Wednesday, March 13, 2013


"The Best" is the Enemy of Good Enough

     (ETA: some people read this post as an indictment of people with high-end gear.  It isn't; what irks me is when people confuse equipment with training.  Buy the best you can afford -- and learn how to use it.  No hardware will make you any better than your skill set. Your skills are the only part of the equation uniquely your own.  Anyone with a clean record and the bucks can own a good gun -- only a few can shoot it well.)

     Tam was looking at some forum where the guys had been posting nicely-composed pictures of Their Gun, Their Knife. Their Wristwatch and sometimes a fat sheaf of high-denomination banknotes.

     All of it was high-end stuff.  Shiny.  Most of it pristine.

     H'mmm.  Pretty.  Very pretty.  And yet--

     Here's my reaction:
      That's a $129* gun -- buy three, they're small -- a $35 knife and a $100 wristwatch on its fifth or sixth band, along with about $6.45 American in change.  Every morning, the watch goes on my wrist, the knife goes in my right front pocket -- and the gun stays at home shuttled between bedside and safe, as I carry something smaller and simpler these days (Colt "Pony" .380).

     The knife is in and out of my pocket dozens of times a day.  It gets used a lot and it's been resharpened many times -- by the power-sharpener folks at gun shows, I'm not after a scary-sharp woodworking edge.  My hand knows exactly where it it and I have it out and opened with about as much thought or effort as pushing one's glasses back up.  I've run thousands of rounds through Star BM and BKM 9mm handguns, punching paper and trying to knock bowling pins over.  I even used it when I took a handgun class.

    It's nice to have nice things.  It's fun to have really top-shelf things.

     It's even better to have things you know very, very well; things that you use every day, know how they feel, know what they'll do and know how to make 'em do it.

     Even (maybe especially, go ask 'em) a $400 Sebenza is made to be used.  If you just have it and hold it and show it off, all that tells me is that you live under a roof and you had about $400 to spend.  If/when you need it, will you have it?  Will you be able to reach it and get it open without having to fumble?

     Buy good gear -- please!  But learn how to use it -- and then actually use it.  You may lose the knife or the gun or the watch.  You can buy another.  You won't lose the knowhow.
* That is, $129  (or a bit more, as that's the aluminum-alloy frame version) and plentiful back when I bought it.  Price is up and supply is down, which is the other reason it's become a bedside gun.


Blackwing1 said...

It's kind of funny, the "knife" I end up using most often is the tiny little blade in my Leatherman "Juice". I never thought anything would replace my old Swiss Army on my belt, but the C4 managed it. I'll also admit that the most-used tool on it is...the corkscrew.

(That probably says more about my drinking habits than anything else.)

As you say, it's always there, my hand finds it without me even thinking about it, and with its built-in pliers, it's the most functional thing I can imagine. It's not pretty anymore, since the scales have been completely scratched through to the aluminum, but if I've got my pants on, I've got it with me. The big locking folder doesn't come out of the belt pouch unless I'm dealing with something too big for the little (but just a shade too long for the TSA!) multi-tool blade.

Wolfman said...

I've got that same Kershaw! I have the clean blade version, though. I know plenty of people that fall in the trap of having nothing, because they can't afford the 'perfect'. Granted, There is the flip side; having tons of dross, spending good money on cheap crap, until you have 5 bad guns but you spent enough money that you could have bought a good one. It's a fine line to walk.

Tango Juliet said...

Um... ya can't buy skill?

Software trumps hardware??

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

What's the watch?

Robert Fowler said...

My watch was 7 bucks at target. I do have a good one, but for everyday, I wear one I can afford to break. I seem to be really hard on watches. My carry gun is a 70's model Llama 45 that's loose enough there are no ammo feeding issues. My knife is a small Buck 3 blade stockman, with one broken blade.

Dave H said...

TJ: Wetware trumps all.

My carry complement is a Timex Ironman watch, a Sig P238 ("because I'm worth it"), and the latest in a long line of Swiss Army knives. The knife and watch are intentionally cheap enough to not fret over if they're lost or damaged because I've done both. The pistol is carried daily but not used daily, so it's much less likely to get dropped or lost.

I have a much more expensive watch (a Victorinox autowinder) that was a gift from my fiancee. But after I whacked it on the edge of my desk and popped out the little glass over the day of the week window, I had it repaired and retired it to the "special occasion" rotation.

wrm said...

Well, if we're playing one-downmanship: My go-to gun is not a Star, although as you know I have plenty of those -- it's a 3" 357 revolver of the Taurus persuasion. My knife is a Swiss army "officer" model -- blade, beer bottle opener that doubles as a screwdriver, and corkscrew. Anything more basic won't fit my needs (involving, obviously, beer and corked bottles). I sit in front of a computer all day so no need for a watch. And I'm married so no money...

Bubblehead Les. said...

My friend Heath made an Interesting point over Christmas. It's all well and good to have a Nice BBQ gun or two, but for EDC, one should carry a Basic Glock, Ruger, Taurus, etc.

His reasoning is this. Say (God Forbid) you actually have to draw it and fire it in Self-Defense. Even in the best of Gun Friendly States, the Police will probably take it from you, and it'll be awhile before you can get it back. So what do you do in the meantime? He says get 2-3 of the same weapon and make them as Identical to each other as possible, w/o breaking the Bank.

In other words, say you carry a Glock 19. Get a couple more, store them some place safe, then go retrieve one of them while the one you used is in the System. Plus, if for some reason you never get it back, you aren't out the price of a Wilson or a Les Baer or whatever.

Same thing with Long Guns. Spare Mossberg 500s are a good thing to have, or 10/22s, etc.

Something to think about.

Tam said...

"People who have expensive stuff must not really know how to use it!"

I get tickled by that every time I hear it.

Tam said...

"His reasoning is this. Say (God Forbid) you actually have to draw it and fire it in Self-Defense. Even in the best of Gun Friendly States, the Police will probably take it from you, and it'll be awhile before you can get it back. So what do you do in the meantime? He says get 2-3 of the same weapon and make them as Identical to each other as possible, w/o breaking the Bank."

I have a friend who says the same thing, except if they need to take his Les Baer Thunder Ranch Special as evidence, he'll just go to the safe and get another, identical, well-worn Les Baer Thunder Ranch Special from the gun room and strap it on.

#OccupyGunSafe? Is that where we're at now?

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

And... I see less utility to the watch these days. There is a clock in front of my face everywhere I turn. At work there are 5 right in front of my face.

This isn't the seventies. The clock in the car works.

Paul said...

Someone at the CanadianGunnutz forum had the same idea you had. Poke fun at the "James Bond" gun-watch-knife-money-passport photo by taking a photo like yours.

Lot of Tokarevs, old timex and no-name knife with monopoly money layouts.


Robin said...

I was always fond of those little Star's. Wasn't the Colt Pony in one form or another made by Star for a bit?

Daniel E. Watters said...

Robin: Colt was going to rebrand the Star Model D as the Pony back in the early 1970s. However, this fell through. Colt certainly cribbed features from the Star design when they later introduced the Government .380 and Mustang.

Tam said...

"The clock in the car works."

Mine doesn't. At least not in the Subie.

Coincidentally, I haven't worn a watch in more than 20 years, and I went and bought one yesterday. It has an altimeter.

Robin said...

Of course, my photo contribution would be fairly lame. A handful of quarters (yep, I'm married), an Outdoor Edge folder with the local CPW crest and a CZ 83.

Commander X said...

Always interesting to gawp at other peoples' EDC display - my own would be my old Timex watch, a Kershaw Storm and a Charter Arms Off Duty.

J.R.Shirley said...

Needs Work, ne? Do you find the tip delicate?


BGMiller said...

A Victorinox Renegade, Leatherman Skeletool, and a Walther PPS when I'm on my time.

When I was on the company's time in IlliNOis it was no watch (bad idea in a kitchen to wear a watch), a Leatherman Wave, and sadly no sidearm.


Roberta X said...

John: it's a knife, not a prybar! There's a Leatherman Wave on my belt of I need a driver or suchlike.

Several folks: this is *not* a "diss the guy with expensive gear" thread. It's about knowing how to use what you have. The point is Pretty gear does not a skillset make -- but the difference between my Kershaw and Tam's Sebenza is, she can slam that knife into the wall and chin herself on it. Get nice stuff if you can afford it, but *use* *it.*

Anonymous said...

If you can tell me where to get a Star BM for anything less than $300 these days, I'd be happy to pick up three of them.

Roberta X said...

P.S. My watch is a Torgoen T5, which they pushed as a "women's" pilot watch in some colors and styles. I don't know why, it's the same size as most of their low-level offerings.

JohninMd.(HELP!) said...

No watch, when my old Timex died I just started lookin' at the cell phone. Knife is kinda over-kill, a Cold Steel Voyager 5". I live(?) in the People's Democratic Republic of Md. so no carry gun (ahem) allowed. But it would be a Glock 17 or a 4" Taurus .357. (the 2"J-frame is wifey's, which is ok if we're together.) As I get older I turn more and more to revolvers, and since I now have a brace of S&W1917's, life is good.

Skip said...

Cheap ass pos that glows in the dark, a Spyderco without the 'hangup clip', and a Kimber Gold Match that loves me.
Oh, and just a touch of sit aware.