If I were starting my gun collection from scratch…


Back during Hurricane Irma I spent a good bit of the time during the power outages thinking about this topic. From my thoughts on that topic I’ve done a fair bit of reorganizing my collection since then. I’ve started this article several times, and held off writing it as I wanted to use it as a discussion point for when we restart the podcast. But since we keep putting off making the podcast again, and I have a hurricane heading towards me again, I figured I’d finally write this up.

When people ask me what guns to buy, I give the same answer. Colt 6920 with an Aimpoint PRO and a Glock 19.

If I was starting over with that, I would be pretty happy with that start.

But personally, I’d buy something different for my self.

A problem with thoughts like this, is considering the availability of items. There are plenty of things I currently own that are unavailable now. I couldn’t buy one to replace it, or it would be extremely hard to replace. That makes the decision a little harder. All sorts of questions like, would I want to buy the coolest newest stuff or still with older time proven equipment? Off the shelf guns, or customize everything? Etc.

For the sake of brevity, we will ignore mags, ammo, cleaning gear, etc.

For pistols, it would be pretty simple. I carry a Glock G26. So I would start with one of those. Then I would buy another to be a spare. I’d carry one while using the other for training, and switch between them each year. As I do currently.

Then I’d pick up a Glock 19. I’d be perfectly fine with a gen 2 or 3, but I would spend a little more to get a Gen 5 MOS so I would have the option of mounting what ever optic down the road should I choose to do so.

Horribly simple. I’d pick up more pistols as fun guns. Plenty of them, but they would be for fun.

What about rifles?

Now for a while now my favorite rifle has been my Colt 6945. Over time it slowly pushes my other AR15s out of that spot. So I would order a replacement Colt 6945.

Colt LE6945

I’d throw a Aimpoint T-1 or T-2 on the top. Then I would order a Surefire can for it.

But, unfortunately, the NFA process sucks and can take a long time. So I would need a non-nfa rifle around.

I’d pick up a Larue PredatAR. I love the accurate light weight barrel and the design of the hand guards on it.

A PredatAR upper on a Colt Lower.

I like the extended hand guard. I love how light and handy it is. The PredatAR feels equally at home with a reflex sight as it does with a magnified optic. It is great for run and gun, or you could slap on a big scope and shoot tight groups at distance. It is my favorite non-NFA AR15 configuration. If I were starting over, I’d order one immediately and would probably put a lower power variable optic on it.

Now the PredatAR uses a proprietary rail unlike the more popular MLOK and Keymod. If I wanted that, I could go with the Larue Ultimate Upper option, but given the choice, I’d just stick with the PredatAR.

Larue UU upper on a Colt Lower. A passable alternative to the PredatAR.

So I got some Glocks, and some AR15s. What else?

Sometimes, you just feel you want something not as nice as an AR15. Something less handy, not as light. You know what is like. Sometimes you just crave something not small caliber high velocity. There are countless lesser firearms that could fill that niche.

Larue PredatAR 7.62

I’d order a Larue PredatAR 7.62. All the same reasons as the PredatAR 5.56. Accurate, light and handy. Feels just as right with a red dot or a high magnification scope. For this, I would likely mainly use a higher magnification scope and set it up for firing from the bench or from the prone.

Having not started from scratch, I settled for the cheaper and easier to get Larue UU kit in 7.62 with the PredatAR barrel.

A .30 cal AR gives me a familiar platform than I can use in any number of ways. With a reduced mag, I could hunt with it in locals that don’t allow hunting with a .223. But for the most part it would just like the 5.56 PredatAR would be used. Just launching a little larger diameter projectile.

I’d have to get a silencer for each.

After putting together this core few guns I’d start buying all the other odd, rare, cool looking, or obscure guns I want. But these few listed would be the first.


  1. It’s a thought exercise I’ve tried a time or two. I’d go with a G19, a Mk18 or equivalent thereof, a Mk12 Mod 0, an 870 and then a toss up on an M700 in .308 or .300WM. We’re not too far off in ideas. The 19 is simple and reliable. The Mk18, like your 6945, is just about the handiest version of an AR I’ve ever carried and can do everything I’ve needed a carbine to do. The Mk12 has always been a joy to shoot and as accurate as you can ask for. Really it could just be an extra upper in lieu of a stand alone shooter as well. The 870 because a shot is pretty versatile for a number of tasks. The bolt rifle would serve where a bolt is needed and depending where I was at the time would drive which cal.

    • The MK18MOD0 was my favorite for a long time, then the Block II version of it took its’ place. I was surprised when I found later I was shooting and enjoying the 6945 more.
      I’ve had a couple of MK12 uppers. Even bought an Ops Inc Model 12 because of them. I find I prefer the PredatAR to them. But as you say, you could have a single AR with a couple of uppers.
      Hell, a SBR Colt 901 with a short 5.56 upper could cover all that I need.

      • Oh, I never even thought about a 901…that’s something to ponder on the next road trip!
        I’ve had a couple Mk12 uppers too over the years but never liked the newer Gen 3 and that big, handguard collar. When they released the Gen 2 parts it brought back the classic lines of the original. With a WOA barrel it has absolutely hammered. With the AE can it’s a joy to shoot all day but burning those matchkings into the dirt does get expensive! My preference there is admittedly half and half on aesthetics and function.

  2. I’d get a scattergun too. They are inexpensive and insanely versatile. Plus, you’re not going to hit thrown clays with an AR or a Glock.

    Well, *I*’m not going to hit thrown clays with an AR or a Glock. Shooting hand-thrown clays out in the desert has to be the best fun to dollar ratio in all the shooting sports.

  3. Might seem like a off the wall comment. But you say what would you buy from scratch. Listed are firearms that many of us cannot afford. I am set up yet it’s because of help from friends. My AR is nothing fancy. I got it from a friend. He handed it to me to work on. When I was done he told me to keep it for he had enough firearms. He passed away 3 years ago. My sidearm is a S/W SHIELD. I traded it for a bit of prospecting gear. And a few other firearms that I would NEVER had been able to afford had it not been for friends. My thing is,, is everyone puts out these posts like EVERYONE can just run out and get what they want. Why can’t anyone put out a post that will be beneficial to the person working his ass off needing protection but cant afford high price stuff. Why not let people know they can build their own for less than 350.00 and have quality stuff. Some of us are on a fixed income and would like to see that.

    • I get where you are coming from. As I said early on, for someone else, I would suggest a Glock 19 and a 6920 with an Aimpoint PRO. That can be a stretch for many, but I still recommend getting that over something cheaper. But this article is about what I would get, and is what I would get.

    • Going back to the recommendations. Shawn and I have talked a little about this in the past. A used Glock can often be found cheaply. I did a quick google search and found used Gen 3 GLock 19s with 3 mags for $390 shipped to your dealer. I don’t see any reason to advocate a lesser gun or an obsolete gun for any cheaper. C&R and Suplus guns are fun, but they can be hit or miss. If you buy an old Sig225, or a Makarov, if it breaks you might be screwed. Some of the cheap guns can work well, but sometimes they don’t. Sure a PA63 might be dirt cheap, but you are better off with a Glock19. Isn’t your life worth it?

    • Let me be a little less politically correct than Howard and answer your question, Matt. The reason we don’t is because we dont advocate junk, and stuff that is cheap is 90 percent of the time junK. further more most people who “build there own” often buy the cheapest parts possible and those parts are rarely anything I would recommend some one trust their life to.

      Everyone I ever met who complained to me that I recommend stuff too expensive and not affordable always had no problem spending the same amount or more on stuff like a flat screen TV or an ATV or fishing gear or some video game stuff or some other thing they put a higher priority on.. I know guys who spend a couple hundred a week on booze but then tell me they wish they had the money to buy a colt 6920. People who really think their life may depend on a firearm will and do find them at a decent price or find a way to get one.
      I would recommend getting the first thing you can afford to protect yourself with but always strive to upgrade at every chance possible. No one should be defenseless just because they cant afford something so they don’t buy something lesser quality that they can afford for the nonce

    • How much you can spend is often dictated to you and not a personal choice. The “how much is your life worth” argument doesn’t apply when your kid needs food or medicine. I get it.
      Yes, you can get deals. You can build your own. If you do, before you plan on trusting your or someone else’s life to it take it out and qualify it. That doesn’t mean shoot a couple boxes of the cheapest stuff you can find on an old Army BZO target. Burn several hundred, a thousand would be better, rounds through it. If it gives you 100% trouble free operation then ok. If not, fix it and start over at zero. Until you know it’ll absolutely work when you need it it’s just a range toy.
      These choices are personal preference too. Something is better than nothing. A revolver and lever gun in matching caliber would even be a capable combo.

      • I dunno about your AO, but here a half way decent revolver will run you more than a used semi auto.
        I used to be an advocate of the revolver for a novice, but I’ve seen so many people struggle with double action, unable to reload them quickly, etc. I’ve come to believe that a semi auto is better for a novice to use.

        • An autoloader really is just more versatile as well for any number of reasons but I was talking overall expense and logistics. A single caliber collection has fairly decent utility in my humble opinion. I’ve often recommended such a combo in .38/.357.


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