5 Handguns I Can’t Live Without

handgun silhouette

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 . . .

Smith & Wesson Model 17 .22LR revolver

Courtesy Austin Knudsen

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 then 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 all 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, the 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 (back during the Clinton era, the 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, Smith & Wesson Victory or Browning Buck Mark, this is the handgun that made me a handgunner and a revolver man for life.

Smith & Wesson Model 686 revolver

Courtesy Austin Knudsen

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. You can even feed it heavy-loaded 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 (the models 13, 19, 65, 66) dished out more abuse than the smaller K-frames could really handle.

Beefier than the K frame but not as massive as the N frame revolvers, 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 balanced – 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 shotshells 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.

Smith & Wesson SW1911sc E-series 1911

Courtesy Austin Knudsen

3.  Smith & Wesson SW1911sc E-series .45 ACP

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 1911s 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. I also replaced some of the more breakage-prone MIM parts (yes, I’ve witnessed it, though not on this gun) with machined Ed Brown parts. And yes, those really 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 something which offers you the same feel, controls, capacity, and reliability of a 1911.

Ruger Blackhawk single action revolver

Courtesy Austin Knudsen

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 mold 429421). The round was cast, sized and lubed by my own two 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. This was 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 mold 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 5½” 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 un-fluted 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.

GLOCK G19 9mm pistol

Courtesy Austin Knudsen

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 G19 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 G34 for competition, a G43 for deep concealment, and a G17 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?

 

[This post was originally published in 2017.]

comments

  1. avatar JP Ruiz says:

    2 Pre-1990 Colt Pythons for me. XD.

    Love my Smith and Wesson M&Ps and Revolvers too though.

  2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    My list:

    (1) The author’s Smith revolver in .22 LR looks like an absolute requirement.

    (2) Rather than a Smith, I would go with a Ruger GP100 in .357 Magnum with a 5-inch barrel (which is really hard to find in that barrel length).

    (3) A full-size revolver in .44 Magnum with 5-inch or 6-inch barrel (not sure which manufacturer).

    (4) A nice 1911 handgun in .45 ACP

    (5) Smith & Wesson M&P full-size handgun in either 9mm Luger or .40 Smith and Wesson

    1. avatar Dave says:

      Got a stainless steel Redhawk 44 mag w/ 7 1/2″ Barrel…25 rounds show through it. Willing to sell due to age and arthritis. Please reply if interested.South Florida best. Process through local gun dealer.

      1. avatar Erik Weisz says:

        I have the same exact gun, not too many more rounds through it, either. I put Hogue Bantam grips on it and I still can’t shoot it very well (3-4″ groups @ 25yds on a good day), prob need much more practice. I inherited from my dad, so I’ll always keep it.
        My other 4 would be my CZ SP-01 Shadow custom, a Tangfolio 6″ long slide in 10 mm, an AR pistol in .300bo, and a Lauga Alien. So, 3 to go.

  3. avatar ChoseDeath says:

    Damn fine article. I love fun stuff like this! And I love the author’s selections, not that that means much being purely subjective. Good times, thanks for sharing brother!

    1. avatar BC says:

      Ask me how I know the OP is at least 60.

      Must-haves are 3 wheel guns, a 1911 and a G19? Doesn’t get much more “OK Boomer” than that.

      Cmon man, it’s freaking 2020 (okay this particular article was written 3 years ago), we are living in the future right now!!! Maybe try a gun that was developed after 1980?

      1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

        you just denied yourselfmost czs and all hipowers.
        i guess you could have a p210c tho.

      2. avatar mrbadnews says:

        I’m in my mid 40s.. I’m a Gen X’er. A Latchkey Kid. I grew up on Nintendo and the A-Team. I have a lot of single actions… no 1911s but I have 44 Mags, 44 spls, 357 Mags, 38 Spl, 475 Linebaugh, and many other wheel guns. And I gotta Glock. So, Suck It! young punk.

        The only gun I could live with our is my 5.5″ 44 Mag. Its had some work done. I really like it alot. I’m having another done in a 4 5/8″.

      3. avatar Hryan says:

        I’m 34 and I’d have at least two if not three revolvers on my list, so your mileage may vary.

  4. avatar John says:

    Sig P365XL, Glock 19 with Timberwolf frame and TruGlo TFX sights, Sig P938, Sig P227 with Viridian green laser and light and Springfield 1911 RO Champion in .45

  5. avatar Mrs. Lead says:

    P365xl
    Glock19x
    1911
    Mark 4 22lr
    Revolver in 357 mag.

  6. avatar Jimbo says:

    Ruger GP-100 .357 4″ or 5″
    Glock 19 or 23
    1911 (Any mid-range model)
    Ruger Redhawk .44 magnum 5.5″
    Ruger SP-101 2.25″

  7. avatar I Haz A Question says:

    All fine and good, but what does James Campbell think of the author’s list, and what superior items in his own inventory does he want to declare as the choice setup we should all follow? A sum dollar value would be a bonus, so we can all gasp at the worth of his Gucci models.

    1. avatar Poor man’s James Campbell says:

      Dude don’t step. Mr. Campbell can buy and sell you instantly. After all he’s got two cars in the garage if his huge house on a double lot in or near Dallas, TX. Plus he sent one of his sons a gun once.

    2. avatar The Last Argument of Calibers says:

      James Campbell was secretly the one who actually invented 6.5 creedmoor. He did it by placing 6, .45 ACP rounds in a Star of David formation, on a golden plate near king Solomon’s palace in Jerusalem. He then took a 7th .45 ACP round, and cut it in half in the center of the formation, with the spear of density, while chanting in ancient Sumerian. The sky a PBR then opened with light and the ground below opened in darkness. The sun and moon both turned blood red and it began to rain. Out of the light came a single round of the first 6.5 Creedmoor… the round is said to have the ability to kill anything… Demons, aliens, chuck Norris, asteroids… everything… or so the legend goes…

      1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

        HAHA!…that was great. I really was laughing until my eyes started watering.

        I have to fact-correct you on one part, though. Chuck Norris chewed on recovered range bullets to clean his teeth, and spat out the first 6.5 CM. And since it came from his own jowl, he’s therefore immune to its effects.

        FIFY

      2. avatar possum and the Coons of Doom says:

        So now I know The Truth About Creedmoore.

        1. avatar Dave in PTC says:

          All hail the mighty Creedmoor!
          Coming is the greatest day of the year. In only 121 days, on June 5th, we will celebrate Creedmas! Rejoice!

        2. avatar possum and the Coons of Doom says:

          Shhttt I spit on my screen, stop with the creedmass. Lol

    3. avatar GluteusMaximus says:

      I usually hate trolling people but if James is they guy will “all the money for the finest in life” then I support you.

  8. Sig P220
    Glock 23
    FNS FN-9C
    Ruger LC-9S
    CZ-75

  9. avatar anaxis says:

    Why burden myself with five?

    There’s only one for me; the Winchester Model 1906, a pump .22 that can shoot anything & everything with laserlike ease.

    1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      The Win Model 69A is by far the most accurate .22 rifle I’ve ever shot/owned. No optics; only iron sights. Yet I can shoot a gnat’s nut at 50 yards. Wish all my guns were as easy to shoot.

  10. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

    Out of my personal battery:
    1. Ruger MK II stainless 5 1/2″ bull barrel
    2. 6″ Stainless Python
    3. Novak built Hi-Power
    4. Two full size 1911s (Counting them as one.) Doesn’t matter which two. They all shoot.
    5. S&W 4″ Mountain Gun .44 Mag.

  11. avatar tdiinva says:

    Why is TTAG republishing old articles?

    I cannot live without my heavily modified G19 that now costs as much as a Browning Hi Power. (Heah, the BHP was still in production when this article was written.). You gotta love Glock perfection.

    1. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

      tdiinva, they’re not rerunning an old article, it’s an earlier idea being used for a new article. Just because it’s an old idea doesn’t make it a bad one. I find it entertaining to see what others have to say on the subject. Judging from the response, so do others. Sounds like you have a nice Glock. Congrats. One on my nightstand. They just have no panache. What generation are we on now? If they’re so perfect why does Glock keep changing them?

      1. avatar tdiinva says:

        I don’t have a Glock. I was making fun of Glock perfection. If bought a G29 I would not change anything. That’s why I don’t one because if you don’t swap stuff it’s a substandard pistol

        1. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

          tdiivna, sorry. That wasn’t clear in your post. Glocks are serviceable pistols. Trust my life with them. Ugly as shit. Better looking pistols, all that work just as well; why not own one?

        2. avatar Legendary Perfection says:

          “Why not own one? ”

          Lets see….how about because there are sidearms that are Good2Go right out of the box. Glock will not spend the money to update, what the fanbois will buy simply because of the name.

          Glocks are the most over-rated firearm out there.

          Overpriced, over $500 for a $350 dollar pistol.

          Unnatural grip angle.

          Horrible plastic sights.

          Terrible triggers.

          Unsupported barrels.

          Needs a stippling job out of the box.

          Fugly

          No real improvements or innovations in decades.

          Needs another $500 in after-market parts to bring it up to date. *Just like the author’s*

          And has been surpassed by a number of other manufacturers.

          Glock needs a dictionary to look up the words “Perfection” and “Legendary”.

          The glock fan boi’s, are pretty similar to the Apple automatons, a cultist group always trying to get you to buy “perfection”. *Just like the author is doing after having it done to him* There is a creepiness to it, that’s exclusive to glocks.

        3. avatar Jeffrey Epstein says:

          Legendary Perfection

          You can buy the current Gen 5 Glocks with Ameriglo Bold night sights and they don’t need stippling or a new trigger. I do agree that they are over priced by about $100.

          I just ordered a G17 Gen5 MOS (optics ready) with the Ameriglo sights and 3 magazines at the Law Enforcement price courtesy of a GSSF coupon and it was $556 which I think is fair. But, Glock usually charges the general public another $100 over their LE pricing, which I think is kinda high. People seem eager to pay it though.

          There are a bunch of polymer framed, striker fired pistols out now with low prices and great features. You can largely thank Glock for paving the way. Even if you hate them, by dominating the police market for years they are largely responsible for the almost universal acceptance these pistols enjoy.

        4. avatar I Haz A Question says:

          +1

          Agree with Jeffrey.

  12. avatar Scooter says:

    I’d have to keep, in no particular order:
    CZ 75 B matte stainless, they’re awesome.
    5906TSW, also awesome, plus I have a Marlin Camp 9!
    Ruger Single Six Convertible, fun and cheap to feed.
    P220, makes big holes where I want them.
    Shield 9mm, great carry piece.
    Tomorrow, I might answer differently… 🙂

  13. avatar hal says:

    CZ75b 9mm
    Kimber 45 ACP
    Sig SP2022 9mm
    Don’t Laugh – Taurus/Beretta PT101 .40 (It’s a Beretta!)
    Kahr CW9 9mm
    PLUS ONE EXTRA S&W 125th Anniversary Model 25 45LC 40 years old unfired in display case

    1. avatar Larry Bryant says:

      Taurus PT 100 was the first 40 I ever owned. I’ve had many over the years, but I keep coming back to the Taurus. Shoots great, handles well, accurate, and cost me 250 one day at a range. Guy in the next lane was shooting it. I was shooting a Desert Eagle 44 mag, and he wanted to try it. I passed it over to him he insisted I shoot his. I liked it and told him so. He, you know, I never did get his name…lol, told me that the Taurus was for sale. I took it and he went up front and bought a Star 45. We were both happy.
      Yes, I still have it, 30(?)+ years later.

      1. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

        You sir, must live in one of them “free” states we’ve heard so much about.

        1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

          one could enjoy that transaction anywhere.

  14. avatar lefty says:

    If[only if]S&W:S&W617 22LR.Wish I hadn’t got rid of S&W 63 4″22LR
    GP-100 4″357Mag:>=158grers
    Redhawk 5.5″45Colt-better than the Blackhawk in 45Colt.I use 330gr hard cast[LBT mold]
    Glock 30 45 ACP
    Glock 17 full size
    All of them are heavy,but all of them will regularly handle hot loads.Overall,I’ve had bad luck with S&Ws

  15. avatar CCityGuy says:

    Only five?

    1. My 33 year old S&W 422 .22LR, first pistol owned, parents got it for me when I was 13.
    2. 1973 Ruger Blackhawk .357, 6″ barrel I believe.
    3. Ruger Single six, love the .22 magnum cylinder, flamethrower.
    4. HK VP9, fits like a glove in my hand
    5. CZ Shadow II, love that thing.

  16. avatar ChoseDeath says:

    Ok, here are mine.

    1) Smith and Wesson 629-5 Mountain Gun, .44 magnum.
    2) Colt M45A1 MARSOC, .45 ACP.
    3) Ruger Mark IV Hunter, .22 LR
    4) Colt Defender, .45 ACP
    5) Ruger Super Blackhawk, .480 Ruger.

    Got a CC weapon in there, what I believe to be the finest double action revolver extant, a packable gun with enough horsepower to kill anything that I would ever come across, the meat gun, and Ol’ Trusty.

  17. avatar Defens says:

    Current active battery:
    Springfield XDs in .45 ACP for pocket carry around the property or rural/small town travel
    Springfield TRP Operator 6″ barrel in 10mm for field carry (chest rig)
    S&W 329PD (scandium/titanium) 4″ barrel in .44 mag for field carry in big bear country
    Kimber Elite Pro – .45 ACP for concealed EDC
    Para Tac Four – high cap .45 ACP for concealed carry in urban environments
    Springfield XD Tactical .45 ACP with Trijicon night sights and Olight green laser/light combo – bedside gun

    Others are in the stable, but these see the most frequent actual use.

  18. avatar jwm says:

    Blaster or light saber?

    1. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

      jwm, blaster for sure. More range.

  19. avatar mikemild13 says:

    Ruger GP100 MC .357
    Coonan Classic .357
    Glock 19
    Ruger 22/45 Lite
    Ruger New Model Single Six NRA Edition 6½” 22LR 22WMR

  20. avatar Ddub says:

    1. Single six 2. Glock 41 3. Ruger Police service six 4. Ruger Alaskan 454 5. Glock 19, don’t tell my wife I could live without the others.

  21. avatar Michael in AK says:

    Buckmark…because everyone should have a 22lr pistol.
    Glock 17, 19, 21….because they freaking work well for intended purpose.
    Smith Revolver 19/66/686- because great triggers and .357 Magnum
    Ruger hand cannon-overbuilt to take the abuse (pick your favorite caliber and model)

    Beyond that….take your pick…

  22. avatar Bemused Berserker says:

    I too, think a good revolver’s very hard to beat, but the capacity and handling of many of today’s semis is hard to beat. That being said, here’s my list of guns that have remained with me through 40 years of being legal to own a pistol.
    #1) S&W Model 36 (1960’s era). 2nd owner of this gun. Bequeathed to me by a Grandparent. It’s my fall back carry gun, for days when Uncle Artheritis is flaring up. Handles the Hornady Critical Duty +P’s with no issues. Since my eyes can no longer make out the front sights, a Crimson Trace set of grips adjusted to 25′. For a gun that’s only a few years younger than I am, it still has a smooth DA or SA trigger pull (Grandpa did have the trigger worked on after he bought it).
    #2) Interarms Virginia Dragoon .357 Magnum (Commemorative Bi-Centennial 1776/1975) Single Action Army. I bought this Leg Iron in the mid 80’s for $50. The cylinder timing was off and it was unshootable. A trip to my Gunsmith and another $100, got this gun back in time and the trigger polished to a nice pull. Great Field Gun, except with the 71/2″ barrel, it does feel like a 10# weight on your side by the end of the day. Still, with the factory sights adjusted, it’ll ring steel silhouettes at 100 yards consistantly.
    #3) Walther PPK/S (Interarms frame Walther Germany slide). Before Interarms was fully tooled up to produce the licensed PPK/S, their slides were still made in Germany, by sheer luck I managed to get one. Purchased in 1981, when I got my CCW, this pistol was my carry gun for nearly 25 years. Across a sand bag, 1″-1 1/2″ groups at 25 feet are hard to beat. Retired to a range toy due to aging eyes.
    #4) High Standard Model B (1932 DOM). Folks can go on about Rugers, Buckmarks and whatever, but this .22 is hard to beat. Another bequeathed gun, it’s a joy to shoot. I did have the sights worked on, to let my old eyes shoot it, but everything else is still original.
    #5 SIG P365. My carry cun currently. Digests everything I’ve put through it without a hiccup. The sights just popped for my old eyes. I’ve been very pleased with this little gun.
    There’s a few others, but I kept this to 5 that will never be sold or traded. I have had my share of guns I couldn’t get rid of fast enough, as well as a few I kick myself for letting go. Live and Learn.

  23. avatar WVirginian says:

    Betting with the value of the early 8″ L-frames he wishes he’s just bought another one with a 4″ barrel and left that 8″ unmolested. Big mistake. But anyway … if I could only have five ….

    (1) Ruger MK II, 6″ Government Model ,22 … rare and deadly accurate
    (2) S&W 586 8″ barrel, 2x Leupold scope
    (3) Kimber 1911 Classic Custom, .45 acp
    (4) S&W 642 .38 Airweight Performance Center Model (EDC)
    (5) Sig Sauer P320 compact, 9mm

    1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

      i think the gov’t model bull barrel is 6 7/8″?

  24. avatar Tom Showalter says:

    My five favorite:
    1). Wilson CQB Elite, 1911, 5 inch barrel in 9 mm.
    2). Smith and Wesson, MP Shield, 3.2 inch barrel, 9 mm.
    3). Smith and Wesson 686, 4 inch barrel, .357 Magnum.
    4). Nighthawk Shadow-hawk, 1911, 5 inch barrel in 9 mm.
    5). Wilson Combat Tactical Supergrade, 5 inch barrel in 45 ACP.

  25. avatar joe says:

    couldn’t pick just five. probably need to be fifteen at least.

  26. avatar Chaz says:

    I believe in the .22 LR practice weapon as well. Except mine is the SW MP22 because I have the MP9, MP40 (both full size), & MP 45 compact, as well. Same size. I can shoot the MP 22 all day long and not spend much money unlike the other calibers and get the same point of aim…ect. The SW 686 was the weapon we used when I was a Police Officer (Dating Myself) and it is a WORK HORSE. Because this was the weapon I learned and trained with, with speed loaders, I like Revolvers which have Moon Clips and load very similarly. The Natural way to change the expended rounds with a speed loader is the same as with Moon clips and right in line with My prior training/ muscle memory. I carry a Revolver because of this. I however carry either a RUGER LCR (covered hammer) in 9mm or My Ruger SP101 (with hammer) in 9mm both of which use moon clips. Both are of a size small enough to fit in a right front jeans pocket without printing too much. 9mm is VERY Controllable in a smaller Revolver. In a sticky holster or a DeSantis Softuk they can be carried very safely! IF I’m in the woods and want a pistol there one of the MP’s will do or My Ruger SR1911 does exceptionally well on the belt! Right Weapon for the right job I say! All weapons in this story have a good use. I’ve changed up just a little for me and what I feel is the best Weapon for MY intended use (mostly CCW). Was a PO for a couple years and spent 24 years with our Dept. of Corrections.

  27. avatar hawkeye says:

    I will list:
    1. T/C Contender with 4x scope and 3 different 10″ barrels;
    A. .357 Max, for whitetails out to ~125 yards;
    B. .223 Rem, for groundhogs out to ~200 yards (wife calls them groundchucks);
    C. .22 LR, for squirrel/rabbit out to ~75 yards;
    2. Dan Wesson .445 SM, 8″ stainless, for fun;
    3. Walther P38, for history;
    plus a box of others for various and sundry.

    1. avatar Bitter says:

      Very nice, I recently got my dad a Thompson center contender with a 10” 30-30, kicked like a mule 🙂

      1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

        brother has tc in .357max. pretty good wallop.

  28. avatar Matthew Leonard says:

    1. Primary carry: S&W Performance Center 8rd 357 Round Gun(s ForEver!!!)
    2. Beretta Px4 .45 STORM turned all my other .45s into mighty fine paperweights.
    3. View: Gray Head gets it right.
    4. Stay Safe.

    1. avatar Matthewl Leonard says:

      MAtthew Leonard comment “View: Gray Head gets it right” Posted incomplete: google: Gun store robbery gone wrong.

  29. avatar Thixotropic says:

    Junk.

    Except for the G19 with the sissy stipple job.

  30. avatar Bitter says:

    Ok here’s mine
    1) Ruger Lcr .357
    2) Sig 2022 9mm
    3) Glock 19 gen 3
    4) marlin 336 30-30
    5) Ruger security six 2 3/4” barrel .357

    1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

      how much stock and barrel is removed for a 336 to be a handgun?

  31. avatar possum and the Coons of Doom says:

    I think about a what if occasionally. I’d probably pick the .44 if I could only have one..357 ain’t bad either

  32. avatar RGP says:

    1. Ruger Blackhawk 4 5/8″ .45 Colt
    2. Ruger Blackhawk 4 5/8″ .45 Colt
    3. Ruger Blackhawk 4 5/8″ .45 Colt
    4. Ruger Single Six 4 5/8″ .22 LR/WMR
    5. Either/or… Ruger SR1911 10mm or Glock 20 Gen 4 10mm

    I’ve got a lot of single action revolvers. Most of them are chambered in .45 Colt. No matter what else I have, I tend to grab one of them when needing a handgun for anything.

    1. avatar possum and the Coons of Doom says:

      I guess if a .45acp steals their soul a .45 LC locks the gates of heaven too

  33. avatar RidgeRunner says:

    I have three of these five (E-Series, G19 and 686) and would rank them tops as well, plus my .44 Super Redhawk and I guess I need that .22. Security Six is running close.

  34. avatar lepke says:

    1873 Single-Action Cattleman Revolver taurus pt25 glock 36 FNX-45 Tactical sig p938

  35. avatar enuf says:

    Ruger SR9 on the belt
    Keltec P3AT in the pocket
    Charter Arms Off Duty (oldie, not Charco, not Charter 2000)
    Harrington & Richardson 649, that’s a 6 shot .22LR+.22WMR cylinder
    Harrington & Richardson Sportsman, 9 shot .22LR
    PARA USA Expert 1911. Full size, 5″ barrel, 8 rounds in the magazine plus one in the chamber, as it should be.
    Remington R51, too new to say what it will become for me.

    Sold my pristine Smith & Wesson 59 with holsters and mags and it paid for the first three guns.

    The Ruger Blackhawk in .45 Colt, 7.5″ barrel, full-on Buscalero Belt & Holster I made a gift of to an elder brother.

    Sold my collection of antique top-breaks in .22, .32 and .38 calibers. Money went towards my AR’s, my Mossberg 590A1+bayonet … but that’s getting off the hand cannon question.

    And Glock? Would not tolerate one in the house.

  36. avatar SPARK says:

    Well… Like they say. TO EACH HIS OWN. # 1 S&W model 57 .41 mag. # 2 CZ 75 Pcr 9mm. #3 Beretta model 81 .32 auto.

  37. avatar Jimmy James says:

    Somehow I am managing the to live 60 yrs now without any of these guns. Not entirely true. I owned the G19, twice and the Smith 1911 once. The smith sucked. The G19 is a great gun…for a 9mm. After having several conversations with a retired surgical nurse who would come in on 1st shift and have to deal with the left overs from 3rd shift, I dumped all my 9’s and went 45 all the way.

  38. avatar Bones says:

    Detonics Combatmaster .45 Auto/.451 Detonics Magnum
    Detonics Servicemaster .45 Auto
    S&W 686 .357 Magnum
    S&W 638 Bodyguard .38 Spec
    Glock 19 9mm

    Bonus! H&K USP Compact .40 S&W

  39. avatar Tsgt Joe says:

    1. S&W Victory .22
    2. Ruger gp100. .357
    3. Beretta px4 storm 9mm
    4. Sig P226 9mm
    5. S&W shield with laser 9mm
    I have physical limitations these days which make a 1911 and a dan wesson .44 mag impractical

  40. avatar Christopher A says:

    Five handguns only….

    HK USPf .45
    HK USPc 9mm
    Ruger GP100 .357
    Ruger Standard Mark Series .22lr
    Colt Delta Elite 10mm

  41. avatar Rjkramer says:

    Sig P320 in .357 sig with .40 s&w barrel and .22 conversion kit

    Ruger SP 101 .357 magnum

    Sig P226 in .357 sig with .40 s&w barrel and .22 conversion kit

    High quality 1911 in .45 acp

    Ruger five seven

  42. avatar BusyBeef says:

    They need to make the Smith 1911 in 9mm. Then it would make sense.

    And 22 LR revolvers are fucking miserable – the spring needs to be so heavy to reliably ignite the rimfire round that it ruins the shootability in double action.

  43. avatar Wayne Reimer says:

    I think you’re dead on, for the most part. A S&W K-22…the original 6 shot, 6in. Version. MY first pistol, bought myself in the mid 70’s. S&W 66 bull barrel 357. Again original owner since the 70’s. Glock 19X. IWI Masada; just made the list. I haven’t had it a long time, but I’ve run a lot of rounds, and this gun impresses the crap out of me. Very fast shooting, flat shooting, minimal felt recoil, low bore axis…the gun could be competitive out of the box. The fact it’s optics ready, and has great build quality, it’s worth considerably more than it’s MSRP. My all time favorite is my Glock 48. This gun feels like it was made for my hand. If we could carry in Canada, this would be a daily carry gun. I shoot it really well, better than anything on this list except the K22 (it’s nearly impossible to be a bad shot with that)
    Honorable mention goes to Ruger Mark IV tactical. Superb little pistol, incredible accuracy

  44. avatar Dave G. says:

    1. Ruger GP 100 Match Champion in .357 mag. Excellent trigger right out of the box.
    2. S&W 1911 in .45 ACP. Strictly a range toy, but a real keeper. Longest-owned handgun on my list.
    3. Springfield XD9 Mod. 2 Subcompact in 9mm Para. “Grip Zone” with Powder River trigger job. A real tack driver.
    4. Webley Mk IV .38 “war finish.” Takes the .38 S&W “short” cartridge. This break top revolver is another range toy, but it’s really fun to shoot!
    5. S&W 642-2 Air Weight Performance Center hammerless in .38 special. (My pocket rocket “Roscoe.”) It has a REALLY good DAO trigger right out of the box.

  45. avatar Mike Carbine says:

    I ‘min/maxed’ my guns down to three cartridges .30 carbine, .22WMR, and 12 gauge. So my pistols are Ruger BH and AMT Automag III in .30 carbine and the Keltek PMR-30 in .22WMR.

  46. avatar BeoBear says:

    1. STI Elektra .45 acp – very accurate, very reliable and easy to conceal.

    2. Ruger Bisley Blackhawk Stainless 5.5″ .45 Colt – can shoot anything from mild to wild and is all but indestructible.

    3. Ruger GP100 Wiley Clapp stainless – another easy to conceal powerhouse that is accurate and reliable.

    4. Ruger Single Six Convertible stainless 4.62″ .22LR/.22WMR – very reliable and a great survival gun.

    5. Beretta 92A1 – excellent capacity, very reliable and very accurate. This one with a Surefire X400 is my primary HD gun.

  47. avatar PWinKY says:

    My list

    1. Kahr pm9 – It’s my go to concealed carry; it is broken in and 100% reliable; and the smooth trigger helps with accuracy; I shoot it well for a micro 9.

    2. S&W 686+ – I love this thing. 6″ barrel and 7 rounds are just glorious. It’s also my woods gun, although I don’t go very often. Every time I take a new shooter with me to the range they love this thing.

    3. Glock 19 – It is my oldest handgun; it’s made it through thousands of rounds and been 100% reliable; I shoot it well, and so does my wife.

    4. Ruger Mark IV – Easy to shoot, and everyone should have a .22 in their collection. I can’t wait until my kids are old enough to come with me.

    5. Dan Wesson Heritage 1911 – I love the way this gun looks. I still haven’t shot it enough to really find my sweet spot with it, and it hasn’t been 100% reliable either, but it’s a 1911. I expected it to be a bit of a diva.

  48. avatar Cambo says:

    Glock 19, glock 20, ruger mk 1. Amarican classic 2 1911, p08 luger to pet while I’m in my recliner.

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