News flash: you’re going to die. It’s only a matter of time. While some gun guys dream of dying in a pile of hot brass cursing ISIS jihadis or gang bangers, I hope you shuffle off this mortal coil in your old age, gently, in your sleep. Meanwhile, guns! So many guns, so little time! Use that time wisely. Own these three guns before you go . . .
1. A 1911
You thought I was going to name a specific gun, didn’t you? I’d love to single out a multi-thousand dollar Wilson Combat, Nighthawk, Ed Brown, Christensen, Cabot or STI 1911; firearms of phenomenal quality and astounding accuracy. But you can absolutely tick this one off your ballistic bucket list without spending a fortune.
You can worship quite well at the temple of John Moses Browning with a reasonably priced SIG SAUER or Springfield 1911. In fact, above the $700 price point, most any 1911 offers owners the accuracy-enabling satisfaction of a glass-rod-breaking single action trigger. Not to mention the Keira Knightley-esque joys of holding or holstering a sensually slim semi.
Owning and shooting a 1911 does something that most modern handguns can’t do; directly connect you with the past. JMB’s meisterwerk delivers the kind of tactile mechanical feedback that equally old-fashioned Harley Davidson owners savor (as they’re passed and outmaneuvered by a Kawasaki Ninja). Speaking of historical firearms . . .
2. A lever Gun
Lever guns were among the first practical, hand-held repeating firearms. Well not that practical. Soldiers couldn’t cycle lever guns in the perfectly prone position; a necessity with the increasing “popularity” of trench warfare. Otherwise, you couldn’t ask for a more useful firearm.
Excepting, of course, any modern sporting rifle. But AR’s have about as much soul as K.C. and the Sunshine Band. If you want to stop it now, stop it now, a lever gun is just as effective as an AR at any reasonable hunting or man-stopping distance. (Not to mention the plinking pleasure.) Available in calibers both popular and obscure, beautifully built by modern manufacturers like Henry Repeating Arms, Winchester and Grizzly Custom Guns, lever guns git ‘er done.
More than that, lever guns are endlessly satisfying. Pulling that lever, feeling that round slam home, you feel like a proper, I’d even say mythical rifleman. It’s another firearm that connects you to a bygone era: America’s short-lived Wild West frontier. Lever guns look and shoot like a rifle born to protect and provide in equal measure. Same as it ever was.
3. Expensive Revolver
Dan the Man prevented me from specifying a high-priced 1911 for my number one choice (and for good reason). But I refuse to compromise here. As much as I like and admire and recommend budget wheelguns, a well-made revolver is a world away from its less expensive ballistic brethren.
The difference between a high-end revolver and low-end revolver is the difference between a Porsche 911 and a Subaru WRX. Both do the same thing, but one does it with perfectly linear, silky smooth, completely controllable power. Good news! Smith & Wesson and Ruger make smooth-triggered heirloom quality revolvers that are expensive — but not to the point where your credit card will go off in the corner and sulk.
But if you really go for it — dropping serious coin with Korth, Manurhin or a Colt snake series revolver — you will own one of the finest firing firearms made by hand of man. A gun that makes you want to go to the range more than you do now. And yes, it’s yet another gun that uses yesteryear technology. Your problem being?
[Note: If you have a problem with all this nostalgia, wait for Part II, where someone other than myself will choose more modern weaponry.]