Thinking of gun purchases in Systemic Terms


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Justin
March 1, 2011, 05:06 PM
In the last couple of years, the way that I think about a potential firearm purchase has shifted in a fairly significant way. As a result, it's fairly rare for me to purchase a gun simply on a whim.

Rather, I do my best to approach gun purchases with an overall eye towards the applications not easily filled by a firearm I already own.

Furthermore, I now look at such purchases from the standpoint of the overall system required to allow the gun to be used in a way that maximizes it's utility.

So, for instance, if I'm looking to purchase a new handgun, the overall system required to supply it with ammunition, carry it, and keep it up and running is considered.

In order to see the true cost of the pistol, the cost of the following items must be included:


Additional standard magazines, a minimum of six required.
Magazine carriers, for a handgun, four.
Holster(s) for competition and/or carry.
Required gunsmithing work (upgrading sights, trigger, etc.)
"Specialty" magazines, if available, a minimum of two.


For a rifle or shotgun, the above list would look fairly similar, though with the addition of slings, sling mounts, scope and scope mounting solutions.

Additionally, if the gun is one that is chambered in a caliber I don't already have, the ability to supply ammunition must be accounted for. If it's a gun that won't be shot often and is chambered in a caliber readily available on the commercial market, then an adequate supply must be ordered.

If it's a gun that I intend to shoot with any regularity, then the cost of reloading equipment and supplies must be included:


Dies for that caliber
Tool head
Powder drop
Workbench stand
Powder
Brass
Bullets


When looking at a purchase in this way, there are a couple of things that become obvious pretty quickly:

It's a smart idea to purchase guns in calibers that are broadly applicable for more than one use. For instance, 9mm is a cartridge that can easily and adequately fill a lot of roles at a reasonable price.

It's possible to realize cost savings by having accessory compatibility among multiple guns. For instance, magazines for AR15s are cheap and easily available, and the platform itself is flexible enough to fill multiple roles from home defense to competition to varmint hunting.
Anyway, that's just kind of a rough outline of some of my thoughts regarding the purchase and use of firearms, and it seems to make pretty good sense for me.

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minutemen1776
March 1, 2011, 05:42 PM
Well, that seems to be a reasonable approach. You're just subjecting your purchases to a cost-benefit analysis and looking at acquisition costs in a way that factors in necessary accoutrements. Nothing wrong with that at all. This seems to be a good way to curb compulsive gun buying, which seems to afflict many here.

leadcounsel
March 1, 2011, 05:47 PM
Well no offense Justin but that's a real drag of a post to read...

Just have fun with them and make it less of a chore! :)

Get something new and have fun with it... why do you need 6 mags for every gun? As long as you've got your basics covered for self defense, hunting, whatever, who cares if you only have 2 mags for a gun at first. Just put the extra items on your Christmas stocking stuffer list...

I'm still so jazzed and excited by guns after 15 years of collecting and shooting that I have a hard time justifying money on OTHER things because I think in terms of "...or I could buy a nice 1911 for that price..." :)

Andrew Wyatt
March 1, 2011, 05:50 PM
A rule of thumb i've tried to follow is to spend half the cost of the gun on magazines.

Justin
March 1, 2011, 06:27 PM
Get something new and have fun with it... why do you need 6 mags for every gun?

Oh, I never said I didn't have fun. In fact, the purchase of extra magazines pretty clearly has a direct positive correlation to the amount of fun I can have. Six magazines will generally be more than enough to cover a reasonable range practice session, allow me to shoot a SCSA match with a minimum of reloading, or allow me to compete at an IDPA or USPSA match without having to borrow extras from friends.

As long as you've got your basics covered for self defense, hunting, whatever, who cares if you only have 2 mags for a gun at first. Just put the extra items on your Christmas stocking stuffer list...

Well, that's the issue. Truth be told, I don't have a massive gun collection. There are certainly many people on this forum who have many more guns than I. However, I've kind of come to the conclusion that past a certain number of guns, there's not a whole lot of point to it because I've only got so much time to devote to becoming proficient with them.

On top of that, there's the additional issue of resource allotment. Sure, I could afford to buy more guns, but then it means I'd have to cut back on other things, like attending matches, or food.

Andrew Wyatt
March 2, 2011, 04:04 PM
I find it interesting that a serious discussion of the systemic cost of a weapon and its support items peters out after five posts, when the "design a movie gun" thread has five pages.

Larry E
March 2, 2011, 06:38 PM
I've done something similar, not buying a .45 pistol because brass and bullets were more than for a 9 mm for instance, and rationalizing that I already had all the 9 mm stuff. The same with having more than one gun per caliber.

Oh well, I've still got 9 mm dies and some brass too, but no 9 mm gun. Can't say the same for .45's though, dies, brass, &c. Also have more than one rifle per caliber in some calibers.

I shoot and load for fun, and if it doesn't make any sense to someone else - except the wife that is - that's there problem not mine. :D

Owen
March 2, 2011, 07:23 PM
Logistics is everything...

Justin
March 3, 2011, 04:49 PM
Owen, that's pretty much the conclusion I've come to.

Which is scary, considering how disorganized my basement is...

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