Wednesday, October 07, 2009
A Top Ten I Can Get Behind
Labels: Top Ten Firearms
MG-42 - Or MG-34 or M-60, the differences are minor enough to lump them together, I think. Still, if you're going to use the 1893 Mauser, you should use the MG-34.
M-2 HMG - Best HMG ever designed.
Mauser - Which should probably be read to include the Springfield '03
Colt SAA - Revolutionary, both as a firearm and as an exemplar of precision manufacturing.
AK-47 - Ubiquitous, cheap, and reliable enough.
M-1911 - Brilliant pistol design. Rugged, hard hitting, and accurate enough.
Smelly - Long service life, excellent accuracy, very wide usage. (Many of the advantages of the AK-47, in fact.) Was it really more important than the Mosin-Nagant or the Garand or the Dreyse Needle Gun?
Glock - Really more evolutionary than revolutionary, but it's a pretty good gun, with excellent reliability and huge sales.
Henry - Good weapon, but was it really that much more important or better than its contemporaries? It certainly wasn't common enough that its ubiquity qualifies it for this sort of list.
S&W .44 Magnum - It's a wheel gun, much like a hundred other wheel guns.
Brown Bess - Frontline firearm for the largest empire in the world for 116 years. I think that qualifies.
M-16 - Better than its press in action, truly revolutionary, accurate, easy to carry, ubiquitous. Early versions were pretty twitchy in the field, though.
Gatling Gun - First really effective repeating firearm.
Garand - Decent weapon; probably as worthy as the Smelly.
Snider or Martini-Henry - Iconic weapons of the later British colonial period. Reliable, ubiquitous, and deadly.
Sharps Carbine - Same arguments as the Henry, really, though I have the impression that it was more widely used.
I thought about early rifles, but couldn't identify one that was particularly important. It sounds as though you know them better than I do.
Upon thinking about this, I'm not sure the original list is focused enough. I mean, the M-2 HMG is a firearm, sure enough, but so is a 155mm Howitzer. The M-2 is mostly a weapons-platoon or pintle-mounted weapon; so is an 81 or 82mm mortar, which is really pretty historically important (and extraordinarily effective, too).
Is it reasonable to include crew-served weapons in a list with pistols?
80 x 80 pixel photos are nearly indistinguishable, though yours is better than most in that regard. Clean icons in saturated complementary colors are easy to see and remember.
Oh, and I stand by my choice of the M-16. The "knock-down power" argument is overstated. 30-06 FMJ has almost the same problem. Both rounds will dramatically overpenetrate at the usual ranges and the wound track of the latter isn't much better than the former.
Old-Fart soldiers issued the new Garands complained that they weren't as good as the old Springfields. The Marines hated the M-14 when it was issued. And the M-16 had a terrible rep next to the M-14. Kids these days ....
Specifically, FMJ is the issue, so we can blame the Hague conventions.