Tuesday, August 26, 2014

How Many Guns Do You Really Need?

I was chatting with a co worker about carry handguns and my upcoming purchase of well, something or another, and this topic came up. He asked myself and another guy (both gun owners, the question guy has a pretty good collection of a couple ar's, a few pistols, a shotgun or two, a .308 bolt gun and some other stuff. The second guy has a Glock 17, a .45 and a Sig 556.) how many guns we feel like we really need to have all the realistic bases covered.

They both laid out what they thought. I can't recall exactly what each said but both said some sort of defensive rifle, a hunting rifle, a pistol and a shotgun. Each had other stuff on their list but I can't exactly remember.

Of course this does not consider redundancy or caches. I will realistically keep buying guns as long as the process does not become too much of a hassle and I can afford it. I would like to have a room like the one in The Matrix in my house, a few Sara Conner Terminator style caches and numerous operational caches well, everywhere I can find to put one. Maybe it is better to call this a discussion on how many types of guns I think you really need but anyway. Do note that I am not going to get bogged down into models of guns or even caliber unless it specifically applies and then I'll give more of a general range.

My list in the order they popped into my head (so not by priority):
-Rifle, scoped hunting type. Something fairly flat shooting with a decent punch for big game.
-Rifle, defensive. Something military pattern and mag fed; AK, AR, etc.
-Handgun, service. Good old house gun. Caliber 9mm/ .38 special or larger. My preference would be for a modern double stack semi auto.
-Handgun, concealed carry. Options vary wildly based on environment, body size and such. Caliber 9mm/ .38 special or larger though a .380 isn't terrible I guess.
-Shotgun, pump in 12 gauge due to commonality. If restricted to 1 barrel it would be a 20-21 in and accept chokes. Otherwise I would have 1x 18.5in riot barrel and a longer hunting barrel that took chokes.
-.22 rifle. Something that is rugged and is accurate enough to train and pot squirrels if needed.

That's it for the 'need' list and really it has some luxury with two rifles as well as a dedicated CCW pistol.

Now for the 'nice to have' list:
-Handgun, .22lr. For training and pest erradication.
-Handgun, tiny. I'm talking Beretta .22/.25, NAA .22 revolver, etc. Arguably the difference between the CCW pistol and the tiny one can be split. I know a couple guys who have full sized handguns and little .380's they carry around most of the time and all things considered that's not a bad setup.

So my 'must have' list is 3 rifles, 2 handguns and a shotgun. The 'nice to have' list adds two more handguns.

What is your 'must have' list? What is your 'nice to have' list.


Prairie Patriot said...

I was going to list one of each type, but I got to thinking. A shotgun with the right type of ammo covers most bases (hunting, self defense, etc) pretty handily. Might not be ideal, but it could work. So my "must have" list would be a shotty and compact pistol. The "nice to have" list would build on that with an AR or AK and a hunting rifle.

Harry Flashman said...

"How many guns do you really need?"

As many as I can acquire before I die. You can never have too many guns. Even if all you ever do is clean them and admire them.

Chris said...

Absolute worst case?

A fighting handgun and a fighting long gun.

You can't realistically carry more than one of each anyways if things go seriously sideways. A G19 paired up with a recce-style AR, 30-cal battle rifle, scout rifle, or shotgun covers enough bases to get by in many scenarios.

That said I do agree with your broader reasoning. But at the end of the day you're going to pick up one long gun and one handgun to saddle up with when you venture out into your Mad Max wasteland of choice. Having more guns just lets you arm friends, have caches, or pick a slightly more appropriate tool for the scenario at hand.

Anonymous said...


Well, can't say I disagree with your basics. It's pretty much the same for me.

A good shotgun, 12G, ideally with a couple of barrel lengths, choke selections etc.

A modern handgun - I go G17/G19

A modern battle rifle - I go FAL, more than a bit modified, but still...guess you'd call it a FAL.

A modern carbine in the same caliber as is used by the nation's armed forces - an AR15 in my case.

A bolt action hunting rifle, scoped. Common caliber such as .30-'06 or .308.

And a .22, for this I'd lean towards a bolt action .22lr if it's the only .22. CZ452 or similiar.

That would be the basic, gotta haves.

What would be nice? Doubles of everything, multiple Enfields, Mausers, Mosins, K31's, FR8's, N Frame S&W's, Webleys, AK's, H&K's, various belt feds, light artillery, and whatever else I can sneak by the wife.

Aesop said...

Must haves, in order:
>Modern battle rifle clone.
>12 ga. pump shotgun, ideally with swappable longer choked barrel and shorter anti-social bbl.
>.22 Rifle
>Scoped hunting rifle suitable for one's continent of residence.
I could add preferences of models and calibers I prefer, but it really doesn't matter except as a matter of personal taste.
(Of course, the newsstand gun pR0n magazine that had that line-up in an issue would fold for lack of interest in Issue Two.)

Nice to haves:
>.22 pistol
>Hi velocity pellet rifle
>A duplicate (exact whenever possible) of each of the weapons in the Must Have list, for redundancy, spares, etc.
>Followed when practical by a triplicate.
Lather, rinse, repeat.

And I'm assuming anyone with the "Musts"- theirs, mine or whoever's - has the sense and forethought to mentally include the appropriate military manual for same, and a good detailed gunsmithing manual as well, and a dedicated stash or three of the proper tools and spare parts to keep the weapon(s) running, along with a suitable quantity of extra magazines.

Otherwise your collection is a couple of broken springs and pins from being an expensive collection of paperweights and clubs.

Anonymous said...

Your list sounds good to me as well. Like Aesop, I would add a good air rifle because 1) many pest removal problems do not require powder burning firearms, 2) practice is much less expensive and 3) ammunition is easy to store and fairly inexpensive. I consider at least one to be indespensible.

One nice to have - lever .357 rifle. Can be handloaded up or down for versatility, is lightweight, easy to shoot by all and ammunition is easy to come by.

tpals said...

Now that we've got the basic guns covered, I'd be interested in a similar discussion on ammo quantities.

Also, what is a good gunsmithing book to have?

3rdman said...

As many as I can hide from my wife!!!!

3rdman said...

Talking about the little room in your house. I handle the NFA at my agency and one of the guys who comes through on a regular bases showed me his. He has a bank vault door on it and when he open it was a "holy sh@!" moment. Three walls and racks of guns. I was in gun nut heaven to the point I drooling. He had everything you could want including a M2 .50. machine gun. Oh and its baby brother the .30. He has offered to take me out and let me play with the M2, but have not got around to it yet. Yep I would love one of those rooms myself.

3rdman said...


I was in gun nut heaven to the point I was drooling

riverrider said...

yours plus a 22lr suppressed pistol. i've always been a ruger guy, but i've switched to the walther now. i traded out the bolt gun for a m1919 and a fifty bolt. i look at capabilities. will gun x improve my capability to survive?...and i'm still looking for sara's conex :)

PrepperNextDoor said...

Great List. You have your bases covered!

Nice to add a .177 spring piston air rifle. If you can't get to the range as much as you like or don't have an open place to shoot, a quality air pistol for practice.

If money is tight, go with what Chris said, a defensive rifle and a defensive pistol.

Flighterdoc said...

How many? I'll let you know when I get there.

Commander_Zero said...

Must? An "Assault rifle" in a common enough caliber with a metric buttload of magazines. A Glock 9mm with mags. A 10/22 with all the bells and whistles, plus mags. A stubby Mossberg or 870.

Thats pretty much your post-apocalyptic party-pak. I suspect that you'll see some variation of that 'Basic Four' in every post on this topic. Tappan had a huge list of guns but these would seem to cover the basics.

Nice to have? Tertiary or greater levels of redundancy on everything. Solid bolt gun in same caliber as 'assault weapon', some pocket guns, something suppressed, and maybe a few 'boutique' guns.

But actually *need*? Mmmm...If they told me I get one gun I'd probably get a 10/22. If youre dropping me into Katrinaville with whatever I can fit in a gun case its going to be an AR, Glock, and a shotgun.

Anonymous said...

As issued, good triggers:

M1 Garand for way out and fast.
03-A3 for way out and slow.
870 Rem. 00 buck for close in and fast.
.22 handgun, S&W or Colt Woodsman for rabbits.

Stay away from crowds.

Semper Fi

Anonymous said...

how many guns you need also depends on how many you plan to arm?

Anonymous said...

Whats need got to do wit anything?

Anonymous said...

Im Pretty much in agreement with the rest.

My ' Must haves' are as follows:

870 with adjustable stock and 2 barrels
Scoped 308
scoped 270
2 Ar's in 5.56/223
ruger 10/22

For pistols:

My emphasis has been on keeping the appetites of my guns in check with copious amounts of ammo.

My nice to have would be an AK a .22 pistol

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