5 Handguns You Should Shoot Before You Die

By M. Christopher published on in Firearms

Continuing on with guns you MUST to shoot before you die, I feel like talking about handguns. There are a few handguns out there, like their rifle counterparts, that are too important or too good to not take the chance and throw some lead down range.

1911

Singer Mfg. Model 1911A1 Serial Number 1 Semiautomatic Pistol

Considered the “Holy Grail” of all Model 1911A1 pistols: the Singer Model 1911A1 Serial Number “1” pistol.

I can’t think of a better place to start than the ever-important 1911—a pistol that has served the U.S. military in one capacity or another since its adoption in 1911. Designed by the legendary firearm savant John Moses Browning, it has been as reliable as a good dog to soldiers, law enforcement officers, and even legally armed citizens for over 100 years. The crisp trigger and short reset of the 1911 is one of the greatest pistol triggers and simply shouldn’t be missed. Never mind the all-too-often reference to the 1911 grip angle that some shooters have proclaimed as “the one.” Though I shoot other pistols a touch better, I myself find the trigger to be pretty good, but your mileage may vary.Click Here to Start Shopping Online at Cheaper Than Dirt

Click here to read more about the 1911.

Beretta 92FS (M9)

Beretta 92FS

THE Beretta M9 (92FS)

Since I started with the 1911, I couldn’t leave the 92FS off the list. Since I first saw Lethal Weapon in the theaters many moons ago, I knew I had to own one of these wonder nines. It has ridden shotgun with thousands of cops, most notably the LAPD, and been the companion of every soldier to serve since the Reagan administration. I love the Beretta 92 in spite of all the people that detest it for whatever misguided reason they may have. Go shoot one that isn’t worn out, and then tell me you hate it. The ergonomics are pretty darned good and it points pretty well. The fact that you can get 18-round flush-fit magazines for it makes for a pretty powerful package.Click Here to Start Shopping Online at Cheaper Than Dirt

Click here to read more about the Beretta 92.

Single Action Revolver in .45 Long Colt

Colt Single Action Army Sheriff's Model Revolver of Legendary Lawman Jeff Milton

Extremely Rare Factory Engraved Colt Single Action Army Sheriff’s Model Revolver of Legendary Lawman Jeff Milton.

How could I leave the revolver that helped win the west off my list? It would have been wrong and I would have applauded the first reader to call me a pudding brain. Shooting a nice replica of a Colt Single Action Army (AKA Peacemaker) is nothing short of a religious experience. The recoil is pleasant, with a gentle push and lift instead of being more snappy like a modern 9mm load or the ever-snappy .40 S&W. The trigger on many of the revolvers is damned near thought operated, offering the holy grail of crisp and light single-action triggers. With the cost of the original well into the couple of thousand-dollar range, it pays to take a look at some of the replicas such as the one from Cimarron—priced attractively at under $600 while still featuring those four distinctive clicks that spell out the word C-O-L-T.Click Here to Start Shopping Online at Cheaper Than Dirt

Click here to read more about the single-action revolver.

.357 Magnum Double-Action Revolver

Flickr-Steve_Z-SnW_Pre_27_Six_Inch

A Smith & Wesson Model 27 .357 Magnum revolver, first produced in 1935.

I want more than anything to tell you to pick up a Model 19 or Model 27 and put a bunch of wadcutters through it, but I am sadly reminded that those are considered the classic line of revolvers these days. Instead, just about any K-frame Smith and Wesson revolver will do. (Please, for the love of God do not pick up a J-frame revolver in .357 Mag., and then tell me I am a bit slow for recommending a revolver in the powerful .357.) The .357 K-frame was the Glock of its day, being found on the hip of just about every cop on the street. The one-shot stop rate was much higher with these natural pointing firearms. Shoot one coming out of a holster and it is easy to see why. As soon as the pistol clears the holster it feels like an extension the arm, the trigger feels like it is riding on ball bearings until the crisp and predictable break lets one of those 158-grain projectiles fly at the target—striking the A box every time. Not only is it a wonderful shooting experience, but it makes me want to grow a pretty epic mustache.Click Here to Start Shopping Online at Cheaper Than Dirt

Click here to read more about the .357 Magnum cartridge.

Browning Buckmark

All Browning Buck Mark pistols are praised for their ergonomics.

All Browning Buck Mark pistols are praised for their ergonomics.

Being honest with you guys, I wanted to list the Ruger Mark series of pistols here, but Ruger, in its infinite wisdom, has decided it wants to make selling their guns incredibly hard for many retailers. The Browning Buckmark it is instead, still a solid choice, but not my first. Simple .22 pistols like the Buckmark have been used to introduce new shooters to handguns for generations and continue to do so for generations to come—this makes it a must shoot. My little .22 pistol is a constant companion for me when I hit the range. Not only do I shoot it better than any handgun I own, but also it allows me to work on the fundamentals without forking over .30 cents per trigger pull.Click Here to Start Shopping Online at Cheaper Than Dirt

There you have my choices for five handguns you have to shoot. I am sure there will be a part two because narrowing down the “must shoot” firearms is pretty hard. It seems that no matter the category I come up with, there are eight or so guns that I think are equally important and struggle with boiling it down to only five.

If you think I am wrong about one because it is just turrble let me know in the comments what I should I should have chosen and why.

Click here to read “5 Rifles You Should Shoot Before You Die.” Click here to read “5 Shotguns You Should Shoot Before You Die.”

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M. Christopher

M. Christopher is originally from Chicago, but relocated to Texas to start a company that made the little tables that go on top of pizzas. He spends most of his days thinking about his miniature railroad collection while working at his "job" in the hunting and shooting industry. He likes guns. A lot.
The mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, "The Shooter's Log," is to provide information-not opinions-to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (106)

  • Joel

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    Left out probably the best handgun ever – Browning Hi Power!

    Reply

  • Roy Holbert

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    Have been reading with great interest, comments about the legitimacy of .45 Colt as opposed to .45 Long Colt and the existence of a .45 Short Colt.
    Did my ‘home work’. From Wikipedia;s LIST OF HANDGUN CARTRIDGES: .45 Colt Government (Short Colt): .454 in., or 11.5 mm in diameter. 1.100 in., or 27.9 mm in length. .45 Colt (Long Colt): .455 in., or 11.5 mm in diameter, 1.290 in., or 32.8 mm in length. Source: Barnes Bullets, page 309, 2000 copy. From: TOPTENZ WEB site, listing the Top 10 Ridiculously Huge Handguns. At # 9, Desert Eagle Revolver in .45 Long Colt/.410 Shotgun Load Pistol. There were other cases that used ‘Long Colt’ in describing the .45 Colt Cartridge, including photos of very old ammo boxes. For those of you that already have your mind made up and don’t want to be confused by facts, hold fast to your mis-beliefs, but don’t slander those that have done the research and/or have grown up using revolvers that fire the .45 Long Colt. Unfortunately, I never had the honor, but my father did, of knowing Grant Johnson, a U.S. Deputy Marshal, on whom Clint Eastwood’s role in Hang ‘Em High, was based. My father said, he always referred to the Colt Pistol, he carried, as a .45 Long Colt. For those that want the truth, do the research for yourself. It is truly just a mouse click away.

    Reply

  • Mike Edwards

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    Mr. D.A.,Nor will I argue semantic’s with you, you can look it up just like I did. Panic attack ? Never heard of her.( Although I had a Big Mac attack a few years ago). As far as my “alleged expertise” go’es I’ll stack it up against your’s any day of the week. As for the freedom to call it what you want to ?” Go for it . you do have the right to be wrong.

    Reply

  • Dark Angel

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    Mr. Edwards. I am not going to argue semantics with you. .45 Colt, was, is and will be called Long Colt as long as it exists. Regardless of your alleged expertise, I have bought . 45 Colt that was marked on the box as, .45 Long Colt. Everyone on Earth that has owned a .45 Colt pistol has at one time or another called it .45 Long Colt. Wikipedia calls it Long Colt, in explaining the difference between .45 Smith & Wesson and .45 Colt. I have know those that work for Colt. They call it Long Colt! SO! What ever gets you through your delusions, I really don’t give a rats’ ass.

    Reply

    • ss1

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      I agree that someone should not come on here saying “Please, please quit calling the .45 colt the .45 long colt” as if they’re having a panic attack. I used to own a Taurus Judge, and I bought .45 Long Colt boxes all the time.

      Plus we have the freedom to call these things anything we want to call them. Since I personally hate the .45 ACP, if I want to call it the .45 Stubby or the .45 Low Velocity, I can do that.

      Reply

    • Secundius

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      @ ss1.

      During the Second World War, My Father had to “Requisition” Parts for the M1, M2, M3, M4, and so on’s, was a “Logistics’ Nightmare”. The Problem was, there SO MANY “Pieces of Equipment” that had the Same Designation. Example M1, could mean Rifle, Carbine, Ammunition, Submachine Gun, and so on’s. If you weren’t Specific on what you were Ordering, you could get a “Brassiere”, Canteen, Pencils instead. I think, sometime after 1949 is when Designations started to change…

      Reply

    • Secundius

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      @ ss1.

      Hey Sam, Glock is putting out a New Wheel Gun “SOON” (Whatever that Means). Called the G-21R Revolver in .45acp. No price on it yet, I ask CTD weather they plan to sell. Just waiting for an “E”, just surprised it’s NOT in .45 GAP. REAL SWEET LOOKING TOO, “Futuristic”. SEC…

      Reply

    • ss1

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      @Secundius:

      Wow that’s amazing. A .45 ACP revolver. Yuk! Glock should just stick to what they do best.

      I had fun with a REAL revolver this past weekend. My Ruger Stainless Super Redhawk 44 magnum. I was practicing double-action shooting, even with some Buffalo Bore 300gr wadcutters I wanted to get out of my inventory because they don’t work in my Desert Eagle. Try shooting Buffalo Bore double-action some day……..IF you want to torture your hand.

      Reply

    • Secundius

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      @ ss1.

      Sorry Sam, the .45 “Low Velocity” is already taken. The .45AR (Auto Rim) (.452/11.48×22.87). 230-grain @ 750ft/sec to 855ft/sec. CORBON still produces them. SEC…

      Reply

    • Secundius

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      @ ss1.

      You Sound Surprised? The US has had Many .45 ACP Revolvers, Like the Colt M1905, M1909, M1917, Ruger Blackhawk, Redhawk, S&W 625, Taurus Tracker 455, and so on…

      Reply

    • Secundius

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      @ ss1.

      Almost Forgot, Pre-Ban M1911 Taylor Mk.1 28-round Metal Snail Drum Magazines in .45ACP. Will fit the .45 ACP Hi-Point Carbine, but some Tweeking of the Magazine is Required. YouTube can help you there and a Dremel Tool…

      Reply

  • Mike Edwards

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    Dark Angel the .45 COLT was something like 2 years ahead of the the S&W .45 Schofield . It’s the word”LONG’ that do’es not belong in the designation of the .45 COLT because COLT never made a .45 SHORT.I know this because:1 I’m a cartridge collector and 2, I just happen to have a copy of Frank C. Barnes ,CARTRIDGES OF THE WORLD ( and I have about 250 cartridges).I also have box’es from a bygone era when folks who bought ammo knew what bullet fit the gun they were shooting.

    Reply

    • Secundius

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      @ Mike Edwards.

      Actually, Colt DID. But it was NEVER called the .45 “SC” (Short Colt), tt was called the .45 Government or the (.451/11.43×22.8) or simply .45acp…

      Reply

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