In the US, 30 percent of people own a gun. Of those who don’t, 36 percent could see themselves owning one in the future. Whichever one of these camps you fall into, there are just some guns everyone should own.
Buying a gun isn’t just about buying an object for hunting, self-defense, or target shooting. It’s about investing in the craft and skill that has gone into making the firearm. It’s about using guns that feel good to use.
So what are the must-have guns? Which firearms will complete your collection? Which ones will put a smile on your face when you take them to the range?
We know that the world of guns can be a little mystifying at times. We’re here to help demystify that process for you. Let’s take a look at the best firearms to own.
1. Colt M1911
Sidearms don’t come much more respected than the Colt M1911. This weapon has barely changed since it was created at the beginning of the twentieth century. It doesn’t need to.
The gun fires the heavyweight .45 ACP cartridge that can be used for almost anything. Every single part of the gun feels well-designed.
The trigger is made for you to squeeze. There’s no give or rattle on the trigger, just a smooth backward motion that makes for accurate shooting. The frame’s heavy weight contributes to its accuracy too, helping to reduce recoil.
Then there’s the military history aspect. This gun saw action and continues to see action around the world. However old the M1911 you buy is, you’re buying into the gun’s rich history.
Finally, there’s the fact that these guns are popular and far from expensive. Sure, you can get cheaper pistols, but few other sidearms are going to give you the satisfaction of an M1911. This is one of those guns everyone should own at some point in their life.
2. Ruger 10/22
The Ruger 10/22 is sometimes looked down upon by firearms geeks. Mostly, it’s because of the tiny cartridge: a .22 rimfire isn’t going to stop a charging bear, for instance (at least not without a lucky shot).
That misses the point of the Ruger 10/22, though. This gun is the ne plus ultra of a beginner’s gun. I don’t care who you are, if your introduction to shooting is with a .223, you’re going to end up poorer, bruised, and put off.
A Ruger 10/22 is the best investment that a new shooter can make. It’s cheap to buy, ammunition costs are low, and recoil is very manageable. Plus, it’s just a fun gun to shoot.
One of those must-have guns, if you’re hoping to introduce someone to shooting, buy them a Ruger 10/22.
There has been a lot of controversy about the AR-15 lately. What this can’t tarnish is the fact that the AR-15 is a fantastic gun. Despite a shaky start with the first M16, designers have improved the AR-15 time and time again.
The AR-15 is an accurate, well-made, and easy to buy rifle. Its .223 ammunition isn’t hard to source in a wide range of configurations.
Yet what makes it so popular is its modular design. You can deconstruct and rebuild an AR-15 in a matter of minutes. It can accept a huge range of different parts too, allowing you to build the AR-15 to your requirements.
Like the M1911, it’s an American icon too. The military version has been used in every US conflict since Vietnam and is used by special forces around the world.
The patriotic American nature of this gun also means that finding AR 15 parts is far from difficult. Nor is the gun expensive to buy: countless companies now make their own spin on the AR-15, so there are always plenty of used ones around.
If you want a rifle that will serve you well, start with an AR-15.
From one side of the Cold War to the other, you should have an AK-47 in your collection. Named for Soviet designer Mikhail Kalashnikov, this gun is the epitome of no-nonsense firearms and is one of the best firearms to own. I don’t care what your political alignment is: get an AK.
These guns are less accurate than the AR-15 but have a hardiness that cannot be faulted. This gun can cope with being drenched in water, buried in sand, and anything else that nature can throw at it.
It’s the ultimate swamp rifle. This doesn’t need pretty treatment and any maintenance can be carried out by just about anyone. Like the AR-15 and Colt M1911, it’s an iconic weapon too.
Kalashnikov took the STG-44 and the M1 Garand and put his own innovative spin on them. It’s a gun that is still as usable today as it was back in 1947.
The ammunition it fires, 7.62x39mm, isn’t hard to find either. The best part is that this gun was produced by countless countries as well as the Soviet Union: China, North Korea, Vietnam, and all the Warsaw Pact countries produced some variant on it. Getting hold of one won’t be hard to do.
5. Remington Model 870
If you’re looking for a shotgun, you needn’t look any further than the Remington Model 870. While this is a list about guns everyone should own, it feels like almost everyone who cares about shotguns does own an 870. More than 11 million 870s have hit the market.
So what makes this gun so good? Why is it the ultimate shotgun?
Let’s start with its reliability. The gun’s frame is made of steel. It’s like the AK-47 of shotguns, there’s no weakness in this frame whatsoever.
Barrels can be swapped easily, making this gun suitable for shooting just about anything. The stock is comfortable for aiming at any angle. The action is buttery smooth, allowing for easy follow-up shots.
There are accessories aplenty with the 870 too. You can make this gun exactly how you want it, just like with the AR-15. If you need to buy a shotgun, make it an 870.
6. Glock 19
I can practically hear the comments already. There’s going to be people calling the Glock a plastic gun, saying that it can’t compete with the M1911. Here’s the thing, it can, and, whisper it, even bests it in some areas.
The Glock is made of polymer, sure, but it isn’t plastic. That conjures up images of flimsy parts and barrels melting. Don’t worry.
The Glock only has 33 parts, no more, no less. It doesn’t need any frivolous extras. Take it out of the box and start shooting: it doesn’t even need the shooter to break it in.
It’s easy to use and accurate, too.
The Glock range also has a huge amount of variety. We’ve picked the Glock 19 as our favorite because of its reliability as a concealed carry, but if you want something else, you won’t have to look far.
You can get Glocks that fire .45 ACP and .22 LR, you can get full-auto Glocks, you can get anything you want. If you want to customize your Glock, you can! The aftermarket support for this pistol is nothing short of incredible.
It might get derided as a plastic gun by some. If you’ve fired the Glock, you’ll understand why it’s one of those guns everyone should own.
7. Winchester Model 70
As bolt-action hunting rifles go, they don’t come with much more pedigree than the Winchester Model 70. An American sporting icon, there’s a reason that the M70 has been popular since it was introduced back in 1936.
Winchester and FN have produced the M70 in just about every caliber under the sun. Yet for our money, the .30-06 is the best cartridge that this baby can fire. It packs a ton of recoil, but it’s superb for hunting.
The free-floated barrel produces accurate results every time. Even when the barrel is getting hot, your accuracy is not going to suffer. The controlled feed, too, is designed with hunting in mind.
The action is smooth as silk, and won’t let you down, no matter how many shots you put down this rifle’s barrel. Finally, there’s the history of this gun. It’s been used by hunters, snipers, and police marksmen.
It’s an American icon with a reputation for reliability, accuracy, and ease of use. If you need a rifle that will serve you well during hunting season, we can’t think of any better bolt-action.
The Guns Everyone Should Own
While this list isn’t exhaustive, we think we’ve given you a good introduction to the guns everyone should own. If you’re just starting your collection, we’d recommend sticking with the Ruger 10/22 until you’re comfortable with shooting. After that, you can start moving up to the Glock, M1911, and AR-15. And if you’re a gun enthusiast, consider building your own firearms with 80 lower receivers.
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