The use of firearms has become controversial as of late. One common type of firearm is the handgun. It is a type of firearm with a short stock and designed to be fired by one hand. The earliest use of the term was in 1388 when it was referred to as handgunnes. It also appeared in Archaeologia XXII in 1448. Lovers of firearms are fascinated with it because of the thought of having power in a single hand. It can be used both as a fighting arm and as a sport instrument.
Here is a list of the top 10 handguns in the world.
10. Smith & Wesson Registered Magnum Revolver
The gun was invented in response to the need for more firepower during the height of Prohibition when the likes of John Dillinger and Al Capone ruled entire cities. It ushered in the Magnum era and was sold at $60 back then. Buyers were given a certificate of registration that matched the number engraved on the revolver. They could also choose the stocks, hammer, sights, trigger, finish and barrel length. Known also as the .357 Magnum, it featured higher velocities and more downrange energy.
9. Browning Hi Power Pistol
It was the last pistol design of John Browning and it was made at the request of Fabrique Nationale to provide the French military with a service sidearm. It was also known then as the Grande Puissance, or high power, and the Grand Rendement, or high yield. Surprisingly, the French passed on it and settled for an inferior gun. The Belgians decided to take it up and called it the P-35. It had natural pointability and could hold 13 rounds in its staggered, double column magazine, which was remarkable at that time.
8. C96 Mauser Broomhandle Pistol
More than a million of this was produced between 1896 and 1937. It was considered to be state-of-the-art at the time. It had a fixed, 10-round box magazine forward of the trigger guard fed by stripper clips. It had a thin and awkward grip, which led to its broomhandle name. It was a large and generally unbalanced gun, but it became popular because it was the first semi automatic powerful enough for use by soldiers.
7. Walther PP, PPK, PPK/S Pistols
PP stands for Polizie Pistole and it was actually a series of blowback-operated semi-automatic handguns. It had an exposed hammer, double action trigger mechanism, single column magazine and a fixed barrel. The last one also served as the guide rod for the recoil spring. A single long pull of the trigger cocked the hammer so that it could fire when released. It was also one of the first to have a decocker, a safety feature in which the slide would safely drop when the hammer is depressed.
6. Colt’s Single Action Army Revolver
It is one of the most recognizable guns in the world. Also known as the Peacemaker, it was one of the guns that won the West. It was supplied to the US military from 1873 to 1891. It had a seven and a half barrel, solid frame construction, self-contained cartridge revolver, colored case-hardened finish and walnut grips. It was one of the sturdiest, most dependable and most rugged guns ever. It had power despite its relative simplicity. It is considered a legend, with icons and heroes like George Patton, Theodore Roosevelt, T.E. Lawrence and George Custer carrying it during their most famous battles.
5. Volcanic Volitional Repeater
It used to be that guns were loaded with loose powder, ball and primer. The invention of a hollow-based bullet that could hold the propellant in its base cavity changed all that. It was then improved with a metallic cartridge, which led to the introduction of the Volcanic pistol in 1854. Both large- and small-frame handguns were manufactured in .31 and .41 calibers.
4. Smith & Wesson Model One Revolver
This may be considered as the father of all modern handguns. It may not be the most beautiful gun in the world. It was small and a single-action chamber with its anemic .22 rimfire cartridge. The hinged barrel required tipping up and the bored-through cylinder had to be removed to load and unload the gun. Still, it was the first successful repeating handgun chambered for a self-contained metallic cartridge. Think of it as the equivalent of today’s .22 rimfire short. The current versions of cartridge handguns can all trace its roots to the Model One.
3. Glock Pistols
Glock pistols, particularly the Model 17, are known to be cool, reliable and innovative. It has a polymer frame molded by injection. This process allows for a lighter weight and resistance to weather, corrosion and impact. It also means much less manufacturing expenses. It has capacity for 17 rounds in a double-stack magazine, but without the need for a thick and unwieldy grip. The gun has a safe action manual safety wherein a polymer lever is projected through the face of the trigger shoe. It was simple and very effective. It has three other safeties that are deactivated by the trigger pull. The Glock can be credited with changing the way handguns are used.
2. Smith & Wesson Hand Ejector Revolvers
This gun was called the Hand Ejector because the fired cases had to be ejected by hand from the opened, swing out cylinder. It was a system developed in the 1890s. All modern Smith & Wesson revolvers can be considered as hand ejectors. It all works and handles in a simple and safe way. The gun has proven its durability and has excellent trigger pulls in both single- and double-action. It has served as the platform of the .38 and as the foundation of Magnum cartridges.
1. M1911, M1911A Pistols
The internal parts are made of solid steel and they are very durable. It is extremely accurate and whether the gun is shortened, lengthened or widened, there is no deterioration in its reliability. It is considered to be the handgun of the century, made by several manufacturers, though none as popular as the Colt .45. The gun has also been nicknamed as “The Yankee Fist.”