Anarchangel has an interesting variation on the “only one gun” theme: which gun would you choose for each of these categories?
1. Rimfire Handgun – I don’t have much passion on this one. My Browning Buckmark would be fine, but so would a Ruger Mark II/III with a good trigger job or replacement trigger. (Countertop has a Mark II with an amazing trigger.) I’m tempted by a K-frame S&W .22 revolver.
2. Rimfire rifle – My Winchester 170. It’s not necessarily the best, and I wouldn’t expect anyone else to choose it, but it was my first gun and I don’t ever plan on selling it.
3. Centerfire hunting rifle – No strong feelings here, either. I’d probably sneak in the Lee-Enfield No. 5 Jungle Carbine.
4. Centerfire carbine (either hunting or defensive) – Probably an AR-15, if I could think of a reason I’d use one. I tend to think the cheaper Kel-Tec SU-16 has more practical uses, and it uses the same ammo and magazines.
5. Shotgun – My Mossberg 500 pump in 12 gauge suits me fine, and I’ve got both a slug barrel and trap/field barrel for it. The only reason I’d want anything else is if I took up skeet and wanted to be competitive with the guys running $10,000 over/unders.
6. Battle rifle – M1 Garand. As with the AR-15, I don’t have much practical use for a gun like this, but the Garand has historical value, and many clubs sponsor Garand matches that are beginner-friendly. This is on my near-term buy list.
7. Milsurp rifle or handgun – Probably a 1911 (I’m sort of cheating it in here), but my SKS is an awfully handy and inexpensive trunk gun. A trunk gun would a good 10th category.
8. Pocket gun/Concealed carry handgun – My S&W 642, a small, snub-nosed, 15 oz .38 revolver.
9. Open carry handgun/service pistol/general duty sidearm – Probably my S&W 686 .357 revolver, though I’m tempted to go with something shorter than its 6″ barrel.
UPDATE: I forgot that I was supposed to pick one gun if I could only have one. I’d go with a .357 Magnum revolver with a 3″ barrel. Powerful, versatile, and it’ll fit in a pants pocket if it has to. My 3″ 64 .38 Special is almost there, but I’d probably swap it for a 3″ 66 in .357 Magnum with adjustable sights.