It is the gun I take into harsh, unforgiving, devil bird country without thinking twice. The gun that gets grabbed to ride in a scabbard lashed to the side of a saddle. It has broken my fall, more than once. It has taken doubles on wild chukar in near vertical terrain. It has been carried on in the pouring rain without thought of turning back. It doesn’t get cleaned much, but then again, it really doesn’t seem to need it, either. It doesn’t shrink from dirt and dust, it seeks it. It is, in short, a working gun – one who’s sheer, stripped-down functionality is it’s primary virtue.
There is a part of me that would love to be so resolutely practical as to own only this one gun, and in many ways, I’d probably be all the better for it. As the saying goes, “Beware the man with one gun, he probably knows how to use it.” But the truth is, I own others; guns which are nicer, though stop well short of aristocratic – a line that my pocketbook and my ego are loathe to cross. But this simple, unadorned pump has a well-earned place in the gun closet. Perhaps a place disproportionate to its cost given the company it keeps, or more likely a direct result of it.
And while I’ll probably never be self-disciplined enough to limit myself to this one gun, I’ve developed my own, similar adage – “Beware the man who doesn’t have a simple, working gun in the gun closet at all – something’s not right.”