What's the gun in the average "one gun household?"

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Dec 25, 2009
Northern KY
Someone commented in another thread that most people probably only own one gun. If that's true (and I have no way of knowing that) then what kind of gun is that single gun likely to be? On the one hand I can see it being a .22 rifle because they are probably the most popular single type of gun. On the other hand I can also imagine it might be a 38 revolver from S&W or Colt that was bought for self-defence, shot once, then loaded and put in a drawer. In both cases the guns may have been passed down from a parent.

What do you think the most common "one gun" is?


If anyone knows a source for reputable statistics on this I would love to see them.
I know several people with only one gun. In every case it is either a deer rifle, or shotgun.
My Guesses would be, some kind of .22 rimfire, Pump Shotgun or Break Action, I would think those are beyond a doubt the most common guns in "non-gun" houses.
Like you, I have no way of knowing. But I suspect that there are a lot of 12-gauge shotguns (I'm lumping in pump and single shot together) in closets or under the bed and a lot of duty sized .38 specials in dresser drawers, nightstands and headboards. Probably about evenly split, too.

There's probably a small percentage of households with just a .22 (generally rifle) as well, I bet.
As with most consumer goods, price and quantity are inversely proportional. As such, the majority of guns found in households will be guns that were very inexpensive to purchase. Hi-Points would be among them.
I'm thinkin' it depends on the demographics. Around here, not everyone hunts ducks/upland birds, nor do they hunt small game or are overly concerned with sd/hd. But EVERYBODY and their brother hunts deer. If there's a closet around here with only one gun in it, I'd bet that one gun is a rifle capable of deer hunting.
I seem to find more granddads old .22 usually a single shot and invaribly it has a broken front site for some reason. Bet I've replaced half dozen front sites over the years. Probably from leaning up in a closet corner and falling or sliding into something, just a guess.
I think I repaired and refinished more old rifles that arent mine than ones that are.
The worst ones were left loaded for 40 plus years it did keep some crud out of the action but the bbls and chambers were really yuck.
I'd say a .22, as I've always been told that more people die from .22 gsw's than any other caliber (accidental discharges), although I have no data to verify this.
I'd bet on a .22 rim fire rifle as the most common.
Nearly everyone has one as a first gun. Even if shooting did not become a hobby, most people would still have that weapon. Very few would get rid of a 22, then buy something else IMO.
45% of American households contain a firearm.

1% or less are hunters.

That rules out rifles and shotguns.

I would suspect the answer is a .38 revolver.
Onefamily: 22 revolver passed down from father
Secondfamily: Springfield XDm 9 purchased new for home defense
Thirdfaimily:Small 25 auto (unknown brand, old, unreliable)
45% of American households contain a firearm.

1% or less are hunters.

That rules out rifles and shotguns.

I would suspect the answer is a .38 revolver.

Every fall, when they have turkey shoots, it is amazing how many non-gun, non-hunter people pull all sorts of single shot, old double, and pump shotguns to participate.
It probably has a lot to do with urban vs rural. I know of no household without a 22 rifle.
An interesting poll might be a "Check all that apply" do you own a 22 rifle, centerfire rifle, 22 handgun, centerfire handgun, shotgun?
Interesting question-

There seem to be a number of possible reasons for someone owning one gun-

Someone inherits a gun from previous generations; grandpa, uncle, etc. They didn't necessarily want a gun, but grandma, or aunt, or mom didn't want to keep it- maybe it has sentimental value- In such cases it is whatever the relative owned-

Someone wants a gun for protection- so a co/worker, friend, neighbor whatever happens to have one for sale and it is purchased- again it is whatever is available.

There may be other reasons, but these are a couple I can think of-

Again, interesting question
I honestly can't say that I am now or ever have been openly aware of any household that I know of as having only one firearm.

Gotta think back in the day (if no longer) it woulda been a scattergun though.
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