Battle of the Longslides—Top Picks from Yesterday & Today

The iconic Hardballer .45 longslide was prominently featured in the film The Terminator. Image courtesy of MGM.

The iconic Hardballer .45 longslide was prominently featured in the film The Terminator. Image courtesy of MGM.

One of the most common variations of the combat pistol that is optimized for long-range performance and enhanced ballistics has come to be called the “longslide.” The word means just what it says. The slide and barrel of a longslide handgun are extended together atop an otherwise fairly standard handgun frame. Pistols thusly executed inevitably offer softer recoil and better accuracy than their more pedestrian service counterparts. They also, for some inexplicable reason, always seem a look a little bit cooler as well.

The longslide is not a new concept. Extended versions of standard handguns date back to the days of cased dueling pistols. However, it was only in modern times that the concept has been truly perfected. Here are half a dozen of some of the best examples of the genre, from yesterday through to today.

Image by author.

Image by author.

Ill be Back

Modern America’s initial experience with the Longslide handgun came via a single particularly memorable movie. Jim Cameron’s science fiction epic The Terminator introduced the planet to the pitiless cyborg from the future that rampaged through 1984-era Los Angeles. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s depiction of this cold mechanical killer cemented his position as arguably the most successful action star in film history.

The Terminator’s arsenal included an AR-180 rifle and an Uzi submachine gun along with a Franchi SPAS12 combat shotgun. The Terminator’s handgun was a customized 1911 Hardballer Longslide .45. Nicely rendered in brushed stainless steel and equipped with one of Hollywood’s earliest examples of a red laser designator, the killer robot used his longslide to lethal effect several times during the film.

These stainless Hardballer Longslide 1911 pistols were ubiquitous fare in gun stores back in the 1980s. While traditional 5-inch 1911 pistols can seem snappy with certain .45ACP loads, the longslide with its 7-inch barrel is sedate and pleasant on the range. The rear sight is adjustable for both windage and elevation with nothing more complex than a screwdriver. The skeletonized trigger is adjustable with a hex wrench, and the long sight radius offers proper accuracy even out to 100 meters. Even if your carcass is not wrapped around a hyper-alloy combat chassis like the Terminator, the AMT Hardballer Longslide is just crazy cool on the range. The original Hardballer has been out of production for decades, but it’s a fun gun to run should you luck into a copy.

The CZ/Dan Wesson Bruin

Image courtesy of manufacturer.

Image courtesy of manufacturer.

The storied Czech firm of CZ joined forces with Dan Wesson in 2005. Combining European finesse with American brawn, these guys now produce a proper 1911 pistol that was just born to hunt. Chambered for the powerful 10mm round and equipped with fully adjustable tritium night sights, the Bruin is purpose-designed for the American handgun hunter. Whether your quarry is a gorgeous whitetail buck or a butt-nasty feral hog, the CZ Bruin has the features you need to make your handgun hunt successful.

I like a good muzzle flash just as much as the next guy. However, every time you see a muzzle flash that’s energy being wasted. The CZ Bruin stretches its tube out to 6.3 inches so it can harvest every bit of available power out of its 10mm cartridges. The commensurate extended sight radius adds precision to your shooting as well.

The single-action trigger is crisp and tight just like old John Moses Browning thought it up more than a century ago. The single-stack mag carries eight rounds, and the rear sight is adjustable for both windage and elevation. There is an extended beavertail grip safety with a memory bump as well as an oversized safety lever for easy manipulation by feel. Equally at home in your nightstand or in the field, the CZ Bruin is designed to put meat on the table.

Glock G40 MOS Longslide

Image courtesy of manufacturer.

Image courtesy of manufacturer.

In 1982 Gaston Glock sold the Glock “Safe Action” pistol to the Austrian Army as their new service sidearm. Some early commentators dismissed the polymer-framed gun as a passing fad. Others predicted that a plastic gun must inevitably be transparent on a metal detector and was therefore a sure sign of the coming apocalypse. It turned out that both sides were completely wrong. Now more than 30 years later, Glock pistols fill the holsters of 65% of the cops in America. Gaston’s polymer-framed Glock is here to stay.

One of the newest offerings from the company is the G40 MOS (Modular Optic System) longslide. Chambered for the game-dropping 10mm cartridge, the Gen4 MOS incorporates an extended 6-inch barrel and commensurately stretched slide. The practically indestructible synthetic magazine packs fifteen rounds onboard, and the standard Glock trigger breaks at 5.5 pounds. Trigger travel is just south of half an inch. The slide on the G40 MOS is also cut to accept a micro red dot sight if desired.

Glock pistols have their own unique personalities. However, by now that personality is a close personal friend to literally millions of American shooters. Sporting interchangeable backstraps, the familiar Safe Action striker-fired trigger, and a railed dust cover, the G40 MOS tames the 10mm beast. Designed for hunting but comparably effective for defensive applications, the G40 MOS is a versatile and effective handgun.

The Springfield XD(M) 5.25

Image courtesy of manufacturer.

Image courtesy of manufacturer.

The Springfield XD is a time-proven combat pistol that combines a modern striker-fired trigger and polymer frame with a grip safety and frame geometry reminiscent of the classic 1911. The resulting handgun is comfortable to run and as reliable as a tire iron. The XD(M) 5.25 Competition Series further optimizes this superb chassis for proper accuracy and performance at long ranges.

The front sight includes a fiber optic insert while the rear sight is fully adjustable for both windage and elevation. The 5.25-inch barrel is hammer forged and Melonite treated. The gun runs with a full-length guide rod, and the forged steel slide incorporates a lightening slot along its top aspect for faster cycling speed. The XD(M) Competition gun is chambered in 9mm, .40S&W or .45 ACP and includes three high capacity magazines where legal.

Where some longslide handguns are optimized for hunting, the Springfield offering is their race gun. Particularly in its 9mm guise, the XD(M) Competition minimizes muzzle flip for lightning-fast follow up shots. The skeletonized slide allows for reliable function with a wide variety of loads. The minimal reset trigger and match-grade barrel make for a competition pistol that is equally at home on your belt as you traverse the sorts of places where the Wild Things are. For match-grade execution in an indestructible polymer chassis that is impervious to the elements, the XD(M) Competition is a solid performer.

The EAA Witness Hunter

Image courtesy of manufacturer.

Image courtesy of manufacturer.

There is more than one way to flay the feline, and the Witness Hunter from European American Armory brings longslide features to the classic CZ 75 action. Sporting arguably the smoothest double action trigger ever made, the original Czech CZ 75 set a lofty standard for performance in its original military configuration. Now the EAA Witness Hunter takes all that was good and wholesome about the CZ 75 and optimizes it for hunting applications.

Chambered for either .45ACP or 10mm, the Witness Hunter features a superb single-action trigger with an adjustable over-travel stop. The gun includes a 6-inch polygonally rifled barrel for long life and higher velocities. The gun has an extended magazine release and safety as well as a generous beavertail to prevent hammer bite. The sights are fully adjustable, and the gun comes from the factory drilled and tapped for a scope mount. Checkered front- and backstraps make for firm purchase, and the steel frame is an utterly rigid foundation for optimized accuracy.

The EAA Witness Hunter is designed specifically for hunting environments. While it would be a boat anchor to carry concealed for long periods, the Witness Hunter is the perfect gun for the hunter who wants to take his quarry with a handgun. The steel frame makes the Witness Hunter a serious, manly gun that will drop your rounds right where you want them out to reasonable hunting ranges. For pigs, deer, and similar mid-sized game animals the Witness Hunter puts the thrill into handgun hunting.

The STI Perfect 10

Image courtesy of manufacturer.

Image courtesy of manufacturer.

The high-capacity STI Perfect 10 is a 10mm handgun that is designed intentionally for the fast-paced world of pig hunting. Built around John Browning’s inimitable 1911 chassis, the Perfect 10 nicely domesticates the spunky 10mm round. The 6-inch bull barrel lends itself to superb accuracy, while the full-length accessory rail sports enough railed real estate for any conceivable lights or lasers. Nicely balanced and built around a high-capacity double stack magazine, the Perfect 10 excels in both pig hunting and home defense applications.

A great deal of pig hunting is undertaken at night, and the Perfect 10 offers a long light-friendly chassis along with an oversized magwell that facilitates fast tactical magazine changes. The gun has a target front sight as well as a Bomar rear sight adjustable for windage and elevation. A cavernous aluminum magwell funnel guides fresh magazines in place for speedy reloads, and the grip safety features an oversized beavertail for both comfort and safety. The frame is steel for rigidity and recoil management.

Pig hunting can involve snap shooting in low-light conditions, and the Perfect 10 packs the features you need to thrive in this environment. As the fastest magazine change is always the one you don’t need to make, there are high-capacity magazines available for the gun that pack up to 17 rounds of 10mm mayhem onboard. Typical home defense applications will also take place in times of stress and low light, so the Perfect 10 serves ably in this capacity as well. The long sight radius and premium sights offer superlative accuracy, while the tactical-friendly attributes of the gun make it fast and reliable. For the pig hunter who appreciates the finer things, the STI Perfect 10 is exactly that.


About the author: Will Dabbs was born and raised in the Mississippi Delta, having been immersed in hunting and the outdoors since his earliest recollections. He holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Mississippi and is the product of a traditional American nuclear family. Where most normal American kids get drunk to celebrate their 21st birthday, Will bought his first two machineguns. Will served eight years as an Army Aviator and accumulated more than 1,100 flight hours piloting CH47D, UH1H, OH58A/C, and AH1S helicopters. He is scuba qualified, has parachuted out of perfectly good airplanes at 3 o’clock in the morning, and has summited Mt. McKinley, Alaska–the highest point in North America–six times (at the controls of a helicopter, which is the only way sensible folk climb mountains). For reasons that seemed sagacious at the time he ultimately left the Army as a Major to pursue medical school. Dr. Dabbs has for the last dozen years owned the Urgent Care Clinic of Oxford, Mississippi. He also serves as the plant physician for the sprawling Winchester ammunition plant in that same delightful little Southern town. Will is a founding partner of Advanced Tactical Ordnance LLC, a licensed 07/02 firearms manufacturer and has written for the gun press for a quarter century. He writes solely to support a shooting habit that is as insensate as it is insatiable. Will has been married to his high school sweetheart for more than thirty years and has taught his Young Married Sunday School class for more than a decade. He and his wife currently have three adult children and a most thoroughly worthless farm dog named Dog.

{ 19 comments… add one }
  • Zachary December 19, 2016, 12:30 am

    Where Sig P220 10mm/45 acp falls right into the same size range as the springfield? What about the fire breathing Coonan?

  • Jeff Schultz November 11, 2016, 5:04 am

    Sorry Iver Johnson

  • Jeff Schultz November 11, 2016, 5:02 am

    What about the Over Johnson long slide ported 10mm?

  • chris scitti November 9, 2016, 9:44 am

    Bought my AMT Longslide Hardballer in early 80’s which was slightly used and setup for pin gun shoots. It was a little loose and slide felt like it was going to do a wheelie off the frame when fired-added a full length recoil spring guide that did the trick. Love this gun, will never sell it.

  • plastic injection molding November 9, 2016, 3:12 am

    The gun has a target front sight as well as a Bomar rear sight adjustable for windage and elevation.

  • Blake Wheeler November 8, 2016, 9:48 am

    Disappointed not to see our No Name 6″ 10mm, FRAG 6″ 10mm, or M4 .50GI long slides featured.

  • Michael Christensen November 7, 2016, 9:56 pm

    Only two of them under $1k. Has to be more out there for under that price.

  • Onthe Wall November 7, 2016, 4:08 pm

    One other pistol you forgot is the AMT HARDBALLER LONG SLIDE STAINLESS STEEL 45 ACP 7 INCH BARREL. I have one with a 2 inch compensator. It shoots like a .22. I also have an AMT AUTOMAG III in .30 carbine you have to see the flash it makes at the range, beautiful.

  • Ron McClellan November 7, 2016, 3:57 pm

    Don’t forget about the Rock Island Armory 10mm Longslide 1911 Offering! An awesome value!

  • Robert November 7, 2016, 2:21 pm

    Seems you forgot the king!
    “HAIL to the KING Baby!”

  • Pete November 7, 2016, 12:29 pm

    Forgot the Springfield V16 ported long slide in 45ACP and 45 Super

  • James Drouin November 7, 2016, 12:09 pm

    “… thusly executed inevitably offer softer recoil …”

    Misleading; recoil calculation includes the mass of the firearm, not the length of the barrel.

    • Ron McClellan November 7, 2016, 3:59 pm

      Longer barrel adds mass, a fair amount of mass, actually.

  • Robert Gehrig November 7, 2016, 11:04 am

    You also forgot the Javelina by AMT, the 10mm brother to the Hardballer. I own two of those and love them.

  • Sgt. Whiskey Bravo Charlie Ret. November 7, 2016, 10:31 am

    How about the original Glock Longslide, the G17L??

  • BOhio November 7, 2016, 8:24 am

    How about the SIG Sauer X-6, based on the P226, and carefully crafted in Germany before being exported (sadly, no longer) to the USA?

  • Franke November 7, 2016, 7:26 am

    Great article on long slide pistols. One error that popped out to me since I own several is the barrel length of the XDm is 5.12\”, not 8\’ Thanks again for all of your great blogs.

  • bdee November 7, 2016, 5:19 am
    • George November 8, 2016, 5:11 am

      Karl Lippard is a joke. 9 whole guns produced during 2014? My buddy bought some of his stuff and its crap but boy, he sure knows how to BS and talk up a storm about how great his crap is.

Leave a Comment

Send this to a friend