Posted on November 12 2018
Everyone has seen the super gear guy on the range wearing his entire combat load. How much is too much, and why does he push the limit?
Let’s set the scene a little bit. You’re on the range, loading your magazine, getting ready to zero the new optic you just purchased. You’ve got nothing too crazy planned for the day, just going to sight in, set your dope, and then maybe mess around, and get used to your tool.
Out of nowhere you hear a torrential downpour of gunfire coming from two weapons. The fire has zero discipline, and at the same time both guns stop shooting. One voice screams “COVER ME RELOADING!” and then you hear a 9mm popping off.
By now you’re already watching this crap show. At some point you know you’re going to have to pick your jaw up, but right now you can’t. You’re too busy watching this 22 year old kid with 75 pounds of pouches, magazines, steel plates, and multi-cam try to pull a fresh mag off a misplaced drop-leg pouch, while his buddy plinks away with his pistol.
It’s a good thing these dudes are wearing sheep-dog, ISIS hunting club patches, otherwise you would never know what they were trying to do.
What is the fascination with wearing too much gear?
In civilian security contracting, they say “Always remember the ABC’s.” ABC is an acronym, it stands for “Always Be Cool.”
Major Rusty Bradley wrote in the book Lions of Kandahar “95% of being cool, is looking cool.”
Video games like Call of Duty, and the Battlefield franchises have glorified combat, covering their character models in cool-guy tactical gear.
Popular images from the Global War on Terror almost always showcase infantrymen, and special operation types covered from head-to-toe in direct action equipment.
Personally, I think this is where the fascination comes from. Almost every time we encounter the geardo, it’s a younger person with limited experience and training inadvertently pulling the ABC’s of security contracting. It’s someone who has been spoon-fed images of the tacticool, and tries to impersonate what he has seen on OAFNation and Generation Kill.
How do you know if you’re being a Geardo? Well this is a simple enough question to answer, but you’re going to have to dig down and really be honest with yourself. I can say without a shadow of doubt that everyone who is into guns, has at one point in time bought a piece of gear simply because they thought it looked cool, or they thought it would serve some specific purpose.
It’s not really a mistake, but more a right of passage. That’s why I can guarantee that everyone reading this has either thrown a useless piece of equipment away, or has a box of unused gear sitting in a closet somewhere.
No joke, here is all my extra, unused kit that’s sitting inside of a pelican case in storage.
So I want you to ask yourself these questions.
- Is your gear uncomfortable?
- Does your gear feel like it’s slowing you down?
- Do you have unneeded “admin” pouches?
- Would wearing your gear for 72 hours in an austere environment destroy you?
- Do you access less than 50% of your gear in a single training session?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you may be falling into the geardo category.
This is nothing to be ashamed of, but you need to take a step back and assess the situation. If you have a 5000 dollar top end AR, but don’t know what bone support, and natural point of aim is, you need to invest in some professional training instead of a new Crye-Precision multi-glam JPC.
Now, I’m not going to stand here on a soap box and tell you how to set up your kit. At the end of the day the decision is completely up to you. It’s all user preference in the end, and what works for me, probably won’t work for you.
With that said, at what point do you have too much gear on? You want to be prepared for anything and everything right? So… maybe you need three admin pouches, two frag grenade pouches, a dump pouch, eight 5.56 mag pouches, four 7.62 pouches, two SAW pouches, a drop-leg holster, six pistol mag pouches, and a high-cut maritime helmet from OPs-Core, complete with rail system, Peltors, and an O2 mask. Oh, and let’s not forget the med-bag. Everyone needs a med-bag.
More than likely not, right? Let’s be realistic
Take a tactical pause today and take a hard look at your kit. Try and keep a minimalist mind-set while you do this. Ask yourself the hard questions, and seriously consider what you absolutely need to have on you in a gun-fight. Here’s a hint, the answer isn’t everything.
- What weapons do I intend to carry when I am wearing this?
- What is the mission I intend to accomplish wearing this?
- Does this random piece of equipment prevent me from using a more essential piece of kit?
- Where is my ammo?
- Where is my blowout kit?
Do a dry run once you’ve got everything set up. Make sure that you can easily access every piece of gear with both hands. If something doesn’t immediately feel right, chances are it’s wrong, and you need to reconsider the placement of your kit.
Remember, at the end of the day, every single piece of gear you put on your kit is going to be there when you get into a serious situation with it. Practical is tactical, tacticool is dead.
Don’t be the super geardo on the range, fumbling a simple reload, because your quad stacked high-speed taco mag pouches are blocked by your two admin pouches. Don’t be this guy. (Unless you’re from Polenar Tactical, then you’re cleared hot to be this guy.)