When you start to dive deep into the concealed carry market, it is easy to become overwhelmed. There are so many different options whether it’s firearms, holsters, ammo, or magazine holders that it can be difficult to pick at first. Fairly often, it takes a while to find your perfect setup and have a system that works for you. We often talk about how to find the right systems for you and your lifestyle but what about when those things start to wear out? We are often so caught up in finding the perfect setup we don’t think about when we should be looking to refresh or replace our gear. Let’s take a look at certain items and when it’s time to start replacing your gear over time.
Out of everything, ammo is often times the most neglected item that needs to be replaced the most out of everything on this list. Ammo is obviously a consumable item in the gun world but over time you will start to have issues like bullet setback and moisture slowly start to creep into the rounds if you don’t rotate them in the magazine. It’s always a good idea to replace and rotate your carry ammo out every 6-12 months. Typically since I have a few different guns I carry, I will oftentimes change out ammo yearly in all my guns and practice with the older rounds.
I know it may be an inconvenience at times to go pick up self defense rounds from the store but trust me, it’s important to keep semi fresh ammo in your gun if it’s something you’re trusting your life to. If you are someone who carries the same gun day in and day out I may recommend changing it out every 6-8 months since those rounds are being exposed to more on a daily basis. It may seem like a pain at times, but having reliable new carry ammo in your guns is definitely an important thing to keep in mind.
Just like ammo, magazines will often be forgotten or neglected until they start to show issues. If you are like me and carry as well as train with the same firearms every day for years, it can start to take its toll on your magazines. Spring technology has gotten better over the years and it’s not as big of an issue as it used to be but it’s still important to carry with a magazine you know will be 100% reliable. It’s hard to put a set number on how long you can use a magazine before you should pick up a new one.
For me, I decided on about every year and a half to two years before I swap out magazines depending on how often I use the magazines. In the grand scheme of things, magazines are fairly inexpensive depending on what type of handgun you carry, but the peace of mind is well worth it. At the end of the day, it’s never a bad thing to have more magazines for your gun. I never mind picking up a couple more magazines so I can have 1-2 dedicated carry magazines and then the older magazines will turn into range mags for me. Nothing is typically wasted and they are still useful so it’s a win-win in my book.
Often times, with the right amount of maintenance and care, a good holster will last you years. I carry my SIG Sauer P226 Elite and Glock 19 the most out of all my guns. I have used the same holsters for those guns over the last four and a half years without any issues. Recently, I started looking over my P226 holster and noticed the belt clip was pretty beat up and the retention wasn’t as tight as it used to be when I got it new almost five years ago.
It still worked perfectly fine but if it’s something I will have on my body every single day, I figured I might as well spend the money and make sure I have a rock-solid fresh holster for it. Whether it’s a leather or Kydex holster, over the years it will start to become worn out and will need to be replaced before it becomes dangerous to use. Leather holsters especially will become floppy over time and can lead to accidental discharges. Holsters will typically last years with the proper care but it’s important to recognize when your holster is starting to become tired and you need to swap it out.
Now I know this will be probably the most controversial topic on this list but it’s important to talk about upgrading your guns over time and using what’s available to you to protect yourself. Guns are probably the only thing on this list that will last you a lifetime if you properly take care of them with regular maintenance. It’s still important to look at what’s available and upgrade when you think it’s appropriate. About 10 years ago I started out carrying a Kahr Arms PM9 which was a great option for the time.
It was extremely lightweight and could hold 6+1 in the gun with a flush-fitting magazine. It’s a very compact lightweight option that’s really easy to carry in any attire but the double action only trigger was one of the hardest things to get used to. Fast forward to modern day, where we have things like the Glock 43X, SIG Sauer P365, and Springfield Armory’s Hellcat. I could easily still carry my little PM9 but with all the better options on the market today, it’s crazy not to have a modern option that offers more capabilities for the same size and weight.
In short, it’s important to take care of your gear so it can be 100% reliable when you need it most in a self-defense situation. Paying for things like ammo, magazines, and holsters doesn’t set me back financially but gives me incredible peace of mind knowing I have the best tools for the job and the probability of them failing is extremely low if I do my part. Let me know what you guys do to keep your gear in the best possible shape in the comments below. If you have questions for me don’t hesitate to shoot me a message on my Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there.