One of the biggest points of confusion for most people getting into firearms training is the sheer volume of accessories. There are holsters, sights, optics, bags, tools, and widgets galore. Many of them are quite useful, others are either the product of sheer stupidity or a callous attempt to separate the consumer from his or her hard-earned dollar. So, what does one starting the shooter’s journey really need? In this series of posts, I am going to attempt to clarify that question.
For this post I am going to confine my discussion to support equipment. I define support equipment as anything that is necessary for shooting and training activities but isn’t actually a firearm or attached to one. I am also going to exclude holsters from this post because they warrant an in-depth discussion of their own. The recommendations and advise I am going to offer are also geared toward the working person who is on a budget.
In that spirit my first piece of advice is to be frugal with your money, but not cheap. Ideally, you want to select items that will function for their intended purpose and are durable enough to last you for several years. This requires that you perform some due-diligence and figure out exactly what it is you are paying for. Just about everything in the shooting game is expensive, but in many cases, items are drastically overpriced because they are associated with this or that shooting celebrity or were carried that one time by Special Operator X on “the big mish”. If you are able to look past the “personalities” you can often find an item that is equally functional for less money. That being said if any item looks “too good to be true” for the price, it probably is.
If I suggest a specific item or company in this series it is because I have personally used it and found it to be satisfactory. That isn’t to say there might not be other equal or better things out there. These are just things I have used extensively enough to vouch for them being “good to go”.
With all of that established what is it that the new shooter actually needs to get started? It’s useful to break those items into two categories; the necessities, and the “nice to haves”. The necessities in my opinion are hearing protection, eye protection, a belt, targets, a stapler, and a bag to carry it all in. This is the bare minimum you need to go to the range and get some training done. The “nice to haves” are the next step up and are things that are really going to increase your ability to train productively. For me these items include magazine pouches, a shot timer, basic tools, and portable cones.
In my next post I am going to go a bit deeper into the necessities. Share a few tips and tricks for selecting equipment, and some specific gear recommendations. Be sure to subscribe to this blog so you don’t miss out on updates!
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