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Diminishing Returns and Firearm Performance


– [Voiceover] Diminishing
returns and firearms, how does it apply? Well, in economics it
means that as investment in a particular area
increases, the rate of profit from that investment after a certain point cannot continue to
increase if other variables remain at a constant. So, as investment
continues past that point the return diminishes progressively. So how does this apply to anything else? Well, it’s something hot rodders
are all too familiar with. For example, getting to
500 or 600 horsepower is pretty easy and reasonably
inexpensive these days. For a couple of thousand
bucks you can get there on a stock long block. Most modern transmissions can handle it, as can rear ends, and
modern brakes even provide enough woe for all that go. But to step up and get to the next level it’s exponentially more expensive. You need new pistons and rods, head work, cams, perhaps even a new
block if you go big enough. Then comes the transmission, diff, cage, belts, Lexan, and all
of a sudden shaving off another 10th of a quarter means a second or third mortgage on your home. So this automotive tangent aside, if you’re still with me
then the same applies most certainly to firearm performance. Too often I see people with firearms who for no good reason spend hundreds, if not thousands, of
dollars on brilliantly made stock handguns to try and turn them into some kind of half-assed race gun or tactical monstrosity. But let’s back up. Yes, for many shooters like the folks who are competitive in IPSC Open, then they legitimately
need any edge they can get. That’s why race guns look the way they do, charging handles, electronic sights, thumb rests, compensators,
and jet funnel mag wells all help the best of the
best handgun shooters shave off precious time and
increase hit probability to hopefully place first. These guns also cost $5,000 and up, but are purpose-built
race guns with ironically little to no practicality
outside of shooting events held by the International
Practical Shooting Confederation. Sure they’re still deadly,
and I guess you could use one for protection, but when
building one of these firearms nobody asks, “Well yeah,
but how viable is it “as a carry gun?” But really you see people
shooting who wouldn’t place well in production or
classify an IDPA above novice shelling out money for mods
instead of ammo and range time, which I promise will
help an amateur shooter more than any expensive parts
you can put on your new Glock. $1,000 worth of accessories is alluring to a young, new shooter. It’s fun to work on stuff
and make something your own, but shooting well is more
important than looking cool, and that dollar amount
will also buy you about 5,000 rounds of ammunition
to practice with. And I think any trainer
or competition shooter is going to tell you to go that route. So when should you start
modifying your stuff? Well, that’s a tricky question to answer. First of all, what do
you want to accomplish? If you’re nailing the
bullseye at all angles while standing or on the move, then you may be getting the
most out of your pistol, which is something most
shooters do not and cannot do despite claims made by
everyone on the internet who can send all their
rounds through one hole while back-flipping from the
bed of a moving pickup truck. The fact is that most
guns are more capable than the shooter behind them, and squeezing every little
bit of accuracy out of a handgun takes time,
patience, and dedication. It’s hard to say exactly
when a shooter needs more, but suffice it to say if you
are killing it in production or shoot a classifier
and fall into export, or the coveted master,
then you’re probably there. This also goes for rifle shooting. A stock AR-15 is a lot more
capable than people think. I’ve seen excellent
shooters make stock rifles dance like a ballerina, and marginal shooters
behind extremely high-end expensive rifles struggle at 100 yards to hit a 12 inch plate. I would argue that if you’re
shooting five or six inch group at 100 yards with iron sights behind a 69-20, you don’t
need that $300 trigger yet. The gun is doing its job in this case. It’s the shooter that isn’t, as much as it might pain you to admit. But say the shooter is
shooting very impressive groups with irons, then I would say,
“Yes, you could definitely “benefit from expensive parts.” So diminishing returns applies here. Accuracy is expensive. A new trigger is one of
the less expensive upgrades that has a noticeable effect on accuracy, but in my experience is
one of the greatest things you can do to tighten up groups. And getting to one MOA
consistently with the right ammo, trigger, and a decent optic is a pretty solid goal;
however, as a shooter seeks to tighten up a group beyond this, the cost grows exponentially
for each fraction of a minute. A new barrel, bolt,
incredibly expensive optic, free float tube, and so on
makes the price of getting down to one MOA look like pocket change. Then you see old guys with rail guns for whom accuracy has
become an absolute obsession trucking around
monstrosities that would cost more money and time to
build than your car. So there’s definitely a threshold. The cost of accuracy
goes up exponentially, especially if the shooter’s
skill level remains constant. For the overwhelming majority of shooters there is no substitute for range time, but for the few who can get
the most out of any given firearm, then the perpetual disappearance and reappearance of the
comma in their bank statement may be necessary despite the insistence of their accountant or wife. Thank you very much for watching, and a special thank you
to Ventura Munitions for helping us with the
ammo for our program. Also, thank you for
sitting through the musings of an internet gun expert. We hope to see you next time.

100 thoughts on “Diminishing Returns and Firearm Performance

  1. as someone who often has had to explain these points to others… I gotta say… that was very well done, concise, and brutally realistic. thanks for the great content

  2. Case in point, my 13 year old son with a Remington 870 duck gun regularly outshoots those on his trap team with BT109s.

  3. How is this not just common sense? Not trying to be a dick to anyone who didn't know… but you must think you're Neo if you don't think range time is the Number One way to improve accuracy.

    I mean, there were ancient archers on horseback that were more accurate and deadly under return fire than a stationary guy, sitting in a blind with thousands of dollars worth of archery gear today.

  4. The only mod I personally installed on any of my guns is a TechSight on my 10/22 because my bad eyes had trouble with the stock sight, my eyes refused to focus on the front sight and stayed permanently on the rear one. But I really like peep sights, and hopefully after moving from "new shooter" to full "gun nut" I will get better with them.

  5. This exact scenario occurs in competitive gaming all the time. That's how some ridiculous wannabe pro gamers manage to spend over $100 on a mouse.. It's not the same as shooting, I know, but my point still stands.

  6. I think good sights are important because they tell the shooter what is happening with each shot better. Things like barrel harmonics, ammunition loads, and rifle type are not as important at ranges inside 200 yards.

  7. You know what. It's my money. I'm going to spend it how I like and don't care if some youtube "expert" has a problem with that. ALL of my guns were bought because I thought they were cool and I liked them. Practicality? You want to talk about practicality? How many of you people get in gunfights sitting behind a desk all day? Have any of you ever considered the odds of getting into a gunfight in your lifetime? The odds are astronomically high. I work in healthcare and I know for a fact that most of you people are going die of cancer or heart disease, not because your aim was askew in a life and death gun battle with the 8th Street Crips.

  8. Pssh I'll be the first to admit I can't hit shit with a pistol after 25 yards (and even at 25 it's iffy) I'm capable at short range with a pistol (15 yards and under) and decent with a rifle. I still have a very long way to go before I'm satisfied with my abilities as a shooter.

  9. The same is with instruments. A good player can make any instrument sound sweet, a 14 year old just starting out mommy and daddy buy them a 5000 Les Paul or Strat. It sounds like crap. Always, Always the person behind it.

  10. "Despite claims made by everyone on the internet who can send all there rounds through one hole while back flipping from the bed of a moving pickup truck" What? Everybody can't do that?

  11. There's a reason the military only issues good enough rifles to most soldiers. An infantry unit might give their NCOs ACOGs your "POGs" will get an A2 with irons.

  12. cheapest and best mod for any firearm……… a well placed, tiny white dot on the tip of the front sight post.I used white-out and a dull thumb tack.

  13. Excellent, excellent video, thank you.

    I've got to say, you guys have really stepped up your game lately.

    Kudos.

  14. You are correct. No substitute for time on the trigger. I do upgrade to night sights and add crimson trace lasergrips on everything I think i might carry but these upgrades can easily save your life so spend accordingly where it counts.

  15. We all can't be like Bob Munden, Jerry Miculek, or Simo Häyhä. Shooting is a sport, guys. And just like any other sport, there are going to be people who can do seemingly impossible things and everyone aspires to do that two shot draw that sounds like one, or have sub
    .01 splits, or ring the gong at boring regularity at 1500 yards. It's funny too because I normally like your analogies but I wouldn't compare shooting sports to car sports, although sitting a novice behind the wheel of a full tilt built machine of any sort will probably be underwhelming at best. I'd liken shooting sports to golf. Bare with me, there were brilliant golfers using clubs with wooden shafts that were poorly balanced and often not fitted right, and a ball that came off the club face more like a one ounce slug. And those people (Bobby Jones, Walter Hagen) with that equipment could out shoot 95% of people who play with far superior equipment today. And this idea that "if I wheel this barrow full of cash up to the pro shop, I'll set a new course record" is just silly. Get a set of clubs that fit, and head to the range. Same with cars; get something reliable, that can take the abuse and head to a "run what ya brung". And it's the same with shooting; find something that fits, that you feel totally comfortable with and wear it out at the range. I'll take experience over expensive any day.

  16. In high school my physics teacher was the school swim coach. In class one day he told me about some super duper swim suit. What he said about the suit ties in with this. He said the suit wouldn't make an average swimmer good, a good swimmer great, a great swimmer near perfect, what it would do would allow the near perfect swimmer shave of a 1000th of a second of their time.

  17. while i completely agree, there are times where upgrading things makes sense simply to make something more practical and easy to use, rather than necessarily making you better. my friend bought a 10/22 and after mounting a scope on it the charging handle is far too short to comfortably use, its a huge pain, so he upgraded to a longer charging handle. did he need it? no, but did it make it more convenient? absolutely. also things like replacing wood furniture on a firearm with plastic in order to make it easier to maintain or lighter.

  18. If being conservative is your practice then why make it obvious to show a two-tone Rolex while shooting. I'm confused by the message. Nice watch though.

  19. Great video and firearm philosophies. 5:31 minutes of well explained information. The dislikes on this vid……. probably comes from sales reps and sales men from the firearm accessory sector lol. 9/10 times it's the shooter, not the firearm. Novice shooter shooting his $3000 1911 will experience the bottle neck effect and blame it on the firearm.

  20. To a master reloader the old "put your money in ammo instead of more guns or accessories" argument is a moot point and hardly relevant. Yeah, if I was paying $17.50 a box for 9mm it would make a little sense. At $4.50……not so much. 9mm is always better than .45 ACP and .40 S&W……not if you RELOAD it isn't….

    You'll never lose money on a Wilson Combat CQB or anything else from Les Baer, Night Hawk, Ed Brown, Dan Wesson, Colt or any of the higher end Springfield Armory models. They go up each and every year. That puts you into yours for less than a new one runs. These aren't run of the mill pistols like you regularly sell and trade off with no remorse like a GLOCK or S&W M&P either. It's a lifetime investment that will still be there for your kids and grand-kids to enjoy.

    If it's rare or "special" it will never diminish in value. After all, you can't just go down to the store and buy one. It takes 1-3 years to get one after you order it. The time span alone is something the impatient potential buyer is willing to pay a premium not to wait. Seen any Colt Pythons lately? They aren't $200 anymore in case you hadn't noticed…..

  21. You're crazy. Paying out the ass has proven better than practice time and time again.

    Why get good with a $500 Glock when i could just spend $1,800 on a sweet-sweet Kimber and instantly have expert shooting skills? Fancier the firearm, better the bullet.

    That's how it works, right?

  22. Tell this to those COD kids, who think they know everything about guns, by upgrading to unnecessary mods, via video games.

  23. I just came here to see how many people would be complaining about dropping the slide on that 1911 on an empty chamber but was happily surprised to see that the comments are not filled up with that.

  24. Some time ago a young gentleman with his Glock was having trouble keeping things on target. I had a couple pistols but was mainly shooting my Grampa's model 36. I have carried it for decades. This youngster could see my groups were consistent and smart. I told him I had been shooting it for years and that I would never own a Glock because they are uncomfortable and the triggers leave much to be desired. He took a turn or two with my 'Smithy,' and swiftly became a revolver convert. Comfort breeds accuracy.

  25. I can't agree more !

    Guys will take a stock Colt M4 6920 and junk it up because they think that the gun came out of the factory with 'hold me over parts' until you get them upgraded.

    Colt even stopped selling their ARs with the precious carry handle because guys were selling them with out even using them.

    I can take a stock Colt M4 topped with a 4×32 ACOG and consistently hit a 2.5' foot gong out to over 600 yards with xm193 and m855 ammo. And that is largely due to the quality of the gun, optic and ammo.

    Give your gun a chance before you junk it up !

  26. I still show up to 3 gun shoots with a 1985 stock CZ75 or if I feel really nostalgic a completely stock 1944 Browning hi Power. then again the Hi Power is the only pistol I've carried into combat. It's a sign of a good design when it still keeps up reasonably well 70 years on.

  27. IMHO, it's easier to get better with a stock gun than with a "custom" gun. A custom 1911 will mostly mask all of your crappy shooting technique whereas something like a DA revolver, Glock or whatever will not let you get away with poor technique. If you start with a stock gun and you are so good with it that it actually hols you back … then OK, make a mod or whatever. But really it's to the shooters benefit to get better with a less forgiving gun. If you can shoot a Glock well, you can shoot a 1911 even better. If you shoot a 1911 well … it doesn't mean anything.

  28. I agree, and I have seen cases where a shooter will become so spoiled by the fine trigger of a race gun that he cant shoot a stock gun at all.

  29. I'm sure this was a good video, but there was not a whole lot of useful info in it. I almost fell asleep with the stupid-car analogy. Yes, we got it, over and over and over again — range time. So I guess I'll just get a $300-gun and shoot. Absolutely nothing to see here. TD.

  30. here is what I have to say about the Glock pistols they are good guns but I don't like them they just don't fit my liking I do love a good ol Colt M1911

  31. No doubt that practise wins over gadgets! That said, I just bought a Tanfoglio Limited Custom HC like the one in your vid, and boy is it easier to shoot well with than my Glock 21 was 😉

  32. Not going to lie, I suck at shooting. The only gun I can say is legitimately holding me back is my Remington 522, and that's just because the rear sight gets loose whenever the barrel heats up (that's what I get for buying and $80 rifle).

  33. Making a ragged bull's-eye hole while back-flipping in the back in a truck bed moving is too easy.  I can get that same accuracy while back-flipping on a motorcycle, that's on a bed of ice with two bald tires….try to beat that!

  34. Agreed. I spent most of my childhood on my fathers USP, and continued to use it for years after I turned 18 before I bought my baby, an EAA Witness Elite 10mm. the years of learning how to point the barrel downrange and make a tight group with an old H&K made the experience of shooting the Witness even more sweet, and allowed me to take advantage of every feature she packs. Learn to drive a Jetta before you try to race a Ferrari

  35. Old adage that a first rate man with third rate gear can best a third rate man with first rate gear everytime. It's the Indian,not the arrow.

  36. Annnd I stopped listening to you the second you dropped the slide on that gorgeous WC 1911. Seriously? Or am I taking crazy pills?

  37. If you are spending thousands of dollars on your gun to become more and more accurate, and your chosen profession/lifestyle does not call for it, then you are wasting your money.

  38. Well in a world, where most people will never need a carry gun, might we not be okay with a modified race-gun

  39. Eh. Do what makes you happy. I can shoot anything decent so it don't matter much now; but when my eyes go bad, you can get I'm putting better sights on all my guns.

  40. this is coming from the people with tacticool mall ninja ar15's that i see in many videos of yours. hypocrisy much?>

  41. i agree on all accounts but i have two exceptions to add. (Well more of two stories) First is jennings pistols, that is all. The second is the 60s era m16s i was given in basic to qualify on. those were absolute shit. From curved barrels to fucked up extractors and some that would jam on every round.

  42. Most of my parts I got from amazon or the budget bin from Midway. For my purposes, I don't need a ton of crap added on.

  43. "Sending every round through the same hole, while doing backflips out the back of a pick-up" That sounds like a challenge……………………….that I don't want to accept.

  44. This video is something that results when a reasonably intelligent person of IQ 100 with a radio voice talks about something they, with a high-school education, know little about. In fact, expensive guns are a "Veblin good" not an example of 'diminishing returns' at all. The purpose of buying such a gun is to 'show off' not to hit the bulls-eye better (unless the purchaser is naive, which, since we're talking about gun owners, is not out of the question I guess). Google "Veblin goods" (In economics, Veblen goods are types of material commodities for which the demand is proportional to its high price, which is an apparent contradiction of the law of demand; Veblen goods also are commodities that function as positional goods). Then Google "positional goods" (it has to do with 'showing off'). You're welcome.

  45. this video fucking sucks and is LOADED with false dilemmas and deceptive hyperbole, TFB TV you should be ashamed for making this video that doesnt have any true educational purpose

  46. The automotive and firearm diminishing returns goes to pcs as well. Most people spend over a thousand dollars on a rig and really wouldn't notice much difference from a $600-800 one. I myself fall into this too. I almost bought high end parts but realized I really don't have 2 4K displays or a vr setup anyway so I saved over $50. Sure, you can say "future proof", but I'll just buy another when the day comes and low quality graphics are not nearly as bad as people act like they are. I'd most likely replace the other by then anyway. Why spend a lot of money on something when you can get 2 others around the same price.

  47. Wow, there is more hate in the comments of a well-reasoned and generally innocuous video than I've ever seen before. What I love is that most people ragging on him aren't people who've hit the point of diminishing returns; they seem to be the people lusting after those high end, tricked out guns and are upset that someone is saying that there's no practical point in getting one. If you're gonna by it, be honest about the fact that you're only buying it for the cool factor or because you're the craftsman blaming his tools.

    And what the heck is up with people who are mad at him for having some nice things and showing them off in the video. He has money. Who cares?

  48. You make a fair and often hard to swallow point: most guns are better than the people shooting them.

    But there's more to it than that.

    There is a lot to be said about selecting the right gun for the shooter. I don't mean modding to suit the shooter, as that is kind of a band-aid to make up for deficiencies. I mean that you should try before you buy and test various platforms. You might find you just mesh really well with one type of gun and not with another, despite rave/shitty reviews to the contrary.

    I'm a relative novice with handgun stuff. I've shot rifles since I was a kid but handguns were something I wanted to build my skills with and move towards competition. I THOUGHT the 1911 was my top choice. I loved the history, the design, the support in the market, the wide variety of options.

    But I tried a few different guns. I did ok with 1911s. I wanted to like the Beretta 92, but it was just meh in my hands. I really didn't like Glocks, they simply didn't work for me. Ditto HKs. Also didn't like any revolvers I tried, despite getting good accuracy I couldn't get used to the ergos of holding something with a small grip so far below the bore axis.

    Then I shot a few CZ 75s. And holy crap I found my gun. I could shoot them better than anything else I laid my hands on. The ergonomics were perfect for me, the accuracy was exceptional, and the controllability was easy despite my lack of experience. So I bought one – a Shadow 2.

    All was good for the first few hundred rounds. Then after 1500 or so I felt like I was getting mediocre accuracy. My skills were getting better and I was getting faster, but my accuracy wasn't. It didn't shoot as well as those other CZs I had shot.

    Was I on the bottom of the reverse bell curve of performance, picking up bad habits now that I was shooting one gun regularly? I was hitting a wall and it was frustrating. If I had never shot another CZ I would probably have not thought I had a problem.

    I brought the gun to my dealer/range and asked them to investigate and try shooting it themselves. They told me I just wasn't good enough. Spend more money on ammo and practice.

    The guy who tested my gun shot a 7.5 inch group at 20 yards from a bench rest. The 10 and 15 groups were also pretty huge. Exactly the problem I was having. A few on target and then a couple of flyers opening up the group to triple the size. Even my test target that came with the gun showed this – three on centre, one 2 inches out, one 4 inches out.

    But it was still my fault, I wasn't good enough.

    I wasn't satisfied. I knew those other CZs I had tried shot better than my fancy-assed Shadow. So I tore down the gun and checked all the tolerances myself. I discovered my barrel bushing was out of round and milled off centre, with too much slop at lockup.

    I had my machinist make me a new one to tighter tolerances and I hand fitted it to the gun. Not an expensive job, but one that was supposedly worthless according to the forum "expert" gunsmiths.

    The result was the best groups I've ever shot with a handgun the first time I took it out with the new bushing. Flyers eliminated. Accuracy back to what I expected – better than me. Every shot that lands outside the ten ring I can call. Now I have confidence in the gun again and I can focus on my skills rather than wondering why the hell my groups look like shotgun spreads despite my best efforts.

    I saved my target and dropped it into my machinist's mailbox with a thank you note. For under 100 bucks and a few hours of research and labour I've got the gun I wanted (and should have gotten) from the beginning.

    But if I listened to the guys at the dealer I'd still be practicing and struggling without making those groups any better…

  49. All of that’s true except but you showed a psg and you can give can a 12 year old with autism a psg and he will shoot a 2 inch group at 300 yards

  50. I see nothing wrong with buying a high dollar gun if you have the money. I just wouldn't use it for self defense because you are likely to lose it once the cops come.

  51. I saw a Jerry Miculek interview where he said the reason he ended up going with Smith and Wesson was because he found that S&Ws were the only ones not limiting him. Not high end race guns but stock revolvers. He constantly reiterates, though, that the reason he is who he is was because he was first at the range and the last to leave. He got enough practice with different guns to have a correct understanding of which gun got him closest to his goals. I like Alex's implicit suggestion here. Before you buy any upgrade for your gun spend at least as much on ammo and train with that ammo. Then you will have a reference for whether you need it.

  52. getting and inch and under with "cost effective" ARs is not hard, often it's just a tweak of the reload or different ammo.

  53. Great video, and some sage advise! STOP Spending Money putting Useless Shit on your weapon, and learn to SHOOT IT…You HAVE to put Rounds through it…..

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