No firearm beats the humble shotgun in terms of sheer ability and versatility. If you were only going to own one gun, a shotgun is the best choice.
Granted, one wants to be careful about saying anything that appears to be in agreement with Joe Biden. However, it’s also the case that Joe Biden’s Social Security number is 2. Ramses II signed his high school yearbook (which was part of the Dead Sea scrolls) promising they’d hang out that summer, though they never did. He rushed the same frat as Methuselah. His dementia was recently diagnosed with a case of dementia of its own.
Those Biden jokes are probably in poor taste, and besides – Milton Berle made all of them about Joe back in the ’50’s.
So, why is a shotgun the best type of gun to have if you’re only going to have one gun? Here are a few reasons:
Economy, reliability, efficacy, customizability and ubiquity. No other firearm platform gives you the same combination of all these attributes.
Granted, this depends heavily on the shotgun one buys, of course. A Holland & Holland best double is certainly reliable and effective, but it isn’t cheap and the only customizing that should be permitted by God or man of such a piece of craftsmanship is getting the stock custom fitted or the action engraved by a smith of commensurate skill.
And if one of you Bubbas out there dares to besmirch, sully, befoul, denigrate or otherwise think of doing anything tactical to a fine double gun, we will hunt you down.
But I digress.
As to the shotgun’s economy, a barebones pump-action smoothbore doesn’t cost much.
You can pick up a reliable Plain Jane pump gun for as little as $150. Sometimes less. Mossberg’s import label – Maverick – runs as little as $200. You can get into an imported semi-automatic for as little as $350 or so.
As to ubiquity, a shotgun is fundamentally very simple. Therefore, one can be used by nearly anyone. Push safety off, put the bead on the target and let ’em have it. Pump, and repeat.
Yes, some training in how to shoot is always a good idea, but shotguns are ridiculously intuitive. To get decently skilled with a handgun takes a fair amount of time and practice. But almost anybody can be combat-effective with a shotgun in…practically minutes, as far as home defense purposes go.
Ammo is available everywhere…even in places that don’t like selling it. Sure, you might not always be able to find a specific load and shot size, but you won’t usually have problems locating 00 buck. Unlike the suckers who can’t find 5.7mm or .357 SIG, the owner of a 12 gauge will never want for ammunition.
As to ubiquity, the shotgun is also the most versatile firearm for hunting there is. From small game to big game, shotguns can darn near do it all. If you get a combination gun — or one that has aftermarket options — you can add a rifled barrel for use with slugs to go with your smoothbore.
Literally all North American game can and has fallen to a shotgun. Granted, marksmanship and ammunition selection are also critical, but the point stands: you can do more with a shotgun than any other type of firearm when it comes to hunting.
Which, of course, also speaks to efficacy. The shotgun is, as Bill Jordan put it, the queen of personal defense weapons. When it comes to putting bad guys down at self defense ranges, few guns are as effective as a shotgun that’s loaded with 00 buckshot.
There is, of course, no guarantor of a one-shot-stop short of a punt gun (or perhaps an anti-aircraft gun; ever see “The Jackal”? It’s a godawful movie, but that gun was cool) but a 12 or 20 gauge scattergun with a heavy buckshot load is darn hard to snap back from.
As to reliability…even with a modicum of care — and frequently without it — shotguns last decades. Semi-autos are a bit more touchy, of course, but pump-action and double guns have a lifespan as long as most humans. You may need to change a spring here or there, but they can be kept in working order for a very long time.
Another benefit, of course, is the customizability. Depending on the platform, a shotgun can be customized to almost no end. Many manufacturers offer multiple configurations from standard 26- and 28-inch barrel models like our grandfathers all had, to tacticool terrors.
You can swap the standard stock for an AR-15-style stock or whatever you might imagine. Optics, lasers, lights, extended magazine tubes, all kinds of muzzle brakes…it’s all out there. You can take a $300 Mossy and turn it into something that belongs in a video game that takes place in
Los Angeles a dystopian future.
To sum up, if you’re only going to have one gun, a shotgun is the best possible choice. No other firearm platform is as easy to use, as reliable under most conditions, as endlessly useful, or as effective for the greatest number of purposes as a shotgun.
What do you think though? Sound off in the comments.