Concealed Carry & Home Defense

CCW Weekend: Equipping Vs. Collecting Guns

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Guns and Gear Contributor
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By Sam Hoober, Alien Gear Holsters

Guns are tools, but are you adding tools to a toolbox? Or are you just collecting guns and telling yourself that?

You can do both, to be sure, but a lot of people tell themselves they’re doing the former when it’s really the latter.

The typical American gun owner is vastly different than the typical American gun owner of many years ago. 40 years ago or so, the typical gun owner maybe had a rifle or two, a shotgun or two, and sometimes a handgun or two. They only owned a few guns, and there was a good probability they hunted.

Today’s gun owner is a whole other breed. The typical gun owner today has multiples of every platform, usually with a preference for modern sporting semi-automatic rifles and semi-automatic pistols, often of the polymer-frame, striker-fired variety. They add to their collection several times per year, and most likely doesn’t hunt.

The typical gun owner is also more preoccupied with protection and other considerations as their impetus for owning a gun; putting some venison or ducks in the freezer is just not a concern to them.

Often enough, people buy a new gun because of a capability they think it gives them for a particular purpose. Again, a gun is a tool and the design of the tool makes it suited for a task. The presumption of course is that you aren’t equipped for a particular task unless you have the tool for it.

Take concealed carry for example.

Obviously, a smaller gun is better than a big gun for this purpose – less weight, discomfort, easier to conceal – so therefore it makes sense that you’d get a smaller gun for these purposes. However, this comes with some costs, namely accuracy (shorter sight radius, harder to shoot small, tight groups, more felt recoil) to some degree and also capacity, as smaller guns hold fewer rounds.

The gun industry has been doing its level best to claw some of that back, with new magazine designs for subcompact guns (Sig P365, Springfield Hellcat) and optics. Red dot sights are the future, and are fantastic tools.

What this leads many people to presume is that they absolutely must have a new pistol or else they just can’t conceal effectively, which is patently false in almost all circumstances. Yes, there are people who have a really hard time dressing around a Glock 19 in a holster, but it really isn’t that hard. A roomy-fitting shirt, a decent belt and you’re good to go.

Granted, there is definitely something to be said for making things easier on yourself. Heck, I don’t carry my Government 1911 too much anymore, having downsized to a much more reasonable double-stack compact and I’m happier for it. Some people will buy a gun because they read some gun review on the internet or a video on YouTube, only to find it isn’t a good fit for them and so on. That’s why you’re supposed to rent it at a range before you buy but it’s not like I or anyone else can force people to shop smart.

It’s the same thing with rifles or shotguns for home defense. You must have a new AR pistol in .300 Blackout, if you don’t have a stand-off device on a new shotgun it isn’t even worth having and so on and so forth.

But here, as they say, is the rub:

Never mind the gun shopping. The important part is what gun you train with. The person who changes carry guns and barely trains with the new gun, defaulting to a favored pistol in most cases is doing themselves a major disservice.

If you switch to a different carry gun or home defense gun and don’t put in the reps with it good chance you aren’t going to be as prepared as you need to be when it comes time to use it.

It’s one thing to do your plinking and fun shooting and so on after you’ve put in the practice time with the gun you’re actually planning to have on hand if an emergency ever arises, but it’s another to treat all of your range time as a buffet.

Granted, some people don’t need to be told this and upon getting a new carry gun, relegate the previous model to safe duty. However, not everyone does, and that’s not good.

So if you were thinking of getting a new carry gun, are you getting it for a purpose? Is it because there’s some capability that it will give you? Make your life easier or better?

If you’re going to have it for use as a tool of self-defense make sure you train with it. Or you’re just collecting guns.

Click here to get your 1911 Pistol Shopping Guide.

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Sam Hoober is a Contributing Editor to, a subsidiary of Hayden, ID, based Tedder Industries, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. Click here to visit