Saturday, February 4, 2012

What You Are Used To VS What Fits Your Needs

I was talking to a gal yesterday who wants to get her permit to carry.

I asked her what firearm she wanted to carry and she said she wanted to get a Taurus Millennium .45. When I asked her why she wanted that particular gun she said it was what she was "used to."

Having known this gal for a long time I know it is one of the only handguns she has ever shot if not the only handgun.

Wilson Combat Professional .45
There is some credence to shooting and carrying what you are "used to." I don't think anyone should buy and carry a firearm that they have not tried and tested for reliability and performance in their own hands and gotten used to on some level. However, I do question the prudence of buying and carrying a firearm solely because it is the only firearm you have had experience with and not weighing the benefits of other firearms and how they might better suite your needs.

Granted, I've had the luxury of trying a lot of different handguns. I've shot somewhere between 150 and 200 different handgun models. I have carried somewhere around a dozen different firearms. I have a good basis for knowing what works well for me, what I prefer and why I prefer it.

There have been guns I have gotten "used to" only to change later on and consciously have to work at breaking habits I acquired with those firearms in order to get "used to" the new firearm.

Some might question why I would do that and the simple response is that the benefits of the new platform outweighed any frustrations at giving up the old.

First Shots through the Wilson
I can illustrate this with the example of having given up my Wilson Combat Professional .45 for the 9mm Glock 19. That was probably the hardest switch I've had to make in the world of handguns; both emotionally and mechanically. Emotionally I was very attached to my Wilson (and still am). It is the most accurate firearm I have ever owned, it is heavy but decent to carry and I shot it well with both hands. I had trained with it and felt very confident with it.

When I had my first child, however, I realized that the Professional was probably not the best carry choice for me anymore. Though I shot it well with both hands I found control of it to be a bit more difficult with one hand. It wasn't too heavy when I had nothing else to carry but with the addition of a child and all the gear that comes with said child I needed to shed some weight. I love the .45 caliber but I didn't love the price of ammo. I also really wanted more capacity. I needed a firearm in a caliber I could better control one-handed. I trusted Glock's reliability, reputation and warranty and was happy with all of the features of the G19.

First shots through the G19
The transition to the Glock from the 1911 was not an easy one. I was not used to the Glock. Even though I had shot many Glocks before it took some commitment on my part to gain new proficiency with the G19 as a carry gun. I had to adjust to a new trigger pull. I adjusted to the new grip angle and sights and even to the new capacity, carry and recoil. Some adjustments were easier than others but the Glock was certainly not what I was "used to."

I find myself going back to the Wilson from time to time out of nostalgia and still shoot it well but I am happy with the choice I have made regarding my carry gun as it fits my current needs. If I ever need to win an accuracy contest I'll go get my Wilson. If I need combat accuracy with a good volume of fire while on the move, one-handed, I'll stick with my Glock.

When people consider a carry gun (or any gun) just jumping to "what I'm used to" may be okay but then again, it may not. Sometimes, when deciding on a firearm, you have to abandon what you're used to and go instead for what fits your needs. It means being honest with yourself and with your experiences and breaking away from fears of adjusting to something new and untested. 

Some things to consider are:
How well you perform with that firearm

Now, when I say, "How well you perform with that firearm" I am not saying that if you find yourself having some initial struggles with a firearm you should just ditch it and move on to something else. There is a level of training and practice that needs to go into all firearms in order to be proficient with them. However, after you have trained and practiced, if you find yourself experiencing a particular issue with a firearm you need to consider that in deciding whether or not it is a good fit for carry.
The G19 and all my carry gear

If, after a couple of thousand rounds and a few classes, you still can't shoot a particular firearm well with one hand or operate a feature well, etc, it may be time to concede to the fact that the firearm might not be meeting your needs.

Not every issue can be trained out.

Don't just jump on the "because it's what I'm used to" band wagon. Really think about whether or not what you are used to is also best for you and your needs.

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