Modern Underrated Guns – Appreciate ’em

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Glock, S&W, Daniel Defense, Ruger, and more gets lots of coverage and credit for their innovation. If you asked for a good first pistol, someone will toss out Glock 19, and it’s easy to see why. Popular firearms are popular for a reason. They are often reliable, accurate, easy to shoot, and capable tools. Bad guns become famous, too, mostly for being bad, like the Remington R51. Somewhere in the middle sits underrated guns. 

I don’t mean guns that copy Glock, or if it’s another AR-15 build kit that isn’t bad. I mean guns that are both high quality and innovative at the same time. That’s what underrated means to me, and there are lots of underrated guns out there that don’t get their due. With that in mind, I’ve gathered what I think are the best of the underrated firearms out there. These firearms are good guns and innovate in some way or another, but they don’t get their credit. 

The World of Underrated Guns 

The Walther P99 

Leading the list is the Walther P99. At first glance, the P99 appears to be a fairly average polymer frame, striker-fired handgun. It’s just like any other gun on the market since Glock, right? Oh no, Walther wouldn’t do that. The P99 utilizes a DA/SA design with a striker-fired weapon. That’s unusual to an extreme. The first trigger pull is a double-action trigger with a full cycle of the striker. After that, the weapon becomes a single-action design with a fully cocked striker. 

Walther P99

This results in a very light trigger that took Glock until their fifth generation to achieve with the Glock Performance Trigger. Walther realized that light triggers might not be great in stressful situations and created an anti-stress mode. This is effectively a two-stage trigger. The first stage is the same distance as the double action but ultra-light. Once you get past the first stage, it locks into a single action. If the AS mode isn’t for you, you can just press a button on top of the slide, and it decocks the gun to double action once more. 

The Walther P99 was such a cool pistol and such a unique design. Smith and Wesson worked with Walther to produce the SW99, a P99 with the slide produced by S&W. They teamed up with Magnum Research for a similar pistol. Canik made its name by cloning the P99. It was even a Bond gun, but it never achieved much success. Luckily Walther is giving potential owners one last chance with one final Legacy run of the P99 before it kicks off into the sunset. 

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The Benelli SuperNova 

I had a hard time choosing between the SuperNova and the Benelli M3 because both deserve more praise than they get. However, the SuperNova really takes the cake for being something original from Benelli. Benelli is a semi-auto shotgun company; that’s their rep, and it’s well deserved, with the M2 and M4 being high-end, premium-grade guns. When they produced a pump action series with the Nova and now SuperNova, they created a gun that didn’t receive nearly the credit it deserves. 

Benelli Supernova

The pump action shotgun market is dominated by Mossberg and Remington, and it’s tough t break into. Benelli still attempted and still produced the SuperNova for a share of that market. What makes the gun interesting is the heavy use of polymers, which also makes it affordable and on part or cheaper than an 870 or 500. Benelli also utilized a rotating bolt design for consistent and positive ejection over and over. 

Benelli’s inherent recoiling-reducing stock is fantastic, and every model has a 3.5-inch chamber. While that might only be necessary for bird hunters, for defensive shooters, it gives you a larger loading port and ejection port. This makes reloads easy and quick. Plus, the pump has a magazine cutoff that makes it easy to eject the round from the chamber and to do a slug select drill. It’s a fantastic weapon, but it doesn’t get the love it deserves. 

Arex Delta Gen 2 Tactical 

The Arex Delta guns are a lot like every other semi-auto, striker-fired gun on the market these days. They are 9mm handguns with double stack, single feed magazines, polymer frames, and pre-tensioned strikers. That’s average, but the Arex Delta Gen 2 guns, especially the Tactical model, portray a fantastic value and a great firearm. They are cheaper than most guns on the market, and the Tactical variant really stands out. 

Modern Underrated Guns - Appreciate 'em

The Arex Delta Gen 2 series are so much thinner than most firearms, and the grips are incredibly well-made. The Arex Delta series allows you to swap slides and frames to create the right gun for you, which opens up a new level of modularity. The guns feature great ergonomics, which include ambidextrous controls and replaceable backstraps. 

The Arex Delta Gen 2 Tactical model comes ready to rock and roll with all sorts of extra features. It’s optics-ready but also comes with a set of suppressor height sights for witnessing. The gun has a threaded barrel as well and, of course, a rail for a light. The gun really lives up to the Tactical moniker. 

K&M Arms M17S556 

Most people don’t remember the Bushmaster M17, which was an early American-made bullpup rifle. It wasn’t popular, and I can’t say whether it was great or not. However, it must have been interesting enough because K&M Arms revived the gun for modern audiences, and it’s proven to be a show-stopper of a bullpup rifle. The M17S556 is not a retro bullpup but a modern revival of the design and a very functional rifle. 

Modern Underrated Guns - Appreciate 'em

The M17S556 does a lot well, and the thing I like most about it is the trigger. Bullpup trigger suck, right? That’s just one of those things that people accept with bullpup firearms. That’s not the case here; it freaking rocks. It’s not just good for a bullpup; it’s fantastic all around. The gun uses several AR-15 compatible parts, including AR magazines, AR pistol grips, AR magazine release, and AR bolt release. 

The controls make it easy to move from the AR to the M17S556. K&M Arms produced a short-stroke gas piston system that’s very reliable, and it’s a bit of a mix between the AR-15 and AR-18 with some notable features that make it stand out. It’s my favorite bullpup and a fantastic option. Still, no one is talking about it, and they are a very underrated rifle. 

Extar EP Series 

Extar is like an inside secret in the gun world and an underrated gun with lots of potential. Would you sign up for a modern pistol caliber sub gun style firearm that shoots either 9mm or .45 ACP for less than $500 dollars? Oh, and yes, it does take Glock magazines, and it’s a reliable design that works, and it comes in either 9mm or 45 ACP. The Extar EP pistols are large format designs that do resemble AR-15s but are not your typical AR. 

Modern Underrated Guns - Appreciate 'em

These underrated guns are super lightweight at 4.09 pounds total, making them much lighter than competing subguns and large-format pistols. The Extar EP series uses a lot of polymers to reduce weight, and as we’ve seen, polymer works these days. The design implements an M-LOK handguard and optics rail. 

The Extar Series is made in the United States by Extar all-in-one facility. They sell directly to the end consumer, which keeps their prices very low overall. It makes the firearms ultra cheap, but it’s also reliable, easy to shoot, accurate, and a ton of fun. The Extar series are excellent firearms and could be capable defensive firearms and won’t cost an arm and a leg. 

Something New To Appreciate 

If you have a hole in your gun safe, maybe one of these guns will be a good fit. They each offer something new and innovative, and they are often priced a bit lower than most. A good gun at a good bargain is tough to beat. There are lots of great guns that never got their due, and with that said, please tell us below all about your favorite underrated gun. 

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  • Big Al 45 July 28, 2023, 12:36 pm

    I have an S&W 99, very good gun.

  • JohnW July 24, 2023, 6:36 pm

    I would venture to say anything from SAR except that I only own 5 and looking for a 6th. So I’m just guessing they are all good.

  • Lynn Circle July 24, 2023, 11:07 am

    My list of underrated guns includes double stack 1911’s, SCCY handguns, and Taurus handguns. The latter two are disparaged for being low-priced but in 2023 low prices in these cases does NOT mean low quality!

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