As a Licensed Firearms Collector and firearms instructor telling people to own just one gun may sound crazy but if you keep reading you’ll see I have some valid points. Before continuing I’d like to lay down some ground rules. I’m not talking here about collecting firearms. For gun collectors the sky is the limit. Gun collectors can have literally hundreds of guns and still be honestly sure they are still missing a few. Something similar will happen for people that want to hunt different kind of animals and simply can’t do it all with one gun. While a 22LR works well for a great variety of small game animals, it is not suited for hog hunting and the same goes the other way around: You can kill pretty much anything that walks on planet Earth with a 458 Win. Mag. rifle but you can’t go bird hunting with the thing.
In this case though, I’m talking about the needs of a modern survivalist strictly interested in personal defense. The gun will be carried concealed for defense, taken to shooting classes, maybe used for pistol action shooting sports. While carbines sit in the safe, the handgun will be the only gun available when you need it the most so you should strive to master it. Here we aren’t talking of course about a comprehensive gun battery but the basic sidearm for personal defense, which is likely all the gun you’ll ever need in your life for defensive purposes.
After years of shooting, training for defense and collecting firearms these are the points I think you should keep in mind:
1)Gun Advertising and Marketing
Just like with any other industry, the firearms industry has marketing teams and they spend millions each year on advertising. This isn’t the “evil gun lobby” liberals try to scare the masses with, but the sales branch of a firm, just like any other firm, trying to place products in the market. A gun that is 1mm shorter or 1/100 ounce lighter, anything at all may be used to convince you that you just need whatever gun just made it to the cover Guns&Ammo. 99.9% of the new guns you see aren’t innovations but the product of marketing and it is important for you to understand that. Pepsi, Coke, countless sports drinks and energy drinks, billions spent in publicity yet at the end of the day you still know that by a WIDE margin the best most healthy thing to drink is pure water. You should have the same attitude towards the weapon you’ll spent the rest of your life mastering.
2)Time and Money
That’s right. I said the rest of your life. You see, we all have limited resources when it comes to time and money. How much money can you spend trying different guns, shooting different calibers and taking each new gun you want to try out to a new class? People will usually start with some cheaper gun, because they are just getting started right? no need for a fancy Glock. Then they realize the Taurus they just bought isnt that good so they finally buy a Glock and like it much better. Then they read the latest Guns&Ammo and realize spec ops operators use HK Mark 23 45ACP (SOCOM) so they go and buy that. Now we’re talking. After having a custom IWB holster made for the thing, they carry it for two days before leaving it behind and start saving money for the compact version of that same gun, better suited for concealed carry. So now our gun guy has a HK 45 Compact Tactical. Awesome firearm. Too bad he has to sell a kidney to buy a spare magazine (careful about dropping those!) and finding a good IWB holster is pretty much impossible. Its “tactical” but it breaks more often and is more prone to failure than the Glock the guy next to him is using… and shooting better than him. Maybe our gun enthusiast need more trigger time… but 45 is expensive, let alone buys 5 spare $100 magazines… and it still fails more often than the Glock… and the guy with the stock Glock 17 next to our gun enthusiast is shooting circles around him by now.
Focus on what’s practical, what has proven to work and what most professional shooters seem to be happy with.
3)To truly master your weapon
So as to achieve the level of proficiency you should strive for with a handgun you don’t need to buy five $1000 guns. You need to buy a $600 one and spend the rest on ammo and training. You need to get to know that weapon intimately, know exactly where it hits, perfectly control the trigger, reload without thinking an d draw in the blink of an eye. You don’t achieve that by having a gun you take for tactical classes + an action shooting race gun+ your cowboy shooting revolver +your subcompact pistol for real conceal carry. You do that by having a gun for carry, training and competition. One for all until you know it as well as you know yourself. Own several guns if you wish, but master one.
One night a few years ago I was taking my firearms instructors class. We were doing precision shooting, trying to shoot as accurately as possible, some having a better night than others and overall having a good time while learning. This guy dropped by to visit, he was an instructor from Venezuela who also worked as a bodyguard. He picked up a Glock 17 from one of the students and put one shot over the other at 7 yard. It wasn’t just a ragged hole, it was a SMALL hole, just a tad larger than the 9mm projectile that made it. This was a man that shot, worked and competed with the same Glock. As the saying goes, be careful of the man with only one gun.
Glocks have the advantage of being as common as they get. Any accessory, any spare magazine, any holster it all revolves around the Glock 17. It’s the most common handgun for military and law enforcement around the world. Hi Powers are still very common. Berettas still float around, so do some 1911s but for anything that isnt half a century old surplus the new standard is the Glock pistol. Anywhere in the world, walk into any range or armed force and chances are you will be handed over a Glock, most likely a Glock 17.
5)The best gun
So why is the Glock so common to being with? Because it works. Because at the end of the day, its the gun that has been copied by all other manufacturers for the last two decades. Its simple, light, accurate, takes a beating like no other and is easy to repair. You can learn to disassemble and replace anything broken in a Glock in a couple hours. For all the mumbo jumbo about special forces and hardcore operators using this or that gun, no other handgun is used as much by experienced shooters as the Glock.
If you want to become a proficient handgun shooter, just avoid the path taken by most and go straight for a Glock 17. With cheap 9mm you’ll be able to shoot as much as needed to get to know the platform well. Even if you never buy another handgun, that same G17 loaded with good 9mm ammo will perform very well in defense use roles. If you want to go the extra step and go for a bit more power, the Glock 31 in 357 SIG provides that, while basically being a Glock 22 , the only thing different being the 357 SIG barrel rather than the .40 barrel. Change barrels and you can shoot either round, without having to change anything else.