Question of the Day: Define a “Small Arsenal”

Non-event in Houston (courtesy

Man found with small arsenal on Houston Hyatt Regency’s top floor before New Year’s Eve celebration, police say. That was the headline at before commentators guffawed at the idea that “an AR-15, a shotgun, a handgun and lots of ammunition” constituted a “small arsenal.” The headline now reads . . .

Drunk man found with weapons cache on Houston Hyatt Regency’s top floor before New Year’s Eve celebration, police say. 

Cache as cache can? Anyway, nothing happened and “investigators couldn’t speculate about the man’s intent.” And our question is simple enough: what IS a “small arsenal”?


  1. avatar Gordon in MO says:

    What ever a leftist decides it is!

  2. the police on duty on new years had an “arsenal” on their person.

    1. avatar California Richard says:

      Yep…. thats pretty much a regular patrol duty loadout…. either that or a standard 3-gun competitors loadout. Maybe Jerry Miculek was passing though and someone at the hotel said “that guy is a human machinegun” and the hotel staff freeked out. Hell it could have just been a cop going to or coming from out of town training.

  3. avatar The Phad Thai nom nom monster says:

    Noun: Arsenal
    a : an establishment for the manufacture or storage of arms and military equipment The city is home to a federal arsenal.
    b : a collection of weapons

    I would say 3 or more firearms with 3 or more magazines for each?

    1. avatar GS650G says:

      Could also be defined as a gun, knife, club, and a bad attitude.

  4. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    ” i whupped that punk good, small arse an’ all.”

    1. avatar BLoving says:

      *sigh* okay, you win…

  5. avatar Slab Rankle says:

    Are you implying that news commentators where trying to sensationalize this story by using hyperbole? As if!

    Let’s just say what we mean and not try to make ourselves too clever.

  6. avatar ACP_arms says:

    Small arsenal.
    Definition; More then one (1) firearm.

    1. avatar Rusty Chains says:

      Cool, so when I walk around with my primary and my backup I clear that hurdle! Do I get extra credit for my spare mags?

      1. avatar ACP_arms says:

        Why not.

    2. avatar JasonM says:

      I’d define it as a reason to go buy more guns.

      1. avatar ACP_arms says:

        I agree!

  7. avatar Ross says:

    100 + firearms

    1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      That’s my definition. If one person owns triple-digits, then OK, they have an ‘arsenal.’

      If they’re in double digits, until they reach triple digits, they’re just have a “well developed firearms hobby.”

      If they have less than 10, then they’re just a “gun owner.” Nothing remarkable, nothing worth mentioning.

      1. avatar 16V says:

        You’re old enough to remember (as I am) when everyone who owned a home, owned a display gun cabinet. It always had (at least) 4 rifles, 4 shotguns, and half a dozen pistols in it. They may not have used them in years, but they were proud of them.

        That was just an average American, even until the late ’80s.

        But even today, 100 is just a beginning collector. 500+ is average for the old non-broke gun
        guys that I know anyway. 1000 and a coupla MM rounds? Then maybe you have an “arsenal”….

        1. avatar 27 Words says:

          Apparently I’m hanging out with the wrong people. I don’t doubt your claim, but I am incredibly eager for some context. Such as how many “gun guys” you know, and how many of those own 500+ firearms. Because that seems like a really high number, and while I’m sure those guys are out there…I can’t fathom that there are that many of them. But I could be….no, I hope…I’m wrong on that.

        2. avatar 16V says:

          I’m an old(ish) guy. I know some people who are even older(!). Not everyone I know is a gun person, and not every one of my friends has the means to amass any kind of collection. Nor do they want to.

          That said, they’re just people I have run into over the years, I don’t seek them out. I know a dozen of so folks in the 500-1000+ range. Upper-middle to be sure, but basically regular dudes- with an FFL. They don’t buy a new S-Class, let alone trade it every year, they grow their gun collection. Acquire a mere gun a month, and that’s 12 a year. 120 every decade, 50 years in that’s 600 guns. Not to mention some months you buy a 50 gun collection, keep half, sell the rest to pay for what you kept.

          The space is really minimal as collecting goes. If you have room for only 4 cars, you have plenty of room for 1000 guns, mostly displayed individually. But, even jaded mofo that I am, it is still very cool to see ~10 interesting fully transferable auto-guns in a friend’s basement. And pistols, by type, stacked 3 deep on horizontal pegs, and…

          If guns truly interest you, hang out with gun people. Ranges, competition, whatevs. Talk to people when you’re there, make friends. If you’re truly interested, a collector gets few bigger boners than showing off his collection to an appreciative audience he deems worthy. They’re out there, everywhere I’ve ever lived west of the Mississippi. Even Cal. They’re just all very lopro. They generally live on some land, off the beaten path, though I have met a coupla judges that have walk-in safes in suburbia with not only the numbers, but all interesting stuff.

  8. avatar Survivordude1090 says:

    One rifle, one shotgun, one pistol.

    1. avatar GS650G says:

      The ballistic equivalent of one bourbon, one scotch and one beer.

      1. avatar Vanished, Like a Fart In the Wind says:

        DAMN you beat me to IT! lol

    2. avatar Vanished, Like a Fart In the Wind says:

      One bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer
      ~George Thorogood~

      1. avatar rtw1951 says:

        Written-Rudy Toombs 1953
        Recorded-Amos Milburn 1953
        John Lee Hooker 1966
        George Thorogood 1977
        Many others in between.

  9. avatar neiowa says:

    Can’t carry it all in one trip.

    In your pickup.

    1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

      I like this one.

    2. avatar Jeff O. says:

      …Well, time to buy more guns…

      1. avatar Casey says:

        …and a bigger truck.

  10. avatar Jrpl says:

    According to the news & other media – an arsenal is anything bigger than a rubber band gun and a bag of rubber bands. Sounds to me like some one going to or coming from a 3-Gun.

  11. avatar OmnivorousBeorn says:

    Not an arsenal, but at least 3 guns.

    I would define a small arsenal as multiple guns for each category (carry, duty, and crossover pistols; sporting and defensive/competition shotguns; 0-50 yard, 100-300 yard, and 1,000 yard rifles.)

  12. avatar Astigmatism says:

    It depends on what you’re definition of “is” is.
    – William Jefferson Clinton

    1. avatar doesky2 says:

      As many as required to leave a mark or stain.

  13. avatar Higgs says:

    So the hotel security tries to force him back to six room for being drunk. ( understandable) then one of the charges he is arrested for is trespassing?

    With the guns listed this guy might just be a three gun competitor.

    There has to be far more to this story than what is being reported.

  14. avatar GS650G says:

    A pop tart chewed to look like a .45 is considered an arsenal in some places.

  15. avatar ColoradoKid says:

    By liberal definition, a small arsenal is more than one firearm and more than 1 round of ammo. Throw in another guy, an AR and a 30-round ‘clip’ and you have a small army of degenerates.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      I think that should be *OR* one round of ammunition.

    2. avatar Big Bill says:

      “By liberal definition, a small arsenal is more than one firearm and more than 1 round of ammo.”

      To be fair, that should be “more than ten rounds of ammo.”

      1. avatar Scoutino says:

        Seven in NY.

  16. avatar BLoving says:

    What ever number we come up with, I’ll just call it “a good start”.

  17. avatar Vic Nighthorse says:

    Mine’s, pretty small, but mamma always said ‘it’s not the size, it’s how you use it’:-

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      If your momma told you that I’d keep that little family secret under a rug in the closet.

  18. avatar Grumpy says:

    I would think an arsenal is a supply point for a group of people, characterized by multiple guns of the same type, ammo and lots support equipment, both weapons and other logistics. A cache better describes a smaller collection for one person, but both intended long term storage. 3 guns and 500 rounds of ammo is just packing my bag for a quick holiday trip to the range, a quickie at that.

    1. avatar Diksum says:

      The historical definition of an arsenal is multiples of the same weapon.

    2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      I think Grumpy pretty much nailed it!

  19. avatar nativeson says:

    arsenal: (1) a term used by broadcasters to sensationalize a story for higher ratings (and greater ad revenues); (2) a soccer team in the English Premier League.

    1. avatar Raoul Duke says:

      (3) Bulgarian AK manufacturer

  20. avatar JW says:

    Well if ‘large arsenal’ is what you find on the bottom of any popular fishing lake (what with all the boating accidents), I suppose a ‘small arsenal’ is what you find at the bottom of a mud puddle?

  21. avatar RCC says:

    I take more than that to the range most times when competing or practicing and I’m in “gun free” Australia.

    Local media defines two or more guns as an arsenal.

    I worked hotel security as a night job years back and drunks were a problem. But we only called police after fights or serious problems like wife stabbing drunk husband in front of kids one night.

  22. avatar Ollie says:

    So, is it against the law in Texas to have a firearm in your hotel room ?
    Aside from public intoxication and scuffling with security, what actual laws were broken ?

    1. avatar doesky2 says:

      I sure as hell dont leave my guns in the car overnight in a hotel parking lot.

    2. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Yeah, I’m not getting it. Unless the hotel was properly posted (unlikely) where his guns were is none of their business. I think I heard “possessing a firearm” in the report, too, maybe he was a prohibited person, but I don’t know why that wouldn’t have been screamed from the rooftops.

      1. avatar 16V says:

        AFAIK, The Supremes ruled ages ago that a hotel room was an extension of your home.

        (Lawyers, correct me if I’m mis-remembering…)

  23. avatar Joe R. says:

    Pickatinny, and Little Creek are small arsenals

  24. avatar Imayeti says:

    Small arsenal = more guns than I had before that terrible boating accident.

  25. avatar Andrew Faulkner says:

    Chief “disarm’em” Acevedo has come out and said the man simply didn’t want to leave them in vehicle overnight and they did not think he had any intent to do harm with the weapons.

  26. avatar TommyJay says:

    Astigmatism beat me to it. After “I did not have sexual relations with THAT woman,” one can re-define words however one wishes.

    More seriously, if a person makes the dubious decision to bring a small arms collection into a hotel room, then they should make extra sure that they don’t A) get drunk, and B) get belligerent.

  27. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:


    1. avatar jwm says:

      Don’t forget your towel.

      1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        What was the question again?

        1. avatar Scoutino says:

          “How many roads must a man walk down before you call him a man?”

    2. avatar What About Bob says:

      Only if they are Kill-o-Zaps…with the thing that goes up.

      ‘The designer of the gun had clearly not been instructed to beat about the bush. ‘Make it evil,’ he’d been told. ‘Make it totally clear that this gun has a right end and a wrong end. Make it totally clear to anyone standing at the wrong end that things are going badly for them. If that means sticking all sort of spikes and prongs and blackened bits all over it then so be it. This is not a gun for hanging over the fireplace or sticking in the umbrella stand, it is a gun for going out and making people miserable with.’

  28. avatar pieslapper says:

    Depends on where you are. In Jersey a couple of empty cartridges and thoughts of freedom may qualify.

  29. avatar former water walker says:

    Gee all I have are 3 handguns and a shotgun. Little did I know I had an arsenal😄😋😎

  30. avatar -Peter says:

    Enough to well-equip three or more shooters for an hour or more at the range.

  31. avatar Aven says:

    More than I can carry in 1 trip.

  32. avatar DrewR says:

    As The Phad Thai nom nom monster (the Internet is a silly place) pointed out, an arsenal is defined as, in part, a collection of weapons. So they aren’t technically wrong. However I do fully believe they chose that word for the sake of sensationalism.

  33. avatar Jay in Florida says:

    To the press.
    More then a few bullets in 1 caliber seems to be an arsenal lately.
    According to them I can supply a barracks full.

  34. avatar M1Lou says:

    Well of course the media wants to try to create connections between this guy and the Vegas shooter. If they can get most hotels to ban firearms from their properties, they make it extremely hard for people to carry, go to shooting events, hunting trips, and moving. Anything to poke gun owners in the eye and make ownership more difficult is a win in their book.

  35. avatar JJVP says:

    According to MSM a BB gun and two or more NERF guns

  36. avatar Slow Joe Crow says:

    An AR, a shotgun and a pistol sounds more like a basic 3 gun setup, so maybe he was in town for a competition. These days an “arsenal” is pearl clutching media speak for any scary weapon they don’t like, plus one a meaning clearly detached from the classic definition of a place that makes guns. A more accurate term might be armory, and even then it would require multiple examples of the same type of gun, intended to equip a group.

  37. avatar JC in CT says:

    Should read “Man smart enough not to leave his weapons in the car…”

  38. avatar Mad Max says:

    So the dude is accused of being drunk and disorderly.

    Did the hotel have a 30-06 or 51% sign at the entrance?

  39. avatar GLShooter says:

    A small arsenal is one gun less than you will own when you buy the next one. The next purchase makes that one a small arsenal and so on.

  40. avatar Ralph says:

    The local Chief says the man did NOT have an arsenal, his guns were legal (he was attending the gun show), he was not a Las Vegas style threat and no gun charges will be brought against him.

    But he was intoxicated and apparently offered to engage in fisticuffs with the officers.

  41. avatar Jared says:

    So what is the actual crime? No “journalism” source has said what the actual crime is.

    A hotel room is your residence, it’s not illegal in TX to carry long guns without a license and you can transport a pistol encased without a license.

  42. avatar Raven says:

    I would have to say anything less than an average arsenal would be a small one.

  43. avatar burley says:

    Arsenal?! That’s not even a complete kit!

  44. avatar Jim Macklin says:

    Is it a crime to be drunk in your hotel room in Texas? Was there any crime committed?
    The hotel parking garage probably has a warning to NOT leave any valuables in the vehicle.
    I recall an arsenal was defined as six identical arms, anything else is a collection.

  45. avatar Michael Fallon says:

    Arsenal? An AR-15, a shotgun, a handgun, with lots of ammo? Hey, that’s standard issue for a Texan.

  46. avatar Docduracoat says:

    I have quite a few guns in my collection
    I keep the rifles in my bunker, the pistols in a storehouse, the submachine guns in my armory, the pistol caliber carbines in my repository, assault rifles are in a cache, and antiques are in the storehouse
    Ammo is stockpiled by caliber in a storeroom, safe, dump, and stash
    My squad automatic weapons for the local militia are the only ones kept in the arsenal

  47. avatar Hasaf says:

    From an article in The Guardian, based in a unpublished 2015 Harvard/Northeastern survey:
    “In the new survey, conducted in 2015, about half of all gun owners . . . own a single gun, maybe two. Another third of American gun owners own between three and seven guns.
    That top 14% of gun owners – a group of 7.7m people, or 3% of American adults – own between about eight and 140 guns each. The average is 17.”


    1. avatar CC says:

      That has been debunked over and over. That was OPT IN and SELF REPORTED, ie the maybe 30% to 40% of gun owners who will tell a surveyor they have a gun at home.
      All modern training emphasize strongly and repeatedly to never tell a person outside your family you have firearms at home.
      The science shows about 60% of US households have firearms, and this is clearly reflected in the more accurate “indirect question” responses:×367.png

      Why do you think GSS findings are often 1/2 to 1/3 the gun ownership showed by other peer reviewed studies? (GSS shows DC is 8%, yet the BMJ (British Medical Journal) and Harvard say DC gun ownership is 25% to 27%?

  48. avatar james says:

    Most enthusiasts own more firearms then the psycho who was in Las Vegas hotel room.

    Arsenal is the latest buzz word for the anti’s, used to be Saturday Night Special, that forced arms makers to stop making junk guns, then Assault Rifle and the thing that goes up.

    Definition of arsenal
    1 a : an establishment for the manufacture or storage of arms and military equipment
    The city is home to a federal arsenal.
    b : a collection of weapons
    2 : store, repertoire

    the team’s arsenal of veteran players
    I have an arsenal in my basement!

  49. avatar TX_Lawyer says:

    It appears he wasn’t in his hotel room (and that was the problem).

    If he was carrying under the LTC statutes, he probably committed a crime because he was probably very drunk. If he was carrying under the LTC statutes while committing a crime, he committed a crime.

    Under the LTC statutes, it is illegal to carry, even with the license, if you are committing a crime or if you are “intoxicated.” I don’t believe intoxicated is defined in the statute.

    1. avatar Tony says:

      Thank you TL_lawyer for bringing out carrying while intoxicated. And how did they know he had guns? Did he mention that when he offered to engage in fisticuffs? I imagine the hotel would have liked to settle it quietly if it could. The crime that brought this up a level or two was POP (pudding off the police). That is not knocking the police there, I’m just saying great like you want to be treated. And on the drinking in public, just too many cameras around nowadays to drink. more than 1 or 2 beers in public nowadays.

  50. avatar GeorgiaBob says:

    “Small Arsenal”

    Defined by New York Times = two or more firearms of any caliber.

    Defined by Washington Post = any single “firearm,” including, actual firearms, pellet guns, BB guns, paintball guns, plus any number of firearm “accessories” like magazines, ammunition, cleaning kits, bi-pods, storage cases and scopes.

    Defined by my wife = “Another one? You already have a small arsenal.”

  51. avatar Zebra Dun says:

    My impression of an Arsenal is a collection of firearms all of the same type and make designed to be issued to a group of people.
    If you have thirteen AR-15 you have an arsenal or armory.
    If you possess a Rifle, a Shotgun and a Four wheel drive you are a Country boy.
    If you have four rifles, three shotguns two revolvers a pistol and a carbine you are a well armed country boy.
    And you can survive.
    One .22 lr that resembles an assault rifle is an arsenal to some snow flakes.

  52. avatar David Keith says:

    They got the small part right. I drive around with more guns in my truck than 3. I’d call 3 guns a gay arsenal.

    1. avatar adverse5 says:

      What do you call three gays?

  53. avatar adverse5 says:

    A revolver with one bullet.

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