The alternate title of this post being “stop putting crap all over your gun“. We all point and laugh at Rooney Guns and the people that dress their ARs up with rails stacked on rails on lights and other shenanigans, and it’s good to do that. The problem is that it’s also easy to obviously tell what a Rooney gun is, but it’s much harder to tell when you have “too much stuff” on your gun.
A wise woman (not a wise Latina) once said to me that “you take stuff off a gun to make it more reliable”, meaning that it’s generally foolishness to clutter up your pistol, rifle, or shotgun with all manner of unnecessary gadgetry. Unless your guns are set up for specific tasks that require specific gear, such as an Open Division 3-gun shotgun, the simpler your can keep your set-up the better off you’ll be. My personal set up is a pistol for every day carry, and a long gun for home defense. Your mileage may vary, but here’s what the guns I use every day have on them.
- Pistol: night sights and Crimson Trace Laser. No “reliability package” work from the gunsmith, no light triggers, no silly gimmick sights.
- Shotgun: A flashlight. That’s it. Still has the wood furniture.
- Carbine: a Magpul sling and a Crimson Trace Light/Laser foregrip.
This set up may or may not work for you. Some people may want an optic on their rifle or shotgun, and that’s fine; keep in mind that optics break and some require batteries. If I put less stuff on my gun, I get a lot of benefits. The primary benefit is that there is less stuff to break, and let’s face it – stuff breaks. The second benefit is that my guns are lighter, which means they’re easier to manuever around, and also means I’m more likely to shoot them in practice. The third benefit is that because I’m not spending money on all kinds of accessories, I get to spend more money on actually shooting my guns and increasing proficiency.
Remember though – the gear listed above is my set-up that works for my needs. I’m not engaging targets at 300 yards with my carbine; in the worst case scenario I’m hunkered down behind my bed with it yelling at the 911 operator to “get the cops here so I don’t have to plug this guy” while the alarm howls in the background. Although, there is one other reason I tend to eschew optics on fighting guns – anything I can do with iron sights I can do with an optic, but not vice versa. If I can shoot fast and accurate with an iron sighted rifle, carbine, or shotgun, I know that if I need to shoot fast and accurately with an optically sighted gun I’ll be able to do it.
Keep your guns simple, and spend that money on ammo and quality training – you will not regret the decision.