Do You (Really) Need a New Gun?

The answer is obviously yes, right? Buy that fourth mid-quality AR, slap a Holosun on it, and call it your latest build! I do recognize the difference between my needs and my wants. I’m not discouraging people who want to own firearms, who want to buy another firearm, or even buy a mid-tier AR with a Holosun on top of it. What I would like you to do is learn from my mistakes. My mistake was owning a dozen mid to cheap-tier firearms with an obsession over always adding a new gun and not focusing on three more important investments. Instead of buying another polymer frame, striker-fired handgun, I should have: 

– Invested in higher quality firearms. 
– Invested in higher quality gear. 
– Invested in myself and my ability to effectively utilize my firearms. 

I still love getting a new gun. That new gun smell, that first range trip, the first shots fired, it’s all good fun. However, I caution folks about piling up a wide variety of firearms without first investing some of that cash into quality options. I’m betting more than one person reading this has a dozen guns but never shoots them because ammo is expensive. One cheap Turkish shotgun is worth a case of 5.56, so is it really all that expensive in hindsight? 

The New Gun Checklist 

It’s okay. I’ve been that guy who always prioritized looking at my new gun rather than shooting the dozen I already have. Today, I want to provide you with a practical checklist you should answer before you purchase another firearm. I’ll explain the why behind each item, and hopefully, you can walk away from here with some renewed priorities. 

1 – Do I Own a Quality Holster For My Concealed Carry Firearm? 

I see a ton of people purchase a $500 gun, a $400 optic, and a $200 light and shove it all in a $40 holster from Amazon with a FOMI clip and craptastic design. A quality holster can cost up to $100, but it’s still fairly affordable compared to the purchase of another firearm. Get a good, well-made holster from Safariland, Phlster, Harry’s Holsters, etc. Yeah, it will cost more than $40, but it’s a buy-once-cry-once affair. To be completely honest, $40 is $35 too much for most of those holsters. 

Deep Concealment Illustrated
PHLster makes excellent holsters and concealment systems Photo Credit:

2 – Does My Home Defense Weapon Have a (quality) Weaponlight? 

I say weapon light because so many people use long guns, and using long guns and handheld lights is tough. However, if you are using a handgun and prefer a handheld light, that’s fine as long as you have some sort of illumination to go along with your home defense weapon. A good light ensures you can identify threats from friends, see your sights, and make your shots count inside the home. A quality weapon light from Streamlight costs less than $200.

3 – Do I Have a Non-Lethal Option?

If you carry just a gun, you only have one defensive option, and you’ve purposefully shorted yourself in scenarios where a gun might not be the best option. In intensely crowded environments or situations where you can’t establish a safe backdrop for your shot, nonlethal becomes another defensive option. It’s easier to pepper spray vicious dogs than it is to shoot them in most situations. A can of POM pepper spray costs $13; don’t skimp on it. 

4 – Do I Have Funds to Go To the Range and Practice? 

Before you squeeze the financial trigger on that new gun, ask yourself, when was the last time I practiced with the guns I have? If I buy this new gun, can I purchase 250 rounds and the range time to get a good trigger finger workout? Can I shoot a match this weekend if I buy the new Taurus Deputy? 

(Image P.E. Fitch)

5 – Do I Have a Quality Medical Kit? 

If you can put holes in things, you should be able to treat any holes someone puts in you or in others. A quality medical kit that’s made up of quality components from reputable manufacturers. We aren’t talking about your basic buy-it-at-Walmart first aid kit. We are looking at kits designed to stop the bleed. A high-quality, advanced, premium-grade kit from North American Rescue costs $200. That’s a Gucci-type kit, and it costs less than most guns. 

6 – Have I Taken a Defensive Class? 

Finally, before you buy a new gun, when was the last time you took a defensive-oriented firearm course? These classes can be expensive, and so can the ammo, but you’ll get through a hefty two-day course for about $500. That’s the average price of most quality handguns. If you have never taken a class or haven’t taken one in years, then maybe a new gun isn’t the best way to spend money.

Stop, Collaborate, and Listen

I know and understand the siren’s call at the gun store. I get it, but I do think sometimes you gotta resist that call. If not, you might wind up bashed against the rocks. Sometimes, you need to take a look at your other priorities and determine what money goes where. 

Travis Pike
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes.