Let me preface this list by stating there is no ONE perfect handgun. Different handguns cover different applications. In other words, you need all ten ;-). I used the following criteria to determine my choices (in no particular order): common caliber, concealability, knock-down power, coolness, and . . . . . . yeah, whatever.
People new to this blog may also find my previous post on the Top Ten BEST Guns for Survival of equal interest.
#10 – Smith & Wesson 500
Mother of God! LOL – yeah, I know. This is the world’s most powerful production revolver. I listed this as #10 for the same reason I listed the .50 BMG in my previous post – it’s totally NUTS! I wouldn’t buy one, but . . .
It’s biggest disadvantage is that it’s an uncommon, expensive caliber, and kicking one round off will rock your wrists. Actually, S&W’s design on the handgun creates a lower recoil than one would expect from such a colossal round, but still . . . . your buddies will look at you and say, “Dude . . . . why? You compensating for something?”
The upside is you can respond with, “Did you ask, ‘Why?’ Hold my beer and you’ll see why . . . . Ka-BLOOOOM!” And the target vaporizes.
#9 – Taurus Judge
Lol! This is listed partially for entertainment value as well. What? The list can’t be fun? “Here comes the Judge!” Man-o-man, this pocket cannon will chamber a .410 shotgun shell or a .45 ACP. Talk about diversity! It’s perfect for backcountry action when you gotta put the smack down on an aggressive, fierce critter. Don’t plan on using the .410 far beyond 15′ though. It borders on useless then. It’s good for armed car jackers, though. Loading a 5-round cylinder with .410 shells seems rather strange, but hey! Who am I to judge?
Get it? Who am I to judge? Nyuck, nyuck, nyuck.
#8 – Kel-Tec P-32
Jumping into the opposite end of the handgun spectrum, you could toss this little puppy into your shirt pocket and no one would notice. This thing relies on a double-action trigger and internal hammer for its safety features. Sketchy? Perhaps. The lack of a manual safety means its sale is banned in some states. It’s a handgun that’s easy to maintain, but the knock-down power is lacking. Think of it more as a slap rather than a bitch-slap. Still, I wouldn’t want to take one in the dome.
#7 – Snub Nose .38
Ayuh, here she is. How many 70’s movies has this thing been in? It packs a nice cartridge for its size. It’s a classic conceal and carry piece. Some models hold six rounds, others hold five. Pack a speed loader and you’re good to go. It lacks the glamour and finesse of other choices, but it doesn’t have to look pretty to be effective. Betty, though . . . she’s pretty AND effective.
#6 – Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum
.38 got ya down? Oh man – “Go ahead, Punk. Make my day.” That’s right, Clint carried this behemoth for a reason – pure knock-down powah! Listen to the “click click” as the hammer goes back and you’ll hear the soft sound of intimidation. Why Smith and Wesson specifically? Because – Dirty Harry, dude.
At $3 bucks a cylinder for practice ammo – she ain’t cheap to shoot, but she sure is fun. I’d suggest going with a 6″ or longer barrel on this gun in order to make full use of the .44’s ballistics. Nothing says “truck gun” like the .44. Gotta blast through that car door to blow the leg off an infected zombie? Yup, the .44 magnum will do it.
#5 – Browning Buckmark
This baby is suh-weeeet! It’s accurate, cheap to shoot, AND it’s the perfect piece to use for handgun practice – particularly if you own an M1911 .45 ACP. Why? The magazine and safety features are similarly aligned. The frame is also similar in design. Thus, you can plink away all day on the cheap – with the Buckmark – then move to the mighty 1911 for more expensive (but more powerful) handgun action.
There are other upsides to the Buckmark – particularly in the .22lr cartridge. This cartridge is exceptionally common, inexpensive to stockpile, and it’s interchangeable with that Ruger 10/22 rifle you bought for survival purposes – right?
#4 – Ruger “Security Six” .357 Magnum
Oh baby! This puppy is the standard in home defense handguns. “Wheel guns” (revolvers) have an advantage over semi’s, because they have fewer moving parts. Of course, there are less rounds, too; but with a .357 – how many rounds do you need? The .357 is a common caliber – AND (a big reason why I ranked this bad boy so high) – the .357 wheel gun will also fire a .38 special. This round costs less to fire (practice) and it adds versatility. It’s post Doomsday and your neighbor has spare .38 rounds, but no .357 rounds. For the Security Six – no problem. Trade for those .38s and load the snub, too.
#3 – Compact 9mm
Ayuh, it’s about the most common handgun caliber you’ll find. Choose your maker and model. Whether it’s Glock, S&W or Springfield Armory, they’re all more or less comparable. I prefer the compact frame to the sub-compact or the full size. It’s a healthy balance. It doesn’t feel too small in your hands, but it’s small enough to conceal. Most models have various magazines you can purchase to hold more cartridges. WTSHTF, your 9mm rounds will be a hot commodity for trading purposes.
#2 – Heckler & Koch MK23 Mod 0
… woah. I mentioned this crazy monster here (I Am Legend post). The MK23 was adopted by the Special Operations Command (SOCOM). It’s a match grade handgun, chambered with a .45 ACP, and built to take a beating. Word on SHTF street is that it’ll fire tens of thousands of rounds before it requires a barrel change – now THAT’S offensive! It’s a double-action piece that holds a 12 round magazine. It’ll readily accept a laser and suppressor . . . you know, if you could own one. Want to buy the civilian version (Mark 23)? It’s ONLY *insert sarcasm* $2,170! (Hey, I never listed price as a criteria.) In the foreground:
Now . . . . here we go!
The NUMBER ONE BEST Handgun for TEOTWAWKI is . . .
#1 – M1911 .45 ACP
Beauty! This is the hallmark .45 ACP handgun. It’s a common handgun using a common round. Parts and bullets should be available with a little searching post-TEOTWAWKI. It was the standard issue sidearm for the U.S. military before they switched to the M9 (dumb thinking). It is . . . . . . . all American beauty . . . .
Want to learn way more about handguns? Read Handguns: A Buyer’s and Shooter’s Guide by fellow SHTFblog writer Steve Markwith.
That’s it, folks! Same gig as last time, you can vote for YOUR favorite TEOTWAWKI handgun in the right sidebar. Come right onto-ah! Git-r-done!