American Rifleman's Top 10 Handguns


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Brian Williams
August 17, 2009, 07:01 PM
Do you agree or not and where.

1. 1911
2. S&W Hand Ejectors
3. Glock 17 and varients
4. S&W Model one
5. Volcanic Volitional Repeater
6. Colt's SAA
7. Walther PP, PPK, PPK/S
8. C96 Mauser Broomhandle
9. Browning Hi Power
10 S&W Reg Magnum.


Not sure about the Volcanic and the P-08 Luger would also be high on my list.

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CoRoMo
August 17, 2009, 07:09 PM
What?!!? The P3AT isn't on there?!!?:neener:

But seriously, I would have liked to see one of Ruger's revolvers on there.

rcmodel
August 17, 2009, 07:15 PM
I just got the mag in the mail today and haven't even cracked it open.
So, without knowing the criteria they used, I can't say.

Some of the choices appear to be based on collector value more then any lasting impact on firearms design. Volcanic & Broomhandle Mauser?

Others, like the 1911, SAA, and Glock have been earth shattering designs that shook the industry to this day.
Model #1 = First succsessful cartridge revolver, but not the first cartridge handgun?

The Hand Ejector & Regestered Magnum?
Kind of an overlap seems like.
The Regestered Magnum is basically a Hand Ejector.
The .357 was the first Magnum Revolver cartridge, not an earth shattering gun design.
PPK = Early double action semi-auto, but maybe not the first or the best.
BHP = First high-cap 9mm.

Just hard to get my head around what they were thinking, or what were they picking.
Guess I better read the story!

rc

Walkalong
August 17, 2009, 07:20 PM
1. 1911
2. S&W Hand Ejectors
3. Browning Hi Power
4. S&W Reg Magnum
5. Colt's SAA
6. C96 Mauser Broomhandle
7. Walther PP, PPK, PPK/S
8. S&W Model one
9. Glock 17 and varients
10 Volcanic Volitional Repeater ??

LightningJoe
August 17, 2009, 07:47 PM
I'd have to know more about their criteria for "top" status. Given that the impractical Volcanic repeater's on there along with the S&W Model 1, I guess they were picking guns that were mile-markers on the road to modern design and the modern handgun industry. That being the case, I'm not sure what the 1911's doing on there at #1, but whatever.

Oro
August 17, 2009, 08:59 PM
Volcanic & Broomhandle Mauser?

+1. I don't see them as worth being on the list at the expense of a few other more important and influential designs. I suppose the Reg. Magnum is there not because of the design but because of the cartridge and it's role in introducing magnum cartridges. But that's ammo design, not handgun design. It doesn't belong on the list in addition to other hand ejectors. I would remove those three at least.

Things I think have unique roles in modern handgun development that might be list-worthy are:

1) S&W Model 3's. Technically much more advanced than an SAA, outsold it by a wide margin, and influenced later gun design in a much larger way. I don't think the SAA doesn't belong, but having it and not this model is a logical fault Perhaps they felt they couldn't have both the Model 1 and Model 3 on the list - but the Model 3 is too important to ignore.

2) S&W 59 - the first true "Wondernine" and very influential. Without it's success, I don't think you'd have seen Glocks and others come along when they did.

3) Walther P-38 - it just influenced too many later designs to not get some mention. If it had only been high-capacity, it would have been the first "Wondernine."

I will have to read the article tonight to see what their criteria were; I'm guessing it's in the box.

searcher451
August 17, 2009, 09:25 PM
+1 on the P.38 -- a highly influential design. Among a number of other excellent guns, it spawned the Walther P5, which is as good a handgun as has ever been produced, IMO.

doc2rn
August 18, 2009, 12:10 AM
Well being an ardent shooter but not a collector I would make a lot of changes.
1. 1911
2. Colt Snake Named Revolvers
3. Glock 19 and varients
4. Ruger GP100s
5. Luger 9mm
6. Sig .380s
7. Browning Hi Powers
8. Ruger MKII
9. Browning Buckmark
10. AK-47s

earlthegoat2
August 18, 2009, 01:33 AM
I do think the 1911 was somewhat rightfully on the top but it scored 39 points higher than the next best one which I think is total horse hockey. Not that 1911s arent overrated by all the gun magazines anyway. Given the critera though it may have been loaded towards the 1911.

BUT, it was just a top ten list and it isnt meant to be the end all be all and that is stated in the article even. The points criteria was pretty SOP for any of the top ten lists which is to be expected. Nonetheless it is the only article I have read in the magazine so far.

These are my FAVORITE handguns (http://earlthegoat2.blogspot.com/2009/07/my-top-ten-favorite-handguns-1.html)

For my list of how they rated them I would probably put the Hi Power as number one because it was used by more militaries for a heck of a long time as opposed to the 1911 used by a few militaries for a briefly longer time. I would probably nix the Volcanic from the list since it contributed more to rifles than handguns. It is true that it is how Smith and Wesson got its start though. I dont know what I would replace it with though maybe the HK P7. That one really shouldnt make the list by their criteria. Maybe the P38 or Beretta 92.

Jim Watson
August 18, 2009, 09:16 AM
The Volcanic strikes me as out of place. It had no effect on handgun development but was the basis for the Henry and three Winchester RIFLES, and gave other makers the idea that a repeating rifle should be lever operated. But no lever action pistols, unless you count movie props.

huntsman
August 18, 2009, 10:35 AM
I'd have to know more about their criteria for "top" status. Given that the impractical Volcanic repeater's on there along with the S&W Model 1, I guess they were picking guns that were mile-markers on the road to modern design and the modern handgun industry. That being the case, I'm not sure what the 1911's doing on there at #1, but whatever.
I watched the shows were they did the count down and it really was about ground breaking design or innovation.

I would have added the Colt Woodsman and Ruger’s .22cal auto and single actions. But it wasn’t best sellers or most popular.

stoveboltgunnut
August 18, 2009, 10:36 AM
As soon as I read that article I knew I would see discussion about it on the gun boards!

HexHead
August 18, 2009, 10:43 AM
I watched the shows were they did the count down and it really was about ground breaking design or innovation.


Right. The Volcanic was included because it was the first repeater using self contained ammo. The Mauser Broomhandle because it was the first combat proven semi-auto.

I don't have any issues with their choices. Then again I own the top 3. ;)

Okay, my Glock's a 19. :D

kludge
August 18, 2009, 11:37 AM
I think the list is a pretty good one from a historical perspective being "the most important handguns of all time".

I think the Ruger Blackhawk should have been on the list, I bet it was #11 in the voting. In fact I would put the Blackhawk ahead of the Registered Magnum in importance.

tipoc
August 18, 2009, 12:39 PM
The PP, PPK, and PPK/S make sense, they were the first widely used and distributed da/sa semi. Used by civilians, law enforcement and the military their success laid the ground work for the P38. It's success laid the ground work for every da/sa pistol that followed. Not many handguns introduced in the late 1920s are still widely used and in production today. Walther's design is one. Timeless.

I woulda laid off the volcanic and the reg. Magnum. I'll have to read their thinking on those. The Reg. Magnum was influential in terms of marketing though and as the first Magnum.

A nod should go to Ruger but for the development of casting in the manufacture of handguns and long guns.

tipoc

GRIZ22
August 18, 2009, 12:44 PM
+1 on the P.38 -- a highly influential design. Among a number of other excellent guns, it spawned the Walther P5, which is as good a handgun as has ever been produced, IMO.
__________________

Keep in mind that the P38 uses the DA/SA trigger design of the PP/PPK as did S&W and others.

Ghost Walker
August 18, 2009, 12:53 PM
Not any of the Walther PP's. The Walther P-38 is the one that should have been on that list. Volcanic frigg 'in what? And, scratch the anemic and seldom used S&W Model #1; it was a toy. Add the S&W Models 52 and 41. Whatever happened to S&W's Model 29? Colt's SAA AND the 1851/61 Navy Models should have come before Glock, too.

Ala Dan
August 18, 2009, 02:13 PM
01. 1911
02. SIG P210
03. S&W "Registered Magnum"
04. Colt SAA
05. Browning Hi-Power
06. Walther PP-PPK, and PPK/S
07. Broomhandle Mauser
08. Seecamp LWS-32 and LS-380
09. S&W model 19
10. (TIE) West German SIG-SAUER P220 and P228

And, there you have it my friends~! ;) :)

earlthegoat2
August 18, 2009, 02:59 PM
The Seecamp was definitely a breakthrough, especially if sales of pistols today are concerned.

Dr.Rob
August 18, 2009, 03:14 PM
1. Colt 1911. JMB gets my top nod for people (well Americans at any rate) still arguing between a bone stock pistol and one with all the doo-dads, whether it be lasers, rails, lights, flared magazine wells or bayonets, the GUTS are still Browning, whose tilting barrel design is still being copied.
2. Glock. I have Glock the nod for the first commercially successful plastic wondergun, add polygonal rifling and a great marketing team and you have a pretty solid argument for Glock being on the list.
3. Walther P-series. This is more abouth the nod to DA/SA pistols so common now, But rather than talk about the small guns, I mean the full sized P-38. many pistols borrow heavily from this design. Served from 1938 well into the 80's.
4. Browning Hi-Power. The first 'wondernine' still being used all over the world, still being produced. Like the 1911, key features are still being copied.
5. FN Five-Seven. While I DON'T own one, this pistol may well represent 'the next leap forward' in design and engineering of handguns. This was a tough one to put on the list.
6. Luger P-08, while it's an evolutionary dead end (how many toggle action hand fitted forged part pistols are still being made?) its innovation and mystique kept this pistol in front line duty for 2 world wars, though it's time has long past.
7. Mauser C96, first viable/reliable automatic made in large numbers. Sure there were Borcharts and Dreyses and such, but this design lasted well into the 30's.
8. Smith and Wesson Hand Ejector. Most prolific action? Still made as the model 10 M&P and arguably one of the most influential handguns on the planet, quietly so. Even with 'bigger magnum' calibers this basic design is still used today.
9. Colt SAA, While ether were earlier cartridge handguns this was by the far the most successful until...
10. Colt Patterson, without this innovation we might still be shooting pepperboxes.

I almost added the Colt Navy between 9-10 but even with mass numbers produced, Army and Navy Colts are still muzzle loaders. SW changed the game with cartidges, but did not outsell Colt revolvers until the 50's.

Dr_2_B
August 19, 2009, 12:10 AM
Yeah, I always wonder what the criteria is

memphisjim
August 19, 2009, 12:22 AM
thats tough like trying to pick the top ten greatest heavyweight fighters of all time
i keep flip flopping
only thing for sure is move the peacemaker up

Quentin
August 19, 2009, 02:19 AM
Impossible to narrow down to a Top Ten but here goes:

1. 1911A1 (I own 2)
2. Browning Hi-Power (own 1)
3. S&W Model 19/66 (own 2)
4. Glock varients (own 0)
5. Ruger MKII (own 3)
6. P08 Luger (own 2)
7. Colt SAA (own 0)
8. Walther P38 (own 0)
9. Colt Woodsman (own 0)
10. S&W Model 29 (own 0)

farscott
August 19, 2009, 06:49 AM
I read the article last night, and the criteria was less than clear. While it clearly stated that only handguns firing metallic cartridges were eligible for inclusion (eliminating the Colt Patterson and other worthies), some of the other criteria seemed at odds with the outcome.

For example, the Mauser C96 makes the list but the Luger does not. Okay, the Mauser C96 was the first semi-auto to acquit itself in combat, but the Luger gave us the 9x19 cartridge as well as serving in two world wars. It was also included in some of the original testing that led to the 1911 being adopted.

The inclusion of the S&W Registered Magnum makes no sense as it is addressed in the S&W Hand Ejectors choice and itself provided no advance in handgun design. It was a Hand Ejector with more options, a lengthened cartridge, and a better finish. An important gun, yes, but not a top 10 in design of all time.

The Browning Hi-Power's inclusion on the list versus the P-08 or P-38 makes no sense to me. Other than the double-column box magazine and the simplification of the Browning recoil design, the Hi-Power's historic significance is the sheer number of people and governments that have used it. Well, that is what is also significant about the P-08 and P-38.

The H&K P7 should also be on the list as it was one of the first successful attempts to make a pistol that has an intrinsic safety that is deactivated without conscious effort by getting ready to fire and reactivated without any effort by the user. The P7 redefined what a safety could be. The combination of the squeeze cocker and the gas-retarded blowback were a milestone in design and ergonomics.

The SAA, Glock, and 1911 inclusions on the list were expected. I did expect to see the Ruger Standard/MK I/MK II/MK III pistol and/or the Colt Woodsman on the list. Those pistols filled a huge demand for the .22 LR in autoloading pistols, and the former led to the success of Sturm, Ruger and Company. Without the Ruger Standard, there is no Single-Six, Blackhawk, etc.

Good topic as it surely will drive discussion.

messerist
August 19, 2009, 06:54 AM
I concur with Dr. Rob. They included the Colt SAA but none of the revolvers that led to it's development. The Patterson or Walker should have made the list.

searcher451
August 19, 2009, 12:56 PM
What's clear here once again is the beauty, and functionality, is always in the eye of the gun-holder. One man's perfect creation is another man's mechanical disaster, and arguing the point is often akin to getting into political discussions: The talk goes round and round easily enough, but little is decided when it's all said and done.

I would say, however, that my list, at least, wouldn't be complete without at least some passing mention of the original Whitney Wolverine and a Reid's "My Friend" knuckleduster. But that's just me.

The_Shootist
August 19, 2009, 10:51 PM
Anybody get their copy from the NRA - the Sept 09 edition. Has their picks for the Top 10 Handguns - as follows:

1) 1911
2) S&W Hand Ejector Revolvers c 1890's
3) Glock 17
4) S&W Model 1 revolver c 1857 (.22 short cal)
5) Volcanic volitional Repeater c 1850 (never heard of this one but ok)
6) Colt SAA
7) Walther PPK Series
8) Broomhandle Mauser
9) Browning Hi-Power
10) S&W .357 Mag 1935


Overall a pretty vanilla selection without too much to argue about, although I dunno about #'s 7 & 8 which seems to stretch their importance a bit.

mongo4567
August 20, 2009, 12:06 AM
They are all really the first of their kind. They each were huge leaps in gun development. The Volcanic was only important because it eventually led to the Winchester 94.

ozarkhillbilly
August 20, 2009, 01:09 AM
I have a question, why can not a revolver be referred to as a pistol since clearly the word was around before there where semi autos?

JohnKSa
August 20, 2009, 01:11 AM
... since clearly the word was around before there where semi autos?Or even before there were revolvers, for that matter.

tipoc
August 20, 2009, 04:42 AM
Well I read the article and I'm still shakey on some of their choices. The criteria were self contained cartridge handguns only, those with the primer in the base of the cartridge. The other criteria were innovative and influential designs, widespread use and longevity.

I got of whiff of sucking up to at least one gun manufacturer and paying advertiser in the Rifleman in the article. And a whiff of discounting some European efforts which I also see regular in the Rifleman.

The Walker and Patterson Colts were excluded because the cut off was self contained cartridges. To included the Walker and Patterson you would have had to only count those with the Theur conversions which I think would have been a bit of a cheat. So the Colt SAA does belong, It is still manufactured and has certainly been influential.

The volcanic did not belong I don't think. Seems it was only included because it's failure brought together Smith and Wesson, Winchester, Henry and a number of other well known agents of firearms development in one place. But I don't know if the design itself was that influential.

Colt was the first to produce and widely distribute the swing out cylinder revolver or Hand Ejector. It was Colt that forced S&W to produce theirs and slowly drop the top breaks. Both Colt and Webly in England I believe beat S&W to the punch on that. But in the list S&W gets the nod.

Whoever, likely Colt, developed and sold the first mass produced .22 semi-auto should have made the list. Target shooters, plinkers and hunters have a lot to thank them for.

As much as I like the BHP the most influential handgun from that period was the P38.

tipoc

9mm+
August 20, 2009, 08:46 AM
I was surprised to see that the S&W Model 10 didn't make the list. As one of the most successful handguns of all time, it's current production is very similar to the original design from 1899.

kanook
August 20, 2009, 09:33 AM
I was surprised to see that the S&W Model 10 didn't make the list. As one of the most successful handguns of all time, it's current production is very similar to the original design from 1899. it made #2 in a round about way.

Bula
August 20, 2009, 12:06 PM
pis·tol
n. A firearm designed to be held and fired with one hand.

KenW.
August 20, 2009, 07:24 PM
1. 5" 1911 (in .45 ACP ONLY)
2. Ruger single action revolvers
3. Ruger double action revolvers
4. Colt new service and new police
5. Hi-Power (esp P-35)
6. Colt Python
7. HK P-7
8. Walther PPK
9. Commander lenth 1911
10. Officer length 1911

KyJim
August 20, 2009, 08:53 PM
S&W 59 - the first true "Wondernine" and very influential.
Funny, I thought that was the Hi-Power.

The most obvious are the 1911, SW Hand Ejector, Glock, and Colt SAA are obvious choices. I think you also have to include the Colt Patterson Revolving Pistol because it's the first. Also, the Ruger Mark line of .22s and the Hi-Power. That leaves three spots but I'm not sure which ones should go there.

Oro
August 20, 2009, 09:33 PM
Funny, I thought that was the Hi-Power.

Nope, it was SA only - that's what limits it in that particular category. "Wondernines" are considered high-cap DA/SA autos. The P35 didn't have DA variants until the 1980s. The P35 was indeed the first high-cap. 9mm, but the phrase was coined to describe high-cap. 9mm's with DA/SA function (usually via a decocker, though later striker systems were included).

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
August 21, 2009, 12:54 PM
No!!!!!

The Colt All-American 2000 takes up all 10 top slots, without a doubt! :p

Yep, revolvers ARE also pistols. Always have been:

See PISTOL Pete:

http://www.math.okstate.edu/~wescoatt/2123/pistolpete.jpg

alemonkey
August 21, 2009, 01:32 PM
I still think it was silly to exclude the Colt Patterson, even if it wasn't a cartridge design. As the first successful repeating handgun I would say that was an earth shaking design.

30mag
August 21, 2009, 01:44 PM
I think SAA should be higher on the list...
I'm not sure all of the S&Ws should be on there... redundant.
Not sure how the Mauser wound up on that list... anyone want to enlighten me?

tipoc
August 21, 2009, 01:53 PM
Not sure how the Mauser wound up on that list... anyone want to enlighten me?

It made it because it was the first widely distributed and successful semi- automatic combat handgun. Other and better designs soon followed but it was the first and was produced for over three decades.

tipoc

Oro
August 21, 2009, 06:46 PM
I think SAA should be higher on the list...

Actually, I was wondering why it was on the list based on their stressed criteria of innovation and influence. It's romantic and historic, but I don't know what was cutting edge about it.

I finally got the mail collected and read their criteria and judging methods, as well as their reports on each model. I think the ones that people keep questioning do raise problems - the Volcanic and Mauser stand out as poor choices, and the absence of the P-38 is glaring given their stated criteria. The Registered Magnum's inclusion is blindingly selfish since it's there because of it's cartridge, not the gun itself - which was already named #2 with all other Hand Ejectors.

The other REALLY annoying thing is not that they named Browning's all-American Colt 1911 as number 1, but rather that they decided to illustrate it on the cover with a cheaper Brazilian-made copy rather than an actual 1911 model.

I know that some of the people involved in this - Supica, Clapp, Schreier, etc. are extremely intelligent, thoughtful gun-folk. This article and particularly the cover are the perfect example of why committees and "group think" can often end in horrible results. Somebody was letting some serious partisanship show - or perhaps it was just cash speaking instead of journalistic integrity. I'm sure others must have noticed this incongruity.

JHK94
August 21, 2009, 06:57 PM
Quote:
Funny, I thought that was the Hi-Power.
Nope, it was SA only - that's what limits it in that particular category. "Wondernines" are considered high-cap DA/SA autos. The P35 didn't have DA variants until the 1980s. The P35 was indeed the first high-cap. 9mm, but the phrase was coined to describe high-cap. 9mm's with DA/SA function (usually via a decocker, though later striker systems were included).

Glock 17's are certainly non DA/SA...are they not "wondernines"? What about Springfield XDs?

Oro
August 21, 2009, 07:31 PM
Glock 17's are certainly non DA/SA...are they not "wondernines"?

Yeah, they are. Actually, here's what I know about the phrase "Wondernine" - or at least I think is true... ;)

The phrase didn't come about until the 80s - and it was used to describe 9mm duty/full sized guns that were both high-capacity and could be carried decocked - striker fired or otherwise. They could be fired without having to manipulate a manual safety.

Kingofthehill
August 21, 2009, 07:36 PM
That list is way off.

JOe

tipoc
August 21, 2009, 08:28 PM
The phrase didn't come about until the 80s - and it was used to describe 9mm duty/full sized guns that were both high-capacity and could be carried decocked - striker fired or otherwise. They could be fired without having to manipulate a manual safety.

True in part. The phrase "wondernines" did come about in the early 80s. Not true that it had anything to do with the action type (sa, da/sa, dao, etc.). The phrase came about in response to the rapid proliferation of high cap 9mms during the transition in law enforcement from wheelguns to semis. And the dominance of these guns in law enforcement circles and subsequently what folks saw in private hands and competitive circles. The type action they had had nothing to do directly with the dominance. It was the round count that was critical. 14,15, 17 rounds in a mag was what mattered and made these guns "more useful" than 8 rounds of .45. The craze gave birth to the .40 S&W and to the high cap .45s of Para-Ord.

The BHP is sometimes referred to as the first of the wondernines in acknowledgement of the round count but when the BHP was introduced, and up till the 80s or so, round count was only considered important in military weapons and not for law enforcement or civilian competition. Seems odd today but it was true then especially in the U.S.

tipoc

tigeroldlone
August 21, 2009, 08:58 PM
I would have though that BHP would have been a bit higher up on the list. I allsay wanted a broomhandle only one of the red 9. As for the glock it is up there a little biter higher then it should be but that just me to eachthere own.

Oro
August 21, 2009, 11:58 PM
Not true that it had anything to do with the action type (sa, da/sa, dao, etc.).

Er, that's not true, either. ;) It's a subject that people define differently - as there's no real "dictionary" on the subject. Some can consider the action part of it; others don't. I do recall that as being part of the subject during the 80s when the gun rags lauded them for their "safety" and thus more suitable for duty issue. I can respect that you may not see it as vital to the definition, but since we don't actually know who invented the term we really can't say what he/she meant specifically.

Here's a good site discussing "Wondernines" :

http://www.notpurfect.com/main/wonder.html

ElToro
August 22, 2009, 04:51 PM
wasnt the SAA the first solid frame revolver ? prior to that you had a top break or no top strap at all.

my American Rifleman hasnt shown up yet so havnt read the article. is it just top 10 or top 10 influential or top 10 in sales ?

my top 10

1) 1911
2) S&W hand ejectors ( all frame sizes)
3) colt python/diamondback
4) Colt woodsman
5) GLock and variants
6) SAA
7) Sig 220 series
8) PPK and variant
9) Ruger blackhawk and variants
10) Browning HP

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