people don’t get armed. Or worse, they go buy an airguns or blank guns. The scourge of the gas pistol is real. People have been killed while taking on robbers with “for self-defence, no license required” rubbish.
What I am not saying is that everyone should now go and snitch on shops that sell them. If we change the way we interact with outsiders, then the market for these will likely dry up by itself. If the person in question really is intent on one of those and refuses to listen, then…well…a fool and his money. Plus a shop that you might well get a knife or something else from in future gets to pay a salary.
Ultimately, we need to look at the way we seem to worship certain brands and instructors. The instructors themselves will, for the most part, be appalled to learn how they are seen as the be-all-and-end-all of training, equipment choices, and life philosophy. A few love the attention no doubt, and they play to the crowd. As long as they don’t provide training and advice that is dangerous this isn’t really a problem either.
But there is one rule in life that there are no absolutes.
The guy with his Manager’s Special (to get rid of stock) Taurus G2 in .40 S&W and supermarket-bought plastic light has stopped attempted house robberies. And when he does, it’s not less worthy than the other guy who did the same, but with a R18K handgun and R6K red dot, with a R7K WML carried in his custom R3K holster.
We need to spend more time in introspection.
Your gear doesn’t determine your skills
Our mine-is-better-than-yours mindset that we express via disdain for certain brands when we advise new shooters, is really doing harm to the community as a whole. If you spend a year saving for your first car and you buy a Mercedes, you really are not better than the person who saved for a year and bought a second hand Citigolf. Especially so if he is a better driver. And even more so if he actually attends defensive driving courses and improves himself.
How do you know you are a gun snob? When the guy with a Canik or Taurus or Girsan subcompact out-shoots you and your Sig320X5 or Shadow 2 on every stage, and it pisses you off while you look for excuses. When you post the meme of how the Taurus-shooter uses anecdotal evidence that his runs fine, but get angry when the shooter ends up not having to leave the match with a broken gun. If you belittle some other sport because they aren’t the Chosen Ones. Or if you are getting a tingle of anger at what is said here.
Finally, in the above at no point were any terms or explanations given. Nothing was quantified. This was very intentional. It’s a trap. The second you have to express your displeasure with what is stated, stop and first consider your real motives.
Written by Stefan Meyer.
Stefan is a scruffy, cantankerous, rude and unpleasant man who spent over ten years trapped in the gun trade. Thanks to some dumb university losing his registration, meaning he could not finish his psychology degree.