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Bullet Points: Five handguns every American should own

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Most of us love our striker-fired, plastic framed pistols, but there is something about Glocks, S&Ws, HKs and FNs that lack the soul of a well crafted American made handgun. Don't get us wrong, we love the and carry them, but frankly find our all metal, non-striker fired handguns more aesthetically pleasing.

We recently took an informal poll to find out what people think of as the “most American handguns.” Yes, some striker-fired polymer pistols are now built in the US, but we purposefully left those relative newcomers out.

Surprisingly, we received more recommendations for revolvers than we did semi-autos. Rather than bore the wheel gun haters though, so we divvied the response up. We picked the top two revolvers and top three semi autos; this selection is what we came up with when defining the five handguns that every American should own.

Bullet Points: Five handguns every American should own

1. The M1911.


Yeah, we know, it is a relic of a bygone era. They're outdated, you say, and you need to keep working on and maintaining them. They're like a classic car, while your striker fired plastic pistol keeps on running like a Honda Accord.


Perhaps so, but John Browning's design is classic and iconic. It proved itself in the first two World Wars, through Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan and in many places in Central America.

You should own one. You get bonus points if you own at least one that is “US Property” marked. It can of course be Colt, Remington Rand, Ithaca, Union Switch & Signals, or the grail of all grails: Singer.


2. Beretta M9

Wilson Combat Beretta

We hated them when they first rolled out back in the 80s as they began replacing our beloved 1911A1. The experience of thousands of shooters and 30 years of experience has changed our view on the other US military sidearm.


With 15 rounds at your disposal and shout outs from movies like Lethal Weapon, there's a lot to love in the old Beretta M92.


Sure it's on the big and heavy side, but it has many qualities to recommend it. Many of those questioned believe it to be a highly underrated pistol.

3. Smith & Wesson N-Frame


There is nothing more American than a big revolver. Our choice for the iconic wheelgun goes to the N-Frames of Smith & Wesson.

Built to handle loads as powerful as 44 Magnum, it pales in comparison to the mighty X-Frame chambered in 460 and 500 Smith & Wesson. It dwarfs the J through L frames in the double-action revolver realm though!


We love our L-Frame Model 586 and our numerous K and J Frames, but come on now. Dirty Harry didn't go little.




4. Colt SAA (Single Action Army). 

The last revolver is our all-time favorite: the original Colt 45, the Peacemaker, the Six-shooter. Colt's Single Action army revolver of 1873 is often credited as “the gun that won the West.” and if you go by 100 years of Westerns, you would think that's in fact the case.

1886-edc 002

In actuality though, it was probably Sam Colt's earlier front loading revolvers that did that.

Engraved by Gustave Young, these revolvers belonged to some dude named Colt. Yes, that Colt.

Sadly, these iconic revolvers are priced out of reach of most shooters, They may in fact be the hardest to obtain on the list. Bonafide substitutes include the Ruger Blackhawk, Super Blackhawk or Vaquero. Certain Italian-made clones offered by Cimaron, Chiappa or Taylor's will do if you can't get one built here in the US-of-A.


5. Ruger 22 Target pistol


Multiple pistols really fit the bill here. As long as it was made in America by Colt, Smith & Wesson, Ruger or Hi-Standard, we account it part of our list. As a plus it will should have a threaded barrel. No other pistol can do as much to make an accurate handgunner out of you than a 22 target pistol.

However, the people we asked unequivocally (and specifically) said Ruger Mk 1, 2, 3, 22/45.


Ruger 22 45 Lite

Our personal list would maybe have nixed the Beretta and the Ruger in exchange for a S&W K-frame or even a Glock 19. That has to be one of the most commonly owned pistols in the country. We understand why this list turned out the way it did though, especially from an aesthetics perspective.

What are your five most iconic American handguns?

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