Mission Determines Gear.

I read these words in an article by Pat Rogers about 2-3 years ago in a magazine. The first thing it did to me was to put a dent in the desire to obtaining a crapload of ancillary tactical “cool stuff” that I really did not need. The second thing was that made me sit down and figure out what do I really need according to the way I live.  Even though I might drool over the latest tactical fashion statement out of Blackhawk or have the urge to get me a very cool tactical vest with trauma plate and enough webbing to molle a lawnmower, Does my lifestyle and threats actually require it? The answers was enlightening and also made my wife happy because it would not deplete our meager bank account.

I live in South Florida. Heat and humidity are more than plain annoyances: wearing the wrong clothing will send you to the ER with a severe case of heat exhaustion and might even kill you (ask me how I know).  Does it make sense to wear an EOTac denim jacket? Heck no, no matter how many cool and hidden pockets to carry stuff it has. I am a sucker for vests, I’ve been wearing one type or another for 30+ years but considering the weather plus the unstoppable force of the calendar against my body,  I am forced to wear the lightest one I can buy. It does not have all the bells and whistles but I won’t have to pull over every 5 blocks for prompt hydration. I am even about to try a EOTac’s Tropical Sport Shirt and IWB holster because all those times I overdid it under the sun add up and I do not want to end up being berated by the wife while I lay in front of an AC vent and chugging Gatorade or in the hospital being hydrated with a bag full of liquid via needle sticking up my arm. I know I look cool in a bitchin’ tactical vest, but I do not have the desire to look that cool in ICU.

At home I am the typical SoFla (South Florida) guy wearing shorts and flip-flops so that sexy thigh holster in coyote brown not only look weird but it will chaff the hell off my delicate skin.  Solution? If I am not carrying a J-frame in the shorts pocket, there will be a weapon placed within three to five steps of wherever I am located.  Before you cry safety!, I must inform that I have no kids so gun access to minors is not an issue, specially since both cats have no opposable thumbs and have been trained in the Four Rules of Gun Safety. Very few friends ever come over and with one exception, the guns go into the safe while they are around. One gun will be holstered on me for the duration of the visit because Bad Guys will not hesitate to be impolite enough to ply their trade with people in the house.

An honest evaluation of your needs and conditions is fundamental to determine what gear you really need. You might be a young buck with tons of health to spare and a strong back which can withstand carrying an M4 all day, but if you live in any city or suburban area there is a great chance that somebody will see you when you go outside to mow the lawn and call the local authorities.  A sudden picnic with a dynamic entry courtesy of  your local SWAT team is not a enjoyable prospect in anybody’s schedule. If you are an old fart like myself, you are going to get tired soon and start ditching crap or losing your sharpness and attention to your surroundings which are more important than any gear you may carry.

Now let’s be real, if you hear somebody breaking in in the middle of the nigh,  Are you really going to waste time putting on the above mentioned very cool tactical vest with trauma plate with 6 spare mag for your Ugly Black Rifle, 2 sets of trauma kits, hydration bag and pouch for IPod? No, you will grab a secured yet readily accessible long or handgun, perhaps a spare mag, cell phone dialing 911 and you will make a stand in the safe room or your bedroom. No, you are not going to get the chance to use all the 6 pounds of cool gadgets (light, lasers in red and green, ACOG, range finder and bottle opener all in picatinny rails) because it would be the dumbest crap you can do since you bough the Barret .50 caliber rifle to kill the possums in your small city backyard.

So let’s be smart about our gear and adapt it to the reality we live in. Study your most realistic threats and plan accordingly.  We all like cool gear but it must be used in a way it helps our chances of surviving a confrontation.