Odds are if you are reading this drivel, you probably own a few guns. Estimates say that something about 300-million firearms are in the possession of more than 80-million owners. This translates into 3-4 guns per each gun owner. Of course, this figure is skewed as there are many who own only a single trusted firearm while others possess several different gun safes filled to overflowing. With that in mind, let's take a look at what a good trio of firearms that every gun owner should have at their disposal would consist of.
A reliable shotgun
If you had only one gun, my own personal vote would be that it should be a good shotgun. A modern shotgun in either 12 or 20-gauge can be used for hunting almost every game animal from the smallest bird to the largest deer in North America at shouting distance. With the use of new generation sabot slugs, it's reasonably expected that a shotgun can reach ranges of up to 100-yards and beyond while still carrying enough power to be effective.
Besides hunting, shotguns have applications in target shooting for clays and paper, but also in self-defense scenarios of your home and person. Good used Remington 870s, Winchester 1200s, Ithaca 37s, and Mossberg 500s can be found for $150. New single barrel hinge breaks such as the H&R and NEF can be had for half of that amount. This translates into a bargain that can't be beat.
A trusted handgun
Yes, I said it, if you are only going to have three guns; one of these must be a capable handgun. This can be of any level from a legacy S&W Model 10 .38-special and their myriad of clones, improvements, and Taurus/Rossi knock-offs, to a new in the box Glock, Springfield XD, or SIG. Stick with a caliber that you can readily find and is still effective such as .38SPL/357, .40S&W, .45ACP, and 9mm.
A handgun can of this type can be used for target shooting as well as personal and home defense. The lifespan of these guns, especially if you buy a model that is common can be much longer than your own and you may very well pass it along to children who will pass it along to their own children.
Here is a good selection of a trio that will fit many different needs. From left to right you see a Walther P22 rimfire pistol with a TAC-65 Suppressor, a Mossberg 500 12-gauge tactical shotgun with an extra 28" hunting barrel not pictured, and a Glock Model 17 Gen 4 9mm. Total cost of these firearms with tax stamp for the suppressor and ammo pictured is just slightly over $1000 and between these three guns you can handle, target shoot, hunt, or defend almost anything. Of course your own mileage/selection may vary, these are just three of mine that tend to get more play than others do. (Note the staple gun isn't counted...but still very useful)
Nothing beats a good .22. This goes for either handguns or rifles. For the cost of a 12-pack of cola you can pick up a carton of 500 rounds of bulk 22LR and have one of the most enjoyable plinking days of your life. These guns are ideal for instructing youth and first-time shooters, hunting small game, and improving your own skills without breaking your budget.
As time goes by and you find the effects of time, carpal tunnel, arthritis, and many hard years catching up to you, this rimfire could be your go-to gun that sees the most use. It may even have to serve you to defend yourself if needed and using the proper ammunition choices.
(Or) A Rifle
Yes the article says the best three guns to own, and a high-powered rifle is quite possibly one of these if you enjoy being able to shoot out past 100-yards. For instance, if you live west of the Mississippi and hunt large game frequently, or if you like 3-gun matches, target shooting, or read a lot of zombie books, then a modern rifle could be your third gun, knocking one of the above out of the running.
This rifle can be anything from a 1890s vintage Winchester lever action .30-30, Mosin 91, or British Lee-Enfield .303 to a 1940s M1, to a 1970s Remington 700 in .270 to a Bushmaster .223. So long as it works, it's popular (so you can find parts and people who know how to replace them) and it's common (so you can find the ammo to fit it), then go for it.
Heck if you can't make a decision, just own four guns instead of three.
Myself, I am bad at making these decisions. This is why I now have several guns safes more of less full.
Such is life.