Saturday, April 6, 2013

Market Efficiency

By Dave Dargo

I spent my career in the software industry.  The software industry is one that is obsessed with efficiency and standardization.  In fact, most successful industries have standards designed to drive efficiency that we don't even notice.

Think about standards the next time you drive a friend's car that isn't the same make or model as the one you own.  You're thankful the steering wheel, brake and accelerator pedals are in the same place as on your car.  You're frustrated that the side-view mirror adjustments aren't.  If you need to get gas you have to wonder which side you should present to the gas pump.  The big items are standardized, not through legislation but through industry and market acceptance.  Though you may have been frustrated at having to wonder about the location of the side-view mirror controls, once you found them you knew how to operate them because the same general standards have been adopted across the industry.  You were also comfortable in adjusting the seat position even if the mechanism for doing so was different from the way you do it in your own car.

We have an expectation that those items we commonly use will all operate in the same general way no matter the manufacturer.

Evil assault rifle or efficient rifle platform?
Why, then, are the proponents of gun-control not only opposed to the same market efficiencies when adopted by the gun manufacturers they also seem genuinely surprised when it happens?

I'm referring to the seemingly irrational opposition to so-called assault weapons.

The AR-15 rifle, arguably the most popular rifle in the United States, is a marvel of market efficiency and delivering customer satisfaction.

A typical feature of the AR-15 is an adjustable butt-stock so that shooters of different sizes can adjust the butt-stock to fit their build.  The same way you've come to expect to be able to change the seat position in your car the owners of AR-15s have come to expect to be able to change the butt-stock position.

Another typical feature is the inclusion of a picatinny rail that allows the attachment of adjustable add-on features to the rifle.  The same way you've come to expect to be able to change the rear- and side-view mirrors in a car the owners of AR-15s have come to expect to be able to adjust the type of optics they mount on their rifles.

Manufacturers are successful when they meet the market demands of their customers.  There are people who are truly frightened by the rifle shown in the photograph above.  Those of us who own and use these rifles look at them as platforms that allow us to adjust the rifle to our individual bodies and preferences.  The same way that you adjust the car to your own individual bodies and preferences.

The rifle pictured here functions the same exact way as one that has a fixed, wooden butt-stock.  It functions the exact same way without the picatinny rail and without the foregrip.  Without those features it just isn't as comfortable.

It's truly shocking to some that gun manufacturers would actually listen to their customers and deliver a market-efficient device that their customers are demanding.  How evil is that?

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