Updated: Oct 25, 2020
There is nothing quite as satisfying as opening the package on that long awaited, much anticipated new piece of the new firearms hotness! If you're a gun guy or gal, it's likely, at some point you'll be searching for the perfect "(insert your wish list here)"! And when it shows up you may be urged (as I am) to give quick and loud..."QUIET EVERYONE - it's time for.... THE UNBOXING!!!" No.. I don't yell that out... I have an 18 yr old son who is beast on the range and I just need to beat him to the Amazon, Brownells, or other package that's just hit the door. As a matter of fact, that's exactly what happened in our house this week!
Joking aside, the urge to go get the newest sights, optics, trigger, surface controls, holster, belts, pants, shoes, eyes, ears, and a bag to hold it in is enticing. But, before you do that, let a couple of range warriors and round pounders give you a couple of tips that will hopefully make sure you're making the best purchases at the right time.
Let's start from the beginning
Gear selection can be and usually is a very personal process by which shooters search out equipment that they believe is the best for them. Color, size, weight, contour, thickness, price, who recommended it, and ultimately the purpose for the gear varies widely. Let's keep it simple and keep to the basic that you should have:
Firearm - Yes, this is the most important piece of gear! It should fit you, your purpose, your goals, and it should be something you have experience with prior to the purchase. Ladies - don't buy small and cute. The felt recoil is increased with smaller the platform.
Holster - Sigh...As instructors nothing makes us cringe more than seeing a $500 - $1500.00 firearm in a $15 dollar holster. Especially if it's one of those - one size fits all and let's hope this strap keeps it from bouncing out special holsters! That said, you'll likely end up with a few holsters depending on the purpose. Our training/range holsters are often different than our EDC (Everyday Carry) holsters. I recommend Kydex due to the strength, rigidity, and ability to keep it shape, opening for reholstering etc. FYI - Fully covered trigger, adjustable retention, and if you're a new shooter - stay away from mechanical retention (buttons or levers) to release the gun.
Personal Protective Gear - You have a limited number of eyes and ears, protect them well. There are standards for shooting glasses that differ from just cheap safety glasses you can pick up at the big box stores. Here's a blog post that details some of the differences (How To Identify Ballistic Eyewear). Don't go cheap - it's not worth it. Same for the ear pro - invest the money in some decent range ear pro and your ears/head will thank you for it! Expect to pay $50 to 300 or more for quality ear pro, and another $35 to $150 for quality eye pro.