When I think of America I think of Freedom, Democracy, Liberty, and the reason why they are still around: firearms! America was founded by the gun and has been protected by the gun ever since. Many guns have defined America, but just as time ticks on, so do the weapons that occupy the hearts and the homes of U.S. citizens. Today if you ask some one if they own a gun it’s “Yeah, I have a GLOCK.” Or maybe it’s a Smith, or maybe even a Mossberg. So the question presents itself; what five guns define the American gun owner?
The GLOCK 19
Let me make it clear–the GLOCK 19 is (and may always will be) the gold standard for 9mm pistol size, weight, and capacity. Not everyone will agree with our reining champ, but credit is due when deserved.
The GLOCK 19 was first seen in 1988. Following close in its big brothers foot steeps, the 19 kept true to form and innovation but reduced the GLOCK 17’s height and length by a mere half inch. Making it a more realistic choice for those looking for a duty gun that could also serve as a concealed carry gun. The GLOCK 19 is the weapon of the American public whether we openly carry that statement or conceal it.
And like a lot of America itself, we’ve taken what works with the 19 and found numerous ways to modify the gun. From stippling the grips, to coating the slides, we have no shortage of ways to make the GLOCK fit our specific needs.
The Springfield Armory TRP
On the opposite side of the pistol spectrum, the 1911 will forever be the pistol of America. Created by the most influential firearms designer of all time, the 1911 was and is one of John Browning’s greatest handgun designs. It saw service starting in 1911 and is still shooting strong in 2014.
Today’s 1911 is as common as the cold and it seems as if finding one that represents top quality and value is impossible. Luckily for us, Springfield Armory has the balance nailed; the TRP. The Tactical Response Pistol is a handgun with custom shop features and reliability, but with a production gun’s price tag.
America loves its 1911s and for me the TRP is the best example of everyday carry excellence. It is available and easily obtainable. Ask anyone in the industry–hell even ask the 1911 snobs–who builds the best 1911 for the money? Springfield Armory will be high on the list.
Mossberg has been a household name in America since the early 1900’s. They’ve been around for nearly a century, so they must be doing something right. The 500 was first seen in 1961, but has continued to evolve into the platform we know today. In its tactical configuration, as highlighted below, it has been used by the military, by law enforcement and (most importantly) by the American public.
The Mossberg 500 has been the standard for tactical shotguns for decades now and shows no signs of relinquishing power. You might argue that the Remington 870 deserves a nod, and that’s a solid argument–but I see it as a Coke–Pepsi sort of argument. Brand loyalty wins out. I’ll take a Mossberg.
Rest easy Remington fans. Even though Remington has been plagued with recalls and quality control issues in the past few years, they will weather the storm. No recall can remove the model 700 from the American landscape, nor does it remove it from this list.
The model 700 has been a unit of measure in accuracy for generations. First born into the hunting field, and later fielded by the military, the 700 is a gun that can’t lose. Models like the VTR bridge that gap between hunters and tactical shooters, keeping Remington current and neutral in the market. Odds are if you’re into precision shooting, there’s a Remington 700 in your past or in your future.
Smith & Wesson M&P 15 MOE MID
The AR15 is the modern day musket. It is the weapon that defines us as Americans in almost all other parts of the world. We lust over their design. I’m offering up a Smith & Wesson, but there are hundreds of manufacturers creating rifles, and a competitive marketplace is driving the prices down. Shown to the right is the S&W M&P 15 MOE MID.
It is the rifle I tell every first time buyer to spring for. It offers a compact size with plenty of room for growth. It sports Magpul furniture from top to bottom and utilizes the soft shooting mid-length gas system. With the proven quality and performance that S&W historically delivers, the M&P 15 is the perfect example of an American AR-15.
There you have it. Five guns that are uniquely American, even when they’re designed in Austria. It doesn’t matter. Like almost everything else about us, we take what works and build on it until it becomes a part of us.