I wrote an article several years ago that illustrated my belief that the average armed citizen is best served with three different defensive firearms: namely, a primary handgun, a small deep concealment handgun, and a defensive long gun. This does not mean you should have only one of each, but these three general categories of weapon serve well for a complete defensive arsenal. A full-size or substantial compact handgun should serve as the primary weapon of the armed citizen, but most will need something small for deep concealment, and a defensive shotgun or rifle should be kept in the house. Such a lineup should cover all bases, and when budget allows a spare of each would truly round out this arsenal. I constantly urge shooters to settle on one family of firearm for prolonged periods of time. Consistently using a single platform builds further skills development. For most of us, though, we also need the small deep concealment weapon, and should be skilled with a long gun as well.
Expanding on this theme, however, what we find is that most of us need what is ultimately a “compromise gun.” Your primary handgun might be a full-size or compact M&P, Sig, or Glock, but you have a tiny 380 or small-frame revolver for when you need the deep concealment. When carrying the smaller weapon you are making a necessary compromise so that you can still go armed, though not with your preferred handgun. I am finding that the same approach, though less pressing for most, might be applied to the long gun as well.
You may find the need for a “compromise long gun” in your arsenal. The reasons for this may be legality when traveling to certain jurisdictions, wanting a lower profile weapon for whatever reason, or perhaps the need for a multi-purpose weapon. For example, if you are a dedicated AR15 or AK47 guy, you might want to have a long gun that will be legal for you to take with you to the communist states. A good pump action shotgun or lever action rifle is legal almost everywhere, and these manually operated guns can still do just about anything needed from a defensive weapon in the civilian world. Likewise, even if you live in a free state, maybe you want to keep a long gun in the trunk but you are not comfortable with the idea of keeping one of your ARs or AKs in the car. Reporting the theft of your 30-30 hunting rifle is probably more comfortable than reporting that your AK47 is now in the hands of some crackhead. Maybe you are a dedicated AR15 chambered in 5.56 guy, but when you walk in brown bear country you want something with a stronger punch, so your lever-action 45-70 comes in handy.
Settling on a primary handgun and long gun is wise, but there are many instances that may force us to compromise on our preferred weapon. My suggestion remains to focus your training on as few platforms as possible, but we all must compromise sometimes, and having the needed compromise weapons serves a purpose.
Some great points