“A fool and his money are soon parted.” That’s what my grandfather always told me. He also taught me the importance of making do with the tools you have rather than buying the next shiny one hanging on the shelf.
I will never spend the equivalent of a month’s rent and utilities on a single firearm. To me, it makes absolutely no sense. However, I work around a wide selection of firearms. Because of that, I get the opportunity to shoot a lot of guns that are way out of my price point. My favorite firearms are pistols.
Recently, I got to shoot a Legion P229. It’s the compact version of the P226, and it’s been out for awhile. The Legion series, for those unfamiliar, is a line of premium pistols offered by Sig Sauer. Their price point is usually around $1400 MSRP, and they come with a bunch of bells and whistles.
It sure does shoot smooth. The Legion P229’s P-SAIT trigger cuts down on the usual long draw of a single-action/double-action pistol incredibly. The X-Ray 3 night sights glow in low light. The action is incredibly smooth, and it feels like I could pelt rounds onto a thumbtack at 15 yards.
Will I ever pay that price for a pistol that I carry? Absolutely not.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t. That’s a personal choice I’ve made based on the assumption that if I ever need to use a pistol in self-defense, it will probably get taken as evidence during the investigation. If I’m lucky and file my paperwork in a precise manner, I may eventually get it back through a process called civil forfeiture.
My watermark is half my rent. If a gun costs more than half what I pay for rent, then it needs to be able to file my taxes and clean the dishes.
Despite working in a section of the firearms industry, I only own five guns — two of which are pistols. I have one compact Glock 36 chambered in .45 Auto, and I have a Sig SP2022. Both of them are compact enough to carry concealed, and each has what I need. I have plans to pick up a full-size 45 Auto like a P227 TACOPS or maybe a Glock 20 (10mm), but both are way lower on the list of priorities than rent.
The real question is what the average person gets for their money above and beyond the price tag.
When it comes to defensive shooting and concealed carry, there’s no added value in flashiness. I’d go so far as to argue there’s no added benefit to expensive modifications such as after-market trigger or super tactical grips. A basic handgun will do. Everything else is just gravy. And I’m not in the business of buying gravy.
Let’s take a basic Glock 19 Gen 3. It’s two generations behind the Glock 19 Gen 5 but, for the average consumer, provides damn near the same experience. Because the Glock 19 Gen 3 is a proven gun, I know that when I buy one used at the gun shop for $350 that there’s nothing wrong with it. If there is something wrong, there are enough spare parts on the market to repair it pretty quickly. If I need to use it for self-defense, I know its striker-fired shooting mechanism will operate as intended.
What do I get for $1400 that I don’t with $325?
As a concealed carrier of seven years this month, I can safely say not a damn thing.
If I feel the need to spend more than the bare minimum for a reliable, usable concealed carry gun, I need to be honest with myself and say the added benefit is getting a new toy. To me, a gun is a tool. It either operates as intended or it’s trash. Added frills and chills are for showing off at the range or competition.
I tell myself this when I’m staring at a P229 Legion or H&K VP9.
I told myself this last week when I ended up walking out of the gun shop with an FDE H&K VP9…
Did I mention how smooth the action was on the VP9?
A fool and his money…