(Editor’s Note: The following is a submission from freelance writer Dabney Bailey. Videos were added for context.)
Life is short. Not all of us get to go out action-movie style, guns blazing as rock music screams in the background. Since you probably won’t have a Mad Max-style dramatic exit filled with glorious explosions and weapon fire, it’s up to you to make sure you get in all of your gun excitement before the grim reaper comes a’knockin.
So, you’d better get started on your guns bucket list. Let me help you get things going with 6 guns that you just have to fire before you kick that bucket:
1. M1 Garand
Dubbed by General George S. Patton as “the most deadly rifle in the world,” few guns have as much history as the legendary M1 Garand. Not only do these rifles have a hallowed place in military firearm history, they are also growing in popularity across the United States through the Civilian Marksmanship Program (Read the GunsAmerica series on Garands from the Government). Firing off a few rounds with this precision rifle will help you understand what life was like for soldiers during World War 2 and the Korean War.
2. Winchester Rifle Model 1873
“The gun that won the west” may not be as high-tech as the M1 Garand or many of its modern-day counterparts, but what it lacks in engineering wizardry it more than makes up for in style. I don’t care who you are – there’s just something viscerally appealing about operating the lever of this true American classic.
The AK-47 is perhaps the most notorious weapon on the face of the earth. It earned its dastardly reputation by being the go-to gun for enemies of the United States. And can you blame them? AK-47s are almost frustratingly reliable. Take it apart, throw it down a mountainside, and pour sand into it – odds are good that it will still fire. AK-47s entered service in 1949, and there are still decades-old rifles that are fully operational in the harsh conditions of humid jungles, arid deserts, and everything in between.
4. .44 Magnum (S&W, Ruger)
Who needs subtlety when you’ve got this hand cannon hanging from your holster? Firing this weapon will turn your hand muscles (and whoever is staring down the barrel) into a quivering pile of goo.
If you’re more of a traditionalist at heart, you could safely replace a .44 Magnum on this list with something that has a bit more history, like a Colt Single Action Army. Whatever your choice, just make sure that you get your hands on some kind of revolver – you definitely won’t regret it.
5. Tommy Gun
Military organizations and shooting enthusiasts have spent centuries perfecting the art of marksmanship. The isosceles stance and the weaver stance are just two examples of shooting innovations that can help you hit your target every time.
But shooting isn’t always about proper form and perfect accuracy. Sometimes, it’s about holding a gun at your hip and burning through your ammo with maniacal glee. Few guns can hold a candle to Thompson submachine guns when it comes to spray-n-pray hip-fired shooting. Don’t forget your fedora and cigar.
6. M4 Carbine
Alright, that’s enough with the classics. Let’s move onto a shining example of modern-day engineering, the M4 Carbine. The M4 was built from the ground-up to be the pinnacle of military rifle technology, combining versatility, customization, and reliability into one perfect platform.
Look at it this way: any weapon good enough to serve as the go-to rifle for the U.S. Army is sure to promise a one-of-a-kind shooting experience.