Gun Theory: Prioritizing Guns and Accessories

I really enjoy guns. I enjoy shooting them, I enjoy working on them, and I’ve enjoyed collecting during various parts of my life. It’s a hobby that you can easily spend a lot of money on, and it’s a hobby that you can spend a lot of money aimlessly. I did that for a long time.

I wish someone had given me some theory back then on how to really prioritize guns and accessories, and how to analyze what I needed. That’s my hope with this article – to lay out a theory on how to plan your purchases to maximize not only your money, but your effectiveness as well.

First Priority

First, as I mentioned in my post about prioritizing gear, a gun for concealed carry should be your first purchase. I discussed choosing a pistol previously as well, but I’ll reiterate a little bit of it.

Look for a gun with a proven service life – the Sig P series, especially the P320, Glocks, and the Smith and Wesson M&P series are where I would look first. Go compact in 9mm. Subcompacts are useful guns in certain circumstances, but keep in mind you’re typically limiting yourself, especially in capacity and general control.

All of these guns are affordable, easy to repair, easily accessorized, and it’s easy to find holsters and other ancillary equipment and ammunition. As I said in my gear article, once you have your chosen pistol, get a holster, mag pouches, mags, and ammo to accompany.

Second Priority

Having the pistol gives you the ability to protect yourself and your home, but having a rifle gets you more. To be as blunt as I can, if you are using a rifle outside your home, there’s a very good chance things have gone very badly. If that happens, there is a lot more to think about than simply knowing how to shoot. Don’t get me wrong, knowing how to shoot is important, but at that point, it’s only one part of “Shoot, Move, Communicate.”

I’m probably going to start irritating people here shortly with my recommendations, but I’ll try to support them.

Buy an AR-15 that at least meets the military specification (mil-spec). I’m not saying you can’t buy something that exceeds mil-spec, but you need to at least meet it. There are a lot of popular, cheap ARs that don’t meet the spec. These are not suitable for a situation in which you genuinely need to trust your gun.

An AK is also not a suitable weapon for these situations. And no, it’s not because of reliability or accuracy or the fact that I dislike a weapon that’s synonymous with Communism. The AR-15 is the most widely available rifle in the United States, with the widest range of accessories and ancillary gear, and the greatest availability of ammunition. If it gets to the point that you are using a rifle in public, you are probably operating in a team. To truly operate in a team, everyone in that team needs to be running similar weapons in order to simplify the logistical chain.

Personally, I would buy an AR that has an MLOK handguard already installed, but if you don’t, I would prioritize purchasing an MLOK rail shortly after. Other key purchases I would prioritize would be a good two-point sling, a quality red dot sight or low variable power optic, and a flashlight.

Mags and Ammo

At a minimum, I would have 6 magazines for both my pistol and rifle. Honestly, 12+ would be better. Having multiple magazines allows you to rotate them through your carry gear or prep load, as well as keeping separate mags for carry and training.

Ammunition is a separate issue. You need both service/carry and training ammunition. Whatever you choose as your loadout for carry or service, you need to be able to fill it. For example, if your EDC is a pistol and two mags, then you need enough carry ammo to fill that loadout (probably 45-51 rounds). If your planned load for rifle is three on the chest, one on the belt, and one in the gun (like mine is), you probably need at least 150 rounds of service rifle ammo. When it comes to practice ammo, in an ideal world, you’d have 1k+ rounds of each in a steady rotation. It used to be that you could simply make a run to Walmart on the way to the range, but between political pressure on retailers and the unstable ammunition supply chain today, you need to have ammo on hand.


I’ve already written about my theories on gear here, here, and here, so I won’t cover any of it in this post, but look for more coming soon both on this blog and my YouTube channel.


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