Be honest - Has this ever been you?
I’ve been told that you only become the problem as soon as you believe you’ve got it all figured out. As much as those anti-gunners and tyrants like to think they know it all and refuse to accept factual information, and as much we resent them for that blind stubbornness, I’d say that same mindset plagues the 2A community just as much.
Sorry, guys. I’ll provide a tomato stand for you at the end. But at least think about it - have you seen some of the arguments between two passionate gun owners with differing opinions? Have you seen the pretentious gun store employee who thrives on making sure customers feel stupid for asking questions? I sure have.
My point is this: if we as a freedom-loving community cannot stop trying to one-up and scold and condescend each other for every little thing, how can we expect to unite against those who would seek to strip away our rights? You do not know everything. Humility is not weakness, but too much pride sure as hell is. Do not be afraid to learn from others, and admit when you don’t know everything.
Okay, rant over - let’s get to the fun stuff. Riding on this theme, we’d like to address 10 basic misconceptions and misunderstandings we’ve come across in the world of guns, tactics, and self-defense. These are all very real things people have said to us, so if any of these misconceptions surprise you, well, just remember that everyone is learning at their own pace.
And that’s okay.
Common Misconceptions in the Tactical World
Misconception #1: “Body Armor is pointless. I’ll just aim for the head!”
This is one of the more common statements we see on our social media accounts, as a “counterpoint” for owning body armor. “If your chest is protected, I’ll just aim for your head - easy kill.”
Here’s the thing: everyone loves to go out to their local 25-yard range or run 10 minutes of flat-ground drills a week and then think to themselves: “Man, this is easy. I’m a crack shot and a badass.” From there, it’s not difficult to develop additional assumptions about how kickass they’d be in an actual gunfight.
There’s one problem with this logic, however: when that 25-yard paper target has a rifle, equal or better training, and is shooting back at you… well, you see how precision shot placement becomes a tad more difficult.
It’s for this reason so many experts try to drive home one point: center mass, center mass, center mass. It’s the safest bet in stopping your target. If you’re concerned that your target is wearing body armor, then the Mozambique Drill can be helpful (if practiced). You know it as "two to the body, one to the head.”
Lesson learned: Every situation is unique, and you should never believe that your trip to the shooting range or your hand-crafted training drills will be anything like a live combat scenario. Prepare accordingly, be ready to adapt, and talk to the experts.
Misconception #2: “Since the purpose of Body Armor is to protect my vital organs, ‘flesh wounds’ are no big deal.”
Major misconception from the movies here. Billy Badass takes a shot to his arm from an AK47, but thankfully it’s “only a flesh wound” so he’s able to continue fighting for the next 2 hours, fall in sewage water, catch on fire, probably get shot a few more times, win a fistfight, all while it appears that “flesh wound” isn’t even bothering him at all. Pretty cool.
Not the most realistic thing.
Your chances of survival are obviously higher if you are shot in an extremity versus your heart - but they are never guaranteed. People tend to underestimate just how many individuals actually bleed out in combat due to these “flesh wound” injuries. Your body is full of blood pathways and arteries constantly moving blood around your body, and any disruption to that system can easily result in massive hemorrhaging and, of course, death - not to mention the extreme risk for infection.
Lesson learned: You’re not going to just “brush off” a hit to your arm with an AK47. If you get shot, patch it up.
Misconception #3: “I’ve played enough video games to know what war is like”
I’m sure we all dream of racing down mountains on snowmobiles being chased by hoards of Russian Ultranationalists while mowing them all down with our G18’s, right?
Hopefully most of us understand that this IS a misconception - I am generally more concerned with the younger crowd - especially those still in high school and approaching service age - believing this. I watched more than a few of my own friends enlist with this mindset. Even then, I know we all like to clean our AR’s and stock up on ammo thinking about how much fun we’d have fighting tyranny and whatnot, right?
Desiderius Erasmus famously said, “War is delightful to those who have had no experience of it.” Anyone reading this who has seen war knows exactly what it means. War is not running-and-gunning with an M4 and 800 rounds of ammo, vaulting over obstacles, crashing through windows and spraying bullets everywhere, blowing up everything you see as you battle an enemy who’s weapons seem to shoot in every direction but your own for some unexplained reason. War is not even the games that attempt to make it seem real. You may think your Battlefield and Arma 3 games are “simulations”, but remind yourself of one thing, as your character sprints up a 45-degree incline with full battle gear without breaking a sweat - no, it isn’t real.
What is war? Well, war is rules of engagement that often allow an enemy to get a free “first-chance” at killing you, maybe even a second or third chance depending on how accurate they are. War is watching innocent people die because your enemy does not share your own rules of engagement - and it is also watching innocent people die because neither do the top brass. War is fighting an enemy that, contrary to the games, will sometimes out-think or out-maneuver you. War is cleaning, mopping, waiting, walking, being hungry, thirsty, eating awful food, receiving permanent injuries deemed “not service-connected” from most of those things, not seeing your family for prolonged periods of time, and so much more.
You know what war isn’t? Fun.
Lesson learned: War is hell, unconditionally. If you already understand this, please make sure your children understand it too. Video games are great fun - we play them too - but that’s all they’re intended to be - fun. And if you’re joining the military to do what they do in Call of Duty, well… let’s just say I hope you like having a mop as your secondary weapon.
Misconception #4: “Steel armor is unsafe, too heavy, and no real warrior would use it”
If you’ve been following our articles, you’ve likely heard more than a few of our responses to this concern. The ironic thing about this is that 9 out of 10 people who complain are neither military nor Law Enforcement, and have virtually no training or real field experience - they merely think they know what those things are about (not to say you exclusively have to be military/LE to have real experience of course).
If you want a reality check, go tell a SAW gunner from the mid-2000’s how our 7.5 lb piece of armor is “too heavy for real-world use.”
The reality is, every mission is different. Ceramic armor is not a perfect solution for every scenario, and neither is steel. Sometimes, no armor is the ideal scenario, and other times, as much armor as you can possibly carry is the ideal scenario. If I’m on a 2-3 day scouting mission and covering lots of rough terrain, I’m going to opt for a lighter loadout. If I know I’m going to be in a single spot, possibly defending it, you better believe I’m going to opt for something heavier that can consistently stop rounds.
There are more than a few ways to make steel armor safe. Our personal choice is Kevlar, as it adds phenomenal ballistic AND spall protection with minimal additional weight.
Lesson Learned: Every type of body armor has its place in your arsenal. Stop listening to the Facebook trolls - they spend 18 hours a day trolling online for a reason.
Misconception #5: “I know this person, so they are never going to be a threat to me.”
This one is hard to drive home with people, because until someone you know and trust actually harms you, you never believe it’ll actually happen. We like to think it only happens to naive people on serial killer documentaries, who befriended scummy people we would “never” be friends with ourselves.
Well, guess what? Those people probably thought the exact same thing. Whether you believe the people you associate with are trustworthy or not, remember this: Roughly 75% of violent crime - rape, homicide, assault, etc. - is committed by someone previously known to the victim.
That isn’t to say you shouldn’t trust anyone (you won’t easily get far in a SHTF situation by yourself), but be smart.
Lesson learned: Anyone can be a threat; literally, anyone. That 75% statistic may include people the victim only recently met, but a big chunk of it is family members as well. Do not live your life in fear of everyone around you, but don’t be stupid either. These types of incidents usually involve nine smart actions and just one stupid one - but the stupid action is often all it takes.
Misconception #6: “I want to model my gear and loadout after this spec ops guy I saw on the news. They’re the best of the best, so their gear must be the best”
We want to be careful here, because we love, respect, and appreciate all of our SOF warriors out there - we have several in our own company - and we would never attempt to imply that they are nothing short of excellent, and that the impact they have on our nation’s security and safety is beyond measure.
As civilians though, we are naturally drawn towards MK18’s, blue jeans and gas masks because we see the “cool guys” always rocking that shit. And that’s it. That’s often why we’re drawn to them. What we need to remember is that as imperative as our special forces are, wars are not single-handedly won by them. And every mission calls for unique equipment, no matter who is participating.
So while you want to build your loadout to match the most badass man you can find, it might not be the best option for your gear set up. You have to remember that the loadouts for each of the SOF solders is most likely different from his team members. They all set up their kits how it best fits their mission and needs. You should do the same, which means in all reality that your load out does not match theirs, since your use case is not the same as theirs.
Lesson Learned: While it’s understandable to be interested in the latest and greatest tech and the cool gear and gizmos that all the “tacticool” guys use, the reality is that might not be what you need. Again, every mission calls for its own unique equipment, so be practical. And those blue jeans have their place, don’t worry.
Misconception #7: “That guy wasn’t in the military - he’s just a civilian. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about, he doesn’t deserve to even be training with all that gear.”
Our company is made up of individuals from all walks of life - current and former military, police, civilian, you name it. Do the military guys look down on the civilian guys for being civilian? Of course not. Do the civilian guys respect the military guys for their service? Of course they do. Everyone gets along, and everyone is eager to learn from everybody else. The notion that there has to be this “disconnect” because some people served and some didn’t is total BS.
That’s not to say that our military guys do not have experiences and camaraderie that many civilians could never even hope to understand; but the point is, if you are the type of person that believes someone isn’t “qualified” or “deserving” to share in the same freedoms that our military fights and bleeds for, simply because they are not a part of the “formal” military, you may want to reconsider what it actually means to be an American. You would also likely make a great politician.
Whether or not you have served, you are allowed to own firearms - that’s kind of the point of the Second Amendment. You are allowed to own body armor. You are allowed to become proficient with both. You are allowed to train and train until you are the most well-trained civilian in this country. This nation was founded by civilians arming and training themselves to fight the most modernized military in existence at the time.
Lesson learned: Don’t be a dick. If you are condescending or pretentious towards someone because of a title, you are the problem.
Misconception #8: “If I shoot someone, they are going to fall to the ground.”
Another misconception commonly found in video games and movies. When I’m playing Call of Duty and fighting an enemy who is near-death, I will sometimes intentionally aim for their foot - because it’s hilarious to me that a single shot with a handgun to their foot just instantaneously ends their life.
We’ve already established how potentially deadly a gunshot to anywhere on the body can be. However, shooting your target hardly means they will go down. Any number of things - adrenaline, drugs, sheer willpower - will keep a shot individual on their feet. Go online and search for stories about home intruders and other criminals who were on drugs while committing crimes and got shot - there are more than a few counts of individuals being shot numerous times in the arms, legs, chest, and even head, without going down.
Lesson learned: Never assume that shooting someone will instantly incapacitate them. Be smart, be cautious, and don’t assume you have the absolute upper-hand by simply having the gun. If you are defending yourself with a firearm, your goal should be to stop the threat.
Misconception #9: “If there's ever a problem, just walk out on the balcony, put that double-barrel shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house. I promise you whoever's coming in is not going to.”
Words of wisdom from our very own...
As you may have guessed, this is a quote directly from our own President Joe Biden. Believe it or not, this is not the most sound of advice for self-defense.
Who would’ve thought?!
Still, Biden’s idiocy prompts an important point: in virtually any home defense scenario, there is no such thing as a “warning shot” - there is only discharging a firearm (which is often considered a crime). Every round fired from your weapon will be accounted for in one way or another. If you are discharging a firearm in a home defense scenario, it had better be at the intruder, after you’ve determined that lethal force is necessary to protect yourself and/or your home, and in a way that implies you were attempting to stop the threat - NOT attempting to kill (read our article on Understanding Self Defense to make sure you do not incriminate yourself here).
If you are dealing with a home intruder, have fired “warning shots” and the police get involved, you will more than likely face a hefty fine for those shots - especially if you live with other people and/or have neighbors, because you have put their lives at risk. As confident as you may be that your warning shots were in safe directions, that is a difficult legal battle to win. There may be something to say here for individuals living by themselves in more rural areas, but we are going to assume one or both of those items do not apply here.
Lesson Learned: There is no such thing as a “warning shot” - That bullet has to go somewhere. Just because your ammunition is intended for a specific use, do not assume you know exactly how each bullet will behave, where it will go and what it will penetrate.
And no, claiming “Joe Biden told me to” will unfortunately not get you out of legal trouble. It’s been tried, more than once.
Misconception #10: “I have trained extensively for any self-defense situation. I’ll be ready no matter what.”
One of the unfortunate realities of real self-defense scenarios is that until you experience one, you can never fully be prepared for it - not to say training isn’t helpful, of course. It is imperative to be prepared for high levels of adrenaline in these types of situations, and more importantly, understand what it will do to your mind and body. Expect your brain to do… unexpected things. You may have seen footage of other people doing irrational things or “losing it” in self-defense scenarios and wonder why. Well, this is why: Basic cognitive skills can be significantly subdued when adrenaline-fueled stress takes over. Sheer shock from witnessing something horrible can add to this effect as well.
Think of it like a heated argument you had with a friend. If you’re like us (human), you’ve probably thought to yourself afterwards, “why did I say that?” or, “why didn’t I say this?” The simple reason for this is that the parts of your brain specifically designed to assess situations and make decisions are not able to perform at necessary levels in higher-stress and/or adrenaline-fueled environments. Scary? Maybe a little, but rest assured - there are tried and true ways to train and prepare for this sort of experience. Get that practice in.
Lesson Learned: There’s more to self defense than shooting. Adrenaline and stress are real factors you must take into consideration when training for any sort of self-defense or combat situation.
“Humility accomplishes more than ability”
I know the last thing we all want is a lecture on being humble. But to be humble is to be teachable, and the best of the best warriors know that there is ALWAYS something new to learn - it comes with the observation mindset. Some of these misconceptions may have surprised you, but remember that we all still have misconceptions of our own, because we’re not perfect. One of the strongest tactical advantages you can maintain in battle is an open mind. It’ll allow you to not only learn new things, but it’ll rewire your brain into developing an adaptive mindset - one of the most powerful weapons on a battlefield.
So as always, get to it!