5 Guns: There is a classic question in firearm communities that asks “If you could have any X-number guns, what would you choose?”
I think there 2 very different versions of this questions. Version 1: You can have any 5 guns for free, and only those guns. Version 2: You can have any 5 guns for free, in addition to whatever else you have/buy.
Assuming it’s the first version, then my answers need to satisfy my needs for collecting, shooting, and defense. My choices are a rimfire rifle, carbine, shotgun, semiauto pistol, and revolver. In each case, I have selected guns for their versatility and high quality. If it’s the 2nd version, then my choices would be very different.
First, my great-grandfather’s Savage 22lr. It wasn’t the first gun I ever fired, but it was the one that taught me to shoot … poorly. It was a full-length rifle and much too long for my arms as a child. The safety was also poorly designed. It slowly crept “On” until pulling the trigger would not fire the rifle. Pushing the safety back to ‘Fire’ would sometimes leave the gun with a hair trigger, and sometimes just cause it to fire immediately. I still don’t trust safety mechanisms today, and don’t really use safeties. The only safeties that I trust are an empty chamber and an open action.
Second, a custom STI 2011 handgun. I really like the ergonomics of the 1911, despite its heavy weight and somewhat tempermental reliability. An STI 2011 provides double-stack capacity with 11 rounds of 45ACP or 17 rounds of 9mm. Ideally, it would have interchangeable grip frames. A full-size grip frame for standard use and a smaller grip frame for concealed carry (like the VIP or Eclipse). I’d also want a 6″ slide and barrel for general use as well as a 4″ barrel for concealed carry. Multiple caliber conversions (45ACP, 9mm, 22lr) would be ideal. The ‘Tactical’ frame with accessory rail would be prefereable to allow a light or laser. I’m uncertain if I’d prefer a durable steel frame or a lightweight aluminum frame, nor do I know how to choose between 9mm or 45ACP if forced. 9mm gives excellent capacity and fast shooting. STI even makes an extended 27 round 9mm magazine. On the other hand, 1911s are known to be less reliable when shooting 9mm than 45ACP.
Third, a full-auto M-16. I’m a big fan of the AR-15. Like my ideal STI 2011 above, I would prefer to have multiple uppers in different configurations for various uses, and the AR-15 allows easy changes just by swapping upper halves. Since this is ‘any 5 firearms’ then I’ll take an AR-15 with the added bonus of full-auto. The Savage is primarily sentimental so an AR-15/M-16 would be the practical rifle. A rimfire upper even makes it into a recreational gun.
Fourth, a Rogers & Phillips Medusa revolver continues the theme of versatility. They’re capable of firing a wide variety of similar calibers including 38 special, 357 magnum, 38 super, 380 auto, 9mm luger, and several others. Alternatively, a Ruger Blackhawk would serve adequately if equipped with both 2 cylinders in 9mm/357Mag or 45ACP/45Colt.
Fifth, a custom Saiga-12 or MKA-1919 shotgun. So far we have a simple 22 rifle, a defensive carbine, a semi-auto pistol, a revolver, and now the fifth item is a shotgun. Both designs are fed by removable box magazines. This gives them great capacity for a lot of firepower and fun. Alternatively, a nice Mossberg 500 would be extremely durable and reliable. The Mossberg has the advantage of using longer barrels for hunting & sport, but I don’t hunt or engage in any traditional shotgun sports