Last weekend there was a triathlon here in my little town, and we got to people watch a lot of folks cycling past our neighborhood.
Cycling is my first love. Far and away above shooting, and I really cannot wait until I’m healed up enough to get back in the saddle.
One guy in particular came riding by, and he stuck me as a little odd, and then I thought the things he was doing related well to a lot of the things people do in the shooting sports as well.
Dude rides by. Full on triathlon kit. Not unusual. Tight lycra suit, bright colors, and a fancy Time Trial helmet. Not a regular bike helmet with the vents and stuff that everyone and their brother wears, but a TT helmet. You know, those helmets that are like tear drop shaped to make you more aero, and they stick way out past the back of your head like 12” for more aerodynamics?
Again, not terribly unusual for someone to wear one at a high level of competition.
However, he was riding a hybrid bicycle. If you’re not familiar with a hybrid, at a high level, they’re like a mountain bike, with skinnier road bike tires. They’re handy for transportation, but they don’t really excel at anything. They’re the Honda Civic of bicycles.
He was also wearing tennis shoes and using flat pedals. As a cyclist, I can tell you, that being clipped into your pedals is one of the best things you can do for efficiency.
This guy bought all the fancy “look fast” gear, but didn’t invest in any of the actual “go fast” gear. The money spent on the fancy helmet would have been far better spend on clip-less pedals and cycling shoes.
I’m not gonna dog on the bike itself, because I always tell people to go compete with what they’ve got, and maybe this guy was doing just that, and that’s great.
So, I give you this lesson on cycling to tell you about shooting.
A while back I had a question from a newer shooter asking which type of holster to buy for his gun. He was shooting outlaw type matches, and wasn’t sure which type of race holster to buy.
My advice was to just get a kydex rig from whoever because the holster wasn’t what was holding him back in his shooting, and he’d be better off spending $50 on a solid holster that’ll work for whatever game he decided to play instead of spending $200 on a holster that wouldn’t work if he decided to shoot Production or Carry Optics or IDPA in the future.
I’m not sure what he bought, but per our emails, I suspect he went ahead and bought a $200 race holster… Mostly because that’s what he wanted all along. This isn’t a problem, you should shoot whatever you want, but don’t think that a piece of gear like this is really going to make you better.
I think that he was under the impression that everyone, given the chance would shoot a race holster and not a kydex holster, but people just shoot the kydex rigs because they have to per division requirements.
This is the case for a lot of people, but I also think a lot of people who shoot with race holsters do it because it’s the defacto standard for their division and most of them probably can’t tell you how much of an advantage they actually get from the holster.
I also think most of them would have been better off putting that $150 they would have saved towards some instruction or ammo, or whatever.
Again, I’m not against race holsters, and that’s not what this episode is about.
My point here is that before you go spend a bunch of money on something, make sure that it’s a thing that you’re actually going to get your pay value for.
The guy in the triathlon would have been FAR better off with clipless pedals and good cycling shoes. Then lighter tires, and finally, a better bike.
I used to be involved in the 4×4 scene a bit a decade or so ago, and it was the same thing. People wanted to buy the big lift kit, and the big tires, but nobody wanted to re-gear the axles, or add sway-bar disconnects. People wanted to add lift blocks instead of getting new springs, etc.
The same thing happens with shooting. People want the lift kit and the big tires. They want the fancy race helmet, and the brightly colored shirt, because new sights aren’t sexy.
Practice isn’t sexy. It’s hard work. It takes time and it’s expensive. However, if you don’t want to suck, it’s the road you’ve got to take.
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Mike asked a question in last weeks Q&A show that I didn’t get to during the live show.
“Any tips for shooting with a weapon mounted light?”
Yes. There’s not a lot to it, it’s basically like shooting in the daylight, however, make sure you know how NOT to activate the strobe mode should your light have that, because turning it on accidentally during a night match will mess with you. Other than that, there’s really not a lot to them. I like my Streamlight TLR-1, because as a right handed shooter I can use the switch kind of like a gas pedal for controlling recoil.
If you’ve got questions, shoot me an email at [email protected], and make sure to join me on Thursday nights at 9PM EST on Facebook live every week!
Plugs of the Week:
This episode of Firearms Nation Podcast with Shannon Smith was really good. I love Shannon’s own podcast, but hearing him interviewed was great. They talk a lot about the IPSC World Shoot 2017.
This episode of the 3-Gun Show with Matt Martini was really good. I might have like it a little bit because it stroked my ego just a little when Matt talked about how if you can hang with the big dogs at matches here in the Carolinas, you can shoot with anybody. He also has some interesting thoughts on practice, and keeping track of his cold times on drills, as well as his fastest times. Good stuff, definitely worth a listen.