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