What IF I Lived in the Good Ol' US of A, And Could Easily Own Firearms?

Disclaimer: This Post IS NOT About the Merits of Gun Ownership!

Just a prewarning, I'm not posting this as a ethical essay on the rights or wrongs of public firearm ownership, nor is it a commentary on the comparative rights or wrongs of the American or British laws about said ownership. Make your own mind up about that.

This is a simple 'what if' postulation. 

And Now to The Post...

I am quite happy living my life here in the UK without owning a gun. I mean, I would like one - primarily for target shooting which I am interested in AND it's actually - despite what our American cousin think - not entirely impossible for me to own a gun for such a sport. It's just rather difficult and not a little inconvenient to the point that I don't find it worth the bother. (We have a small bore shooting club in my town, a clay pigeon shooting club near by and a full blown firearms club in a relatively near by city.)

But what if I lived in an American state that had unfettered public access to firearms, what would I actually want to own?

Here's my hypothetical list of guns that I would be interested in owning categorized by their particular practicality of use or reason for being a collecting piece...

1. Plinking, or General Target Practice...

Every responsible gun owner should, in my opinion, start their gun-owning career with a good .22 calibre pistol or rifle. The .22 calibre gun is the foundation of any gun collection, both because of it's economy of use - ammunition being a rather expensive commodity, particularly if you want to practise to gain proficiency - but also because it's beginner friendly and is a great platform for learning the foundations of safe gun handling a good gun care practise. So...

The Ruger Mark IV Pistol

The Ruger Mk. IV target pistol is a classic gun with great looks and a long and interesting history. Ergonomically it's ideal for target shooting and has a excellent reputation for reliability. It's the kind of hand gun that you can put hundreds if not thousands of rounds through on a regular basis without it letting you down. Solid pick... And I find it rather beautiful.

The Ruger 10/22 Carbine

Another Ruger, but again they have created a time tested classic introduction to shooting with this fine semi-automatic small calibre general purpose rifle. The 10/22 is something of a legend in gun owning America and it's generally accepted that it's a great choice as an aspiring shooters 'first gun'.

Again, it has a excellent reputation for reliability, but also for the huge third party accessory and customisation support that has grown up around this rifle. It has the reputation of the gun that grows with you as it can be modified to take on a myriad of different uses quite aside from it basic guise as a starter gun. 

Loosely based on the legendary US Army's M1 carbine, it also has a reputation as being a 'lot of fun' to shoot. Like the Mk. IV it's almost a 'given' that these should be the foundation of any good gun collection.

2. Hunting & Field Sports

Again, I'm NOT getting into any discussion over the ethics of hunting. My opinion is that it's all about context.

The Remington 870 Wingman

Ironically, even here in the UK I can own this gun relatively easily with a Shotgun Certificate and as I mentioned we do have a clay pigeon shooting club within driving distance of my town. Either way, a good shotgun is kinda the gun world equivalent to a lady's 'little black dress'! The should always be one in your closet! LOL

I have gone for a pump shotgun for no other reason other than a preference for that format. The 870 Wingman is another tried and tested platform, reliable and well made. And the 12 Gauge calibre is an excellent all-rounder, giving you the flexibility for this gun to perform a variety of tasks. 

I've not included any further 'field sporting' guns as I am not personally interested in game hunting. But IF I did have any need to get rid of a pesky varmint, the 870 - given an appropriate load - should be able to do the job (even if it's a two legged varmint)!

3. Historical Collection

Now, predictably the Milgeek will want to have a few historically important firearms! I have always had a few very special favourite vintage military firearms that I would love to own and fire to increase my understanding of historic campaigns and the evolution of weapons technology.

The 1885 Martini-Henry MkIV Rifle

I'm perhaps pushing what might be possible, but as a fan of the movie Zulu I'd love to own a Martini Henry rifle. The above is attainable, but it's a rare example and it's VERY expensive. On top of this, getting hold of a (safely) usable version might make this a bit out of my reach. But I'd love one!

Alternatively, if getting hold of an authentic vintage historic firearm is impractical (or too expensive), there are newly made alternative of historic gun designs...

The Henry Big Boy Brass Rifle

OK, I'm a sucker for Westerns, it's history and it's firearms and what better way of enjoying this legacy than owning a real legend of the Old West... A authentic - but new - Henry level action rifle!

Luckily the Henry Company is still making is legendary level action rifle in a whole variety of sizes and calibres. But, I would probably go for a classic 'Brass Boy' in .357 Magnum. Not really a 'Cowboy calibre' but means I can have access to a relatively affordable .38 Special ammunition to keep running costs down (a bit).

The M1 Carbine - Auto Ordinance Replica

In a similar vein, rather than hoping I can get my hands on an increasingly rare original firearm, Auto Ordnance make a fine replica of the famous M1 Carbine.

Why this is my choice - considering all the interesting WW2 weapons that I could chose - is because one of my favourite TV shows when I was young was an American show called 'Combat'. It was sort of a low budget 'Band of Brothers' but a little less historically accurate! It was entertainment, but it was one show that my Dad and I made a point of sitting down together to watch and I remember - in particular - how cool I thought the M1 Carbine looked and sounded!

Some will be surprised that there isn't a Lee Enfield here, and I actually would love one. But then, where do you stop? I love military history and because of that I have a very long list of firearms I would love to get my hands on.... It's a deep rabbit hole that I would like to avoid, even hypothetically! LOL

And finally for this section, lets not forget historic handguns...

The Ruger Vaquero

Ok, two things, first this is kind of cheating and secondly I might be in danger of coming across as a Ruger fan boy! 

What I have here is a modern take on a historic handgun, the legendary Single Action Army 'Peacemaker'. Famed as the 'Gun that Won the West' the original SAA was a product of Colt and a nice companion sidearm - further adding to the 'Cowboy' theme - to the Henry rifle I featured above.

Now, obviously, Ruger have been quite creative in their imagining of a SAA, but it's not completely inaccurate as a version of the Colt. of which there were a host of versions. Incidentally, you can still buy a real Colt version of the SAA, they do still make them! But I like Ruger's version, which is available in .357 magnum so would compliment the Henry perfectly.

(I wish someone made a modern version of the Webley .455 revolver, but they don't. Sadly.)

4. Personal Defence Weapons

Now, here's the irony of framing this 'what if' as taking place in USA! Now, while we don't generally have a gun-centric society here in the UK, the fact is the vast majority of us - outside of vocational requirements - don't feel we need guns, particularly for personal defence.

America - on the other hand - is in a strange way the author of it's own 'gun problem'. The fact that guns are so universally accessible in The States means there is - obviously - a lot more gun crime. That's a simple fact. So, while here in the UK I feel no need to have a gun for defence, there is a certain logic to having a gun available for the worst case scenario if you live in the USA.

All this opinion and is defiantly up for debate. That said, here's what I would chose for personal defence...

'Bedside Gun' - Smith & Wesson MP Bodyguard .38

I'm afraid I am still a bit old fashioned in regards to what I consider 'ultimate reliability' in handguns, it's still always a revolver for me in this respect! They just work. (Yes, you can argue the point, but that's my mindset. Sorry.)

And why 'Bedside Gun'? Well, if you are going to buy into the principal fear of attack being the night time home intruder, this is where a gun like this is going to spend most of it's life (I don't have young kids now).

The scenario that reinforces this pick is us waking up at 3 o'clock in the morning to sounds from downstairs, so I need something I guarantee will work and has a low light capability (the S&W Bodyguard comes with a Crimson Trace laser designator built in).

It has just a 5 shot capacity, but if you cannot deter or incapacitate a intruder with five shots of .38 +P then you haven't been training enough! (In fact, I would have tended to stick a .327 magnum Ruger LCX in here but for the lack of a integrated laser.)

Compact Carry - The SIG Sauer P365-380

Now, for 'every day carry' (an idea that goes further down the rabbit hole of American gun mentality that I will not discuss here) I could - and perhaps should - use the same S&W Bodyguard as I featured above. There is a good argument for having the one handgun and learning to us it well... BUT...

For the sake of showing a good alternative to a revolver, and say I wasn't so biased to the good old wheel gun - I thought I'd throw in a semi-auto here as there are some very good ones that kinda do tempt me... And the SIG P365 in .380 auto would be my acceptable second choice.

The focus here is on COMACT, and in this format full 9mm Parabellum can be a little too snappy, so I have chose the '9 short' .380 round version instead (though SIG do do a 9mm version of this gun as well if you think you could manage the beasty)!

The marketplace in the US for these type of sub-compacts in now hugely flooded, but in my opinion the SIG and the Glock 45 are probably the stand out examples in this category (although it's a matter of personal taste).

Note that the P365 comes with built in rail - should you wish to add a flashlight or laser - and provision for fitting optics, so it could fulfil the role of 'Beside Gun' very well.

Alternatively - If You Want to Intimidate!

For home defence, I do have on additional suggestion/idea... I have already featured the excellent Remington 870 pump shotgun in 12 gauge above for field sports, but - of course - this also makes for the ultimate intimidator!

There is a school of though that says that just the sound of racking a pump shotgun is enough to deter the opportunistic intruder, but I wouldn't put too much faith in just that. A good 12 gauge load is far more reliable when you want to stop bad things happening! And on top of this, your 870 can be tricked out to be the ultimate house defender with easily available accessories...

5. 'Left Field' Choices

And finally, let's just add something a little novel into my play list! All the above are based on very sound practical choices but what about 'fun'?

Well, something I have always wanted to try just for the hell of it is a BLACK POWDER firearm. Yep, I am talking ye olde powder and ramrod here, although - believe it or not - there are modern designs that bring the old tricorn hat image of black powder shooting more up to date and practical...

I have a video here which shows off a mussel loader I would be interested in trying out - but I include this video because it kinda gives you an insight - if you are British - into the 'market demographic' that this sort of gun appeals to in the States! Heavy wink here (the comment about 'the ladies' made me chuckle - and can some tell Americans that we get the whole cowboy hat 'thing' but wearing a hat INSIDE is considered the hight of bad manners!) 😉

Joking aside, I love the whole complex ecosystem around modern mussel loading, the structured and methodical process of firing these guns really appeals to the OCD geek in me. But, if you want to go even further down the rabbit hole why not go the full 're-enactment' route with a actual historic black powder replica?

I guess I could have put the next video in my 'Historic Firearms' category, but again, it is really the complexity of the supporting process that goes into firing these guns more that the gun itself that interests me here. Although, I have already alluded to the fact that I am a bit of an Old West fanboy!

This next video gives you and insight on where you might start if you were to get into black powder Western gun shooting...

And here is a nice short video on three black powder guns that not only give you that Spaghetti Western vibe but also remind folk that for some time black powder was what really won the West!


So, there we go. A bit of everything there that nearly cover all gun nut bases although some may spot the obvious omission of there being no assault guns in my list. I am afraid this is where I draw the line, for although I am a fan of gun technology I absolutely do not see the need for civilians to have access to what are modern military weapons. 

Sorry, my view on assault weapons is that they are not needed in the civilian sphere of gun owning. Want to own one, join the army (or take up airsoft).

So, having offended a lot of people, I'll just end with the reminder that this is just a hypothetical post. I would never move to the United States even if I would love to try out these guns and I will reiterate that even here in the UK many of these guns are actually available to own IF you are prepared to go down the route of applying for a firearms permit and do what is necessary to ensure that you have everything you need to support your case for convincing the Police that you are a responsible owner.

But, I am happy to just being a sofa gun nut and look ate videos of other people enjoying their hobby.

Bottom line... I don't need a gun. 😊


  1. How dare you have an opinion! LOL! Seriously, before all the idiots start flooding you with their outrage, I thank you for giving an honest opinion. I agree with just about all that you said. The one suggestion I would make would be for a lock box by your bedside, so that when you aren't home, somebody can't steal your weapon. Many lock boxes are easy to use in a hurry. Now to get back to work on my N-scale Japanese layout. Cheers!


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