Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Firearms Selection Part 1

Mike Adams has written a pretty good article recommending first guns to buy and it's inspired me to list the weapons I'd buy. Guns are very much down to individual taste and, given my relative lack of experience, my opinions are based not on experience but on my extensive reading. My own weapons handling involves .22LR target guns, the SA80, the M16, a Colt Dragoon revolver, a lovely old Martini-Henry rifle, the Lee-Enfield and the AK-47. I've handled one or two other guns in my time but not so much that it's worth mentioning. Because I'm a guy and naturally inclined towards collecting things I'm going to try and limit this to five weapons in each 'section'.
My first set of recommendations is for home defence weapons. I hear that there are a lot of .357 magnum revolvers available second hand because this is one of the first purchases people tend to make- and they regret going with the magnum. Even so, the .357 is versatile enough- .38 spl, .38 +p or .357 magnum. There's enough range there that I think it's a worthwhile inclusion. Also a revolver is easy to use and a tad more dependable than a semi-auto. While I've got to say that the Colt Python is a lovely looking gun, personally I'd go for a Ruger. Everything about Ruger screams rugged reliability and the model I'd choose is the rather stunning low glare stainless GP-100 (KGP-141TG). Very nice.
 My second choice is also for a handgun, and this time a semi-auto- in the classic .45 ACP calibre. I'm a big fan of the 1911 pistol and it's arguably one of the best gun designs ever. Nearly a hundred years after its introduction US troops are still using it. I can't think of another weapon from that period still being used in combat. Sadly, my experience of using a 1911 is nil, something I hope to correct ASAP. Selecting a 1911 therefore is not easy, but from what I've read my choice would have to be a Kimber. Others come close- Para-Ordnance and Springfield especially- but the Kimber would pip them to the post, in particular the Custom TLE/RL II. That build in light rail would be very handy in a home defence situation. Every time I read about Kimber their guns seem to function flawlessly and with great accuracy. What else could you ask for?
 While a sturdy handgun is all well and good, there's definitely a place for a scattergun in home defence scenarios. Shotguns are not an area of expertise for me at all, but having looked at the options available I'm inclined towards the Benelli Nova Pump Tactical. The tritium ghost ring sights are a nice touch and at around $300 there are a hell of a lot cheaper than my second choice- a Wilson Combat Standard Model.
 There's also a place for a short rifle or carbine when it comes to defending the home, although thought must be paid to over-penetration. For that reason one of my selections is the .30 cal M1 carbine. While the cartridge isn't super-powered with the proper bullet it'd certainly be effective enough- and the clip holds 15 rounds. The M1 carbine is short, handy and light- and in military service has proved to be reliable.
 Finally, I'd go for a weapon in the same calibre as the GP-100- .357 magnum- a Marlin lever action. With 10 round capacity there's enough firepower there for virtually all situations and it's another time proven design. The rifle will also help tame the recoil of the .357 magnum round. Pair it up with the Ruger revolver and these two would make a perfect set for a couple to defend themselves with.
 Anyway, for what it's worth, these are my selections for this category. Any one of them alone would be a good choice, but personally I'd go for a handgun and a long gun. Narrowing it down would be another matter- a 1911 and an M1 or the Ruger and Marlin? I've no experience with shotguns and so it would be last on my list, but it would definitely be there.

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