Beware the man with one gun


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Hurricane
October 5, 2010, 04:19 PM
I get what people mean when they say this. But it seems as arbitrary as saying "beware the golfer with one club" or "beware the mechanic with one wrench".

I guess to me, I'd say beware the man with any gun. Especially if I didn't have one. I may be splitting hairs on a bald dog, but boredom will do that to you.

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jimmyraythomason
October 5, 2010, 04:24 PM
"beware the mechanic with one wrench".
This is very GOOD advice for exactly the opposite reason for "Beware the man with one gun".

JohnBiltz
October 5, 2010, 04:49 PM
I don't understand switching carry guns on some kind of rotational basis. I can understand going to a larger gun if I'm changing circumstances like going to an outdoor setting from urban since your threat environment has changed or you are moving from concealed to unconcealed. But day to day concealed I don't get changing. I carry the largest most capable gun I'm comfortable with carrying daily. The real question is why change tools if I'm doing the same job? Pick the best tool and keep on using it.

Just One Shot
October 5, 2010, 05:10 PM
I don't understand switching carry guns on some kind of rotational basis. I can understand going to a larger gun if I'm changing circumstances like going to an outdoor setting from urban since your threat environment has changed or you are moving from concealed to unconcealed. But day to day concealed I don't get changing. I carry the largest most capable gun I'm comfortable with carrying daily. The real question is why change tools if I'm doing the same job? Pick the best tool and keep on using it.
If I were able I would probably carry the same gun every day.

Unfortunately I have places that I go that I am unable to dress comfortably enough to conceal a large hand gun especially during the summer months.

When I know this to be the case I much prefer to take my little LCP with me instead of going unarmed. After all any gun is better than no gun at all.

psyopspec
October 5, 2010, 05:27 PM
I think the saying in the OP may have been true at a certain time and place, but in the 21st Century, the only folks I've met who have one gun keep it unloaded, boxed, in the closet and shoot it once a year or less. So if anything, "beware" applies to range trips with underdeveloped or underpracticed safety habits.

sherman123
October 5, 2010, 05:30 PM
The older I get the more this makes sense to me. I'd rather pracitice with one gun and be as proficient as I can with it than spend my time practicing with and carrying several.

AK103K
October 5, 2010, 05:31 PM
I understand the thought, but never understood the mentality. If all youre good with is that "one gun", just what good are you really? If that special gun isnt present, and you need to work with whatever may become available, what then?

I personally think someone who is well rounded, and can pick up pretty much anything and do reasonably well with it, is much more dangerous than the person who is only good with one gun.

SharpsDressedMan
October 5, 2010, 05:40 PM
I am guilty, as charged, of carrying lots of different guns for self defense. Part of it is simply I have many guns that I find intersting AND have faith in as defensive guns. Some are better than others; higher powered, handle better, conceal better, etc. Depending on my mood, I might be packing a .45 revolver or auto, a 9mm (Beretta, CZ, Browning, or Walther), or a little .32 Colt on the ankle or .25 in the pocket. If it makes YOU feel better armed, or more ready for "combat" to practice and pack the same gun all the time, then I'm sure you can easily attain a higher level of proficiency with that one gun than I, with my compromise of my "average" ability to deliver with my variety of weapons. However, I DO practice and shoot all of them over a 30 day period, every month, and after 40+ years of shooting, I can probably outshoot 80% of the average gunners with my .25, 90% with my .32, and 95% with any of the bigger weapons. Not bragging (well, maybe I am), but I have reached a respectable level of competence, and desperately try to maintain it. I was top shooter in my 80-man department, and the only one that shot competitively there. I have won a few trophies in my day, and have gotten to train with some very good people (Chuck Taylor, Carlos Hathcock). I do NOT recommend such a practice for a person who has not yet reached their "comfort" level with a defensive handgun, and my reasons for swapping weapons is mainly for my personal pleasure in owning them and using them. If I WON'T carry them, they are no longer "practical" to me, and thus, less interesting. I realize this is creating a handicap for myself, but life is too short to leave all these nice guns in the safe.:)

Just One Shot
October 5, 2010, 05:40 PM
I understand the thought, but never understood the mentality. If all youre good with is that "one gun", just what good are you really? If that special gun isnt present, and you need to work with whatever may become available, what then?

I personally think someone who is well rounded, and can pick up pretty much anything and do reasonably well with it, is much more dangerous than the person who is only good with one gun.

Well said!

Shawn Dodson
October 5, 2010, 06:01 PM
I understand the thought, but never understood the mentality. If all youre good with is that "one gun", just what good are you really? If that special gun isnt present, and you need to work with whatever may become available, what then?

I personally think someone who is well rounded, and can pick up pretty much anything and do reasonably well with it, is much more dangerous than the person who is only good with one gun.

Being familiar, proficient, and efficient with a particular gun doesn't mean you'll be be completely disfunctional when handling a different gun. It simply means you'll be less familiar, less proficient, and less efficient.

Multiple platforms increases decision-making and multiple opportunities to make an incorrect decision. The longer you take to make a decision ON DEMAND translates in lag time. The less familiar you are with a weapon the more foreign it will feel in you hands and instead of quick, intuitive decision-making you're slowed down by the mental effort required to make conscious decisions.

Hence the adage of "Beware of the man who has only one gun - he probably knows how to use it!"

Patriotme
October 5, 2010, 06:17 PM
I know several guys with just one gun. They suck and their patterns on the pistol range look like buckshot.

Vonderek
October 5, 2010, 06:41 PM
It's a silly saying. The only people I know with one gun are neophytes who bought a gun, maybe shot once (or not at all) and then plopped it into their nightstand or kitchen drawer and now think they are protected.

As with anything, really proficient people have a collection. For example every good guitarist I've known has had a collection of guitars. Same with every good shooter...they've always had a collection of guns, economics permitting how extensive.

M2 Carbine
October 5, 2010, 06:46 PM
I never agreed with that saying.

All the people I knew with only one gun had very little interest in guns or shooting. Pretty much they couldn't hit a barn if they were inside it.

jeepguy
October 5, 2010, 06:53 PM
i have been finding myself doing this more & more with my pistols. i always shoot my kimber pro carry .45. although i bought a pro carry in 9mm as well just for cheeper ammo & it handles/feels the same. i don't relly shoot the 4 other ones. with rifles i have mostly been using two, my mini 14 & m1a. i have an ar 15 & vz 58 that mostly sit unless i have a guest that want to shoot them. i also have a fal that is still doesn't run right & back in the shop. i have less then 10rds through it but like my m1a far more, so if i can get it running i will sell it.

Sebastian the Ibis
October 5, 2010, 07:05 PM
I get what people mean when they say this. But it seems as arbitrary as saying "beware the golfer with one club" or "beware the mechanic with one wrench".

The most proficient shooter I personally know. (with dozens if not hundreds of articles written about his utilization of firearms in WTSHTF scenarios) Is a staunch advocate of picking your favorite gun and sticking to it. He has 4 glock 17's with the exact same sights and trigger mods which he rotates between. A glock 19 and a Kel-tec, for when a 17 is to large. That's it, despite the fact that he has probably been to every quality pistol school in the country, and has probably at one point or another held every pistol smith certification offered. He can use any gun, and to my knowledge has fired at least a half dozen types while on duty (He was a Miami-Dade cop back in the cocaine cowboy days), however, he believes you will perform at your best if you practice nearly exclusively with what you carry. I think there is a lot of truth to that. With the exception that it is good to be functional with any gun you might likely come across.

psyopspec
October 5, 2010, 07:10 PM
He has 4 glock 17's with the exact same sights and trigger mods which he rotates between. A glock 19 and a Kel-tec, for when a 17 is to large. That's it..

I don't disagree with the philosophy, but doing the math that looks like it might be more than one.

351 WINCHESTER
October 5, 2010, 07:23 PM
When I was a kid I had a single shot .22. I became very proficient with it because that's the only gun I shot for years. I had great confidence in my rifle and my shooting ability. Whenever I pulled the trigger I usually hit what I was aiming at.

There is a lot of truth behind that statement.

Wishoot
October 5, 2010, 07:23 PM
Variety is the spice of life.

Old krow
October 5, 2010, 07:23 PM
Splitting hairs on a bald dog can be entertaining I suppose.

But it seems as arbitrary as saying "beware the golfer with one club" or "beware the mechanic with one wrench".

Guns are tools? Wrenches are tools? I guess we'll make clubs a tool too. The difference is, a gun has one purpose, send bullet where you tell it to go. So, with that being said, would you want to bet against a golfer that has only one club, it's a putter, and you're on the putting green? We've somewhat limited the scope of the game when we confine our choices to SD.

Not that I totally agree with it, I'm just saying. I own more than one.

I guess to me, I'd say beware the man with any gun.

If you look at it this way i makes perfect sense. Anything more than one might as well be one or 500, it's enough to kill me so it's all really the same. Beware of the man with THE gun.

AK103K
October 5, 2010, 07:39 PM
Multiple platforms increases decision-making and multiple opportunities to make an incorrect decision. The longer you take to make a decision ON DEMAND translates in lag time. The less familiar you are with a weapon the more foreign it will feel in you hands and instead of quick, intuitive decision-making you're slowed down by the mental effort required to make conscious decisions.
I understand what youre saying, but at the same time, youre also reinforcing my point.

Not having any experience with anything but your "one gun", just puts you at even more of a disadvantage than that of someone who is at least basically familiar with a variety of guns. If youre the lest bit serious, your going to spend more time and effort to have more than just a basic knowledge of the guns anyway, or at least I do. Maybe youre different.

I suppose some of the difference here is, whether youre really a gun person or not. Im amazed at how many people, many of who claim to be familiar or trained, and dont have a clue how to even check the gun you just handed them, let alone shoot it.

Personally, I'd prefer to be reasonably proficient with as many weapons types as possible, than to be the perfect "expert" with just one. If thats not you, thats fine.

Rexster
October 5, 2010, 08:52 PM
The earliest version of this quote, I read in an article or book by Col. Jeff Cooper, and was worded to the effect of "Beware the man with one gun; he may know how to use it." The context of the story was to be careful not to discount the skill of the man who has only one gun, because if he practices with it, he may very well be very skillful. It was NOT used as a persuasive tool for folks to literally own one firearm, and was NOT meant to mean that the one-gun man IS going to be skillful.

On the other hand, one of my mentors in the areas of both shooting and law enforcement urged me to pick one handgun design and get really good with it. It took me a while to take it to heart, but when I concentrated on the 1911, and set aside my DA revolvers, the advice was proven to be true. Using my agency's qual course as a benchmark, I could "qual" Expert just about on demand with a sixgun, but had difficulty attaining that level with a 1911. Well, after several months of leaving the DA sixguns in the safe, and diligently shooting the 1911, I was able to qual Expert with the 1911 just about every time.

OK, did my sixgun skill diminish? Well, in my case at least, no. When some particularly nasty inmates escaped from an area prison, and operated together as a close-knit gang, including the murder of a fellow LEO, I remembered the flat trajectory of my .357 sixguns, and as my chief did not allow us rifles at the time, decided to re-qual with a sixgun, and keep it cased in the patrol car, to augment the 1911 in the duty holster. In spite of not shooting a DA sixgun in over three years, I shot the qual course at a very high level, with the aggregate group being as good as ever. (I had not "grandfathered" the sixgun, so it could only be a "back-up" gun, and the range officers do not score back-up gun quals, except as pass-fail.)

As for getting really good with one weapon system, I think what we seek is unconscious competence, the ability to perform all the functions without conscious thought. This gives us an edge in a time-is-life situation, to borrow a term from Travis Haley of Magpul Dynamics. Folks may pooh-pooh the fast draw, but if the choice is draw against the drop, or die, gentlemen, it is time for fast draw. If the choice is a fast reload, or die, that is no time to figure out an unfamiliar mag release. If every little change in the loop takes three-quarters of a second to recognize and adapt, I want my carry gun to be VERY familiar.

This does not mean one cannot learn to operate other weapon systems. Indeed, I know how to run autos with Beretta/Walther-style hammer-drop safety levers, Glocks, the HK P7, the AK rifle family, the AR15 rifle family, the Garand rifle family, several lever rifle and bolt rifle systems, several single-shot rifles, and have a working knowledge of the M1 Carbine from handling a non-firing example. If I have to run one of these other systems in a fight, however, I may well have to think my way through at least some parts of the weapon manipulation, which may or may not cause a delay that gives an enemy the edge he needs at a moment in time.

All of my serious handguns point well in my hands. I presently choose to carry only long-stroke DA handguns as go-to pistols, that I might draw and fire in an urgent hurry, reflexively. I have other handguns that I might indeed use for fighting, that are DA/SA, or the SA-only 1911, that point well in my hands, but they are "war bag" guns, or something that I pick up proactively, and have the chance to make the mental adjustment to such niceties as to place my the center of the distal pad of my trigger finger onto the 1911 trigger face, rather than the distal crease on the center of the face, as I do with DA handguns.

FWIW, I will not mix Glocks with my carry guns, because things such as stroke length and reset cause me to have to stop and think, plus they sit so low in my hands that my trigger finger drags along the frame, which plays hell with practical long-range accuracy. My agency uses "simunition" Glocks in training, and after a class, I will dry-fire a SIG or SA revolver to reset my brain and reflexes.

I have no problem at all going back and forth from DAK SIGs to Ruger and S&W DA sixguns; indeed, my cheap-practice gun for both platforms is an S&W Model 17 K-frame chambered in .22 LR. Both systems point the same, the trigger stroke is the same, and so no conscious thought is needed to fire the first six shots. Before I run out of ammo, my brain has had enough time to perceive whether a revolver or auto is in my hands; I have never tried to stick a magazine onto a sixgun, or open the cylinder when handling an auto.

The duffer who is not familiar enough with any of his guns to operate them at a level of unconscious competence will not understand what I am saying. The truly gifted man who can run any virtually any weapon with equal ease probably does exist, too, so I am not calling anyone a liar; such folks are blessed and can disregard my advice.

I hope my rambling might make some sense, and be helpful to someone. :)

jonmerritt
October 5, 2010, 08:54 PM
I see it as "Beware of man, when you have but one gun"

Snowdog
October 5, 2010, 10:27 PM
It's a catchy saying that makes a person think to understand its meaning... it doesn't necessary allude to an inescapable fact of life.

Seriously, does it really matter if a person has become proficient with more than one firearm?

"Beware the man with a gun" makes plenty sense to me.

SharpsDressedMan
October 5, 2010, 11:09 PM
Taking the quote the rest of the way..."Beware the man with one gun.....IN EACH HAND."

xcgates
October 5, 2010, 11:11 PM
Beware the man with one gun...

for he is about to get the same disease you have, and buy up all the guns you want to buy. :what:

Old krow
October 5, 2010, 11:27 PM
Taking the quote the rest of the way..."Beware the man with one gun.....IN EACH HAND."

To take this quote even one step further "Beware the man with one gun.....IN EACH HAND, because you're gonna sleep on the couch if you buy them both."

X-Rap
October 5, 2010, 11:35 PM
I think the man with one gun likes this saying the most.

BP Hunter
October 6, 2010, 12:05 AM
Like many gun enthusiasts, I own many handguns and used to rotate my carry guns. I have realized that you really need to have 1 or 2 that you are very proficient with. I have chosen my Glock 36 and my Ruger LCR as my carries, depending in what I wear. I use the other guns for target shooting.

Ramman911
October 6, 2010, 12:33 AM
I have one gun (mostly because that's all I can afford at the time) but have shot tons in the military and see nothing wrong with only one. Although when $$ permits I plan on getting a metric butt ton more guns. :)

9mmepiphany
October 6, 2010, 12:39 AM
Before reading this thread, it never occurred to me how many different meanings it would hold for different people.

The saying isn't about a man only owning one gun...one gun being enough...and it isn't about only being able to shoot one gun well. It refers to a person who has taken the time to learn one platform so well that he can use it to it's ultimate potential. It takes some experience to really understand this, because at lower levels of skill, many guns can be used at the same level.

I happen to shoot several different platforms, because students make different choices and it is my obligation to be able to shoot them all well enough to teach it's use. But I made this choice knowing that I was compromising really being able the get th most out of any one platform:

1. my reset will always be longer than needed...because I don't want to short stroke the reset.
2. my prep of the trigger for the next shoot will be less than optimal...because my finger won't know if it takes 4lbs or 4.5lbs to take it to the edge of release.
3. my seeing the aligned sights return to target will always be just a hair slower...because they will look different than I have been training to see.
4. a longer shot will take more conscious thought because I'll have to figure the holdover for extended ranges.

If you aren't shooting at this level, the saying will have much less meaning. It is the difference between being able to shoot at a rate of 4 shots per second and 6 shots per second

psyopspec
October 6, 2010, 04:50 AM
It refers to a person who has taken the time to learn one platform so well that he can use it to it's ultimate potential.

Then why didn't the originator say "Beware the man who has taken the time to learn one platform, as he can probably use it to it's ultimate potential."?

I think the criticisms of the saying remain valid. It's telling that we have yet to have a response from a person who owns one gun and is a top 1% marksman, or a response from a person that knows someone in this category.

Ragnar Danneskjold
October 6, 2010, 04:55 AM
Yeah, I know too many "men with one gun" who have an unloaded revolver or Fudd shotgun stashed in their closet, buried under piles of junk. Not too much to beware about that.

You could say "beware the man with many guns, for he actually enjoys shooting" with an equal amount of authority.

9mmepiphany
October 6, 2010, 05:46 AM
posted by psyopspec
Then why didn't the originator say "Beware the man who has taken the time to learn one platform, as he can probably use it to it's ultimate potential."?
That wasn't Jeff Cooper's style...this was the equivalent of a sound bite in it's day. I don't think he ever conceived of someone who carried a gun, who wouldn't learn to use it to it's ultimate potential...it was beyond his ken

I think the criticisms of the saying remain valid. It's telling that we have yet to have a response from a person who owns one gun and is a top 1% marksman, or a response from a person that knows someone in this category.
I didn't realize you were waiting for an example. You mocked, I thought tongue-in-cheek, an example in your previous post...surely, you didn't think the saying was literal.

I know several people who fall into this category. The first two that come to mind are Dave Sevigny and Jerry Miculek

jimmyraythomason
October 6, 2010, 09:13 AM
I think that old saying refers to a time when folks didn't run out and buy the latest and greatest (wouldn't even if they could have afforded to). They used what they had and used it very well. They had to rely on that one gun for food and protection on a daily basis. During the great depression, my grand dad had a single shot .22 rifle(they used shorts because they were cheaper). My dad and his brothers had to account for EVERY cartridge they were given. Either bring back game or bring back the cartridge. Missing meant going hungry. No excuse for missing was accepted.

Double Naught Spy
October 6, 2010, 09:36 AM
So one gun and one bullet must make him a super good shooter!

hardworker
October 6, 2010, 09:50 AM
I think the saying refers to how some people aren't into guns for the intrinsic coolness of them and view them as a tool for a job. Since you don't need 5 different half inch wrenches, one will work and you get to know it pretty well.

M2 Carbine
October 6, 2010, 10:12 AM
I first heard that saying as far back as 1960.
The saying is actually, "Beware the man with one gun because he probably knows how to use it".

It has always meant that the person owned only one gun. Not that he had more than one gun but was proficient with one gun.

The saying went on to assume that because the person had only one gun he practiced with only that one gun, so he must be good with it.

The assumption is wrong because a person that chooses to own only one gun does not have the interest in guns and shooting to be good at it.

Think about it. Do you know anyone that chooses to have only one gun that can shoot?

CoRoMo
October 6, 2010, 10:26 AM
I don't know if anyone else has said this, but the saying is just an encouraging comment you throw out to a newbie that has bought his first gun. You try and make the guy feel better about only having one gun, so you tell him that he's some sort of mystical ninja. At least that's what I always thought it was about. You don't want to be some gun snob looking down your nose, and your arsenal that you brought to the range, to this kid who bought a Glock and it's all he owns. So you make him feel better about it all. I don't know. That's what I thought the saying was about.

jimmyraythomason
October 6, 2010, 10:36 AM
Do you know anyone that CHOOSES to have only one gun that can shoot? You are using modern thinking and it is likely correct in today's circumstances HOWEVER in times past having only one gun wasn't a choice it was out of a lack of means to buy more.

huntsman
October 6, 2010, 10:39 AM
If I were able I would probably carry the same gun every day.

Unfortunately I have places that I go that I am unable to dress comfortably enough to conceal a large hand gun especially during the summer months.

When I know this to be the case I much prefer to take my little LCP with me instead of going unarmed. After all any gun is better than no gun at all.
Since I got my LCP I’ve got in the habit of always having it in my pocket, if I feel the need for a bigger gun that goes on the belt but I still carry the LCP.

One gun? Yeah I could live with that, as it is I’m a minimalist with less than ten guns; at least in my mind.

X-Rap
October 6, 2010, 10:48 AM
I think Jimmyray got it right in #34. I remember hearing the phrase in the woods in northern MN. In the old days when my dad was a kid people lived like that, they actually had at least 1 rifle, revolver, and shootgun + a 22 rifle most of the time but there were 4 of them and they hunted and lived way out of town, not much ammo to spread around so every shot needed to count.

SSN Vet
October 6, 2010, 10:56 AM
Beware the man with one gun

I always suspected that this saying really had some kind of snobbish sentiment underlying it....

Never did like snobs.

SharpsDressedMan
October 6, 2010, 01:30 PM
If you have just one gun, and really learn how to use it, shouldn't you have another one just like it, in case #1 breaks and you have to fall back on #2 before you get #1 running again?:D

jimmyraythomason
October 6, 2010, 01:35 PM
If you have just one gun, and really learn how to use it, shouldn't you have another one just like it, in case #1 breaks and you have to fall back on #2 before you get #1 running again? That would be an ideal situation assuming your circumstances allowed it. We aren't always blessed with an ideal situation.

psyopspec
October 6, 2010, 02:05 PM
9mm,

What I'm contending is that there doesn't appear to be even a grain of truth. The best anyone can offer is speculation from decades ago, a time when it may have been one gun and absolute skill set with it that kept a person alive. I'm a fan of COL Cooper and his writings, but this particular line is all flash and no bang.

jimmyraythomason
October 6, 2010, 02:08 PM
The opposite is just as true. I know several people who own many guns each. They also are terrible shots with everything they own. Remember the old adage,"Jack of all trades,master of none" also applies to skills/talents.

CoRoMo
October 6, 2010, 02:11 PM
The key word is 'probably'. I read it to basically mean nothing at all (probably=probably not).
____________________________________________________________________________________________

"Beware the man with one gun because he allegedly knows how to use it".

"Beware the man with one gun because he possibly knows how to use it".

"Beware the man with one gun because he imaginably knows how to use it".

"Beware the man with one gun because he plausibly knows how to use it".

"Beware the man with one gun because he may or may not know how to use it".

"Beware the man with one gun because he presumptively knows how to use it".

"Beware the man with one gun because he ostensibly knows how to use it".

"Beware the man with one gun because he supposedly knows how to use it".

"Beware the man with one gun because he by chance knows how to use it".

jimmyraythomason
October 6, 2010, 02:17 PM
How about;"Beware the man who has A gun and is pointing it at you".?:neener:

SharpsDressedMan
October 6, 2010, 02:19 PM
below vvv

9mmepiphany
October 6, 2010, 02:23 PM
What I'm contending is that there doesn't appear to be even a grain of truth.
It really isn't any different than other sayings, such as:

A stitch in time saves nine or a penny saved is a penny earned.

Why are folks getting so wound up in this?

CoRoMo
October 6, 2010, 02:33 PM
"Beware the man with one gun as if he knows how to use it".

230therapy
October 6, 2010, 02:48 PM
I don't beware the man with one gun. The vast majority of them have no idea how to use the one they have!

gym
October 6, 2010, 02:58 PM
Back in the old days, 70's, in certain states you could only get 1 gun on your carry, NY was one. So when I shot every week, with my gun club, I shot that 1 gun. Maybe that is what that refers to, you get pretty good with that 1 gun if that's the only one you have. When I came down to FL in 94, it was as many know and have mentioned, a breath taking experience to see that you could buy as many as you wanted.
There are a lot of people who may have a hundred guns that they dont shoot on a regular enough basis to be as effective as possible, that is my guess as to what it meant. Recentlly I decided to go with 1 type of carry gun, and even though I have a couple of calibers, it is the same frame and the grip tape sights and holsters are all the same, this way if there was an emergency, I know exactlly where all the controls are, "if any" and limit my thinking for that 1/10 of a second that may make the difference.
This is just my guess
In a post last week there was a link to an article called "the Marine", it was about a 71 yr old ex-marine who carried a 1911 all his life. When in a situation faced with multiple gunmen, and no choice as they were leading them into the back room to lay down" IE: Lane Bryant, he drew his 45 and killed both men, after it was over he had no recollection of even removing the saftey, but IMO, it was second nature and muscle memory. he had done it so many times in the corps. and at the range, that he didn't have to think. Any time a 71 yr old man can draw and fire his weapon while having men with their guns drawn and pointed at him, it takes a lot of the mystery out of the one gun theory. I am not saying that it can't be done with multiple guns, especially in younger men, but this may be an example of the man with one gun phrase.

KBintheSLC
October 6, 2010, 03:52 PM
I understand the thought, but never understood the mentality. If all youre good with is that "one gun", just what good are you really? If that special gun isnt present, and you need to work with whatever may become available, what then?

Ditto. <edited out unnecessary comment to make the point> I think the best practical shooter is the guy that can pick up his dead enemy's gun and still manage to kill a bunch more with it.

My apologies for non-THR comment.

hardworker
October 6, 2010, 04:05 PM
also I think this saying originated back in the days when people didn't spend thousands on guns and ammo. Back in the family farm days, one gun was all many could afford. If that gun was a 22 revolver, the owner could probably shoot the wings off a fly with it. Not tactical in the least, but being tactical and being efficient don't mean the same thing.

psyopspec
October 6, 2010, 04:17 PM
A stitch in time saves nine or a penny saved is a penny earned.

Now you're just getting ridiculous. Quit making stuff up.

psyopspec
October 6, 2010, 04:18 PM
:neener:

30mag
October 6, 2010, 06:00 PM
I think the best practical shooter is the guy that can pick up his dead enemy's gun and still manage to kill a bunch more with it.

I don't think PRACTICAL is quite the word you're looking for.

SharpsDressedMan
October 6, 2010, 06:19 PM
Being able to use most any gun well sounds pretty practical, AND tactical (tactically prepared), to me.

oldbear
October 6, 2010, 06:43 PM
The older I get the more this makes sense to me. I'd rather pracitice with one gun and be as proficient as I can with it than spend my time practicing with and carrying several.
+1. The older I get the more I am affected by C.R.S., so I just adore the K.I.S.S. theory.

Rexster
October 6, 2010, 06:52 PM
Let's keep in mind that when the words were spoken/written, which probably pre-dated Col. Jeff Cooper, a firearm was relatively more expensive than today, and the middle class was much smaller and not as relatively wealthy as today. Having one gun was a significant deal back then, and having several was some kind of accomplishment, unless one belonged to the upper class. Now, a working class guy with a steady income can own quite a few nice firearms.

Then, as now, though, there was probably a widespread perception among duffers that the ability to buy technology equated to skill, and that the more firearms one owned, must be an indicator of skill. I believe Col. Cooper was actually poking a stick at wealthy snobs.

As I think back to when I read Col. Cooper's first extended story containing the line in question, I think he was referring to a rifleman. The context of the story was, if I remember correctly, hunting. While Col. Cooper is best known for his influence on handgunning, his greater love was for rifles and hunting.

Lastly, I want to say "amen" to what 9mmepiphany has written in this thread.

jimmyraythomason
October 6, 2010, 07:00 PM
My grand dad was a sharecropper during the great depression. He had traded for the little .22 rifle. It was a big deal to come up with the few cents a box of .22 shorts cost. Little thought was given to buying a second rifle. It took everything they could muster just to feed the one.

30mag
October 6, 2010, 07:17 PM
Being able to use most any gun well sounds pretty practical, AND tactical (tactically prepared), to me.

It sounds like an unlikely scenario that would be difficult to train for.
It is unlikely that you will ever have to shoot anyone, much less be in a firefight with multiple BGs and are for some reason forced to use a firearm that is not your own.
Difficult to train for:
To be able to use any gun WELL requires that you learn to shoot: handguns that are too large or too small for your hands, or chambered in more powerful calibers (.44mag, 10mm, etc.) than you are comfortable shooting.

fireside44
October 6, 2010, 07:19 PM
People knock the saying but I know guys who have scores of guns that can't shoot worth a crud either.

9mmepiphany
October 6, 2010, 07:21 PM
Lastly,
Thank you for reading and appreciating it

30mag
October 6, 2010, 07:27 PM
Edit: double post thing from mobile phone.

ChCx2744
October 6, 2010, 07:38 PM
"Beware the man with one gun and 20, fully-loaded, 33-round, high-cap mags." :D

Mp7
October 6, 2010, 07:46 PM
Beware ot the man with a sharp mind.

The rest is knowing the tools.


A detective special ....EDC practiced with for decades ....
will end a gunfight at close range quickly.
In the right hands and mindset.

Sun Tsu. In a way.

"The Fox runs for dinner. The Rabbit runs for his life."

JohnBiltz
October 6, 2010, 08:16 PM
I have learned in this thread that I will be a better shot simply by owning a bunch of guns. I somehow doubt this.

What I think is most people have a limit on how many shots they can practice over a given time. It might be limited by cost, time or opportunity but there is a limit. I choose to shoot my rounds with my carry gun. I don't consider this foolish. I'm not the best shot here, my eyes are bad and I'm getting old with an active life full of physical stupidity behind me that I'm paying for now. But I'm trying to be as good as I can be if I need to be. I could care less about having a bunch of guns in a safe at home. I'd rather spend the money on ammo.

AK103K
October 6, 2010, 08:18 PM
The older I get the more I am affected by C.R.S., so I just adore the K.I.S.S. theory.
Im finding that as Im getting older and finding CRS as well as the physical symptoms creeping in, that I do much better with both, if I keep my brain and body as active as I can. Stagnation, in both respects tends to be very detrimental, and unfortunately, very "American". The longer you actually think and physically do, whatever it is you like, the longer you'll be able to continue to be able to do it.


To be able to use any gun WELL requires that you learn to shoot: handguns that are too large or too small for your hands, or chambered in more powerful calibers (.44mag, 10mm, etc.) than you are comfortable shooting.
It does, and its really not difficult to do, if youre of a mind to do it. Its not so much being an "expert" with all of them, as much as its being familiar with the gun, knowing what to do with it, and expect from it when you pick it up and shoot it, and not being intimidated or frustrated by it, because you dont know or understand it.

How many threads do you see here alone, where people complain about all the different platforms, and its obvious, many of them are "one gun" shooters, simply because, they cant shoot the gun they are bitching about, so there must be something wrong with it. Regardless of the platform, 99.9% of the time, its not the guns fault if you cant shoot it. We will almost always be the weakest link in the equation.

It sounds like an unlikely scenario that would be difficult to train for.
Its only limited by you. If you arent willing to try, then you'll never know, and your the one that loses.

One thing too about "scenarios", they always seem to be so....."narrow of thought". Pretty much anything you can think of, and probably a lot that may never occur to you, are possible, even if they seem pretty far fetched. Just becasue you dont think they are realistic, doesnt mean that you wont get to be the next one to solve that very problem. An open, and realistic mind, and the willingness to explore things that others may put down, to me, makes you the better person. At least you tried it and may or may not have proved its worth. At least YOU really know. The one with the negative thoughts, only has those, with nothing to back them up. You learn by doing, good or bad. Reading about it is a good start, but YOU have to do the leg work to prove its right, or not, for you.

You would have to have some magic hands to have the ability to shoot any handgun well.
Other than some extremes, hands really have nothing to do with any of this. Its whats between the ears thats usually the problem.

Beware ot the man with a sharp mind.

The rest is knowing the tools.
There ya go. Some do understand. :)

ChCx2744
October 6, 2010, 08:33 PM
I've always believed a good idea was to research the type of guns and ammo the local law enforcement used, therefore if a crisis situation were to occur where you would have to use a *possibly* fallen officer or soldier's gun (With legal justification to the preservation of human life and property), that you would know how to operate it. (I.E. the guys around here have GLOCKs, M&P's, Mossberg 500's, Remmy 870's, AR's, etc.) I've tried to pinpoint my focal point of firearms training to these types of weapons, because of that fact; everything else I shoot or play with are just for recreation or personal enjoyment. The AK and 1911 are usually for play, nowadays; the GLOCKs, AR's, Berettas and 870's are what I shoot the most.

Hell, you may be involved in a robbery or active shooter scenario and an officer may be in need of a mag that you just happen to be carrying a spare of. In that situation, I'd be glad to share. Coincidental miracles are great during panic situations, I'm sure many can agree.

GD
October 6, 2010, 10:12 PM
A meaningless statement. The majority of people with only one gun, probably own an old rusty .38 or .25 jennings.

jimmyraythomason
October 6, 2010, 10:31 PM
The majority of people with only one gun, probably own an old rusty .38 or .25 jennings. That is an assumption that will be very difficult to prove.

Fat Boy
October 6, 2010, 11:32 PM
The statement always made me think of a time when people either couldn't afford multiple firearms, or were unwilling to part with the money to buy more than one gun. Again, in my thinking, this was a time when people used their firearms for harvesting game and defending against 4 legged predators more than for defense against the 2 legged sort. I always admired the story of a person who owned a single revolver and made it work for multiple applications, often because in the circumstance they needed to make one gun work for everything.

Those of us who are able to afford multiple firearms or other items that we enjoy using are privileged when compared to others who lived in time gone by.

Just my 2 cents...

gym
October 7, 2010, 05:15 PM
But guys in the 50's to the 80's and still in some states you only are allowed to get one pistol on your license, that's if you can even get a license. In some parts of the country it is a privlage they extend only to those who can fulfill certain criteria. Like Trump, he gets to have a gun, you have to be either in the security business with full disclosure, tax forms, bank statements, letters from your attorney accountant and bank, along with 3 letters of personel recommendation from 3 people who know you for a minimum of 5 or 10 years. Or you need to show that you make deposits and carry at least 50 thousand dollars in cash, at any given time. Also in order not to be limited you need to show that sometimes it is necessary to take that money home with you so you aren't limited to a permit that can only be used during your employment hours. So please don't think that everyone has the ability to go and buy as many as they like, because that may be true wher you live but not where a lot of people live. And it may only be true where you live, for the last 15 years or so. I only knew a few guys who were not cops who had licenses in NY, when I had mine. It was called a gold card, and at that time the amount was only $5000.00 instead of 50,000.00. The gun with it's serial number goes on the license, you get a purchase order at 1PP, police plaza, to go and but the gun, and bring it back along with the purchase order so that it can be entered on the license you carry. It's called a Carry permit, not a concealed weapons permit. And you are held to a very high standard in order to renew each cycle, with an outrageous amount of money to renew. This is important fo people to realize that we are not living in a country where everyone gets the same rights, nor the ability to live as a free man should. Just so you understand that it's not the same everyware. And those who need to work in the financial center or the "meca" of busines, and the center of the universe for many fields in the U.S. are not allowed the same rights as the average joe in most other states.

Sawyer Bar
October 7, 2010, 06:08 PM
The saying refers to a rifle, perhaps?

Back in the day the common man owned a single rifle or shotgun. He could shoot, reload and shoot again and hit the intended target.

I know a guy who shoots the same load out of the same rifle year round. Varmints, rabbit, you name it. He just does not miss a deer no matter what. He owns one rifle shoots the same 130 grain reload and he's on his third barrel.

Myself, I like to shoot several rifles because I'm not a meat hunter.

Ole Coot
October 7, 2010, 06:27 PM
I don't agree with the assumption having only one firearm helps in any way. I am not an "expert", I carry a full size 45 when in the woods in my area, mostly on a ATV. I have owned and shot J frame S&Ws for years, carry one concealed in most places IWB or pocket. I will even open carry a Ruger single six, first two shot shells for snakes around the house. I keep a Marlin 30-30 by the kitchen door for coyotes and a Winchester Defender plus a 45 for nighttime protection. I am isolated somewhat and getting older, no kiddies around so lights, motion detectors alarms etc keep the "bad guys" away. Each firearm is for what I think is the best for my use, realizing I could carry the 45 and a Stevens 24 to cover most but I chose to be, and am after all these years reasonably proficient with each firearm I use.

millertyme
October 7, 2010, 06:59 PM
I subscribe to the theory. When I put on my P11 for CC I question how I would do in a situation where I would need it, especially since I shoot my 75B 10x more often and my groups are 1/4 the size. Typically, I only CC outside of the home while running around town but when I get home I usually attach the 75B open and sleep with it nearby, especially since it has the tritiums and I'm much more familiar with it. Had the CZ compacts been more representative of the 75B and as compact as the P11, I would have saved up for one or sold something else to fund one. But, getting back to the OP, with the practice I have with my 75B, I feel much more confident with it and it speaks volumes to the quote.

Erik M
October 7, 2010, 08:57 PM
beware the gunsmith with one rusty hammer. and no other tools.


also, watch out for his brother, the barber with thick glasses.

jimmyraythomason
October 7, 2010, 09:08 PM
The difference is specialization vs. generalization.

AK103K
October 7, 2010, 09:59 PM
In a perfect world, maybe. Its really not as simple as that.

The specialist is really a "limited" person, where the generalist, has more options, when things may become a little more fluid.

Its sort of like only being able to drive a small automatic, and finding yourself with only a 12 speed tri axle with a clutch and air brakes available to get you away to safety. Anybody can drive the automatic, do you even know how to start the tri axle?

How do you even know what to specialize in, if you dont take the time and make the effort, to learn as many platforms as you can, to make an informed choice?

Broaden your horizons. You'll be better off in the long run.

Sauer Grapes
October 7, 2010, 10:03 PM
I've been thinking about changing my carry gun because I really like something else, but I'm just so use to carrying it and feel so competant with it, I just can't change.
Everything else is just a fun range gun.

lookshigh123
October 7, 2010, 11:45 PM
That's might be true.

JohnBiltz
October 8, 2010, 04:55 AM
The specialist is really a "limited" person, where the generalist, has more options, when things may become a little more fluid.

Its sort of like only being able to drive a small automatic, and finding yourself with only a 12 speed tri axle with a clutch and air brakes available to get you away to safety. Anybody can drive the automatic, do you even know how to start the tri axle?

How do you even know what to specialize in, if you dont take the time and make the effort, to learn as many platforms as you can, to make an informed choice?
Is that what you tell the wife? I think people are buying different guns because they like owning different guns and everything else is pretty much rationalization. We are not some special ops team heading off to train insurgents.

30mag
October 8, 2010, 03:08 PM
I get what people mean when they say this. But it seems as arbitrary as saying "beware the golfer with one club" or "beware the mechanic with one wrench".

I guess to me, I'd say beware the man with any gun. Especially if I didn't have one. I may be splitting hairs on a bald dog, but boredom will do that to you.

If the mechanic has a crescent wrench, then how many more wrenches does he need?
Thus we see the weaknesses of such analogies. Hopefully.

AK103K
October 8, 2010, 04:14 PM
Is that what you tell the wife?
I dont tell her anything, its all give and take, and variety goes a lot farther than just the missionary position. ;)


I think people are buying different guns because they like owning different guns and everything else is pretty much rationalization.
Why do you have to rationalize anything? If you choose to own them, I would hope its becasue you wanted too, not because you felt pressured to, and/or the need to make excuses for your choices.

I do buy them because I like them, and I also buy them so I can learn them. Those I dont really like, I sell so I can buy others, but I havent lost anything from the lesson of owning them.

We are not some special ops team heading off to train insurgents.
I know I'm not, but thats not to say I couldnt. How about you? Are you versatile or competent enough to teach someone pretty much anything they might bring you, or are you just that "one gun" person?


If the mechanic has a crescent wrench, then how many more wrenches does he need?
You know my brother in law, and former mechanic!? :D

jimmyraythomason
October 8, 2010, 04:18 PM
If the mechanic has a crescent wrench, then how many more wrenches does he need? Maybe many more since "cresent" is a brand of wrench and not a type of wrench. Adjustable wrench is the proper term(this from a retired mechanic) for this type of wrench.

JohnBiltz
October 8, 2010, 09:23 PM
I know I'm not, but thats not to say I couldnt. How about you? Are you versatile or competent enough to teach someone pretty much anything they might bring you, or are you just that "one gun" person?
I've hunted small game when I was a kid and learned pump shotguns and double barrels. In the 80s I tended to buy and sell a lot of pistols including revolvers looking for what I liked. Then I bought a Sig 226 and settled down with that. Lost that in a divorce and have been using Glocks since as far as pistols go. I did 20 in the Army mostly in the 82d. I don't know jack about some things like bolt action rifles, skeet or trap. I knew more than anyone else I've ever met about M60 machine guns. I'shot some foreign stuff and could make just about anything work if I had a few moments to play with it or study the safeties first but I'm not in training to be a grunt anymore. Did that, got my retirement check.

shockwave
October 8, 2010, 09:35 PM
The saying in question is based on a false premise. It suggests that guns have particular attributes such that using one exclusively leads to better performance. That begs the question that guns are difficult mechanisms to operate.

On the contrary, they are very simple devices based on the idea of a bullet and a barrel. Semi-automatic pistols, revolvers, rifles and shotguns are easily mastered and it's a good idea to be comfortable with as many as you can learn. You may have to employ a BG's weapon, or one given to you in an emergency, and I see no advantage in relying on one weapon only.

That said, I seriously doubt I'll ever fire any handgun more accurate than my 686. They aren't all the same, but using one doesn't make you less proficient in using any other.

the foot
October 8, 2010, 10:32 PM
Where I grew up a man had only one gun, maybe two at the most. My father, and both grandfathers, each owned one shotgun that put food on the table and defended the family.

So I don't get it about the one gun thing, except that in our situation anyone who meant harm to us needed to be afraid of those guys in my family who had only one gun.

My mother, after losing our father, was scared at night, so my brother gave her one shotgun. She successfully defended herself with that one weapon when an intruder tried to come into her house through a kitchen window.

Beware the man with one gun, he may know how to use it.

orionengnr
October 8, 2010, 11:03 PM
Another statement which has lost it's meaning over the years.
Someone brought up "a stitch in time" and "a penny saved".
I was raised with and understand both. I have needle and thread both at home and at work, and I'm not a surgeon :). I'll still bend over to pick up a penny on the ground, although these days I sometimes wonder why. However, I will bet you that anyone under 40 would neither recognize or understand the philosophy behind either...even if you try to explain it.

I have learned in this thread that I will be a better shot simply by owning a bunch of guns. I somehow doubt this.
As ludicrous as is the inverse. :rolleyes:

I know a number of people with one gun. None of them shoot often or well.
I know people with multiple guns. Some shoot well, some do not. But I'll tell you this much--every good pistol shooter I know owns more than two.

Justin
October 8, 2010, 11:50 PM
All of the best shooters I know own multiple guns.

that said, based on my experience, the number of guns a person is proficient with directly correlates to how often you shoot them and test your skills.

For me this works out to having a high level of proficiency with two to three guns, average-above average with maybe a half dozen, and reasonabled familiarity with fifteen or more.

At the end of the day, its all about how much time you're willing to spend pulling triggers.

30mag
October 12, 2010, 06:03 PM
Maybe many more since "cresent" is a brand of wrench and not a type of wrench. Adjustable wrench is the proper term(this from a retired mechanic) for this type of wrench.


"A genericized trademark (also known as a generic trademark, proprietary eponym) is a trademark or brand name that has become the colloquial or generic description for or synonymous with a general class of product or service, rather than as an indicator of source or affiliation ("secondary meaning") as intended by the trademark's holder. Using a genericized trademark to refer to the general form of what that trademark represents is a form of metonymy."
-Wikipedia

"A rose by any other name..."

The point of my post was analogies can't be taken literally anyways.

thorazine
October 12, 2010, 06:06 PM
Beware the man with one gun

AKA the man...

Who will be waving it erratically sweeping everyone with the muzzle at the range.

jimmyraythomason
October 12, 2010, 06:12 PM
"A rose by any other name..."
Same is true for Ping Pong,Freon, Coke ( at least in the South applies to ANY carbonated beverage) etc....

jimmyraythomason
October 12, 2010, 06:13 PM
Who will be waving it erratically sweeping everyone with the muzzle at the range. But THIS guy will have all kinds of ''tacticool" junk hanging all over it.

Sheepdog1968
October 12, 2010, 06:14 PM
My take on it (outside of what Cooper said as mentioned of the first page of responses) is that you should pick one system of firearms so you can rely on the same muscle memory. For example, Sigs, Glocks, XDs all don't have external safeties. If you train with one of these, the others would be harmonious with your muscle memory. I would add a firearm with a safety that requires additional safety manipulation into the mix because under stress, you may not remember, be able to do so. If you train with a pistol that has a safety, I would add only those pistols that have the same type of safety manipulations (either you push it up or push it down but I wouldn't have both types).

This doesn't mean that I don't use other types of pistols or own different types of pistols. I just make sure the ones for self defense all operate the same and that the other ones are just the social plinkers.

Not that long ago, I had an opportunity to take a formal force on force training class. It amazed me how much harder simple things became. I knew that things under stress would be harder but it still surprised me a how much harder they were.

Ole Coot
October 12, 2010, 06:34 PM
This saying actually started with my wife. She asked, "Why do you own so many guns and why do you want more? You can only shoot one at a time." Thus started this line of reasoning, passed to other wives.

Mr.Davis
November 11, 2010, 07:05 PM
I'd add a new twist on this saying:

"Beware the man who only wants one gun."

JohnBiltz
November 12, 2010, 04:49 PM
I don't think you need to learn more than one gun to get good with one gun. The military gives a guy a gun often the first gun he ever held and then trains them on it. Given a choice I wish they gave him more time on that weapon rather than time with a lot more weapons he will never use. Owning multiple guns will not make you a better shot. Its about how much time you practice not how many guns you practice with. Exposure to many different guns allows you to make better choices on which gun you decide to go with but it doesn't intrinsically make you a better shot. Generally gun guys like to own guns so sure good shots tend to own a lot of guns because they are attracted to them. But don't mistake cause and effect. A guy who grew up with one rifle and sent out repeatedly with one bullet to get supper and did is a dangerous man. I doubt many of "The Greatest Generation" ever had more than one gun of any type.

oldfool
November 13, 2010, 12:12 PM
everybody ought to own one (or six) that they especially favor
another dozen (or two) to just enjoy shooting
and at least a dozen more "just because"

but beware of anyone pointing any one of 'em at you

SwampWolf
November 13, 2010, 02:30 PM
Feel sorry for the man with one gun.

Skribs
November 13, 2010, 02:37 PM
I have one gun. I also have virtually no training (other than what I've found on the internet) and very little practice. Should you beware of me?

goon
November 13, 2010, 02:49 PM
I see both sides of it. Personally, I've owned one of about every style of semi-auto military style rifle, each of the common bolt action military rifles, many revolvers and most styles of semi-autos.
I can use an AK, a FAL, an AR, a Mosin Nagant, an Enfield, a 1911, a Glock, a SIG, a S&W or Ruger revolver - all reasonably competently from the first time I pick it up. I like the wide range of experience I have - if nothing else it gives me confidence in advising friends on guns or in making my own purchases.

Having said that, my dad used only a 99 Savage in .300 Savage for nearly forty years. He was and still is surgical with that rifle. He generally kills deer with shots to the eye at less than a hundred yards, the the neck at ranges over that. I saw him snap-shoot a running deer through the neck at over one hundred yards once - the rifle cracked as soon as it touched his shoulder and the shot went exactly where he wanted it. Another time he shot a deer through the brainstem at a paced 400ish yards (at least 350 in the real world) from an improvised rest.
That kind of ability under real world conditions is a product of using that same rifle for more years than I've been alive.

Old krow
November 13, 2010, 03:59 PM
The saying in question is based on a false premise.

Not at all. There's some interesting reading on it, but it was used by Jeff Cooper and Elmer Keith to infer that "shooting isn't an equipment driven sport" or, "you can't buy your way to being a good shot." We at THR have a tendency to lean heavily toward "practice! practice! practice!" so this really shouldn't be a foreign concept.

It was never meant to say that owning more than one gun was a bad thing, it was meant to say that owning only one gun was not a bad thing, or your skill level was not proportional to the number of guns you owned.

If you take in in the context that is was meant, it makes perfect sense.

1. It doesn't apply to every one. It was only meant to apply to poor gun owners (or new gun owners) as a means of reassurance and to rich gun snobs as a jab.

2. When it doesn't apply, just disregard it, it really isn't a big deal. ;)

3. The fact of owning x amount of guns by itself has NO bearing on shooting ability, practicing does and it can be achieved with one gun. See #4. for a better explanation.

4. When we give advise to new gun owners we follow this to a T, do we not?

Example; "Looking for first handgun, suggestions?" is the thread subject.
Reply; "might I suggest brand x and a crap ton of ammo to become proficient?"
Successive replies; "might I suggest brand y and a crap ton of ammo."
Or "no matter what you get, get a crap ton of ammo and practice."

I have one gun. I also have virtually no training (other than what I've found on the internet) and very little practice. Should you beware of me?

You should beware of any man with a gun, even a broken be right twice a day.

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