(Photo by Jamie C: Wikimedia Commons)
The guns of today have come a long way and are quite impressive. I mean, there are firearms that can shoot around a corner, of all things. But they didn’t get to this stage of awesomeness without the help of their predecessors. Every gun throughout history laid the foundation for the exceptional guns we experience today. But what are some of the firearms, that are no longer in production, you dream about owning?
Firearms No Longer in Production That We’d All Love to Own
For our latest Real Talk on Facebook, we thought we would take a stroll down memory lane. We posed the question, “You’ve been given the chance to own just one firearm that’s no longer in production. What do you choose?” The answers range from recent nostalgia to historical pieces. You definitely didn’t disappoint.
There were a lot of great answers, including a 3-inch S&W 547, Ruger lever action .44 Mag, Vz.61 Skorpion, Stoner 63 (XM207), S&W 945-1 Performance Center, etc. However, we selected the 5 firearms that really resonated with us, and we think everyone will agree.
Thompson (Tommy) Submachine Gun
No list like this would be complete without the Tommy Gun. Produced between 1921 – 1945, the Thompson submachine gun is a blowback operated, air-cooled- “C” drum magazine fed, selective-fire icon. The Tommy Gun was invented by U.S. Army Brigadier General John T. Thompson in 1918. Although it was intended for use in WWI it was not finished in time. However, it did see action by our military during the banana wars.
The Tommy Gun also saw use by the US Postal Inspection Service, Irish Republican Army, Republic of China, and the FBI. But its real claim to fame came during the roaring twenties, when it was used by both crime syndicates and law enforcement alike. Most notably, Al Capone and his gang made the Tommy Gun the recognizable icon it is today.
Colt SAA 1875 5 ½” Model
There is something to be said about the simplicity of the days of the good old Peacemaker. The Colt Single Action Army, designed in 1872, solidified its place in our country’s history, leading the way for today’s revolver. Although it was standard issue of the US military, it experienced popularity with ranchers, law enforcement, and outlaws. The mere likeness of the Colt SAA conjures images of the old west and summons a desire for simpler times.
Although the SAA was chambered in 30 different calibers and lengths over its history, one reader is drawn to the 1875 5 ½-inch model. Dubbed the “Artillery Model” the 1875 5 ½-inch model was chambered in .44 Henry. Only 1,863 of the 1875 5 ½-inch were produced between 1875 and 1880.
Although there are many replicas and reproductions available today, getting your hands on an original would be the stuff of dreams.
A little newer on the list is the striker-fired HK P7, chambered in 9MM. Produced between 1979 and 2008 the P7 received favored status with the German police. As a result, they used it to replace the .32 ACP Walther PP. It beat out the SIG Sauer P225 and the Walther P5. Shortly after its inception, the German Federal Police counter-terrorism unit and German Army special forces formations adopted it.
Perhaps one of the more unique features of the P7 is its built-in cocking lever on the front of the grip. The lever cocks the firing pin when depressed with a force of 15.7-pounds and acts as a sort of safety. Once the P7 is cocked, it only takes 2-pounds of pressure to keep it cocked.
Colt M1918 BAR .30-06
The Colt 1918 BAR was designed by John Browning in 1917 to solve an issue with the long-recoil Chauchat. Although the Chauchat in itself might not have been a bad gun, it did not function well when converted to .30-06. As the .30-06 was standard government issue at the time, a suitable rifle was necessary.
Even though it did see some action in WWI it didn’t officially become standard issue until 1938. However, it did see extensive action in WWII and the Korean War, and limited action in the Vietnam War. If you would like something similar, the Colt Monitor Machine Rifle is a variant of the M1918 BAR and is still in production today.
M1 Garand in .308 (M14)
You had to know that the M1 Garand would be on this list. Designed in 1928, the M1 Garand was called “the greatest battle implement ever devised,” by the great General Patton. I don’t know about you but that is a good enough endorsement for me.
Chambered in .30-06, the M1 Garand replaced the bolt-action M1903 Springfield for military use in 1936 and continued until 1958. It saw its greatest production numbers during World War II, by Springfield Armory and Winchester. Between the two companies, over 5.5 million were made during the span of 1936 – 1957.
Although technically not an M1 Garand, in 1957 the military adopted the M14, which was basically a modern version. However, its 7.62 NATO chambering was interchangeable with the .308 Winchester. Even though it is no longer in production, Springfield Armory still produces the M1A Standard Issue Rifle. The M1A is a civilian-legal semi-auto descendant of the M14.
Even with the advancements in firearm technology today, there is still something very alluring about milsurp firearms. Maybe it is just the history geek in me, but the most fun I have ever had shooting was an authentic 1917 Mauser. It was still deadly accurate at 500 yards. Of all the firearms no longer in production that I would love to own, that is my personal entry to the list.