FROM THE EDITOR
Iwish I could settle on one. I’ve changed my primary carry gun numerous times over the last few years. That’s not necessarily a good thing. Familiarity and repetition are elements of becoming proficient with a handgun.
It wasn’t always so. A limited budget and family priorities ensured that I had to be appreciative of what I had. My first handgun was a Smith & Wesson Model 28 revolver in .357 Magnum with a 6-inch barrel, a graduation gift from my brother. Many years and countless handguns later, it still has the best trigger of any handgun I own. It continues to be a great field gun, but it is rather large for concealed carry.
I was given a Charter Arms Undercover .38 Special five-shot revolver a few years later, and that served as an off-duty and backup gun for a long time. I had no complaints about it whatsoever. Between the two, I thought I had my handgun needs adequately covered. In reality, I probably did, but still I craved more.
A long line of handguns followed, both revolvers and semi-autos. Some, granted, were specialized: .22s for target games, big bores for hunting and small handguns as hideouts in summer attire. But many others were candidates for my constant sidekick carry gun. When I started writing reviews of firearms, my dilemma became worse.
“I really like this one,” I’d say about the one I was currently testing. “I can see carrying this on a regular basis.” The truth is that there is no one best handgun. Limit the conversation to carry guns and still you would be well armed with any one of a multitude. Among my current favorites are my Ruger American Compact .45 and Oriskany Arms Commander-sized 1911 .45. Adding back-country travel into the equation, I like the Ruger SR1911 10mm, Glock 20 10mm and S&W 629 Mountain Gun in .44 Magnum.
In my heart, though, I know my trusty Glock 19 9mm would never let me down. And I have to confess that, against modern mainstream thought, I’ve even tucked a Ruger Vaquero single-action .45 Colt into my waistband on occasion.
If I was building my ideal carry gun in my imagination, it would be of sufficient power for both urban use in defense and rural use on game. It would be large enough to shoot easily while still being reasonably concealable. I’d want some long-range capability; I would have to be able to clang 12-inch steel plates at 100 yards regularly with it. It would have to be either stainless steel or have some corrosion-resistant finish because I’m always getting rained on.
The gun on my hip right now is the S&W Model 66 .357 that I tested for this issue, and it could be argued that it fulfills all of the requirements of my ideal carry gun. Maybe it will…at least until the next issue.