Are you limited by your natural ability and training, or are you being limited by your equipment? This article is not meant to give you answers, but rather to stimulate your thinking as you move forward.
Recently I have had a couple of incidents that have got me to thinking. I had a student that while she did not come from nothing, she did not have a lot of gun experience. She decided that she needed to get serious so she trained a bit with the gun she had owned for years. After a little work she got a gun that was a bit of an upgrade. This student has been very serious and done really well. Just before our last session she mentioned that she was really wanting an even better gun. Later at the range she was not happy with her performance. Now she has a rather small single stack 9mm and we were doing some new things. Granted her groups were not all in the X ring but they were all viable defensive hits. I was pointing this out to her and trying to be generally encouraging but she was still a little frustrated. In an effort to convince her that with that weapon what she was doing was great I put my personal carry gun in her hands. I carry a German made Sig 228 with a SRT Trigger that has been worked on a little by a very good smith (Robert Burke). The slide has been switched to a 229 Elite that was milled so that I could mount a red dot that cowitnesses with iron suppressor sights. Instantly her groups went to half the size they had been the entire session. She immediately turned and asked me “How much does this gun cost?”
She is a perfect example of being limited by her equipment. Now nothing really earth shattering or thought provoking in that part but stay with me for a second. She had already said she was indeed in the market for a new gun. Her question was serious. However when I told her the price you could see her face fall a bit and she said oh no that is too much. She indicated that she wanted something maybe $400 less. Here is what I relayed to her and what I really want everyone thinking about. I had just shown her how the equipment she had was limiting her compared to one option that she actually loved. Why would you spend your hard earned money on the next gun that is going to limit you? She has a perfectly functional gun. She felt like she could save the money for “her” next upgrade in a couple of months. My recommendation was to wait four months and buy the gun she really wanted.
Almost every gun person I know has a dream gun or two. If I stay in contact with them long enough they almost always end up owning that dream gun. Sadly most of them have spent three or four times what that gun cost on any number of other guns they bought because “they couldn’t afford” that dream gun. Sure there are reasons to buy different guns, but look at what you are doing with it. If you are competing how many matches do you want to lose to the guy that is shooting the gun you want? If your gun is for self-defense how much is your life or the life of the ones you love worth?
As a final thought a long time gun friend of mine said something just in passing that actually got me to write this. He had just ordered a very expensive 22 revolver from me. We had talked about the price and he said “I know, but I am through buying the gun that I almost want.”