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Thread: Good enough?

  1. #1
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    Good enough?

    what is "good enough"?

    Since coming up with the Chart and seeing it grow and change and watching the discussion on various forums, and even conceding a bit and putting a caveat in the writeup, I find myself wondering at "good enough". We hear and see, and sometimes even write "well, I'm not defending the free world with it so this XYZ should be good enough". Of late, I'm having a hard time figuring out what "good enough" means to people.

    Years ago when I first started buying power tools I saw a big package deal of cordless tools at Sears. It included a reciprocating saw, a drill, a small circular saw, etc. It was literally 1/3 the price of Dewalt or Milwaukee. So I bought the Sears version thinking "I'm no contractor and I just need to do some chores around the house, this will be good enough". Those tools lasted me through one, count 'em ONE, home project before they died. I suppose if my intention had been to only do one project ever then that may have been acceptable, but since I thought I was buying tools I could use over and over again, this presented a problem. Since then all the tools I buy are yellow, and when I do break down and buy something that's a store brand I'm quickly reminded as to why I only buy yellow tools.

    A couple of years later I decided I wanted a semi-auto centerfire pistol. I already had done the requisite .22 rifle, then .22 handgun, then .357 wheelgun and I thought I was ready for a bigboy gun. A friend had a Ballester Molina (look it up if you don't know what it is) he was willing to sell me and I thought "well, i ain't no cop or nothing, this thing should be good enough". In the year or so that I owned that gun it would only feed ball ammo, and even then only out of a select few magazines. Eventually I sold it back to the original owner, saved up a few more bucks, and bought myself a Glock.

    A year or so ago I decided it would be fun if the 11 year old (then 9 year old) and I got into RC cars. I shopped around, looked at what was new in the 20 years since I had been into them, and decided on a 1/18th scale truck. I had seen some bad reviews of it but I thought "we're not going to be racing or anything, this will be good enough". To date every known problem that I read about with that truck has happened to ours. I'm so stupid I even bought a second one for myself, and now our sample size is two with 100% of the known issues. I even went so far as to buy hundreds of dollars worth of bolt-on go-faster parts for them, only to still have the underlying drivetrain problems. A friend has since given us a 1:10 scale nitro truck that is a known entity and known for it's reliability. He's also been racing for years and the upgrades he's made to the truck not only made it faster but more reliable AND easier to fix when it does break (shit breaks in RC, it's a fact of life).

    My house didn't fall down because of the crappy Sears tools. No lives were lost because the Ballester wouldn't run. No races were lost or missed because of the RC trucks not running. But you know what? All of those things were frustrating as all hell, and frankly negatively impacted my enjoyment as well as my perceptions of the associated activities. Having those tools shit the bed made me never want to work on the house again, but since having quality tools it's actually one of my favorite things to do. Trying to make that Ballester run made me almost hate shooting, but now that I have guns that run it's my favorite pasttime. Constantly having to fix the boy's RC truck not only made me dread going to the track, but colored his perception of the hobby to the point that it will take a long time for him to see it as something enjoyable.

    So I have a hard time understanding what "good enough" means for people. Good enough for what?

    It may be just me, but I would take a $500 Glock with no add-ons or accessories over a questionable 1911 at twice the price. Bells and whistles are great, but the gun needs to run first and foremost. I would take a stock Colt 6920 over another brand with hundreds of dollars of crap bolted to it. (Hell, I'd rather have an AK than a stock lesser brand AR.) Optics, rails, stock, etc. are great but the gun needs to run first and foremost. This is true no matter whether I am plinking at tin cans, shooting a match, or storming a mud hud in asscrackistan or a meth lab in Vegas. While the consequences of failure in some endeavors are more dire than others, the tools still need to work for the intended task. Period. and for me, at least, the way to ensure that the tools work is to make educated purchases and buy quality from known entities. This does not mean ask my brother-in-law-the-cop what pistol to buy simply because he carries one ever day, nor does it mean ask my mom's-cousin-the-Marine what AR to buy because he is issued one. This means ask those questions, and then follow up with my own research. Trust, but verify.

    Voltaire is often mis-quoted as saying "perfect is the enemy of good enough". I think Pat Rogers gets much closer with "good enough, rarely is", and that statement is independent of intended use.
    WWW.TACTICALYELLOWVISOR.NET

  2. #2
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    No way is this post going to sail by without a sticky ...

    Quote Originally Posted by rob_s View Post
    I'm so stupid I even bought a second one for myself, and now our sample size is two with 100% of the known issues.
    ... and I'm still laughing about this line. Been there, and continue to do that. Life is just one long, painful lesson sometimes. :)

    AC
    Stand your ground; don't fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here. -- Captain John Parker, Lexington, 1775.

  3. #3
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    Years ago when I was about to leave home for the Army, my mother had given me a newspaper article that she had clipped out and laminated. The article was small enough to fit in my wallet and I carried it around with me for years. I have it to this day, just don't ask which box of old Army stuff that I put it in.

    The gist of the article was that "Good Enough is not Good Enough". I goes on to explain that if you settle for "Good Enough" you will never make the most of any situation. I could go on and spat out a ton of adages about how you can do better than good enough, but I think that rob_s hit it on the head.

    For this to relate to this forum we can pick apart every single platform, accessory, even down to the ammunition we shoot. Sometimes we have to settle with what we get. Whether we are issued a piece of equipment or we purchase it our self. I am fortunate that my agency provides us with top of the line handguns. As for the rifle that we are issued....that is a different story. I took the rifle that they gave me until I had a chance to upgrade my "Good Enough" rifle and replace it with something that I was comfortable to go to battle with. Granted, I would have been prepared for whatever came my way, but I wanted to be as prepared as fully possible within my capabilities and be better than "Good Enough".

    I see the "Good Enough" attitude all the time with fellow LEO's. Yes, sometimes money is a huge factor in what we can afford. And having something is always better than nothing, but we need to realize that sometimes our equipment has limits and we have to work within the limits.

    rob_s, thank you for posting this. You have hit the nail on the head and you have provided a great service to help everyone mentally prepare themselves.
    SI VIS PACEM, PARA BELLUM
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    Let me preface this by saying that I am a civilian and primarily shoot my weapons for personal enjoyment. I also train with them for self defense and sincerely hope I never need them for that purpose.

    My father taught me to buy the best product available rather than settling for second best or "good enough". I have found that following this advice has been a wise decision. Almost every time I have settled for something less than the best I usually regret it. Now I will go without until I can save enough money to get the best product.

    My first AR was an Armalite M15A4 National Match. It is a great shooter but the fit and finish are not the best and it lacks many of the desired features some of the top brands have. After buying that rifle I read as much as possible about ARs on TOS, M4carbine.net and finally WE. The last purchase I made was an LMT Defender 2000. I felt since this carbine would be used for home defense that it needed to be one of the best products available.

    It is my experience that the extra amount spent to get the best product is more than outweighed by the better performance and satisfaction you receive.

  5. #5
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    So I did some digging and found the newspaper clipping my mom gave me years ago.

    Author Unknown

    Good Enough Isn't Good Enough

    My child, beware of "good enough,"
    It isn't made of sterling stuff;
    It's something anyone can do;
    It marks the many from the few.

    The flaw which may escape the eye
    And temorarily get by
    Shall weaken underneath the strain
    And wreck the ship, the car, or the plane.

    With "good enough," the car breaks down,
    And one falls short of high renown.
    My child, remember and be wise,
    In "good enough" disaster lies.

    In every factory and shop;
    With "good enough," the figures rest
    And lose the one who gives the best.
    Who stops at "good enough" shall find
    Success has left them far behind.

    For this is true of you and your stuff -

    Only the best is "good enough."
    SI VIS PACEM, PARA BELLUM
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  6. #6
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    For me, good enough is relative to the demands of the item, as I believe you essentially stated Rob. A weapon used in the defense of life better go bang every time. The airpack I use on duty better work, every time. A rifle used for competition...thats a different story. There's room for error as my life doesn't depend on it at that moment. There's no substitute for superior training and experience but good equipment is a factor as well. Great post Rob, it made me think, thank you.
    Last edited by Uglyduck; 31 March 2009 at 18:03. Reason: typo
    -Mitch-

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    To me, "Good Enough" is like saying "the minimum acceptable standard". In other words, the minimun acceptable standard to get the job done. I don't place the same standards on everything. You have to be realistic. I'm not going to spend $4K on an AR that I'm just going to take hunting twice a year and put 100 rounds through it. That is just me. If someone else wants to do it, God Bless them. (Example: Take a Bushmaster M4 Type with the M2 Ramps and the 1:7" twist and stake the carrier key and castle nut, replace the extractor insert, and drop the 5.56 Reamer in the Chamber, and that is Good Enough FOR ME.).

    I don't really see Good Enough as a bad term, but we as people, we always want the Absolute Best in everything from toilet paper to cars. That is why you see guys selling their perfectly good Aimpoint M2 to get the M4, because they want the Best.

    I've been in LE for 9 years and I can tell you that we get issued crap sometimes that I just about want to refuse to use it. Unfortunately with the way the economy is and because of budgets, I have to be realistic and learned to make the best with what I am issued.

  8. #8
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    The words of Oscar Wilde sum it up rather well for me:

    I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.


    AC
    Stand your ground; don't fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here. -- Captain John Parker, Lexington, 1775.

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    In my case, the fact that I never get lucky in any regard is why I can't trust cheap guns. I'm that guy who never walks out of a casino with more money than he came in with, and not because he didn't know when to leave, but because the moment he came in the door was the only moment he was "up." I don't want to put my faith in luck if my life is being threatened, and it seems to me that if you buy a gun because it is simply "good enough," you underestimate just what kind of situation you might find yourself in someday. I don't believe in cheap, problematic guns, and I don't believe in wallhangers that you can't shoot or can't find ammo for.

    The main reason I wanted to post on here was to praise the comments on Glocks. No, they are not the trendy or more exotic choice these days, but man do they work. A buddy of mine bought a new XDM for about $200 more than my Glock 17, and when we went to the range, he admitted he had never fired a Glock. When he picked it up, he said "man I DON'T like the feel of this thing" and then proceeded to shoot a better group than he was shooting with his new Springfield. Not to mention, he has already had to send it back to the factory because the slide was not locking back when emptying the magazine. My Glock keeps humming along, and he is already trying to get rid of the XDM. I wouldn't trade mine for any custom 1911 at any price, if I could have only one gun.

    Also, thanks to all the guys on here who definitely know what parts are good and what parts are garbage, my AR is a gun I would trust my life with, even though it doesn't say Noveske, Barrett, or LMT on the side. Sometimes smart decisions can really bridge that gap on the cost side of things, as I don't believe you need to spend $4000 on an AR to make it reliable and trustworty.
    Last edited by Creeky73; 3 May 2009 at 16:44.

  10. #10
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    Good enough = Mil-Spec.

    I have heard fro years people saying that items they bought for such and such reason are mi-spec and if it good enough for the mil. then its good enough for them.

    Having spent most of my adult life using mil-spec rated/issued gear I can tell you that they are by far not good enough.

    Carbon

  11. #11
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    I see a lot of different versions of "good enough". And they are all fine in their own right; it is subjective after all.

    Good enough, for me, depends on the application. The product I am using must perform as intended over and over again, for the life time of the warranty (or life expectancy), being used for what ever purpose it was designed to be used for. It is no coincidence that products tend to fail shortly after its warranty has expired.

    With extra care and maintenance, "good enough" can sometimes be better than "good enough". And in some cases when "good enough" breaks down on me, I enjoy working on "good enough" to make it work as advertised again.

    However, in the case of absolute reliance, "good enough" must endure and overcome in such a way that it is of no concern. "Good enough", in this case, makes me wonder if I have enough potential to be "good enough", too.

    -rebelEMPIRE

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    Well done, sir.

    I've always been a "buy the best I can afford" type. I've just never seen many valid situations where that attitude was not advantageous. Carpenter by trade, tools and hands-on skills are my livelihood. This mentality carries over to all aspects of your life once you see the value.

    I don't defend lives, but my experience has always been that a person's learning curve is drastically shortened by quality equipment and the end result is a repeatable, high-performance job in a much shorter time. If I hand someone a nailer that jambs every other strip, short strokes fasteners, and is bulky and cumbersome, how can I expect them to concentrate on learning quality finish carpentry? Too much distraction. But, like Rob said, no one would die...I just may not get very many recommendations.

  13. #13
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    Rob,

    Good write-up on "good enough". I used to make mistakes in the past with "good enough" and I fell into the trap of buying twice. I am now a firm believer in the "buy once, buy quality, buy what you deem best and can afford" approach. The lessons of your RC experiences are priceless.
    - Federalist22

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    I don't understand the whole good enough thing. There is good enough and not good enough. To me good enough is just that. Maybe there is something I missed when I was learning the English language. God knows that English is not the easiest language to learn. Things such as "we park in a DRIVEWAY and drive in a PARKWAY" have always been puzzling to me, so maybe I'm missing something here with the whole "good enough" phrase.

    Good enough is Colt, LMT, and the other top notch/quality gear. If you buy a known POS and it doens't work, then it isn't nor was it good enough from the beginning. Do your homework before you buy anything and it will save you from buying twice.

  15. #15
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    Rob, the good philosopher, what is good enough? I know better, that good enough is set by others and I don't follow good enough because in the past they have failed, 1* as they say. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Be safe.

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