Hunting rifle guns I really need
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A reader who prefers to remain anonymous writes . . .

As I sit here writing this, I am forced to decide what firearm I should sell to come up with the extra money to pay some bills. It pains me to sell any of them, not because they are high end, not because they were handed down (they weren’t…for the most part) or even that desirable, but because they are mine.

I didn’t think about guns that much when I was a kid. I went thru my state’s hunting program as soon as I was old enough, but my stepfather took me only once. As I grew a little older, the normal interests of a teen got hold of me…cars, girls, you know the deal. Firearms weren’t even close to catching my attention.

As I became a sophomore in high school, I realized that I needed to decide on what to do with my life after I graduated. I decided on the military. According to what I’ve been told (yes, I know recruiters will say anything) my ASVAB scores and my grades qualified me for most any job. To everyone’s astonishment, I choose the infantry…I even picked the longer enlistment.

Basic training was rough, but not the hell I had expected, and it was my first real training with weapons. I remember gaining more respect for my rifle than my first car. I was hooked.

I needed more. More types of rifles, more knowledge about how they function and their limitations. Just more.

We were scheduled to go to the range and learn to shoot the M60, but a hurricane came thru and the higher ups rescheduled the training. I was pissed. We were supposed to be the infantry. Tough, able to go into any element and get the job done and they were afraid of a little rain? The M60 would have to wait.

My first duty station was at Ft. Hood. I loved it there and my company had some great NCO’s. The one thing that stuck out most, for me at least, was that there I was, smack dab in the middle of the biggest base on American soil, ready to put my life on the line and we weren’t allowed to have our weapons.

I remember thinking that if anyone were to declare war and attack the U.S. that a direct attack on military installations would make perfect sense. I brushed the thought off as I figured that, A) an attack against us would be suicide, and B) I was just a private, I was sure the brass would’ve thought about that and have a SOP in place.

I was pissed as hell when I learned of the shooting at Ft. Hood a few years later.

I subsequently got out of the Army and moved back home. It turned out that infantry didn’t give me the skill set that serious employers were really looking for so I got a job as a dishwasher.

Making minimum wage was tough, but I scrimped and saved enough for my first concealed carry permit and my first gun; a nice, slightly used Smith & Wesson .357 mag with a 6″ barrel.

Yes, I know, that’s hardly a concealed carry gun, but I was still learning the ropes. I ended up selling it and buying a GLOCK because, well, GLOCK and it was considerably easier to conceal.

Since then, I have gotten better jobs, but life always managed to throw a wrench in my plans. That rifle I was saving for? Too bad, my car died. The Barrett I had my eye on? Maybe after I get another job, because I got laid off.

I don’t mind so much anymore because since my daughters were born, I realize that they need me more than I need a safe full of guns. I just need three. A rifle, a pistol and the .22 I bought to teach my daughters what life has taught me.

What guns do you really need?

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    • I have all the guns I want or need now, so for me it’s really about…


      Just one more box.

      • I’m the opposite, I have a lot of 9mm, 22LR and 5.56. Now i just need to save up for rifles to shot all the 308 Win and 6.5 CM ammo I stocked up on.

        • Yeah I’ve been playing that mental game for years with myself… When I want a new pistol or rifle in a cartridge I don’t already own, but can’t justify the new firearm purchase, I’ll start stockpiling the ammo for that cartridge until I have enough of the ammo that I absolutely have to buy the firearm because the price of the ammo stockpile has eclipsed the price of the new firearm… I always fall for that trick.

    • There are many ways to look at how many guns a person needs for their situation. A collector obviously wants more than someone who is a hunter, and a hunter wants more than a prepper.

      For me, a good pistol in a common caliber (G19 / 9MM)
      a decent designated marksmanship rifle, not a sniper rifle (AR10 platform) 308 is preferred due to being able to run 7.62 nato through it, though 300WM, 30-06, 30-30 are also acceptable.
      A specialty rifle, or machine gun. a 50Cal rifle, medium machine gun, or dedicated long range sniper rifle.

      A shotgun is optional, its utility and you can improvise ammo with it.

      Hunters will need more than a few calibers due to idiotic cartridge laws and idiotic seasons for bows/blackpowder/straightwall/etc.

      • ARC, I think you have it backwards. It’s perfectly safe to shoot .308 rounds in a 7.62, but not so shooting 7.62 in a .308. Same thing with 556 in a 223. The military rounds are higher pressure than the civilian rounds. When reloading military cases, I always drop the amount of powder by 10% than when I load the civilian cases.

    • EricfromOregon: hahaha thats funny af,i actually laughed when saw your comment. I was thinking the exact ssme thing when i saw your comment. Ha thanks thats the first time i laughed in awhile.

    • Like shoes. We only need work shoes, dress shoes, boots. BUT our wants have become our needs. We need lots of different kinds of shoes/guns. And….now that they come in different colours, the choices are limitless. Well, limited by what’s in your wallet.

    • do you really want to be the guy who humps that “pig”?…let somebody else tote the “60”…

    • 3 guns sounds about right. On me.

      One in my hands, one on my hip, one slung over my shoulder.

      A serious answer is probably 3 is all I NEED. A deer caliber rifle of some sort, a shotgun and a 22. That covers my minimum needs for hunting and predator and varmint control. The shotgun could double for home defense.

      That said, a more realistic is 5. Throw in an AR and a handgun. My wife HATES handguns. I mean, she plain doesn’t like guns, but she hates “tiny guns” the most. Pathologically. She is fine with a couple of long guns securely stored in the bedroom, but plain won’t allow a handgun (not my logic, don’t try to understand). She can handle (but of course detests) a pump shotgun. I’d want something I can hand to her that she can operate and something for me. Which is an AR.

      That leaves the 22, deer caliber rifle and the shotgun can pull double duty for those hunting and pest/predator control duties. Handgun I still feel is a necessity even if my wife pathologically hates them. Because sometimes a handgun is what is needed. My muzzleloader doesn’t count as a gun to me, but if you want, that’s a sixth. Because my state has a ML deer season and that’s when I’ve had the most success.

      Need and want are different things though. I’d be loath to ever give up my Garand, or Carbine, etc. My real “I need” isn’t really at the same level of true actual need to fulfill necessary life roles. But my I need is probably about a dozen guns where I’d feel a hole if I didn’t own (for example I have more than one deer rifle, because where I hunt does sometimes dictate what I carry. I’ve got a handful of historical guns because they scratch an itch for me).

      Fortunately I am lucky enough in life I don’t have to choose to own just a certain number and that is that. That said, I am unfortunately enough that my wife forces me to live within modest (to me) gun “means”. Probably keeps me from putting us in the poor house by buying everything that takes my fancy. I mean, there is still room in my safe and it deserves to be filled (eventually).

    • Yeah, I’m currently jonesing for one. My wife doesn’t like them because they aren’t precision (she competes long range shooting). I, on the other hand having been army, am more the CQB type. Since *I* will be answering the front door…so to speak…I will decide soon.

      Not interested in trap, just a door gun. Likely a slightly tricked out 18.5″ Maverick 88. She can’t complain about the price (especially considering the cost of her new scope)

      As for MORE guns…my blood settles down for a while after an acquisition, and I think, “that’s it, I have enough.” That lasts about 2 days. :^)

      • That’s why i stopped buying guns and I tinker with my guns now. If I really want something, then I’ll make one $100/mo as long as it takes. Its a habbit that keeps the impulse costs down and tempers the spirit. $1200 a year (minimum) on guns is still a lot, but I can (and have) got that up to $10k at times…..$1200/year gets my dopamine levels up to normal. The unchecked alternative is being a full on twitching fiend.

        • > That’s why i stopped buying guns and I tinker with my guns now.

          I didn’t say I BOUGHT anything, I just lust after, well, everything.

          I too enjoy tinkering. Checkering / refinishing stocks, I painted a non-longer black rifle, played musical chairs with some optics, looked through the footlocker-of-stuff, and OOO! I forgot about that. Time to attach it to something…

          Homey, if you need me I’ll be in the shop…

      • I wasn’t interested in it until recently either. Then I replaced the “tactical” short barrel on my Mossberg 500 with a longer, choked one after I tried it once. Shooting moving targets is a lot of fun. It doesn’t have to be trap. Sporting clays are my favorite so far.

  1. I filled my reasonably priced fire-safe (bought right after college) and since then, I’ve been buying/selling on a one-for-one basis. I think I have around 15 firearms and rarely eye anything new priced over $250 (so basically the new Ruger hotness, and that’s it). I’ve also built a number of uppers that take up quite a bit of space in the safe.

    In all honesty, 5 would serve my needs just fine. 5 of the others are more of collector’s items, and the remaining 5 are just toys I don’t shoot nearly enough (a Russian biathlon rifle, for example).

    I don’t think I could reduce my inventory below five:

    SBR lower
    H&K 45C (carry)
    Makarov (alt. carry)
    700P custom
    H&K P7/PSP

  2. Anonymous Author, let me make a suggestion.
    1. A clean 1903A3 Springfield with a modest stash of ammo in stripper clips.
    2. A quality .22 LR. Action of your choosing. Economics aside, don’t skimp on quality.
    3. A quality center fire handgun. Don’t let the uninformed convince you that a revolver is not an option.
    4. Add a quality .22 LR handgun when you can.
    5. Unless you hunt birds forget a shotgun.

      • No.

        A bolt action like an 03A3 can handle any load in spec for its chambering. But an M1 is kind of sensitive about the op rod.

        • I’m not recoil shy, but the .30-06 is punishing now.
          Going to part with my Rem. 700 ADL .30-06.
          Kind of looking at 6.5 CM.
          Must have guns?
          .22 LR rifle
          Hand gun in your favorite flavor ( my fave, 9mm)
          A good long range rifle, again your fave flavor.
          Anything else is good/fun but not must have.
          And if I can only have one? .22 LR rifle/carbine. My fave 10/22.

  3. “It turned out that infantry didn’t give me the skill set that serious employers were really looking for”

    Welcome to the black hole of 11B’s where very little is as good as it once was but now you at least know who you are and what is important in life.

    I held a few labor jobs in the ten years since my discharge. Turns out a lot of professional (non-labor) employers get scared when they see “Infantry Team Leader” on a resume, especially if its raw. I figured i needed something to trump that; so i added “Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Systems Engineering. Thus far it has worked out rather well. Good to know another former 11B has his priorities straight. Enjoy your family and guns. You earned them. Also – nice choice for a first gun.

    • That is the true unseen benefit of being in the infantry. There aren’t many jobs that translate well out of it, besides some LE, truck driving, or professional private security. However, you get a grade A education in grit, endurance, survival, hardness, and knowing exactly where your limits are. The rest of your life you will know exactly what you are capable of, and you will likely never ever do anything that hard ever again. I feel the authors pain in the job arena. Infantry didn’t translate into a job for me either. So I used the GI bill to get a better job. However I wouldn’t trade my time in the infantry for anything. The rest of my life I’m confident I can now overcome any challenge in front of me. And I know even if lose everything, I’ll be ok as long as I have a some a knife, 550 cord, poncho, woobie, and water. Plus, especially now that the wars have winded down, when people ask you about your military service and you say “infantry” and “Iraq/Afghanistan (03-14 whenever you were there)” They look at you very different then, oh let’s say a communications specialist who’s only deployment was to JRTC.

      • +1

        I tried the LE route. Not because I loved the job but because I thought my skills would translate and those were the only skills i had. I interviewed with three large departments in my area and got to know some of the other applicants throughout the process. Most of the veterans were not infantry. I watched as most the non-11B’s were hired before me. On my last interview (background interview) for the third department, I told them everything about my deployments. They listened to the stories like they had never heard some of that stuff before. After the interview, they thanked me for my time and i asked them a simple question; “is my background as a former infantryman hurting my chances to become LE?”

        His response was “probably, because of your training. My chief does not want that type of individual on her department. There is a lot of liability when it comes to that sort of thing.” I walked out knowing that i would likely not get a job as LE in a big department.

        I have a lot of respect for LE. Several of my close friends are detectives and my extended family has an LE background. But in hindsight, that rejection was a blessing in disguise. I am glad now that i don’t have to deal with the PC culture that has infected many LE department.

        • I know exactly what you mean. The same exact thing happened to me, so I ended up doing corrections instead. I guess when it comes to prisons they still want people who are rough around the edges. But I agree I’m glad I never ended up in street LE. The hyper PC culture and constant filming and media Monday morning quarterbacking isn’t a good place to be these days. Corrections is less glamorous and pretty stressful but at least you don’t have to worry about that. I’ll offer a word of advice to any vets reading this thinking about LE. If it’s looking like LE is a no go, give corrections a try. It’s not exactly fun, however once you work your way to the administrative side of the deal it’s a pretty good spot. You still work in a prison, but it’s an air conditioned office in civilian clothes, on normal schedule with good pay, holidays, leave time, retirement, and benefits. That’s state though. Never did the private side.

        • Sup my fellow Dog-faces!
          I know what you are saying, nothing civi side translates from 11-Bang Bang/0311.
          Not LE for shore, if I wanted to be Barney Fife, corrections guard, mall cop I would have been an wiMP. And by the time you have your 20, Black Water is looking at younger men with more elite back grounds than most line dogs have… Another joy of active duty infantry, no time for all the cheap on post/evening college courses. Still, had I not served some other poor jerk would have had to fill my boots.

        • start out in security…ideally federal security…then use that as a springboard into LE….

    • Whenever gun control talk creeps into the news my wife always asks me if we have everything we want just in case and if we need to set aside more money for guns or ammo.

      I married well.

      • Me too Shire-man! After the cop’s ran through our yard looking for a carjcker,an old lady was raped nearby and murder’s in our hood it’s been EZ convincing the most beautiful woman on earth we need “more”. Possible bans help😎😏😊😫

      • Just had a similar chat with my woman. She started out a “no guns in my home” but is now not phased by the many industry magazines and books around the house.
        For me, there is always that “one” that I need. I just filled my long range hunting spot. I still need to get a lever action rifle, in 308, 357 and would love in 350. Also need a revolver with 6″ barrel. And an over under 12 or 20. And a few more .22 for family shooting days so there is not waiting around. And a few more ARs in 5.56, 6.8, 300BO, and 6.5 grendal. Still havn’t filled my need for a CZ 75b, or that sub compact for the soon to be CC. Also need that browning 1911 380 that I would love to gift the wife. Plus a pistol, 12g, AR15, and 22 for each of my kids as they go out into the world.
        And all the ammo to use them.

      • Shire Man, I envy you for your wife. Mine thinks one, maybe two guns is plenty. Her rationale is one for each hand. If I had to do the marriage bit all over again, I’d think seriously about saying “I do” until we had the matter of firearms handled.

        • One of my solutions is to buy my Wife guns! She has more than 3 and I doubt she would be willing to give up any of them. Some of it has been in self defense to get back guns my wife and daughter have pilfered from me.

  4. Well firs thing to say is the obvious is ‘it’s the bill of rights, not the bill of needs’. :p

    But beyond the truth of that I said that there’s nothing really wrong with having only three guns, just one, or even none. No more than having a hundred guns. It’s all about personal choice here. And beyond that, some people chose to have many guns for different reasons. Personally I was always kind of a collector of broken firearms that I can then restore to full function or just modifying them to fit my taste more. Which is why I’ve had about forty of them over the years and like six currently.

  5. The minimum number/type of firearms that we need to survive depends on our expected survival scenarios.

    Everyone should have one handgun …
    — For everyday carry
    We are virtually guaranteed to encounter humans every day and we could be facing human attackers just about anywhere, any time. Handguns are a priority option for self-defense against human attackers because handguns are far, far more convenient to carry everywhere versus rifles and shotguns. And to be honest, carrying a long gun everywhere that we go is not even possible in many situations due to state laws or private businesses which will not allow us to carry long guns.

    Everyone should have a second handgun …
    For self-defense against dangerous animals when hiking, camping, hunting, or working outdoors where we may encounter dangerous animals. This second handgun has to be a larger caliber (.44 Magnum minimum) than the handgun that you would carry to defend against human attackers.

    Everyone should have at least one rifle …
    — For big game hunting as well as national defense
    If only limited to a single rifle for hunting everything from deer to black bear to grizzly bears to moose, then you would probably want it chambered in .30-06 Springfield. (Even .30-06 Springfield is marginal for quickly dispatching moose and grizzly bears.) That chambering is also highly effective against foreign military forces.

    Everyone should have at least one shotgun …
    — For home defense, bird hunting, and small game hunting
    Nuff said.

    Everyone should have at least one rifle chambered in .22 LR …
    — For small game hunting, target practice, and recreational plinking.

    If you want to be prepared to survive almost any scenario, including subsistence hunting, self-defense against dangerous animals outside of home, self-defense against human attackers outside of home, self-defense against human attackers inside your home, and national defense, you truly need all five firearms that I listed. Giving up any of those five firearms means giving up a significant survival capability in certain circumstances. And I don’t want to give up any survival capability.

  6. You can have one shotgun. Pistols I prefer at least two: a pocket gun and a full size (or nearly) with larger capacity. But you could probably get by with one.

    Rifles are a different story. An AR does not fill the role of a dependable large game hunting rifle. And neither of those serve the same role as a light rim fire.

    • don’t forget that AR’s come in may different flavors (from 22LR to 50 Beowulf), if you just want one lower. or you can also go AR-10.

  7. .22 mag or .30 carbine for the pistol&rifle and a 12 gauge, is as K.I.S.S. as you can get, imo. 30 carb has a 100y effective range over PCCs, reach out to 300 yards.

    • While .30 carbine is about as far from economical as you can get.

      You think that’s a round that will be easy to find sitting in an old barn or basement?

      Like the guys who are stocking up on Mosins in case of WW3, man I’m having a hard time finding 7.62x54R NOW!

      • True .30 carb does not fit the ‘Walmart Rule’ of most common/popular ammo type. It is in wide production with most every brand, so you can order as much as you could ever need in 10 life times. New brass is cheaper than ‘necked’ as less time&machines are needed to produce it. And now is the time to stock up on ammo of all calibers, is available and somewhat affordable again. There are many points as to why .30 carb is a near ideal SHTF EOTWAWK round. But that’s not the OP topic. Of 3 guns my choice would be pistol&rifle in .22 mag or .30 carb and a 12 gauge.

        • Elroy First and foremost is that there are conventional pistols that chamber .30 carbine.
          The non-necked case can be reloaded 3 times more than necked brass that’s failing after 5 to 7. Hard cast bullets will cycle fine and are rated at the top performance of the round. No idea if you can shoot cast from an AK or SKS…
          For me having a single center fire round to worry about, and that I live in a multi state area that’s heavily wooded and hilly, 300 yards max effective range is plenty(bout the same as 7.62×39mm). Add in that M-1 carbs are mill spec and battle proven is enough for me.

        • Right on man, I see the benefit of having one single “do all” caliber. Personally I like 7.62×39 (or 5.56) for a SHTF scenario, its cheaper, more abundant, more powerful, and longer effective range. Good for hunting and defense. I would much prefer an AKM over a M1 carbine.

          With that said, I’m not knocking the .30 carbine, I love M1’s. Of course what works for me and in my area might not work for you in your area and vise versa.

  8. I’ll bite:

    All purpose rifle – FN SCAR 17S
    CCW – SIG P365
    Thumper – S&W Model 29
    Swiss Army Pistol – Ruger Mark IV (suppressed)
    Shotgun – Remington 870

  9. As many as i feel like i need, and thats a lot more than 3. I love running my AR’s and AK’s hard at the range to piss off the worthless fudds.

  10. Carryable handgun
    Hunting rifle

    Those account for a small number of my guns and about 100% of the ammo I shoot.

  11. You could try going the many out of one route, which be done on the cheap with shot guns. A cheap shot gun can be converted easily and cheaply into all manner of what you need it for. One shotgun can be a tactical home defense gun, large animal defense gun, camping/hunting and bird gun all in one. Modifications are easy and cheap. If I was restricted to three it would be a shotgun of some sort, some kind of AR preferably AR10, and a handgun that’s concealable preferably a 1911.

  12. “Life has taught me that I only really need 3 guns, and they all have to be Glocks because, well, Glock, naturally in 9mm since it’s as powerful as any other handgun cartridge.” This guy sounds an awful lot like that Buck Angel from Camden, Tennessee.

    • The Glock has one of the most dangerous and idiotic take down systems in the world and unfortunately because of its marketing success every mommyfacture tried to come up with one similar but few made one that was safe to use or take apart.

      The Glock takedown requires you to pull the trigger before the slide can come off and the slide has to be forward. If you forget just one time to check the chamber you end up either shooting yourself or someone in the vicinity of the gun. Contrast this with say a Beretta 92 that requires you to lock the slide back which would then eject from the chamber a forgotten live round in the chamber.

    • I might also add that the worst point in owning or handling the Glock is that when it has a loaded chamber it is no different than carrying a revolver with the hammer locked back the only difference is anyone can see the danger of a revolver with the hammer cocked back but what people cannot see they do not fear and most people these days have not a clue on how the Glock works which usually results in them accidentally shooting themselves or someone else with one. Even the Police have been known to have shot many people accidentally with this unsafely designed pistol. One lady cop was dumb enough to put one under her pillow and one night it went off. Also I could menschen a page full of actually tragedies with Glock pistols going off when children grabbed them right out their parents holsters while they were actually wearing them or out of their purses. New York had so many accidental discharges with Glocks it told Glock to fix that damn unsafe pistol or they were dropping it. They only got a pistol with a slightly heavier trigger. Australia and several European countries told Glock if they did not put a manual safety on the gun it would not be importable into their countries. Strange how only the ignorant Hillbillies in the U.S. let Glock get away with marketing this pistol without a manual safety. A tragic mistake.

      • “One lady cop was dumb enough to put one under her pillow and one night it went off.”

        Yeah, I always hate it when my guns just “go off”.

        You’re new to this trolling business, aren’t you? You need some practice.

        • Vlad found his name a tad tight around the midsection, so he got himself a new, even stupider one.

      • Obviously forgot to engage the safety located between the ears.

        Guns are dangerous in the hands of experienced users and deadly in the hands of those who think they are experienced users. More so if they think their occupation gifts them supernatural skills.

  13. “What guns do you really need?”

    IF I had to choose from what I currently have, I’d choose my Ruger GSR in .308(18.7″ SS), and my Taurus M627 4″ .357 Magnum…

    Either one is easy to find ammunition for, .308 Win or 7.62×51 for the GSR, or .357 Mag or .38 Special for the M627…

  14. Five. One in each category; centerfire rifle, centerfire pistol, rimfire rifle, rimfire pistol, and shotgun. More is not needed but fun!
    OFC, this list needs modification to suit the individual. The recoil sensitive might find no use for a shotgun, a rifleman might see little need for a handgun, one whose only use is concealed carry in a city, might see no use for rifles OR shotguns, etc.
    But, those are the five categories to be covered, should one desire to cover all of the bases. Oh, one CAN shoot a squirrel with a .30-06 rifle, or a .44 magnum pistol, but why would one want to, if a rimfire was available?

    • Revolver, lever action, pistol caliber carbine, derringer… you’re missing a few categories.

      • I’d call those SUB categories. A .444 Marlin or Springfield .45-70 being in the lever action and single shot sub-category of centerfire rifles, and so on.

    • Got those 5. Only mod is a target centerfire pistol rather than the rimfire. I wind up using all 5 on a regular basis to deal with critters or plink.

  15. Great article not too may words , it carries the message!
    Like you I saved my scant pennies until I found a used P7M8 in the 90’s for a decent price. Wherever I go, I’ll be wearing it… somewhere…
    For a long gun I’ll keep my Mannilicher 30-06 built on a Mauser action. When I can’t get/find ammo for that, I better’ve improved my snare skills.
    Probably keep the 10-22. Love my shotggns, but survival being what it is,,,

  16. I had to scale back to 6 (which subsequently were lost in a horrible boating accident). Technically I’ve never actually needed a gun before, but then I’ve never needed life insurance either. I do however want more than 6 and will be rebuilding my collection as my circumstances permit. Guns are fun, but a man needs to keep his priorities straight (no offense to those readers who identify as having L, G, B, T or Q priorities intended).

  17. It is not unusual for high scoring folks to choose Infantry. The sharpest guys I have known were/are all infantry. It’s not like it is undesirable.

    (in my opinion)
    {(so I guess I agree with the number but not the arrangement)}

    1. Full bore centerfire rifle (if it doesn’t have more energay than a .44 mag at the muzzle,
    don’t bother)
    2. 12 gauge (single most versatile chambering in all of ever)

    3. .22 rifle (most affordable way to put food on the table)

    high priority options
    4. Centerfire handgun (self defense against 2-leggers only, not combat, not large
    predators only necessary where you can’t carry one of the 3)
    5. .22 handgun (this is for snakes in the grass, even 2-legged ones)

  19. If life forced me to only own one…a 12GA would be the one. I’m surprised a scattergun isn’t on the authors list…a 12ga does everything.

  20. My only 3 guns:

    -Quality 9mm pistol for carry & home defense
    -Quality AR15/AR10 with a good optic
    -Quality .22 Rifle

    Good stock of training ammo and defensive ammo.
    At least 7 mags per weapon
    Pay for some good training.
    And practice, practice, practice

  21. So what you’re saying is, “Don’t have kids, buy guns instead”? At least, that’s what I heard.

  22. Your ‘needs’ change depending on your circumstances. I’m getting ready for the opening day of dove season. So I need that bird gun. But I’m in my 60’s and how many more opening days do I have to look forward too?

    My hunting guns would be first to go if I had to scale back. I really can only look forward to a few more seasons.

    At my age living in a heavily populated area I ‘need’ a concealable handgun and a house gun. My house gun would be either my g19 or one of my short shotguns.

    Everybody’s ‘needs’ are different.

    As for ‘wants’. Anybody else see the 9mm gatling gun on Military Arms Channel?

  23. As a father of four, my needs are home and self-defense plus the ability to train my children. I have the idea of hunting birds and deer/elk, but have only weakly tried. A solid 9mm carry pistol, deep conceal tiny pistol, .308 bolt, 12ga pump, and 300BLK silenced AR pistol fill the bill for my every desire. I also keep pistols and rifles in .22LR for my sons (plus a rimfire can or two), and a 20ga pump to help them build confidence and enjoy shooting. Keeping ample ammunition in stock is my biggest problem; that’s a problem I don’t terribly mind.

  24. A Concealed Carry Pistol
    A Duty Pistol
    A Shotgun (Hunting/Security)
    A Duty Carbine
    A Precision Rifle

    There you go.

  25. While I appreciate the efforts of the author and respect his opinions, we should not be talking about limits on the number of guns. It’ll come back to bite us someday when others try to apply limits to everyone (after gun registration and before confiscation comes a limit on the number that can be owned). The number of guns a person needs varies by individual. Some do cowboy shooting and have to have 4 guns just to compete (rifle, shotgun, 2 revolvers). Those that are serious cowboy shooters need backups for each. So they have 4 primary + 3 backup guns just for cowboy shooting. None of those are desirable for hunting or self defense (yes, you could make due, but try to carry an 1873 SAA concealed or hunt with a rifle in 38 Spl). Those that also hunt need a large caliber hunting rifle (plus backup or one for a companion to take hunting), a hunting shotgun (plus backup or companion), a large caliber handgun for safety while hunting, small game rifle that doubles for teaching kids/grandkids how to shoot, a carry gun (plus backup), rimfire pistol and rifle for steel shooting competitions, military service rifle competition gun (plus backup), and family heirloom guns that don’t get shot very often but have significant personal value. It is very easy to say that one person needs 20-25 guns or more depending upon their shooting activities, interests, ability to buy, storage, and other factors. That doesn’t even address those that collect guns (because they can). I can’t do the shooting activities I want to do (and can afford to do) with only 3 or 5 guns. Saying one “needs” only X number of guns has no more value than saying one should not own more than X guns. My 2 cents worth. Each gun owner is an individual with their own unique needs.

  26. It’s true what they say, “A pistol is what you use to fight your way to a long gun,” so if I could only keep three, I’d skip the pistol (I live in a state that doesn’t allow civilians to do concealed carry anyway, so what’s the point?)

    1) A .22 rifle: the Ruger 10/22 Takedown with a Magpul Backpacker stock. This can replace a pistol as a backpack gun, and it’s about the same weight as a scoped revolver but more accurate and much better suited for small game like squirrels and rabbits, which you’d need to eat in a survival situation.
    2) A shotgun: Mossberg 500 is my choice, although Remington is another good choice.
    3) A rifle: the TC Encore Pro Hunter, which takes interchangeable barrels. Then I’d have half a dozen barrels in calibers from .22 to .45 (.454 Casull is my choice of .45 caliber rounds, others prefer 45/70) and several in between, allowing me to hunt everything from squirrels to elephants*. MGM sells about 100 different calibers for the TC Encore, from .17 HMR to .50 Alaskan (.510 bore).

    *No, I wouldn’t really kill an elephant, but I’d like to be able to say I had a rifle CAPABLE of doing it, and the TC Encore can, when equipped with a big-bore barrel. A .454 or even a .44 Magnum from a rifle-length barrel is capable of killing an elephant, so it can certainly kill any North American game, which means there’s no need for expensive ammo with even heavier recoil such as .450 Bushmaster or 45/70. My 454/410 barrel can shoot a huge variety of ammo, including .454 Casull, .45 Colt +P, .45 Colt, 3-inch .410 shotgun shells, 2.5-inch .410 shotgun shells, .45 Colt shotshells (#9 and #4), and even .45 Schofield (in case you happen to have some .45 Schofield cowboy ammo lying around, which I still do from my cowboy action shooting days).

  27. This article hits way too close to home. I was also a little disappointed to find out that the Army was arguably one of the most anti gun organizations one can work for. Let me just say I enjoyed more of my 2A rights in CA than I do living on base in a free state.

    • Well, the Army is a socialist institution, so what did you expect?

      I’m an Army veteran myself. Back when I served (the 1980s), you could keep your privately owned guns in your quarters (BOQ, in my case) on base (“on post” in Army-speak), but you were supposed to register them with the proper Army authorities (MPs, probably) within X number of days of purchase. One of my fellow Lieutenants bragged about having an unregistered handgun in his BOQ, so apparently enforcement of registration was pretty lax. And we teased another Lieutenant for bringing his personal .45 into the Officer’s Club at Fort Knox (Fiddler’s Green), which was probably against the rules because alcohol was served there, but he didn’t get into any trouble, just got teased about it.

      AFAIK, there was no need for a CCW permit to bring your gun anywhere in Kentucky (other than bars like the O-Club). And back then, you could buy a gun in Kentucky in any K-Mart or other store without any background check, as long as you had either a Kentucky driver’s license or a military ID. Kentuckyans bought and sold guns back then the same way they’d buy or sell a couch, by putting an ad in the newspaper. Back then, I had a very realistic-looking black Uzi squirtgun (no orange tip — this was the 1980s!), and when I brought it to the creek and laid it down on the ground, people looked at it, thought it was real, and didn’t blink an eye, because Kentucky was Guntucky back then! Times sure have changed.

      • I had to keep my guns in the SP armory on the air force base. They were incredibly anti gun and this was in the south.

  28. I think guns would probably offer more options but I certainly agree with the idea of not having 20 different guns. An ar15, an ar10, some 12 gauge, and a 9mm handgun is all I want

  29. Just idle curiousity. Post military service, assuming an honorable discharge, did you avail yourself of GI Bill educational benefits?

    • Today’s GI bill is not your grandfather’s bill. For a while they offered us VEAP which was you give them 2700 and they give you 8900 dollars. Hardly enough to get a degree with. You also had to comply with a lot of rules about how it was spent
      Then came a better bill. 10K for 1000 dollars. The catch was you had to make the payments in the first year which is hard to do as an E1. But 10 k still won’t get you far.

      Today they probably have better plans but it’s not the generous GI Bill we all remember.

  30. You only need one at a time since you can only use one at a time.

    But realistically I need

    1 full or duty size 9mm ( Glock 19 or similar )

    1 single stack compact 9mm ( walther pps , Glock 43 , etc )

    1 ar15 in 5.56

    1 hunting rifle in 308 or 6.5 or similar caliber.
    Can be bolt gun or ar10 pattern ( of course both )

    1 10/22

    1 22 Lr handgun

    And if I lived in bear country one larger caliber handgun ( 44 mag revolver , 10mm Glock , etc ).

    Of course this doesn’t count other family members. Each wife or adult in the family needs at the min 1 9mm handgun and an ar15.

    • Yes to everything, and “check” off the list for everything.

      Except the large caliber handgun. Here in SoCal we don’t worry about bears. Just raccoons and coyotes that get too bold and come onto your property to mess with your pets.

      If/when I move out of CA and into Free America some day, the next gun I get will be a .44 Mag wheelgun, for sure.

  31. My CCW (GLOCK 22) for 99% of the things … Its on me and its effective at 3 yards… I raise chickens and vegetables for food. Any thing more then 3 yards (whether or not on 2 legs or more) has more then enough time and space to move on… Doesn’t mean I don’t want my shot gun or AR… Its just I only need the CCW in my holster 99% of the time

  32. Let us not forget the “other stuff” that you don’t get with factory firearm. Holsters/belts/slings/ bipods/ tools/optics/cans/magazines/speed loaders/lights/lasers/trigger kits and other performance parts/custom gunsmithing/professional training/range fees/targets, and the list goes on. Often adding up to more investment than the price of the firearm. The gun and ammo for it are just the beginning. 🙂

  33. Glad this person has sorted their priorities. I too have had to sell some to make bills. I hope I never need to again. I only need one gun, whatever gun I have with me when I’m in need of a gun. But I always want one more.

  34. Everyone should have at least two guns. After that, it depends on you and your circumstances. I won’t presume to tell anyone exactly what models to get, but the two critical types are:

    1. A handgun for daily carry. First figure out what size and weight you can carry all day in reasonable comfort. Then figure out what calibers you can shoot accurately in a gun that size. After that you’ll have to decide between capacity and power, and finally all the little details like striker VS. hammer, safeties, sights, trigger, grip, etc. All of that is personal preference.

    2. A long gun for home defense. I have a bullpup for this role. It’s shorter and easier to maneuver, but has the same power as a standard AR. Not as accurate at longer ranges, but that’s not an issue in my house. If that’s too expensive, a standard AR or AK is fine. If weight is an issue, try a pistol caliber carbine. If you get an AR or AK pistol or SBR, get ammo designed for the short barrels or be prepared for permanent hearing damage if you ever have to use it without ear protection. 300 BLK is a good option if you go that route. Shotguns are very effective, but have lower capacity and are more difficult to shoot. I don’t recommend buying one for home defense. You’re welcome to disagree. If you’re not interested in my opinion, why the hell have you read this far?

    After that? Yeah, .22s are great for practice. I shoot .22 more than everything else combined. Keeps my skills honed without breaking the bank. Obviously, if you want to hunt, get guns appropriate for your prey. Anything beyond that is just for fun. Buy whatever you can afford.

  35. Man oh man do you remind me of me, even down to being Infantry stationed at Fort Hood, dealing with “Fort Hoodisms”. If I didn’t know better you write a lot like a guy from my first tour in 07 used to talk.

  36. Unless you are a police officer who must have a personally purchased weapon, guns are a WANT not a NEED because you can find alternatives:
    – pepper spray instead of CCW
    – big dog instead of home defense shotgun
    – hunt with a bow (the season is longer and many more areas open up)
    The WANT is much harder to satisfy.

      • Donttreadonme understood my point. When you base things on NEED, you establish a legal standard that someone could challenge when alternatives exist.
        Guns are a WANT.
        The point is to avoid discussion of WANT and NEED and keep it at the RIGHTS or LEGAL level.
        Otherwise you will have no guns when someone can prove you don’t NEED them.
        For all those saying “you only need a shotgun, rifle, and a pistol” how would you feel when legislators limit your gun ownership to 1 bolt action rifle because “the gun community agrees that is all they need”

        • Point taken. When the government decides to limit what guns I can own, many of the guns I added to my collection for the pursuit of happiness are going to become necessary for securing life and liberty.

  37. I need enough guns to fill my gun safe, and then I will need a bigger safe…..
    A 22LR for teaching kids, grandkids and newbies.
    A 9mm for fun.
    A 1911 for carry
    An AR7 for Squirrels
    An A515 for small to mid size game and those #%@@! groundhogs
    A Model 700 30 ’06 for long range
    A Model 870 for rabbits and such.
    Anything else I may or may not have is fluff.

  38. Humans dont NEED anything more than, air, water, and food (in that order). Shelter, fire, and weapons help increase the chance of survival, so its not about need. If I want to go duck hunting a rifle or a handgun isn’t gonna cut it. If I want to do LRP shooting a .22 isnt gonna reach.

    Just like you don’t use a sledge hammer on moulding work, you’re better off using the right tool for the job.

    NEVER fall into the trap of what we need, the left tries that all the time.

  39. I have …more than 20… I don’t want to count or disclose to my girl just how many. Truth is, I’m not sure. There are only two practical issues… defense and food. I’d pick my cheap Taurus G2C 9mm with a 1911 .45 backup, a .22 (dad’s 1932 Winchester would work fine), maybe a suppressed .22 pellet gun (I have two) and either my .308 rifle or 300BLK AR. That would take care of loud food (the .308 or .300BLK), quiet food (the suppressed .22’s) ..end of the world as we know it (dad’s 1932 .22) self defense (the 9mm & .45ACP). So, if the SHTF, I think 4 or 5 guns is enough. My loading bench has 3 manual presses and a rotary with dies for .380, 9mm, 38spl, .45, .223, .308, 12ga., 20ga. and, I have piles of supplies so, I won’t soon run out of ammo. Oh, I forgot the shotguns… Maybe 6 guns would be good. On the other hand, it won’t be pleasant to try to take the other 20 or 30 away from me….

    • ,,,sorry but, an AR or two might come in handy. An AR is bigger than you need for defense but, smaller than you need for hunting….. Rabbit vapor stew?

  40. It would be tragic to whittle it down to just three.

    For most of my youth, I would have said:
    Revolver in .357
    Shotgun in 12 gauge
    Rifle in .30 cal

    Now I’d probably take a simple approach:
    Glock 9mm
    Shotgun in 12 gauge
    Rifle in .22 LR

    Of course “only three guns” doesn’t count all the Mosins, right???

  41. Benelli M1, savage Axis 11 .308, walther PPQ 9mm.

    Although my Henry Long Ranger in .308 might edge out the Savage.

    That would be three I’d keep around.

  42. I started my career as a 11C1P. Along the way I picked up training in Signal and after some unfortunate knee injuries I ended up in Artillery (MLRS FDC). 21 years of Army time like many others had additional duties such as NBC NCO and Training Room duties. My first job out of the Army I still have after 14 years. A job in the trades, I test and repair Faraday Cages. For what the job demands, Infantry and many of the combat arms MOSs ate a plus. Especially if you had a security clearance as there are government applications.

    As far as how many guns I need….. I have 2 or more for every application I use a firearm for. Then I have a few inherited items and a few I bought because something about them spoke to me. Craftsmanship usually speaks loud.

    Come to think of it, I really need a Gatling Gun and a cannon.

  43. Great article, Brother. And it sure hit close to home.

    As for guns, I can agree on the rifle, pistol, .22, but I would add a shotgun in there.

  44. If I could only have 3 I’d keep my 4” 9mm, my grandfathers 22, and my 243 varmit build. My granddads muzzleloader would stay too. Don’t know if that counts though. I’d let everything else including ar’s go and still be happy.

  45. A great bolt action rifle, a good pump action shotgun, and a reliable revolver is all anyone needs, but let’s face it, that’s just a starter kit for this game!

  46. Well If that’s the case and I only need 3, I guess I’ll just hold on to the nine other peoples guns til they need them.

  47. Well, actually, you really only NEED one gun– that would be the one you can get to when you really need a gun.

  48. Same boat. One handgun, one rifle. Hoping to dial in the .22 conversion on the rifle soon. Last time it was shooting a wider group than the .22 handgun my dad brought along. SIGH.

    I think the guy who put the gun together botched the job. (that’d be me) So hopefully I got it fixed up now.

  49. Ugh….. Story reads like a liberals wet dream….
    I sold my guns, just cause……i love my daughter’s…. FOR THE CHILDREN LOL….. GIMME A FKN BREAK ALREADY!!!!!

  50. Only three guns?
    Rifle, pistol, shotgun. One in each caliber!
    Of coarse that would be more money than I have, but I can dream.

  51. The three guns I would pick are:
    1. A good bolt action 30-06 with a variable scope. It has good power and a flat trajectory, for hunting anything in the hemisphere (and even the world with proper shot placement).It would also be good for long range defense,
    2. A .357 Magnum revolver with a 4″ barrel. It would have enough power with the right ammo as a defense against four legged predators yet be small enough to use as a carry gun. The Ruger SP101 Model 5771 would be a particularity good choice because it combines concealability and rugged construction with a the best all around barrel length.
    3. A good 12 gauge pump shotgun, with an extended magazine and either multiple barrels or chokes. It would work for both hunting with a long choked barrel and close quarter combat with a shorter cylinder bore barrel. Any number of guns would work most notably a Remington 870 (including the Chinese clones) a Mossberg 500/590 even a Winchester Model 12 with two front ends.

    I would go for some sort of .22 if I could have one more gun.

  52. Depends on what you do. For the average American gun owner, a rifle, a pistol and a rim fire might be all they need. A Fudd needs a telescopic sighter rifle, a double-barreled shotgun, and perhaps a .38 revolver in the nightstand.

    For me with service rifle competition, I need a primary and a secondary competition rifle, a telescopic sighted rifle, and a rim fire rifle. After that it is what I want for special themed matches and for variety, such as the M10B in .308, the 8mm Mausers, and even the Mosin-nagants.

    I would like to buy more, but I bought parts for my son to build his first PC and now I have to upgrade because of Win7 support stopping in January. After that I’ll see what further gun purchases I can make.

  53. I haven’t noticed anyone mentioning the idea of redundancy in case your primary weapon becomes inoperable. Two is one, one is none. When I go to the range or take a firearms class, I always have a somewhat similar backup in the same caliber so, at the very least, I’ll still be able to shoot.

  54. Understanding that a Firearms (unlike some other tools) need to be more quickly accessed at certain times. During a home invasion or a carjacking or some other urgent instance a person cannot, all of the sudden, tell the assailant to just wait a few minutes until they go to that one spot where they have their one firearm that’s locked in a box with a secret code and a trigger lock unloaded to retrieve it so they can better respond the assailants assault.

    Unlike a screwdriver or a hammer or a saw, Firearms are for Urgent and immediate use as opposed to Casual use. Obviously some of the commentary has been made perhaps maybe is more relevant with regards to hunting where it’s a matter of the choice as to what you’re going to hunt, but that certain care must be undertaken when issuing opinions to take into consideration all possible situations for which a particular product is used in irrespective of a whether it’s a firearm a hammer a saw or screwdriver.

    In closing to this commentary, I want to stress that some tools are more dangerous than others and great care must be taken for their proper maintenance and also in the training of how they’re used; a person can just as easily saw off a thumb using a circular saw as much as shoot themselves in the foot while loading a firearm. Additionally, I have a firm belief that firearm ownership is being undermined in the United States by the availability of firearms to people who are in lack of self-control good judgment and morality or ethics. Too many times lawmakers want to write laws to strip rights away from people that follow the laws but fail to understand that it’s people who consistently break the laws that legislation should be more geared for. Another factor to consider is that laws do not stop crime; we have laws against burglary yet burglaries still happen, we have laws against robbery yet robberies still happen, we have laws against a variety of different impermissible acts yet still these laws are broken on a daily basis so the idea of just writing a law and thinking that everything will be fixed is just idiotic.

  55. The number of guns I ‘need’ is precisely 0.0. The number of guns I ‘want’ is mathematically identical.

    I don’t need any guns because I’m no longer a brainwashed coward, or an uninformed moron. Since freeing myself from the hate-mongering fear salesmen of conservatives and churches, I’m no longer convinced the world is an ‘evil place filled with communists, feminists, atheists, and non-whites who’s only goal is rape our women and steal our jobs. I’m not afraid of the world, and I’m not stupid enough to think a gun will even be useful in keeping me safe.

    I’m almost 60 now, and I’ve NEVER been in a situation where a gun would be anything but a liability.

    PS: And I’ve been shot. I could have been holding a gun when I was grazed by a bullet and it would have done nothing but make me a target.

    If you need a gun to go out for slurpee, you’re not a patriot, you’re a pussy.

  56. I’ve been in three accidents, two of which I wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. I didn’t get hurt at all in any of them.

    I stopped wearing them altogether, and anyone who wears one while driving to get a slurpee is a pussy!


  57. I need 4 guns to support my shooting hobby: Rifle, shotgun, pistol and .22 plinkster for teaching the grandkids. All currently in my gun safe. I have others, mostly of the milsurp variety, but anything else is a want rather than a need. In fact, I’ve stopped buying since the milsurp market dried up.

  58. The problem is you have to keep buying safes. Then you are at the gun shop looking at a pistol or rifle and realize you already have that model, but you buy another one. Somehow you rationalize that it’s a good deal. You refuse to socialize with people that don’t own firearms, because let’s face it, there is something wrong with them. All the gun shop counter clerks know you by your first name. The range safety officer always wants to know “Wha you shootin today”? You have put up a calender to rotate your daily concealed carry pistols, so they all get a chance to leave the house. When reading this and none of this makes sense, guns aren’t for you!

  59. Need? AR and a 12-gauge; a sidearm isn’t much use in the high desert. The shotgun is for wildlife protection, home defense, and small game; the AR is for domestic enemies.

  60. Life has taught me: I need two primary weapons (MSR, high capacity handgun) two secondary weapons (.22LR rifle, shotgun) and 2X redundancy of primaries as backup/spares. If you don’t understand the logic driving these decisions, your not there yet.

    Yes, kids are spendy to raise, but that does not negate the requirement to have depth to your protect plan. No excuses, get a second job.

  61. The basic free market principle is that each individual is the best judge of their own needs, which vary widely. The free market is oldest, most successful and most efficient distributed processing system. It should not be interfered with.

  62. Ive been a minimalist before the trend was cool… so for me, my go to pistol is a Glock 17 (the gun that can fulfill all pistol needs… conceal, duty, compete)… then a shotgun. Hunting, home defense and the various ammo you can feed it makes it essential. Everyone needs a rifle for limitless reasons so I have a Colt M4. Not extremely practical to hunt long range with 5.56 so I have a bolt gun in 6.5. These guns are bare minimums to me. Not been feeling a desire to fill a void with a new gun. I’ve been toying with the idea of a sub gun, but I don’t see any significant advantages my SBR M4 can’t do.

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