The Enemy of Good is Perfect. The 80% Solution.

Perfection is always a good goal. However, as the title suggests, oftentimes the pursuit of perfection blinds us to what may just be a good solution. This is especially true in the shooting world. How many of us have heard the arguments advocating this caliber or that platform or this piece of gear? I think the counter argument to that is look at the history of guerilla warfare and how the more “poorly” equipped guerilla puts the technically advanced soldiers on their heels. I am not going to discuss politics here, but suffice it to say, talk to any combat veteran of Vietnam, Iraq, or Afghanistan to get their opinion on just how deadly a poorly equipped guerilla can be.

Here at Cohort One Five we discuss the reality of most folks who do not have a lot of money to spend on firearms or gear. The struggle is real. While many of us would love to have the gun room and the latest, hottest gear, the truth is, most of us strive just to be able to equip us and our family members with just a basic battery of arms, if even that.

That is why many of us now talk about the “80% solution.” Trying to find that middle ground that will cover the largest percentage of contingencies, but not being the perfect solution for all of them.


I would advocate if you can only afford one rifle, get an AR15 platform rifle in 5.56mm. Why? Part availability and ammunition availability. Prices on the rifle can range from $400-$3000 or more depending on what manufacturer makes it. Some folks argue, buy once-cry once. You have to make that decision.

I would recommend the 16 inch barrel. It is compact enough for tight situations and still gives you enough barrel length for good velocity and reach. If you can free float it, good. If you cannot, that is okay too. While I do like red dot sights for their quickness, as my eyes age I am learning to appreciate the quickness and usefulness of magnified optics. For the budget minded individual, I would recommend either Vortex Optics or Primary Arms. Good glass for the dollar. I am personally considering running a 1-4x or 1-6x scope on my rifles from now on. With the combination of that kind of glass and a 16 inch barrel I feel very comfortable shooting out to 300 yards and beyond.

Buy at least 10 magazines per rifle. Magazines fail. This gives you backup. I prefer Magpul Pmags. You may not. Still, have at least 10 magazines per rifle. Different folks prefer different furniture. Regardless, I do recommend a collapsing buttstock.


Here I recommend a Glock 19 in 9mm. Same reasoning as above. Availability of parts and ammunition. It is easier to conceal that the full size G17, yet, it is not too small. 80% remember? If you are planning to carry concealed, you may have to find what type of carry works best for you.


I am going to list some of the gear vendors that I am personally looking at.

It is hard not to drool over the Haley Strategic D3CR, but can the same varieties of possibilities be covered with something else? For around the same price as the D3CR, I can get a decent plate carrier and mountable chest rig from 7.62 tactical. Or Max Velocity Tactical has a neat convertible chest rig that can go from 5.56 to 7.62 with the change of an insert.

Beez Combat Systems has some affordable plate carriers as well.

You need to do your own research on what kind of armor you need. However, I do recommend it.

Look, I am not going to judge you if all you can afford is Condor Gear. I have used and abused their gear for some time. Their quality is getting better.

For me personally, I am always looking for gear that can cover a myriad of uses. Again, the 80% solution.


All of this equipment is useless without the proper training and mindset. Especially now. This is the one part of this whole equation that requires 100% all the time.


I would love to hear back from you on this. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.








Clayton Shackelford




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