Smokin’ Hot BBQ Guns Ready for Summer

A full house factory engraved Series 70 Gold Cup National Match Colt 1911.

Gathering around the BBQ with family and friends is always a good time. We can share stories, make new memories, and show off some of our favorite things. It only makes sense that we would want to carry something special for the occasion. At least in the South, BBQ guns are a common sight at the gathering. The term originated with the Texas Rangers who would use the occasion to show off their favorite firearms. From flashy modern designs to coveted classics, there are a few routes to go when choosing your BBQ gun. Let’s take a look at some of the best firearms to carry to the cookout. 

Rare Classics

The more seasoned among us may have a few of these tucked away. Classic designs are always a welcomed sight at the BBQ. This is a good time to take a step back and let nostalgia and tradition take priority. You’d still be well-armed with some old-school steel. 

HK P7 9mm Left
The HK P7 9mm squeeze-cock design is unique and coveted.

Among the great options that come to mind is the HK P7 squeeze-cocker pistol. Manufactured before a concern for simple design and few moving parts, the P7 design is decidedly unique. It works by pre-cocking the striker when you squeeze the grip, shortening and lightening your trigger pull when you continue the firing sequence. 

For the known ‘accuracy fiend,’ a SIG P210 is sure to highlight your skills. The inverted slide rail design makes for some incredible accuracy. The single-stack grip frame fits nicely in hand, and the single-action trigger breaks like a custom 1911. There are plenty of reports of legendary performance from the original Swiss models. SIG also reproduced the P210 with a modern “Target” variation with nice wraparound wood grips and forward slide serrations. 

1917 Artillery model Luger semi-automatic pistol
This “1917 Artillery” model Luger is so named because it was initially intended for use by German artillery units who could not be encumbered using the long and heavy K98 rifle.

Perhaps the most iconic handgun in the world, the German Luger would make an excellent BBQ gun. The iconic silhouette is instantly recognizable and the design is proven. This is one pistol even non-gun people will be talking about. The toggle lock mechanism acts like a human knee, bending to unlock the pistol, cock the action, and eject an empty casing. A recoil spring then pushes the bolt forward, stripping a new round from the magazine and loading it into the chamber to be fired. 


Wheel guns are a common sight at the BBQ. They’re reliable, often powerful, and recognizable. Revolvers are also a great option for those with family and friends who are non-gun people because they tend to be less intimidating. They haven’t been blasted across TV and social media as “evil.” 

Four .357 magnum revolvers with the cylinders open
Compared to both long and short-barrel magnums, the Colt (center right) strikes a good balance. You can also see the unique design of the Chiappa (center left).

Many will go with something traditional, such as a Colt Python or S&W Model 29. These hailed double-action revolvers lived in the hearts and holsters of law enforcement officers and civilian sheepdogs for decades. It’s nice to harken back to our roots. Nothing says get back like a few rounds of .357 or .44 Magnum. Whichever six-shooter you choose (or even 7- or 8-shooter), you’re sure to draw attention at the BBQ. 

You may also go with a single-action revolver, such as a Ruger Vaquero. These cowboy guns are perfect for the Old West or the backyard. Since 1993, the Ruger Vaquero has dominated cowboy action shooting and earned its reputation for durability and reliability. The Vaquero combines that classic style and feel with modern mechanical enhancements to ensure years of enjoyment. Additionally, the large transfer bar and loading gate interlock provide an unparalleled measure of security against accidental discharge. 

old and well used Ruger Vaquero revolver
This old and well-used Vaquero is a favorite and trusted handgun.

For those looking to go against the grain, the Chiappa Rhino is a modern-looking revolver with many excellent features. Notably, the revolver incorporates a top rail for mounting optics and an accessory rail for lights and lasers. The Rhino stands apart from other revolvers with its unique barrel setup. The handgun fires from the bottom cylinder hole instead of the top. This creates a lower bore axis, producing less felt recoil.  

High-End 1911s

One of the most popular options for BBQ guns is the 1911. A high-end example is the picture of quality firearm craftsmanship and ingenuity. Wilson Combat, Nighthawk Custom, Dan Wesson, and Staccato are just a few to represent the best in the business. They’re often hand-fit and finished and can be custom-made to your specifications. 

Wilson Combat 1911s
Wilson Combat’s 1911 handguns are first-class with tight fit and good reliability.

Special Edition Colts are another route to go. These limited edition models are produced in specified quantities and typically incorporate detailed engravings and gold/nickel plating. They may even commemorate a special event or individual, giving you an excellent story to discuss with those who may ask about your pistol. 

For the more budget-conscious, Springfield, Tisas, and other manufacturers often release special engraved editions of their popular models. These tend to be produced in limited numbers. However, they don’t command the price of the higher-end models, making them more accessible. The dressed-up models may still be excellent shooters and will certainly offer the same pride of ownership. 

Tisas Republic of Texas Commemorative 1911 semi-automatic .45 ACP handgun, left profile
The Tisas Republic of Texas Commemorative 1911 has a stainless-steel slide that is engraved with information related to the founding of the Republic.

Customized Striker-Fired

Finally, you may wish to show off your customized striker-fired gun at the cookout. Whether you upgrade the pistol yourself or enlist the help of a 3rd party, such as ZevTech, Agency Arms, or Wilson Combat, you’re sure to spark some interest. 

Obviously, Glocks are the primary candidate. There are more aftermarket parts made for the Glock than anything else. However, the SIG P320 and S&W M&P are close seconds. The simple designs and parts interchangeability, make for a great framework to build off of. You can purchase the base firearm for a reasonable price, then add your preferred accessories and upgrades (as you can) along the way. 

Custom Glock 22
The Glock is a primary candidate for upgrades. The only limitation is your imagination.

If you associate with other firearm enthusiasts, the discussion will naturally turn to your preferred parts and upgrades. 


Showing off your BBQ gun often requires open carry. A fine firearm needs a quality holster to match. In this case, that typically calls for leather. Bianchi and Galco offer quality examples, such as the Thumbsnap, Phoenix, or Fletch. Some of these may run you a bit more than a typical EDC kydex rig, but this is not a general-purpose holster. For special occasions with your BBQ gun, you should invest in something a bit nicer. 

Traditions revolver in custom leather holster
Bullard Leather’s chocolate elephant holster offers elegance, but also security and speed.

Milt Sparks makes some exceptional options that are built to last. If you’re looking to treat yourself, this is a great way to go. Once the stiff leather breaks in and forms to the pistol, you have a durable holster with excellent retention. 

Additionally, there are plenty of incredible custom makers crafting some beautiful options. From the stitching details to the features and design, you can have it your way. You can even select different material options ranging from steer leather to shark. 

Final Thoughts: BBQ Guns

If you ask me, good food and good guns go hand in hand. Any of these fine firearms are perfect for carrying to the BBQ or cookout. If you own any of them, it’s nice to get some use out of them. These guns weren’t designed to sit in the safe. Letting them breathe from time to time is a great way to put a smile on your face and celebrate them. 

Do you have a fancy carry gun option? What are your favorite BBQ guns? Share your best models in the Comment section. 

About the Author:

Alex Cole

Alex is a younger firearms enthusiast who’s been shooting since he was a kid. He loves consuming all information related to guns and is constantly trying to enhance his knowledge, understanding, and use of firearms. Not a day goes by where he doesn’t do something firearms-related and he tries to visit the range at least a couple of times a month to maintain and improve his shooting skills.

His primary focus is on handguns, but he loves all types of firearms. He enjoys disassembling and reassembling firearms to see how they work and installs most of the upgrades to his firearms himself, taking it as a chance to learn. He’s not only interested in modern handguns and rifles, he appreciates the classics for both historical value and real-world use.
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 (4)

  1. BBQ gun? Never heard of such a nonsense term. What, polish your boots and pull some fancy something or other you never normally carry just to “impress”. Pfft… carry what you carry. My stuff isn’t fancy, they’re tools with a purpose, not for showing off.

  2. I like my BBQ, Sweet-n-Spicy, which kinda screams anything in a Magnum, Sweet on accuracy, Spicy on the recoil. 🙂

  3. I like either one of my ccw. My Colt Defender lightweight 45acp or Sig P220 carry. But then I don’t ccw these two but are fun to shoot, my Springfield Garrison or my HK USP45.

  4. Alex makes some very good points as always, and I appreciate his insight on the 1911’s, I shot my first 1911 about 1960 it rattled a bit if you shook it, but I really liked the feel of it and as much as possible I have been shooting them since, of course I have some colts that I have upgraded with Wilson parts but they still all say colt on the slide, and I still carry a 1911 colt compact in 45acp and I will as long as I am able. Keep up the good work.

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