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Bullet Points: 5 Summer BBQ Guns

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Summer is here and for some of us that means grilling season is in full-effect giving us the excuse to tote our BBQ guns.

If you are not from the South or Southwestern United States and have never spent any time living there, you are going to have a bit of a learning curve with this. The same thing applies for those of you who are new to firearms, or that proper BBQ has something to do with squirting sweetened ketchup on frozen beef patties or pieces of chicken before burning it on the Hibachi on your terrace.

That's not barbecue, and it doesn't deserve it's own weapon. Take a seat and listen up: we're going to learn ya about BBQ Guns.

The BBQ gun is a type of handgun every serious gun aficianado should own at least one of. It's a bit fancier than your Typical Tactical Tupperware and is usually a revolver; if not, it's an all steel auto pistol.

Engraving is common, but not required. Grips tend to be ivory, pearl, pewter, stag or a suitable man-made substitute that looks nearly as good — think Ivory Micarta. A fine hardwood is acceptable, too. BBQ guns can be finished in nickel, chrome, high polish blue, case hardening or have precious metal inlays. The end result is a classic and good looking pistol in your holster.

1886-edc 002

Yeah we all know the mantras: “My guns are tools,” and (deep breath), “Open carry is for irresponsible attention whores who want to antagonize the police to up their YouTube count or otherwise make visitors to the local Charbucks think they're in Beirut.”

Every rule has an exception though, and to show up at an Oklahoma, Texas or other proper BBQ without one is downright UnAmerican.

So, here are…

5 Summer BBQ Guns for Chillin' in the Summer Heat

1. Colt SAA (and some reproductions)

Probably the quintisential BBQ gun, the Colt SAA has been turning heads at BBQs since the 1870s. Many Colts shipped from the factory with engraving, fancy stocks and were intended as gifts for lawmen and public officials for just such occasions.


With prices of first generation models approaching the MSRP of lower end transferable machine-guns, it is okay to go with a clone these days. However, if you are going to go with a transfer bar safety to carry six rounds, you might be better off with a Ruger than one of the Italian clones. Yes, the lack of a transfer bar means you are limited to five rounds as opposed to six.

All the more reason to carry two.


Our first generation Colt left the factory 113 years ago in this nickel finish and mother-of-pearl stocks. Hard pressed to find another of the same vintage, we pair her up with a clone made by USFA in 1993 that was customized by Gary Reeder for the finish and engraving. The one piece ebony grips are made by Joe Perkins of Outlaw Grips of Tucson, Arizona. Now doing business as Classic Single Action. If they look familiar it’s because Joe made an identical set for Russell Crowe for the movie 3:10 to Yuma. If you want a nice pair made for your SAA, Ruger or 1911, we highly recommend starting there!

2. John Moses Browning's 1911

As we moved into the mid-twentieth century, the SAA fell out of favor among the shooting public, but a new Colt that had proven itself in both World Wars came to the forefront: the 1911.

This iconic semiauto would prove itself ideal for customization and every 1911 collector has (or should have) at least one BBQ gun squirreled away. If stainless and white aren't your color scheme, check out the Sig Spartan 1911 for another work of shootable art.


Our Colt Officer's ACP began life as our carry gun 25 or so years ago. As we embraced new carry guns and the 1911 s became more range shooters, we swapped out the rosewood stocks for these imitation pearls with gold medallions. Yes, we have actually worn this to a number of BBQs, too.


3. S&W N-Frame

The smaller Smith revolvers probably see more carry time or range time for most of us, but hoglegs just seem right at home at a pig roast — particularly if used to harvest the pig in question. We know we said engraving is optional, but if you are going to do it, then do it right.



The shorter N Frames may be handier. Both of these are carry guns, but they wouldn't look too out of place at a BBQ.

44special 657

4. Browning Hi Power

Some call it Browning's greatest brainchild. The design was not complete before his death and it has nicer lines than the 1911 as far as semi-autos go, at least in most schools of thought. If you want one fresh from the factory look to the Renaissance as the ultimate BBQ gun. They don't get much nicer than that.


Ours is actually a FEG clone that features a ventilated rib. It serves no other purpose than to give us the chance to refer to it as our “9mm Python.” We upgraded the trigger, removed the magazine disconnect and turned her into a tack driver a while back. Ajax Staglite grips round out this highly functional work of engineering.

5. Ruger Single Actions

We have long preferred the original Ruger Vaquero as an all around handgun: you can load it hotter than a .44 Magnum in a .45 Colt gun, or drop it down to “Cowboy loads” for an afternoon of plinking and carry six rounds instead of just five. The Ruger Black Hawks and Super Black Hawks can serve in this role as well, particularly after some tuning by Gary Reeder or Joe Perkins.

blackhawkbyreeder  mernickle-holster vaquer0-3-inch

There are others of course. We have seen classed up Berettas, CZs, Derringers, and even a few polymer framed pistols fit into this role. A mint condition Colt Python seems made for this role with no embellishing at all. This may not be the pistol you carry all the time or even shoot all that often, but whichever you decide to go with should be capable of saving your bacon when you need it.



If you're going to a BBQ, go heeled, and go with class.


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