Category Archives for "Handguns"

What Is The Best 38 Revolver For The Money (And Concealment)?

The .38 caliber revolver is a very popular gun for folks who want to carry concealed, which results in there being a lot of 38 revolver options out there! So which one is the best 38 revolver available to us?

Why is the .38 caliber so popular? It gained popularity for self-defence due to it being a large enough caliber with stopping power while also allowing for concealed carry. Prior to 1990 when semi-automatic pistol became the side-arm of choice for police forces across the US, the 38 was what police officers would carry.

What To Look Out For

Before we jump straight into trying to figure out which revolver is in fact the best 38 revolver out there, we need to first determine what exactly we need to look for when choosing a revolver. If I was looking to buy a 38 revolver today, here are the few things that I would take into consideration.

Build Quality & Reliability

I don't know about you, but when I am in a self-defence situation where my life might depend on my gun I want to know it is going to work and not fail! With the popularity of 38 revolvers, the market is flooded with all sorts of revolvers from different places in the world. Unfortunately, that also means some gun are better built than others. Sure they might have some interesting features and be reasonably affordable, but in the long run they just won't last!

So when I am shopping for a new revolver, I tend to look at brands that are well known for making quality guns. These might include manufacturers like Ruger and Smith & Wesson, as they have long histories of making quality firearms. I also do my research to see what others have experienced after they have had their gun for a while. An easy way to do this is by visiting your local gun shop to get their advice or doing your research online (like you are doing now!).

Functionality & Concealability

Let's be clear about one thing - a gun is not a toy! And if you are looking for the best 38 revolver, you are most likely looking for a self-defence weapon you can carry with you. Also likely is that you would like to carry concealed.

So for me, things like overall size and weight are important. I do not want a revolver that weighs a ton and is going to have a clear print when I carry it concealed.

Besides being concealable, it also needs to be functional as a self-defence weapon. This means that it should be easy to aim, easy to fire and should hit the target consistently.


For me, a gun needs to be reasonably affordable according to my needs. The best 38 revolver should not necessarily be the most expensive one. Sure the more expensive revolvers might be made out of special materials and have advanced features, but if you just need a reliable revolver for concealed carry those extras might not really add much value to you on a day to day basis.

However, as I mentioned earlier, there are a lot of cheap guns out there that just do not have the quality and reliability that you would want in a gun. So be careful to not just go for a gun because it is cheap.

The Top Contenders

Below we look at 5 popular revolvers that could be argued to be the best 38 revolver options.

RevolverLength (in)Weight (oz)MSRP
S&W Bodyguard 38 Crimson Trace6.614.4$539
Rock Island Armory Spurless M2066.7525.4$283
Ruger LCR6.513.5$579
Colt Cobra7.225$699
Rossi 3526.524$359

*MSRP as stated on the manufacturers' website at the time of publishing.​

S&W Bodyguard 38 Crimson Trace

This particular revolver is an extremely popular choice among folks looking for a concealed carry revolver! As you will note from the table above, it measures in with a length of 6.6 inches and a weight of 14.4 oz. It is not the smallest or the lightest gun on the list, but it certainly is one of the smaller and lighter options.

The light weight is thanks to the gun being constructed from modern materials that includes aluminum, polymers and steel. It is designed to be very concealable thanks to its sleek design.

So let's talk about how easy it is to shoot this gun. The S&W Bodyguard typically has an all-black finish, which makes the sights not the most visible and thus hampers effective aim. It does have an integrated laser to help easy targeting. However you should probably check the laser's alignment when you first receive the weapon to make sure it is accurate. If you need to fire your weapon in a hurry and accurately, I don't know if I want to have to fumble around trying to get a laser to work...

Some folks have mentioned that recoil on this gun is quite harsh, even going as far as saying "The BODYGUARD 38 was writing checks that my hand didn’t want to cash". Users of the revolver also mentioned that trigger pull is pretty heavy, which will make firing quickly and accurately a bit more challenging.

Overall, this gun is probably best for close distance self-defence. If I had to get this gun, I would probably rather keep it as a backup to a primary weapon.

Rock Island Armory Spurless M206

The RIA revolver is the biggest and heaviest revolver on our list. But it is also by far the cheapest! Something that does put it ahead of the other options on the list of the best 38 revolver options is the fact that it has an ammo capacity of 6 rounds, where most of the other revolvers has a capacity of 5 rounds.

Just because this revolver is the cheapest on the list, it does not mean that it is of low quality. In fact, it is probably quite the bargain when you see what craftsmanship you get for the price. The fact that it comes with a limited lifetime warranty tells me that the manufacturer has faith in their own product.

The RIA revolver has a smooth action and a trigger pull better than you might expect, making this revolver good for firing quick accurate shots. As it is a bit heavier, recoil is also easier to handle.

Overall, this is a big heavy gun which comes at a good price. It is probably not the ideal revolver to consider if you are looking to carry concealed, but it does give a lot of value for money. If I had to get this gun, I probably would not consider it for an everyday carry concealed gun, but perhaps rather for home defence.

Ruger LCR

At a length of 6.5 inches and a weight of 13.5 oz, the Ruger LCR is the smallest and lightest revolver on our list, and many folks would argue that this is in fact the best 38 revolver out there!

First thing though, what does LCR stand for? It stands for Lightweight Carry Revolver. So that already tells you a lot about this gun! Like the S&W Bodyguard that we talked about earlier, the weapon manages to have such a lightweight thanks to it being constructed from modern materials that include aluminum and polymers.

This revolver is a good choice if you want to carry concealed. It has a low print due to its shrouded hammer and sleek design. Thanks to its lightweight, it won't feel like you are carrying a huge boulder with you all day long.

The build quality on this weapon is impressive! Just look at the black finish on the revolver, which is a two-element coating, consisting of a hard anodized outer surface to which is fused a baked-on black polymer surface filler. The resulting finish has a C60 Rockwell hardness. This not only makes the finish really hard, but it also helps to keep the gun rust free.

The big problem for 38 revolvers seems to be trigger pull that is heavy. Ruger appears to have overcome this with a patented design that allows for a smooth and easy trigger pull, making for consistent target hits. Some folks have even said "It is the smoothest and lightest small-frame revolver trigger I’ve ever experienced". Thanks to this trigger pull, it makes it also a good handgun choice for women.

Then there is recoil. The other revolvers on our list are noted to have harsh recoil. However Ruger claims that the LCR has 50% less felt recoil than other similarly sized revolvers! This reduced recoil is thanks to the Hogue grips that come with the revolver, as well as the Polymer frame that diffuses the shock from the recoil.

The only downside to this gun? It is expensive! The MSRP for this gun is almost double what you might pay for a RIA M206. If you have the cash to splash and specifically want a lightweight revolver for concealed carry with excellent build quality, then you will struggle to beat the LCR for best 38 revolver.

Colt Cobra

Like a Phoenix, the Colt Cobra has risen from the ashes anew! The original Colt Cobra was sold by Colt between 1950 and 1981. However there was such a demand for the revolver that it was announced in December 2016 that a new run of the Colt Cobra would be introduced in 2017. So is it still any good?

Much like the original, the new revolver is aimed at the concealed carry and law enforcement market. However, as you might notice from the comparison table above, it is the longest revolver on the list and is only slightly lighter than the heaviest revolver on the list, namely the RIA M206.

Good news though is that the trigger pull is great, thanks to Colt's extensive experience in this area. In double action mode the trigger pull is smooth, while in single action mode it is crisp and clean.

The Cobra does not have the polished exterior that the original had. Rather it has a bead blasted finish on it. Probably not a big deal, but some folks might prefer the deep bluing of the original.

Overall this is an expensive gun (it is by far the most expensive gun on our list) that is heavy and probably does not have the same build quality as the Ruger or S&W might have. One redeeming factor is that this revolver has an ammo capacity of 6 rounds, rather than the standard 5 rounds that the other revolvers on this list have. If you are nostalgic and want a gun with a cool name, this might be a good option for you. I personally would not be willing to spend so much money on a gun like this when there are options like the S&W Bodyguard or the Ruger LCR available.

Rossi 352

The Rossi 352 revolver is the second cheapest revolver on our list of the best 38 revolver options available. Does that mean that it is a low quality gun or does it just mean you get a lot of value for you money, like with the RIA M206?

Like the RIA revolver, it is not the lightest gun as it weighs in at 24 oz. Not quite in the same weight league as the S&W or the Ruger, but at it's price point you cannot expect the Rossi to be. As you would rightly assume from looking at its weight, this is not an aluminum and polymer framed revolver. Rather it is made from good old steel! With its polished steel finish, it does look nice and shiny though!

It has a rubber grip that really helps to absorb the recoil, and accuracy is pretty good.

Overall this is the most affordable revolver on our list and does provide good value for your money. However the bulky grip, heavy frame and hammer makes this revolver not ideal if you specifically want a gun for concealed carry. If you don't want to shell out an arm and a leg for a self-defence weapon though, this gun shouldn't let you down.

Give Us Your Opinion - What Is The Best 38 Revolver?

These "best" lists often tend to elicit a lot of comment and debate from folks. That is due to a few reasons, but mainly it is because we are all passionate about this subject and we all have different views and opinions. Which is great!

So if you have an opinion on which revolver you think is the best 38 revolver out there, please tell us which revolver and why by putting a note in the comment section below. We would really love to hear from you!

Dan Wesson Bruin – A Close Look At The Civilized Brute

Hunter Elliott from is well known for his thorough and practical review of firearms. In this post Hunter takes a close look at the Dan Wesson Bruin and tells us what he thinks of this firearm. Be sure to check out Hunter's video below, where he does a practical review of the gun.

Hunter is generally a big fan of the Dan Wesson 1911, ever since he reviewed the Dan Wesson ECO (check out that review here). Bur before we dive into the details of the Bruin, let's look at Dan Wesson the company.

Dan Wesson Firearms

Dan Wesson Firearms is a proudly American company, which is a part of the CZ-USA group. The company was founded in 1968 by Daniel Wesson II.

Interestingly, his great grandfather was Daniel Baird Wesson, who was a co-founder of Smith and Wesson. In 2005, the company was acquired by CZ-USA.

Hunter's Full Video Review

Hunter's First Impressions and Note

After testing the Bruim, Hunter had some first impressions about the weapon, which include:

  • Solid aluminum trigger
  • Adjustable for overtravel
  • Breaking crisp at four pounds with just a bit of takeup and almost no overtravel
  • The slide stop and extended thumb safety are serrated, while the magazine catch is checkered

Overall Thoughts On The Bruin

The Dan Wesson pistols are expensive, but you get what you pay for as the Dan Wesson pistols are quality guns. The Dan Wesson pistols are hand fitted (so not your typical production pistol) with forged steel and contains no MIM parts. So really, if you take into consideration the high quality materials used and the time taken to produce such a pistol, the high price is to be expected.

In terms of what you want to used the Bruin for, it is a pistol that can be used for handgun hunting. It of course can also be used for self-dense or going shooting at the range.

To see Hunter's full length review of the Dan Wesson Bruin, go check it out here.​



How To Choose The Best First Handgun For Your Needs

What is the best first handgun? That is a question a lot of folks looking for their first handgun will ask themselves. Picking a handgun for yourself for the first time can be a bit of a daunting task if you do not know what to look for.

Should you get a revolver or semi-automatic? What caliber should you get? What are some of the better makes and models of handgun out there? There are a lot of stuff you  might not be sure about. So below, we cover some key points you should consider when choosing the right first handgun for your needs.

Choosing the right first handgun for your needs

Know what you want to do with it

Gun Range EtiquetteWhat you intend to use your gun for will be a massive factor in the type of handgun that you end up choosing. Do you want a handgun for home defence? Everyday carry? Target shooting down at the range? While you certainly can have a handgun that will be suitable to most of these tasks, some guns are more suited to a specific task than others. For example, if you want a handgun for everyday carry, you will probably want a gun that you can carry concealed, but that still has a large enough caliber for self-defence. If you want a gun for target shooting, a smaller caliber might be the ideal first handgun for you as it will be more forgiving while you learn to shoot at the range.

Another important question you need to ask yourself is if you even really need a handgun? Do you perhaps rather need a shotgun or rifle? Or maybe even some form of a non-lethal weapon?

Know what you want to spend, and stick to it

Handguns can vary greatly in price range, from reasonably affordable to extremely expensive. When you are down at your local gun-shop it can be very tempting to shell out a lot of money for a really nice handgun. However the right first handgun for you might not necessarily be the most expensive handgun out there.

If you are buying your first handgun, it won’t make sense to go spending money on a customized 1911 with all the tactical bells and whistles possible. Going too cheap is not the answer either, as you get what you pay for. So when you decide to buy a gun, do your homework to see what a decent quality handgun would cost and shop in that price range.

An option to consider in order to save money while still getting a good quality handgun is to look at second-hand handguns from reputable sellers. Like you would do with buying a used car, be sure to have a good look at any used gun you are considering buying to make sure it is still in good shape and have been looked after.

Test a few out and see what you like

nra basic pistol course

If you have never owned a gun before, chances are you haven’t fired many guns before. So before you commit and buy a gun, go and test fire some different guns to see what you like and what you feel comfortable with. This way you can get a feel for the right caliber, the size of the gun and just the over feel of the gun. The objective will be to find a handgun that you like and that you can fire with confidence. The easiest way is to find a gun range where you can rent a few different types of guns and go shooting.

Wrapping Up – Choosing the best first handgun

There are a lot of confusing things to consider when you are thinking of buying your first handgun, like caliber, price, accessories options, trigger options, stopping power, ergonomics, etc etc etc! Certainly too much! So determine what exactly you need the handgun for, what you want to spend and then go test fire some guns to see which is the best first handgun for you.

What Do you think – what is the right first handgun?

If you had to suggest a handgun for a first time handgun owner, which gun would you say is the best first handgun? Would you suggest a revolver or a semi-automatic? What caliber would you suggest they look at? If you have an opinion on what the best firt handgun is, please share your thoughts in the comments section below. We would love to hear from you!

Best Concealed Carry 9mm – We Investigate 5 Great Contenders!

What is best concealed carry 9mm gun? Concealed carry is an option that a lot of gun carriers prefer. Folks who carry in public or want a back-up weapon, want a gun small enough that provides effective concealment. When it comes to smaller guns, there are a few calibers that can be considered. These include .22, .380 and 9mm.

The .22 is considered not powerful enough to be effective in a self defense situation, so is generally only used by folks for target shooting or small game hunting. The .380 caliber has historically been popular with folks who want a smaller caliber.

However a lot of folks want a bigger caliber for self-defense andd prefer the 9mm caliber to .380 as it would have more stopping power. Thanks to modern new designs in the 9mm gun market, we have seen some nice guns come out that are small and light enough for effective concealed carry.

Below we look at five 9mm options that are excellent guns, which could be argued to be contenders to be called the ultimate concealed carry 9mm gun. To specifically choose one gun as the best concealed carry 9mm is of course not truly possible, as each person would have their own unique requirements when choosing the right concealed carry 9mm for their needs.

These requirements might include a mix of price, build quality, reliability, after market products and design/looks. So we picked five 9mm guns that we really like and think are good for concealed carry.

Of course we realise there are other great 9mm guns that are not on our list, so if you have a 9mm in mind that you believe should be on a list of the top concealed carry 9mm guns, please share with us your thoughts in the comments section below.

GunWeight (oz)Length (In)
Glock 26226.41
Beretta Nano19.85.6
Smith & Wesson M&P Shield196.1
Kahr PM9196.1
Ruger LC917.26

*The prices listed are at the time of the writing of this article and are subject to change without notice.

Glock 26Glock 26



Weight -21.71 oz
Length – 6.41 in
Width – 1.18in
Height – 4.17 in
Barrel Length – 1.26 in
Magazine Capacity – 10

MSRP – $500*

Glock has two pistols that could be argued to be the best concealed carry 9mm pistol, namely the Glock 26 and the Glock 27. These are Glock’s “subcompact” variations. The 26 and the 27 are sometimes even referred to as the “Baby Glocks”, as they are so small compared to the other models in the Glock product range.

A nice feature of the Baby Glock is the fact that it can accept factory magazines from  other Glock variants, such as the Glock 17, Glock 18, and Glock 19.

The Baby Glock is bigger and heavier than any of the other 9mm options on our list. This of course is not ideal when considering concealed carry, however if you have bigger hands and prefer a gun with a bigger magazine capacity, then the Baby Glock might just be the right concealed carry 9mm for your personal requirements.

At a MSRP of approximately $500, the Baby Glock is not the most expensive compact 9mm, but it is not the cheapest either! Only the Kahr PM9 is more expensive on our list of 9mm compact guns.

You can check out a practical review of the Glock 26 Gen 4 in the video below:

Beretta Nano



Weight -19.8 oz
Length – 5.63 in
Width – 0.9in
Height – 4.17 in
Barrel Length – 3 in
Magazine Capacity – 6

MSRP – $400*

If you like stylish and sleek, you will know Beretta. The oldest existing weapons manufacturer in the world (they have been around since the 16th century!!) is known for making beautiful guns. You probably know it best for the Beretta M9, which has been the US Military’s sidearm of choice since 1985.

Beretta has produced the Nano for the small concealed carry 9mm market. The Nano is a striker-fired, semi-automatic micro pistol.

The frame is made from technopolymer, while the slide is a Pronox finished slide. As the pistol is designed specifically with concealed carry in mind, it has no external safety lever, nor does it have an external slide lock or release. This all helps the Nano to not have a print and helps to prevent the pistol from snagging on any clothing if it has to be drawn quickly.

Compared to the Baby Glock, the Nano is a much smaller gun with a smaller ammo capacity. However this makes it much more suited to concealed carry with its sleek profile. It has a MSRP of $400, which makes it one of the most affordable guns on our list. Include the fact that this gun is specifically designed for concealed carry, it will be tough to beat.

For a closer look at the Beretta Nano, check out this video:

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield

Smith Wesson MP Shield


Weight -19 oz
Length – 6.1 in
Width – 0.95 in
Height – 4.6 in
Barrel Length – 3.1 in
Magazine Capacity – 7/8

MSRP – $450*

The M&P in the name stands for (Military and Police),which indicates the target markets, however it is widely available on the civilian market. In 2012 the M&P Shield was launched by Smith and Wesson. You can get it in 9mm as well as .40 S&W calibers.

The Shield is a polymer-framed pistol (as most of these guns seem to be) sub-compact pistol with a single stack magazine.

The Shield is not a lot different from the M&P Compact, however the Shields is thinner than the Compact. An improvement the Shield makes from the other pistols in the M&P line is an improved trigger with positive reset.

With its thin profile, the Shield is perfect for comfortable concealed carry, and is a good option for both men and women. Like a lot of the polymer guns, it is probably not going to win any beauty contests, but if you want a really thin gun, this might just be the best concealed carry 9mm pistol option for your needs.

Want to see more? Check out this video:

Kahr PM9kahr pm9



Weight -19 oz
Length – 6.1 in
Width – 0.95 in
Height – 4.6 in
Barrel Length – 3.1 in
Magazine Capacity – 7/8

MSRP – $810*

The gun manufacturers really seem to like have letters in the gun name. The Kahr PM series is no different. The “PM” stands for Polymer Micro, which tells you it is a small gun made from Polymers.

The PM is a short recoil operated, double action only (DAO)hammerless, striker-fired semi-automatic pistol.

If you want an American made pistol, then this might be the best concealed carry 9mm pistol for your preference, as Kahr Arms is an American small arms manufacturer. An interesting thing about Kahr Arms is that it was founded by Justin Moon, who is the son of Sun Myung Moon. Sun Myung Moon is know as the founder of the Unification Church.

The PM9 is aimed at the civilian market, but is also a popular choice as a backup weapon for law-enforcement forces. You will typically find the pistol in a matte black polymer frame, with a stainless-steel slide.

If you are considering getting yourself a PM9, you should know that PM pistols usually require a ‘breaking-in’ period. Kahr Arms recommend that you initially fire at least 200 rounds to break the pistol in.

HICKOK45 does another review video, which you can check out below:

Ruger LC9s

Ruger LC9 holster


Weight -17.2 oz
Length – 6 in
Width – 0.90 in
Height – 4.5 in
Barrel Length – 3.12 in
Magazine Capacity – 7

MSRP – $479*

So once again, the pistol model name gives us some indication on what the pistol is. The “LC9” in the name stands for “Lightweight Compact 9mm”.

The LC9 was introduced in 2011, with the LC9s being the striker-fired version of the model. It is a double action only (DAO), locked breech, recoil operated semi-automatic pistol.

As expected, it has a polymer frame with a slide that is made from blued alloy steel. Interestingly, in 2011 the LC9 was awarded the Shooting Industry Academy of Excellence’s Handgun of the Year.

The LC9 is not smaller or lighter than any of the other guns listed on our list of concealed carry 9mm guns, however it is one of the cheapest with a MSRP of approximately $479. With the Beretta Nano being cheaper and the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield only a little more expensive, some folks might be tempted to rather buy one of those two options.

If price is a big factor in deciding which gun is the ideal concealed carry 9mm for you, then you could also consider the Kel-Tec PF-9. Some folks might argue that the Kel-Tec should be on the list rather than the Ruger LC9 due to the Kel-Tec being lighter and having no external safety or magazine disconnect. The Ruger however wins in terms of quality of construction, strength and a crisper trigger pull.

If you want to see more about the LC9s, have a look at this video below.

What Do You Think – What Is The Best Concealed Carry 9mm?

We only listed five guns in our list of guns that we believe could be contenders to be called the best concealed carry 9mm. However there are many more guns out there that could be argued to be the best concealed carry 9mm.

For example we do not have any Sig or Springfield on here, which there probably should be! So what do you think, which 9mm would you say is the best concealed carry 9mm and why? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

The Best 1911 Pistol – Is There Such A Pistol?

What is the best 1911 pistol? Well, I want to know too! The thing is, there are a lot of 1911 variants out there. The simple reason for that is that the 1911 is such an iconic gun!

The 1911 started life in the late 1890s when the US military was looking for a new firearm that was self-loading. The legendary John Browning designed a handgun for the Colt Manufacturing Company, which tested in trials and subsequently formally adopted by the US Army in 1911. That is actually why the gun us known as the 1911….as it was the year it was adopted by the US Army and given the designation of M1911. The gun was later also adopted by the US Navy and US Marine Corp in 1913.

Since then, the M1911 was the US Military handgun of choice. The M1911 served during numerous wars, which included WW1, WW2, Korean War and the Vietnam War. It was even used by some units during Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. It was only in 1985 that the M1911 was replaced by the Beretta M9. I don’t know about you, but that is a pretty impressive service record!

The Top Contenders For Best 1911 Pistol

Now that we had our brief, but interesting history lesson about the 1911, we can look into which pistols are the best 1911 pistols!

Wilson Combat

Many folks will tell you that the best 1911 pistols are made by Wilson Combat…but you are going to have to pay a lot of money as they are definitely not cheap weapons!

Wilson Combat manufactures custom pistols from their location in Berryville, Arkansas. They actually specialize in the manufacturing and customization of  M1911A1s.

Wilson Combat started life as “Wilson’s Gun Shop” in 1977, when Bill Wilson started his gunsmith business at the back of his family’s jewellery store. They went on to buy  “Scattergun Technologies” in 2000 to start marketing shotguns under Wilson Combat Scattergun Technologies. Wilson’s handguns have a quality guarantee of 1 in (25 mm) groups at 25 yd (23 m).

If you want to buy a gun from Wilson Combat, the first choice will probably be the Bill Wilson Carry. It is a pistol for which Bill Wilson dictated the specifications himself, with the idea that it should be a good gun for concealed carry.

The pistol is based on the Wilson Combat CQB Compact with some custom upgrades. The upgrades include a slide that has has carry cuts to narrow the muzzle. The frame of the pistol also has the round butt modification, which makes for a more more comfortable carry and a minimized print. The slide stop post has been recessed and the hole chamfered to allow you to be able to use the Crimson Trace laser grips

You can see a practical review of the Wilson Combat CQB in the video below:

Rock Island Armory 1911 Series Pistols

The Rock Island Armory (RIA) 1911 series of pistols are recoil operated semi-automatic, single-action pistols. The RIA pistols are a manufactured in the Philippines and distributed in the US market by Armscor from Pahrump, Nevada.

The RIA pistols are usually more geared toward budget prices in the 1911 market. So if you want an entry level 1911, the RIA might be the best 1911 pistol choice for you. They are of course not all just cheap entry level guns, with the RIA Tactical, Compact, and Match models offering extra semi-custom high end features.

For example, the RIA Compact has a hammer that is skeletonized and a beavertail grip safety. The RIA Tactical offers a hammer and trigger that is target-grade as well as enhanced contrast combat sights and an ambidextrous safety.

HICKOK45 does another great review of the RIA 1911 Tactical in the video below:

Les Baer 1911 Pistols

Les Baer 1911 pistols are manufactured by Les Baer Custom Inc in Hillsdale, Illinois. The company was started by gunsmith Les Baer, Sr. in 1991.

Interestingly, Les Baer and Smith & Wesson are the only manufacturers that are authorized to to use and display Clint Smith’s Thunder Ranch logo. Les Baer offers a product line of pistols and rifles that makes use of that name. Clint Smith himself said that the reason that he gave Les Baer permission to use the name and logo due to Les Baer guns’ outstanding accuracy and reliability.

Les Baer pistols come with a guarantee of at least 3″ accuracy at 50 yards. Many models are available at an extra cost with a guarantee of 1.5″ at the same distance.

If you want the best 1911 pistol for self defense, the Ultimate Tactical Carry 5″ Model might be the solution. It is a .45 ACP caliber gun that feature a 5-inch National Match Barrel with Stainless Match Bushing and a Baer National Match Steel Frame. Some other features that you might like include Deluxe Slim Line Grips, dovetail front sight and LBC Deluxe Fixed Combat rear sight, Baer Aluminum Match Trigger, rounded for tactical use, Beveled Mag Well, 30 LPI Frontstrap, 20 LPI MSH, and a blued finish.

Check out a video review of the Les Baer UTC below:

What Do You Think – What Is The Best 1911 Pistol?

What do you think the is best 1911 pistol? There are many variants of the 1911 that it is difficult to point to one pistol as being the best 1911 pistol. What are your thougts on 1911 pistols like the Kimber, Smith & Wesson and Colt Rail Gun options? If you have any thoughts on the subject, please share it in the comments section below!

What Is The Best Handgun For Home Defense?

What is the best handgun for home defense? It is an unfortunate reality that serious crime is increasing in many areas and it can affect any of us. If you wake up in the middle of the night with an intruder in your house, you will want to defend yourself with the best weapon possible.

Best Handgun For Home Defense

You do not know if the intruder is armed, dangerous and violent. If you find yourself in such a dangerous situation, you will want to know that the weapon by your side is both reliable and effective in defending your and your loved ones from an attacker.

When Choosing the Best Handgun for Home Defense

Choosing the best handgun for home defense is not as easy as just walking into your local gun shop and picking the first handgun. There are some key considerations you should keep in mind when you look for the best handgun for home defense that will fit your needs and level of experience/gun proficiency.

Rifle/Shotgun vs a Handgun

Before we dive into what the best handgun for home defense is, let us just think about the pros and cons of using a rifle or shotgun for home defense. Is a handgun the best gun for home defense?shotgun

Shotguns are excellent home defense weapons. Due to the extended sight radius and the way you hold a shotgun when shooting it, it makes it very easy to aim. However, as you need to use both hands to hold the gun when in a shooting posture, it will makes things like opening doors or even turning on lights difficult. And if you do not have agun mounted flashlight attached to your shotgun, you won’t be able to hold a flashlight while you are busy looking for the bad guy in your house. Additionally, a shotgun can be a tactical hindrance if you need to move around in confined spaces where the long barrel could get in the way when you need to react quickly.

Shotguns do not shoot precise shots, especially if you are using 00 buckshot. This means that a stray pellet that did not hit your intended target can hit an innocent bystander or at the least cause damage to your home. On the other hand rifles (like let’s say the AR-15 platform) have much more precise shots, but then there is the over-penetration issue where a bullet can go right through your target and still hit someone else. Or it might even go through a wall or window and hit one of your neighbours.

Rifles have the same challenges that shotguns will have in terms of having a free hand and being manoeuvrable inside a small space. It does have the advantage of having a higher ammunition capacity, higher penetration ability and more precise shots.

A handgun has the advantages of being precise (as long as the shooter of course knows what he/she is doing), being small enough to manoeuvre easily in small spaces without being a hindrance and  freeing up one of your hands if you need it. It does not have the same penetration ability and ammunition capacity as a rifle, but when you are in a self-defense situation in your home you should not need the added penetration ability or ammunition capacity that a rifle offers.

Pistol vs Revolver

When you talk about what the best handgun for home defense might be, a lot of people automatically start thinking of pistols. After all, revolvers are considered old technology while pistols are made from space age materials! It is certainly true that pistols have some advantages over revolvers, but revolves do have some qualities that make them good home defense weapons. Pistols are semi-automatic, have more ammunition capacity than revolvers and are easier to aim thanks to lighter trigger pull (a lighter trigger pull means you are less likely to move off target as you fire the weapon…resulting in deadlier accuracy). Of course you can also add additional features to a pistol for home defense, such as a tactical flashlight or lazer, which could give you a tactical advantage over the bad guy in your house.

While pistols provide a better aim, they do have more moving parts that can go wrong. Think about it, if you are in a deadly situation where some scum bag is in your house and your pistol suddenly jams…!! That jammed round can cost you precious time and give the bad guy the attacking advantage. It is a lot more difficult to remove a jammed cartridge from a pistol under stress than it is with a revolver. If you have a revolver, all you need to do is pull the trigger again to rotate the cylinder so a new round is aligned with the barrel.

On the other side, revolvers are much more difficult to reload than a pistol. Combined with the lower ammunition capacity, that can make things dicey of you get into a shootout.

So looking at the above, there are some pros and cons to each choice. If you are an inexperienced gun handler that might not be able to handle a handgun proficiently under stress, then a revolver is a reliable and easy to use weapon. However if you are proficient with your pistol and want the safety of having the extra ammunition capacity as well as the ability to add tactical accessories, then a pistol is the best handgun for home defense.

Caliber and Ammunition

We talked in our article what is the most accurate handgun about how a lot of people assume that the larger the caliber the better! While a .45 caliber will scare the pants off of most intruders, it is also often less accurate than a smaller caliber like 9mm. We would much rather hit the scum bag that is breaking in with a 9mm than miss with a .45. There are of course a lot of people who will prefer to have a large caliber, however just be aware that a large caliber will not always get the job done as you would hope. As we also mentioned above, a larger caliber could also cause unintentional damage to others due to the increased penetration power. You also need to be physically big enough and strong enough to handle a .45 caliber handgun effectively. If you are smaller and have smaller hands, a large caliber handgun can be more of a disadvantage and danger to you than an advantage.

In terms of ammo, hollow point ammo is probably the way to go. It is designed to expand on impact, which means it is less likely to go through the bad guy and hit someone or something else behind them unintentionally. A hollow point bullet of course also creates a much larger wound then ball ammo. If you do use hollow point ammo, just be sure to know what the laws and regulations are in your state for such ammo. You can see more on gun and ammo laws here.

What do you think – what is the best handgun for home defense?

We hope none of you ever have to use your handgun for home defense. But if you do, we hope you have the best handgun available! What do you think is the best handgun for home defense? If you think there are other and better handguns out there specifically for home defense, please share it in our comments section below.

The Experts Choose Their Best Pocket Pistol

Here are Smoking Barrel USA we have been looking a lot at what is the best of a certain category. Recent examples include what is the best 45 pistol, what is the best 22 LR pistol, etc. Today we want to figure out what is the best pocket pistol.

A lot of folks will opt to carry a compact or sub-compact pistol for concealed carry. If you want to carry concealed but do not necessarily want to carry a gun on a holster on your person, a pocket pistol is a good option. Pocket pistol are small enough to be carried in a pocket, a bag or briefcase without being too heavy or showing off much of a print.

Looking around, we noticed there are a lot of opinions out there about what the best pocket pistol is. A LOT! But no one seems to agree on one single pistol as being the best pocket pistol hands down…so we decided to list the top picks.

PistolWeight (oz)Overrall length
Kahr PM9145.42
Springfield Armory XD-S21.56.3
Ruger LC9s17.26
Colt Mustang XSP12.55.5
Beretta Pico11.55.1

Kahr PM9/CM9

kahr pm9The Kahr PM9 and CM9 are technically two pistols…but in reality the CM9 is just a cheaper version of the PM9. Richard L Johnson from feels that the Kahr PM9/CM9 is the best pocket pistol as they offer exceptional reliability and accuracy with a smooth trigger and good sights.

In case you were wondering, the PM in Kahr PM9 stands for (Polymer Micro). So as you would imagine, the weapon is made from Polymer. However, it is not entirely made from Polymer, as the slide is made from stainless-steel. The slide rides on steel inserts within the Polymer frame. What this does is to help to prevent the wear which would otherwise be inherent with metal slide to plastic frame contact.

The PM series from Kahr are striker-fired, double action only, short recoil operated semi-automatic pistols.

Kahr designed this weapon as a concealed carry weapon, aimed at the civilian market. Of course it is also a good option for law-enforcement forces as a backup weapon. Kahr guns are typically know for having consistent and smooth trigger pulls. Folks will also like the large and easy to see sights in various configurations. As this gun is designed for concealed carry it does not have manual safety level, which helps to reduce any print.

There are apparently some criticisms of the Kahr though. All the pistols in the Kahr PM series require a “break-in” period with at least 200 rounds having to be fired as part of the break-in process. Other known PM series deficiencies include excessive trigger travel.

Springfield Armory XD-S

Springfield XD-STom McHale over at believes the Springfield Armory XD-S is the best pocket pistol. Tom had this to say about the pistol: “It’s a great-shooting pistol, and it’s large enough to get a positive grip yet small enough to easily conceal.

If you want a small gun that really packs a punch, then the XD-S might be the best pocket pistol for you! This is because where a lot of other pocket pistol options usually come in smaller calibers, such as .380 caliber, the XD-S is available in 9mm and .45 ACP caliber.

The XD-S is the smaller and trimmed down version of the Springfield XD series. In case you were wondering, the “XD” in the name stands for extreme duty.

As with the Kahr, this is a Polymer framde pistol. It is Springfield’s first Single Stack pistol.

As Tom rightly points out in his article, the XD-S is a consistently flat pistol, which makes it great for concealment.

We have to point out that Springfield announced a recall of the XD-S in August 2013 in order to upgrade the pistol with new components to eliminate the “possibility of a potentially dangerous condition“. In their recall statement (which you can read here) they say that they determined that under exceptional circumstances some XD-S pistols (specifically the 3.3 XD-S) “could experience an unintended discharge”

If you want a small pistol that still packs a punch, the XD-S is a serious contender (especially in a .45 ACP caliber). We would recommend buying one new though so you know you have one which does not have the design flaw that the older second-hand XD-S pistols might have.

Ruger LC9s

ruger lc9sNext on our list of the best pocket pistol options is the Ruger LC9s, which Paul Scarlata from believes is the best pocket pistol.

Kind of like iPhones, the LC9s is an improved version on the LC9. However, in this case the “s” indicates that this pistol has a striker-fired design.

While the Kahr and Springfield are made from Polymer, the Ruger frame is made from Fiber-filled Nylon. The slide is made from hardened steel with a blued finish. The inserts inside the frame are made from hardened alloy, which provides additional strength and includes rails that the slide reciprocates on.

The LC9s shares a lot of similarities with the other LC9 models, however its striker-fired trigger mechanism boasts a shorter and lighter pull that breaks around 5.5-pounds. Another feature of the LCP9s is the trigger safety on the face of the trigger which must be engaged to fire the pistol.

One thing that is not ideal about the LC9s is the manual safety leaver. This is not the best for concealed carry, as it will introduce a bit of a print.

Colt Mustang XSP

Colt XSP MustangIf you ask Dennis Adler from which pistol does he think the is the best pocket pistol, he will tell you that it is the Colt Mustang XSP.

The Colt Mustang is a lightweight, single action pistol that is chambered for the .380 ACP cartridge. The Mustung started out as the Colt Mustang Pocketlite, which was manufactured between 1983 and 1996.

However, in 2011 the Mustang was reintroduced as the Mustang XSP, which has an updated Polymer frame. Apparently the XSP is sort of a carry-over from Colt’s XSE series of pistols and they changed the “E” to “P” to reflect the polymer grip frame.

As mentioned, the XSP is made from a polymer frame, while the slide and barrel are machined out of solid stainless steel bar stock, then given a blackened finish. The XSP is a single action pistol with a single stage trigger and single stack magazine.

When Nick Leghorn reviewed the XSP for, he determined that the trigger pull of the XSP is really good…but the accuracy of the pistol was not to his liking (in fact, he described it as terrible!). This is due to the small sights on the XSP and the short grip.

Beretta Pico

Beretta PicoThe Beretta Pico gets Nicholas O from‘s vote for the best pocket pistol. And it is easy to see why…

This is another .380 ACP caliber pistol which is specifically designed with the civilian self-defence market in mind. The Pico is a Double Action Only (DAO) pistol. In terms of construction, its frame is made of polymer while the slide is made mostly from stainless steel.

As one of the slimmer pocket pistols around, the Pico is designed to be “snag-free” ensuring smooth and fast extraction from a holster. The pistol measures a very slim width of 0.725 inches!

What sets the Beretta apart form other pistols is its modular design (which seems to be the way new pistols are being designed). This allows you to change out certain parts and experiment with other grip frame modifications. Unlike most small DAOs, the Pico is fired by a conventional hammer instead of a striker, has restrike capability and does not have a magazine-disconnect safety. The Pico’s DAO system does not store any energy until the trigger is pulled, eliminating the potential of accidental discharge if the pistol is dropped.

The Pico is designed to pleasant to handle and quick to recover on target. This is achieved through the Pico’s barrel tilt of 1.4 degrees when fired. Apparently this increases feeding reliability for cartridges coming from the magazine into the chamber.

What Do You Think – What Is The Best Pocket Pistol?

The pistols listed above are the top picks from around the web. The pistols were not picked using any form of scientific method, rather the guys who picked them thought they were the best pocket pistols due to their own experiences and tastes. So there is not really one overall best pocket pistol, but we would love to hear what you think on the subject? If you have any thoughts on what you think the best pocket pistol is, please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

What Is The Most Accurate Handgun? We investigate!

What is the most accurate handgun? Before we get into the thick of things, let us just all acknowledge that how accurate a gun shoots depends on the shooter. It can be the most amazing handgun, most accurate handgun ever, but if the shooter cannot aim straight there is only so much a handgun can do.

Right, so let us now get to the good stuff…what is the most accurate handgun?!

Caliber – Does Size Matter?

What caliber is the most accurate handgun likely to be? In terms of handguns, caliber refers to the diameter of the bore and the size of ammo that it requires. While you may think that larger caliber handguns are the best handgun options by default because they’re the more powerful guns, however there have been studies done by the FBI about which caliber is the most effective. A common assumption is that the large caliber has a lot more stopping power than the smaller calibres, however according to the FBI study this is not true: “There is little to no noticeable difference in the wound tracks between premium line law Auto enforcement projectiles from 9mm Luger through the .45 Auto.”. But we are looking at accuracy…not stopping power.

Smaller calibres are more accurate than larger calibres. Less power means less recoil. Less recoil means less recovery time after a shot, which means you can be consistently more accurate in successive shots than you can with a larger caliber firearm. So let’s look at some small calibers noted for its accuracy…

.22 LR

22LRThe .22 long rifle rimfire (5.6×15R – metric designation) cartridge is a long established variety of ammunition, and in terms of units sold is still by far the most common in the world today. The .22 long rifle and related cartridges (.22 short, .22 long and .22 Extra Long) use a heeled bullet, which means that the bullet is the same diameter as the case, and has a narrower “heel” portion that fits in the case. Low cost, minimal recoil, and relatively low noise make .22 LR an ideal cartridge for recreational shooting, initial firearms training, small-game hunting and pest control. Used by Boy Scouts for the rifle shooting merit badge, the .22 LR is popular among novice shooters and experts alike. The .22 LR is effective to 150 yards (140 m), though practical range tends to be less. After 150 yards, the ballistics of the round are such that it will be difficult to compensate for the large “drop”. The relatively short effective range, low report, and light recoil has made it a favorite for use as a target-practice cartridge. The accuracy of the cartridge is good, but not exceptional; various cartridges are capable of the same or better accuracy.

.38 Special

38 SpecialThe .38 Smith & Wesson Special (commonly .38 Special, .38 Spl, or .38 Spc, pronounced “thirty-eight special”) is a rimmed, centerfire cartridge designed by Smith & Wesson. It is most commonly used in revolvers, although some semi-automatic pistols and carbines also use this round. The .38 Special was the standard service cartridge of most police departments in the United States from the 1920s to the early 1990s. Noted for its accuracy and manageable recoil, the .38 Special remains the most popular revolver cartridge in the world more than a century after its introduction. It is used for target shooting, formal target competition, personal defense, and for hunting small game.

Due to its black powder heritage, the .38 Special is a low pressure cartridge, one of the lowest in common use today at 17,000 PSI. By modern standards, the .38 Special fires a medium-sized bullet at rather low speeds.


9mmThe 9×19mm Parabellum (abbreviated 9mm, 9mmP, 9×19mm or 9×19) cartridge was designed by Georg Luger and introduced in 1902 by the German weapons manufacturer Deutsche Waffen- und Munitionsfabriken (DWM) for their Luger semi-automatic pistol. For this reason, it is designated as the 9mm Luger / 9mm Luger +P by the SAAMI and the 9 mm Luger by the C.I.P. (differentiating it from the 9mm Makarov and 9mm Browning cartridges). Under STANAG 4090, it is a standard cartridge for NATO forces as well as many non-NATO countries.

The round was originally designed to be lethal to 50 m, but the bullet travels and is lethal at longer ranges. The 9 mm cartridge combines a flat trajectory with moderate recoil. As mentioned above, the FBI study recommended the 9mm cartridge for effective shooting.

Most Accurate Handgun Options

Now that we have looked at the caliber the most accurate handgun is likely to use, we can look at some handguns that are contenders to be called the most accurate handgun.

If you want out and out accuracy, you probably will not beat a .22 caliber handgun. However, for everyday carry and self defense they won’t be an option to the majority of gun users. So for the purpose of this article, we are going to instead look at “regular” handguns that users would be able to use as a everyday carry gun. If you are interested in a .22 caliber handgun though, check out our article on what the best .22LR pistol is.

SIG P210

sig p210The SIG P210 is handgun that seems to be talked about in hushed voices and evokes giddy excitement from grown men. It is really expensive and made in small quantities…but the experts agree that this is an amazingly accurate weapon!

The SIG P210 (Swiss Army designation Pistole 49) is a locked breech semi-automatic pistol. It is of all-steel construction chambered in 9×19mm Parabellum and 7.65×21mm Parabellum. The SIG’s slide rides inside the frame rails, rather than outside as in the traditional Browning pattern. It mimics the frame-to-receiver interface of the Luger pistol, allowing for a very tight fit between the slide, barrel, and frame without compromising reliability. The upshot of all this tightness is that by eliminating the slop in the fit, the pistol is highly accurate as there is very limited movement between the parts that could affect the bullet’s flight. In short, you get a pistol design that can be manufactured in moderate quantities, but with the tightness of fit usually reserved for hand-finished guns. The manufacturers are so serious about the accuracy of this gun that the design specs calls for every P210 to be capable of putting five rounds into a 2 inch circle at 50 yards before leaving the factory. As with some of SIGs higher end pistols, a test fire target is included in the box to show that you are getting a seriously accurate handgun.

Jim Barrett from had this to say about their experience with the P210: “All that I can say is, wow. I’ve never shot a gun this accurate and using it is a great leveler when shooting against people with more ability. The P210 consistently puts the bullet where you aim it. If you can overcome your own shooting shortcomings, this gun will not let you down.”

CZ 75

cz 75The ČZ 75 is a pistol made by Česká zbrojovka Uherský Brod (CZUB) in the Czech Republic that has both semi-automatic and selective fire variants. First introduced in 1975, it is one of the original “wonder nines” featuring a staggered-column magazine, all-steel construction, and a hammer forged barrel. It is widely distributed throughout the world. It is the most common handgun in the Czech Republic.

The CZ 75 is a short recoil operated, locked breech pistol. It uses the Browning linkless cam locking system similar to that used in the Browning Hi-Power pistol, where the barrel and slide are locked together on firing, using locking lugs milled into the barrel mating with recesses in the roof of the slide. An enclosed cam track integral with the barrel is actuated by the slide release lever’s transverse pin. After the first few millimetres of the recoil stroke, the barrel is cammed downwards at the rear, enabling the slide to continue the recoil stroke and eject the spent cartridge. Similar to the SIG P210 the slide rides inside the frame rails to provide a tight slide-to-frame fit and a very efficient barrel lock-up, both of which contribute to its accuracy.

Not only is it super accurate, but it seems to be really reliable too. CZUB claims that its factory shooter Martin Kameníček had shot 150,000 rounds through the CZ 75 TS Czechmate version of gun in 5 years, in which time he only needed to change the barrel once in order to maintain precision.

Browning Hi-Power

Bowning HPThe Browning Hi Power is a single-action, semi-automatic handgun available in 9mm and .40 S&W calibers. It is based on a design by American firearms inventor John Browning, and completed by Dieudonné Saive at Fabrique Nationale (FN) of Herstal, Belgium. The Hi-Power is one of the most widely used military pistols in history, having been used by the armed forces of over 50 countries.

The Hi-Power, like many other Browning designs, operates on the short-recoil principle, where the barrel and slide initially recoil together until the barrel is unlocked from the slide by a cam arrangement. has this to say about the Browning Hi-Power: “This is an exceedingly accurate 9mm pistol, perhaps the most accurate we have subjected to a full Guns and Shooting Online Review.”

Colt Python

Colt PythonThe Colt Python is a .357 Magnum caliber revolver formerly manufactured by Colt’s Manufacturing Company of Hartford, Connecticut. It is sometimes referred to as a “Combat Magnum”. It was built on Colt’s large I-frame. We say “was”, because unfortunately this amazing revolver has been discontinued in 2005 altogether (between 1999 and 2005 the Colt Custom Gun Shop continued making a limited number of Pythons on special order).

Like all Colt revolvers, the cylinder rotates into the frame for an extremely tight lock-up. The Python barrel has a ventilated rib on top and a full length underlug. Inside, Python barrels are bored with a very slight, full length, taper toward the muzzle for superior accuracy. has this to say about the gun: “The accuracy of the Python revolver is legendary. I have owned Pythons with 4 inch, 6 inch, and 8 inch barrels, and all have been, literally, more accurate than I can shoot.”

What Do You Think – What Is The Most Accurate Handgun?

Interestingly, the guns we listed above are all rather old designs. How do modern handguns compare to these guns? If you have a thought or opinion on which handgun is the most accurate handgun or how modern handgun compare to older models, please share your thoughts on the topic of the most accurate handgun in the comments section below. We look forward to hearing from you!

The Best .45 Pistol – We Look At 5 Great Options

What is the best .45 pistol? The .45 ACP (11.43×23mm) (Automatic Colt Pistol), also known as the .45 Auto by C.I.P. or 45 Auto by SAAMI, is a cartridge designed by John Browning in 1904, for use in his prototype Colt semi-automatic .45 pistol and eventually the M1911 pistol adopted by the United States Army in 1911.

Recently the US Army decided to replace the Cold-War era M9 9mm pistol with a more powerful handgun that also meets the needs of the other services. A key requirement the Army had was that the new calibre has to be durable, long lasting and does not wear handguns down prematurely. Apparently the Army was not keen on the 9mm ball ammunition and so instead decided to go with .45 ACP as their default calibre for handguns. However, there are many great .45 calibre handgun options out there…so which one is the best .45 pistol?

See als0 – How Does Shooting Affect Your Hearing? How To Avoid Permanent Hearing Loss

Detonics MTX/STX system

Detonics MTXBob Owens from believes the best .45 pistol for the Army is the Detonics MTX/STX system from Detonics Defense Technologies. The gun is designed to be modular ,offering easy customizing to fit different hands as well as different missions. The product page for the MTX series of pistols says that these pistols are designed with ergonomics in mind, with the grip providing the best possible feel. The MTX barrel length comes in 3 available configurations, namely

  • Full-size: 4.24″
  • Hybrid: 3.5″
  • Government: 5″ (available on custom order)

In Bob’s article, he really liked the grip of this pistol. The pistol uses double-stack STI 2011 magazines, with the grip angled so that it results in a lower bore axis and much lower felt recoil. Bob goes on to say: “Shots fired from an MTX in .45 ACP  feel more akin to shooting a soft 9mm, and the pistol comes back on target faster for follow up shots.”. Interestingly this gun uses an internal striker instead of a visible external hammer. One thing that stands in the way of this pistol though is Detonics’ production capacity. Detonics is a small company based in Milstadt, Illinois and currently does not seem to have the capacity to manufacture on a scale comparable to some of the big names in the industry. So it will be interesting to see what happens to this pistol and whether it will be selected by the Army as their new handgun. If you want a gun that is a bit unique and modern, then the Detonics MTX could be the best .45 pistol for your needs. It is a little pricey though, with a MSRP of $1,500 stated on Detonics’ website. The Glock 21 was retailing at $547 on at the time of the writing of this article

Smith & Wesson Performance Center 1911

Smith & Wesson Performance Center 1911The Smith & Wesson Performance Center 1911 made it to #2 on’s 2013 list of best handguns. It is certainly eye-catching and looks the part! It is a single action pistol that has a capacity of 8 rounds, with a 5″ barrel. The frame and slide are made from Stainless Steel, while the grip is made from G10 custom wood. Features of this pistol include adjustable rear sight, dovetail-fitted front, lowered ejection port and external extractor. Besides these features, it also has some small things that give it that “cool factor”, such as the S&W Performance Center logo laser-engraved on the slide and something called lightning cuts, which is also on the slide. Apparently these cuts are not for cooling (as one would assume) but rather to make the slide a little lighter…but also to make it look good! While this pistol looks great, it might not be as practical as some other pistols out there. points out that the grip of the pistol is maybe a bit too textured, which results in the pistol shredding your clothes if you wear it concealed/close against your body. Also, it is a big heavy gun that weighs in at 40.5 oz and measuring an overall length of 8.7″. As a comparison, the Detonics MTX (full size model) above weighs 27 oz and measures in at 7.95″. If you want a good looking weapon to take to the gun range, this is possibly the best .45 pistol for you. However if you are looking for a convenient gun to carry, there are better options out there.

Heckler & Koch HK45

Heckler Koch HK45What would a list of the best .45 pistol options be without some German made handguns?! The Heckler & Koch HK45 (Heckler & Koch, .45 ACP) is a semi-automatic pistol designed by the German arms manufacturer Heckler & Koch. The HK45 was designed to meet requirements set forth in the U.S. Military Joint Combat Pistol program which had the purpose of arming the U.S. Military with a .45 ACP semi-automatic pistol instead of the 9mm M9 pistol.

It uses an HK proprietary O-ring barrel for precise barrel-to-slide lockup and optimal accuracy. HK45 barrels are made using the famous HK cold-hammer forging process for superior performance and increased life-span of the firearm. It has some user-inspired enhancements, including changeable grip panels (backstraps), a Picatinny MIL-STD-1913 accessory rail, better ergonomics, and more ambidextrous controls.

If you want a light, well made gun from a reputable manufacture HK 45 could be the best .45 pistol for you.

Glock 21

Glock 21This pistol is a polymer-framed, short recoil operated, locked breech semi-automatic pistol designed and produced by Glock Ges.m.b.H., located in Deutsch-Wagram, Austria.

Glock pistols chambered for the .45 ACP calibre feature octagonal polygonal rifling rather than the hexagonal shaped bores used for models in most other chamberings. Octagonal rifling provides a better gas seal in relatively large diameter rifled bores, since an octagon resembles a circle more closely than a hexagon.

Despite being called a “plastic” gun, the Glock is made from sturdy materials. The frame, magazine body, and several other components are made from a high-strength nylon-based polymer called Polymer 2, invented by Gaston Glock. The polymer is specifically designed to provide increased durability and is more resilient than carbon steel and most steel alloys. It is also resistant to shock, caustic liquids, and temperature extremes where traditional steel/alloy frames would warp and become brittle.

If you want an affordable and well know handgun, then the Glock 21 might be the best .45 pistol for your needs.

Beretta Px4 Storm

Beretta Px4 StormItalians are known for making beautiful things, and the Beretta Px4 Storm is no exception. The Beretta Px4 Storm is a semi-automatic pistol manufactured by Beretta of Italy. The Px4 uses the same short-recoil, rotating barrel action as the Beretta 8000 models and uses the same trigger and safety system as the M9/92/96 series.

The Px4 Storm features light-weight polymer construction with steel inserts, a modular trigger group, fully enclosing slide, Picatinny rail, and changeable backstrap options for the grip. The Px4 Storm uses a proprietary Beretta design with an innovative locked breech with a rotating barrel system. This design is supposed to minimize recoil from each firing, thus increasing the shooter’s overall accuracy and producing more accurate shooting during rapid-fire situations.

Px4 Storm SDIf you want to get a “tacti-cool” looking handgun, the Px4 Storm SD (Special Duty) might be the best .45 pistol for you. The Special Duty versions has a desert tan frame color, PVD coated magazines and internal firing control assembly, double recoil spring, specially roll marked slide and a longer barrel to facilitate the use of a suppressor.

If you want a beautiful handgun that is trusted by law enforcement and military units across the globe, then the Beretta Px4 Storm is the best .45 pistol for your needs.

If you decide to get yourself a Beretta Px4 Storm, be sure to check out our article that looks at 5 Beretta Px4 Storm holsters.

.45 Comparison

GunWeight (oz)Overrall length (In)
Detonics MTX277.95
Smith & Wesson Performance Center 191140.58.70
Heckler & Koch HK45278
Glock 2129.848.22
Beretta Px4 Storm28.27.68

The Detonics MTX is an innovative gun that will offer the Army what it wants in terms of modularity. It also looks pretty cool! However for the average Joe in the street it is just too expensive. Hopefully if the Army does decide to adopt it as their standard handgun, mass production of the gun will result in prices coming down.

The Smith & Wesson Performance Center 1911 is a nice gun…but practically cannot compete with the other .45 pistols on our list. It is too big and heavy.

For us, that leaves the HK 45, Glock 21 and the Beretta Px4 Storm to duke it out for our choice of best .45 pistol. All three are made from Polymers, all three have great safety features, all three are well made and respected across the globe. So for us the difference between the three is looks (and of course what is good looking to one person might not be to another). The Beretta Px4 Storm is a beautiful handgun. If we had to choose a .45 pistol today…we would quite probably end up getting the Beretta Px4 Storm (although both the HK 45 and Glock 21 would be very appealing!).

Other .45 ACP Options

Needless to say there are more than just the 5 options we discussed above. Below are only a few other .45 handguns that might be considered among the best .45 pistol options.

Taurus 24/7 .45 ACP OSS

This pistol was originally designed and built as a .45 ACP to exceed all requirements originally set forth in 2005 by the U.S. Special Operations Command for an intended procurement of a new military .45 ACP service pistol. However it appears that this pistol was discontinued, and as such cannot be a contender for the best .45 pistol. Some users also complained about problems they had with their pistols, which you can read here.

SIG Sauer P220

The SIG Sauer P220 is a semi-automatic pistol made by SIG Sauer and is manufactured in Eckernförde, Germany. It uses the Browning linkless cam short recoil action of self-loading with a double-action/single-action (DA/SA) trigger mechanism.

Springfield XD(M) 45

The Springfield Armory XDM (X-Treme Duty, the M is for the match grade barrel and match grade trigger) is a semi-automatic pistol that is polymer-framed and striker-fired. Manufactured in the city of Karlovac, Croatia by HS Produkt (formerly I.M. Metal), the Springfield Armory XDM is the marketing name for the weapon, which is licensed and sold in the US by Springfield Armory, Inc. Like most of the handguns on our list of the best .45 pistol options, it is made from a Polymer frame. Total length comes in at 7″ and it weighs 27 oz.

What do you think – What is the best .45 pistol?

Listing the best of something always tends to get some debate going…sometimes people even get quite passionate about it! But we would love to hear what you think the best .45 pistol is. If you have an opinion on the topic of what the best .45 pistol is, please share it in the comments section below.

Choosing The Best pistol Safe – We List 5 Top Safes


Purchasing a pistol safe is often treated as a mindless decision, with very little consideration being given to the multitudinous variables that impact the value and effectiveness of the safe.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to buying the best pistol safe for you, and when careful consideration is given to the importance of choosing the best pistol safe, and numerous functions that the safe must be capable of, it becomes obvious that this decision should be treated with a higher level of importance being focused on buying the best pistol safe possible. We have a guide on some key considerations to keep in mind when choosing the best pistol safe for your needs, which you can read here.

Taking the time to analytically examine the best pistol safe options that are available, is the first step in ensuring that you don't waste money on a safe that lacks the functionality, security and size that is ideal for the use that it is intended for. There has been a rise in the popularity and sale of handgun safes or pistol lock boxes in recent years.

A significant influence on this rise in popularity as far as pistol safes are concerned is the increase in accidental deaths involving young children who gained access to a parent's handgun.

The rise in handgun theft is another issue that is driving the popularity of small gun safes. In order to effectively meet the needs associated with a gun safe, it is important to gather as much information as possible so that you can be confident that you are purchasing the best pistol safe for the manner in which it will be used. Following is a systematic breakdown of the top 5 best pistol safe options available.

GunVault NV200 Nano Vault

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First up on the best pistol safe list is the GunVault NV200. For those individuals who are familiar with the GunVault line of pistol safes, you will immediately recognize the NV200 as being a slightly larger version of the NV100, with measurements of 9.5 x 6.5 x 1.75 inches. The increased size provides the capacity to accommodate larger weapons, including an additional magazine. This safe has the capacity to fit a number of full-sized guns, such as the Glock 26 and 30, as well as the Ruger LCP and P345.

Key Lock System

The NV200 has a number of features that qualify it for its designation as a top 5 best pistol safe; however, one of the most important features is the fact that it has a key lock system, which means it has the security necessary to prevent unauthorized access, while providing quick and easy access to the weapon when needed. As long as the keys are kept in a safe yet accessible place, the primary functions of the safe, accessibility and security, will remain optimally functional.

Foamed Interior

For the person who prefers to keep their handgun in pristine condition, minus the scratches and scuffs that are a natural part of wear and tear, the foam interior of this pistol safe is ideal for protecting the gun from scratches, and other accidental damage. The manner in which the gun safe is able to protect the items that are placed in it are a significant part of what will determine whether the safe qualifies to make a best pistol safe list or not.


The portability of this gun safe is another great feature that adds to its popularity and earns it its spot on the best pistol safe list. When transporting your gun, many states require the weapon be locked away, and the NV200 provides the capability to comply with these types laws, while still providing the quick accessibility that is extremely important to the person who is looking for the ability to protect themselves in unexpected hostile situations.

The NV200 is sleek enough to slide underneath the driver's seat, and it will also easily fit into your drawer or cupboard. This is the ideal safe for the person who is looking for something that they can easily be tucked away and access when needed.


It would seem that durability would be synonymous with the term "gun safe;" however, this is not necessarily so; however, any gun that would be considered the best pistol safe would need to possess a high level of durability. There are some pistol safes that lack durability, meaning that they are really not that safe. Fortunately, the NV200 is a quality safe that possesses an exceptional amount of durability. The sleek designed of the safe requires for a higher-gauge of steel; however, the 18-gauge steel case is made from a high-quality steel that has proven to be exceptionally rugged and durable.

Pros vs Cons


  • Ideal for mobility and travel
  • Reasonably priced
  • Added security cable to attach it to fixed objects, preventing someone from simply walking off with it
  • Great for concealing in the smallest of places


  • The smell of the internal foam, which is actually a rust-proofing agent, can be pretty strong. However, the foam can be washed out if the smell is too unbearable
  • You sacrifice capacity and gauge size to accommodate the sleek and concealable design

SentrySafe PP1K Portable Pistol Safe

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One of the primary functions of a gun safe that is worthy of making the best pistol safe list is portability, and the PP1K does not lack in portability in the slightest. Another important element of a good pistol safe is accessibility and this safe has this feature as well. Sentry has long been a well-respected safe manufacturer, being recognized for their high level of quality and their commitment to detail. The commitment to quality and detail can be seen in the intuitive design of this safe. This safe definitely has to be considered as one a safe that is qualified to be called the best pistol safe.

Key Lock

The locking mechanisms on a gun safe is extremely important to its overall functionality. When it comes to a full-sized home safe, it may be appropriate, or even necessary, to have multiple locking mechanisms on the safe in order to provide optimum security; however, it would not be wise to have multiple mechanisms on a safe that requires quick accessibility. This safe has a key lock, which means that the safety mechanism is in place, while accessibility is maximized. The safe has the spatial capacity to hold two full-sized handguns, or it will hold one gun and two magazines.


One of the primary concerns about any type of gun safe is whether it is tamper resistant. If a safe can be easily pried open, it has no true value. The PP1 is highly pry resistant, meaning that you can feel confident with the fact that your children, or a burglar will not be able to pry their way into the safe.

Security Tether Cable

Portable gun safes are often stolen, with the intent being to break into the safe when there is more time. This is why the PP1 comes with a metal cable that can be affixed to an immovable object, preventing someone from walking away with the safe.

Foam Protection

The inside of this pistol safe is lined with high-density protective foam. This foam will help to guard against scratches and scuffs, as well as other types of damage.

Pros vs Cons


  • Highly portable, can be used in and outside of the vehicle
  • The door and door hinges are designed to be pry-resistant
  • The interior of the safe is lined with high-density compression foam
  • Passes government rating for safety


  • No keyless entry, which means that if the key is lost, the safe becomes inaccessible and useless.
  • Sleek design limits space

Stack-On GCB-900 Steel Pistol Safe

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Although the GCB-900 is lacking in the area of portability, it earns high stars when it comes to storage capacity and multi-functionality. This size of this safe bars it from being used as portable safe or as a car safe; however, it is ideal for storing multiple guns, ammo, magazines and other personal valuable that you may want to protect. At a price that is considerably under $100, the price is definitely right, leaving the concern about quality. This safe definitely proves that you don't have to spend an exorbitant amount of money. So, what makes this safe worthy of being best pistol safe leader? The answer to this question is found by understanding that the designation of best pistol safe is highly relative. It depends on what you are looking for in a safe. In other words, a safe can be highly portable and have a great deal of accessibility, but if storage capacity and security are your primary concerns, the aforementioned feature will not possess a high value rating; however, a safe that has room for multiple guns, ammo and valuable will possess a high value rating. When it comes to high storage capacity, the GCB-900 is the best pistol safe.

High-Security Locking Mechanism

Due to the fact that this safe is meant to be more of a stationary mechanism of gun safety, it does not necessarily require the speedy access of a car gun safe. This safe uses a fully lockable key coded double bitted lock. The door is also steel framed.

Pros vs Cons


  • Ideal for holding multiple pistols, supplies, ammo and personal valuables
  • High-security locking mechanism to protect from tampering and prying
  • Two removable shelves and padded bottom, allow for adjustments to accommodate storage needs
  • Pre-drilled holes allow for the safe to be permanently mounted to floor, wall or ceiling


  • Lacks the mobility of smaller pistol safes

BARSKA Top Opening Biometric Finger Print Opening Safes

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This safe is ideal for the tech lover. The biometric access mechanism is becoming increasingly popular for locking mechanisms on homes, computers and even vehicles. The does require that the batteries that render this locking modality functional be regularly changed.

The biometric component is one of the reasons that this safe is considered to be a top 5 best pistol safe. There are a number of other features that make this pistol safe popular among gun owners. Another awesome feature is the fact that this pistol safe is the perfect mix of portability and storage capacity, allowing you to fit your gun and clips in easily, while still being able to grab it and go. This safe fits perfectly in a desk drawer or dresser drawer. With dimensions being 14.75 by 11.25 by five inches, this safe provides the space without consuming a lot of space.


Another element of this safe that qualifies it to be considered on the best pistol list safe is the fact that it is immensely durable, not only being made of high quality steel, but the construction of the safe ensures that it can stand the text of time. Even the door is made of high-quality steel, meaning that the safe is extremely pry-proof.


This small safe has an immensely high functionality ratio. It can be used as a portable safe that will allow you to transport your pistol and valuables safely and legally with great ease, and it can also be permanently affixed to walls or floors to restrict the movement and the risk of the safe being stolen.

Damage Protection

An important element of a safe that can be designated as the best pistol safe is the capacity to protect the gun from scratches and damage. If you are a person that desires to protect the gun from scratches, which can negatively impact the aesthetic appeal of the gun, then this safe is definitely one you should consider. The bottom of the safe is fitted with a soft, protective foam, that not only protects the gun from scratches, but it also protects it from damage that may impact its ability to perform.

Pros vs Cons


  • High level of portability
  • Sufficient storage capacity
  • Can be mounted almost anywhere
  • Fast access through a biometric locking system
  • Convenient Top opening access


  • Not fire proof
  • Not waterproof

When comes to a safe that embodies all of the elements of a handgun safe, the BARSKA top opening biometric safe is the best pistol safe.

Hornady Security Rapid Gun Safe

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When it comes to rapid access with gun safes, the Hornady Rapid Safe is considered by many gun experts to be the future of rapid access gun storage, and although rapid access is the primary feature of this safe, the first thing that jumps out is the fact that it is well-constructed. The safe weighs nearly 16 pounds, and it is constructed of 16-gauge steel with a ¼ inch dual locking lug system. To add to the security functionality of this safe, it can be affixed to an immovable object with a 1,500 pound rated cable.

Hands-free Access

A part of the rapid access component is the fact that the safe can be accessed using the hands-free Radio Frequency Identification technology. There are three primary modalities through which the system can be operated, and they are:

  • Bracelet
  • Keycard
  • Key fob

The door immediately pops open when one of the aforementioned devices are swiped passed it.

Additionally, the safe can also be accessed by using a personally programmed code that can be keyed in on the keypad. Finally, the safe has a fail-safe that will allow you to open it with a key, ensuring that failed technology will not lock you out of your safe.

When the safe's "unlock" sequence is triggered, the door pops open from the top, and the gun is presented — handle first — for quick access.

Power can be supplied to the safe continuously, using a 110-volt AC power adapter, or the battery backup will allow you to use the safe at home or while on the go.

This safe is slightly pricier than the other safes on this list, but the value is in the convenience and functionality of the safe.

Pros vs Cons


  • Rapid access
  • Multiple modes of entry
  • High portability
  • Quality construction and durability
  • Padded pistol holder to protect the gun


  • A little pricy at slightly over $200.00; however, the functionality and durability provide the value that justifies the price

Which Safe Would We Choose?

The best pistol safe comes in more than one size of function, and each of these safes offer a unique benefit that is need-specific. For the person who is looking for maximum portability and concealability, the NV200 is the best safe for that. The PP1k is great for a person portability with slightly more storage space.

The GCB 900 does not have the portability of the other safes, but it provides the ultimate in-home safety and functionality. The BARSKA biometric safe is probably the most functional of all, having storage capacity and ease of access capabilities that is competitive with the others. Finally, the Hornady Rapid Gun Safe is the most high tech, and it probably has the quickest access out of all of the safes.

Personally, I would choose the BARSKA Biometric Safe because it is the perfect combination of storage capacity, functionality and ease of access. Its affordability is what eliminates the Hornady safe. However, either of these safes can easily be named the best pistol safe on the market.

What do you think - what is the best pistol safe?

Everyone has different needs, and this is true when it comes to pistol safes. That also means that people will have other opinions on what they think the best pistol safe is. If you have some thoughts on the topic, please share what you think the best pistol safe is in the comments section below.