I know gun owners who have unique pieces. I regularly see rare and beautiful firearms lining gun cabinet walls that would feel more at home at a museum than in a buddy’s gun safe. However, with as much time as I’ve spent collecting firearms, I’ve noticed some common denominators the majority of gun collectors have on hand. While they may not be rare gems, they certainly fill their role as useful tools quite well. A new shooter would do well to purchase one of each.
The Mosin Nagant is one of the most common firearms ever produced. It’s great for all types shooting applications. It is reliable, reasonably accurate, and most importantly, they’re cheap. Ammunition for the Mosin Nagant is inexpensive, too. The audible blast these things make at the range makes other shooters stop and stare. When that huge 7.62x54R cartridge ignites and sends that 148-grain projectile downrange, everyone in your direct vicinity knows it. Americans can buy several different models of the Nagant family. Collectors find full length M91s, shorter M44s and Finish M27s at most surplus shops and gun shows around the country. The Chinese Type 53 Mosins are readily available as well. The Soviets mass-produced these rifles for nearly 75 years, resulting in 37 million units floating around the planet. They may not be the prettiest rifle in the gun closet, but with a little care and proper ammunition, a Mosin would make a fine deer rifle or range toy. I personally own two, and something tells me these robust bolt-actions will outlast most of my other firearms.
The hugely popular Ruger 10/22 rests in the corner of over five million gun cabinets, closets and safes. Often, it is the first rifle novice shooters fire, and it stands as a unique icon of the shooting world. The 10/22 started production in 1964 becoming a huge success almost overnight. Further, it is one of the most customizable firearms in the market. Owners can add or remove any component on the firearm with simple hand tools, making gunsmithing unnecessary. Firearms enthusiasts often call the 10/22 the Honda Civic of guns. This is due to the low cost of many aftermarket customized parts and add-ons. Currently, Ruger has several different versions of the 10/22 available. This includes their latest takedown model, which is highly successful. Whatever type of shooter you are, you have use for this rifle. Heavy barrel target models, tactical versions with and without bipods—the options are endless!
Ah, our old friend the Mossberg 500. This old warhorse has been in service since 1961 and shows no signs of slowing down. Perfect for any shotgun application, the 500 has changed little since its early days on the drawing board. Police, military, hunters, home defense enthusiasts, and zombie hunters alike have all carried the 500—and with good reason. What makes this little shotgun so great? Price initially comes to my mind. How else can you get a gun with this much firepower for 250 bucks? Another huge advantage to the 500 is the ability to add many extras. There are thousands of ways to customize your shotgun. New stocks with adjustable lengths, pistol grips, rail systems, optics, flashlights, slings, you name it, someone has stuck it on a Mossberg. If that wasn’t enough to convince you, the 500 is a pump-action gun, so you can literally fire any type of 12 gauge ammunition you can get your hands on. I have two barrels for my Mossberg. One is an 18.5-inch barrel for home defense; the other is a 26-inch bird barrel I use for hunting. I have always said that if I could only have one gun, it would be a 12-gauge pump shotgun.
Customers often ask me to recommend a semi-automatic handgun for carry or home defense. When they do, I start by mentioning the Glock 19. The G19 is a medium-sized lightweight polymer framed 9mm. Its standard capacity magazines hold 15 rounds. It features Glock’s Safe Action trigger system with three passive safeties. Glock’s metal Tenifer-branded metal treatment and finish ensure that it is practically impervious to the elements. Additionally, the Gen 4 version features a smaller grip circumference than earlier models, but includes the Multiple Backstrap System allowing the pistol to accommodate those with larger hands. Glock’s sight options are the standard polymer fixed sights, steel fixed sights, adjustable sights and Glock night sights. These things are incredibly reliable and low maintenance. There is a reason why most police officers in the United States carry some version of a Glock—they go bang when it counts.