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By Jim Duke

I dipped my toe into the world of modern black sporting rifles when I picked up an AR-15 a little less than a year ago. I needed something to do on the weekends when I’m out on the road by myself and fresh air at the range beats cable TV in a generic hotel room. It all started when I saw an M&P Sport for a little over $600 hanging on the wall in a Wyoming sporting goods store. I’d never seen an AR-15 for that price so . . .

I bought it. Shortly thereafter (later that day?), I discovered that has a quite a selection of accessories for ARs at some really good prices compared to a lot of other online stores. Who’d-a thunk it? At the time I also happened to be staying near a tactical supply store that had all sorts of things I didn’t need; beautiful shiny things. Within a week I had an order or two on the way from Amazon to go along with some (non)essentials from the tactical supply store.

For the rare person who isn’t familiar with the AR-15, this rifle was designed to be modular. That means you can swap parts and have several configurations of the same rifle, essentially creating different rifles with very little time or effort expended.

Want a close quarter carbine for clearing rooms? Pop a carry handle on your flat top and a flash light on the hand guard. Want a mid-range sniper rifle? A bipod and a medium powered scope can be mounted in about two minutes. How about a home defense configuration with a reflex sight, flashlight and a laser? I have the stuff for all of these setups and more. The only limits to configuring your AR are the thickness of your wallet and your imagination.

Sure, it starts innocently enough; a low cost red dot to try out, Mapgpul hand guards, a couple extra P-Mags. None of those really costs all that much. No problem, right? It doesn’t seem like too big a deal until you start noticing miscellaneous accessories laying around that you’ve barely used, laying in their boxes collecting dust.

But what really sucks is adding up the cost of all of those accessories. That’s about the time you realize you could have bought another gun for what all that junk cost you. And to top it off, the pile seems to still be growing, as if it has a life of its own.

A while back, when I was still trying to find out what kind of optic worked best for me, I was talked into buying  a small red dot for about $80 bucks and moved on down the road the next day. Sadly, I was too far away to return it by the time I realized I didn’t like it after all.

I’ve never been to the range with this sight. It’s brand new, still in its original box. My stomach turns every time I look at it. And yes, I’ve bought two more red dots and a scope since. Naturally I had to get a quad rail, too, to make it even more convenient to hang unnecessary crap on my rifle. It’s like handing a shiny new pipe to a raging crackhead.

But the biggest problem with all of this is that my affliction has now spread to other firearms. Before I knew it, I needed a black pistol to complement my black rifle. I went with a S&W SD9. Then I decided I had to get my CCW, which then forced me to buy a snubby .38 for concealed carry. That SD9 just wouldn’t do.

It didn’t take too long before I felt the need to have a compact 1911 to carry as well. You know, ’cause a guy needs to change it up sometimes. Oh and let’s not forget the .22 pistol that was simply essential so I could save some money at the range. Did I mention that I also recently bought a 9mm 1911? Of course my carry guns are both sporting rosewood grips now because I like my guns to be purty.

The really messed up part is I’m always thinking of new things that I “need” for one or more of my heaters. Extra mags, new sights, sweet-looking grips, you name it. It seems that my addiction just cannot be satisfied. Don’t even get me started on holsters….

Somehow I feel the fault lies with evil accessory manufacturers and the dastardly dealers who peddle their products of doom without the slightest concern for the health of my ailing wallet. Their collective lack of regard threatens the very fabric of our (at least my) economic stability.

Perhaps it’s time to impose revenue enhancements on the sale of these items in order to fund some form of governmental oversight to ensure that no American is cast into poverty by the need for an overabundance of reasonably priced firearm accessories. Surely I can’t be held responsible for my own actions as I was clearly influenced by external forces beyond my control. I really should be suitably compensated for any and all damages done, both financial and emotional.

And will someone please keep me away from that revolver display case?

Jim Duke is the brains behind the Unsolicited Biased Opinion blog.

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  1. As the major media will certainly point out, you can’t blame the accessory buyer for his problems…you must blame the accessory manufacturers.

    • Bullsh1t! You must blame the accessories themselves. Their mere existence is the problem. Ban all accessories now.

  2. I don’t own a “modern sporting rifle.” It’s not that I think that there is anything wrong with owning a miltiary rifle. I really would like to own a WWII type sporting rifle, i.e., a basic M-1A. However there is line that my wife would prefer that I didn’t cross — the Bert Gummer line. An AR crosses that line.

  3. Like having folding chairs filled with unhappy friends and relatives in the living room when I walk through the door…
    Yes. I actually took my AR out to the garage and removed the Magpul forward grip and under rail this morning. I felt so ashamed…
    …but low light shots are much easier with a good red dot optic. I am hovering around a Tru-Glo right now as they seem to have the right quality within the price range I am looking at. And perhaps a fold down sight set up to go with that? (Of course that will mean a new gas block) I have more magazines than I can afford to fill, so the reloading bench is going to need some funds allocated in that direction. As for the ridiculous sling, perhaps something a bit more sturdy? The trigger guard has always been great in stock configuration, until I handled one with an after market unit. Who really knows where this will go?
    I mean, this is not really an addiction. I can just say it is fine the way it is at any time, right? Besides, the espresso maker option will come in handy some day.
    Yes, it is very easy to outspend my own ability with this. And in motorcycling. And with home ownership. And with home brewing…
    I am screwed.

  4. I will be ordering a heavy barrel Savage in 22WMR after work today.

    A couple of months ago, I purchased a CZ in 22LR.

    In a couple of months, my Christmas present to myself will probably be a Savage Model 10 or Model 12. Not sure if I want to go with 22-250 or .308 yet.

  5. Yeah, but with all the other guns, more accessories are just stuff. When you buy extra accessories for an AR, you eventually reach the point where all you need is another lower and voila, a whole ‘nuther AR! I’m getting close to that point where the cells of my AR are about to divide and produce two separate AR’s. I’m like an expectant father over here!

  6. Jim – it’s OK, trust me. Under some obscure law that I can’t cite right now but I know is there because some authoritative guy told me about it, you are legally entitled to a MINIMUM of one gun of every type for every year of your life. And because America is all about choice and diversity and all that good stuff, it is up to YOU to define “type”.

    For me, a new type of gun might be one with a different rear sight, or maybe a different set of grips, different finish (ooh, shiny!) barrel length, etc. And did I mention that your legal entitlement is a MINIMUM? So it’s OK – you won’t be overdoing it until you have to buy at least 15 gun safes. Or maybe 50. Or your house sinks under the total weight of guns, safes, and ammo.

    As a friend of mine once said, “I’m not a gun collector – I’m a gun accumulator.”

  7. Your just sprouting new branches on the continuous tree of evolving gun needs. When my wife complains I always ask here, what do you have that you can sell for almost as much and many times more than the money you purchased it for? Purses? Furniture? Clothes?, and now even the whole house?, diamonds?, cars?. None of the above. Guns-Yes. She has no rational response.

    • +1 a gun purchase is like putting money in the bank. a bank that will not allow you to pull out all your funds at one time or ever because you love that bank and they love you.

  8. Jim, you are just getting started. You’ll know you’ve really crossed the line when you put together your own AR. It starts when you think “It will be neat. I can pick my own parts. I won’t have to replace anything. I’ll get it right the first time.” And then you will lie to yourself: “If I build it myself, I can do it for less money.” The next thing you know, you get a great deal on a quality PWS stripped lower that is factory blemmed. And that will be the last finacially responsible decision you make. Next up, a drop in Timney trigger (oh yeah….it’s sweet). And then a big long list of pins, springs, and doo-dads. And a castle nut wrench. Next thing you know, you got a complete lower.
    Of course, if you build the lower you might as well build the upper. Let’s face it, nobody makes EXACTLY what you want and sells it as a complete upper. So you order a stainless steel flutted 18″ barrel with a 1:8 twist because that’s what you really want. And if you have that kind of set-up it has to be free-floated. Eventually, you will find yourself with a gun that is almost complete….you just have to wait a month or two for the 13″ FDE Troy Extreme Battle Rail you ordered from MidwayUSA to finally be sent to you………on backorder……..expected back in stock on September 16, 2012.

  9. Instead of buying more guns, I would prefer to stock up on ammo, which I have been neglecting because my money has gone to more guns and accessories.

  10. Welcome to Guns anonymous.

    I never buy a gun or accessory that I don’t plan on using regularly. The only gun I have that I never shoot is a pre-1955 (no way to know how old it is) Belgian Browning Semi-auto 22 in near flawless condition. It was a gift for my 30th birthday. Ideally, I would probably shoot it about once a year. To me, it’s just too beautiful and historically important to risk beating it up. Everything else goes to the range regularly. If I don’t see myself using it regularly, I won’t buy it. It’s the only control I have.

  11. Smith & Wesson thanks you for your patronage, and encourages you not to stop until you own their entire 2012 catalog of firearms. See you again next year! j/k

  12. I’m only 2 years back into guns after not shooting anything for 20+ years. It started with an AR-15 kit and a Spikes Tactical Lower. Then more:
    -Ruger Security Six used I owned but had never fired.
    -CMMG 22lr dedicated upper.
    -RWExtreme 45acp AR upper.
    -FNH-45 Tactical
    -Keltec PLR-22
    (2) Boberg XR9-S 9mm
    and the wish list grows each month.

    • My Spikes is awesome! All the milspec parts fit perfectly, no struggle to get any parts into place, and the finish was nice. I have absolutely no complaints. It’s a perfectly fine lower receiver. The only way I would deviate from said lowers is if I wanted to build some billet match grade super over priced mad science machined plastic man viltor wallet buster.

  13. Im finally done with my build. I’ve hit a point where my rails are covered for safe keeping (XTMs) I have the AFG, BUIS, EOTECH, Vortex3x, Thorntail with G2xPro, A2 Birdcage, mounted QD point, and Magpul BAD, and BAD Ambi Switches. I’m done with this build. It’s time for a new 18in(or 20in) A4, with mid-long range optics, and as light as it possibly can be (cuz of the 20in BBL)… For all those rifle golf games I’m never going to play (damn you California). When that ones done, it’s .300BLK AR Pistol time. I heard about that new pigtail gas tube that helps eleviate some of the cycling issues, well see. So you see.. I have my addiction fetish under control. xD

  14. Okay, honest question here. Why do you need/want more than one gun of a given caliber? I’m not coming from a anti-2A perspective or anything of the sort and we all obviously have the right to buy whatever we want. But, for example, if you have a pistol in 9mm, why would you buy a second one? They both do the exact same thing.

    I understand if you shoot competitively then you probably want a dedicated piece. But if you’re going to carry, why would you buy a carry gun and and a non-carrying variant (like a Glock 17 and 19, for example). Why not just go with the carry gun?

    I hope I don’t catch a lot of flack over this, but I honestly don’t get it. If it’s a different caliber, then it makes total sense. But why would you buy more than one of a given caliber?

    Perhaps it’s just that I’m frugal, but even if I can afford it a 1000x over I would have a hard time justifying it to myself.

    • Well I carry a 3″ .45 1911. It was expensive so I like to baby it. I take a full sized 1911 to shoot at the range because I like 1911’s. I also have a 9mm polymer for home defense with a light mounted on it. Since I keep it at the ready, I bought a 9mm 1911 to shoot at the range since I also like shooting 9mm (did I mention that I like 1911’s?). That’s why I have multiples in those calibers. I’m sure other people on here also have good reasons as well……like guns are cool…….the only thing better than a gun is a sh$&@load of guns…….

    • You should get many replies for this question. If you have a favorite caliber then you will realize the difference shooting a super small carry piece vs a much larger and heavier gun that would normally stay home for HD, stuck in an outside holster for the trail, or put into a glove box on a trip to the range for accurate shooting. The smaller gun will carry better and the larger gun will shoot better with more rounds. Some people carry a 12oz 357 snubby (though it can shoot 38) that aint my cup of tea cuz of the thermonuclear blast, limited accuracy from the short barrel that neuters the 357’s energy potential and accuracy. Others own a s&w627pro 4″ barrel 8 shot for HD that weighs roughly 30 oz more than the snubby (which one would you rather shoot and which one would you rather carry).
      Some people go the middle route and try to split the difference and get a gun that could do both in a pinch though it would be sacrificing some characteristics of each. The Ruger SP101 3″ barrel at 27 oz is a great one gun purchase though I warn you, it is hard to stop at one (I own both the SP101 and 627pro) and you may like stubbies and go for all three.

    • If I might approximately quote that renowned, elder philosopher of the 1960s, Bob Dylan:

      “And Ruthie says come see her,
      in her honky-tonk saloon.
      Where I can watch her waltz for free
      ‘neath the Panamanian moon.

      And I say, ‘Oh come on now,
      you know you know about my debutant.’
      And she says, ‘Your debutant only knows what you need,
      but I know what you WANT.”

      No “reason” needed for a new gun you want. The only questions are “can I afford it? do I have room in the safe(s)?”

  15. I thought it would be a good idea this summer to clean out the safe a bit, get rid of stuff I don’t shoot so that I would shoot fewer guns more often. So, I sold 1 rifle and 5 handguns. Then I realized, man, I have some cash! That lead to buying 3 ARs, 1 AK, 2 suppressors, and 3 new handguns. Now I need a second safe. God, I suck at math… 🙂 I feel your pain!

  16. Hi. My name is Phil. I own guns. It started with a 1911. I liked it so much, I had Novak sights installed. Then new grips. And extra mags. And a trigger job. Then I saw a really great deal on a CZ75. Which led to the realization that I needed a .22 to cut down on my practicing expense. The Ruger 10/22 was so good I decided I needed a new stock to better fit my “lefty” style. And more mags. And… and…
    That’s why I’m here…

  17. I have come to the realization that I have a “gun problem.” The problem is, my wife likes guns as much as I do. There is no check is our system. It usually goes like this:

    Me: I like this gun, what do you think?

    Wife: It’s sweet, lets get it.


    Wife: Love the Kimber Solo CDP LG

    Me: (Calling multiple gun stores from Afghanistan to find a Kimber Solo for wife)

    But, I have admitted to having a problem, and thats the first step right?

    • You have one nice problem. Most people here would call your wife a dream. The only people who are not feeling the love are the dead presidents that want to live in your wallet and your wifes purse, but they spend little time there because you send them away to various gunshops.

    • I have a similar problem. My wife like guns and even wants her own 1911 now that she fired mine. I initially got here to try shooting in hopes that she would like it enough so she wouldn’t get too excited about the cost of ammo, range fees and of course more guns. I’ve created a monster, it seems……

  18. I blame Magpul for the most part because they produce some really cool doodads that you just have to put on an AR. If I can buy Magpul stock–and by “stock” I mean Wall street stocks–I would!

    And lets not get into quadrails, optics, flashlights, etc. The savings account is on strike lol.

  19. Just got an FPID here in The Rebiik of New Jersey. I haven’t even gotten the chance to buy anything yet but I’m starting to feel that a nice marlin 336 would look nice next to a nice old Mosin nagant. Of course that leaves me with no good HD gun so a Mossberg 500 is going to be required as well. It’s a good thing I’m not 21 because there would be about 4 1911’s a glock and a ruder mark 2 on that list too. My wallet is going to hate me.

  20. Yep.
    You just described me.
    Got my first AR two years ago.
    Got four AR’s now (all are specific to an application, and one being a custom .300 Blackout), and planning two more custom builds in the next 6 months (Grendel and an SBR).
    I can’t seem to stop building. Lol

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