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The Four Firearms Every Man Should Own

top 4

I am writing this piece of advice because of
how frequently men ask me:

“What gun should I
buy?”

“Do you recommend a 45 or
9mm to carry on the daily?”

“What is better the AK-47
or the AR-15?”

Usually guys start
asking these questions after they find out that I am former Navy SEAL. If you
are one of them, do not be ashamed. Most men have a desire for knowledge about
firearms and the capabilities. I too had some questions before acquiring the
knowledge I learned in the service. For the record, I DO NOT consider myself a
firearms expert, though I served for 13 years in the Navy. The first four years
as a Gunners Mate, and the last nine as a SEAL. I have all sorts of firearms
and firearm qualifications, including NSW Sniper and NSW armorer.

I now run Bottle
Breacher on a daily basis. I have no desire to argue with Keystone Cops and
tactical know-it-alls about calibers, optics, manufacturers and everything
else they read about in their subscriptions to Guns & Ammo magazine. Unfortunately, I have found many in the “Firearms Community” to be rude, pretentious, and
abrasive when it comes to real world practicality and experience. Personally,
I believe, if you are blessed with knowledge and understanding that others
seek, you should be kind and humble in your dealings to make them feel accepted
and enlightened. All men and women should be familiar with the four different
classes of firearms. This is just my personal opinion after thinking long and
hard about all the firearms I have shot and what each of the practical purposes
were. Depending on which manufactures you choose to purchase from, you can probably do it for less than three thousand dollars. That is a whole lot of money but if you’re like me and you consider firearms tools and lifesaving gear, it’s tough to buy anything else in category that holds or appreciates in value.

I decided only to list
four classes of firearms for a couple of reasons. Most of us operate on a
budget. If you have ever been gun shopping, you know that they are not cheap.
The second reason, I know better than most how important muscle memory is
in a life-and-death situation or even in the situation where you have spent
time and money to plan a hunt and need to make your first shot count, so you
can fill your freezer with meat. I use the term muscle memory because many
firearms have controls of different sizes and shapes in different places. It is
hard to get suitable with a weapon when you constantly bounce back and forth
between different models. Too many people spend so much time buying,
collecting, and shooting their new “toys” that they never get
proficient with any of their weapons.

One of my favorite quotes is “Beware of
the man with one gun, he knows how to use it.”

I will be listing them
in order of most important to least important. My rankings will most
likely be different from yours, but it’s good to start thinking about ranking
them, in order to decide which ones to spend the majority of your time, energy,
and training with.

1. CONCEALABLE HANDGUN

I have chosen the
compact handgun as #1 on my list for many reasons; one of which is the location
I live in, and also my daily routines and the environment I spend most of my
time in, the city. Unless, I am in my own home, I like to carry my weapon as
much as possible. I have had many handguns that I love to shoot. I chose the
compact handgun because it is comfortable and most people do not notice it.
Personally, I prefer the 9mm. At this time, my daily carry is a Glock 19,
although, a buddy of mine just purchased a smaller Glock 42, and I love how
almost unnoticeably it sits in my waistband. One of the biggest reasons I
prefer a 9mm or smaller caliber is because of the greater mag capacity that usually
accompanies it. In the few firefights I have been in, I noticed how easy it was
to run low on bullets. Unlike the movies and video games, in real life, there
is not an endless supply of ammo and the cavalry might be several hours away.
Also, I have noticed with myself, and especially new shooters, that there is
often a direct correlation between recoil and accuracy. This is not because
manufacturers cannot make accurate large caliber handguns. Pretty much, it is
all operator (human) error. I have found that as humans, we shockingly finch when a
controlled explosion goes off in our hands, and the bigger and louder the
explosion, often comes a bigger and more exaggerated flinch. This leads to very
poor accuracy. Even seasoned shooters like me still fight the urge to anticipate
recoil.

As a SEAL sniper, I
was issued four sniper rifles. They ranged from a .223 caliber up to a .50
caliber. I was by far the least accurate with my .50 than any of my other
rifles because I had to really fight the urge to anticipate recoil. There are
shooters out there who have much better control over the basic shooting
fundamentals, but for the rest of us this is just how it is. Given the base of
this opinion piece, with emphasis on education, I am going to let the cat out
of the bag. I want to say something most operators wouldn’t dare admit,  and reinforce my decision to prefer a smaller caliber. Whether I’m being being shot at by a paintball gun, BB gun, or belt-fed machine gun, I have learned that I do not like being shot at period. Granted, I have never had to calm myself down during a game of paintball or take a couple really deep breathes to continue playing… but I can tell you how effective it is to have a bead on someone’s position in a firefight, and have enough ammo to keep their head down so you can maneuver to a better position or get out of dodge. For those who have been in life or death situations sometimes the difference of 3 extra rounds is enough to create that opportunity. It doesn’t matter if you have all the stopping power in the world, if you can’t hit what you’re aiming at. Most experienced
shooters have a good command of shooting fundamentals and can move up to a 40
or 45 caliber handgun and see minimal, if not any change in accuracy, but this
piece isn’t for them; it’s for the common man and the novice shooter wanting to
know which weapons they should invest in and why. Though our Founding
Fathers fought hard to establish and educate this country on why firearm
ownership and the ability to carry was so important, you wouldn’t know that if
you walked around most cities these days with a weapon on your hip. This is one
of the many reasons I came up with myWWFFD (What
Would Founding Fathers Do) T-shirt.
I want people to understand how relevant and wise they were, and that their
wisdom and the constitution they built for all Americans applies today, and if
followed, will allow us to continue to prosper.

I have noticed that
when people see that I carry, they stare at you like “is that really
necessary” or “don’t make eye contact with this lunatic,” for example. This
is the other reason why I strongly recommend the compact in the first place.
Although they aren’t as comfortable when shooting, especially if you’re a
decent sized person and tend to lack greater mag capacity of a full sized handgun. They do give you the ability to address a threat and not freak out the
“average citizen” who foolishly places their safety in the hands of
the overworked local police force, who is at least 3-4 minutes away from being
able to help them out at any given time. Although, it is not against the law to
carry, many places prefer if people conceal. I was asked once at my church by the security team why I was open carrying (outside the pants, under my untucked shirt). When I turned the question onto them, asking if it was against the law, following up with a statement that there was nothing posted on the building, they immediately said, “No it is not against the law, we just prefer if people conceal.” Though I do not agree with their
preference, I agree to comply and conceal, which is another reason to purchase
a concealable first.

2. ASSAULT RIFLE

The assault rifle is
the most versatile weapon on my list, after the concealable handgun. You can
defend yourself and your home with one. You also have the ability to hunt with
one. I typically refer my friends to manufacturers who are well known and
have made thousands of rifles like Colt, Remington, Bushmaster, Rock River Arms, etc. I personally own several but my favorite assault rifle is my AR-15. Again,
I have no desire to argue with every expert about calibers, controls, gas
systems, etc… I chose my AR-15 with all its limitations for many reasons. Many being similar to the same reason I choose a 9mm over larger calibers-weight and
mag capacity is very important to me as a former operator. Personally, I have
more years of “muscle memory” with this weapon than any other. I am not only
very familiar with its controls and maintenance, but also its personal storage
when climbing in and out of helos, vehicles, and moving in and out of all sorts
of buildings. I also own several 7.62 caliber assault rifles and really love
the extra distance and stopping power they provide but don’t like the extra
weight, length, and smaller mag capacities that typically accompany them.
Once you decide which one you prefer the best, purchase it, and make sure you
are proficient with it.

Many present day
Americans live in an idealistic utopia and believe that our government could
not possibly overreach and abuse their liberties. They are also the same people
that stand around like a deer in headlights during a mass shooting and pray
the cops will get there sooner. For the rest of us, with our eyes open, who
have decided to take accountability for our own protection and that of our
families into our own hands, we realize that there was a good reason that
George Washington said, “A free people ought not only be armed and disciplined, but they
should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence
from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own
government
.” Had Washington been
around today, I am sure that he would clarify that “sufficient arms” would
encompass the assault rifle since any government trying to take them away from
you today would do so with similar and in most cases superior weaponry. I have
often heard critics debate that our Founding Fathers were only referring to the
musket and would never approve of private citizens owning assault style
weapons. These people are missing the word “sufficient” in the quote. I doubt
that many of them have left the protective bubble of their secure nation to go
and visit war torn countries being occupied and controlled by men with guns
that have made it illegal for private citizens to own them.

3. SHOT GUN

This is such a
versatile gun because it can defend your home and person like the assault
rifle, but is also extremely functional when it comes to hunting. Many people
feel that the shotgun is the best home defense weapon because of the
distinctive sound it makes when you chamber a shell. They also prefer the
multiple projectiles that are sent down range as opposed to only one per pull
of the trigger like the pistol or assault rifle. This also gives a novice or
beginning shooter a bit more leeway with accuracy as the multiple pellets
spread out after leaving the barrel and generate a larger impact area. I
personally keep a Remington 870 in my closet with a Surefire light attached
to the fore-end. This is a very important element to firearms that most
overlook. Most people do not realize how important it is to have lights on
their weapons, because they have had no experience shooting or training at
night. They don’t realize the importance of night sights until they need to hit
their target at night or have the confidence that they can be accountable for
the rounds that leave the barrel at night when they can’t clearly make out
their site posts. The shotgun is also number three on the list because it
is such a versatile hunting weapon. Small game like rabbits and squirrel can be
hard to hit on the run, so can birds like dove and quail. The shotgun gives the
hunter much more of an edge over a hunting rifle when the game is small and on
the move. Even if you need to take something much larger down with your shotgun,
you can buy slug ammunition, which will drop just about anything in North
America. In many states in the USA that is all you can hunt with.

4. HUNTING RIFLE

The last firearm on my
list is the hunting rifle or a tactical bolt gun. If I had to knock my list
down to three, this gun would get the boot, even though I actually shoot my
bolt gun more than I do my assault rifle or my shotgun. I simply enjoy being able
to take long range precision shots at wildlife or other targets like my
daughter’s future boyfriends 😉 This is probably the least practical and most expensive, but I do encourage people to be proficient with one. Many people and
nations around the world do not share the blessing that we have here, to go to
the butcher shop or restaurant and order up a favorite cut of prime rib or pork
chop in ten minutes. My recommendation when purchasing a hunting rifle is this:
you should typically spend as much money on your scope or glass as you should
the actual rifle, if not more. Try to get a stock on your rifle that allows you
to attach a bipod. For stability in the prone or benched position. It should also have the ability to adjust the buttstock to fit your
face and arm length. Too many shooters do not account for this modification and
end up sacrificing basic fundamentals because they have to raise their face so
far up (off the stock) to get a good eye relief and remove scope shadow.
Because of this, they are using neck and back muscles which affect the heart rate
and causes the scope reticles to dance up and down, side to side, more so than
when you are relaxed. If the adjustable stock is out of your budget, a nice
piece of foam and some duct tape will work as well. I often give instruction to seasoned and beginner shooters alike. 99% of them don’t understand how important these features are and how much they affect accuracy.  

Relationship between
recoil and accuracy is a big factor when you are looking hard at the .300
Winchester Magnum (.300 Win Mag), 338 Lapua Magnum, or that other awesome
gun you saw in that movie where Mark Wahlberg was taking head shots at 1.5 miles away on dudes in
moving vehicles. *Remember, the heavier the rifle, the less it will recoil. You
are going to wish you went with something lighter after carrying that 25lb tack
driver thru the woods for six hours. The 30-06 or 308 will take care of most
game you come across in the states with a well-placed shot. My scope of choice
is the Nightforce. I also
have a Leupold Mk 4 that is decent. I look for clarity of
glass, durability, weight, illuminated reticle, and zero stop. In addition, I
want the ability to zoom from about 4-15 power. I prefer scopes that have the
ability to range all the way down to a lower magnification like 3-4 power, that
way when you are glassing or hiking around if you can catch something moving
with your naked eye, it is much easier to find it zoomed out to a lower power.
If you have to acquire something on glass at a high power like 8-10, it is much
harder to find quickly. If the scope you are looking at has tactical turrets,
that elevates and lowers your cross airs, make sure the clicks when rotating are
crisp and not squishy.

In conclusion, I am no
expert of firearms, but I hope you found this information to be helpful. I have
enough knowledge and experience to give the average person some advice on what
types of guns to research, purchase, and become proficient with, especially if
you are without a friend that served in an elite unit or can give you direct
advice and guide you. I hope that this country will never become a place
where our rights to carry and own these weapons are in real jeopardy. One of
the biggest ways to make sure this does not happen is to encourage and educate
people about firearms. No matter what, firearms will be used by evil people to
do evil things, but 99.9% of the time, the only thing that will stop that evil
person with a gun─ is a good responsible person with one. We must fight to keep
our Second Amendment Rights intact and to educate our self and those around us with proper firearms training and safety precautions. If you forget everything
else just ask yourself WWFFD

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