The Internet is littered with hundreds of best-of gun articles, and I started this article with the idea of compiling a traditional Top 5 list. But when I saw the sheer amount of these articles, I chose to do something a little different.
I decided to list the top guns in five broad categories, but not base it only on my opinion. I’ve searched the Internet high and low, paying attention to forum reviews rather than gun magazines, who tend to love every trigger they’ve ever pulled.
So let’s get started.
The Best Not-So-Compact, Compact Pistol
Gun companies have this term “compact,” and they throw it around a lot. The problem is they keep saying that word, but I don’t think they know what it means. Weapons like the Glock 19 and Sig P229 are called compact but seem rather large. They definitely aren’t for everyone, but they are my favorite carry gun. Mind you, I’m 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds, so hiding a large gun isn’t hard for me. They offer more capacity, easier recoil management, and tend to be more accurate. And the winner is……
H&K USP Compact
It’s one of the original guns built to handle the 40 S&W in a time when most guns were based on the 9mm and built up to the 40 S&W. Of course, these days you can have a USP Compact in 9mm, 40 S&W, 357 SIG, etc. Heckler and Koch have a long history of producing dynamic pistols designed to be used in combat, and are a favorite of Special Forces around the world.
The low bore axis helps control the traditionally snappy 40 S&W. The bobbed hammer keeps the weapon snag-free, but the half-cock position allows you to still thumb back the hammer. The multiple variants allow someone to carry in any which way they want.
The H&K USP Compact is dead-on accurate. It is superbly lightweight, and very comfortable to carry if you have the ability to hide it. The downsides are that the rail is proprietary, and some of the controls are large. These larger controls keep the weapon from being as slim as it could be, but are easier to use.
The Best Carry Revolver
Wheel guns are an American classic that are not going away anytime soon. Modern automatics are remarkably reliable, but revolvers will never be replaced as the kings of reliability. Revolvers also have a bit more options to choose from. A person can load an ultra-hot magnum or +P round , or load a lighter recoiling target round of something like the Hornady Critical Defense light loads for those who are recoil sensitive. These lighter loads won’t interrupt or cause any stoppages like lighter loaded auto rounds can. So who is the king of cowboys?
The first thing I think when I hear of revolvers is Smith and Wesson, and some may say this is heresy to nominate a Ruger revolver — much less a plastic one. The Ruger LCR series has taken the carry revolver to a new level. First off, the lightweight polymers keep the weapon lightweight, but much more affordable than scandium or titanium. The revolver started life as the double action only LCR, but the LCRx changed all that and became the first model to feature an exposed hammer to offer double- or single-action methods of fire.
Like I said, the revolver is remarkably lightweight, just a hair heavier than the lightest air weight revolvers. The LCRx is your simple five shot snub nose revolver that is rated for +P 38 specials, but a .357 version is on the way if you’re one of those people who really wants early arthritis. Now if you are like me and live in a hot and humid environment, you tend to sweat a whole lot. Guess what? The polymer frame doesn’t rust.
The recoil is a little snappy due to it being lightweight. The weapon is round in all the right angles, and very comfortable to carry. The exposed hammer is exposed, but just barely enough for a thumb grip.
The Best Concealed Carry Gun For Your Dollar
Let’s face it: A lot of us have had to crack down on our budgets and make a cut of two here and there. Now when it comes to a weapon that is designed to save your life, it’s hard to say I need the cheapest gun available. Trusting a .25 auto Raven to defend your life is not exactly the wisest decision. But just because you are on a budget doesn’t mean you have to risk your life with a piece of pot metal. So what is the best carry gun when you need to save some dollars?
SCCY CPX-1 and CPX-2
The SCCY series of pistols is a polymer frame made in America, and in my home state of Florida. These small 9mm automatics are quite high quality and very attractive. New models are coming equipped with a laser. These pistols come with two high quality steel magazines and a trigger lock.
They are double action only, hammer-fired weapons with a second strike capability. They feature large and luminous 3 dot sights. The SCCY series of pistols are quite attractive and don’t feel like cheap plastic. My only complaint is the grip feel is a bit wide in the hand for a 9mm. The trigger is a bit heavy. The weapon is accurate, reliable and attractive and retails for about $240, and I picked up a used one for $190. The weapon has been utterly reliable for the first 500 rounds. For fewer than $300 you’re getting an excellent weapon.
The Best Sub-Compact Automatic
This doesn’t seem very fair since I just named a semi-auto sub-compact as the best budget gun, but since I already named a revolver I kind of have to do it. Automatics are simply the cutting edge of technology and offer a longer barrel for their size and a higher capacity than their revolver counterparts. My top baby automatic is…
The Baby Glocks
I’m pretty sure Glock is the only company that brings out a different model for every size and caliber they choose. Most companies simply have a model and then various sizes and calibers for them. For example, the Sig P250 comes in three sizes and every major caliber outside of .22LR, but is still called the Sig P250. So that’s why the Glock 26, 27, and every other sub-compact Glock are winners in this category.
Glock is a brand that is Spartan in nature and extremely reliable, robust and dynamic to use. Glocks are hardly imaginative and not quite the sexiest weapon, but they work well. The Glock is a superb weapon and available in 9mm, 40 S&W, 45 ACP, .357 SIG and even .380 ACP (Sigh, the Glock no one wanted).
The Best Pocket Rocket
The pocket rocket is the tiniest gun you can carry when you are limited to a deep concealment gun or you are simply not willing to carry a larger, more uncomfortable weapon. The pocket rocket is the weapon you cannot make an excuse not to carry. These tiny guns are limited in firepower, but just a delight to carry. There are simply just a ton of them out there these days and they have become the latest in the concealed carry fad. The winner is the…
Diamond Back 9mm
The Diamond Back 9mm is positively the smallest 9mm handgun on the market. The 9mm is a step above the .380 for concealed carry, and is also much cheaper and easier to find these days, so that’s why the DB9 beats out the DB380. The Diamond back 9mm is just so utterly tiny. Of course, you get a few drawbacks, like the snappy recoil, low magazine capacity, tiny grip and non-existent sights.
Now, if you are fine giving up the advantages of a larger gun, you get 6 + 1 rounds of 9mm in a very plain and simple package. Similar to a Glock in its Spartan appearance, it features round corners for an easy draw. At seven yards the DB9 is surprisingly accurate; I could score easy target headshots, and using the Marine Corps standard combat marksmanship targets I could hit the torso and T-box targets.
There is a seven round magazine and a Crimson trace laser grip available for the weapon, as well. I enjoyed shooting the weapon, but for only about 50 rounds and it becomes a little painful. The DB9 is so small there is no excuse not to carry it.
So this is my version of a Top 5 list. I hope you folks in the comments section have something to add, especially if you’ve had a negative experience with one of the weapons I have listed. I have had trigger time here and there with each weapon on the list, but the amount has varied between weapons. So let me know what you think, and safe shooting everyone!
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