What is the priority – the best equipment or a willingness to show up, use what’s available, and fight? Hardware vs. software isn’t a new topic of conversation, but Bill Blowers of Tap-Rack Tactical recently made some great points specifically in the context of recent events.
Work Priorities: Skill, Mindset, Physical Fitness, Preparation, Training, Equipment..?
Back from SHOT and back to normal. I guess. While at SHOT I had a lot of conversations with different dudes. I went to dinner with friends on both nights I was there and it was great to catch up. I did some PT both mornings I was there, hit the meetings I was supposed to hit, looked at some gear, BSed with dudes and looked at the social media since it’s a good way to get multiple eyes looking at pertinent stuff without legging it everywhere.
Interesting, I’ll go check it out type of thing.
At any rate, one of my friends threw up an IG/FB post that said something to the effect of “70K at SHOT, and nobody is in the gym? It seems we are missing an important first step.” This was accompanied by a picture of an empty hotel gym. Got me thinking a bit. I was having a conversation with another friend, we were just gabbing about training and shit. He brought up the point that very few of the booths were training oriented. Almost all of SHOT is dedicated to the stuff, not the using of the stuff. Granted it’s a trade show, but it got me thinking again.
So now I think back to right before SHOT and the SAS dude* who said “Fuck it” and threw on his gear and moved toward the sounds of guns. I rolled my eyes numerous times on comments about how his PC was too low, his leg strap was gonna bind him up, his groin flap would slow him down, the balaclava is dumb, and so forth and so on. I don’t actually know any of the dudes that wrote those comments, they may be the hardest Mo’fos in the valley. But my guess is that if I had to choose someone to ride the river with, and my choice was SAS guy or one of his critics, I would without hesitation choose SAS guy. This is in spite of all his gear faux pas.
*He’s referring here to the British SOF soldier who threw his kit on and took part in the response to the al-Shabaab attack in Nairobi, Kenya. Images of the man and his equipment sparked some astonishingly moronic commentary from self-proclaimed experts on social media.
As I was packing and prepping, one of my old teammates ends up in a FB convo where dudes are discussing who is going to SHOT and shit like that. My mate responds that he is not going and types in, “Enjoy all the fat, mouth-breathing never-was mother fuckers.”
Before you get all indignant and upset and sad or whatever, just like that SAS guy, this dude’s resume is legit. And while he certainly takes care of his gear and equipment, and keeps his ear to the ground about new shit, it’s not to make a post about it. It is to ensure that he is up to speed on anything that will make him more efficient, competent and lethal. He simply doesn’t give two shits what you think of his stuff.
He only cares what he thinks of his stuff, for the purpose intended. And that’s it.
Back to SHOT and my dinners. On both nights I was privileged to break bread with men that have been there and done that. Critical thinkers who can have a thoughtful discussion about tactics, techniques, and procedures. On my flight home it dawned on me that during both of those meals, there was little to no discussion about gear or equipment.
The conversations were focused on what matters, being ready for the fight, TTP’s, and training. If gear was mentioned, it was in the context of making the fighting man more efficient or not, what does it bring to the skillsets that matter. Nothing? Well then, the hell with it.
So what is my point? My point is that if you are focused on the gear, it is the last thing required to do some good. I have often said I could absolutely do the SWAT job with an 870 and a revolver. Hell, better men than me were doing it with those tools long before I ever joined. A poorly trained group with all the latest and greatest dookie would get slaughtered by the exceptionally trained group with less. An exception might be NVG, but the trained group only needs to get one of the gear queers, then battlefield pickup rules apply. Make no mistake, the advancements in gear have made the fighting man’s job far easier. We are lucky to have good Americans working on innovations that are unsurpassed when it comes to force protection and lethality. I love good gear and the people who make it.
But perspective is important. First and foremost I need men who are willing to get after it. No matter the odds or outcome, they will do their job and fulfill their task and purpose. Secondly, I need men who take their training seriously. That includes being physically ready to carry that gear wherever it is required or stuff a bitch through some sheetrock and leave a cartoon cutout shape behind. It is a high level of performance with their own weapons, and anything that might be lying around. It is flawless execution of whatever TTP’s your team has selected.
News flash – they all have ups and downs fellas, don’t get wrapped around the axle. Execute YOUR plan to perfection. And last, they need quality gear that will work in their given environment.
While there is a SHOT Show, there is no “PT, Training, Mindset Show.” If there was, I wonder how many would show up? My guess is very few, because they would be busy making FB posts about how the guys that are actually at THAT show, are still using Gen 1 RMR. Noobs…
Looking to do some training with Blowers? A list of classes is available on the Tap-Rack Tactical website. You can find specific course opportunities on the Upcoming Courses page, where you’ll see LE-only classes as well as the open ones (like his next pistol course, scheduled for March in Mooresboro, NC).
Oh, you might also subscribe to the Tap-Rack Tactical YouTube channel too.
This article was made possible today thanks to the support of SureFire (/SureFire/), a member of JTF Awesome.
Follow SureFire on Instagram, @SureFire_LLC.
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Disclaimer: We are not endorsing Nancy’s Squat & Gobble, nor do the opinions therein reflect those of the entire Breach-Bang-Clear staff. That said, while Nancy’s is indeed a shady place, only a few people have actually gotten food poisoning there, and most of the girls have all their teeth. The one-legged bartender really does make a mean Old Fashioned, and if you ask nicely she’ll even do it with burnt rosemary smoke.