Learn A Different Gun

Strive for competency across multiple firearms platforms.

You thought ahead. You’re cruising through the COVID-19/Chinese Flu/Beer Flu/Flu-Tang-Clan-Flu with a smile on your face since you stockpiled oodles of ammo, plenty of guns, and the other essentials in advance. You don’t need to panic buy. You’re good. But, seeing all that commerce go down, despite the insane gibberings of tepid soft-core porn starlet Samantha Micelli, makes you want to engage in some retail therapy of your own.

Why not learn a different gun?

Sure, you’ve mastered your platform of choice. You become one with that GLOCK 19 when it leaves the holster on your belt. Those 9mm 124-grain Speer Gold Dot projectiles sizzle downrange. Someone asks you to shoot a gnat, and your response is “Headshot or kneecap?”. You’re just that damn good. You’ve practiced that kick ten thousand times. You’ve even got a second GLOCK 19 to back up the first.

You and the GLOCK 19 - it just works. All the damn time.

Or you are at the same level with an AR, etc.

So why bother learning another gun? There’s several practical and not-so-practical reasons, actually.

Brownells

You May Not Always Have Your Primary Firearm

The current situation has proven one thing - even a plentiful resource like guns or ammo can become scarce overnight during an emergency. We’re fortunate enough to live in a nation where even the scarcity is short-lived, i.e. you can get 9mm from several suppliers, right now - mere weeks after the initial craze. The trucks are still rolling, and the factories are still producing - even during this Corona-crisis. Civilization still cranks. However, if a genuine stop-the-presses crisis were to occur, there’s a fair chance your favorite firearm platform and caliber may not be plentiful. Yes, we’ve covered having a “Plan B” caliber - but what about a Plan B gun?

Pistols

In the world of pistols, it may very well be that during a crisis, your favorite handgun just fails to function, and the fix isn’t something immediate action will cure. Something broke. Spares are hard to find, but complete guns of a different brand or platform may be accessible. If you’re a GLOCK guy/gal, you might just find yourself in an area where Smith & Wesson reigns supreme. Police purchasing sometimes dictates local citizen trends. Sure, GLOCK is the go-to brand for the Thin Blue Line, but there’s plenty of departments rocking HK, S&W, and so on. Miami Beach PD is a Smith & Wesson shop, for example. Orlando equips it’s officers with the SIG Sauer P226. In a real crisis, it’s often government guns that may be “available” for pickup. You wouldn’t want to specialize in GLOCK, and be all-thumbs with SIG. A SIG might be the tool that saves your life in this real doomsday scenario.

However, pistols are a poor example. Modern striker-fired pistols pretty much work the same - the manual of arms varies little. There’s slight variances like manual safeties and so on, but if I hand a GLOCK aficionado an H&K VP9, they will be able to use it within minutes. Same operating concept.

Where it gets interesting is in the world of rifles.

Rifles

Rifles often differ radically in their manual of arms. The biggest example, of course, is the differences between the AR and AK platforms. Even assuming a similar caliber, i.e. 5.56mm and 5.45mm, the operating system is different. In a standard AR-pattern rifle, your safety is typically on the left side of the lower receiver, and is a small thumbswitch, as it were. SAFE-SEMI, and maybe even AUTO if you are lucky. On an AK-pattern rifle, your safety is a big honkin’ lever on the right side. SAFE (AUTO if you are lucky) and SEMI.

A mundane function like the safety is radically different between two very common rifle platforms. Sidebar - did you know that the AK safety goes SAFE-AUTO-SEMI since the idea was that a panicked soldier would really hammer down on the safety - thus the last detent is SEMI to give the operator more control in a crisis - if the last setting were AUTO, a panicked soldier may expend all his ammo within the first five seconds of the engagement. Nifty.

Anyways - the difference is much like macOS versus Windows. The goal is the same (compute something or shoot something) but the methods are different enough to give experienced operators of one or the other pause. Try it. If you’re a Windows person, go use a Mac. You’re going to fumble for a bit. Control-C is not copy on a Mac. That sort of thing.

The idea extends to the world of rifles as well. If you’ve done nothing but shoot AR-15s all your life, and mastered them, an AK will initally prove challenging. The aforementioned safety lever is on the right side. Your magazine release is a paddle-switch underneath the receiver. Even loading a magazine into the gun is different - you have to kind of rock it in there. The charging handle is on the right, and it reciprocates during the firing sequence even. You’re going to fumble for a few getting used to it.

Unless you’ve practiced with it prior. The goal isn’t necessarily to attain the same mastery as your primary platform, but to attain competence. You want to be able to pick up that gun, and use it effectively without much thought. It just might get you out of a bind.

Using Another Gun Makes You Appreciate Your Primary More

To continue on with the obvious example of AR versus AK, when you switch platforms, you’ll undoubtedly pine for whatever drew you to your favorite in the first place. If you’re coming from an AR-pattern rifle to the world of AKs, you’ll probably miss the ease of magazine changes on the AR, as compared to it’s Eastern Bloc counterpart. Conversely, if you are going from an AK to an AR, you may miss the AK’s comparative ease of maintenance. Cultural aesthetics can come into play as well - the AK has spawned an entire culture unto itself, it’s definitely very heavy metal/punk rock. The navy gets ARs, the pirates get AKs, that sort of thing.

Regardless, going to another platform will make you appreciate the strengths of your chosen gun - and vice versa. Taken to an extreme, some will even attempt to meld the two worlds, resulting in interesting weapons like the M+M M10x, and the CMMG Mutant - though some will consider both guns things that should not be, ha ha.

It’ll get you out of your comfort zone, and make you a better shooter all around. Switch it up.

Bulk Ammo In-Stock

Try for something unusual like the Kalashnikov USA KR-9.

Routine Breeds Boredom - Shake Things Up!

Learning another gun will get you out of that comfort zone. If all you’ve run for the past decade was a 9mm GLOCK and an 5.56mm AR-pattern rifle, after awhile it’ll just seem like habit - or work even. You’ll go to the range as a matter of routine, and even classes may become boring. Switching up your guns will not only round out your shooting skills, but it might just bolster your enthusiasm for all things 2A - akin to renewing your vows as a Second Amendment Radical, in a way.

The process of learning a different gun will also benefit in another way with the reinforcement of fundamentals. You may discover flaws in your shooting habits, which may not be noticeable in your routine shooting, but present themselves when transitioning to another platform.

As students of the gun, and Second Amendment Radicals, we should always strive for compentency on a variety of firearms - you never know what you’ll encounter out there.

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