I discovered long-slide pistols when I spent two years as a counter monkey at a local gun merchant. The GLOCK 34 and 17L whetted my appetite, but they didn’t truly light the fire.
Sure, they had much better balance, helped to reduce muzzle flip and the longer sight radius helped accuracy. They were cool but not hot, if you know what I mean.
The other long-slide pistols on this list, however, did—starting with the S&W M&P.
1. Smith and Wesson M&P Pro 9mm
I ended up deciding the rounder profile of the Smith and Wesson M&P grip fit my hand better and one of the M&P Pro 9mm long slides followed me home. I really like that gun and used it as my carry gun for two years.
The ergonomics are awesome on my Gen 1, but it isn’t what you would really call a shooter. It might be that I got a “Monday morning barrel.” You know, the ones where the employees are still a bit asleep from the weekend.
I just know that my gun, or more specifically, my gun’s barrel, is the limiting factor in precision shooting. The 5″ barrel shoots worse than my 4.25″ M&P, despite the longer sight radius.
I know some other people who have tight shooting 5″ M&P Pros, but my (shorter) full-size M&P shoots much tighter groups, is easier to use and is my current carry gun.
Part of that is most likely the Apex trigger, but even when I switched the trigger over, the groups were still significantly larger. At some point, I will likely get an aftermarket barrel and see where that leads me.
(Note to self #1: Check to see if Faxon makes such a barrel.)
Despite this moderate disappointment, long slides keep calling my name.
Smith and Wesson M&P Pro 9mm MSRP: $665
2. EAA Witness Pro Hunter 10mm
The first gun that really jumped up and got my attention was the EAA Witness Pro Hunter. The CZ 75 clone by Tanfoglio is gorgeous, points well and is a 6″ barreled 10mm. What’s not to like?
The primary reason I don’t currently own one is that I don’t reload for 10mm and most factory ammo is really +P 40 “short and weak” with long brass. I don’t see much point in that, especially in a steel long-slide gun.
I know the owner of EAA and was hoping I could get him to swing me a sweet deal, but to no avail. Not that he should; but a guy can hope. Every single time I pick one up, it almost fills out the 4473 for me. One will end up living at my house.
EAA Witness Pro Hunter 10mm MSRP: $1,372
3. CZ-USA 75 Tactical Sport Orange 9mm
To stay with the CZ theme, the CZ-USA 75 LS-B 9mm is another gun that just jumps up and dares me to pick it up. So far, I have not found one loose in the wild. The 5.4″ barrel is the shortest of the bunch, but the proportions are wonderful as is.
In my attempts to get direct information, CZ confirmed that this gun has been fully discontinued. It really is a shame, as the simple elegance of this gun has such a sultry allure, especially to those of us already under the CZ 75 spell.
To make this gun mine, I may have to haunt the used long-slide pistols market.
The good news is that they have a descendant of this pistol fresh for 2019. The CZ 75 Tactical Sport Orange is a slightly shorter (5.23″) and slightly gamier version of the super sexy LS-B 9mm. There is a flared magwell, a thinned trigger guard and fully adjustable sights.
At first, the one thing I didn’t particularly like is the orange grip panels. Perhaps it is because I’m living in Tennessee, but they are growing on me.
CZ 75 Tactical Sport Orange 9mm MSRP: $1,837
4. SIG Sauer P226 X6 9mm
Another one of the long-slide pistols I really want is the Sig Sauer P226 X6 9mm. For me, the P226 in standard form is a great functional gun, but it is only slightly sexier than a GLOCK.
Let’s face it, while GLOCKs are awesomely reliable and decently accurate, they won’t win any beauty contests. For me, the P226 is marginally prettier. I made the mistake of handling one of the P226 X6 Classics. Sometimes you have to have physical contact to fall in love.
This gun came alive in my hand and then I shot it. It was the exact opposite of the long-barrel M&P. Instead of having to deeply concentrate to obtain superior accuracy, this gun just shot where I aimed… again and again and again.
A gun that makes the shooter look good is a great thing.
SIG Sauer P226X6 9mm MSRP: $3,499
5. Guncrafter Industries Model 4 .50 GI
The last 6″ barrel gun I crave is the Model 4 .50 GI from Guncrafter Industries. This gun has the subtle elegance of the CZ and the easy accuracy of the SIG Sauer, combined with the soft recoil of the .50 GI round.
At 10 yards, shooting cloverleaves with every three-round group was not tough. Admittedly, the .500” diameter bullets make for very large cloverleaves.
This could hide some inaccuracy, but going through three full magazines with no errant pistol shots is not a normal experience for this author.
Also, everything about this gun screams understated perfection, from the precise machining to the exquisite finish and the wonderful balance in the hand. As a full custom house, Guncrafters can make that perfection anything but understated if they have the checkbook.
All of that comes with the fact that I carried it in a pancake holster for four hours and didn’t notice its 41-oz. weight (plus bullets) at all. The only real downside: it costs more than the EAA and the CZ combined.
(Note to self #2: Pick up lotto tickets.)
The BBQ gun set up I would have to get costs almost as much as any of the three other guns combined. But oh so worth it.
Guncrafter Industries Model 4 .50 GI base MSRP: $4499 (with options, this can easily exceed $6,000)