It’s easy to become dogmatic when it comes to our shooting techniques and gear. The Internet is in a constant state of uproar over which new pistol, rifle or shotgun widget is marginally superior to the next one down the line.
Part of this, I think, is the fact that there is a great deal of personal pride involved when men (I have yet to encounter a dogmatic female shooter) and personal weapons are mixed. And a lot of us can let this pride get in the way of furthering our shooting education. We can get so emotionally wrapped up in our personal gear choices that it can actually affect how we learn or perceive new skills and techniques! To make things even worse, it’s easy to find conflicting opinions—from genuine subject matter experts—about guns and gear by simply opening up your Internet browser. What are we to think when knowledgeable names in the gun industry disagree?
Caliber choice is a good example
The debates between 9mm Luger and .45 ACP owners will never end, and the simple fact is that both calibers are good at what they do. But depending on who you talk to, the story doesn’t end there.
Many qualified shooters and instructors recommend different calibers as the “ideal.” Who are we to believe when it comes time to open the checkbook?
Handguns are another great example
One of the best examples of this predicament is handgun choice. Ask 10 different instructors which pistol is the best to carry and train with, and you’ll probably get 10 different answers.
It’s safe to say that many of the popular instructors recommending different pistols know their way around a handgun… yet the fact remains that ideas about which handgun is the best can be rather contradictory!
The main point
So, who’s “right?” And, more importantly, what can we take away from this? It’s actually pretty simple, in the end: Differing parties aren’t necessarily wrong. After all, there are no rules saying there can’t be multiple ways to get from point A to point B.
The danger lies not in choosing the wrong way, but rather in assuming that “it” is the only way. What works for one instructor and his preferred sight set up, holster or other gear choice obviously may not work for another. And there’s no reason to assume that either way will work for you. Test and question everything for yourself, and always get more than one opinion.
But not everything is true
Just because there’s more than one way to accomplish a task, doesn’t mean that all ways are valid.
I’m not claiming that everybody is always right in one way or another. There are without a doubt some rather worthless instructors out there, who teach lots of bad doctrine on a regular basis. But we’re not referencing them; we’re discussing the idea of subject matter experts who genuinely know what they’re talking about.
Among those performing at the bleeding edge of the envelope, there are fewer black and white truths and more grey areas, mostly pertaining to the instructor’s unique personal experiences.
More broadly applied, I would encourage you to seek out a qualified instructor with some credentials under his or her belt, get their take on whatever question you may be asking, and then test everything out for yourself.
Just remember: There is usually more than one way to skin a cat. Or shoot a pistol, for that matter.