Tuesday, March 12, 2013

"Universal" Guns

     What's a "universal" gun?  Simple: it's a model so ubiquitous that you can build one with few (if any) parts from the original maker, a gun so widely accessorized that you can get just about any practicial widgets for it you might want.

     For center-fire pistols, the 1911 and Glock 17 fill the bill; they are so widely supported that you can, with very little effort, build a polymer-frame 1911 and a metal-frame Glock (and go shooting in Opposite World?).  Parts and accessories for each fill pages in Brownells and Midway USA catalogs, not to mention the back page ads in any gun magazine.

     A generation or more back, the Baby Browning and hundreds of "Eibar" copies (in everything from .25 through .380) kind of filled the role, though usually only as complete firearms.

     In center-fire rifles, the AR-15 stands head and shoulders above the rest, followed by the slightly less multi-sourced semi-auto AK-47.  Tam argues persuasively for the Winchester 94 as well, and she's got a point, especially in the "ubiquity" aspect.

     Shotguns, it's a dead heat between the Remington 870 and Mossberg 500.  Even the folks who shoot high-end shotguns usually own one or other of these as well.

     In .22s, Ruger dominates, with the 10/22 rifle and Mark I/II/II pistols (especially if one includes the the 22/45 as a subset of the "Mark n" line)   I can't think of any other adult-sized .22 rifle or pistol that comes close.

     And the point of this list?  There are a lot of guns out there, with a wide range of virtues and failings.  No firearm is perfect for every shooter or application but some are a lot easier to keep running, a lot easier to find experienced users to get advice from, a lot easier to find and buy.  You should own one or more "universal" guns if you're serious about the Second Amendment. 


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post. I love the Universal Gun concept. I started building an AR and halfway in, decided I wanted it in .22lr, and it didn't even slow me down. Both of my .22lr pistols are 1911s, and my other .22 rifle is a T/C Encore. Except for one of the pistols, I built each gun up slowly, piece by piece, until I had everything I needed, by which point I would bring a box 'o gun parts to a smith and ask very nicely for it to be turned into a gun.



Robert Fowler said...

Damn, I don't own a 870 or a 500. Do I get any points for a 37 Ithaca? I do have 2 bolt action 12 gauge J C Higgins. One of them I cut down to 21 inch BBL and put a scope on it. I've built 2 AR's and have made some "Modifications" on my 2 1911's/ My Mark I is untouched.

SJ said...

Let's see...

my first pistol: a Ruger 22/45. (Second pistol: an S&W small frame. Not really in the same category of mods-and-add-ons, but it's a revolver.)

My first shotgun: an 870, with a smooth-bore and a rifled-bore barrel.

My second rifle: a Ruger 10/22. (After a Remington 700. Which is probably one layer down from "Universal", but a commonly-available long gun that every gunsmith has seen.)

At the beginning of last December, I told myself I would get an AK shortly after Tax Day. Just because. Talk about bad timing...

Anyway, I'm halfway through the list.

Bubblehead Les. said...

I'm going with the Universal CALIBER List.

.22LR, 9mm, 12 Gauge, 5.56 NATO/.223 Remington, 7.62 NATO/.308 Winchester.

Why? Go to a Gun Store and try to find a Decent Semi-Auto in Each AND enough Ammo to feed them (Shotguns excepted). Mix and Match Pistols, Rifles, Shotguns, doesn't matter. Good luck finding something that doesn't cost twice/three times as much as it did 6 months ago.

And if THAT's what hard to keep in Stock and heads out the door as soon as it goes on Sale, I'm pretty sure those are what the "Most Common Guns in Use are" today.

BTW, GLOCK has a PAID Back log of 1.2 MILLION Pistols, and 3 plants are running 24/7 making about 100,000 a month. Do the Math.

But I can get 1911's any day of the Week up here. Pricey, and the Ammo's Tricky, but at least they're Available.

Old NFO said...

And don't forget revolvers... :-)

TotC said...

I own 3 out of the 5.

Remington 870


Ruger 10/22

Hmmm, maybe a Glock 17 should be part of my arsenal.

Roberta X said...

Old NFO: I think revolvers and side-by-side shotguns are the topic of another little essay on owning the two types of guns at the *bottom* of most "to be banned" lists.

Blackwing1 said...

My very first firearm, and for a long time my ONLY firearm, was a well-used "Coast-to-Coast" branded Mossberg 500 in 12-gauge. It had an old-fashioned 28" straight-tube barrel with a gold bead at the end for a "sight".
It was my "everything" gun, used for goose, duck, grouse, pheasant and even (with the old-style Foster slugs) deer; it did double-duty as the home-defense gun.

For universality, you might also consider the Marlin 39 and 39A (and all the variants, including Tam's "Papoose") in .22LR. They've been making those for an awful long time. But probably not nearly as ubiquitous as the 10/22.

Anonymous said...

Darn good point. I've often said this--I just haven't had a term for it. "Universal guns"!

Why didn't I think of this. I am stealing this of course.

Shootin' Buddy

perlhaqr said...

Yep. The first firearm I ever bought myself when I was old enough was a Mossy 500.

Which I then immediately made into a PGO shotgun.

I was young! ;)

(It has a real stock back on it now.)