One of the most common things I see is people stressing over equipment. The stream of questions and comparisons is never ending. People want to buy skill and ability. Being a solid shooter takes real time and effort. Unfortunately our “want it fast, want it now, want it cheap, want it easy” society struggles to accept that. Often going in search of gizmos.
You need dependable, reliable and reasonably accurate from a firearm. Most things exist on a spectrum. I find I like to stay in the middle of the spectrum for the most use ability. Say you get on the real cheap end, then you usually get junk. You go to the extreme, expensive end and often you find that you have paid for diminishing returns and may have a tool you are not equipped to use to its potential. Happy medium is cliche but cliche’s often exist because there is an element of truth.
As you build skill and choose a path you will learn what you need along the way. Sometimes what we need is to take a step back and work on us with equipment we can afford to do that with.
If you ever doubted that it’s the injun not the bow, let me give you a few examples from events I attended last precision rifle season that stand out to me.
My buddy Tim shows up to one of the documented hardest PRS matches in the nation with shots to a grand and in a field of over a hundred solid national level shooters. Over 2 days he comes in 3rd with a 223. There were nearly a hundred very expensive rifles in a long list of custom race car cartridges in very capable hands. He beat all but 2 with a 223.
“Ringer” shows up to the biggest PRS match in the world to date with a stock plain jane savage and factory ammo for his FIRST MAJOR match and shoots so well he gets bumped to Pro division on the spot. I took to calling him “Ringer” because he was a very quiet, unassuming guy that was open about not having match experience. What he didn’t mention was all the experience he had in the service of Uncle Sam and how well he had excelled there or how much training he had quietly done in preparation for this match with a solid mentor.
My buddy Ryan shoots a dozen major matches across the country with the best in the nation and as a general rule beats 60% of the field with an old fashioned 308 launching 175s against every custom 6.5 creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, 6mm dasher, 6×47 Lapua, 7mmwhizbang…. you name it.
But he works hard, focused on old reliable and has stuck with it. There are others in his class that do the same. It’s true the overall top spots will usually go to an excellent shooter that also has the new hotness but the point stands.
If you are a pistol shooter you’ll see it too. Give someone like, Vogel, Enos, Miculek a stock but reliable gun and give someone of average ability the best race gun available… skill will beat equipment by such a vast amount it isn’t funny.
So get good equipment. Don’t throw money after trash & don’t chase the extremes. Remember you often give up some reliability for that exquisitely tuned race car as well as paying extra every step of the way. If it’s safe, it works, and as long as it fits the intended purpose, use it until you have outpaced your equipment. Then you’ll be upgrading with a better understanding of what you need for your path.
Remember, hit the range, put in the work, good things will come.