The Perfect Three Gun Combination

A hand of man practicing firing using a Glock gun model at the shooting range. Fire glock hand gun.

Via Say Uncle and the Firing Pin Journal we find that there’s a popular debate that’s been circulating throughout the gun-blogger community concerning the perfect three-gun combination. Discussions such as these have been around as long as there have been choices in personal defensive weapons.

Much like the 1911/GLOCK or AK/AR debates, there is never a clearly decisive winner. I’m sure as far back as the stone age cavemen were arguing whether flint or obsidian made better arrowheads. Of course, I’m still going to join in the fray and voice my opinion.

Given that you could have only one of each, what one pistol, shotgun and rifle would you choose? For the purposes of this exercise, we’re choosing them for self defense. Naturally then, I’m inclined to choose versatile firearms for which ammunition is inexpensive and widely available and which function more or less in nearly any condition.

GLOCK19 Some people maintain that the GLOCK19 is too big to be a defensive handgun, but for the purposes of this exercise we’re not limited to concealed carry. The GLOCK19 is favored by law enforcement agencies throughout the world as a defensive weapon. Despite the fact that it is usually best worn as an open carry weapon, I feel it fits the bill nicely.

Remington 870 Express Synthetic When it comes to shotguns, the Remington 870 line is pretty much the standard by which all other pump-action shotguns are judged. Being a pump action, it will digest nearly any 12 gauge round with zero complaints. While not as fast as a semiautomatic shotgun, the increased reliability of the 870 makes it a good selection.

PTR 91 Many people would choose an AR or AK platform rifle as a primary defensive carbine. While 7.62×51 (.308 Winchester) ammunition is more expensive than either 5.56 or 7.62×39, I prefer something a bit larger and chose the PTR 91. The lack of a gas system means that it will operate in nearly any conditions and digest almost any 7.62 NATO or .308 Winchester load.

Is this the perfect combination? Honestly, I’m not convinced such a thing exists. Weapons for personal defense are, by their very nature, a personal choice. Individual ergonomics, budget, preferences and training play heavily into such choices.

So what’s your favorite three-gun combination? Share with us in the comments section.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (11)

  1. 870, in 12;, XD, in 45ACP, Mini-14. ‘Cause that’s what I have, what I like and most importantly, what WORKS! If concealed carry is required, switch to XDs, in 45ACP.

  2. Glock 19
    Mini-14 5.56 AMMO
    Mossberg 590a1
    The 19 is a perfect carry weapon. I can count on my 19 to get me to my rifle or shotgun. A couple thousand rounds without failure. My m-14 and Moss are both well broken in and didnt break the bank to get there

  3. Are you talkin”bout a .308 Winchester in that 760 RonFitz? Because I never considered that really. I like that……..I think. You mean a 760 GameMaster Carbine with picatinni appointments (sights/lights/lazer), composite pistol-grip stock/forearm, Ryno BedLiner parkerizing, and a few 10 round mags, and maybe a flash-hider? Damned, I need a cigarette now. Seriously, I’ve never had a 760 or a .308, and I’ve been huntingnearly thirty years, but by God that sounds really cool to me. I never thought about that twist on the Remington pump,with a pistol grip. And here I am sitting on an inherited 742ADL in 30.06. Hey, it does have a 10 rd clip though. I know there are better out there, I like the Springfield SOCOM 16 concept, but that just seems like a cool roll for the 760. However, I’ve read that the sporting Remington 742s and possibly 760s won’t hold up to high rates of prolonged fire, and are probably a bit too tight on moving part tolerances to hold up to battle rifle standards, but would seem reasonable and fun if you pace your fire, and maintain a clean action. I ev en had an old 740 in .06 years ago.
    Never a 760.

  4. Not for competing, not for “prestige” but for the SHTF on a budget With reliablity, goes boom when you pull the trigger, shoots where you aim, and knocks things down when they’re hit… this is my selection. For info, I have had over a two decades and a half of military and civilian training and experience, with everything from the 1911, thru the Beretta and the various shotguns, rifles, etc.. Yet I’m going with what some may consider to be controversial.
    Hi Point .45 pistol and .45 Carbine… can’t say enough about the .45. And with magazine interchangeability.. it works for me. Remington 760 or 7600, with that slide front I can deliver 180 grains on target as rapidly as may be necessary, in an action that will not jam and is as reliable as
    over 60 years history can make it. Converted to a pistol grip synthetic stock and decent scope. Many won’t agree. But it’s MY pick.

  5. Are we talkin’ guns we can hold in our hands, or guns we hold dear in our hearts that we lust after? I’ve been a hunter almost 30 years, with about the last 15 years a hiatis, but I’m starting to appriciate auto-loaders and assault weapons much more I believe, due to the times in which we li_-xxx……..exist. even if I have to sell or trade off most of my hunting guns to do it, I beieve I want a Mossberg M590-A1 SPX #50771 w/Bayonet, the Springfield M1A SOCOM, and yet undetermined 1911. Colt New Agent looks perfect, but I thought I saw something about double action, and I don’t understand double action in an auto-loading handgun. But I like the cut down bbl, wish the grip/clip was cut down as well, and the Parkerized is perfect as well as no sights. Man, I almost need a cigarette now.

  6. There is playing and competeing.
    For playing you have a great set up.
    If you switch to a .45 you could compete in “heavy metal” divisions or “he-man” divisions
    3 gun shooting is fun!
    When you get a chance though try:
    AR15 18″ Rifle gas system, Muzzle brake, with 1-4 optic
    Benelli m1/m2
    FN SLP mark 1
    Glock 34 // 35

  7. Pretty good selection!I’d do the Glock 19 or either of these Sigs(p220ST,p226,p228/229.The 870 is an excellent choice.I’d pick either the Bushmaster ar-15 or the Springfield Socom 16 for the rifle.

  8. Nice. I have the Springfield xdm 40 and big bro xd 45 at the ready along with the rem 870 magnum in 12 gauge loaded with slugs. my carbine is the hipoint 9mm nice and small with low recoil and lethal handgun ammo.

  9. I think what you have here Is a great set up. What I own and what I use for defence is a Glock 21 with N/S, Remington 11-87 with an ar type stock, and a bushmaster ar-15 carbine with standard Iron sites for now. The Glock 21 is way way to big for concealed carry but i do use it for home defence, but for me thw ideal handgun for Both carry and 3-gun would be a 1911. And i would stick with the .223 calaber mostly because of cost and size of the round.

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