Do You Need “Category” Guns?

If you read or watch gun media, you’ll see lots of content dealing with “nightstand guns,” “truck guns,” “backup guns,” “desk guns,” and even “shower guns.” I’m probably missing several there. New gun owners may take that in and wonder what they’ve gotten themselves into, and with good reason. I remember feeling that way when I got serious about gun ownership in 2012. I was just trying to supplement my deer rifle and single-shot 20-gauge with a suitable carry gun, and these people had a firearm for every possible occasion, many of which I’d never even considered before. If that sounds like you, don’t worry. You’re not alone. The trick is understanding where that stuff comes from while also working out your own gun ownership philosophy. Let’s examine those things briefly.

Steyr Aug truck gun
Do you need a truck gun? Maybe. [Photo Credit: Mike Searson]

Category Guns: Content, Content, Content

I soon realized that content creators must produce, or they won’t hang around very long. Consistent production means they have to talk or write about something. I became painfully aware of that fact once I quit my real job to start writing about guns full-time. I’m only as good as my last article, and I’m always looking for new topics or new angles to write about.

I’ve noted at various times that I have a dedicated nightstand gun, desk gun, and backup gun in addition to my carry guns. I even have a primary carry gun and several alternates based on what I’m doing, what I’m wearing, and just what I want to carry that day. Part of that is driven by the need to create written content. I didn’t purposely choose a “desk gun.” I just happened to review an IWI Jericho Enhanced pistol, during which time it sat on or in my desk, and I just never moved it except to go to the range. It lived in a locked drawer. I recently downsized my desk, so I no longer have a desk gun. That probably indicates how much real importance I attached to it in that role. Cool pistol, though.

YouTube is full of such content. I admit to watching and enjoying much of it. But I lived and died with it a dozen years ago. Having other priorities, I didn’t spend much money on guns back then, so my carry gun research was meticulous. That’s how I found most of those content creators. I eventually learned who I could trust and of whom I should be skeptical. But I hadn’t even chosen a carry gun before I was already scheming for a “truck gun” and a backup carry pistol. Whether I needed those things or need them now is arguable at best.

IWI Jericho Enhanced desk gun
My former desk gun, the IWI Jericho.

Just keep in mind that much of that stuff is content creators doing what they do. I will say that I’ve gotten some good ideas from those folks and still do. But I’ve also developed some personal context in which to place their recommendations. If you’re new to guns, I suggest taking the time to think about your needs and the roles you want your firearms to fill before rushing out and buying something on a content creator’s recommendation.

Category Guns

I’ll admit that it’s easy for me to say that, considering I’ve reached the point of having a gun for nearly every occasion if I want one. But that’s a direct result of my chosen profession.

Walther PPS M2 backup gun
I sometimes carry this Walther PPS M2 as a backup gun. (Author’s Photo)

I’ve significantly expanded my gun collection since I began writing. I had a “desk gun” because I could have a desk gun, not because I suddenly identified that as a pressing need. Same thing with my “backup gun,” although that one didn’t result from the review process. I just bought a couple newer guns over several years that replaced an older carry gun, in this case, a Walther PPS M2. The PPS is a great pistol that lends itself to the backup gun role, whether on my ankle or in a backpack — if I’m carrying one that day. It’s a luxury I sometimes take advantage of. Again, after some experience, I didn’t feel a burning need for a backup gun. It just worked out that way. But maybe you do have that need.

The only dedicated “category guns” I purposely selected are my nightstand gun and my main carry gun. Having a nightstand gun is a good idea for obvious reasons. People have kept bedside weapons for centuries. My nightstand gun is a full-size pistol with a 17+1 capacity. It has a light, and I just ordered an optic for it. I set it up for the job I want it to do. The same is true for my main carry gun. It has what I want for the job I’ve assigned it.

IWI-Masada pistol on nightstand
This IWI Masada is my dedicated nightstand gun.  

Category Guns Across Multiple Roles

Before I had the good fortune to fall into this job, my guns necessarily had multiple roles. My first carry gun reflected that situation. I bought a Walther PPQ M1 in 2012 after weeks of research. I’ve never regretted that purchase, and I still run that gun today, though I rarely carry it. But it was literally my only modern handgun. I should note that I didn’t understand at first that you get what you pay for with firearms. It took three less-expensive pistols to teach me that concept before I bought the PPQ. That experience may warrant a future article.

So, that PPQ was my carry gun, my nightstand gun, and whatever else kind of gun I happened to need, all at once. And it worked for each circumstance, even serving as my pig-hunting sidearm more than once. I will say I’m glad I never had to find out how effective it would have been in that role. I reiterate that I have multiple guns for multiple jobs these days because I can, not because it’s necessary. I’m certain that four guns could cover all my perceived hunting and self-defense requirements: a deer rifle, a small game rifle, a shotgun, and a handgun. Some of you might add a tactical rifle like an AR. But I have more than four guns because I like having more than four guns.

HK VP9 desk gun
I found this desk gun on Reddit. Setups like this are more common than you might think. [Photo credit:]

The “Truck Gun”

A video about why everyone should have a truck gun sparked the idea for this article. The gentleman made several excellent points about why he has a dedicated truck gun. He even addressed the need for security since leaving an unsecured firearm in a vehicle isn’t a great idea. Even if the vehicle is locked. I spent several years scheming for a dedicated truck gun. First, I wanted an AR-15, preferably with a short barrel. I wanted it to ride in one of those racks that mounts on the passenger seat back. Just reach over, pull that bad boy out, and do my thing. What exactly “my thing” was, I wasn’t sure. But I was gonna do it.

But further reflection and general firearms experience convinced me that wasn’t a good idea. Like it or not, this isn’t the Old West, nor is it an Iraqi convoy route. If something like that works for you, then, by all means, do it. Your needs may differ greatly from mine. But I’ve found that my carry gun works just fine for my general security, and I don’t have to worry about someone stealing it when I’m grocery shopping. I might sometimes move my carry gun to a holster beside the console, depending on how I’m carrying that day.

Call me a Fudd if you want, but that works for my situation. If you want to rock the rifle or shotgun, I say go for it. I can’t say that I definitely won’t do that someday. If I think an AR-15 or AK-47 needs to go in the back seat or the trunk, then it will go there. But consider reflecting on the pros and cons. I fully recognize that being cool is a definite pro sometimes. A con is that a regular truck gun will likely get dinged up. Not a big deal, depending on the gun. Your local laws may impact your choice as well.

Henry Homesteader truck gun
The Henry Homesteader is my “truck gun,” if I have one. But this one isn’t mine. I loaned it to my gunsmith to try out and I don’t have an appropriate photo. So, my buddy Mike Searson sent me a photo of his Homesteader truck gun. [Photo credit: Mike Searson]
These days, however, my idea of a truck gun is my Henry Homesteader, Big Boy Carbine, or Ruger 10/22 tossed in the back when I head out to the Appalachian wilderness. Maybe I’ll want it. Maybe I won’t. Now, if I worked on a farm or ranch, I’d have something like that all the time. Again, context is king.

One More Point

I should note that these categories usually come about for good reasons. People have used the rifles they carry in their trucks. Another guy took down a home intruder with his shower gun. No kidding. He had a small revolver in a watertight container hanging in his shower. The dirtbag broke in while the guy was showering, and that little revolver saved his bacon. I know plenty of people who carry in their homes because home invasions are a thing, and the bad guys always have the initiative. Sometimes I do that. Sometimes I don’t.

Shower gun cat meme
Told ya. Should you get a shower gun?

I certainly wasn’t the first guy to have a desk gun. Those are more common than you might think. Folks have guns staged throughout their homes. I did that until my little granddaughter became a regular visitor. That situation made me carry more instead of hiding guns in each room.

The point is that only you know your needs. Only you can assess the rewards and risks of what you do. Listen to the content creators if you want. In fact, I encourage you to do so. But understand why they do what they do. A list of the five best truck guns or how to stage your shower gun is probably just a means for more content. It doesn’t mean they necessarily do those things themselves. It may give you some good ideas, though. Just understand that you don’t have to do all that stuff to be a bona fide member of the gun community. Unless you just want to. Demolition Ranch is popular for a reason. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Seinfeld meme

William "Bucky" Lawson is a self-described "typical Appalachian-American gun enthusiast". He is a military historian specializing in World War II and has written a few things, as he says, "here and there". A featured contributor for Strategy & Tactics, he likes dogs, range time, and a good cigar - preferably with an Old Fashioned that has an extra orange slice.

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