There are many types of gun owners in the US today. The two types I will be addressing in this article are “collectors”, and “shooters”. The collector keeps an eclectic mix of guns on hand. Sure, he might have, one or two defensive style platforms, but they are likely totally different from each other, with no parts compatibility. Additionally, the collector probably has several different types of ammunition he maintains in order to shoot his wide variety of guns. Maybe he doesn’t even have ammo for some of the guns in his safe, because they don’t often get fired.
There is absolutely nothing inherently wrong with being a collector. I personally love the simple mechanics behind various firearms designs, and owning those designs is very fulfilling. However, I attempt to take my hobby a little more seriously than the average gun owner, and if you do as well, you might get something out of the following write up. Does your safe look like a collection, or does it look like an arms room?
The Arms Room Concept
In certain gun related social circles that I frequent, there is a movement that has decided that as defensively minded, “serious use” gun owners, collecting should take a back burner to practical purchasing. Why keep twelve different guns on hand, when instead you could have a few standardized platforms, and THEN buy your fun guns? This concept essentially follows the adage of “two is one, one is none”. My primary carry handgun, for example, is a Glock 19. My primary defensive rifle for use in my home is a BCM AR15, setup like an M4A1. By essentially cloning those guns, I’m able to achieve many tasks.
First we must recognize that if we are involved in a shooting, the gun we use will be locked up in an evidence locker for a long amount of time, (IE months, maybe even a year). If that is the only carry gun we own, we are now unarmed, and potentially a target if the object of our defensive shooting was some sort of gang member, or other criminal. By having a backup “clone” of our primary carry gun, we can easily rearm ourselves until the investigation is complete, and we receive our property back from the PD.
Additionally, logistical matters become infinitely more streamlined with this system. If the main gun breaks, I can easily change over to the backup, or substitute parts. I’m purchasing the same magazines and accessories for both guns, and I can use the same holster. Supporting equipment is an often crippling cost when considering a gun purchase, and by standardizing our primary platforms, we easily cut that cost in half, or eliminate it completely. In my time as an armorer, having “sacrificial” backup guns allowed me to get individually assigned weapons systems operational with minimal downtime. By having a backup system to scavenge from or put into use, you minimize and eliminate downtime of the system, while keeping your defensive posture, (in this case daily carry or having a gun at the house ready to go), intact.
Conservation of the platform itself, (lengthening its lifespan), is another critical component of the arms room concept. By owning two or more of the same gun, we can designate a training gun and a carry/primary gun. If you are shooting thousands of rounds a year, keeping those training rounds on one barrel or frame will lessen the likelihood of a dramatic failure or malfunction occurring at a time when you need a functional gun the most, (like a defensive shooting).
Furthermore, training also becomes a much more straightforward concept. While familiarity and weapons handling issues are often overblown, (if a human being can go to the moon, they can likely switch from a thumb safety to no safety, etc…), there is something to be said about having lots of time on one platform. Manipulations will likely remain at a higher state of efficiency, and consistent geometry and ergonomics of the platform will potentially aid the shooter in achieving higher, more repeatable levels of performance and accuracy.
I’ve “cloned” my primary rifle already, and will soon be purchasing a second Glock 19, similarly outfitted to my other one. Once that’s done, I’ll free up some funds for fun guns. I think it’s a concept we should all at the very least consider looking into. It might be worth your time.