Cobray .410 derringer
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What makes a bad self-defense gun? Unreliability? Poor ergonomics? Ineffective caliber? When you sit down and think about it, there are dozens of factors that would make a gun a poor home defense gun choice. We’ve gathered five of the worst self-defense guns out there for a fun little gripe session. 

Rules were implemented to make this list. First, the gun has to be advertised as a self-defense firearm. The Remington 700 is a poor self-defense gun because it’s not meant to be one. Next, the gun has to be relatively modern. A percussion revolver would be a poor choice these days, but at one point, it was the best option available. Finally, it doesn’t have to be a bad gun per se. It can be reliable, accurate, etc., and still be a poor choice for self-defense. 

Heizer Defense Pocket AR/AK – The Overall Worst Self Defense Guns

The Heizer Defense Pocket AR/AK series of pistols are small, single-shot handguns with barrel lengths equivalent to most pocket pistols, but they are chambered in rifle calibers. The Pocket AR is in 5.56, and the Pocket AK is in 7.62×39. They advertise these guns as having “the ultimate stopping power.” 


Shooting rifle calibers through short barrels produce subpar performance when the barrels are in the 7-inch range. Imagine what their performance is like from a 3.75-inch barrel. Not only that, but the noise, concussion, recoil, and muzzle flash would be absolutely brutal. These are easily the worst self-defense guns on this list. 

Raven MP 25

One of my first handguns was a $60 Raven MP 25, and I got ripped off. The Raven MP 25 is a direct blowback semi-automatic pistol chambered in .25 ACP. The Raven is made from pot metal and what appears to be the cheapest chrome finish ever applied. Semi-automatic is a technical term here (just don’t rely on it regularly loading the next round). 

In fact, everything about this pistol is technical. Technically it has sights. Technically it has a safety. Technically it has a finish. Technically it’s not the worst self-defense gun, but it’s definitely up there. 

The gun seemed to jam every other round or so. The 25 ACP round is anemic, but guns like the Beretta tip provide you an ultra-small option with minimal recoil and centerfire reliability. In the Raven, you get an overly chunky and heavy pistol thicker and seemingly larger than the Ruger LCP. The sights suck, the safety is far from that, and the gun isn’t drop safe, so be careful. 

Full Conceal GLOCK

Do you want a GLOCK that folds like a Sub-2000? No? Well, I get it. I like weird stuff, and the Full Conceal is (was) weird, but as a self-defense, concealed carry firearm, I just don’t get it. It’s still GLOCK-sized, and you just go from trying to conceal a gun to trying to conceal a brick. Deploying the Full Conceal is slower than just drawing a GLOCK from a holster. 

Full Conceal foldable firearm

Can you deploy it with one hand? Can you ensure everything is locked up and ready when a bad guy is on top of you? I don’t see it.

There seem to be a lot of failure points and a certain degree of fragility. If the gun is dropped or bumped hard, it might not fold correctly. I appreciate the effort they invested in making this thing work. However, the cost and overall design made it a fun oddity and a poor self-defense weapon. There are worse self-defense guns out there, but the Full Conceal is up there. 

The Lifecard 

I reviewed the Lifecard. I like the Lifecard, but in my review, I liked it as an oddity, and the quality Trailblazer built into the Lifecard. It’s well made, durable, and reliable. However, it’s still a single shot 22 LR that the company advised that you not carry with a round in the chamber. That makes it a poor self-defense firearm. 

.22 LR is an anemic personal defense choice, but the real issue is the rimfire primer failing to ignite because rimfire just does that. The Lifecard is somewhat slow to reload, has a trench sight, and still requires two hands to operate. If I was James Bond sneaky through security, I might consider it, but I’m just Travis going to Taco Bell. 

Any Gun that Fires a Shotgun Shell That Isn’t a Shotgun

When I was compiling this list, I nearly filled it with guns like the Taurus Judge, the Heizer Defense Pocket Shotgun, the Smith & Wesson Governor, the Mossberg Shockwave, the TAC-14, and so on, I just gave them this catch-all category. 

Let’s start with pistol that shoot shotgun shells, like the .410 Bond Arms Derringers, the Judge, the Governor, the Pocket Shotgun, and the like. First, .410 from a rifled barrel sucks. It throws a wide pattern that’s unpredictable with no real way to adjust it. 

What about Winchester PDX 410? Good question, but since impossible to find, that doesn’t matter. Next, the recoil can be rather stiff with some, and with others, the guns have to be obnoxiously large. Why carry a Taurus Judge with five shots when you can carry a SIG P365 that’s half the size with ten? Revolvers shooting .410 compete heavily with the Pocket AR/AK for the worst self-defense guns made. 

Next, we get to the firearm category that encompasses the Mossberg Shockwave and Remington TAC 14. I own both, love both, and have lots of fun shooting them. They are fun firearms, but they are some of the worst self-defense guns. They’re hard to handle, hard to shoot accurately, hard to aim, and so on and so forth. If you want a 12 gauge for home defense, a stocked shotgun is better in nearly every way possible. 

The Worst Self Defense Guns

I’m sure this list could easily be expanded. The gun industry is full of madmen with weird designs, cheaply produced paperweights, and more. These are the five I’ve handled, shot, and in some cases, even owned. I’m curious to know what TTAG readers think are the worst self-defense guns out there. Let us know below. 


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  1. My Bond with 4.25″ barrel while wicked with 3″ .410 loads, it is reliable and reasonably accurate with #4 buck. In addition, my Hogue Tamer pistol grip 18.5″ barrel 12, and 20 gauge shotguns, are very easily aimed and accurate. I actually prefer to shoot my pistol grip models over the standard stock models for SD usage.These are the only ones are your list I’d disagree with.

    • I was expecting to see Bond Arms on the list and although not named specifically, there are many of these Derringers that fall into the category of short-barrelled buckshot dispensers. Personally, I think that the three-inch barrel is just silly since it is just one half of an inch longer than the shell it is meant to fire and that leads to punishing recoil, poor accuracy, and poor effectiveness on what you do hit because the random bits of shot that made it to the target were not sufficiently propelled unless you are using this as a belly gun. When I carry the Bond with shotshells, I go no less than the 4.25″ barrel and that provides sufficient accuracy as coyote repellant. If you have serious money, you can also get the quad-ported, six-inch barrel and from what I hear that is delightful to shoot and has good ballistic specs, but that configuration becomes a large, heavy $1200 gun that still has only two, single-action shots. In that price point, even Kimber offers many better options.

    • I got a .45acp 4.25″ barrel for mine because I agree with Travis and a .45acp starts out father back in the barrel and thus has longer to accelerate. Since I am living in a small town in WY where the police reports very rarely include stranger on stranger violence I have been comfortable with the little but heavy derringer most of the time. I consider it just a step up from no gun at all. In the woods and traveling I switch to a six shot revolver or a modern automatic.

    • The Bond Arms derringers are great for two things only. 1. An effective anti-carjacking gun. Nothing says “you can’t have my car” like a face full of buckshot. 2. An up close and personal “belly” gun that can be tucked away safely in a pocket with no holster. I own two of them, a Snake Slayer with a 4¼” barrel and a Texas Defender with my choice of a 3″ .357 mag or 9mm barrels. Great for BUG use or bludgeoning weapon when empty.

      • A J-frame .38 holds three more rounds, occupies the same footprint (or in some cases, even less) and is easily reloaded from a speed loader and operated smoothly and effectively with one hand (the grip geometry of the Bond has never agreed with one-handed cocking, at least for me.) A .380 Bodyguard or LCP checks all those boxes as well, and both the pocket revolver and auto weigh less than derringers, in most cases.

        To each his own of course, derringers are neat-o mosquito, but I can’t fathom why someone would carry one for personal defense when things like J frames and pocket .380’s are as prevalent and well-engineered as they are now.

    • we had Mossberg 12 ga’s for duty guns in the cruisers…I talked the boss into putting a soft rubber pistol grip that I picked-up at a gun show on one of them…the guys loved it…easy to handle in close quarters and comfortable to shoot….I did the same with the one I had at home…adding a laser to make it even more effective….

    • I respectfully disagree. If a gun does not go bang reliably, it may be better not to have it. In self defense you are likely to have to make a split second decision to stand your ground or retreat. Carrying and/or deploying a weapon always has risk, physical and legal. If you are going to take those risk, might as well carry a decent weapon.

      • My Bond Derringers have never once failed to go bang when told to. These are very well built and reliable. The problem is that they are still derringers. Two-shots, slow reload, harsh recoil. Easy carry though.

  2. The Raven, that’s funny. I know someone who bought a Davis .380 about forty years ago for a “work carry gun” when he worked at a place that didn’t allow firearms. It could fit inside any pocket. He was a troubleshooter who was often called out at night to inner-city or remote locations. It has like a twelve plus pound trigger and you can put the firing pin in backwards. But I still have it and keep it in my garage. Shoot about ten rounds through it a year.

    believe the worst gun to own for self-defense is one you won’t carry for any one of a hundred reasons. Including because it’s a $2,500 piece you don’t want to see holster wear on. If you don’t practice with it and don’t like it, you shouldn’t carry it or depend on it.

    • NA mini’s…easy to carry in your pocket though..[don’t leave home without it]…and I never do…..just don’t expect to intimidate anyone with it….

  3. I had a little gunm that kinda looked like the gunm pictured in the heading. It was .38spc with a half barrel that held a spare round. Musta been good for something because the cops never gave it back when I was arrested for concealed carry back in 91. Legal in this state now, but wasn’t then. I’ve always carried a gunm since 1971, the Constitution said I could but I guess the courts don’t go by that.

  4. Hey, why picking on my armory?

    Just kidding. I’ve never even handled any of the guns in your list. TBH, I don’t think I would ever pick one off a gun show table, other than to examine the curiosity a little closer. Wouldn’t even want one as a conversation piece in my home.

    • Good idea not to own a firearm as a conversation piece. Someone’s likely to mistake it, perhaps someone not born yet, for a firearm and try to depend on it.

  5. Well I have to applaud you. You didn’t hit up Hi Point. Beside having the best warranty in the firearms business when they run out of pew pew or jam, they are heavy enough to use as a club to inflict blunt force trauma if need be, then clean them off and clear the jam or reload and they are good to go again.

    • Sadly there are indeed worse guns than Hi Point. Actually the carbines seem kinda nice for the price, though ugly. I wouldn’t have a use for one of their pistols but I guess for those who can’t afford anything it’s an option.

      Or if you just want a gun with a “Benjamins” hyrdodip coating!

      • Love my hi-point 9mm carbine for it’s intended purpose, running outside naked in the middle of the night to dispatch what ever is making the dogs go crazy and bothering my livestock! Set up with a flashlight and red dot shooting 158 grain Fiocchi’s it doesn’t hurt my ears! I could run it over with the tractor and wouldn’t shed a tear, just go out and get an other!

      • After gettin’ mah ’83 Caprice done up wit 40″ wheels and orange metalflake paint, I jes new I needed dat Hi-Point wit dah Benjamin dip. Get you a dip for yo whip!

  6. As much as I’d like to say I agree with the Shockwave & TAC 14 being on the list – I have seen those who can just naturally point and shoot those things. One mature female (mid 60’s) consistently hit a stationary clay pigeon on the ground @ 30′ from the start. And a young soldier that had bought one who hit 2 out of 3 flying clays from the low house while at station 2. (just to prove me wrong)

    • I couldn’t shoot it worth a damn til I put a green laser on it, now it’s lights out. I have one in 12 and 20, I think they’re great for self-defense in certain situations, like an RV or shop.

      • And there you go! I did the same with my shockwave and as it’s already drilled to install a rail it took about 20 minutes to set it up.

        • shockwave with mini-shells..[and an adapter]…nice little combo…just don’t like having to register it..(PA)..makes it too easy to find me when they decide to ban it…..

  7. I remember playing with a Davis Derringer in .32 ACP and everything about it was horrible except for the fact it fit in your pocket. Also a pal had a Davis .380 with a trigger that was absolutely horrible – but it lived in his tackle box so that may have been a contributing factor.
    Still, if Hi-Point made a .25 ACP, I’d buy one!

  8. ,25 was designed at the turn of the 20th century. In the early 1900’s. .22 rimfire ammo was an on again/off again proposal. .25 ACP was designed to be an alternative to then existing .22 rimfires. .25 ACP in a RAVEN was to be an up close and in your belly gun in the early 1980’s. With 30+ years of technology, a “modern” .25/,22, (i.e. – .32 ACP necked down to .251/.224 with a 35 gr HP), with .22 WMR type velocities, could be the next generation of “mini” belly gun. As to “pot metal” castings, the current generation of alloy steel castings (i.e. – RUGER) or reinforced polymer injection moldings, (30% Carbon Fiber PA 6/6!). Need a 21st century RAVEN. So much for wishful thinking…

    • P3AT or P32? Compact, more power than .25, and probably kick about the same (locked vs. blowback).

  9. I have a .25 acp with a little groove for a sight. It has easily the worst sights of any gun I ever used. How ever it’s as reliable and accurate as a modern gun. It’s got to be a 100 years around I would guess. It’s a Bronco 1918 if I remember right.

    How ever that sight makes it completely impractical for me. Just fun to shoot. I don’t like when guns don’t have real sights.

    • still have my Dad’s .25…had the unique feature of a trigger that folded up inside the gun then snapped down when you pressed the release…not sure if it has any collector value…

  10. OK, I agree with you on most of your picks here, except for one, personally, I have no problem with the Judge, I kinda like the concept. The Governor is a knockoff of the Judge by S & W I believe. Never handled the Governor, you’re correct about the shot ties though. Having a small collection of weapons, I take all the oddities, crappy or not. They usually don’t last long on the market & fetch a good price later down the road. Just my opinion though…

    • The Taurus Curve also came to mind when reading through the list. And the USFA ZiP .22. The Forgotten Weapons look at the latter is hilarious.

    • Does not violate the NFA, and there it is once again, no worries that the NFA violates the second amendment.

    • Hal J.
      Thanks for sharing the video. For danger-to-the-shooter, I think the Zip 22 is the scariest handgun I have ever heard tell of. Watching the fellow in the video trying to shoot it just made me cringe.

  11. Sort of like the Raven 25, decades ago I got a Jennings .22lr. Basically the same things. Within a few hundred rounds it ditched the extractor assembly into never never land. It was never reliable either, multiple malfunctions. It was $55 back then. I still have it in the original box and is just extra weight in the safe. Throw in the Davis 380 although I got rid of it decades ago.

    • I threw a jennings in the Ohio river. Couldn’t get it to run a full mag without some hangup.

      My Raven actually worked. New in the box for about 40 bucks. It just worked. I never trusted it to carry chambered.

      • When properly and thoroughly disassembled, cleaned, lubricated and reassembled, my MP25 runs like a clock. Tiny and pocketable but as mentioned, any number of small .380s are as well and far more effective! Still, a fun little pistol.

  12. Shotgun chambered pistols exist solely because of the mythos surrounding shotguns as supernaturally powerful guns.

    • And they’re a hoot to shoot.

      I wouldn’t carry one for defense ….. but I would use one for defense if I needed to…….with soilds.

  13. I agree with all of these except the Shockwave/Tac 14. They take a little practice, but once you have mastered the technique, they are devastating at short range. Also, you can handle them inside a vehicle. These are special purpose weapons, but in no way ineffective.

      • went grouse hunting once with my grandpappy’s 12 ga [with hammers] that I had cut down to the shortest legal length..wound up in the briars with both barrels tucked under my chin…yikes!…never tried that again….

  14. Add Armatix to the shitlist, especially when activation accessory watch is displaced somewhere.

    • Have you actually owned one? I have a 6″ model that will run through five or so 50 round boxes of 40 grain Winchester HP or soft nose , or CCI 45 grain without stopping…. doesn’t like Remington of any loading though. Had good luck with Fiocci, but don’t remember what load it was, and any WMR is made of unobtanium now, anyway.

      • most .22’s make the list…but my Ruger mk II…[ten in the in the chamber]…can be emptied so fast it’s impossible to hear each individual rd…no wonder the mob likes it so much!….

  15. Definitely the ZIP 22, the single worst POS ever offered to a gullible public. When it actually could be induced to fire, which was rarely and unpredictably, it might do so while you were trying to cock it, which placed your finger alarmingly close to the muzzle. It was the last dying fart of the once-great USFA.

  16. Never shot one but I’d hate to get shot by a 410 out of a JUDGE. I imagine a face shot would blind me. And they do shoot 45colt. Any working gun is better than harsh language😏

    • I’ve shot 410 out of the Taurus Judge and the Bond Derringer 3.5″ and 4.25″. The Judge is well-balanced, has a nice grip, and five rounds instead of two. If 410-handgun was my ammo of choice, the Judge would be my home defense gun because of how pleasant it is compared to the Bond. Also, 45LC is intriguing in the 300gr bear loads, but just not practical in this small frame. I find myself agreeing with Tim above: “Shotgun chambered pistols exist solely because of the mythos surrounding shotguns as supernaturally powerful guns”. There’s probably a Joe Biden joke in there too.

      This supernatural mythos is fully supported by just how loud it is and the amazing size of the muzzle flash. It turns heads at the range. It is very impressive and if you need to fire down a stairway to keep a bad guy from starting up the stairs it would certainly frighten him enough to make him turn around. It might not kill him, but the psychological effect of the light and sound combined with all sorts of strange pain all over should make him want to leave without truly assessing his wounds or asking about what that was. In that niche, this could be a good gun. On the other hand, no instructor ever said that you should use a gun to scare and wound. That was Joe. Some bad guys just get really pissed off when you hurt them and will use that added rage against you. Hopefully you have time for followup shots.

    • they make a lot of cool defense rds for that gun…I prefer buckshot…5 rds=15 pellets..similar to those triple loads for .38/.357….the idea is to hit something…right?

  17. I have a Davis .22 derringer from way back . Has many drawbacks for sure, it’s also I believe the only handgun I own that I’ve never had one issue with .
    SW, Ruger, HK, Glock and many more all had something go wrong at some point in time .

    And no I don’t rely on it for self defense, just mentioning a fact about it .

  18. Remember the attorney in the gated neighborhood defending his home from a group of thugs? He had an AR. The gun his wife had looked like a Raven. Ravens make good paperweights.

    • It was a Taurus Spectrum, FWIW. Still, you’d think they could afford a G42, an LCP, BG380 or Kahr P380.

        • It was not, it was a Bryce 380, why say it was a Walther? Nothing says it was a Walther, nothing says PPK, there are even clear and easily searched images that clearly show it as a Bryco. A junk gun.

      • Nope it was a Bryco 380, easy to search pictures of the gun in evidence bags with the roll marks clearly showing.

  19. Inherited a Raven .25 from my father-in-law in 1979. All that stuff you say about the lack of reliability is true. Have never carried it anywhere except empty from the range back to the gun safe. Placed it in a bag marked “unsafe – do not use”. Noted that warning also on my gun list for my trust. If it has collector value, I’ll be glad to sell it to someone who wants to be entertained in dangerous ways. It’s the pocket gun version of “hold my beer and watch this”. Hope you can still count to ten if you can get it to fire.

  20. I’ve got a .25 ACP clone of a Browning. Not sure of the make. It does fire and cycle but has a range of about 25 feet. I’m looking for a gun buy back to dump it for 3 times it’s value.

    • Interesting!
      Many years ago, I got a .25 auto in a trade (the owner said, “Take this too, or no deal”).
      At 10 feet, it was wildly inaccurate, and keyholed. At ten feet.
      It was reliable, just not accurate at all.
      I did turn it in at a ‘buyback’ for a $50 grocery card. Best trade ever.

    • sounds like a Baur…still looking for some of those cool .25 ACP rds that had a bb in the hollow point cavity….baby Browning that I originally bought for about 50 bucks now goes for at least ten times that…..

  21. 35 or so years ago I had an American Derringer .410/45LC 4″ barrel. I made a cross-draw holster for it that looked cool and actually worked: I could draw, fire, and hit a target out to 20 feet. It had a cross-frame hammer block safety like most derringers, but this one was spring-loaded, which allowed a fairly quick draw without having to deal with the safety. However, one night (with a bit of a buzz on) I shucked my pants to get in to bed, and the butt hit the floor, the hammer bounced, the safety sprung off, and the thing went off, leaving an interesting pattern in the ceiling and the skin of my left leg. That thing was gone the next day!

  22. The top pic looks from the side view like one I almost bought. It was a .410 / 45 lc single barrel. Almost paid $100.00 for it, then the same Hardware / Gun store had the new Ruger Security 9 for 295.00 so bought that instead. Happy decision.

  23. Pike, you’re the worst writer for TTAG. You would have been better off saying any break action single shot or double barrel pistol is because I doubt you think a Thompson Center Contender is good for self defense.

    Was the Raven new or used? If it’s used, it’s been abused. Out of all the pot metal .25’s out there, the Raven has frequently been cited as among the best made.

    You put the Governor and the Judge in this list because it doesn’t pattern the best with .410, but they also shoot .45, which is very effective.

    Seriously, you think a Bond derringer in any caliber other than .410 is better for self defense than a Judge or Governor? Obviously you do, because you didn’t say all Bond derringers, you just said only a Bond in .410 is. This right here shows me you’re a moron.

    Get a new job, this one shows you have no skill in critical thinking.

    • “Was the Raven new or used? If it’s used, it’s been abused. Out of all the pot metal .25’s out there, the Raven has frequently been cited as among the best made.”
      Is that supposed to be praise?

      “You put the Governor and the Judge in this list because it doesn’t pattern the best with .410, but they also shoot .45, which is very effective.”
      Nobody buys those to shoot the .45 out of.

      Evidently you don’t understand the concept of the word “opinion.”

    • Didn’t he address that? He said he was only going after firearms marketed for self defense. Maybe read the whole article before complaining about it, that isn’t even beyond the first paragraph.

  24. You’re wrong on the Shockwave/Tac 14, it’s easier to manuever around corners, down a staircase, and other confined spaces than a regular shotgun with a stock. You can also put a laser on ’em if you want better accuracy. Recoil isn’t so bad with a 20 gauge, or just use the shorties with the Mossy and the Mini Clip plug. I love mine.

    • I keep hearing your opinion about the maneuverability of stocked shotguns, and I wonder if I’m unique in figuring out that carrying at low port is the solution.
      My 20″ 500 is easily as maneuverable as my ‘not really a shotgun’ for me.

  25. Pretty damn accurate with my Shockwave and I consider it very easy to handle. 🤷🏾‍♂️

    • Hmm….if you think the 12ga Shockwave 590M isn’t effective, try coming down a dark hall in my house in the middle of the night. With the Crimson Trace Sidesaddle green laser and Streamlite TL Racker white light fore end you’ll initially be blinded by the instant white light while the green laser designates where the first of 10 to 20 gaping holes will begin to appear in your body. You probably should to pre-submit your impressions beforehand with your next of kin. After the initial practice of 4 boxes of 12ga #4 buck, I never miss at shoot house ranges.

      • another one I could never hit anything with was my M-1 carbine “enforcer”…but it too was “hell in a hallway”…especially with that “banana clip”…..TEC 9 would be in the same category….

  26. I fired the Heizer in 9mm. It is well made of good material, well finished. No question. The trigger isnt bad. All good if you do not fire it. Recoil is horrible, actually hurt, and it hurt- I fired a lot of heavy firearms, I have never fired anything worse. Plus, the 9mm with standard loads flattened primers.

    Derringers by and large are not useful – but the Bond Arms is the one if you must have a Derringer. Well made and it features a transfer bar safety system. Not for everyone but good for some of us and not for primary carry.

    In ten years of testing I have never seen an ATI 1911 that was reliable. But the design isnt poor it is the execution. A cheap 1911 is just no good. Buy a Glock and you have reliability.
    The old Spanish Llama was horrible. Soft steel

  27. The Remington TAC 13 (semi-auto 12 gauge 13 inch barrel) is an awesome defense gun. The pattern was tight. Can shoot this gun one handed in emergency, say your other arm is hurt. But someone wanted mine more than I wanted to keep it.

  28. I was thinking about getting a Shockwave, then Kel-Tec came out with the KS7 that was the same length with a real stock, 18 inches of barrel, and 7+1 capacity. Mine has run like a champ with no issues from day one. I would pick it up first for close in work of anything I own. I also once had a folding version of the Leinad cobray .410 shotgun with an 18 inch barrel at the top of the article. I would rather have a sharp stick to use for self defense that that device if I am fighting off anything more dangerous than internet trolls.

  29. “.22 LR is an anemic personal defense choice, but the real issue is the rimfire primer failing to ignite because rimfire just does that.”

    Never, ever had any issues with factory .22LR. Maybe I should clarify that I am speaking of U.S. factory ammo.

    • Really? I usual get a good number of duds from bulk pack, even American loads from Federal and CCI.

    • I’ve had occasional failures-to-fire with Winchester Super X High Velocity in my Ruger 1022. However, they will usually fire if loaded again and struck a second time.

  30. I own a NAA .22 Mini Revolver, and a NAA Pug in .22 WMR. They are well made and reliable, and are a fun change of pace at the range. I understand them IN THEORY—a deep cover, last ditch, bad-breath-distance pistol.

    But I’ll be damned if I want to depend on being able to draw, manipulate, and fire such a tiny handgun in an anemic caliber under stress.

    I put them down as range toys…

  31. The transformer/spy glock always struck me as a curio….but when its unlimbered…..its a glock !

    The whippet guns are pretty useful in close quarters even if a little cumbersome compared to a handgun. They would not be my first choice as they are difficult to conceal.

    I would certainly take either of these over all the Bauers, Ravens, Jennings, Gales, Sterlings, etc ive carried in the past.

    All the curio guns are the reason for popularity of the 38 snub.

    You’ll fight with what you have….choose the best you can afford and carry from the start.

  32. I agree with every gun listed here. If you want to list another jam-o-matic, the Stoeger .22 Luger jams with the worst of them. I’ve owned three. Not one could get through a magazine with out two or three jams.

  33. seems to me to an issue of personal opinion. I had a Walther TPH once…. sorry piece of shit. Should be on the list


  35. The Raven much like the Jennings much like the 1911 requires a little TLC to make it run smooth.
    Burred slides are the most common issue due to lack of fit and finish. An Arkansas wet stone and an hour will have it singing smooth.

    • big sellers back in the day, though…whatever happened to that little revolver they used to advertise in comic books and magazines for $14.95?….the original “Saturday night special”…..

  36. I have been shooting a shotgun since I was a kid. A shockwave in 20ga is NOT hard to shoot, not hard to aim and very easy to maneuver.

  37. I disagree with putting the Smith & Wesson Governor on this list. I bought a Smith & Wesson Governor primarily because I wanted a double-action revolver chambered in .45 Colt. FYI, .45 Colt is one of the very best calibers for self defense, better than .45 ACP because standard pressure .45 Colt is equivalent to .45 ACP Plus-P. Why did I choose the Governmor? Do you know how hard it is to find a DA revolver in .45 Colt that doesn’t weigh more than a brick? Sure, Ruger makes the Redhawk (which I also bought), but the Ruger weighs about 45 ounces compared to about 30 ounces for the Governor. Most other .45 Colt revolvers are single-action-only cowboy guns, which are great for reenactments and Cowboy Action Shooting, but double-action is better for home defense, so the S&W Governmor fits the bill perfectly. The fact that in addition to .45 Colt, the Governor can also fire .410 shells and .45 ACP is just a bonus!

    Anyone who assumes the S&W Governor is inaccurate simply hasn’t fired it. I found the Governor to be very accurate at 75 feet (25 yards = 75 feet) — as accurate as my .357 Magnum revolvers which have 4.2 inch barrels! Yes, I was amazed, because even with .45 Colt, the Governor has a long freebore and a short 2.75″ barrel, but it’s accurate enough to consistently hit paper targets at 75 feet (25 yards). It has tritium night sights, is made of a scandium alloy that is strong, lightweight, and rustproof (mine survived a flood with no damage!), and is probably the best revolver for home defense, period (.44 Magnum is too powerful for home defense, unless your home is invaded by grizzly bears or polar bears).

    Can the Governor shoot .410 shotgun shells? Yes.
    Haver I ever fired .410 shotgun shells through my S&W Governor? No, because .45 Colt is much better for both home defense and target shooting — more accurate, more powerful through a short barrel, and much better for home defense (unless being attacked by rattlesnakes, in which case some .410 snakeshot would come in handy).

  38. C’mon, guys- let’s just bring back the old Liberator .45 ACP as originally manufactured. Really. While that Heizer seems pretty close, I’m surprised someone hasn’t actually done this. Everyone should be able to afford one and certainly NFBD to toss it into the East or Chicago River after using. If you can whack a cretin with it in self defense, you’d have to be close.

    Having shot one a few times I can attest that after a number of rounds put through it you’ll soon start cutting your hands as the 2 halves begin to separate from recoil. Maybe a molded plastic frame would solve that.

  39. The shockwave is a devise weapon to be sure (TAC-14 also but I can’t speak from experience). However with a few accessories and a little practice it’s actually very handy and effective. With the laser saddle and streamlight racker it becomes fully functional. Given most folks in dark building carrying a G43 etc. equipped with a laser are going to be relying on that laser, the shockwave is on par equipped likewise. Except instead of 1x 38 caliber snack you are offering your adversary a full buffet. Worried about over penetration – #4 bird, under penetration – 1 3/8oz slug. All in a package that’s small enough to fit under My Pillow(Tm).
    No question, it’s not a perfect tool, but in a confined space, like a vehicle (god forbid) it might be the best option. If you’ve ever breached a door with a pistol grip 12ga, this would be a better option than what the service issued us. A truly stowable package that’s worthwhile having in the tool box. In a worst case scenario the size is just right to keep slung on your back without a muzzle poking your butt and a butt stock bonking your head.

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