Seems like anytime you get a gathering of shooting enthusiasts together, be it hunters, target shooters or collectors, chances are better than even that some form of debate will start – not unlike a gathering of politicians. However, unlike with our congressional representatives, the difference of opinion between firearms users is, while also opinionated and self serving, usually based in some small degree on facts and experience.

For years the standard fodder for the gun magazines when sales slowed was an article extolling the virtues of the .30-06 over the .270, or the 1911 in .45 ACP vs. the S&W Model 19 in .357 mag, or some other similar pair of calibers or guns. Traditionally the articles were about rifle calibers or even specific rifles themselves, such as bolt actions vs. single shots. Didn’t matter what the argument was about, just as long as it sold magazines.

Handgunners also had their day. It might be the revolver vs. semi-automatics argument, or scoped revolvers vs. iron sights. Or the article could even suggest those popular scoped cutoff rifles were not true handguns, but hand rifles.

Regardless, anything was fair game if it got a rise out of the readers and generated enough interest to sell more magazines. Controversy, as the national media is so aware of, sells copy.

One issue concerning handgun shooters has always fascinated me. That being the question of which handgun you would choose if, heaven forbid, you could only have one.

I can’t think of anyone who would willingly consent to limiting themselves to only one handgun, but circumstances being what they are, it might be because of government mandate (not likely yet), government or marketplace-induced ammunition shortages, (remember the great .22 and other ammo shortages of recent years) personal finances or even the total societal breakdown and the resulting run for the hills.

Given something less than an all-out war for our freedoms, or all-out anarchy visited on our more rural areas, and considering that life as we know it will probably stay pretty much as we know it for the discernible future, if you’re an enthusiast and own several handguns for a variety of usages and had to choose only one, which one would it be?

I know the question sounds trite, but the options vary considerably. Remember that among our numbers are those who engage in the various precision shooting matches like bulls eye, IPSC, three gun matches, cowboy action shooting or even handgun silhouette shooting. (Does anyone still do that?)

Handgun hunting is another short gun venue that many, myself included, enjoy and often requires a specialized type of handgun. Then there are those among us who pack a handgun for the purpose of defending their families, their own hides and those of total strangers. An offshoot of that genre may be those among us who pack a short gun for protection from things that go bump in the night, (or daylight) while fishing remote backcountry streams and lakes, shed antler hunting, camping or just plain old woods bumming.

The important thing to remember here is that all of these, and more, are valid reasons for using a handgun. Where ever you may fall into any or all of these categories, my point would be you aren’t required to apologize or explain to anyone for choosing a handgun according to your experiences and understanding of these needs. If you require a “mouse”gun – fine. If your needs are more dramatic, say along the lines of a portable hand cannon – fine.

However, one shouldn’t be so close-minded not to entertain recommendations from knowledgable people. By which I mean talking to people who’ve actually had experience in these areas, not those anonymous internet experts who likely have never endured the chaos of violent confrontation or enjoyed the pleasing smell of gunsmoke wafting by as they stand over the inert form of their harvested game.

Fortunately, the way things are in our country, at this time, the foregoing is a decision we don’t have to make yet. However, if the socialists or self-proclaimed progressives now in congress have their way, it may be an issue we have to deal with in the future. Cost of ammunition, efficiency of caliber, availability of supplies, including parts replacements for the chosen firearm, and a few other considerations are all involved in this one gun scenario.

That said, I know which of my tools I’ll be packing when. Do you?

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