Making the Case for Making Your Gear

Making the Case for Making Your Gear

So you have a gun, maybe even a couple of guns, you’ve taken a class, got your CCW and done some research on how to carry. You are well on your way to becoming a real badass mamma-jamma. You’ve got the moves, kid. Now it’s time to get the gear.

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As I’m sure you’ve noticed, there are endless options for basically every piece of gear and gun accessory you can think of. It can be pretty overwhelming trying to figure out what is going to meet your needs best. It’s easy to end up with a whole pile of stuff that got great reviews and looked good on the Interwebz, but just doesn’t work for you. This can quickly get frustrating and expensive.

Here’s my suggestion—make your gear. Not all of it, and not all in one Red Bull-and-Jolt-cola-filled frenzy of weekend enthusiasm. Pick one thing, be it as complicated or simple as you feel comfortable with, and make it. Even if it turns out looking worse than Sylvester Stallone’s face-lift, you’ll be ahead and here’s why.

The first part of making a piece of gear forces you to think critically about what exactly your requirements are for that item. What am I going to be doing with this gear? Is it for personal defense or competition? What kind of climate and environment will I be running it in? How will it need to function in the real world scenarios that I will find myself in? (Notice that I said “will find myself in”, not “might find myself in”. By that I mean, it helps to be realistic when assessing your gear needs. Sure, in a zombie-ravaged wasteland, a sawed off shotgun and a machete would be perfect. Problem is, you probably spend more time sitting in your car in the line at the McDonalds drive-through than you ever will slaughtering the undead. So, while that Special Edition Zombie-Slayer carbon-fiber machete sheath may look like the hottest hotness ever, it may not be worth the dollars).

Once you know what you need, then you can begin the process of gathering your materials and getting started on the project. This is another opportunity to consider the merits of features like water-proofing, heat resistance, durability and weight. Some of these things may be crucial, others less important to you. You can also choose the origin of your materials, if you wish to patronize companies that align with your ideals. Also, since purchasing raw materials is usually cheaper than buying ready-made merchandise, you’ll probably save some dough (hello ammo fund!).

Many people in the gun community are interested in self-sufficiency in one way or another. Crafting a piece of your own kit is a great way to promote that mind-set, and maybe gain a new skill at the same time. In the ‘teach a man to fish’ way of thinking, skills are infinitely more valuable than goods. Plus, you’ll have the satisfaction of having made something with your own two hands instead of just watching Nutnfancy videos on your couch all evening. Chances are good that as you move through the project, you will also gain a better understanding how quality gear is produced and what’s worth paying for. You’ll likely see the short cuts that some companies take in mass producing gear and keeping costs low. You can decide for yourself what’s worth extra time and money, and which details are less important. Once you begin running your homemade gear, you can reassess its functionality and decide what changes need to be made. Sometimes that means modifying the piece to achieve the desired results, and sometimes it means starting a whole new project, in which case you might have just gotten yourself a new hobby (which I know your significant other is going to LOVE).

Even if hand-tooling leather holsters or sewing nylon instructor belts doesn’t end up being your life’s passion, the experience of producing an object that you need and will use often is sensible and satisfying. It will also make you a better-informed consumer and more acutely aware of your own requirements and expectations for firearms accessories. And, who knows? Maybe when the zombie apocalypse does happen you will be the only guy in business making all of those sweet Kydex machete sheathes.

Ready to jump right in? Here are some good places to start for projects and inspiration:

PhillyEDC’s two-part Kydex holster DIY tutorial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wntntfsrfEQ

DIY Tactical has several cool tutorials including a small zippered pouch that looks perfect for shotgun shells. http://diytactical.com/blog/category/tutorials/

Make your own rifle sling with Delta69Alpha’s video guide: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_D–8TtSOJ4

Prepper Website has a rotating list of projects and information, along with links to other related sites and resources. http://www.prepperwebsite.com/

And, just in case, you work up a thirst with that DIYing, here’s a video on how to make your own moonshine. http://homesteadsurvival.blogspot.com/2012/09/moonshine-making-101-in-depth-start-to.html