Everyone that loves guns has their own favorite pieces to use. Some people prefer a lightweight weapon that is easy to hide and carry, others might be more interested in a heavier gun that has better accuracy. Collectors might have a preference for a certain type of weapon so they can pass it down to the next generation while others want to use a gun for home defense reasons.
We will focus on two types of guns here today, revolvers and semi-automatic weapons. The semi-automatic guns are lighter in weight which makes them far easier to carry around. In contrast, revolvers are much more powerful than semi-automatics, but they take longer to load.
Semi-automatics are defined by the ability to fire several rounds one after another in rapid fashion. In this case, there is no need to cock a hammer. When each bullet is fired the gun reloads the next bullet on its own. They are known for their durability as well as being easy to conceal. Though, as we outline below, they can be quite pricey if you are looking at buying a good one. That being said, it's easy to see why military and most law enforcement personnel use semi-automatic weapons now.
A revolver is very easy to spot. The round chamber that houses the bullets is a dead giveaway. When the gun is fired the hammer must be cocked afterward. This brings the next bullet into the chamber. A couple of drawbacks to a revolver, however, are that they have greater recoil and the accuracy isn’t as good.
No matter what your preference is, here are 11 of the most popular handguns in the United States.
11 Kimber Stainless Micro Raptor .380 ACP
The Raptor is a small but stunning gun. It has custom markings and the slide and frame have a scale serration on them. The zebra wood grip caps off a unique look that makes it appealing to any collector. The Raptor has Tritium 3-dot night sights that are great for solid performance in several different conditions. It has a magazine capacity of 6+1 and the gun has an overall weight of a little more than 13 ounces.
It contains a thumb safety that is very easy to access and the slide has a very easy movement to it. The fact that the gun is lightweight also makes it easy to carry pretty much anywhere on your body. It’s very similar to the Sig Sauer P238 and the Colt Mustang. The single action design dictates that it be carried cocked and locked for quick firing. It’s made in the United States and you should expect to pay around $850 if you want one.
10 Ruger SR1911 Lightweight (LW) Commander
The Ruger SR1911 has a lot of great qualities that make it popular in the United States. It’s easy to shoot, easy to aim, easy to carry and it’s a pretty powerful gun. The frame is black anodized aluminum and the slide is stainless steel. It comes with Novak LoMount Carry 3-dot sights.
If safety is one of your concerns, this weapon is right up your alley. It has a lightweight titanium firing pin that makes it nearly impossible to fire by accident. This fantastic feature eliminates the firing-pin-block safety that many people find annoying. The oversized magazine and larger thumb safety are welcome additions for the experienced shooter. The skeletonized hammer and trigger help lower the overall weight of the gun which also makes it easier to use. If that wasn't enough to sell you on it, the hardwood grips give it a nice feel in your hands when firing. It’s also made in the USA and you can get one for a little under a thousand dollars.
9 Colt 1911 A1 .45 ACP
The Colt 1911 has been around for over a hundred years and is recognizable by any gun enthusiast. It has influenced several other guns over time, but there is nothing like the original. It’s also one of the most used guns across the world.
From 1911 until 1985 the United States military used the Colt as their sidearm weapon of choice. It was eventually replaced by the 9mm Beretta, but the Colt 1911 is so popular that it is still used by many.
The gun is very well made and its durability has stood the test of time. They rarely wear out and it’s very user-friendly even to the most novice of users. It has proven to be a very reliable gun that has outstanding accuracy.
8 Walther P99 AS (anti-stress)
When the Walther P99 was designed they took into consideration that many different people use it. It has three interchangeable grip backstraps that make it a comfortable fit in any hand. That grip is one of the most important factors to having good accuracy. The gun doesn’t suffer from a lot of jamming and it loads bullets almost effortlessly.
The gun is very durable and is used by several law enforcement agencies around North America, so you can imagine it has garnered a lot of positive feedback. The company takes criticisms from its customers very seriously and continues to make improvements to the gun over time. They can fire 9mm or .40 S&W and they usually sell for around $600.
7 Browning Hi-Power
It doesn’t matter if you have been shooting for many years or are new to the hobby, you will love this pistol. You’ll find that it is easy to handle, the perfect size for your hand and has enough firepower to keep you happy. It’s been that way for many many years and that’s why the single action semi-automatic has been used by over 50 countries to protect their borders. The name itself is a little misleading. Its magazine carries 13 rounds and that’s what its name reflects. Anyone that knows anything about weapons knows that they want one of these.
6 S&W M&P Shield w/Crimson Trace Green Laser
The Smith & Wesson Shield has been a long time favorite for those that like to conceal their weapon. Last year a Crimson trace green laser was added to the gun. The laser is activated whenever the gun is held in a natural firing position. So no extra steps need to be taken to use it.
The laser itself runs on a 1/3N Lithium battery that lasts for a couple of hours. Just long enough for a great session at the shooting range. Like the Walther, it can also fire the 9mm or .40 S&W. The striker-fired gun weighs only 19 ounces when it’s not loaded and that makes it easy to conceal on your body. It’s also one of the easier guns to break down for cleaning and it will run you around $600.
5 Ruger GP-100 (General Purpose)
The Ruger GP-100 is a .357 caliber that has a very destructive power to it. It’s made in the USA and it’s similar to most revolvers in terms of recoil. It’s a favorite for women because of the small size that can fit into a woman’s hand easily.
Most people think that it only comes in the 6 shot version, but there is a 7 shot version available as well. However, that version is much harder to find for the average hobbyist. It’s different from most guns in terms of the handle. It doesn’t have any metal exposed and that makes it a very comfortable weapon in your hand. There are a lot of law enforcement agencies that still use this weapon because they love the power that it contains along with the easiness to use. You can find one locally for usually around $850 or so.
4 Rossi .38 Special
Taurus makes three different .38 Special revolvers for Rossi. For many years, this gun has been one of the highest rated weapons available. A typical revolver is normally not known for its long distance accuracy, but Rossi’s .38 Special is more accurate than most. From a medium distance, it is normally spot on and is very impressive for its size.
Each of the models has the same basics but they can vary in appearance with models ranging from stainless steel, to blue or black or just regular steel. The handle has deep grooves for fingers that make it a very comfortable gun to shoot for just about anyone.
3 Smith & Wesson Model 60
This 5 shot revolver can fire a .38 Special or a .357 Magnum round. That makes the Smith & Wesson Model 60 a very powerful gun for its small size. This was the first handgun to use all stainless steel in 1965. When it came out it was so popular that customers sometimes had to be put on a waiting list for six months or more waiting for theirs to arrive. In 1996, the J-Magnum frame was added to the weapon so the .357 rounds could be fired more smoothly.
2 Colt 1873 Single Action Army (SAA)
The Colt SAA revolver was created way back in 1873 and many consider it “The Gun That Won the West.” You can’t watch an old western movie without seeing plenty of replicas of this weapon. Back in those days anyone that was anyone owned one of these guns, it was as much a status symbol as the hats on their heads.
Some of the people that liked to fire this gun back then were Theodore Roosevelt, Buffalo Bill Cody, Captain Jack Crawford, Judge Roy Bean and the one and only General George Patton.
The gun itself has seen a lot of changes over the years. There have been thirty different variations of it ranging from different calibers to different lengths of the barrel. Most of those changes took place prior to 1973 and since then it has pretty much remained consistent.
Colt has actually stopped production of the weapon two different times, but both times it was brought back because customers love it and the demand has never gone away.
While back in the western days it was a popular choice for outlaws and ranchers who were defending against them, today it’s mostly wanted to add to collections or those that re-enact those wild west days.
1 Colt Python
There isn’t a gun collector around that doesn’t want a Colt Python for their collection. The Cobra, Viper, Diamondback, Boa, King Cobra, Anaconda or Python are great pieces to have and show off.
Colt is one of the most prominent gun makers on the market and has been for as long as anyone can remember. They have stood the test of time by making solid weapons that you can count on. Many people consider the Python to be the greatest revolver ever made. Sit back and think about that for a minute. Think about all of the revolvers that have ever been made and you’ll see that is a pretty strong statement. To make the gun even cooler, it's what Rick uses on The Walking Dead.
The Python is a .357 Magnum and is made in the USA. It’s obviously durable and one of the most reliable guns there has ever been. They don’t make them anymore so if you want to add one to your collection, it will run you around two grand. But if you are a gun enthusiast it’s well worth the cost.