Practical, or Emotional?


Fast Frank
December 22, 2007, 01:02 AM
I read a lot.

I usually spend an hour or two most every day going over this forum and a couple of other ones, just soaking up all kinds of stuff.

And I've noticed something.

It seems to me like us "Gun Nuts" are divided into two groups.

Some of us seem to pick our guns for emotional reasons, and others pick guns for practical reasons.

The practical guys are easy to spot.

When they talk about their rifles, it's all about WHAT IT DOES.

They talk about caliber, rates of twist, velocity, type of action, magazine type, accuracy, and stuff like that. It's about the gun. These guys can quote ballistics tables and group sizes for all their guns and know what bullets each one prefers.

The emotional guys have a different view.

When they talk about their guns, it's about HOW IT MAKES THEM FEEL.

These guys seem focused on things like how the shape of the rifle looks to them, the finish on the wood, who might have owned or used the gun before, or maybe a story about a time in their lives that the gun reminds them of. These guys don't tell stories about the gun, they tell stories about the hunt. They might even buy guns that they don't intend to shoot at all. These guys are also the ones you see wearing "Period Correct" clothing that matches their guns.

For me, I have a Marlin 39A that I bought because of the way it makes me feel, and pretty much all my other guns were picked because of what they do. ( My dad taught me to shoot his 39A when I was a little kid, and I remember those days every time I see or touch my 39AS)

I'm going to vote practical.

What about you? Are you a "Practical" gun guy, or an "Emotional" gun guy?

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Evil Monkey
December 22, 2007, 01:45 AM
I'm definitely a practical guy. I would like to build a collection of firearms that make sense to me.

I would never buy these two weapons, the SMG or the shotgun. The two most useless weapons, especially the shotgun, ughhh. :barf:

I also despise any manual operated weapon, like bolt actions. :barf:
We're in 2007, not 1907.

There are somethings I would like to get because of emotion but practicality overrides. A PKM is nice, isn't it? Nevermind, it has no handguard. A PSL sure looks bad ass, sure would like one of forget it, it only has a 10rd magazine and is way too long of a weapon.........and the magazines are way too expensive.

For me, practicality is what matters.

December 22, 2007, 01:47 AM
I'm 80% practical, but I agree with Jeff Cooper when he says that picking up a rifle should be a sensual experience. As hokey as it sounds, I do feel a certain connection with certain guns.

Fast Frank
December 22, 2007, 01:51 AM
As hokey as it sounds, I do feel a certain connection with certain guns.

Nothing hokey about it, I understand exactly what you mean.

December 22, 2007, 09:36 AM
I only get emotional about my Grandpa's old .257 Roberts, and not for mechanical reasons.

December 22, 2007, 09:41 AM
I have some of both. :D

December 22, 2007, 11:11 AM
I am both!

December 22, 2007, 01:43 PM
i think that i am a practical guy!

December 22, 2007, 02:31 PM
Definitely both. Depends on the gun and its purpose.

My Broomhandle Mauser is an emotional gun. It's certainly not the most practical piece around, but makes me feel warm and squishy when I pick it up.

My AR is a practical gun. It's cold and lifeless, but does what I want it to do.

December 22, 2007, 02:34 PM
I voted Practical, but have to be honest and say it's more like 50/50. Meaning that although I should probably concentrate on Berettas or Glocks in this day and age, I still prefer the 1911 or GP. Still, I've never bought anything only because it looked or felt good. Guns, like musical instruments, are tools. Some will make you look better, but I'd rather play/shoot better or more comfortably. And yet, if it really looks awful despite its super specs, I'd hesitate again...

December 22, 2007, 02:57 PM
I'm both- I'm as much a collector as a pragmatist, however I when possible, I try to buy guns that fill both niches.

December 22, 2007, 03:01 PM
I fall partially into both categories. I have guns, like my old 1903 that was passed to me from my Grandpa, and my old pump Rem .22 that I got from an elderly friend of my dads that I wanted them because of their history and their "feel" but I also have plenty of black and steel guns that I wanted because they are accurate, and easy to care for. I also have developed a desire to own more old milsurps because I can pass those rifles with stories on to my sons.

December 22, 2007, 03:04 PM
Both, I have some just because I have a passion to own it. I have others for the practical application they proved.

I ditto Chipperman, When I first read the question, I hand the exact same thought broomhandle vs ar

XD-40 Shooter
December 22, 2007, 03:10 PM
I'm much more of a practical guy. I'm mostly concerned about what the gun does, not how it looks or makes me feel. As long as the gun feels good in hand, what the gun does is all that matters to me. I have an ugly tubbeware XD-40, I could care less, because it will get the job done.

There would be one exception to this for me, my SKS. It has emotional appeal to me because its a proven battle rifle that has been through very grueling wartime conditions at one point or another. I feel like I'm shooting a peice of military history.:D

General Geoff
December 22, 2007, 03:47 PM
The two are inexorably linked.

While I purchase my guns for practicality purposes, they become an emotional endeavor over time; just like any other tool or appliance. The more you shoot a particular firearm, the more emotionally attached you become to it. If given the choice, would you rather give up your first gun (assuming you still have it), or the one you bought last week?

December 22, 2007, 04:03 PM
I think you left out several important classes of gun guys.

They are the:

Many of these folks have little real Emotional or Practical attachment to any individual firearm, or even to shooting any of them.

December 22, 2007, 04:05 PM
little of both.

December 22, 2007, 04:06 PM
I'm emotionally attached to a few of my fathers rifles. Mostly for sentimental reasons.

Other than than, I'm definitely practical. My favorite rifle right now is my Hi Point 995. What other semi auto out there for $150 fires pistol cartridges with a grouping of 1.5" at 30 yds with open sights.

December 22, 2007, 04:53 PM
Definitely lean toward the practical end of the continuum, but there is an emotional element, too. I have no problem flipping a gun that I don't shoot. But there are several in the collection to which I have become quite attached ... mostly because of what they can do, but also because of how they make me feel. Most of my purchases are well thought out and designed to fill a particular niche I think needs filling. But there are also the impulse buys when a particular gun "called to me." I think you might find a tendency toward practical or emotional, but doubt you'll find many who will admit to being exclusively one or the other.

December 22, 2007, 04:56 PM
I'm practically emotional about my guns. I buy them with a specific need in mind, but also have a connection with how they make me fell. Just something about a nice gun that makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.

December 22, 2007, 05:10 PM
Shooting isn't near as interesting to me as the lore of old stuff. I mean, shooting is fun, no doubt, but I don't always have free time or free time during "good" weather (meaning between -10F and 90F with winds under 20mph) to go out and shoot.

I thus have far more time to read, learn, and tinker. And for a shelf piece, better to have something neat than something soullessly functional that has no secondary utility beyond use.

I'll stick to giving a warhorse an affectionate pat on occasion, even if it doesn't group minute-of-dime at a thousand yards or get used more than once or twice a year.

December 22, 2007, 05:45 PM
Some practical reasons, especially when it comes to handguns for concealed carry purposes. However when it comes to rifles its much more emotional because I don't hunt, I'm not an avid range shooter, I'm much more of a plinker when it comes to rifles. I don't buy rifles based on accuracy I buy them more because the catch my fancy and are fun to shoot.

To sum it up, my main reason for collecting guns is either for ccw or just for fun and I will admit I'll buy a gun for its "coolness" factory if I can afford it.

December 22, 2007, 05:56 PM
If somebody is crazy like a fox, does that make them practical AND emotional?

December 22, 2007, 07:16 PM
IMO being emotional about firearms means that you have a a safe full of fancy guns that never get shot so you can show them off and brag to your friends and it makes you feel special inside or something like that.

Being practical means that you have a safe full of not so pretty guns that get shot on a regular basis so if you see the buck of a lifetime or find yourself in a deadly force situation, you can take the shot and hit the target. I fall into this category.

Just my .02,

Fast Frank
December 22, 2007, 07:29 PM
Right now, the poll says we're 85 percent practical and 15 percent emotional.

I was expecting a 50/50 mix.

I'm glad I asked this question, because I never would have guessed the poll would go this way.

I thought that if one side showed more than the other, it would be the emotional guys winning... and not by much.

December 22, 2007, 08:28 PM
80% emotional, 20% practical. I primarily accumulate milsurp rifles, and I buy them because they 'speak' to me. I've sold some perfectly nice rifles, for no good reason other than I didn't feel attached to them. Dumb? Maybe.
Definitely the way I collect, though.

December 22, 2007, 10:06 PM
Some additional types that I have noticed:

The MODELERS: They wear all kinds of stuff.
The SHOOTERS: They just love to shoot; does not matter what.

Me, I voted emotional. I'm practical all week long, so my hobby better not be. :)

December 22, 2007, 10:07 PM

December 22, 2007, 10:40 PM
Pure practical - Certain niches like house gun, carry gun, defensive carbine/shot gun needed to be filled.

Then it gets mixed, my milsurps fall into collector, investor, tinkerer because I do care about the value, try to clean them up and do minimal restoration. I'm not interested in ALL milsurps so it may be an emotional response as to which ones.
Lately, vintage Winchesters interest me, .22 rimfires in particular for the practical reason they are easy and fun to shoot, they are collectible and represent an investment but probably with minimal tinkering (so far). And I don't know how anyone can pick up a 61 model and not feel it is a sleek, beautiful rifle (emotional).

Everything in the collection does get shot from time to time, but as a previous poster commented, lack of available time and available ranges can hold that back so, there's more collecting, and tinkering than shooting right now.

December 22, 2007, 10:58 PM
I'm a bit of both, I bought my 1911 because its a proven design, but it just feels so good in the hand. My M1 isn't the most practical rifle, as far as accuracy goes but the history and the balance to it is amazing.

the AR, well I have tons of time with them so I have some emotional attachment to it, but its mostly a practical weapon, the Savage is another combination of both. the S&W 500 sure as heck ain't all that practical other than killing T-Rexs lol.

come to think of it, the only weapon I have that are purely practical are the muzzleloader and the 10/22.

December 22, 2007, 10:59 PM
I don't really understand the distinction. I bought my shotgun for purely emotional reasons: it enable me to participate in a sport I enjoy. I also bought it for practical reasons: the weight, balance, quality, action, and other features make it the most perfect shotgun for the games I play with it. But they are games. It's a sport. Emotional reasons. I'll probably get an adjustable comb put into this year, even though I don't like the way they look. Practical consideration. But there is nothing practical about working on perfecting my ability to bust small clay targets a couple hundred time a week.

My .22 I got because it's cheap to shoot. Practical. There is nothing practical about putting little holes in paper.

Carry guns are practical. Subsistence hunting guns are practical (of course most hunters are not doing subsistence hunting). A defensive long gun is practical.

A mil-surp collection seems to me by nature impractical. That you know and care a lot about each weapon's specs doesn't make owning them practical.

So I'm just really confused about the meaning assigned to the two categories.

December 22, 2007, 11:22 PM
Delta brings up some really good points.

A firearm for subsistence hunting is practical. A firearm for defense is practical. A firearm to practice and exercise your 2A right is practical. All else is emotional.

Art Eatman
December 22, 2007, 11:31 PM
Practical, but aesthetics plays its part in selection from among brands. Aesthetics aren't super-high, since my 700 Ti has a black plastic stock, and I definitely prefer wood. :)

I'm not much of a collector, but there are some guns I've kept "just because". My grandmother's old Woodsman, for instance, or the old Schutzen my father brought back from WW II. His M1 Carbine; some knives that have been in the family for a century or so...

Art Eatman
December 22, 2007, 11:31 PM
Practical, but aesthetics plays its part in selection from among brands. Aesthetics aren't super-high, since my 700 Ti has a black plastic stock, and I definitely prefer wood. :)

I'm not much of a collector, but there are some guns I've kept "just because". My grandmother's old Woodsman, for instance, or the old Schutzen my father brought back from WW II. His M1 Carbine; some knives that have been in the family for a century or so...

December 22, 2007, 11:45 PM
function over form, all day long.


Zach S
December 23, 2007, 12:01 AM
Depends on the gun, but for the most part, I'm a practical kinda guy.

December 23, 2007, 12:08 AM
I thought that if one side showed more than the other, it would be the emotional guys winning... and not by much.

I suspect there's just a lot of guys who find it very emotionally appealing to think of themselves as all practical, down-to-earth, unemotional types. :neener:

December 23, 2007, 12:18 AM
I'm more practical but with the caveat that I understand the emotional side too.
There have been times when I was shooting and almost felt a connection to the rifle. It was only ever for one or two shots but at those times I could have sworn that I was guiding the bullet in with my mind. I could have called those shots to the millimeter or dotted an I at 100 yards.

Right now I only have room for the "practical" guns. My life is just too mobile to have a collection. Some day I plan to add some of the more "emotional" ones. I think a No. 4 Enfield will be the first.

Tully M. Pick
December 23, 2007, 01:18 AM
I suspect there's just a lot of guys who find it very emotionally appealing to think of themselves as all practical, down-to-earth, unemotional types.

I suspect you're correct.

December 23, 2007, 01:24 AM
I just like to shoot and I like variety. If something throws a projectile, I'm all over it. If something performs particularly well, then that design becomes one of my favorites.

Guns that I find practical are Glocks, XD's, bolt action rifles, shrouded airguns, side by side shotguns and AK's. Glocks and XD's are lightweight, reliable, easy to carry and pack a lot of firepower. Perfect defensive handguns for concealed carry. Bolt action rifles are the ultimate for hunting and range work and are usually fairly affordable. Shrouded airguns are perfect for killing small critters covertly. A good PCP with a factory shroud is totally legal, almost totally silent and will kill animals up to raccoon size at 50 yards or more. Side by side shotguns are great hunting guns that allow you to instantly select one of two chokes and allow you to load different barrels with different shot. AK's are just so simple, cheap and reliable that I think they make the perfect civilian defensive rifle.

A gun doesn't really need to be that practical to be fun though and fun is the reason I'm in this hobby.

December 23, 2007, 01:33 AM
Practical for me. I think the first sentence really fits me: It's about what it does. I disassemble and fully understand the mechanics of all my firearms for that specific purpose, and if there's something particularly off I usually get out the tools and go to work on making the machinery more streamlined.

At the same time I noticed I do have some emotional tendencies towards firearms. I do care about shape, wood type (hell, I like to refinish and restore the wood on old guns) and all that jazz. I just wouldn't be caught dead wearing the clothes of a dead German officer while shooting a Mauser. To me that's just a bit nerdy. ;)

December 23, 2007, 01:41 AM
It's about 85% practical to me--the gun has to have a purpose, and/or fill a niche in my collection that is needed. I try to not double-up on things, and only buy the most useful thing to fill a given purpose (and most of the time, most useful=best thing for the job, IMO). But there's always that little bit of wiggle room where style and personal taste come into play; if the thing looks like a billet of aluminum alloy, and gets lazer MOA, and I'm deciding between it and a nice wood-stocked, deep blued "work of art" that's less accurate....well, it depends on how I'm feelin' about the whole thing. YMMV.

December 23, 2007, 03:13 AM
I would never buy these two weapons, the SMG or the shotgun. The two most useless weapons, especially the shotgun, ughhh.

Could you please explain this further? I'm not trying to cause a stir, I'm just curious as to why you feel that. I can think of a number of practical uses for the shotgun in particular. These uses may not suit your needs but I don't think that makes them a useless firearm. Again I'm just asking for your clarification and not flaming you for your opinion.

December 23, 2007, 07:48 AM
I only have one gun in each caliber. And I don't mean every caliber! Why own a dozen in the same model and caliber?
And, my calibers aren't too close together. Why have a 7mm-08 and a 7x57 Mauser? Does one kill deer deader than the other?
Even if I were rich, I don't think my gun collection would get much bigger. To me, guns are tools. Why have a dozen identical 1/2-inch wrenches in your toolbox?

December 23, 2007, 07:57 AM

December 23, 2007, 02:17 PM
I think I'm 70/30 emotional. While some of my guns are pure tools (SKS for example), Others are special, like my M1A. and my 1860 Army Richards Conversion is a pure work of art, with almost no practical purpose whatsoever.

December 23, 2007, 04:17 PM
Why have a dozen identical 1/2-inch wrenches in your toolbox

Well, if you just love wrenches:), you need a snapon, MAC, matco, proto, cornwell, husky, SK, sears craftsman, ATD. Each in both black finish and chrome.
Full polish and normal finish. Stubbies, flare nut, ratchet, gear drive, flank drive.
Open end, box end,(both 6 and 12 point), half moon, offset, deep offset, extra long.
Then there are the antique wrenches....OOOOOOOh don't get me going!

Can you tell I'm a collector? (Not of wrenches, though, thank goodness)

Evil Monkey
December 23, 2007, 05:09 PM
Could you please explain this further?

Sure I can explain.

First, I don't like shoulder fired weapons that use pistol ammunition. Whether they are real SMG's or 16" civilian semi autos, doesn't matter. I find that a rifle firing an intermediate rifle cartridge like the 5.56mm or 7.62mm soviet can do damn near anything an SMG can do and then some. If you can clear a building with an MP5, you can do it with an HK53 too. Some people say they use PC9 or MP5 clones and other similar weapons as home defense weapons. If you can use those then you could also use and AK or AR15 because they're just as long. At the same time, the AK's and AR's are far more versatile. They can be used for combat.....should a time ever come for that.

Shotguns are way too specialized for me. Alot of people advocate the use of a shotgun for home defense. I'd rather use a rifle because, simply, it can do the same thing. They put holes in people so they stop attacking you. I don't hunt pheasants or ducks or whatever so there's another reason why I don't like shotguns. I also will not need to buy shotgun shells, therefore reducing costs and simplifying logistics.

Basically what I need is versatility. That's the most important thing. Look at it this way.

Home defense?
-SMG--yes, it's capable
-Rifle--yes, it's capable
-shotgun--yes, it's capable

-SMG--not versatile
-Rifle--very versatile
-shotgun--not versatile


With a rifle, considering in different configurations it can serve in multiple roles, I only need to stick with 1 or 2 types of ammo (ex: 5.56x45mm and 7.62x51mm) and at most, 2 types of magazines (ex: STANAG and FAL).

Versatile, all-round, multipurpose.......

98 Joes
December 23, 2007, 05:14 PM
I'm basically a practical guy, but sometimes a rifle or pistol just screams 'take me home". :-)

December 23, 2007, 05:39 PM
If I only cared about the practical side of shooting/guns, I'd have no more than about 5 or 6 guns. My collection has >85 in it to satisfy my emotional needs.

December 23, 2007, 05:55 PM
Having two of everything is practical.
If one breaks you have an identical gun to carry or use while the first one is getting fixed. You also have a second gun that uses the same ammo, mags, and manual of arms.
It is way more practical than having one HK 9mm and one SIG 9mm and one Beretta 9mm and one Ruger 9mm.

Having seven of everything is another story though - I'd probably sell five of them and invest in ammo, mags, and some spare parts.

Shotguns are insanely practical. They are exceptional for close range defense and with slugs are almost a huge caliber rifle out to 75 yards. IMO, up close or without much practice they are the easiest to hit with and I wouldn't want to be without one.
And a pistol caliber carbine is practical too. It can do most of what a full power rifle can do but with less noise and less powder. With a lever action .357 you only use 7 grains of powder per shot instead of something like 40 grains with a 30-30 -far more efficient per shot. It can also knock off a squirrel without blowing peices of it everywhere.

I guess it comes back to what you need the gun to do.

December 23, 2007, 09:06 PM
Well, I'm practical in that I use, and use a lot, all of my guns. However, if the gun doesn't make me happy when I pick it up I'll swap it for something that does, providing it meets the practical criterea. I know this sound kind of silly but there it is. If a gun is like a hammer or a screwdriver it just isn't any fun to use. Even my concealed carry gun is a joy to use. to me they kind of go together.

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