So a few weeks ago I went a tad nuts, deciding to extend my US Army combat uniform and equipment collection to the current day. In hindsight it was probably a defense mechanism to blot out the issues I was having dealing with moving my mom to an Alzheimer's unit. I had a stash of collection money in my paypal account, and I was ready to buy. I went spending my dough as if I was developing a museum collection of 'type' objects- looking for unused stuff of different patterns and versions- not ID'd groups.
But I will say I learned a lot about modern gear I had been ignoring, and acquired a fair amount of cubic square feet of 'stuff' that is somewhat cool.
And as I said I ignored the golden rule of studying first before buying. In my defense, aside from a few regulations manuals, there is really nothing much written about this stuff (post 1990 Army gear) except for helmets. So I learned by looking, asking, and digging. I'll admit the first week I made some dumb purchases. Not really bad ones, but bought extras of stuff I now know I will never really need, or be able to sell for much. I also paid a bit too much for some things. Not a lot, but I could have gotten it cheaper.
After the first week or two of almost random shotgun buying I had figured out the rough areas I needed to fill in, and what was easily available. This is when I realized that I could have done better when I started. By week two or three I had a reasonable handle on what I was looking for and began to be much more selective. And by a month I knew what were going to be the hard bits to find – which things were dogs, and which I should snap up right away if they came on the market. These were mainly items linked to the Special Operations people. Although I refuse to pay much for a Spec Ops badged uniform as I can make one up myself that cannot be told apart from a real one. I prefer generic grunt stuff myself. And for some reason it is actually harder to find.
Of course, now I tell myself that I could have taken the same money and spent it on one or two really nice things from WW1 or WW2. At times I regret that, although I honestly do not know what I would have bought that I don't already have.
Will I regret it? I'm not sure. I learned a lot and I got a few rare items that I know will just get tougher to find in the future, but I added so many more boxes to my collection that it makes it harder to move in the basement of doom.