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Clint Smith’s video defends the use of old long guns for self-defense, in his own special way. The Thunder Ranch guy uses several compelling examples to introduce the old saw “beware of the man with one gun.” Point taken. It’s better to be highly proficient with one firearm than to be somewhat familiar with a range of guns. That said . . .

One of my first gun gurus told me “you should be able to pick up any gun and shoot it well.” Assuming, of course, you know how to run the gun. Which you should know how to do. Which you can learn how to do by firing as many different types of guns as possible.

I have no doubt that you, gentle reader, have a number of firearms. Is there ONE that a bad guy should be afraid of more than the others?

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    • Me too. Especially when it’s held by a guy in a blue windbreaker with yellow letters on the back. Any letters.

  1. The sentiment makes sense, but I would venture to guess that most “one gun” owners are merely gun possessors, having grandpa’s old double leaning against the back corner of a dusty closet, unmoved and unfired since the day they inherited it.

    • And worse, running for office, maybe even with a pic or two of him holding it.

      I trust the man like a former (Democratic, interestingly) Montana governor who, when asked how many guns he had, said, “More than I need, but less than I want.” 😉

  2. Is there ONE gun a bad guy should be afraid of…..,oh, yeah. Mostly, the one I have in my hand.

    I do own a couple of guns that I know will jam. Those are kept for when a newbie friend is ready to learn how to clear a jam and not be afraid of it. Those will not be the gun I pick for self defense.

    The one in my hand and I most likely just had a great time at the range, recently.

  3. Be very afraid of the old guy that was trained with iron sights, who actually used them on the battlefield to survive.

  4. Yes, criminal attackers should be afraid of platforms chambered in .45 ACP … which create a tear in the space-time continuum and kill even the soul of the attacker!

  5. At close range be very afraid of:
    (1) shotguns shooting slugs
    (2) .44 Magnum revolvers launching 180 grain hollowpoints

    At any range be very afraid of:
    (1) .50 BMG
    (2) 75mm recoiless rifle

  6. I don’t know, I think proficiency in the fundamentals and maybe knowing how and when to use a gun is important as well. If a gun is a tool, then wouldn’t having multiple tools be more useful? A skilled painter has many brushes, guitarist may use different guitars for purposes or tones, carpenters, mechanics, etc.

    I guess it makes sense to practice or train most with your main weapon (s) but any given caliber or configuration is always a compromise, either a highly specialized tool that is good for one job, or a very generic gun that isn’t particularly the best at anything.

    • .45 Colt or .44 Mag, lead bullets. Devastating. And if you load with black powder, you get a free smoke screen too.

  7. This seems to apply.

    “I fear not the man who has practiced 10000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10000 times.” – Bruce Lee

    Or the age-old truism, “A young man will kick your ass, but an old man will kill you.”

  8. When he was talking about how if a round will go through a buffalo it will go through you all I could think of was “If you can dodge a wrench you can dodge a ball”.

    In regards to the question: the one pointed at you is worth your attention, but the one coming up behind you is the one to really worry about. So don’t break I to the Yankee Marshal’s house, where autonomous guns roam free.

    • I have an old original Kimber custom chambered in 40, serial down near #1000. Not sure how many thousands of rounds through it (many), but without going to a rifle, that would be the one to watch out for.

    • I own many guns, virtually all in the catagory of defensive arms. Over the years I have owned a great many more handguns, and through about 2000 I owned and carried just about all the highly desirable defensive or duty handguns on the market. I still carry different pistols for different tasks, places, outfits, etc, and I’m competent with all of them…but while I’m ok with just about anything that goes bang, with a good 1911 I’m a battlefield surgeon: unerring accuracy at a speed one seldom sees in fine work. I assume it’s grip angle, and long familiarity, but while I’m a workman with anything else, I’m something of a exhibition shooter with a 1911.

      There may be something to the ‘one gun’ mythos, and either way, with this fellow, the 1911 is the one to be afraid of; all bragging aside, with my old M1991a1 if I can see it, and it doesn’t appear too much smaller than my front sight, I will hit it, and I can hit it very fast if need be.

  9. well if I have my choice, know you are coming, and I have the chance to put you in my crosshairs, I’d say my very vintage Sears roebuck bolt .22. I can ding a 2″ fence post @ 175ish yards, and if you don’t hear it, you’ll never know it’s coming. by the time you’ve ducked I’ve sent two more. may only be a .22, but in the face it would be plenty to stop your fight.

  10. False for two reasons. A person who only knows one gun has a significant probability of not being proficient in its use. How many people do we know who have one gun that sits in his drawer? A person who carries one of his many guns is more likely to be proficient in the use of firearms. Second modern firearms come in families. Any Glock or Springfield has the same manual arms, the same trigger, the same sights and the same feel as any other. I an equally proficient with any of my XD series pistols. I also own a number of 1911s ranging from .22LR to 10mm and shoot them all the same. My only odd ball is my Hi Power and that is pistol that shoot the best.

  11. Well I think it makes the most sense when put it into context. If you were to go back to the old days of the taming of the frontier, most people traveling west of the Mississippi didn’t have wads of money floating in their pockets, so if they had a gun they most likely could only afford one gun, maybe two if you go with the adage of many guys buying a revolver and carbine in the same cartridge. Under those circumstances you had to learn how to be highly proficient with that one gun because that’s all you had. Granted, today we gun owners have a lot more choices of guns to pick out, and the addiction sorta means you’ll more than likely buy a lot more than just one gun, but the idea holds true in that I’m gonna be more wary of someone who’s put thousands of shots downrange and taken training courses with one specific gun because more than likely they can push the boundaries of that gun a lot further than most of the other stuff they have in their safe.

    • There is much truth in what you say but to paraphrase von Richtoven “it’s not the gun, it’s the guy with the gun.” During WWII there were a significant number of inductees who could have been handed an M-1 and qualified with it the first day they were in the Army. Some people just know shoot and it doesn’t matter what they shoot.

  12. I’ve had one gun,no guns and multiple guns in the last several years. The gun I’m willing to use a bad guy should be wary of…get off my lawn!?

  13. Beware the man with one gun, especially if it’s stolen and the serial numbers have been filed off.

    Is there one gun that a bad guy should be afraid of more than the others? I have a couple of 12 gauge shotguns that are very intimidating. Staring down the barrel of another man’s gun is unpleasant. Staring down the barrel(s) of another man’s shotgun is downright scary.

  14. any gun I own and have with me is deadly.

    may not be the best thing to use, but it would be better than a sharp stick or harsh words.

    anyone who thinks a a non-AR or non-Glock is not a threat is a moron.

  15. You should fear the one I aim at you (paraphrasing many others’ words in this comments section)…

  16. I know a USAF military guy who has only a 12 gauge Remington 870. He shoots everything: dove, turkey, pigs, deer and skeet. Many East Coast States don’t allow rifle. He picked a shotgun with a 28 inch skeet barrel, fiber optic turkey barrel, and a slug barrel with iron sights / red dot combo. Says he can handle any game or gunfight as long as the range does not exceed 100 yards. Seeing his speed in shooting skeet and his ability to shoot slugs like a rifle – I am close to agreeing about the one gun being a shotgun.

    • Within its range, and in the hands of a proficient gunner, the shotgun rules the battlespace. It’s not quite as slick or user friendly as some systems, the recoil can be an issue and the feeding and ammo weight aren’t optimal, but with someone who really understands the philosophy and tactics, and has the manual down pat, there isn’t anything for in and and around cars and in and around buildings that does what a properly configured and loaded shotgun can do.

  17. I don’t own a Sharps rifle but I do own a Ru ger no.1 in .303 British. There are a whole lot of Germans today who cannot testify to the effectiveness of the .303 because they’re buried in the muck somewhere in France or Belgium.

  18. >>“you should be able to pick up any gun and shoot it well.”

    Can you please present the good man with SAR-21?

    • I get what you mean, but I have seen people shoot very well with some weapons that I can attest had miserable sights, poorly regulated to the point of impact, in weapons with terrible ergonomics. It was the ‘right’ weapon for them.

      I happen to have an old Glenfield .22 carbine that has absolutely nothing going for it on paper, but with which I can stack up rapid hits on fine targets at a pace not to be believed until seen. I have however had this carbine over 30 years, it being my first personal weapon, and I have shot it more times than I could possibly count, beginning at age 8, when we are primed to learn things in a way we will never be able to do again.

      I’ve just thought that I could likely configure a mini 14 or mini 30 to closely replicate that .22…that might be a game changer for me…

  19. To play along with the article, I guess my M1 Garand. I’ll either shot you, stick you with the bayonet, or club you with it.

  20. I have a handful of firearms, what I consider to be a “minimum set”. As I acquired each one, I spent hours with it, over a course of days to weeks, until I was drilled in its manual of arms and able to hit, quickly and repeatedly, whatever I was trying to hit within its useful range, which, of course, varies by chambering. However, the oldest horse in my stable, and the one with which I have scored the most hits on moving targets, small, furry, bushy-tailed targets, would be my 10/22. With it, I am more than proficient. I don’t know how many times I’d have to shoot someone in the eyeball to stop them, but I know that I could do it at LEAST 25 times in just a few seconds, even if they are running…

  21. One gun those with hostile intent should fear me holding over any other? Absolutely. The one in my hands, aimed at them.

  22. No one should be afraid of any of my guns, they are well mannered and polite. They stay in their holster or spot in the safe until I safely move them from one spot to another. The left tries to make people afraid of guns when people should be afraid of those who would wield a gun in an act of criminal depravity.

    So to answer your question, Bad guys or gals should be afraid of ME using my gun as a tool of self-defense if they put themselves in a position where I am required to stop their attempts to harm me or my family.

  23. I was reminded of the final shootout scene in Quigley Down Under when Tom Selleck takes out the bad guy and his 2 henchmen in a quick draw shoot out. As Quigley, the famous long range shooter stands over the stunned, dying bad guy he says, “I said I never had much use for a pistol, not that I didn’t know how to use one.”

    That scene begs the matter of just because he only has one gun now, doesn’t mean he doesn’t know how to effectively use a lot of different guns, which to me, seems the best idea.

  24. Not to brag but I have shot every type of gun available to an average civilian, plus a full auto AK. I have never had trouble, within the second magazine, being at least able to hit a man sized target within 100 yards. That being said, I am no expert with every gun. I still miss a lot. Never the less, If I can take aim within 100 yards of my custom AR, or 50 yards with my M&P .45, with iron sights; I’m going to hit you several times until you hit the ground. That’s because they are the guns I shoot the most and am most comfortable with. As the old adage goes, practice makes perfect.

  25. Jeez, I’m scared of a .22 period. I most likely would faint or piss my pants no matter what he had in his hands, run like crazy, then try to beat him in a draw.

  26. In the context of the original question, we need to ask ourselves: Just who is that perp I’m aiming my (one? Well, one at a time, any) gun at, and why am I doing so?
    IMO, long distance isn’t a factor; unless in the military or law enforcement, we won’t have the need to take out someone at a range of over 50 yards. Given that, and in my own situation…
    My Mossberg 500 is the gun to fear, because it’s the one I’ll have in my hands (this sort of goes to the “the one in my hands” theme of many commenters), because it’s my HD firearm.
    Three rounds of 2 3/4″ #4 buckshot, followed by four 3″ #4 buckshot should give any perp pause, if I have to actually shoot.
    The intimidation factor of a shotgun backed up by a big (BIG) guy being aggressive is impressive. That barrel looks to have a bore of about 4″. I’m guessing, of course. But in the past, I know a .357 presented in such a manner that the target knows full well that I’m not afraid to use it if I have to is extremely effective in defusing a situation. I can only imagine how well a shotgun does in that kind of scenario.
    So, yes, the one in my hand. But I chose that one carefully.

  27. I try to master all my weapons and I shoot every other day on average now that I am retired. I had a friend a while back who was a big money skeet shooter. If he had a free weekend, he found a skeet match with the biggest purse within driving distance and came home on Sunday night with a check. He was a natural and could shoot anything including skeet from the hip. We were talking self defense weapons one day and he said “yall can have your wunder nines and your 357’s. I’ll slowly and meticulously take you apart with Ruger MK3 22 pistol and I wont go deaf doing it.” Word!


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