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Thread: Top 10 list - modern handguns

  1. #1
    Boolit Master watkibe's Avatar
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    Top 10 list - modern handguns

    There is a good article in this month's NRA magazine about the top 10 handguns of all time. This sort of article used to be a mainstay of gun magazines, but it's been a while since I've seen one, or at least one that wasn't about the top ten DA semi auto 9mms.

    Before I got to the page with the article, I already had my own list forming in my head: 1911, Hi Power, SAA, S&W Hand ejectors, C96 Mauser, P08 Luger, and the XP 100. (I think the XP 100 is not given enough credit for starting 3 revolutions: handgun optics, handgun hunting, and single shot hunting handguns.) I only came up with 7, and they are in no particular order.

    Most of my choices made the NRA list, and the Luger and the XP 100 didn't make their list at all. Some on their list I had never heard of...

    The NRA list:

    1.) 1911
    2.) S&W hand ejectors
    3.) Glock 17
    4.) S&W model 1
    5.) S&W Volcanic
    6.) SAA
    7.) Walther PPs
    8.) Mauser C96
    9.) Hi Power
    10.) S&W Registered Magnum

    So what's on your list ?
    "A society that values equality above liberty will have neither. A society that values liberty above equality will have plenty of both " - Milton Friedman

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

    GP100man's Avatar
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    what `bout-----aawww never mind too many i`m thinking of!!!!

    not enuff revolvers on the nra list!!
    GP100man

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Here's mine not necessarily in rank order
    Colt 1911
    Colt Python
    S&W model 19
    SIG 229
    Mauser C96
    Luger
    Colt Detective Special
    Colt Single Action Army
    Thompson-Center Contender
    S&W model 29
    Obamas wars:
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    Detectives, and Cobras, and Agents!
    Oh my!

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    just another gun rag stirring the pot in my humble opinion.

    one...they missed the cz75 and clones...one of the most popular guns in the world.( dont yell at me. there was an articlle published 10-12 yrs ago that listed the cz75and clones as more popular around the world than the 1911 and clones. yes i agree in the usa it is on the top.)

    two....they picked some unique vintage guns that are known by few. since most of us have only seen guns for 40 to 50 years, and most less....how does one justify the lesser known early guns over modern guns.

    it is just a limited opinion poll, dont get too wound up over it.

    mike in co
    only accurate rifles are interesting

  5. #5
    Boolit Master


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    And not a word about the Ruger .22 auto. In my mind, one of the better handguns of the century./beagle
    diplomacy is being able to say, "nice doggie" until you find a big rock.....

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

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    Beagle beat me to it. Ruger std auto is a real breakthru design and put most other
    .22 semi-autos out of business. Accurate, reliable, lasts forever and costs way less
    than the others.

    Bill
    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master ddeaton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beagle View Post
    And not a word about the Ruger .22 auto. In my mind, one of the better handguns of the century./beagle

    One of my favorite also

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

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    The Ruger single action revolver certainly belongs on the list.

    Jack

  9. #9
    Boolit Master S.R.Custom's Avatar
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    The Glock does NOT belong on the list... How does simply substituting plastic for metal in an otherwise uninspired (and uninspiring) semi-auto handgun make it an all-time classic?

    On the other hand, every DA/SA locked breach pistol made today owes its very existence to the Walther P-38...

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    I think the comment about the XP100 is dead on. Never owned one, but it did start a big ball of interest rolling.

    Thompson Contender not on the list, is also a missing item.

    There reason for including some of the obscure is not because they are well known, but what they did for the gun community. For instance the Volcanic was not a success, but it was sold to a man with the last name of Winchester who improved on it and the rest is History.

    Now if we had the list at the top 5 in NO order . . .

    1911
    S&W Hand Ejector
    Colt SAA
    XP100
    P-38

    I did it based upon what impact they had on the gun community.

    First successful of that type (SA auto, DA/SA Auto, Long Range handgun, two basic type of pistols, hand ejector or SAA).

  11. #11
    I'm A Honcho!


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    I'd think that the 1858 Remington revolver with its full frame should be included in a list of designs that impacted the firearms industry. Dan Wesson with the interchangeable barrel system seems to me to be an important firearm too. I guess the commercial use of plastic resins in the main frame owes Glock a nod. And as several have mentioned, Ruger has had several innovations. Investment casting is a biggie.

    Edd
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  12. #12
    Boolit Master

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    [QUOTE=watkibe;640775]
    Most of my choices made the NRA list, and the Luger and the XP 100 didn't make their list at all. Some on their list I had never heard of...

    The NRA list:

    1.) 1911
    2.) S&W hand ejectors
    3.) Glock 17
    4.) S&W model 1
    5.) S&W Volcanic
    6.) SAA
    7.) Walther PPs
    8.) Mauser C96
    9.) Hi Power
    10.) S&W Registered Magnum

    Is no. 7 the PP line (PP, PPK, PPK/S) or the PPS ?
    Dutch

    "The future ain't what it used to be".
    -Yogi Berra.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Ruger 22 autos didn't make the list?! Over 2 million manufactured, the most popular 22 pistol of all time. 33 years on the production line. Crazy.

    How does the contender not make the list?
    It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.

    Theodore Roosevelt

  14. #14
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    My list would include, in no particular order.

    S&W Model 1917
    Colt SAA
    Ruger Blackhawk
    CZ-75 & CZ P01
    HK USP
    Ruger MK II
    Colt New Service
    Walther P38
    Browning Hi Power
    Korth
    Give us this day our daily lead.

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    If you don't want 1984 you're going to need some 1776.
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  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperMag View Post
    The Glock does NOT belong on the list... How does simply substituting plastic for metal in an otherwise uninspired (and uninspiring) semi-auto handgun make it an all-time classic?

    On the other hand, every DA/SA locked breach pistol made today owes its very existence to the Walther P-38...
    yes i think they do. not just plastic, but functional and relaible. they feed and fire like no other family of handguns. while the 1911 is good, the glocks have taken the world by storm, as has plastic framed guns.

    here is what they have, striker fired, no external hammer, lawyer friendly hammer,and larger chambers........the chamber is the issue as i see it. the guns do not fail to feed.

    i don't like the guns, dont like the feel, and do like a hammer.......but still think they belong on the list.

    mike in co
    only accurate rifles are interesting

  16. #16
    Boolit Master

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    1 - 1911
    2 - 1911
    3 - 1911
    4 - 1911
    5 - 1911
    6 - 1911
    7 - 1911
    8 - 1911
    9 - 1911
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    10 - Thought I gonna say 1911, huh?
    .
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    10 - 1917 (Colt or S&W)

  17. #17
    Boolit Master S.R.Custom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike in co View Post
    ...here is what they have, striker fired, no external hammer, lawyer friendly hammer,and larger chambers........the chamber is the issue as i see it. the guns do not fail to feed...
    Translation: hammerless single action, dismal trigger pull, fat tolerancing for the sake of reliability.... nothing particularly earth shattering there.

    I'm not saying the Glock is insignificant, I'm just saying it's on the wrong list. I'm thinking a #2 ranking on the P.T. Barnum list of all time marketing coups would be more appropriate. (Second only to the man-made global warming canard.)

    And while I'm at it, why did they list the same S&W twice? I mean, besides caliber, is there any significant difference between a Hand-ejector and a Registered Magnum? Seems to me that eliminating that bit of duplication would open up a spot on the list for a true classic...


  18. #18
    I'm A Honcho!



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    There are many different ways one can come up with a Top Ten list, and I saw and read the article in the Rifleman. Some of their points I agreed with; some I didn't.

    My top ten list based on personal preferrence would go something like this:

    1. Glock pistol. (first-class functional reliability - most important quality in a defensive/offensive pistol, extremely good accuracy - the polygonal barrel and Browning lock-up are a great combo, incredibly wear-resistant finishes and internal engagement surfaces, lightweight and compact size - the latter depending on which model you choose, high-firepower without engorging the size of the pistol, consistent trigger pull of medium weight on every shot, simple/resilient design - low number of parts which break rarely and when they do it's easy to fix, low cost - an important consideration for govts and citizens alike). Now, this isn't to say it's perfect, as no other pistols on any list you come up with are perfect, either. First thing I always do is replace plastic sights with steel ones... I was a Glock hater when they first came out, until I tried one and gave it all the torture tests I could come up with... The ugly little things won me over. It's what I've carried on-duty for around 15 years now, and I've been an armorer for them for 10 years. To a traditional shooter, who is used to smooth DA S&Ws or crisp SA 1911 trigger, their trigger feels horrible, but after an initial few months of dry-firing and a couple thousand rounds, I've been shooting scores within a couple points of what I shot with my S&W DA L-Frame. (Both, good enough for me to score high-master every year of my service starting in 1989.) The trigger is no handicap at all. They're the top combat pistol when one takes into consideration all of the different attributes, but they're still not perfect... Glock 18 comes close, though...

    2. S&W N-Frame / L-Frame. There's just something about the way the short-action N-Frames are put together. They have awesome triggers, which can be dressed up to something close to perfection. The older long-action N-frames are awesome too, especially in their fit and finish, but if you find a 1950s or 1960s vintage N-Frame, it's the best of all worlds, IMO. My only problem is that my hands are just a myte too short for the full-size N-Frame grip for smooth/fast DA, which is why I grouped the L-frame in with them. I carried an L-frame on duty for the first 5 years or so of my career, and shot back-to-back perfect scores with it for the first three years. Nowadays, I shoot my revolvers recreationally, and I find the N-frame 44s coming along to the range more and more often.

    3. Freedom Arms. There have been many fine Single-Action Revolvers in history, but this one is a shooter's and boolit caster's dream gun. The throats are sized correctly, the forcing cone is cut right, the bore diameter matches up with the throats, the chambers are line-bored to align properly with the barrel, it has a fine trigger, excellent adjustable sights, strongly-constructed springs and parts, very strong stainless steel base material, and easily-interchangeable front sight. What more could you want?? (A lower price would be nice, but NOT at the sacrifice of the quality, so I say, let them keep the price where it is. They seem to make enough to stay in business and keep SA revolver afficionados waiting...)

    That's my short list. It's all about functional utility to me. If it's the optimum piece for it's use, it's on my must-have list.

    The rest of these are just things that I think are innovative or I enjoy shooting:

    4. Browning Hi-Power. (At the rist of being bar-b-qued by the Sgt.Maj., I must say I believe the P-35 beats out the 1911, because I think the ramp lock-up system is a better design than the link on the 1911... Caliber is cheap, fun, and easy to shoot, and it holds a fair number of rounds in the magazine. I also like the fixed sights on my Belgian Commercial model, because the narrow front sight blade lets me shoot at 100yrds + quite accurately.)

    5. 1911. (What needs to be said? Throwing those big ole punkin' balls out of the service pistol that saw us through two world wars, a police action, and one big and many little counter-insurgencies is just darn thrilling! Also, the thinness of the design makes it a sweet carry piece, especially in the Ltwt. Commander version. And the caliber is, just awesome!)

    6. Walther P88/P88C. (This is the MOST accurate pistol I've ever shot. It beats out several target pistols of my buddies, and the only other service pistol that comes close to this level of accuracy is a buddies P9S, but the Walther still beats it... Also, this is a modern-day, high-capacity, ultra-accurate follow-on generation of the P-38 and contains the same sweet DA/SA trigger system as on the original. This is the best auto-pistol trigger I've ever felt, and I've felt nearly all of them...)

    7. Bren Ten. (I'm awaiting the Vltor Bren Ten re-make, because it is going to be even better than the original, but as a 10mm guy, you know I have to have this one on my list! I've handled several originals and was even lucky enough to have some range time with an original. I think the reputation of the company and what happened there ruined the name of an otherwise outstanding design. Hopefully Vltor's re-make will fix all that.)

    8. S&W #3. (It's the gun that SHOULD have won the old west. Again, I'm speaking heresy, but this pistol is a better design than the Colt. Simultaneous, automatic, one-handed ejection and very open access to the breech for FAST reloading means that if a fight took more than 5 rounds, the S&W shooter would be the winner. It's also target-grade accurate and has a sweet trigger. Grip and hammer design could have been made better, and the original cartridges were wimpier than the cartridges the Colt was made for.)

    9. Calico. (H&K roller-locking bolt system, 100-rd double-helical-feed fairly compact [considering it's capacity] magazine, bottom ejection [ambidextrous and easy retrieval of fired brass] make this the most awesome, albeit Buck-Roger's-ish pistol.)

    10. I was going to say Seecamp, but I think I'll go out on a limb and say Ruger LCP for number 10. As a practical matter an ultra-small back-up or even deep-primary carry pistol is a must for me. I've shot and or handled and even owned some of the classics - Beretta 950s, Walther THP, Colt 25, Baby Browning, Seecamp 32, even some Budishowski's (in a couple calibers), and I think the Ruger LCP is the most practical of the bunch. It's a rip-off of the Kel-Tec for sure, but it's nicer made than the Kel-Tec, and I love the 380 caliber - as opposed to the 22, 25, and 32 that I've carried in the past.

    11. H&K P7. (Squeeze-cocking, gas-locked, compact design that met a bunch of very strict and sometimes innovative design criteria. This was a design that really epitomizes "thinking outside the box.")

    Yes, my list is mostly modern guns. I love, own, and shoot a lot of the older handguns, but they are not, generally, the highest-development in the art of the one-hand firearm... Still beautiful, accurate and worthy of respect and appreciation, but I like the above for constant companions.
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  19. #19
    Boolit Master watkibe's Avatar
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    answer for wallenba

    "Is no. 7 the PP line (PP, PPK, PPK/S) or the PPS ? " - wallenba

    It was all of them.
    "A society that values equality above liberty will have neither. A society that values liberty above equality will have plenty of both " - Milton Friedman

  20. #20
    Boolit Master oldhickory's Avatar
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    Well, for revolvers...The S&W Number 1, the first successful metalic cartridge loading revolver...And it's cartridge, the .22 short.

    The Colt Single Action Army, robust, simple, and VERY successful.

    The S&W Number 3 series of break open revolvers, although not ultimately successful, they did address a certain inovation in ejecting all cartridges at once via the star ejector.

    Colt's New Service, designed in 1897, the basic lock work remained a Colt hallmark right through the Python.

    S&W's M&P model of 1905, again a basic design that remains with us to this day.

    Bill Ruger's Security Six, a new approach to the revolver, new lock work, modular design, just the right size and strong enough to handle any cartridge of the caliber made for it.

    In the field of self loaders...The Mauser C96 "Broomhandle". The worlds first reliable and successful auto loader.

    Colt's "Pocket" series, straight blow-back inertia design of which has been copied the world over thanks to Mr. Browning.

    Colt/Browning 1911...The best single handed fighting implement ever devised.

    Karl Walther's little gem, the PP/PPK. The introduction of DA self loaders.


    Honorable mention goes to Webley's revolvers, Ruger's single action series, (Single Six, Blackhawk, Super Blackhawk).

    George Luger's creation, the P-35 Browning Hi-Power, Walther's P38, Beretta's open top autos, and Bill Ruger's .22 Standard model/MkI.
    Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check