Thursday, February 12, 2009

Types of Gun Owners

The other day my daughter asked me why I needed another gun (as I proceeded to buy three "scary" black rifles)? I asked her if she needed another Barbie. We then had a discussion about needs and wants wherein I explained that guns and Barbies are wants. We only get them when as gifts or when we have excess money that isn't being used for other budgeted purposes.

This had me thinking then about the different types of gun owners there are. In general there are the following categories: the professional, the collector, the sportsman, and the enthusiast. People usually fall into more than one category. I'll go over these in a little more detail. Bear in mind, you may classify gun owners in different ways.

Also, people are distinguished by how often they practice (shooting at a target), their familiarity with their firearm, and how much they use a firearm (pointing and/or shooting at something besides a target).

This gun owner uses guns for their livelihood. As a part of this there are subcategories of Military, Law Enforcement, Dealer, Instructor, Defender, and Criminal.
Military people are unique in that they usually don't have the choice of weapons they use. It is issued by the government. Furthermore, the amount of firearms training varies greatly. Some units train regularly with their firearms and shoot thousands of rounds a year. Others "qualify" each year and no more. The vast majority of Military do not "use" their firearms. They are generally familiar with their issued weapon to the point they can break it down, clean it and replace parts.
Law Enforcement people are similar to Military people with a few exceptions. Some are allowed to choose their own firearm. Most receive regular training firearm usage and shoot regularly at the range. Next to Criminals, Law Enforcement use their firearms the most, albeit the majority of the time it is used it is not fired.
Dealers sell guns for their livelihood. Several specialize in certain types and are extremely familiar with them to the point that they may also do gunsmithing. In general, they have a basic familiarity with a broad range of firearms and are one of the first to know about newer designs. More than likely they practice regularly with a large variety of firearms. Rarely do they have any need to use their firearm.
Instructors come in all varieties. They are very familiar with several types of firearms and are a great resource for those new to firearms. Instructors practice more than any other professional user. While they may not ever use a firearm, they are well versed in the legalities of their use.
Defenders are private citizens who responsibly use firearms whether in home protection or concealed carry. They practice extensively with thier primary firearm so that if required to use it they can do so with confidence and accuracy.
Criminals are the group that give firearms a bad name. Familiarity and practice may be non-existent as they see a firearm as something that can inflict harm on others. As such when they use firearms, it is in a wreckless manner that is a danger to those they intend to harm as well as bystanders.

Some people can't understand that people collect guns like they collect cars, stamps, movies, or beanie babies. I divide collectors into the following subcategories: curator, hobbyist, and specialist.
Curator brings to mind a museum, and that is exactly what these people are like. They have their guns displayed openly and probably own several firearms that they have never fired (or intend to fire). Besides knowing about the firearm itself, they also know about the history behind the firearm.
The Hobbyist has a private collection of guns. They have no intent of displaying them to the general public. They are more likely to shoot each firearm they own (although some with more regularity).
The Specialist is someone between the Hobbyist and the Curator. He has a focus on a single (or few) model of firearm (Glocks, AK-47, Mausers, etc.). Some of these may not be fired. He also has extensive background knowledge about his chosen firearm.

There are only two subcategories of the Sportsman: hunter and competitor. Of course there are all sorts of flavors of each of these two.
The Hunter uses firearms to obtain food. He probably has a few firearms which he practices regularly with and is very familiar with. His use of firearms is constrained to the hunting season, and the better he is, the less shots he ends up firing.
The Competitor likes competition (as his name implies). There are firearm competitions for just about anything: target shooting, tactical, distance, clay, cowboy, etc. Several of these competitions require the Competitor to have a finely tuned custom firearm. This is usually done by the Competitor (or at his specific direction) so that he is intimately familiar with his firearm.

Enthusiasts are distinguished by their love of firearms (not necessarily the history, or how they can be used). They include the plinker, gunsmith, modder, and survivalist.
The Plinker is similar to the Competitor, except that he shoots for shooting sake. He is not bound to a target and in fact loves to shoot other things. If you look up any YouTube video which involves the destruction of large round fruit with firearms, you have found a plinker. This is the person that the .22 LR was made for.
The Gunsmith could be a professional or an amateur. He likes to make firearms. We can thank him for all of the AK-47 type rifles that are available. He also has the ability to make a 1911 shoot like a charm.
The Modder takes a stock rifle and turns it into something different. It may be converting a Saiga to an AK-47 type or simply applying a custom camoflage paint job on their rifle.
The Survivalist is an interesting breed (or breeds). They range from the practical - those that recognize firearms would have a limited use in most realistic scenarios they can imagine - to the wacko - who have multiple caches of weapons buried throughout their area of operations. Survivalists are fun to read (but not necessarily take too seriously) on the forums, debating endlessly about the amount of ammo one would carry and which battle rifle would be optimum.

As you may have noticed by now, rarely is a gun owner just one of the types above, but more of an amalgamation of different ones above. I would consider myself a Plinker-Hobbyist, with some possible Modder tendencies. In any case, besides the Criminal, I support everyone's right to be whichever ones they want.


  1. You forgot the most radical gun owner, and user of them all. These criminals have no qualms about using their guns to rob their victims over and over and over again. They even force their victims to buy the guns and ammo that are used against them. These violent predators are of course government. They hunt daily, and relentlessly.

  2. Donald... you're comment is too funny.

    Andy... I'm trying to think of guns as tools like a miter saw or a circular saw. It's going to take awhile.

  3. Frankie Orona2/24/16, 7:09 PM

    I find your opinion to be quite true, if you could email me your name, I would be more than glad to give you credit when I use your information for my information piece I'm working on at the moment.