8301 S IH 35 Frontage Rd, Austin, TX 78744


Your Equipment Doesn’t Matter

That’s a bold statement, but it is true from a certain point of view. I see so many new shooters start down the wrong path by looking to solve their shooting problems with equipment.

Define Your Mission

When I have the opportunity to guide a student towards their first gun purchase I start by asking them what is the reason for the purchase. Why do they need a gun? I’m not asking them to justify why they want to buy a gun, I’m asking them to tell me what is the mission for the gun. Are they looking for gun to carry concealed, for home defense or strictly for sport. There really isn’t one gun that will accomplish all those missions well. There are a few that can do a good job, but they also may not be the best starting point for a first gun. Here is a harsh reality for many new gun owners, you will probably buy the wrong gun. You may do some research, talk to some knowledgeable sources and even try before you buy and still end up with the wrong gun.

It’s Always the Indian

To be honest, which gun your purchase won’t really affect the outcome as much as the training you invest in with said gun. Without the training it is nothing more than a good luck charm. Without training you will lack the insight into what really works for you, what you truly need. The other harsh reality is most who invest into training learn the original gun purchase may not be the best for their newly developed skills. As you train more, you learn more. You learn more about what you need. Can a nice gun help with the learning process, of course. It is not a requirement, it is only an enhancement.

Buy Cheap, Buy Twice

When the shooter invests in their training, they will by proxy see improvements in their skill. It wasn’t the platform as much as the hard work they put into learning. The first gun purchase becomes a stepping stone towards what will probably be many purchases. The problem becomes avoiding buyer’s remorse and realizing you don’t have to keep working with something that is suboptimal. You can find it a new legal home through a variety of methods. Don’t feel compelled to sale the ship into the rocks for the sake of staying on the ship. It’s okay to acknowledge a poor choice, don’t beat yourself up about it because you didn’t know then what you know now.

Out of the Box

As a first time gun buyer, don’t feel like you have go hog wild to update, improve or enhance your new purchase. Learn how to use it, develop skill with it and if you discover the new gun works for you then great. The flip side is there will come a point of diminishing returns. A point where you will drop more money into equipment with the expectation it will improve your skill. Yes, there is some truth to this notion. However, I caution you on using this as an excuse not to train or improve your skill. You may see some skill improvements, but do those improvements come at the sacrifice of other skill deterioration. At some point, you will find a gun you can perform well with under a variety of conditions. It is reliable, durable and accurate enough for you and your skill level plus the mission at hand.

I rarely see someone out shoot a gun out of the box. Don’t look to the gun as the source of the problems, look at your skills or lack there of and do something about them.

Author: Jeff Gonzales

Technical Vs. Mechanical

Over the years I have seen enough students struggle with various shooting errors, like I’ve seen a lot. An excuse begins to form it is not them, but their gear.

We Are All Human

I get it, I’m human and fallible big time. In other areas of my life I often forget the lessons I’ve learned on the firing line. I overlook the simple fact it is not my gear, but me. With ego’s being so fragile these days it shouldn’t be surprising. It is hard to accept the rarity of gear issues. I will caveat my statement with when you select quality gear designed for the mission at hand. More importantly, we loose an important means of growth when we fail to self critique through our own failures. When we refuse to acknowledge our short comings we lean towards a self fulfilling prophecy of sorts.

It Is Always the Indian

On the firing line, the difference between a mechanical versus a technical issue is not frequently observed. I had a recent conversation with a student who didn’t realize their lack of experience was preventing them from seeing the real issue. They blamed the “possibility” of gear failure rather than looking at the real problem, instead of acknowledging most gun related issues are operator error. I’m not saying they are not possible, I’m saying before you try to blame the gun or create some wazoo need to carry this or that, look inward. Be genuine in your self evaluation and ask yourself if it is possible you could be the culprit. Start with this question, what could I be doing wrong. Not, what is wrong with my gun.

But Then Again

There comes a point when you realize maybe it is mechanical versus technical. Recently, I experienced this issue first hand. I literally was going crazy because I refused to blame my gun. I was owning up to the responsibility it was me and me alone. I started trouble shooting my technique at a microscopic level. Employing the very corrective strategies we teach in class. I literally refused to believe it could be anything other than me. What was funny, less than a week ago I experienced a similar issue with a different gun. I opted to consider the first issue was a fluke, but two guns and you really have to look more closely.

Thank Goodness

I was getting frustrated because I know my skill. I know my capabilities, when I see problems my natural instinct is to think I’m in a rut. A lot of times, my go to solution when in a rut is to transfer the gun to my weak side. Do some hard work from that perspective before returning to my strong side. I can vividly recall the instant where as I was about to transfer the gun to my weak side. Right as I was transferring the gun, I used my weak hand trigger finger to test the integrity of the front sight post. To my absolute relief, it moved…pretty easily I might add. As I correlate my dry fire with a crystal clear image of my front sight and compare it to my windage issues from live fire I can see the pattern more clearly. I’m more than relieved to know in this case, it wasn’t me…it was my gun.

I encourage you to always look inwards regarding your shooting errors first. Eliminate any an all possibilities, then whatever you are left with; however improbable is your answer.