So, what I really need is another holster…
No matter how much you “learn” online, experience with that piece of gear in hand trumps all. There is a lot to be said for researching gear before you purchase it though. Where you find this information is paramount as well. While a lot of sites offer gear reviews, I find I have to sift through quite a few different sites to find what I am looking for.
One of the better sites I have found is SKD Tactical, at www.skdtac.com . They tend to have some pretty good reviews posted on a fairly good assortment of gear. Another source, which can be hit or miss at times, is on Amazon, amazon.com. Amazon is slowly carrying more and more tactical gear, and with that, they are getting more reviews up.
YouTube video reviews are hit and miss. Some people put out some good quality information in well-made videos. And then there is the rest of YouTube…
Unfortunately, in the world of tactical gear, like other disciplines, there isn’t “one way.” There isn’t one holster, there isn’t one sling, there is no one size fits all. Competition breeds innovation, as does necessity. Coming out of two prolonged wars, we have some amazing gear available to us.
With respect to holsters, or any other piece of gear, keep something in mind. The requirement drives the gear selection. No matter how super-ninja-bleeding-edge-tactical some piece of gear is, it does nothing if it can’t help you. Let your requirement dictate your purchases.
As an example, in the Marine Corps, my choice in body armor was made for me. As a Police Officer, it was pretty straight forward what kind of holster I would use. We had a department policy that stated you will use, “X Y or Z.” While working in the private security sector, aside from some very vague requirements, the choice was wide open.
Pulling on past experience, I was able to make informed decisions on what I would like, or more to the point, what I wouldn’t like. One of the most useful things we can glean from purchasing gear is what that piece of gear doesn’t do for us. A box full of abandoned gear should serve to teach us some lessons.
Even after purchasing your newly researched piece of gear, ready to fill an unforeseen need which your old piece of gear pointed out to you, you aren’t out of the woods. Now you need to run it, hard…
No professional straps on a new piece of gear and jumps into the thick of it. Put the gear through its paces. The most useful place I have found for this is usually in shooting courses. A three-day pistol or rifle class will serve to not only hone your skills but also to show you all the flaws in your gear set up.
With most things, you will find it is a trade off. For me personally on my work set up, I run Blue Force Gear pistol and rifle mag pouches. While training with them, I realized what some would find to be a deal breaker. When a magazine is removed from the pouches, they, for the most part, fall flat. In doing so, this can make it more difficult to replace a magazine one-handed (such as when performing a tactical reload and retaining the partial magazine).
While for some this may be a no-go, it was an advantage to me. I like the ability to remove magazines and have the entire belt set-up get smaller. If I want to remove some unneeded pieces of gear, I now have a smaller footprint, rather than still maintaining rigid boxes for my mag pouches. Only through use will some things be revealed.
On a side note with respect to training classes… A real benefit is the collective pool of knowledge that attends the class. Take time to check out other people’s gear, ask how it preforms, what they do and don’t like about it. Maybe use it for a few drills if possible.
Ultimately you will be hard pressed to avoid purchases that end up being set aside, but make the most out of those. Learn from them and refine what works for you. As you progress as a shooter, your needs will change. Analyze your requirements and proceed from there.
Stay armed and stay proficient…