There Are No Perfect Guns…But Here Are 6 That’ll Do ‘Til Perfect Shows Up
There are no perfect guns, in any class of firearm or for any purpose. With that said, there are some that come close.
Granted, there are lots of different definitions of “perfection.” It could be mechanical design alone. It could be functionality and reliability. It could be…any number of things.
However, something that’s “perfect” arguably has the right balance of factors, meaning everything working in concert to create something that is consistently excellent in every way, such that no one could disagree with its excellence.
And what are some examples of firearms that have those factors in balance? Here are 6 notables worthy of anyone’s consideration.
As far as semi-automatic shotguns go, the Remington 1100 quietly looms larger than any other. The Browning Auto 5 was the first semi-auto shotgun to be reliable and popular, but the 1100 had tamer recoil and arguably better design.
It’s also far more influential. Most semi-auto shotguns made today are basically clones of the 1100. The modern Browning company still makes an Auto 5…but it’s an inertia action, not long-recoil like the original.
The 1100 is classically beautiful, with smooth, graceful lines and a well-figured stock. While it has some downsides (heavy or light load spacers, gets finicky in extreme cold) “better” doesn’t really exist as far as self-loading shotguns.
Savage Model 110
The Savage Model 110 is one of the classic bolt-action rifles that are always a good buy. Others include the Winchester Model 70 and the Remington 700.
The Model 70 is a better product. Construction is more fastidious, with better furniture. The trigger is excellent and it is still every bit the Rifleman’s Rifle. However, model diversity is limited; it doesn’t cater to modern shooters and they’re expensive.
The Savage AccuTrigger is better than most Remingtons out of the box. Savage rifles also don’t do that thing Remington rifles are known to do (exploding!) from time to time.
Savage also isn’t jealous of other ammunition makers and therefore offers a wider selection of chamberings.
The Model 110 is one of the great gun success stories. Built with stamped sheet metal and spare parts, it was easy to make and offer them at a working person’s price. And they are fiendishly accurate, with an excellent (and adjustable) factory trigger.
With the wealth of models available today (everything from blued steel and walnut to magazine-fed tacticool wunderkinds) at price points that are never completely outlandish, it’s hard to argue it’s as close to a perfect bolt-action rifle as any of them on balance.
It’s fun to make fun of the Glock 19 because its legions of fans get so upset about it. But the reality is it’s close to a perfect handgun.
They’re very accurate out of the box. They are reliable to a fault, needing little attention though you do have to take care of them. They are dead-nuts simple, with simple controls.
Are there some things that could be better? Sure. The grip angle is polarizing, and the factory trigger leaves much to be desired. The gun was also beaten with an ugly stick.
But the truth is they’re dependable. They’re accurate. The Glock 19 is also light enough and small enough to be carried all day, concealed or openly, without causing discomfort. If it isn’t perfect…it’ll do until perfect shows up.
Any Decently-Built AR-15
This speaks for itself. The AR-15 is almost certainly the best overall rifle design when all things are considered.
The AK is simple mechanically; the CETME/HK family even more so. Piston-driven systems like the HK 416 and FN SCAR, are easier to tune for suppression but are very expensive and benefit the typical shooter very little in practical terms most of the time.
In the aggregate, the AR-15 is dependable, accurate, ergonomically sound (not perfect; the Galil arguably takes that cake) but is also more affordable and customizable than the alternatives.
Plenty of people make them, but arguably any AR-15 of decent manufacture…is as close to perfect as a fightin’ rifle gets.
Smith and Wesson Model 586
Sure, the Model 19 is sleeker and the Python is prettier. But the 19, until the modern iteration, couldn’t handle a diet of pure .357 Magnum. Neither could the Python; it’s delicate timing system meant you had to make friends with a gunsmith.
The Ruger GP100 is definitely a tank, but it’s downside is that it’s a tank. It’s cumbersome, and the double-action trigger on the standard model lacks for smoothness compared to the 586.
The S&W 586 is as close to perfect as any revolver gets out of the box. A smooth DA trigger. S&W’s beefier L-frame to handle full-house magnums for its entire lifecycle. A full underlug barrel shroud gives you the Python looks without the Python problems.
Blued steel and walnut grips, as God intended guns should have, and a price point that isn’t necessarily unobtainable. In terms of a balance of factors…it’s as good as revolvers get.
As far as pump-action shotguns go…the 590 or the Remington 870 fits. Both are workhorse shotguns that can work for hunting, other sport, or defense.
Both are rugged, reliable and accurate. Both will work when the duck blind is so cold that your sweater needs a sweater and semi-autos won’t cycle. So why the Mossberg 590?
Mossberg hasn’t gone bankrupt, and we feel that gives them Points. Also, the tang-mounted safety makes the gun ambidextrous or at least ambidextrous-adjacent (the ejection port is still right-side only) which is a darned smart feature.