Ever since the first single shot pistol was crafted centuries ago, people have just dug handguns. In the intervening half millennium, thousands of designs have come forth and a few have risen above all others. Last year Guns.com brought you eight to shoot before you die. Here are five more that just have to pass through your hands before you head to that great gun show in the sky.
1. Remington New Army
The world that was the antebellum period in United States was one of rapid industrial expansion and in the 1850s firearms makers were stumbling all over themselves to produce the next great gun to roll off the line. One such gunmaker was Fordyce Beals. After studying the factory process for S&W and Colt revolvers, he came up with a design that was significantly improved in function and production. His design, patented and licensed to Remington in 1858, used a solid frame design that included a top strap that went over the cylinder. This was stronger, more durable, allowed the user to swap cylinders out easily and added a layer of safety to the user if the cap and ball revolver chain fired.
While the Army still went with the Colt design in 1860 as their new revolver, over 132,000 of the tenacious Remingtons were sold during the Civil War to the Union military machine. Buffalo Bill Cody, Frank James, George Maddox and others carried the guns during the Old West era which led to them still being popular today in replicas made by Uberti, Pietta, and Ruger (as the Old Army). With 150 years of excitement over these guns, you owe it to yourself to pick up one of these monsters and experience the crack-pow thrill of a black powder revolver at least once.
2. Smith K Frames
For most of the 20th Century, the standard ‘service revolver’ for both military and police applications was usually a Smith and Wesson K-frame.Introduced in 1899 as the ‘Hand Ejector’, the basics of this sturdy full sized double-action revolver with a swing out six-shot .38-caliber cylinder has remained the same over time. Well over six million of these guns have been produced and it remains a staple of S&W’s (and Taurus, Charter Arms, etc.) line today in more modern finishes.
To be honest, if you shoot at all you’d be hard pressed not to fire one of these fine shooting guns once in your life.
3. Walther PP
If guns were cars then the Walther PP/PPK series would be an early Porsche. Sleek, finely crafted, exotic, and smooth to the touch, these aristocratic handguns were devised in the late 1920s by Carl Walther for police use. The Roaring 20s was a time where post-modern simplicity collided with the grace of the old world and carved out a unique feel for everything that decade touched. The PP was a straight blowback concealable weapon that was at home in a police officer’s holster, gentleman’s overcoat pocket, or agent’s cummerbund. Packed with enough .32 ACP rounds to get the job done if needed, it has been expanded and improved over the years to take .380, and 9mm Super rounds for those who wanted more punch.
For those who want to feel what the 20s had to offer, pack around a Walther for a day. You may just want to keep it.