As many of you know, I am a gun owner. I believe in responsible gun ownership, but I believe that responsibility and privilege rests solely on the individual and not the government. Violent criminals, mentally adjudicated, substance addicted, and certain felons are among those I believe who have forfeited their individual rights. I don’t believe in mandatory gun registration, micro stamping, frivolous lawsuits against the industry, caliber restrictions, mag capacity restrictions, mandatory gun locks, “safer guns and safer bullets”, “closing the gun show loophole”, banning so-called Saturday Night Specials, punitive excise taxes on guns, restrictions on cheap guns that are totally unfair to the poor, or any of the other ridiculous infringements of our 2nd Amendment protections.
There, now you have my disclaimer. When I was 8, my Grandpa Roberts gave me a 20 Gauge single shot. My dad and grandpa taught me responsible handling and firing of this powerful gun. Since then, I have had a few various long guns, revolvers, and semi automatic pistols. These are the top 5 guns that I believe every serious gun owner should consider owning. In other words, if money was no object and I could have only 5 guns (and I don’t really think 5 is enough), these would be the 5 calibers I would suggest.
#5. Tactical Long Gun or Carbine – I like the AR 15 which is manufactured by many companies, since that’s what I am familiar with carrying every day. The 223 caliber ammo is widely available due to this guns popularity worldwide. Ruger also makes a 223 that’s a little less tactical. The Mini 14 is a great gun that is accurate, long ranged, and “accessorizable”. Also, the AK 47 and Chinese version of the same gun is very affordable though it uses a slightly different and less available round. These are good guns to have if you live on a farm or a ranch and you are going to be out in the field for long periods of time. They make good varmint guns, personal self defense weapons, hunting rifles, and even target guns. They are also quite fun because of their high capacity, accuracy, speedy repeating and reloading, and low recoil. For the record, I do not currently own one and I don’t know if our newly elected president is going to ban them because they look so mean.
#4. Hunting Rifle – These are for small, medium, and large game, like squirrels, rabbit, hog, deer, elk, moose, and hippos. Haha. Seriously, there are so many calibers to choose from and your selection would be based on the object at the other end. 22 WM, 22 Hornet are fine for smaller game, while 7mm Magnum or 30-06 Rifle will bring down a very large game. 308 WM might be a better round since it’s more widely available. But smaller calibers like the 270 might be more appropriate for those of us in the sound, unless you’re hunting large alligators. Rifles in bolt action, lever action, semi automatic, or even single shot are good options.
#3. Handgun for personal defense/concealed carry – This is one that I had to make broad enough for my top 5, otherwise I would have too many to list. I prefer the 40 caliber or 9mm compact or subcompact Glock, while other “experts” would have nothing less than a 45 caliber semi auto. 9mm is preferable because of the price of ammunition combined with the adequacy of the stopping power. A steel framed 357 Magnum Revolver is an extremely versatile piece. You can shoot 38 special cartridges (which are much cheaper) out of the same gun for practice. The 357 generates a whole lot of energy which translates to “stopping power”, but nowhere close to the power of the 44 magnum (see Dirty Harry). Revolvers can be extremely slim and short for great concealment. The drawback is the number of rounds is restricted to 5 or six and reloading is more difficult. This brings be back to my Glock, which holds 15 rounds in the magazine, and spare mags can be carried. Another reason the handgun does not make the top of the list is that while it is highly portable and concealable, accuracy and control is more difficult since it has a shorter barrel which effects the sights and only two points of contact, your hands. It has an added benefit of being able to accurately and effectively be manipulated and fired with one hand.
#2. .22 LR Carbine or Rifle – This is a very affordable and necessary gun. I prefer the Ruger 10/22 as a semi auto repeater due to price, availability, and accessories. It’s under $300 and the rounds are about $15 for a box of 550. That will keep you shooting all day. It’s also a great gun to learn the fundamentals of the long gun and shooting. For target practice, field pests (snakes, rats, and such), and “plinking”, it’s a gun that every gun owner should have in their cabinet.
#1. 12 Gauge Repeating Shotgun – This is the most versatile gun and one of the most affordable. For home defense, there is nothing that comes close. Control is achieved through three contact points (two hands and one shoulder). Accuracy is not required if you are using shot since you will get a good spread at 10 yards. Just the sound of a 12 gauge being pumped is enough to strike fear in the heart of any rational intruder, but for the irrational or hopped up bad guy, this is one of the few guns that will put an adversary (bad guy) down with certainty every time. Pistols cannot come close to the stopping power of a 12 gauge shotgun. Also, this gun can be used for bird hunting, and larger game like deer and hog at closer range. I recommend a Remington 870 or Mossberg 500 as a great starter. For the ladies, a 410 or 20 gauge may be more appropriate since it has far less recoil. Both pumps and semi automatic are great, but the pump is more reliable if you are someone who does not keep a regular cleaning schedule. Cartridges show the versatility of this long gun. You can buy a rifled slug (one large bullet), buckshot (multiple large pellets with different sizes from which to choose), birdshot (a large number of BB pellets and smaller in led or steel, various sizes to choose depending on the game being hunted or target being shot), non lethal bean bags (they are lethal at close range, and I am not sure if these are legal for civilian use), and metal powder for door breaching.