10 Guns Worth Keeping

Guns Worth Keeping

There are many “keepers” in life. The most important keeper in the home is watching TV in another room as I write this —  she is my most important.

As a peace officer, keepers kept my belts together and prevented the holster belt from sagging. A firearm that is too good and too useful to trade or sell is a keeper.

Like many of you, I may trade up when the need is there or when a new introduction is attractive. I have traded three or four for a single piece, and I have not always gotten something better than the firearm traded.

What follows is a serenade to 10 solid handguns, rifles and shotguns that have earned the title “keepers,” and are definitely guns worth keeping.

(Click here to skip the infographic and go straight to the rest of the article.)

10 guns worth keeping infographic

1. Heritage Rough Rider

The Heritage Rough Rider is the least expensive revolver that I know of. There are inexpensive centerfire revolvers and self-loaders that are just cheap. They aren’t my favorites.

The Heritage single-action .22 rimfire is trouble-free, friendly, and more accurate than it should be. I am never happier than when firing single-action ‘cowboy guns.’

I have done quite a bit of gunsmith work, and hang around gun shops often. I have yet to see a Heritage in need of repair or adjustment.

The Rough Rider features a manual safety that allows safely keeping six rounds at the ready. This revolver isn’t expensive. Why trade it, it isn’t worth much on trade-in, but it is worth more than its modest price in utility.

The Heritage is a great plinker, trainer and small-game handgun.

Heritage Rough Rider
The Heritage Rough Rider is an impressively reliable firearm.

2. Smith and Wesson Military and Police

I am working up a curriculum for a gunsmithing school that includes the different generations of the Smith and Wesson M&P revolver.

While there are important differences, all of the revolvers from 1899 to the present are reliable, smooth and accurate. My friend Darrell owns one that is the most accurate revolver he owns.

The K-Frame .38 Special is just the right size for most hands. The .38 Special is the most powerful cartridge the occasional shooter wishes to handle. There is no smoother and faster-handling revolver.

Used examples are still available at a fair price and if you’ve got one, you have one of the best guns worth keeping.

M&P Revolvers
The author owns several Military and Police .38 Special revolvers.

3. GLOCK 19 9mm

The GLOCK is a baseline for self-loading handguns. There are less expensive pistols claiming similar performance, but corners have been cut to lower the price.

There are more expensive handguns as well. You must ask — is it possible to improve on GLOCK reliability? The GLOCK 19 is arguably the best balanced of GLOCK handguns.

The 9mm Luger is a powerful cartridge, and the GLOCK holds 15 cartridges in a relatively compact grip frame.

This is an affordable and useful handgun, one of the best service and personal-defense handguns ever offered.

GLOCK 19 with Light
The GLOCK 19 is an exceptionally reliable firearm.

4. SIG Sauer P229

The SIG P229 is widely regarded by SIG fans and one of the best-balanced and smoothest handling SIG pistols. SIG handguns are famed for reliability and accuracy.

The SIG trigger action is among the smoothest double-action first shot triggers. The single-action pull breaks at crisp 4.2 pounds. A favorite is a .40-caliber version.

The .40 S&W hits hard. Any accuracy problems with the .40 are not apparent with the P229. The P229 isn’t inexpensive, but it is well worth its price.

This is a nice-sized handgun that is suited to personal defense and hits hard.

SIG offers a touch of class along with accuracy and reliability. The P229 is one of those guns worth keeping.

5. Browning Hi-Power 9mm

This pistol has it all — reliability, superb accuracy and emotional attachment. My oldest son built this pistol for me. The trigger has been tuned to a crisp let-off and a Bar-Sto barrel fitted.

The Browning Hi-Power is easily the most accurate 9mm I own. It is also a superlative carry gun, accurate, easy to use well and completely reliable. It is at the top of my keeper list.

Browning Hi-Power
A classic Browning Hi-Power with a great deal of emotional attachment is a keeper.

6. Remington 870 12-Gauge Pump

This is my longest serving long gun. The Remington features an Adaptive Tactical stock set. I like the folding stock and the ability to mount a light if need be. The 870 is a model of reliability.

If there are only four shells in the magazine, well, #00 buckshot tends to be decisive. Four shells equal 36 holes with buckshot. The pump action is smooth and the Remington points well.

Mine is the rifle-sighted version. I like this for overall accuracy with slugs. The front post has been replaced by an XS Big Dot tritium sight, giving the shotgun 24-hour utility.

This shotgun has been with me for years. I have gradually upgraded it. I once fitted a stock that did not suit me, it was made of cheap plastic. The Adaptive Tactical combination is a quality rig I like.

Others will find the factory wood stock better. For quick storage and use as a truck gun, nothing beats this relatively inexpensive and effective combination.

I also have a new in the box Remington 870 DM (Detachable Magazine) version just in case.

Remington 870 DM
A good pump-action shotgun is a handy thing to have. Many feel that it should be a Remington 870.

7. Benelli M4 12-Gauge

This is the most expensive of the ten firearms tested. It would make a good piece of trading stock, but by the same token, as many of you will understand, if I traded it, I would probably never have another shotgun like this one.

It wasn’t easy to obtain this one. The Benelli M4 is gas-operated, in contrast to the Super 90’s inertia-driven system. This is among the most reliable firearms I have used.

It has never failed to function, save with very light training loads using rubber buckshot! Recoil is modest compared to the 870. The M4 features interchangeable choke tubes and excellent peep sights.

The front post has been replaced with an XS tritium dot. The Benelli is well worth its price, because after all, it doesn’t get any better. Definitely one of the nicest guns worth keeping.

Benelli M4
Benelli’s M4 is in a class by itself.

8. Remington 700 .30-06 Springfield

My favorite rifle cartridge for hunting, as opposed to target shooting, is the .30-06 Springfield.

Not long ago, I was pleased to find a used bolt-action rifle with a cut-up stock — someone had attempted to make a youth model stock.

The rifle sports a Bushnell Varmint scope, among the best buys on the planet. It was fitted with a McMillan stock and Huber trigger. I will cover these in detail at another time.

The Remington 700 has been an enjoyable rifle to build up and fire. There is sweat equity in this one. One of my favorite guns worth keeping.

Remington 700 with scope
Remington’s Model 700 rifle is a rifleman’s dream when properly set up.

9. Aero Precision AR-15

This is a rifle built for me by my eldest son. I have no sweat or financial equity in this one. The rifle features an Aero Precision upper and lower receiver, a Hyperfire trigger and a first-class barrel.

I fitted a ROMEO1 red dot sight. This rifle has been a great all-around shooter. It is reliable like all good AR-15 rifles.

The rifle is light enough and accuracy is exceptional. This rifle is a good example of a properly built rifle. Use Aero parts and the proper tools, and you will own a gem.

Aero Precision AR-15
The author’s Aero Precision custom AR-15 rifle is the perfect rifle for his use.

10. Springfield M1A SOCOM

Sometimes you need a .308. I have surprised my friends, I suppose, when the talk turns to a SHTF gun. I am glad that my fate is more in the hands of our tawny young warriors these days.

Just the same, if in the unlikely event I really needed an all-around survival rifle, this is it. The .308 hits hard and will take deer and boar-sized game cleanly.

The rifle is fast handling and reliable. Accuracy is good to excellent out to 200 yards. The short, fast-handling rifle is a great choice for the one rifle shooter.

It isn’t as accurate the Remington 700 and certainly not as easy to use as the AR-15, but what it does, it does very well.

Springfield M1A SOCOM
Nothing says keeper quite like the Springfield Armory M1A rifle.

These are 10 guns worth keeping. I go over and update the list from time to time, but there are constants that never change. Reliability, power and usefulness are at the top of the list.

What are some of your guns worth keeping? Why are they “keepers?” Let us know in the comments below!

About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.

Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Rifle Magazine
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns

Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
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 (38)

  1. Interesting. I have at least one of each. Only differences being calibers, configuration, manufacturers. The S&W revolvers are probably my favorites, although I have come to appreciate the newer M&Ps as well.

  2. Ol CATM NCO
    my #1 keeper is a Colt Commander in .38 Super, #2 is Smooth shooting Rock Island 1911a1 in 10 mm. #3 is a 700 BDL VARM. SPEC. in .308. #4 Rem model 12 GALLERY SPECIAL.22 s. L. Lr. #5 is a S&W model 28 4”. #6 a model 27-2 in 8 3/8”. #7 a Rem 1100 synthetic in 20 ga., a delightful field gun. #8 an 870 Tactical, filled with #4 buck-28 to the load. #9/10 are RedHawks, in .357 & .41 mag.

  3. My list of Keepers are different, but, I suspect if you poll 10 gun owners, you will get all sorts of different lists with a few commonalities.

    For me, my list consists of :
    1. An Ithaca Double-Barrel 12 ga., side by side, 28” Damascus barreled goose gun my grandfather bought in 1906, the year my father was born. I acquired that in 1976 as a birthday/Christmas gift from my father. (I am a Christmas Eve baby, so this was the only time in my life I didn’t feel like I was getting shafted by receiving a combination BD/Christmas gift.)
    2. A Smith & Wesson Model 629 Classic Hunter, .44 Magnum, with a 6 “ full under-lug barrel and a non-fluted cylinder. I love this thing. My American Express gun, when I am hunting, I don’t like to leave home without it.
    3. A Ruger 10-22 (That shouldn’t need any explanation.)
    4. A Remington 721 in .270. Had it more than 30 years and it will shoot better than I can. I cannot count the number of deer it has taken, some at distances greater than 400 yds with that 4-12 scope.
    5. A Mossberg 500, 20 gauge pump. My wife can shoot it in time of need. Has taken a lot of birds, small game, and other critters
    6. My AR, custom built from parts by my gun loving brother-in-law, given to me upon his death years ago from cancer. I have several barrels for it (.223 and 5.56) and a .22 conversion kit. This brother-in-law and I were friends for more than thirty years BEFORE he married my sister. It was not a first marriage for either of them.
    7. A Caspian 1911, in (what else?) .45 ACP. It has a Crimson Trace grip. House gun.
    8. A Smith & Wesson Performance Center SW1911 Pro Series (This is their version of the Officer’s Model,) also in .45 ACP. This is my carry gun and it also is outfitted with the Crimson Trace grip.
    9. A Romanian SKS in 7.62×39 that is fun to shoot and has killed a number of deer for me.
    10. A Swedish Mauser, 6.5×55, stamped Karl Gustavsstad 1901, bolt action, lot of fun to shoot, with no significant recoil. I got this because my Farfar and Farmor (Grandfather and Grandmother) came over from Sweden and I grew up in a Swedish speaking family, so how could I turn that one down? I couldn’t. I may use it for deer one of these years, just because…

    I have more guns, but these are the guns that I do not see myself getting rid of in my lifetime.
    This list is subject to have additions as opportunities present themselves.

  4. One thing is never mentioned, and that is the “fear factor”. NOTHING sounds like death , when in the dark , there is the sound of a round being put into the chamber and the closing of the slide on a PUMP Shotgun. The clanging open and the clanging shut , is death .That being said , there are some good firearms listed. I will keep my Colt Sauer 300 win mag. Three shot group at 200 yards was 3/8 ths. inch. Reach out and touch someone

  5. Correction to my earlier post: the Hi-Power had 16 rounds mag capacity, not 13. Sorry, I had a senior moment! LOL

  6. The Browning Hi-Power is a fine, precision made firearm; however, I disagree that it makes a superlative carry gun. It’s heavy and bulky so concealment would be awkward. It’s more conducive to open carry or for use with a shoulder rig. Also, its close tolerance machining on the slide and other moving parts makes it susceptible to serious malfunction. I know this from experience. Back in the early ’70s, I was a proud owner of a very nice Belgium made Browning Hi-Power. It was my daily carry gun primarily because of its 13 round high capacity magazine – hence the name “Hi-Power”. A group of us were sitting on a sandy beach on a warm summer’s day; me, with my Hi-Power in an OWB holster. Some of us decided to do some plinking with some empty cans against a high sand berm. My buddies with 1911s were happily plinking away, but my Hi-Power malfunctioned after its first round. It would not cycle and the slide was stuck half way opened. Upon closer inspection, some sand had made their way into the slide’s groves and hammer mechanism that’d jammed the slide open and had also made the hammer non-functional. I had to disassembled the firearm, clean all the sand out in order for it to function properly. So, if I had been in a serious situation, I would have been in serious trouble. Don’t get me wrong. The Browning Hi-Power is a finely made firearm, but its close machine tolerance makes it more prone to malfunctions in the real world. The 1911s, on the other hand, are more fault tolerant in this department.

  7. Here’s my top 10. I haven’t had the privilege of owning all of these, but I imagine them being awesome just the same.
    1. Ruger 10/22 If I have to explain this one, you shouldn’t be reading a gun magazine c.
    2. Mossberg 500 20 gauge 20″ barrel.
    3. AK47 reliable, reliable, reliable.
    4. A lever action .45-70 There are many very good brands… Pick one that fits you.
    5. M1A SOCOM 16 (wishlist)
    6. Ruger Single-Six .22 (had one, never should of sold it.
    7. Beretta model 92 9mm. Great size, easy to control, very accurate.
    8. S&W model 27 .357 4″ barrel. One of the greatest all-around handguns.
    9. S&W model 629 deluxe .44 magnum (wishlist) sometimes, there’s a bear!
    10. Henry’s lever-action .22 rifle (this one is for my wife)

  8. Mossberg 500 is better than Remington 870 all the live-long day. The safety is in a much better spot for one thing.

  9. Out of many sold and still in hand, here are three of my keepers:
    Smith and Wesson K22 Masterpuece. It was my Grandpa Leo’s. I don’t think he ever shot it.
    Ithaca 37 lightweight 20 gauge. I learned to shoot trap with it! Was Grandpa’s also.
    1911 .45 Colt. Made 1918. He bought it for me.
    Thanks, Grandpa Leo!

  10. I went through a divorce some years ago and needed cash. Foolishly, i sold guns to raise cash. Let go of some keepers then. /sigh/
    Anyhoo… keepers i have now and resolve to stay that way…
    Ruger MKII
    5.5 inch bull barrel, target trigger. Beautiful, absolutely reliable, extremely accurate.
    Mossberg patriot in .308,
    a safe queen; pristine M9A3. i have always loved this Beretta line and wanted the A3 since i first saw it.
    Lastly, an older 10/22. All steel, well finished parts. Most excellent shooter.

  11. Glad to see you picked John Moses Browning newest and best pistol the P-35, an improvement over the 1911.

    If you read Patrick Sweeney’s,”Gunsmithing Shotguns” you will find that the Mossberg 500 and 590 are clearly superior to the 870. Advantages include the ability to use the safety and slide release without having to change hand positions, not having the safety close to the trigger, easier to reload quicker without chance of injury to the thumb like on the 870 and the ability to replace the ejector at home or by a gunsmith instead of having to send it to the factory like an 870. 870 fans often cite the steel receiver as somehow making it more durable or stronger than the Mossberg. This is false. The steel Mossberg bolt directly locks to the barrel, steel to steel. This method was patented by none other than John Moses Browning. Does anyone believe that a polymer Glock receiver, aluminum AR receiver or polymer Galil Ace receiver make them less durable! The 870 design which does require a steel receiver because the bolt locks to the receiver is outdated and no more durable than the Mossbergs.

  12. I would pick a Savage magazine fed .30-06 over a box stock Remington. The Savage is much more accurate out of the box.

  13. My #1 handgun “keeper” is a 1991 Colt Double Eagle Officers Lightweight ACP in .45 caliber. 3.5″ bbl, 8 round capacity, aluminum frame and steel slide. Unlike the 1911s. this is double action on the first shot. Solid, easy shooting, accurate to the degree necessary for personal defense, and reliable.

    I am slight of build and old of age (83) but I carry this gun all day with ease in an Alien Gear IWB Kydex holster advertised for the Sig P-228, which fits the Double Eagle perfectly. For me, an unbeatable combination that is ever-pleasing.

  14. I have a Rock Island AR-10 that’s .308, most reliable rifle I own. A Ruger GP100 Wiley Clapp .357. The above mentioned ARX100 that’s neat perfect for a lefty. A Ruger Wrangler in bronze. A Sako Finnwolf in .243 from my dad that’ll never go away. A Benelli Supernova in camo, with the pistol grip and an aperture sight. These are my core arms that have never led me wrong and won’t ever leave me.

  15. I have a late 1950s vintage S&W Model 10 .38 special revolver. It is a “3 0wner” but the second owner only had it for a month. The first owner bought it new, and about 40 years later his heirs found it in a desk drawer along with a comparable vintage box of ammo, missing 6 rounds. Which were loaded in the cylinder! Yep, a mint unfired (outside the factory) example that was sadly missing the original box. They sold it along with a few other guns to my Boss at the time. He fired off all 50 rds, then sold it to me for $150.

    My Dad was a tank mechanic in the ETO during WWII, and his prior experience with handguns was limited to revolvers, he distrusted those “jamomatics”. Consequently he wound up “scrounging” two S&W .38 revolvers he carried in a double shoulder holster he made himself. He had absolute confidence in those S&Ws and when I came across that model 10 i knew he would be delighted to have a “modern” version of his old trusted companions.

    Dad again made himself a holster, a crossdraw belt one this time, and carried it for about 15 years before his health deteriorated to the point he could no longer shoot it. He gave it back to me then, and passed away a few years later.

    That will be the one handgun that never gets traded off or sold,

  16. My Romanian WASR-10 AK variant was purchased 17 years ago, before Century Arms began changing up many features. It has been the best rifle and I have refused cash offers of over $1500 because I cannot bear the thought of parting ways. This is not just a rifle to hold on to, for me I intend to be buried with it!

  17. I have several of the guns on your list, my favorite being a 1967 Browning Hi-Power. One of the greatest shooting guns ever made. Pretty much every kind of ammo runs through it like sh*t through a goose. The only mods to mine are a trigger job (3-1/2 lbs) and Hogue Rosewood grips. It has adjustable sights like yours but a round hammer as opposed to the spur hammer. In addition to 3 13-round factory mags, I’ve also got 20 and 30 round mags. Of all my guns it would be the first one I’d grab when the SHTF.

    I am a little surprised that some iteration of the 1911 didn’t make your list.

  18. I completely agree with your choosing a good solid K-frame Smith & Wesson.
    My first K-frame was a 4″ model 15 Combat Masterpiece, that is still to this day one of the best handling revolvers I’ve ever owned.
    I’ve owned everything S&W from a pristine 8-3/8″ barreled .44mag model 29,.. all the way down to a second hand .22 cal “kit gun” (and they have all been exceptional shooters),..but there’s something about the handling and balance of a 4″ K-frame that just “feels right”.

  19. When I look back at the 40+ year history I have as a lawful gun owner (from 18 years of age to now at 60), there’s a few trade ins or sales that I will forever kick myself for, and a few I couldn’t get rid of fast enough. The “wish I hadn’t list” is short, and the “glad I did list” a lot longer, but there are two guns will forever self flagellate myself over. The first, a mid 70’s S&W Model 66 and the second, a early 90’s S&W Model 5906. Why did I trade/sell them? The allure of something better, which didn’t live up to the hype. The guns they were traded in for, have long since been traded or sold. If foresight was 20/20 like hindsight is, I would be a wise man.
    The “glad I did” list would take too much time to go through, so suffice it to say, there were firearms that either didn’t live up to the hype, or they were plagued with issues not easily resolved. One example, when I decided to join the AR group of owners, I should have read more about the subject. I ended up going cheap with a DPMS Oracle. By the time and money spent to turn this into a decent AR,I ended up spending two times over the original price. I would have been better off investing a bit more to begin with.
    Live and Learn, and yes, my best investment and I will celebrate 39 years of marriage this coming August. Thank God I was smart enough to keep her.

  20. I have an ATI 12 gauge shotgun, with an 18″ barrel. It is a pump, with a picatinny rail, and since it is so short, it tends to kick like a rented mule. But I bought it as a home defense gun, and it fits the bill perfectly.
    I also have a Mossberg 702 plinkster, a semi auto .22 rifle. Like the shotgun, it was cheap, but it shoots like a much more expensive gun. And it is just fun to shoot.
    I am looking at trading one of my handguns for a S & W 3913 my son has. I have a couple of striker fired 9mm plastic guns and a ruger mark iV, 22/45 that is a nice gun. But I love the traditional double action trigger on a carry gun. And the quality of the Smith cannot be faulted.
    I don’t have the money to just buy what I want. I must often trade up when I want to change guns.
    I try to make it so that I always get a nicer gun when I trade, even if i have to add a few extras or a few dollars. This smith, while older,is in my opinion,a nicer gun than either of the two that I offered my son in trade. It is low in rounds shot,being owned by his mother in laws lady partner, who seldom shot it, from what I understand.

  21. A very thoughtful list I see the wisdom. Just as preferences I’d put in the Ruger 22/45 with a heavy barrel. A Glock 17 instead of the 19 and the Sig 226 in 45 rather than 40. I also would prefer to have a Ruger 10/22 in there somewhere. Rather than 2 tactical 12 gauges I’d have one good bird gun like a Benelli Super Black Eagle

  22. Just a personal view, a mid 1950’s Colt Woodsman, a Springfield 1903, a M1 Garand, and if you can find one a .351 WSLR s great brush gun.

  23. For me a “Keeper” in the revolver class is the S&W 686. Back in 1984 bought the 6” version, had an incredible action job and competed with it for years. In my opinion this is the most well balanced and shooting revolver in its class. I also think that any Springfield 1911 is a keeper. No arguing with it’s reliability and accuracy. I compete with one and have a 4” EDC.

  24. I only have 1 weapon I’ll not part with. It’s Dad’s old ratter he taught me to shoot when 4, but nowhere as well as Dad who never missed and called it “clearing rats” down at Gramps’ dump. It was just a very used Russian 7.62X25 Tokarev auto, but Dad took better care of it than Mom and me! Next year in ’55 found out why while dragged to Army 9th Infantry Division reunion where everybody knew Dad, but really didn’t know each other much. All these 1st Army Vets smushed us wanting to shake Dad’s hand, but they kept him in drinks, and he knew a lot of them. From these guys I found out Dad, his BAR & Tokarev, ammo carrier, 2200 rnds of 30.06, 115 rnds of 7.62X25, plus 12 grenades jammed into a drag bag attacked a bridge over Rhine 3-7-45 by himself while rest of 1st Army went to town on West Bank. Dad cleared all the enemy, hung over rail clearing German Combat Engineers also shooting their set-ups, shot gunner’s machine gun in a far tower to “visit” them later after they had centerpunched ammo carrier who Dad patched up. Next the bridge deck exploded at same tower right in Dad’s face, but it still stood so Dad continued clearing until drove rest of German Soldiers into R.R. tunnel w/the Civilians at far end holding them captive despite 3 counterattacks Dad fought back due to position, concealment, surprise, plus fact he could speak German, even though BAR had melted so used Tokarev & grenades. He was down to 12 cartridges for the Tokarev & 4 grenades when after 45 minutes GIs noticed bridge still standing so “attacked”. Lt. approached from rear as Dad threatening his captives in German, so was asked who he was and what was he doing there. Dad answered “PFC Erwin Schmidt 1st Army and I’m killing other Germans Sir”. Lt. asked where was his weapon, so Dad answered “My BAR melted as ran out of ammo and is layin’ over there….do you have a weapon I could use Sir?”. Lt. ordered a GI to take Dad into custody, so thought he was being busted as AWOL for being on wrong side of river. Lt. and his men had killed no one nor lost any of his men, so was ordering them to murder the Civilians of Remagen together with enemy Soldiers in the tunnel just to prove they were manly men. Dad bolted for tunnel entrance and yelled in German for captives to drop weapons, come out with hands up, and he would personally guarantee their safety. Lt. asked Dad what he had said so Dad told ’em and they came filing out robbing Lt. of his “glory”! Lt. complimented Dad on his English and Dad knew he was screwed as captured as German Infiltrator in U.S. Uniform! Ike phoned General of 1st Army Hoge next day after Dad interrogated as his Execution Order being prepared. Ike asked for intel derived from infiltrator Hoge had captured, so was told “Infiltrator” was in old torn up U.S. Uniform, had an old melted BAR for a weapon, a Russian pistol for a sidearm probably from The Eastern Front, and spoke perfect German as fronting for a German unit in tunnel at far end of bridge. Ike asked about dog tags, so Hoge stated they are great copies as look real in every way. Ike asked name on tags, so Hoge replied PFC Erwin Schmidt, but we’ve determined it’s fake too so have just completed his Execution Order. Ike asked if “infiltrator” spoke the kind of German they taught in Detroit Schools, so Hoge asked, Dad replied it was, and when informed Ike exploded with “You’ve captured Buddy Goll Dammit!!”. Hoge dam near dropped phone, jumped up to attention saluting Ike’s photo in front of his desk repeatedly shouting “Yes Sir General”. It seems Ike advised Hoge he had captured the PFC he had been loaning out to him and Monty since Africa training U.S., Canadians, and Brits for D-Day. Hoge told Ike he had never met him until today and had thought Buddy was an Officer. Hoge thanked Ike for call and promised attack would recommence within an hour and a half so they would get the enemy away from Ike’s bridge as ordered. Hoge embarrassed and scarred Dad when whipped pistol out of his desk, having been cheated out of kills two days in a row, but he handed his newest war prize to Dad and it was his old Tokarev. Hoge searched around the drawer for the other six mags, got on the phone ordering new uniform, BAR, etc, then proceeded to Officer’s Mess to refuel. Hoge’s driver whisked Dad back to front and attack renewed driving other Germans the heck away from Ike’s bridge as ordered! Dad awarded Distinguished Service Cross and Ike later claimed capturing that bridge at that time shortened War for him by six months. Thank God Dad didn’t like goin’ to town being a country boy and all!! By ending war early it allowed A-Bombs to be tested in Japan instead of in San Francisco and NYC! Without Dad’s old Ratter we’d be shy a couple of our largest cities and war woulda dragged on and on and on. Well by golly, that would make Dad’s old Tokarev the most valuable infantry weapon used by U.S. Army in WW2, I still have Dad’s original holster and import papers, so I guess I’ll just keep it in case I ever run into a bunch of rats!!!

  25. Great list. Mine is similar. I own a farm and find that the firearms I use versus collect are completely different. My carry around the farm is my Ruger Blackhawk. #1 in my top 10 keepers. When I invite new people to shoot, I give them a little .22LR lever gun. Also would make it in my top 10. And of all the nice shotguns I have, I’ve shot the most snakes with a Sears pump 12 gauge. It doesn’t even go in the safe. It’s beat up but so darn reliable.

  26. This is a very well thought collection of firearms worth keeping. I would have liked to see the Colt .45 Govt. Model in consideration too.
    In my opinion it is the easiest to shoot, feels great in the hand, and is eternally reliable! Not to mention the tremendous history of defending this nation for decades.

  27. I recently inherited one of the guns in this article a S&W 38 special it’s the short barrel nickel plated version can you tell me more about this gun it’s a Mod 10-5 six shot, other numbers are F20 16282 and there are more at the bottom of the grip. Thanks

  28. I always enjoy reading your reviews and more often than not agree with the guns you choose. I work at a gun store and have the opportunity to fire a lot of different guns. The heritage .22 though I have seen come back with a lot of issues from trigger problems to cylinder breaks and failures. And trying to repair is a nightmare dealing with Taurus is impossible. I would not recommend this firearm. @deputybigshot.

  29. I have a model 10 that I was told belonged to the RCMP in the ’70s. My father was a police officer and was issued a model 64, which he purchased from the department for $105.00 when they switched to autos (It will be mine some day). My carry pistol is a Sig P-228, but my fun range guns are my K frames.

  30. This is an interesting list and not too far off from what I consider to be my “must keep” list. I had a couple of Hi Powers and regret selling them. Beautiful guns. I’ve also had a few M1As and I certainly like the more basic mechanical nature of them and the history behind them. That’s where we diverge, though. I find it not a great shooter (accuracy is OK, but it’s the “experience” i don’t like). I went the AR10 .308 route (Sig 716) and for me at least it’s the keeper in the .308 class. I also added a GP100 .357 revolver, a Ruger 10/22 and a few others to my keepers. Then of course I have a bunch of wannabe strap hangers that I’d trade or sell at the drop of a hat :). Nice article.

  31. Michael,

    Thanks for reading!

    I think the APX is among the finest new handguns I have fired.
    It is an outstanding firearm in every way.

    Good shooting!


  32. What do you think about he ARX100 from beretta had been shooting it for past 2 years in 3 gun and never have had a malfunction and have only cleaned it a hand full of times

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