Concealed Carry Corner: Ammo Versus Accessories

Matt E
by Matt E

Welcome back to another edition of Concealed Carry Corner. Last week, we talked about some of the tips I wish I would have known sooner. To check out my article from last week be sure to check out the link here. When it comes to carrying concealed, there’s an interesting trend coming out where people criticize companies for not offering the most modern options on their new handguns. A new carry gun was released and I put it up on my social media pages to get everyone’s take on it. People were immediately upset about the lack of an optics cut or bottom accessory rail. It started getting me thinking about what’s important when it comes to concealed carry. Let’s take a closer look at what’s more important ammo versus accessories.

Wants Vs Needs

Throughout my time taking courses and listening to people talk about their carry guns, they oftentimes will say they absolutely “need something” when in reality they just want it. For a basic carry setup, you oftentimes don’t “need” a weapon-mounted light or red dot attached. These may certainly be a want item but are almost never a necessary need item on your pistol.

Combine this with the bombardment from various marketing departments saying you need the latest accessory from their company and you can see how easy it is to get sucked into paying for all the handgun accessories. It really boils down to a few factors when it comes to deciding what to buy. Accessories can benefit experienced shooters, but most individuals will progress more with ammo and training rather than a red dot or other accessories. Taking a few items into consideration will help decide if an accessory or ammo will be a better investment for you.

Skill Level

One of the biggest factors in picking whether or not you should spend money on ammo or accessories really has to be your skill level. If you’re a newer shooter, you’ll get significantly more out of your money spent on ammunition over something like a weapon light or red dot. Oftentimes I will see new shooters buying every latest and greatest accessory in an effort to be a better shooter and it’s just not how things work. The best investment you can make as a new shooter is in a few bulk orders of ammo as well as a training course or two. These will equal out to roughly the same price as a high-quality optic but your skills will drastically improve with ammo over an accessory.

Once you start shooting on a regular basis and developing muscle memory with your carry gun, it can become a tricky choice. This is when progression starts to become more important and choosing what will serve you best. Various drills and skills are limited with a basic pistol where upgrading can open up your possibilities over time.


The other important factor when looking at ammo vs accessories is your current progression and skill base. If you shoot fairly regularly like me, ammo for live fire is still incredibly useful, but the level of progression starts to plateau over time. The more you shoot the closer you start becoming to your top performance level with a stock firearm. The addition of a red dot sight for example can extend your effective hit distance by double in some cases. I was extremely hesitant to become proficient with a pistol red dot since irons were always the sight system I preferred.

Finally, around last year I caved and started to dedicate time to learning pistol red dots which made me much more accurate over distances of 20+ yards with a handgun. In this case, I was maxed out with iron sights and the addition of a red dot actually added to my capabilities allowing me to do more with the same handgun. It’s certainly possible to know your limits with a stock handgun but most of the time it takes a lot to get to that point. If you feel like you’ve reached that point I would suggest trying out a red dot or weapon light to give you a slight edge in certain situations.

Benefits of Red Dots

Once you start training with a red dot, the benefits start to show up almost as soon as you become comfortable with one. You have a single point to judge your shots on now instead of having to line up iron sights which makes shooting on target much faster over time, especially in awkward positions. Shooting on your side or kneeling around the cover is slightly faster with a red dot since you’re now attempting to line up the iron sights in an unusual position.

For the longest time, I would constantly say I didn’t need a red dot on my pistol and that they were just extra weight with no benefit. I kept repeating the same arguments right up until the moment I started shooting one. Red dots hands down make you a better shooter but you need those basic skills first before counting on an accessory like a red dot.

An Argument For Ammo

As beneficial as a red dot can be, there’s still no substitution for training and getting your reps in at the range. Ammo can help build skills through repetition and practice. This will be much more beneficial for new shooters or people who don’t train often. Rather than adding every accessory you can to your carry gun, I always suggest extra ammo or training over accessories starting out. Your investment in ammo will pay off way more than an add-on in the long run. Everyone has a different opinion on what’s important to purchase, but instead of buying the latest and greatest item, it’s always better to pay for ammo and training over something new.

Overall Thoughts

I know some of you may not agree with me on the importance of range time and training which is completely acceptable. Some will value new accessories over training and there are plenty of people out there who believe that. As an investment, ammo typically will offer way more benefits than an add-on, but if you are the type who trains a fair amount, adding something like a red dot or weapon light onto your carry gun can elevate your existing skills.

What are your thoughts on accessories versus ammo? If you had to pick one to invest in what would it be and why? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below but keep it civil. If you have questions about carrying concealed or firearms in general, feel free to shoot me a message on Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there and we will see you next week!

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Matt E
Matt E

I'm an avid shooter and love educating whether it's at my job or in the shooting community. I'm an average joe that really loves talking with other people about firearms and other passions.I'm active on Instagram on @fridgeoperator.

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2 of 28 comments
  • VwVwwVwv VwVwwVwv on Dec 23, 2022

    it can be an interesting thing to mount on a concealed carry handgun
    everything possible.
    red dot, scope, can, light, lighter, BBQ Grill, bi-pod, chainsaw, toilet brush, fridge,
    washing machine...

    and in the end of the year we can chose the winner....

  • Yeti Yeti on Dec 29, 2022

    Great article. I went deep into red dots 5 years ago and now I find myself moving back away from them a bit. I edc a plain jane P365 with factory irons and for my purposes it’s all the gun I’ll ever need in a scenario where I’d have to draw my gun (statistics show it will more than likely be within 10 yards). Dots have their place but they’re not 100% necessary on every gun you own.