skip to Main Content
Minimal Viable Armory

Minimal Viable Armory

For some reason as of late, I’ve been doling out advice to friends and neighbors about what gun(s) they should buy. It goes with the territory I guess (I do, after all, work for the NRA), so I thought I’d rehash this topic once more (I know this is at least my third stab at it) and give you reasons for my choices. 

A basic starting point is three guns: 

  1. A compact 9mm defensive pistol. Glock G19, SIG P320 Carry, M&P Compact, Stoeger STR-9C, Ruger Max-9, Taurus G3C… you get the idea. Something with a 3 inch or so barrel, holding at least 13 rounds of ammo and is reasonably easy to conceal. This gun works as both a concealed carry pistol and a home defense gun if needed. Don’t go small and get a micro pistol like a P365, Hellcat or Glock G48. That smaller size is just fractionally easier to carry, yet much harder to shoot and practice with. Save the smaller pistol for later in your journey. 
  2. A dedicated long gun for home defense. You want a fight stopper, either an AR-15 or the equivalent, or a 12 gauge shotgun (pump or semi-auto). Whatever you get, add a light to it, because you want to be 100% sure of your target in any home defense situation. 
  3. A Ruger 10/22. This is for having fun, and for introducing others to the shooting sports. Really, if you can’t have fun shooting a .22LR rifle, you can’t have fun with guns. 

Now that the basics are out of the way, let’s broaden your horizons. When you start to live the quietly armed lifestyle (not “if,” “when.” 😀 ), you’ll soon find out that there is no “one size fits all” solution when it comes to concealed carry. Maybe you’ll start to shoot some practical pistol matches and discover how much fun competition is, or you’ll shoot the clay sports or go hunting. Either way, the world of the shooting sports will start to open up, and you’ll find that will require you to buy new guns. Here’s what’s in store for you. 

  1. A smaller concealed carry gun. Something that can fit in the pocket of a pair of dress pants. A SIG P365 et al, CAN fit this requirement, but I prefer smaller-sized guns like a Ruger LCP or a .38 Spl snub nose revolver. This is for when carrying a bigger gun just isn’t an option.
  2. A dedicated sporting shotgun. What gun you get will depend on the sport you choose, but a pump-action 12 gauge that takes chokes is never out of place. 
  3. An AR-15. They’re America’s most popular rifle for a reason. Fun to shoot, accurate as all get out, they can be easily adapted to just about any endeavor, from close-quarters home defense to hunting to long-range target shooting. 
  4. A .22LR pistol. Because a) it’s good training for your dedicated concealed carry pistol and b) they’re just as much fun to shoot as a .22 rifle. 

After this, the sky’s the limit. A bolt action rifle for long range work or hunting might be a good idea, or maybe a dedicated pistol (Or two. Or three.) for the action shooting sports, and another pistol around that’s identical to your primary concealed gun is always a good idea if something goes wrong with your primary.

The goal with all of this is to get you to a point where if your friends say “Hey, let’s go shooting!” and you’re able to jump right in and enjoy the fun.

Because shooting stuff is fun. Always has been, always will be.