At times I am asked by people who either do not own firearms or have just purchased their first handgun how many guns do I have and how many guns do you need. As far as the first question, how many do I have, I don’t answer the question. I have as many as I want and I probably desire more. As far as how many do you need, that is a loaded question (pun intended). It all depends upon what you plan to do. Let’s say you like pre-20th Century lever-action firearms are you just going to get an 1860 Henry and call it a day? Wouldn’t you want an 1866? Are you only interested in brass receivers or would you like a blued model? I like to think of them in this instance like shoes, jackets, or perhaps a purse for a woman. Does one work each and every day or do you need more than one? So those rhetorical questions more or less covers one aspect of collecting. Suppose you love revolvers and want to get every caliber of a particular model. The same could be true for rifles. I don’t know anyone collecting modern rifles with synthetic stocks, but let’s say you love the Ruger American Rifle if you got every version currently available it would be 30 rifles and close to $10,000. Like I said, there is probably no one collecting like this, but it certainly could be possible.
As for how I choose, the firearm must first speak to me on some level. Either by reputation, appearance, or even price. I tend to gravitate toward wooden or laminate stocks, but for pistols I like the look of stainless steel and nickel. Often I am thinking about how the firearm will be used. For pistols you may want a plinker you can have fun with on the range. You may need a pocket pistol for concealment in the summer with light clothes and a heavier model for the winter months and heavier clothing. It is a very personal decision and I know few firearm owners who stop at a single firearm. There is no one size fits all. Typically what will limit firearm purchases is money. You may salivate over a particular model, but the price of admission may be too steep. I have a friend who has his eye on a particular model of Kimber. While it is something he can afford, he realizes he could buy two quality 1911s for the same amount of money. I think he will eventually pull the trigger (more intentional punning), but only time will tell. Lucky for me I don’t have a 1911 addiction.
The hardest part about a firearm collection is parting with one unless you must. My least favorite firearm I own is a Ruger LC9. I just do not like the ergonomics of the pistol. The recoil is acceptable, but the safety just doesn’t work with my thumb. For that reason I don’t like the firearm. I would love to sell it, but it was purchased using my instructor credentials and I agreed not to sell it. For that reason I keep it and hold on to it for demonstration use in classes. Most of the rest of my firearms I have no intention of selling. Of course if times ever got difficult I’d separate the wheat for the chaff immediately.
A bit of a rambling post this morning, but please keep in mind to never ask the question of how many guns do you have and need. It’s akin to asking is the baby ugly. It’s something you just shouldn’t do. 😉