Five Handguns I Can’t Live Without

by Austin Knudsen

I don’t read as many gun magazines as I used to. But there are a few articles that are seared into my memory. One such article was written several years ago by Sheriff Jim Wilson: a countdown of the five handguns he couldn’t live without. So I thought, why reinvent the wheel? Let’s go down that rabbit hole again! If I’m forced to get rid of all but five handguns (the horror…) which would I keep? In no particular order…

1.  Smith & Wesson Model 17 .22LR

When new shooters ask me what gun they should buy, I recommend a .22LR. I tell them to shoot it, shoot it, and shoot it some more. There’s simply no better way to become a proficient shooter. They’re fun and cheap to shoot. You can learn all of the fundamentals of handgun shooting without the expense and recoil of bigger calibers.

This Smith & Wesson Model 17 — known by S&W-er’s as a “K-22” — was my first handgun. Dad gave it me when I was a teenager. I lost count of the gophers this baby has dispatched. Not to brag, but I’m a crack shot with this wheel gun.

After 20 years of carry and use, 10-round Model 17-8 went back to the factory for a new cylinder. The original alloy cylinder went kaput due to a poor ratchet/timing design on this particular engineering run (during the Clinton-era, bad ol’ days of Smith). It now sports a stainless steel 10-shot cylinder with redesigned ratchet, fitted at no cost.

Even though the stainless cylinder looks a little jarring on that blued frame, this old girl still shoots as well as ever. The 10-shot cylinder means I’m not spending as much time reloading. The six-inch barrel, excellent S&W target sights and perfect single action trigger (I’ve hardly ever fired it double action) make this little gem my absolute favorite handgun in the world. While you can make a good argument for your Ruger MKII/III/IV or Browning Buck Mark, this is the handgun that made me a handgunner and a revolver man for life.

2.  Smith & Wesson Model 686

The medium-framed .357 Magnum revolver may be the most versatile handgun (firearm?) ever made. It can be loaded with light .38 specials for pleasure and target shooting, or full-bore .357 magnums in 125-158 grain hollow points for personal defense, or heavy-loaded with hard cast lead bullets in the 173-180 grain range for wilderness use. Hell, you can load it with shot shells.

Introduced in 1980, the Smith & Wesson L frame was designed specifically for the .357 Magnum cartridge. This after Smith learned that extensive use of hot magnum loads through .357 Magnum chambered K frames (models 13, 19, 65, 66) ditched out more abuse than the smaller K-frames could handle.

Beefier than the K frame but not as massive as the N frame, the L frame models could take the steady pounding of heavy .357 magnum loads and keep on ticking.

For the first time in its production history S&W installed full underlugged barrels on the L frames. This was a fairly blatant marketing jab at the Colt Python, S&W’s biggest competitor in the police service revolver market at the time.

My 686 spent the first decade in my possession as a 8 3/8-inch barreled behemoth that shot almost nothing except bulk 158 grain lead semi-wadcutter .38 specials. I used it to keep the exploding, destructive beaver population on our place in check. Later, I re-barreled the wheel gun to 4 inches – much easier to carry and better balance – and carried it as my concealed weapon for a few years before I had any gray hair. Or brains.

The double action trigger is smooth and consistent. The single action trigger is, in a word, magnificent. Nowadays, the 686 is still one of my go-to, on-the-farm, around-the-yard handguns and is my usual sidearm of choice when I’m deer or upland bird hunting in northeast Montana.

In the summer months, I keep the first two chambers loaded with CCI shot shells to dispatch the inevitable rattlesnakes around the farmyard, and the other four are usually loaded with lead 158 grain .38 special handloads. While it may not be as sexy as the newest striker fired semi-auto, the six-shot .357 Magnum revolver will teach you to slow down, aim steady and make your shots count.

3.  Smith & Wesson 1911sc E-series .45ACP

The third handgun I owned was an old imported surplus Argentine Colt 1911 with an arched mainspring housing, tiny sights and a spur hammer that bit the web of my hand and made it bleed every time I shot it. I now own a couple of modern 911s that rectify those problems, The version that really blows my skirt up: Smith & Wesson’s lightweight framed, round-butted, commander length version, the S&W 1911sc E-series.

The 4¼-inch commander length pistol is easier to carry and conceal, while avoiding the reliability problems that can plague 1911s with shorter barrels. The frame is made of a lightweight aluminum/scandium alloy, making it a) lighter than the original steel frame, and b) more durable than a pure aluminum frame.

Smith & Wesson also rounded the frame; a modification that used to be strictly custom. This modified frame has two benefits: 1) it makes the pistol a little less likely to print under a concealed carry garment and 2) it makes the pistol even more comfortable in the hand, a feat that I didn’t think possible when it comes to the already-comfortable 1911 platform.

The 1911sc comes standard with Novak-style Trijicon tritium night sights and all the features we expect today on a standard 1911. I added the short trigger and strong side-only safety based on my own personal preferences, and replaced some of the more breakage-prone MIM parts (yes, I’ve witnessed it, though not in this gun) with machined Ed Brown parts. And yes, those are Dan Wesson Guardian grips.

The 1911sc is now in my regular concealed carry rotation. While not as light as a polymer 9mm pistol, it’s a good 10 oz. or lighter than a full-size, all steel 1911, yet still holds as many rounds and uses the same magazines. After carrying a full size 1911 on your hip for a few days, you’ll begin to notice the weight and appreciate something lighter, but which offers you the same feel, controls, capacity, and reliability of the 1911.

4.  Ruger Blackhawk .45 Colt

In case you hadn’t guessed, I’m a revolver man first and foremost. At some point, I discovered the writings of an old Montana cowboy named Elmer Keith, the father of the .44 Magnum cartridge, the .41 Magnum cartridge, the Smith & Wesson models 29 and 57 revolvers, the .338 Winchester Magnum cartridge and the Winchester model 70 rifle. (How’s that for a pedigree?)

As a Keith disciple, I shot and reloaded the .44 Magnum for years, using Keith’s personal 250-grain lead bullet design (a modified semi-wadcutter, Lyman mould 429421). The round was cast, sized and lubed by my own hands and propelled by 21 grains of Alliant 2400 (Keith’s pet load) from of a Smith & Wesson model 629 revolver.

And then I stumbled upon the writings of a Wyoming gunsmith named John Linebaugh.

Linebaugh argued that, given a strong enough revolver, a heavily loaded .45 Colt could do anything the .44 Magnum could do with less internal case pressures. This point intrigued me, as I had seen plenty of pictures of exploded .44 Magnum revolvers, and their oftentimes injured owners, caused by reloaders pushing the pressure limits of the cartridge and their guns. So I started experimenting with heavy .45 Colt loads.

My heavy .45 Colt loads (which should only be fired from modern revolvers) consist of a 290 grain lead semi wadcutter bullet cast from RCBS mould 45-270-SAA, and 18.5 grains of Alliant 2400. It outperforms many factory .44 Magnum loads available. The recoil is substantial, though not as vicious as a hot .44 Magnum. I have no hesitation carrying this load into grizzly country, and should I have to clear leather on one of the big bruins, this load will do the job.

My heavy revolver of choice is the Ruger Blackhawk with a 5 ½” barrel.

The 5½” barrel length is short enough to carry all day and clear a holster, but still long enough to get good performance out of the load. If you’ve hiked while carrying heavy, 7+ inch barreled revolvers as much as I have, you learn after a few mountains that you might as well be carrying a boat anchor on your hip.

The Blackhawk’s aluminum grip frame and fluted cylinder (as opposed to the Super Blackhawk’s steel grip frame and unfluted cylinder) shaves weight from an already heavy gun, and makes a big difference when you’re packing it all day.

I prefer the Blackhawk’s single-action grip frame design for heavy loads like these. The single action grip design “pivots” in your hand under heavy recoil, as opposed to the double-action grip that delivers all of that recoil straight back into your palm. It’s like getting smacked in the palm of your hand with the business end of a baseball bat.

The Blackhawk’s robust, adjustable sights can be tailored for any load and are still tough enough to survive a week’s pack trip in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. And finally: ‘Murica. Nothing is more American than a single-action, blued revolver with pretty wood grips.

5.  GLOCK 19

For decades, I swore I’d never own a GLOCK. I thought they were boxy, ugly, and utterly un-gun-like.That goofy steep grip angle just felt wrong, and there was no way plastic could possibly be as good as blue steel and wood. Plus, I had very little use for the 9mm cartridge at that point in my life.

At the urging of a friend, I bought a GLOCK 19 (Gen 3) to prove myself right. I carried that G19 almost every day for nearly four years. I carried it openly on the farm, crawling over fences, on horseback, on dirt bikes, on the tractor, and laying in the dirt servicing and repairing heavy equipment. I carried it concealed under a t-shirt, under a suit jacket, and under a winter coat.

I shot it — a lot — at everything from steel targets to skunks to rattlesnakes. And I’ll be damned if that GLOCK didn’t become one of the few guns with which I trust my life. The 19 has never bobbled, hiccupped or jammed on me (aside from some improperly sized reloaded rounds), despite minimal maintenance.

I’ll admit that my G19 has had some work done. It’s had a trigger job by a GLOCK armorer because stock GLOCK triggers suck. I gave it a set of Warren Sevigny Tactical fiber optic sights because stock GLOCK sights suck. And I had the grip reduced and the backstrap straightened by Springer Precision because the backstrap “hump” hit my hand wrong.

Now, you couldn’t pry my GLOCK 19 from my warm, living hands. This pistol taught me to never say never, and don’t knock it until you try it. I now own multiple GLOCK 9mms, including a 34 for competition, a 43 for deep concealment, and a 17 just because everyone should own a GLOCK 17. I probably shoot them more than any other pistols I own. And to add insult to my injury, I shoot them really well. That’s what I get for saying I’d never own a GLOCK.

So, that’s my list of the five handguns I couldn’t live without. What does your list look like?


  1. avatar Dr. Frankengun says:

    Is that still a Glock you have after all those ‘fixes’?

    1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      Yes. Yes it is. I have a Glock 26 with a trigger job and aftermarket sights. It’s still as reliable as a Glock, and it’s still as ugly as a Glock.

  2. avatar James M says:

    My five are quite different. #1. S&W model 66 combat magnum .357, #2. Sig Sauer P220 .45 ACP, #3. Beretta 92 9mm, #4. Colt 1911 .45 ACP, and #5. Glock ___ caliber ____(most people say 19, I say all).

  3. avatar Ryan says:

    I only have 2 handguns right now. And so, for me:
    1. Sig Sauer P229, 9mm
    2. H&K HK45 full sized, .45 ACP

    1. avatar Tim says:

      Those are good ‘buys’, Ryan. Now let’s get those numbers up!

    2. avatar CJSTL says:

      I’m also in the two pistol club. Kind of.

      Glock 19 Gen 4
      Taurus Poly Protector

      Buuut… I have the Advantage Arms .22 Conversion Kit for my Glock. And lots of extra mags. And never less than several thousand rounds of .22 LR on hand. So that’s almost like two guns. Love having the versatility to use the same ammo in my Glock and my 10/22. Also hoping to get a M&P 15-22 soon. I want an AR-15 as well, but I have very little experience shooting heavier caliber rifles. I don’t hunt, but I shot .22’s all through my childhood. So the 15-22 seems like a fun, good place to start.

      Anyhow, back to pistols. I also have a 26.5mm Polish-made flare gun from 1966. I have the .22 and .45/410 cartridges, so if you want to count that as a pistol, I suppose it is one of the world’s largest derringers 🙂

  4. avatar Guardiano says:

    I gotta be honest, for the first 4 guns I was thinking “cool old guns, but this dude is such a Fudd, probably thinks the 1911 is the pinnacle of handgun design and gun number 5 will be another revolver or maybe a mini 1911 of some sort.” Nice being wrong sometimes. Good article!

    1. avatar tmm says:

      Yea, but his wild card wasn’t much of a wild card…

    2. avatar Austin Knudsen says:

      Thanks for the comments, Guardiano. I’m not that old, but I guess I am a bit of a traditionalist Fudd. Glad I surprised you a bit with the Glock.

  5. avatar Cuteandfuzzybunnies says:

    I think I can live without all of them. I’d consider a Glock 19. I like the Redhawks better than the Blackhawk. Although those are good revolvers. I’m just not a s&w fan.

  6. avatar Aven says:

    My list is different. I can’t imagine a list without at least one 22lr semi automatic. Mine is a Ruger Mk III 22/45 that I shoot the best and most frequently. It is a perfect practice for my RIA 1911 in 9mm (I shoot it 2nd best). I prefer my S&W SD9VE and Taurus PT111 G2 over the typical Glock that haven’t had more spent on them than I paid for my guns new.

  7. avatar Mark N. says:

    I could live without any handguns at all. Not that I’d want to mind you…
    I think that an 1873 in .45 Colt is a great “must have” since it is easy to reload and gentle on the brass. And as noted in the OP), it can be down loaded or uploaded quite a bit to suit the circumstance. For a .22 though, I’d go with any bolt gun over a handgun, as it is easier to train newbies on and gives good feed back with minimal skill. Plus it is a good varmint, small game gun. A revolver in .38/.357 (no preference, but Ruger and S&W are perennial favorites) is a must have, (with a lever gun in a matching caliber. For value, that is probably a Henry, as the Miroku/Winchester and the Uberti are north of a grand). And at least one 9 mm plastic fantastic pistol, your choice. And a 1911. Just because I love 1911s

  8. avatar scooter says:

    In no particular order…
    S&W 5906
    CZ75 BD Police
    Ruger Security Six .357
    Ruger Single Six .22
    Sig P220
    (Subject to change at a moment’s notice.)

  9. avatar W says:

    Some people don’t get Glocks. I guess it’s because they favor guns for barbecue duty.

    Glocks are like an old, beat up pickup truck. Use them. Ride them hard and put them away wet. Don’t feel bad if you put another scratch in them. Therein lies their beauty.

    That said, I have got to find a pristine S&W 19.

  10. avatar KURT Robert INGALLS says:

    That Model 17 is just pure sex!!!!! I love me some .22 revolvers, like the old H&R break overs…..awesome pack pistols!!!! 🙂

    1. avatar Nigel the expat says:

      Agreed. Model 17 with a bit of trigger work done many years ago. Excellent gun and only poo-poo’d on by those who’ve never had the pleasure of shooting a fine sample.

  11. avatar Matt O says:

    suppressed G19 in my nightstand gun, G26 is my edc, s&w bodyguard 380 for deep carry, S&W m-19 because its awsome and it was my first gun, colt 1851 navy as there is nothing more classy than cap and ball.

  12. avatar James Wilson says:

    Glock 17L
    Ruger SP101 327 Federal
    Ruger Redhawk 45 Colt/ACP
    Beretta 92fs Brigadier Inox (9mm)
    Beretta PX4 Storm Subcompact (9mm and my every day carry)

  13. avatar MiniMe says:

    All my guns were lost in a series of tragic boating accidents. 😉
    If I had any, here’s my list in no particular order:

    CZ-75B (9mm)
    Beretta PX4 Subcompact (40cal)
    Ruger Blackhawk (357Mag)
    S&W 686 (44Mag)
    Ruger SR1911 (45ACP)

    1. avatar lean4wardhereitcomesagain says:

      My condolences.

      That is a sweet list of guns you have, er, had there. 🙂

  14. avatar Charley says:

    Four Rugers: GP 100 3 inch, Redhawk 8 shot .357, Redhawk 45 colt cut for moonclips, SR1911 .45 full size.
    And my Frankin Glock. The frame is G19 desert tan. Everything else is after market, mostly Lone Wolf. It has a G17 length slide on it, night sights, extended mag release, and an adjustable trigger. At one time or another I’ve carried all except the Redhawk 45 Colt.

  15. avatar Specialist38 says:

    Ruger standard. MkII
    Smith and Model 10
    Ruger 44 Flat top
    Ruger SR9c
    Smith and Wesson PreWar Outdoorsman 22

  16. avatar Esoteric Inanity says:

    Elmer Keith was from Idaho, not Montana. He was also present on an airplane when a “package” from one Theodore Kaczynski caught fire and caused an emergency landing.

    1. avatar Austin Knudsen says:

      Keith was born and raised in Montana, spent some of his youth in Missoula before his family moved just outside of Helena near a little town called Winston. Later in his adult life, he moved to Salmon, Idaho.

      1. avatar Esoteric Inanity says:

        “Keith was born and raised in Montana, spent some of his youth in Missoula before his family moved just outside of Helena near a little town called Winston. Later in his adult life, he moved to Salmon, Idaho.”

        Actually, Keith was born in Hardin, Missouri. He and his family moved to Montana sometime prior to 1911. In the 1930s he purchased a ranch outside of Salmon, Idaho and lived there until the late 1940s. Afterwards, Elmer and his wife moved into the town. He lived in Idaho for over 40 years of his life.

        Granted, Keith did spend many formative years and much of his early life in Montana. He also titled his auto biography: Hell, I was there! Adventures of a Montana cowboy who gained world fame as a big game hunter.

        Apologies for bringing this minor inaccuracy up as it isn’t all that relevant, and in hindsight, was unnecessary. The article was quite enjoyable and it was not Esoteric Inanity’s intention to detract from this by being pedantic.

        1. avatar Austin Knudsen says:

          You are absolutely right. I had forgotten his family moved to Montana from Missouri.

  17. avatar srirachapocalypse says:

    No particular order:
    Glock 17L
    S&W 19-2
    S&W 442
    CZ Kadet
    Steyr 1912

  18. avatar Cadeyrn says:

    There’s really only one handgun I can’t live without: my STI Marauder. I can’t miss with it. I rarely have to reload the 21 round mags. It is as reliable and soft-shooting as one could ever hope for. My second gun would be another STI Marauder and my third would be a couple of complete parts sets for maintenance of the Marauders.

    If I had to take backups, I’d take my Taurus Tracker with the .22 lr and .22 mag cylinders and my Bond Arms Derringer in 45 LC / .410 for a boot-gun or pocket backup.

  19. avatar Boyle says:

    1) Ruger 22/45
    2) Ruger GP100, stainless w/ 4 inch barrel
    3) Smith and Wesson M&P 9mm compact ( my EDC)
    4) Heritage Rough Rider .22, just because it’s fun
    5) Charter Arms .44 special ( secondary EDC)

  20. avatar Roy says:

    It would be really nice to see more articles like this one to take the place of at least some of the pieces whining about “leftists”. I come here to read about guns, not for some guy’s mental diarrhea tirade about their political views.

    1. avatar Guardiano says:

      Leftist spotted

      1. avatar Swarf says:


  21. avatar Timothy says:

    I have exactly 5 handguns. I have enjoyed my choices and have no plans to sell any of them. That said, there’s literally hundreds of guns I’ve never shot.

    CZ 75b
    Canik C100 (heavily customized by CGW)
    Dan Wesson 715
    Canik TP9SFX
    Ruger mk II

  22. avatar Florian Geyer says:

    CZ P-09
    Cz P-07
    M&P 22C
    M&P shield 9mm
    S&W 686+

  23. avatar Chad says:

    Tough to say. Right now my favorite handguns to shoot are, in no particular order,
    1. S&W 27-2
    2. Springfield Armory Range Officer 1911
    3. FNX 45 Tactical
    4. Sig P227
    5. CZ P10C

  24. avatar Ironhead says:

    S&W model 19. My dad gave it to me. And what a revolver.
    Springfield 1911 loaded. My first 1911 and i love it.
    Springfield xdm9. Easy too shoot, and accurate.
    Taurus tracker in 22lr. First revolver i ever bought and i shot the sh1t out of it. Still have it and it runs like a champ.
    Ruger lcr. My carry gun. Nuff said.

  25. avatar Velvet Elvis Gun Guy (formerly Timmy!) says:

    I can never sell my Taurus PT-92 because the serial number is: my initials, my younger-older brother’s birthday, my older-older brother’s birthday, and a seven (I also own a Lotus Seven).

    I can’t see me selling the Judge because with a 6″ barrel and that ridiculous cylinder, it looks like a Yosemite Sam cartoon gun… I love that!

    My Ruger MkIII is promised to my shop buddy John so it stays.

    My Sarsilmaz SAR K2 is promised to my gun show buddy Larry (and as a CZ-75 clone in .45 ACP is just too awesome for words… in my not so humble opinion) so it is a keeper.

    And since one could, if absolutely necessary, theoretically, shoot a Tavor one-handed…

  26. avatar Ed says:

    S&W model 42 comped.

    Glock 29 10mm



    Ruger Charger takedown.

  27. avatar Militant Centrist says:

    Modern 1911 in .45 ACP with good sights
    .22 LR conversion kit for 1911
    Ruger Mk II in .22 LR, tapered barrel
    Ruger Vaquero in .45 LC
    Glock 17 9x19mm

    I actually feel pretty basic writing that down. I think I need to expand my horizons.

  28. avatar TommyJay says:

    The author skipped over one of the sheriff’s top five, the Browning Hi-Power. I almost bought one, but got a CZ-75B instead and saved $500.

    1) Browning Buckmark, fluted alum barrel, Burris red-dot. I can shoot 98% and better, supported slow fire, B-16 bullseye at 25yds.
    2) CZ-75B
    3) Walther P22. This baby took some de-burring, polishing, breaking-in, proper lubing, and the right ammo; but now is completely reliable and very accurate for its size. I LOVE the paddle mag release. All releases should work this way.

    I’ve got a XD with an under-rail laser. It’s fine for home defense, but I can’t love it. It’s accuracy is so-so given the 5″ barrel. The recoil spring is the stiffest one I’ve ever racked.

    My Ruger 10/22 RC2 is lovely but not a pistol. I would like a compact 9mm, but the Ruger LC9s is not CA legal.

    1. avatar Austin Knudsen says:

      I’ve owned a couple different Hi Powers, and just can’t get there. I love the look and feel of them, but 1) they usually bite the web of my hand and make me bleed 2) none of the ones that I own were particularly accurate 3) they’re damned expensive 4) the triggers are almost always junk due to the magazine safety.

      About the only road left for me and the HP is a high end custom, and I just don’t have an extra $3k laying around.

      1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

        mag safety is to be removed before initial firing.

  29. avatar Tarrou says:

    First and foremost, and like the author my first and longest lasting pistol, a .22, mine a Browning Buckmark, solid, reliable and with a trigger I’ve not seen equaled on a handgun yet.

    For the rest, I haven’t owned that many, maybe six or seven total, so the top 5 is all the decent ones!

    In no particular order:

    .38 Special Smith J frame, hammerless. I’ve carried it almost every day for twelve years.
    9mm Walther PPQ – its like a Glock with good ergonomics, trigger and sights.
    5.56 AR shorty – not really a pistol, but the ATF thinks it is, so here it sits!
    .36 Uberti 1851 Navy reproduction – My first blackpowder pistol, and a whole new world of joy at the range and pain cleaning the damned thing.

  30. avatar Hoyden says:

    Lots of CZ’s in these lists. Obviously an experienced and deep thinking commitariate.

    1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

      when all is said and done, when you actually need the tool, grab one of those.

  31. avatar Newell Anderson says:

    Well I’m 77 now & have been through a lot of guns!! Current list:
    S&W .22/.32 Kit gun 4″
    S&W .357 mod. 13 3″
    S&W .44 Mag. mod 29 6″ pined bar.
    Colt .45 mod. 1911 light commander
    Charter Arms .44 Bull Dog SS early 3″
    The Bull dog is #1 carry gun! Modified ejector, early CA spurless hammer, & custom grip. Custom Holster for boot top carry.

  32. avatar ActionPhysicalMan says:

    “The five guns I would whatever” is about the stalest and least useful of opinion pieces. Jeez man, at least try for a drop of originality.

    1. avatar Austin Knudsen says:

      Feel free to submit your own brilliant originality. I’m just having a little fun.

    2. avatar C F Ring says:

      Hey, troll. If that’s all you have to offer, go elsewhere. No one gives a shit what you think.

      1. avatar ActionPhysicalMan says:

        COMMENT DELETED – Please send all comments about TTAG’s editorial stance or style to [email protected].

  33. avatar Jesse Ximenez says:

    Where can I get my you repaired, mine was one with factory defect, on cylinder. .

  34. avatar ePoch270 says:

    HK HK45
    Glock 19
    HK USP 45
    Ruger MkII Bull Barrel
    S&W 442

    I’m eventually going to save enough to buy a vp9sk, so good by G19

    1. avatar MamaLiberty says:

      What the heck is a “vp9sk”????

      These discussions would be a lot more interesting if people would describe their guns instead of using only model numbers. I’ve handled hundreds, maybe thousands of guns, but I sure don’t remember the model number of any of them in particular.

      In the meantime, I only have five handguns now, and only two of them get much use. I carry the XD compact 9mm openly, most of the time. I carry a Ruger SP101 .357m revolver when I conceal, or just around the house. I load the revolver with .38 +P hollow points, because I’m just too old and bent up to reliably fire full .357 rounds. But I do hit what I aim at. 🙂

      1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

        love me mama.
        it is an opportunity to chase a rabbit down a hole.

        1. avatar MamaLiberty says:

          I can love ya just fine, but it would be nice to have a real name for both you and your gun. 🙂

  35. avatar lean4wardhereitcomesagain says:

    I’ll play. In no particular order:

    1) CZ 2075 RAMI. For me it shoots almost as well and feels just as nice as the rest of the 75 series, and like all CZ’s, IT.JUST.WORKS (more on that later). Though nothing tops the SP-01 Tactical, which I sold because I wanted to try something else at the time….stupid stupid stupid.
    2) Glock 23. Not regarding the fanboys, I used to dislike Glocks because of their finger grooves and “Glock knuckle”. I also experienced some reliability issues with a few that I owned, despite the “GLOCKS.JUST.WORK” drivel that the fanboys like to spew. Anyway, a friend started restoring my faith in them by flattening the grooves on my G23, doing a stipple job, and trigger guard undercut. The first time I shot it afterwards was simply glorious compared to before…if you can ever equate shooting a Glock with glorious (runs for cover from fanboys).
    3) Ruger LCP 2. If you need something that can go with you everywhere (within the law of course), this fits the bill perfectly, and JUST.WORKS.
    4) Walther PPQ 22. It’s every bit the “real” PPQ, except it shoots 22lr and there’s zero muzzle flip (“real” PPQ has lotsa muzzle flip….though unlike some Glocks I’ve owned at least all of the PPQ’s JUST.WORK).
    5) Sig P320 subcompact. Yeah yeah I know: “Better not drop it! Yuk yuk yuk!” Ok, butterfingers. Anyway, this pistol, whether in full, compact or subc form, is a sweet freakin shooter. And…IT.JUST.WORKS. 🙂

  36. avatar Aaron says:

    Let’s cut it down to what if you could only own ONE gun, handgun or long gun.

    In that case, it would be for me an AR-15. Ammo is light, gun is light, it’s versatile and can be used for any situation except perhaps very big game.

  37. avatar omar abdulalim says:

    Beretta PX storm compact 9mm

  38. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    i could live without any and all of those picks.
    a.22 revolver (convertible) would be nice.

  39. avatar PWinKY says:

    I’ll play. These are in order of how much I love them (only guns I own, not a dreamer list). There is no rational basis for why I love them more.

    1. S&W 686+ Shooting this 6″ revolver in single action I can make easy hits at 50 yards. I shoot this one the most accurately.

    2. Kahr pm9 This has been my carry gun for the last 4 1/2 years so I’m not giving it up now. I shoot it quite well at the 5-8 yard range which is exactly what it’s for. This thing is so small I can take it anywhere.

    3. CZ-75b Tactical The night sites and Omega trigger make this one my favorite 9mm to shoot. One day I’ll shoot it better than my Glock…

    4. Dan Wesson Heritage 1911 I put some beautiful wood grips on this thing and it’s my favorite gun to look at. I’m not super accurate with it and the 1911 cleaning process is still new to me (and annoying) but I just love the lines and the history of this gun.

    5. Glock 19 It just works. Also the first handgun I ever purchased and my wife’s favorite to shoot.

  40. avatar Cat Daddy says:

    I consider myself somewhat of a newbie as compared to many I know but have been shooting since I was a kid. I recently made a purchase after much research since I was in the market for a full size 9mm which has become my favorite.
    1. CZ 75 P01 Tactical
    2. Sig P220 Elite (my first gun)
    3. Sig P938 9mm (with .22 conversion nice and fun to shoot)
    4. Ruger GP100 match champ .38 sp/.357 mag
    5. Glock 26 (more I shoot other guns, the more I dislike glocks)

  41. avatar Tony PETOSCIA says:

    My Sig Ultra 45 ACP my Sig P320 9mm subcompact my Sig P320 .40 cal. My 44 OF Mares Leg my SW 38 Spcl Detective


  42. avatar Robert mcmillan says:

    I love your comments about 45 Colt long and yes it is true I found the same thing but you’re overlooking the cartridge of all cartridges 454 Casull which also chambers of 45 Long Colt they truly Swift extremely accurate at 100 yd Plus and will take down any animal in North America with a single round I have had several models of this caliber including the original Freedom Arms when I used to have to hand load all of them because you could not buy Factory ammo for them at that time this caliber in my opinion Pete’s almost every cartridge out there and it’s muzzle velocity along with its muzzle energy are just about paired what is a wildcat cartridge that has been around forever it now is available in many Factory loads truly in my opinion the revolver of revolvers though the 460 can chamber a 454 and a 45 Colt long and probably has a slight Edge on muzzle energy it also has the best of all three cartridges because it gives you one gun with 3 cartridges I have owned all of them and I always go back to the 454 I dropped an 11 hundred and 80 pound elk at 225 yards with a 8 3/8 inch barrel in a veritable power lit reticle scope off of fence pole thanking the bullet was going to drop that was not the case I literally hit an inch below what I was aiming at and amazed that it dropped the animal on the spot it did not run it did not flinch it just dropped the stunning part was what was left of the insides it completely obliterated all internal organs if you’ve never shut this round I would urge you to find a friend who has it or go to arrange that will let you rent one find a medium load and with iron sights you hold groups the size of a quarter more impressive is the distance and the energy that this cartridge is capable of though Rossi makes a lever action and is one of the only manufacturers in a long rifle version of this cartridge they are very difficult to find and not the best of any it of the lever actions I once called Henry and asked why they didn’t make this cartridge in a lever action gun the guy on the other end told me he didn’t want the liability to it that should answer some questions on the cartridge pressure in a factory load runs around 45000 PSI with a devastating 2000 ft per second and 2180 pounds per square inch muzzle energy rated at 100 yd

    1. avatar Austin Knudsen says:

      Hello Robert. I haven’t played much with the .454 Casull. I’ve shot a Ruger Redhawk so chambered a few times, but that’s about it. I’d love to own a Freedom Arms 83, but just haven’t pulled that trigger yet. Thanks for the comments and insight.

  43. avatar Ed says:

    Anyone notice that the S&W 1911 is wearing Dan Wesson grips?

    1. avatar Austin Knudsen says:

      I mentioned that in the article. I didn’t like the shape and feel of the factory S&W grips, so I traded a buddy for his DW Guardian grips. I keep thinking I should change them out for something different, but I like the shape of them better in my hand, and they look good to boot.

  44. avatar Swiftly says:

    My top 5 in no particular order:
    (1) Ruger GP100 SS .357mag. 6″ with Wolffe spring kit
    (2) Sig Sauer p228r 9mm German made
    (3) Ruger SR1911 .45 SS Government
    (4) Sig Sauer p226 Legion SAO 9mm with threaded barrel
    (5) Sig Sauer p938 Scorpion 9mm

    I’ve owned many makes, models, striker fired, SAO, DA/SA actions and these are the handguns that out function, perform and are best in ergonomics then the rest for me.

  45. avatar =BCE 56= says:

    Combat Commander
    Single Six Convertible (tied w/) MK II Gov’t

  46. avatar hitman to the stars says:

    Room for one more?
    1 Smith and Wesson model 14,6 inch .38 special. Best trigger I ever felt.
    2 Browning Hi Power, bought new in 1985 and I’m still waiting for it to malfunction for the first time.
    3 Walther PP in 32 ACP,the most fun you can have with your clothes on.
    I’m still looking for 4 and 5.

  47. avatar HUTCH says:

    Well, this article and the comments regarding the S&W 686 did it for me… I had to order one.

    1. avatar PWinKY says:

      I believe you will not be disappointed.

  48. avatar IHeartGlocks says:

    Fantastic collection of guns. Beautiful.

  49. avatar HemiRam says:

    Mine list is “old timey”, like me, I guess.

    1. S&W 28, or any other N frame.
    2. Dan Wesson 715/15-2 (I have both)
    3. CZ-75B, (I have a bunch of clones, but no CZ made gun, yet)
    4. Sig P220
    5. S&W 5906.

    Not interested in:
    Handguns S&W makes now.
    Anything Colt makes.

  50. avatar LimoAk says:

    Nothing beat the glock for me. The Glock 19 chambered in 9mm Luger has earned a legendary reputation as one of the most reliable handguns on the planet thanks in part to decades of service in the most grueling conditions. With an upgraded grip texturing and a universal mounting rail, the Glock 19 is well equipped for whatever situation you might find yourself in. 

    Gaston Glock changed the semi-auto pistol market as we know it thanks to innovative design of the Glock 19, space-age materials and reliability that has defined the Glock name. Embraced worldwide by shooters in both professional and civilian circles, the Glock 19 has gained universal acceptance.

    1. avatar MaryJar says:

      How about Ruger?

      The Ruger LCP semi auto pistol is a compact pistol designed to be concealed just about anywhere. From a small purse to a pocket the Ruger LCP will be by your side at all times. Designed with both male and female shooters in mind the LCP is as affordable as it is reliable. 

      The LCP is Ruger’s smallest pistol frame with an overall height of just 3.6″ and an overall length of just 5.16″. The Ruger LCP is the natural choice for an individual in search of a dependable backup or primary personal defense carry pistol. Additionally the Ruger LCP is lightweight checking it at just 9.6 oz ideal for all day carry and easily at hand when you might need it most.

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