- Remington 870 12 gauge – A couple of years back, Jayce and I were discussing what firearm an individual should purchase first. I was leaning towards some flavor of semi-auto surplus rifle. When Jayce mentioned that it should be a shotgun I was extremely skeptical (I’ve always been a rifle man myself). The reasons he gave me at the time included “Home Defense” as mentioned above. More importantly though he brought up the hunting versatility of a shotgun. With a shotgun you can hunt pretty much anything in North America – from smaller game such as quail and rabbit all the way up to larger game like elk and moose. The 870 is a time proven and reliable pump action. It’s not fancy, but it gets the job done.
- Bolt/Lever tube fed .22 – Most of my proficiency with rifles was gained behind the trigger of a .22 rifle. I love a good quality tube fed bolt or lever action .22. For younger shooters especially, you get a rifle that can make multiple shots but requires a little break between each shot so you can concentrate on technique. I chose a tube fed rifle because most tube fed .22’s allow you to use shorts, long, long rifle, and subsonic rounds. I own a Marlin 983s. It has been an accurate and reliable rifle, but I have been tempted to trade it out for a Henry lever action in the future.
- A top brand pistol you find comfortable – I have a hard time recommending a particular brand or caliber of pistol because pistol choice can be a very personal decision. Your pistol purchase should be all about reliability, comfort and ease of use. A lot of people will debate the merits of one caliber versus another – the truth is that all of the major calibers (9mm, .357, .40, and .45) are up to the job of stopping a would be assailant (Handgun ammo stopping power).The two most important features of a pistol are:
- You can pull the trigger and your pistol will go bang every time (choose a good quality pistol and ammo).
- You find your pistol comfortable to shoot during regular practice. Your goal is to be able to repeatedly aim at an 8 inch circle up to 15-20 yards away and hit your intended target. This requires practice. If your firearm is punishing to shoot, you will not practice like you should.
Of all the different forms a firearm can take, a pistol is the most likely to save your life in every day usage.
I own a Kahr MK9 Elite. It is a solid and accurate 9mm concealed carry pistol. I plan on purchasing an HK45 in the near future for a full size pistol. I have owned a nice quality Kimber 1911 that I frequently regret selling.
- AR style rifle – Whether it’s an actual AR, or one of the many variants being produced on the market today, there is nothing quite as versatile in a rifle form factor. An AR provides all of the fun of a semi-automatic with a fairly affordable round. My children love shooting my AR and it is what I promote them to after they have learned gun safety and gained some proficiency with the .22. I currently own a Patriot Ordinance gas piston AR. It has served me well as an accurate and reliable rifle.
- Hunting quality rifle (possibly even lightweight marksman rifle) – As I mentioned earlier I have always preferred rifles. There is nothing quite like being able to shoot a golf ball at a couple of hundred yards. At the very least your rifle can help you provide food for your family. At the other end of the spectrum, rifles provide great depth as a hobby. There is no end to the tweaking and experimenting you can do with your loads and your rifle to get tighter groups. I own a Kimber Montana chambered in .308. It can be a little finicky regarding what loads it likes. When I use the right load, though, it is very accurate and has a trigger that breaks like glass.
Honorable mention: Good optics – I didn’t believe it when I first heard it, but you should spend as much on your optics as you do your rifles.
I’m going to sound a bit like a broken record. So rather than explain why I have each gun, I’ll just list out the order that I purchased mine in.
- Remington 870 Shotgun (stopping power, home defense). I also think that skeet/trap shooting is some of the most fun to be had with a firearm.
- Ruger SR9 9mm handgun.
- 10/22 (future purchase). I want something my son can shoot.
- .308 I’m leaning towards either a Rem 700 or the Tikka T3.