(Note: This article is in reference to home defense. I am not speaking on mission specific gear, etc.)
When you practice and train in anything in life, you find that consistency is key. If you can consistently execute an action perfectly you will be successful. Repeat ability is what your driving to achieve. Thinking of this I am and have always been very picky with certain things on my guns. Now you could use this line of thought anywhere in life, but we are discussing guns here. When I see people on the internet who have, for example, an ambi charging handle on one AR15 and a non-ambi charging handle on another it is concerning. It is also why I do not own lot's of guns. I buy them for purpose, not really collecting. I want the best built rifle, not just a rifle. I see time and time again people who just buy guns, just to buy another gun. Half of them cannot even shoot well, but they go out and buy gun after gun. I digress.
If I have a rifle in my home, most likely it is for personal defense. For example, I have shown three AR15's in my videos. My Battle Blaster, Budget Jack Carbine and SPR. My SPR is used for SPR stuff,
longer range. It is not even in the mix for personal defense. But the Budget Jack Carbine and Battle Blaster at any time could be. With this in mind there are a few things I want the same on each. Grip angle, cheek weld, charging handle, weapon light operation, Gripstop (Variable Angle Grip) and optic magnification. These are key to me. Now while you could have some differences between these, in a situation where you must use your gun muscle memory rules. Having guns that has a Inforce APL and another that has a Scout light with tape switch operation could cause a major and even life costing error during self defense. Now maybe I am over OCD with this, but I do not believe so (I know, I am in denial).
Now I said grip angle, not grip. This is because lots of companies now are making steeper grip options in their offerings. I do not believe having a different company with the same grip angle matters. But the angle does. Having the same grip angle provides your muscle memory with a consistent motion and control every time you shoot. Want to screw up your groups, shoot a few magazines at full speed with a steep angle grip, them put a wider angle grip on the same gun. You will see that you shoot different. So do not use different grip angles on your guns.
If you have tried different stocks, you will find that almost every stock provides a different feel (duh, no shit right!). If you have different stocks on your guns that are used in self defense could cause you to have inconsistent groups. Mainly because your cheek weld will be different along with eye positioning. Since I test lot's of stocks I know this all too well. Once you find one you feel comfortable with, buy them for all your guns you declare self defense guns. Personally I have found the B5 Enhanced SOPMOD to fit me best. Yea it is a little larger than their Bravo, but it is what I like and perform best with.
This can also go with AK's. I have a Lightning Bolt (Ambi charging handle) on my main AK74, but a normal single charging handle on my other AK74. In this case, I rarely use my other AK74 and basically treat it as it is in storage. Until I can get another lightning bolt for the other one, or move
back to a single charging handle I solely use only the one with the Lightning Bolt. For AR15's you can have the same thing, single side or ambi charging handles. I say go ambi all the way. There is no reason not too. Here is where quality matters. I have used a few types of charging handles, even one ambi from a company I love for other products and it worked horribly. I have found the Radian Weapons Ambi Raptor (Previously AXTS Weapons) to be the absolute best. A runner up would be the BCM GunFighter Ambi charging handle. Don't set yourself up for failure by running different brands of charging handle either. They all pull different, even if just the tiniest amount. But that matters in stress educed situations. If you have a large BCM latch on one gun and a Raptor on another, depending on which one you use most, if you had to pickup the other one it could induce an operator error under stress.
There are a lot of flashlights on the market with lots of different ways to operate them. Whichever works for you is a personal choice. I am not going to get into which light to buy. But I will discuss not
having different operation types on your rifles. Again I go back to my reviewing many types. This means I might have an APL, Pro Tac Rail Mount, Elzetta, etc. on different guns at different times. Under stress, in the dark, you will be hard pressed to 100% run guns with different operation. Take two guns, one with an WML and one with a Scout Light with Tape Switch. Run through a shoot house back to back. Time it and you will see you will fuck up one of those runs more than the other. It is hard to master multiple things, and when your life depends on it you want to be as consistent as possible. Run the same lights and/or operation types on each gun. I recently switched all my rifles to the Streamlight Protac Rail Mount series of weapon lights.
If you use an optic on your guns there might be the chance that one has a red dot and one has a 1-5x scope. This is simple, keep the scope at 1x magnification all time off the range. While going from a red dot to a 1-5x scope might be slightly different, if the rest of what I talked about is the same this should be a non-issue as long as the magnification is the same.
Yea, I pimp the GripStop. Hell I have known about it since before it was the playmate center fold it is now. I used to use straight grips or AFG's. But now that there are like 6 knockoff GripStop's out there
everyone knows they work and it was an ingenious design. But, putting aside my love for the GripStop, if you use another type of rail grip put it around the same placement. Now on a 16" gun compared to a 10.5" gun obviously you won't be able to do this. But you get what I am saying. Keep them similar, if not exactly the same on the guns you have. For instance, I can put my GripStop at the same position on 14.5", 16" and 18" AR-15's as well as AK's with the same forends. This means your positioning and hand placement is the same and you can drive the gun more consistently.
So it is pretty simple. Limit guns you define for self defense. Don't have 20. Less is more. When you are training to defend yourself, keep is consistent, keep it quality and keep it real!