Believe me, I totally understand the limitations, and anyone that doesn't and/or isn't willing to work within those limitations shouldn't be plowing. That goes for ANY plow setup, not just one on a half-ton.
I've seen more than my share of guys out there commercially plowing that are downright dangerous, two of them that were plowing my own driveway. One of 'em slid 20' off the edge and did a royal rip-up job on my lawn. Another backed into the corner of the house at about 4 A.M. shaking us awake. Thank God no structural damage was done, but he left me a nice dent in the wood.
As far as a reasonable plowing setup goes, in my opinion, it comes down to a couple of things:
1. Following Plow manufacturer's recommendations.
2. Vehicle warranty effects
3. Common sense.
Most plow manufacturers today offer light or sport-duty plows that are specifically designed for personal use on half-ton trucks. They're full 7'-6" size, and include most of the features found in standard plows, but are significantly lighter weight. These plows are still very sturdy, but less so than their commercial counterparts. They are not toys, and generally cost as much or nearly as much as a standard-duty straight blade. Mine installed and complete was in the $5K-ish range.
As I mentioned before, another aspect of HT type plows is that they are typically carried quite a bit closer to the front of the truck. So, not only do they weigh 200+ pounds less, there's a lot less torque placed on the mounts. The downside of that is that the axis movements are less, but still quite useable.
The typical commercial plow guys near me use a 3/4 or one-ton truck with a 9' V-plow on the front (about 900lbs hanging 4 or so feet off the front). They fly around from place to place and will plow all day and all night during and after storms. I've seen them flying past me at 80MPH on the freeway sometimes. Damn right that's hard on the truck in all regards.
The HT is so light that (especially with Timbrens) it hardly sags at all when raised. Driving around with the plow on is seriously not all that different than with it off. The tires in front don't even squat. That said, I'm really not buying how hard it is on the suspension. Frame, possibly if you'd hit a curb or something, but there aren't any of those where I'm plowing.
I held off buying a new truck for a long time specifically because of my desire to be able to plow, and the warranty issues. I have zero interest in any truck heavier than a 1500. My first stop was the plow dealer. He sent me to a guy at the Dodge dealer that I've already bought other vehicles from. The Dodge guy not only didn't wince at the idea, he offered to set one up for me on a new truck. He'd already done several like that, and all had good results.
As far as warranty goes, the dealer is an important part. I got confirmation from the service manager before the truck purchase that the ONLY warranty question would be for something obviously and egregiously caused by the plow.
My driveway is big enough that using a snowblower is a pain, and as I said above, my experience with hiring the job out just pissed me off. I don't really NEED a plow, I just want one. It turns a crappy job into a fun one.
Regular use of the plow is just for myself, a neighbor or two, and my parents. It's great on occasion, though, to be able to help someone else out. I never charge anyone a penny, and always get a handshake agreement beforehand that I won't be blamed for any damage to lawn or whatever.
I never over-push the capabilities of the plow. That said, the capabilities are pretty impressive, not just "a couple inches" at a time. I'll generally try to cut a big storm at least in half, but I've already had to do a foot of heavy stuff in one shot. You just take partial depths for the first cut, and then go with smaller blade portions widening from there. Cleaning out a 3-foot deep bank left by a municipal plow at the end of a driveway is no sweat, as long as you start from the road. You just cut sideways a piece at a time.
I would say that the ONLY real affect I'm expecting with this plow is that my front axel joints won't last as long, but that's not a huge deal.
I heard the same "you don't wanna do that" when I bought my first plow, and I had years of awesome results with that. This one is WAY less strain on the vehicle.
Come to think of it, I heard similar arguments from all directions when I wanted to start my business. All sorts of "why I shouldn't", and pretty much no one thinking it was a good idea. That was 22 years and 25 employees ago. It's all about understanding, mitigating, and then making the most of what's left.