The one gun topic isn’t a new one. It’s one that has been explored time and time again. Yet, “Do I really need more than one gun?”, a question that I get asked every now and again. It‘s also a question that is implied quite often when I get asked, “What’s the best gun for <insert application here>?” On the surface, that question clearly is asking for input on a search for a specialized tool, but often the person inquiring is looking for affirmation that their current gun or one at their disposal is suitable for the task. From my point of view, the answer to that question, which y’all probably won’t like is, “it depends.” The truth is I can’t answer that for you. I can only answer it for myself. Nevertheless, it’s a good question to ponder.
Starting with obvious, need has a very specific definition. One’s individual needs are dependent on one’s circumstances. However, I think we can all, or at least most of us can, agree that food and security are fundamental necessities and therefore needs. A gun is a tool or device that is quite effective at supporting the fulfillment of those basic needs. Even so, I’m not sure I’d go so far to say a gun is needed at all since those needs can be fulfilled without one at all. One could defend themselves with an improvised weapon. One could improvise traps to source food (or shop the local grocer). However, it is such an effective device that I’d suggest having at least one firearm, at least for self defense, is prudent, practical, and pragmatic.
For argument’s sake, let’s assume that a gun is necessary. The question still remains, “Do I really need more than one?” I think the answer to that question can be, in most cases, no. That’s a position that is difficult for me to admit given I obviously dabble in several different firearm related activities including running and maintaining this blog.
Let me add some perspective to that position. The gun that I most often handle is the H&K VP9. It’s the gun I most often carry, practice with, and train with with the primary purpose of being a defensive tool should I encounter the gravest of circumstances. It fits my lifestyle and pretty much goes with me wherever I go.
I’ve recently posted about the Smith & Wesson Model 640 revolver which I’ve started carrying as a backup gun and might be the gun I opt for if I have to go somewhere where concealing the VP9 on my person is impractical. Does that mean I need the 640? No, it doesn’t. I could make due with the VP9 using an unconventional carry and concealment method like off body carry if it were necessary. That’s suboptimal and not something I would recommend, but it’s an option.
What about hunting? Hunting with a handgun is a thing. Hunting with a 9mm VP9 isn’t something I would suggest. In fact, I’d argue it isn’t ethical in most cases and probably illegal in several jurisdictions. However, it’s possible.
What about defense against wildlife? I suppose it depends on the wildlife one is defending against. In some situations the VP9 is probably suboptimal given terminal ballistics of the 9mm cartridge is relatively anemic compared to what most would consider a minimum for defense against the four-legged creatures one may encounter in the wild. Given the cartridge isn’t ideal, is it better than nothing? Absolutely. Could it work? Sure.
I could go on, but I think the point has been effectively made that one can make due with a single firearm unless they happen to find themselves in circumstances where the type of firearm they own just will not work and something else is needed. I’m projecting here, but I suspect that for most folks the situations where a 9mm pistol will not work whatsoever are exceptionally rare and would only exist in drastically adverse conditions. I say this in the strictest context of necessity where that 9mm pistol is not suboptimal but useless. It should be obvious that I’m being pedantic here, but I think it’s allowed since we are amidst a thought experiment.
As stated, while having something other than a 9mm pistol may not be necessary in the strictest sense, it should be obvious that there are circumstances where something other than a 9mm pistol would be more effective. Examples of this include, but are not limited to:
- A rifle for hunting or dispatching predators at a distance,
- A shotgun for bird hunting,
- Or a handgun chambered for a more powerful cartridge for defense against wildlife.
It is for these reasons it’s common for gun owners to own a few different firearms. I like to think of it as owning a toolbox with a few essential general purpose tools instead of just one tool. By the same token, there are times when a more specialized tool becomes practical and is eventually added to the toolbox.
At the end of the day, the only person who can truly answer the question of, “Do I really need more than one gun?”, is you. Perhaps the better question to ask is, “Do I really need that particular gun I was just drooling over?” I’m willing to bet the answer to the latter question is far more likely to be “no” than the former question.