We see lots of people and companies pushing out new product to the tactical community. We have come a long way from the old leather belt and holster with a western revolver, and we are deeply thankful that we aren’t trying to draw Glocks from them. It would be awkward to say the least. The new products all come with a price tag, and we either get excited, or we balk at the price, depending. But we are well aware of the hidden cost of new gear, and it far exceeds the price tag: the building up of new muscle memory.
Muscle memory is a known thing in the tactical world. We have seen people saying anywhere from 1000-30,000 repetitions of any motion to create muscle memory, or the ability to perform an action with no real thought input, and people equate that with drawing a sidearm. I have seen dozens of people just practising their draws at various police training schools, at ranges and at airsoft events. It helps them landmark their pistol and draw faster.
Now, if you are currently running a Blackhawk Serpa holster, and decide to switch over to the Safariland ALS holster, are you prepared to pay the full price? Are you going to spend the time to do 1000-30,000 draws to build up your muscle memory? Are you switching out all your holsters to Safariland ALS holsters, or are you going to have to try to build up two different muscle memories and hope you don’t screw it up due to training scars when you really need it?
This muscle memory and hidden costs applies to all types of tactical gear: magazines (both pistol and rifle) should be very fast to find, withdrawn with one hand, spent mag dropped and fresh mag inserted, and slide catch released (or slide racked) without looking at the weapon or the magazine: eyes should be forward and scanning, looking for threats. Intermediate weapons should be deployed without having to look or think about.
So, let’s say you are a police officer, and your agency just went to a molle outer vest carrier. You decide to rig up a bunch of gear on your vest: make sure you pay the hidden cost, even if there is no cash cost. Or you are an IPSC shooter trying out 3 Gun for the first time: pay the hidden cost first. Or you are an airsofter switching from a plate carrier to a battle belt: pay that cost before you hit the field.