Last Day To Buy
Let's say today was the last day you had to Buy A Firearm. After that, you were stuck with what you had. While such a scenario, however unrealistic, would send millions scrambling, it does illustrate a good point. Can you honestly say you're satisfied with your Firearm Collection as it is? Well of course you're not, but do you have the necessities at least? We'll cover some general guidelines and explore the Essential Firearms everyone should have to enjoy an outdoor lifestyle and protect what they hold dear.
The Sportsman Or Sportswoman Collection
There are three firearms that every outdoor enthusiast should possess if they want to hunt most game and also enjoy a day at the range from time to time. A full sized 9mm Handgun, a Hunting Rifle, and a Hunting Shotgun top out our list of the most important firearms for outdoor pursuits. If these firearms are always available in your gun safe, there's no limit to what sort of hunting and shooting adventures lie ahead.
Full Size 9mm
First up is the full sized 9mm Handgun. Although not generally used for hunting scenarios, a full sized handgun is a must have for any self-respecting shooter. But why a 9mm over say a more powerful .40 S&W or a .45 ACP? You can put a lot of rounds on target with a 9mm because of the firearm's very manageable recoil, and 9mm clips typically hold the most rounds when it comes to semi-auto handguns. A reliable handgun like a 9mm is great to train with at the range, and it can also be used for home defense situations. Many critics of the 9mm argue that its stopping power isn't adequate, but if you can put 3-4 accurate shots from the clip on target, let's face it, your target is still in real trouble.
When it comes to selecting a go-to 9mm, there are two primary designs to choose between. You could go with a single-action pistol similar to a 1911, or you could select a double-action pistol like a Sig Sauer DAK. If you're going single-action, you'll have to operate the slide of the handgun to chamber a round and cock the hammer for firing. However, since the hammer is already cocked when you pull the trigger, a single-action trigger pull is smooth and easy for increased accuracy, but beware, this also means the firearm discharges very easily. On the other hand, a double-action handgun works with a simple trigger pull, and no slide movement is required to ready the first round. A double-action cocks the hammer and fires the handgun in one motion, but because you're also setting the hammer, trigger pull is much harder than in a single-action. This means double-action handguns have less of a chance of firing on accident, but they require more practice to get used to the trigger pull. Either handgun style is a great choice, and you should select one based on your personal preference when it comes to trigger pull.
Next up is a reliable Hunting Rifle. This selection is probably less complicated than a full sized 9mm, but it is nonetheless important. Hunting rifles are the standard tool for every serious medium to big game hunter, and nothing is better at long range shots than a hunting rifle. One shot accuracy should be your priority with a hunting rifle, and rapid fire isn't really a relevant feature in a hunting rifle. In this case, bolt action is actually far more advantageous than a semi-auto rifle anyway. You'll focus more on each shot as there is a pause between reloading, and the maintenance of a bolt action is much easier. On the other hand, semi-auto rifles usually lead to excessive fire with little accuracy, and they are more suited for tactical applications.
When it comes to a suitable caliber for most game and shooting pursuits, .308 is probably the most reliable caliber, and it has minimal recoil with decent stopping power. As a lighter alternative, .270 is also a very versatile round, but when it comes to very large game like Elk, a .270 offers no guarantee of putting down the animal even if you're in close proximity. It is also important to remember your hunting rifle will need a dependable rifle scope to go with it. You should plan on spending at least $200 - $250 on the scope, and you'll get the best results with a lower variable magnification setting like 3-9x40mm.
The final firearm on our first checklist is a Hunting Shotgun. This is a no brainer, and every shooter under the sun should have a reliable shotgun in their arsenal. The possibilities of game to hunt with a shotgun are astounding, but a decent shotgun is also important when you want to spend a day at the range matching skeet shooting skills with your friends. A 12 gauge shotgun is really the only option here, and unless you've been shooting with a shotgun for years, avoid the automatic and go with a pump shotgun. Really everyone should learn on a pump shotgun, and in many cases you shouldn't need to shoot quicker than you can eject and chamber the next shell. One other thing to consider is selecting a shotgun that shoots 3 ½ inch loads in addition to the more common 2 ¾ and 3 inch shells. Larger loads like 3 ½ inch are great for bigger birds like geese, but if you're hunting smaller game, your shotgun can still shoot smaller loads no problem.
The Working Professional Collection
In contrast to small town sportsman or sportswoman, is the urban landscape your normal environment? Maybe you still like to shoot, but big game hunting isn't exactly your adventure of choice. As the saying goes, to each their own, but you still need a basic firearm collection even if most of your time is spent in the city or suburbs. Our working professional list is a bit less complicated as you would expect, but you will probably still need a handgun for conceal and carry purposes and a Home Defense Shotgun in your arsenal.
Conceal And Carry Handgun
Owning a Conceal and Carry Handgun doesn't mean you have to carry it every day, but it is still a great asset to have when you feel like you're heading into more dangerous areas. A sub-compact or compact handgun is the best choice for a conceal and carry handgun, but it should be big enough to comfortably grip and it should have decent stopping power. For example, a .22 pistol will likely just anger your attacker, so instead think something like a .32 ACP. If this is your first conceal and carry handgun, go with a revolver, plain and simple. Revolvers are easy to operate, require little maintenance, and are basic point and shoot weapons. Revolvers are actually great for any level of shooter, but they should be considered a must for first time conceal and carry shooters. If the six shots in a revolver are not enough for you, then a semi-automatic handgun is the alternative choice. Semi-auto handguns can be reloaded quickly and can put a lot of rounds on target quick, but before selecting one, keep in mind they require more maintenance and have been known to jam now and again.
Regardless of the handgun you choose, you're also going to need a Conceal and Carry Holster to match. An IWB (inside the waistband) holster might be the best selection for men who typically wear business casual, and they can be easily removed and stored elsewhere like your glove box when you don't immediately need them. For women, a conceal and carry purse might be the most obvious choice, but just remember purses are the first target for thieves, and one thing you never want to do is lose control of your weapon. As an alternative to a conceal and carry purse, women who typically wear pants can use ankle holsters while women who wear skirts can wear thigh holsters. Whichever holster you select, just make sure to practice drawing before you ever carry in public.
Home Defense Shotgun
Your conceal and carry handgun is probably perfect for home defense as well, but make sure you store it in a safe place like a fingerprint safe. However, when it comes an easy to use home defense weapon with a high hit probability, nothing beats a Home Defense Shotgun. A shotgun is much easier to aim, and while it isn't exactly point and shoot, in most tense situations you'll have better luck with a shotgun over a handgun. However, it is important to note a shotgun occupies both of your hands, and certain tasks like opening doors can be a bit tricky. You should practice opening doors with shotgun in hand, and with practice it actually shouldn't leave you defenseless much longer than a handgun. When it comes to illumination for home defense, you should also consider adding a Shotgun Forend Light to your weapon. A weapon mounted light eliminates compromising positions like searching for light switches in the dark, and most models feature quick on-off toggles and red light functions so you don't give away your position too easily.
The Essential Collection
You could actually call all five of the aforementioned firearms the essential collection for any shooter or outdoor enthusiast regardless of where they live. You'll be well prepared for hunting and sport shooting activities, but you'll also be prepared to protect what matters to you. Naturally you can pick and choose from the firearms we detailed until you're prepared for everything you are passionate about, but don't miss out on the enjoyment and peace of mind of having this Weapon Collection close at hand. Because, in reality that is the point. Enjoy the things you are passionate about while you have the chance. Don't keep dreaming about the firearm you'll buy someday. Find a way to buy it now, and give yourself the best chance of enjoying all the things you love while you can.