Letter Re: On Training and Cross-Training with Unfamiliar Gear

Mr. Rawles,
This weekend, I saw an excellent training strategy employed: trade equipment with your friends and see how well you do with it.
Whether it’s a rifle/pistol match, where everyone has to use the same beater Remington 870 instead of the expensive “tactical” setup they brought, or having to set up and use someone else’s stove or tent on a camping trip, it makes sense.
Having to make do with unfamiliar gear expands the range of situations you can deal with, and gives you confidence and general knowledge that you can apply later. You’ll also get ideas on how to improve your equipment next time. Since doing this, I’ve learned that I need to start keep inventory lists in my first aid kits, and general instructions on some of my items. A log book that details each of your firearms, with instructions on how They are zeroed with particular ammo (i.e. 1″ high at 100 yards with 55gr ball, 10″ low with 68 grain, et cetera) is also a good idea.
Even better would be instructions for zeroing it out from scratch (i.e. sights are 48 clicks Left from stop and 12 up for standard ammo), copies of the take-down procedure and other basic info, All of this can live in a small 3-ring binder.
Basically, any bag of gear or complicated piece of equipment should have the supplies and documents for someone who has never seen it before to be able to operate it cold. If all of your stuff is maintained in this state, you will never forget something important (such as bringing the chain saw with no bar oil) and your brother-in-law won’t burn out the generator if he needs to run it while you’re gone and he doesn’t know the oil/gas mixing procedure. Hope this helps! – JN