Inside the United States, people frequently talk about “exercising their rights”. Most often, this refers the freedom of speech, or the freedom of religion. The most vitriolic discussion of “rights”, however, is that of the right to own and possess “arms”, i.e., the rights of the Second Amendment to the Constitution:
While this is a pretty straightforward statement – for reasonable, rational and at least decently educated people – certain parties insist on hammering this sentence all out of proportion, to make it seem to mean the diametric opposite. In fact, the wholly unconstitutional (see Clauses 15 & 16) creation of the National Guard in 1903 allowed the “several States” to completely and deliberately ignore the maintenance, organization and training of “The Militia of the United States”, to the point of silently accepting the oxymoron of the concept of an “Unorganized Militia” (pages 230 & 231) – a ‘militia’, by definition, is a ‘military force’…which cannot be “unorganized”. This was coupled to a Supreme Court case, Illinois v. Presser (1886), which prevents citizens from forming militia units without the explicit approval of their state governors…and which, ironically, bans virtually all forms of restrictive “gun control” – but a lot of people aren’t ready for that discussion.
As a result, a “military class” has developed in US society, where a tiny percentage of the population volunteers for military service on a generational basis (this author being part of that class), while the vast majority of Americans have little to no contact with “things military,” beyond possibly knowing someone who enlisted or became a commissioned officer; video games don’t count. Coupled to the fact that a decreasing percentage of the US population neither hunts, target shoots nor sport shoots, most American firearms owners have little concept of guns in general, nor of what goes into “military training”.
While this is not the place to present a ‘full-court press’ for a plan of military training, this is certainly a venue for a brief explanation of what firearms Americans should own, in order to start exercising their Second Amendment rights properly.
The following are the views of the author, and not necessarily those of the Freedomist.
First, the Reader will need to carefully consider the laws of their state and locality of residence. While there are some websites that can help, the reader is strongly advised to check their state and local laws directly, to avoid confusion.
So – now that you’ve checked the state/local laws, what firearms should the you, the Reader, buy?
The next thing to understand is that firearms are expensive – there are plenty of firearms for sale as this article goes to press, which cost more than several cars this author has owned over the years. Just like buying a car, research the specific model of firearms you are thinking about purchasing, before you invest that kind of money in them.
And speaking of money, don’t spend more than about $1,200 on ANY firearm, unless you intend to become a professional sport shooter. Very few people in the world need a $2,000 firearm – what they need, is an $800 firearm, and $1,200 worth of training.
With those concerns addressed, let’s turn to ironmongery.
Every adult in the US who is not a professional shooter should own a number of firearms sufficient to cover the following five areas:
- First, buy a handgun. There are plenty of cases where carrying a “long gun”, like a shotgun or a rifle, is simply too inconvenient. Handguns fill that gap. However, unlike movies and video games, handguns take comparatively more practice to master, and are nothing more than a “backup” weapon – in the words of a friend of this author, a handgun is what you use to shoot your way to something better. Handguns are also highly personalized: if you are not in the military, you currently have a wide variety of choices of frame. Visit a shooting range near you that will rent firearms for their in-house range, fire a magazine or two from multiple pistols, and see what you like – don’t let “experts” restrict your choice. Buy what works for you, and train with it.
- Buy a firearm in “.22LR”. This can be either a handgun or a rifle. The .22LR is an old design of cartridge (see the image below), that remains in use because of its utility – it is almost the perfect cartridge for practice, small game hunting (like rabbits and squirrels), and just general “plinking”, because it is so lightweight and cheap.
- Buy a shotgun, in either 12- or 20-gauge (shotgun gauges increase in size as the gauge number decreases, so a “12-gauge” is larger than a “20-gauge). Shotguns will handle somewhere around 75-80% of what you need a firearm for. While rather short ranged, it is great for home defense and hunting, when loaded with the appropriate ammunition. Shotguns are also some of the cheapest firearms you can legally buy, usually starting somewhere around $250 in most cases.
- Buy a hunting rifle suitable for 4-legged varmints. Even if hunting is not your normal gig, the time may come where you need to hunt for food. That’s not being paranoid – that’s being prudent.
- Buy a rifle sufficient for two-legged varmints. Yes – that means what you think it does. See #4, above, and consider the events of 2017-2021. You may think you are safe, now, but what happens if things really go sideways? If the statement, “That will never happen here” is rummaging around in your mind right now, why are you still thinking about this subject? Think about the safety of you and your loved ones, and act accordingly.
Now that we have addressed the five areas of firearms, the important takeaway is not necessarily that you need five separate weapons. That may be out of your price range. But, the thing about firearms is that, unless the firearm in question is highly specialized, you can get away with making one weapon cover multiple jobs. For example, a 12- or 20-gauge shotgun is fully capable of taking most game in North America up to the size of a deer, if you can get within 100 yards, and have the right ammunition. Because of the variety of shotgun ammunition (#4 Birdshot, “Double-Aught” [a.k.a., “00 Buckshot”], and Slug are the basic loads) out there, it will also work for hunting birds, as well as defending your home from an attacker. As well, any hunting rifle that can take a deer or a hog (Hogzilla is real…look it up) can also deal with a two-legged varmint – see #5, above.
How much ammunition should you have on hand? In general, 100 rounds per handgun, 100-200 rounds per shotgun, and 100-300 rounds for rifles should be more than sufficient. Note that there is nothing wrong with keeping more on hand, if you can afford it.
But remember: You still need to train with your firearms. The absolute minimum should be putting at least 100 rounds ‘downrange’ per firearm, per year. If you can afford a professional training course, get that done. Working with a firearm is just like driving a car: it’s easy to learn, but you need to practice, as far as you are able.
It’s your life we’re talking about, after all…as well as those of your loved ones.
It has long been said that, “…the Pen is mightier than the Sword…” While that may be true, having that sword is far more profound and effective of a statement – words on a paper are only that: words on paper. Those words are much more effective, when backed up with a sword.