Ever wonder if you’ve gotten your money out of a purchased product? Hard to rationale the purchase without some sort of metric.

What the hell is P.I.S.

P.I.S. is short for “put into service”, when did it is see its first day of sunshine. Maybe not the first day you used it, but when you broke it out of the wrapper. Some products have a shelve life. For instance, when I saw this for the first time was in the Airloft at my team. This was were our parachutes were packed and stored. I got a chance to hang out one day as the crew assembled a brand new parachute. Of course, I was calling dibs on it so wanted to watch how it happened. When the process was complete the lead rigger got out a permanent marker and inscribed the date. I was like “why’d you have to go and dirty up my new rig?” Without skipping a beat he laid it out for me on PIS and if the rig reached a certain number of jumps or a certain date it would need to be retired. That we had gotten the most use out of it and it needed to go night-night.

The start point

I found several pieces of our equipment had PIS. I even started putting a date on lots of my own equipment. If you’re the kind that keeps receipts then it might not be a big deal, but it is much easier to put a date on the actual piece of gear. An example of some of my gear I do this with today are magazines. Not only do they get stenciled for the number in a series, but when they got put into service. It is sometimes hard to keep track of the exact round count, but magazines I use regularly get a good workout and I have figured after 3 years of use they’ve reached their useful service life for optimal performance. All that means is after the date I’m going to avoid using them in a duty scenario.

Peak performance

Now from an investment opportunity how do I know I got my monies worth for three years of work? I’m sure there are some more advanced techniques or even formulas, but this has worked for me over the years. It’s pretty simple, in this case I take the estimated number of hours used and divide that into the cost. Let’s look at something else I use quite often and that is footwear. Currently I’m wearing a Pair of Salomon’s GTX trail shoes when instructing. They were put into service 06/13. In that time period I wore these suckers for about 900 hours in classes. The shoes cost about $150 so for me to have gotten my monies worth I need to see 1:4 ratio. Every dollar spent better give me at least four hours of peak performance. Right around there I typically see some flaws starting to appear, nothing that should adversely affect performance more the well worn look.

Accuracy degradation for service life

Another way to look on the return on investment might be with a firearm purchase such as a rifle. It’s a little different and here I change the variable to rounds fired. I expect to get optimal performance for at least 20,000 rounds. The accuracy degradation is what I use to evaluate the investment. At a certain point accuracy degradation will affect battlefield performance and when that happens it’s time to move on. For me, it’s 25% accuracy degradation from what I achieved out of the box. If the rifle shoots 4MOA, which is my minimum acceptability, when I put it in service and then I’ve fired 20,000 rounds when my accuracy drops to 5MOA I’d say it’s reached the service life. If it took me 5 years to get there I’d say it was worth it. Of course, rifles in my hands get there much sooner, but you get my point.

It’s not perfect, but it works for me and my loadouts. If you are looking for optimal performance out of your equipment, you need a system of some sort.

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