There’s been a good bit of chatter in the firearms community recently about our weapons being “tools” and treating them as such. By chatter, of course I mean an incident where an instructor from a training company we will choose not to name, was proving a point that weapons are tools, and decided to throw a loaded firearm on the ground and stomp on it. Lo and behold, the weapon discharged and sent a round right into the side of a student’s vehicle. Making matters worse, the instructor decided to pressure the class into keeping their mouths shut and did not report the incident to the host range, but that’s another topic for another day. In order to properly dissect the point that was trying to be made here, let’s do a little brief history on tools.
The earliest tools that historians have tagged for human use are simple rocks, sticks, and other items found in nature and modified for specific uses. These of course evolved over time into more modern items as the discoveries of copper, iron, and other malleable and rugged materials began being discovered and utilized. Then something amazing happened. As civilizations became more developed, mankind began to fabricate and perfect tools for the specific trades they worked in. Now people with specific skill sets were building tools that were specifically designed out of necessity and experience, thus perfecting the tools they needed. For sculptors, it was chisels and hammers, for builders it was masonry tools, and for warriors it was swords and shields. Thus bringing us back to our topic in present day.
The warrior is the second oldest career in the world. Mankind has employed warriors in militaries, as police, and as hired mercenaries since nearly the beginning of time. This vast reaching lineage of experience has offered the warrior a unique insight into developing some of the most perfect tools on the planet, and I’m here to personally tell you that we have done well at it. For the sake of keeping things streamlined, we are going to use Glock handguns when we refer to “weapon” from here on out. I have spent the last decade relying on my weapon to not only provide freedom and security for myself and others, but also as my main source of income. I have not held a job in my adult life that did not require me to carry a weapon. My weapon is my defense tool, and the tool of my trade in order for me to accomplish the specific task that I have been given, whatever level that may be. Much like generations of warriors before me, I have spent thousands and thousands of hours perfecting the skills required to properly utilize the tool that has been assigned to my trade.
Now, some of you out there in the “industry” love to believe that since our tools are firearms, that we are the best at utilizing the tools of our trade. This is a phenomenon that in my opinion, plagues the firearm industry and puts a bad taste in a lot people’s mouths that are not your normal “gun people.” Guns are cool, and because we know how to use one, that makes us more important and better than other trades. Let’s stop that shit right now. We are not unique, we are not special, and we are sure as shit not better than someone who utilizes different tools for their trade. For that matter, just because you have 100k subscribers on your YouTube channel where you post videos shooting in your back yard or at your local range, does not make this your trade. Just because you went to a weekend NRA course and you spend Sundays teaching people at your local range how to shoot paper for $100 a pop does not make this your trade. People dedicate their lives to their trades. Thousands upon thousands of hours of training and practical application are spent so that people become masters of their trade. Surgeons spend a decade of learning, training, and practice so that when they slice you open to save your life, they do not commit even the smallest of errors that could in turn, end said life. As elite warriors, our trade is no different. We dedicate years of our lives to perfecting our usage of our tools, so that when the time comes, we execute its application flawlessly. Much like a surgeon, the smallest of errors in this operation will certainly cause severe consequences. Let’s say you show up in my hospital for an operation, even a minor one. I walk in and you say “how many of these have you done?” and I respond with “None, but I watched it on YouTube and I went to a certificate bestowing course over the weekend.” Food for thought….
For a surgeon, their tool is a scalpel, or any various other type of surgical equipment. Scalpels are strong, sharp, perfectly designed tools that a surgeon relies on for his trade. He knows that his scalpel will not let him down when he needs it, but do you think he throws it on the ground and steps on it ever? A seamstress utilizes specific needles for specific stitching, and she knows that with proper application, her needles will always work for her. Do you think when she’s done she tosses her needles into a bin and guesses what kind of shape they’re in next time she needs them? Just because our firearms are built tough and designed to work in questionable environments, should we take advantage of that? I’ll be the first to tell you that Glocks run, no matter what. I have run them in the worst conditions you can imagine, and when you pull that trigger, that weapon operates. But that doesn’t mean that we take advantage of that fact and brag about how shitty we treat our tools like it’s some sort of wannabe operator badge of honor.
Weapon maintenance is DRILLED into you in the military, to the point of being extreme, but there’s a reason for that. It’s to show you the importance of properly maintaining the tools of your trade. There are thousands of scenarios that could cause your weapon to malfunction, do you want it to be because you were an asshole and neglected to treat it properly? Out of those thousands of scenarios, you can control only a few of them, so why would you not give yourself the advantage?
Stepping on a firearm to prove a point is asinine. It not only shows stupidity, but blatant disrespect for the tools of our trade. We do not spend thousands of hours and years of our lives perfecting our trade to do stupid shit to prove points. Yes our weapons are built tough, yes they are designed to be beaten up, but they are not made to be disrespected and neglected. Surgeons, seamstresses, chefs, cobblers, mechanics, pool boys.. All respect their trade and the tools that make them experts at it. We should be no different. Take care of your weapons, respect your weapons, hell, even baby them if you want, because one day when you need to rely on it, do you want to be relying on a tool that you metaphorically and in some ridiculous cases, literally, walked all over?