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If I Could Own Only 5 Guns …

If I Could Own Only 5 Guns …

Walther PPQ M2. Image source: YouTube

If you could own only five guns, what would they be?

I recently asked myself this question and the task proved surprisingly difficult, because there are a lot of different guns that I like — and it’s not easy making sacrifices.

In the end, though, I was able to narrow my selection by first determining the five basic types of guns that I would want to own before choosing the specific models for each of those types.

So what are the five types? They are:

  1. 9mm semi-automatic pistol
  2. .45 ACP semi-automatic pistol
  3. .22 semi-automatic rifle
  4. 12-gauge pump action shotgun
  5. .308 semi-automatic rifle

I’ll explain my reasons for choosing these categories below, as well as the specific make and model of gun I chose per category.

9MM Pistol (Walther PPQ M2)

I believe the pistol is the most important firearm you can own, simply because you can conceal it on your person and travel with it. I also believe that if you could own only one pistol, it should be a 9mm because it’s the most abundant and the cheapest to shoot.

While some may expect me to say the Glock 19 or 17 is my pick for a 9mm pistol, the truth is I would opt for the Walther PPQ M2. The ergonomics on the PPQ are incredible and it melts into my hand seamlessly. The trigger is also a wonder in its own right and is much more light and crisp than any other striker-fired pistol I’ve used. Reliability, of course, is excellent.

Be Prepared. Learn The Best Ways To Hide Your Guns.

The fairly compact size of the PPQ means I easily can hide it on my person for concealed carry, while the 15+1 capacity (or 17+1 with the extended mag) offers plenty of firepower in a self-defensive situation. For these reasons, I find it to be equally as versatile as it is pleasurable to fire.

Granted, I am fully aware of the PPQ’s shortcomings as a survivalist sidearm. Because it has a short track record, spare parts and accessories are not nearly as available as, say a Glock or a Smith & Wesson M&P.

Nonetheless, the PPQ is one of my favorite handguns and one I have found great use and enjoyment out of over the years.  It would be my personal pick for a 9mm pistol if I could only have one.

.45 ACP Pistol – Colt Mark IV Series 70

If I could own five guns, two of them would need to be handguns (at least for me). I was very close to making my second handgun a .357 Magnum revolver (likely a Ruger GP100), as it would be very versatile in that I could shoot both .357s and .38s through it.

Ultimately, though, I decided if anything were to happen to my PPQ as my concealed carry gun, I would want another semi-automatic pistol that I could use as an alternative. I also wanted this pistol to be in .45, so that I would have a slightly greater variety of calibers instead of just 9mm.

Many people will disagree with my choice here, but I pick the 1911 (and specifically the Colt Mark IV Series 70) simply because it’s one of my favorite guns to shoot. There is no other handgun that balances as well for me as the 1911, and it’s the pistol I find myself enjoying the most each time I visit the shooting range.

The Series 70 I own, in particular, has proven to be very reliable, with only one malfunction during the break-in period (as most 1911s require) and none since then. Even though magazine capacity is limited at 7-8 rounds, the trade-off is that the 1911 is slim and easily concealable on my person.

Beyond that, the 1911 is endlessly customizable with no shortage of spare accessories and parts on the market, something that contrasts heavily with the PPQ, where aftermarket options are more limited.

.22 Rifle – Ruger 10/22

Image source: Ruger

Image source: Ruger

No gun collection is complete without a .22 of some kind, so I knew immediately that one of my top 5 guns to own would have to be a .22 semi-automatic rifle. A .22 is perfect for small game hunting, pest control, plinking, and for introducing new people to shooting. The ammunition is also so small that I can carry literally hundreds of rounds on my person without really noticing the weight.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, my pick for a .22 rifle is the Ruger 10/22. The very first gun that I ever owned was a Ruger 10/22, so it’s a weapon with which I have much experience. I have found the 10/22 to be a robust, accurate and dependable weapon. I could easily use it for tactical purposes if needed.

Another reason that makes the 10/22 my choice for a .22 rifle is how spare parts and accessories are literally everywhere. During a disaster scenario, this would be an advantage where I would have a greater chance of finding spare magazines or other parts in the event that anything broke over other .22 rifles.

12 Gauge Shotgun – Mossberg 500

I’ve heard many arguments supporting the idea that the pump-action 12-gauge is the most critical gun to own. No one can deny that the 12-gauge shotgun is highly versatile. When loaded with buckshot it’s devastating for home defense. With birdshot you can use it for bird hunting or clay pigeon shooting. And with slugs you easily could use it for big-game hunting.

My preferred shotgun is the Mossberg 500. The controls are convenient for me (more so than the Remington 870) and the fact that this was the only pump shotgun to pass the U.S. military’s brutal Mil-Spec 3443G torture test says a lot about its quality.

The specific 500 that I would choose would be a Mariner model with a 6+1 capacity. The Mariner, coated in Mossberg’s trademark silver Marinecote, has much greater rust and corrosion-resistant capabilities than standard bluing does. I would also pick the 6+1 version so I could alternate between a 28-inch vented rib barrel for hunting and a shorter 18.5-inch barrel for home defense. This option essentially gives me two shotguns in one.

.308 Semi-Auto Rifle – Springfield M1A

Finally, I need a center fire rifle to top off my five. It makes perfect sense to choose a .308 semi-automatic in this scenario, as I can use it for both big game hunting and tactical training.

My choice here would be the Springfield M1A, over the AR-10, FAL, and G3/C308. The M1A first entered U.S. service in the 1950s and continues to be used by some marksmen in the military today. There’s good reason why: It is a very well-built, rugged, and accurate rifle that will do everything you ask it to do.

I fully understand the M1A is heavy (and long with the full-length version) and that .308 ammunition is not as cheap as 5.56x45mm NATO. However, a rifle that fires the 5.56 like the AR-15 is simply not as multi-purpose for me, as the 5.56 round is far too light for elk hunting (something I do each fall). Ideally I would own both, but since I have only one gun left to choose in my list of five, I would settle for the M1A or any .308 semi-auto rifle over a rifle that fires a lighter bullet.

What would be in your top five? Let us know in the section below:

If The Grid’s Down And You Don’t Have Ammo, What Would You Do? Read More Here.

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  1. Good points made above – hard to argue with the logic (but we’ll try, lol :^)

    If you are going to have a pair of centerfire handguns, at least one of them should be a hide-out, something very small to be carried in places where people are NOT supposed to appear to be armed. One of the mini 9s (like that Taurus mentioned in earlier article) might make a good choice.

    Colt 1911 – as much as I like it, my personal choice would be the Glock 21 or mini sized version of it. The 21 nearly doubles magazine capacity, only adding slightly extra width in bulk.

    Shotgun – no argument there. I’d go Remington 870, but the Mossberg has no flies on it either.

    The centerfire – well, 7.62 NATO in the rurals, but in the urbans, you could make a good case for the Russian 7.62×39 or even 5.56 NATO for lighter ammunition. For big game hunting, the .30 wins out.

    Good topic – thanks for starting it.

  2. The Walther is a good firearm. The 1911 is a good firearm. Why would one want two different sidearms of different calibers? By the way. I have two theories on the not mentioned in this article but often is otherwise, and that has to do with “it’s the most common caliber so you’ll be able to find it”. Common calibers are often the first to be “not found” because everyone else that makes it a common caliber has bought it up or found it. Shortages of .22 LR anyone?

    My choice is 10mm (I have Glocks, 1911, even an original Bren Ten). It is a more versatile round and useful in hunting as well. It has as much power at 200 yards as a +p 9mm at the muzzle. I have more ammo on hand than I can possibly carry and ability to reload.

    The shotgun, no argument here. Although I have an 870 sp mag myself.

    I have a FN FAL, so .308 is covered. I would eschew the extra handgun to have both my AR 15 and my .300 Wby bolt gun. Each has its place.

    Really, these types of stories comes down to what do you have and what do you shoot well. I’m sure for others they have no need for a rifle other than the old .30-30 lever action. That’s certainly made its mark and is not a wrong answer.

  3. I guess I am old school.

    1. S&W Model 66 .357/.38.
    2. Winchester Model 94 in .30-30.
    3. Remington 870 Wingmaster in 12 gauge.
    4. Ruger 10-22.

    5. Is tough for me. A good .30-06, a .22 pistol, or a lever gun in .357? I guess I will go with a what I know. A Ruger MK pistol rounds out my top 5. I’m old. I have used all these guns for a few years now. I know them well and shoot them as my eyes allow. I think a man ought to own the 5 guns he knows how to use well. The 5 guns he can work on when they malfunction. I have hunted and lived with all of these guns for years now. I hope you get the same enjoyment out of yours that I do mine.

    Be safe,


  4. I will go with BG on this one but with a few differences.

    1) S&W model 386PD / 386 NG 7 round capacity, 24 oz weight. 38spl or 357. A mutli purpose gun.
    2) Henry / Marlin/ Winchester lever action in matching. 38/357. Legal in all 50 states.
    3) Mossberg 590. 9 round capacity. Mil spec.
    4)22 caliber rifle.
    5) Glock 10 mm. It takes the place of a handgun and a rifle in one package.

  5. Arnold had a good selection in the Terminator:

    Uzi 9mm
    45 long-slide with laser sighting
    Plasma rifle in the 40 watt range (Only what you see on the shelf, buddy!)
    12 gauge autoloader.

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