Thursday, June 21, 2012

Think About, Train With, and Re-Evaluate Your Gear!

Most of us have gone to a training class where there was one student who looked like he just stepped out of a tactical gear catalog. Now ask yourself this: did he perform well or did he fall behind? The odds are not in favor of him performing well. There is a very basic concept behind this: he did not think about, train with, or re-evaluate his gear.  Here at Independence Training we like to think long and hard before we add something to our kit; be that our EDC items or our SHTF kit, and if we add something new then we train with it to ensure that it is going to be valuable to us. Think about the equipment you buy, and then train with that equipment and constantly re-evaluate it.

Once upon a time I had a very nice chest rig that I received from a friend of mine. At the time I had no want or need for armor of any type so I was very happy with this rig. I spent a bit of time building what I thought I wanted without any thought to weight or practical use. In the end I was carrying 8 AR mags, 2 pistol mags, IFAK, GP pouch (full of stuff I did not need), a multi-tool, fixed blade knife and a folding knife.  When I got it all set up it looked really nice hanging in my garage. However, I never really trained with it for almost a year, and then one day I decided that it was time to see how effective this setup would be. Let's just say that it was very heavy and I could not get to my pistol. The whole rig really turned out to be completely useless, and so I had to sit down and do some thinking. Thankfully this was not an instance where I spent hundreds of dollars and needed this kit to save my life. I simply had to sit down and re-evaluate what I had and what I needed. After many days of thinking about it I decided it was time to try a completely different kit. What I decided on was a plate carrier, and I spent some time thinking about what features I wanted in this new kit. After looking around I decided on a custom built rig from Coyote Tactical here in Arizona. This kit has six internal rifle magazine pockets and just the right amount of MOLLE webbing on it to add the additional things I need. The items I added are an IFAK, two pistol magazines, and a dump pouch. Turns out that this kit is actually slightly heavier (including front and back plates) than my previous chest rig was,  but I am very happy with the setup of the kit and intend to keep re-evaluating it to make sure it continues to meet my needs.

In conclusion, the great instructor Pat Rogers once said something to the effect of, "If you show up looking like an operator and can effectively run your gear then no one notices. But if you can't get the job done than you just look stupid." We had a student several months ago that showed up to class looking like he just stepped out of a photo shoot for Operators-R-Us but no one in the class noticed because he effectively ran his equipment, and each piece of his kit was put there for a specific reason. The bottom line is:

Think about your gear, Train with your gear, Re-evaluate your gear and Repeat as necessary.

Stay Aware, Stay Safe, and Train Hard.

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