I think “order” makes for a better level of life. I like to have my projects laid out in advance and work on them in the order they meet the deadline. This keeps the editor and I on a first name basis. By the same token, I like getting paid on time and I have rooted out from my list of companies those that do not pay on time, or don’t pay at all, or make mistakes that make us all look dumb—as my favorite editor reads this he is amused. While all that is fun to talk about, this article is about managing my gun addiction.
I live a life of order, but I think that sometimes this order is a shroud. When I go to the bench, to retrieve a part from the parts bin (a converted jewelry box that works quite well), it is overcrowded in every drawer. Somehow, I don’t feel I will ever need that Lee Enfield extractor spring, but I cannot bear to discard it.
The things I need are jammed so tight together, I cannot access them. At one time there were 10 to 12 more guns in the safe that its rating. This demand takes careful stacking. I didn’t wish to invest in yet another safe, as surely, I could not keep all these firearms. I have committed to lesser numbers of better quality and mastering what I have. That is good advice for anyone.
Managing an Addiction
It isn’t easy to downsize and live simply. It requires quite a bit of effort. If I am to have hope of the mess not taking hold of my life, then I must somehow manage to remain simple. As an example, I recently traded a couple of .357 Magnums and single action revolvers for a high-grade 1911. The logic is unassailable. I enjoy firing the 1911 every day. If I actually need to carry a magnum, it would be the Model 27 with 8 3/8-inch barrel for hunting and the Model 69 .44 Magnum for animal defense anyway.
If I am shooting for accuracy, then the Python is almost a distraction as I work up accuracy loads. I didn’t need the others and do not miss them., but it was a hard decision. If you think you ‘need’ a certain thing, then you will need more and eventually you will lose control!
It is a good feeling to not be loaded down. If I had more than a single pet, as an example, how would I go on vacation? I could not leave behind an important part of the family. Lucy doesn’t travel with us, but she certainly doesn’t go to the kennel either. We have a house sitter. The firearms are locked away and insured. If you walk in my home, you would not know firearms are present.
Perhaps, we did not need all that stuff anyway. A few very good firearms are all that is needed. Who wants a bunch of cheap guns? You don’t have to think about which one of the hordes you may trade, or which one must be sold to buy a new truck. Yes, these things happen, it is called life and since men live life, it will never be perfect.
I love prosperity and a solid cache of firearms may be part of prosperity but at some point, the burden is tiring. I am not in the gun business, I am in the writing business, so a good deal doesn’t have to sway me. I just need things to write about. My sons will get this stuff anyway; It will never end up with strangers picking over it in an estate sale. I will have handled it before that!
Not being tied down to a horde means that you are able to master the firearms you have on hand. A couple dozen, maybe three dozen, is a manageable number of handguns, shotguns, and rifles for every pursuit. For personal defense, a big gun, carry gun and small gun are all that is really needed. You are sharper when the choices are few and familiar. Even writers and particularly instructors must know when they are blessed to excess. And we are.
We have what we need and that is the balance. There is a lot of dead weight in every safe. If you have not fired, carried, or hunted with the piece in a year or two, it probably isn’t doing you any good. Forget all that stuff about investment. If you shoot them, they aren’t an investment. Unfired guns in the original box are collectors’ items. All else are shooters.
I went over to the upright jewelry box and boxed up the parts for the guns I don’t own. The shipping box filled up quickly. Now that is part of the equation. If I am dedicated to not buying those types any longer, I am good. If my mind wanders, or I doubt my conviction, then I will stop packing and simply re-arrange. Let someone else enjoy those pieces. There is a truly good feeling in the minimalist who has what he loves and no more.
After looking over the parts bin, I will move to the ammunition larder. And it really is a larder in my 113-year-old house—once used for storing food, a priceless necessity. I don’t think I need that .32 French Long or .351 Winchester, I hold onto it because I just may find one of those pieces for a good price at a yard sale. No, I think it is going to the pawn shop. Now to the gun safes. Coffee first. This will be a rough one.
What You Will Need for Each Handgun
A box or at least a good gun rug to avoid scratches and dings in storage.
If you are going to use the firearm, and there is no other reason to own one, you need an appropriate ammunition supply. Four or five calibers is plenty. Maybe less.
- You need a holster or two, for each handgun.
- You will need a couple of speedloaders for each revolver.
- You will need a minimum of three magazines for each self-loading pistol.
This is a lot of space, so think carefully. Plan for the long term.
Buy a bigger house!
Do you have a gun addiction? How do you manage your collection of firearms? Share your answer in the comment section.
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Jesse Tiede says
I enjoyed your writing, but, I fear we are at an impasse.
What you consider “A superb go-anywhere do-anything handgun need not be terribly expensive.” is, in my meager lifestyle, “expensive”! Have you seen the prices gun stores, and even traders on the internet are asking for that blued S&W 686, (which, I believe is actually a “586”, as the “686” is a Stainless Steel revolver, and the “586” is the blued model, one of which I have)? The prices are astronomical, in my humble opinion, just for the gun, ever since the company was sold off to that business conglomeration from the UK. When you add customization from the S&W experts, well, the cost goes up exponentially!
Of course, to a gun writer, like you, Sir, these costs may be minimal, at best. But, to a retired old GI, living on a small pension, well, you see what I mean.
I was fortunate to find one for a very reasonable price decades ago, and doing the work myself, (I am a retired military gunsmith, a Civil service employee of the US Army, and held a WG8 rating as a Small Arms Repairer, and also a USAF Combat Arms Training and Maintenance Superintendent, also followed by Civil Service rating of GS-09/5) I was able to put a very nice trigger job on it. But, I digress.
You write an excellent, thought provoking article, and I than you for sharing your expertise, Mr. Campbell. I have had many different guns in my possession, but “Life”, as you say, has made me wish I still had them all! If I DID still have them, then I might also be considered a “Gun Junkie”! Well, truth be told…
I’m a junkie….guns are my obsession, especially older guns that a lot people consider junk. I like new guns too, but my budget and my wife keep me in check…lol.
Change the configuration of the gun safe