If you could own only five handguns, what would they be? What type, caliber and even manufacturer?
Here’s my five:
1. Browning Buck Mark .22 LR
You need a pistol or a revolver chambered in .22 LR to complement your .22 rifle (assuming you have a .22 rifle in your collection). Beyond that, a .22 handgun will fulfill multiple uses. If you’ve set traps for small game, a .22 handgun will be the most practical choice for delivering the coup de grace to anything you catch that’s still living. Many big game hunters also prefer packing a .22 handgun with them in the event that they come across any small game that their large caliber hunting rifle will be far too powerful for. And beyond that, .22 handguns offer hardly any recoil, meaning that you can keep up on your practice or teach your kids to shoot a handgun before moving up to larger calibers.
The Browning Buck Mark is a superb .22 pistol and one of the most popular on the market, coming in multiple variations. Comparisons between the Browning and a similar pistol, the Ruger Mark II/Mark III series, are frequently brought up. Both are very reliable and very accurate weapons, but the Browning has a few advantages over the Ruger. The Browning has a much more ergonomic grip than the Ruger as well as a lighter, crisper trigger pull. Lastly, the Buck Mark is also significantly easier to disassemble for cleaning. Even fans of the Ruger will concede the more steps it takes in taking apart the gun. The Browning Buck Mark is a solid .22 pistol that will not let you down, and a worthy addition to any gun collection.
2. Ruger LC380 .380 ACP
If you have a concealed carry license, you need a small handgun that you keep hidden on your person at all times. Concealed carry handguns are very small, and most fit in the palm of your hands, meaning that they aren’t fun to shoot at all. But a lot of the concealed carry handguns on the market are so small and so light that you forget you have them on you!
The Ruger LC380 is one of the thinnest, smallest and easily concealable concealed carry options on the market. It can fit in the palm of your hand or in a concealed holster. The .380 ACP cartridge also means that the pistol has only moderate recoil.
3. Glock 19 9mm
Whether you love the 9mm Parabellum or you hate it, having a double-stacked 9mm automatic in your collection is not an option. Why? The 9mm is by far the most popular handgun caliber in the world. Yes, the entire world. It’s always available, and when it comes to ammo prices, it’s quite cheap, too. This means that you can keep your shooting skills up without breaking your wallet. In a true grid down or emergency situation, the 9mm will also be one of the most plentiful of any calibers.
The Glock 19 is an excellent choice for a 9mm automatic. As a mid-sized pistol, it is adept at either being carried as a main sidearm or concealed if needed. It can also easily be fitted with higher capacity magazines. Granted, there are a lot of other more ergonomic offerings available from HK, Smith & Wesson, Springfield, and Walther, but the Glock’s popularity, proven track record and easy availability of parts make this one the only 9mm pistol to have if you could have only one.
4. Ruger GP100 .357 Magnum
Again, whether you love revolvers or you hate them, including a full-size .357 Magnum in your collection should be a no-brainer. Revolvers are inherently more reliable than pistols and don’t require magazines (it would definitely be a headache if you lost your magazines or the springs went bad in them!). Your revolver should be chambered for .357 for a number of reasons. First, the .357 Magnum is an excellent stopping round, considering it has earned a reputation as being the “one shot man stopper.” Second, you can load .38 Specials in any revolver chambered for .357, adding much versatility to your weapon. Third, both .357 Magnums and .38 Specials are among the most popular handgun calibers in the country, and can be found at nearly any place that sales handgun ammunition.
The Ruger GP100 has a noted reputation for strength, being built on a stronger frame than other .357 revolvers. The GP100 is claimed by Ruger to be able to fire an unlimited number of .357 Magnum rounds. The GP100 is available in three different barrel lengths of your choice: 3, 4 and 6 inch.
5. Glock 21 .45 ACP
The .45 ACP is one of the most popular calibers in America and has been for decades. While it’s always been a point of contention, many gun enthusiasts believe that the .45 ACP delivers better knockdown and stopping power than a .357 Magnum. Owning a full-size .45 ACP pistol is a must if you are limiting yourself to only five handguns.
When .45 ACP comes to mind, the first gun that we often think of is a 1911-style of pistol (the term Colt 1911 is an iconic term in and of itself). So why another Glock and not a 1911? The primary reason here is that the 1911 feeds FMJ rounds very reliably, but can have difficulty feeding hollow point and other defense rounds, requiring some tune-up at the shop. 1911’s also require more regular maintenance to be done on the pistol. Glocks don’t have either of these issues. Another score for the Glock is magazine capacity: 13+1 rounds of .45 ACP in a Glock vs. 7+1 or 8+1 in a 1911. Last but not least, the Glock is simple to use, has a proven track record and parts are very easily available.
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