Does your collection own you?


I saw a Barrett M82CQ for sale for six thousand something today. Had my credit card in hand before I came back to my senses and acknowledged that I couldn’t afford it, couldn’t afford to feed it, and didn’t need it.

Something I struggle with is finding the right balance of how many guns to own. I tend to go through a cyclic process of expanding my collection, then culling it. Buying stuff just because I want it or think it is cool, then later selling off stuff I don’t regularly use. I keep a log book, and I’ll find that there are guns I haven’t fired in over a year. I then decide if I should get rid of those.

Not a picture of my collection, but you get the idea.

One of the gun forums I frequent, one of the posters started a bragging thread, where people could post pictures of their huge gun collections. Needless to say it quickly escalated to people posting their collections of hundreds of guns. Then people who couldn’t afford that many came in and started whining and complaining, etc. But some good points were brought up.

I recall once while I was working as a Range Safety Officer, a shooter brought a friend to the range. The shooter uncased a dozen pistol and was letting the friend try each one. The friend commented, “It is so awesome that you have so many guns”. The owner responded, “Yea, but I suck with all of them.”

When I got to take a class taught my Massad Ayoob, he would demonstrate each course of fire before we shot them. For one course, he pulled out a customized Beretta 92 he had, and explained he hadn’t shot it in a long time. During the course of fire he pulled 2 shots from having a perfect score. He joked that it was the cost of being a “Gun Whore”.

There is nothing wrong having a bunch of guns, or collecting guns. But we need to keep a few things in mind. Collectibles need to be stored in a way that will preserve them. Countless collectible firearms are rendered worthless due to excessive rust each year. Fighting firearms are worthless with out ammo, mags, and the related support gear, etc.

Fear the man with one gun – he knows how to use it.

Unknown, generally considered to be wrong.

I’ve read a golf saying, “Fear the man with one club, for he knows NOTHING about golf.” We gun nuts know that different guns are for different purposes and it makes sense to own several, or more.

But there is a point where you can’t reasonably use all of what you own. Where storing, cleaning, or moving a collection is a job in it self.

I’ve joked with friends that when the SHTF and it is the end of the world, I’d die standing in front of the safe trying to figure out which gun I want to use. There is a saying that goes something like, “You only truly own what you can carry at a dead sprint.”

You get the point. Do you own a collection or does your collection own you?

Anyways, the real reason I didn’t buy the 82CQ is that you not suppose to suppress them. The upgraded M107 is the one meant to be suppressible. Had it been a 107, I would have bought it and ordered a can for it. I suppose though that saying this kinda goes against the point of the article, but I had to be honest.

Don’t let this happen to you.


  1. My collection definitely owns me. I’m an admitted Colt junkie as you probably know. I realize that one day, the ultimate fate of the collection will be a liquidation. In the meantime, I will enjoy looking at what I have, photographing it and researching Colt AR’s as my crazy schedule allows.

  2. Admittedly, while I can make shots with anything in my collection, there are a very few pieces that get more time than everything else combined and would be my go-to pieces if I had “to choose only one/two” out of the whole number of them.

    One of the very few would be a 1903A3.

    • I know I like to “think” of all my guns as being combat ready, but the truth is that some of that aren’t quite there. I know I could pick up my Garand and fight with it, but having ammo in clips, or any way to carry those clips other than a pocket, etc, I don’t have.

      • Bandoleer repack kit. Super handy and don’t cost a ton. Or you could get one of those olongapo pieces. I try to keep a bandoleer packed per rifle. Or at least per usable rifle. Well i did at one point at least. Haha

        • Once again I return to the question of if a weapon is a serious fighting weapon or a toy. While it may be fun to dream of stacking bad guys like firewood using a M1, money and time may be better spent on other firearms.

  3. Howard,will say appreciate your honesty,and…..,you have more disposable/fun currency then me!

    I suppose if I didn’t budget(like that will last!)about 20 thou in building up a late 60’s/early 70’s 4×4(perhaps build another 4×4 van)could consider your afore mentioned purchases,we all have our hobby addictions!

  4. I’m down to only the guns I shoot, a total of 7.
    All are reliable and accurate and all fit one or more of my needs.

    • It has gotten to the point for me that storage and organization has become an issue. If I could sell about 1/3 of what I own for the cost I have in it I would be happier. The hard part would be not buying more junk.

  5. I think a good idea is to have a plan or theme if you will in mind. Say old west or US WWII, or modern/tactical stuff and stick to it as much as is reasonable. You can still go nuts obviously but it slows you down.
    Or even just stick to stuff you can support readily. I was super close to getting a gorgeous SMLE for a smoking deal but in my area .303 is pretty hard to come by as well as expensive so I passed on it since I essentially wouldn’t be able to enjoy it.

    Just my 2 cents for keeping myself quasi organized. (Not having money for more toys also helps haha)


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