Wednesday, October 07, 2009


A Top Ten I Can Get Behind

Here is a top ten firearms list I agree, generally, with. Not sure why the STG 44 is not in it and the .303 Lee-Enfield is. I would have listed the 1898 Mauser rather than the 1893 version. And I would have replaced the Glock with the M-14. But other than that, really good and right on the money.


Of his list I would definitely include:

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.

Maybe include:

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.

Definitely Add:

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.

Maybe Add:

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.
What about early rifles? The Baker or Pennsylvania or Kentucky Long rifle (Moravian works?) What about the first Winchester breech loader.

The Winchester seems about as important as the Henry or the Sharps to me. That is, it would be a worthy choice, but I don't know whether it rises to the top 10.

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?
OK, Doug, you've convinced me that the .44 doesn't belong on this list, but since I own one, I supported the choice. No freakin' M-16s, M-4s, what ever. Not enough knock down power. That is one of the grunts' repeated gripes (and, I hear, the jamming bugaboo has raised its ugly head recently). Why not the 155? I guess the upper limit on shoulder fired weapons is .50. I've never seen anyone fire a 20mm from the shoulder but I guess it's just possible. I know the M2 needs a pintle and a tripod but it is a recognizable firearm like the MG-42 but not like a 5 inch naval gun, for example. I'm with Doug, T, the so called Kentucky rifle was very helpful with the Revolution and generally on the frontier, but it is difficult to call it revolutionary. Henry was first to do the lever thing right but the Winchester perfected it, especially the 1886 model. Perfection itself. Thanks all for the comments.
Oh, and Doug what's with the symbol, was Prince having a garage sale or something?
I use the icon in lots of places (though just recently on Blogger); it's a branding thing. 8-)

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.
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