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Old December 17, 2008, 10:14 PM   #1
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The most proven handgun...

I know I am not the only one who owns many different handguns and calibers. It mostly comes down to comfort, but the most important thing is proven function. So I am going to ask, 'What is the most proven handgun?'

Let's try to leave .22s out of this. I am mainly looking at .380 auto and up. It is pretty difficult to get real life statistics on handguns. I would like to take into account guns that have been used, what was the situation and how effective was the gun used in that particular situation. Also, is there any documentation to prove the effectiveness? I usually carry either a Kel-Tec P-3AT in my back pocket and a Taurus PT-745 on my belt if I can comfortably. I think I may go back to the .38 spl +P IWB for the comfort and power ratio. I am trying to feel secure with my handgun and caliber choice.
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Old December 17, 2008, 10:23 PM   #2
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This is an impossible question to answer with any certainty and without bias. This is like saying "What's the best car ever made?" or "Who's the hottest woman ever?" Sure, there would be countdowns and lists and whatnot, but there is just no way you can answer a question like this. The best gun, the most proven gun, whatever, is the one you shoot the best and is most reliable for you. If you have a Kel Tec 380 that has never jammed or had a problem and you can shoot with it, it's better than a $3000 custom 1911 that you can't shoot well enough to hit the broad side of a barn from the inside. You also have not set forth any guidelines. CCW, hunting, silhouette shooting? There are way too many variables and too much bias to even hazard a guess on this.
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Old December 17, 2008, 10:25 PM   #3
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Most proven handgun. Well, we could debate whether it is the 1860 Colt, Colt model P, S&W M&P, Colt 1911A1, Browning Hi-power, Walther P38, Walther PP series. Given the number of copies of the Walther PP series and their collective proven reliability it might win. If you mean cartridge the debate will never end on that one either. You carry a .380. So do I. I like a .38 special better but not enough to carry the bulkier gun. a .357 magnum is more versatile than the .38 special. .45 ACP advocates can be knotheads but the cartridge isn't "wrong".... etc., etc.. The conclusive answer only exists when YOU make YOUR choice.
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Old December 17, 2008, 10:27 PM   #4
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glocks, 1911s, revolvers, colt, s&w, ruger, cz, beretta, hk, sig, hipower, walther, and depending on who you ask, hi-point

these are all equally proven

everything else is less proven
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Old December 17, 2008, 11:12 PM   #5
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The one that goes bang when you need it to. Any of the "name brand" firearms will have equal reliability. Even in the best of them you can experience a failure. For home/self defense knowing how to quickly and effectively solve a FTF, FTE, etc, is just as important as knowing how to shoot the weapon. I've always told friends that if they've heard the brand name in a rap song it's a good gun.
A hit with a .45 ACP beats a hit with a .22 LR everytime. A hit with a .22 LR beats a miss with a .50 BMG everytime.
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Old December 17, 2008, 11:13 PM   #6
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I don't know the answer...

...but I have to think the SIG P226 would be a top contender. Absolutely reliable, extremely accurate, high capacity, combat calibers, long-time military and police history. If I could only grab one, heading out the door, it would be my 226.
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Old December 17, 2008, 11:36 PM   #7
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Most proven? Hmmm, well probably the S&W K, L, and N-Frame revolvers (they're all the same basic design). They were used by various militaries (including the U.S.) in both World Wars and to a lesser extent Korea and Vietnam, countless police agencies, and millions of civillians for 109 years. The S&W Model 10 Military & Police has been in continuous production longer than any other handgun (1899-present) and the number of examples produced reaches into the tens of millions.
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Old December 17, 2008, 11:49 PM   #8
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I agree with all the great handguns throughout the years mentioned, but I also want to add the Makarov to the mix. I have heard it has been the most manufactured handgun in history???
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Old December 18, 2008, 02:06 AM   #9
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I was going to put in a word for the Mak, but parisite beat me to it.
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Old December 18, 2008, 02:08 AM   #10
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I feel like a lone voice in the woods, but I would opt for a revolver in .357 Mag.
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Old December 18, 2008, 06:44 AM   #11
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Generally, a 1911 platform handgun I think is the most reliable handgun for self defense carry and for range gun. But not all 1911 even the expensive one is superior than the less expensive made 1911.

I just sold my Para PX Ltd cal 40, because I experienced jammed lately. Now I am eyeing on the Colt gov't model. In my country Colt gov't model price is 75k pesos with an exchange rate of php 50/dollar. The para PX ltd is 86k.

Last edited by shy_man; December 18, 2008 at 06:51 AM. Reason: adding a paragraph
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Old December 18, 2008, 07:54 AM   #12
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I feel like a lone voice in the woods, but I would opt for a revolver in .357 Mag.
There are lots of proven handguns, but I don't know that a good .357 revolver doesn't top the list.
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Old December 18, 2008, 08:05 AM   #13
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i would guess a 38 or 357 Smith and Wesson is fairly proven.

Colt too i guess, but ive never had one and they seem a bit more scarce.
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Old December 18, 2008, 08:16 AM   #14
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Another vote for the 357 revolver. I think whatever tops this list has to be a revolver. Well, I guess a single shot would be more reliable, but I doubt anyone wants one of those when needed, unless that's all s/he can get to.
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Old December 18, 2008, 08:33 AM   #15
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Most reliable and proven handgun?

AUTOMATICS: With all things being equal and reasonably priced, I would have to say my Glock 23 or my Sig Sauer P220 are two of the the most reliable automatic pistols out there. Never failed for me and i have a ton of bullets downrange on both of them.

REVOLVERS: The revolver would probably be considered the most reliable pistol (the way in which it functions) of all pistols. Especially if you choose a mfg like S&W, Ruger or Colt. My favorite is a model 19 S&W in .357 mag, (you can shoot regular .38 spcl, .38+P or .357 mag).
Good luck.

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Old December 18, 2008, 08:44 AM   #16
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Agree with what webleymkv said above. I think more S&W revolvers have been sold, carried, and actually used more times over many years than any other handgun. This makes them the "most proven" handgun, IMO. This doesn't mean, however, that other revolvers, like the older Ruger "Six" series and the newer GP-100 and SP-101s aren't just as reliable and effective. They've been out plenty long enough to prove themselves, but not for 100 years like the Smiths.
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Old December 18, 2008, 06:18 PM   #17
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Old December 18, 2008, 07:01 PM   #18
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There are a number of considerations. The proven gun must be chambered for a proven caliber. Some calibers are good, but not all are "proven." .45 Auto is undoubtedly the most proven. I suspect better calibers exist, but none as proven.

The 1911 platform is certainly among the most proven. Among handguns issues by armies, it can't have many if any equals when it comes to being proven.

The police nationwide used double-action revolvers for generations, but have almost entirely abandoned them now. That is very nearly the opposite of proven.

The US military has in the main abandoned the 1911 for a high-capacity 9mm, but the cartridge is I think conspicuously less proven than .45 Auto and the gun, while perhaps better, is less proven.

So, I'm going to say the M1911A1 chambered for .45 Auto.
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Old December 18, 2008, 08:34 PM   #19
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Pistol; 1911A1 in .45 ACP that has "Colt" on it.

Revolver; Smith Wesson model 10 in .38 spl.

Single Shot Pistol; Thompson Center Contender...

All basic, proven, rugged guns.
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Old December 18, 2008, 08:47 PM   #20
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Old December 18, 2008, 09:01 PM   #21
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I have owned a few that have never jammed and always performed flawlessly and hit with deadly accuracy. The first on a short list was my old Glock 26. Great gun, but too bulky. Next was my old CZ RAMI 2075. Same as the Glock, too bulky. That last is my S&W 638 .38 special +P. The only downside was the capacity. If only Glock made a single stack 9mm sub compact that held 7 rounds. I used to have a Kahr PM9, but didn't like it. I would have to say the two I like the most is either a Glock 26 or a S&W snubbie.
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Old December 18, 2008, 09:23 PM   #22
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I'm not exactly sure what is meant by "proven." But a part of that must mean effective longevity. Personally, my top two choices would be the Colt 1911 .45 acp (and all of the clones) and the Colt single action army in .45lc (and the Ruger Blackhawk). Coming in a close third would be the Smith & Wesson DA revolver. I'm guessing that in 50 years, Glock may also be on this list.

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Old December 19, 2008, 05:30 PM   #23
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Revolvers set aside I would have to say the Colt 1911 to be the most proven for its battlefield/combat durability.

The Sig P226, HK USP Line, Glock, and Beretta M9 still have a little proving to do in my opinion but are non the less very reliable accurate weapons.

I have to add,
The M9 has become a very unpopular firearm. I believe it is due to the decision to drop the 1911 .45ACP for the 9mm. Most it seems favor the
.45ACP over the 9mm. The 9mm is still a very accurate manstopper whether or not some want to admit this fact.
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Old December 19, 2008, 05:47 PM   #24
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There are still some "Special units " in the military that use the 1911 but not many.

I vote 1911 or A1 .45 and the S&W Model 19. As a cop I couldn't buy one during the Vietnam War as servicemen had first priority to buy them and they did in droves.
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Old December 19, 2008, 06:39 PM   #25
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The Colt SAA is about as fool proof as you're going to get. After that a quality double action revolver.

But really there are very few handguns that won't fire when you want them to if they are properly maintained.
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