I Would Never Spend That Kind of Money...
Recently, I had a guy call me and ask me about which light he should put on his rifle. After telling me that he had done plenty of research, he concluded that "everyone is suggesting Surefire, but I would never spend $300 on a light!" Then he asked what I recommended.
I recommend spending whatever is necessary on a high quality light...
Let's be clear about this... You've already told me that this is a rifle that you would potentially use to fight with to protect yourself and your family. You've already told me that this may be the last line of defense between the wolves at the door and your infant... And now you're telling me that $300 is outrageous for a light?!?
It gets dark every day. Violence happens regularly in low-light enviornments. Light = data... It provides us the ability to use vision in order to process information about the threat being presented. Darkness removes that luxury. A light bridges the gap between low-light environments and the ability to process information. It needs to be reliable. It needs to be available. It needs to bright as hell. How bright? I want the sun on the end of my rifle if it's possible.
Furthermore, the ability to process information about the person you're potentially about to shoot becomes absolutely critical when determining if this person is a threat or not. There are far too many examples of someone shooting a loved one because they didn't properly illuminate and identify their target prior to engaging it. I say it all the time when I teach low-light courses: "Their problem is not that they didn't know how to shoot. Their problem is that they didn't know how to fight." Part of fighting is knowing who and when to fight. Having the capability to visually identify that target is absolutely vital. Let me phrase it differently, while holding pressure on a bullet wound that you just caused in your spouse, would you pay $300 to be able to take it back? Would it be worth $300 to have had the capability to turn a dark environment into a light environment and know without a doubt that this is or is not someone that you should shoot? I don't care how much your gear costs: buy what works and train your ass off with it. Said differently, get the thought out of your head that a few bucks is worth more than the ability to fight in the dark.
This doesn't apply only to lights. All of your gear should be tested, tried, and true. A guy with one AR-15 with high quality essential items is far more effective than a guy with 5 different rifles that all cost $500 each. You should be more familiar with your firearms than you are with your vehicle. Do you have to think about how to turn on your blinker? Do you have to mentally process where the brake pedal is? No... You just drive the car. That's the level of familiarity you should have with each piece of any equipment that you might have to trust your life to.
"I can't spend $500 on training! I could buy another gun for that."
If those words have ever come out of your mouth, or even through your mind- then please do the world a favor. Sell your guns and buy a guard dog.
I've gone through this rant before. The issue here isn't that "you can't afford training." The issue is that you can't afford to not be trained. Aren't we talking about fighting with a firearm? Aren't we talking about an inherently dangerous task here? And you want to go at it alone because you "grew up deer hunting?" Sweet Lord, please don't attempt to protect me when the wolf knocks at the door. If you're the type of guy that would just rather buy a new safe-queen handgun than you would invest in training, then be honest with yourself and understand that you are likely more of a liability than you are an asset during a violent encounter.
Obviously, this doesn't apply to the guy that is truly trained. Not the guy whose training is from YouTube, Call of Duty, or the latest episode of some bullshit action flick- but the guy who has sought out quality instruction from qualified instructors... The guy that owns a few firearms but has spent far more money on training and ammo than he has on guns is the guy that I want next to me when the fight kicks off. The guy who has trained with his heart rate up so high he thought he'd vomit, or has properly applied a tourniquet to his leg and then worked through a problem before removing it... That's the dude I want near me. The guy that cares more about getting quality instruction shoved in his head than he does about the scratches on his gun as it gets shoved in the dirt- that's the guy I want on my side.
Are you that guy?
If you're not- do what you need to do to become that guy. Stop buying low-quality gear that breaks when you don't need it to. Stop buying more guns that sit in the safe. Save up your money, budget correctly, and buy quality gear. Seek out instruction and come find out what you're good at and what you need to get better at. Become an asset and stop being a liability.
You owe it to yourself and to everyone that might depend on you for protection in the most horrible of circumstances.