Showing posts with label AR. Show all posts
Showing posts with label AR. Show all posts

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Pic Post- My AR-15

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Chris Costa on Shotgun or Handgun for Home Defense



This is an interesting discussion about home defense weapons featuring Chris Costa. Long guns bring a lot to the table but do have some downsides. If your life situation is such that carrying/ dragging a child or disabled adult is a concern pistols have some real benefit in terms of single hand manipulation. I say why not have both a pistol AND a long gun ready to go in something like a Sentry Safe Home Defender then choose, one the other or both as the situation dictates.

Personally I keep a Glock 9mm with a light and an AR also with a light ready in the master bedroom. Next to the safe sits my plate carrier and battle belt. Granted things are pretty bad if I'm putting on full battle rattle in my house but who knows, better to have it and not need it than the opposite.

Thoughts? What is your home defense gun? 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

AK-47 vs AR-15- Interesting Video

A very interesting video from Iraqvet888 and Barry of Moss Pawn and Gun. I am not sure what model AK they are using but it looks like a nice gun. Anyway this video is another compelling argument that the AK vs AR argument is probably a wash. Features and shooter preference might be bigger factors than the guns themselves.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

Earlier this week I went shooting testing a variety of things and working on the zero on my rifle. At Good Will I picked up a pair of line new USGI desert boots with the rippled vibram sole. They are a half size too big but you can never have too many boots and the price of $15 was right. An AR-15 stripped lower receiver came to live with us. Picked up a hundred rounds of American Eagle 9mm FMJ and 100 rounds of excellent CCI Velocitor .22lr that has been totally unavailable for a couple of weeks. Also grabbed a few little things, some OTC meds and packets of instant coffee for my BOB.

All in all a darn good week here. Pretty 2A oriented but that is to be expected these days.

What did you do to prepare this week?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Relooking Cost AR vs AK #Whatever

Longtime reader Chris gave us a blind flash of the obvious about this ongoing debate over at his blog. One of the benefits of the AK platform has always been price. For the price of an AR you could have two AK's or an AK with some ammo and mags or whatever. Even 5 or 6 years ago AK's cost half to two thirds as much as AR's. Accessories such as mags and ammo were cheaper too.

With the massive explosion of the AR platform in recent years (for goodness sake they sell them at Walmart now) many new folks have gotten into, or expanded their role in, making AR's. This has driven down the cost point of real quality mil spec type fighting guns too which is pretty great.

As Chris pointed out it is pretty hard to touch an AK for under $600 these days. I did some checking and confirmed this to be accurate or close enough. There are some basic but solid AR's at or very near that price point. Some nitwhit AR hater or fanboy might argue that only a $1,600 big name AR is capable of being a decent fighting gun. That nitwhit's AK fanboy buddy could argue with equal effectiveness that only an Arsenal AK customized out of a big name shop is capable. They are both stupid and equally wrong.

I did wonder if accessories for the AK platform were still cheaper.

As to ammo this 7.62x39 Tula FMJ in a spam can is running 24.8 cents a round. You do pay a premium for getting ammo in a spam can (though it is already properly stored which is something to consider). You can get it closer to 20 cents a round if you don't want or need it already packed.

PMC .223 ammo is available for $350/1,000. At first glance this is more expensive than 7.62x39 but we are talking modern manufactured brass cased ammo vs com block steel cased stuff. If we compare apples and apples steel cased .223 can be had for a tiny bit more than 7.62x39. Conversely brass cased 7.62x39 is pretty expensive both because it is relatively rare and it requires more metal than .223.

[Personally I do not shoot steel cased ammo in the AR platform. I shoot steel cased ammo in AK's and Glocks but not other guns. The only hassles I have had with AR feeding were with steel cased ammo. While not in any way scientific the answer to use brass cased ammo was obvious to me. YMMV]

So ammo is really a wash in terms of cost.

As to mags I can answer this somewhat easily looking at recent purchases. I got a bunch of PMAG's from Brownells for $14 a piece. Mil spec type (new) AR type mags are running around twelve and change if you buy in any quantity. The excellent to good condition surplus eastern European milsurp AK mag's I use are running $15 right now. Then again they do pop up cheaper sometimes, I bought some for $11 back in April.

Mag prices are also a wash.

Spare parts are one area where AK's still have the edge. You can get a full AK parts kit (the whole gun minus receiver and barrel) for under $200. I am not willing to look up prices and make estimates but you cannot do that with an AR.

Chris's point that AK supplies are drying up (at least in part due to import regulations on Chinese guns) is valid. AK prices are going up. I would guesstimate AK's and AK stuff is up about 40% over the past 5 or 6 years. AR stuff, except ammo has generally stayed flat or dropped in price.

This is not meant to be a comparison of the two platforms. John Mosby made a very compelling case for the AR which is worth considering. That being said if you have an AK (especially if you bought it at $250-350) and are happy with it then keep on keeping on. My point was to take a look at the cost to purchase, equip and train with an AR and an AK today. It is fair to say that when considering the strengths of either platform (real or mythical) you can pretty much remove cost from the discussion as it is very comparable.

Take care of each other,
Ryan


Friday, August 3, 2012

Solo Stove, Rat 3 Knife and Why the M16/M4/AR Platform is Awesome

When it rains it pours and today it definitely poured.


I am pleased to announce our newest advertiser Solo Stove. I haven't gotten a chance to handle one yet but if their videos are any indicator it is a really cool piece of kit. Might just take most of the benefits of a camp stove AND most of the benefits of cooking over a fire and combine them in a compact package. Can't wait to get my hands on one.

An Ontario Rat-3 showed up in our mailbox today. The Rat 3 cuts and handles well in addition to being pretty darn light.  The sheath is very nice and well thought out. Between it's light weight and quality sheath you can easily forget it is on your belt. A brief initial impressions review will follow shortly but suffice to say I am quite impressed. The Rat-3 may well be the best small belt knife/ camp and field knife I have handled to date.

John Mosby has been cranking out awesome posts:
Tricks of the Trade and Tricks of the Trade II are worth reading and absorbing. While not a super duper cool SOF guy I have been around the block a couple times and still definitely got some stuff out of it. I suspect you will also.

His post: The M16/AR15/M4: Why it's the choice of professionals everywhere is worth reading and I will briefly discuss it. In no particular order:

-So much of the argument about .223 lethality (though JM makes a very compelling case that argument is junk) is really about full metal jacketed ammunition. Soldiers are required to use FMJ ammunition but civilians are not. If you like the platform but aren't thrilled with the bullets then get better ones. Modern soft point and hollow point .223 ammunition are a whole different ball game.

-As to reliability I think that any case of the AR platform being "maintenance intensive" or unreliable if not in pristine condition is seriously overstated. It is my belief that an AR could be kept going almost indefinitely by simply wiping out the inside of the upper receiver/ chamber and (assembled) bolt carrier group with a rag,  running a bore snake through the barrel and re oiling the gun. I have not empirically tested this theory but if anybody wants to donate a whole bunch of .223 ammo for me to test this theory I will provide the rifle, rag, bore snake and oil.

-To me the modularity of the platform is another significant bonus. You can have a unregulated legal short barreled rifle pistol, a defensive carbine and a solid varmit/ precision rifle that have total commonality in parts, ammunition and magazines. That kind of modularity and potential for a simple logistical footprint  is aweful handy.

The good folks at TEOTWAWKI Blog did a nice post on Blanket Rolls. This is a good technique to have in your brain housing group in case you find yourself (or a friend) needing to travel with less than the ideal gear setup.

I also ran 2 miles today leaving me with 44 more to go. Darn that is a long way. 

Thank goodness it is Friday. I got off work early which meant I could hit the gym and still get home at a very reasonable time. We went for a long walk and took kiddo to play with a ball in a big field. He really liked that and generally gets great joy out of being outside. We have been going out for a walk or to play every day after dinner which has been quite enjoyable. Hopefully we can have a yard at our next place.

I hope you all have a wonderful Friday.









Thursday, July 5, 2012

Lazy Day Randomness

I stumbled to an interesting blog called Rocky Mountain Preparedness that is new to me. It looks pretty good and if you are open to following another blog this might be a good one.

Survivalistblog linked to an excellent post on 10 Brand Name AR-15's under $700. You will see Bushmaster, Smith and Wesson and Olympic Arms models on the list. This brings up a very valid point. It is not necessary to spend a ton of money to have a good functional AR-15 that will serve you well. High end guns by folks like LaRue, Daniels Defense and Noveski (sp?) are probably great. I am not knocking those guns or trying to take anything away from them. They are almost certainly more accurate, have better fit and finish and may even be more reliable than standard and budget models. However most folks just don't have 2k or more to spend on a rifle. I sure don't have that kind of coin. If your funds are limited and will remain so for the foreseeable future it would be better to spend that extra $1,300+ on some mags, ammunition, something to carry your mags and training than on more gun.

Apparantly I am a right wing terrorist. My ideas of individual liberty and  “believe in the need to be prepared” are the reason for this.  Here I was figuring that I am a pretty boring family guy but apparantly I am doing all sorts of interesting right wing terrorist type things. [The most interesting thing that has happened here in weeks was Wifey and I betting on whether the brown thing across the floor was poop or a piece of cookie. It was not cookie and I lost a buck. Aren't toddlers fun.] Why am I even slightly suprised about this ridiculousness. Hat tip to Rural Revolution for the find.

Handled a Benchmade Griptillian today. The grip is nice and that axis lock is sure sweet. Their customer service is pretty much reputed as being awesome. I would have bought it but it wasn't the specific model I favor. May have to pick up one of these.

That is about all that is going on right now. I hope you all had a great Independence Day.





Sunday, June 10, 2012

I Can Haz PMAGs

TACOM, a command which I am unsure what it actually does or why it exists, has backed down clarified its position on the use of PMAGs.   “Maintenance Information Messages [from TACOM] are permissive. They are not an order. They are not a directive. All content and direction in those messages are optional for the recipient.” Read the rest here.

For whatever my meandering life experience is worth to you I use and strongly recommend PMAGs. I  I am pretty cheap yet I buy PMAGS instead of using issued mags. That pretty much says where I stand on that. It is worth noting that the new tan (it looks orange to me) follower mags seem like a big improvement over the previous issued mags.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Question of the Day- The Military and Preparedness

Commander Zero asked about my thought on...

The relationship, coinciding interests, practical applications, and relativity of military experiences in regards to preparedness. Or, put another way, what in the military is or has been applicable to preparedness.

Also, do you ever broach the subject with your comrades and if so what is their opinion?

TOR replies: To answer this question we have to look at what servicemembers do.
Let us say as a baseline a soldier is trained to shoot and maintain rifles and maybe handguns as well as basic individual stuff like pulling guard, searching prisoners and basic defensive and movement tactics. They have some exposure to first aid, map reading, land navigation, NBC (nuclear, biological, chemical) type (yes I know there is a new acronym, I think it is stupid and am keeping the old one as protest) events as well as a variety of other skills. Theoretically every soldier should be familiar with all skill level 1 common tasks in addition to whatever skills are required for their individual job.
An Infantryman should be very competent at all skill level 1 tasks and able to effectively use every weapon in the US Army up to (and depending on the kind of unit they are in including) mortars and have a solid understanding of Battle Drills and movement techniques.
Note that I used the phrases theoretically and should. Some folks are solid above and beyond their skill and experience level and others not so much. Sometimes this is individual and other times groups or units show trends. In particular I can say that land nav is pretty weak in lower enlisted and support type folks.

[Before continuing this I feel that it is worthwhile to give a bit of a disclaimer. I can speak about being a soldier, an Infantryman and an Officer in the US Army and make some reasonable generalizations about the Army and the Navy's Army aka the Marines. The Navy, Coast Guard and Air Force are very different and while they all do great things a lot of what I am going to talk about does not apply to the vast majority of their service members. Also of course experiences vary among branches and occupational specialties. If I offend you it is not intentional.]
Most folks get some of these type skills to some varying degree in whatever branch or job they are in. Aside from what we could call basic soldier skills folks in support type jobs can learn other applicable skills. Medics, combat engineers, plumbers, electricians and diesel mechanics learn skills that are are clearly useful. Some folks are in such a position that their military experience, however valuable to our nation it may be, relates very little to survivalism. There are however some characteristics that military folks even an X Ray tech on a carrier or a an administrative type in the Air Force who hasn't touched a rifle since basic training still seem to have.

The ability to deal with stress is a big one. For a lot of reasons military folks deal with ton of stress. Being able to think clearly and make sound decisions under stress is something military folks tend to be good at.

Physical fitness. The military in general (and far more so SOF and Infantry types) is a pretty fitness oriented culture. You see some very fit people in the most random support jobs.

Planning. Beyond dealing with stress this is likely the biggest general contribution of military service for most people. There are surely some more general traits but I can't think of them right now.

As to the applicability of military service to preparedness. Survivalism and its better dressed more polished cousin preparedness could be broken down into a variety of different skill sets (each with logistical requirements but they don't really apply to this) which support the endstate of being able to survive and thrive in an uncertain and difficult future.

 One could, totally off the top of my head, break these down into: tactical, wilderness and primative living, food production and storage, physical fitness, medical, mechanical and building skills, communication and energy production.

It may be more useful to look at applicability by those skill sets:
In terms of tactical stuff Infantryman, other combat arms guys (and or course SOF) learn some pretty darn applicable things. While not a perfect stopping point these skills put them well beyond most folks. Other folks skills may be somewhat watered down and just give some basic firearms training or entirely absent.

When it comes to wilderness and primative living folks who spend a lot of time outside living out of rucksacks and in tents learn things. Typically these would be combat arms guys and those who go walk around with us.

Few folks learn much of anything to do with food production and storage. Cooks learn to cook but that isn't really a weak area for most folks anyway.

In terms of medical stuff obviously medical folks like doctors, nurses and medics know a lot. Soldiers typically have a better level of first aid and particularly trauma training than average folks who take a first aid class or two. The more current versions of Combat Lifesaver and various other courses are pretty good and are often pushed down to the lowest level. This is one of the areas where we have really gotten our act together in the last few years.

As to mechanical and building type skills folks whose job is in those areas like mechanics, electricians and carpenters or whatever obviously learn stuff. The rest of us not so much.

For communication lots of folks get what could be described as radio communication 99 and commo guys, forward observers and JTACs get more useful experiences.

Other than electricians and generator mechanics nobody gets much in terms of alternative energy applicable stuff.

Also, do you ever broach the subject with your comrades and if so what is their opinion?
Not really and even then not directly. However when you get to know folks you pick up on things (and they pick up things about you). Somebody who has a solid gun collection and keeps a good amount of ancillary stuff put away that is also fiscally modest as well as conservative/ liberty leaning probably has some stuff going on. With these folks I will offer a piece of advice in context. Example, somebody is talking about the rough price of magazines for their handgun, I might suggest that they should not pay more than $XX and that it is worthwhile to check out a website that has what they need like CDNN.
As I don't mention this sort of stuff with folks who are not at least partially in the club and still keep the cards pretty close to my chest I don't know how a lot of folks might handle it. I can offer my totally anecdotal observations. I would say there are some survivalists, more "preppers", a LOT of gun nuts and the balance made up of pretty normal folks within the military.
Also there is an interesting coincidence. While survivalists as a group are not necessarily a high percentage of military members I would say that a very high percentage of survivalists have some military background. This is not suprising as middle and lower middle class conservatives from the rural/ small town West and South tend to be a significant percentage of survivalists and this group is well represented in the military.

Anway again if I offended anyone it was not intentional. If you have anything to add please comment. Lets not get into a service vs service thing and if you try to say that some random admin or logistics type job is super ninja JSOC rambotastic I might make fun of you.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

What is the Best Weapon for Home Defense?

Check out Box of Truth's recent post on the matter. In their typical fashion the BS is cut through using facts and real world experimentation/ analysis. Also they touch on a lot of myths.

Skipping to the conclusion for those who don't feel like reading: Rifles > Shotguns > Pistols.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better

Let us start out with a question. When (in a defensive situation) would I prefer a shotgun to a rifle?

I have been thinking about it for a couple days and haven't come up with a situation yet. If I am going to have to fight somebody I would like an AR or an AK. Both have a viable defensive round, especially considering I would be using modern defensive ammunition. They hold a lot of bullets and are self loading.

This got me thinking about the role of shotguns in home defense. They are sort of a weird beast anyway. Everybody pretty much agrees you should have one, myself included, but they are fraught with disinformation and misunderstanding. When we strip away the myths it is easier to talk about them.

First of all we have to deal with "stopping power" and penetration. The prevailing myth is that shotguns will utterly destroy all flesh and bone but won't go through wallpaper, let alone the whole wall. I would say that is half right. At close range buckshot does really nasty things. However in a sort of funny way projectiles that will devastate one type of stuff will do the same to another. Buckshot will go through walls no problem. Interestingly the performance is not that differently from .223 or 7.62x39.

Next comes accuracy and shot spread. Shotguns are not a land mine or a magical death ray. You have to have the thing pointed at someone for them to work. Shot spread varies by load, choke and weapon but at "in house" ranges it is going to be closer to fist than dinner plate or trash can sized. I have heard the rule that buckshot spreads at about an inch a yard but you really need to pattern a gun with the barrel/ choke to be sure. [A smart guy I knew took his new shotgun to the range with a 5 pack of 2 or 3 different types of buckshot to see which worked best. That might be an idea worth putting in your kit bag.]

The next is that shotguns are super easy to use. I won't say that is entirely wrong but using them in a realistic combat situation takes some practice. The real issue is that these folks are using two very different standards. The standard for using a shotgun is that they can load it, chamber a round and shoot a target or a cardboard box 15 feet away. The rifle standard is that you have to be able to field strip it while hanging blindfolded from money bars and engage man sized targets out to 300 meters with iron sights in driving rain and wind. See an issue here? If we narrow the rifle standards to CQB at ranges of 50 meters or less (which greatly decreases the marksmanship factor) it is a whole different discussion.

To be honest I would give the rifle an advantage because it is easier to make fast follow up shots with due to the lower felt recoil and being self loading. If, after a short orientation you handed a dozen random people a shotgun and had them put one shot per target into a few targets at realistic defensive ranges and did the exact same thing with an AR or a Mini 14 or an AK I would bet an 18 year old bottle of Scotch the rifle would win out.

Let us look at it another way. What would you think of a rifle which must be manually reloaded and has a capacity of 5-8 rounds? Why should a shotgun somehow be different?

Now onto rifles. I will talk in generalities about AR and AK pattern rifles and most of it would apply to a Mini 14 or whatever you run. I would call stopping power even as both are quite sufficient. You can't exactly kill people twice or anything. Rifles win hands down in capacity with 3-4 times as much ammo as a standard pump shotgun, also they penetrate soft body armor. While home invasions are relatively rare they are getting more common. This scenario is definitely an ugly one, but an ugly one where rifles shine. Also rifles are useful at much longer ranges. An AK or AR which could defend your living room could hit a man sized target a couple football fields (or much further, I’ve seen 800 meter hits with an M4 and an ACOG) away. Past 50ish meters or maybe a bit more with slugs and iron sights, cursing is more effective than a shotgun.

That does not say shotguns don't have some real strengths.

Cost is a huge plus. New pump shotguns cost somewhere around $300. You can buy gently used Mossberg 500's and Remington 870's for around $200-220 all day long. Seriously shotguns are great because everybody can afford one. If you can't afford a basic pump shotgun with a little bit of planning then I recommend you reexamine your life and finances.

The next biggest plus is versatility. With one weapon you could shoot a turkey in the morning, pheasants at mid day, a deer just before nightfall and have something very comforting in your tent or cabin at night. With a long choked barrel and a short open cylinder you are good to go for a lot. Toss in a rifled one to shoot slugs and that is even more versatility. There isn't (not including oddballs like those single barrel rifle/ shotgun things) another weapon out there that can do that.

Also pump shotguns are good because they have evaded pretty much every anti gun law out there. You can’t have an AK in Cali or Washington DC but you can have a shotgun. Lastly you can't get much more common than 12 gauge. If they sell bullets they have shotgun shells. Also if I had to come into a place and need to mooch ammo a shotgun would be a good gun to have.

Now before somebody bites my head off just because something else is better doesn't mean shotguns aren't an acceptable tool. To the question are shotguns, in a standard over the counter configuration sufficient for home defense I would say yes. To be honest if you can’t handle a problem in the house with a tube full of buckshot you probably can’t handle it anyway. That however doesn’t mean I don’t like to put the odds in my favor as much as I can.

I own both and you probably should too.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Magazines

It is about time to talk this subject again in my rotating semi repetitive foundational posts. Magazines are important because well magazine fed firearms suck without them. Seriously for want of a magazine a quality defensive firearm becomes a slow to reload single shot weapon.

Quality- I strongly recommend that you buy only factory original magazines for practical defensive use. Buying junk aftermarket magazines is penny smart and dollar foolish, I can’t think of many other ways to invite more grief into your shooting life. If you really want to have “range mags” that are junk then I guess that is fine but keep them separate. Personally I don’t see the point in this as I train with what I would fight with and even if that was not the case I still hate bad mags, even at the range.

The one exception to this is for military pattern weapons. Surplus/ government magazines are typically comparable to factory originals. Also for these military pattern weapons sometimes a magazine is so ambiguous that many companies have quality offerings, this is the case with the AR and 1911 and maybe to a lesser degree the AK given the new US Palm offerings.

Cost- When most reasonable people buy a car they consider the cost to insure and repair it. Sometimes you might be looking at two similar cars and one may (usually because it is foreign or rare) have much higher costs. I recommend you do the same with guns in terms of spare parts, ammo (both separate topics) and magazines. I’m not saying to absolutely avoid guns like Sig’s and HK’s with high magazine costs in favor of ones with much lower cost magazines like Glocks or 1911’s or the Browning HP or whatever. My point is to consider the costs and make sure you can afford them.

Spending all the money to have a defensive pistol or rifle and having less than a handful of mags because of their cost is flat out stupid. I read something on line about a guy who used a rare and from all I have heard very nice Valumet .308 as his rifle. He had one twenty round mag, which a friend lost but that brings us to a whole different topic, for the thing. Seriously he could swap it for a good G3 clone and have a combat load of magazines for the price of lunch at a casual dining restaurant.

Quantity- This is certainly a subject for debate. Personally my happy levels are 10 for a pistol and 20 for a rifle. My standard load would be 3 pistol magazines and about 7 rifle magazines, though of course it depends on the situation. This gives me a full load of magazines, a spare set (maybe at another location) and a few for replacement/trade/friends. Note that this is PER GUN. So if you have three pistols it would be 30 magazines, for two AR’s would be 40 magazines, etc. Also this is for core type defensive weapons. For .22’s, a .380 pocket pistol, etc I keep somewhere around 5. Admittedly my appreciation of nice round numbers could be a factor.

Some folks might be comfortable with less and that is probably reasonable. Two full loads of magazines is probably a good bottom point. For a pretty conventional setup would be about 6 per pistol and more than a dozen per rifle. This is enough that if a magazine is lost or damaged and you can’t replace it immediately it will not be a critical loss.

Some folks like more magazines and that is just fine too. Our friend Commander Zero brings up the point that magazines are the easiest and most likely piece of gun stuff to be targeted by a ban, heck we had one for a miserable decade. It is entirely possible that almost overnight % or that what you have could be ALL YOU WILL EVER GET.  I came of gun buying age during that ban and it sucked. When I started making decent money and had taken care of a few more pressing matters I put some money into magazines. If what I have now is all I am ever going to get that wouldn’t be ideal but I would not be completely hosed either. Think about that for awhile and skipping a couple dinners out (make your spouse dinner or do something else nice instead) to have a few magazines put away just in case might not seem like a bad idea.

Replacement-Magazines are a disposable item that have a finite lifespan and require periodic replacement. In this regard they are sort of like a Timex digital watch. They last a long time but they do inevitable break or get worn out and the easiest course of action is to replace them when that happens.

 If there was a list of things that cause shooters unnecessary problems using magazines that are worn out, damaged or otherwise unserviceable; comes  after buying bad mags in the first place, and would be followed by using cheap ammo in a gun that can’t handle it.

Why go through the hassle. Seriously it isn’t that big of an expense to buy quality magazines and periodically replace them. If springs are worn out replace the spring. If the magazine body is worn out then toss it.
Maintenance-Inspect magazines to make sure they are free of rust and that the inside is not all gummed up with crud. Oiling magazines in not recommended as it attracts gunk which causes issues. Just take them apart and wipe them down now and then.

Rotating- This is a hotly debated topic to which I am not sure there is a right answer. Springs can get ‘set’ and that causes the magazine to jam and have feeding issues or completely lock up or in some cases just puke out bullets. This is bad for obvious reasons. My observation is that functional magazines can stay loaded for months at a time with no noticeable issues. I don’t know what the right answer is. One clear benefit of rotating magazines is that it CONFIRMS that the magazine is still functional and that it will work. Best case it gives you an opportunity to confirm the mags are good and do a quick cleaning. Worst case it could show you that a magazine may need some TLC or new springs. The best time to find out you need to do this is when you are maintaining/ rotating magazines, not when you need the darn gun to work.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Best Is The Enemy Of Good Enough

This post is sort of a progression of my recent post “The Economy of Everything” where I talk about making choices about how to use time and money. Most of us have probably heard the phrase I used as the title to this post ‘best is the enemy of good enough.’ What it means is that we can, in our search for the perfect answer or solution get a sort of paralysis and miss out on an answer that is completely sufficient. Another way to say it is, better a good answer right now than a perfect one in the future.

Like most things this is a trade off. The trick is to know if you are making a good trade or not. That is what I want to talk about today.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what best is. Best would be the perfect plan or gadget or completely mastering a skill or craft. Now figuring out what good enough is can be more problematic.  This is going to make the bulk of today’s post.

To me good enough would typically have most of the traits of best but be significantly easier to execute or obtain. Meaning it takes less time, money or effort to execute than the best solution but has most of its characteristics. Typically I would move towards the best solution incrementally until I was close to it in characteristics then go until I hit a noticeable point of diminished returns. At some point the increased payout stops being worth the return.  Example, one might decide that a Daniels Defense rifle is the best solution out there but a Bushmaster will do most of what the DD rifle does for much less money.

I think the combination of characteristics and cost which is used to informally figure when that point of diminished returns is hit can vary by individual. Mostly the cost, characteristics are more objective. The time and energy one person needs to acquire or maintain a capability may vary significantly from another. Some folks can work out 3 times a week and be in good shape and others can’t.

 Also the relative cost is different. One of my single co workers might be able to spend 2 hours every evening at the gym learning boxing or just getting into stupidly good shape. I have a wife and kid so I plan three 45 minute gym sessions and try to do them at lunch. Would I be in better shape if I worked out for 2 hours every evening, sure (overtraining and efficiency are another post) but the cost is too high for me so I make do with less time.

I do think it is worth remembering that characteristics are a significant part of this trade off and not just cost. Otherwise it can get silly and you miss the point. This has been used to justify definitely sub optimal equipment, bad training plans, lack of physical fitness and probably some other stuff. A Mosin Nagant is a good rifle for what it (not a good rifle 80 years ago) is but it is not a semi automatic rifle with detachable magazines. Even though it is cheap there is a definite limit to what dinking around with your buddies at the public range will do for your skill development. Doing a few pushups and sit-ups now and then will not give you the strength that lifting free weights will and walking is at best a sub optimal substitute for running or rucking. When cost is your only consideration the answers usually suck.  I think common sense needs to be present to keep these tradeoffs realistic.

Thoughts?
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