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Is It Worth It?

Countless discussions eventually lead to the question: “Is It Worth It?” Regardless of whether you’re talking about high-end optics, premium brass, custom barrels, the most respected gunsmith, or countless other products or services, we must understand there is no one-size-fits-all “right” answer. The answer to that question largely depends on your personal circumstances and the intended application.

Ken Rockwell runs a respected camera review website, and on virtually every product he reviews someone inevitably asks “Is it worth it?” Ken eventually developed a general but concise answer to this question: “Something is worth it if the benefit exceeds the cost – to you. If ‘it’s worth it’ largely depends on what money means to you. We all come from different circumstances. What do you shoot? When? Where? How often? For how long? If you use it all day, every day, then even small improvements in convenience and build quality make a big difference. If you only use it once a week for an hour or two, you won’t appreciate it as much.”

I’ve literally had billionaires ask me for recommendations, and I knew the scope we were talking about cost less than they’d spent on a single night’s stay in a fancy hotel. I’ve also had friends that I know had scraped for multiple years to save $1,000 to invest in a rifle. My answer to “Is it worth it?” would vary for those people. My answer would also be different if I was talking to a friend who was only going to fire the rifle a few times each year hunting, compared to when I talk to one of the top-ranked pro shooters that fire 10,000+ rounds per year about a new chassis or high-end powder scale.

The truth is we can all be overly dogmatic at times about whether something is “worth it” – but ultimately we can only answer that for ourselves. Anything more than that is simply an immature view. It’s easy to assume that if we don’t believe it’s worth it to us, surely it can’t be for anyone in any situation – which is just plain ignorant – and arrogant.

Most of us have to make trade-offs and compromises between what we might see as ideal and what we are able or willing to invest our hard-earned money in. Here are a few questions that can help lead you to your own answer about “Is It Worth It?”:

  • What are your goals (short term and long term)?
  • What level of performance would you be satisfied with? How are you going to use it?
  • How often are you going to use it? Are you a guy where this is one of many hobbies, or is this the one thing that you do most weekends?
  • What is your budget? What is money worth to you? What could you not buy if you invested your money in this particular product or service?