Since 1836, when Samuel Colt patented the Colt Paterson, the first practical mass-produced revolver. Handguns are famous among everyone ranging from weapon aficionados to security forces around the globe.

Handguns are favored for both defense and offense. They are perfectly sized for everyone, come in all shapes and sizes, are pretty economical and most important can be concealed carried.

As once said

The restaurant business is always booming because people are always going to have to eat. But there is another basic human need which is making the arms traders loaded with MONEY.

The bustling global arms trade has resulted in many excellent handguns in the last hundred years. Some of the best handguns are more than a hundred years old, while others have been in production for less than a decade. All are excellent weapons for defense, and in some cases offense; they are equally at home in a homeowner’s gun safe or carried as an officer’s sidearm.

Here are five of the best handguns currently in service worldwide.


1. M1911A1

TypeSemi-Automatic
Place of originUnited States
In service1911-present
Caliber.45

Let’s agree Whenever there will be talks about handguns “1911” will always be on the top. Sophisticated robust design, unmatched firepower and reliability make it the once in a century firearm. No doubt its been in service for little over a century and still being used admirably in most of the active warzones around the globe.

The Colt M1911A1 is a semi-automatic large-frame pistol chambered in .45 ACP. One feature that makes it so popular is its light recoil, especially for a .45. The recoil is absorbed by its heavy frame that weighs around 2.5 pounds.

The end of handgun’s patent, coupled with the weapon’s enduring usefulness resulted in almost every major U.S. gun manufacturer releasing its own version of the handgun. In 2012, the U.S. Marine Corps Marine Special Operations Command adopted the Colt M45A1, an updated version of the 1911A1, as its standard handgun.


2. Glock 17

TypeSemi-Automatic
Place of originAustria
In service1982-present
Cartridge9mm

“The gun that made the history”

The Glock 17 was built around three key ideas: simplicity, reliability, and ease of use. The handgun is easy to take apart, with a single press of the button removing the slide for cleaning and access to the barrel.

The Glock passed the Austrian Army’s reliability test with flying colors, jamming only once in ten thousand firings. Which is a dream for handgun makers.

Ask any weapon enthusiast around the globe and you never will hear wrong about Glock. Also the recent videogame and movie culture had turned Glock into some kind of perfect secondary weapon.

Despite initial resistance from the market to accept a perceived “plastic gun” due to concerns regarding durability and reliability which proved unfounded, as well as fears that its use of a polymer frame might bypass the detection of the metal detectors in airports, also unfounded. Glock pistols are supplied to national armed forces, security agencies, and police forces in at least 48 countries. Glocks are also popular firearms among civilians for recreational and competition shooting, home- and self-defense, and concealed or open carry.


3. SIG Sauer P226

TypeSemi-Automatic
Place of originGermany
In service1983-present
Cartridge.40 S&W
9×19mm Parabellum
.357 SIG
.22 Long Rifle (Classic 22 model only)

Developed by the Swiss-German partnership Sig Sauer to replace the M1911A1 in the U.S. Armed Forces, the Sig P226 failed to win the contract but received a major boost when U.S. Navy SEALs rejected their Beretta M9 pistols in favor of the Sig.

The P226 was an evolution of the Sig P220, a postwar favorite of Western and Western-oriented (such as Japan) armies worldwide. It is essentially the same basic design of the SIG P220 but developed to use higher capacity, staggered-column magazines in place of the single-column magazines of the P220. The P226 itself has spawned further sub-variants; the P228 and P229 are both compact versions of the staggered-column P226 design. The SIG Sauer P226 and its variants are in service with numerous law enforcement and military organizations worldwide. The pistol is a so-called double-action design, meaning a single long pull of the trigger will both cock the pistol and release the firing pin, firing the pistol. Users can also operate the Sig in single-action mode, in which the pistol is manually cocked and a shorter trigger pull releases the firing pin. The pistol is equipped with a side-mounted decocker for lowering the hammer without firing.


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4. Smith & Wesson M&P

TypeSemi-Automatic
Place of originUnited States
In service2005-present
Cartridge
.22 LR
.380 ACP
9×19mm Parabellum
.40 S&W
.357 SIG
.45 ACP

Smith and Wesson is one of the oldest names in American firearms. Although the company was mostly known for revolvers, it was inevitable that the company would come out with a Glock-style polymer handgun. The result, the M&P (Military and Police) became highly successful in its own right.

M&P is a polymer-framed, short recoil-operated, locked-breech semi-automatic pistol introduced in the summer of 2005 by the American company Smith & Wesson. It uses a Browning-type locking system. While targeted at law enforcement agencies, the M&P is also widely available on the commercial market.

The M&P was one of the first guns to feature three interchangeable palm swells, allowing the user to configure the pistol to better fit his or her hand. The M&P also features ambidextrous slide stop and magazine release. Unlike the Glock, the M&P can be disassembled without pulling the trigger.


5. Beretta M9

TypeSemi-Automatic
Place of originUnited States
In service1985-present
Cartridge9×19mm Parabellum

The word “ultimate” has long been common currency among firearm enthusiasts. But if there is a combat and tactical pistol for which this term is absolutely appropriate, it is the Beretta M9.

This legendary semiauto handgun has not only won the historic contract with the US military in 1985, but has achieved a triumphant contract renewal after more than two decades of hard use in the world’s toughest and most extreme conditions, from the scorching deserts of Iraq to the frigid heights of the Afghan mountains. A contract renewal after this kind of use and abuse means a product that has kept its promises–and then some. Simply put, there is no pistol today that is as durable, reliable, dependable, easy to use, safe and accurate as the Beretta M9, the handgun that has rightfully earned the nickname of “World Defender.”

There was a great hustle and bustle when the US army makes a shift of sidearm from the “1911” to “M9”. Not only did they change the caliber (a subject that is still open for debate), they adopted a completely different operating system with a double-action/single-action (DA/SA) design. But as a small arms instructor for the US Army once said

I have put literally thousands of rounds of ammunition through the M9 service pistol during the last year. While I hate to give the bottom line up front, the fact is that these guns are tough and reliable. They consume magazine after magazine of hot M882 military ball ammo and keep coming back for more.

The current Beretta M9 service pistol is definitely a full-sized handgun. Many have criticized the choice of a DA/SA action. This criticism aside, the fact remains that it was this “first shot double-action” feature that allowed the “big military” to allow its men and women to do something they were prohibited from doing up until its adoption: carry a pistol with a round chambered and the safety on. 

Therefor maybe the shift was is and will be a questionable move, but M9 is one hell of gun.


God created men, but Colt made them equal.


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