The Dream Arsenal of a Gun Novice

As I’ve previously admitted in other articles, I am not a gun expert, but as I become more of an enthusiast, I find myself daydreaming about the arsenal I would like to collect. As we travel down this road in my mind, I’m going to break down my top 5 “wish list guns,” including some of the whys that go with them. There does exist some practicality, but more than anything, it’s just what I like, sometimes for somewhat silly and even foolish reasons.

Now, I have some experience with some of these and will share that. For the others, I’m looking to the readers out there to set me straight and give me some tips, pointers, or general thoughts. Also, I should make note, that I’m not much of a hunter, so my Dream Arsenal will be primarily for home defense or fending off the zombie apocalypse.

So, in no particular order, here we go!

Pump-Action 12-Gauge Shotgun

Every arsenal needs a ‘boomstick,’ right? There are a ton of good ones out there, for sure. For crowd control, door breeching, or close-quarters combat, there is no more effective or impression-making sound than working the pump on a shotgun. The 12-gauge is the standard and there is no shortage of ammo out there for it. And the options and varieties of loads are amazing as well. Here at GunMag Warehouse, we currently stock options in 00 Buck, 7.5 lead, 8 lead, 9 lead, 4 Buck, and two different variations of slugs. No matter if you’re looking for a lot of little holes or one big hole, we’ve got you covered. That doesn’t even get into the choices of pellet material or weight.

The 12-gauge has a myriad of hunting applications, as well as tactical and home defense. Did I mention that they’re really fun to shoot, too?

In my time in law enforcement, we packed Remington 870s in our patrol cars. They were simple to learn, practical, and reliable. Frankly, early in my career, I’d grab it before my patrol rifle for building searches. But if I’m being honest, the basic design and simple font bead sight just didn’t blow up my skirt. For me, it’s gotta be the Benelli Supernova tactical pump-action with an 18-inch barrel, ghost ring rear sight, and pistol grip. Now, to be clear, I’ve never fired one and have zero real-life knowledge about its quality or effectiveness. I do know people who have and swear by Benelli as a manufacturer. But I’ve seen them on TV and in the movies, and they look super cool!

The Benelli Super Nova Tactical 12-gauge pump-action is the one for me. [Photo: Benelli USA]

.38 Special/.357 Magnum

Okay, I know, a semi-auto is faster to load, holds more ammo, and is just all around a more efficient firearm (we’ll get to one of those). But hear me out: a good ole’ wheel gun is a nice piece to have. This is actually something I already have in my collection. Mine is a Taurus 856, with a 2-inch barrel, loaded with .38 special, and I love it. I know Taurus is a bargain brand, and there is much debate about their place in the firearms world, but for my money, they make a quality revolver. I have fired a lot of semi-autos in my life, and they all have something in common: they jam. Not all of them and not all the time, but you know what never jams? A good old-fashioned revolver. With only 6 rounds per load, you have to make those shots count!

Now, if I’m being honest, for this list, I’d have to go with the Colt Python in .357 Magnum. It’s a little bigger and hits a little harder. Same basic concept as the function of the .38 but just more bang for your buck. And who can argue with the quality and reputation of Colt?

Colt 2.5" Python revovler
Look at the beautiful gun. Who wouldn’t want one? [Photo: Colt]

1911 in 9mm Luger

With my wheel gun strapped in a shoulder rig, I’ve gotta have a semi-auto on the hip, right? So, I’ll be a little bit practical here. I love the original .45 version of a 1911. I’ve written before about my love of Sig Sauer Handguns, and they make some truly beautiful 1911s chambered in .45 auto. Here, though, we are going to be selecting a 9mm version of the 1911. 9mm ammunition is easier to come by (at the moment), and it’s a great deal less expensive than .45. And if we are taking the zombie apocalypse approach here, I want as many bullets as I can get/carry.

Kimber Micro9 in hand
Kimber Micro9 is literally a pocket-size 1911-ish 9mm.

Specifically, I want a Kimber Stainless Pro Carry II. It does come in a .45 variety (which is less expensive than the 9mm), but we’re getting the nine. Let’s talk about it; Aluminum frame, rosewood grips, skeletonized trigger. Forget practicality or anything else rational or reasonable. This is the most gorgeous handgun I’ve ever laid my eyes on. And let’s not forget, Kimber is a highly respected handgun manufacturer, so you ain’t getting no piece of junk with this one. You only have 9 rounds per mag, so we’ll definitely have to pack some extras.

Speaking of ammo, let’s move on to the main attraction.

AR-15 (5.56)

I don’t want to get into a fight here, so let’s just all agree that the AR-15 platform dominates the defense rifle landscape. Let’s also agree that anyone bugging out for the aforementioned zombie apocalypse is definitely grabbing their favorite AR to take on the road with them. There are a lot of manufacturers out there making ARs. I spent my police years rocking a trusty Bushmaster riding in the mount next to me as I patrolled the mean streets (of a small mid-Missouri town). It was never my favorite, but frankly, other than the inconsistent zeroing of a shared riffle (that people use as an armrest), it always got the job done. Then there was the time when I was a detective, and we purchased state surplus M16 rifles from the Vietnam War. Now, those dudes were tack drivers…but I’m getting off-topic here.

The Barrett REC7 DI has returned to production. [Photo: Barrett Firearms]
I could probably have left it at “I want an AR-15.” But recently, I read about how Barrett is re-releasing their REC7 DI, and I may have fallen in love. You know Barrett, the famous manufacturer of those big .50 Cal sniper rifles. It turns out they make an AR that is as top-of-the-line as it gets. 30 rounds per mag of 5.56×45 NATO, fired through a cold hammer-forged chrome-lined barrel. It comes with Magpul furniture, an ALG QMS trigger, and an extended slimline Barrett handguard with M-LOK accessory mounting slots. I gotta be honest; I don’t even know what all of that means, but I think I need it.

And now, to close it all out, the coupe de grace, the cherry on top, the big pile of completely unnecessary, and all the “I gotta have it”!

Lever-Action .30-30

The Marlin Trapper series 336, lever-action 30-30. Don’t we all want to be cowboys? [Photo: Sturm, Ruger and Co]
Let’s be honest, I had to lead with the photo on this one. Isn’t that just beautiful? Since I was a young boy, watching John Wayne movies with my dad; I wanted a lever-action rifle. Whether you are pulling it out of the holster on the side of your horse or walking down the dusty street, carrying it in your hand as you approach the OK Corral, that thing comes out, and something is about to go down. I told you at the beginning very little of this list is truly based on any kind of practicality, and as a non-hunter, this has to take the #1 spot for that.

Marlin Firearms is a staple in the world of lever guns, so if I’m getting one for my arsenals, it has to be one of theirs. The Marlin Trapper Series 336 is the one for me. Chambered in .30-30 Winchester, with a black laminate stock and foregrip, stainless everything else, and a 5+1 ammo capacity, it’s truly a thing of beauty. Now, the question has to be asked: if I’ve already got the AR, what purpose does the lever-action serve in my zombie apocalypse scenario? It’s truly quite simple. If I’m sitting at home, daydreaming, out on the range, or fighting a horde of zombies, all I really want is to be a cowboy.

In the End

Now is the time for me to hear from you. What are some of your favorite guns? What are you grabbing when you bug out during a zombie attack? Let us know in the comments below.

Carl Staas is a former Police Sergeant from West Central Missouri. He spent 17 years in law enforcement, performing routine patrol, investigations, evidence management, and finished his career as a patrol Sergeant and field training officer. He's an FBI LEEDA Trilogy recipient and tactical driving instructor. He doesn't know everything about guns, but he's always trying to learn more!

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