We all love American-designed, American-made firearms. Thank goodness that even in these times of outsourcing and globalization, there are still plenty of American guns to choose from. Here are five outstanding examples that are some of the best of the best at what they do.
870 Marine Magnum
The iconic 870 is the best-selling shotgun in history, with over ten million produced. Of course, there are a bunch of different models at different pricing levels, but the whole point of a pump shotgun is to be tough, am I right? The king of tough 870s might be the Marine Magnum. The silver finish is electroless nickel plating that covers all metal parts, even internally. This gives the Marine Magnum unmatched corrosion resistance; they are often found on boats and ships operating in salt water. Even if you aren’t going to be fishing off the coast of Alaska, it’s nice to know that you can buy an 870 Marine Magnum and it will last the rest of your life.
Dan Wesson Valor
In my opinion there is no firearm more American than a 1911 in .45 ACP. One of the best values in 1911s is the Dan Wesson Valor. “Best value, at over $1,600? How is that possible?” I hear you say. “My $500 1911 does just fine!” The Valor is similar to a $500 1911 in the same way that a Dodge Viper is similar to a minivan. They both have an engine in front and four tires made of rubber, so what’s the difference? When you put a Valor in your hands and fire a magazine down range, it’s like getting behind the wheel of a 500 horsepower muscle car for the first time. Sure it costs more, but value is about what you get for the money. One online reviewer managed a 1.18-inch wide, five shot group from his Valor at 25 yards using quality Hornady ammunition. Vrooom!
Colt SP6920 MOE
There are many brands of the AR-15 rifle made in the USA, but none has such a rabid fan base as Colt. They like to say, “If it’s not a Colt, it’s a copy” and brag about how the Colt 6920 is as close as you can get to a military M4 carbine. The thing is, they are pretty much right about that. Colt is now making a “6920 MOE” version that comes from the factory with a pistol grip, forend, forward pistol grip, rear sight, and collapsible stock made by MagPul, another American company that has earned a huge number of fans. If you happen to be both a Colt fan and a Magpul fan, the SP6920 MOE combination is only a hundred bucks more than a standard 6920, giving you a big cost savings over buying the regular rifle and upgrading it with the same parts. What’s more American than that?
Smith & Wesson 500
Smith & Wesson is another American company with a long and proud heritage. They lost their way in the 1990s and many gun owners boycotted them after Smith and Wesson made a rotten “smart gun” deal with the Clinton Administration. The boycott was effective and caused the company’s owners to sell it at a huge loss. The new ownership brought a new attitude with them, building the S&W .500, the largest caliber production revolver in history. Anti-gun people went bonkers, claiming that the .500 could be used to shoot down airplanes and such. Pro-gun folks looked at how angry the anti-gunners were with S&W and decided to end the boycott. So how big is the .500, really? A complete .44 Magnum cartridge will drop straight through the chambers of its cylinder, rim and everything! This may be the most powerful handgun ever produced in large numbers— the BATFE has declared that any pistol with a larger bullet diameter would be a “destructive device” requiring registration similar to owning a machine gun.
Barrett M82A1 .416
California banned .50 BMG-chambered firearms in 2004. When Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the bill into law, Ronnie Barrett publicly announced that he would no longer sell to, or service .50 calibers in possession by California law enforcement agencies, which had pushed for the ban claiming that the .50 cals were “a terrorist threat” while ordering more of the same rifles for themselves. A year later, Barrett released the .416 cartridge, an ‘improvement” on the .50—yet still legal in California. Using a computer-designed bullet shape for maximum aerodynamic efficiency, the 400-grain .416 bullet sits in a necked down .50 cal casing until it leaves the muzzle at over 3,000 feet per second and 2,000 yards downrange it is still supersonic and stable. At first, the .416 could only be had in the bolt-action M99, but now Barrett is chambering the mighty semi-automatic M82A1 for this long-range monster. Barrett started with a banned caliber and replaced it with a legal caliber actually offering an improvement in effective range, causing the anti-gunners to wring their little hands and crap their little all-natural organic fiber underpants. That’s really what makes the .416 M82A1 so uniquely American.