CatalogIt Firearms Inventory Software for Museums and Collectors

Check out CatalogIt for firearms here:

When I went looking for a piece of good modern software to use for maintaining a collection inventory, I came up almost completely empty. Talking to Ashley Hlebinsky, formerly of the Cody Firearms Museum, it was rather surprising to learn just what a dearth of good inventory software exists even for large institutions. However, I did find a really good piece of software called CatalogIt – they just didn’t support firearms specifically.

I reached out to see if they would consider adding firearms support, and the result was several months of collaboration between myself, Ashley, and CatalogIt to create a firearms classification system for their software. It’s now complete and available, and I think it is an outstanding tool for firearms collections from the amateur hobbyist to the largest museum organization. It offers a huge selection of information that can be stored, excellent organization, and access from both desktop and mobile systems. Best of all, accounts with up to 50 items are free, so it’s easy to try out.

Whether you are going to use the system for insurance itemization, financial record keeping, mobile access to your collection, or some other reason, try out CatalogIt!

Note: CatalogIt gave me a free subscription for my help building the firearms category, but I get no kickback or other remuneration from them.


  1. Interesting.

    – How about things that are in multiple categories?

    – For Curio and Relic: does the software auto-update based on date of manufacture as items “age in” and become C&Rs?

    – What ability is there to export the data into machine-readable forms, e.g. if you wanted to create a spreadsheet of only pocket pistols, or if you wanted to migrate out of their subscription service into your own database entire;y.

    – Can you talk a bit about the privacy/security concerns regarding keeping these records in a data system not owned and controlled by the collector? I know some folks will be particularly interested in this aspect of record keeping with concerns about how easily or not other people, governments, and organizations might be able to gain unauthorized access.

  2. Why would I upload a list of my collection to someone else’s computers???
    There is nothing stopping the US government from acquiring this data.
    And it’s a one stop shop for hackers to grab everything on everyone.
    It’s also subject subpoenas by the IRS and divorce courts…
    This is no different than Registration. Registration leads to confiscation.
    Can we please stop putting our entire lives ONLINE!!!

    Also check your insurance policy. They usually cap what they payout on each gun anyway.

  3. While I agree with previous writer regarding state’s unwarranted access to private property, I can see this (when we look at someone else’s voluntarily posted collections or museums) as an opportunity to obtain more of visual knowledge about various firearms. This is already happening at various pages for a long time.

    In case of museums it should be of public right to view the contents, although the counterpoint may be that this is not entirely fair, since the museums will be deprived of admissions income. I believe we are heading to “fully virtual” age with every aspect of it – except being able to touch, anyway.

  4. I’m with Bville 100%. Keeping a running inventory of models ,purchase prices and estimated values is a necessity for any collector but with firearms in today’s climate you would have to be nuts to put that info on to the internet or cloud or what ever term is appropriate. It’s no wonder they we’re exited to expand on their software.

  5. Most institutions have given up cataloging. The justifiable fear that the same item might not be ‘findable’ in two different catalogs is a huge incentive to accept ‘pre-cataloging’ by publishers. Cataloging objects adds many more layers of difficulty, and there’s a distinct lack of people equipped to even try.

    In Library Science grad school, we had to BEG to get a cataloging class. ‘The publishers will have done it’ was the rationale, but lots of people anticipated working in museum settings or collections where that just wouldn’t do.

  6. I really do like this setup, it looks great, and looks like it would be very functional. I just wish I could buy the software and have it on my computer for my use, not in the cloud. Even if I had the software, I would set it up on a portable hard drive that I could unplug and hide/lock up when not in use. Having already worked my way out of one serious identity theft, I have become somewhat less trusting of the cloud, not to mention the government and it’s “AFT”.

  7. Bville and Klaus have pointed out the central weakness of such as system of entrusting the core of your knowldge about your collection to some unknown authority, that may shutdown any time.
    I have had this sobering experience once when Compuserve stopped working at extremely short notice. Your OWN (daily backuped on external media!!!) local computer is the only storage to be trusted.

  8. Looks like a very cool tool! And thanks Ian for your input to get it going. Not that I am about to run out and get it. I have a rather static small collection (less that 100 pieces) and have been using PowerPoint to catalog them, making as many columns as needed and filling in the info in the boxes. I think it’s sufficient for me.

  9. A problem I’ve not seen mentioned is “data entrapment” – you invest plenty of time entering data, it’s all done, and then… you can’t move away from the software package which holds the data, because there’s no adequate export function to a neutral format which other software can load.

    Admiral Akbar would have something to say about this 🙂

    I don’t know if this *is* actually the case here, since I’ve not looked at the package, but it’s a common problem.

    Broadly, I’d say web-based subscription models exist basically to convert a one-off sale into a rental arrangement.

  10. A friend of mine who follows your site forwarded me a link to this video about Catalogit’s support for firearms collectors. He sent this because I develop and sell a software package named Recollector, that is in the same space as Catalogit. Quite a few gun and militaria collectors use Recollector to catalog their collections. The main differences between Catalogit and Recollector are:
    1) Catalogit stores your collection data on their web site; Recollector stores your data on your own computer (or in your own private cloud storage).
    2) Catalogit’s set of available attributes is fixed for a collection type. As you point out in the video, the set of attributes is quite large, and most users will only want to use a small set of these. Recollector lets you decide exactly what attributes you want to record.
    3) Catalogit’s subscription model means you keep paying for continued use. Recollector is a once-only purchase ($49) which gives you a lifetime license, with unlimited updates, and no limit on the number or size of collections that you can create and use.

    Recollector is available for Windows and for Mac, and there are free companion apps, for iPhone, iPad and Android, that let you take your full collection (text and images) with you.

    You can check out Recollector at

    An introductory video at begins with a description of why I developed Recollector, and there is a lot of overlap with what Ian describes at the beginning of his video.

  11. I see there was a post on 1/27 so I guess it is not too late for me to comment. I have been collecting firearms since the late 80s. I too have developed software for gun collectors. It is based on the bound book format used by FFLs with many enhancements.

    It can be used for other types of collections as well. I use collection templates for the definitions of collections. You can modify the templates to your own needs including the addition of a virtually unlimited number of fields.

    My software is designed to be used completely off-line and “air gapped” from the internet. It also provides means for exporting data. It runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android. The iOS and Android versions are free. The desktop (Windows, Mac, and Linux) version comes with a free version and a full feature version. The full feature version can be used for 30 days for free and then reverts to the free version with no data loss.

    Thank you for letting me post a follow-up.

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