An extremely common question I get when looking at the world of carrying concealed is when to upgrade your carry gun. The firearms industry does a fantastic job throwing new models that up capacity and features on our handguns making it extremely tempting to upgrade every 1-2 years. There are a number of pros and cons when looking at changing your carry gun for a newer model. Let’s take a closer look at some considerations you should have when thinking about whether or not you should upgrade your carry gun.
If You Can Afford To Upgrade, Consider Upgrading
There will be a fairly large group of you that will argue if they have the money and motivation to switch to a newer carry gun, they should make the upgrade. My honest short answer is that I agree, if you want to buy a new carry gun and find something that fits your needs, you should buy the newer carry gun. The gun industry does a great job advancing carry guns and over the last decade, we have seen small carry guns go from 6+1 capacity to 12+1 or even 15+1 capacity.
That’s a huge difference in terms of capability and ease of use. Certain people will always want the latest and greatest when it comes to their carry guns and that’s completely understandable. If a newer model comes out that you find fits your lifestyle, it’s never a bad thing to sell your current carry piece for a new model or have both. There will always be newer and better versions of firearms coming out from gun companies because honestly, that’s how they stay in business so it’s never a bad thing to browse what’s new and consider if it’s a good upgrade for you.
Upgrading Is A Choice Rather Than A Necessity
Now the other side of that argument is keeping your current firearm. Buying a new carry gun isn’t an absolute must. I know some of you will make a 50 point slideshow about how you need a new carry gun but let’s be honest here, most modern carry guns will outlast us and will function flawlessly for a full lifetime. Purchasing a new carry gun really is a choice because your currently reliable carry gun will do just fine for years and years. If you have a bad apple that proves to be unreliable, then that’s a different story but in most cases, a carry gun will be reliable for decades.
Taking aftermarket support into consideration, you can keep old reliable bessie in action for years with aftermarket sights, triggers and internal parts. There are countless companies that slide cut a number of firearms today so you could even add red dot sights to your handguns if you have aging eyes. A tough reality for some people is the fact a new firearm just isn’t financially possible with their budget. Buying a new gun should never put you into financial hardship so despite the latest and greatest, oftentimes your current carry gun will do a great job keeping you safe.
Frame Condition And Changing Parts
Certain parts of a well-used carry gun will start to show wear and tear over the years. My almost 20-year-old H&K USP Compact is a great example of what happens when you use and abuse a gun for years. The factory stippling on the gun is significantly worn down compared to when it was new which means less texturing on your hands. Newer models like the SIG Sauer P320 and P365 have the option to replace frames which solves the issue of wearing frames over time but other firearms do have this issue as they become older and used.
Certain things like springs and eventually barrels will need to be replaced as time goes on as well. My SIG P226 I have carried for years is a good example of needing new springs to keep it running smoothly after 12,000 rounds or so. It’s never bad to keep the same guns over time just because they become like an extension of yourself. There are certain firearms that just work for people and if you can find one and maintain it over time, that firearm will serve you better over time knowing you can shoot accurately and is reliable.
New Isn’t Always Best
I have certain firearms that I can pick up and just shoot dead on with, and if you find a firearm like that for yourself, there’s really no reason to upgrade to a new model. Having that confidence and familiarity with a certain firearm can serve you much better at certain times than always switching to the latest and greatest. I’ve met a number of people who have carried the same firearm for the last 30+ years and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
If you develop skills and muscle memory over time with a certain firearm, there’s really no reason to change it if it works for you. The gun industry will always have newer or more exciting things to offer because that’s how they stay in business. Sometimes it’s not a bad idea to stick with a certain type of firearm and build off the skills you developed after years of shooting with the same firearm.
So after all that, should you upgrade your carry gun? That’s a big maybe that depends on a number of factors. If you carry something like a single stack Glock 43 or M&P Shield but want more capacity, there are newer models like the 43X and Shield Plus that offer more capability without changing much from the original design. There will be slight differences from the older models with slightly longer or fatter grips but the overall dimensions are relatively similar. Adding extra capacity is never a bad option but it is not a requirement. Having a familiar “old reliable” handgun can have its own advantages as well. If you have a firearm that works for you and it shoots well, I probably wouldn’t mess with it personally. Having muscle memory and being familiar with a firearm can be incredibly useful in a stressful situation.
Let m know what you guys think in the comments below. Is it good to switch things up and purchase a new carry gun every 5-10 years or should you try to stick with the same gun for consistency? Tell me your thoughts down in the comments below. If you have any questions, feel free to shoot me a message on Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there.