Whether it’s firearms, pickup trucks, or private jets, we all lust for the finer thing in life. Who amongst us would say no to a Knight’s Armament Company SR-16, complete with a KAC suppressor and all the usual refinements? None of us would turn a fine firearm like that, whether it was given to us, or if we paid for it outright. Who amongst us would say no to a proper set of NODS? Nobody, of course. Who would turn down a ZEV-customized GLOCK pistol? I sure wouldn’t.
Quality gear in the firearms world has it’s place. Dependable and “five-nines” reliable, Second Amendment Radicals, armed citizens, and professional users alike seek out top-tier gear as if their lives depended on it. Because our lives do. However, there’s what looks good on paper, and what one’s bank account says. So, for those of us paying for things ourselves, we make some compromises. A standard GLOCK pistol, maintained properly, is very reliable, and is a quite acceptable option for defensive purposes.
But, if you observe the torrent of trash-talking on the interwebs, one would think than anything less than a KAC rifle or a ZEV GLOCK is eminently useless.
It’s what I call…Gucci Gatekeeping…
Of course, to know about it, we have to define it. So…
Well, to keep things rather simple, we’ll break it down thusly:
Gucci (slang): Fancy, fashionable, great, of excellent quality and great expense.
Gatekeeping: The activity of controlling, and usually limiting, general access to something.
So basically, the idea of Gucci Gatekeeping in the firearms world is that one should not consider buying a gun and adopting the Second Amendment Radical lifestyle unless one is willing or able to spend thousands of dollars just to acquire the firearm, not including procedural and legal expenses where applicable. By this metric, one should consign oneself to using a pointy stick for defense unless one has the cash or credit on hand to get a top-shelf brand of firearm. To quote the meme, “Guess I’ll just die…”
All kidding aside though, Gucci Gatekeeping is a problem in our community, and we shouldn’t encourage it.
The nice thing about inherent natural rights, or God-given rights if you’re of a religious nature, is that there’s no dollar figure attached to them. The Second Amendment acknowledges your pre-existing right to keep and bear any arms you deem necessary for the task. Conversely the whole principle of natural rights means I don’t have to subsidize your firearms purchasing unless I consent to doing so. Trust me, when I have the cash, I plan on doing kind acts and giving people money so they can purchase the guns they need and want. Charity, folks.
Thankfully, as I noted above, functional firearms span the whole spectrum of costs. From $300 PSA Dagger G19-type pistols, all the way up to the top-tier brands like KAC, LMT, and so on, there’s a functional defensive firearm for everyone’s budget.
A well-made firearm will go bang when you press the trigger, and get at least minute-of-bad-guy accuracy in the hands of someone who has learned some basic firearms handling and real gun safety skills.
And yes, that bargain Taurus pistol beats the hell out of no gun at all. The $500 Palmetto State Armory AR build is better than a sharp stick. A Hi-Point Yeet Cannon is better than harsh words and pocket sand.
Any of those weapons beat the pants out of having to ask the government to do the deed, that’s for sure.
Simply put, don’t let anyone talk down to you if that’s all you can afford. By purchasing a gun, any gun, you’ve made an important step into the world of being self-reliant and not having to treat an essential task such as self-defense as something you need to wait for the government to provide, if they provide it at all.
When it comes to guns, the difference in tiers of quality becomes less and less pronounced as you climb the ladder higher. Yes, sometimes you’re paying for the rollmark, but the difference in accuracy, precision, and reliability become less severe as you go upward in quality. Your ARs from brands like Colt and FN make great service weapons, and in both semi-automatic and fully-automatic configurations, both companies’ weapons serve our armed forces and law enforcement personnel quite well, with failure rates being low in properly-maintained firearms.
But, if you’re going for that “five nines” of reliability, especially under austere conditions, you’ll have to take the next step to the lofty levels of KAC, LMT, and Heckler & Koch. With the attendant price points of course.
That being said, while the reliability of your firearm will be phenomenal with those brands, they really won’t help you much in terms of accuracy and precision if you don’t have the basic skillset to back it up. If you don’t know what you are doing, you’ll just miss the target with a KAC rifle. But you’ll miss with high precision. Those holes in the berm to the right and behind your target will be grouped quite nicely. $4000 worth of rifle and extras isn’t going to help your game much.
However, $1000 worth of rifle, $1000 worth of ammo, and $2000 worth of classes from a qualified instructor will do wonders for your skillset.
However, remember that your $1000 Colt LE6920 isn’t “just as good”. It’s not. It’s an excellent rifle, but in terms of objective measurements, the KAC AR will beat it in terms of accuracy and reliability. Even though it’s most likely a percentage point or less in terms of performance.
That last tier takes a lot of development and engineering to achieve. Time is money. From an engineering and fit-and-finish perspective, the more precisely a part is machined, the more time it takes to produce, whether it’s a CNC operator programming his equipment, or someone spending hours in Solidworks coding up their latest 3D-printed masterpiece. And time is money. Those parts take longer to finish. 1 Criterion barreltakes X amount of time to finish, whereas a barrel from a mass-market OEM takes X/4 to produce since there’s less milling and programming involved. They can turn out 4 barrels in the time it takes Criterion to do 1.
“Just as good”? No. “Almost as good” – yes.
Just remember where your gear stands in the spectrum and treat it accordingly. Your Aero Precision AR-15 may need a little more TLC between shooting sessions. You might need to swap out the trigger in your Colt LE6920 as your skills mature. The barrel on your Smith & Wesson M&P 15 might need replacing after 10,000 rounds rather than 20,000. Your gun-show upper might not have a sub-MOA guarantee. But you’ll be able to get that minute-of-bad-guy precision in a pinch.
As Twitter user HolyHaole puts it:
Yeah, absolutely true. Honestly one of the things I dislike the most about the gun community. It’s so pointless. Be happy folks are getting armed. Who cares what they have or how they get it. 3D printed, good. “Poverty” AR, good. Who cares? At least they can defend themselves.
Sure, jokes and memes are fun, and we’ll take them with a grain of salt. We all laugh. And in these strange days, humor is a necessity. If we can’t laugh at ourselves, who can we laugh at? I totally recognize the H&K VP9 is the entry-level H&K. And I laugh at the memes concerning it. But, I don’t punch down on those who can legit only afford a police trade-in Smith & Wesson, or a used GLOCK 19.
They’re arming up, and joining the community of Second Amendment Radicals and armed citizens. They can defend themselves with decisive force, and that is the critical part. And maybe one day, they’ll build themselves up to the good stuff. We all have to start somewhere, after all.
Don’t be a Gucci Gatekeeper. It’s counterproductive and is a divisive thing to do within our community. We need to present a unified front against the real enemy out there, those who support gun control. We can’t waste energy bashing each other over something as petty as the choice of firearm.
If all someone rolls up with is a beater gun? Work with them using that gun. They’ll learn it, master it, and you might learn a thing or two as well. There could come the time where your Gucci Gear isn’t available, and all you got to work with is a dinged-up M&P 15, a Yeet Cannon, or a hurriedly-printed FGC-9 MK II.
Stay armed, stay aware, and let’s get everyone on board with this thing of ours.
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