Sunday, March 07, 2010

"Handgun Shotgun Rifle" meme...

Not too long back, Jay at Firing Pin Journal asked:
One Handgun, One Rifle, One Shotgun. You are able to choose just one of each for self defense with NO modifications.
My answer was:
Handgun: The pistol on my hip. (Springfield Professional)
Shotgun: I’m not really shotgun kind of people.
Rifle: The carbine behind the door. (16″ M4gery on an RRA lower.)
Of course, the idea of one of each makes me nervous, as two or three identical copies are better. Guns break; at least they do if you're shooting enough. When one does, it's nice to be able to fill the holster with its identical twin while the other is off getting fixed.

This is why I'll feel a lot better when I get that second M4gery built. Suppose I go take a three-day carbine course this summer like I hope to and my weapon goes Tango Uniform halfway through day one? How silly will I feel if I can't yank a second one out and drive on?

I'm also a little confused by the "no modifications" thing. For example, my CCW pistol is a Springfield and its backup is an old Colt that was modified to feel exactly the same as much as possible (checkering, flat mainspring housing, long trigger, beavertail, 3-dot sights, same VZ Gatorback grips...) My carbine was built from a stripped lower; is that modified?


Jay T said...

My original intent in asking the question was the sort of scenario where the world has gone so crazy that Simon Cowell is in charge of the World Government.

If you had to pick up three firearms and walk out the door which would you choose. The reason for no modifications was to inform new shooters of the capabilities of the guns people choose without modifications.

Of course we modify a lot but the intent was to show people looking at the issue for the first time what well informed shooters would choose.

DJ said...

"Guns break; at least they do if you're shooting enough. When one does, it's nice to be able to fill the holster with its identical twin while the other is off getting fixed.

"This is why I'll feel a lot better when I get that second M4gery built."

So, you carry an M4 in a holster?

Ed Foster said...

Tam, I know few people I would rather have covering my back in a shitstorm more than you, but there is one thing on which we differ dramatically.

I hates me carbine barrels on AR's. Absolutely hates them. Muzzle light for snap shooting, and in 5.56mm, especially with heavy bullets, an unacceptable loss of velocity, dropping an adequate round into the category of marginal round.

So, Rifle, AR in 6.8SPC, with A-2 reciever (more rigid, they really do shoot better) and standard weight 20 inch barrel. A bit better balance than a carbine barrel for offhand shooting, maintains the natural, shotgun type snapshooting ability of Stoner's original design without the wobble and imprecision of the short barrel, and much less muzzle blast. What a difference 4 little inches make.

Evil nasty muzzle blast degrades anybody's accuracy, pisses off everyone else on the firing line, and throws up a massive spout of leaves, dirt, dust or sand with every shot from prone, saying "here I am".

The Marine Corp just plain shoots better than the Army with the A-2 and A-4, rather than the M-4 as standard issue, especially when combined with the 77 grain bullet.

When push comes to trigger squeeze, it has more range, more practical accuracy, and doesn't degrade unit performance with it's brutal muzzle blast the way a carbine or, even worse, a bullpup does. People don't wear ear protection in a firefight.

Pistol, any decent 1911, with arched mainspring housing (I have small hands). .45acp of course.

Parenthetically, I would like to ask your opinion on extended slide releases. We're running Masen extendeds on the first batch of 1911's, and they're cool to play with, but I don't have extensive range time with them, and I don't really know yet if they bugger up the thumb on thumb grip down the left side of the frame.

Good idea in your opinion, or a marvelous answer to a question never asked? Cavalrymen shoot one handed, but I use two whenever possible. I'm just not as current on pistol as you are, so I'm open to commentary there.

Shotgun, lots of opinions there, but I'm a bit squeamish about what I see happening with a lot of cop guns.

The essence of a shotgun is it's natural speed to the shoulder. You don't drop your eye to the gun, it naturally floats up to eyeline.

If the person using the shotgun is properly trained and practices twice or more a week, there is absolutely no reason for rifle type sights, lasers, scopes, or dangling secret decoder rings.

It's a 5 feet to 50 yard weapon, and it can, if used properly, get on target faster than any other longarm, firing the first shot with minute of target accuracy every time. The highest tech it needs is a decent rib and maybe a mid-rib bead.

I shudder in fear of what it would be like, having to house-to-house a group of experienced grouse shooters. Anything that slows that near instant shot is bad, bad, bad, and all the bells and whistles won't do anything but ruin the speed of the shooter.

I will concede to a certain fascination with the way your MGI upper and carbine barrel drop into that very conventional looking case, truely cool.

And obviously there are special, shall we say discrete, reasons and places where a system like that would be the nads, but for day in, day out carry in a SHTF scenario, give me an A-2, preferably with the 3/4 inch shorter A-1 or VietNam style butt.

Your mileage may vary.

spam said...


My Glock 20 (yes, I'm a dork), my Mossberg 590, and my Arsenal SLR-95.

Not necessarily my favorite guns, per se, but if I only get one of each, those are absolutely my most reliable set of each.

perlhaqr said...

Forgot to log out of my spam eater account and back into this one.

Anonymous said...

I wuz a B shooter in IPSC with a near-box-stock pistol. I've killed running deer to around 200 yards. I've regularly gotten doubles on quail and doves. Seems to me that's generally an adequate skill level, even in "uncertain times".

The only gun part that ever broke was the firing pin on my Model 12, back in 1982. Not bad, I figure, from having gotten back into serious gun-messing in 1963.

Many thousands of rounds through an old 1911. A couple of thousand rounds through one Mini-14, of the four I've owned. I dunno, a few hundred rounds through the Model 12 after the repair.

Not saying that these are THE selections I'd choose, but there are some things I just don't worry about.

Doesn't mean I don't have a few spare parts in the Wild Animal box, of course. :-)


Lewis said...

Why do I keep trying to sing "one rifle, one pistol and one shotgun" to the tune of "one scotch, one bourbon, and one beer"?

Anonymous said...

Not a fan of the AR platform in any of the myriad configurations. Not a gizmo geek.
That said The 3 i would go to are old, very old school.
1903, a revolver, either Smith or Colt in .44 spec. and the smooth bore would be a pump 12 bore of any type. No bells, no whistles, maybe a sleeve on the butt for 5 extra rounds. If the SHTF, I don't plan on searching out and destroying the galloping hordes. But to keep what's mine secure,the '06 has the reach, and I've never had an animal I shot with it run off. I don't think people will either. The .44 will do the job quite well, no worries about misfires, jams etc. it it goes click on a full chamber I' just pull the trigger again. 12 gauge is good out to 110 yds witth slugs, devastating to 25 yds with #4 shot. Oh yeah, lots of ammo for all 3. Besides, I can always glean from the stupid aggressors....

Anonymous said...

Auto pistols are great when they are the J.m.B design school guns. but when the shtf senerio goes down i like a good s&w wheel 45. colt.
Long guns are for serious shooting and that means a good simple 30-30. Short, mean and very simple design, And they work just ask the guys and gals at thunder ranch.
Nothing beats a pump shotgun with a 18 in barrel for good old style badassing and making the bad guys think twice! If you arn't frightened when you hear that action go your a bigger fool and deserve what your getting.


jeff said...

Ed, I'm with you on the full length. I drank the M4 kool aid, and now I'm questioning my choice after living with it for a while (FWIW, I never used an M4 when I was in, most of them were so beat up that I liked my A2 better). I'm big enough that the compact M4 doesn't really give me any advantage, I might as well keep the benefits of the longer weapon.

Frank W. James said...

Everyone I use on a regular basis has been modified in one way or another:i.e. grips, sights, etc, so I'm disqualified from this one.

All The Best,
Frank W. James

Old NFO said...

1911 for pistol, Mossberg 590A1 for shotty, Winchester Model 70 in 30.06 for rifle. I have an M-4, but wouldn't want to have to depend on it day in day out without adequate cleaning materials...

Michael in CT said...

Easy, my choice is the gun I am most compentent and comfortable with in their respective categories: pistol, 9mm H&K P7M8; Shotgun, 12g Winchester 1897; Rifle, near new (less then a 1000 rounds through it) Lee-Enfield No4 MkII .303.
The rifle was my only tough choice, I had trouble deciding between the Lee-Enfield and my Garand, but the Lee-Enfield is more reliable and hits harder.
Heh, as I proofread what I wrote, I realized that 2 of my three choices are 100+ year old designs.

Discobobby said...

Glock 21, Mossberg 500, and a PTR-91 (HK-91 clone). The Glock I'm most familiar with and never breaks, the Mossberg familiarity again, and I echo Ed Foster's comments about simplicity, pointability and speed.

The rifle choice, a PTR-91, will puzzle some. I had to have my barrel replaced with a genuine HK hammer-forged barrel to shoot any ammo I care to feed it, but that isn't everyone's experience. It's a .308 in a 5.56 world and the ergonomics suck, but I don't have to worry if the first well placed round I land will have the effect I'm looking for. I too consider 5.56 a marginal round and a 16 inch barrel makes it a 75 yard tool in my eyes, not what a rifle should be. My PTR-91 NEVER breaks a single part, and I LOVE to shoot it, ergonomics be damned. :) Fear the guy with one rifle and a ton of range time with it.

JimB said...

M870- 18.5"-12ga

Matt G said...

The pistol's easy-- my 1911 Kimber Stainless Classic.

The shotgun's easy-- my 12 ga. rifle-sighted Remington 1100.

It's the rifle that I have problems with. My thinking is just to go with a 20" AR, but I sure hate the idea of never having thump.

BillH said...

Colt Defender
Remington 870

Justthisguy said...

Oh yes. If I had the gumption to train and carry, I would want at least three identical pieces: One to practice with, and wear out; one to carry, and shoot often enough to make sure that it worked, and one that nobody knew I had, kept in a safe place I hadn't told anybody else about.

Zendo Deb said...

Shotgun: Mossberg Mariner 590 (a marine-environment version of the Persuader with the long magazine) in 12 gauge. The Mariner coating is a low-shine nickel-alloy.

Jericho 941 in 9mm parabellum. Or a Glock 30. The Jericho is very reliable, but too heavy to carry concealed everyday.

Remington 700 in 308, though what I really want is something in .338 Remington Ultra Mag, but they only make things in 26 inch barrels and that really needs at least 28 probably 30. (Even .308 does better in a longer barrel.)

Of course I used to say if I had a house, I would buy and SKS and one of those hermetically sealed cases of 1000 rounds and just put them in closet for TEOTWAWKI. No room on the boat.

Stretch said...

J.M.B. trifecta
1895 lever in .30-06
1897 pump in 12ga.

cjboyles said...

Good 1911 (probably the fullsize Kimber)

Mossberg 500 in 12 gauge, w/ 20-inch cylinder bore barrel

Garand or M1a Scout (not a SOCOM!)

theirritablearchitect said...

I like your choices, though they probably wouldn't be mine, just because of what's on hand.

I also really like your mindset on the spares thing. There is no such thing as too much backup.

Stephen said...

Ruger Mark III hunter. Quiet and accurate are good. Think of the ammo you could carry.

Remington 870 with 18 inch barrel. I would want to bring along the stock 28 inch interchangeable as well. I would choose this over a pistol for fast, close quarters every time. I'm just a shotgunny kind of dude.

30-30 lever action. Scoped. I like my AR and I like my SKS and I like my Savage 308,(don't like my mini-30 quite so much) but, for me my Marlin is fast, quick, and quite good to 175-200 yds with some pop. For me it mounts naturally, just like my 870.

staghounds said...

Why is everyone choosing big old pistols? If you can only have one, that 1911 is going to limit the places you can go armed.

A Seecamp for my little gun, thank you.

Anonymous said...

Glock 30 (carried it for 7 years, why change now?)

20" AR15, gov profile barrel.

Shotgun? Really? I guess a Winchester 1300 defender in 12ga.

Tam said...


"Parenthetically, I would like to ask your opinion on extended slide releases."

In two words? They blow.

They're too easy to nudge on with a thumb. The added mass can cause them to bounce on under recoil. They can snag on stuff. Proper technique makes them unnecessary.

(Also, they scream "n00b!" to me when I see them on guns. ;) )

Ed Foster said...

Much obliged Ma'am. Might give me a little leverage with Teddy.

Although, we could stick one in as a spare, to attract those n00b's. Their money is as green as anyone elses.

Also, I had a wry moment when you mentioned the No. 1 International in .275 Rigby. I have had this recurrent dream for several decades about going to Scotland and stalking a red stag with a No. 1, really a Scottish Farquarson, with a barrel marked .275 Rigby (that's how I knew).

My buddy Joe lives down on the shore in Milford, and his next door neighbor is head attorney for Ruger. Hmmm... Wheels within wheels. I wonder?

David said...

Simple, I'd take the guns I have, that I have ammo for, that I trust, that I can hit what I aim at with. Guns that have worked for years, that I am comfortable with, that fit me and the way I shoot.

I'd pick my oldest and most reliable friends.

Browning Buckmark .22 - I have a metric boatload of ammo for it. Maybe not as impressive as a 1911 (my second choice) and its only a 22lr. But up to 70 feet away I can rapidly put 10 rounds in a 5 inch circle with either hand.

Smith Corona 1903A3 - with iron sights inside of 300 yds, I don't miss (well, almost never), beyond 300 yards I hit more than I miss. I can do everything I need to do with it, except aiming, with my eyes closed. I've shot deer on the run in heavy trees, antelope at 600 yrds and blew the head off a duck at 30 feet (its a long story that my brother in law hates me telling).

Grandpa's 12 gauge pump Hiawatha. It worked for grandpa, and it's been bring down duck and pheasant for me for 30 yrs.

Tam said...

"Simple, I'd take the guns I have, that I have ammo for, that I trust, that I can hit what I aim at with. Guns that have worked for years, that I am comfortable with, that fit me and the way I shoot."

That's what I said, too. :)

Timmeehh said...

S&W PC-13 Much less likely to break at a bad time than a self shucker and not picky about ammo, .357, .38spl or .38s&w.

Mossberg 930 12 ga. Rugged, reliable, versatile and the ammo is easy to find.

SKS see Mossberg. Just put some decent sights on it.

Matt G said...

"'Simple, I'd take the guns I have, that I have ammo for, that I trust, that I can hit what I aim at with. Guns that have worked for years, that I am comfortable with, that fit me and the way I shoot.'

That's what I said, too. :)"

That's what I did, too. (have to admit that the AR that I can easily lay hands on isn't my own, just now.)

If I were to include in the list guns that I DON'T have, I might consider a M66 in 3".

Will said...

the standard slide release has more mass than JMB originally designed for the .45 auto. His Army acceptance model had the spring plunger inside that thumb pad, bearing against a post mounted on the frame. (that's what it appears to be when you look at photos of those Army Trials guns-lost the url of the photo site) When the Calvary demanded a thumb safety, the plunger was moved to the frame, and the slide release was left solid. So, it's already heavier to start with. Some serious weight and mass polar reduction would need to be done on an extended release to bring it back to what JMB had originally designed.
This, of course, still doesn't address the potential for hitting it accidentally, which is a legitimate question.

Eric said...

Ruger Blackhawk .357/9mm convertible
Winchester '94 in .357
Coach gun - need to buy one

Starik Igolkin said...

Pistol: CZ 75SP-01
Rifle: Saiga 7.62×39
Shotgun: Saiga-12
Here is why