What is the best all-around handgun


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The_woodsman
February 14, 2008, 11:01 AM
Lets say you have one handgun to do it all: all-time CCW, Home protection, and hunting critters as small as red squirrels and as large as deer 24 hours/7 days a week.

Maybe one gun isn't the best choice for these multiple uses, but lets just say you only had to choose 1. What would it be?

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Shawnee
February 14, 2008, 11:09 AM
S&W .22 magnum revolver.

:cool:

DawgFvr
February 14, 2008, 11:14 AM
What's the best all-around car? What's the best all around toothpaste? What's the best all around pen?

What you will get is the best all-around opinions...eh?

Wedge
February 14, 2008, 11:28 AM
Glock 17

What's the best all-around car? What's the best all around toothpaste? What's the best all around pen?
Subaru Legacy GT
Colgate Total
Parker

There is now no reason for any forums to exist on the matter of handguns, cars, toothpaste or pens.

Every gun serves a purpose.

Anything that is best all around usually is seriously deficient in all areas when compared to the best target/CCW/hunting/bowling pin/long range/plinking/etc. No such thing as a best overall...in anything. Ask 100 people...get 112 answers.

Deanimator
February 14, 2008, 11:52 AM
That's like asking what the best overall vehicle is.

If you're planning on BOTH elk hunting in Montana AND running a limo service in LA, you may have trouble finding a compromise vehicle which does either with any utility.

As with anything else, criteria for a good handgun have to be reasonably specific.

A good big game handgun is likely going to be a lousy CCW gun.

PO2Hammer
February 14, 2008, 01:16 PM
The best car is the Subaru Forester.

mpmarty
February 14, 2008, 01:18 PM
Any good 10mm, even a Glock 20

BlindJustice
February 14, 2008, 01:20 PM
1911 5" Full Size in .45 ACP
Add
1 - Drop In .400 CorBon Bbl.
2 - Advantage Arms .22 Lr Slide/Bbl/mag kit.

sm
February 14, 2008, 01:25 PM
Medium Frame , 4" , six shot .357 Revolver.

Actually 3" if one is going to give me one.
I want OLDER and Blued S&W Model 19, but a 13, 65, 66, would do just fine in 3" or 4".

Nor would I turn down a Colt...

Nor even a Ruger Six series...

easyg
February 14, 2008, 01:42 PM
Lets say you have one handgun to do it all: all-time CCW, Home protection, and hunting critters as small as red squirrels and as large as deer 24 hours/7 days a week.
Maybe one gun isn't the best choice for these multiple uses, but lets just say you only had to choose 1. What would it be?

http://i112.photobucket.com/albums/n165/allenXdog/HPIM3779.jpg

Silvanus
February 14, 2008, 01:45 PM
Lets say you have one handgun to do it all: all-time CCW, Home protection, and hunting critters as small as red squirrels and as large as deer 24 hours/7 days a week.


4" .357 magnum revolver. Preferably a S&W Model 66 or 686. I would have chosen a Glock 17 if you hadn't mentioned hunting as well.

MachIVshooter
February 14, 2008, 02:04 PM
S&W 1006. Perfect combat pistol. A bit large for CCW, but doable. Adequate for medium game. About as accurate as a production auto can be. 10mm loads can be anything from 135 gr. running ~300 ft/lbs. to 180 grainers at a blistering 1,400 FPS for nearly 800 ft/lbs.

grimjaw
February 14, 2008, 02:44 PM
When did 1400 FPS become "blistering"? ;)

3"-4" .357 Magnum revolver.

jm

R127
February 14, 2008, 03:35 PM
I agree there is no one best because there are so many variables but I understand the question and I can give you my answer.

The .357 Magnum is in my opinion the most versatile pistol caliber. It's ok for hunting and it's great for self defense. You can shoot some very stout heavy loads through it, high velocity lighter loads for low recoil but effective self defense, .38's for cheap practice and a "plan B" in case the store doesn't have any magnum when you need it. Heck, there are less than lethal rubber bullet loads for this caliber. You can choose your own revolver and there's a lot of good ones to pick from but in general I think a 4" barrel on a compact frame is a good compromise.

I like revolvers a lot and with practice you can get pretty quick at reloading them but they will never be quite as fast and easy as a good auto. For that reason I would say that next to the .357 you'd have to mention the 9x23 Winchester. The only downside to this 9x23 is it isn't very common yet and may never be. That would be a shame because it has tremendous potential. If you can find yourself a pistol chambered for it and load your own you'll get the best of both worlds... the power and versatility of the .357 Magnum with the capacity and quick reloads of an autoloader. With a spare barrel and maybe a modified magazine you could also shoot 9x19mm for a "plan B" or cheap practice similar to the .357/.38.

An auto can fire multiple calibers and various load strengths but usually it will need a conversion kit consisting of at least a barrel and often a special mag and recoil spring. The revolver has the plug and play advantage in that regard. You could have a magnum in one chamber and a .38 in another and it will shoot them back to back with no complaints. Not even needing a magazine can also be a benefit in some circumstances. It's one less part to fail or go missing.

I'd give honorable mention to the 10mm and the .357 Sig but I do think the 9x23 Winchester has them beat. The .357 Sig can't handle bullets as heavy because of case length and since it is wider it has reduced magazine capacity. The 10mm can handle heavy bullets for hunting easily but has the same reduced capacity do to wider case as the .357 Sig. On the plus side you should be able to swap out to .40cal with just a barrel change with either of them.

The EAA Witness line owns multicaliber versatility and they make a .38 Super that can be converted to 9x23 Winchester. It's even available as a compact and there are .22lr conversions available. Maybe the best answer to this question is a Witness.

MachIVshooter
February 14, 2008, 06:31 PM
When did 1400 FPS become "blistering"?

When it was done with 180 grain pills out of a standard size autoloader.:D

Even the time-honored and lauded .357 Magnum is hard pressed to duplicate that from a barrel shorter than 6".;) I got close, with 158 grainers at 1440 FPS for 727 ft/lbs. from a 4" revolver, but I managed to crack the forcing cone of a stainless Security Six trying to duplicate 10mm energy. (Not to mention that such loads often make for extraction via banging the ejector rod against a hard surface.)

IMO, a cartridge that can generate more energy from a shorter and slimmer platform with a capacity of 1.5-2.5 times that of a revolver and not require brute force to be reloaded takes the cake.

CJ
February 14, 2008, 06:45 PM
...and hunting critters as small as red squirrels and as large as deer 24 hours/7 days a week.

I'd have to say the .357 as well. Wide variety of loads, and when shooting red squirrels 24 hours a day, a lighter .38 special load might help cut down on the mess.

glockman19
February 14, 2008, 06:58 PM
The .357 Magnum is in my opinion the most versatile pistol caliber.
+1 I agree. I'd have to choose a S&W or Ruger Revolver

Gord
February 14, 2008, 07:02 PM
Gonna go for a 1911 or CZ 75B, depending on your preference for .45ACP or 9mm. If the CZ, get a Kadet kit for the squirrels; if the 1911, get a .22 conversion kit and a carbine kit. The deer will require close distance and shot placement, but it should work.

That was just off the top of my head, but now that I think about it, a 1911 with a .22 kit and a carbine kit is actually the most versatile handgun setup I can think of. Stock, you've got a time-honored CCW and home defense handgun. The .22 kit is great for practice, plinking or hunting small game, and the carbine kit gets you a little more velocity, a longer sight radius, and the steadiness of a shoulder stock for hunting.

bruss01
February 14, 2008, 07:07 PM
Lets say you have one handgun to do it all: all-time CCW, Home protection, and hunting critters as small as red squirrels and as large as deer 24 hours/7 days a week.

Maybe one gun isn't the best choice for these multiple uses, but lets just say you only had to choose 1. What would it be?

You're asking for a lot of compromises there. Some of the things that make a gun ideal for one of your intended uses, directly conflicts with qualities that would make it ideal for others. Some have said .357 because you can shoot mild .38's in it, but there won't be much meat left on a squirrel that gets taken out by a .38 special.

My choice would be a CZ-75b with the Kadet .22 adapter kit. With a simple swap of the slide, you go from 9mm +P+ to .22 lr. That's about as versatile as you can get in a handgun platform. As for 24/7/365 carry, it's not ideal but it is doable. It's a little smaller and lighter than most 1911's, a plus during summer months when you're not inclined to wear a lot of heavy cover garments.

HOME DEPOT GEORGE
February 14, 2008, 07:23 PM
Stainless Gp100 w/4" barrel. Versatile and will outlast nearly any handgun made.

paulk
February 14, 2008, 07:25 PM
I think it was Colt or Kimber 1911

gym
February 14, 2008, 07:29 PM
44 automag

qwert65
February 14, 2008, 07:32 PM
.357

bikerdoc
February 14, 2008, 07:44 PM
.357 all day every day

Brian Williams
February 14, 2008, 09:11 PM
My 4" pencil barrel S&W 65 round butt with the cylinder cut for moonclips.
http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii24/perfessr/sspair.jpg

Dilbert
February 14, 2008, 09:17 PM
Smith & Wesson model 60 in .357 with the 3" barrel, Hi-Viz front sight and adjustable rear.

RNB65
February 14, 2008, 09:25 PM
.357 Mag with 4" barrel.
.

cp1969
February 14, 2008, 09:36 PM
Can I reload? If so, a .44 mag or .45 LC DA revolver, brand doesn't matter. I can't think of anything that a .357 can do that a .44 can't.

bakert
February 14, 2008, 09:56 PM
No such thing as an all around gun but in the hands of a person that realizes it's limitations I agree with the posters that chose the .357 mag. Excellent defense gun, good for small game with lighter loads and in the hands of a skilled(or lucky) shooter it works right well on deer:o

Confederate
February 14, 2008, 10:55 PM
There's really only one viable gun I can think of, and that's a .357 mag revolver with a 4-inch barrel. It'll take larger game (158-gr JSP), small game like squirrel (.38 SWC), defense (125-gr JHP, 110-gr JHP +P).

My choice of firearm would be a medium frame model like the S&W 66 or, better, a stainless Ruger Security-Six.

Brian Dale
February 14, 2008, 10:55 PM
Piling on...

I'm another who'd choose a good quality, medium frame .357 revolver with a 3" or 4" barrel.

Confederate
February 14, 2008, 11:15 PM
I can't think of anything that a .357 can do that a .44 can't.
Actually, a .44 mag would turn a squirrel into a red cloud of fine mist. For CCW, it weighs far too much, doesn't recover as fast as a .357, and frankly doesn't have the stopping power of a 125-gr JHP .357 against humans. (A .357 125-gr JHP will tend to stay in the body, releasing all of its energy. A .44 mag slug, on the other hand, tends to wildly overpenetrate, wasting precious energy.)

In short, there are many things a good .357 will do that a .44 just won't.

earthworm
February 15, 2008, 03:30 AM
Add me to the 4" mid-frame .357 group.
Second choice:Glock 32 with extra factory .40S&W & Lone Wolf 9mm barrels &
an Advantage Arms .22 conversion.

crankshop1000
February 15, 2008, 08:28 AM
My vote goes to the Taurus that shoots .45 colt or the .410 shotgun round.Pretty much covers all the bases.

trader vic
February 15, 2008, 08:42 AM
If I could have a one & only handgun, it would be a S&W model 19 with a 4" barrel. Versitility, hot 357 down to mild 38s. NRA PATRON LIFE MEMBER

19-3Ben
February 15, 2008, 08:47 AM
Wedge- I can't agree more with your choice in pen. In my shirt pocket at this very moment is a Parker 51 that has a customized italic point. I love that beat of a pen.

Oh, and as for best all around handgun, a 3" GP100.

BozemanMT
February 15, 2008, 09:05 AM
the one you own.

Pa.Bill
February 15, 2008, 09:28 AM
SMITH AND WESSON COMBAT 19/ .357/ 6"bl --- 1978

BlindJustice
February 15, 2008, 11:50 AM
Ok, I've got a S&W 686{ 4" Bbl. - yup wide range of ammo choice but for
squirrels?

I'll stick with my S&W 1911 5" - easier to conceal
and subsonic for Home Defense in .45 ACP.
.45 ACP readily available.
Hunting up to Deer size, .400 CorBOn Bbl. swap.
155 gr. Hornady XTP JHP @ 1350 FPS is flatter shooting
than the .45 ACP
Squirrels, Advantage Arms .22 LR conv. kit.

I also shoot the 1911 better than any of my other
handguns, although the 625 does come close but
no way CCW it's too big imo. full house .357 mag out
of my 4" Bbl. 686P Big Muzzle flash.... most who say use
a 4" BBL .357 then usually quote velocities which are
guaged by a 6" Bbl .

woad_yurt
February 15, 2008, 12:49 PM
Wow. For hunting, small animals are way easier to get than big ones so I'd go with something like I have already: An H&R DA 676 w/the .22LR & Magnum cylinders. Mine has a 12" barrel so hunting's covered. As far as a carry piece, it'd necessitate wearing a trench coat or something. I guess a somewhat shorter barrel would be in order if I was in a very populated area. If I was in a very rural area, I'd keep the 12" one. It is quite a tack driver and plenty powerful for small game.

Vern Humphrey
February 15, 2008, 01:53 PM
all-time CCW, Home protection, and hunting critters as small as red squirrels and as large as deer 24 hours/7 days a week.
There are really two choices here:

A .357 with a 4-inch barrel will fill all your needs, from CCW to small game hunting (using .38 special wadcutters) to deer.

A M1911 would be my second choice, with a .22 Conversion kit. It would be a little better for CCW and self defense, but not quite so good for hunting.

zxcvbob
February 15, 2008, 01:57 PM
S&W Model 19.

Eyesac
February 15, 2008, 03:19 PM
CCW and deer? That's a wide range. I wouldn't want to CCW a 6" 44mag, and I wouldn't want to shoot a deer w/ a sub comp...

I would say there's no such thing as a gun that does all that comfortably, no matter what it'll be either a little too small, or a little too big for the job. That's why they make more than one handgun!

cp1969
February 15, 2008, 07:28 PM
I would agree that there is a reason why they make all these different calibers, but...

If you can shoot a large caliber AND load it down to suit other purposes, what is the down side to a large caliber handgun?

I think most people would agree that there are things a .44 can do that a .357 cannot. What is there that a .357 can do that a .44 can't? What makes it ideal?

I have no dog in this fight because I own both.

Vern Humphrey
February 15, 2008, 07:40 PM
They make different calibers for three reasons:

1. Because there is a need for some of them. For example, a .44 Mag is not as concealable nor as comfortable to carry day in and day out as, say a .38 Special snubbie. And a .38 Special is not capable of doing in the hunting field what a .44 will do.

2. Because older cartridges tend to linger on, while new ones are developed.

3. To sell guns.

TheGrimReaper
February 15, 2008, 11:00 PM
G 19

rough rider
February 16, 2008, 12:49 AM
glock21

toopercentmlk
February 16, 2008, 12:53 AM
I'd go with a glock 30 regardless of owning its big brother glock 21. It's a very accurate compact and packs quite a punch.

Bboomer
February 16, 2008, 01:34 AM
S&W 686 no dash 4"

w/checkered Goncalo Alves target grips.

Fishman777
February 16, 2008, 02:13 AM
I think that the .357 magnum is the best all around caliber. You can load it up or down to take out virtually any type of critter that *most* people will ever see in North America. I recognize that it wouldn't be adequate for some critters, but for the most part the .357 magnum revolver will have you covered in most situations. Buffalo Bore has a pretty nasty 180 grain hard cast round. Gunblast.com did a great review on the round a while back.

My second caliber would be .44 magnum. .44 Specials can be tame enough for the light work, and the heavy .44 magnum loads (like the 340 grain hard-cast buffalo rounds) could take out any land animal in North America. Heck, some guy killed a 1,550 polar bear in the sixties with five 240 grain .44 magnum rounds.

http://www.gunsandammomag.com/classics/polar_1007/

This guy was a pretty amazing shot. He might not have been so lucky if the bear charged him, but the fact remains that if 240 grain ammo can get the job done on a Bear that size, with similiar shot placement, 340 grain hardcast ammo would do it better. The 340 grain hardcast rounds have a higher sectional density and should penetrate alot better than the 240 grain rounds.

I wouldn't take an autoloader if I could only own one gun. Maybe if enough morons continue to run around shooting up churches, schools, and malls, responsible gun owners may one day be faced with this decision.

Snapping Twig
February 16, 2008, 02:47 AM
The .357 is a great selection BUT in my mind, nothing beats the 4" .44 for all around use from target to SD to hunting, the .44 does it all.

Special loads for low impact accurate target use, SD, HD and hunting if you like. Reload and you can make the special into a real useful tool while still keeping it tame. Bump it up to magnum land and you have a serious round for whatever the heck you want, but it is a bit much for SD and follow-up shots will be difficult to say the least.

People compare the .357 to the .45acp all the time, the debate is endless. The .44spl and the .45acp are almost twins in the SD department.

cslinger
February 16, 2008, 03:06 AM
4 inch .357 magnum. In my mind there is no more versatile handgun. Everything from mild to wild, reliability, accuracy, conceal ability etc. etc. etc.

A good Smith 686 or a Ruger GP100 is hard to beat as a utility firearm.

Koos Custodiet
February 16, 2008, 03:19 AM
If you guys *really* want to get tricky, a Dan Wesson in 357 Max. Fit the short barrel for CCW, long barrel for hunting. Flatter shooting at 300m than a 44 mag at 200.

But I don't think that's what the OP asked. "One gun", to me at least, means no conversion kits or replacement barrels.

.357. Depending on how you want to CCW, 3" to 6" barrel. The 3" conceals well, might be a bit shakey on deer the other side of 50 yards or so.

But for the purposes mentioned, one gun? .357.

CPshooter
February 16, 2008, 04:37 AM
This thread is stupid.

sorry..couldn't resist:)

ryan in maine
February 16, 2008, 05:08 AM
A revolver in .357 magnum. It has the ability to shoot .38 special and .357 magnum so you should be able to find ammo in all 50 states. It has a diverse selection of loads, including many specialized loads like snake shot. A lot of available platforms as well.

I'd probably want a Smith & Wesson M&P R8 with a custom holster to aid concealment. I think the ability to attach optics, lasers, and lights just adds to a naturally flexible platform.

CCW: With a custom holster and the loose-fitting clothing I wear year-round, I think I could put up with some slight discomfort and carry it daily.

Home protection: Throw a laser or a light or combo of both on it depending on your tastes and you're well prepared.

Hunting: Well, the .357 magnum is proven as far as deer. For something like squirrels use some snake shot. Heck, maybe a rubber or plastic bullet would nab one for you, or even some nice cheap wax, ha ha. You have a good selection of .357 magnum and .38 special loads for everything in between. Throw some optics on the R8 and you're good to go.

Any .357 magnum revolver also goes real well with a Marlin 1894.

paulk
February 16, 2008, 09:05 AM
Colt 1911 Government XSE
http://www.ozarkguns.com/Colt%20Pistol/1070XSE/DSC01763.JPG
BEST GUN EVER:D

abrink
February 16, 2008, 12:48 PM
Ruger p95

The_woodsman
February 16, 2008, 05:56 PM
The EAA Witness line owns multicaliber versatility and they make a .38 Super that can be converted to 9x23 Winchester. It's even available as a compact and there are .22lr conversions available. Maybe the best answer to this question is a Witness.

Well guys, so far I have not seen a better answer than this. I also am a fan of the 9x23. I don't mind reloading and once you have the brass, the rest is cake since you can reload the brass an unbelievable # of times. The 9x23 winchester is the only round that meets the .357 mag, which I also believe is the most versatile round.

I posted this for a very good reason, and that is that I am actually going to do this. This maybe blasphemy, but I don't see the purpose of having a bunch of pistols laying around the house. I would much rather have one to do everything with. Right now, I only have two pistols (a centerfire and a rimfire).

Thanks for your input guys, feel free to continue to suggest your faves.

cp1969
February 16, 2008, 06:06 PM
Reloading and revolvers go hand in hand. When you're done shooting, you dump the empties into your hand and put them in your pocket or whatever.

When a clip is empty, the search is on for the brass. They can be anywhere. I found that to be enough of an annoyance (I shoot about 99.9% outdoors in the grass, dirt, etc) to leave the autos behind most of the time.

Vern Humphrey
February 16, 2008, 06:16 PM
When a clip is empty, the search is on for the brass.
A big tarp on a frame will go a long way toward collaring your empties for you.

Set it up like a wall and floor to your right, in the path of ejection. If possible, have a fold or sag at the bottom of the wall to collect the empties that hit the wall.

cp1969
February 16, 2008, 06:32 PM
I've tried that. With my series 80 .45, I'd need a tarp on three sides. It is the most unpredictable pistol I've ever seen as to where it will throw the empties.

Vern Humphrey
February 16, 2008, 07:07 PM
Try a 10X20 tarp (they have them at Wal-Mart) and build a frame 10 ft long, 7 ft high, and 6 feet wide.

tblt
February 16, 2008, 07:08 PM
there is not a gun good for all that.
You must buy 3 to 5 guns min.
22 rifle semi auto
38 snub or kel tec .38
9mm w/2 15 round mags
270 rifle w/a scope
12 gauge shootgun
Thats what I would buy for your above choices
I have everything above plus 4 other pistols and 2 muzaloaders and 2 other rifles in 7 mm

Ala Dan
February 16, 2008, 07:32 PM
4" Smith & Wesson (K-frame) model 19 .357 magnum

ryan in maine
February 16, 2008, 07:48 PM
Conversions are cheating. Totally cheating.

Vern Humphrey
February 16, 2008, 07:57 PM
Conversions are cheating. Totally cheating.

And your mere wears boots de combat of les chasseurs d' alpiniste.:neener:

sm
February 16, 2008, 08:37 PM
Vern Humphrey has been shooting them revolvers that are backwards from Smith's so long, he done up and got all something-or-another on us.

*neener*

cp1969
February 16, 2008, 08:49 PM
This maybe blasphemy, but I don't see the purpose of having a bunch of pistols laying around the house.

Me either. That's why I've only got twelve.

ryan in maine
February 17, 2008, 01:00 AM
Vern Humphrey: And your mere wears boots de combat of les chasseurs d' alpiniste.
That's how I learned the .357 magnum revolver is the best all-around handgun. =P

SwampWolf
February 18, 2008, 03:45 PM
Ruger Blackhawk Convertible with the 9mm Para/.357 Mag. cylinders in stainless steel.

BlindJustice
February 18, 2008, 07:07 PM
Well, my 1911 .45 ACP / .22 LR Conv. Kit / .400 CorBon BBl.
Answer was close to the O.P.s' decision. However,
the .400 CorBon 155 gr. at 1400FPS and my
158 gr. .357 Mag.@ aprox. same velocity out of my
4" Bbl. 686P both with Hornady XTP kick the crap outta
9 x 23 Win. imho. But to each their own... the .400
bullets and .45 subsonic never get smaller in dia.

Hey, yah go with the EAA buy two frames so when one is
at the gunsmith's you'll have something for Defense

mgregg85
February 18, 2008, 07:18 PM
I guess its a toss up between a Kolibri 2.7mm...
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8e/Kolibri_AdamsGuns.jpg
Thats a .45 ACP in the background, this mean little pistol shoots a 3 grain FMJ at around 700 FPS for about 3.3 ft/lbs energy at the muzzle...


Now if I couldn't have that pistol as the all-around best, I would take this one...


http://www.lesjones.com/www/images/posts/zeliska600nitrorevolverace.jpg
Thats a .600 Nitro Express revolver, 5 shot, single action. Now the gun may weigh 13 pounds, but hey with a good belt holster, thats practically nothing. It will shoot a 900 grain slug about 1800 fps with a muzzle energy of around 7,500 ft/lbs. Now if you get tired of firing those big magnums from it, you can always downgrade to a little .458 Win Mag which will also chamber.
What more do you need?

Ford
February 18, 2008, 07:32 PM
One gun huh. Right now I would say this Fusion Commander 10mm
http://www.fusionfirearms.com/images/70021-2.jpg

jgo296
February 18, 2008, 08:25 PM
glock 20 10mm

azhunter12
February 18, 2008, 08:47 PM
A Dan Wesson pistol pack in .357.

Yehen
February 18, 2008, 09:01 PM
Best all around gun is a hi point. They are concealable and though they aren't shootable, the intimidation/fear factor is good for personal defense.You can kill deers by throwing it at them and when it blows up in your hand it will scare the squirrels to death. They also have a lifetime warantee so that after it blows up you can get another one.

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