"An unarmed man can only flee from evil, and evil is not overcome by fleeing from it." - Col. Jeff Cooper

Monday, August 23, 2010

Gun collection essentials

I realize I have not done a good job of keeping this blog active so today, I'm going to do something I haven't done in a LONG time. I'm going to write my second post in under a week. I will try to do better in the future so that there is new, interesting (I hope) things to read when you visit.

Today, I want to talk about what I consider the bare minimum you should have in your gun collection. I will admit right now that I am missing a couple of these myself, but they are on my list to buy as soon as possible.

1. A gun safe. If you are going to own firearms, you need to take personal responsibility for them. This means that even if you don't have kids, you have a duty to keep these guns out of the hands of criminals that could break into your house. The #1 thing you should have is a safe, secure place to store you guns. I have a list of gun safe manufacturers in my link section on the right side.

2. A rimfire rifle. Personally, I prefer the good old .22LR, but the point is you need something that is cheap to shoot and fun to keep you going back to the range to get good trigger time. The most common choice here is a Ruger 10/22 and it is my personal favorite.

3. A rimfire pistol. For the same reason as the rimfire rifle, there will be times when money is tight or ammo is scarce, but you can almost always find a 500 round box of .22 at Wally World. These are also great for introducing new shooters to our hobby. The most common of these would be the Ruger Mark II/III or a Browning Buckmark. I like both, but I currently have a Buckmark in my safe. Either is a great choice.

4. A self defense type handgun. The most important function a gun can serve is to protect you and your family. You need a good, self defense style handgun that is reliable and you can handle well. Personally, I recommend 9mm or larger for semi-auto and .357 Magnum for revolvers. Don't go TOO large. Bigger magnums don't allow for quick follow-up shots so they are best left for hunting and not self defense. Some good examples would be a Glock 17, Glock 19, Sig P226, Sig P229, HK P30, HK45, S&W M&P, S&W 686, Ruger GP100, Springfield XD or a Springfield XDm. This is just a short list of the most popular of these types of guns but there are tons more to choose from. Stick to a known brand and you should be fine.

5. Another self defense type handgun. Since, if you are ever involved in a self defense shooting, your primary handgun is the most likely gun you will have used, you need a duplicate of it. The gun used will be ceased by police as evidence until you are cleared. In the meantime, you need to still have a way to defend yourself. I've read nightmare stories of a man shooting a robber, his gun is taken for evidence and then the friends of the robber come and kill him. He was left unarmed because he only had the one gun. I recommend getting a gun that can share the same mags, holsters and ammo as the primary gun, but this is not absolutely necessary. It's just a nice convenience.

6. An "Evil Black Rifle". These are just great fun, and I think every gun owner should have one if for no other reason than it makes liberals uncomfortable. My personal choice is an M4 style AR15, but there are more variations than you can shake a stick at so do some reading and pick one that puts a grin on your face.

7. A home defense shotgun. The shotgun is one of the best tools for home defense and a staple of a good collection. The most common are the Remington 870 and the Mossberg 500/590. The Remington seems to operate a bit smoother and has more after market support, but I like where the controls are located on the Mossberg better which is why it is my choice.

8. A snubby revolver. There will be times when you need to conceal carry and your full size gun can't be hidden. There will be times when you are running out the door and don't have time to dig out your holster and get it all positioned. Drop a 5-shot .38 Special in your pocket (in a pocket holster so the trigger is covered) and you are reasonably protected with nearly no effort. I can't imagine not owning at least one of these. My personal choice is a S&W 642-1. The "-1" is important because the newer "-2" models have that wretched internal lock I hate so much. See my rant on gun shop employees for more details. There are some good choices out there by Ruger, S&W and even some older Colts. Just get a quality gun and practice with it.

Depending on the type of shooting you prefer, there could be several other entries on this list like hunting rifles, cowboy action shooting guns, sporting shotguns, etc... However, I consider the #1 job of guns is to be a tool for self defense. That is why I have focused on that. By all means, add more and more until your gun safe is so full you are afraid to open it, but this is a good starting point for a well rounded collection... in my not so humble opinion.

Stay safe out there, and watch your six.


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