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By Anonymous

As I sit here writing this, I am forced to decide what firearm I should sell to come up with the extra money to pay my mortgage this month. It pains me to sell any of them not because they are high end, not because they were handed down (they weren’t…for the most part) or even that desirable, but because they are mine . . .

I didn’t think about guns that much when I was a kid. I went thru my states hunting program as soon as I was old enough but my stepfather took me only once. As I grew alittle older, the normal interests a teen has got hold of me too….cars, girls, you know the deal. Firearms were not even close to catching my attention.

As I became a sophomore in high school, I realized that I needed to decide on what to do with my life after I graduated. I decided on the military. According to what I’ve been told ( yes, I know recruiters will say anything) my a.s.v.a.b scores and my grades would qualify for most any job. To everyone’s astonishment, I choose infantry…I even picked the longer enlistment.

Basic training was rough, but not the hell I had expected, and it was my first real training with weapons. I remember gaining more respect for my rifle than my first car. I was hooked. I needed more. More types of rifles, more knowledge about how they function, their limitations. Just more. We were scheduled to go to the range and learn to shoot the M60 but a hurricane came thru and the higher ups rescheduled the training. I was pissed. We were supposed to be infantry. Tough, able to go into any element and get the job done and they were afraid of rain? I guess the 60 would wait.

My first duty station was Ft. Hood. I loved it there and my company had some great NCO’s but the thing that stuck out most, for me atleast, was that here I was, smack dab in the middle of the biggest base on American soil, ready to put my life on the line and we soldiers were not allowed to have our weapons. I remember thinking that if anyone were to declare war and attack the U.S. that a direct attack on military installations would make sense. I brushed the thought off as I figured that A) an attack against us would be suicide, and B) I was just a private, I was sure the brass would’ve thought about that and have an s.o.p. in place. I was pissed as hell when I learned of the shootings at Ft. Hood a few years later.

I subsequently got out of the Army and moved back home. Turns out that infantry didn’t give me the skill set that serious employers were looking for so I got a job as a dishwasher. Making minimum wage was tough, but I scrimped and saved. Just enough for my first concealed carry permit and my first gun. A nice, slightly used Smith and Wesson .357 mag with a 6″ barrel. Yes, I know, hardly a conceal gun but I was still learning the ropes. I did end up selling it and buying a GLOCK because, well, GLOCK and it’s considerably easier to conceal.

Since then, I have gotten better jobs, but life always managed to throw a wrench in my plans. That rifle I was saving for? Too bad, my car died. The Barret I had my eye on? Maybe after I get another job because I got laid off. I don’t mind so much anymore because since my daughters were born, I realise that they need me more than I need a safe full of guns. I just need three. A rifle, a pistol and the .22 I bought to teach my daughters what life has taught me.

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  1. Good write up… I have felt the pain. My first AR a stag model 1, I took a huge loss because I needed money when my little brother died. I have sold a few guns but that was the only time I “had” to sell one. Keep at it, eventually the girls will be adults and you will be able to save for “toys” again.

    • I’m so glad that my wife and I are Dave Ramsey fans. Debt free (house and everything) with a fully funded emergency fund. Hopefully that means I’ll never be in the situation where I have to sell any of my guns.

      You are right in saying that you only need three guns (although I’d want a spare defensive handgun as well). The daughters are more important than the toys. All guns past the first five or so are essentially “toys”. That said, it is ok to have some toys if you can affort them. I’m glad I can.

      • I’ve got some major issues with Ramsey but the basic message he has is a good one. And yeah, past the first 3-5 guns they really are toys. I mean you can make arguments about true utility for a couple-three guns, but I know people with 20+. Those are *toys* and if it comes down to that or paying a bill? sell a damn gun

  2. When I decided to feed my inner gun bunny, I made my firearm selections on the effective ranges and ease of finding ammo. I called the ranges: “get outta my face”, “get outta my yard”, “get off my block”, & “I can still see you”.
    My neighbors had pointed questions about my white-painted sticks up & down the block, but now I know the distances by eye. >:-)

  3. I regret every single one with which I parted.

    But, that’s part of why I don’t have a mortgage… My home is not on the chopping block every month. It may not be extravagant, but it’s paid for.

    Nobody should have a mortgage hanging over their heads, it’s no way to live.

    • Can’t put a price on a paid off house. That’s awesome, I’m pretty jealous. I can’t Afford to buy outright so I have a mortgage to pay. My goal is to be in your shoes one day, though.

      • There’s nothing wrong with having a mortgage–as a stepping stone to something better. (It’s people who keep refi-ing their house to pull money out and who will NEVER pay it off, who are putting themselves in trouble.)

    • @Dustin: My last house went with my last wife. It was actually her house, not mine, anyway. Live in an apartment now and better off for it. No mortgage, no yard to work on (weekends for shooting and other fun stuff), no roof to fix, no worries about trees blowing down, no lawn mower or hedge trimmers needed and so on. Had several houses when I was younger. Don’t need one now and doubt that I will ever buy one again. A condo, maybe, but never a single family home again. But I digress…….;-) !

      • Yes, cutting that last mortgage check is an awesome feeling. I was always envious of my friends who got free houses from parents while in their 20’s (lots of my friends are farmers). True, having a free house puts ones years ahead on retirement savings and business opportunities, but now, it is a great feeling to know we truly did it on our own.

    • What you say is true enough, but I’m thinking maybe more folks are worried about affording health insurance, and the ultra high deductibles, that some of us have to live with.

      • Insurance provided by your company will be taxed as income, no more pre-tax dollar premium payments – 2016 OBamacare (used to be Hillarycare though she wanted your medical records [presumably to learn what ‘parts’ uou had in case she wanted to sell them]).

      • This right here. Property taxes are the latest way to pay for government. All they need to do is go through the Platt book and add up what it’s all worth. Tweak the mill rate and there you go: instant cash.
        You can’t move property and it’s hard to move yourself. Raise taxes high enough and no one wants to buy there. Don’t pay? We’ll sell that for you.
        It’s the one thing many people don’t count on becoming larger than the mortgage, and you can’t pay it off.

    • My home is paid off, but I do not own it. If I fail to pay taxes, it’s taken away. Serfdom, not freedom. But its the best I can manage.

      • You don’t really own your guns either. The state can arbitrarily change the definition of prohibited persons, and then seize your firearms.

        • The state can try to do that!

          There’s a prohibition on ex post facto laws in the Constitution they’d have to beat in federal court.

          Not to mention the “incorporated” 2nd Amendment now.

  4. Nice writeup. I bought and sold 10 guns in the last couple years. Except for a Hi-point I regret all of them. And I can’t get laid off-self-employed for 22 years(sink or swim-right now it’s sink…sigh)

  5. Every American citizen needs a: .22 rifle, a Glock 19 and 21, a 12 gauge shot gun, a semi auto 5.56 and.308, and a bolt action .308. That about covers all need. Right?

    • …a pistol AR or AK, a packable carbine, semi-auto shotgun, milsurp .308, suppressor, 37mm flare launcher, cleaning kit, bottled water, few power bars, baby wipes, gas mask, body armor, b2b radios, ifak, good dry breathable footwear., tootus, floss…?

    • @Cracked: 2 pistols minimum (one next to the bed and one to carry), a shotgun, an AR-15 type rifle with a scope, bolt action 30 caliber rifle with a scope, 22 pistol and rifle for fun plinking. Can’t think of anything else to put on the list right now but I am sure something will come to me after a while.

      • So guess I would have to say 7 minimum would be fine. Maybe add an SBR with a silencer just for fun at the range. That would make 8.

      • “… (one next to the bed and one to carry),..”

        What? The one you carry doesn’t fit next to the bed? Or am I missing something?

        • It’s the other way around – what you carry is (usually) necessarily smaller than what you can stash away by the bed.

  6. Right there with you most paydays, have resorted to second and third jobs. Have purchased firearms when I was more bullish on my prspects. Have sold some for minimal benefit, and only very short term gains, very frustrating.
    Will trade ya prayers.

    • I’ve sold several guns simple because I could not get the accuracy out of them I expected. One example: Ruger #1 in 22 Hornet. No matter what I did, I couldnt get groups under 6″ at 100 yd. (with a scope)

  7. Like most of us of modest or otherwise limited means, my collection has waxed and waned over the years. Lord knows I wish I’d kept everything I’ve brought and sold – I’d have made a pretty penny. Assuming you’re keeping three guns out of your current collection, my suggestion would be to go with something old-school and potentially more collectible (if not already) for the rifle. For example, if you have an AR that’s rather common and an older pre-’64 Winchester Model 70….keep the Winchester, even though the AR may well be a better fighting gun. Conversely, I’d keep a fighting pistol handy over a more collectible one. And of course the .22LR rifle for your kids. As everyone’s collection is different, YMMV.


  8. First, thank you for you service. Second, been there, feel your pain. Third, good idea to cover the bases. You can always upgrade or add to your collection later. Plenty of men and women have defended themselves and their families with the lone family shotgun. While no one gun is perfect in every situation, certainly just about any gun is better than no gun.

    • That wouldn’t be the best. We all live in seperate states and have seperate laws governing private sales. There are already many sights that specializes in this. Who is going to keep it clean and tidy?

  9. Here would be my minimum three: A 9mm pistol like a Glock 19 (with a dozen magazines, 1000rds of FMJ, and 500rds of JHP), an AR-15 carbine (with a dozen magazines, 2500 rounds of anything but XM855, an Aimpoint and light, and a spare BCG), and a 22lr semi-auto like the Ruger 10/22 (with a half-dozen magazines and 5000 rounds of assorted plinking and hunting ammo). I would never go to just 3 guns without being REALLY well stocked with spare parts, magazines, and a pile of ammo. These three guns are the easiest to repair in each category.

    • On the Ruger 10/22, if it came down to it, do you have the option to load just one round directly into the breach?

      • I’ve never tried it. One has to be a bit concerned with the extractor claw when doing that. Remember, the question wasn’t an end-of-the-world scenario. If your magazine craps out on you, go buy another magazine. Better yet, have a dozen lying around. Then, just load one at a time for kids or new learners.

    • I wouldn’t classify a red dot on a rifle as a minimum must-have. In truth, iron sights work just fine, and if you can only afford one piece of optics, at least to begin with, it’s probably best to make it a good all-around scope (like one of the 4x prismatics) with a QD mount, as that gives you way more options than just a dot. It’s not to say that reflex and holo sights don’t give an advantage, but it’s a luxury item, not a necessity.

  10. Always a tough call.. . I think I would opt for selling to a friend.. sell for the payment, But , maybe with the option of buying back?

    • I have a friend who “sold” his M1A to his dad after getting married and having two kids in a short period of time.
      I’ve been thinking about making an offer on it…

  11. Only ones I’ve sold were 40 S&W. Hated the caliber. Replaced a couple with 45 ACP in the same models. Feel your pain though. I’ve sold other stuff during tough times.

  12. My sympathy on the guns to be sold. Guns I regret selling:

    -Browning 12 gauge pump shotgun
    -Winchester 1300 12 gauge shotgun
    -Pre-FG Marlin 336C .30-.30
    -Ruger Super RedHawk .454
    -Taurus Raging Bull .454

    My advice, for what it’s worth: don’t sell anything. Unless maybe it’s a Glock, which are easily replaced.

    • I had a Winchester 1300 Black Shadow, don’t miss that one (stock had way too much drop and plain hurt like hell), and a Ruger Super Redhawk .454 Casull. I definitely miss that one. Must get another..must get another…must get another 🙂


  13. Worked 2 jobs for more than 20 years. When my kids were little and my first wife was working against me it was tough. Then she did us all a favor and left me and the kids. Times were still tough for a while after.

    But things get better. Your kids get older and more self reliant. My keeper wife and I have a pretty good life now. Grandkids and all.

    I can afford most any gun I want now. But years of struggle have left their mark. I usually buy what’s practicle and pat myself on the back for not going overboard.

    Hopefully, in the fullness of time you will have a safe full of guns and a yard full of grandkids.

    • Sad to say, I seem to go overboard when is see something I like (internet is brutal for us with this gun disease) but, lucky enough, have enough money coming in to still invest/fund retirements, pay bills, and now buying farm land to build my dream 800 yard target range in near future. Been a long trip, but final destination is within reach. Another bit of advice to OP – never buy a new vehicle…it’s a horrible investment, and they all end up rusted metal in 24 years no matter how much you pay.

      • Yep, same here, 6.5 Grendel just caught my eye and found a “sweet” deal and ended up spending more than I was planning. But at least it is something of value and can sell if ever in a real tough spot unlike a lot of other things that retain no value…

      • I think someone else on this blog pointed out that if you are planning on buying and keeping a car, it really doesn’t matter if you buy it new or used. Unlike property or a home, there are only very limited times you actually buy a vehicle as “an investment”.

  14. Never sold guns out of need. But I don’t have some I regret no longer owning. Old 3 screw Ruger .44 magnum, my .357 Colt Python nickle plated that I bought new and my Galil ARM 308 which I also bought new. Can’t afford to buy some of these, so that’s why the milled Arsenal.

  15. Probably just an addict rationalizing, but i have always said (to myself AND the wife) that if i ever find myself on hard times , i can always sell most of my guns for probably 90+ cents on the dollar. Much better than most of the junk people buy.

    Not sure about 3, but if i could only have 1 it would be (one of) my glock 19s. not necessarily my favorite handgun, but versatile, reliable, and parts and ammo ubiquity

  16. 9mm auto with laser.
    9 mm revolver with laser
    9 mm carbine with laser
    Side by side 20 gauge
    .30-.30 Lever
    A few inexpensive .32-.38’s under tables, desks, near front door, tucked onto side cushions of favorite recliner.
    .22 rifle and Single Six for training.
    .45LC cause I wanna be a cowboy.

  17. I feel your pain man. I just got laid off on the 20th and have already sold one rifle and a compound bow to make sure I’m ok for a while.

    I’m former Army as well, 31S Satellite Communications. Sounded great at meps, no market at all in the civilian world.

    Good luck to all of us in this position.

    • A buddy of mine did that. Some secret site near Andrews. I think the site is gone now, but they handled AF1 communications among other things. I know the name of the site, but I’m not repeating it.
      He got out and started installing car stereos. Still is 35+ years later

    • Since you had a security clearance, there are tons of DOD jobs you can get, even with minimal skill set, so long as you have a clearance. Contracting companies love it when new hires come with a clearance already because it saves them a ton of money. Look around for that.

  18. Most people in the wild west had a rifle, a shotgun, and a revolver. Something similar would suffice for the modern world.

  19. According to what I’ve been told ( yes, I know recruiters will say anything) my a.s.v.a.b scores and my grades would qualify for most any job. To everyone’s astonishment, I choose infantry…

    That’s my story too – after dropping out of college. There were surprising numbers of “overqualified” guys in the infantry. During the late 80’s the only path to enlisted Special Ops, which then required a high ASVAB, was 2+ years in the “regular” Army’s combat arms. Which was my plan, until Desert Shield/Storm crushed it…

    In my experience, training with firearms, even in the infantry, was good, but spotty. Too many other training priorities got in the way. This was somewhat understandable in a complex mechanized force.

    I much more enjoy shooting as a civilian. And today you can get excellent, albeit ex$pensive, training to perfect shooting skills.

    • He. said he had a rifle (centerfire). I assumed that it was an AR, or other defensive carbine like an AK.

  20. There’ve been a great many guns in my life, but few I’ve regretted selling out of need. Funny thing is, they were all my “firsts”, which is most likely the reason for regret. Or maybe the reason is they were not only “firsts”, but what I considered at the time to be the “epitome” of what weapons a person would buy. Suffice to say, the calibers were .357, .308, 12 gauge and 32.20. Wish I had those guns today despite a safe full of- can I say it?- “better” weapons?

  21. Your article really took me back. Worked for almost nine years to pay my own way through college, which was a long time ago when that was actually possible. Good times I’d pick up another firearms or two. Shoot a ton every week. In leaner times, no buys and much less shooting. Damned if I didn’t end up selling every gun I owned to finish college: Ruger .308 bolt action, Ruger Blackhawk 44 mag, Ruger Security Six (yeah, I liked Rugers), couple of .22LR riles and pistols. Couple of older shotguns I bought used. Sold all of them except a Ruger 10/22 that was a gift from my best friend. That rifle I kept. Still have it. God knows how many rounds have been down its barrel.

    Am at a point in my life and career where I could basically buy anything I really want, but mainly buy anything old and interesting, which varies from time to time. Certainly have more guns than I need.

    I have to agree, though. You only need three guns. But damned if it’s not fun to want so, so many more. A couple of years ago I listed what I thought my ideal battery would be and ended up with about 35 firearms. Sort of a (large) mixed bag of various weapons for various purposes. Maybe I’ll get there one day. I am still maybe a year away from a truly custom rifle, but I can smell it out there. Somewhere. Looking for its way home to me.

  22. I’ve made the mistake of selling a gun once, which I’ve since remedied by buying another 3. True story.

    In all seriousness, I absolutely will not sell any of my firearms; but I will sell ammo (or plasma) to make up for a short paycheck/unforseen life event.
    And if I have to sell enough to put my supply below the minimum 300rd/per threshold, I have several older vehicles in my backyard which are maintained in a running, saleable condition. For anything past that, I’ll sell a kidney.

  23. Tough call. Been there, done that.
    I had to make that call once.
    Then I realized, they are just hunks of steel and wood.
    They can and would be replaced in the future.
    They have been. It just takes time. Keep the faith, and look at the glass as half full.

  24. Have never sold a handgun out of financial nescessity. Have sold “mistakes” Mostly pistols that were uncomfortable to shoot. I’ll sell jewelry if there is a need, not guns.

  25. While I can relate to the pain of selling or putting of purchases (my BCM is about to go), “Glock” is a proper noun and only needs to have the first letter capitalized.

  26. I am no stranger to financial difficulties. We came within inches of filing bankruptcy in 2009. We both lost our jobs with a kid still in college, had to short-sell our house, losing 30 years of equity, had to negotiate settlements with card companies, lost our credit ratings, had to move to a strange area for me to take a lesser job, etc. But we got our act together, planned, saved, etc and we are in better shape today that we ever were then.

    I considered selling guns and other things that are important to me, but not immediate necessities, but I didn’t. If you have to get down to a few hundred dollar sale to save your budget, you are looking at the wrong end of the equation. You have to to make more, spend less and save, all the time. After all our troubles, I just bought a new car with cash this year. We have an sizable emergency fund if either of us loses our jobs, a fund created from scratch and maintained since 2009.

    Guns are tools for me. I need two carry guns, a main and a BUG, a SHTF rifle, couple of legal, but un-traceables to hide and plenty of ammo. That’s it. I would never sell below that, because they are necessities. I won’t buy above that because it is just extra stuff. That’s another we had to learn: Never buy more than you need unless you are rolling in dough.

  27. I know the pain. I sold a mosin that I literally just got the month before, all ammo still bundled. My daughters hospital bills were more important that my “wants”

  28. Everyone who owns guns should own an AR15-platform rifle. Its as close to the perfect rifle as we are likely to get.

    Its come a long way since its introduction during Vietnam, and modern AR15s are just as reliable as AK-platform rifles.

    And the versatility…all of those calibers with just the pop of two takedown pins and swapping the upper. From 17HMR to 50 Beowulf, all on a single lower receiver. So many caliberd available to a single lower that I can’t even remember them all – 17HMR, 22LR, 5.56x45mm/223 Remington, 5.45x39mm, 7.62x39mm, 300 Blackout, 5.7x28mm, 6.5 Grendel, 6.8 SPC, 450 Bushmaster, 458 SOCOM, 50 Beowulf and probably about a 100 I’m forgetting.

    If only there was a pistol as versatile as the AR15-platform.

  29. Thank you for your service brother, and keep charging. Being a grunt is the greatest and most difficult burden to bear. It is good to see an infantry brother keeping his head above water.

  30. 1. A concealed carry pistol
    2. A pump action shotgun
    3. An AR-15

    When you have some extra dough:
    4. A bolt action .308 or .30-06 or similar
    5. A Full size handgun

  31. I hear you man. With close to 15k out of pocket in medical crap last year I sold almost all of mine 🙁 It sucks.

  32. Turns out that infantry didn’t give me the skill set that serious employers were looking for so I got a job as a dishwasher. Which is why my Dad did everything he could to get out of the Infantry and try to get into branches where he could acquire skills to get a decent job after the war was over. Which is why I went to Engineering school versus joining the military in a combat capacity. After the military, life goes on.

  33. Marry someone who manages money well. My wife is an excellent Domestic Finances Administrator (among her many talents), and the last time I had to sell a gun to pay for stupid stuff like food and rent was back in the 80s.


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