One Gun To Rule Them All?

There’s an old adage among gun people, “Beware the man (person) with one gun, because odds are they knows how to use it.” It’s more true for rifles or shotguns than handguns, though. Most people I’ve met with only one handgun have it solely for self/home defense and practically never think about it, let alone train with it. For purposes of this discussion we’re going to restrict ourselves to carry guns, because that’s where it is used most often. My internet buddy Will just posted a Youtube video on the subject, and covers it pretty well. He puts up some pretty good stuff; have a look and maybe subscribe.

Look, our lives aren’t all the same, and for a lot of us needs vary. Sometimes more or less discretion is necessary, which can mean having options in several different sizes. If you are a fairly new gun owner it’s not a bad idea to find a platform you like and stick with it, at least initially. By ‘platform’ I’m referring to Glocks, S&W M&Ps, 1911s or whatever. These platforms come in a variety of sizes and calibers, so each of your carry guns will have a common grip-angle, manual of arms and similar triggers. That’s just good sense. This doesn’t mean you can’t experiment; it’s a really good idea to find a range with gun rentals to try out different guns and find what you like before committing.

Three guns, three sizeds three different manufacturers, but all three guns have the same manual-of-arms, similar grips and similar triggers.

Oops, better explain one of my terms here- ‘Manual of Arms.’ This refers to the operation of the gun; what controls there are, where they are located, loading the weapon, clearing jams etc. These things will all be identical across a given platform. The idea is if they all work the same you can use them pretty much interchangeably under stress. To a certain limited extent training with one is training with all. Whether you choose a revolver or semi-auto getting a common platform can give you an advantage when changing guns.

For the big revolver makers pretty much all their guns of a given type will all have the same manual of arms. All S&W double-action revolvers are functionally a single platform, as DA Colts are a distinct platform, as DA Rugers are a distinct platform… you get the idea. All of them provide small, medium and large-frame guns.

Add a Glock 42 or 43 to this picture and you’d have a size for virtually any carry need.

Carrying a single platform simplifies training, and in semi-auto platforms you can usually use the largest magazine in all the guns; on the smaller ones you can probably use the magazine from the largest, which makes your life easier and cheaper.

For myself? I’m sort of ‘platform agnostic,’ but I’ve been at this a long time and have a broad base of experience. Stick a gun in my hand and as long as it works I’ll probably be fine. But developing this took decades, a deep fascination with handguns and a lot of training and practice. It’s not for everyone. So for me the choice of a concealed carry handgun boils down to ‘how well do I shoot it and how well does it fit the circumstances?’ But I’m the exception, not the rule.

Let’s talk about those circumstances. How much discretion is required? How warm is it? What is the perceived threat level? What clothing options are appropriate? These things factor into your choices, and for most of us if we adhere to a ‘one gun’ philosophy we’ll have to build our lives around the constraints of that gun, which will likely be very limiting. It will either limit what we can do and where we go, or we will need to settle for a smaller, likely less capable weapon… or worse yet choosing to go unarmed in some situations.

While a ‘one gun’ philosophy likely won’t work for most of us, the ‘one platform’ philosophy gives up the broadest range of options, and the greatest freedom in our lives.

Stay safe and have a great week.

Michael Tinker Pearce, 13 April 2021

3 thoughts on “One Gun To Rule Them All?

  1. Dean Willard

    Another great article Tinker! Solid advice that comports with my experience. I’m a Sig guy and continue to be grateful to another very experienced individual who nudged me toward that platform.


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