When preparing for a life off the grid, we tend to think in terms of the basic needs that will allow for a life of self-sufficiency without sacrificing quality. Within that mindset, a discussion often emerges that pits one person’s idea of sufficiency versus another’s notion of life in abundance, which is usually settled by a “to each, his own” accord. When the discussion turns to armaments and the question of how many guns are too many, the lines get drawn and the opinions become strong.
Setting aside gun-hating liberals for the moment, the question of “how many is too many” is not a settled debate, even amongst gun owners. Gun enthusiasts are adamant that there is no “right” number and, in fact, many reside in the “more-is-better” camp. They scoff at those who try to tell them that there can be any excess in the number of guns they own and use the logic that a woman with a huge shoe collection needs no justification, even though she only wears one pair at a time.
They would point you to the police officer who, caught in a gun fire with no back up, would never question how many is too many guns. They would also point out that, if any of us were in a similar situation, with a family to protect, the question would never enter our minds. In fact, in this respect, the question might become, “how many guns are too few?”
Conversely, the pragmatic gun owner recognizes the value of embracing “no more than you can handle”. They believe that, for practical purposes, the number of guns you own should reflect your lifestyle needs, your storage capacity, your ability to stock ammo, and how many you can carry when you might need to suddenly bug out.
The pragmatic gun owner insists that a well-stocked gun safe consists of a handgun, a 22 rifle, a shotgun and a backup for each. For rural dwellers, a long-range rifle might be a part of that collection. To them, this provides the essential level of protection needed and nothing will get left behind when it’s time to bug out. Of course, if you’ve got a family of six or eight, that number could rise substantially, with a gun or two (or three) per person easily justified.
The zealous gun collector would argue that, for the same reason you shouldn’t be telling them how many kids they should have or how many acres of land is too much for their survival retreat, you ought not to be trying to tell them how many guns they should own. The pragmatist would then counter that you shouldn’t have any more kids than you can take care of, implying that if you can’t provide for all of your guns (safe storage, appropriate ammo, etc.) you should plan accordingly.
So, how many guns are too many? To the consternation of the hard-liners on both sides of the issue, the answer probably really is “to each, his own”. In the realm of guns, as in most things in life, one man’s sufficiency is another man’s abundance.
Other articles in this issue:
- Packing for a Disaster – Pack Like You’re Leaving Today 
- Thinking About Reliance 
- 10 Steps to Off Grid Living…Today