Change undermines confidence. With every change we make to our gear, we must then ask ourselves if the change was for the best… or if it is just another wrinkle in the brow. Every new rail, every new optic must be attached, torqued, and evaluated for its quality. New things that screw in place can come loose, your zero could change, your optic could fail. A man sleeps soundly at night when he (or she) has a confident companion at the bed side… one who doesn’t change and one who has yet to falter.
With all the new tools and gizmos we will receive this holiday season and those “must haves” that debut in the future, it is important to keep at least one rifle untouched by the urge to upgrade, to tweak, and to tinker. A rifle who’s zero is true and whose setup is solid need not be overhauled every time a new rail or new product comes out. A constant state of change to a rifle does neither the rifle nor the rifleman favor. The rifle that we value and grab in confidence should receive upgrades and changes only when necessary and even then those upgrades should not change the rifle as to shake your confidence in her.
With every barrel swap, every rail change, and every optic we introduce, we have just added variables which may rust, which may slip, or that may fail. That new barrel’s chamber may be a bit too tight, the fancy new rail may have hardware that can rust or shear, and that new and untested optic may fracture at the first drop.
Instead keep one rifle ready and in a state of confidence. Tinker with the others. Upgrade others with the latest gizmo. Perhaps once thoroughly vetted, the new gizmo can make its way to your ready rifle. Train with your ready rifle like your life depended on it. Ensure it eats the dust, spits through the mud, and keeps throwing brass like a sewing machine. Resist the urge to change it until absolutely necessary. A M16A2 is old, outdated, but if it is in a state of readiness… it is far more valuable than a rifle who has yet to travel with you through the dust, who has yet to eat thousands of rounds, and who’s optic still hasn’t yet fought against the slings and arrows of malfunctions or the slow grind of mother nature.
So hold steady. That heavy old girl who needs updating can hold off a bit longer so long as she sings. In the darkness the glass will shatter and footsteps rush in. In ten or twelve seconds it will all be over. You won’t remember the weight. You wont remember the gritty trigger. You wont wax poetic over the new gear you can’t afford and don’t have. You will only remember that you grabbed that rifle because you were confident in her… and that she breathed fire like the devil.