The Elitist Mentality
I can only guess how discouraging it can be for a new shooter asking advice these days. The age of the internet gives everyone opinions about everything and often times new shooters receive information that they did not request. This as I have seen first hand only adds to the confusion. Even worse yet is when incorrect information is given out to someone who does not yet have the experience to know any better.
Possibly the worst thing that I have seen is what I call the elitist mentality. These are the guys who snub their nose at anything less than custom-built or top dollar. I think most of us can relate to not having an unlimited budget. As much as we all want the most expensive rifle and the best new scope it is not an affordable option for most.
Whats better experience or the best gear?
The elitists of the world seem to think that only by having the best equipment can you shoot properly. Tell a group you have a $1000 budget for a scope and it won’t take long for someone to suggest a $2500 option. Some might even go as far as suggesting that you just save until you can afford something that isn’t “junk”. What I am here to tell you is you don’t need the new caliber or best stuff.
The only way any of us get better is practice. Live fire or dry fire practice are the only things that are going to improve your ability. The elitist mentality that only the best should be used is counterproductive at best. I know plenty of people who could give me their high dollar rig and use a stock rifle and out shoot me. Why? I know a lot of great shooters and their setup has nothing to do with their skill set. They have spent hundreds if not thousands of hours behind rifles to improve their skill set. Get out to the range and practice. You can always upgrade your equipment as you go.
Find people willing to help
It is amazing how quickly the internet turns everyone into a subject matter expert. Not only does this pump a lot of misinformation into the pipeline but it also stops knowledgeable people willing to help from doing so. A lot of the replies that I have seen are less helpful than they are ego boosting, it is the elitist way. However there are people with experience who are willing to share it to help the community. Look for these people and when you do find them pay attention. I learned the most from a friend who wanted to help people learn and had a lot of experience. He dealt with all of my questions and just wanted to give back to the community that taught him so much. I learned more from him then any internet group could teach because I didn’t have to filter through the clutter.
Stop seeking validation
Elitists create a problem for every sport or hobby. The better than you mentality eats away at those who want to help and pushes new members away in fear of humiliation to their honest questions. However we all need to stop seeking validation from strangers on the internet. The internet is a wonderful place and has a ton of information. Instead of asking people if this scope is okay to be given a million responses from people who have never even seen one in person do research on your own! Make your own decisions! The elitists of the world have their opinions and so do other shooters. At the end of the day unless someone else is paying for it for you it doesn’t matter what they think. Please stop being lazy and do your own research and come to your own conclusions.
How can we sTop the cycle?
You can find a little bit of the elitist mentality in each and every one of us. We want to feel important and we want to be proud of what we own and use. There is no reason what so ever why we shouldn’t be. How can we end the cycle? Take a step back. Have you ever been new to something? Maybe a job or a hobby? Were you grateful to the guy who didn’t have the time of day to help you and acted like an elitist or the guy who took his time to help out? If you find yourself unable to help or can’t find something constructive to say it’s okay! Not a single one of us knows everything. Find another topic where you can help. Let’s build up the members in our hobby and help where we can and remember that we all start somewhere.